Thursday, May 08, 2003
Meetup for Dean is a hit http://www.madison.com/captimes/news/stories/48445.php
No one is expecting Howard Dean to raise more money than his Democratic rivals for the presidential nomination, but his supporters are taking advantage of the Internet to energize supporters from the ground up.
About 50 Dean supporters gathered at the Lakefront Cafe at the UW Memorial Union on Wednesday for a "Dean Meetup" organized through the Web site Meetup.com.
It was a remarkable turnout for a progressive Democratic event going on at the same time as TV's "The West Wing."
"We've got to find a different way to spread the word about the candidate because we don't have as much money," said Ken Coffeen, 62, a southeast Madison resident.
Meetup.com is an Internet site designed to bring people with common interests together. People vote online to determine where the events will take place. The Madison event was one of 250 Dean Meetups nationwide on Wednesday.
Dean served as the Democratic governor of Vermont from 1991 to January of this year. He is best known for signing into law civil unions, which give gay and lesbian couples the same legal rights as married couples. Dean, who supports universal health care and opposed the war in Iraq, has much of his support from academic hotbeds like Cambridge, Mass., and Madison.
Dean's campus supporters here say they have the first organized presidential campaign of the 2004 cycle.
Many of the meetups nationally were social events at taverns Wednesday night, but in Madison it was a strategy session.
Liz Schmidt, one of the Madison for Dean coordinators, said there isn't a lot of money to buy official campaign signs. She encouraged attendees to make homemade signs to bring to next month's state Democratic Party convention in Milwaukee, at which Dean will make his first Wisconsin campaign appearance.
"It works because a lot of the work is done for you: the Web site, the sign-up, venue voting, they notify you," Schmidt said of the Meetup program. "It couldn't be any easier."
At Wednesday's event, the third such Dean Meetup in Madison, attendees introduced themselves, including former volunteers for John F. Kennedy and George McGovern and UW-Madison students just getting involved in politics.
Dean is "the only candidate who could possibly convince the Green Party not to go on their own," said Don Jones, 67, who was executive director of the state Democratic Party in the 1980s.
And Harris Lemberg, a Madison computer programmer, said: "It's my perception Howard Dean is the only Democrat running for president who will say what he truly believes, and not what people want to hear. He's not a Republican Lite."
UPDATE: Shamlessly added Bucky to fulfill alumni responsibilities. Where's my promised Lake Mendota lakefront plot? --Aziz
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Obama 2008 - I want my country back
Nation-Building was founded by Aziz Poonawalla in August 2002 under the name Dean Nation. Dean Nation was the very first weblog devoted to a presidential candidate, Howard Dean, and became the vanguard of the Dean netroot phenomenon, raising over $40,000 for the Dean campaign, pioneering the use of Meetup, and enjoying the attention of the campaign itself, with Joe Trippi a regular reader (and sometime commentor). Howard Dean himself even left a comment once. Dean Nation was a group weblog effort and counts among its alumni many of the progressive blogsphere's leading talent including Jerome Armstrong, Matthew Yglesias, and Ezra Klein. After the election in 2004, the blog refocused onto the theme of "purple politics", formally changing its name to Nation-Building in June 2006. The primary focus of the blog is on articulating purple-state policy at home and pragmatic liberal interventionism abroad.