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From Howard Dean to Paul Hackett

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In fact, that is why it is so appalling that Dean began campaigning for Kerry after his defeat. Roy Neel had been successful. He, like other conventional Democrats, didn 't want Dean 's activists to stray from the party, even though the Democrats would never embrace their beliefs. They have and always will take progressives and even most liberal-minded voters for granted. That 's been the part the Democrats -- long the graveyard of radical social change -- have played for the past 40 years.

On Friday, June 9, 2004, Dean stepped into the ring with independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader. The old consumer advocate hardly flinched as Dean repeated half a dozen times that we must do everything in our power (that is, legal power) to rid the country of the Bush plague. We are in a state of "emergency," he boldly announced.

Obviously reincarnated after his own presidential death, Dean went so far as to claim that John Kerry had "progressive credentials." That is clearly something you would have never heard quiver off the lips of Dean the candidate, who himself lacked credentials of the progressive stripe. But Dean was now the defender of the party that did its best to slaughter him during the primaries. He had become the poster boy for a lousy Democratic ticket, which likely set him up for future within the party establishment.

Looking back on Dean 's record, it was no surprise that he defended Kerry 's candidacy. "Many Democrats also admire Ralph Nader's achievements as I do, " Dean said shortly after Nader announced his candidacy. "But if they truly want George Bush out of the White House, they won't vote for Ralph Nader in November. " Unfortunately, Dean forgot to mention that Kerry and the Democrats never planned on bringing real transformation even if Kerry had won, which we 'll get to later.

The Dean saga shows just how far right we are politically in the US. Many have theories as to how this gross Democratic mindset unfolded, but the fact is, this trend is here to stay, and working within the party -- though noble in some regards -- cannot produce genuine shifts in ideological values, especially at the national level. Regrettably, even when there are signs that progressive challenges will alter the status quo of Washington politics, they all die a not-so-pleasant death.

(This is an excerpt from Left Out!)

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Joshua Frank is co-editor of Dissident Voice and author of Left Out! How Liberals Helped Reelect George W. Bush (Common Courage Press, 2005), and along with Jeffrey St. Clair, the editor of the brand new book Red State (more...)

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