July 8, 2004

Remember those "Unreleased Howard Dean Records?" There was "nothing" in them.

JOE TRIPPI has put the introduction to his book The Revolution Will Not Be Televised online. In it we get this snapshot of Howard Dean in action behind the scenes.

So here we are, in early December 2003, and the senior staff has decided to meet with the governor to plead our case for releasing the records. About fifteen of us have gathered in the long conference room on the third floor of a stale office building in South Burlington, Vermont -- where this rebel campaign had its unlikely rise. We explain that everything is about to hit critical mass, and that we are under a new kind of pressure here. He is now the frontrunner -- everything he does and says will attract new scrutiny --and he can't say out of one side of his mouth that he wants to clean up politics, while out of the other side say that his own records are off-limits for a frickin'decade.

We tell him that it's starting to show up in the polls. We can survive a lot of things, but we can't survive having people see him as just another double-talking politician. The Dean for America campaign is the antithesis of that . . . a grassroots, reform candidacy breaking all the old rules and making people believe in politics again.

"You've got to release the records, Governor."

His eyes are set, and his open face is pulled back defensively into that tree-trunk neck. "But there's nothing in there."

"If there's nothing in there, then we should release them."

"But there's nothing in there."

"That's why we have to release them."

"But why should we release them when there's nothing in there?"

We go around in circles like this until Governor Dean -- whose running mate could have been stubbornness -- ends the debate by saying he's done talking about it. "I would rather withdraw from the race than release those records."

He didn't release and he didn't withdraw. Instead, the voters withdrew from him.

But he still had his secret records with "nothing in them." Call them a "consolation prize."

TIP: ob4.org

Posted by Vanderleun at July 8, 2004 6:50 AM
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