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

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Tuesday, January 20, 2004


Dean Leads Kerry In NH

posted by Christopher at Tuesday, January 20, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Three most recent tracking polls in NH all show Dean leading Kerry by as little as 2 points in the Zogby poll (25-23), to as many as 8 points in both the ARG and Gallup polls. The polls were conducted over a three day period that included results subsequent to Monday's Iowa Caucus.


The Speech

posted by Brian Ulrich at Tuesday, January 20, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
I've seen the coverage of Howard Dean's concession speech yesterday, covered on CBS and NBC with the headline "Dean Scene," and with all the talking heads commenting on how awful it was. Now, IMHO, it was not a smart thing for Dean to do that on national television. It was probably worse for his campaign than the third place finish. I'll say it reminded me of a Homecoming pep rally when the old returning alumnus gets up there and tries to be cool, but seriously isn't. But first of all, it wasn't angry, it was just determination to move forward. He was laughing and smiling during it. And it strikes me as really unfair that if Kerry can ride on-stage on a Harley on a TV show, Dean can't get a bit wild at a campaign rally. Yes, it was overboard, but I have to question whether it's really worth all the attention it's getting.

The fact is, anger is Dean's press meme. Al Gore was seen as an exaggerator, and therefore every slight exaggeration of an achievement or joke or rumor thereof got to be big news. George W. Bush is seen as somewhat illiterate, and therefore every minor grammatical slip gets passed around and mocked by people who have probably seldom had to give a lecture much less keep up political levels of public speaking. Howard Dean is now seen as angry, and every time he fails to speak in a monotone, it will be news. He should have thought of that. But he didn't.

And I feel bad about that, because he was instead thinking of his supporters. And I for one want to make sure he doesn't lose this election on our account.


Dean Nation Team Goal updated: $40,000

posted by Aziz P. at Tuesday, January 20, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Dean Nation has raised $35,000 dollars to date for Dean - with an average donation of $56. Think about that - for the cost of dinner and a movie, over 600 of us have played a concrete role in taking our nation back from the politics of personal destruction, from the hateful jingoism of the far right, from the hypocritical enemies of the middle and lower class.

We can do more. We must do more. Dean was never the front-runner in this race - it's always been Bush. Dean's 3rd place finish in Iowa means we can shed the baggage of the media expectations game - and focus on winning delegates. But to do that, we need to get our message out. I have my own critiques of Dean's Iowa strategy, but that was just the end of the beginning. As we look forward to New Hampshire we need to focus on what matters most - convincing voters of our competence.

Remember - Dean walked away from matching funds. That theoretically means he can raise unlimited funds to match Bush's $200 million - but that theory means nothing if WE don't step up to the plate. That money won't materialize out of thin air. In fact, unless we step up, and show the media elites that we believe in Dean, we might well be worse off than had we taken the federal money.

So let's see how close to $40,000 we can raise before New Hampshire. Let's dig a little deeper and use the sharp edge of the Iowa loss to prod us to our higher potential. Let's turn Iowa into our rallying cry. That is the essence of Dean fu and exactly what People Power is all about.

Feed the Bat! to $40K... and let's show the naysayers what comeback looks like!



posted by Dana at Tuesday, January 20, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Have you ever wanted something so bad you went overboard?

Maybe it was a girl (or a boy). Maybe it was a game. Maybe it was a company policy.

So you went after him, her or it with everything you had. You refused to hear "no."

Trouble is, you didn't hear "yes" either.

That's what happened in Iowa. And it wasn't just Dean. It was us. All of us.

We canvassed and called, we wrote and we cheered, until our wrists were sore and our throats ached. Just like some men will give women jewels, trips and a bouquet, then lose her to some schlub who offered merely a single flower and his heart.

We tried too hard. All of us. Howard Dean failed? Maybe. But so did we.

We stopped trusting the clarity, the simplicity, the all-American rightness of our message. We tried to force the issue. And Iowans, figuring we could always find other voters, decided to save other souls, specifically those of John Kerry and John Edwards.

We got crunched. Maybe we even deserved it.

But frankly I am sick and tired of the moaning-and-groaning among some Dean supporters. I'm sick and tired of how some of the weak-kneed now want to jump ship. I'm sick and tired of the trolls, and their sidekicks in the media.

We're behind. I guarantee you polls tomorrow in New Hampshire will show we're behind. I guarantee they're going to say that "Howard Dean has to knock his opponents on their backsides in that debate, or he's through." Some will say he's through anyway.

He's only through when we say he's through. Despite what Edwards and Kerry did to us yesterday, they are not going to be taking near the heat we are this week. It's going to be written that we have to win or we're dead.

But we'll decide when and if we're dead. We still have the power.

We just have to trust the people more, walk more humbly, take yes for an answer, and fight the 50-state fight.

Bill Clinton won neither Iowa nor New Hampshire. George W. Bush lost Iowa in 1988, and Ronald Reagan lost it to Bush in 1980. Carter lost Iowa to undecided.

The fight has barely begun. It's what we here like to call Common Sense.

The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of his country; but he that stands it NOW deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.

Enough with the moaning-and-groaning. Get back to work.


CBS post-mortem puts it in perspective

posted by Aziz P. at Tuesday, January 20, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Here's a fairly straightforward piece summarizing yesterday's caucus results:

Dean did not abandon his fiery rhetoric Monday night. Pumping the air as if he'd won, Dean bellowed to supporters: "We will not quit now or ever," his voice hoarse, nearly a scream.

On Tuesday, Dean defended his theatrical exuberance on that stage, saying, "You've got to have some fun in this business."
Polls in New Hampshire show Dean still out front, but with a shrinking lead. Clark had been the main challenger, but Monday Kerry began to move up.

An American Research Group tracking poll had Dean with 28 percent, Kerry with 20 percent and Clark 19 percent, subject to a 4 percent margin of error. A WBZ/Boston Globe poll had Dean with 28 percent, Clark with 21 percent and Kerry with 20 percent. That survey has a 5-point margin of error.

Dean still leads the overall delegate race with 104 to Kerry's 75 and Edwards' 34. Nomination requires 2,162 delegates.

Remember, this nomination could be sealed on Super Tuesday in March. Or it could very well drag out to the convention. I'm starting to believe that New Hampshire is going to be irrelevant if we lose, but an important boost if we win. I'll post my analysis on the caucus shortly...


The $200 Million Question

posted by Dana at Tuesday, January 20, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions

There is one issue Democrats must face in New Hampshire this week.

How are you going to compete with the $200 million George W. Bush will have to tear you down on TV this summer?

General Clark, Senator Edwards, and Senator Lieberman have no plan. They took the matching funds and, when their $45 million is spent, they will go under virtual house arrest, as Bob Dole did in 1996 and as Al Gore in 2000. Remember, Bush didn’t take the matching funds last time either, Gore did, so Gore ran out of money long before his convention.

How much different the world would be today if he could have fought back. Howard Dean will fight back.

And before you say Senator Kerry, he stayed in the game by mortgaging his house, which is a trick you can only do once.

The world knows the Dean plan. Howard Dean did not build this campaign to win in Iowa in January. He built it to win nationwide in November. Howard Dean has a strategy, of getting 2 million people to contribute $100 each. Howard Dean has an infrastructure, he has the technology and the people to go toe-to-toe with George W. Bush all summer. Howard Dean has a platform, one that hearkens not to the divisions of the recent past but to our founding documents.

On the issues there really are few differences among the Democratic candidates in New Hampshire. On substantive issues there is general agreement. Even thematically, Governor Dean is easy to copy.

But if your campaign can’t answer the $200 million question, it can’t win. George W. Bush will win in a walk unless the Democratic nominee comes up with a $200 million answer.

Howard Dean has that answer. Has Wesley Clark? Has John Edwards? Has Joe Lieberman? Has John F. Kerry?

They haven’t. And that needs to be the issue we hammer home all this week. What Democrats want from a candidate, more than anything else, is victory. This is the only campaign with a strategy for giving it to them.


A Few Thoughts

posted by Brian Ulrich at Tuesday, January 20, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
*In addition to a Kerry and Edwards surge, I'm expecting a Dean dip in the NH polls. Democrats are apparently thinking a lot about electability. Some people who believed he would rally the base will probably notice the lack of a rallied Dean base in Iowa. In addition, I don't think the Gephardt voters will go to Dean, at least initially. Despite the fact they're the two big "union candidates," their images are the opposite of each other.

*Seeing my comment here a few days ago made me remember just how skeptical of Dean I was even a few months ago. I could probably find stuff from over the summer where I was completely dismissive. When I made my final decision right after Thanksgiving, it was after I became satisfied he could handle foreign policy. But what really built me up to that was when I saw him in town meetings. It was amazing to hear him talking about issues like health care, education, jobs, and so on. He has ideas and programs and strategies for passing those programs so that I could just see it all happening.

Unfortunately, most Americans come to know candidates by their stump speeches and commercials. I don't know what's in the commercials, but in his stump speeches he devotes 80% of explaining the problems with Bush. This is important, but let's assume for the moment that partisan Democrats already know it all. Voters have got to wonder what Dean will do instead. And a lot of the things that rally his volunteers, like pointing at the crowd and saying, "You have the power" over and over again, simply look weird to the staid 40-somethings he needs to win. Can you imagine any President in American history doing something similar? There are reasons for that. I respect that Dean can connect with different audiences, but in the environment of the Presidential campaign the camera is always there, and he's always talking to every audience. And especially given the stereotype of Dean as the angry far-left lunatic, he needs to be especially non-angry and non-loony. He already has a certain East Coast bruskness that sounds short or angry out here in the midwest; I think on the campaign trail if he strives to be a block of uncarved wood, he will hit the right balance. And he needs to show himself more as the dynamic governor who led Vermont, is changing political organization, and can help change Washington and the right wing-oriented climate of debate in this country, or people will believe the campus radical rhetoric.

*Now that you've read the negative stuff, keep in mind we still have more resources both human and monetary than any other candidate. So once the campaign retools whatever it plans to retool, we can get the message out there quickly and all over the place, while other candidates will probably try to compete in only a few states. I still feel that in the end, this comes down to a battle between Dean and Clark. I'm also glad I don't get CNN, etc., because the constant obsession with instant reaction and predicting the future drive me nuts. Yes, Dean would be much stronger had he won Iowa. No, he is not dead. His chances of a comeback seem much better than, say, Kerry's did around New Year's. And I do think it's a fact that a lot of Iowans really focused after the holidays, when Dean was on the defensive. Now things will have shifted.

*Just a minor note in the larger scheme of things: I heard on C-Span last night (I have basic cable, just not expanded basic) that Dean and Gephardt were not viable in some precincts last night. This means that theit supporters probably went to Kerry and Edwards in those areas. So while the margin in the final count looks like a lot, the margin in the actual first-choice voter preferences was almost certainly closer. By how much, I have no idea. Those entry polls might give some indication, if they're accurate.

*I stand firmly by what I said here. This is far from over. It's been awhile since we saw a real fight for the nomination, which is what we have now. So buckle up. Every election year is different. Normally after New Hampshire we have a two-person race. This year, we're likely to have at least three, and if Dean and Kerry are in a dead heat for first there could wind up with five heading wouth, where Sharpton's voters could become a factor. Kevin Drum is suggesting this could go to the convention. I'm not sure how likely that is, since some candidates will run out of money long before then, but it just shows how unpredictable things really are.


On to New Hampshire!

posted by Aziz P. at Tuesday, January 20, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Focus forward! Feed the bat - we are going to face an avalanche of "frontrunner stumbled" press as the vindictive media exults at Dean's 3rd place finish. We need to be ready to get the message out and push hard. Clark and Lieberman are waiting in NH and it's all about the resources. So let's push forward with redoubled intensity!

And welcome our own local heroes - Amanda and Anna - home from Iowa with a Bat stuffed by another few thousand dollars!

Monday, January 19, 2004


The Lesson

posted by Dana at Monday, January 19, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Losing is hard. Losing the first race is harder. Losing when you thought you were going to win is hardest.

How did it happen? Some Tuesday morning theories:

1. Turnout. With 1601 of 1993 precincts reporting
attendance was 96476. The final number looks to be under 120,000. That's not a very big number. Dean's pre-caucus "hard count" was 40,000, that is, we expected to get at least 40,000 people into the caucuses. We got about 25,000.

2. Iowa Democrats bought the "Dean is not electable" meme. Sorry, they did. Kerry successfully spun his pro-war vote as candor, Edwards spun his good looks and positive outlook as winning, and the media relentlessly spun our passion as anger. Everything Dean tried in the last few days -- the Carter visit, Judy's visit to Davenport -- came off as desperate.

3. Iowans like outsiders, to a point. The meme that went out about the orange-hatted "Perfect Storm" volunteers was that they were "Perfect Stormtroopers." That's harsh, mean, false, but many of the people who caucused believed it.

4. Iowa eliminates people, but it doesn't select a nominee. A lot of Iowa Democrats wanted to make John Edwards and John Kerry viable. In the end I think our huge effort showed many Dean didn't need them, and they rejected Dick Gephardt.

This week we must find a way to beat the "Dean can't win" meme. The press is not going to let up. And, thanks to Iowa, Republicans will sleep well tonight, figuring the "circular firing squad" will destroy whoever the Democrats nominate.

All that said, remember that primaries are easier to participate in than caucuses. People have all day to vote. They can vote privately. We've got to get our people out, there and in the 7 states that vote a week later.

Just remember the stakes. Edwards and Clark have unilaterally disarmed against the Bush $200 million. Kerry is going to fight back with ketchup. This is the only campaign that can go toe-to-toe with the GOP through the summer.

That's how you beat the electability meme, in my opinion. That's the message we need to focus on, in my opinion. Democrats want to win, and we need to prove to them we can.


Dean on Larry King

posted by Editor at Monday, January 19, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Dean is on Larry King Live. It sounds like he's conceding to me. He says it looks like Sen. Kerry will win and he intends to win the nomination.

"I'm looking forward to NH. It's a new day, a new state."

"On to New Hampshire."

Trippi on MSNBC: "It was our message that won tonight." (on Kerry and Edwards sounding more like Dean).
"We've only just begun to fight."
"Bush says, 'You're either with us, or against us.' This campaign says, 'That's great. We're against you.'"


Don't Overreact

posted by Brian Ulrich at Monday, January 19, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
I think it's worth a new post to say this. Don't overreact here. Gephardt was a surprise Iowa winner in 1988. Then he ran out of money, and the primaries continued. In 1992, Clinton lost both Iowa and New Hampshire. Electability was a key concern, and people feared he was unelectable due to the accusations of dodging the draft, marital infidelity, and whatever else was going on. The news here isn't good, but I stand by what I said below about Iowa having made this campaign stronger.

UPDATE: Just so that this sounds less like spin: The early numbers are very good for Kerry and Edwards and very bad for Dean and Gephardt. This post was in response to what seemed a sense of hopelessness around the comments on various sites. They seemed an over-reaction. I believe that 1996 and 2000 were rather boring primary cycles in which candidates locked up establishment support, money, and grassroots very early, and this year will be more like 1988 and 1992 in which things are more competitive. So while I am concerned, I see no reason whatsoever to give up.


A Good Feeling...

posted by Brian Ulrich at Monday, January 19, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Just remember: Other candidates may claim momentum, but we have the video game.

Whatever happens tonight, this campaign has the feel of a winner. Iowa has made us stronger. We got hit with a barrage of attacks right as people were starting to tune in after the holidays, yet we're still among the race's frontrunners. We now know the concerns people have about Dean, and are crafting strategies to address them. Even if we get crushed, that just means that the other candidates may leave us for dead and go after each other while we use our advantage in money and volunteers to keep up the pressure in all 50 states. This is only the beginning.

My head tells me I should help lower expectations, but for some reason, I just have a really good feeling about this. Amidst all the uncertainty, my heart tells me that tonight we'll turn in a strong Iowa performance that will light a beacon of hope seen all across America, from New Hampshire to Arizona, Washington to South Carolina. And it starts in just over an hour...


Caucus night open thread

posted by Aziz P. at Monday, January 19, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
A round of applause, please, for Amanda, Anna, and all our other Dean Nation alumni at the Storm Center. Allow me to instigate a call of "encore!" for Trippi's guest bloggage!


Random pictures from the Storm Center

posted by annatopia at Monday, January 19, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
images removed to conserve my bandwidth; visit annatopia's iowa caucus archives


Rumors from Des Moines & special guest blog

posted by annatopia at Monday, January 19, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Well today is D-Day, and the rumors are flying. We've got the rumor that Kucinich cut a deal with John Edwards, and he's asked his supporters to caucus for Edwards if Kucinich doesn't get his 15%. I don't think that's going to fly with the Kucinich camp. Every single Kucinich supporter I've met had said that Dean is their second choice and that they will not vote for someone who authorised the war and co-wrote the (un)PATRIOT(ic) act.
Also, Kerry has been push-polling. LOVELY. What a class act, that Kerry guy. And seniors in Iowa are getting recorded calls telling them to caucus at 8pm. We don't know where those calls are originating, but it smells of RNC dirty tricks.
And just so you know, the young Rethuglicans have been out in full force trying to disrupt events held by Democratic candidates. You can smell the fear emanating from their side of the aisle. At Drake University on Saturday (the Dean event with Joan Jett & Janeane Garafalo), the young thugs stormed the event and carried in Bush-Cheney04 banners. They were yelling things like, "Where's your flag?" and crap like that. Joan Jett started singing the Star Spangled Banner and pretty soon the entire crowd joined in and ran the RNC thugs out of the room. Some Kerry and Kucinich supporters told me the same things have happened at their events.
But the bottom line is that the Democrats are going to be strong this year and the RNC knows it. You can smell the desperation. No matter who the Democrats nominate, we will win.

Des Moines is pretty crazy right now. The Storm Center is rockin' right now. The phone banks are buzzing, canvass teams are still arriving and departing, the media is everywhere. Oh, and the Gov did some phone-banking today. I didn't get any pictures because he is being guarded pretty heavily (there's finally a big, beefy bodyguard in his entourage), but he was on the phones for over an hour.

Dean supporter Ray Minchew of Washington for Dean phone banks undecided caucus-goers

Here's the random media picture for the day:

L-R, Colette (cdmarine from the Kos boards), Mort Kondrake, Anna

Mort was actually a pretty funny guy. I told him (with more than a twinge of sarcasm) that I'd watched him last night on FAUX and I thought his coverage was actually fair and balanced (it really was, for once). He laughed and asked how often I watched FAUX. I told him rarely, and he said, "Keeping an eye on the enemy?" I said "yes" and he laughed out loud. A few jokes about FAUX news ensued, and Mort was a good sport and laughed right along with us. Then he posed for pictures with all of us hanging out in the room which has become known as Blog Central.

Tom Brokaw has been here today, and he gets a thumbs down from Blog Central. When a volunteer named Marty asked, "Mr Brokaw, can I get a picture with you?", he refused, saying "I've gotta find Dean". As he stormed off, Marty said, "Clean it up, Tom." Other than that little moment, it's all been positive.

The field organisers are starting to stress a bit, which is to be expected. If they weren't a bit tense I'd be worried. But the overall vibe is so upbeat and positive today, and I've got a good feeling about tonight.

Speaking of good vibes, I've got a special guest standing over my shoulder waiting to guest blog, so I'll turn it over to DFA campaign manager Joe Trippi:

For over a year the netroots and grassroots have carried our campaign and made the difference every step of the way. It is a close race in Iowa -- and tonight it will be the same netroots and grassroots that make the difference. 3500 strong volunteers from across the nation are canvassing and gaining support for Howard Dean and getting people to the caucus.

We emerged from the pack because of each of your efforts -- and tonight Howard Dean will come "storm'n back" because of the grassroots Iowa Storm that is rolling through the state of Iowa right now. I went out and knocked on doors with the grassroots yesterday --- and the response was great -- we are gaining steam.

People are really getting that this election is about power.
Its about who owns our government and who runs it.

The corporate special interests defending the status quo
or the American people demanding change.

Democracy is not easy -- the other campaigns and the doubters and cynics are trying to stop our movement -- but we will not be stopped.

Thank you for everything you are doing for the campaign and our cause. This is really the place it all began.

Joe Trippi
campaign manager
Dean for America

cross-posted to annatopia, please go there for the images. i've removed them from here to conserve my bandwidth.


Daily Review

posted by barb at Monday, January 19, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Dean Gets Support From Wife, Jimmy Carter

Markets favor Dean in Iowa

Dem Campaign Heads on 'Fox News Sunday'

Ex-Air Force leader stumps for Dean

Kerry, Dean consolidate lead, Iowa poll shows

Dean tired, but upbeat on eve of caucuses

Howard Dean in the N.H. primary

All Eyes on Iowa

Tight Four-Way Iowa Race Kicks Off Campaign

Sunday, January 18, 2004


What Is Dean's Hard Count

posted by Dana at Sunday, January 18, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions

Every cycle or two, a reporter gets you so far inside the political locker room you can smell the sweat.

At this Iowa caucus that honor may go to Tom Schaller, a political science professor from Maryland who is blogging for Dailykos.

Today, he talked about "hard counts," the number of people you know you can turn out to the caucus (a number I've been harping on here). What is Dean's hard count, and how does it compare with the total number of peope due to attend tomorrow's caucuses?

Steve McMahon, Joe Trippi's partner in the Dean brain trust, looks like Sylvester grinning with Tweety Bird in his mouth. He won't give the number, of course, but he seems very confident that his hard count will be a high enough numerator no matter what the denominator.

And here's why: The rumor last night is that, of Dean's hard count "ones", a startling 60 to 65 percent of them are self-identified, first time caucus-goers. McMahon could be spinning, but that doesn't make sense - he surely does not want to raise expectations and then have to explain comparative failure on Tuesday. Second place, certainly third, and definitely fourth, would be comparative failure.

If it's true about the share of committed "ones" that are first-timers, however, and if the total number of hard count Deanies (first time or rarely-participating or newly-affiliating Democrats, whatever) is that high, this is important because this means Dean is toting a disproportionate share of these beneath-the-radar voters.

That is, if the denominator (the total number of caucus-goers) is larger than expected or we've seen historically, those new or newly-engaged people are disproportionately committed to Dean and his growing numerator (the number of Dean supporters at the caucus) is pushing up the growing denominator. (In other words, the total expected for the caucus is going up because there are so many first-time Dean caucus-goers.)

One related point: The dirtier the list the Iowa Democratic party sold all the campaigns, the better it is for the campaigns with the most field resources, those of Dean and Gephardt, because they have had the time to work through and clean it, tighten it. (Schaller understands that the list of Democrats sold by the Iowa party to campaigns and pollsters is very "dirty," with lots of mistakes in it, mistakes you must take time to fix before you can get any use of it.) In theory (and practice?), Dean and Gephardt have worked out kinks that Kerry and Edwards are just now encountering.

Bringing this full circle, the New Republic's Ryan Lizza and I pestered McMahon about whether these late polls, and the whole Kerry/Edwards surge news cycle, is potentially the BEST thing to happen to Dean, because it is lowering expectations for Dean's campaign without Dean having to do a darn thing himself.

McMahon conceded it could be, though he really didn't seem bothered about the polls or any expectations-game post-Iowa spin opportunities. His take is that it is what it is - the number will be what it will be. And he repeats that this is just Moment 1, and that the others cannot keep up over the long haul of the next two months in states where Dean is up and running and they are not.

Still, I think the poll numbers of the past two weeks (especially last 4-5 days) set things up this way: If Dean wins by any margin at this point, suddenly he is again the candidate who continues to surprise his doubters.

But that only happens if the Tweety Bird (Dean's true, undisclosed hard count) is really real, and not just a few feathers poking out of the corners of McMahon's mouth.

We'll know the Iowa answer tomorrow. And then we go on.


Road Trip! (Gotta Love The Three-Day Weekend)

posted by Dana at Sunday, January 18, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
The press was alerted that a "special guest" would accompany Governor Dean to his Davenport rally this afternoon.

Here she is:

Meet me at the airport hanger, Judy Dean, Judy Dean.

And for those who think that the good doctor (as opposed to her husband, the Good Doctor) is running out on her patients, know this.

We have a three-day weekend here. Tomorrow is not just Iowa caucus night, but the MLK holiday. Dr. Judith Steinberg Dean has two other physicians in practice with her, so her patients have coverage. She really doesn't have to be back at the office until Tuesday morning.

And, I ask you, what could be a more romantic rendezvous than Davenport, Iowa in January?

For those of you who insist on a "traditional" political wife as "First Lady," People also reported this week she makes a good chocolate chip cookie. (Now if she has time tonight to switch her husband from strawberry milk shakes to smoothies we're golden.)


Medical Deferments

posted by Brian Ulrich at Sunday, January 18, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
By now, we've all heard the story about how Howard Dean got a medical deferment from Vietnam yet went skiing shortly thereafter. By now, of course, we know that even if he had gone AWOL from the National Guard, he would still be a viable candidate, but enough Americans have an understandable distaste for avoided military service that it might become a factor in a close race.

The reality, however, is this: The military standards for physical fitness are very high. When I was applying to colleges, I of course got the military recruiting me, as well. As you might imagine, they were persistent. Until I told them I had asthma, at which point one told me that even if I wanted to they couldn't take me. Yet this is a very mild asthma that has never prevented me from doing any physical activity I wanted. I have a friend who was for a time excited about joining the army. However, he didn't make it, and told me there were physical reasons. Even during Vietnam, these standards were high. I know one man who has sub-par vision in one eye, and for that reason was rejected by the Vietnam-era military. And I'll dare anyone to compare the rigors of war to those of a weekend skiing.

I'm sure Dean would be a stronger candidate if he had Kerry's or Clark's war record, but we're electing candidates, not designing them. And the most important criteria for election is who representes the best political leader for the present, not the best war hero from the past. After all, both Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon fought in World War II. Johnson even had a Silver Star. This did not do the troops in Vietnam a whole world of good. What we need to consider is which potential President has the sound judgement and courage of his convictions today, not the best health 30 years ago.


Carter Praises Dean's 'Courageous' Stands

posted by Aziz P. at Sunday, January 18, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
It wasn't an official endorsement, but it's hard to see whether there's any difference in the distinction! Carter clearly sees in Dean a fellow traveler:

During Sunday school, Dean sat with Rosalynn Carter at the far end of a pew toward the front. Former President Carter opened the lesson by asking visitors to say which state they were from and when Dean called out Vermont, laughter arose from the packed congregation. Carter introduced Dean and asked him to stand for applause.

Carter's lesson was on integrity and he taught from the book of Job, which Dean recently said was his favorite book of the Bible. Carter told reporters that Job's struggles with those who falsely accused him of being a sinner reminded him of the attacks he suffered during his first presidential campaign.

"After I won in Iowa, I realized what Job was talking about," Carter said. "It seemed like everybody descended on me with all kinds of abuse and accusations, and I felt like I was innocent."

Dean As Matt notes, Dean returned the praise, making explicit mention of Carter's legacy of explicitly linking human rights with foreign policy. In so doing, Carter perfected Neo-Wilsonianism, the commitment to encouraging democratic, free nations. The difference between this and Neo Conservatism is that the latter's commitment to actual democracy falls short when the People of said nation refuse to fall into line with American interests.


Endorsement in the Works?

posted by Editor at Sunday, January 18, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
These normally come out when Dean is about to receive an endorsement. Similar advisories were sent out for the Gore and Mosley-Braun endorsements. Has anyone heard who this might be?

January 18, 2004

DES MOINES--Governor Dean will be joined by a special guest today on the
campaign trail for events in Davenport and Cedar Rapids.

Who: Governor Howard Dean and special guest

When: January 18, 2004

4:30 PM

Davenport Rally
West High School Cafeteria)
3505 West Locust, Davenport, IA

7:30 PM

Cedar Rapids Rally
Jefferson High School
3505 West Locust

Cross Posted on Grassroots for Dean


Going To The Caucus? Here Is How To Win It

posted by Dana at Sunday, January 18, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
If you're an Iowan and you will be 18 by November 2, if you're a Democrat or registered independent, you can attend one of 1,993 caucuses across the state starting at 6:30 PM Central Time tomorrow.

So you're there. What can you do to win it?

1. Look for Dean caucusers who were independent, previously Republican, or who never voted before. Count them. Talk to them. Listen to them tell you why they are there.

2. Suporters of the 4 main candidates may be moved into separate corners of the caucus room fairly quickly. Size up where you stand, and how many are left in the middle.

3. One out of each candidate's supporters gets a chance, after the initial tally, to say a few words aimed at swaying the undecideds. Remember the key issue: electability. If the task falls to you emphasize that we're the minority party, that we need independents and Republicans to win. Then point to each of your new voters in turn, and watch them nod while you tick off what brought them there.

4. Be friendly. Be courteous. Be yourself. Be neighborly. This is supposed to be fun. Make it fun, as much fun as you can make it for your neighbors in the room, and you have a better chance of moving people your way.

Remember. We have the biggest, best organization that has ever hit Iowa. It's very likely there will be more Dean people in your caucus than supporters of anyone else. But it's up to you to move the undecideds, and the waverers, over to our side.

In a caucus, you really do have the power. All of it. Use it wisely.


CNN Presents canvassing with Joe Trippi and the Texas Rangers

posted by annatopia at Sunday, January 18, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Tonight make sure you tune in to CNN presents. It runs at 8pm eastern time. They'll be running the piece that was filmed yesterday when we canvassed with Trippi & TX director Glen Maxey. They will also be showing a bit of the Texas snowball fight. Keep your eyes peeled for me. At one point I got beaned in the head and my hat flew off, heh, which should be pretty funny to watch. *smile*
I've just arrived at HQ and canvassing is going to start in about 30 minutes. Right now the Storm Center is packed with volunteers and, naturally, tons of press. Oh, speaking of the press, for some reason the FAUX news satellite truck has a Dean bumper sticker on it. Heh. No I did not do, I don't know who did, but it was still there this morning. Thanks for finally getting on board, FAUX! *wink*
And I apologise for last night's incoherent post. I was literally running on four hours of sleep over two days. I wanted to write more about Tim Russert's visit, so I'll do so now. Tim was actually very charming in person, and much larger than he looks on tv. He's got to be at least 6 feet tall. Anyway, he was really nice to everyone and took the time to pose for pictures with everyone who asked, but he wouldn't pose with Flat Howard or put on his Storm hat. Naturally I had to give him a bit of crap for that. He kept saying "I've got to be impartial." I told him, "Oh okay, we see how you are. You just came for the free stuff." Then he replied that if he posed with Flat Howard, we'd put it on the blog. Of course we would, Tim. Then I was told that MTP has a staff dedicated to reading the blogs, and had a brief conversation with Tim's assistant, who told me that they love the blogs and they read them all. So if you ever doubt that the media is getting our message, rest assured they are. They just don't know what to do with it yet.
A northerner blew in last night, and we awoke to temperatures of 17 degrees. It is FREEZING! I'm kinda upset because I've lost my ski gloves. I have a sneaking suspicion that I left them at HQ in my tired haze... Everyone is bundled up tight and the energy level is through the roof. Today will probably be the day that we put it over the top.
Now I read Dana's post below and he's pretty much got it right. At this point we are ground troops following orders form our commanders. We know our mission, we are focused and determined, and we are executing the plan. Don't believe the pundits if they're already writing our obituaries. I have a gut feeling that we are going to win this thing. Our organisation is *amazing*. The only other candidate that really seems to have a ton of people on the ground is Dick Gephardt. I've seen quite a few Gephardt folks around our hotel (I think actually that our hotel is ground zero for the Gep volunteer camp) and on the streets, one Edwards supporter on Friday, and a sea of Dean people. Literally a seas of Dean people. *smile*
Well folks, I need to run and go get on a canvassing team. I'll post an update when I get back, provided my fingers haven't frozen solid. Send us some good, warm vibes Dean Nation!


Daily Review

posted by barb at Sunday, January 18, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Dean Optimistic About Iowa Win, Rallies Supporters

Tight Race Amid Shifting Views

Former congressman endorses Dean

Kilpatrick endorses Dean

Dean headed into Deep South to meet with Carter

Tight Race Amid Shifting Views

Carter's son says Dean can win in South

This Guy Can Rock the White House

Dems Crisscross Iowa for Caucus Support

Saturday, January 17, 2004


The Expectations Game

posted by Dana at Saturday, January 17, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
In all the excitement (and let's face it gang, FUN) of the Perfect Storm in Iowa, it's easy to lose sight of reality.

Those on the ground are in the position of soldiers in a war, in that none of them can really see how the battle is going, just their own little corner of it.

That's true for the press, too.

So, the media has gone with its favorite election-eve meme. The polls are tightening. Anything can happen.

What I think is that, in the current lingo, "It's all good."

If anything can happen, then any win is a good win. We're still "expected" to win, but if we win by 3-5 points now, it's a big win.

It has become pretty obvious that the press doesn't even believe its own story. I'm seeing a lot of hedging of bets. A CNN panel spent an entire show talking about how close it's getting, how Kerry and Edwards are surging, then they all predicted a Dean win.

And right now the trolls don't even know Kerry and Edwards exist. I haven't read silly lies about "Frenchie" Kerry or "Phony" Edwards on a right-wing site like Newsmax or Michnews or CNSNews in weeks. Instead I'm seeing nonstop (often amazingly-transparent) lies about the Good Goctor. That's the best way to know how they really feel. They're scared of us (with reason).

In fact some of the "second day" stories on what happens Monday are already being written.

The fact is this. We have already changed politics. We have already changed the political dynamic. All our opponents are copying us. We've gone from "Bush-lite" to "Dean-lite," and while imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, why (as we said about Bush-lite) would anyone accept an imitation when the Real Thing is right at hand?

So just remember the task at hand, Perfect Stormers. It is to get out all of those "1s" at 6:30 Central on Monday, every single one, and hope your hard work has turned some 2s and 3s our way as well. Do your job and we'll have 40,000, 50,000, maybe 60,000 Deaniacs to party with. Then, whatever our number, let's see if our opponents can beat it.

Personally, I don't think they can. But what I think, what anyone thinks, doesn't matter at all. The only thing that matters is what you can do in the next 48 hours.


Images from Iowa

posted by annatopia at Saturday, January 17, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
here's a few of the pictures i promised. first, from the blogger's breakfast this morning, we have congressman boswell:


here's a picture of gwen graham logan (daughter of senator bob graham) blogging at the blogger's breakfast:


congressman boswell thanked the bloggers profusely for their support. gwen graham logan told the story of how comforted she was due to the outpouring of goodwill from dean supporters to her family when senator graham decided to withdraw from the race. she choked up, and many of us did as well. i was fortunate enough to have a moment with her, and i found her kind and smart and pretty damned amazing. what a great lady.

later on i headed to HQ with heath, then we went out to canvass with a family from minnesota. afterwards heath headed north to get more footage of the gov and i came back to the storm center. joe trippi and texas state director glen maxey went out to canvass, and i got pulled in along with Sally in SF, Patty from VT and her two sons. a camerawoman from cnn presents tagged along, as did nbc. they filmed us as we canvassed. here's a picture of joe door knocking:


after we were done canvassing cnn filed the texans having a snowball fight. so later on, if you see that on cnn, that's us. =)

after we returned to the storm center i grabbed a quick bite to eat (nothing like breakfast at 3 in the afternoon) and missed amanda by about fifteen minutes. while i was wandering around, guess who walked in?


yup. pumpkinhead. he got a bunch of schwag (hats, shirts, stickers, etc) and took a ton of pictures with the volunteers. i was really nice and was able to bite my tongue and not ask tim why he's such a MW, but only because his assistant told me they have a staff that reads all the blogs. heh. so MTP staff, if you're reading this, tell tim that he needs to pose with flat howard next time he comes to the office.

as it stands i'm pretty exhausted and i think i'm going to go take a nap. when i wake up i'll check in again. TTFN.

cross-posted to annatopia. ** images removed to conserve bandwidth. please visit annatopia's iowa caucus archive to view them


Dean on the Internet

posted by Brian Ulrich at Saturday, January 17, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Joe Gratz has a detailed explanation of why Howard Dean's principles for Internet policy make sense. He also points out that Dean has a veritable Dream Team of internet policy advisors. It's difficult to excerpt, as he discusses each of Dean's points individually, but the most important may be at the end:

"We must not assume that the way the Internet is used today is the way the Internet will be used in 10, or 15, or 100 years. Decisions we make today radically effect the future of the network."

One more reason why we should all work together to ensure these decisions are made by an administration that knows what it's doing.


Greetings from Iowa!

posted by Amanda at Saturday, January 17, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
I've only got a few minutes to post but just wanted to send everyone an update on the Massachusetts Delegation to Iowa. We've got 4 Massachusetts state reps in our group -- Rep. Bill Strauss, Rep. Charles Murphy, Rep. Frank Smizak, and Rep. Harriet Stanley -- along with about a dozen volunteers like myself.

We all arrived on Friday and made our way to HQ in Des Moines, which is a beehive of activity. There's a HUGE banner over the parking lot -- I SEE DEAN PEOPLE. Tons of people from all over the US, license plates from all over. We were interviewed by a reporter from WBZ (ch 4) yesterday, which is the CBS affiliate in Boston. We also saw Joe Trippi and Mark Shields.

We decked out our van with "Massachusetts 4 Dean" posters, so we've been doing tons of visibility all over Des Moines. It's pretty chilly here, altho not as frigid as when we left Boston!!!

The polls are really close here. The energy level is quite high. The Kerry, Edwards, and Gephardt camps have definitely done some damage with their negative tactics but they're expecting record caucus turnout and a lot of Dean's caucus goers are newbies -- so we're all hopeful!

I'll try to post again when I get a chance. Send positive vibes to Iowa and maybe I'll see you in New Hampshire next weekend!

Happy MLK Day to everyone :-)



17 things about Dean,10950,577059,00.html

posted by Aziz P. at Saturday, January 17, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
The Howard and Judy interview with People (click here for the full transcript) reveals these 17 facts about Dean:

1. He calls his wife "sweetie"; she calls him "Howie."

2. He wore his prom tuxedo to one of President Clinton's White House state dinners to save money, but coughed and split his pants and had to be escorted home by state troopers covering his posterior.

3. His staff forced him to buy a new suit at Paul Stuart in New York for the campaign (it cost $800). "It nearly killed me."

4. He always turns off the lights when he walks out of a room. He used to get into fights with his wife about turning up the heat in the winter, so now she pays the bill so he doesn't have to see it.

5. The last sitcom he watched was All in the Family in its original run.

6. He is compulsive about recycling. Once he picked up every newspaper off an airplane at the end of a flight and hauled them to a recycling center. He also does recycling inspections of his staffer's bins.

7. He insists that paper in his office be printed on both sides.

8. He likes Outkast and Wyclef Jean (his son's music) as well as Bob Dylan, Peter, Paul and Mary, Led Zeppelin and the Grateful Dead.

9. He fixes the toilet at home; plumbing is his "therapy."

10. He never takes taxis or limos. In New York City he takes the subway.

11. Asked his favorite food indulgence, he responds: fish. (He later amends this to chocolate chip cookies.)

12. He drinks generic ginger ale and snacks to save money.

13. He plays the guitar and harmonica. He sings '60s folk tunes (see: Peter, Paul and Mary above.)

14. Despite his reservations about cost, he was finally persuaded to take his shirts to the dry cleaner last year. He used to just throw them in the wash.

15. As the governor of Vermont, he drove himself and pumped his own gas.

16. He has been known to tape his shoes together.

17. He wears '70s-style gold-rimmed glasses that he won't update; his wife carries a purse covered in pen marks. They are both devoted discount shoppers ...

Reading the list, I find myself in agreement with Oliver Willis - Dean is a major tightwad. And good thing, too. And that's exacly the kind of thing that fiscal conservatives are starting to notice, that distinguishes Dean from Bush.


Blogger's Breakfast

posted by annatopia at Saturday, January 17, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Hey everyone, click on the link above to view the Oblog thread about this morning's Blogger's breakfast. DFA photog John Pettit has let me hijack his latop to make this post, so thanks to John. =) He also sent in a great picture of the event which is posted at the link above. I just met Gwen Logan Graham, and Congressman Boswell also spoke at the event. Gwen sends her best to the Dean community, and thanks us for all our hard work.
I'll check in from HQ in a little while.


The Latest White House Script...

posted by Christopher at Saturday, January 17, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Check out this hilarious take on the White House meme's for the upcoming election (from Rich Proctor at - subscription, or day-pass required). Some excerpts:

[to the press corps, from the White House]

Hi! Wow, you guys and gals did such a Double-Plus-Good job during the '00 campaign (Al Gore -- earth tones, phony, invented the Internet, etc., etc.) that we're actually going to gift you with our Red State-Wal-Mart-focus-group-tested media memes early! As before, we're looking for 110 % COMPLIANCE, or else we'll see to it you lose that White House Press Credential, and you'll be back covering the Police Blotter for the local "Recycler."

HERE ARE YOUR NEW CAMPAIGN SCRIPT TEMPLATES. Plug in daily news events as needed:


How This Works:

DEAN PRESS CONFERENCE BITE: "I'm angry that 44 million Americans can't afford health insurance. We need single payer health insurance for all Americans."

YOUR SPIN: Why is he so darn negative? That's GUARANTEED to alienate swing voting Soccer Moms! Notice how his face turns all red and splotchy? If he stays this negative, the upbeat, positive vision of our beloved President Bush is sure to prevail ..."

2) DEAN IS UNELECTABLE. Never take anything he says seriously, because he can't be elected anyway.

How This Works:

NEWS ITEM: "New Time Magazine Poll -- Dean Trails Bush by Just Six Points In Head To Head Match Up"

YOUR SPIN: "Sources deep inside the White House today cast doubt on the seriously skewed results of a recent Time Magazine poll, which somehow mistakenly showed that, even at this early date, almost as many Americans favored the angry, negative, insurgent, marginal non-Southerner Howard Dean as favored our beloved, incredibly popular Texan man-of-the-people President George W. Bush. Attorney General John Ashcroft has announced an immediate investigation. Arrests seem certain. Mainstream political observer Ann Coulter had this comment ..."


How This Works:

INTERVIEW BITE WITH DEAN SUPPORTER: "My son died in Iraq. He went there because President Bush said that Saddam was threatening us with nuclear weapons. He lied. There were no weapons, and no threat. That makes me sad, sick and furious."

YOUR SPIN: See that Lexus in the background? Bet that's hers, and there's a Starbucks cup in the cup holder. Most Americans drive Fords and Chevys. I wonder why she's so angry and negative? Her son couldn't have died. Do you see any bodies coming back on television? Any funerals? NO! Besides, the Dow is above 10,000, and we only lost 223,000 jobs last year! Bush is invincible


Why are you so angry and negative?
President Bush is incredibly popular, and beloved by common people like himself.

Why do you hate him, knowing this makes decent, God-fearing, Christian Americans hate you?

Bush is fighting terrorists, or will be, when we actually invade a country that has some. Why are you against that?
We (Republicans, Good Americans) support our troops. Why do you want to undermine them, and therefore kill them?
President Bush fought to provide Americans with a Medicare prescription drug benefit. Don't you realize that by hating him, you're putting yourself outside the mainstream of America?


Anything about single-payer healthcare, rampant war profiteering by Bush corporate cronies in Iraq, Enron, WMD in Iraq, dead soldiers in Iraq, nonexistent nuclear program in Iraq, corporate malfeasance, funding for "No Child Left Behind," Afghanistan, quid pro quo anti-environmental legislation for "Pioneer Level" Corporate Donors, and the Bush ban on the government from making best deal with pharmaceutical companies for prescription drugs.

Clear? If you have any questions, just go to the Campaign Default Position -- Dean ANGRY FANATIC, Bush BELOVED LEADER. Thanks!


Bush's Bankrupt Vision

posted by Christopher at Saturday, January 17, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
What I want to know...

Is why in the world the Democrats (Dean included) are not savaging Bush on his 'space' plans. Perhaps everyone is simply waiting until the dust settles from the caucus and the primaries, but I have to say that this so-called 'plan' to go to the moon and to mars is the most wrong-headed, poorly-timed initiative I've ever heard of. Now don't get me wrong - the idea of a serious effort to reach out to the stars is certainly exciting - but it's exciting when we have the resources to put into it, not when so many are struggling - it's exciting when we're at peace. Given that we're in the middle of a war, that millions of Americans are out of work, that another 3 million Americans now lack health care (total: 43 million), and that we're saddled with a huge Bush deficit is this the time for a complete overhaul of our space program? Where's the outrage?

From CNN: "No firm cost estimates have been developed, but informal discussions have put the cost of a Mars expedition at nearly $1 trillion, depending on how ambitious the project was. The cost of a moon colony, again, would depend on what NASA wants to do on the lunar surface."

What could this country do with $1 trillion? Build new schools... health care for all Americans (most of the Dems plans cost around $87 billion, at least Dean's does - a bargain!). How about fighting a more worthwhile war - the war on poverty? This silliness should offend the budget conscious in our nation. What is going on with conservatives in America? Weren't they the ones who were supposed to be fiscal watchdogs? Apparently the dogs are asleep.

When you have no money left in your checking account, do you cut back and save up? Or, do you just say... 'great! I'm going to go buy a luxury liner and head for Bermuda.' That is the equivalent of what Bush is doing with this so-called space plan. If this is his vision, then maybe Paul O'Neill was right - there's a blind man talking to the deaf. Fortunately, there's a doctor in the race - Bush needs a serious check-up. Anybody else out there feel this way about this initiative?

Friday, January 16, 2004


Update from the Storm Center

posted by annatopia at Friday, January 16, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
What can I say? Today was... cripes, I don't even have an appropriate adjective. So I'm just going to blab on and hopefully this will make some sort of sense.
First off, I'm sitting here in the "blogging center" at Storm Center HQ in Des Moines. We're right next door to the main office and volunteers are still working as this late hour. We've got people calling, canvassing, and training volunteers in anticipation of a very large caucus turnout.
Heath and I finally hooked up at dinner, and I'll post a picture of us later on. You'll have to forgive my lack of pictures at the moment. My laptop is at the hotel, and I'll upload them later.
Just to let you know, the weather here stinks today. That works in our favor somewhat, but it wasn't easy to keep our papers and flyers dry as we made the rounds. But everyone's spirits are so high and the feedback we are getting on the ground has been extremely positive. My block-walking partner Dee and I got some great responses when we canvassed around northwest Des Moines today. Many people weren't home (let's face it; we were canvassing on Friday afternoon), but the ones who were home were all very receptive and many of them committed to caucus for Dean. That's one thing I really want to stress here: the Iowans are very receptive to our message and our organisation. I think we are going to have an incredible and perhaps record turnout for the caucuses, and I really think we are going to suprise everyone and win. Remember, we were never supposed to win Iowa. Just the fact that we are in this position is a testament to the dedication of the Dean grassroots.
Speaking of the grassroots, I've already met people from all over America who are here to volunteer for Dean. I've met volunteers from DC (they're so happy about their primary victory the other day), Minnesota, Oregon, California and Oklahoma, and the folks from Tokyo for Dean are here (they have the coolest shirts with a little samurai on them). The big blogger's breakfast is tomorrow morning, and attendance is going to be through the room. Many media outlets are covering the event, including NPR (so make sure to tune in to All Things Considered tomorrow night). Oh, and speaking of media, the Texas Rangers made the news tonight. The canvassing team I was a part of went out to eat tonight and the media was out in full force. I glommed on to one of the cameramen and I guess he pointed the news anchor towards us, because the next thing you know she was pinning a mic on me and interviewing me for the news. I hope I did well (and if any of you Iowans are reading this, tune into channel 8 tonight).
So that's been the day in a nutshell. Sorry for the random, wandering post, but that's the best I can give you after that long bus ride, no shower, and no sleep. *smile* When I get back to the hotel, I'll post some more pictures, so stay tuned and we'll check in again tomorrow.

PS. Oh one more thing! Check out the gallery from today, including this awesome picture of the Texas Rangers. This is only about 3/4 of us FYI, and I'm not in it (waa!) so don't bother looking for me.

cross-posted at annatopia


Texas Rangers have arrived in Iowa

posted by annatopia at Friday, January 16, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Hey everyone, I'm just taking a moment to check in before we head out for our first round of canvassing. The Texas Rangers have arrived. John Petitt just sent in our group picture to Mathew Gross, so keep your eyes on the O-blog and he'll post it soon.
The road trip was arduous, but we made it intact. Here's a picture of some of the Rangers who are here to volunteer:

I'm here at Des Moines HQ and the room is buzzing with volunteers who are calling Iowans and asking them to caucus for Dean. Here's a picture of the inside of the HQ:

I don't have much time to offer a good update, but I'll do that later from the hotel. As it stands, we're being herded off to volunteer. The weather is balmy and wet... not as cold as I expected and there isn't much snow on the ground. But everyone's spirits are high and we're ready to win this thing.

cross-posted to annatopia. ** images removed to conserve my bandwidth. please visit the annatopia iowa caucus archives to view the pics


Kitchen Table Activism

posted by Brian Ulrich at Friday, January 16, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Many people are excited by what is happening on the ground in Iowa. We're all nervously watching poll numbers and wishing we could do something to affect the outcome.

We can. Write letters to New Hampshire.

In this campaign, we have it in our power to tell people why we think Howard Dean would be the best candidate for President of the United States.

We will tell them that in this age of terrorism, the people who know most about homeland security are the governors, and there's only one of them running.

We will tell them that the way to beat George Bush on foreign policy is by advocating a return to focusing on al-Qaeda and its associated terrorist networks, not by claiming everything Bush does just needs a little fine-tuning.

We will tell them that we have a chance to make being a Democrat respectable again, and not just hold onto the back of runaway conservatism hoping to slow it down a little.

We will tell them that only one candidate has a plan which both gets us close to universal health care and will pass.

We will tell them that only one candidate has taken on the Republicans' divisive "Southern Strategy" directly, exposing it for what it is in a national campaign.

We will tell them why two of the largest labor unions in the country, AFSCME and SEIU, have endorsed Howard Dean, reasons tied not only to the fact they believe he is a winner.

And most of all, we will tell them how we are proud to be Americans, fighting to restore the spirit of American democracy for a modern age, looking forward to a renewal of American purpose and a restoration of American honor under a Dean administration.

This, we can do.


Five Dollar Friday

posted by Aziz P. at Friday, January 16, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
WE DID IT! Dean Nation has raised $35,000 dollars for Dean. Bask in the glow of the filled bat to your left.

But this is the start of the Battle for Iowa, and we have a long way to go. I know many of you have responded to my call for Dean Minutemen ($50/month) and Dean Riders ($20/month), but it's still not enough. We had to abandon our dream of raising $5,000 a month every month because we simply don't have enough participation, so I would like to propose something new: Five Dollar Friday!

If you're new to Dean Nation, or to the Dean campaign, and you're just starting to learn about Dean and are joining the grassroots - please make a small donation of $5 to the campaign. It's a miniscule amount, but there is strength in numbers - we have over 2,000 unique visitors a day to this blog, over 75% of which arrive via Google or Yahoo queries.

Please join us! Even if only half of you new visitors to Dean make this small commitment, it can translate to serious numbers for Dean. Please consider feeding our bat! And if you're not ready, that's ok, look around and join us in the discussions and the debates. And Welcome to Dean Nation!


Why Dean is right on taxes

posted by Aziz P. at Friday, January 16, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Jonathan Cohn, Senior Editor of TNR has a fantastic article in support of Dean's tax policy:

Maybe advocating total repeal of the tax cuts really is political suicide. But, whatever Dean decides to do, there's another question that commentators rarely ask: In policy terms, is preserving part of the Bush tax cuts a good idea? Dean has said no, that, in the end, "middle-class people [would] get a better deal from President Dean." And he's almost certainly right.
The conventional wisdom seems to be that, since the Bush cuts are so heavily weighted toward the well-off, the middle-class cuts must make up only a small fraction of their overall cost. But the conventional wisdom is wrong. Roughly speaking, the tax cuts Kerry and the rest suggest keeping amount to half of the cost of President Bush's cuts overall. In other words, the monetary difference between total repeal and partial repeal is a full $2 trillion.

Although nobody talks about it, that's an enormous difference. The impact becomes clear once you realize that all the major candidates (again, excepting Gephardt) have proposed roughly the same amount of new spending, on everything from more generous college scholarships to near-universal health insurance. And all have pledged to significantly reduce the deficit, which, including the Bush tax cuts, could total $5 trillion over ten years. Doing those things simultaneously is just not plausible, since the new spending alone would probably soak up most, if not all, of the money available from partial repeal. Simply put, you can have the programs or you can make a significant dent in the deficit, but you really can't do both while leaving half of the Bush tax cuts in place. As Dean argues, "You cannot promise people tax cuts, college education, health care, and whatever else you want and say, 'Oh, it'll all be fine.'"

The choice, then, really comes down to this: Is the middle class better off with the parts of the Bush tax cuts that Dean's rivals would leave in place or with the $2 trillion less in deficits that Dean would produce over the next decade?

That's exactly the message Dean has been trying to convey. It's a true shame from the perspective of the advancement of liberal ideas that Dean's competitors for the nomination have chosen to cede the debate on taxes and government spending to the GOP. In light of the GOP's fiscal excesses, Dean's argument about the true cost of the tax cuts and the amplifying power of government spending for certain causes is quite a strong contrast. Cohn goes on to make an analogy using household finances and credit card debt that is essential reading - from now on, it's exactly how I'm going to phrase the issue in my own discussions with potential Dean supporters and critics alike.

Don't believe the hype about TNR being against liberal goals just because they endorsed Lieberman and have some conservative funding sources. As long as writers like Cohn are on staff, it remains a magazine of true diversity within the liberal camp.


focus on the media trolls

posted by Aziz P. at Friday, January 16, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Rule 1: The idiots on the Internet outnumber the idiots everywhere else combined.

Rule 2: When quantity increases, quality declines.

Many of my fellow bloggers and commentors at Dean Nation have expressed to me their private concerns about recent onslaughts of trolls. It's worth keeping in mind that there rae very few technical solutions to the problem. Just like with the balance between National Security and civil liberties, we have to strike a balamce, and on the whole I think that the dynamic and stimulating discussions by the thousands of readers each day is too precious to risk (which is what enacting various measures like required registration and email verification would result).

Remember my two rules above - trolls are not worth your time. If you want to argue with a troll, write to a media Heather and explain to them in print the error of their ways (politely). You will have a greater impact with a letter to the editor of your local newspaper on the broader debate.

Trolls thrive on attention. They want to provoke a reaction from you - and ANY reaction is a victory (including this very post). Talking to them, replying to them, mentioning their antics in the third person, and even blogging about them works to their advantage, not yours, and not Dean's.

Don't feed the trolls. Feed the bat! and spend your energies on Dean Nation in real debate with the other fascinating people who flock here every day. The trolls will starve and move on, after an orgy of frantic abuse to try and provoke attention again. Stay the course! And we will remain. The edifice we have built out of civil debate and rational dialouge will always endure.


(cynical) Libertarian for Dean,2933,108422,00.html

posted by Aziz P. at Friday, January 16, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Radley Balko, libertarian blogger, makes a case for Dean, arguing that doing so would be the best motivator for the GOP to do "the right thing" :

1. Republicans are most principled when someone they despise holds power. ... President Clinton fought for significant increases in the size and scope of the Department of Education. The Republicans wouldn’t allow it. President Clinton asked for significant campaign finance reform. It died in the Congress. President Clinton wanted an overhaul in the health care system, particularly a prescription drug benefit for seniors. He never got it.

In the three years President Clinton has been out of office, the Republican Congress has passed all three of those ideas into law. It’s pretty clear now that the GOP of the 1990s acted not out of principle, but out of spite. ... They simply didn’t want to give President Clinton any political victories. In contrast, the Congress has been so kind to President Bush, he may become the first American president since James Buchanan (search) to go an entire term without using the veto.

2. Divided government gets less done (always a good thing in Washington). The Cato Institute’s William Niskanen points out that in the last 50 years, the only two periods of extended fiscal restraint from the federal government came during the Eisenhower and Clinton administrations, both under divided government. The two eras when government expanded were the Kennedy/Johnson administration, and the current administration, both under united government. Note that party affiliation really doesn’t factor into the equation. A government that can’t pass laws can’t spend money. It can’t raise taxes. It can’t create new federal agencies or benefits.

3. Republicans are more principled when they’re not in power. Remember the Contract With America? (search) It was introduced in 1993. At that time, Republicans were in the minority, and had been, for the most part, for decades. The Contract With America proposed a radical downsizing of the federal government, including eliminating entire Cabinet departments. It was born of a “nothing left to lose” mentality. It was bold, brash and refreshingly principled. Of course, as soon as the Republicans won, largely because of the Contract, they promptly abandoned its most controversial provisions. They feared offending mainstream voters. They now had something to lose — their power.

What Balko misses in his analysis is the fact that the GOP is less about conservative ideals and more about power for its own sake. The GOP is not a party of fiscal conservatism, or any kind of conservatism - the GOP has become the Corporatist party. It's a machine-style politics with three Big Bosses - Tom Delay, Karl Rove, and Dick Cheney. This ideological triumvirate maintains smooth machine operation with strict enforcement of party loyalty at all costs.

Balko thinks that electing Dean will motivate the GOP to do the right thing out of spite, but forgets that the infrastructure of the corporatist hold over the party has solidified during the Bush Administration. It's doubtful that the GOP can ever find it's way back from the hinterlands of ideology that it has sold itself to. And we haven't even mentioned the Religious Right...

I welcome the argument, however, because in making it Balko superficially acknowledges what Dwight Meredith has documented in extensive detail. The economy AND the lives of ordinary Americans improve under Democratic rule, relative ot the GOP.


The Real Iowa Number

posted by Dana at Friday, January 16, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
The oldest adage in politics is "polls don't count."

In a caucus state this is doubly true. The real number, the only number with real meaning, is how many bodies you can get into the building on caucus night.

Consider. Iowa is a state of 3 million people. Back in 2000, only about 70,000 turned out for the Democratic caucuses. (There was a competitive Republican race.) Perhaps, twice that number will show up this time.

So how many can the Dean Team turn out? Well, consider the fact we have about 3,500 people in from out-of-state this weekend. Let's be conservative and figure there are another 500 Iowa-bred Deaniacs. Add another 1,000 who are part of Senator Harkin's "organization." That's 5,000 people.

Now if each of those 5,000 people can somehow persuade 10 people to get to the caucus, we've got 50,000 bodies caucus night, spread out among about 2,000 caucus locations, about 25 per location.

That's a minimum. I haven't counted the feminists who planned to go with Mosely Braun, I haven't counted our friends with AFSCME or SEIU (the two most politically-adept unions in the AFL-CIO, by all reports), I haven't counted anyone who might be persuaded by Ann Richards, Bruce Babbitt, by Chip Carter, by Chip's dad, by our ads, by the O-blog, by anything else. I haven't counted on Kucinich or Sharpton or Clark supporters who might move to us because their candidate isn't viable on the first pass. (If your candidate doesn't get 15% when the groups separate and count off, you have to go somewhere else.)

I think 50,000 is a pretty hard count. If Kerry can beat that, if Gephardt can beat that, if Edwards can beat that, with their "momentum" and their "polls" and the people they have on the ground, they deserve the victory.

I think that's what the next few days will be about. Can they beat our number? Can we increase it? Not only don't polls matter, but votes don't matter. It's the number of people who stand for you in the room that matters. That takes passion, it takes support, and sometimes (if you're naturally shy) it takes courage.

I'm perfectly content to let chips fall where they may. I think we have what it takes. But for gosh sakes don't rest. Make me look like the pessimist I am....

Thursday, January 15, 2004


Gov Ann Richards endorses Howard Dean

posted by annatopia at Thursday, January 15, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
No link to the LKL transcript yet, but as we had hoped and sort of predicted a while back, former Texas governor Ann Richards just announced her endorsement of Gov Howard Dean MD on Larry King Live.
Thank you, Ann!


On the Cover of the Rolling Stone

posted by Dana at Thursday, January 15, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Howard Dean is at his best one-one-one.

He seems to relax. His humanity and decency come through. He's articulate, smart, down-to-Earth. I think a lot of campaigns wish their candidates were this easy-going.

A few highlights from the Rolling Stone interview (but please read the whole thing):

You've really been getting attacked by your opponents out there on the campaign trail -- how does it make you feel?

Interestingly enough, I personalize things less now than I did when I was governor, in terms of attacks from other opponents and so forth. A lot of these attacks come across as personal, but they are mostly theater. But when they first started going after me, I couldn't believe it, because I knew a lot of those guys.

I like that concept, "they are mostly theater." Shows a great appreciation for the reality of politics. There's a bit more online, but at the bottom you will note these are "excerpts," so buy the magazine and let us know what you think.

That humanity also comes out from both the Doctors Dean in their joint interview with People.

Q: You've mentioned that you don't give him advice on politics or policy because it's not really where your interest is. Are there any issues that you feel passionate about that you do weigh in on — whether it's the environment or health care or any policy things at all?

Judy: I have my opinions on health care from my point of view, and he probably knows what they are because we talk about them. But it's not really giving advice. So I would say no, I don't really give advice.

Howard: Judy sort of functions as my Person-in-the-Street. The best kind of advice she gives me is, "You look like an idiot on television." She wouldn't say it that way, but, "You didn't do very well on television"' I'll never forget the first time we went to a speech that I was giving on a subject I knew not much about. And on the way home, I said, "Well, how did you think I did?" and she said, "Fair to poor, with the emphasis on poor," which, I had to admit, was probably exactly right.

Again, read the whole thing. I think they're good people.


Babbitt Endorses Dean

posted by Christopher at Thursday, January 15, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Grist Magazine reports that former Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt is throwing his weight behind Howard Dean, making Babbitt the first top environmental official from the Clinton administration to publicly back a candidate in this
year's presidential campaign. Babbitt joined three prominent environmental activists and writers -- Paul Hawken, Terry Tempest Williams, and Bill McKibben -- in penning an impassioned endorsement of the former Vermont governor. Find out why Dean's their man -- only on the Grist Magazine website.


just $184.68 from our goal...

posted by Aziz P. at Thursday, January 15, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Come on Dean Nation - we are less than $200 from our goal of $35,000 raised for Dean! That's more money raised than ANY other Dean Team!

Anna and Heath are going to be in Iowa - and we can support them with Dean Nation pride - let's fill our bat and have a victory day present for Dr Howard Dean!


Dean Nation joins the January Storm

posted by annatopia at Thursday, January 15, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Hey folks, Heath should be arriving in Des Moines today and hopefully he'll be able to check in soon. Amanda and I both arrive tomorrow afternoon. We'll check in as often as possible with pictures, on the ground reports, and hopefully some videos. I've posted my final thoughts on this weekend over on annatopia (click the main link). As it stands, I really need to pack so I'll see you later. Have faith folks, we are going to win this thing.


Liability? Hah!,10950,576954,00.html

posted by Trammell at Thursday, January 15, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Via the O-blog, awesome awesome awesome interview in People Magazine with Howard Dean and Judith Steinberg Dean -- please note the coloquial nature of the interview -- "Howard" "Judy" and tons of great and largely unreported personal stories. Brilliant! The right message with the right publication at the right time.
Howard: We had a great time dating in New York. One time we went someplace in the East Village called the Cauldron. It was fantastic; great food. And it was snowing. And I mean it was really snowing. It snowed about eight inches or nine inches. And the subway comes about every half-hour and the neighborhood was not all that great anyway at one o'clock in the morning, or twelve o'clock in the morning. And of course there was no such thing as a taxi, so we walked back to 72nd Street.

Judy: Howard mostly dragged me because I was wearing nice shoes that would slip and slide every time in the snow. We walked a lot of blocks. Mostly, Howard dragged me.

Howard: It's about 70 blocks. [...]

Judy: Well, I pay for the heat because I like to turn the heat up. He pays for the phone calls because he's the one to talk on the phone. And so we sort of split it like that so that something I like to spend money on ? like heat ? that he doesn't, he doesn't see the bills. Because when he's home, he turns it way, way down and I'd get up in the morning and I was frozen.

Howard: So we fought about that for about a year and then we just figured instead of Judy yelling at me about the phone and I yell at her about the heat, she just pays the heat bill, I pay the phone bill and that's it. Problem solved. [...]

Q: Could you see yourself presiding as hostess over a state dinner with world leaders and celebrities?

Judy: Well, I haven't really thought about it. I think I could probably do it — with a little help.
What can I say? She'll have plenty of help, will she not Dean Nation? I love Dean, but now I love THE DEANS! And, to be honest, I cannot recall any political couple giving a more candid interview, ever. Who knew People Magazine could make news?


The Sound and the Fury

posted by Brian Ulrich at Thursday, January 15, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
There's nothing specific to link to here, I've just been listening to the press coverage lately and remembering back to a year ago when Gephardt was a sure thing in Iowa, Dean's only hope was to somehow edge out Kerry in New Hampshire, and Wesley Clark was a TV commentator. Now the fact Dean might not win Iowa is spun as a threat to his campaign continuing. I know momentum matters, but these spin cycles all seem so bizarre. I mean, if we lose Iowa and win New Hampshire, will it be because our resurgent campaign held off Clark, giving it momentum heading into unfriendly southern territory?

Don't worry about the future. Make the future.


Statement of Ambassador Carol Moseley Braun

posted by Editor at Thursday, January 15, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions

Photo: Scott Gries / Getty Images on

From the Braun Campaign...

Statement of Ambassador Carol Moseley Braun

CARROLL, IA- I want to thank everybody for your kindness to me, and for allowing me to participate as a candidate for the Democratic nomination for president of the United States. This campaign has been a wonderful learning experience for me, one that restored my faith in the political process and renewed my belief in the goodness of the American people.
I am here today to thank those Iowans who were prepared to stand for me in Mondays’ caucuses, and to ask that you stand instead for Howard Dean.

Your support is precious to me, and so I make this recommendation with the most sincerity and thought I have ever brought to any decision.

Gov. Dean has the energy to inspire the American people, to break the cocoon of fear that envelopes us and empowers president Bush and his entourage from the extreme right wing, and he has a program to put our country back on track to tax fairness, job creation, balanced budgets and an economy that works for everyone regardless of sex or race. He has the experience to know that state and local and national government have to cooperate and collaborate, and end the destructive game of monetary musical chairs that creates unfunded mandates and failing schools. He understands that a real war on terrorism starts with putting the domestic security of the American people first. He can “work well with others” around the world and craft a foreign policy that is neither arrogant nor preemptive, but that begins with respect and builds on alliances. He takes seriously our stewardship of the planet and our environmental responsibilities.

Howard Dean is a Democrat we can all be proud to support.

I am so very grateful to you who have made my candidacy possible, and who believed, as I did, that my campaign offered Americans a unique opportunity for progress. When barriers of gender and race fall in America, our nation is richer for it, and all Americans will benefit from the opening up of a reservoir of talent and capacity and contributions and ideas that have been locked up for too long.


See hyperlink above to read the rest of the Ambassador's statement.


Moseley-Braun drops out, will endorse Dean,+sources+say

posted by Aziz P. at Thursday, January 15, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Of all the candidates, Braun is probably the only one who could drop out. Kucinich and Sharpton are trying to influence the party as a whole, and it serves their interest to remain until the very end, trading their delegates for the final nomination in return for a voice in shaping the overall platform. Kerry is doing miserably but has literally mortgaged the house - he can't back out. Lieberman has mortgaged his reputation and can't withdraw either without completely obliterating his career (which a simple loss to Dean won't do). Gephardt is in at least until Iowa but there are questions about how far he can leverage even a first-place showing there. Edwards and Clark are, in my opinion, in for the long haul on ideological grounds, and they probably haven't ruled out the possibility of VP either, though Clark is by far the strongest candidate besides Dean.

Only Braun had no reason, other than vanity, to remain in the running. we got a hint of her intentions when she defended Dean in the last debate - and since she couldn't even fill a delegate slate in Illinois, the writing was on teh wall. From her perspective, Dean is the likely nominee and so he becomes her best hope for relevance.

I've heard people say that Braun would be a good VP choice, but frankly with her history of ethics problems she would be more a liability than an asset. Dean is making his own case to the black community quite well without her help (and with the endorsement of both her and Jesse Jackson Jr.), and the women's vote is likely going to be fought on economic, not gender, issues. And she doesn't bring any geographic advantage with her.

The best place for Braun would indeed be in a Dean Administration, an option she clearly is trying to position herself for. But giving her a cabinet-level position seems counterintuitive to me. Her best role is probably as an ambassador or other diplomat role, where her eloquence is a true asset, and she is safely insulated from any stewardship of resources that could conceivably be compromised in any kind of scandal.

The Dean Administration needs to start Day One with a clean slate - and Braun in the Cabinet would be another obstacle.


Work Wins Elections

posted by Dana at Thursday, January 15, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Reporters are called "the boys on the bus" in large part because, whether they are boys or girls, they don't get off the bus.

It is a reporter's job to sell a story, to make it exciting, dramatic, tension-filled.

Pollsters play the same game. If there's no real change, if the front-runner waltzes on in, what do we need them for, anyway?

So we have the spin cycle, which is driving a lot of Dean people crazy right now.

But politicians aren't fools. Politicians know what wins elections.

Hard work wins elections. Volunteers win elections. Passionate support wins elections. Principles win elections, a message wins elections.

But mostly, especially in Iowa, it's hard work.

That's why Carol Mosely Braun is endorsing Howard Dean today. She has seen our work, she has seen the candidate's principles. She knows which of her opponents is most likely to succeed, and she has seen who deserves to.

In the words of my son's soccer coach, "Don't worry about it. Keep working. You got to run, you got to run hard." Run right through the final whistle, and the result will be what you deserve. And what you folks, all of you, deserve is nothing less than victory.

Wednesday, January 14, 2004


Have We Peaked?

posted by Editor at Wednesday, January 14, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Trammell writes below on how Gen. Clark has found momentum in New Hampshire, but let's look at Iowa as well. Sen. John Kerry is now tied for second place with Rep. Gephardt in the week before the Caucus. What if the momentum continues? What if our worse case scenario isn't losing to Dick Gephardt? What if it's losing to both men? If Dean comes in a disappointing 3rd place and the trouble in NH continues... are we finished? Has the campaign planted enough seeds as the only "national effort" to be able to bounce back and secure the nomination? Or will the momentum be so halted and the media coverage so bad that the campaign is over? For months people have kept predicting that the Dean campaign has peaked - my question for you: have we?

I hate to be a nay sayer, but I think these possibilities are indeed possible. But are they likely? Like Trammell, I'm nervous too. Let's get to work.


Angels Dancing on Pins and Needles

posted by Trammell at Wednesday, January 14, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
I'm a wervous nreck:
The retired Army general's proposals came as his campaign sought to make the most of recent gains in polls showing him moving within striking distance of front-runner Howard Dean in New Hampshire.
As Kos puts it -- "I don't know how much more of this I can take!"

And you?


Personal Quest

posted by Trammell at Wednesday, January 14, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Dean National Lisa Chamberlain writes us effusively extoling the virtues of Dean's new "create your own postcard" campaign.

Gotta say Lisa, it is pretty groovy! The O-blog's own Zephyr Teachout sent out her own postcard (above) and you can send your own as well! No better time than now, eh?

P.S. Lisa is something of a collector, and when you send out your postcards, she asks that you put her on your list!


Eileen McNamara vs. Jodi Wilgoren

posted by Amanda at Wednesday, January 14, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Aziz posted (below) about Jodi Wilgoren's recent article on Dr. Judy Steinberg, in which several so-called "experts" opined about how "odd" Steinberg's absence from the campaign trail is and how bizarre her devotion to her own career is. Wilgoren even quoted "some analysts" (the identities of said analysts are helpfully not specified) who think that Steinberg's lack of presence on the campaign trail might prove even more controversial than Hillary Rodham Clinton's extensive involvement in her husband's campaigns and the work of his administration.

I'll pause a moment so you can guffaw sufficiently.

Anyone else think this sounds a lot like the GOP and their buddies in the media wishing vainly for another lucrative punching bag? Hillary sure has been a boon for their fundraising and ratings. Just sayin'. Not to mention, the notion that Dr. Steinberg is more controversial than HRC is, well, frankly, absurd. I think HRC has that market pretty well cornered.

Thankfully, Eileen McNamara at the Boston Globe is on the case, exposing the absurdity of this new meme. Take it away, Eileen:

It was only a matter of time, but even those of us who have been waiting for Dr. Judith Steinberg to get hauled before the culture cops did not expect the deconstruction of Howard Dean's spouse to come six days before the Iowa caucuses.


The historians' hand-wringing might be understandable -- they are paid, after all, to live in the past -- but what is journalism's excuse? News reports are supposed to be grounded in the present, where most married women, even mothers, work for a living. Some of us are doctors; more of us are sales clerks -- but most of us go to work every day.

Reading about the lives of women in the public prints is so often like being trapped in a time warp, as if the last 30 years had never happened. Of course, we are curious about the spouses of our presidential candidates -- we are a personality-obsessed culture -- but don't we expect them to live on the same planet, in the same decade as we do? We all know plenty of women who did not change their names when they married, and yet the media give us reams of analysis about the political wisdom of Hillary belatedly tacking ''Clinton'' onto ''Rodham'' and Teresa appending ''Kerry'' to ''Heinz.'' We all know plenty of outspoken women, and yet the media present Heinz's candor as some strange anomaly and a political liability, to boot. A spouse sitting out the primary campaigns is at least a political footnote, but what are we to make of the revelation that Steinberg wears sensible shoes and avoids makeup and earrings? The woman lives in rural Vermont, where the low temperature yesterday was minus 15 degrees with blowing snow. She should wear Jimmy Choos under her boots? Revlon over her lip balm? Diamond studs under her knit hat?

'Nuf said.


Dean's Family is a Strength

posted by Brian Ulrich at Wednesday, January 14, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
This post by DLC-ish Democrat Allsion Kaplan Sommer tells us something important: No matter how the press tries to spin things, people who get facts for themselves can make up their own mind. I understand Dean's desire to keep his family out of politics, but have the feeling it isn't really an option at the Presidential level: If the press thinks you are important, they will come and find you. And thinking in terms of strategy, given the reputed drift of many Jewish voters toward the Republicans, being able to refer to, say, a son's bar mitzvah wouldn't be all bad, even apart from the independent woman theme.


Bush is not my neighbor

posted by Aziz P. at Wednesday, January 14, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Christians for Dean has a remarkable defense of Dean over the disingenous lecturing by Republican heckler Dale Ungerer that Dean should "love your neighbor" (ie, Bush) rather than criticizing the President. They provide the full transcript of Dean's remarks, from the CSPAN video:

"George Bush is not my neighbor. George Bush has done more to harm this community right here with unfunded mandates, standing up for corporations that have taken over farmers lands that have made it impossible for people to make a living.

Sending our kids to Iraq without telling us the truth first about why they went.

Think of seniors struggling to pay for their medications, and 400 billion dollars of our taxes goes to help them but most of it goes to the drug companies and insurance companies

Think of farmers struggling to stay on their farms and the president stops legislation that would ban packer ownership of farms so that small farmers could make a living again.

Think of school boards struggling to keep adequate programs in their schools and finding out they have to raise local taxes and cut programs because 'No Child Left Behind' has cut funding.

The president is always my president, but he is not my neighbor if he takes 500,000 children off their health insurance and leaves them with nothing.

The president is not my neighbor if he takes 84,000 high school and college students off their PELL grants and makes it tougher for them to go to college.

I don't think that's being a good neighbor to ordinary working people."

"I love my neighbor, but I want that neighbor back in Crawford, Texas, where he belongs."

Don't miss the analysis, from a Christian perspective, of why Dean's response to Ungerer demonstrated a better understanding of the concept of the Good Samaritan than most of his religious-right Christian critics.

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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.