"We are one people, all of us pledging allegiance to the stars and stripes, all of us defending the United States of America. In the end, that's what this election is about." -- Barack Obama, DNC keynote address, July 2004

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Tuesday, August 12, 2003


comments are back

posted by Aziz P. at Tuesday, August 12, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Sorry for the outage, seems to be back now. Jeevan at HaloScan wrote to say that they had problems with their host, not with the HaloScan server. But also passed on this great news:

by next week, we will have a new server for donated users (like you) available so that we can at least bring the donated users up and running significantly faster. We will be sending out a mass email to donated users with more detail on the new server info. Thanks for your patience.

Also remember that we have the Dean Forum, ChatForAmerica, and the IRC channel PeoplePoweredHoward on (not to mention the trusty ol' ZonkBoard) as well. We at Dean Nation transcend any one medium to discuss all things Dean :)


The trouble with astroturf...

posted by annatopia at Tuesday, August 12, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
I've spent this week reading the blogs that have been set up by the other contenders, and I've noticed a few disturbing trends. In the interest of goodwill, I've created a short list of advice for the other campaigns. Remember, this is in the spirit of cooperation and eventually defeating GWB. Enjoy.
1. Familiarise yourself with the term "freeper". They are the enemy and have earned a reputation for trolling around sites and stirring shit up. They've got a reputation for being petulant, vicious little pricks. You can witness some of this behavior here, here, and here. I strongly suspect they are behind the Dean-Kerry blog flap.
2. Create a "troll goal". This has been successfully employed over at BlogForAmerican. Once the trolls realise they are helping you raise money, they usually go away. Also, please remember not to feed (engage) them. They aren't interested in meaningful dialogue.
3. Respect the other contenders and their supporters. This is a hard lesson to learn, but very valuable. Even though we are opponents in the primaries, remember that we all have the same goal: adding George W Bush's name to the unemployment rolls. Tearing each other up in the primaries isn't going to help any of us win the general. So be nice when supporters of other campaigns visit your site. Try and answer their questions as long as they're being civil, and hilight your candidate's strong points. But above all else, don't try and dismiss people from other camps. We are all going to need each other when the primaries are over.
4. Don't perpetuate big-media lies (I'm looking at you, Lieberman). In other words, don't give the RNC any ammo! You think Karl Rove isn't taking notes? Also, if you see a lie written about your candidate in the media, respond to it with facts. We've successfully done this via our crack rapid-response team, the DDF. Just keep hammering the message home (in a respectful and civil manner) and eventually the media will get it. Trust me, been there done that. None of us wants our candidate to get Gored in 2004.

And now, for your reading pleasure, a review of the other campaign blogs. This might seem harsh at times, but like Howard says I just tell you the truth and you think it's hell.
I really like Dennis Kucinich's official blog. It's functional and informative, and Dennis actually posts there. And hey, if I'm reading, he isn't able to yell at me. *tongue in cheek*
Blog Graham has a silly name and employs a template that's almost as ugly as our's. *wink* However, he seems to have assembled a really good blogging team and I'm sure the site will improve rapidly. Plus the format should suit Graham, who's known to be an avid diarist.
The unofficial Gephardt blog, Gephardt Grassroots, is looking good and seems to be run by some enthusiastic supporters. However, the blogging team over there needs to seriously read and absorb points three and four as outlined above.
I almost feel sorry for the Kerry bloggers. While I think it's a GoodThing that Kerry's got an official blog, I think it's a shame that the Kerry camp has been soiled by their leadership. Let me make this clear to Kerry supporters: I believe John Kerry is a fundamentally good man, he has a good record, and I respect his supporters and believe they have good intentions. I will enthusiastically support Kerry if he becomes the nominee. However, when you're associated with hatchet men like Chris Lehane, it's hard to foster goodwill. So I've got a solution for you. For Lehane's next birthday, buy him a ball gag:

Seriously. That would go a long way towards healing the rift.
*mad props to John at for hooking up this graphic for me

In all seriousness, I wish the other campaigns luck in their blogging endeavors. And remember, when all is said and done we are on the same team. Play nice, okay?


Lost in Translation

posted by Joe at Tuesday, August 12, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
So one line I didn't get to in the recap of last night's forum, but which The Note helpfully reprints, was by John Kerry as he belittled Howard Dean's health plan:
"I don't think you can translate the experience of a state with a budget of less than a billion dollars to the United States."
Well, the Arkansas state budget in 1991 was less than $2 billion, and Bill Clinton somehow miraculously managed to translate those budget small-scale budget skills as president.

I guess the response to John Kerry would be two-fold. First, Howard Dean has experience writing a balanced budget and leading a legislature -- of any size -- to pass it. John Kerry does not.

Second, notwithstanding John Kerry's votes for President Clinton's balanced budget, it might be said that being just one single vote of a hundred simply doesn't translate into the kind of experience necessary to lead the country back into an era of fiscal sanity.

Of course, I wish Dean wouldn't say any of this just as I wish Kerry wouldn't have made his disingenuous charge. People spend a lot of time talking about "personal attacks" in an effort to get candidates to focus on each other's record. But I think it's probably equally if not more important to chastise candidate for the kind of disingenous "concern" about the other guy's experience or agenda.

Surely enough differences exist between Kerry's and Dean's respective programs that they can be argued on the merits without this kind of glib insincerity.


Come on, Ann, let's have an endorsement!

posted by annatopia at Tuesday, August 12, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
My favorite ex-Guv Ann Richards was on LKL last night plugging her new book. Ann is well known for her wit and intelligence, and she had plenty to say when Larry asked her about Ahhhnuld and Election 2004. Of particular interest is what she had to say about our candidate:
KING: Let's turn now to your party. Howard Dean. I think we have the tape here. Watch -- I think -- if we have it ready, this is what you said back in December on this show. Watch.
RICHARDS: The one I like of the whole bunch so far is Howard Dean, the governor...
KING: Governor of Vermont.
RICHARDS: ... of Vermont.
KING: I met him a couple weeks ago. Why do you like him of the whole bunch?
RICHARDS: Well, he's the only one saying anything. I like candidates who tell me something that is going to make a difference to me. And Howard Dean is a doctor. He knows all about medical care. And he's talking about health care in this country, which I think is important.
KING: What do you make of how he's doing?
RICHARDS: Well, I think Howard Dean is a phenomenon, and I've never seen in my lifetime a grass-roots organization like Howard Dean has put together. It is phenomenal. There are people meeting all over the country in little groups that are Howard Dean supporters, and it is a grass-roots effort where they're going out and getting more of their friends and more and more to join up. And a lot of it is being done on the Internet. And I know that you saw that he had raised more money than the rest of the candidates in the last reporting period, and he's done it all on the Internet in small amounts. So I think there is something going on here that is unlike anything that we've seen before. And I think it is based solely on what I told you back in December, that this guy is talking about issues and was not afraid to take on George Bush's policies. And I think that that's it, pure and simple. Whoever wins this nomination is going to have to go after George Bush and this administration on education, health care, the environment, the war and the continuation of it, and the lack of being able to bring any normalcy to Iraq.

Ann is obviously favoring Dean, and this is about as close as she'll get to endorsing anyone before the primary season. Check out the entire interview, as she had lots to say about how Shrub has run this country into the ground.


Clark to run?

posted by Aziz P. at Tuesday, August 12, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
The Boston Globe reports that Clark is on the verge of declaring his candidacy. As Tapped points out, this will have the beneficial effect of raising the debate, and helping to shield all Democratic candidates from the perception that they are weak on defense. However, there's a distinct lack of articulation of a coherent foreign policy and national defense platform so far.

It's certain that a Dean-Clark ticket would be a dream combination. But there's simply no political incentive for Clark to announce anything less than a run for the top dog. I predict that both Clark and Dean are watching the other looking for signs of compatibility, and should Clark announce his candidacy, watch for a lot of respect between them when they share a stage.



posted by Matt Singer at Tuesday, August 12, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
There have been some complaints of Dean supporters acting as trolls over on the Kerry blog. We don't know if it really is Dean supporters or others trying to stoke bad blood between the campaigns, but please leave it alone.

Leave Freeper tactics to Freepers.

We want to take the country back, not isolate our future allies.

UPDATE (Aziz): Remember that it is a common tactic by Freepers to masquerade as supporters of their opponents, to discredit them. It is good policy for us to be vigilant for anyone on other message boards who is acting in Dean Nation's or the campaign's name, and to police ourselves. Even if we agree with teh content of a troll's attack, we have to step forward and denounce the tone.


Grover Norquist unsheathes knives

posted by Aziz P. at Tuesday, August 12, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
In a WaPo Letter to the Editor, Grover Norquist of the conservative partisan group Americans for Tax Reform crudely attempts to undermine Howard Dean's fiscal conservative credentials:

According to Americans for Tax Reform's Cost of Government Day report, the average Vermonter worked 60 days to pay for Vermont spending in 1992. By 2001, the average resident needed to work an additional two weeks -- 75 days -- because state spending rose so much faster than family income.

State employment soared under Mr. Dean as well. From 1997 to 2002, Vermont's workforce grew from 7,196 (6,939 employees plus 257 vacancies) to 8,239 (7,791 employees plus 448 vacancies). That's a 14.5 percent increase in just the last half of the Dean administration.

These numbers are going to be very familiar by the end of the campaign - the conservatives know that Dean's fiscal record is his strongest asset against Bush.

First of all, the Cost of Government Day metric that the ATR widely publicizes is a completely flawed methodology. It tries to assert that the "average American" doesn't pay off the burden of all federal, state, and local government taxes until a given date in the calendar year - usually June or some such shocking fraction. However, the term "average" American is misleading - what they are doing is taking in the gross income of ALL americans, and dividing it by the total number of Americans, to get their "average" American income. And doing the same with the taxes paid. The result, bulk-averaged across the entire spectrum of national income and tax burdens, is essentially meaningless.

The bottom line with Vermont is that the state has a surplus instead of a deficit, that Dean went against his party and actually controlled and reduced spending (exactly as the ATR demands in its policy recommendations).

By the way, Mr. Norquist, two weeks does not equal 75 days. Fuzzy math indeed.

Norquist's second metric is even more bizarre. Yes, the State of Vermont employed more people during Dean's tenure. Is Norquist against people being employed?

Perhaps Norquist feels that number of employees is some kind of indication of Big Government. It would be interesting to see whether Norquist applies the same metric to the Bush Administration record. The federalization of airport screeners alone has put Bush well into fiscal liberal land, according to Norquist's own criteria, and that doesn't include the layers upon layers of bureacrat employment added by the creation of the cabinet-level Department of Homeland Security.

Amusingly, Norquist undercuts himself by mentioning the number of vacancies. Note that using his numbers, in 1997 there were 3.57% of employment positions vacant. By 1991, there were 5.4%. Using Norquist's logic, doesn't this mean that the relative size of the state government decreased?

UPDATE: Atrios writes a letter, too.

UPDATE 2: The DDF chimes in - and don't forget to always cross-reference these issues with the DDF FAQ!

Monday, August 11, 2003


Philly Forum -- Recap

posted by Joe at Monday, August 11, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Governor Dean spoke tonight at the Sheet Metal Workers' International Association Candidates' Forum in Philadelphia. The video from C-SPAN should be up soon (we'll put that link right here when it is). Exhaustive (and exhausting) running commentary can be found over at Not Geniuses, but the long and short of it for Dean Nation is as follows:

The big story here: the Lieberman problem. Lieberman's attacks on other candidates are now defining the race. More specifically, Lieberman's attacks on Howard Dean – sometimes by name, sometimes not – are now defining the race. Even when couching his barbs in vague language, it is increasingly clear that Lieberman sees Dean and not Kerry, Edwards or Gephardt as the major threat to his candidacy. He also strangely fails to remark on Bob Graham, who had essentially the same position as Dean on the Iraq war.

This seems foolish to me. There is still a ton of time for things to change, but unless something drastic happens this race will come down to two candidates: Howard Dean and someone who defines themselves as the un-Dean candidate. Lieberman thinks he can be that candidate by attacking Dean now. But he'd be far better off trying to dispatch a John Edwards or a John Kerry because those are the candidates he will be in a back-alley knife fight with come February for that un-Dean identity.

Unfortunately, Joe doesn't have dough. And his grave, portending speeches about the forces of evil leading Democrats back into the wilderness has all the flailing and desperation of John McCain's last stand in Virginia Beach in 2000. You can almost feel that it’s over.

Democrats who followed Joe Lieberman's line in 2002 are in the metaphorical wilderness – he led them there. The future of the Democratic Party is in the metaphorical Radisson in Albuquerque, New Mexico – standing up for itself and refusing to be walked all over. It's not about left or right in terms of policy. It's about standing up or lying down in politics.

Howard Dean is standing up. And Joe Lieberman thinks Democrats will lose if they follow him. He's wrong. But the question for this race is: how long before he realizes it? Or, perhaps more to the point, how long before enough other people realize that he's wrong that he has to pack it in and withdraw? If Lieberman isn't gone after what will surely be an abysmal third quarter of fundraising, his strident self-hating Democrat routine may really complicate the race down the road.

A secondary storyline tonight found Dennis Kucinich calling out Dean and Dick Gephardt by name. He's trying to get them to commit to withdraw from NAFTA and the WTO. Insofar as neither appears to have ever changed his position on this, the 'gotcha' moment rings hollow. The fact that Dean and Gephardt basically ignore him means that this line at least should go away soon.

The story that wasn't: John Edwards and Bob Graham didn’t show up -- and it didn’t make much of a difference.


Dean Majority

posted by Matt Singer at Monday, August 11, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Phil de Vellis has launched a new site - Dean Majority. Head on over and take a gander. Some of the content isn't quite up yet, but it looks like Phil's biggest problem could be having people not know his site isn't the official one.

It looks great, Phil.


Authenticity's electricity,0,1700723.story?coll=bal-perspective-headlines

posted by Aziz P. at Monday, August 11, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
The Baltimore Sun nails why Dean has such appeal:

But why Dean? What is it about politicians like Dean and McCain that so excites voters and the media?

Part of the answer is authenticity, a characteristic evident in so few elected officials that citizens find it refreshing, almost intoxicating. Authenticity should not be equated with novelty, likability or even honesty. An altogether different political trait, authenticity requires a bit of explaining.

Sadly, in recent decades the term "conviction politician" is more likely to refer to an official under indictment than a leader who takes courageous positions based on his or her instincts. Politicians often pepper their speeches with "the American people want this" or "the American people believe that." Words like these suggest that politicians are not revealing what they really think, that instead they are just responding to polling numbers.

Authentic politicians are different. Not because they listen better or understand America intuitively, but because they lead with their beliefs and their chins - and let the voters and pundits be damned. Authenticity is the political antidote to duplicity and phoniness.

note that this has nothing to do with Democrats or Republicans or third parties. It has to do with the appeal of Dean to an American voter. Regardless of party, the average American wants truth and integrity - and authenticity. And that's why Dean is the only one who can win.


my big fat mea culpa

posted by Aziz P. at Monday, August 11, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
A nice short piece in Salon that shows how the author, still undecided on Dean, has pledged to never call Dean unelectable again, aftfer attending a Meetup. Great reading!

Two weeks ago I whacked the Democratic Leadership Council for bashing Dean as too "far left" to beat George Bush. But I took a shot at Dean, too, saying I thought Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry was more electable. As usual, whenever you diminish Dean (or say something nice about another Democrat, especially Kerry), I got spammed by Dean's vast army of netizens. Some were nasty, most were nice. Several invited me to Dean Meetups in their town, so I could see firsthand the way the good doctor was resuscitating democracy. The Meetups are just one component of Dean's famous Internet strategy: Using the for-profit, which helps anyone who registers (Bill O'Reilly fans, cat lovers, Wiccans) locate like-minded local folks and find a place to get together, Dean supporters have put together thousands of these combination house parties and town-hall meetings over the last eight months and registered more than 80,000 people. I became one of them: I registered, I found a local Dean Meetup; I RSVP'd.

(you'll need to sit through a short commercial to read the rest - it's worth it). But I think the most important point here is that the attacks on Dean are doing the real damage, not Dean's candidacy:

With Bush's approval rating at its lowest level ever -- down 20 points from just after the first phase of the Iraq war -- it strikes me as crazier than ever that some Democrats are trying to do Karl Rove's work for him, and dismiss the Dean surge as the angry squawking of the party's loud but tiny throwback base.


Guerrilla of the Week

posted by G at Monday, August 11, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
The Guerrilla News Network, an alternative news site, names Dean "Guerrilla of the Week" and has an exceptionally good analysis of Dean from the left. THe intro is as follows:
He's graced the covers of both Time and Newsweek. He's clocking more dollars than Foxwoods on fight-night. He's even got a blog. The dude's got mainstream mojo. No doubt.

But everyone on the Left is asking: Is Howard Dean a true progressive with a real shot at the big house? Or is he just another Democratic Party shill with a pocket full of promises and a one-way ticket to the George McGovern Retirement Home for Veterans of Electoral College Blow-Outs?

Today on, we examine the Dean Machine. It goes without saying the tough-talking former Vermont governor is far from ideal by most traditional lefty standards: He's pro-death penalty, anti-gun control, and a so-called fiscal conservative. He's famously anti-war, but he's recently talked about sending more troops to Iraq, not bringing our boys and girls home. Despite all that, it would be hard to argue that Dean isn't making a pretty damn good case that he's the best thing the Left has going as we head into the '04 election season. He says what he believes, and he's energized tens of thousands of citizens (including a high percentage of young people) across the country. He also has the Party leadership shaking in their loafers. Just based on the idiotic things Joe Lieberman has said about him, he must be doing something right.
The accompanying "Progressive Case for Dean" is very well done, including material about Dean that even I hadn't seen--and I thought my knowledge of Dean's policy statements was encyclopedic. The GNN people take their research seriously. A must read.

Sunday, August 10, 2003


...we refuse to sit idly by...

posted by Matt Singer at Sunday, August 10, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
When Governor Dean made history on July 1 by announcing that he raised $7.5 million, the most of any Democratic contender in any quarter so far, the world sat up and took notice. And as the world took notice, the buzzsaw started up, heralding another poisonous political campaign -- where issues take the backseat to personal accusations and policies get muddled and spun.

They did it to Gary Hart. They did it to Mike Dukakis. They did it to Al Gore.

But they sure as hell are not going to do it to Howard Dean.

Too often do we hear that Dean is an ultra-leftwing liberal with naive supporters. We get called stupid. Our old allies and friends patronizingly tell us we're being misled. We're told we represent the furthest left of the left.

But we're hundreds of thousands of Americans of every race, religion, creed, and political party who want to take our country back.

This is not a movement of anger.

This is not a movement of rage.

This is a movement of hope and passion.

And we at refuse to sit idly by and watch another election hijacked by those who would poison and pervert the discourse for their ends, and we refuse to see the media fall prey to spin that obscures truth.

We will make our voice heard today, tomorrow, and on election day.

Stand up for America! has relaunched with a four-pronged approach to defending the Governor's good name:

Dean Defense FAQ - Your source for answers to questions about everything Dean. A great resource for supporters, open-minded voters, and journalists.

Dean Defense Feed - The Blog of - your most up-to-date source of what's going on in the media and what the truth is.

Dean Defense Files - A one-stop shop for longer articles, emails, and info on the Governor.

Dean Defense Force - The full story on how to get involved in the email-powered network dedicated to defending Dean's good name...and keeping the press on their toes.

Come on over and join us. We need your help.


Howard Dean is everywhere

posted by Aziz P. at Sunday, August 10, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
click for a great cartoon by Mike Thompson at the Detroit Free Press. It would have been even funnier if the guy watching TV was Kerry ;)

Saturday, August 09, 2003


New Deputy Campaign Manager

posted by Editor at Saturday, August 09, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
I know this is late, but as I explained, these things will happen!

From the campaign...

August 7, 2003

Dean for America Announces New Deputy Campaign Manager
Long-time political strategist Andrea ‘Andi’ Pringle to join campaign

BURLINGTON—Democratic presidential candidate Governor Howard Dean, M.D., announced today that Andrea “Andi” Pringle, a long-time political strategist, would join his campaign. Pringle, who recently worked as campaign manager for Carol Moseley-Braun’s presidential campaign, will serve as deputy campaign manager.

“I’m thrilled to have someone as experienced and talented as Andi join our campaign,” Governor Dean said. “Her talents will help us bring together a broad coalition as part of building the greatest grassroots campaign ever in presidential history.”

“My political career has been defined by supporting people and issues that seek to empower Americans at every level. Howard Dean is the rare candidate who represents those values. I’m proud to join the Dean For America team,” Pringle

Pringle, who recently joined the political consulting firm Whistle Stop Communications as a partner, has a diverse resume—including time on Jesse Jackson’s two presidential campaigns and a stint with his National Rainbow
Coalition, as well as serving as deputy campaign manager for John White, Jr.’s race for mayor of Philadelphia and two years as a vice president at Jones & Associates political consulting firm.

She has also served as communications director for the NAACP’s National Voter Fund, worked on criminal justice issues with George Soros’ Open Society Institute, and spent seven years working in the entertainment industry.

Ms. Pringle is a graduate of Howard University.

-- 30 --


Open Thread

posted by Trammell at Saturday, August 09, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
So many things to talk about! Meetups, backbones, and of course, the competition. Blogs are sprouting, Issa's pouting, Davis is in trouble. The Texas 'pugs are hypocrites and Rove & Co. have got the, uh, runs, over the worst set of numbers since before 9/11. And this article, which reports that the AFL-CIO is comparing notes on the "likability" of the Dem candidates:
First, he has assigned a young filmmaker, younger than 25, to follow each of the nine candidates around. The purpose is to catch unguarded moments on tape and capture "the soul" of each candidate. The tapes will be shown to 1,500 of the union's most politically active members at a meeting in September. [...] Based on regular checks with members, Stern said, the top three choices so far are Dean, Gephardt and Kerry. All three meet the threshold for proposing a detailed plan to expand health care with a way to pay for it, he said, and all three are competitive in fund raising and polls.
But it's your thread, have fun! What's on your mind?


Dean-defined, for now...

posted by Trammell at Saturday, August 09, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
What's the best way in today's current political environment to get a little media? Talk about Howard Dean. What do articles about the other candidates for the Democratic nomination invariably linger upon? Howard Dean. When does the press knock on the other candidates doors? When they want to know their opinion or get a reaction about that darned Howard Dean! What Democrat is most frequently mentioned in articles about Bush's political woes? Howard Dean. In fact, if you are Lieberman or Kucinich or Kerry or the DLC or Karl Rove and you want to see your name in the paper, the fastest way to get that ink drying on the page is to criticize Howard Dean.

Long ago, Kerry's people figured this out, but the results helped Dean, elevating him, and wounding Kerry. As the Chris Suellentrop article from Slate demonstrated, even Kerry's supporters want him to be more like Dean -- whatever that means -- and his attempts to do so have been rather, shall we say, Dean-light-ish. An illustration of Kerry's Dean Dilemma can be found in this article from today's New York Times:
BARTLETT, N.H., Aug. 7 — Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts had just finished a walking tour through Littleton, a small town near here in the White Mountains, when he paused to take questions from local reporters outside a candy store. There was one subject this day: Howard Dean.

Again and again, Mr. Kerry was asked his views of Dr. Dean. Again and again, Mr. Kerry, who had passed a half-dozen Dean placards on his walk, demurred. When a television reporter taunted Mr. Kerry to at least utter Dr. Dean's name, Mr. Kerry, who is rarely at a loss for words, grinned and pinched his mouth shut.

This is Mr. Kerry's world these days. Three months after many Democrats and Mr. Kerry himself thought he was rolling to the Democratic presidential nomination, he is frequently stuck in the shadow of an opponent who has moved from small-bore annoyance to potential threat. By all appearances, the changed atmosphere in the early battlegrounds of Iowa and New Hampshire has forced Mr. Kerry to recalibrate his approach to the crowded race for the nomination.

By his own account, Mr. Kerry's campaign message — which even some supporters described as toothless and themeless back when the fight seemed simpler — has become sharper, more focused and more compact. A candidate who has a reputation for circular speaking and windy orations is invoking Teddy Roosevelt and Harry Truman ("I'm going to tell the truth and they'll think it's hell."), and sounding campaign notes from John McCain, Paul Wellstone and, well, Dr. Dean. [...]

He is also following Dr. Dean into the campaign computer age. Last week, he began his own campaign Web log, or blog, to provide a digest of his travels, modeled after the blog Dr. Dean has used with great success to rally supporters and contributors.[...]

Mr. Kerry said any changes in his style and campaign — which he said would become even more vivid as he approaches the official announcement of his candidacy next month — were not in response to the ascendancy of Dr. Dean. [...]

Speaking to New Hampshire teachers at a resort here, who were upset with Mr. Kerry's support for the Bush administration's education bill, Mr. Kerry offered an attack on Republican senators for resisting increased education spending that would have seemed incendiary even from the mouth of Dr. Dean. "You've got 52 troglodytes on the other side," Mr. Kerry said of his Republican colleagues, before abruptly stopping himself. "I take that back — I'll take that back. You have 50 people who believe something else on the other side of the aisle." [...]

...Kerry spelled out some of his differences with Dr. Dean... "I think I'm stronger and more capable of protecting the security of our country," Mr. Kerry said. Asked to assess Dr. Dean's position on the war, Mr. Kerry, who has been lambasted by his opponents for appearing to equivocate in his views on Iraq, responded: "I don't know his position. He's all over the place." (NOTE: Really? He must be the only person in America who knows Dean's name that does NOT know Dean's position. Sheesh.) [...]

Mr. Kerry's focus on Dr. Dean reflects the fact that each views the other as his biggest threat in New Hampshire because they live in adjoining states. And if advisers to Mr. Kerry and Dr. Dean agree on anything, it is that they would like to see this sprawling nine-candidate race reduced to a two-way contest.

"The Senate presents inherent difficulties," he said. That said, Mr. Kerry rejected the notion that any voter would view him as a Washington insider. "The question is, are you offering a vision of leadership, and do you stop talking Washingtonese," Mr. Kerry said. "And I ain't talking Washingtonese." (NOTE: Does anyone who doesn't speak Washingtonese use the word "Washingtonese?")

As Mr. Kerry was moving through the White Mountains here today, a reporter asked if he was worried that Dr. Dean had been on the cover of Time and Newsweek magazines — a platform Mr. Kerry would presumably have liked to have had. "Campaigns have cycles," Mr. Kerry responded, "It's early. It's very early."
To paraphrase CNN's Bill Schneider: "No, it's not." But lest anyone think that this all a bunch of smug crow, think again. Dean is not even close to peaking, but the honeymoon may be moving to a close. Kerry learned earlier than the others in the field that dismissing Dean didn't work, attacking Dean as "far-out" didnt' work, laughing off Dean didn't work, and playing the "we can take Dean out anytime we want" strategy didn't work, either.

Campaigning aside, at core, we are lucky to have a rival of such stature as Kerry. In fact, in the early days, his attacks helped increase our stature. Make no mistake, Kerry is our chief and most threatened rival for this nomination, which makes his campaign the most dangerous. They know what hasn't worked far better than the rest, and are recallibrating accordingly. Kerry's staff are bright, hardworking and ambitious -- though not so creative and inspired as Dean's -- and they will be formidable in the days ahead. This is a call to action, for the sleeping Kerry will not sleep forever. With all our recent successes, this is no time for us to take a nap. They are going to come at us. Hard. Really, really hard. And, sooner than you will be our biggest test to date, and we must be prepared. And lest the Kerry folks think we won't be prepared: We are, and we will.

UPDATE: In the comments, Dana Blankenhorn writes: "Kerry still doesn't get it. In this cycle, no one will get it until it's too late....It's not Dean for President, Scott. It's Dean for America."

Dana, I agree with you. Do I believe we are going to win, and for the reasons you state? Darned right I do. Attempts to mimic Dean won't work very well at all. So let me put it this way: The more cornered they get, and the less that recallibration works for them, the nastier they are going to become, and that makes them dangerous. Don't like how popular the other guy is? Get his negatives up, and quick! I dont' know what they are going to throw at us, but I do know this: Stop Dean will be in full-force before long, and we better be ready to rumble. I happen to think that we are -- but it's going to happen, and in my opinion it's gonna get ugly. Hope I'm wrong.


quv 'ogh Qapla' Dean!

posted by Aziz P. at Saturday, August 09, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Dean campaign seems to be accepting contributions from illegal aliens.


Social security reform

posted by Aziz P. at Saturday, August 09, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Dean Nation citizen Dwin ties together Dean's stated social security reform goals with one proposed by Robert Reich, into a potentially devastating combo:

[Dean] has already stated that he would try to fix social security by removing the cap on maximum amount of income subjected to the tax. Currently that amount is $87,000. After you make $87,000 you cease paying the 6.2% social security tax. What this basically does is make it so employment taxes operate on a regressive system, where the marginal tax rates for those under $87k of income is greater than those over. And the farther you are over the cap the lower your marginal income rate on employment taxes.

If Howard Dean implemented a plan that removed the cap, it would effectively be a tax increase on those making over the cap amount. Which sounds bad until you think that this would make employment taxes like a flat tax as opposed to the regressive system we have now.

The only problem with this idea is it will be spun into a massive tax hike by the right. The way to avoid this is to follow an idea proposed by former Clinton Labor Secretary, Robert Reich. He proposed that in addition to removing the cap we should exempt the first $10k of income from Social Security taxation. This would in effect give a tax cut to all those under $100k of income and a tax hike to all those above that level. His plan would reform the social security system, changing from a regressive system to a progressive one.

This is brilliant. As Dwin points out, this "double whammy" achieves two goals: 1. it raises revenue for Social Security, which is the most important goal to keep it afloat (and which might defuse the retirement age flap). 2. It actually reduces taxes on the majority of the population, insulating Dean from any "tax and spend" accusations (and emphasising the servitude of Bush to the upper class).

But Social Security reform shouldn't stop there. What other ideas are out there for reforming Social Security? (I recall reading that there was some kind of verification requirement once, but this was abolished by Reagan. Anyone know what that's about and whether it could be meaningfully repealed?).


Sullivan taking time off to ponder

posted by Aziz P. at Saturday, August 09, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Andrew Sullivan is taking an August break from blogging to ponder a "major-life decision." Charles Murtagh speculates that the gay Catholic Republican will return as a Episcopalian Democrat. And Sullivan still seems fascinated by Dean, but still has a mistaken notion that Dean is soft on national defense:

DEAN AND DA LOSER? Okay, it's not such a great pun. I should be a good candidate for supporting Howard Dean: he's fiscally conservative (unlike the president); he believes in gay equality (unlike the president). But, of course, he loses me on national security issues. His frustrating promise is explored opposite. These days, what's an eagle to do?

Remember, part of what it will take to win is to blunt the message of the Mighty Wurlitzer. Sullivan is a powerful writer, and has spent enough time supporting Bush that he won't be easily dismissed as an America-hating liberal. With him in support of Dean, the campaign gains a formidable ally in the Pundit Sphere.

It's a rare opportunity for us to try and convince Sullivan that his understanding of Dean's position on war is mistaken. Doing so might remove any remaining obstacles to his endorsement - and with his taking time off to ponder his political and religious affiliations anyway, this may be the critical window where he is most receptive.

I urge my fellow citizens of Dean Nation to write to him at and (politely) remind him of Dean's true positions on the war and national defense.


Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '04

posted by Aziz P. at Saturday, August 09, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions

Here and over at the DDF we have been extensively combating the notion that Dean is McGivern and that 2004 is 1972 redux. There certainly is some irony in the fact that the ostensible center (the DLC) has effectively moved to the right (on the war), and thus accuses Dean of leftism from their new vantage point.

However, Jim over at Burnt Orange Report has an original analysis of the Dean McGovern issue, derived from reading the seminal book on the topic, Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72 by Hunter S. Thompson.

Jim notes that the first question we should be asking is, if Dean is McGovern, then what does that make the other candidates:

At the end of the day, George McGovern was the only decent person worth voting for in 1972 (although the idea of drafting Teddy Kennedy was kicked around).

Feel free to state your own view, but if Dean is the new McGovern, I think it's only fair to say Kerry is the new Muskie, Gephardt is the new Humphrey, Lieberman is the new Scoop Jackson, Kucinich is the new McCarthy, and Ross Perot might just be the new George Wallace (again). Playing the savior-in-waiting (ala Ted Kennedy) this time around is Gen. Wesley Clark.

And Thompson very surely felt that neither Muskie nor Humphrey nor Jackson stood any chance whatsoever against Nixon.

There's much more at BOR - including the treat of what Hunter Thompson wrote about Bush a few weeks ago, which I dare not excerpt or link to here (go read Jim's post for that treat!)

Friday, August 08, 2003


DN's Backbone Award: Nominations

posted by Trammell at Friday, August 08, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
First it was Pelosi, Rangle, and the House Dems, then it was Senator Durbin and Ambassador Wilson, and last week, it was the Texas Killer D's!

Who should get it this week? Who's shown a little vertebrae? And, should anyone get a Fruitcake? I'll post the winner(s) on Monday. (Thanks much to Howard Hoffman from Hoffmania! for the super-duper hillarious Rob Rogers cartoon link.)


a Green for Dean

posted by Aziz P. at Friday, August 08, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
From Radio Left comes a great article by a Green, making the case for Dean:

It's time we get the modern equivalent of kings and barons out of office, out of power, by commonly electing a progressive candidate.

In my opinion, this person is Howard Dean. The fact that he won the online primary is nothing to ignore. More people voted in that primary than in the New Hamphire primary and Iowa caucus combined. And what is the Democratic Party but the party of the people? The Republicans can get away with elitist behavior because it's embedded in their philosophy. When Democrats steer away from their populist roots, they lose votes. I saw Dean on the Democratic gathering in D.C. last night on C-SPAN. He basically says the same things Nader said in 2000, and he has a great enthusiasm that can seriously bury the Al Gore/Michael Dukakis robotic campaigns in the past. Dean is the candidate we all thought was long dead in the Corporate Democrats. He has fire, and he gives hope.

There's also a Greens for Dean Yahoo group which definitely can use some publicity!


CA Recall and the White House

posted by Trammell at Friday, August 08, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
As I've noted in a much longer post over at Points West, Dems that were once hopeful hopeful Senator Diane Feinstein would run as a "safety net" on the California recall ballot are fast becoming furious that she's refusing to do so now. And, it's not just about the future of the state, but the future of the nation. The Dems chances of taking back the White House diminish if the recall of Governor Gray Davis is successful and he is replaced by Arnold Schwarzenegger. He will campaign relentlessly for George Bush, and force the Dem nominee -- hopefully, Dean -- to spend resources in the state that could otherwise be used in key battlgorund states. If you think he can't win, think again.

Diane Feinstein could short-circuit that immediately by putting her name on the ballot, thereby clearing the field of other Dems. If George Bush, with Arnold's help, eeks out a victory in California, Diane's place in history will be toast. Please, if you agree use this link to contact Senator Feinstein and ask her to continue her opposition to the recall but to please put her name on the ballot. The deadline is this Saturday, and the odds in this gamble are too great, and there is far too much at stake! UPDATE: Some pundits think it's better for Bush to have an unpopular Davis remain in office to kick around. This scenario would require Schwarzenegger to become as unpopular as Davis to be good for Dems, which seems unlikely to me, and must respectfully disagree. UPDATE II: Eidted post to say "Please, if you agree, use this link to contact Feinstein..." which I should have said in the first place. Sorry about that.


When Ohioans Attack...

posted by Matt Singer at Friday, August 08, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Kucinich is attacking Dean for not being a progressive. This is another case of someone who apparently thinks he has to save Dean supporters from themselves. We know the Governor's record.

We support him.

But this seemed like a good opportunity to highlight an essay by Nico Pitney that we have over at that spells out "The Progressive Case for Dean." Head over and give it a read. Forward it to your progressive friends. Change the course of history.


The Retirement Age flap

posted by Aziz P. at Friday, August 08, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
a NY Post article takes Dean to task over his words during the AFL-CIO forum:

Dean's Democratic foes have privately grumped about this for months, but it came into high relief when he got challenged at yesterday's AFL-CIO debate on whether he'd ever backed raising the retirement age to 68 or 70 - a big no-no for a union crowd. "I have never favored Social Security at age of 70, nor do I favor one of 68," Dean insisted.

The problem is, just six weeks ago, Dean told NBC, "I would also entertain taking the retirement age up to 68." So Dean wasn't telling the truth to the unionists, unless you split hairs about the meaning of the word "favor." And in 1995, Dean told CNN that "I absolutely agree" that America must "increase the retirement age."

Dean aides now admit he "misspoke" at the AFL debate. Dean liked the higher retirement age back in 1995, but won't propose it now, said policy spokesman Jeremy Ben-Ami. But that statement doesn't explain why Dean said he'd "entertain" it just six weeks ago.

This is the danger of the spotlight - an increased attentiveness to the letter, if not the spirit, of words. Dean was actually accused of preferring a retirement age of 70 by Dennis Kucinich and Dean shut him down (for great coverage of the AFL-CIO forum, see Not Geniuses).

I think that there is indeed a chasm of difference between Dean admitting that the retirement age might need to be "on the table" and actually "favoring" such an action (and Dean never advocated raising it to 70). Of course I am biased, but watch for this to become a talking point especially as Gephardt tries to jockey for position in Iowa. What Dean needs to do is get a policy statement out quickly that explains why there might be a need for a retirement age of 68, but what other solutions he would prefer. The spin cycle cannot be left unwatched.


LaRouche Who?

posted by Aziz P. at Friday, August 08, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
While registering my truck at the Galveston county tax-assessor's office, there was a man seated at a table outside in the 100-plus heat, with a large sign against the Iraq War. Intrigued, I paused to investigate, and saw a prominent banner: LaRouche in 2004.

Who? I'd never heard of Lyndon LaRouche Jr. prior to seeing this lone tabler (who insisted that Howard Dean was intent on nuking Iran. End of conversation). There hasn't been any mention whatsoever of LaRouche in the political media, which ordinarily would not be surprising, except for the fact that the LaRouche campaign has some astounding fundraising claims:

With the results of the latest quarter, LaRouche has dropped to number two in total number of individual contributions, with a total of 12,464 to his campaign, according to the FEC. Only Howard Dean, whose campaign was based on Internet fundraising, ranks higher, with 14,424 individual contributions. Both top candidates John Kerry and John Edwards, who have 11,622 and 10,001 respectively, and far surpass the others, according to the FEC figures.

LaRouche's total amount of money raised during the campaign currently stands at $4,564,654 -- which places him sixth among the ten declared major candidates, according to FEC figures. Despite a coordinated press blackout against him, LaRouche's monies raised are substantially larger than those raised by Bob Graham, Dennis Kucinich, Carol Moseley-Braun, and Al Sharpton.

If this is true, then this guy has almost as many contributors as Dean? The average donation works out to about $360 (I'm a little suspicious of all the 4s, 5s, and 6s in his stated totals.) How can this guy be drawing in any cash with no publicity?

It would be interesting to see how Kucinich voters would react to LaRouche's platform of impeaching Cheney. They'd probably dismiss him as "unelectable" - unaware of the irony.

Still, I am concerned that a candidate who (allegedly) has raised $4.5 million has not received an iota of press coverage. At the very least, LaRouche deserved a place next to Mosely-Braun and Kucinich at the various Democratic debate events that have occurred thus far (which would especially be to our and Dean's benefit, to help show the Joe Liebermans what "unelectable" really looks like). I don't like the media anointment process, and LaRouche certainly deserves to air his ideas in the interest of open dialouge.

UPDATE: When I'm wrong, I'm flamboyantly so. This guy is a nut job. Certifiably. Keep him the hell away from all debates!!! Media: 1. Aziz: 0. Thank you for not polluting the airwaves with these conspiranoid ravings.


Let Dean be ...

posted by Aziz P. at Friday, August 08, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Carter? Goldwater? McGovern? Reagan? A highly amusing table in Slate draws together all the comparisons of Dean that have been made, ranging all over the ideological map and across the full spectrum of American history. It's a must-read.

Thursday, August 07, 2003


Novak on Dean

posted by Christopher at Thursday, August 07, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Ok, now I know we're in an alternate universe... Bob Novak promoting Howard Dean as the real deal for the Democrats? He must be taking Karl Rove's medication. Still, this gets to the Dean as Reagan analogy posted earlier. Novak refers to Dean as the 'Anti-Bush'. Fine by me... a brief excerpt:

'What makes Dean so distasteful to his Democratic detractors is that he is not part of the establishment and unlikely ever to become part of it. The native New Yorker has become a flinty Vermonter, looking a little like a Calvin Coolidge of the left...

...This "he can't win" argument did not stop Barry Goldwater, George McGovern, Ronald Reagan or Jimmy Carter from being nominated, and the last two actually were elected. The party faithful liked the purity of those candidates and did not care about electability, and the same might be proved true of the Anti-Bush.'


Dean in Rhode Island

posted by annatopia at Thursday, August 07, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Brian Macedo of Rhode Island for Dean asked us to post the information for two upcoming fundraisers in Middletown and Little Compton. Click on the link above for info on the Middletown fundraiser, and click here for Little Compton. The Middletown fundraiser will be held at 181 Kane Avenue (Opposite St. George's School Campus), Middletown, R.I. 02842. The one in Little Compton will be held at 20 Grinnell Road, Warren's Point, Little Compton, RI 02837. Donor levels are as follows: Host ~ $1,000, Patron ~ $500, Per Person ~ $250, Maximum Individual Contribution ~ $2,000.
If you can make it, this is a great opportunity to hear the Governor speak and to mingle with other Dean supporters. Plus, Rhode Island is a lovely state. My aunt and cousin live in Middletown and I had the opportunity to visit them two summers ago. I enjoyed the harbors and the sea walk, and the people were very friendly. It's also not too far from Boston, so maybe some folks from Massachusetts for Dean can make a road trip...


Gore's speech points to Dean

posted by Aziz P. at Thursday, August 07, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
The speech was superb.

The speech takes the high road, including occasional self-mockery, never stooping to the level of the partisan right (and the fanagtic left) in assaulting Bush's motives, but at the same time is a powerful indictment of Bush's methods :

Robust debate in a democracy will almost always involve occasional rhetorical excesses and leaps of faith, and we're all used to that. I've even been guilty of it myself on occasion. But there is a big difference between that and a systematic effort to manipulate facts in service to a totalistic ideology that is felt to be more important than the mandates of basic honesty.

Unfortunately, I think it is no longer possible to avoid the conclusion that what the country is dealing with in the Bush Presidency is the latter. That is really the nub of the problem -- the common source for most of the false impressions that have been frustrating the normal and healthy workings of our democracy.

Americans have always believed that we the people have a right to know the truth and that the truth will set us free. The very idea of self-government depends upon honest and open debate as the preferred method for pursuing the truth -- and a shared respect for the Rule of Reason as the best way to establish the truth.

The Bush Administration routinely shows disrespect for that whole basic process, and I think it's partly because they feel as if they already know the truth and aren't very curious to learn about any facts that might contradict it. They and the members of groups that belong to their ideological coalition are true believers in each other's agendas.

The entire speech is about Bush, and makes an eloquent appeal for a restoration of the dialouge in this country. It was uplifting, to think that Gore could be such a keen statesman waiting off stage to lend his analysis - and there are so many others as well just like him. It was deeply depressing, too, to think where we used to be and how far we have fallen:

For eight years, the Clinton-Gore Administration gave this nation honest budget numbers; an economic plan with integrity that rescued the nation from debt and stagnation; honest advocacy for the environment; real compassion for the poor; a strengthening of our military -- as recently proven -- and a foreign policy whose purposes were elevated, candidly presented and courageously pursued, in the face of scorched-earth tactics by the opposition. That is also a form of honor and integrity, and not every administration in recent memory has displayed it.

So I would say to those who have found the issue of honor and integrity so useful as a political tool, that the people are also looking for these virtues in the execution of public policy on their behalf, and will judge whether they are present or absent.

Gore notes clearly that he will not run. And he noted clearly that he intends to endorse one of the Democratic candidates running in 2004. But which one? read the whole speech... and then the closing graf:

I am proud that my party has candidates for president committed to those values. I admire the effort and skill they are putting into their campaigns. I am not going to join them, but later in the political cycle I will endorse one of them, because I believe that we must stand for a future in which the United States will again be feared only by its enemies; in which our country will again lead the effort to create an international order based on the rule of law; a nation which upholds fundamental rights even for those it believes to be its captured enemies; a nation whose financial house is in order; a nation where the market place is kept healthy by effective government scrutiny; a country which does what is necessary to provide for the health, education, and welfare of our people; a society in which citizens of all faiths enjoy equal standing; a republic once again comfortable that its chief executive knows the limits as well as the powers of the presidency; a nation that places the highest value on facts, not ideology, as the basis for all its great debates and decisions.

(emphasis mine)

There is only one candidate that has said these things. There is only one candidate that has made the broader point about ideology, while all the rest merely squabble on a per-policy basis with Bush. There is only one candidate who has made it his mission to broaden the pool of poliitics to include more Americans, to foster a dialouge, to look at facts and embrace reason rather than ideology. There is only one candidate that echoes Gore's own critiques of the rush to war on flimsy evidence. There is only one candidate who has actually spoken of attaining the same high standard that Gore lays out in his final paragraph.

And this is what that candidate had to say on Lawrence Lessig's blog:

As a doctor, I’m trained to base my decisions on facts. This President never adequately laid out the facts for going to war with Iraq—perhaps, as it turns out, because the facts were not there. I opposed the war not because I’m a pacifist—I’m not—but because the evidence presented did not justify preemptive war. I opposed needle exchanges for drug addicts until I saw the empirical evidence that showed how such exchanges reduce the spread of disease. I changed my position, and I’m proud of that. Facts are a better basis for decisions than ideology.

That candidate is Howard Dean. Watch for Dean's endorsement by Gore before the end of the year.


Broadcast from Dean Campaign Rally on C-Span

posted by Christopher at Thursday, August 07, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
In northwest Iowa, Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean (D-VT) speaks to Dickinson County Democratic Party activists. Tune in tonight at 8pm, folks! You can catch it on C-Span (televised), or tune in via RealPlayer on the internet. THURSDAY ON C-SPAN AT 8PM ET


Dean: The Democrats' Reagan?

posted by Christopher at Thursday, August 07, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Funny how columnists keep writing about Dean as a "McGovern-type" candidate. A few have begun to pick up on the fact that he may actually be the Democrats' Ronald Reagan. A highly popular (if polarizing) figure who revives his party by aggressively and unabashedly pursuing core party principles. Reagan was able to reach people in the middle - remember Reagan Democrats? - just as Dean is reaching out to budget hawks who recoil at the Bush Administration's lack of fiscal discipline. Dean Republicans, anyone?

George Will writes about this, and about why an energized base matters in this frontloaded primary season in his column in today's Washington Post (although he draws the comparison not to Reagan, but to Goldwater who initially re-energized conservatives and set the stage for Reagan some twenty years later):

'To those who call him "polarizing," Dean can respond: How do you polarize a polarized electorate? Some in the White House believe that true independents -- those whose votes really are up for grabs, as distinguished from those who call themselves independents but almost always vote one way -- are only about 7 percent of the electorate.

If so, the 2004 election, even more than most elections, will turn on the parties' ability to turn out their committed supporters. And some in the White House are beginning to worry about Dean because he understands that venting may be a practical precursor to governing: Venting energizes the party's base.'


Andrew Sullivan gets Dean wrong

posted by Aziz P. at Thursday, August 07, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Andrew Sullivan is "trying really hard to like Howard Dean."

But in his essay a few days ago, he completely mischaracterizes Dean's position on postwar Iraq:

... in an election in which terrorism and national security will be central issues, a candidate who would seem to undermine America's credibility in the reconstruction of Iraq would also have a huge amount of persuasion to do. For even if you disagreed with the war, abandoning Iraq now would be a catastrophe fom which American foreign policy would barely recover. Up against that, a message of tax hikes and gay equality, however justified on the merits, would scarcely be credible.

Sullivan needs to be (politely) reminded of what Dean said on the Today show:

LAUER: And we've got a--a shaky piece, and we've got Americans being attacked almost on a daily basis. If you were president today, Governor Dean, what would you do?

Gov. DEAN: What I would do is do what we should be doing in Afghanistan, as well. I supported the invasion of Afghanistan, because I thought national security was at risk. But I think the president's job at trying to keep the peace in both places has been pretty dismal. We're making
deals with war lords in Afghanistan, some of whom were on the other side when we first went in there. And I don't think that's the way to bring Ira--democracy to Afghanistan, nor do I think what we're doing is the way to bring democracy to Iraq. I want to internationalize both occupations. I want to bring NATO troops, I want to bring Muslim troops from the United Nations, preferably Arabic speaking in Iraq, and bring home some of our reserves. We're not going to be able to leave Iraq for many, many years, contrary to what the president told us.

and he echoed those comments on Larry King Live:

KING: So if you were president tomorrow, that's what you would be doing?

DEAN: Yes, I would begin the process of going to the United Nations, getting a resolution to bring foreign troops in, preferably including some troops from Arabic-speaking nations and some Muslim troops so that we can make this truly an international occupation. I do believe it's a worthwhile goal to rebuild Iraq into a democracy. I think that's unlikely to happen with this president, given his track record in Afghanistan.

I support the president's invasion of Afghanistan because I thought that was an issue for national security of the United States. But I think what s happened since then has been a very bad harbinger of what the president may do in Iraq.

We're under -- we have probably a fifth of the number of troops that we need to have in Iraq -- excuse me, in Afghanistan. The president is making deals with the warlords, who are certainly not Democratic forces. i think things look bad in Afghanistan. We need the U.N. and NATO to come in and help us there. And the problem is the president has managed to alienate and humiliate all the very countries that we now need to help us maintain the peace both in Afghanistan and in Iraq.

Sullivan is clearly mistaken about where Dean stands, but in one sense he is absolutely right, that we need a leader would not undermine America's credibility. Given that the case for war was built on deception, whereas Dean has been (by Sullivan's own admission) forthright about his views and his positions, it's clear that Dean fits Sullivan's own requirements far better than Bush.

Wednesday, August 06, 2003


Meetup Open Thread

posted by annatopia at Wednesday, August 06, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Meetups have just started on the East Coast, so I thought I'd open up a thread to discuss the New Hampshire Neighbors outreach effort and all things meetup-related. Let's hear it!

update You folks better leave some comments, because I'm stuck here on strike duty and will be missing all the fun tonight. *sniff* So leave some comments so I can live vicariously through you tonight, Dean Nation.


Cuomo on Dean

posted by Trammell at Wednesday, August 06, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Quick followup to the Inside Politics post below regarding Mario Cuomo and the "babble" line. In an article today that reported on Cuomo's urging Gore to jump back in the race, there was this little tidbit about Dean:
Cuomo, who was leading in the polls in late 1991 when he decided against a race for the 1992 Democratic presidential nomination, also criticized Lieberman for saying that Howard Dean was too liberal to win the White House.

"I think that's an unfortunate confession by Lieberman of weakness," Cuomo told WROW-AM about the Connecticut senator.


transcript: Inside Politics (8/6/03)

posted by Aziz P. at Wednesday, August 06, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions

WOODRUFF: Howard Dean's campaign says the number of people signed up to attend Dean meet-ups has topped 75,000. Some 338 Dean meet-ups are scheduled around the country just tonight, and the candidate is to be at one in Des Moines, Iowa.

The former Vermont governor is with me now from Creston, Iowa, where he 's meeting with undecided caucusgoers.

Governor, good to talk to you.

DEAN: Thanks for having me on, Judy.

WOODRUFF: I want to bring up, first of all, something former New York Governor Mario Cuomo had to say today. He's urging Al Gore to get into this race. He said the Democrats are not speaking with a single voice. He said it's not a chorus, it's a babble. And he said this a field without a positive agenda.

What do you say?

DEAN: Well, first of all, I think Al Gore's terrific, and if he did get in the race, I'd certainly welcome him.

Secondly, I think I have a very positive agenda. My agenda is jobs for America, a foreign policy consistent with American values and health insurance for all Americans and consistent with a balance budget, which is what we did in Vermont. Balance the budget, gave health insurance to all kids and all working low-income people. If we can do that in my small state and balance the budget, we can do that in America.

WOODRUFF: So Mario Cuomo is all wrong?

DEAN: Well, Maria Cuomo is a very well-respected statesman in the Democratic Party, but on that -- on the issue of not having a positive agenda, I think I would respectfully disagree.

WOODRUFF: Let me ask you about something your competitor Joe Lieberman had to say just two days ago. He said, talking about you and the other so-called left leaning candidates in the Democratic field, he said these are people who are going to pull the Democratic Party into the wilderness. And he said you would have a tough time winning the election if you did win the nomination.

DEAN: Well, in all due respect, I am the only one other than Bob Graham that's ever balanced a budget, that's ever appointed a Supreme Court Justice in my state. I'm the only one that's ever delivered health care in the entire field to anybody, both as a physician and a governor. So I actually think that I am -- I'm the centrist in race. Joe's a little more conservative, perhaps. But I governed as a centrist in Vermont, I'll govern as a centrist as president.

WOODRUFF: Well, what do you say, though -- that he also said at this AFL-CIO forum last night that the Democrats aren't going to win with a candidate who is weak and ambivalent on national defense,meaning -- referring to your opposition to the war.

DEAN: Well, I -- with all do respect, I think that those who voted for the war, bought, hook, line and sinker the president's assertions that there was uranium bought in Africa, which wasn't true; that there was a link between al Qaeda and Iraq, which wasn't true; that Iraq was on the verge of getting nuclear weapons, which wasn't true; that the secretary of defense knew exactly where the weapons were, which wasn't true.

If you are running for president of the United States and you accept on face value five months before the war starts, then I think you need to have some hard questions about -- asked about why you didn't ask those questions before you gave the president authority to go to war and not after.

Look, I supported the first Gulf War. I supported the invasion of Afghanistan. I will never send American troops abroad without telling the people the truth about why they're going there. That's why I think I'm electable. WOODRUFF: Governor, your opposition to this war, there are two polls -- some polls I want to cite to you now done by CNN/Gallup/"USA Today," one of them showing 63 percent of the American people still believe that war was worth fighting. Another poll showing 65 percent believe the Democrats' criticism of the president on the war are all about politics and not about valid points.

DEAN: I think some of the Democrats that may be true for, but since I've consistenly opposed the war based on principle and regardless of what the polls show, I think I would have to be excluded from that group.

WOODRUFF: But what about the fact that almost two of thirds of Americans are saying the war was worth fighting?

DEAN: Well, I don't agree. I think it's very hard to go to war when you haven't been truthful with the American public about why you went to war. And right now, I think the Iraqi people are better off and right now, for the moment, America may be safer.

We're going to be there for a long, long time. We're losing American soldiers at the rate of seven or eight a week, and I believe that in the long run we would have been better off in terms of our own safety, had we continued to contain Saddam Hussein, which we could have done indefinitely. The time to remove Saddam Hussein was in the first Bush administration, when he was murdering tens and thousands of Shiites. The United States chose not to do that at that time. I thought that was the wrong choice then because I think the United States has a right to intervene to stop genocide. But suddenly, 12 years later, to decide that Saddam is a big danger to the United States on the basis of no evidence whatsoever, I think is a mistake.

WOODRUFF: And, finally, governor, one of your rivals, John Kerry, has a campaign manager, Jim Jordan, who is saying, among other things -- he's saying, until you can convince Americans and especially women that you can keep this country safe, they're not going to hear you on the other issues you're trying to talk about.

DEAN: I agree with that and I think that my record in terms of being tough and forthright in what I believe in is what's going to keep this country safe.

This president, for examples, chose tax cuts over buying the enriched uranium stocks of the Soviet Union under the Cooperative Threat Reduction Agreement. This president chose not to inspect the 94 percent of the shipping containers that come into this country because he gave tax cuts instead. This president chose tax cuts instead of funding homeland security for the states and cities.

It seems to me when it comes to homeland security, this president has talked a great game, but it's all hat, no cattle, as they say in Texas.

WOODRUFF: All right. We're going to leave it at that. Former Vermont Governor Howard Dean talking to us from Creston, Iowa. Governor, it's good to see you.

DEAN: Thanks, Judy.

WOODRUFF: Thank you very much. Talk to you again soon.


video: PBS Newshour (8/5/03)

posted by Aziz P. at Wednesday, August 06, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Plugged-in Politics
Presidential contender Howard Dean on Tuesday garnered 75,000 supporters through the Web site "" and has raised more money than any other Democratic candidate in the second quarter. Terence Smith examines Dean's success at building grassroots support in cyberspace, and how other presidential candidates are using the Internet and other technologies to their advantage.

(Transcript also available at the link above)


Gore to deliver major speech tomorrow

posted by Aziz P. at Wednesday, August 06, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Al Gore has been almost entirely dormant for a while - except for a brief, shining moment last September when Gore had a prophetic speech about Iraq and why Bush had not made the case for war. The Washington Times draws analogies to the candidates' positions today:

In the Sept. 23 speech, Mr. Gore foreshadowed the criticisms of Mr. Bush that have been championed of late by three front-runners for the Democratic nomination for president — Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts, former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean and Rep. Richard A. Gephardt of Missouri.

Mr. Gore said then that the war in Iraq would distract from tracking down "those who attacked us on September 11 and have thus far gotten away with it."

The president's doctrine to "pre-emptively attack whomsoever he may deem represents a potential future threat" was unwise, he said, and would alienate international allies that the United States needs to fight global terrorism.

Mr. Gore also blasted the Bush administration for failing to "clarify its idea of what is to follow regime change" in Iraq, a theme echoed most strongly by Mr. Kerry.

While insisting that Mr. Bush get additional international "permission" to invade Iraq, Mr. Gore, nonetheless, conceded that Saddam "does pose a serious threat to the stability of the Persian Gulf" because "we know that he has stored secret supplies of biological and chemical weapons throughout his country."

Mr. Dean and Mr. Kerry have criticized Mr. Bush for the failure to uncover evidence of any weapons of mass destruction program in Iraq.

If Gore's speech tomorrow goes further and layts out a case for how Bush is loing the peace, both in Iraq and in the broader goal against Al-Qaeda, it's hard to see how any of the other candidates would benefit more than Dean, since the other major players all voted to support Bush.

However, there is also the possibility that the speech will be an attempt to undermine Dean, if Gore has signed onto the DLC's philosophy (which personally I don't see any reason to believe). The article speculates:

Brian Lunde, former executive director of the Democratic National Committee, characterized Mr. Gore's speech last year as a "sucker punch and run away." And while Mr. Gore might "get his shots in" on Thursday, Mr. Lunde said he doesn't expect Mr. Gore to match the volume of Mr. Dean's antiwar rhetoric.

Rather, the speech might be part of a plan to "provide cover for the mainstream Democratic candidates" and "help be a Dean slayer" by trying to move the momentum of the party away from the far left.

"He will warn the party," Mr. Lunde said. "I think there's growing concern that Howard Dean might not just be a flavor of the month, but be a real political movement."

I don't think this is likely, though. Gore has credibility on criticizing the Iraq war because he voted in favor of the first Gulf War while in the Senate. And the bulk of his speech last year was about the need for international and multilateral solutions - both of these are Dean's own major talking points now. Gore must see that Dean is his intellectual heir when it comes to the second Gulf War.

And most importantly, Dean is runnin the campaign that Gore wanted to. Gore introduced populist rhetoric in 2000 - Dean is living it, making it real. And there is of course Dean's use of the Internet, which is exactly the kind of innovation that Gore has been prosletyzing throughout his long career.

Either way, tomorrow will be interesting...


The Dean Fiscal Record

posted by Joe at Wednesday, August 06, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Seb from Sadly, No! writes in directing me to some meaty analysis of Howard Dean's fiscal policy as governor.

He's also got lots of money quotes from Cato -- back when Dean and Bush were both governors the libertarian think-tank had far kinder words for the fiscal conservative from Vermont.

Sounds like there may be something to this Libertarians for Dean thing after all.


Philly Weekly Cover: "President Dean"

posted by Joe at Wednesday, August 06, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
On top Time and Newsweek, Howard Dean lands a great cover on and an even better profile inside the current issue of the Philadelphia Weekly.

Some good excerpts:
On first glance Howard Dean looks like one of those guys--a beautiful loser, a Dem Quixote. Another McGovern liberal waiting to be fed into the Republican woodchipper, soon to be reduced to a wet pile of well-intentioned pulp. [..]

Healthcare for everyone? Real investment in education? Save the trees? Balance the budget? No blood for oil?

Nice sentiments, say the party mandarins, but we need someone who can win. Look over here: A perfectly harmless Dick Gephardt is buckling his chin strap. Let's give him the ball. How about that John Kerry, eh? He's got the hair to be president. You want youth? Try John Edwards. If you squint, he kinda looks Bobby Kennedy. Or what about Joe Lieberman? He's Jewish, you know. That's pretty neat. [...]

Howard Dean is generating something no Democrat in recent memory has: excitement. Not just partisan cheerleading, but real honest-to-goodness shake-shit-up excitement. [...]

Karl Rove is a smart man. A smart man in Karl Rove's shoes would be crapping himself right about now.
They also print a short bio which includes these two gems:
He studied beer and good times at Yale, where he graduated in 1971.
He was elected to the Vermont Legislature in 1982. He served until 1986, when he was elected lieutenant governor. In 1991 then-Gov. Richard Snelling dropped dead of a heart attack while cleaning his pool. Dr. Dean received the news while examining a patient. According to legend, his response was: "Holy shit!"
Go read everything.


open thread

posted by Aziz P. at Wednesday, August 06, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
get psyched for tonight!


A Rare Interview with the Future First Lady,1,7571105.story?coll=la-headlines-politics

posted by G at Wednesday, August 06, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
A must read from the LA Times. It's ironic that Dean's stand-in first lady for events when he was chairman of the National Governors' Association was the wife of Evan Bayh, the DLC chairman who has vocally opposed Dean's presidential bid! Excerpts:
"We have a true partnership based on mutual respect," he said. "She is going to be different than most first ladies."

Far from the model favored by Bill and Hillary Rodham Clinton — a two-for-one co-presidency in which Hillary Clinton played a major role in formulating White House policy — Dean and Steinberg are offering a new paradigm.

In the nearly 12 years that Dean was governor of Vermont, Steinberg attended only a few official events a year, and then only when her husband asked.

She said Vermont accepted her career, and she expects the nation to as well.

"I think the country's ready," she said. "I'm like a lot of women. I go to work. My husband travels for his job."

Celinda Lake, a Democratic pollster, agreed that Steinberg's arms-length approach to her husband's career could be turned to political advantage. "I think the public might find it quite refreshing," she said. "It reinforces his profile as an anti-politician. It's who they are."
"When she was the first lady of Vermont, I asked her to attend the things I thought were important, but I didn't ask her to a lot of things," Dean said. "It's not her bag. What she does really well is be a doctor and a mother."
Unfazed by his wife's separate career track — "I'm proud of her independence," he said — Dean recalled that when he was chairman of the National Governors Assn., there were frequent social events, so he invited Susan Bayh — wife of Evan Bayh, Indiana's former governor and now a Democratic senator — to act as his first lady. "Susan agreed to be my surrogate spouse. She's very outgoing; she likes politics."
"People in Vermont admire her," Hoyt said. "She is a wonderfully kind, very thoughtful and gentle personality who makes you feel comfortable."


Dean chat resources

posted by Aziz P. at Wednesday, August 06, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
There's a new website dedicated to online chat for Dean, called Chat for (click above). Also, we have an IRC channel on, server, channel name PeoplePoweredHoward. Steven Edwards provides this info on connecting to the channel using Trillian:

Trillian will run. Move it where you want it and then, of the five circles [orange, green, grey, blue, and red] below your contact list, click the grey one and a Connection Manager option comes up. Click it.

Scroll down the Internet Relay Chat list until you see DALnet and click on it and then click the Add button. A new window will pop up asking for a Description, Server, Country, Port, and Group. For Description, enter Howard Dean; for server,; country United States; leave port at 6667 [and open that port if you're behind a firewall]; and finally choose DALnet for the group and click OK. Double-click on DALnet in the list, then double-click on United States, single-click on Howard Dean, and then click Connect. You will be taken back to Trillian. Click on the grey circle again and choose Join Channel. You will be asked to enter a channel name, it is PeoplePoweredHoward. Now you can chat with whoever is there whenever you want.

Once you have gone through the initial setup, connecting to the chatroom is very simple. Load Trillian, click Connection Manager, make sure the Howard Dean selection is made, click Connect, and join the PeoplePoweredHoward channel.


Muslim for Dean

posted by Aziz P. at Wednesday, August 06, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Glenn Reynolds points to this entry by Israeli Guy and asks jokingly, "is Howard Dean a Zionist agent?" (I'm sure that Muslim Wake Up will be receptive to the idea)

I take full responsibility for the IDF icon on the Dean 2004 blog to represent the Dean Defense Forces (DDF) advocacy group. I came up with the "Dean Defense Forces" name a while back and Matt Singer (of NotGeniuses fame) took that ball and ran with it to create the website.

I think the IDF has a noble purpose - to defend it's countrymen against threats. I may disagree with the implementation of that purpose from time to time (ok, often) but the fundamental ethos of the IDF is one of honor and pride. I chose their animated icon as a kind of homage when trying to find a way to represent our Dean Defense Forces group.

Israeli Guy asks "I wonder if they’ll keep it up now that it has been reveled [sic]" - the answer is yes, the icon stays, unless someone convinces me that it is wrong to do so. The floor is yours in the comments section.

But this is a lead-in to a larger issue - Dean's position on the Middle East conflict. I linked to Muslim Wake Up's indictment of Dean, and it is undeniable that Dean has said that his views on the IsPa conflict views are "in line with AIPAC's". And it is true that Dean considers resolution of the conflict to start with the cessation of terrorism, which in my view is mistaken because it puts cart before horse[1]. Others have noted with alarm that Dean has named Steven Grossman (former head of AIPAC) as his chief fundraiser.

However, this does not mean that Dean is "Sharon's man." In fact the naming of Grossman is a clear indicator of Dean's inherent balance and affinity for moderation. In 1993, Grossman persuaded AIPAC to issue a unanimous declaration of support for the Oslo accords. Grossman supported Bill Clinton in 1991 after Tsongas dropped out, and left AIPAC in 1997 as a more bipartisan and balanced organization than ever before (or since). There's a post on the Dean blog about Grossman that goes into more detail.

Look, if resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian struggle with a Palestinian bias is your single issue, then you may as well vote for Bush again. Bush's ties to Saudi Arabia, and his need for regional stability in Iraq and the Arab world, make him far more Abu Mazen's man than Sharon's.

But frankly speaking I care more about America than either Israel or Palestine. Dean is not a genocidal maniac. And his defining characteristic is that he goiverns from principle and facts, not ideology - which is why he infuriates liberals and conservatives alike. I don't think he can do worse than Bush in the Middle East.

The bottom line is that I think American muslims need to stop obsessing on the Middle East conflict as the barometer of political affinity. Our interests as American muslims are NOT the same as muslims in Europe or the middle east. We are electing a President for our country, not theirs. I respect that my fellow muslims feel passionate about the issue of the IsPa conflict (including Al-Muhajabah, who has started the Muslims for Kucinich blog) but I also firmly feel that such efforts are as misguided as the Arab support of George Bush back in the 2000 election.

Dean is the sole candidate who can beat Bush - and thus is the real candidate that Muslims should support.

[1] in a nutshell, I believe that the occupation is the cause of the intifada, and that the terrorists who want Israel destroyed recruit for theiur barbaric and immoral political aims from eth pool of disaffected who result from the larger just struggle. Ending the occupation in a just and mutually beneficial way will deprive the terrorists of their lifeblood. Trying to stamp then out first, however, only exacerbates the conflict.


Transcripts: AFL-CIO & Today Show

posted by G at Wednesday, August 06, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
The AFL-CIO Candidates' Forum and Dean's appearance on the Today Show.

UPDATE (Aziz): Here's Dean closing statement from the AFL-CIO:

"The real question here tonight is which one of us can beat George Bush. Here's is how I plan to do it.
I opposed the war in Iraq, not because I am a pacifist, but because I didn't think the evidence was there.

I opposed No Child Left Behind because it was an unfunded mandate that doesn't help kids and it leaves more of them behind. I opposed the tax cuts because I want a balanced budget and investment in America so we can have jobs in this country again.

You can't beat President Bush by trying to be like him, we tried that in 2002 and it didn't work. The way to beat this President is to stand up and be proud to be Democrats.

Look to what Harry Truman put in the 1948 Democratic Party platform: Health insurance for everybody. We need to stand up for ourselves again and take on the President directly.

In the last quarter most of you know I raised a lot of money. That was great. But it was the way I raised it that matters. 93,000 Americans, more than half who never gave to a political candidate before, and most of the gifts were under 100 dollars. That's how you can beat a President that can get $2000 checks as often as he wants. We're going to give the 50% of Americans who don't vote anymore a reason to vote in the Democratic Party.

We're going to stand up and be proud to be Democrats. We've got the numbers, and this time, the person who gets the most votes is going to win the White House."


Howard Dean's game

posted by Aziz P. at Wednesday, August 06, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
This is a smart editorial in the Washington Times that casts historical light upon McGovern's nomination in 1972 and makes a strong case that such a comparison is utter nonsense if applied to Dean:

Mr. Dean, wisely enough, is not haunted by 1972. While "electable wing" Democrats like to invoke the famous George McGovern meltdown, in which the anti-Vietnam War candidate carried only one state against Republican President Richard Nixon, the parallels are dubious.
The 1972 election is best understood as the last gasp of the 1960s, in which Democratic Party regulars — furious about the McGovernites takeover of the nominating process — gave their own presidential nominee a drubbing. Ironically, though, George McGovern was neither a leftist nor a standard-bearer for the party's left wing. He was the guy who got to rewrite party rules off the 1968 Democratic Convention debacle and became the beneficiary of that internal restructuring.
The Democratic Party left hit its high-water mark in the Dump Johnson movement in 1968, but was actually on the decline by the time Mr. McGovern's rules changes allowed him to capture the nomination. If Mr. Dean were to win the Democratic nomination in 2004, it would not be as a result of controlling the party's electoral apparatus, but because a left insurgency managed to explode the grip of the centrist New Democrats.

The article doesn't stop there, with a good analysis of the necessity for Dean to broaden his appeal without losing his authenticity - and how Dean has recognized that challenge and is making headway. Overall, a great and insightful piece that deserves reading.

I have to share the article's closing para though, because it introduces a wonderful term (emphasis mine):

George W. Bush won the election as a compassionate conservative. Perhaps Mr. Dean could win it as a moderate radical. But if Mr. Dean remains anti-Bush because he is a Democrat, he will not succeed. If he becomes identified as anti-Bush because he is an anti-establishment American, that could be a different story.


Boston sniping

posted by Aziz P. at Wednesday, August 06, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
This article in the Boston Globe takes a new tack in trying to find the downside of Dean - trying to portray him as more interested in personal political gain rather than principle. The article is based on the memoirs of a single source, the former speaker of the Vermont House of Representatives, Ralph Wright:

Two vignettes stand out. In the early 1990s, Dean and Wright both hoped to implement universal health care in Vermont. Legislation they backed led to a study of two options: a single-payer scheme, like Canada's, and a heavily regulated system that relied on private companies. Dean's financing preference was to eliminate premiums and instead use state taxes to buy health care for all.

But when it became apparent that funding universal health care would require a large tax increase, backing began to evaporate. Wright scrambled to hold together legislative support, particularly for single-payer. On a flight to Washington for a fund-raiser, the former speaker writes, he asked Dean what he planned to do to save the health care plan. ''He barely looked up from his reading, and he nonchalantly answered: `Nothing, it's dead.'''

Now, acknowledging that its cost made universal health care, let alone single-payer system, politically impractical on a state level was probably a prudent judgment. But Wright, possessed of an ex-Marine's tenacity, was nevertheless shocked by the governor's quiet acquiescence. ''I guess this was the one thing I never could understand about Howard Dean,'' he notes. ''He always seemed so ready to abandon his cause at the first sign of defeat.... Maybe it was an unwillingness to have any cause at all, at least any cause for which he was willing to risk his political skin.''

He could be that way with people as well, Wright laments. After the reactionary Republican Senate, in a battle that pitted developers against environmentalists, voted to reject three qualified members of Vermont's Environmental Board, Dean sent the names back to the Senate for reappointment. But when they were again refused, rather than risk real political capital in a prolonged public battle, Dean backed down and declined to submit the names again. In so doing, the governor had abandoned three dedicated public servants, Wright contends.

''I don't think I've ever been more disappointed than I was at the moment,'' he writes.

The one place where Wright presents Dean as ready to fight involved not ideological principle but personal prerogative. The former speaker recalls the day that he encountered Dean, then the lieutenant governor, in his waiting room, furious at the chairman of the House Appropriations Committee because his office's budget had been cut. ''He's a no good son of a bitch. I swear, if it takes me a lifetime, I'll get the bastard,'' Dean said, according to Wright.

Ultimately, the Dean whom Wright limns is neither fighter nor firebrand but a pragmatic practitioner of the politics of the possible, one more committed to personal political success than to any particular issue.

The picture that emerges in my mind from these vignettes is a Kucinich/Nader-style liberal, Wright, who doesn't understand that governing from the center in the best interests of the electorate sometimes means knowing when to compromise. This is the essence of pragmatism - choosing to take one step forward rather than sitting still and pining for two. With Dean, we know that his pragmatism is principled pragmatism (an ideal I've been espousing on my own blog for almost 1.5 years, well before I'd ever heard of Dean). Wright's memoir however interprets Dean's pragmatism through the lens of his own disappointment and thus reaches the conclusion that it must be a personal failure. This is sad and pathetic and speaks of an ignorance about what role an executive has to play, as opposed to the role a legislator must play.

Tuesday, August 05, 2003


Tune in to AFL-CIO forum online NOW

posted by annatopia at Tuesday, August 05, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
The AFL-CIO forum is about to begin on c-span. Click the link above and tune in to the live feed.


Robert David Steele goes to bat for Dean

posted by annatopia at Tuesday, August 05, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
RDS is a 25 year veteran of the intelligence community and founder of In response to the panel on LKL last night, Steele has this to say:
Larry King and his panel have missed three critical points:
(1) Bin Laden is very very smart. He realizes that the best possible catalyst for a long-term Islamic radicalization is the re-election of Bush Junior. There will be no Al Qaeda attack on the American homeland until after November 2004-expect a rocky Christmas.
(2) The majority of Americans have dropped out of politics or been marginalized. Howard Dean can not only bring the Democratic Party back to life, he can provide a big tent for everyone else as he commits himself to electoral reform.
(3) The blond from Texas is evidently not aware that there is a Defense Intelligence Agency report on the Internet that documents the chemical attacks on the Kurds, many, many years ago, as being of Iranian original. The use of chemicals over a decade ago is not evidence of current chemical capabilities, but then Texas Republicans appear to be very loosely educated.

Whoa. This is coming from someone in the know, so take it at face value.

update Woops - here is the official press release from Steele, which goes into further details and explains why Dean is right:
"From where I sit, Howard Dean is the only candidate who is serious about helping the American people understand that what we are doing now with a heavy-metal military and the failing efforts to reconstruct Afghanistan and Iraq are simply not working. We are over-invested in a complex and cumbersome "system of systems" and we have failed to empower the human capabilities -- civil affairs, disaster relief engineering, diplomacy, overt public relations and information -- that are urgently needed to actually come to grips with the most basic security threats to America. I would describe Dean as a cultural creative, a new progressive, and as beyond left or right -- he is the center because he is focused on America's center of gravity: all of the people, not some of the people some of the time."
"Howard Dean seems to understand that there are four distinct threats to America: conventional state militaries; unconventional non-state gangs -- both terrorist and criminal; non-traditional non-violent threats including migration, disease, and water scarcity; and ultra-modern electronic threats including economic espionage and attacks against our critical infrastructure. We cannot survive with a one size fits all national security regime that is obsessed with Star Wars systems that cannot find guerrillas in a cave."
"Using these four threat classes, and the instability factors now visible around the world, it is fair to characterize our current national security system as ineffective, wasteful, and incomplete. Howard Dean seems to understand that we must continue to spend $500B a year on national security, but that we must redirect half those dollars toward expeditionary and constabulary forces, toward peacemaking and relief forces, and toward a vastly expanded homeland security architecture that includes state-based intelligence and counterintelligence, including community intelligence centers that are of, by, and for the people of each state." Steele concludes: "Howard Dean can balance the books and make us smart strong, not stupid strong. He has my vote because he does not shirk from seeing reality and dealing with it honestly."

I won't even comment because the press release speaks for itself.

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About Nation-Building

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.