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Monday, September 08, 2003


Dialing for Dean: Rush Says: Keep On Calling

posted by Trammell at Monday, September 08, 2003 permalink View blog reactions
Yes, they've gone from dismissive, to snide, to worried. Even the less-than-effervescent Rush Limbaugh is bubbling about Howard Dean -- in fact, lately, Limbaugh can't seem to open his mouth without saying "Dean" -- but here, I'll let Rush tell you in his own words:

"My friends, we have been discussing amongst ourselves here the Howard Dean operation. We have noticed a trend on this program over recent weeks, and I feel safe now in going public with our assumptions that we have made about this trend. I'm sure you're all familiar with the term "seminar caller." Seminar caller is actually a Democrat who has been trained somehow, some way, by the Democratic National Committee. They actually have put instructions in how to be a seminar caller on their website at times. And they advise such things as call these conservative hosts and praise them, and say you've been regular listeners, and you agree with most everything but just something recently has come up. And the seminar callers were quite easily spotted because they weren't able to carry it off much beyond 30 seconds at which time they reverted to normal and became just mean and angry and started calling names and spitting and then they'd hang up or something. They just couldn't carry it off. It got so prevalent that I would get e-mail from people, "Rush, that was a seminar caller that just happened." You became very sensitive to it.

"I think, ladies and gentlemen, you need to re-aim your antenna now for the new breed of seminar caller out there. Our most recent call, our last call to this program, we think, was a Howard Deanite, a Howard Dean seminar caller. The way we noticed this, whenever we get a call that is supportive of Howard Dean, these people are the politest callers we get, other than the normal conservative, "Hi Rush, how are you.” call. But from people who are calling to disagree and/or express their support for Howard Dean, they are universally polite, they say they've been listening for quite a while, they compliment me to the end of the world - I mean "your intellectual inspiration and stimulation on this program, Mr. Limbaugh, I've been treated to it five, ten years, whatever, very encouraging to me. You said something I need you to clarify for me. Howard Dean is saying…" and then they go into a rosy description of Howard Dean, what Howard Dean says, what he means. And really these people are pretty smart. They're keeping Dean's name on this program. They're doing it in a way that nobody associated with Dean turns you off. I mean, these Deanites are not mean. They're not negative, they are quite intelligent sounding, and they're very deferential and polite. But what they always do is manage to explain a Howard Dean position in the most reasonable way possible and then ask for my reaction to it. They don't argue with me about it, they do not call names, they are not confrontational at all.They're not even provocative in a negative sense, and it's starting to happen with an increased frequency or an increasing frequency.

"I think the ultimate aim, of course, is twofold. It’s to keep the Dean name alive and prominent on this program, and they also do so in a way that presents themselves and thus supporters of Howard Dean in a totally reasonable, intelligent, and civilized way. And they never tell me I'm wrong about anything. They never, ever call up with belligerence and say "you this,” they say, "Perhaps you have misunderstood one of Howard Dean's positions." And then they restate it to me in a way that may help you and me both to understand what Howard Dean really thinks about this particular issue and the obvious objective here to represent Howard Dean constantly on this program, to have his name mentioned and by virtue of that happening, whenever one of these people calls, his supporters are always going to be heard as reasonable, polite, thoughtful, thinking, all these things, which is in contrast to the way the Democrats are talking about Dean. Forget what I'm saying. But the Democratic candidates are out there portraying this guy as a wacko leftist about to drive the party off the cliff and all that.

"So it's a very sophisticated campaign that the Dean campaign has mounted here as far as getting their supporters on this program, and of course they know that people who disagree with me are at the top of the list, so if they get through, then they get on the air. We haven't changed that rule. If you disagree, we move you to the top of the line. We've always had that as a policy. So in honor of those of you that we know are out there - and, by the way, this is not meant as a criticism of any of you Deanites. We're not trying to stop you from calling. We don't want to intimidate you. I'm just observing. I, it's a stretch here, could be wrong. We don't think so. You're not supposed to stop calling. Don't think that the jig's up, the cover is blown. Keep calling." [ the rest here...]

NOTE: Too funny. I wonder how many of these calls are happening on Flood the Zone Fridays? And, I wonder another thing: how many of these folks actually are regular Limbaugh listeners who simply like Howard Dean? I mean, "sophisticated operation?" One thing's for sure: the campaign (and no group I know of beyond Flood the Zone) is in any way coordinating calls, especially to Limbaugh specifically. What's really going on here? Freaky.


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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.