Your new job.
You run this party.
On Saturday, I was honored when your representatives on the Democratic National Committee elected me Chairman. And I can't wait to get started. But when they voted, it wasn't about me -- they were voting for a plan for the future of our party.
That plan came from people like you -- from conversations I had with ordinary Democrats across the country. When those 447 people voted in Washington this weekend, they united around that plan.
Now I'm asking you to do the same. Those 447 people were a good start, but make no mistake -- I know that this is also your party. And our plan to reform the party can only become a reality with your endorsement.
Please read our plan -- and commit to making it a reality:
Your representatives in the DNC mandated bottom-up reform -- growing the Democratic Party in your neighborhood and every other community in America. They voted to compete in every state for every level of office. And they demanded a Democratic Party that stands up for itself and for an agenda that reflects our values.
They didn't elect me because they think I can accomplish these things. They elected me because I believe that only you can.
Every single one of us must take responsibility for building our party. It's not enough to simply vote for Democrats -- in order to win, every one of us must deliver our message and values into our own community.
That means changing the way we do business, and that's what this plan is about:
The Republicans' biggest victory has been to convince many Democrats that we can only win by abandoning our values and doing what they say.
It's one of their favorite tactics -- just watch how right-wing pundits talk endlessly about the internal politics of our party. They try to divide Democrats by ideology just as they divide all Americans by race or gender or faith.
But there is no crisis of ideology in the Democratic Party, only a crisis of confidence. Bill Clinton once described the Democratic Party's problems in the era of George W. Bush, saying that in uncertain times people would rather have a leader who is strong and wrong than weak and right.
He's exactly right. And we become both weak and wrong when we abandon our core values for short-term political gain. But when we Democrats talk straight and stand up for ourselves, we have a huge advantage: We are both strong and right.
We will only turn that advantage into victory if we make a concrete plan and work hard to execute it. Declare your support and offer feedback now on the plan to build an organization that will help us win everywhere, and win with pride:
Millions of Americans became Democrats last year. They sensed that they live in a society where ordinary people's problems and interests don't matter to our government. They chose the Democratic Party because we represent commonsense reform.
And millions more will become Democrats this year as we protect the Democratic Party's greatest achievement. We will not allow George Bush to phase out Social Security -- a Democratic policy that cured an epidemic of poverty among seniors and provides the guarantee of retirement with dignity.
Most importantly, millions of Democrats have become true stakeholders in our party. With grassroots action and small-dollar donations, you have taken our party's future into your own hands.
The stakes are too high to wait for others to lead. Every one of us has a personal responsibility for the future of our party -- and the future of our country.
This isn't my chairmanship -- it is ours. So let's get to work together.
Tuesday, February 15, 2005
Here's a note from Howard Dean, the new Chairman of the Democratic Party, which popped up in my email. I'm posting it here in case you didn't get one: