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

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Tuesday, September 09, 2003


Billmon Endorses Dean!

posted by Trammell at Tuesday, September 09, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Howard Dean just picked up a major endorsement -- from super-blogger Billmon at Whiskey Bar. Now, if we could just get Andrew Sullivan! Billmon: Welcome, Friend!
Vote for Dean

For what it's worth (which probably isn't much) Howard Dean now has Whiskey Bar's endorsement for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Why? Because the good doctor has dared to utter the unmentionable truth: That the United States simply cannot afford to continue its current policy of absolute, unqualified support of the state of Israel.

And boy, is he taking heat for it [...] So sign me up, put my name down, take the roll, whatever. I'm enlisting in Dr. Dean's Army.
It's a great, long post -- you can read the whole thing here!


Snitched Out

posted by Trammell at Tuesday, September 09, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Quick note, MSNBC's Felix Schein, embedded reporter with the Dean campaign, picked up Dean Nation's Felix the Snitch item and reported it in his column. He also sent a nice thank you note. He calls it the "campaign blog" -- I already sent him the correction. You can check out all of Felix's recent reports from the road here. Thanks for the mention, Felix -- and hey, add some hyperlinks to those reports!


Kerry's Slip Up

posted by Editor at Tuesday, September 09, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
While at is Ranch in California preparing for his weekly radio address, Ronald Reagan made a joke about launching a nuclear attack against the Soviet Union when testing his microphone. On a radio call in show, Bill Clinton let a profanity out when he thought he was off the air. While at a campaign event, George Bush's microphone picked up him calling a New York Times reporter a profanity. It seems that politicians never remember the power of what Strom Thurmond called "The Machine" to pick up their words.

Did anybody see Fox News today only hours before the debate? After speaking with reporters Sen. John Kerry was apparently upset at the amount of attention Gov. Dean is getting - even in the forms of questions at his press conference. Kerry is seen leaving the scene and mutters "Dean, Dean, Dean," under his breath. A mic, still pinned to his clothes, picks it up loud and clear. Check out the clip for yourself. Mic check, Mr. Kerry. Mic check.


Must Read Article of the Day

posted by Editor at Tuesday, September 09, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
(Yeah, I'm going post happy today, but that's what happens when you largely take a few weeks off.) In case you missed it, in the pre-debate category I think Howard Kurt'z Media Notes in the Washington Post wins Matt's "Must Read Column of the Day" Award. A snippet:
Even Howard Dean's detractors now believe he's for real.

Real as in: Scoff all you want, this guy actually could be president.


The other side is getting worried, reports USA Today:

"Republican Party officials and political advisers to President Bush admit that they underestimated Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean and say they now consider him a formidable potential adversary.

"Some Bush allies say he reminds them of another insurgent candidate who once bedeviled Bush: Arizona Sen. John McCain. His wins in Republican primary elections in New Hampshire and Michigan rattled Bush's 2000 campaign. . . .

"No top Republican Party, White House or Bush campaign official wanted to be identified talking about Dean, but he's as hot a topic inside the Bush camp as he is among his Democratic rivals.

"How worried is the Bush team? One campaign official notes that Dean is renting lots of cars in Iowa -- evidence that Bush supporters in the state are keeping an eye on him and his campaign spending."

Counting the cars! Now that's oppo.


Dean: Two Senators Leaving Votes Behind

posted by Editor at Tuesday, September 09, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
From Dean for America...
September 9, 2003


Tonight, Senator Kerry and Senator Edwards boasted of how they would make education a priority in this nation. Both trumpeted their support for No Child Left Behind while asking where the funding went.

Kerry: “We have a President who’s walked away from them, broken his promise and refused to fund No Child Left Behind. I believe that we deserve a President that recognizes until you have equality of education in America, until the federal government is prepared to make up the difference in funding, we do not have a prayer at making real the full promise of our country.

Edwards: “By the way, this no child left behind, this president is leaving millions of kids behind every single day.”

However, Senators Kerry and Edwards both missed the vote to fully fund our schools.

Neither was present on March 19, 2003 to cast a vote that would have fully funded NCLB. (Murray Amendment #284, NCLB) With two more democratic votes – one from Kerry and one from Edwards – the vote would have been a tie, forcing Dick Cheney to clearly indicate the true extent of the administration’s “commitment” to NCLB.

Edwards’ campaign has since tried to spin their candidate’s truancy by claiming that a week later, a "similar vote came up, and authorization of full funding passed with Edwards' support.” Unfortunately, the vote Edwards and Kerry did make the following week was not for full funding, but for only bits and pieces of education funding. The opportunity to win full funding had, unfortunately, already passed.

So in short, if our nation’s children are not getting the quality education that they deserve, it’s partly because this March, Kerry and Edwards were off somewhere playing hooky.




posted by Editor at Tuesday, September 09, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
From Dean for America...
September 9, 2003


Tonight, Governor Dean reiterated his consistent support for the unique and special relationship that the United States enjoys with Israel. Israel is and will remain one of the closest allies of the United States and is a model for democracy in a troubled region.

The Democratic Party has been united in its support for Israel for 54 years since the time of Harry Truman, and the Governor is disappointed that Senator Lieberman would try to create division within our party where there is none.

Democrats need to be united in their focus on the failures of the Bush administration in foreign affairs generally and the Middle East in particular.



2nd Debate: Open Thread

posted by Editor at Tuesday, September 09, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
I thought we'd get the ball rolling on this even before the debate ends. How about Sen. Joe getting boos for attacking Dean?

UPDATE (MIDNIGHT): The debate is being re-aired on Fox News now. If you missed it, tune in.


Maryland Endorsements

posted by Editor at Tuesday, September 09, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
My college roommate Brad calls his adopted home of Maryland, "the most progressive state in the nation."

From Dean for America...
September 9, 2003

Maryland Officials Endorse Gov. Howard Dean
Elected Officials Join some 6,000 Maryland Volunteers in “People-Powered” Grassroots Campaign

College Park, MD – Last night at a rally in College Park, nearly five months before the primary season begins, Presidential candidate Governor Howard Dean received the endorsements of 35 elected officials from across the State of

“The reasons we have all these endorsements are simple - Governor Howard Dean’s frank style and his positions on the critical issues of our time,” said Terry Lierman, Maryland for Dean Coordinator and national finance co-chair. “He has
drawn not just tremendous grassroots support in Maryland and across America but, the elected leaders closest to the people are enthusiastic as well.”

Nearly 6,000 Marylanders have already registered as volunteers at joining over 350,000 who have registered nationwide for the campaign they’ve come to know as “People-Powered Howard.”

“Howard Dean has attracted devotion from across the spectrum – it is diverse, broad and deep and the more people who discover what his presidency will mean to every American from every walk of life, the more support he gets,” says Maryland Del. Kurt Anderson of Baltimore City.

“He speaks to an America that is just, inclusive and common sense and that resonates will everyone, especially those in the Latino community,” says Maryland Del. Ana Sol Gutierrez of Montgomery County.

“There has never been another Democrat who has had this much grassroots support in any campaign in American history,” says Maryland Del. Peter Franchot, an early supporter of Gov. Dean who is co-coordinating the endorsement process in Maryland.

“This support continues to grow at a rapid pace and while that mean votes, it also means campaign contributions and almost unlimited buzz – the energy it takes to win,” says Walter Ludwig, Maryland for Dean Co-Coordinator.

For a list of those making endorsements, see the link above.

Monday, September 08, 2003


Dialing for Dean: Rush Says: Keep On Calling

posted by Trammell at Monday, September 08, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Yes, they've gone from dismissive, to snide, to worried. Even the less-than-effervescent Rush Limbaugh is bubbling about Howard Dean -- in fact, lately, Limbaugh can't seem to open his mouth without saying "Dean" -- but here, I'll let Rush tell you in his own words:

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

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

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

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

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


Felix the Snitch

posted by Trammell at Monday, September 08, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Speaking of Daily Reads, have any of you checked out the MSNBC Campaign Embeds page? It's pretty cool, and as the primary heats up, I've a feeling these folks are gonna be breaking lots of news. The embed's reports also appear in NBC's First Read, their political unit's answer to The Note though it's hardly a real competitor, not yet -- you can read my mini-review at Points West. The embeds will, and are, popping up on all manner of NBC and MSNBC news programs, including Hardball and others, they are a great bunch of young reporters.

In any event, the Dean Embed is one Felix Schein. Good-looking and cheerful, he seems consistently thrilled to be assigned to the most exciting campaign in modern history. Yes, Felix, that was a little butt-kissing -- sorry. He also was the first embed (that I know of) to break some real news:
The Dean camp was fairly pleased with the outcome of the debate. They conceded that Dick Gephardt was the clear winner, but felt they held their ground and kept their momentum.
These two sentences showed up in news reports far and wide, not just on NBC. In fact, Gephardt sent out a fundraising appeal by e-mail with this quote in it that a Dean National was nice enough to forward over to us at Dean Nation! I had no idea that Gephardt sought Dean's approval to this degree, or that he held Dean's opinion in such high regard! Wow.

From Felix's post yesterday (it reads kinda like a blog):

On a final note, the campaign has dubbed their next major project A September to Remember, Thirty Days That Change Politics. Dividing the month into three 10-day sections, the idea is to build the Dean community in the first 10 days, to work on outreach the second 10 days, and show grassroots strength in the final 10 days, raising money and expanding the volunteer network to 450,000 people being the obvious goals. Of note is Sept. 20, when the campaign plans to place supporters on highway overpasses, on street corners, and in the community with signs. Like the Sleepless Summer Tour, this again will be an opportunity for the campaign to demonstrate the depth of its grassroots network and to make a final push for those third quarter dollars.
I'm sure we'll be hearing quite a bit from Felix the Snitch -- and of course I mean that playfully, Mr. Schein. So welcome, Felix, and a big "hi-how-ya-doin" from Dean Nation! You can check out more on all the MSNBC Embeds here --- and save it as a fave.


Sour Note

posted by Trammell at Monday, September 08, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Okay, I love The Note, but this is a load of crap:
We're thinking of the political press's ability to resist treating Howard Dean like the Second Coming; the foreign press's unwillingness to let California reporters ask any questions at Schwarzenegger press conferences; and all these Democratic strategists wringing their hands about how and whether to attack Howard Dean.
Umm, the Second Coming of what? McGovern? Sure, we've had some good press lately, but we have fought for it -- and fought hard. Of all sources, The Note knows this quite well.
We have no clue what will cause Howard Dean to ever be held to the same standard for consistency, clarity, and accuracy as the other leading Democratic presidential candidates, but whatever it's going to take hasn't kicked in yet.
Are the other candidates being held to some standard that we are not? Most of the articles I've read lately have been taking us to task -- or at the least regurgitating the talking points from our rivals -- on various inconsistencies and/or shifts in position. And then, the example they use is.....
Saturday, standing side by side with Gray Davis, Dean asserted that the White House was involved in orchestrating and pushing the California recall effort. Later, under questioning, Dean admitted that he had no evidence but that it simply was the kind of thing he believed the White House habitually does.

The Note is breathless.
Now, come on! As I pointed out here last Thursday, the "Four R's" talking points for ALL the Dem candidates has been reported, by no less than Bill Schneider of Inside Politics. Was The Note napping? Further, Dean really said no more and no less than Davis has said, than Clinton has said, than many other Dems have said, and will continue to say, for some time to come. But election season campaign rhetoric aside, why is The Note "breathless?" Dean made the statement, and then was asked by a reporter to clarify -- so where is the "special" treatment? I guess when it comes to Dean, The Note, for reasons unknowable, was just having a bad hair day -- but certainly this Note is hardly on key.

UPDATE: I was going to cross-post this at DDF but having tech issues. You can write The Note at just to let them know we are reading and watching and we expect a much higher quality of them than almost anyone because we respect them so much. Just like the press with Dean of late, we hold them to a higher standard.


Dean reaction to Bush speech

posted by Aziz P. at Monday, September 08, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
"In 15 minutes, he attempted to make up for 15 months of misleading the American people and 15 weeks of mismanaging the reconstruction," he said.

'nuff said.


Dean a formidable foe

posted by Aziz P. at Monday, September 08, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Note that few strategists want to go on the record as saying so - but the GOP establishment has recognized that Dean is the true threat.

WASHINGTON — Republican Party officials and political advisers to President Bush admit that they underestimated Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean and say they now consider him a formidable potential adversary.
Interviews with 15 GOP leaders found consensus on one point: If Dean wins the first two contests, Iowa's caucuses Jan. 19 and New Hampshire's primary, he'll win the nomination.

Two months ago, Karl Rove, Bush's top political aide, watched Dean supporters marching in a parade July 4 in Washington and said to a friend, "That's the one we want." Exhorting fellow parade watchers, Rove yelled, "Come on, everybody! Go, Howard Dean!"

The thinking then was that the former Vermont governor was too liberal and too obscure to be a threat. Bush allies were more worried about Kerry, North Carolina Sen. John Edwards and Missouri Rep. Richard Gephardt.

Few Republicans are cheering for Dean now. His fundraising — he collected $7.6 million in the second quarter of the year, outdoing his eight rivals — the appeal of his passionate attacks on Bush and his rise in the polls have revised their earlier opinions.
No top Republican Party, White House or Bush campaign official wanted to be identified talking about Dean, but he's as hot a topic inside the Bush camp as he is among his Democratic rivals.

How worried is the Bush team? One campaign official notes that Dean is renting lots of cars in Iowa — evidence that Bush supporters in the state are keeping an eye on him and his campaign spending.

UPDATE: The Weekly Standard weighs in. It's full of standard (false) talking points about liberal tendencies and supposed tax increases, but still acknowledges reality:

The word Vermonters use most often to describe Dean is "frugal." Coming into office amidst the early 1990s recession, he cut formerly sacrosanct welfare spending to keep the state out of debt. The Cato analysis shows that during Dean's first four years in office, Vermont's budget grew much more slowly than other states'. He cut income tax rates across the board (much as President Bush did). Although he raised overall business taxes, he approved millions of dollars' worth of incentives to lure smoke stacks back into the Green Mountain State. It was during these early years that the head of the state's powerful Progressive party called him "a very right-wing Democrat." And during a time when President Bush has been piling up mountains of debt in Washington and 47 governors face record budget deficits of their own, Dean admirably left Vermont with a $10.4 million surplus when he left office this past January--which would certainly be one of his trump cards against Bush. If Dean were ever elected president, I'm convinced he would be monomaniacal about balancing the budget--though certainly not in ways that would please conservatives.

Part of Dean's star appeal has been the refreshing genuineness of his campaign rhetoric, even when his ideas are cockeyed. By pledging to repeal the entire Bush tax cut--a move that would raise the average tax burden on middle income families with three kids by about $2,500 a year, Dean is attempting to prove that voters will swallow higher taxes to get more government largesse. In a recent debate, he confidently asserted that when working class voters saw his universal government-run health care plan, they would gladly pay for it. "If we're going to have a system of universal health care in America, we will have to pay more taxes," he said.

Of course, these are the kinds of unavoidable tough fiscal choices that voters should be asked to make, but that most politicians refuse to acknowledge. God save the country if voters actually buy into Dean's health care socialism, but at least he is honest about the sacrifices required. This is not a man who believes in the mythical free lunch.

Ever since that first meeting with Howard Dean some five years ago, I've been trying to think of what politician he most resembles. The former governor of a small state, he is charismatic, good looking, wonkish, craving of the spotlight, and capable of telling a room full of people precisely what they want to hear. The obvious answer recently hit me: Dean is Bill Clinton, but without the skirt-chasing.

Republicans are said to be salivating over the prospect of a Bush-Dean match-up. They shouldn't get carried away. Howard Dean, warns John McClaughry, has been "underestimated throughout his political career. He has an uncanny knack for finding where the political capital is stored and walking off with it." The trick for Dean is to ensure that the ultra-liberal positions he has taken in the primaries, which contradict his sometimes centrist record, don't cripple his ability to reach out to Middle American voters in a general election--should he make it that far. If he does, and then finds a way to zig-zag back toward the center, Howard Dean could be George W. Bush's worst nightmare.

Dean: more electable than Bush! (I hope that one makes the Daily Meme).


Dean: please SMILE

posted by Aziz P. at Monday, September 08, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
I just caight Dean's appearance on CBS and NBS this morning - he handled himself well, made a strong case, etc. But he didn't SMILE once!

The contrast between the sunny perkiness of the NBC anchors and Dean's dour mug was like night and day. These TV morning appearances arguably are more important than even his ad buys. He MUST use them to connect to the average public viewer, most of whom still don't know who he is.

SMILE, dammit! SMILE!!!!


Freepers in shock over Bush invoice

posted by Aziz P. at Monday, September 08, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Bush's announcement last night that he wanted an additional $87,000,000,000 for Iraq (including some pittance for Afghanistan) has even shocked the Free Republic crowd. That thread is a goldmine of anti-Bush disparaging taglines.

Remember the "Iraqi oil pays for reconstrction" argument? I analyzed that fallacy back in April:

Suppose reconstruction costs $100 billion, and only takes 1 year. At $30 a barrel of oil, that amounts to 3 billion barrels (about 8 million barrels per day, or bbl/d). This is equal to Saudi Arabia's current output (and Iraq does not have anywhere near Saudi Arabia's reserves, nor the oil infrastructure to process and refine such a colossal amount of oil even if it did). In addition to the ludicrously cheap and quick estimate of the reconstruction cost and duration above, note that there is also an implicit assumption that every dollar of revenue will go to reconstruction cost, without any middlemen (which as anyone familiar with the oil industry knows, is a laughable assertion).

Back in April it was obvious that "oil pays" was nonsensical. Suddenly the media is surprised.


Edwards won't seek re-election

posted by Aziz P. at Monday, September 08, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Edwards steps up to the plate:

John Edwards said he'll stick to one term in the U.S. Senate, convinced his presidential campaign is going well enough to bow out of the 2004 race for his seat.
"I will not seek re-election to the United States Senate, in order to devote all of my energy to running for president," Edwards wrote to North Carolina Democratic Party chairwoman Barbara Allen.
A timely decision became critical as U.S. Rep. Richard Burr (news, bio, voting record), R-N.C., announced he would seek the GOP nomination for the Senate and began campaigning, while potential Democratic candidates cooled their heels in deference to Edwards.
Edwards has no plans to step down from his Senate seat before his term ends in January 2005, Palmieri said, even if he wins the party nomination. Edwards plans a formal campaign announcement Sept. 16 in Robbins, where he spent his teenage years.

Note that unlike Dean, Edwards still has his day job, and retains his Senate seat. He just won't run for re-election. I think that this is an honorable move. But what's more important is that it cements Edwards as the Other Candidate - he's now the only one of the main challengers to Dean that has a real stake in winning.

Lieberman, Kerry, and Gephardt all want it both ways - they want to run for President, but don't want to risk teh safety of their seats in case of failure. That makes them cautious, keeps them from taking risks, and doesn't really give them the same level of drive that someone like Edwards or Dean would have, given that if the latter two lose, they are completely out of a job. And if you want to be President, you really need to want it.

At this point, I'm ready to make another one of my patented Aziz Wild-Ass Predictions (AWAP). Edwards and Dean will be the only candidates for the nomination, and the rest will drop out 1 month after South Carolina.

Lieberman is tanking - the base hates him, and his "Dean depression" remark was the worst-miscalculated Sister Souljah ever. Is there a single poll that shows him with a positive trend?

Kerry is fizzling out. His SC-carrier speech was about as symbolic as Bush's. And the campaign was ridiculed in Boston media for their inflated crowd estimates at his recent Fanueil Hall kickoff in Boston. Kerry still acts like he is the front-runner, expecting crowds to simply rally to his banner, desperately trying to ignore Dean away.

And Gephardt is strong in Iowa, but so is Dean. And given Dean's recent success with Labor, there simply isn't any certainty for the candidate. Watch for his poll numbers to be wea everywhere else.

The bottom line is that only Edwards has shown the real drive necessary to keep up with Dean. He's a worthy opponent and might even be deserving of a backbone award for his decision to commit himself to this race. And his decision really puts the other campaigns into perspective.

UPDATE: my mistake, Gephardt has also announced he won't seek re-election.

Sunday, September 07, 2003


See Dean Run

posted by Editor at Sunday, September 07, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Take a look at the sign in the background and the buttons on the strikers shirts. This is from the New Haven Advocate's coverage on striking workers at Yale University. Gov. Dean met with the strikers.

Bring on the labor support!


Can Kerry Count?

posted by Matt Singer at Sunday, September 07, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
The Boston Globe isn't sure:
The business of crowd estimation was never the strong suit of any police department or, for that matter, any political campaign.

But it was downright laughable when the cops - and the Kerry campaign - tried to say there were 15,000 on hand for Kerry's Faneuil Hall announcement

Kerry, of all people, should remember a big crowd - the unions had so many workers at his 1996 debate with Gov. William F. Weld that the crowd stretched halfway down the sides of Quincy Market that night.

It didn't help matters that several media noted empty seats at the Wednesday event.

Of course all this comes after Kerry and ex-Boston Bruin Cam Neeley had to make personal telephone calls just to get a crowd on hand for the Boston "homecoming."

The Telegraph has its doubts too:
That Dean guy can sure draw a crowd

You have got to get state Rep. Jack Pratt, D-Walpole, to summarize his last weekend at home.

Pratt and Rep. McKim Mitchell, D-Chesterfield, decided to combine on a house party for former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean.

The scene was Pratt's home in the middle of town, which is accessible only by a two-lane road in and out.

A stunning 1,200 people showed up, one of the largest gatherings of any kind during the first-in-the-nation primary season.

"The candidate was 20 minutes late because he got stuck in his own traffic jam,'' Pratt quipped.

How about the local police chief, who couldn't find anyone else to work on Labor Day weekend and single-handedly had to figure out where to put more than 1,000 cars?

"I had said, 'Oh, only 200 or so would show up.' He let me have it at the end of that one,'' Pratt said.

On the other hand .

John Kerry didn't look like a man attending a coronation at his kickoff rally in Manchester on Wednesday afternoon.

More than 330 had committed to show up, yet far less than 250 were there and the crowd was chock full of the same Kerry devotee faces that go to every candidate event whether it's in Colebrook or Concord.

Kerry shut the event down after a flat, four-minute speech and ordered the buses headed off to Boston.

Hey senator, here's a great idea.

Reverse the itinerary and have many of the 5,000 who crammed into Faneuil Hall in Boston to cheer you on board a bus headed to New Hampshire.

Presto, chango, you've got instant energy and enthusiasm where it's needed most.

We won't even get into his decision to kick off his two-day announcement standing in front of a Navy aircraft carrier in South Carolina. That was the first time the Massachusetts senator had been in that state since May.

If the South Carolina primary were held today, Kerry could easily finish fourth or even fifth behind John Edwards, Dick Gephardt, Joe Lieberman and Bob Graham.

For months, Kerry has been looking for a way to demonstrate he would not be a Mike Dukakis nominee, who would do fine in the Northeast but get his clock cleaned south of the Mason-Dixon line.

Kerry did have one shining moment here last week when he showed some emotion and shed a tear at hearing laid-off worker Barbara Woodman's courageous determination to find as many part-time jobs as possible to keep her children in college.

Thanks to some malcontents on the national Kerry bandwagon, the campaign stepped on its own announcement tour as the Iowa stop on Tuesday was dominated by rumors of an internal shakeup.

The worst-kept secret inside Kerry Central is those running the Boston and Washington campaign operations are barely on speaking terms and each blame the other for dragging the candidate into the blue funk that has him trailing Dean big in both New Hampshire and Iowa.

Don't blame the New Hampshire campaign contingent of Ken Sullivan, Judy Reardon and Kym Spell, who have delivered some of the biggest names and argued for more face time and more multi-event campaign stops by the candidate.

The Kerry ad strategy did have some thought to it as the campaign used "real-time'' footage from the Iowa and New Hampshire announcements.

This is to counteract all the buzz over Dean's use of the Internet to raise money during the last quarter, since Kerry has vowed to be the "best science president'' in recent history.

Let's hope media guru Jim Margolis got some winks over the weekend because he stayed up nearly four days straight to direct, film, edit and deliver the spots in time.

No details please, but this media buy is bigger (read $$$$) than Dean's was in August. Kerry is buying time on multiple Boston stations and has not chosen only the cheapest time slots.

If anybody needed a paid media bounce, this guy does now.
Fuzzy math.


Takin' it to the Streets

posted by Chuckie at Sunday, September 07, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Gov. Dean's grassroots supporters were out in full force at the Adams Morgan festival in Northwest Washington, DC today. Aside from a few people walking around the crowd with Kucinich literature (but no table as far as I could tell), Dean was the only campaign with a presence at the festival, which ran the length of the diverse (and quite fun) Adams Morgan neighborhood. Volunteers report that despite bringing over 1000 stickers, the table ran out of them early in the day. Here's a picture of the volunteers talking to festivalgoers:

For more information about getting involved in the Washington metro area, visit DC For Dean, an outstanding grassroots site. There are plenty of activities coming up, from fundraisers to house parties to a rally at the University of Maryland tomorrow.


Give 'Em Hell Howard

posted by Trammell at Sunday, September 07, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
This week's issue of The Memphis Flyer features a major cover story on Howard Dean by Jackson Baker. It's a very interesting (and rather long) article, so I'll just excerpt this inetersting tidbit from the beginning of the piece and let ya'll go read the rest. Though riddled with typos, it's quite good. Unlike many articles we read, there is some great, new off--the-cuff stuff here! Thanks to Californian (wrongly assumed Tennessee in initial post -- oops!) and Dean National Cindy Hopp for the link. Excerpts:
Presidential candidate Howard Dean casts himself, plausibly, in the role of Harry Truman.

Last week, Howard Dean of Vermont, a onetime dark-horse presidential candidate who is suddenly -- to political insiders almost inexplicably -- leading the pack of Democratic candidates, undertook a ten-city, three-day flyaround of America. [...]

"George Bush graduated from Yale in '68. I graduated in 1971," remembered his fellow Eastern patrician aboard the campaign plane. "There was a total generatonal shift. The Yale he left was gone by the time I graduated. It was a coat-and-tie era, not particularly innovative. Very much heriditary. I was the only guy in my prep school who got in. The place was full of valedictorians and salutatorians from public schools."

The implication is that Dean got with the program in those quasi-revolutionary times -- and that Bush remained forever preppy.

But as recently as the late '90s, when both men were governors -- Dean of remote little Vermont, Bush of big and rowdy Texas -- there was the possibility of real overlap. "I actually liked him," Dean recalls. "I knew him well enough that I thought we could do business. And by Texas standards he was actually moderate. He tried to revise the incredibly archaic Texas tax system. He didn't succeed, but he actually tried. I was shocked at the way he acted when he became president. I really did think he was a compassionate conservative."

Dean, who admired President George H.W. Bush as much as he seems to deplore President George W. Bush, takes an almost Freudian view of what he sees as the son's slide backwards into reaction. "Most people think he is still a moderate. They don't realize how far to the right he's gone. He's not interested in being a good president; he's interested in some complicated psychological situation with regard to his father over being accepted, being reelected."

Whatever psychodrama he sees as responsible for Bush's mindset, Dean seems to have a genuine missionary zeal to expose the public consequences of it. As he put it to the crowd of several hundred that turned up for him at the Boise airport, "He [Bush] doesn't want to balance the budget, because he wants to defund the federal government and get rid of Medicare and Social security. We're not going to allow it."

Dean sees Bush as a pure dissembler. "He was never truthful about his reasons for going into Iraq. He toughed up the intelligence reports to justify it, but he knew better. If you know what you're saying isn't true, what is the truth? We went in with a reason. What is the reason? I don't know."
Wowsa, read the rest here...


Doctors for Dean

posted by Aziz P. at Sunday, September 07, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
I owe the Doctors for Dean folks a massive apology for not plugging them earlier. I can only plead the SoBig defense. They have created a profesional website and a Yahoo discussion list for both healthcare professionals and others. From their FAQ:

Doctors for Dean is a grassroots organization of physicians who strongly support Dr. Howard Dean and are working to help him become the next President of the United States. Any physician can join this organization via the link below (note that you may have to create a free Yahoo account if you do not have one already). Alternatively, you can just send an email to to join the email list only (optionally include your name, specialty, interests and contact information). We plan to send periodic emails to all Doctors for Dean members about Dr. Dean’s healthcare vision and ways you can help the campaign.


Repubs are Scared

posted by G at Sunday, September 07, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Republican political consultant David M. Carney, who ran Bob Dole's 1996 New Hampshire campaign and was White House political director in the presidential administration of George H.W. Bush, said Dean is a candidate "our party needs to take seriously.

"I think Howard Dean is our biggest threat," Carney said, adding that Senate and House members running for the Democratic nomination could be more "target rich" because they have cast hundreds of votes on controversial issues that could be used against them.

"He's a governor who for 11 years balanced budgets; there are a lot of businesses in Vermont who considered him a pro-business governor; he's got a 100 percent rating with the [National Rifle Association]," Carney said. "There's a passion there that's really scary. He could ignite people who haven't participated in the process. ... He's certainly beatable on his positions, but I don't think many people think it's a slam dunk. I don't know anyone lately [who] thinks that."

Saturday, September 06, 2003


Billmon Defends Dean

posted by G at Saturday, September 06, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
See what the notorioriously cranky but brilliant Billmon has to say about what Spencer Ackerman wrote about the debate in the New Republic. Sign him up for the Dean Defense Forces!

Apparently, they didn't think their Lieberman sock puppet was tough enough on Dean last night. So one of their minions decided to get in a little sissy kick, too:
by Spencer Ackerman

On the defining issue to his liberal base--his opposition to the war in Iraq--Dean shifted not an inch of ground. As every candidate on the Albuquerque dais urged the internationalization of the occupation through a hopefully forthcoming U.N. resolution, Dean managed to offer the single worst policy option: Not only do the new troops on the ground need to be foreign troops, he said, but "ours need to come home."
We'll leave aside the fact that Dean was talking about the need to restore a normal rotation that would allow at least some of the troops now in Iraq to come home before they're old enough to retire. Even taking Ackerman's interpretation at face value, since when does "shifting not an inch" on a core issue become an act of dishonesty?

Since the neolibs started freaking out about Dean, apparently:
Dean preceded his McGovernesque declaration with the promise never to send soldiers into battle "without telling the truth" to the American people. He should also resolve never to bring troops home without doing the same.
You know, I'm not really that big of a Dean fan, but the more these sorry sons of bitches pile on, the more I start thinking, "He's my guy."


Dean Soars, Bush Tanks

posted by Trammell at Saturday, September 06, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
I'm sure that many of you have seen the new Zogby poll by now but if not, these numbers are keck-ash!

On Bush: A majority (52%) said it’s time for someone new in the White House, while just two in five (40%) said the president deserves to be re-elected. Last month, 45% said re-election was in order, and 48% said it was time for someone new.

On Dean: In the same poll, likely Democratic primary voters give a plurality of their support to former Vermont Governor Dr. Howard Dean (16%), whose campaign has been gathering support in recent polling. He is followed by Massachusetts Senator John Kerry (13%), Connecticut Senator Joseph Lieberman (12%), and Missouri Congressman Richard Gephardt (8%). No other candidate polled more than 3%.

On Dems (I think they may have changed their minds if that had known Bush's numbers up top): Nearly two-thirds (63%) of the likely Democratic primary voters said it is somewhat or very likely that President Bush will be re-elected in November 2004, regardless of how they intend to vote.

UDPDATE: Check out the post "Holy shit. Bush under 50 percent" and user comments on this poll over at Daily Kos.


How's This For Backbone?

posted by Trammell at Saturday, September 06, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Dean stumps for Davis in California

LOS ANGELES, California (CNN) -- Presidential candidate Howard Dean Saturday urged Californians to vote against the effort to oust Gov. Gray Davis, calling it part of a plan by right-wing Republicans to subvert democracy.

"I think this is the fourth attempt to undermine democracy in this country by the right wing of the Republican Party since the 2000 elections," said Dean.

Other examples, he said, were the refusal by the "conservative-dominated United States Supreme Court" to order a recount of the votes in Florida during the 2000 presidential election and separate GOP-led redistricting efforts in Colorado and Texas that could result in a loss of seats currently held by Democrats.

"I believe the right wing of the Republican Party is deliberately undermining the democratic underpinnings of this country," Dean told a news conference. "I believe they do not care what Americans think and they do not accept the legitimacy of our elections and have now, for the fourth time in the fourth state, attempted to do what they can to remove democracy from America."

Davis expressed optimism that the voters would allow him to serve out his term. "This recall is nothing more than an attempt by Republicans financed by the right wing to steal an election they could not win. They lost fair and square and, I believe, at the end of the day, voters will do the right thing."

Although Davis expressed gratitude for Dean's support, he did not reciprocate when asked whether he would support Dean's bid for the Democratic nomination for president. "I'm taking one election at a time," he said.

Only after the October 7 recall vote will he decide whom to support for the Democratic presidential nomination, Davis said. But, he added about the former Vermont governor, "he has precisely the right experience to be president." [...]

Dean said it would be unfair to hold Davis wholly responsible for the state's budget deficit, which has since been pared to $8 billion. "The deficit that was incurred last year is directly traceable to the president of the United States' extraordinary financial policy in which he managed to turn the largest surplus in the history of America into the largest deficit in the history of America in only two-and-a-half years," he said.

Davis said that since George W. Bush became president, the country has lost 3.3 million jobs, equivalent to 3,500 jobs per day.

Asked whether his presidential bid might be adversely affected by his support for Davis, Dean responded, "I don't care. My trademark is I say what I think, for better or for worse."

He added, "I'm tired of having this country run by the right wing. That is not where most people are in this country, and I think we ought not to put up with this anymore."


Dean Statement on California Recall

posted by Editor at Saturday, September 06, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
From Dean for America...
September 6, 2003

Statement from Tricia Enright, Communications Director, Dean for America:

“Like all good Democrats, Howard Dean has said from the beginning that Californians should vote no on the recall and retain Gray Davis as Governor. At the same time, Governor Dean believes it is important to ensure that a Democrat remains in the Governor’s office, so he would urge everyone to vote no and also to select Cruz Bustamante on the second ballot.”

Earlier today, Governor Howard Dean appeared with Governor Gray Davis in Los Angeles and said the following:

“I am here to ask the people of California to vote NO on the recall. And thereason for that is really not about Gray's record. The reason for that is because I think this is the fourth attempt to undermine democracy in this country by the right wing of the Republican Party since the 2000 elections. If you go back and look at what has happened in this country since the Supreme Court decided that George Bush had won the presidential election, you will find the following things. First, the conservative dominated United States Supreme Court opted not to recount the votes in the state of Florida, overruling the state court. Second, last Spring in Colorado, the conservative legislature and conservative governor broke all precedent by redistricting the Colorado congressional delegation and thus making it likely that the Democrats would lose seats.

Dean's remarks continue here.

Friday, September 05, 2003


Shot in the Arm?

posted by Trammell at Friday, September 05, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Hey, you know, I was sitting here thinking: what can I do to improve our September to Remember numbers, and how can I do my part to get more people to join Dean Meetups? Then, Tom Delay spouts off (again) on Inside Politics this afternoon and does tons of work for me, and all I have to do is blog!
WOODRUFF: Here's another thing Democrats are saying these days, and I know you're very aware of it. Some of them at the national level singling you out, Tom DeLay, as a polarizing figure, saying that your criticisms of the Democratic presidential candidates is helping them.

There's a spokesman for Howard Dean, the former Vermont governor, who said -- quote -- "Every time Tom DeLay attacks us, our supporters rally behind us. "Among Democrats, these men," speaking of you and Karl Rove, "are despised. These attacks are going to crystallize, that we are prominent this race, and we welcome them." Is this the effect that you want to have on Democrats?

DELAY: The only thing I disagree with them over is (that) they're prominent in this race. It may be energizing their base, which is very small, and I don't know. But you can't hide from the political arena. Howard Dean, for instance, is -- has a temperament that is unfit for -- to be president of the United States. Finally we have a president that is even-handed, very tolerant, shows more leadership, has brought class and culture back to the White House, and yet -- and Howard Dean comes on the political scene, and all he can do is call people names, rant and rave -- you know, that's -- that's a temperament that I think it's important for people like me to stand up and say, well, look at his temperament and look at George W. Bush's temperaments. Which one do you want to see in the White House?
The "only thing I disagree with them over" Delay says? Hmmm, perhaps we should introduce him to Thanks, Tom, I'll have more social time this weekend -- and hey, ratchet up those attacks this month, okay?


Liberal Joy vs. Liberal Fear

posted by Trammell at Friday, September 05, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Former George Magazine executive editor Richard Blow comments on Howard Dean and Al Franken in the below excerpts from
Most liberals are overjoyed about Al Franken and Howard Dean. After all, both men are finally succeeding where the Democratic Party has failed for years: landing some punches on George W. and his right-wing spear-throwers. [...]

It's next to impossible to find a lefty columnist or talking head from inside the Beltway who's said nice things about the two Democratic firebrands. Instead, they fret that Dean has a "temper." (The New Republic recently ran a cover of Dean which made him look like Hitler circa 1939 -- all it lacked was for someone to pencil in a little mustache on his upper lip.)

"Liberal scriveners may improve their team's political lot by matching the conservative investment in liar-liar stock, but it will come at the expense of their credibility," says Slate's Jack Shafer in an exquisite summation of the punditocracy's conventional wisdom.

It's a curious argument -- especially since, just a couple paragraphs higher, Shafer concedes that Franken "accurately document[s] the right's most egregious lies." So let me rebut it: To attack a lie is not the same as to tell a lie. Would Shafer prefer that Democrats just sit back and get pounded for a few more years, secure in the knowledge that, even though they're getting their asses kicked, at least they're right?

That tactic didn't work so well in 2000. And yet, it's exactly the attitude that many liberal pundits take towards both Dean and Franken. The passion of these men makes them queasy. [...] The pundits wince in distaste and pray for John Kerry to get back on track. Why are they so afraid of liberals who fight back? [...]

Bill Clinton's rare genius, on the other hand, was that he combined both passion and intelligence. It's possible, I suppose, that Democratic candidates could win without the kind of passion that Franken and Dean manifest. (Al Gore did.) But if they're not passionate, what's the point?


Saletan on the debate

posted by G at Friday, September 05, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
A fair and useful summary. Key excerpts on Dean:
4. Commander Dean. Dean was clearly focused on coming off as a plausible commander in chief. He referred explicitly to that duty, cited his support for the 1991 Persian Gulf War and the 2001 Afghan war, maintained a painfully serious expression throughout the debate, and showed off his foreign-policy cramming by proposing to ask "our allies such as Egypt and Morocco" to contribute troops to Iraq. He succeeded in looking serious, to the point of constipation. I'm not sure that was a net gain. By the way, why does the former governor of Vermont speak better Spanish than the former governor of Texas?

5. Dean vs. me. The current conventional wisdom among Democrats is, if you can't be Dean, the next best thing is to be Dean's assailant. Thursday night, everybody got into the act. Kucinich scoffed that Dean's balanced budgets were easy because "Vermont doesn't have a military." Even Graham, who agreed with Dean that the Iraq war was a bad idea, chose to emphasize that he and Dean opposed the war for different reasons. Lieberman hit Dean hardest, asserting that under Dean's trade policies, "the Bush recession would be followed by the Dean depression." Later, Lieberman criticized "Gov. Dean and others who would adopt so large a [health-care] program that it would force an increase in middle-class taxes." That critique applies more accurately to Gephardt. But attacking Gephardt doesn't get you on the evening news.
9. The non-Clinton touch. Once again, Lieberman showed the best preparation and worst execution of the Democratic debaters. I cringed when he said of terrorists, "If we don't get together and defeat them now, shame on us." Shame? You mean, on top of getting killed? Then Lieberman followed Edwards' "Hasta la vista" with a laborious and clumsily delivered Spanish sentence that was supposed to convey the same thing but didn't. Then he provoked some dismay in the audience by warning of a "Dean depression," a phrase so full of overkill that it seemed more likely to kill its author. It was almost the only thing in the debate that made Dean smile. And no wonder: He got more applause for answering the punch than Lieberman got for delivering it. Responds to Suellentrop

posted by Matt Singer at Friday, September 05, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
If you're all frustrated about Suellentrop's piece in Slate, you can go read our take. We think some of the attacks aren't entirely unfair, but the bit about soldiers, well, that's been a Dean position for months -- not quite a flip-flop.

Give it a read. See what you think. Write a letter.

Oh, and Flood the Zone Fridays: America the Free? over at NotGeniuses.


In a Good Mood? Don't Read This.

posted by Trammell at Friday, September 05, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
I'll save my notes for the comments thread. From Chris Suellentrop's post-debate article in Slate:
Then, after peppering Dean with jabs, Lieberman rears back to throw the knockout punch: If Dean were elected president and carried out his promised trade policies, "The Bush recession would be followed by the Dean depression." Later, to drive the point home, the Lieberman campaign circulates a press release entitled, "HOWARD DEAN'S PROTECTIONIST TRADE POLICY WOULD DEVASTATE AMERICA'S ECONOMY."

Dean counters by insisting that trade agreements need mere "international standards," not American standards, on labor and the environment. But that's not what he told the Washington Post (as the Lieberman campaign helpfully points out in its release) on Aug. 25. More important from my perspective, it's the exact opposite of what Dean told me when I rode with him in July on his campaign van in Iowa. When I asked Dean if he meant just general "standards" or "American standards," he insisted that he would demand that other countries adopt the exact same labor, environmental, health, and safety standards as the United States. But the audience wasn't riding with me, and they rally to Dean in his time of need, applauding wildly. Lieberman is left to lamely reply, "That's a reassuring change of position."

Dean makes another shocking flip flop in the debate. After repeatedly saying on previous occasions that the United States can't abandon its obligations in Iraq, he now implies that he wants to withdraw American troops from the region: "We need more troops. They're going to be foreign troops, not more American troops, as they should have been in the first place. Ours need to come home."

All the candidates support an increase in the number of foreign troops in Iraq, but Dean appears to have veered into Dennis Kucinich territory, something he had scrupulously avoided before. If Dean keeps this up, after flip flops on trade, Social Security, and foreign policy, he risks losing a considerable element of his Carter-esqe "I will never to lie to you" appeal. Dean was already having trouble reconciling his promise that he wanted to renegotiate NAFTA and other trade agreements with his insistence that the United States must trade with other countries in order to turn them into sedate, bourgeois societies. Fair on not, self-styled straight-talking candidates are held to a higher standard of honesty, and Dean's having trouble meeting it.

Thursday, September 04, 2003


Four Post-Debate Press Releases

posted by Editor at Thursday, September 04, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
The Dean Campaign released four press releases following the debate in New Mexico. To read them, click on the link above. Their titles were:




Open Thread: 1st DNC Debate

posted by Editor at Thursday, September 04, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
For those still sober after Anna's drinking game... questions, comments, observations...


For your watching party pleasure...

posted by annatopia at Thursday, September 04, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Yes, I'm feeling a bit silly right now. I wanted to repost something that came up after the last debate: the Democratic contender drinking game. Now lest any of our gentle readers think we're endorsing alcoholism, I'll kindly remind you that this is all in fun. That being said...

Take a shot/drink when...
- John Edwards reminds us he's the son of a mill worker
- Dick Gephardt talks up his history of support for unions
- John Kerry reminds us he served in Vietnam
- Howard Dean insists on balancing the budget
- Dennis Kucinich yells
- Joe Lieberman says he's the only candidate who can beat Bush
- Bob Graham says he's from the electable wing of the Democratic party
- Carol Mosely Braun says it's time to take down the "men only" sign on the White House
- Al Sharpton tells us he's going to "kick the donkey" or lets loose a similar zinger

*hiccup* Have fun tonight! And let's have some feedback when the debate is over.


Congressman Bob Filner Endorses Dean

posted by Editor at Thursday, September 04, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
From the Deancampaign...
September 4, 2003

Congressman Bob Filner Endorses Dean For America

BURLINGTON--Congressman Bob Filner today endorsed Democratic presidential candidate Governor Howard Dean, M.D. In making his announcement today, Congressman Filner cited the governor's vision for America and his efforts to build the great grassroots campaign of the modern era.

"Howard Dean is leading a movement that is sweeping across America," said Congressman Filner. "It is a movement against corporate control of our government. It is a movement against an arrogant and failing foreign policy. It is a movement of mothers and fathers, concerned about the future of their children. It is a movement for change. And it is a movement that will succeed!"

See the rest of the press release here...


Rove Rage and The Four R's!

posted by Trammell at Thursday, September 04, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Nope, it's not a Dr. Seuss book -- but hey, do I hear a who? And to think that I saw it on Pennsylvania Avenue! From today's Inside Politics with Judy Woodruff, Bill Schneider does it again:

WOODRUFF: Those Texas state senators who fled their state to block a GOP-led redistricting plan are growing in stature with their national party leaders. Some of the Texas Democrats were in Washington today. Others met in New Mexico with Democratic presidential candidate Dick Gephardt. Howard Dean also planned to meet with the group later today.

Our Bill Schneider has more on how the situation in Texas is being used as part of a national campaign to galvanize the party's grassroots.

BILL SCHNEIDER, SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: The redistricting war in Texas has gone national. Several of the Texas Democratic senators who have been boycotting the legislature showed up in Washington, where they joined forces with, a liberal advocacy group.

The goal? To rally Democrats around the country to proceed test what they see as a White House powerplay.

LETICIA VAN DE PUTT (D), TEXAS STATE SENATE: We realize this is a systemic abusive power with one goal in mind, and that is to consolidate the power at the national level in Congress.

SCHNEIDER: Democrats are keeping a list of grievances, call it the four "R's."

Let's hear it from one aggrieved Democrat (BEGIN VIDEO, VOICE-OVER by Schneider)

GOV. GRAY DAVIS (D), CALIFORNIA:It started with the impeachment of President Clinton, when the Republicans could not beat him in 1996.

SCHNEIDER: First "R," removal.

DAVIS: It continued in Florida, where they stopped the vote count, depriving thousands of Americans of the right to vote.

SCHNEIDER: Second "R," recount.

DAVIS: This year, they're trying to steal additional Congressional seats in Colorado and Texas, overturning legal redistricting plans.

SCHNEIDER: Third "R," redistricting.

DAVIS: Here in California, the Republicans lost the governor's race last November. Now they're trying to use this recall to seize control of California just before the next presidential election.

SCHNEIDER: Recall. That makes four. That same list appears in a new newspaper ad. Clinton, Florida, recall, redistricting.

The idea is to revive Democrats' outrage over impeachment and Florida and stoke it with new grievances.

Republicans say the four "R's" are really two "P's" pessimism and protest, a destructive kind of politics.

But Democrats see it as a way to rally the base for 2004. They see the hand of one sinister figure behind all those grievances, the fifth "R."

RODNEY ELLIS (D), TEXAS STATE SENATE: Karl Rove, a government employee, has made calls to members of the Texas Republican leadership saying, We want additional seats in Congress, so you all need to go through a redistricting again. (END VIDEO)

SCHNEIDER: Call it Rove Rage. Democrats are counting on it to bring their supporters to the polls next year. Votes "R" us. How about that?

WOODRUFF: I don't know if I can handle all this alliteration and onomatopoeia, what we learned back in English class.



preview of tonight's debate

posted by Aziz P. at Thursday, September 04, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions


Winds of change over at Sully's place?

posted by annatopia at Thursday, September 04, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Cribbed this link from Daily Kos. There are signs of a shift over at Andy's place. First there was this post from early August. Andy did a good job of talking up Dean's centrist record, then posed some theories about what we'll have to overcome during the general election. Then today, returned from his self-imposed sabbatical, we find this:
BIG GOVERNMENT BUSH: More evidence of the runaway federal government under Bush. The sheer profligacy of this administration continues to astound. If you're a fiscal conservative, Howard Dean is beginning to look attractive.
- 3:14:00 PM

I put a question mark on the headline because I am not going to assume that Andy has seen the light and pulled a Michael Cudahy. But I do sense that he's open-minded to the possibility that the GOoPers have forsaken their traditional platform, and that Dean might be a palatable vote for many a fiscal conservative. It should be interesting to see what develops over at Sully's place in the coming months.


How to find out if tonight's debate will be broadcast in your town

posted by annatopia at Thursday, September 04, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
I love PBS. Go to their homepage, and on the left hand sidebar they have a nifty tool. Plug in your zip code and a list of PBS stations in your area will be shown. Click on the station's link, and you are sent back to the PBS homepage. However, now the left hand sidebar will display the tv schedule for tonight.
I plugged in my zip and found out that my local PBS station (KERA, serving the Dallas-Ft Worth metroplex) will be showing the debate live at 7:00pm Central Standard Time. Go!


open thread: Dean conversion stories

posted by Aziz P. at Thursday, September 04, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Do you have a great story about how you found Dean? are you a non-Democrat who supports Dean and are itching to tell us why? Were you wearing your Dean button on the bus and were approached by a military vet wanting to know more?

This is the thread. Share your Dean Conversion stories here!


Dean for America

posted by Aziz P. at Thursday, September 04, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
There's a great article in Common Dreams today that I think makes the case for Dean in a unique way. Well, unique to the punditsphere, but certainly something that all of us who have been drawn to this candidacy will immediately recognize:

He’s smart. He’s clear. Neither qualities can be taken for granted when discussing the American presidency. His logic is crisp. He uses deductive reasoning. He speaks like a humane scientist. His positions seem to evolve from assimilating and interpreting facts. He does not seem to mold or withhold facts in order to promote a position in which he has an ego or monetary investment. He seems to take the mission statement of the Constitution to heart and applies an impassioned contemporary reason to it. He can be engaged. You get the feeling that if one frames a sensible argument he would integrate that into his decisions. His authority seems available to collaboration.

He's not a demagogue or religious fanatic. He sees human rights as a criterion for decision-making. He believes in separation of church and state. He seems to approach and treat the citizenry as if they are adults. He also seems to have galvanized a retiring sector of the population – a group that perhaps cynically or exhaustedly said, “what’s the point?” and consequently sat back. They’re now leaning forward to hear and support the observations and assertions of a thinking leader.

Remember why all those cynical voters got to be so jaded in the first place - because of the full-scale war being waged on disagreement by the right. It started during Clinton's presidency, as a reaction and a counter-culture. But now with conservatives in control of the government, it has run even more rampant. What we have is a culture of hatred in our politics, one that forces people to "choose sides" and label the other side as evil incarnate.

Dean, meanwhile, is for America. Not for Democrats or Republicans, but for Americans. It's a theme that he has pounded again and again on the trail, but has barely even registered on the national media scene. The media wants to see Dean on the attack, wants to film the red meat being devoured by the insatiable and "angry" base.

But the deeper theme here is about unity. It's what we really need in this country. We need to become one country again, united in identity even if we may disagree about minor policy.

It all comes back to President Lincoln and his first inaugural address:

Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield, and patriot grave, to every heart and hearthstone, all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature."

Dean's campaign reminds us of those better angels. And of the importance of those bonds of affection. And Dean's message breaks the artificial divisions that have been imposed upon the American body politic. And frees us to look at America as a unified whole rather than a red-vs-blue battleground.

Dean for America.


Kerry Cries, Punches Dean, Acts Wistful

posted by Trammell at Thursday, September 04, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Kerry Says Bush 'Dead Wrong,' Cries at Sad Story

DERRY, N.H. (Reuters) - Maybe it was the ginger tea or the homemade brownies, but Democratic presidential hopeful John Kerry ran a gamut of emotions on Wednesday, angrily denouncing President Bush as "dead wrong" on Iraq and shedding tears at a jobless woman's story.

Crying in New Hampshire, site of the first major primary of election seasons for the past half century, proved disastrous to another Democrat's White House campaign. Edmund Muskie's 1972 presidential bid sank after he teared up because of media attacks on his wife. But times have changed. Both the current and previous Presidents Bush are well known for struggling publicly with tears. [...]

"I don't care how many jobs I have to work, those kids are going to college," she said. "And if I can, I'll do whatever it takes to make this country stronger." Kerry, sitting beside her in Mary Ann's Diner, a popular small-town New Hampshire stop for 2004 presidential candidates, choked up and his eyes watered.

"That's very moving. It really is," he said, wiping away a tear. "No, it's tough." (NOTE: Funny, all the crying references seem to have been excised from most versions of this story. Chris Lehane screaming in your ear can do amazing things, I suppose.)[...]

Kerry's campaign has been fighting slippage in the polls and the perception it has been too detached, too flush with old-guard Democratic advisers and too slow to retool. Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean has eclipsed Kerry in early polls in New Hampshire, although the primary is more than four months away and the general election 14 months away.

Kerry's announcement speech was intended to reignite his White House bid by distilling what he has been saying for nine months into 30 minutes of "straight" talk (NOTE: Oh, please!) and he had plenty of that for both Bush and Dean on Iraq.

"I say to America, we deserve a president who gets it right from the beginning before young men and women are killed," he said. "They were wrong. Dead wrong. They should have listened to (Secretary of State) Colin Powell. They didn't and now they're trying to recoup."

Kerry, who voted in the U.S. Senate for the war in Iraq but has since criticized Bush's handling of it, has taken political heat for trying to have it both ways, especially from Dean, who was against the war from the start.

"Howard Dean's opposition to the war was wrong," Kerry told reporters. "You can't just walk away. All along I said you had to hold Saddam Hussein accountable but do it right." (NOTE: Isn't it really Kerry who's "trying to recoup?" He still can't get the Iraq story straight. No, Mr. Kerry, on Irag YOU were wrong!)

"There's something about September," he said. "The sky's bluer, the air's clearer ... and this campaign has plenty of gas."

(NOTE: Isn't it fun to use petroleum product metaphors and "blue sky, clean air" phraseology all at the same time?)


audio from WaPo: Dems Chase Dean

posted by Trammell at Thursday, September 04, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Audio inetreview with WaPo's Dan Balz discusses tonight's debate -- and guess what? -- Dean.


South Carolina poll

posted by Aziz P. at Thursday, September 04, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Zogby has released a new poll for South Carolina, and the numbers show Edwards, Dean, and Kerry as all competitive, posting moderate gains. However, Lieberman and Gephardt have slumped badly. Details:

Polling of likely Democratic primary voters in South Carolina indicates that the current presidential hopefuls’ campaigns have yet to catch fire. Four candidates are in a virtual tie for the lead, and 46% of respondents are not yet sure which candidate to support.

NC Senator John Edwards, former VT Governor Dr. Howard Dean, MA Senator John Kerry, and CT Senator Joseph Lieberman are deadlocked for first place in the polling, yet none of them has reached double digits except for rounding. All four earned 8-10%.

In South Carolina polling by Zogby International in March and July, Lieberman had a slight edge over MO Congressman Richard Gephardt, 12% - 10% and 13% - 8% respectively. Civil rights activist Rev. Al Sharpton slightly outpolled Gephardt in the current results, 5% - 4%.

September 2-3 polling, part of Zogby’s “Road to Boston” series, involved 501 likely voters, and has a margin of error of +/- 4.5%. Error margins are higher in sub-groups.

The real story is the still huge undecided vote. Fertile ground!


borrow and spend

posted by Aziz P. at Thursday, September 04, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Bush will ask for another $60-$70. Billion. Kevin Drum makes an interesting observation about what the true costs of the Iraq Adventure are:

One note, though: when you add this to the cost of the war itself plus the postwar costs already incurred, it looks to me like the 12-month cost of Gulf War II is going to net out to about $100 billion. That's 10% of the total amount raised via personal income taxes each year.

I have to wonder how broad support for the war would have been if every household had been asked to pay a 10% income tax surcharge to cover the cost?


Dukakis on Dean & Kerry

posted by G at Thursday, September 04, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Former Bay State Gov. Michael S. Dukakis downplayed the Dean phenomenon and said Kerry can still win the nomination - even with a Granite State loss.

"With two other New Englanders in the race, he has to do well but he doesn't have to win,'' Dukakis said. "This one is a long-distance race. You want to do well in Iowa and New Hampshire, but it's what happens afterwards that's critical.''
With all due respect to a good man, I think Dukakis is just wrong on this. He's saying the Kerry could lose Iowa and NH to Dean and still win the nomination? Hard to imagine. If Dean goes 2-0 in the Iowa and NH, the Dean Machine will get a new burst of enthusiasm, and money will pour in, while it dries up entirely for Kerry. The conventional wisdom is right for once--Kerry must win NH, or he's sunk (actually, I think he's been sunk ever since he voted for that senseless war).

Tuesday, September 02, 2003


Tuesday's ABC's The Note

posted by G at Tuesday, September 02, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
If Howard Dean stood 6 foot 4 tall, was the former two-term governor of Georgia and had even the barest of military backgrounds — and kept his exact message, he would be the odds on favorite to be his party nominee and would likely prove a strong challenger to George Bush in his general election.

Howard Dean can't raise his height, can't redo the past, and can't retroactively move to Atlanta.

Now that the biggest real poltick doubt about Dean has been put to rest — that he couldn't raise the money — the press has moved onto put other things to rest as well.

That his grassroots support was limited to cyberspace. That his staff wasn't professional enough to run a credible national campaign. That the candidate was undisciplined and unlikable. That he has no momentum outside Iowa and New Hampshire.

What remains is the electability question, which agitates the deep emotional cortices of Democratic voters and 49 percent of the Gang of 500 who share the party name.

Is Dean making progress on the electability front? More and more … It's not just that his stump speech is flashing its centrist blinkers. It's in simple accoutrements, like, say, a steady drumbeat of (somewhat) important, (semi-)resonating endorsements.

And in the dirty little (actually: "massive") secret of this stage of the campaign, the national political press corps is nearly united in its views that Dean (a) CAN be the nominee and (b) just might be the most fun to cover in the general.


Transcript of CNN Interview

posted by G at Tuesday, September 02, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Best line:
Look, I'm not ashamed to change positions that I have if the facts dictate that they ought to be changed. The hallmark of this administration is, if you have a fact that contradicts your theory, you throw the fact out. I'm a doctor. I don't throw out facts, I throw out theories.


Saletan on Dean vs. Kerry

posted by G at Tuesday, September 02, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
The notion that Kerry is just now kicking off his campaign is a well-understood joke. He's been running for more than a year. I've heard and read about his war record many times. Yet I still stare incredulously every time he talks about it. I can't get a rude but persistent question out of my mind: Can you believe this guy fought in Vietnam?

He did, of course. He's the only candidate in this race who did. He earned the Silver Star and Bronze Star and was wounded three times. ... I look at him and wonder how such a brave warrior became such a cautious politician.

Lately, I've thought about Kerry's service when I watch Howard Dean, the candidate Kerry is trying to overtake. Now, there's a guy who looks like he fought in Vietnam. Dean's words always seem to be holding back an inferno of anger. John McCain was the same way. Kerry is the opposite: He claims to be angry, but you look at him and can't believe it. His body doesn't live up to his words. When Kerry disagrees with you, he make you feel as though the disagreement is his problem. When Dean disagrees with you, he makes you feel as though it's your problem. I know Kerry fought and Dean didn't. But it's still hard to believe.

Take the test yourself. Call up a friend who hasn't been following the campaign and knows nothing about the candidates. Have your friend watch five minutes of Dean speaking and five minutes of Kerry speaking. Then ask your friend which guy fought in Vietnam. Unless Kerry mentions his war record, I'll bet your friend picks Dean.


Michael Cudahy's mea culpa

posted by annatopia at Tuesday, September 02, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
I can't believe what I've just read. Michael Cudahy is one of the leading Republicans in America, and what is unfolding before our eyes is amazing. Cudahy is deep in the party; name a Republican candidate from the past thirty years and Cudahy's worked on their behalf. This is big, folks, real big.
I can't count the number of times I've said how I wish that real republicans (little "r") would take their party back from the extremist ideologues that are currently running the show. And we've also observed that republicans are strangely silent lately as the War in Iraq has turned sour and we've begun losing the peace. I know we've wondered how real republicans (I say "real" because I don't consider the extremists to be real republicans, but rather, power mongers) could stand by while their party mismanaged our economy while forsaking long-held Republican party values. We've said time and again that we welcome our republican friends to the Dean bandwagon because we believe our candidate embodies the best of both parties. Apparently, Michael Cudahy agrees. Visit the link above to read his entire statement, but here's an excerpt:
This country is hungry to put an end to the partisan warfare that has consumed this nation for the last 15 years -- at least.
That hunger, and a deep discontent with the status quo keeps reasserting itself. It raised its head in '96 with the hope that Colin Powell might run. It reemerged with the McCain insurgency, and I believe that it will finally succeed with the candidacy of Howard Dean.
This is not a question of party registration. It is a matter of right and wrong. It is a question of thoughtful policy development that addresses the needs and problems that are facing the majority of people in this country.
I have campaigned all over this country and I have enormous confidence in the basic common sense of the American people. I believe if you speak to them rationally they will listen. I am convinced that one of the reasons that the Dean campaign is gaining such traction is because unlike everyone else they have thrown the rule book away and are beginning to intelligently address the problems that are threatening the nation.
I also believe that they understand that they represent a potential home for millions of disenfranchised traditional Republicans who -- like myself -- are no longer welcome in their own Party.
Governor Dean projects a complete unwillingness to be afraid, and that is the key to taking these people out. From what I am hearing from friends inside the Republican Party, they are deeply concerned by the Dean campaign because they do not know how to deal with it.
I guess I would say to people who have been terrified by President Bush and his administration, "do not be afraid of all Republicans, because there are millions of Republicans who are wonderful caring people. Citizens who embrace the traditions and policies of Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt and Dwight Eisenhower......reach out to them.........and create a radical center where all of us can work together -- even when we disagree."
Please do not tar us all with the same brush. Like all Americans, we love our country, its values and the principles that have made it great. Equally important, we are committed to the vision of the founders of our party who believed, in the words of Abraham Lincoln that, "This country with its institutions belongs to the people who inhabit it."
You should also know that those of us who dare to suggest to Republicans and Independents that there is a better way -- have been threatened and harassed.

Michael, we know that republicans aren't bad people. The people in charge of the Republican party are bad people. We know the difference. We know there are millions of republicans out there who feel disconnected from their party much in the same way that millions of democrats felt disconnected from their party in 2000. The Dean campaign is about uniting all of us - both left and right - and bringing us together under one umbrella group so that we can all work together and build a better, brighter, and safer America. Remember it's not Dean for Texas or Dean for Democrats or Dean for Northeastern Liberals... it's Dean for America. Welcome to the movement, Michael. We are blessed and lucky to have you on board, and we welcome any and all Americans to this movement. Folks, visit the link and send it to all of your republican friends. Include a link to Dean for America so they can sign up and join the grassroots. Invite them to a Meetup, then send the over to BlogforAmerica so they can get a sense of the community we're building. Let's help DFA reach their goal of 450,000 people on their mailing list. I know we can do it. I know that there are real republicans out there just waiting for a candidate who can speak to them and make them feel like they are making a difference. I want all of my republican friends to feel the way I do about this campaign. Together, united, one nation, we will win and we will change the country for the better.
You should also visit Britt Blaser's site and read his take on what Cudahy's defection means. It's very well written and well reasoned. An excerpt:
The highest courage would be to purposely alienate yourself from the peers with whom you have worked hard and won victories and whose respect you have earned. To do so on a matter of principle is the rarest form of courage.... The highest courage would be to purposely alienate yourself from the peers with whom you have worked hard and won victories and whose respect you have earned. To do so on a matter of principle is the rarest form of courage.

Britt provides some helpful advice on how to attract republicans to the campaign. Let's all read it and absorb it, and let's welcome our Independent and Republican friends to the movement.


Luckovich on Dean

posted by annatopia at Tuesday, September 02, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
I think this cartoon speaks for itself:


Dean on Ashcroft; DeLay on Dean; Dean on DeLay and Ashcroft

posted by Editor at Tuesday, September 02, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
In response to Gov. Dean's statment (though I have not read it, I'll trust the Congressman didn't make it up - a leap of faith, I know), Rep. DeLay released the following (whack jobs unite!) statement:

To: National Desk
Contact: Stuart Roy or Jonathan Grella, 202-225-4000; both of the Office of House Majority Leader Tom DeLay

SUGAR LAND, Texas., Sept. 2 /U.S. Newswire/ -- House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Sugarland) today condemned the comments of presidential candidate and former Vermont Governor Howard Dean, who said, "John Ashcroft is not a patriot," in New Hampshire yesterday.

"Howard Dean is a cruel and extremist demagogue," DeLay said.

"John Ashcroft loves America more than Howard Dean could ever know. John Ashcroft has sacrificed for his country, and devoted his life to serving it. He is as kind, generous, and patriotic a man as I've ever met. And Howard Dean is as ignorant on John Ashcroft as he is on national security."

"Howard Dean's comments are an embarrassment to the democratic process and the Democrat Party. If this cruel, loudmouth extremist is the cream of the Democrat crop, next Novembers going to make the 1984 election look like a squeaker."


Dean for America responds:

September 2, 2003

Dean For America Responds To Comments by Tom Delay

BURLINGTON--Dean for America Communications Director Tricia Enright issued the following statement today in response to today's statement from House Majority Leader Tom Delay: "The narrow ideological agenda of the Delay-Ashcroft wing of the Republican Party threatens basic American freedoms that have been enshrined in the Constitution for over 200 years. Those policies are not only extreme, they are cruel."

-- 30 --


100,000 meetup members

posted by annatopia at Tuesday, September 02, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
In case you didn't catch this on the O-blog, Meetup reached 100,000 members at 11:35am EST. Aziz predicted we'd hit it by the end of July. Hey Aziz, you were only off by 33 days.... *smile*


Fact-based vs Hack-based Political Analysis

posted by G at Tuesday, September 02, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
"Right now, Dean is in the driver's seat. I'm almost ready to say that Dean has the ticket to Boston as the challenger Democrat," says pollster John Zogby, whose latest survey shows Mr. Dean leading Sen. Kerry by more than two to one in New Hampshire, the nation's first primary state.
Anti-Bush partisans may be having their joy ride with Howard Dean, but it's clear they are secretly pining for Hillary. Once they are absolutely convinced she won't answer their calls, I have no doubt many of them will grow tired and skeptical of Mr. Dean. (John Fund in the WSJ)

Monday, September 01, 2003


Details on 1st Debate

posted by G at Monday, September 01, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
This Thursday 8-9:30 p.m. EST on PBS. Click for more.


International experience

posted by G at Monday, September 01, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
We here at Dean Nation try very hard to stay positive. We fervently believe that to win the nomination and the presidency we simply need to be sure that the true Howard Dean is heard, over the furious sounds of spinning from the White House, the DLC and other candidates. Our unofficial policy is to never attack other candidates, but to respond when our man is slammed. Today offers such a case.

In appearances Sunday, Kerry said, "Howard Dean has zero experience in international affairs. The presidency is not the place for on-the-job training in this new security world." According to Time Magazine, his "favorite applause line of late" is "I learned something about aircraft carriers in the Gulf of Tonkin — I learned about them for real."

So how about it? Is this a weakness for Dean? As a former governor, Dean's international experience is on the same level of that of Presidents Clinton and Reagan at the time they took office. It is vastly greater than that of aWol, who had only traveled outside the country three times before being elected (if I remember correctly, once to visit his dad in China, once to Mexico, and once to Europe for a governors' conference.) As chairman of the National Governors' Association and the Democratic National Governors' Association, Dean has traveled widely, visiting over 50 countries. He offhandedly noted at the Harkin forum that he is the only candidate of either party to personally know the new president of Argentina, Nestor Kirchner.

Dean has layed out a comprehensive foreign policy vision much broader than anything offered by any other candidates. So Kerry's suggestion that Dean doesn't know enough or have enough ideas about international policy is demonstrably false.

If Kerry means to say that the problem is that Dean doesn't have any experience conducting foreign policy at the national level, as opposed to the extensive state-to-state contacts he did with the NGA, OK, fair enough, but then who does? Except in a very limited capacity, senators don't conduct foreign policy. Other than those who'd been vice president, the only president I can recall with any experience carrying out foreign policy was George I, who was ambassador to the UN 1971-72.

The real question, of course, is not whether Dean has "experience" in international affairs, but whether he will be a competent and thoughtful leader on the world stage. Every sign suggests that he will.

With Kerry, I have strong doubts. Every time he mentions the Gulf of Tonkin, there must be some part of his brain that remembers that it was the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, justified based on a non-existent attack on an American boat in the Gulf, that gave LBJ carte blanche to go ahead full throttle in Vietnam.

What is truly disheartening is that despite all his military service and his brave turn against the Vietnam war as a vet, when it came time to vote for the Iraq war resolution, he seems to have forgotten everything that Vietnam and the Gulf of Tonkin should have taught him.

Kerry's position on the Iraq war now, as a best as I can make it out, seems to be that it was a bad idea in retrospect but he voted for it because he was fooled by the president's lies. I wasn't fooled. Dean wasn't fooled. Millions of people in the U.S. and around the world weren't fooled. So is Kerry's international "experience" the kind we want the next president to have?

UPDATE: The folks at JUSIPER discuss this in the 2nd installment of their 4 part series "How Dean Can Win."

UPDATE 2: Upon further digging, I found that in 2000 Bush's campaign claimed his overseas trips included Mexico plus China to visit his dad, Gambia on official visit while his dad was president, the Mideast for a governors' conference, with a stopover in Italy to visit his daughter. In 2001 a Bush spokesperson made vague claims of other travel as well. The NY Times reported that his “overseas experience was pretty much limited to trying to date Chinese women (unsuccessfully) during a visit to Beijing in 1975.”

Sunday, August 31, 2003


Deja vu

posted by G at Sunday, August 31, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Adam Nagourney is not my favorite New York Times reporter. That would be Judith Miller (just kidding!) His political analysis often just echoes the latest spin put out by the Bush administration or the DLC. His article today, however, says some accurate things about Dean, so before I get to the sardonic ridicule, let us praise the following excerpts from the article:
The unorthodox character of Dr. Dean's candidacy — and the nature of his support from men and women who have been drawn into politics for the first time by his candidacy — has turned Dr. Dean into a difficult target for conventional political attacks.
What is increasingly clear, several Democrats said, is that primary voters are not likely to choose someone who is promising to run a nuanced campaign against Mr. Bush. Dr. Dean has set the tone on that, as he made clear again today.

"John Ashcroft is not a patriot," he said, referring to the attorney general's advocacy of the Patriot Act. "John Ashcroft is a descendant of Joseph McCarthy."

Harsh or not, Dr. Dean's attacks on Mr. Bush have heartened Democratic audience, and the pitch of attacks on Mr. Bush by other Democrats has increased with each new sign of Dr. Dean's success.
OK, time for ridicule. Here's the thesis of the article:
The race for the Democratic presidential nomination shifts into a more intense phase this Labor Day weekend, with some party leaders worried about the strength of their field of candidates and fearful of what they view as President Bush's huge advantage going into next year's election.
Lo and behold, through the miracle of Nexis, we find that Nagourney has previously written many articles about how tremendously difficult it will be for the Democrats to defeat President Bush ... in 1992. A few choice bits from his 1991 articles in USA Today:

March 22 --
Battered and facing a bleak future, Democratic Party leaders meet in Washington today in search of a way to shift voters' attention from the Persian Gulf to the economy.

State party leaders say their only hope for defeating President Bush in 1992 rests on a continued deterioration of the economy.
Still, the signs do not bode well for the party that has won just one of the past six presidential elections.

Bush's popularity has soared to record levels because of the war.
August 8 --
What once was shrugged off by Democrats as a passing gust of the political winds - the absence of heavyweight challengers to President Bush - is now looming as a major political embarrassment.
The way things are shaping up, the Democrats could easily end up with only two viable candidates: Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin and Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton, both little-known outside their states. The third, and only announced candidate, is ex-Massachusetts senator Paul Tsongas, whose campaign has yet to catch on.
Still, the lack of interest only reinforces the notion that Bush is unbeatable.
August 21 --
During times of international turmoil, voters are reluctant to turn out presidents. Further, Democrats acknowledge that Bush is now in his element - viewed as a strong president needed to stand up to a renewed Soviet menace.
To make matters worse, the turmoil spotlights the holes in the foreign policy resumes of Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton, Virginia Gov. Douglas Wilder, New York Gov. Mario Cuomo and former Masschuasetts senator Paul Tsongas.
It must be easy being a political reporter these days--you don't have to come up with any new story ideas, since you just can just pull up those articles from Bush I's re-election campaign and search-and-replace the Democrats' names. You don't even have to change the incumbent president's name. What a cushy gig!

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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.