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Steve Bucknum

Dean's "strategy" happens to coincide with a growing movement of rural folks to "take back our party" from what is perceived as far left extreme elements that offend rural sensibilities. In Oregon, the beginning efforts of the newly formed Rural Caucus within the Party happened at a meeting where we elected a new Dean supporting National Committeewoman (Jenny Greenleaf). Later Dean was elected Chair of the DNC, but by then the Rural Caucus already had draft bylaws and was engaged in the process of jumping through the hoops to become a caucus within the Party.

It is just time for a rural reconnect for the Democratic Party. As rural Democrats we know that much of the Republican propaganda directed to rural areas is false and misleading. This is what motived rural Democrats in Oregon to bring to the State Party the resolution that overwhelmingly passed at the July 16th Party meeting to support Second Amendment (gun) rights. (See discussion on Blue Oregon Blog.) Democrats are not "anti-gun" as falsely misleading Republican statements to rural folks would have you believe.

As much as Dean wants to reconnect, between him and those of us who are rural Democrats there is some crazyness we deal with. In my County, where we can't find enough people to run for all the offices whether they are Democratic, Republican, Independent, or just breathing - we are asked to make exhausive lists of each elected position so that later we can elect Democrats as a way to grow Party leadership in the future. Oddly, but then again they never asked for our feedback in an organized manner on this, the Party is skipping the appointed positions. From the standpoint of growing "leadership" it is far more important to have been on a Planning Commission or Youth/family Services Commission than it is to be on the Cemetery Board.

I'm sure we will get that sort of stuff worked out in the future, the point is we are on the same page, even if at different corners of it.

Rural Oregonians have had enough of the war now that they know they were lied to, they have had enough of the White House lying about Rove not being involved with any "leaks" about the CIA agent now that they know that in spite of statements to the contrary Rove did talk to the press, and they have had enough with deficits and cut budgets. Rural Oregonians have children in school, and they have had enough of Minnis sending the House of Representatives on vacation while she works on cutting the budget, laying off teachers, and reducing the school year. There is a great deal of frustration with Republicans at this time. There is still suspicion of Democrats, but if we keep up addressing the concerns of rural people we will make significant progress - probably much faster than we are currently given credit for.

In my County, Sen. Ron Wyden got more votes in his Senate race than did President Bush in his re-election race in over 25% of the precincts. Wyden, a Democrat, won his re-election here. It is possible for Democrats to win, and they do. The Mayor of Prineville and others on City Council are Democrats. One of our three County Commissioners (Court Members) is a Democrat. We are hardly a Democratic stronghold but we elect Democrats!

It is time for the Democrats to make progress in Rural American and Rural Oregon. Dean may be perceived as leading, so long as he doesn't get in our way!



Your insight is appreciated. You're right about the gun issue. My mom is a farmer, a liberal and a gun owner. She needs it, among other things, to shoot the racoons that kill her chickens ;-)


"You hear all the bogus punditry about Dean and wonder if he's hurting the party, but then you hear him speak and you know he's for real."

I absolutely agree with that sentiment. I'm not a Democrat, have never been a Democrat, and am not interested in becoming one. For me, a confirmed Independent, the appeal of Howard Dean has nothing whatever to do with the Democratic Party.

I've heard him speak three times. First at a book signing. Then at a Kerry Rally. The last time was when he debated Richard Perle at the Schnitz in Portland, shortly after he'd won the DNC chair position. And I got to speak with him briefly after the book signing. He is, as you say, most definitely for real.

He speaks the truth even when it makes people uncomfortable... even when it challenges their chosen fantasies, like when he announced after Saddam's capture that this capture hadn't made America any safer. He was roundly attacked from all sides for saying that. But, it was the damn truth!

That's what resonated with me.



Here here! Dean was on fire at the Dean-Perle debate. That debate exemplified the differences between the neo-cons and the emerging progressive movement.

Dean is on the Franken show right now making incredible sense, as usual.

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