Sunday, November 30, 2003

Tucson Dean HQ Opens and Southern AZ Coordinator Hired

The Pima County Dean campaign now has an office and a new Southern Arizona Coordinator, Juan Camacho. Juan comes to us from a long association with Raul Grijalva and having extensive experience in political campaigning. He heads the campaign effort in CD 7 and 8, which embraces much of Pima county and all of Tucson.

The office is in the "Boudoir" at the rear of Democratic headquarters, 4639 E. First Street, just southwest of Swan and Speedway. The Democratic party's Pima County HQ used to be a dance studio. There is a large meeting hall, once the practice studio, on the east side of the building. Just north of this room is the new office. It used to be a changing room for the dancers and is wallpapered in red chintz, hence the nickname the Boudoir 

You can enter through the front door, or drive around to the rear and enter the office directly from the parking lot.  The office will be open M-F from 9:00a.m. to 5:00 p.m., from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Saturdays, and from 12 noon - 4 p.m. on Sundays, except for holidays, begining Dec. 1.  The office will also be open on an ad hoc basis on evenings and other weekend hours for volunteers to phone potential Dean supporters.

The office phone number is (520) 403-5879. The office manager is Paula Dauphin. If you would like to volunteer to help staff the office, contact her at (520) 323-7264 or at the Pima Dean HQ office number.

Saturday, November 29, 2003

Daily Kos || Labor Markets and Elections, Then and Now

Daily Kos || Labor Markets and Elections, Then and Now

An excellent post by DHinMI on the topic of jobs. The field reports from the Federal Reserve's Beige Book does not support the astroturfed economic prospects the Administration's boosted GDP growth figures portray. The administration portrays this spike as the highest single quarter of growth in 20 years. That may be, but it is accompanied by a lack of other news which would support the idea that this growth represents a sustainable recovery. Job growth is lagging, the credit sector is sagging, core living expenses such as health care is spiking, and what people see with their own eyes about the economy is not to their liking.

Jobs continue to lag behind Administration projections. We still have 2.3 million fewer jobs now than we did in 2001, and job growth lags seriously behind working age population growth in almost every state. The situation is increasing dire in the Midwest and the Mississippi-adjacent states of America where the GOP has to hang on to retain the Presidency. Combined with the trade-related woes in key states resulting from Rove's steel tarriff fumble, the GOP will have a real battle hanging on to key states won by narrow margins in 2000.

Here are some brief talking points on this topic for casual discussions:

So there is supposedly over 8% growth in the economy? Did your income go up 8% or did you expenses?

8% growth in the economy. Must be somewhere else, I don't see it around here, do you?

How many people do you know personally that are out of work? How many of those are out of benefits?

That 8% doesn't seem to be too useful to the millions who are still looking for work.

8% doesn't seem that impressive considering. Think about the billions Bush has poured into the economy with tax cuts for the wealthy, little tax bribes to people like us, and the billions of deficit spending we can't afford. How could the economy not boom a bit?

Do you have good talking points for taking the hot air out of the Bush Boom?

Wednesday, November 26, 2003

The Coming Battle for the Rhetorical Heights

The controversy over Bush's first TV ad in Iowa illustrates an important point for the coming general election; security is a dicey issue for Dems, even if they are right. The eventual Democratic candidate will have to appeal to swing voters and potential cross-over voters in order to win, even though such uncommitted voters are less numerous than in prior elections. What messages will succeed in appealing to those voters and get them to go out and vote the right way? Here is my completely gratuitous advice to all the Presidential candidates and the DNC on the subject.

Bush has become the GOP. They are wedded so completely to his agenda and so invested in his credibility that it would be a body blow to the entire party for him to be defeated in '04. Defeating Bush is mandatory. The GOP's margins in Congress will balloon obscenely if Bush is not put down.

Bush is apparently quite content to attempt to scare voters into voting for him. It's a actually a strong tactic based on an innate understanding of conservative psychological patterns. Can the Dems succeed simply by stating that they have a better approach to Homeland Security and National Defense and a more responsible Economic policy? In a word, no.

Many swing and cross-over voters are possessed of an innate conservatism that demands certainty, and black and white solutions. Saying to them, "Our nuanced approach using police techniques and intelligence gathering, combined with a mix of hard and soft power projection in close cooperation with traditional allies and non-radicalized Muslim states and factions while respecting human rights and carefully avoiding trampling the civil rights of anyone, is far superior to GWB's policy of simply trying to kill them all," is not going to work well. Many like the idea of just killing them all and "letting Allah sort 'em out," as the colorful expression goes.

What is needed is what Dean has been doing. Dems must attack Bush as weak on Homeland Defense, failing to provide for America's real anti-terror needs, and disastrously misguided in taking us to Iraq when the real threat was elsewhere. Conservative voters will respond to Bush being wrong, weak, and misguided; less will respond to a more nuanced, more appropriate policy proposal. Save that for the base. The Dem's argument must be that the terrorist body count is too low; that Bush has left us vulnerable to attack; that Bush has foolishly put our resources where the terrorists aren't; and that Dems will be more effective, more intelligent, more merciless, and spend resources more wisely. This is, of course, a very difficult argument for any candidate who voted for the Iraq war to make.

GOP counter-attacks must also be dealt with. Bush has already tried to portray the Dems as traitors for questioning his policies. Dems must place a rhetorical firebreak between Iraq and terrorism. They must consistently stay on message that there was no terrorism in, or from, Iraq before Bush's war, and that Bush's war created what terrorism is there. The war is a terrorism breeder, not a prophylactic. The President admitted this when he conceded that there were no ties between the Ba'ath regime and Al Qaida; this needs to be amplified over and over, and over again. Nor is the war drawing terrorists out into the open; it is quietly hatching new terrorists every day, and giving global terrorists new opportunities within the vacuum of effective control that is post-war Iraq. The resentment and hatred toward Americans the occupation creates will lead to innocent American deaths in the future. The occupation is costing around 1000 Iraqi lives per week, and each dead Iraqi has friends and relatives who may seek revenge.

Finally, Dems should take a cue from Bush; never mention Saddam Hussein, only refer to Ba'athists, and mention bin Laden at every opportunity. Minimizing the bird near to hand and emphasizing the one in the bush is the Dems best weapon against Bush's slights to their patriotism. Thus whenever Bush attacks using the rhetorical line of the GOP's Iowa ad, the retort should not be outrage over the attack being misleading, it should be scorn. Outrage is weak and womanly, scorn is strong and virile. Something like: "So, a few Ba'athists have 160,000 of our troops tied up with grenade launchers while North Korea develops the Bomb? Some leadership! Bush admited that Iraq and Al Qaida have nothing to do with each other. So what are we doing in Iraq since we aren't fighting terrorists? Chasing a few Ba'athists around the desert, that's what. And where the hell is bin Laden? Two years ago Bush said, "Dead or Alive!" Now he doesn't even dare to utter his name! bin Laden killed 3000 of our people! What has Bush done about it? Invaded the wrong country, that's what. Bush is a miserable failure and a traitor to the victims of 9/11 and their families."

At all costs, the Dems must push forward investigation of 9/11 intel failures and demand an explanation of the relationship between Bush and the bin Ladens. Any culpability on Bush's part for 9/11 will infuriate the public and further discredit Bush's exploitation of the tragedy for political purposes. This issue needs to be on the talking points of every Dem in the country every day, "Bush exploits the tragic deaths of the 9/11 victims for political gain," should be quoted somewhere every day. If something breaks in the 9/11 investigation, the GOP may even have to reschedule or move their Convention because of the backlash.

Grassroots protestors should be encouraged to make the New York GOP convention every bit as polarizing and divisive as the Chicago Convention of 1968. If possible, the GOP needs to be motivated to use the same techniques in New York 2004 as they used at the recent Florida FTAA meeting. If they are stupid enough to use from Iraq to do it, all the better. Democratic candidates need to speak out on this misuse of funds, the troubling police techniques, and coordination of anti-protest policy through the FBI now. If they don't get on record early and harshly, they could be seen as acquiescing in the persecution of political protest and lose their moral authority on the topic later; they'll be seen as trying to squeeze some political mileage out of the issue, not as taking a principled stand in favor of civil rights.

Dems also face a daunting task in convincing swing voters that Bush is a failure at managing the economy. Telling swing voters that Bush's tax cuts favored the rich and that Bush fiddled while Rome suffered through a recession will not be enough. Many think that taxes are too high, and, almost unfathomably, wrongly think that they are in the upper reaches of the income distribution. I know it sounds absurd, but nearly a third of people think they are in the top 5% in income. Attacking the rich doesn't work very well, even if people aren't stupid enough to think they ARE rich, they at least want to BE rich.

People will likely be willing to take the trade-off of dumping Bush's tax cuts in exchange for health care and other benefits, but it's not a resounding indictment of Bush's priorities; just different priorities. Bush will claim that his tax cuts are laying the foundation for the prosperity of the next decade, an inherently untestable claim and thus a difficult proposition to challenge. Most economists think that the simulative effect which tax cuts normally would have are almost entirely offset by the burden of financing them with mountains of debt instead of spending cuts, but one can always find a minority view in economics, or any other non-experimental discipline for that matter.

Nor are poor economic performance figures terribly problematic for Bush. He is a master of low expectations. As we have seen for the past month, any growth at all gets spun into a success and an exoneration of Bush's policies. Finally, the deficits Bush is running are definitely irresponsible, but there are positive and responsible deficits (investments in future productivity and short term stimuli of growth are generally considered acceptable) and the GOP will spin Bush's deficits as this type. People are not terribly sophisticated when it comes to public finance and macro-economics, so the spin will work for many swing voters. The notion of a "birth tax", the amount of debt that every American child is now born into, is a useful way to demonstrate the irresponsibility of running such large deficits, but it's not a home run.

Bush is a political vampire. Things that would kill the career of a normal politician stone dead, seem to bounce off Bush. The only thing that will harm him is sunshine. Career public servants coming out and telling about the Administration's attempts to stifle and pervert the government's self-monitoring functions are what can put Bush down for the count. We have gotten a glimpse of this in the intelligence apparatus, the scientific review boards, the EPA, and others. These efforts are the best basis for impeachment of the Administration's claims about the economy. People will stand for a lot things, cheating is not one. The revelations of the Administration gaming the system have already been a substantial part of Bush's slide in the polls. In my view, catching him red-handed in jiggering the data stream that keeps the government conversant with reality would be a stake through the heart for his Administration.

The second place where a little sunshine would harm Bush is a clear demonstration of how he has served political donors special interests at the expense of the public welfare and the vitality and competitive vigor of the economy. Bush's full-on deployment of crony capitalism in America is understood to be both ethically reprehensible and harmful to the public interest by nearly everyone who knows of and understands it. The Dems must pull out the stops to investigate and expose the marketing of the public interest to the highest bidder by the GOP and hammer Bush mercilessly with the results.

The torch that can truly immolate the Bush Administration is jobs. The job loss during this Administration is the worst since Hoover. There is nearly nothing the Administration can do to explain those job losses away and they are vulnerable to charges of attempting to hide the true extent of unemployment. A recent spin is that many of the unemployed are in sectors which were declining or moving off-shore anyhow, and thus those jobs would have been lost in any case, and it is the fault of the unemployed for not retraining for viable jobs and for continuing to look for jobs which will no longer exist in our economy. This is a very weak argument which highlights the Administration's weakness on job creation. Chronic unemployment strikes everywhere, and concerns everyone, because most people know that there are only a few months unemployment between them and ruination. It is a subject which is not amenable to counter-argument or obsfucation; it's hard to argue credibly the unemployment is good for anyone or anything. Even if the economy picks up somewhat before the election, there is simply no way, short of mass public works programs, that the Administration can get the economy to soak up that many idle workers.

There is no chance of a credible counter-attack by the GOP on the economy, nor specifically on jobs. The Dems aren't in any position to deny the GOP much of their agenda and the last Dem Administration presided over the largest peace-time economic expansion in history and an unprecedentedly low rate of unemployment and increase in wages. As such, this is the perfect place to hammer the Administration the hardest.

The GOP will try to switch the debate entirely to foreign policy and terror, because it is their self-proclaimed stronghold and they can hide behind the flag and patriotism. Dems mustn't let them define this election as a referendum on solely on Iraq or terrorism policy. Dems must focus on the economy, and jobs in particular to have a clearly compelling message for swing and cross-over voters. Some of those voters may disagree, or be led to disagree with the GOP on defense and terror policy, but concerns about the economy clearly have the best potential for a wider appeal. Allowing the GOP to frame the entire election as a referendum on defense is exactly the distraction from their vulnerabilities that they desire. The Dem challenger must address security, and contrast their views with Bush, but the winning issues are economic issues the GOP works hardest to keep out of the media -- jobs and the GOP's corruption.

Tuesday, November 25, 2003

House-Guest from Hell

George Bush is as poor a guest as he is a President. I suppose it should come as no surprise that the man with the most inflated ego on earth should turn out to be an inconsiderate house-guest, too. Besides bringing five personal chefs with him to make his fajitas, Bush inconsiderately caused thousands of pounds of damage to the Queen's gardens during his recent visit to Buckingham Palace.

It's not exactly a campaign issue, but it is a useful insight into the deep arrogance of our Commander in Thief that he would run roughshod over his host's property while deigning to visit what he clearly views as 'our little colony across the pond'. He can casually offend our nearest ally, spit on decades old alliances without a thought, and insouciantly scare the hell out of regimes across the globe, setting off a new nuclear arms race. He truly is a disaster of super-villainish proportions: call him President Doom.

The Dean You Don't Know

Book Review: "Howard Dean: A Citizen's Guide to the Man Who Would Be President "

One of the books listed on the right-hand column is reviewed by In brief, the authors find that Dean's fiscal policies are "conservative", meaning "responsible" and even "cheap", not "wildly irresponsible" as conservatism has come to mean in the past 35 years. In many ways Dean carried out the philosophy and plan of the previous governor, Republican Richard Snelling, whose heart attack launched Dean's national political career. The once exception to Dean exceptional skin-flintiness is health care on which Dean lavished every available dollar, starting with the state's children and expanding from there.

Should Dean capture the nomination and become President, the legacy he runs on, and the legacy he will likely leave the nation, will be a melding of frugal New England fiscal conservatism and high-minded New York social liberalism. There is a fundamental difference with Clintonian Democratic triangulation; special interest money. Dean mixes his already unlikely political economy medley with a populist strain which eschews big money, and smacks of nothing else in recent political history. Should Dean pull down the nomination and sieze control of the party with electorial victory next November he will found a new direction, a fourth way if you will, for the Democratic Party which will blend the best elements of both parties, rather than the worst.

Sunday, November 23, 2003

Bush's Remark About God Assailed

Bush's Remark About God Assailed

Bush had the poor taste to say something both true and quite nearly noble the other day; that Christians and Muslims worship the same God. Of course, he's gotten in trouble with the Christo-fascists in his party for this small attempt at open-mindedness.

Questioned about his statement, Bush replied, "I do say that freedom is the Almighty's gift to every person. I also condition it by saying freedom is not America's gift to the world. It's much greater than that, of course. And I believe we worship the same god." Bush returned again to the theme that freedom is a gift from God, a notion I have taken issue with before.

This is no way to run a Theocracy... where is the excommunication and the auto-de-fe? Patience, all things in good time.

Saturday, November 22, 2003

An Open Letter to GIs in Iraq

Stan Goff | An Open Letter to GIs in Iraq

Advice from one who has been there, or at least a place very similar to there, to the grunts now humping dust in the 'Raq.

Friday, November 21, 2003

The Marketing of a President

The Marketing of a President

This article has great insight into the IT philosophy of the Dean campaign. From Covio and Moveable Type in the back office to the books the leaders of Dean's campaign strategy have read, this article is a fascinating look at some of the people we have come to know; Joe, Zephyr, Nicco. Familiarity breeds contempt, and sometime we might forget what a bold experiment they are engaged in.

War critics astonished as US (chicken)hawk admits invasion was illegal

War critics astonished as US hawk admits invasion was illegal-- Richard Perle, chief theorist of chickenhawkery, admited that the pre-emptive self defense justification for attacking Iraq was in contravention of international law. He maintains that the moral case for invasion outweighed adherance to the law, which would have required the US "to leave Saddam Hussein alone".

I do so prefer my war criminals to be honest about their crimes; it makes them vastly easier to prosecute. Unseemly obsfucations, cheap forgeries, and rickety assertions are just so unbecoming of the grand new fasc-imperialist order.

I always find amusing the incredulity of many liberals when faced with the assertion that America faces a fascist revolution from within the right wing of the GOP. But the trappings, methods and ideology of fascism emerge more clearly every day. The suggestion is not uncommon. Perhaps the seeds of fascism lie dormant in the soil of every industrialized nation possessing a sense of national destiny or a special role to play in history. There comes a malign alignment of economic, social, or security crisis, nationalism, and historical amnesia (or possibly just a sense that OUR special mission will protect us from error) and before you know it, a sly politician is steering a course for the authoritarian right of the political economy.

All 14 characteristics of Umberto Eco’s matrix of ur-fascism apply to today's America. It may not indicate that fascism has fully metasticized through the body politic, but some radical surgery will be required to effect a cure. The key elements that incubate the illness are, oddly enough, democracy, a sense of national mission, a love of spectacle, and the existence of a powerful and politically active corporate sector. Democracy is vital to encourage the broad participation in the fascist enterprise. Fascism is not just a clique taking power, that is authoritarianism, the sickness requires a broad popular appeal and support to qualify as fascism. Nation mission is how the normal, common sense strictures of morality and ethical limits are overcome; the goal of the nation becomes so overwhelmingly critical that normal limits and ethical boundaries are not allowed to apply. For America that goal is the spread of democracy and civilization (what else could be the opposite of terror but civilized behavior?). We Americans love a show, from the rudest parade, the the most garish sporting event, the most violent boxing match, the most theatrical wrestling match, and the most soporific television misery-serial, we are a nation who cannot get enough spectical. Bush and his clique know how to provide; landing on aircraft carriers, lecturing from atop a tank, always with seried rows of supporters, if uniform if possible, and always before a backdrop which repeats the mindless message of the day over and over, and always framed perfectly for the camera; the spectical's real audience. Never has the corporate sector be more politically influential and active. The corporations practically write the laws and pass them. If the key GOP politicians with real power in Washington were subject to truth in advertising laws, they would be branded with dozens of corporate logos, wearing t-shirts declaring their ownership, and properly be paid by the giant corporations who own and operate them, rather than at the expense of the state. Saddest of all, so would many of the Democrats.

Eco's 14 criteria show how deep the rot has run:

(1) The cult of tradition; there is no better way to argue for the legitimacy of your actions in today's America than to appeal to the memory of the Founders and the idea of "traditional values".

(2) The rejection of modernism; the Conservative movement's hostility to modernism in art and culture is manifest in the Right's "culture war". Conservative intellectual's favorite pastime is attacking modern culture and berating the "liberal media" and liberal thinkers for abandonment of "traditional values"

(3) The cult of action for action’s sake; better a stupid and misdirected action than no action - a good summary of this Administration's post-9/11 security policy. Thought and reflection is emasculation, action is a virtue in itself.

(4) The idea that dissent is betrayal; I don't really need to justify this one, do I? The examples of this theme are voluminous. Just Google it if you don't believe me.

(5) Fear of difference, or racism; the GOP is the party of Strom Thurmond. Enough said.

(6) The appeal to individual or social frustration; The entire Southern Strategy is wrapped around exploitation of such frustrations.

(7) Obsession with conspiracies, along with xenophobia and nationalism; Clinton had Vince Foster murdered and was dealing coke out of the Governor's mansion in collusion with the CIA, didn't he? Our current relations with the rest of the world are an elegant proof of GOP xenophobia and nationalism.

(8) The message that the enemy is at once too strong and too weak; Note the media spin on Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein when and as convenient for policy making.

(9) The idea that pacifism is collusion with the enemy, and that life is a permanent war; Peace protestors were characterized as Saddam sympathizers. The world is constantly described by the GOP as a dangerous place, full of peril, to justify the GOP's defense agenda including increasing spending greatly with no credible enemy on earth.

(10) Scorn for the weak; Think about how the GOP would have us treat the poor, the ill, the old, the young, the unlucky and those no longer of use to them if they had their way. Their entire economic platform stands upon a crush heap of society's weakest.

(11) The cult of heroism; Jessica Lynch. Enough said

(12) Machismo, or transferring the “will to power onto sexual questions”; Bush landing on the Lincoln, his flight harness improperly buckled, his package slamming against the camera.

(13) The belief that individual rights are subordinate to the unity of the state, and that fascism “has to oppose ‘rotten’ parliamentary governments”; Minority groups haven't rights. The Democrats have no right to block GOP judges. The minority of the population has no right to protest. People haven't rights unless the majority tells them so, thus the Unconstitutionality of the Patriot Act is irrelevant. The State needs more power to prosecute a failing War on Terror and so the tools of Patriot II must be smuggled through in unvetoable bills as tiny riders, instead of being democratically debated and decided through our "rotten Congress" where opposition to the majority might prevail.

14. Ur-Fascism speaks Newspeak, the language of propaganda; this Administration never says anything substantive. It is always using allusions, ellisions, glittering generalities and neo-logisms. It is perhaps the most propagandistic Administration in history. Take for instance just one word. Terrorist. A terrorist is one who targets civilian populations with violence for political ends. However we now have "terrorists" in Iraq shooting at our soldiers. Last time I looked at the rules of war uniformed combatants were fair game. Yet all foriegners who resist the designs of the the GOP regime are now labeled "terrorists" on a regular basis.

To a greater or lesser extent all 14 of Eco's criteria fit the United States under Bush. Can you comfortably claim to be sure you are not right now living in a fascist state knowing this? We have already invaded one nation without justification, and for deliberately obscured reasons. The camps are already built. The doctrine by which citizens may disappear without a trace is already written. The plan by which terrorism will be fought using the armed forces, on our very soil, in our very midst, and in our very homes and businesses, stands ready for the President's order. We do not stand on the brink of a revolution in the nature of our government: we have long since steped over the threshold.

The German's decent into a nightmare was due to their failure to resist their own seduction and be critical of everything their government was doing. Evil doesn't often arrive with grand plots and florid gestures, rather it sneaks into each of our lives through tiny capitulations, as the subject of seemingly harmless compromises, and using endless self-justification to cover its tracks.

What can you do about it? Resist. Reject. Renew.

Resist belief without reflection. Reject explanations that are offered to you by the government. Renew your commitment to replace the GOP regime with a government that is transparent, respectful of our rights, and responsible to the people.

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

Human Remains Found May Be Howard Dean's Brother - News - Human Remains Found May Be Howard Dean's Brother

Will this be a relief and a blessing to Dean, or will it open old wounds best left alone. Is it a tactic of phsychological warfare by the White House, or just a serendipitous find?

Quotes tell the story


The highly predictive Iowa Electronic Markets speculate in political futures. Currently the leader on the bid board is a matchup between Dean and Bush, which Dean wins. This is indicated by Dean's price being higher than the Bush/Dean price. Other candidates would also beat Bush according to share prices. Gephardt, Clark, and Lieberman all beat Bush, but the likelihood of such a match-ups occuring is very slim because Dean pretty much has the nomination sewn up, barring accident. The one major candidate whom Bush wipes the floor with is Kerry. If he's running on his electability, he had better recheck his market price.

TalkLeft: The Return of the Draft?

TalkLeft: The Return of the Draft?

I just found Dean's new Generation Dean slogan, "Vote Bush in 2004! Get Drafted in 2005!"

Monday, November 17, 2003

Spinsanity - The Republican assault on "political hate speech"

Spinsanity - The Republican assault on "political hate speech"

A useful chronicle of the GOP "political hate speech" tactic. It continues to amaze me how completely some liberal and centrist commentators have swallowed the hook, warning that the negative tone of Democrats could turn off voters. The GOP's spin is hitting the soft spot of the left; their desire to be fair and civil.

It is absurdly easy to disarm the GOP of their new weapon; strip out the hate. Should a GOPer claim that your criticism of the President, or any other corrupt, fascist idiot is political hate speech, you just turn about and say, "No, that is known as political speech, and it is protected by the Constitution which you and your President are wiping your arses on."

Hate speech does not target a person for their political views, no matter how noxious, it targets a person for their more-or-less immutable characteristics, such as sex, sexual orientation, race, national origin, religion, or lack thereof. Hate speech is something in which conservatives and the GOP have a long and glorious history.

And they don't confine themselves to nasty words. When was the last time a conservative political figure was assassinated? JFK, RFK, MLK, PDW? Hate is not the purview of the Democratic party; anger is.

Anger is a much finer thing than hate. Anger has reasons, gives purpose, and is born of a sense of justice and compassion. Hate is reasonless, motivates only destruction, and is born of a sense of entitlement and lack of self-respect. Perhaps it is inevitable that the Democrats become the party of anger, now the GOP has become the party of hate.

The most important article of the season

TNR: Outside In by Ryan Lizza

"Rebuilding Iraq: The Problem of Democracy", Benjamin R. Barber

"Rebuilding Iraq: The Problem of Democracy", Opinion Editorials by Benjamin R. Barber

I was asked yesterday whether Dean listens to his supporters. The facile answer is that a politician who doesn't seek the opinion of his constituents cannot appeal to them, and cannot win their support.

But is that really listening? Is polling and focus-grouping part of a democratic conversation or part of the problem facing American democracy? Is the transmission of group interests through representative elites, statistical inductions, and the media's poorly focused lens, valid ways for our democratic representatives to listen to us? Are these tools and the brief, reductive act of voting enough to sustain a vital democracy?

No. No more than our marketization of Iraq will aid in sustaining an Iraqi democracy.

These techniques are poor substitutes for real consultation; outliers are ignored, subtlety is lost, self-interest laces their use and interpretion, and the media serves the bottom line not the commonweal. But is there an alternative? Many will idealistically claim that the internet has come just in time to save our democracy. But making sense of the cacophanous, uncontrolled, explosively creative net is like attempting to herd a swarm of angry bees.

While it may be true that the majority of American's are now on the net, just being 'on the internet' does not guarantee you an equal voice on it. The net favors the young and adaptable, the wealthly and educated, over-representing their views and interests, while disfavoring the poor, the elderly, and the less educated. We can't simply rely on new technology to "fix" our problems. Especially one that, for all it's openess, is still discriminatory in so many ways.

There are more question marks than periods in this post. I don't think there are any facile answers to the question I've been asked. I invite readers to suggest thier own answers. Moving closer to a democratic dialogue requires more than a blind faith in a mediating technology. Democracy was designed to reduce complexity as much as possible. Our votes are blunt instruments of political consent. Yet this is the tradition and social institution which is the sine qua non of our democracy. Surely that is part of the problem?

Perhaps the answer lies in building a cultural tradition and institution which incorporates much more information than a vote, and which places our voices at the center of the democratic process without mediation or interpolation. Traditions and institutions claim our alliegence, our time, and our attention. Nothing short of a cultural change which makes it routine and expected that citizens spend more time on, and give more attention to, matters of "politics" can result in placing our unmediated voices nearer the center of power.

Such direct democracy was a dream of Mary Parker Follett at the turn of the last century. Perhaps we may find that the kind of reforms she dreamed of, but which ultimately dissolved away, leaving only ideas and inspiration behind, can now be sustained and fashioned into a vital and permanent traditions with the facilitation of new technology.

As Benjamin Barber rightly claims, democracy is a project built from the ground up, never the top down. If such a tradition and institution emerges, it will come FROM us, not given TO us. It will make the lowly more powerful, and the high less so. As such, it will be a struggle to preserve the existence of this new thing against ceasless assault. It will threaten the wealth and power of many, and incur their wrath as never before.

Witness the ceaseless assault on an small company that threatened the wealth and privilege of but a single, fairly small industry: Napster. I'll be surprised if this new thing survives; the more effective it becomes, the stronger the assault will become. Keep your eyes peeled; where the lawsuits are filed, and the bills of attainder are targeted, there lies the seeds of change.

So, back to the question, "Does Dean listen to his supporters?" More than any other candidate, is the best I can claim. His campaign is simply different than that of other candidates. By way of experiment, I attended meetups of other candidates earlier in the season. Invariably, the supporters of other candidates were given nothing much to do except talk and go home. Dean's supporters were converted to volunteers and given self-directed tasks to carry out long before there was a single staffer on the ground. Dean got a significant boost from trusting supporters to do whatever they felt was right to support his campaign and bring his message to others.

Is that listening? Not really. It is trust. Trusting citizens to be politically active and responsible for themselves in a way which other campaigns, stuck in the mold of corporate management, cannot bring themselves to emulate. So, I would say that Dean trusts his supporters more than any other candidate. It's different, it's powerful, and it's very promising.

Friday, November 14, 2003 News | Is Dean too hot? News | Is Dean too hot?

An interesting analysis of what the campaign to unseat Bush may look like. Talking points are already circulating in GOP circles labelling Democrats as the party of hate speech for attacking Bush. Is it time for Dean to pull in his horns and play nice-nice with Bush? Or will voters see the GOP's gambit as a whiney double-standard considering their own heavy-handed rhetoric of the recent past?

I think Dean will continue to make his case that Bush is not only wrong, but a mendacious liar who doesn't care about America. Increasingly he may use proxies in this assault, but Dean's message has been in part responsible for opening the media to more criticism of Bush and ultimately for Bush's slide in the polls. To let up now is to treat this election as business as usual and play right into the GOP hands. It's not, and we musn't.

The GOP wants us to soften our rhetoric because it is hurting them for one powerful reason; the attacks are based on truth not just rhetoric. It's hard to refute the truth without digging yourself into a deeper hole. That's why the GOP are desperate that we stop: we're right and they're wrong, they can't effectively fight us. If they could, thier gambit would be to refute us and make us look foolish. Instead, all they can do is to try to make us look mean for attacking their precious President. Anyone who advocates softening the assault doesn't recognize a desperate gambit when they see one. The GOP is using the rediculous tack of crying "hate-speech" because they are flummoxed as to what else to try. Pour on the criticism, I say, it's working. The article is right in one thing- every criticism should be accompanied by a solution which brings hope of a better way.

This election will be framed as a struggle for the soul of America and the preservation of the Democratic system and limited government we hold dear. As a struggle to rid the body politic of a poison named Bush-Cheney. Dean isn't just running for President, he's pushing a plebescite on how America wants to be governed, by a bunch of corrupt corporate fat-cats doling out big bucks to those who will serve them, or by citizens, financing democracy themselves, participating, volunteering, and supporting those who share their goals and values. I don't think he is going to let go of that; I don't think the people will let him.

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

Let Them Eat Cake...

Here's a great GenDean story from the frontlines, a story that makes all the hard work worthwhile. Tonight Emma, an 18 year-old high school senior, showed up at our Bisbee presentation on Governor Dean's universal health care plan.  This past Saturday in Bisbee an organization held a cake auction to raise money for the disabled.  Enthused about her first chance to vote, Emma baked a Howard Dean for President cake to auction off--replete with Dean bumper sticker, button, etc.  The Dean cake brought $100 with the final bid.  The winner was John MacKinnon, the Chief Civil Deputy in the Cochise County Attorney's Office.  Just goes to show the endless creativity of the grassroots in making Governor Dean the Democratic nominee and next President.  I thought you'd appreciate the story.

Posted for:
Britt Hanson
Cochise County Coordinator

Tell Congress: "Don't come home without protecting overtime pay."

Take Action: Tell Congress: "Don't come home without protecting overtime pay."

Bush complains of class-war when his tax cuts are criticized. Yet he wages war on working people every day. He has refused to pull back "labor reform" legislation which will deprive over 8 million families of mandatory overtime pay.

Let's stand together with our Union brothers and sisters and tell Congress we're not going to stand for this outrageous grab for higher profits at the expense of working people. Legislation like this is exactly why Dean said that white working class people in the South need to join with the Democrats instead of voting for the people who consistently try to take food out of the mouths of their children.

All the people who actually work for a living in the country stand in danger from these GOP creeps; working people need to stand together with those who actually promote our interests, not huddle with those who exploit our fears and prejudices to slowly enslave us.

Tuesday, November 11, 2003


Last Saturday five members of our Environmentalists for Dean group drove north of Marana to the Tucson Audubon Society's Habitat Restoration Site along the Santa Cruz River. Adele, Judy, Marilyn, Steve and I all wore our Dean shirts and buttons as we helped plant trees and other desert plants along with other volunteers and the Audubon project directors, Ann, Kevin and Rodd.

The goal of the Audubon Society is to turn this former farm into the kind of bird habitat that will attract resident as well as migrating birds. It's amazing how transformed this tract land (owned by the City of Tucson) is after just two years of work. We saw several raptors and numerous song birds as we worked.

It was a great day to be outside, the work was not difficult, and we raised the profile of Gov. Dean with another group of people.

Please join our effort. If you want to make an impact on local conservation groups and help spread Dean's message, E-mail me at , and I'll add you to our E-mail update list. Even if you are not able to do physical labor, many opportunities exist to influence people concerned with the environment. Just attending the meetings of these groups wearing Dean buttons can start a conversation that brings another Dean convert into the fold.

Posted on behalf of Jim Nelson, AZ Co-ordinator, Environmentalists for Dean

Monday, November 10, 2003



The GOP's neo-fascist fundamentalist agenda laid bare. Worth watching.

Dean Condemns Administration for Failing To Honor Former Prisoners of War

Dean Condemns Administration for Failing To Honor Former Prisoners of War

Bush is blocking Gulf War veterans tortured by the Iraqis from collecting funds which American courts awarded them in compensation from frozen Iraqi government assets. Administration lawyers argue the funds must go toward reconstruction. In other words, Bush needs to funnel all of it into the pockets of Halliburton and Bechtel.

This is just the latest instance of the Bush Administration's propensity to lionize the armed forces while stealthily stabbing them in back when it comes to allocating real resources to their care and support.

If Bush's fantasy camp plane ride to an aircraft carrier and shouting "Bring it on" to the enemy from within the safety of a Secret Service escort detail disgusts you too, join Veterans for Dean and fight for a President who will take his role as CinC seriously: Vets for Dean.

Gore on Freedom Versus Security Gore on Freedom Versus Democracy

Once more, Shadow President Gore labors to raise awareness of the threat to our Nation posed by the Bush Administration's actions. Gore's substantive, credible, and topical speeches will be seen by history as lending the authority of disinterested nationalism and concerned citizenship to the 2004 counter-assault on the Bush Administration and GOP.

Gore's factual, well-reasoned speeches pry wide-open well defended avenues of attack on the Administration for others. He is doing a great public service by using his authority to assail and bedevil the GOP fascist faction.

Perhaps the greatest irony of the 2004 election is that the man seen by many as having no center, no principles above winning the Presidency, may emerge as one of the great statesmen of our age, and a savior of the Republic.

P.S. the audio on the video is terrible. It clears up about half-way through the speech, but continues to be spotty throughout.

Fox News: The inside story News | Fox News: The inside story

I finally got around to reading this. I think I need a shower...

The picture of FNC's 'news' operations that emerges resembles nothing so much as a party's propaganda department. I stopped watching FNC quite a while ago; I was tired of yelling at the TV. I took it off the channel listing of my satellite system. When the FNC broadcast Democratic Presidential candidate's debate came on, it took me a few minutes to recall that I had done that. I recommend the experience of thinking, even for a second, and even mistakenly, that FNC had been taken off the air :)

On a more optomistic note perhaps Fox's faux marketing postion as "fair and balanced" and as a fiercely independent outlet consciously going after the status quo, points the way to a more independent, and more commercially successful independent media. The question is, will the marketing sloganeering work if it is backed up by actual independence and criticism, or if it is only an acceptable theme only if it is patently untrue.

Friday, November 07, 2003

Blog for America : Drive for Democracy Guest Blogger: Jonna Lopez, Tucson, AZ | November 07, 2003

Blog for America : Drive for Democracy Guest Blogger: Jonna Lopez, Tucson, AZ | November 07, 2003

Jonna guest-blogged at blogforamerica. I think she expressed very well what many of us in this campaign feel about our involvement.

Thanks, Jonna! You make us all proud.

Thursday, November 06, 2003

Senatorial Cowardice

The $87 billion emergency-spending bill passed by Congress on Monday may be the largest bill of its kind in history, bigger than the budgets of Departments of Homeland Security and Education combined.  Yet, Congress has left itself only a modest role to play in the oversight of how the money is actually spent.

Originally both the House and Senate agreed that more transparency and accountability were necessary in the reconstruction process.  But many of the provisions that members voted for were later removed when House and Senate negotiators agreed on a single bill.   For example:
=> The Senate originally voted 97 to 0 to have the General Accounting Office conduct audits of the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) in Iraq.  That provision was stripped in the conference committee on a party line vote.

=> Responding to the uproar about non-competitive bidding in Iraq, the House passed an amendment requiring competitive bidding on oil contracts. But that was also removed during a conference committee vote.

=> Perhaps most astounding, Congress in its final Iraq spending bill did not even include language offered by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) to penalize war profiteers for defrauding American taxpayers.  The Senate Appropriations Committee unanimously approved a provision to ensure that contractors who cheated the American taxpayer would face fines of up to $1 million and jail time of up to 20 years.   Senators of both parties supported the provision, but Republican House negotiators refused to include the language in the final bill.  

In the end, for all the grandstanding about transparency and accountability in Iraq, Congress has made only a modest attempt to oversee how the reconstruction money will be spent.  And Congress doesn’t seem interested in punishing people who are convicted of defrauding the government.

BUT IT’S NOT TOO LATE.  Congress can still do something.  Senator Leahy is offering his anti-profiteering provision as a freestanding bill, the War Profiteering Prevention Act of 2003.  

Call your Senators and ask them to prove they are interested in protecting the American taxpayer by cosponsoring S. 1813, the War Profiteering Prevention Act of 2003.

Blog for America : Drive for Democracy: Tucson Meetup Report | November 05, 2003

Blog for America : Drive for Democracy: Tucson Meetup Report | November 05, 2003

Zephyr, David, and Ryan spent their last day in Tucson yesterday and visted two of our meetups. It was great having them here. Today they are headed out to Sierra Vista and Nogales to learn about boarder issues, watershed problems, and to meet all the activists in those areas of Southern AZ.

We wish them well on their journey. I certainly hope they have better luck with their transportation than they have had so far. It's not nearly so prosaic traveling across country in an economy class rental car rather than a classic Airstream. But maybe it is more appropos of George Bush's handling of the economy.

Some of you may not have seen Zephyr. Here's a picture from Yesterday's breakfast.

ASU picked to host presidential debate - 2003-11-06 - The Business Journal of Phoenix

ASU picked to host presidential debate - 2003-11-06 - The Business Journal of Phoenix

Looks like ASU will host the third Presidential debate of the General election, just weeks from the election. This should certainly perk up turn-out in AZ. The real question is, will the Democrats or the GOP be the beneficiaries? Generally Dems outstrip GOPers at the polls on polling days. The late excitement could thus significantly advantage the Democrats.

History will be made right on our doorsteps. Clear your calendars now, because this is one you won't want to miss.

Up For Anything

Up For Anything

I guess this guy sort of pissed me off. Note the Bush-Cheney advert on his side bar. It's obvious this guy's troll, but a dog like me sometimes can't help but grabbing hold and shaking anyhow. He wrote about how Dean is a hypocrite for wanting to pop the caps. I wrote back, and sort of unloaded on the guy. Hyperbolistically, perhaps. But we liberals are too tame and reasonable at times. I think a dire warning about fascistic horrors is good for the soul once in while. We have gotten too far away from evil as a people to spot it. We think we glipse it on television now and then, but most of that is full-on rage and madness. Evil is much more civilized a pursuit. It can look oddly like everday life- until you tote up the costs.

Related to the whole flag flap, how much like everyday life did slavery look? Did a person who went to the slave market and bought a person with the skills he need to run the foundry on his estate think to himself, "I'm engaged in evil." Of course not. In fact, that person was probably not evil at all, in the sense we conceive it. But those everyday, self-justifications, looking the other ways, callously distancing yourself from the suffering of others, adds up. If creates a system. A mechanism of evil. Where evil flourishes and happens everyday, but the people involved needn't feel responsible, or even know.

I sometime wonder if that is what is building in our midst, what we've unleashed and sanctioned our of our pain at 9/11. I worry that it is already happening. That now, as we speak evil is being done in my name, for my 'benefit', for my own good. And at those times, I want to grab the throat of every self-satisfied, complacent, or bigotted xenophobe who dares say things like, "Let's just nuke all them rag-heads and be done with it."

It makes my skin crawl. It makes me want to pick up a weapon a stike that person down lest their appathetic, soulless, banality, lead our nation, and myself by association, into committing crimes that will stain us all forever.

Here's my rant:

You know, CJ, people might be inclined to take your criticims more seriously if you didn't have a BUSH-CHENEY advert on your front page. You are obviously a GOP supporter trying in you own pitifully inept fashion to sow desent and doubt in the 'enemy' camp.

The hypocracy I see around here is not Dean wanting to 'pop the caps', but that you support a candidate for whom it is perfectly acceptable that he should raise over 80 million for a primary season in which he is unopposed, while his oppents slog though a field of candiates capped at 44.6 million. You think it perfectly fair for the Democrat to arrive at the convention, bled out of all funds facing the largest war chest in American political history. It would surely please you immensely for Dean to stick to a 'principle' which would result in such a state of affairs. You don't care about principle, about fairness, or about anything but winning. Just like your candidate; Bush. Don't speak of hypocrisy to me from the same mouth that sings the praises of that butcher, that killer of American freedoms and values, that human embodiment of hypocrisy.

Our candidate will be a different kind of politican, a unique and unheralded thing in Democratic politics - a winner. Because he not going to face Bush with one hand tied behind his back on principle. We'll reform campaign finance reform AFTER we get the biggest abuser of the system out of office. After we break the facsistic combination of corporate and political power that the Bush family made it's fortune off, and now seek to recreate on our own shores, THEN we will reform campaign finance.

That's not hypocrisy, which, as is apparent from your support of Bush, is not something you are incapable of even perceiving, it is pragmatic political warfare.

Dean is going to crush your candidate. The funny part will be when Bush is claiming that limiting donors to $2000 apiece is unfair because Dean has so many more. When Dean outspends Bush and Bush begins to whine about it, as he already has whined about likely being outspent, the true humor of the situation will settle in for a good belly laugh. You see, the real people of this country are begining to realize the suffering Bush is causing, and will cause, our nation. They are going to give till their eyes bleed to prevent Bush from being re-elected.

You don't realize it yet, and you will continue to deny it until even your own denials are hollow in your ears, but Bush is the moral nadir of our age. He has cozened and courted the industrialists to back his bid for power, promised them fantastic treasure in war and chaos, dedicated himself to attacking and destroying the public welfare in favor of the private, engaged in a war of purely merchantile and imperialist intent under the guise of the highest of America priciples (as opposed to those highest of German principles- Volk, Vaterland, und Leibenstraum).

Are the camps far away? No, they are here today. Even now, in the secretive corners of the world, a network of prisons and camps, under guard by the military, protected by the wieght of national security law, people of a despised ethnicity and a despised religion are held without legal sanction, without representation, without charges, often for simply who they are, or what they are alleged, not proven, to have done. In contravention of international law. In contravention of a American law. In contravention of the lessons of history that tell us what happens when one people begins to scapegoat another for every problem in their society. There hasn't been gassing yet, there may never be, the reminder would be too stark. But we claim the right to kill them, after trial under a kangroo system of justice in which all the peices on the board belong to but one King, King George, and the final appeal is to him and him alone. This isn't a system of justice, it's a system of elaborately justified murder.

Go on thinking that you are right. Go on thinking that it can't happen here; after all, it's what the Germans thought until they woke up one morning with the shame of having committed crimes so vile, their entire nation still crawls with the silent guilt of it. Go on thinking that your moron King wants make this country a better place. I take consolation that one day, perhaps a far distant day, perhaps not, you will awaken and no longer be able to deny that you were one of the grey men. One of those who ignorantly, blindly, happily assisted evil into the world. You helped it to grow, you advocated it, you paid for it. How that thought, that sudden conviction, that buried within you are the seeds of what Hannah Arendt termed the "banality of evil" will haunt you; I pity you that. Banal evil is nothing more that the hard heartedness not to feel compassion for those below you, those harmed by policies you know hurt people. It's the brutal efficency of seeing though tasks expeditiously without questioning their goals; without wanting to know. It's a clever tongue put in service of monstrous ends, instead of the selling of tooth-paste and singing a love song. That's all evil is; little decisions to muddle by, get on, get ahead, look away, not question, not think; to be less than human, to be a cog.

When that day comes. And it will. Go hug a Muslim child of middle eastern descent. Tell him that you are sorry for what you almost did to him, if it were not for President Howard Dean.

Wednesday, November 05, 2003

Popping the Caps: Your Call

Dean for America: The Vote
Dean is taking an extraordinary approach to the decision as to whether he should accept Federal matching funds; he is letting us decide. If he declines those funds, he will be able to exceed the fundraising limit, 44.6 million, of the matching funds program - thus 'popping the caps'. Accepting the money and limiting spending in the primary could leave the campaign without funding moving into the Convention.

Rather than making this key strategic decision that has critical political import himself, behind closed doors, with close advisors, Dean is leaving the decision to the people who put him on top: us. Tommorrow morning letters will go out the all the people who have registered their support for Dean on the website asking for your decision.

Of course the strategy also pulls the sting of seeming to walk away from his pledge of supporting meaningful campaign finance reform. But fighting Oscar de la Hoya with your hands tied behind your back is just stupid, even if you abbhor violence. Beating Bush's quarter-billion dollar roadshow is going to take lots of money. If Dean sticks to public finance all the way, he could spend 44.6 million in the primary and 74 million for the General. A relatively paltry 118.6 million: a two to one spending disadvantage.

Well, that is the same disadvantage Gore had in 2000, and still managed to win the popular vote. But ask yourself whether we can afford to let the GOP get within stealing distance in 2004? Then decide if political purity is worth another possible 4 years of Bush - do you think we'll get meaningful campaign finance reform from him? I think you can tell how I'm going to vote.

Pop the caps and damn the torpedoes, Doc! - Politics - Dean To Launch 30-Minute Ad In Iowa - Politics - Dean To Launch 30-Minute Ad In Iowa

Dean innovates again. Instead of only running recognition ads, single issue ads, or attack ads, Dean will be running a thirty minute ad created from footage of a town hall. The ad will present in depth information on inssues to voters. Perot tried a similar thing with his primetime airtime buys with two important differences: he didn't do in a primary race, and did it talking head style, not in response to voter questions.

I only wonder at what rate insomniacs vote?

Tuesday, November 04, 2003

Blog for America : Drive for Democracy: Demo Dames who Give a Damn & Dean Desert Rats | November 04, 2003

Blog for America : Drive for Democracy: Demo Dames who Give a Damn & Dean Desert Rats | November 04, 2003

Zephyr, David and Ryan from DFA are in Arizona and coming through my neck of the woods. They will be around Until Thursday. Here is a post about their meeting with Carolyn Badger, Pinal County Co-cordinator, and the Demo Dames.

I just spoke with David Welch and they have settled into Tucson just fine and will be attending Volgy's victory(?) party this evening. Things don't look promising at the moment 119 precincts have reported and Walkup is up by about 2000 votes. Let's hope that those yet to report are heavily Democratic.

Monday, November 03, 2003

Dean is Right

This was posted today to a Liberal Christians discussion group.  I thought it interesting in light of the recent flap about Southern voters:
Subject: Dean is right.

First off let me say I am a Kerry supporter and will vote for him in the primary. Howard Dean is a top contender for the nomination also and has recently caught flak over his statement about wanting to attract guys in "pickup trucks with confederate flags". Now I am not getting into the whole debate about "Southern Pride" "The Flag" or the Civil War. The Democratic Party has lost a lot of it's southern base since Richard Nixon's "Southern Strategy" and they need to attract them and bring them back. Most southerners are Democratic on the state and local level but tend to go national when it comes to the Presidency and even sending senators up to Washington too. The Republican Party for the last 30 years have been taping into themes and fears of the Southern White voter to attract them and really once they are in they are not delivering.

As a black man I did not care for Governor Wallace, Faubus, and definately not Maddox(Lester). One thing though a lot of Southern Democrats had that was appealing was populist theme. The Democrats need to tap into that again. They need to start hammering about jobs, education, and opportunities for the common man. What Republicans have done is give the southern voters a bill of goods about "values, faith, and symbolism." Plus they like to through in the "States Rights" jab to galvanize those who still have resentment towards the changes that were made in the 60s. The Democrats need to let the southerners know and understand that all that "talk" does not produce jobs, improve education, or help the general welfare of the people.

In order for the Democratic party to do well, it has to reclaim the south again and make a strong push for the southern vote too. There has to be more of a populist message. That means they have to tap into that base which means yes-they have to attract the men who drive pickup trucks with a rifle and confederate flag in the back. I actually know a few people like that and once you get the know them you will be amazed of how much more you have in common with them.


Thanks Wesley :) : Poll: Bush Vulnerable Year Before Election

Bush Vulnerable Year Before Election. The outlook seems mixed in this latest ABC poll. The President is down, Congress is down, and the Democratic Candidates are largely unknown. Lesson: we have to get visible, get our message out to voters, and concentrate on Democrats. Growing the party is Dean's business, delivering Democrats for the Primaries is ours.

Pricking the "Southern Strategy"

Recently Dean has come under fire for wanting to court voters in the south who drive pickups with Confederate flags on them. I think it's important we stay away from drowning in racial politics and take to the high ground with Dean's real message: we must unite those with common economic interests under the ledership of the Democratic Party. Dean's comments are a clarion call to southern voters that the Democratic party is not about to surrender their votes to the GOP. Southerner's economic interests will be best served by voting Democrat, and he's damned well not going to concede the South because of the rhetorical taboos of the Democratic Party.

My recommendation as to strategy for volunteers is to pull the sting of Dean's transgression of Democratic political taboos by focusing on his purpose. He is trying to bring working class Southern voters back into the Domcratic party where they belong. Most aren't racists. Most don't long for the days of slavery. Most are working people, proud of their history and heritage, being harmed by their own miguided votes. Dean is trying to break the back of the "Southern Strategy"; he'll have to lance some messy rhetorical boils to succeed. This is likely just the first among many.

Just as Dean's stands on gun control are designed to keep those who support gun rights from voting contrary to their economic interests, Dean's comments about going after southern voters are designed to bring voters to their true political home. The GOP has captured the southern vote with their noxious "southern strategy" since 1968. By taking barely veiled racist positions, they have forced Democrats to alienate southern voters by taking hard-line civil rights stands, and to use what those in the south percieve to be rhetoric which is anti-southern culture.

We musn't stop progress on civil rights, but unless we work to unveil the GOP's lies and reach out to southern voters, we'll never get them back. We must shake up southern voters - even if we must violate Democratic political taboos, such as support for the display of the Confederate flag, to do so. Only then can we have a receptive audience to demostrate the welfare of southern families is best served by voting Democrat.

The GOP's rhetorical strategy in the South depends on Democrtic unwillingness to validate any part of southern history or culture which smacks of racism or the legacy of slavery. They rightly think that we fear loosing the support of minorities and civil liberarians. We musn't fear such a backlash, we must face it in order to make inroads into the South. Sharpton's hyperbolistic comments about asking the support of people wearing swastikas is only proof of the strength of the taboos and intolerance we face within our own constituency. Dean's comments are an attempt to to reach out to southern voters and validate their cultural history and pride, not to approve racism. Dean's dedication to civil rights is perhaps the stongest of any candidate. Minorities should not fear their interests will be abandoned by the Democratic party under Dean. Dean's dedication is so strong and foundational that he may be the only candidate who can even attempt to break the grip of the GOP on the South. Instead of criticizing him Democrats should support and emulate his attempt to grow the Party.

Critics will snipe, spin, and attack, but Dean will endure the heat to take the prize: millions of southern voters who should be voting Democrat, but are instead voting to damange their own interests, impoverish their own families, and weaken their own communities by voting Republican. The Doctor must lance the poisonous boil of the Republican party's racist pandering, and heal the scars of America's racist past that make our own constitutents howl with pain when those scars are disturbed. America's working families must be one people again. The GOP is right about one thing; this is class warfare. We need all our soldiers on the same side, not divided against themselves.

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