Here's the email from Dean:
I want your help.
My friend, Senator Jim Webb, has the honor of giving the nationally televised response to the president's State of the Union speech tomorrow night.
He'll be preparing his remarks tonight and tomorrow, and I want you to make your hopes, your dreams, and your thoughts about the state of our union part of our Democratic message.
Please take a moment to make your input part of the process by sending a note to Senator Webb as he prepares his remarks -- we'll deliver your message:
Last January, I watched President Bush deliver the State of the Union address.
He used the opportunity to denounce the creation of human-animal hybrids, to insist we were winning the war in Iraq, and to not once say "Hurricane Katrina" even though, just five months after the hurricane hit, there was much to be said (there still is).
Tomorrow night he'll have another chance to get it right.
But despite the unmistakable message from voters this past November, it looks unlikely that he'll be more in tune with the true state of our union. We'll hear more about escalation in Iraq, more about tax cuts for the already well-off, and more about everything under the sun except the real, serious concerns of ordinary Americans.
History with this president teaches us that we can expect fiction like the famous sixteen words about Saddam Hussein's pursuit of uranium in the State of the Union address.
But you can help ensure that the truth has a voice on Tuesday night by providing your own input into the Democratic response:
When the president spoke last year, Jim Webb was a private citizen concerned about the future of our country.
Now, thanks to people like you, he's just one of the dozens of new Democratic Senators, Representatives and Governors taking office this January.
The Democrats you elected up and down the ballot in all 50 states believe in a different kind of governing than has been the norm here in Washington lately. These Democrats will never forget that the people are the ultimate source of all power in our democracy.
So please consider sending your thoughts, however lengthy or brief:
Senator Webb and I look forward to hearing from you -- and so does the rest of the country.
Governor Howard Dean, M.D.
Even if it is just a stunt and there's no chance that even a word of what I write in will make it into Webb's speech, I still think it's pretty cool. I wrote in about some issues that I think aren't talked about enough.
This is my letter:
Dear Senator Webb, I share the concerns that I'm sure the vast majority of other respondents have about Iraq, the economy, the lingering effects of Hurricane Katrina, potential hostilities with Iran and a host of other hot topics. But I feel that the Democratic Party must not only focus on thwarting Bush's policies. The Democrats must have a larger goal of restoring America's place in the world as the leader and example-setter for democracies everywhere. The House has made a good start, but they're barely scratching the surface as far as campaign finance reform or rooting out and punishing corruption in the government. More action needs to be taken on this score with investigations and prosecutions, but laws need to be passed so that the kinds of dirty tricks Bush and his people have gotten away with will not be an option for future administrations.
Other problems that no one seems to be addressing right are the weakening of labor laws and labor law enforcement. OSHA is not longer threatening to even the most dangerous of employers because of the influence of big business. Unions have almost never successfully formed in a Wal-Mart, or many of the nation’s retailers for that matter. This needs to change. While many Republicans refuse to pass laws that they see as detrimental to business, individuals are hurt and killed in jobs that don't even pay them enough to own a house or send their kids to college. That's wrong, and we have to change it.
Another factor in today's labor situation that we can't ignore is that American companies are allowed to sell foreign-made products at discount prices because they pay their laborers so little. Well, this is unfair to those workers and our workers. Any company that sells products in America has to play on a level playing field, and that means that they need to pay their employees the equivalent of the American minimum wage. We don't need to be funding sweatshops in Indonesia where they work 18-year old girls 14 hours a day and pay them 65 cents an hour. America already says that it’s wrong using those kinds of employers when they employ children, but what about the adults who get paid barely any more? Not only are we contributing to human-rights abuses in the rest of the world, we're contributing to the devaluing and eventual unemployment of the American worker who demands to be paid what he's worth, not an amount that maximizes shareholder profit at his expense.
While all eyes are on President Bush as he seeks to build support for a war with Iran, many seem to have forgotten that he has put troops on the ground in Somalia, not for the purpose of hunting terrorists as he says, but to take part in a civil war. President Bush is again responsible for an irresponsible war, as Ethiopia invaded to knock the semi-democratic Islamic Union out of power and replace it with a government that has an international sanction but no support from the populace and is made up of former warlords! This situation must be brought to light and the Democrats must take steps to get America out of there.
Senator Webb, please be strong in this time of uncertainty. The Democrats are not in a position to offer compromises. Voters put them in power to end Republican irresponsibility, and that's what you must do. Thank you.
So anyway, here's your chance, even if it's 1 in a million, to get heard. Take it!