Showing posts from July, 2004

Dean on Conventions

Howard Dean has some ideas on what we should do with political conventions, though really what he wants for the conventions themselves doesn't seem that different from the way things run now.

Media Reform

I am a firm believe in the idea that quality grassroots political involvement - or even intelligent participation in the process - requires strong and reliable sources of information. This Capital Times editorial about media reform touches on that issue: "The networks have replaced the civil and democratic values that once played a role in decisions about what to cover with commercial and entertainment values that dictate a denial of seriousness or perspective when it comes to political stories. That's one of the reasons why so many Americans objected last year to Federal Communications Commission proposals that would have lifted the cap on the number of local TV stations a corporation could own - and the amount of the viewing audience network-owned stations could reach." Check out the rest.

Tyranny of the Majority

Sagacious Swarthmore professor Tim Burke has written a post which accuses the Bush administration of threatening a "tyranny of the majority," meaning that a majority of the population bend the country to their will while trampling on the rights and sensetivities of the minority: "This is about more than Bush. One of the reasons I chide people on the left for not seeking dialogue and consensus, one of the reasons I am constantly looking for the presence of reason and the possibility of connection across the political spectrum, is that if we get ourselves into a situation where 51% of the voting population or a narrow majority of electoral votes is imposing a total and coordinated social and political agenda on the almost-as-large minority who has a radically different and equally coordinated social and political vision, we’re staring at the threshold of a very scary future, regardless of whom the 51% is or what they stand for. "In this respect, we have to see

Remember Iowa?

I'm missing this issue, so I don't know the context in which it appears, but U.S. News and World Report has another article on what happened to the Dean campaign in the Iowa caucuses. It's all stuff we've read before, but it does mention Dean Nation near the beginning.

Dean's Speech

"We're not going to be afraid to stand up for what we believe. We're not going to let those who disagree with us shout us down under a banner of false patriotism. And we're not going to give up a single voter, or a single state. We're going to be proud to call ourselves Democrats, not just here in Boston. We're going to be proud to call ourselves Democrats in Mississippi, proud to call ourselves Democrats in Utah and Idaho. And we're going to be proud to call ourselves Democrats in Texas. "Never again will we be ashamed to call ourselves Democrats. Never. Never. Never. We're not just going to change presidents, we're going to change this country and reclaim the American dream. "To everyone who supported me -- you've given me so much, and I can't thank you enough. But this was never about me. It was about us. It was about giving new life to our party, new energy to our democracy, and providing hope again for the greatest natio


This is going to sound canned, but I have to say it anyway. Part of the reason I'm so inspired by this convention is that it represents democracy in action. People are making speeches about policies, and we will then vote, and then the winners will enact policies for the future. As much as I may have liked Morocco, that didn't happen there, and when you spend your days reading about Turkmenistan , Afghanistan , Zimbabwe and most recently North Korea , you start to appreciate the American political climate, despite its imperfections.

Barack Obama's Speech

"A belief that we are connected as one people. If there's a child on the south side of Chicago who can't read, that matters to me, even if it's not my child. If there's a senior citizen somewhere who can't pay for her prescription and has to choose between medicine and the rent, that makes my life poorer, even if it's not my grandmother. If there's an Arab American family being rounded up without benefit of an attorney or due process, that threatens my civil liberties. It's that fundamental belief-I am my brother's keeper, I am my sisters' keeper-that makes this country work. It's what allows us to pursue our individual dreams, yet still come together as a single American family. "E pluribus unum." Out of many, one. "Yet even as we speak, there are those who are preparing to divide us, the spin masters and negative ad peddlers who embrace the politics of anything goes. Well, I say to them tonight, there's not a libe

Free Speech Zones

President Bush has often been criticized for his administration's "Free Speech Zones" by which dissent is kept off camera and away from the President in his public appearances. I haven't followed this issue, but Bill at Hawken Blog has a collection of links to support charges that the Democrats are now doing the same thing. Can protests get out of hand? Yes, and certainly security has to be maintained, but this is one of those cases where we need to remain vigilant at all times in defense of our right to peacefully assemble.

Dean Day

So this is the Kerry convention...but we are Dean Nation, and can root for our guy if we want =) I can't find exactly when he is to speak - if you know, please post it in the comments. This USA Today article, however, gives a nice portrait of his current political status. The people who thought he would fade into obscurity are rapidly being proven wrong. UPDATE: Praise be unto Robert Deeble for posting that Dean is scheduled to speak at 9 p.m. EST. UPDATE: C-Span's schedule update just said Dean would speak at 8 p.m. EDT.

Conventional Convention Coverage

In an attempt to save money, I've been out of the cable TV news circle for about a year, and so have forgotten how shallow a lot of the coverage can be. Playing meaningless "Gotcha" games about whether Wesley Clark really thinks John Kerry is "the best" possible candidate is one example of this. Very seldom is there actually a clear-cut "best" nominee - everyone generally votes on subjective things that matter most to them. The point of this questioning is not even to look for fissures in the party, as the questioner has to know Clark won't give him one. It's all just the conventional set of things to ask that leads to very little information whatsoever. This, I think, is why blogs are such a breath of fresh air. Sure, there's plenty of mindless "Gotcha"-type stuff and purely partisan hits from across the political spectrum. But there's also time for a real exchange of ideas and digging for the meat of an issue. And

Democratic Convention

And the Democratic Convention is off to the races! Use this as an open thread to discuss today's events, as well as what you think of political conventions in the modern age and how the Internet might one day change them.

Dean's convention speech

Daily Kossack "DeanDemocrat" claims to have an advance version of Dean's speech to the convention. I have no idea if it's legit nor do I care, it just makes for a good read. Head over and take a look :)

Dean was robbed

no, I'm not talking about the nomination. I'm talking, his wallet , at JFK airport: But thunderheads had gathered along the route to D.C. and Dean's flight couldn't take off. So a speaker-phone was set up at the fund-raiser, and Dean went to a pay phone, retrieved a calling card from his wallet, and dialed into the event while resting his wallet on top of the phone. As he was delivering an impassioned pep talk about impending Democratic victory, Dean saw some disembodied fingers suddenly slip around his wallet - containing all his credit cards and an undetermined amount of cash - and just as suddenly disappear with them. "I gotta go. Somebody just stole my wallet," Dean abruptly ended his speech.

GOP desperation: Dean's Incest Vote

Desperation is the new theme of the GOP mindset going into the conventions. Here, they attempt to smear Dean, and then link that smear to Kerry by the fact that Dean will speak a the convention. They even have a handy graphic to let you know how evil and incestous Kerry is, seen sharing an incestous laugh with that nefarious Dean (darling of the majority Democratic lunatic base, you know...) : Consider his incest vote. In 1983, a Vermont legislator named Elizabeth Edwards introduced a bill to allow a 65-year-old woman to marry her 86-year-old maternal uncle, despite incest laws banning the match. Edwards, a Republican (only in Vermont, kids!), figured that incest laws were primarily about preventing defective offspring, and her neighbors Ramona Crane and Harold Forbes were too old to bear children. "They're a super-neat couple who don't have any money, and they just have each other, and I think they should be able to get married if they want to," Edwards told Un

The House Dean Built

On the eve of the Democratic Convention in Boston, Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne writes a wonderful piece on why Democrats are really celebrating the platform that Howard Dean created. We'll all be pulling for Kerry and Edwards this November, but Howard Dean was the rejuvenating catalyst for Democrats this election will be remembered for... an excerpt:   "Above all, Dean's rise in 2003 was a symptom of the Democratic rank and file's intense desire to turn itself into a fighting force. The higher Dean went in the polls, the sharper his rivals became in their criticisms of Bush. "I don't mind that people took the message," Dean says. "I really think that was good for the Democratic Party, and that it is essential to beating George Bush." So next week's convention will belong to John Kerry and John Edwards. But it will be held in the political house largely built by Howard Dean."

Dean Hits Nader Where It Hurts

Great article in Salon about the Dean-Nader Debate. On balance, the reporter concedes that Dean won this debate hands down. The story concludes with this line: "Since losing the Democratic nomination, Dean has campaigned as a stalwart for Kerry and created his own activist organization, Democracy for America. He has taken on the mission of protecting from Nader the flock he has shepherded. Unable to offer cogent responses to Dean's charges, Nader frantically roams the countryside demanding his relevance." An excerpt: But the most entertaining -- and revealing -- moments came during Dean's repeated hammering of Nader for the perceived compromises he was making to maintain his precarious candidacy. Again, he returned to the issue of Nader's support in Oregon from Republican-leaning religious conservative groups. "It is true," said Dean, "that the Oregon Family Council, which is a virulently antigay right-wing group, called up all their folks and tried

Feingold's Grassroots

One of our favorite Senators is showing he lives off grassroots support here in the Badger State...   "Some facts about the Feingold campaign: • This election cycle, the Feingold campaign has received more than 85,000 contributions from Wisconsin individuals. • The average contribution for this quarter is less than $58.00. • 97% of the donations this election are for $200 or less. • During the 2nd Quarter, the Feingold campaign raised more than $1,300,000. • The Feingold campaign has received financial support this quarter from new individuals in each of Wisconsin’s 72 counties. • The campaign’s cash on hand is more than $3.85 million."

Just a Thought

So, it's been awhile.  I've just spent two months in Morocco, and am still a tad out of it with regard to American politics.  I have been thinking, though.  When you travel around Morocco, you run into a lot of poverty, deprivation, and hopelessness.  In Tangier, a mute boy was basically forced to become a hustler because there's not that much there for the handicapped.  At the link, I discuss some serious problems found in Casablanca and Fez, two cities I spent time in.   What occurs to me in all this is how lucky we are as Americans to live in a country that is set up to give everyone an opportunity.  In Morocco, only relatively well-off families can usually afford to send their kids somewhere to learn English, for example, with all the career opportunities that opens up.  We have programs like social security and medicaid that are designed to give basic survival resources to people who need them.   Is it all perfect?  Of course not, which is why we continue to have

Barack Obama to give DNC keynote address

We just heard that Dean will speak at the DNC convention - now comes news that Obama is giving the keynote address. Obama, a law professor and state senator, will speak on July 27, the second night of the convention, with Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass. Obama will talk about the future of America that a Democratic administration would provide, along with the need to make jobs, families and communities top priorities in the lives of Americans. "Barack is an optimistic voice for America and a leader who knows that together we can build an America that is stronger at home and respected in the world," Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry said in a statement. Obama Nation 2012! Our soon-to-be third black senator in 100 years is something to behold.

"conservative" values

This is an interesting story about Kerry's intent to reach out to "conservatives" - but more than anything else, it evokes Dean's legacy of moderation. "I'm going to talk to people on the right," Kerry told The Times on Friday during a joint interview with his vice presidential pick, Sen. John Edwards. "I want to talk to conservatives." As for rank-and-file party members, Kerry said his record of strong support for environmental protection, gun control and abortion rights — all core Democratic issues — "speaks for itself about my priorities in policy terms." Indeed, Kerry seemed unconcerned about antagonizing his liberal supporters. "I'm a hunter. I'm a gun owner. A lot of people on the left don't like that, but that's who I am," he said. The Massachusetts senator has already begun his effort to broaden his political reach. During a recent swing through the Midwest, where he tramped around far

Dean to speak at the DNC

Probably going to be the single most important speech of his post-campaign career thus far: Democratic National Convention officials are expected to announce today that former Gov. Howard Dean has been asked to speak on the first night of the convention, sources said Monday night. Dean and several other former presidential candidates are scheduled to speak on July 26, the opening night of the convention at the FleetCenter in Boston. It has already been announced that former Presidents Carter and Clinton will be speaking that evening. Dean's spokeswoman Laura Gross said they are deferring to convention officials for any announcement. A spokeswoman for the convention did not return several phone calls. I'll be on the lookout for audio and video links of course...

Texas Tuesdays: Jeanette Popp

Head over to TT and check out this week's featured candidate: Jeanette Popp, who has a story to tell..

Remember the $100 Revolution?

Joe Trippi has a good essay explaining how the dream has been realized - and of course, its roots are with the Dean movement. Some recap of history and where we are today: The Kerry campaign has taken in more than $150 million this year, for a total of $182 million announced last week. $44 million of that was contributed online in just the last three months. [...] Mary Beth Cahill, John Kerry’s campaign manager, credits it to “the strength of the small donor.” Remarkably, the average donation to the Kerry campaign online in May was $108 , down dramatically from the first three months of the year where his average gift was a whopping $956. [...] What few remember now was that it was that decision—the first time a presidential campaign ever put its strategy to an online vote—that not only triggered Dean’s action, but led to John Kerry’s decision to opt-out of public financing as well. I am convinced that when the story of the 2004 election is written, that moment will be seen

Octavius No More?

Howdy Dean Nation, how ya'll been? I'm dragging my kool-aid drinking ass out of retirement, and here's why..... Despite Wayne's misgivings, Edwards was the only choice for Kerry's veep pick. Let's face it, Gep is an uninspiring disaster who lead the Dems into perpetual minority status in Congress. I was rather troubled by reports that Kerry was poised to pick Dick, and fortunately, my troubles were for naught. Why is Edwards the one and only? Well, he was, by and large, or so it seems to me, the #2 choice for the Dean folks, and was at the top of the list for Dean's #2 when us starry-eyed kool-aid sippers had Dem convention stars in our eyes. He will, more than any other possible choice, solidify the base. It's worth noting that in a recent poll.... ...John Edwards as the Democratic vice presidential candidate is being viewed favorably by most American voters, according a new poll, although they do see the one-term senator's limited expe

federal spending

Liberal Oasis scored an invite to the launch party for Trippi's new book , and has this cool tidbit: Perhaps most importantly, (Trippi) credited Howard Dean and his supporters for bypassing the federal campaign fund system, without which Kerry would not have done the same and been able to match Bush nearly dollar for dollar. As Trippi noted, that was not in Karl Rove's plan. Keep in mind that if Kerry had accepted matching funds, Bush would have steamrolled the media by now unopposed. Dean's campaign was critical to changing the dynamics of the 2004 election in a fundamental way. Victory really will be ours , in a sense.

Best use of your money

The heady days of the Bat are long gone, but that doesn't mean that our money isn't needed. And John Kerry no longer needs your money - he has to spend all his cash on hand before the convention, since he can't keep any of it afterwards, so donations are better directed to House and Senate races. I've replaced the Kerry donation icon at left accordingly, with a Senate and a House race to focus on. Currently Dean Nation is featuring Tony Knowles for Alska Senator and Richard Morrison for Texas Congressman - I highly encourage you to drop some cash their way because both races are going to be down to the wire. Any suggestions for other candidates worthy of support? Chime in!


You know that Barack Obama is a force of nature when the GOP resorts to... DITKA! I have a lot of love for the old guy, seeing as how in junior high we all sang the Superbowl Shuffle and all. In the personality contest, however, Obama is a rock star and Ditka is a has-been. The analogies to Paul Simon keep on coming, and that carries a lot more weight downstate than faded Soldier Field glories. The GOP is desperate for a dose of celebrity to counter the Obama factor, but recruiting Ditka for state party chairman just pales in comparison. Proof? via a hysterical discussion thread at Kos , comes news that Obama raised $4million last quarter alone .

Kerry Edwards 2004

we are so going to kick Bush's ass in November. And I cannot wait for the veep debates! The Right got taken in by the Gephardt feint, but they have feared Edwards all along: MORE VEEPSTAKES [Rich Lowry] Another GOP strategist fears Edwards for these intriguing reeasons, the first of which wouldn't have occured to me: 1) competition always makes candidates better, and Kerry will feel pushed to hone his campaign skills, to the extent it is possible, to try keep up with Edwards; 2) Edwards is able to connect with a "K-mart crowd" much better than the aloof Kerry; 3) Edwards comes off as optimistic and cheerful (even if his primary-campaign message was downbeat), and whatever can be done to make the Democratic ticket seem less dour, in all senses, helps Kerry. For what it's worth... The real question is, will Dean mount a Bradley-style insurgency against Edwards for the 2012 nomination?

Dean to Tackle Nader

Howard Dean is set to debate Ralph Nader for 90 minutes on an upcoming NPR segment. Whether or not you believe that debating Nader gives him 'free press' and media attention thus legitimizing his run, he's clearly staying in the race. If Dean can make a compelling case to potential Nader supporters and deflate him in a head-to-head debate it could really help Kerry. These types of debates can make a real impact on public opinion of a candidate. Remember Al Gore knocking Ross Perot around on NAFTA a few years back? Regardless of the merits of NAFTA, Perot was clearly rattled and never regained his stature as a serious national candidate after that. This could be a great opportunity for Dean to strike a unity call for all those opposed to the Bush Administration. Obviously there's risk involved as well should Nader effectively raise his profile with an effective debate. Any other thoughts, comments on this count?