Former Vermont Governor Howard Dean was in rare form while making his remarks at the Netroots Nation conference in Providence, RI, Saturday. The former presidential candidate, chairman emeritus of the DNC, and major leader of the Democratic Party’s far-left wing did not mince words when speaking to the progressive movement’s foot-soldiers listening in awe within the Rhode Island Convention Center. In fact, he even channeled an older version of himself and mocked his infamous “Dean Scream” speech from the 2004.
“When people say that Mitt Romney wants to take us back to the fifties they’re not talking about the 1950s, they’re talking about the 1850s with the Know-Nothing Party,” Dean said in one of the few dry jokes amid a speech littered with attacks. “Does anyone remember the Know-Nothing Party? They hated immigrants, they didn’t like Catholics, they didn’t like Jews — they didn’t like anybody.
“They didn’t like gay people but they didn’t believe gay people existed,” Dean continued to rant. “You know there was some– I think there was President Ahmadinejad back in those days back in 1850, they’d like maybe that again–I DON’T KNOW WHAT THE REPUBLICANS WANT but let them go someplace else and stop doing it to us because our country is a great country.”
He also took jabs at the Supreme Court (which he said “sells the United States to the highest bidder”), Mitt Romney, (who Deans says thinks that cutting teachers is a job creating program), as well as “the Tea Party and the hate-wing of the Republican Party.”
The highlight, however, might have been the former governor mocking how his once-promising presidential campaign culminated in failure with an over-the-top and frightening call to arms to supporters in Iowa in 2004. Dean partially reenacted his “Dean Scream” speech after confidently predicting Republicans would lose this November. He said that the growing number of people under 35 that have suffered a lot during “this Republican caused recession” will still support President Obama because they are “not going to sell out their friends for the sake of some crackpot economic program.
“They are not going to succumb to the hate-wing of the Republican Party; anti-gay, anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant and anti-woman — we can do better than that, this is a better country than that.”
While Dean was eager to throw venomous and incendiary allegations at his political opponents — associating Republicans and the Tea Party with hate six times in six minutes — the former governor and other Netroots panelists were welcomed to the city with open arms. WPRI reports that Democratic Providence Mayor Angel Taveras has taken an active role in Netroots, roaming the convention floor as well as hosting a block party for the event with U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse. The progressive conference and its speakers were also welcomed at the city’s “WaterFire” festival, with a message from the mayor projected against walls near the exhibit:
Watch the video of Dean’s full address as well as remarks from Sen. Whitehouse Saturday to see what they were welcoming (the reenactment comes at 3:30):