Thursday, July 31, 2003

Take It Easy But Take It

"Take It Easy, But Take It" was an old union organizing slogan.

Grassroots campaigns are won in the neighborhood�down the street or around the corner. Whatever larger job we do let's all resolve to be Block Captains. Take the block you live on, the apartment building you live in, or a group of ten neighbors�whatever you feel easy with�and make them your personal responsibility.

Make sure they're all registered (as Democrats). Keep them informed about the Dean Campaign, offer them campaign window signs or yard signs. Make it your responsibility to get them early voting (vote by mail) applications. No matter what other volunteer jobs you take on take personal responsibility for your little corner of America and� Take It Back !

Bush to Visit Tucson!

On July 12, Tucson (and the rest of Arizona) gave Howard Dean a warm southwest welcome (and I am not talking about 111 degree heat). On August 11, George W. Bush is expected to visit Tucson. I think that we should give him the cold reception he deserves!

I am working on organizing a rally for that day to show George Bush what Tucson thinks of his policies and his administration.

This is your chance to get out and be heard. I am encouraging everyone to show up with a friend or ten and a sign or ten that shows what you are unhappy about. Topics include (I know, the list is long) the war, the patriot act, the environment, taxes, job losses, gay marriage...whatever your issue is...put it on a sign and bring it to this rally.

Watch this blog and around town for a venue announcement!! Anyone who wishes to volunteer, please email me at


The result of one way communication

A friend recently pointed out to me that Lieberman's website has no way to communicate. There is no blog with comments, there is no email form, no phone numbers, nothing. It makes me think there is a connection between this lack of dialogue in the Lieberman campaign and the latest news about his Tucson meetup.

Just today it was announced that the Lieberman meetup in Tucson had been cancelled because they had not reached the minimum of five participants. Is it ironic, or just pitiable, that two of the Dean volunteers both knew of the cancellation? You see, only those signed up for the meetup are notified that it is cancelled...

Unfortunately, less than 5 people voted on a venue, so the
Tucson, AZ Lieberman in 2004 Meetup is cancelled this month.

Meetup is growing very fast, so please be patient while more
Lieberman Supporters around Tucson, AZ (and everywhere) discover
National Lieberman in 2004 Meetup"

A self organizing campaign, a viral campaign if you like, can't happen unless the people are enpowered to speak and act on their own. Lieberman doesn't seem to get that. You can drape the trappings of inclusion over a traditional top-down campaign, but the trappings won't hide what lies beneath.

Next Week's Meetup Part of National Effort

On 8/6 Dean supporters from all over Tucson will once again gather to meet with and speak with our fellow citizens as well as work to get Howard Dean elected. This meeting will focus on writting personal letters to over 40,000 New Hampshire voters still uncommitted to a candidate. This same project will happen all over the nation at every Dean meetup. There will also be a video of a day in the life of Howard Dean as a presidential primary contestant as recorded by NH public television, and plans to make the meetups more convenient to attend for some members.

Wednesday, July 30, 2003

A Progressive Democrat Can Win

-- Matthew Rothschild

Leave it to the wingtips at the Democratic Leadership Council to bemoan the suddenly vibrant progressives within the party.

You remember the DLC, don't you? These are the guys who stomped on welfare and promoted the death penalty.

Now Adam Nagourney of The New York Times might call them a "moderate Democratic group," but I call them Republicans in a very thin Democratic coat.

They still brag about bringing Bill Clinton to the White House, and today they are in a snit over the fact that all the energy among Democrats is on the progressive side.

Even Joe Lieberman, a DLC stalwart if ever there was one, chose not to show up at the DLC's conference on Monday. No one wanted to be tagged as yesterday's Democrat.

So spare me the lecture from Senator Evan Bayh of Indiana, who is but a faint peel of his father, Birch Bayh.

Bayh the younger barked at progressives at the DLC's conference. "Do we want to vent, or do we want to govern?" he sneered, adding that "the Democratic Party is in danger of being taken over by the far left."

The far left?

Who's he talking about here?

Presumably Howard Dean, the governor of Vermont, who is running a surprisingly strong challenge for the Democratic nomination.

Or maybe he's talking about the activists, many of them on-line, who have helped Dean raise so much money.

But I wouldn't call any of those "the far left," nor would I equate them with the "far right" in the Bush Administration, as Bayh did.

They are actually standing up for what Democrats are supposed to stand up for: peace, jobs, health care, the environment, and civil liberties.

It is Dean's anti-war stance that most upsets conservative Democrats and mainstream pundits, and this may underlie the effort that is under way right now to go after Dean (see Ruth Conniff's "Ganging Up on Dean.")

The New Republic has Dean on the cover of its July 28-August 4 issue, with the headline "Must He Be Stopped?"

Inside, in an article entitled "Bitter Pill," Senior Editor Jonathan Chait writes that "where Dean goes wrong is in suggesting that his anti-war position will help him beat President Bush. In truth, it's a massive liability." Chait also writes, "Nearly as problematic is Dean's implacable opposition to the Patriot Act." He concludes: "Many Dean supporters deeply opposed the war in Iraq and much of Bush's anti-terror agenda, and they feel that the Democratic nominee has a moral obligation to mount a full-throated opposition from the left, regardless of the consequences. That is their right. But they're fooling themselves if they think doing so will be anything other than a political disaster."

(To its credit, The New Republic also ran a dissenting article from Senior Editor Jonathan Cohn showing that Dean is not as liberal as he seems, and citing "one survey in New Hampshire" that "actually shows Dean polling better among independents, and worse among Democrats, than his chief rival there, Kerry.")

Conservative Democrats and mainstream pundits all buy into the proposition that no progressive Democrat can win the Presidency.

But I believe they are disregarding three crucial factors.

First, Iraq is sounding more and more like Vietnam every day. On July 29, Paul Wolfowitz was echoing Richard Nixon. "We don't need more American troops," he told Congress. "What we need most of all are Iraqis fighting with us." But just as Nixon's Vietnamization program failed, so too will Wolfowitz's effort to get Iraqis to do Washington's fighting for it.

Even Anthony Cordesman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies has warned that "the United States may end up fighting a third Gulf War," this time "against the Iraqi people." The occupation and the guerrilla war will be a continual drag on Bush's popularity, as it takes its toll in U.S. lives and treasure.

Second, Bush's lies that preceded the Iraq War will continue to haunt him, chipping away at his credibility and "nice guy" image. A lot of people voted for Bush because they liked him more than Gore, and they were sick of Clinton's slipperiness. As Bush appears slippery in his own right, he is losing support.

Third, the economy is a huge albatross around Bush's neck. This is the primary issue on voters' minds, according to every poll. And there is a great deal of unease about Bush's leadership on this issue, with unemployment at 6.4 percent.

So, despite the conventional wisdom of Evan Bayh, Adam Nagourney, and Jonathan Chait, this actually may be a propitious time for a liberal Democrat to win the Presidency,

"I don't think we can be successful if we let ourselves go down that rat hole"

The DLC persists in thinking that they are the future of the Democratic party, when they are in fact, the past. A new piece on their national conference at which the mud was flying in only one direction, to the left. The DLC persists in disparaging and mischaracterizing our candidate. Their attacks assure me of one thing, they know fear. Dean should demand their fealty and support when he wins the primary. Then they will see how effective Dr. Dean's Virtual Doom Machine of Electoral Excellence is.

Most notably the DLC high muckitups did not have a Presidential candidate at their conference to tell them how wonderful they are. Just a little reminder to the DLC members, "You are not the Democratic party, you never will be." Those little people you denegrate as poor, less weel-heeled, colored, and culturally diverse are Democrats, too. If the DLC want to keep the name Democrat in their title, they need to support Dean once he wins the primary, no matter their misgivings; and cease their scare tactics and baseless attacks during the primary. If these irresponsible and false attacks on Dean's record continue into the General, the DLC may as well go join the GOP. Maybe we Democrats will take the much abused moderate Republicans like Olympia Snowe, Lincoln Chafee, Jim Jeffords, and Main Street Partnership in exchange. At least they don't attack their own.

The DLC has plenty to blush about from a policy standpoint too, they support NAFTA, and the proposed FTA without union, wage or environmental codicils, which will accelerate the export of American jobs and depress real American wages ever further. People don't want it, but the corporations who pay the bills of the DNC in exile do. Or their support for WTO policies, demanding developing nations adopt austerity programs which touch off fiscal crisises that make it easy or Mulinationals to step in a pick up key investiments for a song. This, and other acts of corporate plunder are what the DNC has come to stand for. They wish to privatize Social Security, and retain many of the Bush tax cuts. Perhaps they really will be happier with Bush back in office. Prehaps that's what all these whiney attacks on Dean's success have really been about.

Dean wants to return the tax cuts from the weathiest americans to the least advantaged in the form a health care benefit. Dean would endeaver to control program growth vigorously to bring us back to fiscal health. He would fully fund Head Start, the Students with Disabilities Act, and kill No Child Left Behind in favor of local control. He would rework NAFTA and FTA to include minimum wages, organizing rights, and enviromental gaurantees. On most policies the DLC does not officially aggree with Dean. But they surely have many members who do. Let this be a plea to DLC members in and out of government. Consider what you really stand for, and see if you wouldn't rather stand with Dean.

Bush must be challenged on Iraq and terrorism, He is weaker than ever here and when his collapse comes it will be swift and terrible. The DLC says that you cannot have a viable candidate who cannot talk about security, but that is the center of Dean's message. Dean says "You can't be president without getting two things right; the economy and defence, and Bush has gotten both wrong." What I have come to suspect is that the DLC actually means, you cannot be elected unless you agree with Bush on security. That is exactly the position of the DLC's sweetheart in the race, Lieberman.

Dean can and will win this election, but with sniping from both the far-right and, unforegivably, from the less-far far-right DLC, he'll soon have no choice but to strike back harder at his Democratic critics. That could hurt the whole party. If the DLC pipes down and backs the nomination of the peoples' choice whomever he may be (or perhaps the DLC doesn't know that to have any influence they need people willing to vote for their candidates?), then Bush's self-immolation will be complete and any dogcatcher (so long as it's a dogcatcher with a strong defense policy...) could beat him.

BTW, "that rathole" is a swing to the left in the Democratic Party, that must make Dean's supporters and the majority of the Democratic party to the left of the DLC "the rats". That's how well they think of anyone who doesn't agree with them. The DLC have become the Right Wing of the Democratic party; weathy, well-organized, intolerant, distainful, arrogant, and unwilling to give on inch on whatever barely detectible and ever-shifting principes they stand.

We don't need the DLC anymore. Their electoral track record is unimpressive. Their candidates were a disaster in 2000. They lost the house in 1996 and their strategies lost the Senate twice, once in 2000, again in 2002. They are failures who have given away the entire government to the GOP within the space of four years. They won two terms as president at a time when the incumbent was ripe for the picking; big deal. They should save face by disbanding and packing it up before they do any further damage to the Democratic cause. It would be one thing if they confined their attacks to other parties, but when they attack their own, simply because he is doing well, they reveal that they are more concerned about their own power than the Democratic cause. They will, of course, argue that they are trying to save the party from itself; hogwash.

This is 2003, not any other date. This is Howard Dean, not any other candidate. This is a party turning against itself. If the other candidates prove themselves unable to beat Dean in the primary what makes the DLC think those candidates can beat Bush? Let the people decide who faces Bush, and let the DLC reconcile themselves to the fact that they DON'T know better than the voters.

Note: This post has been revised by the author. He was far too tired to be able to spell and form coherent sentences when he first posted it :P

Monday, July 28, 2003

Everyone likes to be appreciated.

It seems the Dean Defense volunteers have garnered a little press attention themselves. The tone of the piece comes off as one continuous whine by the press. The message is, "Jeez, those prickly Dean supporters want us to be objective and do our research! Who do they think we are? Reporters?" Well, actually, yes. But we think some of them are just polemicists with ideological axes to grind and little useful to say. If supporters don't stick up for their candidate against misportrayal in the press, who will? For reporters to complain simply because citizens are challenging reporters to justify what they write is simply petulant.

Sunday, July 27, 2003

No port in the storm for Bush... except the DLC.

Know thy enemy-
Here are the latest polling figures from the Democracy Corps. They indicate Bush is essentially where he started before 9/11, but with people more strongly polarized in their views about him (more people strongly agree or disagree than before). His metrics on the Economy, Security Policy, and Trust are all sliding. Considering we are still 15 months out, Bush is in serious trouble.

We have met the enemy, and he is us-
At the same time that Bush is faltering, Democrats are failing to make gains. The public indicates that they want Democrats to voice their views more strongly, to explain their policies more compellingly. The voters are turning away from Bush, but they need to see someone there to follow when they do. This is why Dean has risen so rapidly. He seems to voters to be someone worth listening to and he is providing a comprehensive critique of Bush and the GOP.

The Democratic Leadership Council should pay attention to what the voters are actually doing and saying instead of getting lost in their own thought experiements about who is most electable. Then they might see that Dean's rise is not just anti-war sentiment driving the party to the left. Dean's has appeal across the ideological spectrum, even to many Republicans. Dean is providing that strong contrast from Bush that voters need; the articulation of a compelling alternative vision they are hungering for. The other candidates are languishing simply because they aren't, or can't.

Instead of beating up on Dean as unelectably liberal, which is demonstrably untrue and misleading to voters, they should put their wind to work clearly explaining their own visions. If they continue their jealous and petty attacks on a fellow Democrat they are bound to discourage Democratic voters from participation in the general election, which benefits only one person; Bush.

Saturday, July 26, 2003

Why We Fight

A soldier in Iraq recently posted his thoughts on an internet football forum, of all places:




NO WMD.....

There isn't much I care to add to this soldier's words. This man, and all our other fellow citizens over in Iraq, should occupy our thoughts daily. The campaign we are engaged in has as one of it's major goals to internationalize the Iraqi occupation and bring our people home. When you are working for Dean, you are working for our soldier's very lives. The sooner they come home, the fewer will die needlessly.

I can't say anything more imporant than that...

There Is Nothing To Fear But Fear Itself...

FDR's nostrum may be truer than we ever imagined. Imagine if the intolerance, the irrational self-flagellation of Conservative security policies, and the paranoid destruction of civil liberties which characterize the Conservative movement were itself based on fear. The very tendencies which make liberals justly afraid of Conservative administrations are born of, and thrive on, fear.

That is exactly the case, according to a new study of the Conservative mind from Berkeley. The study concludes that the conservative mind is shaped by five predominant traits:

    Fear and aggression

    Dogmatism and intolerance of ambiguity

    Uncertainty avoidance

    Need for cognitive closure

    Terror management

I think most liberals have long suspected that there was just something different about how Conservatives' minds work. What this study suggests is that there really is nothing to fear, but fear itself. A climate of fear, of uncertainty, and of threat, favors Conservative politicians as those who think like them are activated and motivated to act politically. Of course, it can be overcome, FDR did just that. In a time of deep crisis and fear he engineered the defining liberal coalition of the 20th century. How? By telling people not to fear.

There is a lesson here for liberals, especially in light of the MoveOn survey showing grave concern with security and civil rights. We mustn't fear. Our messages should be of hope and change. Our litany- that the challenges we face will be overcome. We will endure as a nation, as a community, and as individuals. We will rise to the challenges of our time; and as Americans always have, we will prevail. Not by lashing out at everything alien, nor by retreating into fascistic unity , nor by dismantling the armatures of freedom we have worked so hard to erect; we will prevail with intelligent leadership, pragmatic skepticism, and more than a little well placed hope.

We will prevail over fear with Dr. Howard Dean. A healer; the sort of man who can calm a suffering child, and inform a man that he is dying, holding his hand through his fear for himself and for his family. An empiricist; a man not afraid to tell people the emperor has no clothes. A problem solver; a man who can diagnose a disease by the subtle skeins of symptomology. An indomitable spirit; a man who loves his country and is determined to help us save it from the surfeit of fear which Bush nurtures and encourages to feed his own vanity and enhance his own power.

One last promise of the Howard Dean Presidency. He knows the value of basic research. Now that we know the Conservatism is caused by cognitive patterns, perhaps in much the same way as depression, maybe medical science can find a drug to cure it :)

Never fear, Dean is here!

Friday, July 25, 2003

Progressive Agenda Shaped by Fear

Recently myself and many thousands of fellow progressives took part in an extraordinary conversation across the nation. MoveOn paired us up to have conversations about our values and priorities and then to report on them. I was paired with a retired school teacher from Virginia. We talked for hours. Complete strangers, dissimular in most things, but in agreement on so much. It seems that everywhere people like us had similar conversations. The preliminary results indicate a strong concern for national security and civil rights; two of the most alarming aspects of the Bush agenda. It should come as no surprise that Progressives' apparent agenda is driven by the fear and contempt that Bush's reckless and short-sighted policies have engendered in people who have any sense of history or the finite limits of military power.

The problem is that once the bulk of people wake up and smell the regime change, putting in place a responsible Administration, will that consensus hold up or crumble? Is there more to the grassroots swell of activity, organization, and relative commity than a turn to anything that is not-Bush? Do the factional interests, the signle-issue voting, the layered constituencies, disunited by a lack of common focus which have hobbled us electorially in the past await us the moment we regain power? As our deepest concerns and fears for our own safety and that of our posterity fade due to a dimunition of the threat from our own government and as enternal threats are ameliorated by rational foriegn policies, will the newly united forces of classical liberalism, progressivism, activism, and moderation fall out once again?

We had better not. Or something worse than Bush will be stealthed into the Presidency next time. I know... I know... It's hard to imagine worse.

Here is the letter I received:

"Dear MoveOn member,

Over a month ago, you took part in what we affectionately called the
Great MoveOn Interview.  We paired up over 20,000 folks across the
country, and asked you to talk in a structured way about your values
and political beliefs.

Since then, we've been working hard on the MoveOn Primary, our
campaign to unearth the truth about the weapons of mass destruction in
Iraq, and defeating the FCC rule change.  But we haven't forgotten
about the time and energy you put into making the interview project a
success, and we wanted to let you know what's happening with your
reports now.

We've engaged a linguist to go through the over 100,000 pages of
comments you reported to us and look for big-picture commonalities --
places where many of us align in our values or priorities.  Your
interviews will help to form the basis for one of our biggest projects
yet -- an effort, working with our members and other groups, to expose
our unified vision for progressive politics.

We also paid very close attention to the issue areas that you deemed
important. After peace and national security, civil liberties was the
next most popular area of concern.  We'll look for ways to engage on
that issue over the next months.

Your responses have also helped us in our thinking about the big
picture.  Below, I've attached an editorial I wrote for the MoveOn
Bulletin that reflected on the interview experience.  Thanks so much
for your time and energy -- we'll continue to work with you and other
MoveOn members to craft a common, big-picture agenda for our work.

--Eli Pariser
 July 25th, 2003"

Dean is California Dreamin'

And the good news just keeps on getting better...

By Craig Columbus
"Former Vermont Governor Howard Dean turned  some heads yesterday when a new California poll showed Dr. Dean leading all his  rivals in the Golden State.

A poll released Tuesday by the nonpartisan  Field Research Institute indicated Dean at 16 percent, Kerry at 15 percent and  Lieberman 14 percent. Missouri Rep. Dick Gephardt lost ground from an April  poll, dropping from 12 percent to 7 percent in the latest data. The polling  continued to show a sizable "undecided" vote among California  Democrats.

The numbers are impressive for Dean since he has not spent  much money in California and still registers relatively low name identification  among voters. As media reports have pointed out, no Republican presidential  candidate has won California in a general election since 1988, and the state's  55 electoral votes are absolutely critical to any Democrats chances of capturing  the White House.

Closer to home, Dean's people are already plotting their  get-out-the-vote strategy. To vote in the presidential primary (Jan. 19 thru  Feb. 5), people must be registered as a Democrat by Monday, Jan. 5. Look for  Dean's Arizona brass to reach out to independent and "party-not-determined"  voters, asking them to switch their registration to Democrat to cast a vote for  Dean."

Thursday, July 24, 2003

Dean strong in Pima County, less so state-wide poll shows... BUT?

The latest Tucson Citizen polling figures show that Dean is strong in Pima County, but is trailing in the state overall. The poll has a very large margin of error of 7%, however. Given that the polling distance between any of the two candidates in the poll nearly equal to the 14 percentage point confidence spread, the poll has essentially no predictive value and is potentially very misleading; according to this poll Al Sharpton could be giving Lieberman flat-tires and wedgie, so close behind is he. The sample size used by the BRC is simply too small to be useful for as diverse a state as Arizona. In addition, the poll was carried out over 4 days, further degrading the confidence level of the poll. This early in the race, the respondents are likely to be strongly influenced by very nearly a whole week of news-cycles transpiring during the poll, any of which could change their minds about the candidates this early in the race. Likewise, polling figures in the mid-to-high teens in the head to head comparisons indicate that these figures are extremely soft - over 60% of those polled simply haven't any idea of their preference, even given a one-on-one choice, rather than a bewildering field of nine.

Polling can be a useful indicator of candidate support when the sample size is large enough and the polling is done close enough to the election that voters have enough information to have largely settled on the candidate they will actually vote for. But a better metric of the early strength of a candidate and the ultimate fate of his campaign are metrics which show solid support for a candidate: the number of volunteers working for a campaign, the number of supporters and interested voters a candidate's appearances are drawing, how many likely voters have committed to vote for a candidate by formal endorsement or, even stronger, by donating money or in-kind services or goods to his campaign, and the direction of a candidates polling results over time- is he moving ahead or dropping back relative to other candidates? By any of these measures, Dean is far ahead of the other candidates in Arizona and pulling away like a drag-racer.

In fairly small Cochise County alone there are over 300 active volunteers for Dean last time I heard - there are likely more by now. The Meetups for Dean in Arizona are exceeding the turnout of those for other candidates by factors of ten or more. Dean's list of supporters and volunteers in Pima County alone already far exceeds one thousand and is growing daily. A rally in Tucson earlier in July far exceeded planners' expectations of 500 attendees when around 2200 people came to see the candidate, packing the venue completely. Every poll in every early primary state has shown Dean accelerating through the pack. He now leads the polls in the country's most populous state, California. In the terms that really count this early in the race, activist participation, voter interest, campaign momentum, and actual numbers of known endorsements and volunteers Dean is not only blowing the doors off every other candidate within Pima County, he is set to take the whole state by storm come February.

Wednesday, July 23, 2003


Below is the text of a letter I sent to the Athens (Ohio) News. They published it on July 17, 2003...

Editor, The Athens News-

Sixteen years ago, I was elected to the Athens City Council as a Republican at-large member. Three years ago, now living in Tucson, I switched my party affiliation to independent. The final straw was the hatchet job that George W. Bush and his cronies did on John McCain during the 2000 South Carolina primary, but my distaste with the GOP had been growing as the party lurched increasingly to the right and moderate voices were either shunted aside or shouted down.

On July 1st, I changed my registration to Democrat for the first time in my life. One person is responsible for this change-former Vermont Governor Howard Dean. Although I still find the national and Arizona Democratic Party leadership generally feckless and bereft of ideas, Dean's hybrid philosophy of fiscal prudence and social justice has excited and motivated me more than any candidate has in along time. Furthermore, he has a proven record during five terms as Vermont governor that contrasts well with the failed policies of George W. Bush. Coupled with his fiery stump style and the ground swell of support for his campaign across this country, Dean is the best choice to be our next president.

Last Saturday, close to 2000 people turned out at a rally for Howard Dean in Tucson when only 250 had been predicted to attend by the local Democratic Party. I hope everyone in Southeastern Ohio will get as excited about this remarkable leader as we in Southern Arizona have become. As Dean says in almost every speech, it is within our power to take this country back.

Rex Scott



> Breaking Down The Candidates
> By Charlie Cook
> Tuesday, July 22, 2003
> Spending some time with former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean (D) just over
> six months ago, it seemed hard to imagine how he -- or even his most
> optimistic backers -- could conjure up a scenario in which he became a
> major factor in the 2004 Democratic presidential nomination fight. It
> was not a setting in which it would have been appropriate to take notes,
> unfortunately, so I can't recall his specific scenario for winning the
> nomination. I only remember that he seemed highly intelligent,
> chock-full of ideas, feisty and ambitious.
> Dean reminded me of so many other highly qualified presidential
> candidates I have met over the years who I similarly, and in those cases
> correctly, surmised not to have a chance. Whether Dean wins next year's
> Democratic nod, he has become a dominating force in this race and, by
> all accounts, has beaten the point spread by a mile.
> For the rest of the field, the race for the Democratic nomination so far
> has been a combination of successes and disappointments.
> Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts began as and remains the nominal
> front-runner. Kerry has enjoyed exceedingly strong fund raising, a
> first-class campaign organization and the perception by most observers
> as having "the most presidential resume and stature." But he and/or his
> message have not yet come together to enjoy the same success as those
> other areas.
> Far more troubling for Kerry is the simple fact that Dean is cutting
> deeply into the ideological and geographical support that Kerry had once
> understandably counted upon.
> In New Hampshire, the back yard for both men, Dean is not just closing
> the gap but is now competing head to head with Kerry among younger,
> college educated Democrats.
> In Iowa, while Rep. Richard Gephardt of Missouri may or may not remain
> in first place, to Kerry's chagrin, it has been the Vermonter who has
> tapped into that younger, better educated and more affluent base that
> Kerry had hoped to pick up in his attempt to compete with Gephardt.
> The Missouri lawmaker's support draws more from working and lower middle
> class, among the blue-collar union members and from those over 65 years
> of age. While some of Dean's support is coming from the fringe left,
> much more is coming from the heart of the group that Kerry had thought
> was his.
> =========================================
> Don't keep Charlie's insight all to yourself! Please forward the
> following link to friends and colleagues.
> Sign up:
> =========================================
> For Gephardt, his effectiveness on the campaign trail has surpassed the
> expectations of even his most ardent and long-standing backers. His
> health plan by any measurement was the boldest and most innovative of
> all, a step toward putting aside concerns that he was passe. His
> campaign operation is top drawer, and everything seems to have worked
> out exceedingly well, except for money.
> While many political insiders and journalists, and even some top
> Republican strategists, marvel at Gephardt's solid performance, noting
> that he has exceeded expectations and has as clear a road, politically
> speaking, to the nomination as any other candidate in the field, those
> views obviously have not been embraced by the Democratic donor
> community.
> Gephardt has become the political equivalent of the highly promising but
> severely undercapitalized company who by all rights ought to do very
> well, if he had the money.
> For Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina, the situation is almost the
> opposite of that of Gephardt.
> Although his fund-raising pace slowed down a bit in the second quarter
> from its breakneck pace in the first three months of this year, Edwards
> has raised tons of money, and he is obviously going to have the money to
> compete effectively in the first round of primaries and in the next
> round, if he gets that far.
> But politically speaking, there is little measurable progress, and he
> does not seem to have hit his stride on the campaign trail. There is no
> question that both the money and the raw talent are there, and there is
> plenty of time for him to capitalize on both, but there are no signs yet
> that he has.
> Finally, there is Sen. Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut, who took the
> huge gamble of being unwaveringly supportive of going to war with Iraq
> while seeking the nomination of a party with strong pacifist tendencies.
> Although the war was initially successful, the continued controversy
> swirling around Iraq means that Lieberman now faces the possibility of
> his support for going to war becoming a liability, certainly among
> Democratic voters. Lieberman also faces the reality of a scarcity of
> money that few anticipated.
> While Lieberman did raise sufficient money in the second quarter to put
> off speculation that he would have to drop out of the race, his chances
> of winning the nomination, like those of Edwards, seem dependent upon
> both Gephardt and Kerry stumbling in Iowa and New Hampshire.

Tuesday, July 22, 2003

Dean a states' rights hypocrite?

Dean has stated that while he strongly supports GLBT rights and civil unions, he thinks that the Federal government should not pass a civil unions law. He says that each state must come to grips with gay marriage in their own way. Yet he supports the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) which mandates the sexual orientation not be used as a basis for discrimination in employment, which trumps any relevant state law. Is this a contradiction, as some suggest? Does Dean really believe that states should have the final say on the issue of human rights for gay people? If you believe that a human right exists, shouldn't they be recognized universally and not conditioned upon what state you live in? Is Dean playing politics and simply saying he does not support Federalizing civil unions because it is unpopular, whereas he feels free to support ENDA because it is? To answer yes to any of these questions is naive.

Dean opposes Federal civil unions as a matter of political strategy, not expediency. Dean's view is much more politically sophisticated than the desire for a logical parallel between state and federal rights. There are strategic reasons to pursue civil unions at in the states and eshew most federalization. One of the most important reasons is that, even when issues of human rights are involved, imposing legal change too quickly or in the wrong way promises a harmful backlash.

Emancipation prompted Jim Crow and Roe v. Wade helped energize a politically moribund GOP right wing. This is not to say that the rights of blacks or women should not have been recognized, but the sudden, wholesale change wrought upon society by the Federal imposition of those rights caused a harmful backlash. Undeniably, those backlashes cost generations of blacks their dignity and now threatens the very nature of our political system by the mobilization of religious fundamentalists who care nothing for the secular traditions of our government, not to mention the dignity or autonomy of women. Dean's advocacy of a state by state approach, likely to be combined with Executive Orders directing the Federal Government to recognize states' civil unions, seeks to bring about universal civil unions and an end to gender discrimination in marriage while lessening the likely cultural and political backlash.

Dean is certainly a states' rights advocate when conditions vary greatly from state to state, such as with gun control laws, but that is not the reason to pursue civil unions only in the states. The reason is to prevent opponents of GLBT family rights from being able to destroy those rights at a single blow.

Federalized civil unions would be a double-edged blade held at the throat of the GLBT community as much as a weapon against the fundamentalist opposition, just as is Roe. If marriage and civil unions are Federalized, whoever controls the Federal government controls the rights of gays and lesbians everywhere. If you keep civil unions rooted in the states, they are effectively isolated from complete control by one faction. You might lose battles, but you won't lose the war, and activists must work harder and more effectively for cultural change to sustain their political gains. It is grassroots growth of a permanent change in attitude toward GLBT family rights which Dean seeks. His experience in Vermont suggests that intensive work in the states is the only way to foster the long-term cultural change that America must undergo. Dean will use his bully-pulpit effectively in service of civil unions, but he will not ask the Congress for a civil unions law.

Legally, civil unions and marriage cannot be effectively isolated, one affects the other. Though marriage is the traditional province of the states, the Federal government does have some role in marriage. Increasingly, Federal laws and regulations impact married couples' behavior and rights. From income tax treatment to parental kidnapping, the Federal government has ever-growing influence upon marriage and married couples. Dean will ensure that what Federal law already exists recognizes and treats civil unions equally to marriage, but he will not sponsor a Federal civil unions law; not ever. If you Federalize civil unions, you will ultimately federalize marriage, and Dean believes, as do most family legal scholars, that Federalizing marriage is a poor idea. Just consider that the GOP's right wing are now proposing a Constitutional amendment freezing the definition of marriage. Federalization is a trap for the unwary, and the fondest desire of the fundamentalist reactionaries would like to stop the evolution of marital law and exclude GLBT couples from enjoying family rights.

There will also be a role for the Federal courts in working for GLBT family rights. The Federal courts will undoubtedly be used to open states to mutual recognition of civil unions and to eliminate whatever discriminatory impediments that foes of GLBT rights may erect, such as Amendments like in Roemer. There certainly are human rights and constitutional issues relevant to the struggle for GLBT family rights, but the Federal courts, being somewhat harder for the opposition to control, is the place most of those debates will occur, not Congress.

Dean's GLBT family rights policy is not hypocritical - a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds - his approach is politically sophisticated and outlines a strategic map for GLBT activists to follow. Dean wants the GLBT vote, and he genuinely believes that discrimination based on sexual orientation must be eliminated. But it won't happen tomorrow, it will be a long hard struggle. Dean will be the GLBT community's staunchest ally in that struggle. He is not looking for a quick political score, he's in it for the long haul - he's in it to win.

Monday, July 21, 2003

How are a map of Iraqi oilfields and lists of "contract suitors" relevant to US energy policy?

Judicial Watch, a conservative legal watchdog organization, began a lawsuit to force VP Cheney's office to divulge the names of energy industry figures who attended closed-door meetings to formulate the Bush energy policy. It is suspected that promises of large campaign contributions were made to the Bush Administration in return for passage of an energy bill that is essentially one giant package of subsidies to the industry.

Under court order, the VP's office has released some rather enigmatic documents, maps of Iraqi oilfields, and lists of "contract suitors", foreign companies who have contracts for oilfield services, exploration, or extraction of Iraqi oil resources. There is no explanation of what these materials were used for, or even if they were used, during discussions. One wonders, though, with administration talk of privatization of Iraqi oil fields, whether divvying up the wealth of Iraq amongst American energy companies wasn't a part of those discussions. And wouldn't that be interesting as these documents are dated March 2001, seven months before 9/11 propelled into war in the Middle East? Yet another piece of proof that the war was planned long before the administration found a cynical way to justify it on 9/11?

Howard Dean's energy policy will not be set behind closed doors in secretive meetings with energy industry executives. He will set ambitious goals for renewable energy, energy efficiency, and fuel economy standards to finally reduce American dependence on foreign oil. He will challenge American automakers to embrace change by meeting ambitious CAFE standards. Dean will not tolerate America's energy sector being allowed to suckle at the teat of Congress, bribing their way to influence and access, which hurts consumers and taxpayers. He will be a responsible and innovative steward of the environment while rebuilding our devastated economy. And Howard Dean will not trade the blood of our nation's youth for oil.

Sunday, July 20, 2003

Two Criminals Buddy Up Texas-Style

President Bush and billionaire Italian Prime Minister and current holder of the rotating Presidency of the EU, Silvio Berlusconi, hung out together at the Bush family's Texas Ranch. Burlesconi is a controversial a figure in Europe due to his glib and often ill-considered comments, and the serious personal legal baggage he brings to the Prime Ministership. In many ways, he is the perfect European partner for Bush.

Now that Bush is feeling the heat over NigerGate, he is looking to open up Iraq to UN participation in order to ease the pressure on US military and financial resources. He doesn't want to face the election with the military bogged down in Iraq, tens of thousands of reservists called up , uprooted from their homes and jobs, and a bum economy to boot.

In order to do this without ceeding control over Iraq he will have to walk a fine diplomatic line, leaning heavily on allies such as Berlusconi, and cherry-picking allies that might volunteer to get their troops shot at without the power to call the shots. Above all, avoiding UN control, but courting UN participation.

The Pentagon claims to have firm commitments for 30,000 foreign troops from 19 countries. But these are very small and specialized troop commitments, 13,000 of which are already in country, not the large number of combat troops Bush needs. India recently turned down Bush's overtures for 17,000 moving targets, saying that they will not participate without a mandate from the UN. Most other countries capable of deploying the troops Bush needs are likely to require the same conditions. With France, Germany and Russia riding a hard line in the Security Council, refusing any UN mandate without UN operational control, Bush is apt to be stuck collecting dribs and drabs from leaders corrupt enough, stupid enough, or weak enough to give in to him. His credibility with Security Council veto holders is low and he is very unlikely to get what he wants without losing the control he must have to help his cronies.

It looks very much like Bush is not going be able to escape the consequences of his own folly without fully internationalizing Iraq. Our potential partners smell the blood in water. Payback is coming for the Bush Administration's bullying and unilateralist tendencies. The world's other powers now know all they have to do is dig in and stick to their demand for control of Iraq and Bush will simply exsanguinate politically, to be finished off in 2004 by a reasonable Democratic candidate. A candidate who understands that we must cooperate and consider the interests of others, that diplomacy is not a dirty word, and that our traditional alliances are not straight-jackets, they are security blankets: Howard Dean, M.D. is that candidate.

Story in AZ paper on AZ's primary prominence

In the Arizona Republic

Saturday, July 19, 2003

Bush Administration Outs Undercover CIA Officer?

David Corn, Washington editor of The Nation, writes about the possibility that Bush Administration officials may have broken the law and compromised national security in an attempt to intimidate possible future leaks within the intelligence community or the Administration generally. Robert Novak, the conservative columnist of the Sun-Times, reported on the 14th that two Administration officials told him that Valerie Plame, the wife of Ambassador Wilson, who travelled to Africa to uncover the Niger forgery, is a CIA undercover officer working on WMD and proliferation.

This information, which really adds nothing more than a footnote to the Niger letter scandal, could only be aimed at ruining the career of Wilson's wife by blowing her cover. Such treatment at the hands of the Administration is sure to have a chilling effect on any potential leaks or whistleblowers - that was the purpose of giving the information to Novak.

The gloves are off at the Bush White House as they fight to protect themselves from WMD fallout. They are becoming reckless and incautious to the point of criminality. One wonders how many laws they'll break and how many lives they'll destroy before they are through.

Already several laws may have been broken. Telling a lie to Congress is a crime. It doesn't matter if it was under oath or not, if it was written or not, or even if it was intentional or not, a government official can be prosecuted for it. A conspiracy to defraud Congress is a crime. A large number of officials could be caught in this net. There are potential violations under a handful of treaties, most notably the UN Charter and the Geneva Conventions, surrounding the war on Iraq and the "war on terror." Some of these possible violations are war crimes which can warrant capital punishment. Now there is a possible violation of the Intelligence Identities Protection Act.

One thing is clear, whichever of the Democratic contenders becomes President (and I pray it is Dean), he or she should not pardon a single one of the Bush Administration's criminals, especially Bush himself. Unless and until America sees a corrupt former President and all his cronies in jail, those who serve the powerful and influential will continue to feel they are immune and above the law. It is a grave mistake to allow political criminals, especially those so highly placed, to walk away from their crimes for the sake of expediency or "saving the Nation from the agony" of public prosecution. That path is the begining of the end of the rule of law.

I firmly believe that the willness of this Administration to flout the law is the direct result of Ford's pardon and the lack of vigor in investigating Iran-Contra. Many key players in the this Administration cut their teeth in the Nixon and Reagan Administration's and know only too well the low cost of crime. A true blue scum-bag like Richard Armitage is serving as Deputy SecState in this Administration! What kind of signal does that send? What does it say about our political system that he was confirmed UNOPPOSED!

We should ask all Dems to take a pledge to not pardon a single crime by this Administration. Then we should start referring to the whole Bush Administration as the FFA, the Future Felons of America.

Wednesday, July 16, 2003

Judis off-base on Dean

A recent article in Salon by John Judis, co-author of "The Emerging Democratic Majority", argues that Dean will likely be beaten badly by Bush in the General Election. Thus if Democrats are serious about beating Bush, they should not nominate him, but rather a more moderate figure such as Kerry, Edwards, or Lieberman. Judis cites several reasons to support his case, let us examine each in turn.

I have a great deal of respect for the work of John Judis The demographic trends, which point to the emergent dominance of the Democratic party, considered in detail in his book are quite compelling. The central thesis of his work, simply stated, being that the areas and populations which are experiencing the most net growth, and vote at the highest rates, are solidly Democratic. Oddly, the very group Judis identifies as leaders of Democratic thought and policy making, and the emerging core of Democratic Party support constituting 20% of the voting electorate, the Urban Professionals, are those most attracted to Dean and his message. Yet it is this very appeal which Judis cites as being disastrous for Dean and the Democrats.

Judis draws a parallel between the McGovern campaign of 1972 and that of Dean 2004. The parallel is facile and based solely on the anti-war stance of both candidates. Judis points out that in reality McGovern and Dean are appealing to the same demographic, anti-war protestors. What a difference a day makes. The baby boom was the heart of the anti-war constituency, but they were young, and voted sporadically, now they are approaching retirement, vote religiously, and have had a proufound cultural effect upon their younger siblings, children, and grandchildren. The anti-war movement is no longer confined to a single generation, there are doubts about the wisdom of the war in all generations and all demographic groups.

Polls indicate that only 53% of Americans approve of GWB's handling of Iraq and nearly 40% think that the Administration may have lied. This, at 18 months out from the general election; these numbers have a lot further to run. The likelihood that Bush will be able to make these questions go away and create a growing, rather than shrinking support for the Iraq mission, especially in the face of an increasingly disaffected military, is low. Dean's intelligent criticism of the war is likely to find an ever larger audience, not a shrinking one. If another prominent and outspoken critic of the war enters the race, it will only bolster Dean's credibility and appeal, especially if that critic is retired General Wesley Clark.

Support for GWB himself has plunged 10 points in just 70 days; if that trend continues Bush's support would be underwater by election time. He is unlikely to lose support among his most ardent base, millionaires and religious fundamentalists, so I predict his approval rating will be around 30% by the election. Bush's growing weakness in the face of foreign policy failure, and more importantly, domestic policy failure is not even considered in Judis' article. A record 455 billion dollar deficit, not counting expenditures on Iraq, a record unemployment rate, continued flatness in the economy, growing resentment of Bush's tax policies now that they have proven to be a bonanza for the wealthy and not a stimulus for the nation, all fuel growing doubt about the ability of the Bush Administration to fix what they broke- the economy. A general election pits one candidate against another. No one who is convinced the Bush lied to them, led us into a disastrous foreign quagmire which is killing our sons and daughters, destroyed the economy and raped it for the benefit of his fat-cat friends or doesn't give a fig for the millions of American's out of work and suffering, is going to vote for the man. They will vote for his opponent, regardless if they agree with his every policy, as long as he has some demonstrable competence.

Dean doesn't have to be the perfect candidate to beat the pants off Bush, he has to be a better choice than Bush- he must be 'not Bush'. For Dean, that will not be hard to do. For some of the other candidates, being 'not Bush' is not nearly so assured. Judis' inattention to the most important aspect of the race, the opponent, completely invalidates his thesis.
Judis also neglects the distinct lack of parallels between the foreign policy situations in 1972 and the present. In the 1972 campaign, both McGovern and Nixon said they wanted peace, but they wanted it different ways. McGovern has no concern about saving face, Nixon promised peace with honor and that the negotiated end of the war was at hand. For most voters the election was not a choice between war and peace, but an ignominious peace and an honorable one. This election does not, as yet, present such a choice. The choice is between turning over Iraq to UN and NATO allies and at least 5 more years of grinding guerilla war and hundreds more dead Americans. The calculation could change if the Administration gets smart after Dean is nominated and pulls the issue out from under him by proposing a UN/NATO turnover themselves. Given the Administration's ideological proclivities such a proposal is very unlikely.

Judis points to Dean' lack of foreign policy experience as a problem. I might remind people just how miserably unprepared GWB himself was on foreign policy issues in 2000 (and some might say he remains woefully unprepared today), facing an opponent who had spent 8 years at the heart of an Administration's foreign policy decision-making. Given the high level critiques now being leveled at the Administration's anti-terror efforts, nation building in Afghanistan, and occupation of Iraq, I doubt this issue will be as one-sided as Judis implies. During the general election Dean is likely to put forward a much more detailed plan for defense and anti-terror and a much more scathing and persistent attack on Bush's record. Additionally, Dean, being a doctor, understands the proper use of specialists. By the general election he will likely have in place an extremely impressive staff of foreign policy, military, and terrorism experts to proxy for him, advise him, and eventually take places in his Administration.

Judis claims that Dean support for civil unions will hurt him among conservative voters. I think this is irrelevant. Gore also advocated civil unions in the 2000 campaign and specifically endorsed the Vermont act. Not only did Gore win the popular vote despite this stand, 58% of Americans polled as agreeing with him. Civil unions will not be an issue that will swing any voters from Dean to Bush. If a voter would be turned off by civil unions they would be voting for Bush anyway, not even a conservative Democrat like Lieberman could prevent that; that voter would just vote for Bush because Lieberman's a Jew.

Judis claims that Dean will be extremely weak in the South because he is a Ivy League Northeasterner. That's what running mates are for, son. This race happens to be full of good Southern candidates. Edwards, Graham, Gephardt, possibly Clark, and one can't overlook the possibility, no matter how absurd, of Clinton. He couldn't succeed to the Presidency, but there would be no issue of a primary fight for the nomination with Hillary in 2012. The Democrats may not win much if any of the South in 2004, but they can be competitive with a correctly balanced Dean ticket. In fact, many have suggested that if Gore had properly balanced his ticket in 2000 he would have won the Presidency. If he had chosen another Southerner, such as Bob Graham of Florida, instead of the odd choice of Lieberman, he would have carried Florida, likely a few other southern states, including his own, and won the Presidency. I don't think Dean is likely to choose another Northerner to compliment his ticket.

Judis ends, "Just as the country was not ready for McGovern in 1972, so it is probably not ready for Howard Dean in 2004." On the contrary, the country is begging for a change from the vocabulary challenged, insecure, dim-bulb, bully the Supreme Court foisted unwisely upon us. I dare say that every single person who voted for Al Gore, will vote for Dean regardless if they disagree with him on a few issues. Add those swing voters who unwisely voted for Bush because he was more 'real' and 'a regular guy' and have now learned their lesson about the results of having Joe Six-pack in the oval office. Add those people who voted for Bush because they found Gore, "a little creepy." Add those who were outraged the Supreme Court saw fit to award the Presidency to Bush. Add those who have been directly hurt by Bush's "cater to the rich and screw the poor" policies. Add those union members who are gong to be devestated by Bush's roll-back of the 40 hour work-week and mandatory overtime. Add those Green Party members who now see their vote for Nader helped Bush roll back environmental regulations. Add the families and friends of military personnel who lost a loved ones. Add the military men and women who feel betrayed by a CiC who lied to them about why they were going to war and about the length of their rotation, cut their vets benefits, cut educational funding for the their kids, and tried to cut their hazard pay. Add those millions who are out of work and see no prospect for improvement and no concern from the White House (not just Democrats lose their jobs, Republicans do, too). Add those people who genuinely expected Bush to return honor and dignity to the White House and got an aircraft carrier landing, media staged wars, and "bring 'em on!" Add those middle class people, expecting a tax cut, who get instead higher state and local taxes and a growing mountain of debt they will have to pay for in their old age, or that their children will inherit. That's a few people.

My point is, as much as one votes 'for' a candidate, one also votes 'against' his opponent. His critics know there is a lot to be against in Bush; the public is beginning to take notice. His popularity is a house of cards, built upon an illusion of American exceptionalism and political inevitability that his staff carefully fostered with war, jingoism and the fascistic combination of political power with corporate media. The first 9 months of his Presidency are more indicative of his true stature. At that time his job approval was mediocre, about 50%; it will slide far below that. It is already down to 55% and falling fast. At that time his hard re-elect number was 49%, now it is 47%. His hard non-re-elect number was 42%, now it is 46% and trending upward. The cards have begun to be pulled from the Bush house as the media reasserts some independence. Bush's card castle of political triumph will soon turn into a messy pile of resentments at having been lied to, impoverished, and exploited. When considering the chances of any Democratic contender in 2004, one makes a grave mistake to not factor in the pending disintegration of the Bush Administration and the meltdown of the GOP to follow.

In my view, the Democratic primary will not just determine who will be the Democratic nominee, it will determine who will be the next President. By the general election Bush will have bled-out politically. Fairy tales just don't happen here. Americans are smart and quite capable of smelling bullshit; it just takes a little time for the scent to spread.

Dean is not just a viable candidate, he is the best candidate for the times; he is the anti-Bush.

Tuesday, July 15, 2003

What does W stand for?

laura's SPIN :: A History Lesson

Have you ever wondered where the "Walker" is from -- the Walker in George W. Bush? It turns out that it is a slave's name. The slave called Walker was owned by John James Holliday, who inherited Walker from his father Joseph. Who is John James Holliday? He is George W. Bush's ancestor. His daughter Nancy is W's great great grandmother. She lived until 1942 in St. Louis. Bush's father -- who also carried Walker's name -- turned 18 that very year.

All this comes from Terrell Dempsey, who writes a column on history for the Hannibal Courier-Post. Dempsey writes that "Joseph Holliday, like many Northeast Missourians in the years before the Civil War, kept most of his money in the two assets that were immune to the shaky banking system of the time. Land and Slaves. In 1850 he owned ten slaves. By 1860 his human wealth had grown to 16."

When George Walker Bush speaks about slave-masters, as he did this week in Senegal, and he says, (as he did) that "the spirit of their captors was corrupted. Small men took on the power and airs of tyrants," you don't have to go back very far in history to find that Bush knows whereof he speaks.

You can find Terrell Dempsey's "A common background: Presidents Bush, Mark Twain and the legacy of slavery" here:

Gephardt and Lieberman having fundraising woes

Salon reports that Dick and Joe may be having some difficulty rasing funds. Both missed their targets for this quarter, which might prevent them from spending the maximum in each state of the early round of primaries. As this early round generally winnows down the crowd to 2 or 3 candidates, this early money weakness could spell trouble for these cadidates. The top tier is usually considered Dean, Kerry, Edwards, Gephardt, and Lieberman. If the money weakness of the latter two persists, the likely contest will be Dean v Kerry with Edwards as a persistant darkhorse and strong VP possibility.

Monday, July 14, 2003

Dean's guest-blogging begins

Today Dean began his guest-blogging term at the Lessig blog by expressing concern for the growth of media concentration under the latest FCC ruling. Tune in daily to this exciting campaign event. The response to Dean's presence is demonstrated by the unusually high, and rapid, response rate to Dean's first post. Dean's posts are cross-posted on BlogforAmerica, but Lessig's reader's responses (and likely those of a lot of Slashdotters, as Dean's guest-blogging was mentioned at /.) are only available at the Lessig blog.

Sunday, July 13, 2003

Dean to guest blog on Lawrence Lessig's blog

Dr. Howard Dean is going to fill in for vacationing Stanford law professor Lawrence Lessig, a well-known leading expert on cyber-law. Dean will be personally maintaining and posting to Lessig's personal blog during his absence. This represents a new and interesting phenomenon; a Presidential candidate filling in on the 'show' of a new breed of internet celebrity. Imagine Harry Truman filling in for Jack Benny for a few weeks during the Presidential primaries. We're in a new world folks, keep your eye on Lessig's blog, this is going to be interesting.

Saturday, July 12, 2003

Dean Brings The People Out ... And The Rain In

Wow! What a smashing success! The Rally must have brought out at least 1500 - 1800 people. I've heard serveral estimates of over 2000! There was a bit of a wait before the speakers really began, but people were so hungry for what Dean and the other speakers had to say, they willingly waited it out as the temperature in the room rose and the oxygen level plummeted. Finally, the room was opened out to its fullest extent and though still full to capacity, people were able to spread out a little bit and more were able to get all the way into the room.

Mary Judge Ryan warmed up the crowd, kept people informed about matters, and was her usual charming self. Finally, it was announced that Dean had arrived and the crowd went pretty nuts. As the furor died down a bit, future Mayor Tom Volgy stepped up to the mike and gave the crowd a short, but rousing speech. Then Phil Lopes, the State Representative, gave a very informative introduction, displaying an impressive command of Dr. Dean's record of achievement. Then Dean took the mike and the energy in the room really started to build. As he moved through his speech you could feel the crowd moving with him. The sense of relief and joy was palpable; someone was finally saying the things that so many Americans are thinking, and what so many others badly need to hear. The hotel must have been shaking with the force of so many voices raised in defiance, in agreement, and in laughter as Dean's words lead the crowd through each emotion in turn. By the end, every person was left with the feeling that we can actually do it; we can actually take back our country from the vultures who have bullied their way into control.

Dean's tremendously successful visit is a portent greater successes yet to come. As soon as he passed out of town, the monsoons followed upon his heels, breaking fully through the stultifying heat and parching drought of early summer. Like the first deep breath after a long a terrifying dream, cool moist air rushed into our valley, easing anxieties and promising relief. And as the rain pounds down, my own eyes are moist with hope that there will indeed be an end to the senseless fires that have ravaged our cherished land.

Friday, July 11, 2003

The American Spectator reports on Kerry's oppo research efforts

Kerry's folks have begun intensive opposition research on Dean, sending staff to Vermont to pull together whatever dirt they can find out about not only Dean but also his wife, who continues to work as a physician in the state.

"It's early, but not too early to start taking him down a notch," says a Kerry staffer. "We've gone head to head with Dean in debates, we've tried to shout them down and shut them up, and they are still hanging around. We're going on the offensive."
From the beginning, perhaps because Kerry was a fellow Northeastern Democrat, Dean seemed to focus his attacks on the senator from Massachusetts. The two candidates have gone at each other throats in debates and candidate forums around the country, and Dean has jabbed at Kerry from the podium. Now Dean has apparently outraised Kerry and his huge fundraising operation in the second quarter of this fiscal year.

Kerry's oppo staff appears to be focusing on Dean's career as a practicing physician, which the candidate has spoken about on the stump. Dean has claimed that he assisted underaged women who were pregnant, but has declined to say whether he provided them with abortions. Dean has also attempted to side-step his deferment from the military during the Vietnam War. Dean claims it was for a congenital back problem. But after receiving his free pass out of service, he spent several months skiing in Colorado, and has bragged about it.

The Kerry staffer says that Dean's recent appearance on NBC's "Meet the Press" gave them pause. "He was avoiding having to talk about anything substantive from his background. There has to be stuff there. We're looking. If he's going to be around for the long haul, we might as well be ready."

ed.- It's too bad that Dems now feel compelled to do the GOP's work for them. I suppose one could look at it as a weeding out of anyone with serious enough gaffes in their background to be liability in the General. After all, Bush has got to find something to do with that 170 million he's raising- that buys plenty o' oppo. I tell you though, I resent the tone of that staffer, sounds like they have a serious entitlement attitude in the Kerry camp.

Rally Estimates

It looks like we are likely to fill the room to capacity for Dean! If a good slice of the people who have RSVPed show up, and we have a reasonable response to our other efforts, we should have 500 or more at the rally. The venue capacity is about 800. If we reach capacity I would not be at all surprised.

It looks like Dean will spend some time with labor leaders and then come to the rally site for a speech and a Q and A session, time permitting.

There wasn't much lead time for the media, but we are expecting reporters from both dailies and television coverage. In all, I expect a smashing success that will really raise awareness of Dean's campaign in Southern Arizona.

Great work everyone :)

Tuesday, July 08, 2003

Dean for Arizona Rally Finalized

The Dean Rally in Tucson will take place at the University Marriott Hotel. The address is 880 E. 2nd Street (University and 2nd). The time and date will be July 12th, Saturday, 2003 from 2:00 to 3:00 PM.

We decided not to use a union hall for the event. Response has been overwhelming; already we have 50 confirmed RSVPs (which, if meetups are any guide, means 75 to 100 will possibly show) and we haven't even begun to publicize the event. There will be plenty of room in the new venue, however, so bring everyone you can think of to bring!

Come early if you would like to be put to work helping with decorations, setup, manning tables, or anything else. Be sure to bring your Dean signs and wear your Dean gear if you have it. We are definitely going to try to have television crews present.

If you wish to help publicizing and planning for the event, please contact Jonna Lopez at

Thursday, July 03, 2003

Looks like Dean will not be the sole anti-war candidate for much longer.

Retired U.S. Army General Wesley Clark, a former NATO commander, asserts the United Nations must step in because "there is no legitimacy for the American presence and they are not building one."

"The issue to me has been that we have known for a long time that Osama bin Laden is a problem. The difficulty was always to mobilize the American people and bring enough comprehensive pressure to bear to do something against terrorism. Well, 9-11 did that. But the administration has squandered a lot of the international goodwill that came our way after the attacks and is now squandering our domestic energy by forcing us into Iraq."

The Bush administration's mistake in Iraq, says Clark, is one of priorities. "They picked war over law. They picked a unilateralist approach over a multilateral approach. They picked conventional forces over special-operations forces. And they picked Saddam Hussein as a target over Osama bin Laden."

If Clark enters the race, he will likely be considered a 'serious' candidate, regardless of his initial bankroll. It is ironic that Clark has said, and will be saying almost the same thing as Dean- yet no one questions that he is serious on defense, no one characterizes his positions as in any way weak on defense.

Some might see Clark as a threat, he has some advantages- fairly good name recognition, being a General in a time when people feel insecure, having Clinton's endorsement... all good things. But I see him as an opportunity. His candidacy will position Dean's views as the smart views, his positions being almost identical to Dean's will make people see that Dean is a prodigy of sound military thinking, not just an "anti-war" candidate. A Clark candidacy will be a huge boost for Dean, not a detriment.

In fact, Clarke has already made it clear that he would be open to a VP or Sec Def nod. I think Clark will be a huge asset for Dean's campaign in almost every way and might possibly play a role in a Dean Administration. Heck, Dean would be smart to call Clark, encourage him to run, and slap the maximum donation on Clark's campaign.

It will serve us well to remember that Dr. Dean is not the only principled politician to have opposed Bush's merry little spree of war crimes. Others, such as Senator Mark Dayton of Minnesota stood against the tide. Our candidate is not alone in standing against aggression, rash commitment of American lives, and the lies and deceptions of the Bush Administration. Other men and women of honor, patriotism, and deep experience also stood firm. Sen. Dayton serves on the Armed Services Committee and the Select Intellegence Committee. He cannot rationally be called a man who is uniformed about matters of national security. 23 Sentators voted against the resolution unconstitutionally ceeding the war power to the President. Most of them stand proudly behind their votes. Dean is not alone in the party in his opposition to the Iraq war and Bush's perfidity. Never forget that. Don't let Dean's critics forget it.

Many in the GOP also questioned the wisdom of war and continue as skeptics of Bush's approach to defense. For instance, Retired Gen. Brent Scowcroft, Bush I's NSA, publicly opposed Bush's nearly unilateral rush to war. Reviewing his argument, it is clear that even he overestimated Saddam's remaining military capabilities.

Now that Dean has proven himself a top-tier contender in this race, I think it likely that other major candidates will try to draw a contrast between themselves and Dean with their war records and their support for Bush's Gulf Follies II. We need to be prepared to vigorously defend our candidate's record, his position, and his strength and credibility on defence against all comers.

If I had to reduce Dean's position on Defense to a snappy 1 liner, it would be this: "Would you rather have President Dean who thinks America's defence policy must be both Strong AND Smart, or President Bush who thinks it's OK to be Stupid (Shortsighted, for those less vociferous), so long as we are Strong?" The questions are going to be tougher now that Dean is the frontrunner, rather than a "boutique" candidate. who opposed war and who actively questions Shrub's defense and anti-terror policies. Attacks are going to be coming from fellow Democrats as well as the GOP.

We are the shock troops for Dean's wake-up call. If you haven't read Dean's position papers on National Security, Reconstruction of Iraq, and Anti-Terrorism/Homeland Security, you need to do it now.

We will win this debate, because Dean is right. We know, that when many of us marched and protested with millions of others around the world at the begining of the Iraq War; we were right! Everything that has happened since then has confirmed it; we were right! Now that we have the candidate who can win, we are going to take the White House and PUT THINGS RIGHT!

Democratic Presidential Candidate Gov. Howard Dean, M.D. is coming to Tucson!

Arizona for Dean Rally @

The Venue for this Event has not been decided.

Saturday, July 12, 2 –3pm

Don’t miss this opportunity to meet presidential candidate Howard Dean, listen to him define what is at stake in the 2004 election, and hear his vision to Take Back America.

Dear Pima/Pinal Committee for Dean,

On Saturday, July 12, there is a chance that Howard Dean will speak at a rally/forum at the Doubletree Hotel around 2:30 or 3:00 PM.  We are waiting for confirmation on that.
To be 100% certain to see our candidate, go to the Volunteer Dinner in Phoenix that night, where he will be the keynote speaker. 

If you are interested in sitting with other Howard Dean supporters, please contact Pamela King (326-5656). She will attempt to reserve Dean tables.  Today is the last day to make a reservation. I don't know if there is wiggle room on that....
Former Governor Howard Dean, MD
Keynote Speaker

Saturday, July 12, 2003

Mountain Preserve Reception Center
1431 E. Dunlap
Phoenix, Arizona

$150 Sponsor
$60 Individual
$40 Precinct Committeeman

5:00 P.M. Registration and Cocktails
6:00 P.M. Dinner

R.S.V.P. by July 2nd to Mia Ricardo at 602.298.4200

Please Make checks payable to: Arizona Democratic Party
2910 North Central Avenue, Phoenix, Arizona

Just a reminder to new Dean4AZ blog members, you can invite new people to become part of the blog team by going to Settings: Members and filling in the email addresses of new invitees.

We more than tripled our June attendance. In June, we had 41 people and this time we had 134!  We were scrambling for chairs and ran out of agendas.  Almost 40 people arrived at 6:30 to see the video of Charlie Rose interviewing Howard Dean.  People brought their friends and family. Some brought school age children and there were several college and high school students. We had to round up additional chairs as more and more people came through the door. Frank Costanzo, Arizona director of the campaign, spoke and fired up the crowd.  When we began to write the letters to Iowa, people had to share the name lists because we ran out of sheets. I was surprised that two of the people who spent the most time letter writing were a 25 year old woman and a seventeen year old boy.  During the letter writing session we showed a re-play of Dean's June 23 announcement speech.  People lingered to fill out volunteer forms,talk, and speculate about Dean's upcoming visit to Tucson. We're making history as we work together to get our country back.

I was one of the 138 (final count as far as I know) people at the Tucson Meetup. What an amazing experience! I think that Dean really speaks to people and he has obviously struck a nerve with the Democratic party. I am, of coarse, annoyed when he gets negative attention, but in a way it is a positive. I think he faces greater scrutiny because he is now seen as a viable candidate, where he wasn't before. I am so happy to see that so many people CARE about the electoral process and so many people realize how much damage the Bush administration has done to all facets of American life. Dean is going to take us in the right direction. I don't always agree with him, but I think he is by far the best chance for honest, real life leadership. And he is so right on when he talks about being proud to be a Democrat and that the Democratic party has gotten no where fast by pandering to the right.

Besides, it is my goal that Arizona's electoral votes go to a Democrat and Dean is the one to do it : )

Wednesday, July 02, 2003

The meetup this evening went very well! The turnout was unexpectedly large; I think someone mentioned a sign-in register based count of 137. Only 80-some were confirmed on Looks like we got some family and friends and last minute turnouts. Considering our last meetup was around 40 people, if the growth rate remains this high, or even drops off some, we are going to need a much bigger venue for meetups.

It would be nice to make sure that we have two sound-isolated locations in any new venue. There was a bit of friction between those trying to network and chat and those watching Dean's announcement video.

Yet another story about the buzz the Dean campaign's internet strategy is creating. Nobody know what to make of it. Does it translate into votes? It certainly translates into money. From what we have seen at meetups it certainly translates into excitement for the candidate and his message; how can that translate into anything other than votes?

Another excellent peice of press for Dean as a result of his virtual campaigning prowess. Really gives you a good perspective of how effectively and courageously Dean has leveraged organizational tools and let go of his net presence and allowed proxies to work for him to multiply his influence. Dean's campaign will be the standard by which other's internet efforts are judged.

A story following on the hispanic conference in Phoenix over the AP wire, depicts Dean as an outsider who taps into Democrats anger with their own parties accomodations with the Administration.

This story makes an interesting point about momentum. Dean is doing the right things in pre-primary season to build momentum where in previous primaries there wasn't all that much momentum to be had. Without any major contests to win, it was hard for candidates to give much appearance of momentum outside of simply doing well in the money primary. With's online primary of over 330K people, and the tremendous opportunities Dean has uncovered in online fundraising, the primary now has a significant early contest, and is likely to have many more in the future.

The primary wass heavily weighted toward activists and progressives. Some may decry the increased influence that the MoveOn primary gives the Left, but time and results will demonstrate that the tremendous boost it gave Dean was a good thing. DLC types are likely to say it skews the primary too far left for the candidate to appeal to mainstream voters, but when Dean captures the nomination and beats the pants off Bush they will be singing a different tune.

You seldom hear the phrase, "energizing the base", in reference to Democratic politics; the phrase is mainly used when the GOP panders to their Right Wing. I think that lift Dean's campaign success is the result of the Democratic base being energized. Dean's millions are coming a few bucks at a time from regular people, not corporate fat cats or Union treasuries. If the left is being stimulated, look for them to lift turnout, produce a lot of noise and agitprop, and raise a lot of money. Energizing the base could be just as important to Democratic success as Rove thinks it is for the GOP. That is one of Dean's stregths in my opinion, he can raise some excitement on the left and still appeal to the center with his fairly Clintonian economic philosophy.

RSS/Atom Feed Site Meter
Powered by Blogger