Howard Dean: The ‘State Of The Progressive Movement’ Is Strong

January 20, 2011 12:25 p.m.

Republicans may be enjoying their ascendancy and critics may be suggesting the President Obama is tilting to the right along with them, but former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean says the “the State of the Progressive Movement is strong.”

In a long letter sent to members of Democracy For America — the progressive group that operates out of Dean’s 2004 presidential headquarters in Vermont — Dean opines on the state of the left after a year that saw many setbacks for progressives, from the death of the public option to the Republicans’ November electoral sweep.

“The next few years aren’t going to be easy either,” Dean writes. “It’s going to be a fight to stop right-wing Republicans from rolling back progress and forcing gridlock in Congress.”

Despite the progressive critics of Obama, Dean makes it clear that he’s fully behind Obama — and that Obama’s cause is a progressive one.

“We’ll need to work harder than ever to accomplish real change and reelect President Obama in 2012,” Dean writes. “But we’ve never been afraid of hard work.”Dean suggests that the only lesson progressives need to learn from 2010 is, “fight harder.”

“Republicans often play to the worst impulses in human nature and separate people from each other, scapegoating minority groups and dismantling our community support systems,” Dean writes.

“We have a better answer,” he adds. “We know what we believe.”

Dean says progressives believe in “community”: “We can provide a bright future to our children with a quality education and we can provide a secure retirement free from poverty and dependence for our grandparents. And we can accomplish it within a reasonable budget so we don’t leave a burden of debt on the next generation.”

They believe in “security,” he writes. “We won’t start wars of choice and then perpetuate them to keep the military contractors in business. We will fund schools and investment in green jobs over funding bombers and missile defense our military doesn’t need or even want.”

They believe in “liberty,” too, Dean writes, grabbing one of the tea party’s recent buzzwords and claiming it (or reclaiming it, depending on your point of view) for the left: “We believe that no one, not multinational corporations nor the government, has the right to your personal information to keep tabs on you for profit or unwarranted policing.”

Dean, who’ll host an online discussion on the future of progressivism tonight at 9 PM, writes that the progressive forces will rally — and will be a force to be reckoned with — in elections to come.

“I know we will fight even harder in 2011 than we did in 2008 to make sure no Republican can turn back the clock on the advances we’ve made so far,” he writes. “We will defeat those who stand against the advances we have yet to make. We will not compromise our values in the name of political expediency.”

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