“The only thing new in the world is the history you don't know.” -- Harry Truman

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Memorable Moments from the Past

Colonial Period

March 13, 1775: Sheriff’s Deputies seize a courthouse, beginning what becomes known as the Westminster Massacre, an early step toward independence.

July 24, 1776: Vermont colonists gather for the Dorset Convention and declare Vermont an Independent Republic.

June 4, 1777: At the suggestion of Dr. Thomas Young, a friend of Ethan Allen’s from Pennsylvania, the state’s name is changed to Vermont.

March 4, 1791: The Republic of Vermont becomes the 14th US state and officially enters the Union.

19th Century

September 11, 1814: US vessels meet a superior British force for the Battle of Plattsburgh on Lake Champlain. After two hours of fighting the British fleet surrenders.

March 21, 1843: Followers of religious leader William Miller give away their worldly goods to prepare for Christ’s return.

June 27, 1844: Vermonter Joseph Smith, Mormon prophet, is killed in Illinois when a mob surrounds the jail where he is being held.

July 4, 1846: The state militia helps management put down Irish workers striking for back pay.

July 13, 1854: The second state Republican Party in the nation is formed at the statehouse in Montpelier.

September 20, 1881: The day after James Garfield dies of a bullet wound Chester Arthur becomes the first US President from Vermont.

Progressive Era

March 3, 1903: Democrat James Burke defeats a Republican incumbent and becomes Burlington mayor.

June 28, 1906: The Independent and Democratic Parties create a statewide Fusion ticket to challenge the Republicans.

January 16: 1909: The Vermont Supreme Court rules that Burlington can develop a public wharf on its waterfront in Burlington v. Central Vermont Railway, Co.

September 3, 1909: Mayor James Burke prevents anarchist Emma Goldman from speaking in Burlington.

February 17, 1912: Residents of Barre, Bethel and Waterbury express solidarity with a strike in Lowell, Massachusetts by taking 200 of their children into their homes.

August 2, 1923: Warren Harding dies suddenly in San Francisco, making Calvin Coolidge President.

Depression Era

April 1, 1933: Barre granite workers begin a two-month strike that shuts down six major companies.

March 3, 1936: The Green Mountain Parkway is defeated in a statewide referendum.

April 7, 1937: Vermont becomes the first state to declare the sit-down strike illegal.

Post-War Period

March 9, 1954: US Senator Ralph Flanders challenges Joseph McCarthy for spreading confusion and sowing division.

May 14, 1965: House of Representatives votes to reduce its size from 245 to 150 seats and elect each member based on population ("one man, one vote") rather than geography.

May 1 1966: United Stone and Allied Products Workers union members vote to strike at Vermont Marble, demanding a union shop and a 15-cent an hour pay increase.

April 23, 1971: The Bilderberg Group meets in Woodstock for what they call “an international peace conference.”

July 7, 1972: Local 522 begins a strike against Pizzagalli Construction and nine other companies.

Modern Progressive Era

March 3, 1981: Independent socialist Bernie Sanders defeats Democratic incumbent Gordon Paquette to become Burlington mayor, launching a new progressive movement.

August 13, 1991: Richard Snelling dies unexpectedly, making Howard Dean governor.

December 10, 1999: State Supreme Court rules in Baker v. Vermont that gay couples have a right to the same benefits provided to straight couples.

21st Century

June 23, 2003: Howard Dean launches his presidential campaign at a mass rally on Church Street in Burlington.

January 19, 2004: Howard Dean loses the Iowa Caucuses.

May 3, 2006: Governor Jim Douglas recognizes the historical Abenaki for the contributions they made to the state.

March 4, 2008: Voters in Brattleboro and Marlboro pass a symbolic resolution that instructs local police to arrest George Bush and Dick Cheney for "crimes against our Constitution" if they ever step foot in either town.

April 7, 2009: Over a veto from Governor Jim Douglas, Vermont becomes the first in the country to allow marriage for same-sex couples.

December 10, 2010: Bernie Sanders stages a mini-filibuster to protest a tax cut for the wealthy.

December 20, 2010: Mayor Kiss announces a “letter of cooperation” with Lockheed Martin.

February 9, 2011. Citizens crowd City Hall Auditorium to challenge Mayor Kiss’s development deal with Lockheed Martin. October 19, 2011: Republican mayoral candidate Kurt Wright proposes the sale of the Burlington Electric Department to reduce the city's debt.
March 6, 2012: Almost 60 Vermont communities vote for a US Constitutional Amendment to overturn the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision; Burlington voters elect the first Democratic mayor in 31 years.

*These events and many more are explored in the book.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Vermonters Go for the White House

September 20, 1881: James Garfield's assassination makes Chester Arthur the first US President from Vermont.

August 2, 1923: Warren Harding dies suddenly, making Calvin Coolidge President.
Two Vermonters, so far, have become president of the United States – Republicans Chester Arthur and Calvin Coolidge. But others have made the attempt, most recently Howard Dean and now Bernie Sanders. Another Vermont Republican, George Aiken, also considered it seriously in the 1930s -- against FDR! -- and the state's first Democratic Governor, Phil Hoff, was briefly a prospect in 1968.

The earliest candidate was the Mormon leader Joseph Smith, one of those restless Vermonters who struck out for the west in revival days. He ran as a champion of homesteading rights. The next was Stephen Douglas, known as the “Little Giant” because of his short stature and huge political skills. Born in Brandon in 1813, he had made his name in Illinois as attorney general, Supreme Court judge and US Congressman.

Stephen Douglas
In 1852, and again four years later, Douglas unsuccessfully went after the Democratic Party nomination. The path was finally clear in 1860, but by then the Party was hopelessly split. He easily became the Northern Democratic candidate, but the party’s southern, pro-slavery wing didn’t trust his ambiguous position and separately nominated Vice President John C. Breckinridge.

There was also a standard bearer for the Constitution Party, which hoped to avoid civil war through regional compromise. But most of all, there was Abraham Lincoln, nominated in Chicago at the Republican Convention. The two men knew each other well, especially from a famous series of debates they had waged when Lincoln challenged Douglas for his US Senate seat two years before.

Douglas finished second in the popular vote for president with 29 percent but carried only Missouri and half of New Jersey’s electors. Breckinridge swept the south but won only 18 percent nationally. Lincoln carried 18 northern states, including Vermont and Illinois, and received 39.8 percent, or 1,865,593 of the 4.6 million votes cast that year.

As soon as Lincoln was elected, southern states began to secede. When war came in April 1861 Douglas urged his followers to support the union. But he died just a few weeks later and his position on slavery has been disputed ever since.

Twenty years after Douglas tried for the White House and failed Chester Arthur succeeded -- without actually running for president himself. Arthur was the son of a Baptist minister who emigrated to North America from Ireland. His official biography says that he was from Fairfield, a town near the Canadian border, born on October 5, 1830. Yet there have been persistent rumors that he was really born in Canada, and that his official birth date may be off by a year.

After college and law school in upstate New York Arthur briefly returned to Vermont in the early 1850s, as principal of an academy in North Pownal, before joining a law firm in New York City. For a while he was a Whig, but joined the Republicans early and was appointed engineer-in- chief by New York’s governor, then acting quartermaster-general for the state during the Civil War. After the war he rose in the Republican hierarchy, becoming collector of the Port of New York in 1871 and chair of the Party’s state committee. 

Chester Arthur
In 1880 he backed former President Grant to succeed Rutherford B. Hayes, but the convention delegates went with another general, James Garfield. Arthur’s support for Grant and position in New York politics made him a practical choice to join Garfield on the ticket. The team was elected and Vice President Arthur began to preside over a US Senate so evenly divided that he frequently had to break ties.

On July 2, 1881, only four months into his term, Garfield was shot at a Washington railway station by Charles Guiteau, an unstable officer-seeker. The president lingered for two months but died from an infection on September 19 after doctors contaminated the bullet wound. The next day Arthur became the first President from Vermont.*

It was a relatively prosperous period for the country. President Arthur spent much of his time dealing with domestic issues – building projects, disputes with Native American tribes, cowboy violence in the Arizona territory, and hostility to Chinese immigrants and Mormons.

In 1884, when the Republicans met again in Chicago for their nominating convention, Arthur lost to James C. Blaine, a leading Republican moderate who had briefly been his Secretary of State. He died two years later, having served as president for three and half years without winning an election on his own.

The second Vermonter to lead the country also got the job due to death at the top. But there is no dispute about the birthplace of Calvin Coolidge. He was born in Plymouth Notch on July 4, 1872, the only president whose birthday is Independence Day.

Like his predecessors Coolidge left the state to pursue his ambitions. He moved to Massachusetts and became, first a city official, then mayor, state legislator, lieutenant governor and ultimately governor of the state in 1918. It was a steady and conventional political rise, aside from the one decision that brought him to national attention – breaking a police strike in Boston.

When the Republican convention deadlocked in 1920, party bosses gathered in what became known as their “smoke-filled room” and selected a little-known Ohio Senator, Warren G. Harding. To balance the ticket Coolidge was picked for Vice President. Disgusted with Woodrow Wilson at the close of World War I, Democrats joined the unusual Republican base to give Harding the biggest landslide victory in US history – more than 60 percent of the popular vote.

The Harding administration became infamous for corruption, but Coolidge managed to stay clean. Disillusionment set in and few expected anything to change until the next election. But on August 2, 1923, in the middle of a goodwill tour, Harding dropped dead suddenly in San Francisco.

Coolidge was a dramatic change of pace, at least in temperament and style. Harding looked and lived like a Matinee idol. “Silent Cal” was an austere and private family man, legendary for his stinginess and allegedly incurious nature. But he and his predecessor did have one thing in common – affection for business.

In 1924, he won re-election in a landslide using a slogan that revealed control and awareness of his image, “Keep Cool and Keep Coolidge.” Technically, he could have run again, but declined with what is likely the shortest political exit speech ever made by a president: “I do not choose to run for President in 1928.”

A year later, Herbert Hoover was leading the country, at the brink of the Great Depression.

Calvin Coolidge and Mother Jones in 1924
* Note: It is commonly claimed that Chester Arthur became president immediately after Garfield's death on September 19, 1881. However, Arthur was in New York City at the time and took the oath of office on September 20 at his residence before Judge John R. Brady, a New York Supreme Court Justice. On September 22 the oath was administered again, formally, in the Vice-President's room in the Capitol by Chief Justice Waite.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Almost President: The Impossible Dream of Howard Dean

Running for president is a body-and-soul-challenging job. Campaigns begin years before the election, and candidates are caught in an endless race around the country, repeating the same phrases and self-congratulatory arguments as they fight to out-fundraise and out-spend one another. It was therefore no surprise that, on the eve of the Iowa caucuses in January 2004, Howard Dean looked a bit squeezed out on the campaign trail.
      After more than a decade as Vermont Governor he was running for president as a feisty outsider, challenging the Bush administration about the conduct of the Iraq War while riding an Internet-driven wave of anti-incumbent anger.
     In spite of Vermont’s often prickly relationship with the national government, other politicians from the Green Mountains had contemplated running after the unexpected presidential terms of Chester Arthur and Calvin Coolidge. In 1881 Arthur became president after James Garfield was shot at a Washington railway station by an unstable officer-seeker. Coolidge served for five years after Warren Harding dropped dead in San Francisco on August 2, 1923, in the midst of a goodwill tour. 
Phil Hoff broke through 1962.
     In the late 1930s Republican George Aiken, a former Vermont governor and US Senator, toyed with the possibility of challenging Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Thirty years later Phil Hoff leapt into the national spotlight briefly as the first Democratic governor to break with President Lyndon Johnson over the Vietnam War. In summer 1968, Hoff galvanized the party with a moving speech to the General Assembly eulogizing Robert Kennedy, who had been assassinated in June. When the Democrats gathered in Chicago, Hoff’s name circulated as a “protest” candidate for vice president. But he was conflicted and worn down by a decade of political struggles and did not pursue it.
     Howard Dean had fewer internal conflicts. The son of a Republican Wall Street executive, he grew up in affluent surroundings, mostly in East Hampton, and attended an exclusive boarding school. At Yale he opposed the Vietnam War but wasn’t a protester, then drifted for a while before briefly becoming a stockbroker. That didn’t satisfy a nagging desire to help people, however, so he enrolled at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, a school in the Bronx famous for its community-based approach.
     Once he completed med school, the next challenge was finding a place for his residency. Vermont was not his first choice, but its size offered a way to combine practicing medicine with political engagement. His first significant move was to help launch the Citizens’ Waterfront Group, which fought for a bike path along the shore on Lake Champlain and locked horns with the administration of Bernie Sanders, an Independent who had unseated a Democratic mayor.
     The bike path campaign took years but ultimately succeeded beyond his dreams. In the meantime, Dean learned the ropes from established Vermont politicians. “They shaped me into a pragmatic Democrat,” he wrote in a political autobiography. “I was friendly with the younger, more liberal Democrats because they were my age, but I didn’t vote with them. I didn’t relate to their political sensibilities.”
     By 1982 he was chairing the Chittenden County Democratic Committee and running for the state House of Representatives. “The District was in Burlington, and it was the most liberal, working-class district in the state,” he wrote. “There was a very strong Progressive Party in the ward and no Republican Party whatsoever. So, interestingly, I ended up running against a candidate to my left in my first election.”
     In the legislature Dean joined a group of young, moderate Democrats and Republicans known as the “blue shirts,” focused on education issues, and became minority leader in only two years. By 1986 he was ready to run statewide. Looking at the available options – lieutenant governor or a race for Congress against moderate Republican Jim Jeffords – he chose the easier path. Fortunately for Dean, the current lieutenant governor, Peter Smith, wanted to run for governor.
     In 1990, Dean passed on the opportunity to run for governor himself, but ended up in office anyway due to the sudden death of Richard Snelling. Reviewing his accomplishments over the next decade, Dean has stressed balancing the budget, building a surplus, land conservation, health care for most children under 18, and an early intervention program that reduced childhood abuse. On some issues he resisted demands from the left, however, and was generally known as a centrist.
     His response to calls for same-sex marriage was indicative. On December 10, 1999 the State Supreme Court ruled in Baker v. Vermont, that gay couples had a right to the same benefits provided to straight couples and told the legislature to deal with appropriate implementation. Sensing political peril, Dean initially expressed some discomfort with the idea of gay marriage. But the legislature moved forward and made Vermont the first state to legalize civil unions. Dean signed the bill, but without a public ceremony, apparently in the hope of cooling down the atmosphere. It didn’t happen. Gay rights activists felt cheated, and an anti-gay backlash almost cost him re-election in 2000.
     In retrospect, Dean asserts that he was committed to marriage equality for all. “That’s why I knew I had to work for civil unions,” he wrote in 2003, in the midst of his presidential race. “I never viewed the bill as a gay rights issue. I signed it out of a commitment to human rights, and because every single American has the same right to equality and justice under the law that I have.” Whatever the reasons, he benefited in the long run. Wealthy gay supporters, especially in the Fire Island beach community, were early and generous contributors to his campaign.
     By the time civil unions became Vermont law in 2000, Dean was already considering a presidential race. But he passed on it that year, and waited until the end of his last term as governor two year later to begin building an organization. He also made sure Al Gore wasn’t running again.
     Early on, Dean tapped into an Internet-based strategy, meetups, and used the concept to organize supporters across the country. “We were seeing a phenomenon where the effort was owned and directed by the people who supported it,” he explained. He was also discovering a new way to raise money. By June 30, 2003, he had raised almost $8 million, beating his rivals and advancing to the top candidate tier. A week before that, he officially announced in front of a standing room only crowd on Church Street.
     “On that stunning early summer day,” he recalled, “I stood in front of more than thirty thousand Americans who had gathered in Burlington and, via the Internet, across the country…In many ways, that speech on June 23 was the culmination of what I had learned in a year of listening to the American people.”
Dean campaign lit, 2004
     By August Dean was the hottest political story in the country, the wild card of the upcoming presidential race. In cover features published simultaneously on August 11, both Time and Newsweek declared him the candidate to watch. Time was circumspect, titling its cover “The Dean Factor” and inside headlining his “cool passion” as an “unlikely spokesman for the anti-Bush left.” Newsweek was more provocative. Dean pointed angrily at an unseen audience as the cover headline asked, “Howard Dean: Destiny or Disaster?” Inside, Jonathan Alter’s coverage telegraphed the fear among establishment Democrats that “if Dean does win the nomination, his liberal supporters will put their Birkenstocks on the gas pedal and drive the party right over the cliff, a la George McGovern in 1972.”
     Back in Vermont, many residents were perplexed. This was a new Howard Dean, no longer the moderate who often frustrated progressives. Now he was, as Alter described him, “the fire-breathing neopopulist” calling on liberals to “Take your country back.”
     In Dean’s book, released a few months later, he chided fellow Democrats for “actually empowering the radical right” by being afraid to “stand up to the Republicans and their radical agenda.” He defined his cause as “the Great American Restoration – the restoration of our ideals, of our communities, and of our nation’s traditional role as a beacon of hope in the world.” Dean had become governor by accident, but was running for president with gusto and purpose.
     Six months later, on the weekend before the Iowa caucuses, he was still pushing as hard, and pulling out the stops by spending Sunday morning with President Carter in Georgia. Then he flew back to caucus-land for a rare appearance with his wife. He had focused on Iowa early, risking $300,000 to air the first TV ads. Everything looked set for an early victory.
     But groups like the Club for Growth had something else in mind. In early 2004, the Club came up with a strategy designed to turn what was starting to look like a Frank Capra movie, Dr. Dean Goes to Washington, into a horror-fantasy. In an ad released by the conservative anti-tax group shortly before the crucial caucuses, two actors, playing an elderly couple, were asked to describe the threat looming over the country.
     Responding directly to the camera, the “husband” said, “Howard Dean should take his tax-hiking, government-expanding, latte-drinking, sushi-eating, Volvo-driving, New York Times reading…” Then the “wife” jumped in with, “body-piercing, Hollywood-loving, left-wing freak show back to Vermont where it belongs.”
     It was strong stuff, a perverse yet brilliant blend of dark comedy and cultural hate speech, so effective that the Club didn’t have to pay much for airtime. The news networks were more than willing to provide free play. As CNN’s Judy Woodruff explained on January 9, “This is so catchy, we love to run it over and over again.”
     Club for Growth President Steve Moore readily admitted that the goal was to re-brand Dean as a tax-hiking elitist. The theme would have been developed more if he had become the nominee, and was cleverly recycled in 2008 to fit Obama. Columnist Austin Bay outlined the script in a mid-January 2004 essay, arguing that Dean was the candidate of “that cadre of angry American leftists struggling with a nasty case of '60s nostalgia and their failed elitist ideology.” In this version of the race, narcissist baby boom radicals were using “pop socialism” to extend “government coercion.”
     “These ‘progressives’ wish America were France,” Bay wrote. “Whether tenured in the Ivies, ensconced in editorial positions or pulling in trial lawyer and Hollywood bucks, these late middle-age Volvo drivers long for L'Age D'Or, when smoking dope and calling US soldiers babykillers made you ‘hip’." Calling the idea that the US war on Iraq might have been a mistake another sign of “tie-dyed dogma,” he concluded that the Dean campaign was dangerous “brain-zapped foolishness.”
     Dean endured similar assaults throughout his campaign, and not just from other candidates and isolated columnists. In addition to a barrage of negative campaign ads directed against the frontrunner, a majority of nightly network newscast evaluations of Dean were negative, while three-quarters of the coverage given to the other candidates was favorable, according to research conducted by the Center for Media and Public Affairs. In 2003, only 49 percent of all on-air evaluations of Dean were positive, while the rest of the democratic field collectively received 78 percent favorable.
     By January 19, 2004, most of the candidates were ready to say and do anything to survive. A few hours before the caucuses, John Kerry wondered aloud whether John Edwards was “out of diapers” when he (Kerry) came back from Vietnam. He had to apologize, since Edwards was 16 at the time. In frigid weather, steelworkers were showing painted chests for Dick Gephardt. Wesley Clark, not in the caucus but gaining ground nationally at the time, was hugging George McGovern in New Hampshire. Edwards and Dennis Kucinich meanwhile struck a deal to pool delegates. Treating caucus-goers like tradable commodity, they agreed that the candidate with the best early showing in a caucus would get the other’s support to meet the 15 percent viability threshold for actual delegates.
     In a weird counterpoint, the Bush administration was pushing for caucuses in Iraq. As the US tried to get the UN back into the process of reconstructing the devastated country, thousands of angry Shiites were taking to the streets. Their demand was free elections, but their leaders admitted that the goal was an Islamic state. The fear was that a public vote, being demanded by the Shiite majority, would lead to a less-than-friendly government. The subtext was that caucuses made it easier to manipulate the outcome.
     CNN analysts issued a forecast for Iowa hours before anyone voted. On Crossfire, Democratic insiders Paul Begala and James Carville, as well as conservative Robert Novak, predicted that Kerry’s late surge would overwhelm Dean. Edwards was given third place and Gephardt was consigned to oblivion. Dean sounded over-confident, but there was uncertainty among his active supporters, nicknamed the Deaniacs. Volunteers in at least three cities were handing out flyers that charged Kerry wasn’t electable, his wife was too rich, and Ralph Nader wouldn’t step aside if he was the nominee. It came across as desperate.
     Days earlier, Dean Campaign Director Joe Trippi had claimed to have 40,000 definite supporters lined up to attend the caucuses, virtually guaranteeing first place. (He was off by half.) Over the weekend, volunteers flooded the state, buzzing around in orange hats. It would be a test of whether “Generation Dean” was for real. For the candidate, it was a reality check on a dream that dated back years.
     Waiting for the numbers, Tom Brokaw noted that politics today is about cultural values, and that Dean’s message had become confused – he was an “outsider” with more key endorsements than anyone else, an angry guy whose wife didn’t want much to do with his campaign. In short, an uncertain image had undermined his message and, more important, his perceived electability. According to a focus group led by Frank Luntz, Dean’s support had tanked, largely because people found him testy, even mean – partially based on a last minute shouting match with a critic that made Iowa TV news.
     Kerry and Edwards were staging an upset. But Dean had also squandered his lead, and too many questions were being raised about his electability, key factors apparently favoring Kerry and Edwards. Early opposition to the Iraq war didn’t turn out to be a strong enough argument; both anti-war and young Iowans found Kerry as attractive as the former Vermont governor.
     Nevertheless, becoming the frontrunner had already allowed Dean to launch and fund a national campaign. Thus, losing in Iowa didn’t necessarily have to spell doom. But it did allow the media to question his claims to be leading a broad-based movement, and set the stage for Kerry to beat him in New Hampshire. Even spending millions more on TV ads wouldn’t be enough to overcome another month like the last.
     And then, when he could have been hopeful but humble, Howard Dean went on national TV to thank his supporters and unexpectedly turned into a cartoon character, a snarling Hulk who rasped out a fierce determination to beat any rivals, shouting out their home states with a frightening sneer. Columnist Howard Fineman was generous when he called it “a little nutty.” CNN’s senior analyst Bill Schneider concluded that “people looked at Howard Dean, and they didn’t see a President.”
     Boston’s Mike Barnacle was blunt: “That guy’s not going to the White House.”

Can a Vermonter make it? Bernie Sanders may try next.

Bush strategist Karl Rove and the religious Right wanted the 2004 presidential race to be about values – things like patriotism, optimism and heterosexual marriage. Actually, they hoped to convince enough people to swallow the administration line, ignore uncomfortable facts, and embrace an evangelically-infused 1950s vision of the country. But the election ended up being about much more, including security, deception, gay marriage, decency, and the all-important presidential variable known as “likeability.”
     Howard Dean’s incandescent sprint became a warning: Be prepared for the unexpected. By winning the so-called “invisible primary” – the fundraising and organization-building race that happens before any votes are cast – he looked like a “frontrunner” quite early, probably too soon. In the end his support turned out to be demographically thin and easy to undermine. In early 2004 he went from “hot” to “not” in less than a month.
     Like the outbursts of Barack Obama’s former minister Jeremiah Wright in 2008, Dean’s so-called “rant” after the Iowa caucuses – instantly infamous as the “I have a scream” speech – was the hot clip on TV and the Internet for weeks, the focus of endless late night jokes. Within five days, the “scream heard round the world” was played almost 700 times on US television networks. As Dean’s poll numbers tanked, critics concluded that he simply didn’t have the “temperament” to be president. The emphasis shifted from which candidate had the most compelling message to which would be more “electable.” Dean was being winnowed out.
     Struggling to turn disaster into opportunity, the embattled candidate spent the next days blanketing the networks with interviews, appearing with his wife, joking about his performance on late night TV, even distributing video tapes of a warm and fuzzy interview with Diane Sawyer to more than 100,000 New Hampshire residents.  It began to work. Some people realized that the criticisms of Dean were exaggerated.
     But Kerry seized the moment to step above the fray, stressing his “gravitas” and showcasing manly skills by playing Hockey and piloting a helicopter. Like a contender on the reality show Survivor, he was showcasing his value to the tribe. The following Tuesday, when New Hampshire primary votes were tallied, the strategy paid off. Kerry repeated his Iowa performance, pulling in 39 percent. Dean made a partial comeback with a convincing second place finish. His speech that night was more sedate, yet still defiant.
     The immediate casualties were Wesley Clark, who skipped Iowa to spend weeks alone in New Hampshire – only to come in a weak third, and Joe Lieberman, stuck in fifth with less than 10 percent after virtually living in the state for a month and bragging about “Joe-mentum.” Neither immediately gave up but both were on the critical list.
     On February 18, after coming in third in Wisconsin, Dean finally acknowledged that his campaign had "come to an end." Yet he urged people to continue voting for him. The idea was that Dean delegates could still influence the party platform. On March 2 he won the Vermont primary, but it was over.
     After the 2004 election Dean became chairman of the Democratic National Committee, creating a “50 State Strategy” designed to make Democrat congressional candidates competitive in normally conservative states.  The approach bore fruit in the 2006 midterms; Democrats took back the House and picked up seats in the Senate from normally Republican states. In 2008 Barack Obama made Dean’s strategy the backbone of his campaign.
     On April 7, 2009, over a veto from Dean’s gubernatorial successor Jim Douglas, the Vermont legislature became the first in the country to allow marriage for same-sex couples.  An UCLU study concluded that the decision would boost the state’s economy by more than $30 million over three years, and that, in turn, would generate $3.3 million more in fees and sales taxes and create 700 new jobs.
     After Dean dropped out of the presidential race, some analysts said he had been assassinated by a hostile media. It was partly true. But they couldn’t have done it if Dean hadn’t supplied some bullets. Throughout the campaign he insisted on shooting from the hip and often fell into gaffes. Another notion, that his campaign had fundamentally changed the Democratic Party, took much for granted. It was about as convincing as the assumption that Ralph Nader’s presence in the race would broaden public discourse. Nader was refused entry into major debates, rarely appeared on television, and didn’t make it onto the ballot in many states.
    After 9/111, many people argued that “everything” had changed. Not so. Some things continued as usual, including not-so-subtle manipulation of public opinion and the primary election process.