"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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Thursday, July 31, 2003


Backbone Awards: open thread for nominations

posted by annatopia at Thursday, July 31, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Scott has generously allowed me to open up the floor to nominations for the third Dean Nation Backbone Award. To recap, the first Backbone Award went to Rep. Nancy Pelosi and the House Democrats, and the second nod went to Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois and former Ambassador Joseph Wilson.

Who will it be next week, Dean Nation? Any elected official can be nominated, regardless of party affiliation. Our only qualifier is that the nominee must have shown courage, determination, and resolve in dealing with a recent issue. I'm opening this thread today and will run with it through Sunday afternoon. The winner will be announced on Monday.


phase II:Kucinich woos Greens

posted by Aziz P. at Thursday, July 31, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Dennis Kucinich has an article on Common Dreams urging Greens to support him. Suppose you were with a Kucinich supporter and a Green in a room. What arguments would you make to try and persuade the Green to support Howard Dean over Kucinich?


Gay Marriage: wedge issue

posted by Aziz P. at Thursday, July 31, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
You'd have to have a heart of stone not to feel sympathy for Andrew Sullivan. Here we have a gay man who is also a Republican and ardent supporter of Bush. He has built a readership of thousands and made impressive fortunes off his essentially conservative positions (he, like Christopher Hitchens, have gained great mileage from their personas as former/recovering leftists who are therefore uniquely qualified to indict the excesses of Liberals).

But as he noticed from Bush's conference yesterday, his erstwhile political allies are on the wrong side of history on this one:

President Bush said yesterday, in so many words, that he is considering amending the constitution to deny gays legal equality in their relationships - indeed to enshrine second-class citizenship for gays in the sacred words of the founding document. It is very hard to think of any act any politican could endorse that would alienate and marginalize gay citizens and their families more. The Republican leadership in the Senate has signed on.
That's directly from the Senate leadership, under John Kyl. (What Kyl ignores is that "gay activists" have been the last people to endorse this. The fight for marriage began and continues because of ordinary gay couples refusing to accept second-class citizenship. We had to battle most activists to get it on the agenda at all.) The Weekly Standard has run a cover illustration depicting gays as some sort of barbarians intent on destroying society. National Review views polygamists as preferable to gay couples.

If there is any wedge issue to siphon fiscally conservative voters from Bush, it may well be civil unions/gay marriage. Dean's position is by far more amenable to the moderate gay community (though of course the Kucinich-supporting gay left won't settle for anything less than a complete social redefinition of the word marriage itself). What do you think of the potential to draw people like Andrew Sullivan to our side?


Dean Not 'Soft' on National Defense

posted by Christopher at Thursday, July 31, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Slate's take on Howard Dean demonstrates how Dean's nuanced position on national security can win people over - especially convincing those still on the fence of his foreign policy credentials. This short column dissects his position on foreign policy and shows that Howard Dean is not just "anti-war," but rather for ensuring that the use of force is justified in all instances. The line on Dean from his primary rivals (and surely the Bush camp) is that Dean is soft on defense... a bona fide "dove."

Dean's positions are more complex than either being "against" or "for" military action. Rather, there is a set of ideals and some principle behind his positions on foreign policy.


WaPo's 'Talking Points' on Dean

posted by Christopher at Thursday, July 31, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Terry Neal's headline 'Will the Real Howard Dean Please Stand Up?' is a bit misleading. This column isn't (as the headline implies) that Dean has contradictory positions, rather it demonstrates the unconventional, principled positions that Dean has taken on a range of issues. The result is that Dean becomes difficult to pigeonhole as 'liberal, moderate, or even conservative Democrat' as some would like.

It's interesting that Bush ran as a 'compassionate conservative' and everyone took him at his word that he was a more moderate type of Republican. Meanwhile nothing he had done as governor (or more recently as president) has supported that view. Meanwhile Dean defies expectations and labels and the pros get worked up because he won't fit into that nice "liberal box" that the mainstream press, his primary foes, and the Bushies would like.

I hope that he continues to confound the pundits since it will only broaden his appeal to Americans. Besides, we know that Karl Rove wants Dean to win, right? Be careful what you wish for, Karl, in the end Dean may be tougher to label than your boss.


Defying Labels Left or Right

posted by Aziz P. at Thursday, July 31, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
This NYT piece is the kind of broad, accurate overview that clearly says "Dean has arrived." There is a wealth if detail here, perfect for a prospective supporter to get a good feel for the truth about Dean and be immunized against "he's too liberal" or "Dean = McGovern" memes.

Some of the info was new to me, for instance:

He inherited a state budget deficit of about 11 percent, the highest income taxes in the country and the lowest bond rating in New England.

To the dismay of liberals in the Legislature who wanted to expand social and environmental programs, Dr. Dean and his chief economic adviser, Harlan Sylvester, a conservative stockbroker and investment banker, stuck with the Snelling budget-cutting plan. Helped by a booming economy, the state's finances improved sharply. Dr. Dean lowered income tax rates by 30 percent and put away millions in a rainy day fund. Vermont's bond rating became the highest in the Northeast.

In his last term, Dr. Dean won a change in law so that Vermont taxes were not automatically lowered by Mr. Bush's cut in federal income taxes, and Vermont had a comfortable surplus this spring when most other states faced crippling budget shortfalls.

I wasn't aware that Vermont avoided the tax cuts - and what a wonderful example Vermont makes as a result for what Dean can achieve.


Bloggers take on DLC

posted by G at Thursday, July 31, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
See the link for Liberal Oasis's brilliant analysis of how the DLC misinterprets their own polls. Also see Digby's anti-DLC rant which starts off as follows:
"The Internet may be giving angry, protest-oriented activists the rope they need to hang the party," wrote Randolph Court in the DLC's bimonthly newsletter, The New Democrat Blueprint.
I sure wish that the Republicans had believed that about talk radio because then we’d hold both houses of congress, the presidency and the courts today.

Dissing the internet’s power to organize and communicate says so much about these guys that I’d written them off even before I read about their latest bone-headed useful idiocy.


Dean Nation at bat!

posted by Aziz P. at Thursday, July 31, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Dean beat Cheney-Bush! The Dean campaign just raised $508,640 from 9,621 supporters in one weekend (and conservatives took notice). All of us are waiting with baited breath to see what the Top Secret use for that money will be! But raising money is an ongoing challenge - especially in light of the Bush fundraising juggernaut, which is estimated to pull in $250 million dollars of special interest and cheap-labor conservative cash before the general election.

And we in Dean Nation must do our part - you may notice that our Dean Nation All-Star Team thermometer now reads 81%, reflecting our updated goal of $15,000. Each month until the general election, we will raise the bar $5,000, meaning that by the time November 2004 rolls around we will have raised $80,000 for Dean!

Please do join in this collective effort. Our dollars have a transforming effect, not just on Dean's campaign but on American politics itself. When NPR Marketplace or The Boston Globe or even GOP USA speak of "Dean's fundraising" whatthey really mean is US, not computers or the Internet or Convio. We have an enormous power, and the time to wield it is now!

So pledge what you can - be it $50 a month (about what you might spend on coffee), $25 a month (loose change), or even $10 a month - help us reach our goal of $5,000 a month each month, every month, until Election Day. Together, we are Dean Nation, and we will be heard. We want our country back!


First Major Dean Speech on the Economy

posted by G at Thursday, July 31, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions


Sharpton's Not-So-Psychic Network

posted by Trammell at Thursday, July 31, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Now mind you, I think Sharpton would make an awesome keynote speaker at the Dem Convention and I dig the guy, but we've heard this ludicrous meme repeated by many folks, and I wanna address it head-on. This exchange from Wednesday's Crossfire between Tucker Carlson, Paul Begala and Rev. Al Sharpton (the opening DLC stuff I just threw in for good measure):
CARLSON: The Democratic Leadership Council two days ago described the lurch to the left of the party. Senator Evan Bayh said the party is in the thrall of left-wingers like you and that the end result is, quote, "assisted suicide." Are you the Jack Kevorkian of your party? [...]

SHARPTON: Well, first of all, my party does not control the House, the Senate or the White House. So it is very difficult for someone laying in the funeral home to talk about assisted suicide. All we can talk about is a resurrection. And I think that I'm the candidate in this race that can talk about that.

BEGALA: Let me ask you about that, then. The criticism not only on the right, on the liberal side of the part it seems to me, Governor Dean, Howard Dean, the former governor of Vermont, seems to have all of the energy. He is surging and you're not. Why is that?

SHARPTON: Well, according to how you look. If you look at any of the polls, I've been just about tied with Dean. So how is he surging and I'm not, unless it is a misconstrued reading? And I didn't raise $7 million to get where I am in the polls.

BEGALA: Well, that's the question. He is surging. He's way ahead of you now.

SHARPTON: I don't know. I think that if you look at the fact that in most polls we're four or five. The people that are behind me, at least three or four people don't think we're not doing well. And I think when you look at the fact we're just starting to raise money. Imagine what we're going to do later. The question becomes not who is the flavor of the month. You know, a couple of months ago it was Edwards and now it's Dean.

The question is where we will be when the primaries start in January. And one of the things that I've learned from my experience in politics is that you must have a strategy and a plan. And one is them that you shouldn't do in August what you hope to be doing in December going into January. Peaking early does not lead to good...
...what? Begala cut him off. But regardless, here is the truth. We haven't peaked too early. In fact, we haven't peaked at all. This campaign is not even close to where we are hoping to be in December, or January for that matter. We have come many miles, and we have many, many more to go. As an example, Dean was virtually uknown in California this January. Now we are in the lead. Is 16% good enough? Of course not. To combine two appropo cliches: We've only just begun, and baby, you just ain't seen nothin' yet!

Wednesday, July 30, 2003


audio: NPR Marketplace (7/30/03)

posted by Aziz P. at Wednesday, July 30, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Howard Dean: The Net’s best fundraiser?

Most campaigns have a Web presence and many are hoping that cyberspace will turn into a fundraising goldmine. Democratic presidential nominee Howard Dean knows this well, as he has used the Net successfully for his campaigning. Thanks to the Web, Dean emerged as the leading Democratic fundraiser for the last quarter. So, what’s Dean doing that’s working so well? Some say that’s partly because he has put some established Internet marketing tactics to very effective use, like mass-e-mailing. The campaign also makes aggressive use of viral marketing, the strategy of asking subscribers to forward online messages to friends and family. Dean has about 130,000 subscribers to his Web site -- and 59,000 donated money. Now, other campaigns are using some of Dean’s tactics. But it’s hard to match Dean’s success in that arena.

Reporter: Kim Masters


Really On the Road with Howard Dean

posted by annatopia at Wednesday, July 30, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
This is a follow up to Scott's earlier post. To quote reader cricket, who said in response to the original Suellentrop article, "My jaw dropped when I read this." Maybe there's something in the air on the McBus, but it seems like we might have a full-blown convert. Sure, the article drips with the usual snark and sarcasm, but it's funny. And the big plus is that it reflects the fact that not only is Dean able to work with the press, he's capable of charming them:

At this point in the trip, I’m in the midst of a full-fledged Dean swoon. Sure, I think he’s pandering on ethanol, his claim that he’s going to bring in 3 million to 4 million new voters to win the election sounds far-fetched, and his idea to raise $100 each from 1 million voters sounds perilously close to Orrin Hatch’s “skinny cat” flop from four years ago. But I like him anyway. Barring an implosion like the one McCain had when he attacked Pat Robertson in Virginia Beach, I think Dean has a real chance to win the nomination.

Suellentrop and Dean also had a conversation about NAFTA and fair trade, in which Dean expanded on his trade philosophy. Suellentrop puts Dean's theory in a nutshell:

Dean’s theory in a nutshell: The structure of wealth in the United States before labor unions resembled that in Third World countries today, so in order to create middle classes in the developing world, we need to bring labor unions to them.

This is accurate based on what Dean's said from day one, and it's a pretty sound theory if you look historically at the relation between economic and social development (I'm sure Gabriel will jump in if I'm wrong on this one). Dean told Suellentrop a story about a conversation with former Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin in which Rubin affirmed Dean's analysis of the current economic situation. Read it yourself - it's an interesting story - and then let's hear what you think about Suellentrop's portrayal of Dean on the campaign trail.


Kerry Slams Dean And Thinks We'll Sit Idly By?

posted by Matt Singer at Wednesday, July 30, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
John Kerry is sniping at Dean over Dean's promise to repeal the tax cut in order to get health care and an economic plan into place. But Kerry's attacks won't work. Click the link above to find out why.


cheap-labor conservatives

posted by Aziz P. at Wednesday, July 30, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
When it comes to the issues, Democrats win. Part of the reason that the Republicans have so much power is because they have successfully managed to poison the well of policy debate, painting dissent as treason, equating critics with terrorists, lumping progressive social policy in with socialism and Stalin, etc. This ongoing verbal tirade amounts to a perpetual character assasination of "liberals" - a term that is defined by their own usage as "people who disagree with the Republican Party"[1]

But let us embrace the term liberal, as Dean has done - I think of a liberal as someone who desires a dialouge-driven social policy, whose ultimate purpose is to liberate the human potential of each individual and enable them to contribute back to society. Only through a healthy debate can the best ideas be encouraged to propser and find their way into policy, and above all shunning ideology. Republicans know that such a dialouge is an anathema to their ideology, and have created the Mighty Wurlitzer for the sole purpose of making such a dialouge impossible.

The only way to counter the threat is to expose the far-right's agenda, by finding a short phrase (or meme) that perfectly encapsulates how their ideological is to party above country. That short phrase is cheap-labor conservative:

You see, cheap-labor conservatives are defenders of corporate America – whose fortunes depend on labor. The larger the labor supply, the cheaper it is. The more desperately you need a job, the cheaper you'll work, and the more power those "corporate lords" have over you. If you are a wealthy elite – or a "wannabe" like most dittoheads – your wealth, power and privilege is enhanced by a labor pool, forced to work cheap.

Don't believe me. Well, let's apply this principle, and see how many right-wing positions become instantly understandable.

  • Cheap-labor conservatives don't like social spending or our "safety net". Why. Because when you're unemployed and desperate, corporations can pay you whatever they feel like – which is inevitably next to nothing. You see, they want you "over a barrel" and in a position to "work cheap or starve".

  • Cheap-labor conservatives don't like the minimum wage, or other improvements in wages and working conditions. Why. These reforms undo all of their efforts to keep you "over a barrel".

  • Cheap-labor conservatives like "free trade", NAFTA, GATT, etc. Why. Because there is a huge supply of desperately poor people in the third world, who are "over a barrel", and will work cheap.

  • Cheap-labor conservatives oppose a woman's right to choose. Why. Unwanted children are an economic burden that put poor women "over a barrel", forcing them to work cheap.

  • Cheap-labor conservatives don't like unions. Why. Because when labor "sticks together", wages go up. That's why workers unionize. Seems workers don't like being "over a barrel".

  • Cheap-labor conservatives constantly bray about "morality", "virtue", "respect for authority", "hard work" and other "values". Why. So they can blame your being "over a barrel" on your own "immorality", lack of "values" and "poor choices".

  • Cheap-labor conservatives encourage racism, misogyny, homophobia and other forms of bigotry. Why? Bigotry among wage earners distracts them, and keeps them from recognizing their common interests as wage earners.

  • ...
  • Cheap-labor conservatives opposed virtually all of the New Deal, including every improvement in wages and working conditions.

  • Cheap-labor conservatives have a long and sorry history of opposing virtually every advancement in this country's development going right back to the American revolution

  • Cheap-labor conservatives have hated Social Security and Medicare since their inception.
    Many cheap-labor conservatives are hostile to public education. They think it should be privatized. But why are we surprised.
  • Cheap-labor conservatives opposed universal public education in its early days. School vouchers are just a backdoor method to "resegregate" the public schools.

  • Cheap-labor conservatives hate the progressive income tax like the devil hates holy water.

  • Cheap-labor conservatives like budget deficits and a huge national debt for two reasons. A bankrupt government has a harder time doing any "social spending" – which cheap-labor conservatives oppose, and . . .

  • Wealthy cheap-labor conservatives like say, George W. Bush, buy the bonds and then earn tax free interest on the money they lend the government.[Check out Dubya's financial disclosures. The son of a bitch is a big holder of the T-bills that finance the deficit he is helping to expand.] The deficit created by cheap-labor conservatives while they posture as being "fiscally conservative" – may count as the biggest con job in American history.

  • "Free Trade", globalization, NAFTA and especially GATT are intended to create a world-wide "corporate playground" where national governments serve the interests of corporations – which means "cheap labor".

The ugly truth is that cheap-labor conservatives just don't like working people. They don't like "bottom up" prosperity, and the reason for it is very simple. lords have a harder time kicking them around. Once you understand this about the cheap-labor conservatives, the real motivation for their policies makes perfect sense. Remember, cheap-labor conservatives believe in social hierarchy and privilege, so the only prosperity they want is limited to them. They want to see absolutely nothing that benefits the guy – or more often the woman – who works for an hourly wage.

The power of this meme is enormous - far from the empty rhetoric of the term "liberal", it has a concrete meaning and is devastatingly descriptive. It does indeed expose the agenda of the far right and provides a common frame of reference for why we think our ideas are better. And it defuses the threat of their labels, and levels the field, wher ethe true dialouge can take place.

I urge everyone to use this phrase consistently. As Conceptual Guerilla states:

Try it. Every time you respond to a cheap-labor conservative in letters to the editor, or an online discussion forum, look for the "cheap labor" angle. Trust me, you'll find it. I can even show you the "cheap labor" angle in things like the "war on drugs", and the absurd conservative opposition to alternative energy.

Next, make that moniker – cheap-labor conservatives – you're "standard reference" to the other side. One of the last revisions I made to this article was to find every reference to "conservatives", "Republicans", "right-wingers", and "righties", and replace it with "cheap-labor conservatives". In fact, if you're a cheap-labor conservative reading this, you should be getting sick of that phrase right about now. Exxxxcellent.

If enough people will "get with the program", it won't be long before you can't look at an editorial page, listen to the radio, turn on the TV, or log onto your favorite message board without seeing the phrase "cheap labor conservatives" – and have plenty of examples to reinforce the message. By election day of 2004, every politically sentient American should understand exactly what a "cheap labor conservative" is, and what he stands for.

I fervently hope Howard Dean is the first candidate to use the phrase "cheap-labor conservative" on the stump. What do you think?

[1] some conservatives get tarred with the liberal label as well. remember, The GOP is not identical to conservatives any more than the Democrats are equal to liberals or Greens with Progressives. Political parties use ideology as recruitment tools but often pay them mere lip service in practice. Case in point: whatever happenned to the balanced budget plank of the Contract with America?


Bush press conference at 10:30 EST

posted by G at Wednesday, July 30, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Watch it on C-SPAN. Post comments here.


Open Thread

posted by G at Wednesday, July 30, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Have at it, Deanyboppers.


NY Times profile

posted by G at Wednesday, July 30, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
I think Diane at Dean Defense Forces is a bit too defensive in her take on the Times' generally fair look at Dean. I urge you to read the whole thing. Just one excerpt:
Isn't he too liberal to get elected?

"If being a liberal means a balanced budget, I'm a liberal," Dr. Dean said, delighted at the opening. "If being a liberal means adding jobs instead of subtracting them, then, please, call me a liberal."

"I don't care what label you put on me," he finished, "as long as you call me Mr. President!"
Also see the letters in today's Times, which all take the DLC to task on its criticism of Dean. One says
The popularity of Howard Dean is not a coup but proof of how overwhelmingly his positions resonate with Democratic voters.

Tuesday, July 29, 2003


On the Road With...Dean?

posted by Trammell at Tuesday, July 29, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Be Like Dean!
John Kerry's voters ask their candidate to act like the other guy.
By Chris Suellentrop, MSNBC & Slate

DES MOINES, Iowa, July 29 — When I arrive at John Kerry's campaign headquarters Saturday afternoon for a "Kerry Country BBQ," the candidate's staff is buzzing about a tall young blond man who has arrived for the event. They want to prevent him from getting anywhere close to the candidate. Before I came to Iowa, I was conditioned to think of Howard Dean as the unpredictably exciting, insurgent candidate and to think of Kerry as the aloof, preprogrammed establishment contender. This is my first taste of what the differences look like up close.

What's all the fuss about the blond guy? I ask Kerry's Iowa press secretary, Laura Capps. "He takes pictures of himself with the candidates and posts nasty comments about them," she says. I’m not sure, but this may be a historic moment for the Iowa caucuses: The Kerry campaign is terrified of how their candidate will be portrayed by a blogger.

Later, I sidle up next to the man to ask about his Web site, which turns out to be far, he's snapped pictures of himself with six candidates. This is easy to do in Iowa, where campaign events usually end with a ritual that resembles Picture Day at a Major League Baseball game, as voters line up to take snapshots of themselves and their children with the candidate du jour. The blogger needs shots of Kerry, Carol Moseley Braun, and Bob Graham to complete his collection, but he fails in his mission at the Kerry barbecue. Instead, the next day he adds a picture of Kerry's head on the body of a chicken to the top of his site.

Kerry arrives a few minutes later, riding a Harley. A crowd of voters and campaign volunteers surround him, but it appears that the campaign workers are the ones making most of the noise, a lot of "Yay, John, woo-hoo!"-ing. (In contrast to the Dean campaign, I notice later that some Kerry volunteers and staffers are introducing themselves to the candidate, as if for the first time, and having their pictures taken with him.) [...]


At the two Kerry events I attended this past weekend, voters kept encouraging the Massachusetts senator, in effect, to be more like Howard Dean. After Friday's Kerry speech, a voter walked up to him and told him the Democrats must quit being passive. "Oh, I’m not passive," Kerry soothed. Today, he does something similar when an angry voter complains about the Leave No Child Behind bill. "Oh, I am so furious about it," Kerry says matter-of-factly. These are questions Dean wouldn’t even be asked.

As I'm leaving the event, I run into a Kerry campaign worker. He stops me and asks me about Dean and what he's like. He says he'd really like to hear him speak, but it's not kosher for staffers to go to other candidates' events. Maybe if he goes in plain clothes, he muses. Everyone talks about what a great speaker Dean is, he says, but how does he interact with people? I tell him I was impressed.

The more I tell him about Dean, the more crestfallen he seems to get. Without mentioning Kerry, I tell him that Dean never appears to be trying to walk out of a room. He interjects: "That’s a real problem we have, because Kerry's a senator, so he needs to be back in Washington. Dean's basically unemployed, so he can spend all day hanging out with three people." It's only a feeling I get, but I can't help wondering if he signed up with Kerry because he thought Kerry would win, and now he’s questioning his decision. As I head out to catch my plane, I think that the girl on his right appears to be consoling him.

COMMENT by Scott: Ouch, ouch, ouch, ouch, ouch.


Base Anger

posted by Aziz P. at Tuesday, July 29, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
The conservative Weekly Standard sees a real threat from Dean - and recognizes the symbolism of the fundraising model of the campaign, as tapping into the real roots of the Democratic party:

But these itty-bitty donations have a symbolic value, too. The Democratic party is a wishbone of proletarian sloganeering and plutocratic direction that, when snapped, always leaves one side disillusioned. Racial and lifestyle minorities provide the electoral ballast for the party, true. But outside of those categories, the Democrats are the party of America's crème de la crème--not just the "cultural elite," as Dan Quayle put it, but the elite, period. Overwhelming evidence for this came in the form of a June study by the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics. It found that Republicans outraise Democrats by 63 percent to 37 percent among penny-ante donors--those who give under $200. The GOP retains that advantage at all levels up to $100,000, although it steadily narrows as the dollar amount rises. Once you hit $100,000, the Democrats really begin to clean up. They hold a fundraising advantage that widens rapidly as the numbers get more stratospheric. In contributions of over $1 million, they outraise Republicans by 92 percent to 8 percent.

Dean may have risen by attracting a base of fundraisers who are the same people as those the party claims, increasingly implausibly, to speak for. Nonetheless--or, perhaps, therefore--many Democrats are asking whether he is "electable." Among these doubters are the architects of two consecutive losses in national elections. Their skepticism seems premature. Those Democrats who dismiss Dean as unelectable are making an assessment of what non-Democratic voters think, and this is a subject on which Democrats have been driven into a frenzy of illogic by their dislike of George W. Bush. The current self-serving self-delusion--one reads it in "Doonesbury" and hears it from Nancy Pelosi and a variety of marginal commentators and celebrity know-nothings--is that Republicans have succeeded because their message is stupid and simple and dishonest; and Democrats have failed because they're so subtle and principled. Under this logic, Democrats will do best by nominating a malevolent sleazeball and getting him to shout at the top of his lungs. Suffice it to say that this logic is identical to that upon which Republicans built a string of defeats in the Clinton years.

The article goes in into much more detail about the various "unelectability" arguments and provides original counterarguments, from the perspective of the right-moderate rather than the left one. And closes with recognition that Dean's rise is ultimately rooted in widespread opposition to Bush - something that the DLC seems unable to understand.


Sidebar update

posted by annatopia at Tuesday, July 29, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
It's been a while since we've updated the links on the sidebar. Some of you have added URLs, moved, or created new Dean sites. While I realise there is a comment string on the side for sidebar updates, I'm a bit pressed for time right now and I can't go through and check the veracity of all the links. Can everyone please check your respective state links and leave a comment here if you need a correction or addition? I know of two or three that we need to update for sure, but I want to make sure we can cover this in one fell swoop. Please leave a comment now if you need your site updated on the sidebar. Thanks!


Dean Tackles Bush, Economy

posted by Christopher at Tuesday, July 29, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Dean is beginning to hit his stride on the economy. For those wondering if Dean has a second act, my guess is that the economy will be "exhibit A" in a new burst into the public consciousness, and a mainstreaming of his message. A sampling:

'In his remarks, Dean assailed Bush and his economic plan. The president, in addressing the National Urban League Monday, had touted his policies, including tax cuts, for providing greater opportunity for Americans.

"Never has a president talked so much about jobs while doing so much to destroy them," Dean said.'


The Dean of Surprises

posted by Christopher at Tuesday, July 29, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Brian McGrory writes in today's Boston Globe that Vermont Gov. Howard Dean is not what he expected... and he clearly is not going away:

'What I found was the candidate standing amid a couple of hundred fascinated people inside Elliot Hospital, taking questions that centered not on Iraq, but on health care. With national reporters ringing the room, Dean spoke off-the-cuff in a way that few politicians do anymore.

To be sure, there's little of the backslapping and two-fisted handshaking that send the message that he deeply cares. Nobody's ever going to mistake him for Jerry Seinfeld or, for that matter, Bill Clinton, especially when an elderly man called out, ''Can I ask one more question?'' Dean said, ''No, I want to give others some time.'' Then he turned away.

Later, sitting back at his state campaign headquarters, Dean seemed more relaxed. There was no blood on his lips. When asked whether he worried that his candidacy might be relegated to that of a flaming meteor, much like Gary Hart's or John McCain's in elections past, rather than choke me, he merely shrugged.

''Everyone else is so afraid to lose that they tailor their message so tightly and don't say anything,'' he says. ''If we turn into a fad, it's the American people that will decide.''

Asked how he'll avoid that, he makes the point that has other candidates worried most. ''This is the first time I remember the national press identifying the insurgent before picking the front-runner,'' he says. ''This is uncharted territory."'


Dean and immigration

posted by Aziz P. at Tuesday, July 29, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
The Pat Buchanan-led "paleo-conservative" crowd, which has been anti-Iraq-war for strictly isolationist reasons, writes in the American Conservative that they would go for Howard Dean if he was anti-immigration. The strangeness of this is lessened when you realize that they see Dean as a "Rockefeller Republican" in disguise (and that the neo-conservative foreign policy of the Bush Admnistration is very much against the grain of classic conservative thought). The essence of their argument is that Dean can get the "poor white vote" to help him against Bush in the general election:

As George Borjas and other immigration economists have argued, while some immigrants do benefit the overall economy, a large coterie of low-skilled workers has costs, and those costs are borne disproportionately by less-skilled and lower-paid American workers. If you are the sort of person who wishes to hire someone cheap to clean your pool, you are probably someone who benefits from a large reserve army of poor and eager workers. If you are struggling to support a family with the skills of a high-school graduate, you will benefit from a tighter labor market and higher wages that would stem from a lower rate of immigration.

Miles maintained that the first winners from immigration reform would be the black workers—a group that has lost many niches in the American economy during the past generation to new immigrants. But white workers are getting hurt as well. In a phenomenon noted by Brookings Institution demographer William Frey, the white working class has been steadily fleeing high-immigration states during the last 15 years—from California to Nevada and Colorado, from New York to the Southeast. But the immigration surge has kept pursuing them, five or ten years behind, and is now beginning to have a notable impact on labor markets in the interior of the country.

Is there actually a large pool of poor, white voters who would defect to Dean? Somehow I think that poor voters, regardless of race, see Democrats as more attuned to their needs, and I'm not convinced that strict immigration policies would confer any advantage in that demographic.


Dean's Army

posted by Aziz P. at Tuesday, July 29, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Billmon has a long post about why the Dean Team matters, in teh context of the Emerging Democratic Majority theme (whose autors paradoxically seem to be against Dean). It's a fascinating post and does a fantastic job of tying these two things together into a big picture.

Monday, July 28, 2003


WE DID IT!!! Final Total: $508,540.31

posted by Trammell at Monday, July 28, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
WOW. This from grassroots guru Joe Trippi's O-blog thank you:

From Robert's first questioning if Burlington had gotten timid, to the suggestion that Governor Dean enjoy a sandwich while blogging today, the Dean Team vs Bush-Cheney fundraising challenge has been an amazing demonstration of how a Presidential campaign can interact with the grassroots -- and how individuals who believe in each other and work in common purpose can make a difference.

The bat is a symbol of what can happen when power is placed where it rightly belongs, in the hands of the people. A few days ago the bat was placed in your hands, and 9,568 Dean supporters responded with over $507,150.31 in contributions to Dean for America.

PS: The Governor said it was the best sandwich he ever had.


phase II: Coverage of the National Urban League convention

posted by annatopia at Monday, July 28, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Early reports are beginning to trickle in from the National Urban League convention, in which Bush and the Democratic contenders shared a stage for the first time. By most accounts, the contenders got in some real good jabs at Bush's policies, and Bush received a polite yet tepid response from the crowd. Here's what we've got so far.

WaPo covers the event, noting that Bush emphasised his faith-based initiatives. Yet the article also pointedly mentions that this is only the second time in nearly two years that Bush has appeared before a large African-American group.

As for the contenders, files this report, noting that Sens. John Kerry of Massachusetts and Bob Graham of Florida were no-shows. They mention that Dean got a standing ovation from the crowd when he said, "There are lots of white politicians who go before black groups and talk about race. We need white politicians who go before white groups and talk about race."

The AP wire story says that Bush hasn't met with the Congressional Black Caucus in over 2 years (!), and reports that each Democratic contender fired shots at Bush that resonated with attendees. I'll post more on this event tomorrow as information becomes available.


Dean's $3-a-plate Turkey Sandwich Luncheon

posted by Trammell at Monday, July 28, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Democratic Presidential Candidate Howard Dean enjoys his $3-a-plate turkey lunch with now close to 10,000 supporters, raising an astonishing $482,000 just a few bucks at a time, nearly doubling Dick Cheney's efforts at a South Carolina luncheon with a mere handful of special interest donors. Great job, everyone, but come on, let's do our best to make it a cool half-a-million bucks, eh? That'll show 'em! Woohoo!


Dean Leads Kerry in New Hampshire!

posted by Christopher at Monday, July 28, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
The Boston Herald has conducted its own poll in New Hampshire - ostensibly gauging support for a Hillary Clinton run against the rest of the field. Two things immediately jump out in this poll. First, Dean runs second only to Hillary (and she doesn't take much from his support, only from others in the field). Second, Dean leads Kerry head to head by 28% to 25%. Clearly this remains well within the margin of error, but this supports the other polling data posted earlier today. Good news for the Dean team. An excerpt:

"The race now tied between Dean and Kerry would quickly become a Dean-Clinton standoff, with Clinton picked by 27 percent of voters and Dean by 23 percent in the poll.

Kerry would fall to a second tier at 16 percent and all other candidates would be relegated to single digits.

But Dean's support among independent- and reform-minded voters seems intact with or without Clinton in the running.

``She doesn't eat into Dean's lead at all,'' said Herald pollster R. Kelly Myers. ``As of today, Dean is the only one who could hold his own (against Clinton).''

Indeed, among independents polled in the survey, Dean and Clinton are locked at 21 percent and 22 percent respectively."


Dean Defense Forces Growing

posted by Matt Singer at Monday, July 28, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions, itself in the middle of a rebuilding, is becoming a better site all the time. We now have Randy Mayeux kicking some ... well ... something. We've got other new bloggers. We're going to be adding more to the site soon as well. Keep your eyes peeled, and, if you're ever looking for ways to help the Doctor, our site should be able to keep you active.


Georgy's Shameless Play, or, Blush Light

posted by Trammell at Monday, July 28, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
What do sexy underwear, Howard Dean and Gray Davis have in common? Well, in a shameless play to the Dean base, Georgy Russell, who's running on the recall ballot to replace the California governor, asks us to vote for our favorite underdog, with Howard Dean prominent among them -- along side Harry Truman! You can also buy Georgy's thong underwear and other merchandise. But instead, vote for Howard Dean, check out Georgy's blog and don't forget to come on back here and give a little to help Dean defeat Cheney/Bush! Maybe you're shameless, Georgy, but you got spunk!

UPDATE: Lior Abraham, Georgy's campaign manager, sends me this e-mail regarding this post: "Thanks for the heads up. We were actually about to change the poll anyway, but maybe we'll hold off and let the Dean base have some fun." Thanks, Lior! So Dean Nationals, get to voting. We are currently leading Georgy herself by a small margin, and the fun can't last forever....


Untitled Memoir by Howard Dean

posted by Karl at Monday, July 28, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Having some fun on today I came across this interesting book that Amazon states "has not yet been released. You may order it now and we will ship it to you when it arrives." Doctor Dean's untitled book is currently ranked 63,505 on I think we should all pre-order a copy and see if we can't get that sales ranking up a bit.

According to the book is slated for release in November of 2003.



New Hampshire poll: Dean still trending upwards

posted by annatopia at Monday, July 28, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
AMR released their latest New Hampshire field poll last week. AMR has traditionally undersampled independents, but this time around they're broken down the numbers for us. Here's a quick summary of the latest NH numbers:

If the race were held today....
Kerry 25% (-3), Dean 19% (+1) , Gephardt 10% (+/-0) *the rest of the contenders are in single digits, but note that undecided voters are up to 30% (+7)

Other notable Dean numbers:
- Name recognition is up to 97% (+12), favorability is up to 57% (+11), and unfavorable is still low at 10% (+1)

The poll concludes with this summary:

Of the 30% of likely Democratic primary voters undecided in their preference for president, 42% have a favorable opinion of Dean, and 45% have a favorable opinion of Kerry.
Of the 25% of likely Democratic primary voters saying they would vote for Kerry, 83% have a favorable opinion of Dean. Of the 19% of likely Democratic primary voters saying they would vote for Dean, 67% have a favorable opinion of Kerry.


phase II: a message of optimism and hope

posted by annatopia at Monday, July 28, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
CNN has a nice bit about the Iowa Dean Corps today, who have been volunteering at food banks and soup kitchens across Iowa. While the idea of volunteerism is nothing new, columnist Mark Sheilds (of CNN's Capital Gang) nails it when he says that the underlying message of this work is optimism and hope:

The Dean Corps has already been involved in environmental cleanups, which given the popular image of the Vermonter's following, is not surprising. But if a presidential campaign actually does perform valuable human and social service and helps to restore a fraying sense of community, that could potentially change the entire dynamic of the caucus turnout next January 19.

Imagine the profound contrast between the Dean campaign volunteers feeding the hungry and comforting the lonely with the Bush pioneer/rangers corralling their $200 million swag for a primary in which the president is unopposed.

It's called the Great American Restoration, and Dean outlined this theme in his speech to the nation on June 23. It's isn't a gimmick, it's a real movement to restore the American community. Sheilds goes on to draw an interesting comparison between Dean and his predecessors:

But unlike the Gipper, who put a smiling face on conservatism, the doctor does not brim with optimism. The self-deprecating humor is neither particularly self-deprecating nor funny. He is a candidate who seems likely to win more admiration than affection. It is worth remembering that in the last half century only two American politicians have served two terms in the White House.

Both were invincible optimists -- Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton

Now we're talking. Most of the members of this community have tried repeatedly to make the point that this campaign is about hope. It's about that feeling you get when you finally realise that you can make a difference. It's about channelling your energy into a positive force for change. Dean Corps in Iowa is doing it, the grassroots is doing it, and so are thousands of donors. Thanks, Mark Shields, for helping us spread the word.


All Things Considered looks at DFA fundraising

posted by Aziz P. at Monday, July 28, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
today on NPR's All Things Considered:

Participation in the campaign of Democratic presidential hopeful Howard Dean is just a click away. On Dean's Web site, one can donate money, volunteer, or chat with other supporters. The candidate's staff believes its use of the Internet foreshadows a sea change in politics, but can it elect a candidate?


Dean Nation vs. Cheney-Bush

posted by Aziz P. at Monday, July 28, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions

Over the weekend, the campaign raised $250,000 to match Cheney-Bush's planned fundraising goal for today, Monday July 28th (at a luncheon in South Carolina). That's 4,818 regular Americans vs 125 elite special interests. And it epitomizes what this campaign is about.

But the campaign isn't resting on its laurels having matched Cheney-Bush (over a slow weekend!). Now they have added a SECOND bat - and here's what it's for:

You'll notice the second bat doesn't have a goal. It will be up to you and thousands of other Americans to fill that bat up to whatever amount you can by midnight, tomorrow. We've matched the Bush-Cheney fundraising machine. Tomorrow, let's see by how much we can surpass them.

And wait til you see what we plan on doing with the additional money you help raise tomorrow. It's top secret, but we can tell you this-- it will surprise everyone.

my speculation: the South Carolina primary is the prize!

So, Dean Nation - let's join in and step up to the plate! It's OUR turn at bat!

Sunday, July 27, 2003


DN's "Backbone" Award: Senator Durbin & Ambassador Wilson

posted by Trammell at Sunday, July 27, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
What a week to try and choose winners of Dean Nation's second "Backbone" Award. See comments in this post for all the nominees, some of whom will no doubt be future recipients. But for this week, Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Ambassador Joe Wilson rise above the rest. They are telling difficult truths and asking hard questions -- all while enduring scathing and sometimes dangerous smear campaigns -- yet they continue to exhibit an amazing amount of Backbone. Is there any doubt left that Howard Dean is a leader in this welcome trend of fighting the agenda of the Radical Right? Here's Durbin on WsMD and "sixteen words" from ABC News:
"We've been asking the wrong question. We've been asking, why did George Tenet not stop the White House from misleading the American people? The more important question is, who is it in the White House who was hell-bent on misleading the American people and why are they still there?"
And here is Wilson from an interview with Andrea Mitchell discussing the White House's smear campaign against him and his wife -- including blowing Mrs. Wilson's cover as a CIA operative and putting her and her associates in danger's path and her career in jeopardy -- following a Meet The Press appearance in which he discussed the truth regarding Niger-gate and the "uranium" disaster:
"It’s a shot across the bow to those who might step forward. Those unnamed analysts who said they were pressured by the White House, for example, would think twice about having their own families’ names being dragged through this particular mud."
And this from The Hill as Durbin continues the fight for Wilson -- and himself -- against the Rove and McLellan Sewer Diversion Act:
He said that syndicated columnist Robert Novak and Time magazine (A war on Wilson?) both reported that administration officials "told them they believe Mr. Wilson had been chosen [for the mission] through the influence of his wife, whom they identified as a CIA operative."

Speaking to reporters after his Senate remarks, Durbin said, "If a member of the Senate is going to be subject to this kind of effort from the White House to discourage our responsibility … and goes to the point of questioning the integrity of my service on the Intelligence Committee, that is a serious as it gets."

"Sadly, what we have here is a continuing pattern by this White House," he declared. "If any member of this Senate, Democrat or Republican, takes to the floor, questions this White House policy, raises any questions about the gathering of intelligence information or the use of it, be prepared for the worst."
ACTION: Though I've no idea how to contact Ambassador Wilson, please send e-mail and/or please write or call Senator Dick Durbin, tell him you are a Howard Dean supporter, and tell him how much you appreciate leaders like Dean who stand up and fight for what is right and what is true in our country, especially when faced with powerful and vicious foes, and especially when it regards our national security. Finally, tell the Senator how much you respect that he's fighting for Joe Wilson, and ask him to please pass your best wishes to the Ambassador, his wife, and his family. As always, we've a long way to go, keep on fighting!

P.S The Fruitcake Rebellion fruitcake this week should go to White House spokesman Scott McLellan and Dick Cheney. But why waste $25 bucks on these guys when you can give $25 bucks to Howard Dean's campaign by simply clicking here!


It's the message, stupid

posted by Trammell at Sunday, July 27, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Via the O-blog this great WaPo piece on internet and traditional organizing -- and our own grassroots guru, Joe Trippi:
Trippi seems an unlikely person to help lead the Internet revolution in politics, a rumpled and sometimes controversial personality who broke into national politics doing the gritty and old-fashioned work of organizing. [...]

Trippi is nothing if not confident. "The mistake others make is to say it's all Internet-driven," he said. "It's not all Internet. We're using the Internet as a tool for organizing. . . . It's [Dean] and his message that makes all this possible."

Saturday, July 26, 2003


Unreliable Sources

posted by Matt Singer at Saturday, July 26, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Howie Kurtz is writing about the DDF, and we have some thoughts on it.

Friday, July 25, 2003


Rep. Frank Pallone Jr (D-NJ) endorses Gov Dean

posted by annatopia at Friday, July 25, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
We've got another congressional endorsement to report! This time it's New Jersey Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. Also, one of Pallone's former top aides, Mike Beson, is acting as Dean's state coordinator in New Jersey.

"I came to this kind of slowly, obviously Mike Beson had a lot of input, but the bottom line is Howard Dean is the best candidate for Democrats," Pallone said at a Statehouse news conference. "I think he can win, I think he can win the Democratic nomination and I think he can beat Bush."

So do we, Rep. Pallone. Can anyone from New Jersey provide some background on Rep. Pallone so that we can put this endorsement in perspective?


"Backbone" Nominations

posted by Trammell at Friday, July 25, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Last week it was Pelosi, Rangel and the House Dems (you'll have to scroll down, the archive link is broken). After promising the Republicans' a "week from hell" Pelosi and the Dems forced GOP leaders to force Bill Thomas to apologize or face losing his leadership spot. Thomas, never humble, was hobbled and practically groveling. Nice job, eh?

It's time for nominations. Who had "back" this week? Who didn't? Does anyone deserve the award? And who should get a Fruitcake Rebellion (TM) fruitcake? Winners (and losers) posted by Sunday.


3 Flavors of "Unelectability"

posted by G at Friday, July 25, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Al From and Bruce Reed, executive directors of the Democratic Leadership Council, argue that Dean is unelectable because he's a far out liberal out of touch with mainstream America. This is simply untrue. Clinton recently pointed out that as Vermont governor, Dean was very much a centrist, and a fair assessment of his record and positions would put him somewhere around where Clinton was in 1992.

So what are From and Reed really thinking? Part of it may be that they just have already committed themselves elsewhere: From is an advisor to Lieberman, and Reed is advising Edwards. A more generous evaluation is that they sincerely believe that Dean is unelectable because he opposed the war. What I think must be their true view was expressed recently by Jonathan Chait in the New Republic:
The main problem for Dean is not that the public is so supportive of the war in Iraq specifically but, rather, that it abhors any politician who smacks of weakness against foreign enemies generally. Even in the unlikely event that most voters conclude the Iraq war was a mistake, the broader resonance of Dean's antiwar position will still hurt him. As my colleague Lawrence F. Kaplan pointed out in a recent Wall Street Journal op-ed, the unpopularity of the Vietnam War hardly made George McGovern's dovishness more politically successful.
As I wrote in my commentary, Chait would have it that any candidate who does not support every war unconditionally, no matter how empty and mindless the case for the war, is doomed. I think this is an argument in search of evidence. In at least three presidential elections during the 20th century during which controversial military action was looming or on-going at the time of the election, the winning candidate was the one who vowed either not to get the country into war in the first place or to pull the country out of war. This applies to Wilson in 1916 (whose campaign slogan was "He Kept Us Out of War"), Roosevelt in 1940, and Nixon in 1968. The fact that Wilson and Roosevelt both broke their vows and took us into war, and that Nixon didn't really have a secret plan to end the war in Vietnam is beside the point. You don't have to be a warmonger to win the presidency of the United States.

The third version of the "unelectable" critique is that regardless of his actual views, Dean the Nominee inevitably will be portrayed as a far left liberal. The argument is that the combination of his opposition to the war, his support for civil unions in Vermont, that he was governor of a liberal state, that he says he is a "social liberal and fiscal convervative," and the tone of his rhetoric will give the Republicans too much ammunition for Dean to successfully come off as the centrist he is.

First reply to this: this goes for all the possible Democratic nominees. Even if Joe Lieberman is nominated (highly unlikely), the Republicans will do their best to paint him as a lefty. The more likely alternative to Dean, John Kerry, has plenty on his record that one could selectively pull out to build a campaign ad saying "Kerry is a Commie." (Sidenote: none of the candidates has a stance on civil unions and markedly to the left of Dean's.)

Second reply to this: are we really so helpless in the face of the Republican propaganda machine? If nominated, Dean will have plenty of chance to tell people the truth about his record and beliefs. Already, with more media attention, there have been lots of articles about "Dean the Centrist." I refuse to believe that Bush's grip on the media is so powerful that it will crush the voices telling it like it is. This goes double since the Internet has brought the price of information down to zero. We have the power to let the truth be known.


Congress Takes Aim at Patriot Act

posted by G at Friday, July 25, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Dean says, "I would remove the parts of the Patriot Act that are clearly unconstitutional."

Jonathan Chait of the New Republic writes
Combined with his antiwar stance, Dean's opposition to the Patriot Act could be politically lethal in a general election. For years, Republicans painted Democrats as civil-libertarian purists unconcerned with fighting crime. ....Whatever the merits of Dean's absolutist position, from a pragmatic standpoint he is once again walking into a GOP attack ad while flaying his opponents for failing to do the same.
In a huge victory, the House voted on Tuesday evening -- by an extraordinary margin -- for an amendment to this year's Commerce, Justice and State funding bill that would bar federal law enforcement agencies from implementing "sneak and peek" search warrants. In one of its most controversial provisions, the USA PATRIOT Act allowed government agents to execute so-called sneak and peek warrants and search homes, confiscate certain types of property and essentially "bug" computers without notifying the subject of the search that it is happening.

Conservative Rep. C.L. "Butch" Otter (R-ID) offered the amendment, which passed by a vote of 309 to 118, with 113 Republicans voting in favor. The amendment still has to clear the Senate and the President before it becomes law.

The Otter Amendment is the first unequivocal indication that lawmakers are taking seriously a broad, grassroots backlash against excessive government powers, which has grown exponentially in the past several months. To date, at least 142 communities and three states, encompassing more than 16 million people, have passed pro-civil liberties resolutions that speak out against the PATRIOT Act, many of which call for specific fixes to the bill.


Dean on the War,0,3170193.column?coll=bal-home-columnists

posted by G at Friday, July 25, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
From an interview by Baltimore Sun columnist Jules Witcover:
"The premise on which the country went to war turned out not to have been true," he says. "Saddam Hussein was never a danger to the United States. We're in more danger now than we were before the president went into Iraq."
"The job of president means you have to really make tough decisions and clear-eyed decisions. So I think the four guys who supported the war have got some explaining to do, because they basically swallowed all the evidence that the president was dishing them up, the major proportion of which turned out to be exaggerated or simply not true."

Mr. Lieberman, who was in support of the invasion from the start, may have an easier task defending himself, Mr. Dean says, but "the guys who sort of backed into it [support of the war], 'On the one hand I only did it to send it to the United Nations,' that kind of stuff, or they denounced the president while they were voting for the resolution, those guys are going to have a little more trouble."
"It isn't just Kerry. Gephardt, Edwards and Lieberman all voted for the war. [But] I truly believe that if you make a decision and it's based on the best information you have, that you ought to defend it all the way through."
"If I can figure out the case the president was making wasn't accurate, and wasn't a good one, and these guys, these campaigns, are all spinning that I don't have foreign policy experience," he says, "then how come my team could figure it out and the other teams couldn't?"

As for those in his party who suggest Mr. Dean may be getting too strident in his remarks about the still-popular president on the war, he says: "I think the strength of the whole campaign is how strongly we come out against the president's far-right policies. I think people will listen to both arguments on the war and they'll make up their minds about that. I don't worry that I'm opposed to the war because it's a principled position. There'll be an open debate about that, and I'll be glad to have that open debate."


Report on Dean Corps in Iowa: Dean Campaign More Than Politics as Usual

posted by Christopher at Friday, July 25, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Another great thing about the Dean campaign is its willingness to engage in the unconventional. Most campaigns are simply about increasing name recognition and finding new contributors. The Dean team is smart to focus on getting local volunteers plugged into community activities - not only will this generate goodwill for Dean, but it will multiply his base of support, as Dean Corps members introduce themselves to individuals at the local level. A great use of grassroots support!

Bush's failure to engage citizens in community activities in the post-9/11 world, only underscores the difference between the two candidates. Dean's effort here should serve him well.

** FYI, I've been in Mexico the last six weeks, and now relocated in Montpelier, VT. Sorry to have been out of touch!


audio: Dean on VPR

posted by Aziz P. at Friday, July 25, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Dean on Switchboard (VPR)

Bob Kinzel hosts the show from Ottumwa, Iowa in this special simulcast on Vermont Public Radio and Iowa Public Radio. Dean will discuss his campaign so far and take questions from listeners and from a studio audience of undecided Iowa voters.

(bonus link: previous archive of VPR coverage of Dean's campaign)


Life of the party?

posted by Aziz P. at Friday, July 25, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
A generally pro-Dean piece in Salon - if you aren't a Salon subscriber, you'll have to sit through a 30 sec commercial to access it though. The general theme is taking on the Dean = McGovern by showing how Dean actually is an embodiment of the real soul of the Party. And it starts out by quoting McGovern himself:

the most important thing McGovern can see about the upcoming presidential contest of 2004 is that it is not taking place in 1972, and that he is not running in it. Certainly, McGovern can see some resemblance between himself and former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean. They're both from sparsely populated, rural states. They both entered their respective races early, and became heavily reliant on volunteers and grass-roots mobilizing. That aside, though, "I think it's difficult to draw a close comparison," says McGovern.

"There's no transcendent issue now that he's identified with," says McGovern, who met Dean and some of the other Democratic presidential aspirants at a May conference on rural issues in Lake Placid, N.Y. "There's no Vietnam War, no Great Depression ... I don't see any single issue that has mobilized especially the young people and women like 1972 did. There was something about the Vietnam involvement that did create a divide in the Democratic Party probably surpassed only by the period of the Civil War, which had a shattering impact on the Democratic coalition. I don't think there's anything quite as divisive culturally or politically today.

"Another difference," continues McGovern somewhat wistfully, "is that he has a large sum of money in the race more than a year ahead of the election and I was never but one step ahead of the bill collectors ... I never had the millions that he has."

There are plenty of other differences, too -- such as the rise of the Internet and a front-loaded primary schedule next year that could provide a clear winner as early as March 3, whereas McGovern's state-by-state slog for the nomination lasted through and then into a convention so divisive that California's delegation was challenged all the way to the Supreme Court and four of McGovern's vice-presidential picks turned him down publicly before he finally won over former Peace Corps director Sargent Shriver.

But to hear Howard Dean's critics in the conservative wing of the Democratic Party, he is nothing less than the second coming of McGovern, doomed to lead the party into the same electoral inferno if he wins its nomination next year. According to Al From, CEO and founder of the center-right Democratic Leadership Council, and Bruce Reed, DLC president and President Bill Clinton's former domestic policy guru, Dean must be stopped before he steers the party back to the McGovern era of bell-bottoms and muttonchops -- and back to political oblivion.

I love hearing the DLC described as center-right! But the beauty of this article is that it shows exactly how Dean has been guided by the DLC itself, and as Trippi points out, is running the race that they themselves literally wrote the book on for how to win:

If anything, the DLC's attacks have increased support for the Dean campaign, which sees its fundraising spike each time it comes under attack from the Washington insiders, says Trippi. That's because rather than running as McGovern, Dean seems to be running according to the campaign playbook outlined by none other than From and Reed in their very smart Feb. 11 memo, "What It Takes to Win the White House."

"Your most formidable opponent," the duo wrote, "isn't President Bush or your fellow contestants for the nomination. Your real enemy is the ghost of Democrats past.

"[P]arty perceptions are a wonderful foil for an insurgent candidate looking to define himself," they continued, urging the candidates to refuse "to be subtle about defying the Democratic stereotype." Added Bernard L. Schwartz and Daniel Yankelovich in the same issue of Blueprint magazine: "The worst mistake Democrats can make is to continue to work within a Republican framework. This is how Democrats were snookered in the 2002 election."

What From and Reed did not realize is that their DLC would become the Democratic ghost against which an insurgent Dean would run.

Rather than running against the Democratic Party of 1972, Dean is running against the DLC-dominated (in image, if not in fact) Democratic Party that lost the House in 1994, the White House in 2000, and the Senate in 2000 and again in 2002. This, too, is just as From and Reed advised, though they seem to have forgotten that.

"The real front-runner, fresh off its triumph in the midterms, is the Democratic Party's losing image," they wrote in February. "If you want to win the presidency in 2004, you have to redefine the Democratic Party in 2003. By all means, capture your party's imagination -- but do it on your terms, not theirs."

That is exactly what Dean is doing -- by directly challenging the party's support for the president's war in Iraq, the USA PATRIOT Act, and such losing or poorly funded pieces of legislation as the Patient's Bill of Rights and the No Child Left Behind Act. "Don't look for the false unity that comes from shying away from every controversial issue, and reject the consultant consensus that stacking constituency upon constituency will add up to a majority," wrote From and Reed. "Now more than ever, the one reason to seek the presidency, and the only way to win it, is to unite people behind a cause that is larger than your candidacy."

And so Dean's presidential announcement speech on June 23 reached for the broadest themes possible: "This campaign is about more than issue differences on health care or tax policy, national security, jobs, the environment, our economy ... It's about who we are as Americans," Dean told the 30,000 people across the country who followed his speech. "I ask all Americans, regardless of party, to meet with me across the nation -- to come together in common cause to forge a new American century. Help us in this quest to return greatness and return high moral purpose to the United States of America."

Now that Dean is capturing the party's imagination on his own terms, the DLC is crying foul.

The article goes on to show that the DLC attacks are actually harming the entire Democratic field, by essentially hand-delivering the talking points to the Republicans. This will harm whoever is the nominee.

The second page of the article looks at the other main candidates, and points out that the DLC favorites, Edwards and Lieberman, have started out with all the advantages and spent the most money, but has steadily lost ground. They then point out that Kerry is the biggest threat to Dean (remember back when Dean was the biggest threat to Kerry?), and make an insightful observation that people who label Kerry as more electable are actually insulting Kerry himself:

Dean critics portray Kerry as a less exciting, but more electable candidate. "The Democrats would be much better off with a blander, more faceless, less exciting candidate -- Kerry, Gephardt or even Lieberman (perhaps with Edwards, Florida Sen. Bob Graham, or retired Gen. Wesley Clark as running mate) -- than they would be with a fiery, controversial Dean," wrote John Judis in Salon. This analysis is especially unfair to Kerry. Kerry is not the leader in New Hampshire because he is the bland, unexciting, unobjectionable party favorite. Kerry is leading because he is running an aggressive, smart campaign that was first out of the gate in January with a strong operation, has spent wisely, and has expanded ahead of the rest of the pack into multiple states. Kerry has proven himself a surprisingly personable and adept one-on-one campaigner, and his campaign has shown flexibility in responding to the challenge Dean has posed.

still, it takes more than a good manager to win, and the carping of the DLC will come back to haunt even the strongest campaign. The article closes out:

the DLC attacks of this spring and summer will work their evil magic, you may be certain. They will weaken the eventual Democratic nominee -- whether it is Dean, Kerry, Gephardt, Edwards or some other candidate – and increase the chances that the nominee will lose to Bush.

But in the end, victory might well go to the boldest candidate, despite the carping of the cautious and centrist. "Americans don't vote for someone who has positioned himself in the center," says Curtis Gans, former director of the nonpartisan Committee for the Study of the American Electorate. "They vote for a human being who they trust to help them solve their problems."

Thursday, July 24, 2003


Open Thread

posted by Trammell at Thursday, July 24, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
As a conversation starter, check out this new National prez pref poll and accompanying analysis at Daily Kos. Consider the floor yours. Now get to dancin' okay?


Kurtz on Crowley on Kerry on Dean on Woodruff

posted by Trammell at Thursday, July 24, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
The The Washington Post's Howard Kurtz, remarking on TNR Primary writer Michael Crowley's musings on Kerry, and Kerry's (I think quite sneaky and dishonest) attack on Howard Dean from yesterday's Inside Politics:
"People who talk about Kerry's ability to connect with voters typically focus on his 'aloofness' and patrician bearings. But Kerry's most off-putting quality may be his tedious long-windedness. The man desperately needs an editor lobe in his brain. When Kerry finally announced his position on Iraq last fall, for instance, he did so with a 45-minute Senate-floor sermon that threw off other senators' time slots. But the problem isn't just his big speeches; Kerry's television interviews are just as bad. Take, for example, his appearance on CNN's 'Inside Politics' yesterday. When the show's host, Judy Woodruff, asked him about the Howard Dean surge, Kerry rambled for what felt like three minutes."

We'll spare you the long monologue.

"Kerry did work in a nice swipe at Dean ('we don't need a learning curve in the presidency'). But it was buried under 20 lungfuls of blather. Kerry would do well to stop claiming that he speaks 'straight-forward, candid, with a clarity' and, like his nemesis from Vermont, actually start doing it."


Weicker Endorsement

posted by Editor at Thursday, July 24, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
From the Dean Campaign:
July 24, 2003

Lowell Weicker Endorses Howard Dean for America
Original Co-Sponsor of the American with Disabilities Act lauds Dean's leadership, courage

IOWA CITY-Former Connecticut Governor Lowell Weicker, Jr. announced today his endorsement of Governor Howard Dean, M.D, for president of the United States. Weicker, who is best known for his political independence and his sponsorship of the landmark Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), said that he was attracted to Dean because of the former Vermont governor's common-sense and forthright agenda.

"I'm endorsing Governor Dean today because he, more than all the other candidates, speaks to the issues that I care about-health care, civil rights, fiscal responsibility and most of all, a government that is truthful with the American people," said Mr. Weicker, who spoke with Dean via conference call this afternoon. "I firmly believe that Dr. Dean has his priorities straight."

"Dean has based his career in public service around three American values I deeply share: equal rights for all people, access to health care and fiscal responsibility. I have been impressed with the way that, when so many others were silent, Governor Dean spoke out against the hurtful and divisive policies of the Bush administration. He is a fighter and he works from the facts. Dean is not afraid to stand for what is right-no matter how politically unpopular it may be," Weicker said.

See for full press release.


Jonathan vs. Jonathan

posted by G at Thursday, July 24, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
The two guys who wrote the pro- and anti- Dean articles in the New Republic are now having an online back-and-forth about Dean. I think Jonathan the Good defends himself quite well and gets the better of his opponent. I like his posting here more than the original article. He also cites our blog for discussion of why Dean is not McGovern. Read it all! Then go over to Dean Defense Forces for info on how to e-mail the the New Republic a letter with your thoughts.


Carville on the "Big Message" for 2004

posted by Editor at Thursday, July 24, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
James Carville gave a speech in San Francisco recently to the American Trial Lawyers Association in which he identified what he predicts the “big issue” should be in the 2004 election. Carville was the Clinton strategist who developed the “it’s the economy, stupid” theme of the 1992 presidential campaign which led to the defeat of the first President Bush.

While Iraq will not be the focus of the election, it should be mentioned:
On Iraq, Carville said Democrats "should not exaggerate the facts," but merely state and restate them. "They lied to get us in. They don't know how to get us out," he said. "How did they not know the country wasn't divided? How do you commit 150,000 troops with no plan to get out? All we have to do is remind people of that."

For the Democrats to have a chance to beat George W. Bush in 2004, they need a big issue to bring to voters. The article on that covers the speech reports Carville saying it is not going to be the economy or foreign policy:
"The issues we now face as Americans are so huge, so great, demand so much attention, we have to look at it all," he said.

So, to keep you in suspense no longer, THE BIG ISSUE OF 2004:
And that lead to what Carville said was the big issue for Democrats in '04, what he called the Bush administration's reversal of "the generational promise of America -- each time we do what we can do to make the next generation better."

"That promise, today like no other time in our lifetime, is under attack," he said. "The idea that we are a society beyond our own self-interest is under attack. We are told America is best when people are interested in ourselves. We know America is better when we're based on a common interest.

"We have a president that is no longer interested in what happens to the next generation. We have a president that is no longer interested in what happens to the promise of America.

"I am telling you that there is so much at stake here. There is so much for us to fight for. There are so many people who don't want to give up the dream of generational promise.

More on


Talk Back, Baby

posted by Trammell at Thursday, July 24, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Are you a Dean supporter? Are you A Dean Critic? Want your thoughts heard?

I have questions for you. E-mail me at Points West

Wednesday, July 23, 2003


phase II: Steve Grossman and Howard Dean

posted by annatopia at Wednesday, July 23, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Sometimes I can't see the forest for the trees. ;^) After throwing out a blanket solicitation to Trippi to help explain Howard Dean's ties with AIPAC via Steve Grossman, one of our readers (DavidNYC) came through. He leaves this link and it says:

During his four years as AIPAC's president, Grossman remained on excellent terms with both Clinton and Rabin. In 1993, after Rabin signed the Oslo peace accords and shook hands with Yasir Arafat in the White House Rose Garden, Grossman coaxed from his board a unanimous declaration of support.

Grossman is the son of Russian Jewish immigrants, and his father was both an entrepreneur and a Boston political activist. Steve has a long history of being politically active and aligned with the power players in the Democratic Party. The Boston Phoenix's bio includes this gem:

It was after business school, in 1970, that Grossman had a "political epiphany" about the power of grassroots activism. The occasion was a caucus at Concord-Carlisle High School, where Grossman's uncle Jerome, co-founder of a statewide peace organization called MassPAX, planned to nominate Father Robert Drinan, an anti-war cleric, to challenge Representative Philip Philbin, a pro-Vietnam hawk. A lantern-jawed Vietnam War hero named John Kerry threatened to throw a wrench into those plans. But Jerome Grossman took Kerry aside and urged him to back away, saying the progressive wing of the Democratic Party would remember his decision. Kerry did so, and Drinan went on to serve in Congress for a decade.

Steve Grossman was part of the effort to elected Michael Dukakis in 88, and supported Ron Brown for Democratic Party Chair. Brown later invited Grossman to become part of - drumroll, please - the DNC. He's well known for rebuilding the Massachusetts Democratic Party after he became it's chairman in 1990. After Paul Tsongas dropped out of the 92 race, he got behind Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton.

He became the head of AIPAC in 1992, and played a key role in drumming up American Jewish support for the Oslo Accords (as mentioned above). He left AIPAC in 1997, and the organisation was more bipartisan and balanced than it had been in it's history.

Essentially, Grossman is one more connection to the Democratic Party power centers (check out this article, in which his fellow Democrats sing Grossman's praises). As we talked about last week, Dean's beginning to reach out to people inside the Beltway. People power can certainly win this election, but Dean's going to have to work with the power players once we get him elected. Reaching out to them now and building bridges is definitely smart, and Steve Grossman (fundraising capabilities aside) can help make that happen. Ahhh... I get it! ;^)


Internal campaign donations

posted by Aziz P. at Wednesday, July 23, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
This is an interesting little article that initially focuses on Edwards, but then goes on to examine all the campaigns, in seeing how much money they raised was from donations by campaign staff (and the candidates themselves). The Dean campaign is no exception, though most of its donations to itself were nowehere near the deadlines and thus clearly not intended to beef up the Q3 reporting:

Five senior Dean for America staffers gave to the campaign on June 30, though three of them gave less than $300 each, and one of them, longtime Dean adviser Tom McMahon, gave $500. Most internal donations to the Dean campaign seemed to have been geared toward keeping the campaign afloat during Dean's stint in the cash-poor wilderness last winter. Fund-raiser Steve Grossman donated $1,000 last December and another $1,000 in January, while campaign manager Joe Trippi gave $250 in January and $1,999 on March 20, putting him $249 over the legal limit, according to FEC records. Trippi says the first donation was from his wife on a shared credit card, and attempts to have it labeled as such in the FEC database are ongoing.

(emphasis mine). Intriguingly, the Kerry campaign had almost no internal donations. Mainly because he leads the pack with cash on hand and has the Heinz fortune in reserve, so that certainly seems wise :)


Gang Green

posted by Aziz P. at Wednesday, July 23, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Michael Tomasky takes on Ralph Nader and those Greens who are, as he puts it, "left-wing lions of ideological chastity." In addition to making the best summarized case of why it's self-interest defeating for Green party members to actually vote Green in 2004, he makes a suggestion that's audacious beyond words - that to counter the threat of Nader and a Green candidate for President in 2004, the Democrats need to attack Nader - ferociously, and immediately:

Attack Nader right now, and with lupine ferocity. Say he's a madman for thinking of running again. Blast him especially hard on foreign policy, saying that if it were up to the Greens, America would give no aid to Israel and it would cease to exist, and if it were up to the Greens, America would not have even defended itself against a barbarous attack by going into Afghanistan. Have at him, and hard, from the right. Then nail him from the left on certain social issues, on abortion rights and other things that he's often pooh-poohed and dismissed as irrelevant. Cause an uproar. Be dramatic. Don't balance it with praise about what he's done for consumers. To the contrary, talk about how much he's damaging consumers today by not caring who's in charge of the Food and Drug Administration or the Federal Communications Commission.

This would be, for some clever Democrat, the defining Sister Souljah moment of this campaign. Except times 50, because Sister Souljah was a second-tier rapper no one had heard of and Ralph Nader is one of the most famous Americans of the last half-century. Anyone who did this would automatically look tough. The candidates are running around now saying things like, "I'll be as tough as Bush." Well, you can say that 7,000 times and it doesn't matter. You have to do something to show people you're tough. That's the only way a message like that is delivered in a campaign. Then, people will look at what you've done and say, "Hey, that guy's pretty tough."

Who should do it? That's up to them. It wouldn't have much impact coming from Joe Lieberman, because he's not hunting for any votes over there in anything close to Nader territory. It has to be someone with at least one leg in the liberal soil -- John Kerry, Dick Gephardt or Howard Dean. Yes, Dean. If Dean does this, he doesn't lose his base -- his base is pissed-off Democrats who hate Nader for 2000, so if anything, he augments his standing among them. And, of course, he sends a reassuring signal to the centrist wing of the party that fears his success; it would give them something about him to admire. He can't lose.

I'm always bemused by controversial advice to Dean on how to win by people who still haven't endorsed him or are hedging their bets. If Tomasky came out and said "I support Howard Dean, he has my personal endorsement, and this is my advice" then I might be a little less skeptical.

But I can't really find any factual fault with Tomasky's analysis either. I mean, what exactly has Ralph Nader done in recent years that lets him keep his Saint Ralph halo? and certtainly Nader hasn't shown any restraint in his ferocious attacks on Democrats, notably Gore. And I'm still firmly convinced that we do need to thread that delicate line between wooing Green voters on the issues whil repudiating all things Nader. Might this be the answer?


Howard Dean and Saving the Net

posted by Aziz P. at Wednesday, July 23, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
This is an astounding editorial by Doc Searls, the editor of Linux Journal. Searls ties together the FCC consolidation rulings, the real reason why broadband is still not widespread, the real reason we lost the Eldred vs Ashcroft case, and even throws in commentary about the different attitudes of liberals and conservatives and how this shapes the ongoing struggle to save the Internet. At the end, Searls invokes Howard Dean - and points us in the same direction as Lessig did a few days ago. (I'm not going to excerpt - the whole thing is essential reading).

The discussion thread on Slashdot is buzzing - and Howard Dean is mentioned repeatedly (including calls for an interview). I don't know if the campaign realizes just how attuned the Slashdot demographic is towards Dean right now - as Searls points out, Dean's campaign use of the Internet is exactly the kind of nascent innovation that poses a real threat to those who oppose the user-centric ideals that the Internet embodies.

I cannot stop beating this drum. A slashdot interview is critical - but before it can happen, Dean needs to get up to speed. And this article by Searls is a great, great start.


Weicker to Endorse Dean

posted by Editor at Wednesday, July 23, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Dean for American announced today that former Republican senator and Independent governor Lowell P. Weicker of Connecticut will be endorsing Gov. Howard Dean for president. As a senator, Weicker was an original sponsor of the Americans with Disablities Act and was known as a Nixon critic during the Watergate scandal. As Connecticut's governor, Weicker instituted the state's income tax despite extreme opposition to the measure. Weicker lost his senate seat to Sen. Joseph Lieberman. He founded A Connecticut Party and was elected governor on that ticket. He was mentioned as a possible presidential candidate for the reform party in both 2000 and 1996.


Hilights from Trippi on Thom Hartmann show

posted by annatopia at Wednesday, July 23, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Dean campaign manager Joe Trippi offered some real gems during his interview with Vermont talk-show host Thom Hartmann. The question and answer session last an hour and twenty minutes. Here are some hilights:

* Dean supports Instant Runoff Voting. When asked about IRV, Trippi joked, "IRV is easy - Dean supports it. We wish moveon would have done it."
* Regarding the Republicans slashing veterans benefits: "We believe you've gotta keep your committment to the veterans of this country. These people fought and died for our freedom and you've gotta support them."
* On the dumbing down of political discussion in America: "The vocabulary of our politics has become totally meaningless."
* On Dean and the national media that promotes the stupid "McGovern" and "wild-eyed liberal" memes: "Part of what's going on there is when you have five different campaigns who all go drinking every night with the press people in Washington... the press basically gets spun. The McGovern stuff that's not true - its like I said there has been a totally different political vocabulary that's meaningless. This campaign is about restoring the meaning to the dialogue."
* Trippi stated Dean favors repealing the [un]PATRIOT[ic] Act, but feels the main problem is with the way the Justice Departmen implemented the act under Ashcroft's leadership.
* On the Bush Doctrine: "Bush has turned around centuries of foreign policy - since Thomas Paine and John Adams - we were not to become the new Rome. The Governor feels strongly that the preemtpive doctrine must be torn up the first day in office. This is not a left or right idea - it's an idea that's steeped in America itself. To try to define it ideologically is just wrong."
* On what Trippi would change about campaigning if he could: "If I had the power to do one thing, abolish one thing in our politics today, it woudn't be the negative ads, I would abolish polling." He went on to explain how polling agencies - beginning in the 80s - started to only poll likely voters, which led to more conservative poll numbers. People who aren't likely to vote generally don't get polled, and this includes a huge segment of the population that's dropped out of the process because they feel disenchanted, like they can't make a difference. This population is more progressive and more likely to vote Democrat than Republican.
* On the DLC's Dean-bashing: "The DLC - you know - Al From is supporting Lieberman and Reed is supporting Edwards - they're advisors. So you have to take with a grain of salt all these memos they're writing about why Howard Dean should not be elected. They're worried Dean might stop their guy from getting the nomination."
* On Dean taking on a former AIPAC member as a fundraiser: Trippi spun his wheels saying that because Dean's donor base is so large (over 90K people), he will not be beholden to any special interests. But he didn't answer the caller's question, which was how much justice the Palestinian children could expect from a Dean administration. Trippi said that Dean believes there's wrong on both sides (which is perfectly reasonable), and that Israel needs to pull out of the settlements and Palestinians need to stop committing state-sponsored terror.

Fair enough, but Dean's ties to AIPAC - if there are any - need to be clarified. We know he visited Israel on an AIPAC-sponsored trip last year. We know Dean's said (last summer) that his stance is close to AIPAC. But there's been nothing new since then. Has he become more moderate? Has he reached out to any Palestinian organisation, or any aid organisations that are currently working in that area? We also know Dean had a close friend - who recently passed away - who worked closely with a Jewish peace organisation that is not as hawkish as AIPAC. What influence did that friend's work have on Dean? Joe, it's really time to explain this. It's not a deal-breaker, but we need to know if his stance has evolved on this very important issue. Feel free to leave a comment.

Overall, the interview was really good. The host was eloquent and gave Joe plenty of time to answer the questions. Joe sounded like he needed some rest, but overall did a good job of explaining where Dean stands. If you listened, please leave a comment about your impression of the interview.

update Shoot, I forgot that Joe got asked about the VP question. Joe said, "I like Wesley Clark a lot - I think he's a really strong leader. But we're just fighting to get the nomination right now." Sorry for the ommission.


Boston Globe profiles the political blogosphere; focuses on Dean in Kerry's backyard

posted by annatopia at Wednesday, July 23, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Lots of pro-Dean bloggers are featured in this article which ran on the front page of today's Boston Globe. You'll see some familiar names and some familiar themes, and Globe reporter Joanna Weiss does a good job of summing up how blogs are influencing politics out in the real world. She also mentions that the other candidates haven't been as quick to embrace the power of blogs.

One thing I remember mentioning to her is that I think there's still room for the other candidates to build a community of online supporters. Witness John Kerry, who's finally gotten hip to meetup and now has over 7500 supporters signed on. Also, Wesley Clark supporters are getting a good response over at However, I also feel that they're facing an uphill climb and a learning curve. If the rest of the contenders don't jump in the water soon, they might miss the boat. Do you think there's room for more candidates in the blogosphere? If so, is it possible for them to garner the kind of support that Trippi has orchestrated for Dean? Is it too late for them already?


Listen to Trippi online at Noon EST Today

posted by annatopia at Wednesday, July 23, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Alert reader Larry Patterson sends a heads-up. Dean campaign manager Joe Trippi will appear on the Thom Hartmann radio show today at noon EST, 11 CST, 10am Mountain, and 9am Pacific. Listen live at, on a radio station near you, or on Sirius Satellite Radio channel 145. Call 1-800-Talk-Yes to be on the air. Hartmann's show is billed as "Uncommon Sense From the Radical Middle", and it should be good. Tune in if you can.


Wesley Clark

posted by Ezra at Wednesday, July 23, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
This is the follow-up to yesterday's post on the ramifications of a Biden candidacy. I've taken what's below from the middle of my post so that what's on here is Dean-centric. Enjoy.

Clark's likelihood of entering the race is inversely proportional to Dean's likelihood of winning it. Clark is looking at the same base, the same grassroots activists, and the same campaign as Dean - he needs people dissatisfied with Bush and with the "traditional" Democratic establishment. People who are loyal to Democratic politicians are going with Kerry, Gephardt, Lieberman, etc. People loyal to Democratic ideals and tired of our politicians are going with Dean. If Dean is looking weak as September rolls around (a situation that looks increasingly unlikely), Clark is more likely to get in. More of Dean's base will be nervous that they're backing the wrong horse and he has less of a chance of being picked as VP by Kerry or Gephardt. If Dean is strong, Clark can't get his base and is highly likely to be picked as VP, so why dirty himself and weaken his chances + run the risk of pissing Dean off?

A Clark candidacy would badly hurt Dean and Kerry, strengthen Gephardt, and create a 3 way race. Clark could run strong in the South - but he needs more of a message or platform before his appeal nationwide can be predicted. Dean has grassroots Clark needs and is the only other anti-war candidate, Clark is a viable anti-war candidate and takes Kerry's resume advantage away. So everyone's hurt and they stand a chance of killing each other and handing Gephardt the nomination - I just can't see Clark winning due to his disadvantages and late start. Clark would, however, be a good choice for Gephardt's VP slot.

Read the whole thing...

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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.