Nation-Building

"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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Sunday, November 30, 2003

 

Daily Review

posted by barb at Sunday, November 30, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Dean Assails Bush on Defense

Dean says states should turn down No Child Left Behind money

Dean Ruled From Fiscal Center in Vermont

Howard Dean/ Jimmy Carter

Hardball Battle for the White House:Howard Dean

 

The Battle http://www.rispin.co.uk/henryv.html

posted by Dana at Sunday, November 30, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Politics is war by peaceful means. But it is war. It is a struggle for power. In the case of the U.S. Presidency it is a struggle for ultimate power, the greatest source of political power and legitimacy the world has ever known.

Let there be no mistake. Bush will have far more money than we do. He will have the power of incumbency to shape events as he likes. He claims, already, to have 10 times the troops in the field that we do. He and his Congress will spend like drunken sailors. He has the media, he has the political establishment, and surveys show him with an approval rating over 50 – a magic number because Presidents above that usually win, those below that usually lose.

The best honest surveys show Howard Dean to be about six points behind. We have perhaps 8 months to enroll millions of new voters, knowing Bush will have all the money in the world to do the same. We know we must bring millions more new people to this process, knowing the RNC will also do the same.

They will try to frighten us. They will use (and abuse) memories of 9/11. They will push yet more billions into the financial system, hoping that a temporary return of a portion of the 3 million jobs lost will make us all forget ourselves. They will call us traitors, repeatedly.

Might some act on that belief?

I do not know, but I put nothing past this Administration. In my opinion, and the opinion of many others, this is the most ruthless, most corrupt Administration in America’s history. An enormous effort will be required to defeat it, an effort the likes of which this country has never seen before.

What are we going to do about it?

A week before the election, on October 25, will come the feast of St. Crispin. He was a French saint, the patron of shoemakers and perhaps (one might say) of shoe leather. (I’d nominate him as patron saint of mousepads as well.)

This is fitting. It will take enormous quantities of shoe leather to overcome the money, manipulation, and arrogance of this Administration, an Administration that has seized power the American people did not give it, to steal from the poor, to conduct war unilaterally, and to try and make freedom conditional on blind obedience.

St. Crispin’s Day is better-known, however, for a Shakespearean speech, in Henry V. Kenneth Branagh’s adaptation was just shown here on cable, and it is a call to arms, to struggle, and to victory. It’s worth reading again:


This story shall the good man teach his son;
And Crispin Crispian shall ne'er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remember'd;
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition:
And gentlemen in England now a-bed
Shall think themselves accursed they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day.


Let every day, from now until November 2, 2004 be St. Crispin’s day. And let us fight, as they fought in truth, and as Shakespeare had them fight on stage, as though our lives, fortunes, and sacred honor were at stake.

For so they are.

 

Queer Meets World http://dean2004.blogspot.com/2003_11_23_pointswest_archive.html#107013600194687714

posted by Trammell at Sunday, November 30, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
In her screed from last week "Some Folks Just Shouldn't Get Married" Charlotte Alllen makes this ludicrous case:
There are reasons why formally and publicly recognized unions of men and women constitute the world's oldest and most enduring social institution. By keeping, or at least attempting to keep, sexual activity and procreation within the family, marriage fosters the stable emotional and financial conditions that are best for the raising of children; parents focus their energy and resources upon their offspring and each other. Marriage also protects women financially and emotionally after their years of childbearing and peak sexual attractiveness have passed. It creates powerful kinship networks that transcend personal feelings -- witness "The Sopranos" -- (NOTE: yup, gangsters are far better than fags) and provides incentives for the accumulation and orderly transmission of property.
Well, in Saturday's LA Times, three letters appeared that strike to the heart of her so-called argument:
In paragraph four, Allen offers these reasons: Keeping sexual activity within the family; stable emotional and financial conditions best for raising children; focusing energy and resources upon offspring and each other; financial and emotional protection after the passing of peak sexual attractiveness; powerful kinship networks; incentives for the accumulation and orderly transmission of property.

Thank you, Charlotte Allen. You only thought you were writing against gay marriage. Instead, you've just laid out the best reasons to support it!

- Ryan R. Sanderson

+ + +

My partner and I are registered as domestic partners, but still there are reminders everywhere that we are not married. When we applied for health insurance for my partner our request was denied twice and delayed for nine months -- despite the fact that my employer voluntarily agreed to include her on the company policy -- because domestic partners are not automatically recognized by the insurance provider.

We finally got it straightened out, but only after my partner was rushed to the emergency room after a car accident with no health insurance. It was a terrifying moment.

Some people say that we are pushing too fast for our rights. When I am working alongside others, paying taxes and contributing to the strength of my community, I don't believe I should have to wait patiently to have the same rights as other people. For my partner and me, one day is too long to wait.

- Amy Wilder Drake

+ + +

Charlotte Allen's "Some Folks Just Shouldn't Get Married" embodies the misperceptions about gay marriage that have been rife on the right. They are, no doubt, expecting to use this as a wedge issue in the elections, but what the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts decided was that the state could not limit the legal institution of marriage to "man and woman," that a gay or lesbian couple qualify for the same legal rights and obligations as a heterosexual couple. This is not to say that Catholics, Protestants, Jews, Muslims or Buddhists are required to sanctify the union, only that the state must apply what is essentially civil contract law to grant the gay couple a legal framework of respect and protection.

A religion can make the requirement that a man and a woman be involved. A religion can say that both bride and groom must be believers in the same religion to have their union blessed by God; but that blessing is out of the province of the state's authority.

Conservatives say that if gays are allowed to make their unions legal, that somehow invalidates traditional marriage. Thus the shibboleth that is always mentioned in this line of attack: Why, if two men can marry, why not a man and his dog? Think of contract law. If two businessmen can draw up a contract, why can't a man and his dog? Because a dog cannot give consent. Only legal equals can sign contracts. An adult cannot marry a child, because a child cannot give consent. An invalid contract is not legally binding. Many clergymen from smaller churches are willing to bless gay marriages. Would Allen be saying that some churches' positions on the question should be endorsed legally but other religions' positions should not? Is that "freedom of religion"?

- Jim Hassinger

As ya'll know, over at Points West we are strong proponents of, at the very least, civil unions. I'm tired of being circumspect about this in any regard. Though I'm currently single, one day I will marry, or something close to it, and I'll blog about it. I guarantee it.

Folks, it is time.

P.S. By the way, I'm sick of the lack of overall support and relative silence in the progressive blogging comunity on this issue -- I'm taking it to the people and you will be hearing about this from me and mine quite a bit in the near and far future. A few months ago, the Out for Dean folks thought this queer blogger little better than an Uncle Tom -- hyperbole mine -- but if we are going to win with Dean, we cannot be shy. Dean is not shy, and I love him for it. We must face this issue head on, and make our case directly to the American People. After all, it is basically Dick Cheney's position from the 2000 debates.

Saturday, November 29, 2003

 

Dialog with Dan Darling http://dean2004.blogspot.com/2003_11_23_regnumcrucis_archive.html#107005842688531176

posted by Aziz P. at Saturday, November 29, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Dan Darling is a blogger I highly respect. He has extensive experience writing about and analyzing Islamic fanatacism, without a trace of anti-Muslim sentiment. His writings at Winds of Change.NET about the war on Terror have always been informative and thought-provoking (even when I disagree, it's educational). And he is also a devout Catholic who welcomes, as I do, the influence his beliefs have upon his domestic political opinions.

He also probably won't be voting for Howard Dean - and in a post on his blog written as a response to comments at mine, he lays out the primary reasons why. In a nutshell, he finds Dean's comments that southerners vote against their economic interests to be unconvincing and condescending. He also has specific gripes about Liberalism as a whole (mainly driven by his religious convictions).

I'm highlighting it because while I doubt there's any point in trying to convince Dan to vote Dean (or for him to try and convince me to vote Bush, despite the fact that he and I share almost 99% of our religious-driven social concerns), I do think that dialog on these issues is critical. Not to win over voters per se, but to ensure that the perceptions of voters who disagee with Dean are still represented and have their views taken into account when President Dean takes office.

The promise of Dean's candidacy is that policy and facts, not ideology, matter. As many have pointed out (most recently, David Neiwert in a must-read essay titled "The Political and the Personal"), civil discourse is impossible under GOP rule. But what is the point of Democratic rule if discourse and debate remain closed?

So let's try and make a good faith response to Dan's points. Here's our chance for dialog with a principled opponent. It should not be wasted.

Friday, November 28, 2003

 

Clark piles on http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/ap/20031127/ap_on_el_pr/carving_candidates_3

posted by Aziz P. at Friday, November 28, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
This is a pretty despicable attack on Dean by Clark on Thanksgiving day:

"I didn't have as much practice skiing as the governor did. He was out there skiing when I was recovering from my wounds in Vietnam," Clark, a former supreme allied commander in Europe, told WNTK radio on Wednesday.


As all the other candidates know full well, Dean showed up for his physical and was rejected on account of his spinal condition. The rejection was not under his control.

After Dean wins the nomination, watch for the same line of attack to be played out in the general election, with Bush quoting Clark by name.

UPDATE: It may have been more innocous than it seemed at first blush. The CNN report has some mitigating comments from Clark:

Clark did mention Dean by name earlier Thursday, when a radio interviewer jokingly asked if he'd be interested in a ski competition between candidates.

"I didn't have as much practice skiing as the governor did. He was out there skiing when I was recovering from my wounds in Vietnam," Clark said on WNTK radio.

Dean recently has defended himself from criticism that he cited a back condition and sought a medical deferment during the Vietnam War, then spent a year skiing in Colorado. "I took a physical, I failed a physical. If that makes this an issue, then so be it," Dean said earlier this week.

In Manchester, Clark said he did not intend his comment to be critical of Dean.

"If anybody's spent a year skiing, they've spent a lot more time on the slopes than I have," he said, adding that it would be up to veterans to decide what to make of Dean's actions.


The story starts out with Clark's repeated insistence he doesn't want to getinto personal attacks, so if you're willing to give him the benefit of the doubt, you could charitably interpret his comment as "poorly worded". Our own candidate lets his mouth run away at times too.

 

NPR discovers blogs http://www.npr.org/features/feature.php?wfId=1520176

posted by Aziz P. at Friday, November 28, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
interesting piece on NPR about the political impact of blogs. Here's the abstract from NPR's site:

Online web logs are a resource for political junkies of every political bent. Candidates blog, their campaigns blog, volunteers blog, and countless observers blog, too. It remains to be seen how the political blogs will influence the campaign process. NPR's Ari Shapiro reports.

 

Daily Review

posted by barb at Friday, November 28, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Why I'm for Dean

You Have the Power

Critics in Vermont Rally Around Dean

Financing Moves by 2 Democrats Recast Early Campaign Fights





Thursday, November 27, 2003

 

Governor Dean's Thanksgiving Message http://www.deanforamerica.com/

posted by Editor at Thursday, November 27, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
May we always remember how much we have to be thankful for. Happy Thanksgiving, Dean Nation. From Dean for America...
Across the country, families and friends are drawing closer to one another today, as we celebrate and give thanks in the same way Americans have been doing for centuries.

Thanksgiving is the first holiday that was uniquely American. It says something fundamental about us -- that humble congregation and gratitude for our blessings is deep within our national character.

Across the country are those whose blessings are few and whose need is great. Millions of families will be having a wholesome meal in a community center or soup kitchen today, never far from the reality to which they will return tomorrow. As we give thanks for all that we have, let us dedicate ourselves to building a world in which this day’s abundance becomes every day’s, for all to share.

Governor Howard Dean, M.D.

Wednesday, November 26, 2003

 

Richardson & Horseshoes http://www.hispanicbusiness.com/news/newsbyid.asp?id=13802

posted by Trammell at Wednesday, November 26, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
In politics as in horseshoes, sometimes close does count. Interesting article from Hispanic Business Magazine regarding New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson's supportive "non-endorsement" of Howard Dean:
Gov. Bill Richardson has to stay neutral in the 2004 race for the Democratic nomination for president because he has been tapped to chair the Democratic National Convention to pick the nominee in July in Boston. But Richardson certainly spoke highly of former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, when Dean came to Albuquerque Wednesday to meet with Hispanic leaders and address the National Congress of American Indians.
Richardson is massively important to Dean -- and really all the Dems -- for a host of reasons. First, as Energy Secretary for Clinton, he provides a bridge to that successful and popular administration, and he's one of the most vocal and most qualified critics of the Bush/Cheney energy policies. Second, he's probably the most well-known and well-respected Hispanic Democratic leader in the United States. Third, he's the popular Governor of the must-win state of New Mexico, which Gore carried in 2000, and which could serve as a spring-board to Arizona, a state that Bush carried in 2000.

Finally, he's the Chair of the Dem convention, and for all the reasons stated above, he will be perhaps the most important peace-maker and primetime speech power-broker in the post-primary season. In fact, I predict that he will eclipse even the Clinton's in a behind-the-scenes kind of way. Assuming that Dean wins the nomination, he will either be able to make peace with the Clinton's and McAulliffe, or he will find a way to work around them effectively on behalf of Dean. The article continues:
Richardson said he thinks Dean has to be regarded as the front- runner for the Democratic nomination in New Mexico and nationally. Richardson pooh-poohed pundits who contend Dean, if he wins the nomination, would be too far left to beat President Bush.

"You can't dismiss Dean as a strong general election candidate," Richardson said in an interview. "He's got a strong balanced budget record. His campaign is well run. He's got an interesting coalition and he has tapped the interest of many voters that have not participated before. So he's built a huge grass-roots effort that you can't dismiss."

Surveying the group surrounding Dean outside the National Hispanic Cultural Center, Richardson said Dean "has an impressive array of endorsements from New Mexico, Hispanic and Native American leaders, literally my organization's endorsement." Richardson praised Dean for making multiple trips to New Mexico: "I can categorically say in New Mexico he has the strongest organization."
I know that many of you have read those quotes before, but of course he's got the strongest organization in New Mexico -- it's Richardson's organization! The article continues with reports of a tiff between Richardson and Beantown Mayor Tom Menino -- reports they adamantly deny, but one must wonder if the tension is of the Dean v. Kerry variety:
The Boston Globe has reported that Menino snubbed Richardson when the Democratic governor visited Boston in October and that there were tensions between the two over the organization of the convention.

Both Richardson and Menino said those reports are nonsense. [...] Menino said he was out of town when he supposedly snubbed Richardson in October. "When he came to Boston (in October) I was on my way to Italy so I couldn't even argue with him if I had wanted," Menino said in a telephone interview late last week. "When my staff told me we were supposedly fighting, I said, 'What, I never even talked to the guy when he was here.' That report's just cuckoo." [...]

Richardson noted that both he and Menino are close to Sen. Ted Kennedy, the senior Democratic senator from Massachusetts. "We've had three-way (telephone) calls, Kennedy, me and Menino," Richardson said. "There aren't any tensions."

Richardson has long ties to the Boston area. His father was a Boston banker, who later worked in Mexico City, where Richardson's mother still lives.
Good. Yet one more extra plus for a Dean/Richardson future, and an important one for Dem unity. When it comes to what happens after we win -- assuming we win -- Richardson is well positioned to be Howard Dean's luckiest horseshoe of all. Considering this amazing year, that's really saying something!

Happy Thanksgiving Dean Nation!

 

Daily Review

posted by barb at Wednesday, November 26, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Dean Doubling Ad Buy in Iowa, Will Air New 60-Second Spot

Joan Jett Running to be a Dean Delegate

Clark: Carving Is for Turkeys, Not Rivals

Kucinich Supporters Can `adopt an Intern'

Possible Remains of Dean's Brother Return to U.S.

 

Mar-Dean-Gras http://www.democraticunderground.com/articles/03/11/26_dean.html

posted by Trammell at Wednesday, November 26, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Michael McCord writing for the Democratic Underground -- which has not been a hot-bed of support for Dean I hasten to add -- turns in this report on Dean from the campaign trail:
A year ago the notion of a "Dean Juggernaut" would have been fantasy. Even six months ago, the concept was a punch line in the making but today with the New Hampshire primary fast approaching, it's a sobering - no make that horrifying - fact for the rivals of former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean. "Every day I wake up sick," a staffer from a rival campaign responded when asked about Dean. "They (the Dean campaign) act like it's Mardi Gras every day and we're just dressing for a funeral." The candidate who couldn't afford a pollster at the start of his campaign is now at the top of primary opinion polls. [...]

The place [in Rochester, NH] was mostly filled with more than 375 Dean fans and potential supporters who waited patiently as Dean ran almost an hour late from a previous campaign stop. The patience of his audience was one thing - the fact that they were there at all on a Friday night in November (the night life in southeastern New Hampshire is actually quite lively) speaks volumes about his current star quality.

At this and other rallies I've witnessed, Dean's support cuts across class and cultural lines and includes the young and old, independents who voted for John McCain, liberals who supported Al Gore and Bill Bradley, environmentalists, stray Republicans, blue collar workers and professionals of all stripes. And the collective mood is like a trip to a political Disneyland where it's a small world after all and all things are possible. [...]

The Dean campaign man on the spot was James Moore, 26, a New Hampshire native who a few months earlier quit his job as a grass roots organizer at Greenpeace in Washington, D.C. "For two years I saw how things are done in D.C. I'd had enough of Bush and what he was doing especially his systematic unraveling of 30-year of environmental laws," Moore told me. "I decided I had to do something. I packed everything I had in the car and moved up here." Moore joined the campaign as an area coordinator, working 80 to 100 hours a week, and it's been an enlightening baptism as he's never worked for a political candidate before. He has been leading as many as 11 house meetings a week, he says, educating scores of engaged voters. "They range from students to housewives to everyone. What's interesting is how many have never been this involved before, Some have never registered or voted before. And we are seeing this throughout the state."
The article often veers negative, as if McCord is in full accord with the beltway pundits who criticize Dean. McCord can't decide whether to agree with them or deride them, but as I've stated before: love him or hate him, folks can't quit talking about Dean, Dean, Dean. Thanks to Heath for the link.

 

yeah, THAT liberal press! http://www.dailyhowler.com/dh112603.shtml

posted by Trammell at Wednesday, November 26, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
The Daily Howler's Bob Somerby takes a look at the Vietnam records of Bush and Dean through a Gore-lens. Oh yeah, that liberal press - they really are mean mean mean to those poor, mistreated, so-called conservatives:
KRISTOF LOCATES A LIAR: In his own puzzling profile of Bush’s Guard service, Kristof showed mastery of one press corps rule—all reports in Campaign 2000 must reflect poorly on Gore. Remember, Kristof was reporting on Bush, not on Gore. But he managed to sound a key press corps theme. Despite the problems in Bush’s record, it turned out that Gore was the liar:
KRISTOF (7/11/00): Mr. Gore was always a serious, ambitious young man struggling with deep moral questions and, in the case of Vietnam, with deeply practical calculations about how his actions would play in his father’s re-election campaign. Some critics have also suggested that in later years he embellished his Vietnam role for his own political career.
Read the rest here. Thanks to Dean National Jon Emery for the link.

 

Meet New York Deputy Campaign Manager David Bender http://www.cnyfordean.com/

posted by Heath at Wednesday, November 26, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
David Bender is the deputy campaign manager for Dean in New York. I caught up with him in New York City on the New York Univeristy campus at Cooper Union (11/5/03). DavidBenderNY.JPGSorry to bring it up again, I know it's painful, but he had some words for the troops about the flag flap and making it all happen for Dean (us) with mousepads and shoe leather.

Bender's another reason why we'll succeed in taking our country back from psychotic journalists like Matt Drudge who helped pioneer the NEO-CON wrath on the airwaves.

Here's the video clip

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Happy Thanksgiving to all of Dean Nation from the DeanTV.org team where this video is stored with other spare parts of the people's People-Powered Howard documentary!

 

is nothing sacred? http://drudgereport.com/dean9.htm

posted by Aziz P. at Wednesday, November 26, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
I'm not even going to excerpt this smear job from Drudge. The insinuation is that there was "pressure" on the military to expedite Charlie Dean's repatriation and the forensic identification, ahead of the queue. It's laced with anonymous outraged servicemen "fuming" at the flag honors and other "special treatment" afforded to Charlie.

Note Charles Dean, although a civilian, is considered by the U.S. government to have been a prisoner of war, according to Larry Greer, spokesman for the Pentagon office in charge of POW and MIA issues:

There are currently 1,875 Americans missing from the Vietnam conflict, including some civilians such as Dean, Greer said. He did not have a precise number of missing civilians but said they include government contractors, missionaries and those like Dean who had no connection to military operations.

The military tracks those missing Americans for two reasons: Government contractors deserve the same effort as military members and civilians need to be tracked so their remains aren't mistaken for those of soldiers, Greer said.

"We track everybody who's an American," he added.


The military honors for Charlie - and all POW-MIA recovered from the war - are entirely appropriate.

What is inappropriate, and worthy of outrage, is the attempt to use even this somber and emotional homecoming as ammunition against the Dean family.

 

Money, Money, Money. It's a Rich Man's World.

posted by Amanda at Wednesday, November 26, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Who can resist an ABBA reference? ;-)

But seriously, there is much speculation in blogland and in the mainstream media about the impact of the evolving economic realities/spin on the 2004 race. Questions are flying: With the recent announcement of a "surge" in GDP for the third quarter, are Bush's chances for reelection salvaged? Will his plummetting poll numbers recover? And from the Democrats' point of view, will a supposedly brightening economic picture in coming months potentially weaken the Dems' chances against Bush next year?

Obviously, no one really knows. But there's some excellent discussion and speculation out there for your reading pleasure.

The good folks over at Daily Kos think the Democrats' Economic Message is Unharmed by Upward GDP Revision.

If a single quarter of GDP growth were the be-all, end-all measurement of how the economy has performed during the Bush presidency, [Bush] might well be sitting in the catbird seat right now. But...GDP is only one measure of economic well-being, one quarter is just one quarter, and my neighbor's unemployment benefits expired four-and-one-third quarters ago.


And as Paul Krugman has pointed out repeatedly, (1) the fiscal crisis and structural unravelling of the US economy is real and cannot be overshadowed by rosy short-term economic forecasts and (2) temporary upswings in job creation cannot fully bridge the job deficit gap when what is needed is a huge upswing in job creation that will not only replace the millions of lost jobs but create enough new jobs to also keep pace with population growth.

Another interesting angle on this topic: the "recovery" is a patchwork. A recent article by Ken Moritsugu at Knight-Ridder shed some much needed light on the economic realities in key swing states. It looks like a Slow Recovery in 14 Battleground States Could Hurt Bush's Chances in 2004 and, conversely, help the Democrats.

Some 14 states remain in recession, even as the Commerce Department on Tuesday revised its calculation of U.S. economic growth this summer to an unusually strong 8.2 percent annual rate.

Some of those 14 states are electoral battlegrounds in the industrial Midwest that could decide the outcome of next year's presidential election. While a national economic recovery almost surely would help Bush, that may not be enough unless the recovery is strong enough to create jobs in those states, political analysts say.

"Overall, the jobs issue is a potent one here," said John Green, a political scientist at the University of Akron in Ohio, a state Bush won relatively easily in 2000. "If the election were held today, Bush would have to fight hard to hold Ohio."

Other losers among political battleground states included Pennsylvania, which shed 3,900 jobs last month, and Missouri, which dropped 3,300 jobs.

Many of the lost jobs are in factories; that could help Democrats energize their traditional union base and get more voters to the polls, Green said.

"It's hard to be appreciative of the stories about the great economic recovery in the country when there's absolutely no evidence of it in your own back yard," said Bill Ballenger, the editor of the newsletter "Inside Michigan Politics" in Lansing, the state capital.

Another factor in industrial states will be the types of jobs created, predicted Sung Won Sohn, the Minneapolis-based chief economist at Wells Fargo bank.

Many high-paying manufacturing jobs are gone forever. Workers who go from a $25-an-hour factory job to a $7-an-hour retail job may not be satisfied voters, Sohn said.


Understatement of the year there, Mr. Sohn. ;-)

What do you think? And, more importantly, how would you rate the Dean campaign's economic message -- and how could it improve its message to deal with the fluctuating economic news and realities? No doubt Economists for Dean have some wisdom on this point but everyone else, please weigh in, too.

 

Dean Leads in Some Unlikely Places...

posted by Amanda at Wednesday, November 26, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
A side dish of polling to go with your turkey ;-)

First, some very encouraging news from Florida, of all places...

Dean is Close 2nd to Lieberman in Latest Florida Poll

Far from his Northern base, Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean is surging in the Sunshine State, threatening to displace South Florida favorite Joe Lieberman.

(snip)

Only 6 percent of Democrats said they would choose Kerry if Florida's primary were held now...That put the Massachusetts senator far behind Lieberman, the Connecticut senator who gained popularity in South Florida's Jewish and Democratic strongholds when he was the vice presidential nominee in 2000. Lieberman led the poll with 21 percent support, just ahead of the 17 percent for former Vermont Gov. Dean.

The Lieberman and Dean numbers were within the 5 percentage point error margin for the portion of the poll that interviewed 379 Democrats likely to vote in the primary.


While the sample size is a bit on the smallish side and it's a new poll so there aren't any trends, it's still encouraging to read this good news. Note the very bad news for Kerry in this article, as well.

Not quite as surprising but nonetheless quite encouraging are the recent series of polls out of my homebase, Massachusetts, showing Dean tied or with a strong lead over Kerry in Kerry's homestate.

Boston Globe: Dean bid showing strength in Massachusetts

US Senator John F. Kerry is facing a serious challenge from Democratic rival Howard Dean in Massachusetts, according to a Boston Globe/WBZ-TV survey of likely voters in the state's presidential primary.

The poll shows Dean getting 27 percent of the 400 likely Democratic primary voters, with Kerry receiving 24 percent. The two are far ahead of seven other candidates, with retired Army General Wesley K. Clark running a distant third with 6 percent.

Because the poll's margin of error is plus or minus 5 percentage points, Kerry and Dean are in a statistical tie in the race for the state's March 2 presidential primary.

But that Kerry apparently cannot hold off Dean in his own home state is a reflection of the deep political problems faced by the senator, whose campaign for the Democratic nomination has been hit with internal turmoil and criticism that the candidate has failed to ignite any passion.


Boston Herald: Dean tops Kerry in Bay State

Sen. John F. Kerry is facing a backyard beating at the hands of presidential primary nemesis Howard Dean, losing his own state by a staggering 9 points in a new Boston Herald poll.

Dean, who already stole the primary leads from a faltering Kerry in New Hampshire and Iowa, would pummel the hometown senator 33 percent to 24 percent if voting were held today.

Worse for Kerry, Dean leads here by riding the longtime senator's supposed core base - liberals, Democrats and older voters.

The fact that he can come into Massachusetts, John Kerry's home state, where Democrats are so familiar with the senator, and still have a 9-point lead really speaks to the strength of the Dean campaign and his core messages, said Herald pollster R. Kelly Myers.


For those of us in Massachusetts who've been volunteering for Dean for close to a year, these polls were official confirmation of what we've all been sensing for some time: that Kerry's support in his homestate, even among Democratic Party insiders, is incredibly shallow and that Dean's support here is incredibly strong. For example, I have yet to see a Kerry bumper sticker in Boston. The only time I see them is in New Hampshire. Boston is like a sea of Dean cars, seriously. ;-)

 

Josh Marshall and Al Gore on the RNC ad http://www.hillnews.com/marshall/112603.aspx

posted by Aziz P. at Wednesday, November 26, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Josh Marshall, writing in The Hill, analyzes the RNC ad and makes some points that I think the Dean campaign should take notes on:

We now know that the U.S. Central Command started cycling personnel out of Afghanistan while we were still in the hunt for Osama bin Laden and his top lieutenants to get ready for the invasion of Iraq. We know that a lot of our diplomatic capital with countries in the region is being expended on dealing with the Iraq issue rather than on assistance in the fight against al Qaeda. And of course we hear almost daily stories about gaps in homeland security — whether its airport screeners, port security, or bio-weapons sensors — which could easily be funded with the literally hundreds of billions of dollars we’ve already spent on a mix of war fighting and reconstruction in Iraq.

These arguments aren’t made for 30-second TV spots or quick rejoinders in presidential debates, but a summary of them easily can be: The president talks a good game on taking the fight to the terrorists. But after a good start in Afghanistan, he got bored with attacking al Qaeda and attacked Iraq instead.

Most voters now realize that the two things are basically unrelated. And to the extent they are related our errand in Iraq has exacerbated our problem with terrorism, not alleviated it.

The Democrats can play defense and complain that the president is questioning their patriotism, or they can take the offense and show that he has failed by the very standards he sets for himself.

A Democrat who can do the latter will be a formidable challenger.


To be honest, I didn't like the "Misled" ad. The emphasis shouldn't be that "Bush lied" - it should be that "Bush failed". Al Gore also addressed this theme of failed leadership in his own critique of the RNC ads:

Former Vice President Al Gore told college students Tuesday night that the Bush administration is "using fear as a political tool" unworthy of the presidency.

"For the president of the United States to claim in a television ad that those who disagreed with the decision to go to war with Iraq are against attacking terrorists is a disgrace," said Gore, who lost the 2000 election to President Bush.

"It is a cheap and petty political tactic not worthy of the presidency. It is something you would find in a down-and-dirty sleazy campaign for city council," Gore added, drawing laughs from the partisan crowd at Middle Tennessee State University.

He said Winston Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt did not inspire fear but called for courage in urging support of World War II. "I'm concerned (Bush) is turning out to be a divider, not a uniter," Gore said.


Dean especially needs to broaden the message, away from the essentially-partisan-even-if-true issue of whether Bush lies, and towards the specifics of how his policy has harmed America. In other words, a substantive critique, not a moral one.

 

Give Thanks For This Community

posted by Dana at Wednesday, November 26, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Tomorrow is THE Thanksgiving of the Howard Dean campaign. By the next Thanksgiving we will know the result of our work.

So it is important for me, right now, to give thanks for this community. This American community has been atomized for generations, lying in living rooms, hidden behind car windshields. But now it is stirring, it is re-connecting, and life will never be the same.

This is something Dean's opponents don't get. They think it's about anger, or being against Bush, or it's about the Internet.

It's not. It's about community. It's about re-creating the personal connections we lost in the 20th century, to TV, to air conditioning, to the motor car.

When we go out into the world, when we interact with folks who are different (and everyone's different), we change. We become less fearful. We become more fulfilled. It's Christmas every day.

I pray today that nothing, even victory, takes that away. We need one another. It's human nature. We need connections, real connections, not just to our families and our churches but to the wider world of men and women and children throughout our towns, in other towns, in other states.

Something was missing in our lives. We felt alone. Am I the only one who feels this way, we thought?

But we're not alone, now. Now we're together. Now we have a great work before us. And it's good.

So thank you. Thank you. Howard Dean is right. You really are amazing.

Tuesday, November 25, 2003

 

Daily Review

posted by barb at Tuesday, November 25, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Dean breaks off campaigning as presumed brother's remains were to arrive

Debate-winner Dean is back on top in Iowa

Democrats to Hold Non-Binding Presidential Primary

Dems in Des Moines, and the Invisible Candidates

More attacks on Dean

Dean builds local support

Howard Dean For President

Gephardt Questions Opponents on Affirmative Action

 

The FAUX-volution Will Be Televised http://dean2004.blogspot.com/2003_11_23_pointswest_archive.html#106978552830746011

posted by Trammell at Tuesday, November 25, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Neal Gabler takes on the FAUX-volution:
So, why all this talk of conservative ascendancy? In a sense, it's pure invention. What conservatives have been able to do is deploy the same postmodernist techniques that celebrities have been using for decades, and for the same purpose: to make the buzz into the buzz. Like the Osbournes, conservatives take their little triumphs and package them as phenomena, which the media -- including the conservative media -- eagerly retail to the public. Blogger Andrew Sullivan, for example, calls the new cultural trend "South Park Republicanism" because "South Park" has taken its whacks at political correctness and other liberal shibboleths. But whether or not there is such a thing as South Park Republicanism, the idea is media-genic because it suggests something big is happening that the media want to be in on. You just whisper it into what critics of the right have called the "right-wing echo chamber" -- of conservative talk radio, Fox News, various conservative publications and now conservative blogs -- and it turns into a roar that the mainstream media cannot ignore. In short, the new cultural revolution is a sound-effects machine.
And, compare this to the Dean movement, which has proven repeatedly that it is far more than a sound-effects machine. What spooks me is, I understand why those in the media were so skeptical of Dean -- now I get it, they are used to conservative chicanery. But the really spooky thing? They know. The mainstream media know that it's a sound-effects machine, and they package it and sell it anyway!
Nearly 40 years ago, historian Daniel Boorstin coined the term "pseudo-events" to describe things like premieres, photo ops and publicity stunts: They have no inherent value and exist only to be covered by the media. The right wing has now devised a pseudo-politics, of which the "conservative revolution" is a primary feature. It may look like the real thing, sound like the real thing and, most important, be covered by the media as if it were the real thing, but it is essentially just a way to gain media attention, which is usually enough to convince people that it is the real thing. If the objective of cultural politics is to win adherents, the objective of this postmodernist pseudo-politics is to convey the idea that you have already won adherents -- that the revolution has already occurred and power has been transferred. [...]

[However] ... a few conservative swipes at CBS or a few million viewers at the Fox News Channel or even a few "South Park" fans who identify themselves as Republicans won't signify a shift in the cultural balance of power. They simply provide excuses for the media to label it as one.
No wonder the right is spooked by Howard Dean -- how do you sell a fake revolution when the opposition's leader is offering the real thing?

The full and far lengthier post crossposted at Points West and Kos.

UPDATE: Check out Skippy the Bush Kangaroo's excellent post on the same two essays --- similar conclusions, beat me by a day!

 

transcript: Iowa Democratic Presidential Candidates' Forum http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A10799-2003Nov24.html

posted by Aziz P. at Tuesday, November 25, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
via the Washington Post. Some excerpts:

BROKAW: Governor Dean, you've long been interested in Medicare reform. Isn't it possible that once this bill passes -- and there's every indication that it will -- that next fall, whoever the Democratic presidential candidate will be facing George W. Bush will be able to say to America's seniors, "I delivered prescription drugs for you and I did that with the help of Democratic senators and the AARP, the largest single organization of senior citizens in this country"?

DEAN: Tom, the problem with that is they didn't deliver prescription drugs for anybody.

What this bill does is help the seniors that don't need it and charge them for it, and then charge the seniors that do need it, and they don't get any help. Once you spend more than about $200 a month on drugs, you get cut off of help.

This bill doesn't make any sense. It's a $400 billion charge to our grandchildren's credit card so that President Bush can be reelected. If this was such a terrific bill, why do you suppose the president put the enactment date in 2006? People aren't going to get any help at all until 2006. This is an election-year gimmick charged to the taxpayers, like so many of the other things that this president has done.

And while Dick Gephardt and I may have our disagreements on a number of matters, this is not one of them. This government has sold itself to the special interests and this is the quintessential special interest bill. Drug company profits will rise 38 percent as a result of this bill, and that comes directly out of the pockets of America's most vulnerable senior citizens.

It is wrong and a no vote was the right vote on this bill.

[...]

Governor Dean, over the weekend your friend, Congressman Gephardt, had some pretty tough things to say about you, in this very area, about what happens when push comes to shove.

Let me just read back, as if you didn't know.

(LAUGHTER)

"Time after time, when faced with budget shortfalls, Howard Dean's first and only instinct was to cut, and the cut needed the least, among poor people. There's no place for government without compassion."

He's calling you a cold-blooded governor and yet today you agree with him on Medicare.

DEAN: Well, Tom, Dick Gephardt's a good guy. I worked for him in 1988.

But when you're the governor, you've got to make tough decisions. Now, as it turns out, over my time as governor, we increased human service funding by 33 percent; increased education funding by 25 percent.

DEAN: But we ran the state properly.

Today there was an editorial in the Des Moines Register talking about the cuts that are going to have to be made in Iowa. We didn't have to make any of those cuts, we didn't cut higher education, we didn't cut health care, and we didn't cut anybody off our health care rolls. We didn't cut K-12 education, we didn't cut money to the counties and the towns, because we ran the budget properly.

Executive experience matters when you're running budgets. Dick's a good person. I like Dick Gephardt and I worked for him in '88, as I said. But I think we need new leadership in this party. And I think we need new leadership in this country, so we don't end up doing what 46 of the 50 states have had to do, which is to cut critical programs.

The people of Vermont were better off when I left the governor's office than they were when I got there. They had -- one-third of all our seniors had prescription benefits. We're still waiting for the Congress to do anything about that today.

BROKAW: Congressman Gephardt, you just heard Howard Dean respond to your charges over the weekend. He also said that he agrees with you on Medicare.

Did you go too far?

GEPHARDT: Well, I think the campaigns are about bringing out differences. Howard is a good man and he's a good friend.

BROKAW: He's "a man without compassion," you called him.

(LAUGHTER)
...
BROKAW: We want to move on to another subject, but in fairness, Governor Dean, you get 30 seconds for a rebuttal. Do you still think your friend Gephardt's a good guy?

(LAUGHTER)

DEAN: I think he's a good guy, but his research folks need a little help.

(LAUGHTER)

We did not, of course, cut Medicaid. What we did do was make sure that we could keep the people on Medicaid. Not one person -- unlike almost every other state in the country, not one person lost their Medicaid when I was governor of the state.

Look, all our kids under 18-years-old, 99 percent of them have health insurance. Everybody under 150 percent of poverty, all our working poor people have health insurance. A third of our seniors have prescription benefits. Nobody in Congress has done anything like that. We did it in Vermont, and I'm incredibly proud of my record in Vermont.

GEPHARDT: I've got to have 10 seconds.

The reason Governor Dean and other governors has a program for children's health is because we passed it in the Congress. And I helped put it into the law.

GEPHARDT: Finally, some of the cuts came back -- and Governor Dean is right -- but because he was sued by the Legal Defense Fund in Vermont to make him put the funding back in.

DEAN: Well, now I'll take my 10 seconds.

(LAUGHTER)

The truth is that we put our children's health care program in before Bill Clinton came into office. So, in all due respect to Dick, nothing that they have done benefited our state or any other state, because nothing's been done on health care for a long time in the Congress of the United States.


read on - note that right after this exchange, Kerry tried to insert himself, by attacking Dean. The story on Kerry's desperate attempt to be relevant is also covered in an MSNBC story.

 

Ninja III: The Domination http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0087805/fullcredits

posted by Aziz P. at Tuesday, November 25, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
check out who's listed as playing "Policeman" - ok, it's probably NOT the same Howard Dean, but that makes it funnier since IMDB thinks it is the same Dean (they've listed Dean's recent Leno apearance under the ninja Dean's filmography).

how about an open thread on the best ninja-style slogans for Dean? My suggestion: "Dean-fu and the Ancient Art of American Democracy".

 
posted by barb at Tuesday, November 25, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Next Monday on Hardball: Howard Dean




Monday, November 24, 2003

 

Daily Review

posted by barb at Monday, November 24, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Republican "Reality"
New pro-Bush TV ad targets Dean and other Dem critics


Dean-Gephardt Fight Travels to Iowa

Dean Grabs More New York Endorsements

Dean bid showing strength in Mass

Gephardt, Dean Spar at Democratic Debate


Dean's Family Closer To Closure

Dean Assailed for 'Tough Choices' in Vt.

 

Dean on TV today http://blog.deanforamerica.com/archives/002387.html

posted by annatopia at Monday, November 24, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Iowa debate is on MSNBC right now. No online broadcast, naturally. *sigh* Also, set your VCRs. According to the O-blog, Dean will be on Letterman tonight. Dave's long-suffering cameraman Biff Henderson filmed a segment with the Gov in New Hampshire. Biff segment's are usually pretty funny, so I'm hoping that this is a good spot. And if anyone is watching the debate, feel free to leave a summary in the comments.

update: I just checked MSNBC's schedule. The debate will be rebroadcast tonight at 9pm Eastern.

update: Pulled from comments on the O-blog: Debate is live on CSPAN radio. Click here.

 

Backbone Award: Massachusettes Supreme Court. Jellyfish/roll: AARP

posted by Heath at Monday, November 24, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
spine.jpg
Rather than pick on individuals this week, we’ll give recognition to two groups as warranted by your opinions:

Backbone: The Massachusettes Supreme Court gets the nod this week for its 4-3 decision last Tuesday, that gave the Legislature six months to rewrite the state's marriage laws for the benefit of gay couples.

During a time in this country when the courts are becoming increasingly politicized, starting with the Supreme Court’s election of George W. Bush in 2000, the Mass. Supreme Court found that the state's ban on gay marriage was unconstitutional.

According to two polls released soon after the decision found that fifty percent of Massachusetts residents surveyed for a Boston Globe/WBZ-TV poll said they agreed with the ruling, while 38 percent opposed it. A separate Boston Sunday Herald poll found 49 percent said they support legalizing gay marriage, while 38 percent oppose it.

Sure, the courts had to take on this issue. But knowing it’s going to be one of the more polarizing issues in ’04, the justices get the backbone award for setting the stage for a debate that must take place to help pave the way for all citizens in this country to have the same equal rights under the law.

By the way, many of the opponents of the civil union bill that was signed into law by Dean were fearful that Vermont would quickly turn into Babylon. After all these years, Vermont’s still crazy but civil unions have nothing to do with it.
Let’s hope that the more we see local polling in each state on the issue we’ll see more favorable ratings like the ones from the people of Massachusettes.

Jellyfish: The American Association of Retired People is the biggest organization representing elderly people in this country. jelly1.jpgDean Nation’s Jim Ross put it best,
The Jelly Roll Award has to go to the AARP for letting so many seniors down and showing it's true greed! They beat out Daschle because we already know that he is a soft leader who needs to be replaced as soon as possible, but we thought AARP was on the side of Seniors but let them down.
The AARP seemed to be on board with the Republican leadership before they even consulted with the Senior's Champion Teddy Kennedy (who deserves a Honorable Mention for Backbone in this losing fight).

The Medicare bill is just about to pass and has plenty of goodies packed away for the beginning of the program's demise.

Says the AP, The bill also would satisfy other goals of conservatives, including creation of tax-preferred health savings accounts, open to individuals who purchase high-deductible health insurance policies. Most controversial of all, the legislation would create a limited program of direct competition between traditional Medicare and private plans, beginning in 2010.

Who do you think will win that battle? To express your dissatisfaction to the big jellyfish roll-over:

William D. Novelli
AARP Executive Director and CEO
601 E. Street NW
Washington, DC 20049
Your state chapter: http://www.aarp.org/states/

Thanks to you all for deciding this week's contest!

 

Welcome home, Charlie http://www.cnn.com/2003/WORLD/asiapcf/southeast/11/24/dean.brother.ap/index.html

posted by annatopia at Monday, November 24, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
The remains of Charlie Dean were returned to the United States earlier today, and are currently awaiting positive identification in Hawaii. In a departure from current policies, this repatriation was captured by AP photographers:

Let it be clear that I am not posting this picture to exploit Charlie Dean or cause pain to the Dean family. I am posting this picture because it's news and because the image really got me thinking. We've brought three more Americans home from Asia, but there are still (according to DoD figures) 1,875 families who's loved ones are still unaccounted for.
The anniversary of Kennedy's assassination, Charlie Dean's homecoming, Howard Dean's run, and Gulf War 2 converging along the same timeline really got my gears grinding this weekend. While I will not make a direct Vietnam-GW2 comparison, I will say that I can't help but draw some parallels. With Charlie, we have pictures, we have stories from the grieving family, and hopefully the Deans will have closure. But I must ask: where is this same treatment for the 400+ Americans who've perished in the middle east? Why haven't we been told the story of these brave men and women who've made the ultimate sacrifice? Where are the injured and maimed? Why haven't we witnessed a national outpouring of sympathy like what happened in Italy recently? Because we haven't been allowed to mourn! Remember, we're supposed to be shopping. /sarcasm
It seems to me that our losses are being swept under a rug, hidden from view, lest the American public finally wake up and demand a solid exit strategy that preserves as many lives as possible while fulfilling our obligations to the Iraqi people. Something similar happened during the Vietnam era. When the body bags started coming home, people began demanding an end to the conflict. And since this war started, I've wondered what the breaking point would be. It wasn't the Chinook, it hasn't been the blackhawks, so I wonder how much death we'll tolerate before the majority of the public demands accountability and a successful repair and exit strategy. Are you aware that we've lost 94 soldiers this month?
And the Kennedy thing... I live in the Dallas area, and there was a large spontaneous gathering of thousands of people in Dealey Plaza this weekend. The conspiracy theorists were out in full force, but so were surviving witnesses and anti-war protesters (lots of anti-Bush signs out there). To think that Kennedy laid out an exit strategy a month before his murder is mind-bloggling. One can't help but wonder how many lives could have been saved if we'd made a clean break. And one can't help but wonder today how many coalition lives could have been saved had we actually had a post-war plan. But to illustrate a key difference between Vietnam and Iraq, we're not exactly holding back communism by occupying Iraq. We're not even holding back Al Quaeda (unless you believe in the "flypaper" theory). From what I understand, there weren't any overt statements in the sixties linking the Vietnam conflict to the domino theory (if I'm incorrect feel free to point that out in the comments), so perhaps the Vietnam protesters used to ask the same questions. What exactly are we doing there, and when will we be able to bring our troops home? That question is certainly appropriate today, what with Bush crafting a lovely little cut-n-run strategy (note that "cut and run" and "exit strategy" are two completely different things).
Okay, perhaps I'm rambling now. But what I'm trying to get across to you is that we seem to once again be at a critical point in our country's history right now just like we were when Kennedy was murdered. We find ourselves embroiled in a burgeoning quagmire with no well-planned or successful end in sight, and Kennedy was trying to avoid getting bogged down in Vietnam at the time of his death. Kennedy swept into the White House on a tide of hope and optimism, and he turned out to be quick hawkish on national security (after all, he's the one who called Krushchev's bluff and saved us from WW3 twice). Howard Dean's campaign is the embodiment of hope and optimism, and he is no dove. He'll do his best to protect us from the global threat of terrorism while enacting progressive reforms here at home. During Kennedy's time, the people still trusted their government. Arguably, his murder was the beginning of the end of that trust. With Howard Dean, we have an opportunity to restore that trust. So yes, in a way, these times are like the sixties all over again. I just hope we get it right this time.

 

Gwen Graham Logan joins Dean for America

posted by annatopia at Monday, November 24, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Gwen Graham Logan, beloved daughter of Florida Senator Bob Graham, has joined the team:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 24, 2003
Contact: Press Office, 802-651-3200
Gwen Graham Logan Joins Dean for America

BURLINGTON--Democratic presidential candidate Governor Howard Dean, M.D., announced today that Gwen Graham Logan has joined the Dean for America campaign as National Surrogate and Southern Regional Advisor. As a surrogate, Graham Logan will speak on behalf of Governor Dean throughout the country. She will also assist the campaign in the South, including her native Florida.
Graham Logan is the eldest daughter of United States Senator and former presidential candidate Bob Graham.
"While campaigning for my father, I got the opportunity to know Governor Dean. I believe in him and his message of hope and change. This campaign is not about one person, one interest or one policy; it is about empowering the American people to take back this country for themselves. I am proud to join the Dean for America team on behalf of that effort," Graham Logan said.
"I am pleased that Gwen has joined my campaign, and that she will be working on our behalf across the country. Her good judgment and unique insights into presidential campaigns will be invaluable in the weeks and months ahead," Governor Dean said.
Graham Logan is an attorney and mother of three. She attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the Washington College of Law at American University.

This is great news. Gwen is well-respected in the state of Florida and she functioned effectively as one of her father's spokespeople during Graham's short-lived bid for the Presidency. She also left a very kind comment on the O-blog after many Dean supporters offered some kind words for her father after his withdrawal from the race. Dean has also said that Graham is "on the short list" for a VP spot. As a native Floridian, I can attest that Bob is respected and beloved by the people of Florida, and his national security credentials would make a fine match to Dean's domestic policy mojo. And while many supporters long for a VP pick who could step up and run in eight years, let's not forget that there are plenty of up-and-coming Democrats who will be well-seasoned by 2012. Let's give Gwen Graham Logan a hearty Dean Nation welcome. Welcome aboard, Gwen!

 

Guilt by Association http://volokh.com/2003_11_23_volokh_archive.html#106964147814025078

posted by Aziz P. at Monday, November 24, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Ted Rall drew an offensive cartoon after 9-11, and wrote an offensive editorial. This is because Ted Rall has an extreme leftist perspective (which one could charitably call "Nader-Kucinichian").

Then he praised Howard Dean.

This praise was noted by the Dean campaign's weblogger Matt Gross, who linked to it as he does dozens of articles of week.
Apparently, Matt's note of the praise by Rall on the Dean campaign weblog is tantamount to Howard Dean "cherishing" Rall's endorsement, as far as Volokh is concerned - and Glenn also comments disapprovingly.

If this is the new moral standard by which to judge a politician, then what should we make of the explicit courting of the white supremacist vote by former GOP chairman Haley Barbour? That's the kind of association that should be setting off alarm bells, not this.

The point here is that whatever you think of Ted Rall, it's not an endorsement of his views to accept his praise. I personally find Rall loathsome - but he doesn't set policy any more than does Ann Coulter. And if Coulter's endorsement of Bush was reported in Bush's weblog, it wouldn't be a moral failing on Bush's part either.

 

Remember to join DeanLink! http://deanlink.deanforamerica.com/index.php?r=4298

posted by Aziz P. at Monday, November 24, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
and a Monday Morning open thread...

 

Gephardt moves left to attack Dean, becomes unelectable http://ap.tbo.com/ap/breaking/MGALZQXJDND.html

posted by Aziz P. at Monday, November 24, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
I think attacks like this only strengthen the case for Dean in the eyes of the general public:

The latest assault came Sunday in a speech in Cedar Rapids in which Rep. Dick Gephardt, in a pitched battle for Iowa's labor vote in January's caucuses, said Dean was too eager to cut social programs for the disabled and funding for children in poverty during his 12 years as Vermont's governor.

"Time after time, when faced with budget shortfalls, Howard Dean's first and only instinct was to cut," Gephardt said. "This is the measure of the man who would be president. I believe in a very different approach from Howard Dean."
...
Speaking in a telephone interview from New York, Dean responded with his own assault on Gephardt's record in Congress.

"My response is this is a guy with no executive experience and who has never made a tough decision," Dean said.

Dean said Gephardt, D-Mo., former Democratic leader in the House, has been talking about expanding health coverage for nearly 20 years, but nothing has happened.

"Dick is great at criticizing, but what has he accomplished?" Dean asked. "This is more Washington claptrap."

Gephardt said his remarks merely underscored fundamental differences between his record and Dean's.

"Howard Dean wears his bravado as a budget cutter like a badge of honor," Gephardt said. "There is no place for governance without compassion."


Note that Gephardt just made himself irrelevant against Bush. How's he going to argue that deficits are bad in the primary if he thinks cutting the budget is heartless? The only answer, Bush will counter, is that Gephardt must want to raise taxes...

 

video: Dean's Response Ad to the RNC http://images.deanforamerica.com/media/ad_misled_large.wmv

posted by Aziz P. at Monday, November 24, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
 (video) RNC Response Ad


This is what People Power can buy .

 

video: Flat Howard http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2003/11/20/politics/main584711.shtml

posted by Aziz P. at Monday, November 24, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Dean may have found the perfect running mate:

The creation of a Dean supporter in New Hampshire, Flat Howard made an appearance at the Rochester, N.H., Opera House Friday night where the doctor turned politician spoke to a group of undecided voters (though most of them were wearing Dean paraphernalia or carrying Dean signs).

As members of the traveling press headed out of the hall to the waiting bus, Flat Howard stood in the lobby prepared for a brief press conference.

What’s an ever-inquisitive press pack to do? Questions began to fly from every which direction. How come you never wear brown suits any more? Are there any more turkey sandwiches? Why can’t the press stay at nicer hotels? Who has the power?

Although Flat Howard made no comment, he smiled politely throughout the questioning. Just as the press conference concluded, 3-D Howard Dean joined his cardboard cutout for a few moments of lighthearted campaigning.


the meeting of these great minds has been recorded for posterity on video:

 (video) Flat Howard meets 3D Howard

Sunday, November 23, 2003

 

Statement by Governor Dean

posted by Editor at Sunday, November 23, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
From Dean for America:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 23, 2003

Statement by Governor Dean

NEW YORK--Democratic presidential candidate Governor Howard Dean, M.D., today challenged the FBI's practice of gathering information on anti-war demonstrators, as outlined in today’s New York Times.

"I am deeply concerned that the FBI appears to be engaged in a coordinated, nationwide effort to gather information on Americans opposed to President Bush’s unilateral war in Iraq.

"I am committed to providing local law enforcement with the tools to ensure demonstrations remain safe and peaceful for all involved, but we cannot allow a return to the dark days of Hoover's FBI and COINTELPRO, when the government harassed, smeared, and even spied upon people who criticized U.S. policies.

"John Ashcroft must remember that questioning the government does not make you a terrorist. In fact, the right to assemble peacefully and the right to petition our government are some of our most deeply held patriotic traditions."

-- 30 --

 

Dean For America Responds To RNC Attack http://images.deanforamerica.com/media/ad_misled_large.wmv

posted by Editor at Sunday, November 23, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
From Dean for America...
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

November 23, 2003

Dean For America Responds To RNC Attack

Thousands of supporters contribute to air response; fundraising drive continues

DES MOINES--Fueled by donations from more than 5000 supporters, Dean for America will hit the airwaves on Monday, November 24 in Iowa to respond to the first attack ad being aired by the RNC which question Governor Dean's commitment to fighting the war on terror.

We must "show that we're not going to allow the administration to wage an air war on the American people," Campaign Manager Joe Trippi said last Friday in an email to supporters, asking for help in raising $360,000 by Tuesday at midnight in order to fund a response to the attack. That's "$5000 for every hour they are going to lie to the American people with their ad," the email read.

Dean for America will begin airing an ad of its own beginning Monday in Iowa, setting the record straight about the administration's rush to war. The script of the 30 second ad, titled "Misled," is below. [Update (Matt): Removed for formatting reasons]

The RNC ad shows George W. Bush giving his last State of the Union address, and then the screen flashes with the words that "some are now attacking the president for attacking the terrorists." The ad urges viewers to tell Congress "to support the president's policy of pre-emptive self defense."

In the email to supporters, Trippi wrote: "This ad is about distorting Howard Dean's opposition to the war with Iraq. They say that those who opposed the war oppose defending our nation from terrorism. But the war in Iraq had nothing to do with al Qaeda or the war on terrorism. The president's misleading statements -- and the war they led us into -- are making us less safe."

"You have built the only campaign strong enough to take on George Bush and the $200 million he is raising to destroy his Democratic opponent. Help us prepare for battle. Contribute whatever you can afford, and reach out to others and ask them to join us. Our country is at stake," the email continues.


-- 30 --

[Update (Matt): The ad can now be viewed by clicking here or on the link above.]

 

Congressman Crowley Endorses Dean for President

posted by Editor at Sunday, November 23, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
From Dean for America...
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 23, 2003

Congressman Crowley Endorses Dean for President

NEW YORK--Congressman Joseph Crowley today endorsed Democratic presidential candidate Governor Howard Dean, M.D., citing his record on delivering results for America’s working families.

"I am thrilled today to be the first member of the House Democratic Leadership to endorse Howard Dean for America in 2004. Dr. Dean is the guy who stands up for the people—the hardworking men and women of our great country—to make sure that they are not forgotten, that they are not left in the dust. Dr. Dean is a man who knows what all Americans need and want—healthcare for all, better education for our children, new jobs and a strong economy and continued security for our nation. Dr. Dean is a New Yorker at heart—and I look forward to working with him to help take back America in 2004,” Crowley said.

"I am proud that Joe Crowley has decided to join the half-million Americans working to take their country back. Joe Crowley, in his short time in Congress, has earned the respect of so many of his colleagues that he has been tapped for a leadership position in the House," Governor Dean said.

Crowley, who is a Democratic whip, has represented New York’s 7th District since 1998.

Crowley joins Reps. Neil Abercrombie, Bob Filner, Raúl Grijalva, Maurice Hinchey, Sheila Jackson-Lee, Zoe Lofgren, Jim McDermott, Jerrold Nadler, Major Owens, Frank Pallone, Tim Ryan, and David Wu, in addition to Vermont Senator Patrick J. Leahy, who have already endorsed Governor Dean.

-- 30 --

 

Congresswoman Velázquez Endorses Dean for President

posted by Editor at Sunday, November 23, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
From Dean for America...
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 23, 2003

Congresswoman Velázquez Endorses Dean for President

NEW YORK--During an event here today, Congresswoman Nydia M. Velázquez today endorsed Democratic presidential candidate Governor Howard Dean, M.D.

"Howard Dean does not answer to corporate America, big drug companies, the oil industry or Dick Cheney's Halliburton. He answers to hardworking American families across the country that struggle each day to pay the bills and make ends meet. Howard Dean would lead with conviction. He leads with resolve and he will make it clear in his campaign that people come first," Velázquez said.

"I am proud that Nydia Velázquez, a true leader in her community, has joined the greatest grassroots campaign presidential politics has ever seen. Nydia’s unique perspective and her strong organizing skills will be of great benefit to our campaign,” Governor Dean said.

Velázquez, who was the first Puerto Rican woman elected to Congress, has represented New York’s 12th District since 1992, when she won with a strongly grassroots-based campaign. In February of 1998, she was named Ranking Democratic Member of the House Small Business Committee, making her the first Hispanic woman to serve as Chair or Ranking Member of a full House committee.

Her district, which encompasses parts of Brooklyn, Queens and the Lower East Side of Manhattan is the only tri-borough district in the New York City congressional delegation.

Velázquez joins Reps. Neil Abercrombie, Joseph Crowley, Bob Filner, Raúl Grijalva, Maurice Hinchey, Sheila Jackson-Lee, Zoe Lofgren, Jim McDermott, Jerrold Nadler, Major Owens, Frank Pallone, Tim Ryan, and David Wu, in addition to Vermont Senator Patrick J. Leahy, who have already endorsed Governor Dean.

-- 30 --

Saturday, November 22, 2003

 

More From Joe At The Grassroots Summit

posted by Dana at Saturday, November 22, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Looking at my notes, I found some other important points from Joe Trippi’s “Dean Summit” speech. (I assume he gave the same sort of talk everywhere, but I heard this in Atlanta.)

"People have to get over their belief that they can’t make a difference. The system has taught all of us you can’t make a difference, that your $25, your $100, your four hours tabling don’t mean a hill of beans. And they’re right. By themselves it won’t do anything. But 2 million Americans doing that, the same small thing, is huge. It will change this country’s political history, it will change the country. We’re not just talking about changing Presidents, we’re talking about changing politics.”

Trippi discussed James McGregor Burns, the historian, who wrote about the difference between “transactional” and “transformative” leaders in 1977, expanding on it in 2002. As Publishers Weekly notes, “He distinguishes between ‘transactional’ leaders, who thrive on cutting deals, and ‘transforming’ leaders, whose sweeping changes totally revamp political institutions.”

How can you tell a transforming leader? First, noted Trippi, a movement grows up spontaneously around them. (Sound familiar?) Second (and this is the important part), leaders emerge from within that movement. Anyone in the room, he said, could become such a leader. So can anyone on this blog. (This means YOU.)

The rest of this is a blockquote, because it’s just Joe, riffing, and by the end of it he had teared himself up.



What’s destroyed the party is not negative ads. What destroyed the party is polling. I’m talking about polling that doesn’t ask people what they think.

Back in the 70s a bunch of people in our party got smart. They asked questions to find only definite voters. They talked only to sure or likely voters. Then they could talk to that group in the middle that was undecided. When you do that for 23 years, you create an artificial electorate. It’s more conservative than America, because you left out people and never ask what they think.

Do that for 23 years and it’s a death spiral.

We got to an electorate we couldn’t win in by 2000.

Karl Rove only has to hook up a red lead in the left hand of his supporters, hook up the right lead in another supporter, hook it up to a car battery and let it go. There are not enough votes in the middle to win.

There are a lot of people in our party who want to do this one more time. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result.

We’ve lost everything. We lost the House, we lost the Senate, we lost the Presidency. Now they control 40 state legislatures. Now they have 30 something governors. It’s all gone the wrong way. One victory in that entire period – Bill Clinton.

They’d have you believe it was because Clinton was centrist. It might be because he was the most gifted politican we’ve had in like 40 years.

We have to get over Washington Democrats’ disbelief we can take the whole thing, this year. We have to get over peoples’ disbelief we can take the whole thing.

They’re so afraid of losing they’ve forgotten what it takes to win.

The other side owns the damn place, and they broke it. They own the store, our economy’s a mess, there’s no jobs, the foreign policy is a mess, people have doubts about where the country is going. Any time you have that and you’re the change agent, the change agent will win every time. Look at 1994, when they threw all our guys out. When our party becomes the agent of change we will win it all, especially when we have 2 million people fighting Bush even, and reload to help our challengers.

Do that and we take the whole thing. We are building this to make the party competitive in a way it’s never been competiive in the last 23 years.

There are a lot of doubters out there, but they’re doubting a lot less today.

Every four years a bunch of guys come out saying look at me, ain’t I amazing? Howard Dean says something totally different. He says look at you, aren’t you amazing?

We can do this, but we have to find the 2 million people who believe as we believe. They’re out there. You've found 500,000.


Today, let’s all resolve to find the rest. If each of the 500,000 now in the campaign find three more people, just three more people, we're there.

So wear your Dean button, your shirt, your hat. Make it a part of you. And when someone asks you about it, talk. Do it honestly, from the heart. Some people may disagree, perhaps vehemently. But you will also be surprised. People will listen.

And you will be on your way toward becoming one of those transformative leaders yourself.



 

STATEMENT OF GOVERNOR DEAN ON THE 40TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE DEATH OF PRESIDENT KENNEDY

posted by Editor at Saturday, November 22, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
From Dean for America...
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 22, 2003

STATEMENT OF GOVERNOR DEAN ON THE 40TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE DEATH OF PRESIDENT KENNEDY

DETROIT--Governor Howard Dean, M.D. issued the following statement on the anniversary of the assassination of John F. Kennedy:

"Forty years have passed since President Kennedy was assassinated, but we still remember the shock and pain of that awful day. We lost a president, and our country grieved, and yet we knew that we could not lose the hope that Kennedy represented and instilled in an entire generation.

"When he was running for president, Kennedy spoke of offering America not a set of promises, but a set of challenges. This was his greatest legacy: his willingness to challenge each one of us to do better for ourselves and for our country, bolstered by his faith that we were ready for the challenge.

"He spoke often of America's ideals, and we honor his memory when we strive to live up to them. Our future depends upon the work that each of us must do to build a better nation and a better world. Let us make this anniversary more than a day of mourning -- let us make it a day of hope, as we dedicate ourselves to the citizenship and challenge that Kennedy lived and died for."

-- 30 --

Friday, November 21, 2003

 

Backbone Award!

posted by Heath at Friday, November 21, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Another fascinating week of events during fascinating times is winding down in this new millenium. So it's that time again to reflect on the people we'd like to carry on our shoulders--or NAIL TO A CROSS--backbone.jpg as we gather with the throngs of people who are so hungry for a leader with backbone.

Last week we had a pretty good consensus on US Senators Harry Reid D-NV (backbone) and Zell Miller "D"-GA (Jellyroll). Who was standing tall this past week? Who was washing up on the beach in the form of an slimy, jelly-like blob?

jelly1.jpg
Let's see...there was the Massachusettes Supreme Court on Gay Marriage, Wesley Clark's gutsy FOX tirade, Lieberman's AARP waffle, Soros, Vidal...

Let us know who you think should get credit where credit is due.

 

The Bat Is Back http://www.deanforamerica.com/site/TR?pg=personal&fr_id=1090&px=1179278

posted by Dana at Friday, November 21, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
The Bush attack ads have started, and Joe Trippi has responded in the best way we know how, with McBat.

McBat is aimed at raising $360,000 to knock Bush' silly "soft on terrorism" charge out of the park.

Feed the goal. The goal is beating Bush, not Gephardt.

As usual, Joe knows how to pitch. Do we still remember how to hit?

SWING...batter batter batter!

UPDATE (Aziz) - updated the sidebar... Matthew Yglesias takes on the new ads over at TAPPED:

In the context of a presidential campaign ad, it seems reasonable to assume that "some" refers to the people challenging Bush for control of the White House. But the Republicans can't very well come out and say that because the fact is that, of the Democratic contenders, precisely none is "attacking the president for attacking the terrorists," just as none is calling "for us to retreat." If the president wants to run on his foreign policy differences with the Democrats, then that's a perfectly legitimate campaign issue, but instead he's decided to run against a strawman. Naturally enough, the article doesn't bother discussing the ad's accuracy.

Perhaps even more disturbing, however, is the implication from RNC communications director Jim Dyke that the failures of the Bush Iraq policy should be blamed not on those who proposed and implemented the policy, but rather on those who opposed it, a tactic reminiscent of John Ashcroft's "aid and comfort to the terrorists" remark regarding opponents of the PATRIOT Act. This combination of scapegoats and strawmen makes it essentially impossible to have a rational debate about anything, and truly gives the lie to the alleged conservative enthusiasm for civility.

 

Dean Summit Report From Atlanta

posted by Dana at Friday, November 21, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
I spent this morning at the Atlanta Dean Summit. I counted about 80 people there, including a few from Alabama. (Not bad on a few days' notice, on a weekday when we were supposed to be working.) Some were experienced Democratic organizers. Others were Dean people who knew nothing about politics six months ago and are now better at it than the pros.

Their breakfast spread, for instance, was outstanding. An army travels on its stomach. There was at least one TV crew, from Channel 11, and Tom Baxter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, “collecting string” for future stories. I showed him the homemade apple-cheese pastries. “Who says there’s no such thing as a free lunch?” he joked, and enjoyed them immensely.

Joe Trippi, not the pastries, was what had brought Baxter there, of course. Joe didn’t disappoint, although he could never be a candidate because he tends to ramble, to give away his strategy, and to offer 10-minute answers to 1-minute questions. But the crowd ate it up. (How could they not?) “Have you heard the good news about Joe-Way?” I asked Baxter at one point, and he laughed.

Yeah, you're asking, but what did Joe say?

Two things. First, he emphasized the difficulty of the next few months.

“We could have $31 million right now,” the $12 million in the bank plus $19 million in matching funds. “The nomination fight would be over. Why turn it down? Because even though $31 million would assure us the nomination we’d still be dead men walking against Bush." Joe said that Gore had to shut his own campaign down for 32 days in 2000, before his convention. Imagine if he'd been able to campaign? But he couldn't, he had hit the spending ceiling. Bush, who didn't accept the caps then, either, had the field to himself.

“Our job now is to bridge the gap. We took a huge risk turning our back on $19 million . We don’t have it. We’ve got $12 million. We’ve got to get as much as we can this quarter. We have to build a bridge to the moment when we have the nomination. We have to carry the load to get to that moment. When we get to that moment the $200 million will be there,” because there are certainly 2 million Democrats ready to give it against Bush.

Second, Joe described the “pebble in the pond” problem. That’s how Gary Hart described his crusade. Drop a pebble, and watch the ripples. The problem is those ripples aren’t reaching as far today because “we’re starting to talk to each other. When we send out a petition on the net, and send an e-mail, it’s just the 500,000” already signed-up who go for it.

“Now there’s a lot of back talk in and not enough back out at the edge, and I’m not sure what to do about it.”

I’m leaving a long pause here because that last point is vital. Joe Trippi doesn’t have a solution for that problem. So what he said next is something we need to take to heart, discuss, and deal with, right now.

“You’re the pebble. You may call your son and mom and convince them. The ripple goes out, but with less energy. Somewhere out there the ripple stops. We’ve got to go to the outside core and energize it the way you’re energized.”

I joked before that each of you is Joe Trippi. Some of you have the answer. We need to get it, and get it to Joe, now.

 

running a national campaign http://www.latimes.com/news/politics/la-na-dean21nov21,1,6263916.story?coll=la-home-todays-times

posted by Aziz P. at Friday, November 21, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Keeping the eyes on the prize...

The former Vermont governor has stumped in 14 states this month, including some with late primaries — Oregon, Idaho, Florida and Pennsylvania. This week alone, he is visiting seven states, including Texas, Michigan and New York.

While his competitors focus their energies on half a dozen early-primary states, Dean has already segued into general-election mode by dashing around the country, hoping to create a sense of inevitability about his selection as the Democratic nominee.

"We've proven over two quarters that we can compete with the Democratic field," campaign manager Joe Trippi said. "Now, this is about building a campaign that can defeat George Bush."


Also, don't miss this editorial in the student newspaper Maroon of the University of Chicago that makes a great self-contained overview of why Dean is supremely electable against Bush.

 

open thread http://deanlink.deanforamerica.com/index.php?r=4298

posted by Aziz P. at Friday, November 21, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
have at thee! Link goes to DeanLink signup - don't forget to join!

I also have a request for all you web graphic designers out there. Dean Nation needs a good favicon (the small icon that displays in your local browsers Favorites or Bookmarks next to the link). Please design one! I've got a lame one up there now... but I know you guys can do better :) And leave a URL to your image in the comments... we'll use the best one!

 

Gay rights are a winning issue for Dems - and Dean http://www.prospect.org/webfeatures/2003/11/yglesias-m-11-19.html

posted by Aziz P. at Friday, November 21, 2003 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
I've talked with a fair amount of people (off line) about Dean's candidacy, and even managed to sway people from supporting Clark, Kerry, and even Bush. But among the Anybody But Bush crowd, there was a sense of real despair about the Massachusetts court ruling which struck down the anti-gay marriage law. The feeling is prevalent even among gay rights advocates in the gay community that the ruling may have handed Bush another four year term. And that Dean, by virtue of having signed civil-union legislation, is even more vulnerable.

This is exactly backwards. When it comes to gay marriage, far too many liberals and progressives have internalized the bias of the conservative media, and assumed that the majority of Americans are indeed strongly opposed. And, it blurs the distinction between civil unions and marriages. This is a deliberate strategy by the GOP, which sees gay marriage as a wedge issue with which to peel off conservative moderates, and tars support if civil unions with the same brush. Dean is the only candidate to have recognized this tactic and addressed it head-on:

"As Governor of Vermont, I was proud to sign the nation's first law establishing civil unions for same-sex couples. Today, the Massachusetts Court appears to have taken a similar approach to the Vermont Supreme Court and its decision that led to our civil unions law. One way or another, the state should afford same-sex couples equal treatment under law in areas such as health insurance, hospital visitation and inheritance rights.

"There will be those who try to use the decision today to divide Americans. Instead, this decision should be viewed as an opportunity to affirm what binds us together -- a fundamental belief in the equality of human beings, regardless of race, gender or sexual orientation."


The truth is that the issue of gay marriage is indeed a wedge issue - against the GOP. The supposed conventional wisdom of an intolerant majority in this country is false. Matthew Yglesias has a length explanation in the American Prospect explaining why:

An October USA Today/Gallup Poll showed that just 48 percent of the public believes gay marriages "will change our society for the worse," and 50 percent feels the change would either be an improvement or have no effect. Notably, younger Americans -- who are often described as being more culturally conservative than their parents on issues like abortion -- are much more likely to support equal rights for gays and lesbians. In the USA Today poll, for instance, 63 percent of 18 to 29 year olds and 53 percent of 30 to 49 year-olds said that gay marriage would cause no harm or change society for the better.

To be sure, this split in opinion still leaves the anti-gay forces with a political edge, seeing as the cons outnumber the pros by a significant margin. But the key point is that the crucial middle ground -- which, taken together with those who favor gay rights, forms a majority, however slim -- is held not by gay bashers but by people who basically don't care.

It is in this middle ground that elections are won or lost, which is why the political dynamics of gay rights may pose more problems for Republicans than for Democrats. It is very unlikely that politically committed homophobes were being tricked into supporting liberal candidates for office based on the Democratic Party's refusal to embrace same-sex marriages. It's long been clear which of the two parties is the more gay-friendly one. The groups that stoke the fires of anti-gay sentiment are all aligned with the Republicans, and Democratic candidates everywhere are frequently tarred with alleged opposition to "family values" no matter what they say or do on the issues.


(emphasis mine). There are some conservative analysts who realize the threat, also. Remember that the GOP's base is not content with preventing judicial activism - they are actively lobby for the Federal Marriage Amendment, which reads:

"Marriage in the United States shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman. Neither this constitution or the constitution of any state, nor state or federal law, shall be construed to require that marital status or the legal incidents thereof be conferred upon unmarried couples or groups."


This is not just a way to stop liberal activist courts from imposing gay marriage. It's a way to stop State legislatures from enacting civil unions, too. The language is unambigous. It's intolerant, divisive, anti-federalist, and ugly. It invites the government into the bedroom of every American and abrogates to itself the power to define the status of human relationships. It's fundamentally un-American and goes against every libertarian grain that the character of this country embodies. The FMA is the wet dream of the Christian Mullahs.

And it's going to be EASY to campaign against. And rulings like last week's from the Massachusetts Supreme Court are going to increase the pressure on the GOP to try and actually implement it, rather than pay lip service to the idea without any politically risky action. We should be fervently praying that more rulings of this sort "energize" the religious right base (EJ Dionne has an article explaining what's next)

Remember that conservatives, not liberals, have been on the wrong side of every major social achievement in this country since WWII. The GOP is desperate to avoid the analogy to racism - after all, look what's in the closet over at conservative bastion and flagship National Review. From an unsigned editorial in August 24th 1957, almost certainly written by William F. Buckley (who founded the then-fledgling publication only two years earlier in 1955) , arguing that giving blacks the vote would undermine civilization:

“The central question that emerges . . . is whether the White community in the South is entitled to take such measures as are necessary to prevail, politically and culturally, in areas in which it does not prevail numerically? The sobering answer is Yes–the White community is so entitled because, for the time being, it is the advanced race. It is not easy, and it is unpleasant, to adduce statistics evidencing the cultural superiority of White over Negro: but it is a fact that obtrudes, one that cannot be hidden by ever-so-busy egalitarians and anthropologists.”

“National Review believes that the South’s premises are correct. . . . It is more important for the community, anywhere in the world, to affirm and live by civilized standards, than to bow to the demands of the numerical majority.”


NR today would never sanction such an editorial - and times have changed on the gay marriage front too. The GOP knows it. Even Dick Cheney, who said during Election 2000:

I think that means that people should be free to enter into any kind of relationship they want to enter into. It’s really no one else’s business in terms of trying to regulate or prohibit behavior in that regard.

The next step, then, of course, is the question you ask of whether or not there ought to be some kind of official sanction, if you will, of the relationship, or if these relationships should be treated the same way a conventional marriage is. That’s a tougher problem. That’s not a slam dunk.

I think the fact of the matter, of course, is that matter is regulated by the states. I think different states are likely to come to different conclusions, and that’s appropriate. I don’t think there should necessarily be a federal policy in this area.

I try to be open-minded about it as much as I can, and tolerant of those relationships... I also wrestle with the extent to which there ought to be legal sanction of those relationships. I think we ought to do everything we can to tolerate and accommodate whatever kind of relationships people want to enter into.


Howard Dean should be salivating at the opportunity to confront Bush - whose statement on the Massachusetts ruling was also unambigous - with the statement above, and his own history on supporting civil unions without marriage in accordance with Bush's own Veep's statements. Bring it on.

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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.