"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, February 17, 2004


Dean's Remarks Post-Wisconsin Voting

posted by Editor at Tuesday, February 17, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Dean: "We are not done."

Okay, when Kerry goes on stage just seconds after Edwards, I thought, "what a (explative deleted)."


What's Next?

posted by Christopher at Tuesday, February 17, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
I know many bloggers, contributors, and Dean supporters have been speculating about what Dean's next move is - and whether it should be a conventional next move.

First, I think that it's up to Howard Dean what he chooses to do with his massive database of volunteers, first-time voters and volunteers, and contributors. Beyond that, I do believe that Dean has earned the right to continue his campaign - either by staying in as long as he likes (he's earned it - whether or not we all agree with his decision privately, or not); or by taking a pragmatic approach - say, by dropping out tomorrow, endorsing Edwards as the alternative to Kerry, and hoping for a South-North VP slot on the Edwards ticket (two populist outsiders from different regions of the country could be an attractive ticket); or retiring to Burlington to take his campaign to a different outcome altogether by channeling his support into a grassroots outreach organization, or something else altogether.

One thing is for sure. Dean has fundamentally changed the nature of this race, he has shown that Democrats need not roll over for Bush-Cheney, that they can indeed be beaten - but only by going after them aggressively, and that political fundraising does not have to belong to special interests (are you listening John Kerry?), but that individuals with $5 and $10 contributions can take the system back. All in all, a good show. Give 'em Hell, Howard.

Other thoughts on what's next?


It's All Over

posted by Editor at Tuesday, February 17, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Howard Dean just lost Wisconsin (network exit polling says) in a distant third. I've held off on posting this thought for quite a long time now; however, I have been thinking about this quite a bit. It's clear to me that it is time for Howard Dean to suspend or end his presidential bid.

I'm not a fan of John Kerry. I think he has flip flopped far too much. I'm afraid he will fall back into being a really sucky candidate who has no energy. I think Gov. Dean may view him this way as well. That's why I am starting to think that Dr. Dean should endorse Sen. John Edwards - he's a fellow outsider (more or less) and he is much better at the optimism thing than Dean ever was despite his hope not fear line.

I feel like it's getting to the point where the party is over, but we're the guest who just doesn't get the hint to go home. Where's my jacket?



posted by Dana at Tuesday, February 17, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Howard Dean's failure will be complete unless we can transform this movement into a meaningful third force in American politics.

This is not to demean the Doctor. Dean has done an awful lot in a short time. He gave the Democratic Party back its backbone and themes. He gave a generation of detached, cynical voters a cause, and a way to connect. He has defined this race.

But he has been unable to translate his fierce support into mass appeal. His attempt to move to the right of John Kerry - which is where he is - has gone nowhere. His core supporters didn't give-off centrist vibes. Some scared people. Democratic primary voters have chosen, on the whole, to trust their institutions, not their instincts.

Despite Dean's opposition to the Iraq War and his defining speech about representing "the Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party," Deanism is actually descended from a long line of centrist American political movements which have tried, unsuccessfully, to move both parties off knee-jerk ideological bases for 40 years.

Deanism is frugal (Perot and Anderson), socially tolerant (Bradley), internationalist without being imperialist (Bush I). Deanists want transparency, both in politics (McCain) and business (Hart), we want balance in our treatment of hot-button issues (Ventura), and we want government to work - it's just that simple (as Perot would say). The only two Democrats elected President in the last 40 years -- Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton -- were Deanists.

Deanism is far more appealing as a general election platform than it is in a primary because Deanists (or Deanites, if you prefer, even Deanistas) lack the institutional structure that would make us a true political force. Instead the movement is all about the leader. Whether, in the past, that leader was John Anderson, Gary Hart, Perot, John McCain or Bill Bradley doesn't matter. Howard Dean was the only Democratic candidate in this field with real appeal to Republicans and Independents.

Given an institutional base - think tanks, grassroots organizations, media - Deanists could dominate American politics for the next generation. We could, if properly organized, endorse either side in specific races. We could withhold our endorsement, or we could run our own candidates, where there is running room between two extremists. (That's what Jesse Ventura and Arnold Schwarzenegger did.)

The challenge, then, is to build an organization, in every state, and gain institutional rigor on every issue. This will take money, a lot of it. For the last generation the money has been on the political right, which learned lessons with every defeat. They learned and grew savvy on pushing their social agenda after 1988 (with Pat Robertson), their foreign policy agenda after 1992 (with the Project for a New American Century), and their economic agenda after 1996 (with the supply-siders).. These movements have since poured themselves into the Bush Administration and domimate policy.

Moderation has failed, it has even come to be mislabeled left-wing extremism, because we clearly see neither our potential power nor our powerlessness. As a result, we are easily pulled apart toward one set of interest groups or the other, because their institutions create the base voters who can dominate party primaries.

The choice in 2004 will also seem to be a choice between two sets of ideological extremes. We can provide the winning margin in many races, but only if we organize, and withhold our support until we get the best policy price.

Beyond that, Deanism must become much more than Howard Dean. It must become think tanks, it must generate cash flow, it must get itself together again, and go beyond the mere visage of Dean, in every village and town. That's the challenge. What began as a fight for one man must become a fight for all of our causes. It's not as much fun as a Presidential campaign, but in the end it's far more worthwhile.

The Far Right did all this, and now they're reaping the benefits. They may be driving our great nation into the ditch, but they've got the wheel, not us. The lesson of this campaign is we won't get the benefits without the hard work. There are no short cuts in politics. Without a real movement behind him, the best man is still just a man.


where we stand, by the numbers

posted by Aziz P. at Tuesday, February 17, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Prior to Wisconsin, there have been 16 caucuses and primaries at which delegates have been awarded. Of these 16, Dean has beat Edwards in 9 states: New Hampshire, Arizona, Nevada, Washington, D.C., Maine, Michigan, N. Dakota, New Mexico. Dean lost to Edwards in 7 states: Iowa , Delaware, Virginia, Tennessee, South Carolina, Oklahoma, Missouri.

Prior to Wisconsin, Dean has 192 delegates compared to Edwards with 166.

Edwards has received significantly more votes overall, however, by a factor of approximately 2.5 (summed over all states so far). So out of three metrics of success - states, delegates, and votes, Dean is ahead by 2-1.

These are not the statistics of a candidate who is "toast". These are the stats of a viable candidate, who by remaining in the race until Super Tuesday can keep this race for the nomination alive. And by doing that, we can keep the pressure on Bush.


Mad City!

posted by Heath at Tuesday, February 17, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Reporting from "Ping," an internet cafe in downtown Madison that's filled with kids skipping school to play some kind of Columbine game where they are all killing each other with guns and yelling out loud. It actually looks like a lot of fun but I'm of the Dungeons and Dragons era with dice and character profiles...

I just thought I'd slip a little commentary in. It's quiet here in Madison. It has been for the past couple of days. It's nothing like Iowa or New Hampshire, of course.

(DUDE! The kid next to me just got killed! DUDE!)

There were a couple of people passing out info about Dean on State Street yesterday. I ran into John Edwards's wife at the laundromat yesterday (Edwards campaign headquarters). She was kind and upbeat, the same way the Dean staffers are: staying positive and hopeful.

I decided to mix things up a bit and went to a Kerry rally at the Kohl Center where the Badgers play.

(HAAAAAAAAAAAA! I Killed you! And you! And You! And--DAMN! You killed me!)

Teresa Heinz put everybody asleep with another one of her speeches about John's dignity. In fact, she spoke more about the principal draw--Ted Kennedy and his dignity. The corraled crowd was extremely polite, a pretty good mix of people rapt with funeral amazement. More polished. More button downed. A midwestern crowd, though, unlike the drunk old Irish mafia crowd that propped Kerry up in New Hampshire.

The Kerry press relations chief made the mistake of letting me in the heavily secured corral. It's amazing where you can go if you throw a suit and tie on. Unlike the Dean rallies, this one again had all the big cross-armed young men keeping watch over all the ropes and gates.

I focused my site in on wobbly, old Ted Kennedy with thoughts of Kennedy Vs. Humphrey in the 1960 Wisconsin primary.

(Dude the System's down! Shit! Dude that was my Kill!)

I aimed at Ted Kennedy.

I fired.

"Do the Democrats owe Howard Dean?"

"Well, ahhhhhhhhh, Governor Dean gave me, ahhhhh, we, an important addition to the discussion..." blah blah blah

He was quickly hobbled away by an aide who looked like he had a bright future of politics in his eyes.

Walking out of the Kohl Center with my trophy bagged, my thought was,


(Bang! You're dead.)

Crossposted with


WI primary results

posted by Aziz P. at Tuesday, February 17, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
bookmark this link - no precincts have reported as yet, though that didn't stop CBS from "reporting" that Dean lost and has dropped out of the race (past tense) as of 8:42am this morning (er, before polls opened. Psychic powers!). Others are busy writing Dean's obituary, since they can't be bothered with messy details like counting votes or anything.


Judge rules on Dean's gubernatorial records

posted by annatopia at Tuesday, February 17, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
A Vermont court has denied the right-wing group Judicial Watch a victory in the lawsuit over Dean's gubernatorial records. I wouldn't call it a victory for Dean, though, as he's been ordered to provide a detailed index of the records as well as an explanation of why each record should remain sealed. It seems to me the burden of proof has now been placed squarely on Dean. There are 145 sealed boxes that now must be catalogued, while 190 boxes have already been released to the public.


WI open thread

posted by Aziz P. at Tuesday, February 17, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
If you live in Wisconsin, VOTE! for Dean, for ourselves, for America.


Daily Review

posted by barb at Tuesday, February 17, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
More relaxed Dean devotes one more day to Wisconsin

Candidates Focus on Wisconsin Issues

Candidates, spouses, others go into a home-stretch kick

Dean vows to press on despite odds

Right at home... Down on the farm with Howard Dean

The Wisconsin Debate

Monday, February 16, 2004


Tomorrow I Vote Dean

posted by Brian Ulrich at Monday, February 16, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Tomorrow is the Wisconsin primary. My expectation is that Howard Dean will lose. The linked poll above certainly indicates that. From what I've seen, Dean is running as a left-wing insurgent rather than a maverick reformer. In order to win that way, he needs to dominate in Dane County and convince everyone else he isn't crazy. From where I sit in Madison (Dane County), he is not doing the former, and may not even have a plurality. You can feel good because the mood toward Dean feels better than it's been, but it's not enough. Given a few more months, maybe, but they're simply not there.

Two problems people have talked about before also seem in evidence in this state. On the bus home tonight, someone carrying some cards got on, stood in the middle of the bus, and began lecturing us about the flaws of Kerry and Edwards. No one was much impressed, and I think the tactic overwhelmed the message. The main TV ad I keep seeing has the theme that the media says he doesn't have a chance, but if we vote for him, we can make the Wisconsin primary matter. This is not a winning message next to Kerry's talk about health care and Edwards discussing the economy.

That said, I fully intend to vote for Howard Dean tomorrow, and I see this as a vote meant to accomplish positive goals. For one thing, we all want Dean to have a voice in the party, and demonstrated electoral strength will help that. A decent showing here will also help him go out on a "better than expected" note, which would be beneficial if he wants to run in 2008 in the unfortunate event that Bush wins this November. Finally, I believe in voting for the candidate who best represents my views except in very special circumstances. If Dean were badly behind and the state a Kerry/Clark dogfight, I might consider Clark, but I honestly don't think Edwards can win either. And I don't understand the "rally around the nominee" mentality. Bush will not run campaign ads saying that Kerry for only 40% of the Wisconsin vote instead of 50%.

So to those Wisconsinites reading this who might be depressed, I say walk into the polls tomorrow and vote proudly for the man you have followed this far. Do so with pride, and this campaign will be remembered for its many accomplishments regardless of the results. Do so with conviction, and other politicians will take notice and start figuring out how to appeal to your beliefs. And do so with hope, because even if Dean does lose this election, votes are often about causes and bundles of issues more than candidates. No member of the Progressive party ever became President, yet their issues carried the day in the early 20th century.

The press will focus on the momentary horserace, but from the perspective of history, I think one thing is clear:

You matter.


movement building

posted by Aziz P. at Monday, February 16, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Dean campaign officials tell the Grind that there's a large and growing chorus urging the governor to move on by creating an IRS-classified 527 or a 501(c)3 fund-raising committee, which would let Dean raise money and help congressional candidates, while offering him a separate platform from Kerry's presidential campaign.

"A lot of us want to see 'Dean for America' evolve into something more, something that helps more Democrats win elections based on the message we created," one top Dean strategist told the Grind. "The campaign has changed the party so much, and has really shown people what can be done if you inspire a movement of people. So a lot of us would like to see that organization continue. If it can't continue as a presidential campaign, we could still do some good for the party and for the country."

One other dynamic growing out of the dispersed camps of defeated Dems: Frustration with the compressed, front-loaded campaign schedule devised by Terry McAuliffe.

"People are frustrated, people are very frustrated. The people of Iowa, god bless them, decided this race for the rest of this country," one senior Dean aide told the Grind. "It was set up for someone to win Iowa and then win the whole damn thing. There was no time for anyone else to break through."

The only problem I have with all this is that there seems to be no one left in the Dean campaign who can successfully articulate the problem and take the movement forwards. Trippi is gone, Grossman was a turncoat, that really only leaves Kate O'Connor and Zephyr - and I suppose, Al Gore. Would a new DFA 527 simply be a general fund to help Democrats, or would there actually be some kind of criterion for a Democrat to qualify? I sense the former, which is both good and bad.


multi-blog Dean feed

posted by Aziz P. at Monday, February 16, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
interesting technology from Feedster. You can add your own blog to the feed as well.


Grossman out

posted by annatopia at Monday, February 16, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
No indication that he was fired, but Grossman is gone. Good riddance. For background, see Aziz's earlier post.


Politics The Art of the Possible

posted by Dana at Monday, February 16, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
(I had planned to post this late Tuesday, but given the nature of the threads here I decided we need it now. -- db)

Why were we so naïve as to think the nation could be taken back with a few months of rallies, a couple of bats, and the most attractive (in a political sense) Presidential candidate in decades?

Answer: we’re Americans.

But power isn’t given. It must be seized. When both the media and politicians of all stripes turn on you, the only answer is to change the game.

This campaign is the start of that process, not the end. We now have the tools, and the people power we need, to take this country back. But it won’t happen at once. It will happen one town at a time, one race at a time, one issue at a time.

We know what we stand for. Deanism, if I might coin a phrase, favors balanced budgets, progressive taxes, social diversity, a cleaner environment, a bias toward small business and a foreign policy based on American values. We can, we must, start fighting for those values in our towns.

Take my town. I live in Georgia. By conventional political calculation that’s hopeless ground. Maybe, in the short run, it is. But we have Atlanta here, we have a million-person county dominated by black folks. We have more young, creative Dean-type voters than any other state in the South.

We also have needs and issues. Right now the State Legislature is moving to put a gay marriage ban into our Constitution, trampling the rights of the Community Church that might marry gay people. We have an education department taking science out of our schools, by degrees, backing off on the word “evolution” but dumbing things down behind the scenes. We have people driving 90 minutes and more, each way, to work, and more subdivisions sprouting further out. Our water supply is fought-over among three states, and Atlanta (a city of 400,000) faces a $3 billion sewer bill it can’t pay. For starters.

We can win back this state. But we’re going to have to rebuild from the ground-up, from the neighborhood-up, finding small fights we can win, organizing block-by-block. We have the tools to do this, now. We have the people to do this, now. We have the support, in each other, to do this, now.

In the wake of Wisconsin the question is do we have the will?

Dean ran to the right of most Democrats on many issues. He was to the right of Kerry on the budget, on health care, even on the War. Our failures aren’t his alone. They’re collective. We scared people. There were so many of us, in our orange hats, in our firm belief. What we saw as a joyful crowd looked to outsiders like an angry mob.

We saw Frank Capra. They saw Pat Robertson.

So let’s take a page from both. Robertson took over the GOP after 1988 by organizing locally, through his Christian Coalition. In Capra’s “Meet John Doe,” the same thing happened. The John Doe clubs had a central structure, but were all organized on the local level. They had a simple premise – know your neighbor. And when you knew your neighbor, you turned him (or her) from a stranger to a friend, from an outsider to an insider. You could help them. And in that people became united. At the end of the film it wasn’t the girl, and it wasn’t the moguls, who talked John Doe out of jumping off the building. It was the people.

The movie served, in 1941, as a wake-up call against fascism. A media mogul had organized the Does into a mob, into a tool for his personal power, and that of his friends. But in finding each other, the Does found they didn’t need the mogul, or any single leader. They could each take turns, each in a cause they cared about. Working together they took back control over their own lives.

Isn’t that what we want? Isn’t that what Meetups are all about?

So use these tools, and stay in touch. I’m here when you need me, and I know you’re here, too.

Together we can still take our country back, and we will. One life at a time.


Steve Grossman plans to leave Dean, back Kerry

posted by Aziz P. at Monday, February 16, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
this certainly puts Grossman's earlier comments in context.

The chairman of Howard Dean's presidential campaign said on Sunday that he would leave and shift his support to Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts if Dr. Dean lost the Wisconsin primary on Tuesday, an outcome he sees as all but inevitable.

"If Howard Dean does not win the Wisconsin primary, I will reach out to John Kerry unless he reaches out to me first," said the chairman, Steven Grossman, who was chairman of Mr. Kerry's 1996 Senate race. "I will make it clear that I will do anything and everything I can to help him become the next president, and I will do anything and everything I can to build bridges with the Dean organization."


The comments by Mr. Grossman, a former chairman of the Democratic National Committee who has known Mr. Kerry for 34 years, came as Dr. Dean faced growing pressure from aides and outside backers to abandon his quest. But while many leading supporters and staff members expect him to either quit the campaign altogether or radically scale it back by the end of this week, the candidate remained steadfast Sunday that he would soldier on.



featured comment: Graff4Dean2004

posted by Aziz P. at Monday, February 16, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
I've though about this long and hard. You know what? They've been against us the whole time.

They made fun of us when Dean was an asterisk. They laughed at us as Dean began to define the terms of the debate. They told us that Dean was unelectable when we trounced everyone else in the polls. They attacked us when we refused to bow down. They mocked us when we didn't score as well as we had hoped. Now, they tell us to give up? Why?

Why should we give up on something that we have poured so much of our energy, lives, and love into? Why should we listen to the pundits and the kerry folks, who have been proven wrong time and time again throughout this campaign?

This campaign has changed my life. It has given me hope again. It has inspired me to consider a run for office myself, when I've moved beyond UCSB. All of you have made me feel like I could actually have the power to influence our nation's future, whether your names have been Dana, Aziz, Anna, or whoever (sorry to leave folks out).

I'm not giving up on Dean. On March 2nd, I'm going to vote for Dean in the CA primary, and I'm going to enjoy it. If he doesn't win, he doesn't win. Call me a lunatic, but I'd like to think that he can.

I've had it with defeatism. Damnit, we've worked too hard for this, and with God as my witness, I will not give up until the last vote is cast. I hope that others will do the same.


Sunday, February 15, 2004


debate reaction open thread

posted by Aziz P. at Sunday, February 15, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Don't forget that Dean is also on NPR's All Things Considered tonight.


Aides Want Dean to Quit

posted by Aziz P. at Sunday, February 15, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
This story suggests that top aides, including Steven Grossman (national chairman of the DFA campaign), are pressuring Dean to drop out if he loses WI:

Steve Grossman, national chairman of Dean's campaign, said the former Vermont governor would seek to convert his grass-roots network into a movement that helps expand the party and elect the Democratic nominee — "and, obviously, that looks likely to be John Kerry."

The OBlog has a denial by Neel, but I'm starting to regard Neel's credibility on these kinds of things to be equivalent to Muhammad Saeed al Salaf.

But I haveto admit that the idea of converting our movement into something aimed at reforming Congress from the gerry-mandered, incumbent-dominated, playing-it-safe inertial mass it has ecome would be a great use of our resources - and a good check on Kerry to keep him on the path of Dean's Legacy. I want Dean to be active until the convention but not at the expense of damaging the nominee, and this seems like a good alternative. The campaign still has millions of dollars and they could coast on it, leaving Dean on the ballot so all of us who don't want to rubber-stamp Kerry caan cast our protest vote. Dean would amass a lot of delegates and have a chance to speak at the convention before endorsing Kerry. And the grassroots movement would have a new purpose.

What's not to like?


Just for the sake of argument...

posted by Aziz P. at Sunday, February 15, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Suppose you wanted to come up with a new political party, one that placed great emphasis on policy driven by honest fact, one whose special interest was the average citizen and not a faceless corporation, one that held its own candidates accountable on the basis of character and principle first and foremost. Suppose you envisioned this new party as growing from the grassroots upwards, via meetups and blogs, email lists and forums, and dispensed with the traditional mechanism of two-pary politics.

What would you suggest for a name for that party?


transcript: Dean on Fox News Sunday,2933,111452,00.html

posted by Aziz P. at Sunday, February 15, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
fantastic interview. Excerpts:

WALLACE: Governor, it almost seems to have gotten personal for you. Do you somehow feel that Kerry has stolen your message and is posing as something that he isn't?

DEAN: Well, they've all stolen my message, which actually is a good thing. It's one of the things I wanted to do, is to get the Democratic Party moving again. It was sort of moribund after the Bush election and after the 2002 elections, they all sort of caved in Washington.

So, I think the fact that they've taken my message as a very good thing. That's one of the things I wanted. But now the question is, is this conviction or is this convenience? And only time will tell.
WALLACE: We've also been told that you have no charter, no schedule booked after Wednesday. Is that true?

DEAN: That is true. We're going to reassess — we're going to keep going, no matter what, because I think there are a lot of people all over this country who want to rebuild the party and rebuild America in a different way. And I think they — a lot of those people are delegates in New York and Illinois and beyond.

Florida, for example, votes on March 9th. I have no intention of depriving Florida of a meaningful role in politics twice, once in 2000, once in 2004.

So we're going to keep going, one way or the other. The question is, what's our schedule going to look like? We need to take stock and figure out where we are.

WALLACE: But, sir, is it fair to ask your supporters, who have given so much to your campaign already, to throw what some would consider good money after bad?

DEAN: Well, we have enough money to keep going. We're not going to have to put on a huge fund-raising push. My supporters actually are the people who talked me out of quitting after Wisconsin. There are just a lot of people who don't — I just got a letter from a congressman today who says this has got to go on in some way. And we're going to figure out how to make this go on.
WALLACE: Party officials have reportedly asked all of the candidates to pledge that they will help raise money for the eventual nominee. Do you promise that you will turn to your donor base and ask them to support whoever the nominee is?

DEAN: We've already done that. We've already been to dinners that help to support the nominee, and we'll continue to do that.
We are going to change this country. This country's the greatest country in the world, but it is great because it has had changes from time to time, when Washington got sclerotic.

Washington is sclerotic right now. Both parties are wallowing in their own special interests. There are significant policy changes, which is why I think it would be a huge advantage to have a Democratic president over a Republican president.

Washington needs a good kick in the butt. That's what we're going to give them.


Matthew Gross blog

posted by Aziz P. at Sunday, February 15, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Matthew Gross has left the campaign and started his own blog. He is also interviewed in the American Prospect by Mrs. Garance Franke-Ruta:

Are you considering or would you consider working for another campaign (presidential or other)?

I'll consider anything. The first order of business is to send George Bush to a crushing defeat in November. I'll put my shoulder to the wheel, in some capacity at least.

Why did you leave the Dean campaign?

For family medical reasons, primarily. Nothing extraordinary or dramatic. It was time.

You were brought onto the Dean campaign by Joe Trippi. What was it like to work there after he left?

I didn't work in the office much after Trippi left -- I had to attend to some personal matters. I was in and out. Obviously many people were sad to see Joe go, but Roy Neel was welcomed with open arms and is doing a fine job.

Do you have any plans to work with Trippi in the future?

We've only just begun to talk about it. I'll probably visit him on his farm sometime in the next week or two. I'm sure we'll be up all night drinking Diet Pepsis and talking about what might be next.

Franke-Ruta also has a blog at The American Prospect, called Campaign Dispatches.

Saturday, February 14, 2004


Burlington Dominates Stowe 6-1

posted by Heath at Saturday, February 14, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
The Stowe Raiders (my hometown team) gave Burlington a good run for their money in Burlington's Leddy Arena until the end of the third period. Governor Dean's home team, captained by his son Paul, routed the Raiders for four unanswered goals to make the final tally 6-1.

We had a really good time, and it was a bitter sweet victory for the Governor as it was Paul's last regular season game of his high school career. The Governor said they weren't sure if he was going to pursue hockey in college next year. Good Luck Paul! You certainly have the talent to play where you want from what I saw.

Judy and the Governor ran into his old roommate from Yale (and Aspen) at the game. Their kid was playing against their kid thing. We all had some real laughs. Turns out, I play hockey with his old chum on Friday nights. Man, small world, huh? Or is it just Vermont?

Well, it's Wisconsin tomorrow--early. I'm going to try and catch the Governor at a church he's scheduled to go to. We have a lot of praying to do. See ya'll that can make it there. Wish I had a laptop...

Crossposted with


Badger Herald interview

posted by Aziz P. at Saturday, February 14, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
not a puff piece! The Herald is the finest student newspaper in the known universe. The Daily Cardinal is the worst newspaper in Madison but the second-finest newspaper in the known universe. My alma mater biases are not showing. Great excerpt:

BH: What is your reaction to the large number of 18- to 24-year-olds who have come out to support your campaign? Why do you think that is?

HD: They are helping a lot -- their energy is helping enormously, and they give money. They don't give much money, but their stories are inspirational. We had a woman at Penn State that sold her bike for $100 and said she sold it for democracy. It's amazing.

BH: How are you going to get those same people to the polls?

HD: Well, they do come to the polls, but the question is, do they come to the polls enough? First of all, here's why I think we are attractive to 18- to 24-year-olds: I don't talk down to people. I mean, I am very aggressive in what I think and I am clear about laying out my views, but I respect other people's opinions right back. I listen to what people are saying and I process it. Most politicians don't do that-they talk down to people. Adults put up with that, but people your age don't because they are coming right from a time when everyone talks down to you and you are sick of it.

Secondly, I will say things that other people won't say that I know are true. All that crap that all the other candidates use to say that Howard Dean created a gaffe a day. That was just manufactured nonsense. I would say things like "We are not any safer since Saddam has been captured," and that's absolutely true. The next week, we lost 23 more people over in Iraq and American airliners are being escorted in by F-16s. That doesn't mean Saddam isn't a terrible person -- I'm glad he's captured -- but the fact is that we aren't any safer. I will say things that people your age, who have a very low tolerance for hypocrisy, recognize as true, that other adults won't say, and I think that is very appealing.

The third thing is I think long-term, and people your age think long-term. I expected people your age to be very interested in the environment, to be very interested in college loans. What I was shocked at was how many people your age brought up the budget deficit. Adults don't do that stuff because they figure, "What the hell, I'll be dead in 15 years." You guys are going to be the ones to pick up the bill, and I think that is very perceptive .... My idea of leadership is different than everybody else's in politics. My idea of leadership is that 80 percent of us do the same thing as everybody does well: we listen to the voters, we do what they want, we look at the polls, blah, blah, blah. The 20 percent that they don't get is that leadership is also saying what you think, even if they don't agree, and bringing people to you. Americans, especially older Americans, would rather hear the nice things. What they don't want to hear is the tough things. I am not warm and fuzzy -- people have accused me of that -- but goddamnit, this country is in trouble because we keep electing warm and fuzzy people who won't address the issues. I think people your age see that.


To Oppose a War

posted by Brian Ulrich at Saturday, February 14, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Crescateer Amanda Butler (actual political orientation unknown) points to this article suggesting that Abraham Lincoln's opposition to the Mexican War cost him his Congressional seat. This reminds me of one of the reasons I have for supporting Dean: In my judgement, his "far-left hippie" reputation stems entirely from the fact that he opposed the invasion of Iraq. And I think that regardless of how you felt about the war, you have to admit that there was a strong case against it, especially now that the WMD rationale has completely dried up.

It was because he opposed the war that commentators began talking about Howard Dean as the new McGovern, the original concern about his electability. This post by Daniel Drezner shows how many Democratic foreign policy advisors were against Dean solely because of his anti-war views, and the impression I at least took away was that this was politicall driven. The United States cannot afford to become a nation where it is political suicide to oppose a war. Even Steven Den Beste understands the inherent dangers. Because if the McGovern principle can apply to someone like Howard Dean who supported every other military action since Vietnam and even left solid evidence he would act alone if necessary, then it can apply to everyone.

If Dean loses, this will not be the only reason, but I believe it will be a huge part of the reason. And that is part of why I consider this campaign important, not just to change Presidents, but to change America. Future generations are depending on it. Even a respectable showing would leave the door open for future politicians deciding between career and principle in matters of war and peace.


weekend open thread

posted by Aziz P. at Saturday, February 14, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Happy Valentine's Day!


brilliant ploy indeed

posted by Aziz P. at Saturday, February 14, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
The New Republic has an editorial that was probably authored more by Jon Chait than Ryan Lizza, arguing that Dean is "blaming" his supporters for the decision to carry on after Wisconsin:

Dean insisted he simply meant "strategy"; the American Heritage dictionary defines "ploy" as "[a]n action calculated to ... gain an advantage indirectly or deviously."

And the dictionary definition is exactly what Dean revealed his do-or-die statement to be this week when he announced that he'd stay in the race no matter what--Wisconsin be damned. Worse, to justify his decision, Dean invoked the same followers he'd just tricked. Much as he used his supporters as cover when he opted out of the campaign finance system last fall--pointing to their ratification of the decision in an online referendum after he told them it "may be the only way to win this election"--Dean said he would stay in the race out of deference to them. "[H]ow am I going to resist all the people who are tugging at my sleeve ... saying, 'Don't quit'?" he asked.

Of course, Dean is ignoring all the people who want him out of the race--like the Democratic voters in 14 states who have yet to produce one victory for Dean; or the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, which this week withdrew its endorsement of his candidacy; or even some of the Dean bloggers, who are asking why their man is going back on his word. "I gave additional money to the campaign on the assumption that [Wisconsin] was the last great stand. All or nothing," one posted on the Dean for America blog. "What's going on?" The answer is all too clear.

Since the editorial is so pedantic about the definition of "ploy", let's return the favor by examining the definition of "blame" :

These nouns denote a sense of responsibility for an offense. Blame stresses censure or punishment for a lapse or misdeed for which one is held accountable

Dean is not blaming the supporters. He is bending to their will. There has been a massive investment in time and money by the grassroots in the remaining 35+ states that have not yet voted, and though the media punditocracy thinks that it's over, actual democracy demands all the votes be counted. I'm not as confident as I was in Dean's chances of winning the Presidency, but I am 100% confident that Dean's presence in the race is partly why Kerry is saying the right things on the trail that are doing real damage to Bush. The continuation of teh Democratic primary is essential because it keeps pressure on the incumbent Administration, whose panic is palpable in their flailing about with marriage amendments and missions to mars. That real pressure generated by an active opposition primary is why Bush is scrambling to visit primary states such as South Carolina and New Hampshire to try and soak up some of the media glare, and why the press corp is galvanized enough to actually ask hard questions of the self-styled war leader about his own service record's continuing inconsistencies.

If the editors are correct, then the voters in 35 states are disenfranchised. Dean must continue on - and win enough delegates to hold Kerry to his rhetoric. It's about shaping the debate, and while we may prefer that Dean gets the top prize, actual change is no small consolation.


Joe Trippi's Moved On

posted by Aziz P. at Saturday, February 14, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Joe Trippi is why Dean's principled message found a wider audience. No other reason. His influence on DFA is what provided the catalyst for DFA's influence upon the entire Democratic primary. I will always have a profound respect for Joe and hope that I actually get to meet him in person - until then, I'll have to settle for the occassional meeting online (link above goes to a comment Joe just left on Dean Nation).

Since leaving DFA, Joe started his own blog at ChangeForAmerica. It's missing some important blogs from its blogroll, ahem, ahem :) but it already has a number of posts and will likely be where Joe fleshes out his views and advice on the role of the internet in politics.

To be honest, I have a number of critiques and disagreements with the conventional wisdom about how the internet factored into Dean's campaign. Probably the single biggest one was that the official blog ended up being more a hindrance than a help, because it actually short-circuited the influence that the independent Dean-sphere (especially Dean Nation) had upon the campaign. Prior to the O-Blog, Joe posted here regularly, and we had a real sense that the campaign was watching us and paying attention (our best success being the promotion of Meetup). However, once the O-blog debuted, the focus on the external blogs seemed to diminish. We never did get a response to our Dean Nation Interview, our critiques of campaign decisions such as the quality of the ad campaign were not acknowledged let alone addressed, and there was never any real attempt by the camnpaign to leverage the ritical mass it had built during the boom-time of Dean's front-runnerhood. Some of the things that could have been done: a real visit by Dean himself to the blog or the Zonkboard, actual posts by the campaign here, a Slashdot Interview with the 10 highest-moderated questions answered by Dean (or Joe), and most importantly, a Scoop-run site to create a real community of independent thinkers (as Kos has pioneered). My sources from within the campaign say that there was a determined push to move to Scoop by several of the technology advisors within the campaign, but it was rejected. That's probably the biggest missed opportunity of all.

Insread, the o-blog became a simple translation of normal fund-raising appeals and campaign updates to the medium of the web rather than newsletter or mailing. The huge email list was used in exactly the same way as a snail-mail list, even though email as a medium is so much richer in potential - imagine if there had been actual policy debates (moderated) with Dean himself weighing in?

The o-blog was a good way to build readers, but ity could not sustain an active discussion or debate of the kind required for true ChangeForAmerica. In fact, ANY blog-model of front-page posts followed by linear comments is inherently flawed in exactly the same way. What is needed for a true seed of something new is a way fpor all participants to have an active voice, and the community as a whole able to collectively moderate its own ideas upwards on merit.

Here's something that I want to see: a comment system like Haloscan that allows for user registration, and moderated threading like at Slashdot or Kuro5hin or Kos. But that still isn't as good as a true Slash/Scoop system which provides a mechanism for a "comment" to actually graduate to a full-fledged fromnt-page post, all by the collective action of the community itself.

I'll be watching Joe's blog, but running on MT (or blogger, for that matter) is at present a route to the status quo. Real Change is going to require the next generation of internet community-building, as well as a larger comitment from the principal politicians to cede control to the grassroots in a real sense, not the essentially illusory way that the O-blog did.

Friday, February 13, 2004


$39,273.52, 87%

posted by Aziz P. at Friday, February 13, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
We are so close to our $40,000 mark! and so very far from our goal of raising $45,000 by the Wisconsin primary...

Remember, success in Wisconsin - and beyond - hinges on we the grassroots stepping up to the plate. Let's do what we can to make sure that Dean isn't fighting alone!


Dean Not At A Loss...

posted by Christopher at Friday, February 13, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Terrific article by Walter Shapiro about Dean's candor and refusal to offer up the platitudes of all the other candidates. This column reminds us all of what drew us to Dean in the first place, and why it's important to continue to support him as long as he remains in the race. If only some of his unabashed outspokenness would rub off on the rest of the field - he's already forced all the others back onto Democratic themes, perhaps he can also bring some spirit to the others as well. Keep giving 'em Hell, Howard!

UPDATE: (Aziz) here's a good excerpt:

Near the end of a question-and-answer session Thursday morning with voters at the 19th-century Oshkosh Opera House, a man in the balcony tossed a softball in Dean's direction. Identifying himself as a disgruntled 2000 Bush voter, the questioner lamented the president's failure to lessen partisan enmity in Washington and asked Dean what he would do to end gridlock on Capitol Hill.

The standard political answer would have been to piously vow to recreate the Era of Good Feeling in Washington, despite provocations from the opposition party. But such gooey prattle about fostering bipartisanship simply does not fit Dean's nature.

Squinting at his questioner through the glare of the TV lights, Dean said bluntly, "I haven't promised to go to Washington and unify everybody. And there's a reason for my not making that promise. I think it's important to stand up for what you believe in."

Then Dean uttered a few combative lines that encapsulated the strengths and weaknesses of his boom-or-bust campaign: "I'm not going to Washington to be a nice guy. I'm going to Washington to kick the right wing out."

It's exactly THIS that is why we fight for Dean.

Thursday, February 12, 2004



posted by Aziz P. at Thursday, February 12, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Would it be terrible if Dean was Edwards' VP? Discuss.


The harder struggle

posted by Aziz P. at Thursday, February 12, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
The Dean Democrats - inspired to run for public office by Dean. This is the seed of which I spoke earlier, the real legacy of this campaign.


Clark to endorse Kerry

posted by Aziz P. at Thursday, February 12, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
early reports are that Clark will oin Kerry on te trail tomorrow in Wisconsin:

Wesley Clark will endorse presidential contender John Kerry, a high-profile boost for the front-runner as he looks to wrap up the party's nomination, according to Democratic officials.

With next week's Wisconsin primary looming, Clark plans to join Kerry at a campaign stop in Madison, Wis., Friday to make a formal endorsement, said officials, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Clark spokesman Matt Bennett would not confirm the endorsement, and would only say, "General Clark is looking forward to going to Wisconsin to be with Senator Kerry."

well, there goes my Dean/Clark ticket :) I had gambled that Clark would gamble on the chance of being someone's VP rather than settling for a cabinet post, but he's decided to play it safe. I doubt Clark will be offerred a VP slot under Kerrry, but then again, who knows? Maybe the "all-military" ticket is attractive to the shadowy Democratic Party puppet masters.

I am curious what Clark grassroots supporters think of this, but unfortunately there hasn't been much activity at the various Clark forums that I went looking for.

More than ever, I believe Dean has to carry on. He is already credited with transforming the rhetoric of the Democratic establishment candidates. Now he has to push through to the ocnvention, continuing to amass delegates, so that he can hold the others to that rhetoric. If Dean can become the Shadow Kerry (as opposed to Edwards the Anti-Kerry) then he may be able to influence the party platform at the convention and shape the debate for the general election.

Wisconsin is one week away. If Dean wins, it will have been a landmark primary. But even if Dean doesn't take the first spot, we should still consider it part of the route to which we achieve the goal we all share - taking this country back.


Stop Your Moping

posted by Dana at Thursday, February 12, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
To hear the o-blog tell it, everything in Wisconsin is going quite well.

The crowds are big, the Doctor is "on fire," there are Dean buttons and banners everywhere you look.

Yet here, and in the media, everything is doom-and-gloom. Chuck(lehead) Todd at the National Journal is offering Dean "career advice," suggesting he "get out now" or wind up a national joke, a la Jerry Brown. If he couldn't win Washington (where he didn't advertise, but still came up with a solid 31%) he can't win anywhere, according to Chucklehead.

The Washington Media is in full-throat roar against us now. Don't turn on a TV, especially not cable. You're bound to be depressed. It's over, goes the universal chorus, over-and-over again, hoping it will create a self-fulfilling prophecy.

But who are those people? Howard Kurtz' wife is a GOP consultant. Judy Woodruff's husband Al Hunt is a Wall Street Journal reporter. David Bradley, owner of The National Journal, told an interviewer half his company's revenues come from the health care business.

When a party starts taking advice from its adversaries it should fold its tent. Why the rush to crown Kerry? The Media (except for Fox, owned by Rupert Murdoch) admits it over-played "the scream," in fact later evidence shows they made the "scandal" up out of whole cloth. Time Warner is one of Kerry's biggest corporate backers.

What I'm saying is we have a cause here worth fighting for, and we should fight for it until the Last Dog Dies (as Clinton once said). Maybe that dog will die. But no one should cross that bridge unless we get to it.

On Wisconsin.

Wednesday, February 11, 2004


Who Are We?

posted by Heath at Wednesday, February 11, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Heath: Vermont, 36 year old Dean blogger, looking for the right story, looking to tell the truth.


Busted: FEC filings show Kerry, Gephardt backers behind ads linking Dean to bin Laden

posted by annatopia at Wednesday, February 11, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
The link above goes to the WaPo article describing the coalition who got together to stop Dean and us in Iowa. This is just priceless, folks. The group includes former NJ Senator Robert "Torch" Torricelli, who was ushered from the Senate after he was caught accepting bribes. Torricelli, upon his exit from the Senate in late in 2002, stated he would still be involved in politics via 527 organisations, and lo and behold, he donated $50,000 (link goes to copy of FEC document) to Americans for Jobs, Healthcare & Slanderous, er, Progressive Values. Also involved were several unions supporting Dick Gephardt: The International Longshoremen's Association, Laborers International Union and International Association of Machinists, which gave $50,000 each; the International Association of Ironworkers, $25,000; and the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, $5,000. Other large contributors include SlimFast foods tycoon S. Daniel Abraham and Leo Hindery, who heads up the Yankees Entertainment & Sports Network; they both gave $100,000 to stop us. Americans for Jobs & Healthcare took in $663,000 last year and spent $626,840.
When these ads were on the air, we tried to gather as much info as possible about who was behind them (see our archives here and here). At the time, rumors were floating around that Gephardt backers were the major contributors, and a couple of the unions even stepped forward to disavow them (thanks, guys). I think many of us suspected that Kerry had connections to these people, but there was never any hard proof. Now as it stands, this is still an indirect connection, but only because 527s are supposed to act independently of the campaigns. That doesn't mean 527s are independent; just that they are supposed to be. Pardon me, but I don't believe that the entire Kerry campaign was oblivious to the fact that one of their biggest and most powerful fundraisers was part of the stop Dean movement.
While the ad was airing, Joe Trippi publicly called for the other campaigns to disavow this ad, saying:

Democrats are better than this. This type of ad represents everything that is wrong with our political process today -- polluting our airwaves with smears on other candidates that have nothing to do with legitimate policy differences. Ads like this are the reason that less than half of the voting population in America bothers to go to the polls.
We Democrats should be committing ourselves to bringing more people into the process instead of resorting to tactics that cause more people to lose faith in politics altogether. Our campaign is committed to inspiring people to believe in their democracy again -- challenging 2 million people to donate $100 each to take back their country.
Our party must be about more than just changing presidents -- it must be dedicated to changing our country's politics. I hope you'll join me in denouncing this ad and demanding it be pulled from the airwaves immediately.

Does anyone else remember Willie Horton? I equate the OBL ad with the ad used by Bush senior to smear Michael Dukakis in 1988. The common strain is that both ads played on the viewer's fear. Sound familiar? The Bush administration has been playing on our fear of the unknown since September 12, 2001. Why did the our opponents sink to that level? That action really speaks to the real difference between our campaign and the others, which is that we are a campaign of hope, not fear.
I'm sure many of us have been astounded at the level of fearmongering coming from the Bush administration. Is the world a scary place? Yes. Are there "gathering threats"? Sure (hello, North Korea!). But does that mean I have to live my every waking moment holed up in a duct-taped room? Does it mean that I shouldn't go into tall buildings because the "evil" guys might blow me up? Hell no, and a real leader should be able to inspire us to not be afraid in the face of threats, to stand tall against those who'd love to see America fall to ashes, and to be hopeful that we can weather this storm. Howard Dean, from day one, has inspired me and given me hope. I don't fear the future; I embrace it. And for anyone to equate Dean with a world where we live in fear, well, it just goes to show they still don't get it. And shame, shame on them for playing on America's fear.

update: Kos has more on the Kerry connections here. Turns out Kerry's #1 contributor helped fund these ads, and it looks like the Torch may have broken some when he transferred his Senate campaign funds to the 527... Interesting, stuff, folks. Go read the whole thing.


Why Wisconsin?

posted by Dana at Wednesday, February 11, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Sunday's Pioneer Press has an AP article on the history of the Wisconsin primary.

Remember, first, that what we're seeing now was all part of Neel's plan, formulated right after New Hampshire, to overturn Kerry. Ignore February 3, do well on the 7th, let the Southerners get knocked out on the 10th, then win Wisconsin and turn things around heading into Super Tuesday.

Here, from the Pioneer Press story, is his thinking:

The biggest Wisconsin primary, historians agree, came in 1960. The Democratic race pitted Kennedy against Minnesota Sen. Hubert Humphrey in the second primary in the country.

Few gave Kennedy a chance, said Richard Haney, a University of Wisconsin-Whitewater history professor and author of official histories of the Wisconsin Democratic and Republican parties.

"Kennedy was the outsider, the youngster," Haney said. "The question in Wisconsin was could Kennedy win in the Midwest, in Humphrey's country?"

But Kennedy outspent Humphrey, flying in for multiple appearances. Humphrey bounced around the state in a bus, said UW-Milwaukee political science professor John Bibby.

Kennedy won Wisconsin by more than 100,000 votes. The victory powered him to the nomination and persuaded more states to start primaries...

If Wisconsinites ever want their state to be an important place on the Presidential campaign calendar (and who doesn't) the only way to do it is to vote for Howard Dean. Dean has placed his bets on Wisconsin as Kennedy did, aiming to stop the Kerry freight train as Kennedy stopped Humphrey.

No one gave Kennedy a chance, either.


Clark out

posted by Aziz P. at Wednesday, February 11, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
as I predicted yesterday, Clark has dropped out of the race. My sense is that Clark will probably lie low during teh Wisconsin primary, but if he retains any desire to influence the debate, then he will make his endorsement of another candidate in advance of Super Tuesday in March. The best course of action for him remains being someone's Veep, though of course he likely would be willing to settle for SecDef.

If I were Clark, I'd be looking hard at Dean right now. The test remains how Dean fares in Wisconsin. A solid win, or even a strong second, should be enough to convince Clark of Dean's viability. The race here is to influence the debate, as Clark himself has noted, and that process of debate simply shuts down if the nominee is coronated by the media and the Democratic establishment. What is needed is a choice, that can drive the debate, and thus keep the pressure (and the media coverage) focused on Democratic issues.

Ultimately, having a contested primary means that Bush is left out in the cold, in terms of media share. And the Dems have been effective in using their joint appeaances to bash the disastrous policies of the Administration, bringing them to the attention of the wider audience. There is NO WAY the AWOL story would have gotten any traction if not for the primary, for example. Nor would the Plame Affair have legs, or the GOP theft of Dem computer memos. The Democratic primary is keeping the national debate alive and for this reason alone Dean must continue at all cost to the convention.

If Clark joins him, then we have a good shot at winning. But Dean has to continue regardless. Anything less means that ChangeForAmerica will be long in coming, indeed.

Tuesday, February 10, 2004


The Vermont Woodchuck Breaks His Silence on Dean

posted by Editor at Tuesday, February 10, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Paul Cook, a Vermont native who writes for, observes the following:
Howard Dean was never a class act. He was known to be rude and disrespectful of his opponents, both in elections and in battles with the legislature. Dean is not a man who has ever developed a sense of tact and diplomacy. Being a medical doctor, he is accustomed to having his opinions accepted without question, a character flaw that years of politics have failed to diminish. Telling it like it is can be refreshing for a time, but at some point a politician needs to become a statesman if he (or she) aspires to be top dog in the land. Dean never turned that corner.

Cook also touches on the firing of Joe Trippi which he calls a "travesty," observing
"After taking Dean from unknown to frontrunner with innovative use of Internet technology, Trippi gets the boot after the second loss. What Dean seems incapable of understanding is that it was Howard Dean, not Joe Trippi, who lost. Nobody cast a single ballot for Trippi. Dean blew his lead in New Hampshire all by himself."

Overall, the column has the belief that "it's all over" for the Dean campaign.

Update: This can be discussed on an open thread at here.


Clark about to drop out?

posted by Aziz P. at Tuesday, February 10, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Clark has reportedly canceled a fundraiser for tomorrow. Given his trouncing in both TN and VA by Edwards, it's clear that his Souther Candidate niche has been eclipsed by Edwards in much the same way that Kerry eclipsed his Military Candidate niche.

I don't know if Clark will even be willing to sign on with Dean as a joint ticket, but I sincerely hope that the Dean campaign is approaching him. Dean/Clark offers everything that Kerry or Edwards alone can, and substantially more. Given that Edwards is limited by federal matching funds, we might well be seeing a Kerry/Edwards dynamic soon if Dean beats him in Wisconsin, and so the advantages of Dean/Clark are going to be even more strategically essential.

Let's see what Clark does next. I suspect he will drop out tomorrow, and will lie low until Wisconsin's primary...

(link goes to Ryan Lizza;s Campaign Journal entry from on the road with Clark. The last line's the kicker.)


Trippi Watch, Primary Watch, and Folkbum in Wisconsin

posted by annatopia at Tuesday, February 10, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Per WHOIS registration for

Trippi, Joe (WJGMKIOYYD)
1029 N. Royal St. #350
Alexandria, VA 22314
Administrative Contact:
Trippi, Joe (37242257P) (deleted for privacy)
1029 N. Royal St. #350
Alexandria, VA 22314
(phone # deleted for privacy)
Record expires on 28-Jan-2014.
Record created on 28-Jan-2004.
Database last updated on 10-Feb-2004 15:39:11 EST.

Via the Kos diaries, I noticed that longtime Dean National folkbum is rallying with Dean tonight in Wisconsin. To sign up for the event, click here. It's at 5:30pm (sorry for the short notice; I just received this).
I also noticed this Virginia field report filed by Vet4Dean over at Kos's place, and Kos has the early exit polls on the main page.



posted by Dana at Tuesday, February 10, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions

You are going to hear a lot from Howard Dean during the next week on the word LaFollette.

Some background is in order.

Robert LaFollette practically defined Wisconsin politics in the early 20th century. He was a Republican, but a progressive one. He was beaten twice by Corporate Republicans, but finally became Governor in 1900. The Grolier Encyclopedia has a modest half-paragraph on his accomplishments in that office:

Wisconsin was the first state to adopt the primary for nominations for state offices. A new law taxed railroads on the value of their property, ending an inequity. Taxes on corporations permitted the state to pay its debts. A railroad commission was created to regulate rates. Funding for education was increased. A civil-service law was adopted. This legislation was drafted by political and social scientists and economists, a feature of the "Wisconsin Idea."

As a U.S. Senator, where he served for 20 years, LaFollette was one of only two votes against American entry into World War I. He won 17% of the vote as the Progressive Candidate for U.S. President in 1924, a record beaten only twice, by Theodore Roosevelt and Ross Perot. After his death in 1925, his son Robert Jr. succeeded him in the Senate, until defeated in 1946 by a then little-known war veteran named Joe McCarthy.

LaFollettism, if one can coin a term, is dedicated to honest elections, to frugality, to the public?s interest against predatory business (and firm support for the other kind), as well as to skepticism regarding blatant, self-gratifying flag-waving.

Give or take some issues, one party, and many decades, it is a description that fits Howard Dean well. It?s what we?ll be fighting for this week.


The Path The Media Is Taking To Stop Howard Dean: John Kerry?,7497,1144464,00.html

posted by Heath at Tuesday, February 10, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
If there was ever more reason to keep fighting for Howard Dean, it's spelled out in this article by the Read it. Read what some of us have been suspecting with a knot in our stomach ever since Howard Dean announced again that he would work to re-regulate the media on Hardball. That announcement, however, was the first time he did it in the belly of the beast: NBC parent General Electric (GE):

Says the article,

US political commentators have speculated that Mr Kerry has enjoyed the support of the media community in an effort to head off the challenge of Howard Dean, who has fallen back in the race despite being the frontrunner before the primaries began. Mr Dean made statements last year about wanting to break up media conglomerates.

It's no big surprise, I guess. Were the media interests looking for a chance to pounce on Dean after Gore's endorsement? Perhaps. We don't have to look too far to see what they did when they got their video soundbite after Iowa voted. I still think the organization we had built in New Hampshire was strong enough to blunt the electability issue after a third place finish in Iowa-- given all the other blunders out there. Not after the constant looping of what they called "The Scream," however.

murdoch.bmpPS: Looks like the article points out that FOX's key guys are giving the biggest contributions to Kerry.

Dean's been turning up the volume on the media's role in choosing who gets elected. I don't know that this will help our cause in Wisconsin, but maybe the people will hear us on the 17th if we keep pointing the truth out.

I guess we just have to work harder.

Thanks to pavingmoratorium for the heads up on this article.

Crossposted at


The Insurgent

posted by Dana at Tuesday, February 10, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
We were always going to be the insurgent.

The most remarkable political story of 2003, by far, was that the Insurgent Candidate in this year's race appeared on the scene before the Established Candidate.

Iowa and New Hampshire, then, were to be about who the "Establishment Candidate" might be.

We know the answer now. We will know if for certain if, tonight, Kerry puts away Edwards and Clark.

So why are we downhearted? This is where we wanted to be, where we expected to be, the insurgents trying to take the party back from the corporate-backed (Citigroup, Morgan Stanley, Morgan Stanley, Time Warner) establishment.

Before we can take our country back, we must first take the party back from the corporate interests who have held it in thrall, just as Bryan's Populists took the Democratic Party back from Wall Street interests 100 years ago.

So why are you downhearted? You have a cause, you have a fight, and you have a candidate. The fact that candidate wants to win, and does not want to divide the party if he can't win, should motivate you, not disappoint you.

So fight.


Wisconsin Still Fighting

posted by Brian Ulrich at Tuesday, February 10, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Kerry may be up in the polls, but that doesn't mean Dean supporters in Wisconsin have thrown in the towel. I've mentioned before how the Dean rally in Madison was packed. I'll also add that college-age people took up less than half the crowd, which surprised even me considering he was basically on a college campus. Here, now is another statement of support for Dean from a newly registered voter in another city:

"So, by October 2002, I thought I had found a candidate. A major proponent of universal health coverage and someone opposed to the Second Gulf War. But that's not all that Governor Dean had to offer.

"As I looked into his record, I found more good stuff about him. He used his experience as a doctor to provide health care to 92% of Vermont's adults and 96% of its children. This is in a state that is not even in the top-half of the nation in income - if Dean can cover its citizens with health care, then surely he can do it as President of the richest nation in the world.

"Dr. Dean also balanced the budget as Vermont's governor, even though Vermont's constitution doesn't require it. This may not seem that important, but look at Wisconsin. Thanks to 16 years of mismanagement by Tommy Thompson and Co., Wisconsin now has a $4 billion deficit and is being forced to cut back on aid to local governments, reduce the money going to schools, and increase tuition to UW Universities. Vermont is not in that fix - they have a budget surplus and can fund social services, health care, and education without breaking the bank.

"Another stand of Dean's I admire is the Civil Unions bill he signed in Vermont. On November 7th, 2000, Vermont became the first state in the union to recognize that gay couples deserve the same legal rights as everyone else. Before this, gay partners could not be covered under each others' health insurance or make hospital visits. Thanks to Governor Dean, homosexuals in Vermont enjoy the same rights as everyone else and are not subject to discrimination from the state.
This stand took a lot of guts. Dean was forced to wear a bullet-proof vest on the campaign trail for Governor, as he received enough death threats that the State police became very concerned. He was the target of a very vicious campaign from the right-wing, but in the end, his stand won out. Vermont's voters elected him for the fifth time in a row."

By the way, the trolls here are getting downright funny. I wish I had a picture so you could all see how un-hippyish I look. Guess what? In 2002 I voted Republican for at least one of the statewide offices! And I'm for Dean! So tell me who's in the bubble again?


Daily Review

posted by barb at Tuesday, February 10, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Dean Urges Wisconsin to Help Him Win

CNN Says It Overplayed Dean's Iowa Scream

Student becomes famous for Dean site

TV coverage of election shortchanges the public

Its Too Soon to be That Pragmatic

Party Crasher

Monday, February 09, 2004


In it for the long haul

posted by annatopia at Monday, February 09, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
New TV ads are on the air in Wisconsin, and today Gov Dean stated he would find a way to stay in the race for the long haul. Roy Neel says a win in Wisconsin is a must, but I know that there are still many Dean supporters in California, Texas, New Jersey, New York, and Florida (among others) who still intend to vote Dean in their primaries and caucuses. These mixed messages from the campaign aren't helping much, IMO, but I also believe that Howard Dean should stay in the race for as long as possible. In fact, I want everyone in the race as long as possible. A prolonged primary gives the Democrats more airtime, and so far they've all successfully used that platform as a way to crack through Bush's facade of "popular wartime president".
Gov Dean has - from the beginning - been one of the strongest critics of the Bush administration. Many in the party - including those who aren't directly supporting Dean in the primaries - have acknowledged that Howard Dean gave the Democratic Party back it's voice. What he did was give them a backbone transplant. But I believe many Dean supporters demand accountability from their party. We want to vote for the nominee, but we also want that nominee to follow through on their promises. I think we all know that Gov Dean will do his best to follow through on the promises he's made - returning fiscal sanity, restoring America to it's moral high ground in international affairs, preserving our environment and providing health care - but what about the other guys?
Dean should stay in the race for as long as he can; I've always believed that. But take this as my initial reaction to this news. What are your thoughts?


Dean/Clark 04: a civil union

posted by Aziz P. at Monday, February 09, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
I do NOT neccessarily want Dean to quit the race if he loses Wisconsin. The reason is because Clark and Edwards are directly competing against each other to be the Southern anti-Kerry, but neither is immune to the steamroll effect of the voter ABB desperation than Dean has been thus far. Look at the upcoming races in TN and VA - polls show Kerry is leading in both states, and the Edwards and Clark camps are in direct competition to fight for 2nd place. Dean could have been a contender in VA, but has essentially abandoned his support there. And Dean could have tried to use Gore in TN to try and establish a delegate beachhead. But now it's just Edwards and Clark who are in the running against Kerry there, and Dean has zero momentum going into WI.

Both Edwards and Clark have a win, though Clark is weaker overall since his win in OK was a tight one and he trails Edwards in delegate count. Still, neither of them are anywhere close to Dean in delegates:
Kerry - 409

Dean - 174
Edwards - 116
Clark - 82

TN has 69 delegates tied to the primary, Virginia has 82. It's virtually certain that the lion's share in each case will go to Kerry. So if Edwards and Clark split the two states, it's still unlikely that they can get to seond place in delegate count. And both are running out of resources, not to mention facing seriousquestions about viability in the non-South.

What Dean has to do is look at the outcome of Feb 10th and see which candidate is weaker (probably Clark, who has already considered dropping out anyway). Then offer a VP slot to that candidate and start running as a joint ticket.

Dean/Clark or Dean/Edwards would be a true alternative to Kerry. It would give an immediate momentum boost going into Wisconsin, where the new joint ticket would have a full week to campaign. It would let the VP go negative on Kerry without fear of the Gephardt-Dean-Iowa effect. It would be a huge media story and would deftly solve the electability concerns. Plus it is simple math - you get two for one instead of Kerry/X (insert Special Favors here).

UPDATE: Slate has an analysis that makes much the same observations, but stops just short:

Right now, Edwards looks like the candidate most likely to survive and become Kerry's sacrificial lamb on March 2. Edwards hopes that Clark loses Tennessee on Tuesday and then bows out of the race, and that Dean quits after a loss in Wisconsin a week later. That would leave Edwards with two weeks before March 2—and the intervening Hawaii, Idaho, and Utah contests—to convince voters that he has a better chance of beating President Bush in November than Kerry does.

Suellentrop doesn't extend the argument to its logical conclusion. Suppose Clark does fold, but instead joins up with Dean. It's interesting that the idea of a running mate as a political lifeblood injection doesn't seem to occur to any of the big-name media analysts...

UPDATE2: looks like the Clark people are having similar thoughts, though of course they want their guy at the top of the ticket. It's bizarre to see Clarkies writing off Dean and expressing "sadness" at our supposed loss, but Dean has double the delegates, isn't competing with Edwards for voters, and remains flush with cash (and no spending limits). Reality check, Clark dudes - we can win jointly or lose apart. But Clark/Dean isn't one of the choices.


Still Within The Plan

posted by Dana at Monday, February 09, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
I just want to remind everyone here who thinks we've given up that this weekend's results are still well within the Neel plan, as originally outlined right after New Hampshire.

The plan was to ignore February 3 and shoot for a few delegates (check), to do well in the next three races to become a viable alternative to Kerry (check -- we finished second and picked up delegates without advertising) then to lay in wait in Wisconsin and turn the race on its head.

That turn could easily accelerate tomorrow, if Clark and Edwards do well in Tennessee and Virginia.

If Neel's plan fails, we're out on February 18. Win Wisconsin, however, and it's game-on for Super Tuesday -- New York, California, plenty of delegates to push Kerry in second to stay.

But I do get the impression, reading the notes here, the lack of new threads, and the press, that a lot of people have given-up.

Don't. Kerry is starting to be taken down by the media just as we were. He is far from 50% on delegates chosen so far.

The game is still afoot.


Two questions for Bush

posted by Aziz P. at Monday, February 09, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Mr President:

Can you give us the names of three National Guard Service colleagues who served with you between May 1972 and October 1973?

If (you believed on the basis of intelligence) Saddam Hussein had an advanced nuclear weapons program, why didn't we invade Iraq before Afghanistan? In fact, why would we have to wait until 9/11?

If Dean repeated these two questions for Bush on EVERY SINGLE media appearance between now and Feb 17th, he will win the nomination and the Presidency.


AFSCME drops endorsement

posted by Aziz P. at Monday, February 09, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
The 1.5 million members of AFSCME are withdrawing their support. The echo chamber still hasn't mentioned it.

UPDATE: Dean has released a statement. First comment on that thread is "go Dean!".


where was Dean this weekend?

posted by Aziz P. at Monday, February 09, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
At dKos, Maura in VA writes bitterly about Dean's decision to skip the Virginia JJ dinner:

Dean did not back out of the Virginia JJ last night to attend his son's last hockey game. His son's last hockey game is next Saturday night, which is why he will be missing the Wisconsin Jefferson-Jackson Day dinner, and Wisconsin is his "must win" state!!!!! He made this commitment to his son months ago and he's never said he was going to the Wisconsin JJ.

But he did commit to going to the Virginia JJ, and according to Garrett Graff, Dean spokesman, in the New York Times, he went home to Vermont last night. To rest, presumably.

The JJ dinner last night was so bittersweet. Though sometimes it feels like no one could be more disappointed than me for what has happened to Dean in Virginia, my heart breaks for Don Beyer. He has given his life to Dean in this past year. He has had huge successses in Virginia, most notably by gaining the support of some of Virginia's most important Democrats, like the mayors of Alexandria and Richmond, Rep. Bobby Scott, and Rep. Jim Moran.

It was sickening to be surrounded by all of the big money "Kerry Come Latelies" of Virginia politics. The brave Virginia leaders who took a couragous stance and came out to support Dean early, rather than waiting to see who would be coronated, were left out to dry by Dean going home to Vermont last night.

There are other reports that Dean's Face the Nation apearance was lackluster, and he did not use the opportunity to critique the President's Meet the Press sunday appearance (Bush did so badly that even the conservative stalwarts at NRO's The Corner were comparing his answers to Sharpton on the Federal Reserve).

It is good that Dean is focsing his energies on Wisconsin - but the campaign is no longer aqcting with confidence. Dean is acting like a desperate candidate, not a confident one, and paying the price as voters look for a strong challenger to Bush. Dean's ads should be talking about his acccomplishments, buttressed by quotes from media sources and references, and previewing his attack strategy against Bush. Instead he's reduced to having on-screen surrogates convince voters it's still 2003. I mean, this clip of the 2004 SOTU is more effective than any of the "switch"-inspired ads[1]

Dean's canceling of campaign events in Michigan probably cost him delegates. And given how Clark's monopoly of NH didn't garner him any advantage while the others were distracted by Iowa, it's doubtful that Dean's numbers in WI would have sufferred had he maintained a broader scope. In fact, a stronger finish in Michigan might have boosted media attention - after all, he placed second in WA with 30% of the vote! But it hasn't given him any momentum. Better numbers across the board this weekend might have given some real boost that he could ride better into Wisconsin. As things stand, the Anybody But Kerry crowd is considering voting Edwards or Clark as more viable alternatives.

Dean's money should be focused on Wisconsin. But the candidate needs to be in EVERY state ahead of the WI primary. Yes, the Madison Meetup was a smash, but it was far too early in advance of the actual WI primary to have any real effect. Had Dean gone to Meetup in Ann Arbor as I had been insisting, the numbers out of WA and MI - and the media coverage - might have been different.

[1]Whose idea was it to emulate the ads of a computer company that has only 5% market share as a way to build, er, market share? Dean endorser Al Gore does sit on Apple's board of directors... hmm..

Saturday, February 07, 2004


winning WA! recount NH?

posted by Aziz P. at Saturday, February 07, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
interesting analysis that shows Dean lost by a much smaller margin to Kerry on hand-counted ballots, whereas Diebold machine-counted votes favored Kerry by an enormous margin. Calling for a recount seems potentially risky though.

In other news, several reports have suggested that Dean may be beating Kerry in WA state thus far - but the official counts still show Kerry in the lead (54% to 28%, with only 21% of precincts reporting). We are definitely getting delegates out of this one, though!

UPDATE: with 32% of the precincts reporting, Dean gains to 29% and Kerry slips to 50% ...

UPDATE 2: with 34% reporting, Dean slips back to 28%, Kerry falls still further to 44%, and Kucinich rises to 14%. It's clear that Kucinich's rise is at the expense of Kerry, not Dean. If Kucinich "spoils" it for Kerry, while Dean stays constant, there's a great chance Dean can eke out a win.

UPDATE 3: with 49% reporting, Kerry is back up to 48%, but Dean has also gained to 31%, and Kucinich recedes to 8%. This is a real heady race - it's clear that the numbers are volatile. Still, now that half the precincts are done reporting, it's harder for any single precinct to dramatically affect the numbers. The volatility should decrease unless there's a big pocket of Kucinich supporters out there ready to bolt Dean-wards.


Michigan caucus sites moved; other sites run out of ballots

posted by Aziz P. at Saturday, February 07, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
untraceable dirty tricks in Michigan. Affecting Dean and Edwards voters primarily.

UPDATE from O-Blog - caucuses will stay open for two extra hours to try and compensate. whew!


pigeonholing Dean with VP

posted by Aziz P. at Saturday, February 07, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
I have to disagree with Nico here - This New York Times is long on speculation and short on details. The headline, that Dean "hints" at accepting a VP slot, seems entirely manufactured from this comment by Dean:

Acknowledging that his bid for the Democratic presidential nomination is "a longer shot than it was," Howard Dean suggested today that he would accept the No. 2 spot on a national ticket if it were offered.

"I would, to the extent, do anything I could to get rid of President Bush," Dr. Dean said on a morning radio program in Milwaukee. `I'll do whatever is best for the party. Obviously, I'm running for president, but whatever's best is what I'll do. Anything. We've just got to change presidents. We're really hurting right now.

This is a tenous link between Dean's statement and inference of a VP. If Dean publicly and explicitly says he will consider a VP slot, then that's fine, but until then it's not worth taking seriously. Just another example of the media trying to squeeze more narratives from the Drama of Dean's Fall, which they in large part manufactured to begin with.


reports from WA caucuses

posted by Aziz P. at Saturday, February 07, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
link goes to Jerome Armstrong's report over at Daily Kos. Also, Dean Nation regular phil left this report in comments:

"NEWS FROM THE GROUND IN WA: At the risk of writing a caucus report while absolutely psyched, here's the report from a Seattle district (the 46th)...

First, turnout was absolutely amazing. We had to overflow from the huge cafeteria into the gym. Our specific precinct who had 5 people show up for the 2000 election caucus had 46 people show up today! 46!

Initial tally went 2 Dean and 2 Kerry delegates -- no others. After stumping where several of us voiced up respectfully but clearly, we brought over 5 more votes and picked up another delegate. Final Delegate Tally for 46-2292 was 3 Dean, 2 Kerry, and 1 Kucinich (who also picked one up from stumping). It was just like they said at the training: being vocal, clear, and respectful can tip things in a situation like that. Micro-politics are absolutely fascinating.

Overall, the coordinator seemed to think that our 46th district seemed to be breaking 50-50 for Dean and Kerry. As we worked the room in advance, people were largely receptive to hear about Dean. Many showed up with concerns and questions.

Of course, we're all waiting to hear about WA overall. This is liberal Seattle. But the turnout makes me really hopeful about November. People are turning out -- and this was for a caucus!

Thanks go out to all of the DN bloggers and participants who have been a reliable source of daily info for me. I am in your debt.

Onward for Dean!"

thanks, phil! keep your reports coming in the comments section...

UPDATE: this thread at Kos is full of reports from delegates around various precincts in WA. It's clear that Dean is doing far better than media expectations!


Feed the Win Wisconsin bat!

posted by Aziz P. at Saturday, February 07, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
The O-blog noticed that we have almost raised $40,000 - and our goal is to break the $45,000 ceiling for Dean by Feb 17th and the Wisconsin primary! We are so close - at $39,000! Remember, Dean's drawn a line in the cheese in the Badger State and this single contest determines the fate of the campaign!

What are you waiting for?! ON, WISCONSIN!

Friday, February 06, 2004


Kucinich to reprise kingmaker role in WI?

posted by Aziz P. at Friday, February 06, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
almost as an afterthought to this CNN article comes this nugget:

One trend that could work in Dean's favor in Wisconsin: A flurry of e-mails and newspaper editorials this week among Dennis Kucinich's supporters, who are urging others to rally behind Dean as the party's more viable leftist.

Sure, Kucinich draws only 2 percent of the vote in the latest Badger poll. But anyone who doubts Kucinich's power to sway an election need only look at Edwards and his second-place finish in Iowa. Stay tuned.

intriguing... any suggestions on how we might recruit the Kucinich vote in Wisconsin?


Pumpkinhead vs. the Smirking Chimp

posted by G at Friday, February 06, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Hello, Dean Nation bloggers! I've been a stranger since I moved beyond my Dean Nation roots and headed up to Burlington to work on economic policy for Governor Dean. We've had a wild ride so far, and on the strength of our astounding fundraising of the last two days, our spirits as high as we head into the contests this weekend and then look to Wisconsin. Hit the bat and help take us there! Now is the time more than ever that Howard Dean needs your help.

As you may have heard, Bush is going on Meet the Press this weekend. One of my old professors, Brad Delong, is leading a blogosphere brainstorm on suggested questions for Tim Russert to pose to the man. Here are my first 10. Please contribute your own ideas.

1) Mr. President, your FY 2005 Budget document includes full-color photos of you that are indistinguishable from Bush-Cheney, Inc. campaign photos. What would be a fair price for you to pay the American people for turning the federal budget document of the United States into a campaign brochure?

2) Mr. President, you owe your presence in the White House to the fact that in 2000 your brother Jeb and your Florida campaign chair Katherine Harris illegally removed from the registration rolls 57,700 voters, the vast majority of whom were African-Americans. Can you name any greater election crime in the history of our country?

3) Mr. President, I have been told by a reliable source that Dick Cheney vets all economic briefings you receive. Cheney once told Paul O’Neill, “Reagan proved deficits don’t matter.” However, your own chief economic advisor, Harvard professor Greg Mankiw, wrote in his Principles of Economics textbook that “government budget deficits reduce the economy's growth rate.” According to conventional estimates, using assumptions adopted by your own Council Economic Advisers, the debt you have created will raise interest rates and reduce annual national income by $3000 per family by 2012. When will you demand that Cheney resign?

4) Mr. President, your budget does not include any money to support our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan in FY 2005. Why won’t you support our troops with funds after FY 2005?

[Follow-up] The CBO has projected continuing costs for the war on terror at $30 billion per year over the next five years. This funding is not in your budget. Why do you want to cut off all funding for the war on terror at the end of FY 2004?

[Follow-up] If you intend to ask for more money later, why are you not putting that in your budget request now?

5) Mr. President, you promised, "I came to this office to solve problems and not pass them on to future presidents and future generations." How big is the national debt and how much has it grown since you took office?

[Follow-up] As a direct consequence of your tax policy, over six years an American family of four will take on $52,000 more in its share of the national debt. When did you change your mind and decide to pass on problems to future generations? Would Jesus mortgage the future of our children like this?

6) Mr. President, are you ashamed to be the first President since the Great Depression to have net job loss during your presidency?

7) Mr. President, unlike Presidents in previous economic downturns, you have failed to provide adequate fiscal relief to the states. You have also placed new financial burdens on the states, chiefly through unfunded mandates like No Child Left Behind. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, “A conservative estimate suggests that federal policies are costing states and localities about $185 billion over the four-year course of the state fiscal crisis.” As a consequence, states and communities have been forced to raise taxes and cut services. This has been called the “Bush Tax.” Half a million children have been cutoff from access to health care. Wouldn’t you say that these children HAVE been left behind? Is cutting children off health care just stupid, heartless, right-wing policy, or is it an affront to God?

8) Is the resemblance between Dick Cheney and Dr. Evil mere coincidence?

9) On March 30, 11 days into the war, Donald Rumsfeld said in an ABC News interview when asked about weapons of mass destruction: "We know where they are. They're in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south and north somewhat." Exactly when did you learn he was lying?

10) Last August, while our soldiers were being killed nearly every day in Iraq, you tried to cut their pay. Why do you hate America so much?


taking our country back was never meant to be easy

posted by Aziz P. at Friday, February 06, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Chris at Interesting Times has a great rejoinder to the defeatism of some of the more easily-discouraged ranks of Dean supporters:

Did people really think that taking back the Democratic party would be an easy task? Did they think that, even if Dean got the nomination, that that would mean we got it back?

Taking back the party will be a hard slog that could take years. But it will take even longer if you cut and run at the first sign you aren't getting what you want. That's Naderism to its core.

Dean HAS made a difference in this party even if it doesn't show it at the highest levels. A lot of pundits are trying to say that Dean has given the Dems a backbone transplant so he isn't needed anymore and neither are we (except for our votes and our money).


We are needed to make that transplant real. We are needed to KEEP the party chanting the Dean message UNTIL THEY MEAN IT.

Running away just because Dean didn't get the nomination and just because he got screwed by some members of the establishment (aside: not all Democratic leaders screwed Dean and Dean is not entirely blameless in the troubles he has had) isn't going to help one damn bit!

Taking back the party will be a process that will NEVER end. Even if we get it back it will only be temporary. This is a fight that WILL continue from now until the end of time.

I have to admit that I find any suggestion that Kerry to be worse than Bush, or no different from, to be as asinine as the arguments of Green voters who maintain todaqy that they did the right thing in voting for Nader. And look where that got us.


Thinking Back; Looking Ahead

posted by Heath at Friday, February 06, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
(Manchester, NH 1-26-04)

It’s been nearly two years now since many of us started to formulate our opinions about Howard Dean and set our individual plans into action. Even the best soothsayers amongst us could not have predicted just how very successful we have been in turning that action into results.

My individual plan concentrated on the media. I felt that an insurgent candidate from a small state would either be ignored or tamed by the mainstream media. My thought in making a documentary about Dean was that I could also use the footage gathered to help promote his message. Of course, I’ve been doing just that at and here at our information artery, Dean Nation, ever since. Ultimately, I thought if Dean could win the nomination, a documentary ala “Journey’s With George” would be helpful to the cause if it were released prior to the general election.

Sure, in the beginning there were hopes of an inside HQ documentary mirroring D.A. Pennebaker’s, The War Room, based on Clinton’s operation. Needless to say, Dean’s success came much quicker than anticipated and, fortunately for all of us, professionals from Hollywood started moving in with more experience, money and resources than I could ever offer. I can’t wait to see the many documentaries that I think are floating out there about Dean. Hopefully, one will be aired before Wisconsin to show this kind, self-actualizing soul who has been fighting so hard for us while being co-opted in so many ways.

As my strengths and abilities to bring something to our community table became more defined over time, part of my goal was (when Dean got the nomination) to turn the cameras more on the loyal opposition: Santorum, DeLay, Rove, Coulter, O’Reilly, Hannity…

I started this phase in Iowa. I’m not paparazzi, but having Hannity beating up on Trippi to get him on his show called for action. After all, they cozied up next to me at the bar I'd been sitting at first in Des Moines. I may have crossed a line since it was "after campaign hours," but when Hannity started to rant and rave and yell at me to turn the camera off, I did so knowing my goal had been achieved in this test. When he calmed down, Hannity seemed much more polite to our old friend Trippi. In fact, when I ran into Hannity in New Hampshire again, he was downright hospitable to me as he wondered if I might not use the footage. “Are you Trippi’s boy?” he asked. “Nope, I’m independent for Dean.” The next day, Primary day, I went to visit Hannity again when Dean did his radio show. He did a double take on me as I leveled my video camera on him (the only one in the room), and wouldn’t you know it? It was one of the more pleasant interviews I’ve ever seen Hannity give to an “ultra-liberal” like Dean. Mind you, the polls didn’t look good that day for Dean so perhaps Hannity was giving him a break. Never the less, the experiment went pretty well, I thought.

Now, to the point: Since I wasn’t going to be the inside War Room guy, the documentary in the past year evolved into more of a check, or study, on the role of the media in choosing our leaders. Some of you may have seen some of the clips of the interviews I’ve gathered with the journalists/pundits on the road (as well as with the people, and cooperative campaign staff). After the so-called Scream in Iowa, the 6 networks were handed the sound/picture bite they had been craving for so long to stop Dean. I’ll spare you the conspiracy theories since we all know what they are. I will say this, however; individually, the pundits don’t pick the pictures, or how many times they are going to be run on their shows, or looped on the network feed. Such decisions are made by the entertainment editors on the inside. God knows how their decisions are influenced from the food chain above them. I’m sure at FOX, for instance, Roger Ailes has a heavy hand in making such decisions--as he did in calling the election for Bush prematurely/combatively in 2000.

I asked the same question to the individuals in Iowa and New Hampshire: Would any of these other candidates be talking about the things they are talking about if it wasn’t for Howard Dean standing up in the first place? Carlson, Begala, Novak, Carville, Alter, Fineman, Matthews, Greenfield, Oliphant, Crowley, Schneider, Scarborough, Williams, Klein, Hannity, Cameron, Crawford etc. all told me, unequivocally, “No.” In New Hampshire, I actually heard the regret about what happened with the scream since it came at such a crucial time. Heads hung low. Craig Crawford actually got into the “hazing factor of Howard Dean.”

And so, as we now see articles, and extra exposes and time allotted to Howard Dean—the nostalgia, or guilt being slipped in between the lines (they’ll all back themselves up with the idea that Howard Dean brought it upon himself in Iowa, though), my small hope is that somehow our campaign leaders have a plan to capitalize on this sentiment leading up to Wisconsin on the 17th. I’m hoping our money and time will go to a strategy that goes beyond ads and aggressively tugs at the individuals in the media to sing a new storyline tune for Howard Dean leading into Wisconsin. I’m not a professional strategist but my two cents is that Dean could get one last fair assessment before the establishment completely buries the candidate that fostered enough guts in the other candidates to co-opt his message. Alas, it may be too late.

Personally, I hope some creative thinking is used between now and Wisconsin to pique the voters and the media moguls' interest again. I don’t pretend to know the answer to that when we’re trying to look “presidential.” I do know that Wellstone’s ads in his first election catapulted him over the establishment candidate in Minnesota. Wisconsin is made up of the same kind of people. But that’s just an example. Maybe you could jot down your ideas here too? Maybe we really are being heard now that we're back to the basics again.

I just know that I’ll keep giving to the bat in the hope that, this time, we have a plan that plays into the media’s hands as well as the voters of Wisconsin.

The cameras will be watching.

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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.