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

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Sunday, February 29, 2004


Howard Dean's Statement

posted by Heath at Sunday, February 29, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Via the O-blog, the 5-time elected former Governor of Vermont, Howard Dean, responds to the seemingly engineered Howie Kurtz article from the Washington Post.

Rather than go through the various points in the article I think it's important that those interested read this one closely. It's a good lesson in the media-source relationship and how one hand washes the other. In this case I hope they all had a lot of soap. Howard Dean has respectfully answered some of his supporters questions:

A Message from Howard Dean
The quotes attributed to me by others in Howard Kurtz's gossipy rendition of the divisions in the Dean for America campaign are entirely false, as is the description of my reaction after losing the Iowa caucuses, before the famous speech.

The danger of using unattributed sources as Kurtz and so many others do, is that the veracity of the informants can not be evaluated. In this case Kurtz included a significant amount of material which was not true, and produced a story which was greatly exaggerated.

There have been many inquiries about the relationship between Dean For America and the Change for America website. The answer to the question is that there is no relationship. We intend to form a progressive grassroots organization based on the Dean for America campaign, and we will work with other organizations after we get set up. We will announce the set up on March 18.

In the meantime, my deepest thanks to all of you who worked so hard to change America. We are not giving up, and we have an outline about what we intend to do on the DFA website.

Many thanks,

Howard Dean


Dean on the Slab

posted by Trammell at Sunday, February 29, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
CSI: Campaign Scene Investigation. Via Kos and Kurtz, there's a little something here to make any Deaniac wanna rip out their fingernails.

Saturday, February 28, 2004


The Delegate Campaign

posted by Aziz P. at Saturday, February 28, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
John Pettitt, one of the CFA core group, sharpens Joe Trippi's earlier argument about the supposed futility of the Dean Delegate campaign. Unlike Trippi who explicitly said he isn't discouraging the delegate campaign, Pettitt argues it's an absurd waste of time:

Trying to get more Dean delegates is a waste of effort. Partly because of the 15% issue (he'll be lucky to get 15% in any district) and more importantly because even if he does get more delegates it won't change anything. The convention doesn't decide anything important any more (apart from the nomination) and having additional delegates for a candidate who has dropped out of the race won't make a real difference.

where I disagree with John (and, it seems, with the general concensus over at CFA) is in the bold part above. Delegates for Dean WILL change politics, because delegates are the only currency of influence we have.

John Kerry is the presumptive nominee. Edwards is running at a momentum disadvantage and even if all Dean supporters gave their vote to him it would still not be enough for him to prevail. Kerry's delegate total is more than Dean's and Edwards' combined.

So our delegates, spent on Edwards, are already a waste. And frankly whether Edwards or Kerry is preferable is an open question - Kerry has already previewed strong lines of attack against Bush that Edwards can't seem to match, and Edwards is completely untested in the face of the media onslaught whereas Kerry has already weathered the storm of smear attacks from the RNC.

Dean delegates mean that Kerry recognizes us as a still-active force within politics. It means that to claim a leadership mandate he has to address our concerns. It means that DFA v2.0 has real influence because it can deliver on the only currency that matters - votes.

Without delegates, all we are left with is a bunch of blogs and farm retreats.

But it's one-sided to discuss whether or not to vote Dean. We should also be asking those who say it is futile, what's the alternative? That's exactly what I've done in tha CFA thread:

John P,

I am firmly commited to the Dean Delegate campaign. I would like to ask you, if you think that it is an "absurd waste" and an excercise in futile Naderesque purity, then what is the alternative you propose?

I vote in Texas. What is your advice for me to do if I decide that you're right about the delegate issue?


I am sure John will respond, and I look forward to seeing what he has to say.


Dean Grassroots unity

posted by Aziz P. at Saturday, February 28, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
The following message is courtesy of Randy Foote in LA:

I believe that our primary task should be to hold together the Dean supporters during the time that Giv Dean feels it necessary to remain out of the fray (for very good political and personal reasons). It is not a time to create new groups with new agendas, such as CFA.

This is why people from across the country have come together to sign onto the Unity Statement, agreeing to hold together on what Gov Dean outlined on his withdrawal.

(1) We are UNITED in working to send as many delegates pledged to Dean as possible to the Democratic Convention.

(2) We are UNITED in the need to create a movement to advocate for the principles articulated by Howard Dean.

(3) We are UNITED to work together in coalition with a broad range of groups to oust George Bush in 2004.

Dean Unity is one first step toward holding together the hundreds of thousand of people who joined in support of Gov. Dean. It is not a structured organization; rather we hope to bring together and facilitate the efforts of the many kinds of groups that emerged from the grassroots to support Gov Dean and all that he stood for.

We are continuing to sign on groups, and we hope that this will show the nation (and the Dean Nation) that the Dean Movement is still very much alive, and that we will all be an integral part of American politics through November and well beyond.

To sign on with your local group, please go to:

I know that there are a number of other grassroots effort to coordinate resources out there. Share links in the comment thread below!

I'd like to note publicly that Change For America is going to be increasingly important, due to the concentration of technical and political talent under one roof. It doesn't mean that they are seeking some kind of supremacy, it just means that we have in CFA a centralized resource which any Dean grassroots organization can tap into.

Friday, February 27, 2004


the fruits of a lack of communication

posted by Aziz P. at Friday, February 27, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
This Boston Globe story is just the first leak in the dam. The media is looking for narrative. The interpretation that this Globe story puts on the relationship between CFA and DFA - ie, a competitive one - is not surprising given that CFA has still not given any specifics about its agenda. I've exhanged email with Joe Drymala, and urged him to explain at least some of the ideas being floated within CFA to the broader base - precisely because I feared this kind of thing starting.

If the media takes up the narrative that Trippi and Dean are competing for control, it will de-legitimize our movement and everything that both CFA and DFA want to work for.

Unfortunately, CFA continues to rely on vague rhetoric instead of concrete detail. No mention of the New Haven speech last night, either. Stories like the link above are the result.

UPDATE: Dean Nation's open letter to CFA was quoted in this similar story in the LA Times. I was interviewed by email for that story, but my responses didn't make the cut for print. However I did my best to try and emphasise that it is too early to draw any conclusions. The LA Times story does a better job at restrained than the one in the Globe.


Bird's Eye View from New Haven

posted by Amanda at Friday, February 27, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
About a dozen Massachusetts folks (that I know of, could have been more) made the rush hour treck down to CT last night to hear Howard Dean speak about what lies ahead. We didn't get home until 1am last night. TGIF...

There were about 500 peeps in a medium sized hotel ballroom at the Omni. Dean debuted his speech on what he plans to create out of DFA. A formal announcement of the plans will be made on March 18, possibly via MoveOn or some other forum (unclear).

One of the CT for Dean steering committee folks intro'd Howard's brother Jim who lives in CT and has been very involved with CT for Dean. Jim spoke briefly and then intro'd Howard. Tons of applause. Howard looked great, very relaxed, upbeat, and it didn't look forced one bit. Short speech, maybe 15-20 mins, but very good.

Cliff Notes Version of Speech -- many thanks to all the volunteers for putting him where he is (ie national figure, etc), acknowledgement of how hard this past year has been on many volunteers' families and jobs, committment to go forward with a national grassroots group/movement that will be led by DFA/Dean, outline of the principles we all share (basically a mission statement for the new group/movement), urged vols who want to work for Kerry or Edwards to do so/those who want to continue to work for Dean, thank you -- but the most important and critical thing is for all of us to be united after the convention in Boston to beat GWB. Also urged all vols to support Dem nominee and not to go 3rd party bc again most important goal is making GWB a one term president. Great section of the speech -- "If you care about our children, George Bush must be a one term president!" "If you care about the environment, George Bush must be a one term president!" And so the 4th or 5th time, the audience was chanting the last part with him really loud and he was really getting into it.

He was quite good humored throughout the speech, seemed in a good space, very bouyed by the crowd. After, several of us went up to shake hands with him and a friend took a picture of me with him which hopefully will turn out okay despite my tendency to not be very photogenic. And, thankfully, our statewide coordinator for Massachusetts, Dorothy Keville, got to speak with him (they've known each other for about 12 years; they met when she lobbied him as Gov on a health care issue). When he saw her he said, "Dorothy! I didn't know you were going to be here! You opened an office in Boston!" And gave her a big hug. :-)

There were several reporters there (including the LA Times) and several cameras, including a DFA/CT for Dean camera.

We're trying to get a copy of the video of the speech that we can show at a big rally we're having on Sunday in Cambridge MA in advance of voting here on Tuesday. Howard's brother Bill will be our special guest, along with several local candidates that Mass for Dean has endorsed.




posted by Aziz P. at Friday, February 27, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
How can we expect Howard Dean to help us take our country back, when we can't even help him pay off the cost of campaigning for us?

How can we expect DFA v2.0 to be an effective force in American politics if it is still saddled with the debt incurred by facing down the media onslaught and the dirty tricks of its competitors?


ideals vs process I

posted by Aziz P. at Friday, February 27, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
As many of you know, the subtitle of my other blog is "principled pragmatism." It's my personal philosophy towards politics, that seeks to find a balance between having good ideas and actually putting them into practice. One important corollary to this is that "perfection is the enemy of the good" - and taken together, these axioms are the foundation of the change that needs to take place in this nation's poliitical sphere.

Ideas matter. Our American political system has a long tradition of ideas stemming back from Locke through Jefferson to Mill, and from this central axis of thought on the nature and purpose of government, we have many healthy branches of other ideologies that have served to enrich the debate. Howard Dean was an appealing candidate to me because he not only expressed the liberal ideal, but he tied it back to our foundational thinkers (evoking the Reolutionary documents like Paine's Common Sense and the Declaration itself). But what gave his ideas true weight was his record of success in Vermont in actually implementing those ideas.

In other words, Dean was the epitome of principled pragmatism. Not pragmatism for its own sake, but one guided by his principles, which themselves are drawn from the rich tradition of American government. I hope that DFA v2.0 will continue along that track, because what we really need DFA v2.0 for is to keep these ideas in the debate, prevent them from being delegitimized by the unprincipled, opportunistic, and anti-democratic ideology that animates the machinery of the political right. DFA v2.0 needs to reclaim the full spectrum of American politics, liberal and conservative, and reunite them into a true dialog that is above all focused on finding policy solutions that can draw on the best of both worlds.

Liberals and conservatives are one. Neither is represented by the GOP. DFA v2.0 must create a synthesis of ideas from across the spectrum, dedicate itself to finding reasonable, informed, and idealistic (but not ideological) policy solutions from that synthesis. And DFA v2.0 must rally to its banner all those politicians - Republican, Democrat, or otherwise - who agree with the core principle of loyalty to our nation and our people first, loyalty to political party a distant second.

Thursday, February 26, 2004


open thread: FAQ for CFA

posted by Aziz P. at Thursday, February 26, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
According to an off-the-record source at CFA, they are working on a FAQ to try and address the grassroots concerns. In the wake of the DFA v2.0 revelation, let's help CFA out by suggesting questions for the FAQ to answer.


DFA v2.0

posted by annatopia at Thursday, February 26, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Hey Brian, maybe this answers your questions:

NEW HAVEN--The following is excerpted from Governor Howard Dean's remarks here tonight as prepared for delivery:

On March 18, I will announce our plans to build a new organization, using our nationwide grassroots network, to continue our work to transform the Democratic Party and to change America.

We are determined to keep this organization as vibrant as it was throughout our campaign.

There are a lot of ways to make change. We are leaving one track, but we are going on another track that will take back America for ordinary people again.

Democracy, Freedom, and Action will be the watchwords of this new effort.

Our new effort will change America by working for the following principles:
* We will promote grassroots democracy and bring new people into politics.
* We will support candidates and office-holders who tell the truth; stand up for what they believe; and oppose the radical agenda of the far right.
* We will fight against the special interests.
* And we will fight for progressive policies like:
o Health care for all.
o Investment in children.
o Equal rights under the law.
o Fiscal responsibility; and
o A national security policy that makes America stronger by working with allies and advancing progressive American values.

We want everyone involved in Dean for America to stay involved, stay together, stay with the Democratic Party, and support the Democratic nominee. As I have said before, I strongly urge my supporters not to be tempted by independent or third-party candidates.

Let me tell you how I think the Democratic Party can win in 2004.

This year, our campaign made the case that, in order to defeat George W. Bush, the Democratic Party must stand up strong for its principles, not paper over its differences with the most radical administration in our lifetime.

In order to win, the Democratic Party must aggressively expose the ways in which George W. Bush's policies benefit the privileged and the most extreme ideologues.

I will do everything I can to ensure that the 2004 Democratic nominee runs as a true progressive, as a champion of working Americans and their hopes for a better future. Because - I will say it again -- that is the way to win in 2004."

This is what I've been waiting for: a clear solid statement of principals that is inclusive for members of all parties who support reform. No vague pronouncements, no teasing, just a clear statement of the principals of DFA v2.0. What do you think?


What Next?

posted by Brian Ulrich at Thursday, February 26, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Many people talk about how they became politically active only because of Howard Dean, but plan to stay involved and work for issues of concern to them even now that he has stopped actively seeking the Presidency. I think the Internet is a big part of this, as it allows for an unprecedented level of networking and makes it easy to work on something without leaving your home. With this in mind, I have two questions. What sorts of political activities are you planning? (I'm likely to volunteer for Russ Feingold's re-election campaign this fall, assuming I'm still in the country then.) And what are some things we can do here at Dean Nation to help you out?


open letter to ChangeForAmerica

posted by Aziz P. at Thursday, February 26, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Dear ChangeForAmerica,

You can't know how neccessary it was for batterred Dean supporters to see Joe Trippi posting again at ! Rest assured that despite the words of a vocal dysphoric minority, the tangible proof that the movement would continue in some form was a boon to we in the netroots who have blogged and organized for almost two years on Dean's behalf.

Since your debut almost a month ago, we have been anxious to know what you are planning, so that we can respond. We still don't know what the purpose of CFA is, what its role should be, or what its relationship to the Dean campaign v2.0 is. Mark Sundeen had this tantalizing report from the retreat at the Trippi farm last weekend:

We spent yesterday afternoon discussing how we can best use the tools and community that you have built over the last thirteen months. We broke into three groups and each drafted a mission statement and a set of goals and objectives for the future of Change for America. The range of talent and ideas is wide, and there is still work to be done hammering out a specific platform.

This is exactly the kind of thing that the grassroots are ready for - but the subsequent announcement of the CFA summits in various cities around the country did not reveal any further details. I want to make a plea on behalf of Dean Nation for these draft documents to be posted on the CFA blog, so that the grassroots can begin the process of hammering out the platform for change.

Right now the grassroots should be focused on a single goal: Boot Bush. Also, please remember that a significant majority of the Dean grassroots is focused on the delegate campaign, at Howard Dean's explicit request:

First, keep active in the primary. Sending delegates to the convention only continues to energize our party. Fight on in the caucuses. We are on the ballots. Use your network to send progressive delegates to the convention in Boston. We are not going away. We are staying together, unified -- all of us.

Any other task or vision is secondary to these goals. Isn't it counter-productive to reinvent the Meetup, solely for discussion's sake, when the question of what's Next could begin immediately, efficiently, and democratically over the Web?

CFA remains very mysterious to most of us, despite the star-power of its roster. The organization must open up a bit and show it's hand, or the passionate support of the grassroots won't materialize. DFA made the grassroots feel a part of the process, but CFA seems to be holding back. You'll have to meet the grassroots halfway if you want to tap into the deeper well of its support.

I urge CFA to trust the judgement of the grassroots, and publish its draft documents from the farm. Let's work on this together, so that when we meet up at the CFA summits we already have a plan that involves ACTION, not just discussion. Only then can we make a meaningful contribution to the effort to Boot Bush.

Wednesday, February 25, 2004


Election results from yesterday

posted by annatopia at Wednesday, February 25, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
I'm a strong believer in not posting results until all the votes are counted. Luckily, Hawaii gave me a reason to procrastinate. *smile* The cnn scorecard is actually pretty handy. Here's the results from yesterday:

Hawaii (delegates in parentheses)
Kerry (17) 50%
Kucinich (6) 26%
Edwards (1) 14%
Dean 8
Sharpton 0

Kerry (16) 54
Edwards (6) 22
Dean 11%
Kucinich 6%
Sharpton 0%

Kerry (7) 55%
Edwards (3) 30%
Kucinich 7%
Dean 4%
Uncommitted 1%

Not bad for a suspended campaign, eh? Congrats to the Dean supporters in those states for pulling that off. I'd also like to congratulate the winners, and especially Dennis Kucinich for pulling off second place in Hawaii.


Don't Let Bush Put Discrimination in the Constitution

posted by Editor at Wednesday, February 25, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Over at Progressive Nation, I've set up a donor page to give to the Human Rights Campaign in light of Bush's call to discriminate against LGBT Americans in the U.S. Constitution. It's a rather modest goal, only $1,000, but I would encourage you all to send a message to President Bush that his narrow, reactionary agenda does not sit well with us. Since you're not all giving $20 a week to DFA anymore, everybody should be able to make a small donation! :-)


Open thread: Backbone Awards

posted by annatopia at Wednesday, February 25, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
I know we'd all like to think that somehow we bought the Democratic party a backbone. After all, they're talking the talk right now. But are they really walking the walk? In some ways, yes. Some ways, not really. I can think of quite a few Democrats who've actually acted like Democrats lately, and I feel that we need to give them some backup. I feel that even a few Republicans have sounded like true conservatives, and am open to the possibility of honoring them as well.
One thing I believe we should do is continue to hold their feet to the fire. We must keep them honest, so to speak. That means staying involved and doing those little things at the grassroots level that remind them that we're here and as long as they stay true to their principals, we'll be there for them. And if they don't, we'll do what we can to elect someone else. A big part of the Dean campaign's message was that we the people are ultimately responsible for our government. We can go all check-n-balance on them if we want; we just don't bother to do it most of the time. We have the power if we use it collectively. So it's very important to stay involved in some way.
What I'd like to do with the DN Backbone Award is follow it up with some action. It would be simple, like writing a supportive letter, calling a radio show, or making a small donation. Anything that we can all do as a group... I'm opening this thread so that you can help us figure out what action to take. This is a democracy, so majority rules. Also, nominate an official - regardless of party affiliation - for the Backbone award.


Nader asked to be Dean's VP

posted by Aziz P. at Wednesday, February 25, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
I'm Mike Ford and I've been a manager and advisor to Jerry since he started in elective politics in 1970. For the last 6 months or so I was a senior advisor to Howard Dean.

Bout three months ago Ralph Nader and his entourage walked into our Vermont headquarters off the street to "dialogue".

He was quite impressive intellectually and the firmness of his vision was also impressive. At the time of the visit, Howard was still the front runner and the Nader entourage made a blatant pitch for a Nader Vice Presidential nomination.

Kos points out that Ford is a respected source, and is currently working with Springer (in fact Ford is Trippi's close associate). So the source is solid, this actually happened. It's amazing to think of the hubris it takes on Nader's part, esp given his continued insistence that there isn't any difference between the GOP and the Dems.


The Cummings Creek Compact

posted by Aziz P. at Wednesday, February 25, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Looks like the CFA crowd have finally formalized their plan of action, in a statement on the CFA blog. Here's the important excerpt:

Change for America will be a national organization that unites progressive communities and sets an agenda of meaningful reform. The values that shaped our campaign are the same values that formed the moral foundation of our American democracy—and we carry those values today. We are committed far beyond a single election.

Our immediate path is clear: we must defeat George W. Bush and elect a new president, we must infuse elections at every level with the same commitment that built this movement—and you must decide how to do it.

Two weeks from now, our movement will come together in a series of summits across the country, convening in Boston, New York, Washington, Atlanta, Houston, Chicago, San Francisco, Seattle, Minneapolis and Denver. We want every group associated with the campaign to be represented. Together, we will all shape the platform and mission of Change for America.

Later this week, we will announce final dates, locations and details of the Change for America summits.

My initial thought is that this sounds a lot like ... Meetup. I'm still waiting for details about what these proposed summits will address. I'm far more interested in the mission statements, goals, and objectives that Mark Sundeen mentioned were drafted at the CFA retreat on Trippi's farm, because that's something more tangible. Frankly I think it would be helpful to see those before planning any summits of any sort.

If you're interested in being a part of the CFA summits, sign up on their mailing list. Note that there are reports that Dean and Trippi chatted last night, but once again details are sketchy. It's still not clear what role, if any, Dean will be playing in CFA - and Dean's statement about "the next step" in the debt-retirement letter didn't make any mention of that group.


Delegates for Dean update

posted by Aziz P. at Wednesday, February 25, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
There are rumors that Dean "released" his NY delegates. That was false, it was actually a hoax letter sent using DeanLink by some trolls. There are other rumors that the DFA campaign debt means that Dean is fully withdrawn from the ballot on Super Tuesday and afterwards - this is also NOT TRUE.

Dean has continued to express his desire that we send OUR delegates to the convention. The delegates we amass for the nomination will be the currency with which we, the Dean movement, apply pressure for change.

Yesterday, Dean got 11% of the vote in Idaho, and 9% of the vote in Hawai'i, which is significantly more than some were predicting, given that there is no active campaign. There were no delegates added to Dean's total yesterday, but the real prize remains Super Tuesday.

All you Super Tuesday staters! let's GET THE VOTE OUT! We can break the delegate threshold if we are committed enough. EVERY DELEGATE COUNTS for the future of the movement!

Please share your plans for Super Tuesday and visibility here... it's time to get focused on strategy! your ideas?


only $587 left to go!

posted by Aziz P. at Wednesday, February 25, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
via the oblog, an excerpt from Dean's letter to supporters:

But before we can take the next step, we must ensure that Dean for America has the funds to shutdown its operation in a professional manner. As of today there is a $400,000 debt owed by the Dean for America campaign for expenses incurred in the last thirty days. Most of these expenses are to small-businessmen, printers who created brochures, yard signs and stationery, family restaurants who provided gallons of coffee and thousands of doughnuts for volunteers, and local merchants who provided buses, microphones and staging equipment.
Our movement will continue. Although I am not yet sure in what form, I promise that you will be the first to know. You have made this all possible and together we will continue the change we have already ignited not just in the Democratic Party, but in the American political process. You are someone I want on my side. I hope you will be there.

Note that Dean is explicitly affirming that there will indeed be a next step beyond the DFA Presidential campaign. To guarantee the viability of the next step, then, we need to make sure that our fledgling movement isn't held back. We're so close to our goal of $40,000 - less than $600 away. Please, donate whatever you can, every $10 or $20 will make a significant difference.

And note that despite rumors to the contrary, there's NO indication that Dean won't still need us to VOTE DEAN and continue the delegate campaqign. Delegates at the national convention will be the currency with which DFA v2.0 buys the clout we will need for lasting change to the political process.

But before we can take a step forward, we need to erase this step back. I don't regret a single penny of the donations I've made to this campaign. It's been about hope, about optimism, not anger and resentment. It's been an investment in the future of the country I love, for the sake of the next generation of Americans like my 2yr old daughter. We need to respond to this appeal because it continues that dream.

Tuesday, February 24, 2004


one last fund-raising hurrah

posted by Aziz P. at Tuesday, February 24, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
The campaign has sent out a notice that it is ceasing full operation, because it is $400k in debt. We can help retire that debt - by donating one last time. If Dean is to build a new movement out of the ashes of this grand ride, surely it would be better to begin life with a fresh slate. Looking at our Dean Nation Team fundraising totals, I am amazed and proud - we raised almost (but not quite) $40,000 for Howard Dean. That's the number-one fundraising Team of all time. No other team matched us. Reflect on what we have achieved!!

For Howard Dean, let's break our bat one last time. Our goal is $40,000. Let's do this. For the future ..


what kind of change?

posted by Aziz P. at Tuesday, February 24, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
open thread - what kind of specific change do you want to see in our political system?


what is influence?

posted by Aziz P. at Tuesday, February 24, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Bill Rehm in comments to my dysphoric post below raised this important and basic question:

Define influence. Are you seriously arguing that the decision re: which blog software to use has any import at all?

I don't see it. Were we shaping Dean's policy positions? I doubt it. Would I want to be? Sorry, that's not my line of work. I support the man and respect his positions, although I didn't agree with all of them.

The definition of influence may vary between people, but here's mine: influencing the items on the agenda. Not the proposed policy solutions per se, but rather what the issues are that we want our politician to address.

For example, in the context of beating Bush - we all wanted Dean to come out swinging on the Plame Affair. He didn't, and a vital opportunity was lost. Another issue we wanted Dean to go after was the mistreatment of the military under Bush, which Dean partially addressed but never really developed into a coherent "Repblicans are soft on defense" argument. Kerry has succeeded in this recently and is being rewarded for it at the polls.

A more nuts and bolts example is the fact that the campaign advertisements were terrible. We all had universal agreement on this fact - but the campaign was utterly tone-deaf. The "switch" commercials were frankly too insider-y and came far too late in the game. Imagine what would have happened if the campaign had listened to Dean Nation's collective proposal of a "I am Howard Dean" commercial? And if that ad had played at the Superbowl?

The true measure of influence is an ability to change the priorities of the campaign - in actual campaigning as well as setting the policy agenda. In neither of these were we sucessful. The netroots were a goldmine of ideas in comment threads, of which the best ones floated to the top to become full-fledged posts. Had the campaign skimmed the best of these ideas, put them on the o-blog and refined them with additional feedback, so much more could have been achieved.

Monday, February 23, 2004


the netroots recede

posted by Aziz P. at Monday, February 23, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
The power of the netroots. How much is there, really?

Consider the o-blog. It's a standard Moveable Type install, with linear non-threaded comments. Unlike the Clark campaign, or Daily Kos, there was never a Scoop install that would allow for threaded discussions and collective moderation of user posts and diaries to full-fledged front-page entries. I have inside information from the campaign that a Scoop upgrade was considered and strongly advocated by one camp, but was summarily overruled. The o-blog became little more than a web-based email list and an echo chamber, as a result.

Now that the campaign has suspended, even the limited influence we might have had is gone. The o-blog is still vaue on what the next steps are and likely there won't be any official action for some time, since the DFA campaign is still closing shop. They have a lot of logistical issues to solve before they can deal with a bunch of bloggers.

Joe Trippi's Change for America site and blog seems promising, but then again there isn't any next-generation community there, just the same stale format of MT. There are guest bloggers, all of whom were from the campaign payroll, including bloggers such as Dean Nation alum Karl - meaning that there isn't any truly independent representation of the netroots. I get a sense that CFA is essentially the pre-Neel DFA crowd, regrouping (and Howard Dean is notable in his absence from that effort). There was a CFA retreat at Trippi's farm this weekend but we still have no real sense of what was discussed or is being planned, though I remain optimistic that Trippi will reveal his broader vision sometime this week.

The bottom line is that it seems that the independent voice of the netroots is not currently, will not be, and possibly never was a driving influence on policy in this race. I hate to conclude this, but the evidence seems to abound. Remember our Dean Nation Interview?

What do you think? did we ever have any real influence?

The more I reflect on the state of affairs, I am convinced that this campaign was not so much about influencing leadership, but simply exerting our collective will. The money still talks. And we will VOTE DEAN in the primary en masse, because that is our only avenue of real expression. Perhaps the real influence that we as anindependent voice had was to prove our own existence.


excerpt: Dean statement on Nader's run

posted by Aziz P. at Monday, February 23, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
I will do everything I can to ensure that the 2004 Democratic nominee runs as a true progressive, as a champion of working Americans and their hopes for a better future. I urge my supporters, and all other Americans committed to progressive values and honest government, to stick with us, and stick with the Democratic Party, so our cause can prevail in 2004.

Ralph Nader has made many great contributions to America over 40 years. But if George W. Bush is re-elected, the health, safety, consumer, environmental, and open government provisions Ralph Nader has fought for will be undermined. George Bush's right-wing appointees will still be serving as judges fifty years from now, and our Constitution will be shredded. It will be government by, of, and for, the corporations - exactly what Ralph Nader has struggled against.

Those who truly want America's leaders to stand up to the corporate special interests and build a better country for working people should recognize that, in 2004, a vote for Ralph Nader is, plain and simple, a vote to re-elect George W. Bush. I hope that Ralph Nader will withdraw his candidacy in the best interests of the country we hope to become.

Many of my supporters urged me to run as an independent, but I judged it the wrong thing to do. There is still time for Ralph Nader to stand with those in the Democratic Party who are building a progressive coalition to defeat George W. Bush. But time is running out. We can win only if we are united.


The betrayal by AFSCME

posted by Aziz P. at Monday, February 23, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Here's an interesting column by Mark Shields that casts AFSCME president Gerald W. McEntee in a very unflatterring light for his abandonment of Dean. Even other labor leaders who didn't back Dean were appalled:

Do not think that McEntee's cut and run behavior is in any way typical of American labor. It is not. "Loyalty is everything," in the judgment of Leo Gerard, president of the Steelworkers Union, who refused to comment on McEntee's Britney Spears-like embrace of Dean.

"Loyalty is the cornerstone and foundation of what this movement is about. Not to be loyal to a man like (Rep.) Dick Gephardt (D-Mo.) who has been working families' most loyal champion is just unacceptable," says Gerard, whose union not only endorsed Gephardt, but when his campaign hit a rough patch in early January, it actually redoubled its efforts.
One Teamster official (not Hoffa) could barely contain his rage at McEntee's abandonment of Dean, whose criminal offense was not some flip-flop on collective bargaining, but rather finishing third in Iowa and second in New Hampshire and going directly to Wisconsin: "It goes against everything we stand for - -your word is your bond. I don't know how (McEntee) can justify what he did. It's a terrible precedent."

Gephardt was not the only candidate who inspired loyal support from a union .In November and December, when John Kerry's campaign was faltering and Kerry was mocked by many in the press as "Dead Man Walking," the firefighters union, especially in New Hampshire, and its national leader, President Harold Schaitberger, never flagged and never flinched in their support of the Massachusetts senator.
Duane Worth, the president of the Airline Pilots Union, was an indefatigable Gephardt backer. "Loyalty is absolutely the core of who we are, and it's a two-way street: What is the message to the elected officeholder who risks his own political neck fighting for us and then we drop him for the flavor of the month?"

McEntee is the outlier - he is not representative of the loyalty that the vast majority of labor organizations have for their candidates. Loyalty is what unions are built upon. And McEntee's wannabe-kingmaking have almost single-handedly undercut that honorable tradition in the eyes of the public.


Trippi on delegates for Dean

posted by Aziz P. at Monday, February 23, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
This weekend, a number of staffers from the Dean campaign visited Trippi's farm and discussed issues along with backbreaking labor (ATTN Joe Rospars: we want a photo of you hauling axe!). The fruit of that labor has yet to be revealed at Change For America blog, but Trippi did have a few words about the delegate campaign for Dean:

To elect a delegate in any Democratic nominating contest Howard Dean must receive 15% of the vote. This is called "threshold" -- failure to make the 15% threshold means that not one delegate will be elected from that Congressional District or State.

I have to say this -- My own guess is that without an active candidate, campaigning in a state -- Howard Dean will likely receive between 3% and 8% of the vote. So it is likely that those launching delegate campaigns for the Governor will have little or no chance of electing delegates. People who want to do this -- should do this -- but they need to understand the political reality and the odds against electing a single delegate (except of course for Vermont where the Governor should easily exceed threshold and has a very good chance of electing delegates).

And since there are some who may misconstrue my meaning. I am not speaking out against a delegate campaign. I just believe that someone has to state to the grassroots the realistic outcome of such an effort so that no one is disapponted or discouraged when the effort generates few if any delegates.

We have 254 days left to make real change in this country -- we have made change already, but what we all do in the next 254 days can make a huge difference in the near term and for future generations to continue to move the experiment of our democracy and our republic towards the restoration of government of the people, by the people and for the people.

My own feeling is that this does not matter. Voting for Dean is about more than just delegates - it's about the popular vote, about the symbolism of a single voter standing up for what they believe.

Let's face the reality. If Dean, who was better funded than Edwards, has a better grassroots base than Edwards, and placed ahead of Edwards in a majority of the primaries lost to Kerry, yet still could not win the nomination, then how will Edwards do so? Not on the strength of positive media coverage alone (that is a truth I choose to believe. I refuse to entertain the idea that the media can act alone as kingmaker. King-killer, yes, but maker, no).

At this point, Kerry has a lock on the nomination. Kerry will win the Democratic nomination without the support of a single Dean supporter if necessary. We are a minority. But a powerful one! And the best way to make sure that we remain powerful is to act in unison to assert that power.

Despite our best effprts, we may still not garner delegates for Dean. But we will try. And in the trying, we will achieve our goal of informing Kerry that what our movement stood for did not vanish overnight. It transcends Howard Dean.

UPDATE: As has been pointed out in comments here and at ChangeforAmerica, the 15% threshold is by precinct caucus or congressional district, NOT statewide as you might infer from Joe's post. So there's still a real chance to win delegates if we make a concerted effort! But as I pointed out, it's not delegates that matter as much as the simple collective tally of our individual votes themselves.


monday morning open thread

posted by Aziz P. at Monday, February 23, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
whats on your mind?

Sunday, February 22, 2004


Dean Should Comment on Nader Run

posted by Christopher at Sunday, February 22, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Ralph Nader has announced that he will run as an Independent for President in 2004. After being urged by many to run as an Independent himself, Howard Dean declined noting that his overwhelming priority was to see George W. Bush defeated. Dean speaks to many independent and progressive voters, and a statement from Dean pointing out the obvious disadvantages of a Nader run would not only demonstrate that Dean continues to be relevant in this election cycle, but that everyone must work together to defeat Bush.

As Vermonters can attest, Independent candidacies have destroyed progressive hopes of maintaining gains in our state - our current Governor and Lt. Governor are both Republicans elected by pluralities of 40% (or less) of the vote because third party candidates split the votes on the left. Democrat Doug Racine - himself a good old fashioned liberal Democrat lost his bid for the Governorship, and Peter Shumlin lost the Lt. Governorship both by narrow margins. If the Democrat and Progressive/Independent votes are combined however, those would be overwhelming victories for progress in our state. Instead we have conservative "caretakers" in office (our GOP Lt. Gov. is anti-choice, the first in a long, long time to have that unpopular position and win office). In 2004, the Progressive Mayor of Burlington, Peter Clavelle has merged his candidacy and is bringing the PC (progressive coalition) and D's together by running unopposed as a "fusion candidate" on the Democratic ticket. Together, we should win back the governorship.

A Dean statement repudiating Nader's run and encouraging progressives and independents to work for change from within the party - and at the local level - would go a long way to helping to continue the focus on defeating Bush.

** Finally, on a personal note I happen to believe that third parties can be valuable, but at the local level primarily, and then working up - Burlington has a long, proud tradition of Progressive Coalition control at both the mayoral and city council level and they have done some very good things for the city. And, Bernie Sanders is now the only self-proclaimed socialist Independent in Congress. He started out as Mayor of Burlington, literally winning by a handful of votes. Our cause is not helped by diverting crucial votes at the top. Why not start small at the grassroots (mayors, legislators, congressional seats) and build the base and the movement up, rather than trying to control is top-down? I just cannot understand what Nader's agenda is at this point.

Saturday, February 21, 2004


liberate Anna! Meyer for Congress '04

posted by Aziz P. at Saturday, February 21, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
I'm proud to run an ad for Morris Meyer's campaign in the 6th Congressional District of Texas. As Anna noted below, Meyer's opponent is Joe Barton, and the 6th is Anna's own district. So liberate Anna by sending some Dean Nation support his way! (and add .04 cents so Meyer knows from whence it came).


Election Bubble

posted by Brian Ulrich at Saturday, February 21, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Gee, Mr. Brooks. Did you notice there was a candidate running around earlier who didn't fit this caricature?

Just a bit of snark to show I'm still here.

Friday, February 20, 2004


National Dean Visibility Day tomorrow!

posted by Aziz P. at Friday, February 20, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Saturday, February 21

2:00 pm Eastern
1:00 pm Central
12:00 pm Mountain
11:00 am Pacific

Choose a likely location for gathering and get the word out. Show people that we're still out here and still determined to stay in the fight together, Use the get local tools to set up yours!

and don't forget - Dean Meetups still are on schedule next week!


Congressional Democrats need our help

posted by annatopia at Friday, February 20, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Sorry I've been AWOL (hey look, i *do* have something in common with our CinC!) for the past week or so. I've been trying to figure out where I can best focus my energies and keep the spirit of the Dean campaign alive.
There have been several great threads recently about how you plan to do that. Aside from staying involved with whatever entity DFA morphs into, and keeping up with ChangeForAmerica, I plan on pouring my energies into reinvigorating our local democratic party. I've already been approached by two congressional candidates who would like advise on tapping into the decentralised fundraising and support structure created by the the Dean movement. One of these candidates has always been very supportive of what we are trying to do here, while I've vilified the other for they way he treated Dean and the local grassroots base. So how is it that I'm able to put that aside and help him out?
It's quite simple really. Here in Tarrant County (home to Fort Worth) our local democratic party has lost every race they've run for the past two election cycles. There are no democrats currently holding elected office in Tarrant County. And because they keep losing, they keep moving towards the right. Because they keep losing, it's hard to get anyone to run against many of the republican officeholders. This has to change, and it's not going to change if we stick to the old plan that hasn't worked in years.
They keep moving to the right because they are not empowered by the local base of democratic voters. If the base stays home, or if the base doesn't get their backs, the local party has no incentive to act like democrats. Granted, they haven't quite figured out that "me too, Shrub" doesn't work either, but slowly they are beginning to see the light. They see how empowered our national candidates have become and they want to do the same, but the 'roots have yet to provide them with enough incentive or backup. I intend to do that, and so does our local Dean group. We're committed to energising the part, to empowering our candidates (and potential candidates), and becoming a strong force in local politics again. We are tired of losing elections and sending extremists like Joe Barton and Tom Delay to Congress.
I hope that each and every one of you becomes involved in your local party. Empower your candidates and your party, just like the Dean movement empowered us. We know what it takes to create change, so why wait?
Now I'm going to take a moment to plug a few of the candidates I'm going to help out this year. If you have local races you'd like to plug, feel free to leave them in the comments section. I'll try and make a sidebar which lists all the candidates supported by Dean Nation.
First, there is Morris Meyer. Morris is running in US TX 6, which was a district that got gerrymandered thanks to Thug Delay, and it happens to be my home district. I am now "represented" (and I use that term lightly) by the odious Joe Barton. Smoky Joe, as we call him, coddles the polluters in Ennis who are responsible for a majority of our summer smog. Our asthma rate has increased every year, and Joe doesn't care. Morris cares. This is a candidate who walks the walk and talks the talk. He drives a hybrid (yay), is a software engineer, and has an adorable six year old daughter who, Morris says, is the reason he's decided to run. He's a family man in the best sense and he deserves our support.
The other race I'm working on also deals with reclaiming my representation from Tom Delay. My former congressman Martin Frost (warning: lamest website ever and yes that's going to change soon) is running in US TX 32 against Pete Sessions. Pete isn't as bad as Smoky Joe, but he's close.
Both of the Republicans in these races do not support a woman's right to choose, they favor the Bush tax, they oppose pollution controls, support Star Wars, support school vouchers, and they favor amending the constitution to prevent flag burning, gay marriage, and institute mandatory school prayer. If these guys sound like your nightmares, then please join me in helping to defeat them. Especially if you live in a safe democratic state (like CA or NY), please consider lending financial support to progressive candidates in other states. Plug them on the blogs. Send emails to your family and friends. In short, do what you did for the Dean campaign and we'll have a much better shot at taking back our Congress. Because who cares if we elect a Democratic President if we don't send him the backup? Remember, it's all about empowerment. Howard's movement empowered us. The question is, will we empower our candidates and our party? If so, I think that would go a long way towards taking our country back.


Nader (yawn)

posted by Aziz P. at Friday, February 20, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
sure, whatever.

Ralph Nader will announce Sunday whether he will make another run for the White House, but all signs indicate the consumer advocate plans to jump into the race as an independent.

After weeks of postponing his decision, Nader will appear on NBC's "Meet the Press" to make the announcement, said Linda Schade, a spokeswoman for Nader's presidential exploratory committee.

"He's going to be discussing his role in the presidential election," Schade said of the man whose run for president in 2000 is blamed by many Democrats for tilting a close election in favor of George W. Bush. "He's felt there is a role for an independent candidate to play."

I'd vote for Kucinich before I voted for Nader.


Hawai'i: the forgotten caucus

posted by Aziz P. at Friday, February 20, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Hawai'i is a liberal haven - that recently elected a Republican governor. As this article notes, the liberal swing of the state means that Dean and Kucinich are still factors at play here:

No television commercials or satellite trucks. No mailboxes brimming with campaign literature. No candidates dropping by the coffee shop or the poi factory. In fact, there is little to alert islanders, except the most committed Democratic activists, that the party is about to vote its preference for who should carry its standard against President Bush.

But even in this sleepy atmosphere, former Vermont governor Howard Dean managed to inject new energy into the process this year. His team launched its effort in Hawaii more than a year ago -- far earlier than the other candidates -- and impressed party regulars by working its way into position for a strong showing at Tuesday's caucuses.

With Dean now giving up his White House quest, it is not clear how many of those backers will stick with their leadership, which vows to fight on for Dean's message, or will throw in with the nationwide delegate leaders, Senator John F. Kerry of Massachusetts and Senator John Edwards of North Carolina. One major Dean backer, former governor Ben Cayetano, said he now supports Kerry.

"We have a lot of supporters and lot of those want to come out next Tuesday. But this adds a different dynamic. We don't know what will happen," Josh Wisch, chairman of Hawaii for Dean, said following Dean's withdrawal Wednesday. "We're going to try to do as well as we can here." Of Dean, he said, "This is a man who has single-handedly reenergized, redefined, and restored the backbone of an entire national political party. That needs to be heard at the convention. We're going to help him get some delegates."

The article points out that the caucuses have typically small turnout - as low as 3,000 in past years - which means a concerted effort could conceivably mean a major impact. And
Hawai'i isn't the only forgotten contest in advance of Super Tuesday - Idaho and Utah are also in play.
Any Hawai'i, Idaho, or Utah For Dean folks here who want to share their plans? Remember, vote Dean!


timing is everything

posted by Aziz P. at Friday, February 20, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
I'm struck by the tone of the majority of the articles on Dean via Google News. It's a veritable love-fest, with editorials and laudatory odes to the campaign for its innovation, impact, success, blah blah blah.

Now that we're done, they pour sugar on the wound? It reminds me of the curious timing of the mea culpa from Diana Sawyer and ABC about the overplayed Dean Scream. This behavior isn't a salve for anything save their consciences.


Progressive Nation

posted by Editor at Friday, February 20, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Dear Friends,

This is just a quick note to inform you that I have created a new blog in light of Gov. Dean's decision to stop campaigning for president. Some Dean Nation current bloggers and blogger alumni are joining in the effort as well, and I hope more will join soon. I'd invite you all to check out Progressive Nation, to bookmark it, and to visit often. While it is still in its infancy stages, I am certain that the values we share and the ideas we promote will continue to be advanced there.

If you have comments or suggestions, feel free to mail me at I look forward on continuing to travel this trail together as we have for so many months.



Dean's Rough Ride

posted by Aziz P. at Friday, February 20, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
The title of this fantastic piece in the Nation is deliberately evocative of Teddy Roosevelt, I am sure. But the rest of the piece is just as insightful, in distilling down the basic reasons why Dean spoke so powerfully to the rest of us:

I already feel nostalgia for his distinctive one-liners:

"Too many of our leaders have made a devil's bargain with corporate and wealthy interests, saying 'I'll keep you in power if you keep me in power.'"

"As long as half the world's population subsists on less than two dollars a day, the US will not be secure.... A world populated by 'hostile have-nots' is not one in which US leadership can be sustained without coercion."

"Over the last thirty years, we have allowed multinational corporations and other special interests to use our nation's government to undermine our nation's promise."

"There is something about human beings that corporations can't deal with and that's our soul, our spirituality, who we are. We need to find a way in this country to understand--and to help each other understand--that there is a tremendous price to be paid for the supposed efficiency of big corporations. The price is losing the sense of who we are as human beings."

"In our nation, the people are sovereign, not the government. It is the people, not the media or the financial system or mega-corporations or the two political parties, who have the power to create change."

Do you not remember those remarks? Dean's best lines--evocative suggestions rather than explicit policy pronouncements--were not widely reported. In his brisk, scattered manner, he was talking about power, inviting people to contemplate the deteriorated condition of our democracy, expressing his solidarity with their skepticism and alienation. Audiences responded, but this sort of talk was too soft and allusive to constitute "news." Dean's style was indeed "hot"--"angry," the reporters said--but they simply couldn't deal with his reflective side; it didn't fit the caricature.

Nor did they take much interest in concrete ideas, unless a rival accused him of heresy. Dean called for a labeling law for mutual funds--full disclosure on the fees they charge investors. He wanted a Fannie Mae for small business. And a national commission on how to restore democracy--no politicians allowed. He wanted to confront the concentration of oversized corporations and break up media conglomerates. In addition to full financial disclosure by corporations, Dean called for full social accounting: "Why shouldn't companies be accountable to investors and the public on other important matters like environmental standards and labor relations? Knowledge is power."
These ideas and others perhaps sounded too fanciful, since neither party in Congress would have much enthusiasm for them. The dead hand of the past always feels threatened by a new guy with a different idea of what's possible.

It's a brilliant piece - check out the rest!

Thursday, February 19, 2004


Daily Review

posted by barb at Thursday, February 19, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
The Miracle: A Tribute to Howard Dean

Give Dean his due for rousing Democrats

Dean's Rough Ride

Dean's Oregon backers say he energized state party

Dean Supporters In Texas

The Dean Campaign:Joe Trippi



posted by Heath at Thursday, February 19, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Since we are on the topic, let's not forget that; we are the consultants, we are the volunteers, we are the voice. We are also the losing team. We need to learn from past mistakes as we go on. For historical purposes, though, we should record the thoughts we have about what we think went wrong. For me, it all started about a month before Iowa...


post-mortems on the campaign abound

posted by Aziz P. at Thursday, February 19, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
The link goes to a USA Today story that essentially blames Rogan for dysfunction within the campaign. Contrast that piece with this one in the Times that blames Trippi. Then there's also the WBUR radio show "The Connection" which featured a number of analysts, including Matthew Gross and TNR's Ryan Lizza, which takes a broader look at what worked, what didn't, and what the legacy of the campaign's innovation was.

I think what most of the analyses are missing is an understanding of the point that Dean imself made in his final speech:

Change is hard work. Change does not happen simply because you go to a rally and simply because you make phone calls -- and I know how hard everybody here has worked. But change is a process that you can never give up on because change is the state of America and change is the state of humankind.

In a sense, most of the analysts above saw Dean's failure as one of process, namely problems with personalities or gafes or strategy. But in doing so, they set the bar of expectation very high. Dean's campaign has already succeeded in its three basic goals that I laid out earlier in my post-Deanism entry, namely :

  1. bring Americans back into the political process
  2. force the Democratic party to stand up for its beliefs
  3. transcend the divisive politics of Left-Right/Us-Them

There's a strong sense running through th epost-mrtems on the campaign that it failed to properly channel the powerful forces it has harnessed. I see it more as succeeding in releasing those forces, with no pretense of harnessing them. Ryan Lizza said in the radio show that he though Dean never really made his case to the larger electorate beyond the core Deaniac base; but I think that Lizza is getting ahead of himself. That broader appeal is a process that could only begin this cycle, not finish.


Gov. Dean's Message to bloggers.

posted by Editor at Thursday, February 19, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Dean Nation Alum Carl with a K is back blogging. Check out the guest blogger on his site.


lobby CNN!

posted by Aziz P. at Thursday, February 19, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
CNN has plastered the "out" label on Howard Dean in their official tally of the delegate count. Dean hasn't withdrawn, he has suspended his campaign - and so CNN"s move here might actually serve to influence the vote and deny Dean delegates from his supporters (and thus our collective influence upon the nomination).

Write to CNN and demand (politely) that Dean, with more delegates than Edwards, should not be labeled as having quit the race in this manner.


Kerry webmaster's note to Deaniacs

posted by Aziz P. at Thursday, February 19, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Dick Bell is the webmaster for Kerry's blog. He strikes a fairly conciliatory and respectful tone in his appeal to us Deaniacs:

We've got many more primaries to go through before our party finally settles on a nominee. But what I hope you can do in the coming weeks is to take some time to look hard at John Kerry's record, and continue working towards the goal we have all shared during this primary campaign, getting George Bush out of the White House.

I know that we have not always agreed. But we’re all Democrats, and there’s no question in my mind that John Kerry will bring dramatic change to Bush’s right-wing, ideologically driven administration.

As long as Bush is President, all of our hopes for changing our country in ways that make life better for everyone will be stymied. With Bush out of the way, everyone, from the President to the new online progressive organizations are emerging, will have an easier path to building a more humane, more democratic country.

We've got two places for you to talk with us directly, our blog and our Town Meeting forum. Especially for those of you who want to explore Kerry's positions in depth, check out the forum, where volunteers have been answering detailed questions for months. Thanks for considering John Kerry. And no matter how this race finally ends, we look forward to working with you to defeat George Bush.

Note that Edwards is also trying to woo us. What we should take fro this is the simple lesson that Dean's success is being universally recognized as a true asset. And this underscores the need for us to remain independent until the nomination, by voting for Dean in the primary so that our influence and desirability translates into real change and influence.

If we become absorbed into Kerry or Edwards' camps at this early stage, we will be forgotten. We must retain our "mystery" and thus our power.


Dean's legacy on the Kerry-Edwards trade debate

posted by Aziz P. at Thursday, February 19, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
link goes to my analysis of the positions espoused by Kerry and Edwards on the NAFTA issue. The bottom line is that Edwards is espousing a populist anti-NAFTA position which I think is ultimately harmful and bad policy. Dean's position on NAFTA always was that its good policy but it needs to be extended to provide incentive to raise labor standards among our trading partners. In other words, add emphasis on human rights to trade (just as President Carter added emphasis on human rights to foreign policy). This is sound policy as well as strong moral leadership. Kerry has actually sounded more like Dean than Edwards has, echoing the need to use NAFTA as a means to improve the lot of workers such that there is no anti-rights incentive for jobs to go overseas. Edwards sees NAFTA as exploitative, but Kerry and Dean share a vision of NAFTA as potentially transformative. I think Edwards is simply wrong on this issue and lacks the vision that Dean first promoted and that Kerry (thankfully) is still sticking by.

This is another reason to vote for Dean in the primary. Send a message to Kerry and Edwards that Dean's original position was the right one.

Wednesday, February 18, 2004


open thread

posted by Aziz P. at Wednesday, February 18, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
How's this for a fun thread topic - what career should Dean pursue next? My vote goes to Liberal Talk Radio Host :)


Edwards Statement on Howard Dean

posted by Editor at Wednesday, February 18, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Senator John Edwards (D-NC) released the following statement today:

"Howard Dean has brought so much to this race-not just his ideas and passion for change, but hundreds of thousands of Americans who had never participated in a campaign before. Howard has been a powerful voice for change, and I share his belief that special interests and Washington lobbyists have taken over our government. This is the year for Democrats to take it back-not for our Party, but for our country.

"Howard Dean has energized and revolutionized this race, and excited a whole new generation of young Americans. He deserves our thanks and so much credit for what he has accomplished. I hope he continues to offer his ideas, and encourages millions more to participate in this democracy so we win back the White House in November."


don't think they haven't noticed

posted by Aziz P. at Wednesday, February 18, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Sen. John F. Kerry of Massachusetts, who emerged as the Democrats' front-runner a month ago, said Dean "has done an extraordinary job of invigorating a whole group of people who were divorced from the political process," the Reuters news agency reported. Kerry added, "Whatever happens, it's impossible not to express general admiration and respect for the campaign he's put together and what he's achieved."


The Assassination of Howard Dean

posted by Christopher at Wednesday, February 18, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
From AlterNet comes this analysis of the coordinated establishment effort to take Dean down - hard. As apt a synopsis as any we're likely to see. I trust the editorial writers of America will now engage in a round of "Hail Dean" for his internet strategy, revitalizing democracy, luring the disenfranchised and the young back to the process, and establishing a small donor base.

But, those laudatory columns will miss what Dean was really all about: fiscal conservatism (balanced budget and repeal of the Bush tax cuts to retire our deficit), a sane, multilateral foreign policy, health care for all Americans, and states rights - yes, Dean has actually been a proponent of small government - civil unions and gun rights are two good examples where Dean has said the federal government has no role - "let the states decide" he said.

It's true that Dean's style and aggressive nature has rubbed off on the other candidates - however, one of the weaknesses I see in Kerry (especially), and Edwards is still this willingness to be all things to all people and insist that they (or, the federal government) have all the answers. Dean has often said it (he did again today in his concession speech), and it's true: "The biggest lie that people like me tell people like you at election time is that if you vote for me, I'll solve all your problems." Dean knows that isn't true, his platform and message conveyed that honesty. Sadly, the establishment didn't want to hear it.

I think that message will continue to resonate and grow, however, as citizens tire of platitudes and promises and look for real solutions. Dean had some good ideas. Many of us are hoping he'll find ways to keep them alive.


Dean reaching out to Trippi?

posted by Aziz P. at Wednesday, February 18, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
via today's Note:

We've learned that Dean has even reached out to his former campaign manager, Joe Trippi, seeking his advice. Trippi is ready with a menu of ideas for Dean to move on, as it were — voter mobilization, fundraising, Internet blogging and networking, etc.

Key members of Dean's Internet team plan to meet with Trippi this weekend at Trippi's farm in Maryland, several members of that team said last night. They'll plot strategy and figure out how to lay the groundwork for a movement that they hope Dean himself will lead, if not in body, at least in endorsement or acknowledgment.


video: Dean suspends campaign rtsp://

posted by annatopia at Wednesday, February 18, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Link above goes to the online feed. He'll be on in about ten minutes. Virtual kleenex, anyone?

update: in the comments, re pointed out that the clip is now archived. i've updated the link to go to c-span's video archive. the speech will also be replayed on c-span tonight at 8pm eastern time.

UPDATE (Aziz) - transcript now available on the o-blog. I've also added the direct link to the video on CSPAN.


open thread: Dean Nation

posted by Aziz P. at Wednesday, February 18, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
I've rec'd a number of emails asking about the future of Dean Nation, and I wanted to share my thoughts with all of you. First of all, this is OUR community, not mine. I am eternally grateful to have such talented and diverse co-bloggers here and I hope they continue to use this site as a platform for their own ideas opinions. I intend to continue to blog about Dean here as well, because frankly he's still our man and while winning is good, succeeding is more important.

The thing that unifies all of us until the convention will be our continued resolve to VOTE DEAN. I intend to tell my children, when they ask about what it was like to live through the historical election of 2004, that I proudly cast a vote for Howard Dean. If anything I am more determined to buy a few more bumper stickers and do some more Dean visibility to remind people that front-runners and primary schedules aside, there is still room for idealism in this election cycle.

I also have begun a blog focused on John Kerry's candidacy, to which I only have Anybody-But-Bush loyalties. I encourage anyone who wants to critically analyse Kerry's showdown against Bush to join me at JFK Skeptic. But Dean Nation remains focused on Dean, not Kerry - and we have a LOT left to talk about, debate, and even argue :)

We are Dean Nation. We raised $40,000 dollars for Howard Dean, we launched Meetup, heck we even got a Ben and Jerry's flavor! We are here to stay. Please chime in with what this community means to you and the direction you want things to go here.


do not endorse!

posted by Aziz P. at Wednesday, February 18, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
I am pleased at this report that Dean will cease campaigning, but remain in the race. I think Dean should at the very least take advantage of the impending Hawai'i primary to get some well-deserved sunshine :) but it remains essential that Dean supporters are not denied the occassion to vote for the man who has transformed politics and given us hope again that we, the people, have the power.

This means however that Dean MUST NOT ENDORSE EDWARDS. Doing so means, vote for edwards, which we must not do. Edwards cannot win the nomination, as Kerry still maintains the momentum of the compressed primary schedule. Edwards, with less money, less delegates, and less overall finishes than Dean in the primaries so far, remains a weaker candidate whose entire identity is the "anti-Kerry". But that's not enough. I respect that Dean thinks Edwards is a better candidate, but he's wrong. Edwards is weaker against Bush and that's the sole remaining goal.

We Deaniacs should support Dean. Not Edwards. And I hope Dean doesn't forget that until the nomination is over, he's still the only anti-Kerry that matters.

UPDATE: Ryan Lizza argues that there's a real potential for Deaniacs to defect:

The other potential source of support is Dean voters, now that their candidate is dropping out. The exit polls show that former Dean supporters split about evenly between Kerry and Edwards, but anecdotal evidence suggests that the remaining Dean voters out there are the Kool-Aid drinking core. These people hate Kerry, and judging by the Dean blogs they see Edwards as an acceptable outsider to take up the Dean banner. Many seem ready to throw their support to the North Carolina senator.

But he's mistaken if he thinks the "Kool Aid" core are the ones who will swap to Edwards. Most of the "Kool Aid Core" will take the opportunity that Dean has given them to cast their vote for Dean (by remaining on the ballot). That's the only route towards ensuring that the Deanism phenomenon maintains its currency in terms of clout. If we get absorbed into Edwards, then we are diluted and lost.


post-Deanism: a rising tide

posted by Aziz P. at Wednesday, February 18, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
These are the goals that Howard Dean set out to achieve: 1. bring Americans back into the political process, 2. force the Democratic party to stand up for its beliefs, and 3. transcend the divisive politics of Left-Right/Us-Them. In all these things, Dean has succeeded. For now. But these hard-won successes will be ephemeral without a response from the grassroots.

However, I disagree with everyone who says that Dean's supporters need to somehow organize into a new entity - be it a party or a group or a 527. The answer is not Yet Another Political Entity (YAPE). The correct response is for each of us to disperse, and carry the seeds of these rejeuvenated ideas - participatory democracy, idealism, unity - into the existing political entities that have dominated and will dominate the political landscape of this incredible nation. Thus we will effect change from within - across the political spectrum

The problem with the YAPE approach is that it fails on all three counts. YAPE does not bring the non-enfranchised cynical citizen to the voting booth, it just creates more echo chambers of thought. Do we need another version of Democratic Underground, Free Republic, etc. ? That's where the road leads - away from critical analysis on facts and towards a hyper-focused concensus that is outright hostile to dissent. This drives people away from the process.

In addition, YAPE is inherently anti-principled. Political entities invariably become focused on winning races, not arguments. And their currency is money, not votes. This is exactly why the Democrats have refused to stand up for their liberal beliefs, why the GOP has succeeded in making "liberalism" a dirty word, and why conservatives and libertarians still vote GOP despite the complete lack of any remaining conservative or libertarian impulses. With YAPE, politics transcends policy.

Finally, YAPE fractures the electorate further rather than seeking common ground. Look at Daily Kos, where Markos is beginning a concerted push to win House races for Democrats - I mostly agree with Democrats over Republicans on issues, but I find something very wrong about targeting a moderate for defeat on sole basis of the R next to his name. If he serves is constituency well, and is a moderate like Dean, then isn't this counter to the goal of change?

I have been avidly following Joe Trippi's new blog at Change For America, but he never really specified what change he wants to achieve, nor spelled out how he intends to achieve it. For all the talk about "building" on the Dean movement, there's a remarkable lack of specificity about what exactly that movement specified, with all the major players already seeking to subtly interpret it in their own way. Everyone sees US as a force to be harnessed, as a resource to be mined. But that isn't what we achieved - what we are is a new national dialouge.

Let me remind you of what we are. We are a group of hundreds of thousands of people who want to hold our politicians to a certain standard of responsibility. That sometimes might mean that the right guy for the job is a Republican, or maybe someone with no formal experience, or someone who is "unelectable" according to the conventional political "wisdom" of the hour. We have raised the bar of expectations for our public servants.

What's more, the Change that we want in our country is for our fellow Americans to share our view that what matters more than political party and demographic appeal is a commitment to facts and policy. We want our fellow Americans to be freed of the media - which does not serve their political interests the way that the old concept of the press used to. We want politicans who work for what they believe in and are willing to work across the aisle to achieve real solutions to the problems that face our society and the challenges ahead.

We are the embryonic seed of this change. But we need to be planted in the wombs of the political infrastucture that exists today so that we can bend these massive, inertial institutions to our will. We are the rising tide that will float all boats, not just those labeled R, D, NPR, or NASCAR.

I want Howard Dean to suspend campaigning and remain a candidate so that we can vote for him. Not to victory, but to influence. The history books MUST look back on 2004 and say of Howard Dean: He did not win, but he did succeed.

We must VOTE for Dean in EVERY primary. We must work to get Dean as many delegates as we can. That's the only way we can force history to recognize the true chord that Dean has struck within the electorate, and it will be a note that is heard by Kerry and all who follow him. We must VOTE FOR DEAN and say to the establishment, we are HERE TO STAY.


LA Times: Dean to End Campaign, Stay in Race

posted by Editor at Wednesday, February 18, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Thanks for the memories...
BURLINGTON, Vt. (Reuters) - Howard Dean returned home to Burlington, Vermont, early on Wednesday carrying a decision to quit his presidential campaign but remain in the race for the nomination, the Los Angeles Times reported in Wednesday's editions.

"Though Dean is not going to formally drop out of the race, he is going to stop campaigning," a Dean aide told the newspaper.

"The move would allow his supporters to continue to vote for him in the upcoming primaries and have a say at the Democratic National Convention in July," The Times reported.

The decision was to be announced here on Wednesday; however, Dean had begun talking in the past tense about his bid for the 2004 Democratic presidential nomination.

Of interest and note:
Dean has said Edwards would be a stronger candidate against Republican President Bush than Kerry, whom he has denounced as beholden to special interests.


We're In Good Shape

posted by Dana at Wednesday, February 18, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Reading this blog last night you would think this was over. It's not. Far from it.

The more Democrats see of John Kerry the less they like him. All the flaws of last summer are coming back -- the smirk, the dismissive attitude, the arrogance, the Teddy Kennedy introductions, the veteran honor guard that reeks of the past.

Yes, Edwards has shot ahead of us. But he needs us. And we're picking up delegates everywhere.

What we'll see in the next two weeks is a tighter focus on both Kerry and Edwards. We will see negative stories on both.

We are nearly 20% of the Democratic primary votes outside the South, right now. If things keep going this way it makes Dean the margin between Kerry and Edwards. We can demand more than rhetorical support for our causes. We can demand a platform Deanists can live with. If present trends hold to Boston, both Kerry and Edwards will want Dean on their ticket.

And Dean himself is going to get another look. If he emphasizes balanced budgets, health care plans that can pass, and his record of standing against excessive spending in Vermont (as he is doing), he will finally become in the public mind what he really is -- the most conservative of the remaining candidates. And he'll start going up.

Will Dean win? It's unlikely. Will you win? It's nearly certain.

Smile though your heart is aching
Smile even though its breaking
When there are clouds, in the sky you'll- get by.
If you smile through your fear and sorrow
Smile and may be tomorrow
You'll see the sun- come shinning through- for you.
Light up your face with gladness
Hide every trace of sadness
All though a tear, may be ever so near
Thats the time you must keep on trying
Smile whats the use of crying
You'll find that life is still worth while- if you just smile.


Daily Review

posted by barb at Wednesday, February 18, 2004 permalink 0 comments View blog reactions
Howard Dean on Wisconsin Primary Results

Dean not done yet

Dean plans 'event' Wednesday

With decisions to make, Dean heads to Vt.

There's Nothing to Say

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.

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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.