Monday, February 28, 2005
"Where's Howard" debunks this garbage from the Rovian spin machine.
While he was in this "reddest of red states" last week, Dean was interviewed on public radio there. Via "Where's Howard?" you can listen here to Dean's new messages and how he frames them. Among the questions: "Is there a new Dean?" The clip is a Windows Media file and is about 18 minutes long.
Writing in his Washington Post column today, Terry Neal says "So why should anybody care about some inside politics stories from Arkansas and North Carolina? Because in some ways they mirror what happened on the national level with the election of Howard Dean as chairman of the Democratic National Committee, and because they underscore a restive force that could reshape Democratic Party politics in the years to come. I don't think you've seen the end of it [with North Carolina and Arkansas]," said former Gore presidential campaign manager Donna Brazile, whose expertise is grass-roots organizing. "[Dean's election] marks the end of the Terry [McAuliffe] era and in a way the end of the Clinton era. What you see is Deaniacs really asserting themselves across the board. I don't see this is a bad thing, because when you infuse new blood in the party you bring it alive and bring new energy." Tempering the idea that big changes could come is this comment from Brazile: "My only caution, though, is whether this new group is going to really be willing to get down and do the hard, dirty work of rebuilding the party."
Another "re-framing" of Dean and his ascendancy to the DNC Chair comes from this commentary in the NYU student newspaper via the "Where's Howard" site. They downsize the significance with this phrase: "Even after the election and Dean’s DNC victory, everything has stayed the same." I don't think so.
"The audience wanted to hear uncensored news. The women described terribly damaged infrastructure, bombed out neighborhoods, no clean water, electricity only 2 hours a day at best. The lack of electricity meant not only household hardships, but no factories could function, therefore no jobs, more poverty, poor hospital care. At first, they said, many people were glad that Saddam was gone. But the public didn't fail to notice that oil fields were guarded but munitions stores, commercial areas, museums, etc. were not, therefore mass looting ensued. They didn't fail to notice that fellow Iraqis were treated with disrespect (she may have been referring to Abu Ghraib). Many homes were destroyed or damaged, many civilians killed or harmed. Someone asked if there was much rebuilding done by U.S. troops. The Iraqi women said that they'd seen almost no rebuilding, but lots and lots of PAINTING. One had wondered: "Is there a problem in the U.S., an oversupply of paint?" It's not hard to figure that one; slapping a coat of paint on something has to be the cheapest and easiest way to make it look better, fast, even if underneath it's unsound. The BushCo way of doing things."-from Seattle super-Deaniac Dina Lydia's post on Kos after hearing an Iraqi doctor speak here.
Sunday, February 27, 2005
In case you care, MyDD has the top fifty most visited political blogs starting with Kos at 2.8 million weekly page views down to #50, Chrenkoff, at 46 thousand. I must confess I check the traffic here quite often: in the last week it was about 10,000 so each of you should feel very special.
"Meet humanitarian activist Robin Fasano, who traveled to Iraq with a fact-finding delegation and submitted a report to Congress on her findings. Learn what she witnessed and the organization she’s starting for children’s hospitals in Iraq. Brought to you by West Seattle Democracy for America." Monday, March 21, 2005, Seattle Public Library, High Point branch, 3411 SW Raymond St.-6:15-7:45PM. Free, open to the public. More information here.
Another grab from the Where's Howard site on Dean's comments: "Let's come right out and say it - anyone who's not black is perfectly capable of racial insensitivity, or saying the wrong thing. We have a myth in our minds of Bill Clinton, the "Black President," but when the problem is really that we are still white, black, red and yellow, and whites are still basically in charge, what we need are black and white leaders who can be honest about their biases - a subject that Howard Dean has spoken on many times in the past. It's a completely different kind of consciousness about race than the Bill Clinton model, where cultural ease greases the mechanism of justice. What we have here is a very white guy who is very curious about people who are not like him. Curiosity doesn't always defend against misunderstandings, however. Racial insensitivity, hurts and unintended slights are everywhere; but racism is the systematic enshrinement of racial and social insensitivity that already exists. In that sense, it's appalling that Republicans have the gall to insinuate that Dean is racist, when they are the ones who have manipulated everyone's racial insensitivities - whether tiny or large - into the kind of institutionalized racism that they defend."
Leave it to Matt Bai of the NY Times Magazine to pose this question. I wish they would address the same query to the situation regarding our current Rovian regime and its "leader." My new favorite site, "Where's Howard" says this about it: "I'm feeling myself spinning off into silliness here. Actually, this story by the New York Times' Matt Bai is not real bad. Not really illuminating, but at least it's not a hack job. And, it's blessedly short." The article is part of the "let's take a new look at Dean" school of journalism that the profession has been forced to create now that Dean has come back to give the lie to their previous story line about him: he's an angry, marginal fluke. Bai says the Democratic Party is a mess and the "old Dean" might be better suited to get the juices flowing than the "new Dean", which Bai claims is just a facade. Whatever. More from the "new look" school: "Dean doesn't look so bad now" in today's Chicago Sun-Times. I like this article better because it contrasts Dean's re-entry against the background of the dismal insanity that characterizes the Rovians, like I wanted the NY Times to do. The "dismal insanity" description comes from me, not the writer in the Sun-Times, who says the following: "there is a lot of competition for strangeness. Given the war in Iraq, the unusual looks mighty common these days. And, like the Democrats, the Bush administration keeps demonstrating that its bench also is not deep." The press likes to push up and then bring down the various casts of characters it covers, so as to keep the story line going, much like the soap operas my father used to help create. But that's another story. There's a newspaper in Picayune, Mississippi that sets the stage for Dean's visit there next week with "Howard Dean says Dems' message sells in Mississippi" featuring a pre-visit phone interview and more framing exercises from "The Governor." Like they say, "Just spell my name right" and we can add: repeat my messages.
Saturday, February 26, 2005
Accoriding to US News & World Report: "Please don't call newly minted Democratic Party boss Howard Dean , the former Vermont governor and 2004 presidential primary candidate, "Mr. Chairman." Make it "Governor," if you don't mind. Party insiders say the new rule is just one of many examples of his formal, almost aloof style, brought to the DNC after the carnival-barking, cheerleading nature of Terry McAuliffe . They say Dean avoids the staff when arriving in the morning, keeps his office door closed, hasn't decorated his walls with family or political memorabilia, and mingles only with a small crowd of advisers. Friends, however, say that's just his style. "He's more like a CEO," says one."
"We broadcast the Progressive Democrats of America Conference from Phoenix AZ Febraury 11 & 12. We are repeating this broadcast on Sunday February 27th, starting at 9 Am Pacific Time. Listen here. A DVD of the Western Regional summit will also soon be available. We hope you will find it to be a useful, inspirational, and educational tool. To see a preview click here."
The Lawrence Journal-World has this not-so-clever lead to its story: "There were plenty of screams Friday afternoon at Liberty Hall, but none of them came from Howard Dean." But the article does go on to provide some of the message Dean came to deliver: "Democrats, he said, must reframe the values debate, claiming the high ground on Social Security, health care and protecting American security. "Those are Kansas values," he said. On abortion specifically, he said, the party must commit to making abortions "safe, legal and rare" while maintaining women's rights to choose. "The issue is not abortion," Dean told the closed-door fund-raiser. "The issue is whether women can make up their own mind instead of some right-wing pastor, some right-wing politician telling them what to do." And Dean told the Hiebert fund-raiser that gay marriage was a Republican diversion from discussions of ballooning deficits and lost American jobs. That presents an opportunity to attract moderate Republicans, he said. "Moderate Republicans can't stand these people (conservatives), because they're intolerant. They don't think tolerance is a virtue," Dean said, adding: "I'm not going to have these right-wingers throw away our right to be tolerant." The article also has a bunch of photos of local residents who give their reactions to Dean and his visit in short audio clips. There is also a link to a local tv story on the visit.
Friday, February 25, 2005
That's in Kansas, in case you don't know. "Dean also continued to criticize the war in Iraq, saying Bush had not addressed more serious threats from North Korea and Iran. "We got in the wrong war at the wrong time," he said. That message resonated with Genie Sullivan, a 43-year-old Lawrence resident. She registered as a Democrat this year, she said, because of Dean and would have left the party had he not been selected chairman. She said people knew that Bush wasn't telling the truth about the need to go to war in Iraq. "A lot of us knew and Dean was one of them," she said. Tony Carpino, a retired postmaster who drove up from Pittsburg, Kan., said he admires Dean as chairman. "I think he's going to bring energy to this party," said Carpino, 60. "Howard Dean has a lot of enthusiasm." Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, who had breakfast Friday morning with Dean, told reporters at the Statehouse that the former Vermont governor was a good choice for party leadership. She particularly likes his energy and desire to build the party from the ground up."- from the AP story in The Wichita Eagle.
"The new DNC chair made two distinctions between the Republican way of doing things and what he sees as the Democratic way. The first is that the Republican Party is hierarchical and controlling; everything is run from Washington—these days by Karl Rove—and states, counties, and precincts obediently follow party directives. (Some have likened this organizational model to the multi-level marketing approach used by Amway.) In contrast, Dean argued, Democrats, at their best, are democratic; therefore, they must begin the rebuilding process at the precinct level by listening to locals and thereby motivating them to take responsibility for the get-out-the-vote organization. Over time, this will result in a new Democratic consensus."-from the article today in the Berkeley Daily Planet.
I received the following email today: "I sent this to the P I the other day hoping they would print it. Maybe it could reach the light of day in your blog. This is a serious proposition. As a dedicated Democrat who has worked for many democratic candidates starting with Jimmy Carter in 1976, I would like to support a Republican proposal. But in the interest of saving time and money let's have a controlled revote in a medium sized area. Let's say 100,000 voters in 58 precincts. If the vote comes out the same as it did on election day, then we should revote the state. Yes- hold a revote in Snohomish County, but just the folks who voted on unverifiable electronic voting machines. Which as it happens is where Rossi received 50,400 votes to Gregoire's 42,145 and according to those running the election there were few if any problems. These numbers were, according to http://www.votersunite.org/, a mathematical impossibility: 1 in 100,000 trillion. Creating a paper trail to back up the machine vote would go a long way toward boosting confidence in the current voting system. Since the 2000 election folks across the Blogisphere have had serious doubts about our election system; 20% of the nation have doubts about unverifiable electronic voting machines. The 2002 and 2004 elections have just added fuel to the fire of doubts. So for the statisticians, the doubting Thomas's, Mr. Rossi and for my fellow democrats let's have a limited REVOTE. Somehow I just don't see Mr. Rossi implementing this plan. I wish most fervently that the same Democrats who raised the $750,000 for the first hand recount would get behind this plan. This is an opportunity which comes so infrequently and so many questions could be answered."
Thomas M. Gray
901 135th av se
Snohomish, Wa 98290
Thomas M. Gray
901 135th av se
Snohomish, Wa 98290
This story in today's Baltimore Sun covers Dean's quick trip there yesterday. I will let the readers decide if there is any credibility to the charge made by Maryland's GOP Lt. Governor. My personal feeling is that it is just another cheap shot, but maybe I am being "racially insensitive."
Thursday, February 24, 2005
That's the headline for this AP story that is running all over the country, except in Kansas where the headline is "Dean urges political activism." Framing 101: "Dean criticized Bush's plan to create personal investment accounts as part of Social Security, saying: "I don't believe the way to fix Social Security is to have Wall Street run it so that it can be invested in Enron and Tyco and MCI." On another topic, Dean said that continued federal budget deficits are a problem because foreign investors, including the Chinese, hold much of the debt. "How would you like to have people you have a disagreement with holding the paper on your house?" he said." I'll leave it to you to give the grade.
Channel !3News in Topeka has this in advance of his visit: "Howard Dean knows Kansas is one of the most Republican states in the union. But that's not stopping him from talking at Washburn University tonight, and in Lawrence tomorrow. He says he'll be taking the Democratic message to all 50 states -- something he says is necessary if his party is to reclaim the White House in 2008."
From the AP story, "Liberal groups watching if new Dems chief will keep his backbone": "A year ago, an activist group from the Seattle area presented Howard Dean with a tall, thin, golden statue of a backbone." "Dean, Lakoff, and the Elephant" is from BlueOregon. Here's a few lines: "Dean clearly had frames on his mind. When asked by a panel member about whether the last election gave Bush a mandate on his war on terror, Dean replied that the real lesson was about not letting them set the terms of debate. Dean was clearly working hard to overcome the conservative frame which paints liberals as peace loving wussies who don't have the courage to wage a war. Dean stated several times that, 'Democrats are not weak on defense.' Ouch. This made me think of Nixon saying 'I am not a crook,' which only served to convince everyone that he was, indeed, a crook. Why not just state it without the negative? 'Democrats are strong on defense.' I believe it." CNN gets it a day late with "Dean visiting GOP strongholds." they say Dean is "hoping to erase the notion that his party has surrendered so-called "red states" to Republicans."
"Dr. Dean criticized President Bush’s decision to invade Iraq, saying instead that America should focus on being a global leader instead of invading other countries. “We cannot impose freedom by armed force,” he said. He did praise the efforts to hold an election in Iraq, but said he was doubtful that it would stabilize the country. “I hope this election will succeed, but I think it will not.” Dr. Dean did say America should have a strong military and there was justification to invade Afghanistan, following the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks."-from the story in The Times Herald (NY), "Dean preaches democratic values in Alfred ." Here's the opening from an op-ed in today's Boston Herald, "Wired for common touch": "Howard Dean didn't raise money from the Internet. He raised it from the people - an idea perhaps more profound than the one with which some gave him credit. And it is that idea that continues to drive hope for his tenure as chair of the Democratic National Committee."
Two articles from the The Cornell Daily Sun, "Dean Speaks to Cornell Community" and "Students rally on Ho Plaza" cover his visit there. From the "Cornell Community" story: "As the event neared its end, Dean revealed a glimpse of some of the appeal college students saw in him during the early months of the Democratic primaries. "People your age get most of their news from the internet or from the Jon Stewart Daily Show. I actually think that the truth is probably [that] Jon Stewart's the greatest newsperson in America right now," Dean said. "Anyone see the CNN report, Crossfire? ... Shouting at people does not pass for civil discourse and it's bad for the country. What Stewart does and the reason I think he has such incredible credibility with people your age who have a very low B.S. tolerance, which I think is also a welcome improvement...is he just lays it out and he doesn't care and he's not particularly partisan. He just likes to puncture people's hot air balloons in politics and there's a lot of it." The Ithaca Journal covered the formal speech indoors with "Democrats' boss promises new party." Tidbit: "He said it is unlikely that the campaign finance system will ever truly be reformed in the country, but urged voters to put public referendums on ballots to do it themselves. "It is not in the interest of either party to reform campaign finance," Dean said. "If you want campaign finance reform, you have to do it yourself." He also asked that people donate as little as $5 or $10 to political causes when they have money to do so because the volume of thousands of smaller donations would add up." A column in "The Lumberjack," the student newspaper of Northern Arizona University, has one of the better political commentaries I have read. Some quotes: "In a USA TODAY /CNN/Gallup Poll of DNC members, 52 percent of responders said they want the party to become more moderate, while only 23 percent wanted to see it become more liberal. And yet they voted for the man who once described himself as belonging to the “Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party.” DNC members say they want to reach out to swing voters and yet, do not want to compromise with President Bush. Frankly, I don’t think most DNC members know what they want. They want to support gay marriage, but instead of putting up a presidential candidate that will make a logical case for it, they let John Kerry say that he is against it but believes the states should decide for themselves. The DNC should have already heard the old saying if you try to please everyone, you end up pleasing no one. Somehow, the Democrats let a man who led 1,456 American troops to their deaths get labeled as the “moral candidate.” The Democrats let a man who has loosened protective environmental measures at every turn be the “moral candidate.” They let this man, a former alcoholic and drug-user, become the “moral candidate.” The Democrats, who support helping the helpless on almost every issue, let themselves be labeled immoral. George W. Bush deserves half of the credit for his victory. The other half belongs to the DNC. The only thing the DNC has going for them is the fact that they somehow managed to elect Howard Dean as their leader. Howard Dean, an outspoken man who actually is willing to defend his positions, is perfect for his new job." My only question: Why the hell is a newspaper in Arizona called "The Lumberjack?"
Kurt Zumdieck offers this reponse to MoveOn's "Repair the Vote" effort, which still allows the use of e-voting machines ("DRE's"): "My friend's basset hound arrived on my doorstep for a stay, wrapped in a pearl choker. So I thought I'd lead with that image, pearls on a pig, to describe my interest in voting reform that has anything to do with DRE's. Read the article by our favorite English saucier for Vanity Fair, March 2005, Christopher Hitchens, who gave us the two words that should live in voting infamy, "KENYON COLLEGE!" Kids stood in line until 4am to vote, well after they stole the damn thing. Not only will DRE's always be hackable and expensive, they are slow, slow, slow.. When the local Republicans saw that registration was up at the college, they took a couple machines away and one crapped out. California banned DRE's because Diebold, Sequoia and the other voting machine companies wouldn't make the changes that MoveON PAC wants them to make now. We progressives need to show more political savvy than this. Nothing good is going to come out of Washington DC while Rove and the Republicans are at the levers. Look what they did to HAVA. It is a trojan horse to get us more e-voting machines. Optical scan machines are the only way to go. We need to put printers on them, make them no-spoilage, tally the votes there in the precinct, and then post them on the door. Call the results in and we have a system like they have in Canada. One machine can handle a whole polling place. The machines need to be owned by the States, etc, etc,..... But fundamental to this problem is that our ballots have no legal standing. It is not like a will or a deed. Whether provisional or not, votes can be thrown in the trash with impunity. All you have to do is go to Ohio or New Mexico and look in some of those dumpsters. Stella still has her pearls on after six days, maybe we should change them."
Wednesday, February 23, 2005
"I am looking to build a democratic agenda, a democratic machine that is strong enough to beat the republican machine. I very much believe the only way to win is to do some of the things Gingrich did in 94. We have to show that we are really different from the republicans and not like them. And we have to stand for something. Conviction means a lot in politics and ...that is going to be good for the country,” Dean said."-from the story on the News Ten Now (Syracuse, NY) website. The reporter for the previous story is grammatically challenged. Knight Ridder has this, "Pledging to campaign everywhere, Dean will visit Kansas for 2 days" with the following: "Dean is scheduled to visit other red states in the weeks ahead, including Mississippi on Tuesday. That Dean would target Kansas so early in his tenure surprised fellow Democrats. "I'm agog," said state Sen. Mark Gilstrap, a Kansas City, Kan., Democrat. "Maybe he can help turn some of the Republicans around in the next election cycle." Dean said that although Kansas is bright red, Democrats have had their successes with Sebelius and U.S. Rep. Dennis Moore from the state's 3rd District, who just won his fourth term. While he's in the state, Dean said, he hopes to persuade Democrats to knock on doors to spread the Democratic message. Neighbor-to-neighbor contact is the best way to win converts, he said. "There are Democrats everywhere, but many of them don't say who they are anymore because the culture has said it's not socially acceptable to be a Democrat," Dean said." Just announced: Dean's March 6th visit to Seattle has been postponed, "due to new commitments scheduled by the DNC."
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid defends Howard Dean and says nice things about him today in this AP article from Channel 4 in Reno.
From the story in the Corning (NY) Leader: "Young Americans need to vote and get more involved in the political process no matter what their beliefs are, the nation's newest top Democrat said during an appearance at Alfred University Tuesday. "I don't care if you're on the left or right," said Howard Dean, the new chairman of the Democratic National Committee. "You can't govern if you don't know what the facts are." Dean, the former Vermont governor who made an unsuccessful presidential bid in 2004, talked about budget reform, the war in Iraq, social security and social progress. Outside AU's Harder Hall, the snow flew as protesters voiced their displeasure with Dean. Inside, the applause was loud and warm as the political maverick chided the Bush administration and encouraged students to become stakeholders in American politics." The Vermont Guardian has, "All in the family: Dean duo to head two key Democratic groups" about Howard Dean's new position and his brother Jim's new job at DFA.
The Senator from Michigan visited the campus of the University of Michigan and shared the following with the students, according to this story in The Michigan Daily: "I have mixed feelings in terms of Dean,” he said. “I think he brings some tremendous plusses to the table, in terms of his appeal to people that have never been involved. He opened up a whole new way of raising money that is healthy and successful. The minuses are that the image he brings to the party is not the image that attracts a lot of independent voters. That’s why he wasn’t nominated.”Why would he want to say that? If we're talking about "image" why doesn't he focus his attention on Ken Mehlman or "Turdblossom"?
Ripon College's student newspaper, "College Days" has this commentary which contains the following: "We've all heard the hand-wringing, self-pitying post-election proclamations from various Democrats that the party needs to "understand" the red states and modify their views on guns or gays or God to break through. The concept is idiotic for numerous reasons, but my personal peeve is that it actively and absurdly denies that politics is about persuasion. It's like purposefully dropping a grenade on your foot en route to battle- you lose your weapon and cripple yourself before you can even stand and fight. Republicans are scared of a Democrat who proudly, unashamedly articulates a Democratic viewpoint even if the currents are rushing against him, who understands that his job isn't to passively respond to what the American people may say but to win them to his side. And jellyfish Democrats are scared of a party member who can break the cycle they've propagated to rebuild a proud and principled party, who's sick of losing and wants to change that no matter what. They're scared, so they call Howard Dean names, in a desperate attempt to marginalize what they know is coming and know they can't stop. They're scared. And it's about damn time." Ripon College is "Wisconsin's Oldest College Newspaper" and is located in Ripon, Wisconsin.
"...the Dean Scream was a fraud, probably the clearest instance of media assassination in recent U.S. political history. The Dean Scream footage that was repeatedly aired rests on a similar falsehood. It takes a man who in context was acting reasonably, and by stripping away that context transforms him into a lunatic. The people who showed that clip are far more technically sophisticated than I and had to understand how tight visual framing and noise-suppression hardware can distort reality. True, some network news executives commented afterward that perhaps the footage was overplayed and offered the bureaucrat's favorite bromide, that hindsight is 20/20. But the media establishment has never acknowledged this as a burning matter of ethical harm. That's because the Dean Scream incriminates the entire professional mission of television news, which is built around the primacy of the picture."-from today's column in The Miami Herald by Edward Wasserman, Knight professor of journalism ethics at Washington and Lee University.
Tuesday, February 22, 2005
Why? "Because Howard Dean is a former presidential candidate who was right on the Bush invasion of Iraq and had the guts to say so, he has the stature to make people listen. He is, as Paul Krugman described, a "fighting moderate." What is that? A moderate Democrat who is willing to take stands on issues affecting real people. The people who are unwelcome in the lobbyists' Legislature, who fight Wal-Mart sprawl, slaughterhouses in their downtown, ethanol factories near where people live, and factory farms. People who think the Public Service Commission ought to fight for the ratepayers instead of the utilities."-from the op-ed in The Capital Times (WI) today.
"His work endures. His influence endures. His legend endures. His greatest lesson, that despite our fear, the fight against the bastards we loathe must go on, continues to instruct."-from the post on Upper Left, "The Doctor is out..." on the death of Hunter S. Thompson.
You've probably never heard of Butler University, but here's a few choice words from their commentary today: "His goals as the DNC Chair are simple. Elect Democratic candidates for city council, county commissioner, school board, and state assembly. Begin to change the party’s incoherent image the Republican campaigners have successfully framed on us. He believes that if efforts begin on the local level people will begin to trust their government and will want to have a voice in government decisions. Dean understands that Democracy, like any other institution, needs to be nurtured continuously. Through Howard, Democrats and others will begin to realize that for Democracy to function at its highest capacity, a direct, hands-on approach is necessary. If everyone is not participating through group meetings, fundraising, running for office, attending rallies, making phone calls, knocking on doors, or simply talking to people in the grocery line, its power will begin to fall to corruption and inherent greed. Howard told his first 432 supporters, "You have the power!" He will bring this message and ethical standard to our party. Be proud to be a Democrat, a bright and successful future lies ahead."-from the op-ed in the student newspaper, "Dawgnet." The answer to your silent question: Butler University is located in Indianapolis, Indiana, a "red" state. Dean is on a mini-tour of college campuses and this AP story, "Dean Brings Grassroots Message To Upstate Campuses," gives us a taste of the message: "In a telephone interview with The Buffalo News yesterday, Dean said traditionally Republican upstate New York is the kind of turf that's receptive to the Democratic message. Dean said Republicans in New York state don't balance budgets, cut back on school funding, and load local governments with unfunded mandates. He said that has been awful for upstate New York communities. Dean has come under verbal attack from New York's new Republican state chairman, Stephen Minarik, who calls Dean an extreme liberal far from America's mainstream. But Dean says he's spreading the message that Democrats better represent mainstream America than Republicans do."
You read it here first, but MyDD posts excerpts of the Reed Davis op-ed in today's Seattle Times and offers some comments: "One of the things that I admire about Rove as a strategist came out in his recent speech urging the GOP not to become complacent. Rove has little interest in talking about how terrible the Democrats are doing right now--he's far too smart for that. He knows full well that the president's 51% margin in no way signifies a long term shift for the GOP. The Republicans are in hot water in a wide variety of ways: with their reelection of Bush they can expect to historically be held solely responsible for the Iraq Debacle; they are dangerously out of step with the priorities of most Americans on an issue by issue basis; and the unity that 9/11, the Iraq War, and the election provided them is quickly being sapped away. The Democrats will be positioned well in the coming years if they can continue to build their organization up and finally settle some long fought ideological issues. And Dean may be the one man who can get it all done."
The student newspaper at Texas A&M has the article. Here's a bite: "Since his political entrance, Dean has been irrationally painted an extreme liberal - a likely result of his pro-choice and anti-war dialogue. But it is the misinformed with paint brushes in hand. The basic foundations of liberalism have always included progression, concern for the poor, interest in the environment and all around empathy for diverse America. Dean's ideology is founded upon the best interest of all people. Dean emphasizes that the Democratic party is a perfect answer for young people looking for a government that speaks to them, and he is motivated to redefine party principles without further polarizing the country. Dean isn't trying to force his liberalism down America's throat; he is merely trying to bring the Democratic party out of a social and political rut."
Monday, February 21, 2005
"Mr. Dean’s loudly partisan attacks on President George W. Bush, which played so well with Democrats a year ago, may go down fine at fundraising rallies for the true believers, but that shrillness on television talk-shows risks turning off voters who may be tiring of President Bush and the Republicans. Also, having a New Englander as the Democrats public face may do little to help a party desperate to improve its showing in the South and West. Ironically, Dr. Dean’s political record is largely that of the kind of centrist Democrat who does not scare off independents and Republicans. As five-term governor of Vermont, Dr. Dean was a fiscal conservative who supported gun rights and fought with the more politically flamboyant members of his own party."-from the article in The Black Chronicle.
“We learned that we don’t have the kind of grassroots organizations that they do. We brought a lot of people in from the states. But they had people in their own communities knocking on doors. That’s what we want to do,” says Howard Dean, former Democratic presidential candidate and new chairman of the Democratic National Committee. “They have people talking to people, for example, in their churches. It had more success than bringing people in from other states. In the rural areas, it’s much more effective when someone that you know talks to you. So, we’re looking to create grassroots organizations in the community. And in the African-American community, a lot of the grassroots organizations already exist.”-from the article today in the Wilmington Journal (NC).
"NOW that Howard Dean has ascended to the chairmanship of the Democrat National Committee, Republicans are high-fiving one another with such mad glee that you'd think Democrats had just nominated Dennis Kucinich to run in 2008. The GOP needs to sit back down, recork the champagne and get back to work. Whether they know it or not, Republicans need to understand that Dean spells trouble for the Republican Party. Big trouble."-from the op-ed in today's Seattle Times, by Reed Davis, an associate professor of political science at Seattle Pacific University who ran for the GOP nomination to the U.S. Senate last year. He also was a former chairman of the King County Republican Party.
Sunday, February 20, 2005
Susan from the Suburban Guerilla site has this on "The Great Shoe Debate" with a cross link to a Kossack's account from Portland, with the attendant comments. Among the issues covered in the comments: "Did he bring an extra shoe to throw, like it was premeditated, or was he only wearing one when they marched him out? The latter would be much more powerful and spontaneous.." Always willing to dig deeper to get all the facts for you, here's the local tv report on the debate. Not surprisingly, it takes a typical mainstream approach, treating the shoe-thrower as a criminal and noting that he was charged with "disorderly conduct." The reporter says the crowd got "ugly," failing to mention that the issue in question, the Iraq war, has resulted in the deaths of tens of thousands of Iraqi citizens, financed by our tax dollars. How "ugly" is that? One also learns from the comments on Kos that "pointing the soles of your shoes at someone else's head is insulting in Arabic culture." Why, you ask? Because "the sole of the foot is the most unclean part of the body. Until recent years, most Arabs lived in the desert where they raised sheep and camels. They did not have shoes, so they were walking on the filthy ground with their bare feet. Hence, showing the sole of a foot to an Arab is a grave insult." Seattle's own Dina Lydia also has another great photo in the comments. A suggestion for a "Great Shoe Drive" was made, with the appropriate photo, like the one with Barbara Boxer and the roses. Update: Carla at Preemptive Karma has this account of the debate. She reminded me that Perle is a former disciple of Scoop Jackson, which I keep trying to forget.
Saturday, February 19, 2005
Sites like this are sometimes referred to as "link whores," because we leave the heavy lifting to others. This article, from the Pittsburg Post-Gazette via The Smirking Chimp, is an example of an article I am too lazy to write, but contains a message I am perfectly willing to promote.
It's supposed to be a news story, but the Rovians reaffirm their committment to "fair and balanced" journalism with this review of the current political scene in the article "US Political Parties Appear Headed In Different Directions." They quote the party line from the Rovian in Chief, himself: "The president's top political adviser, Karl Rove, recently told a conservative group in Washington that conservatism has now become the "dominant political creed" in the United States. "We are seizing the mantle of idealism," said Karl Rove. "As you know, the president has made a powerful case in the inaugural speech, and before, for spreading human liberty and defending human dignity. This was once largely the preserve of liberalism. But a fellow named Ronald Reagan changed all that. President Bush has built on these beliefs, and is committed to something no past president has ever attempted, spreading liberty to the broader Middle East." A swell photo of the man ("Turdblossom") on a cell phone as well as one of the President.
They have put up a page, "PDA Supports Voting Rights Legislation - Civil Rights Emphasis," outlining their approach to voting reform. It describes the split between those working on the issue from the civil rights perspective versus those (including Republicans) who want to keep it on a more "technical" basis. It gives high marks to John Conyers legislation as well as a bill by Senators Boxer and Clinton. This is a complex issue that deserves close attention. Update: MyDD takes this point of view.
Friday, February 18, 2005
Eleanor Clift, writing in Newsweek, has this to say about Dean and the Democrats: "Dean's chairmanship of the Democratic Party is a victory of the grassroots activists over the party establishment, which did everything to stop him and failed. One Beltway Democrat called the elevation of Dean "an office-warming gift for Rove," now that King Karl has been named deputy chief of staff and moved closer to the Oval Office. Yet unlike Secretary of State Condeleezza Rice, who hit the road and made a big splash in her first week on the job, we've heard nothing from Dean since the party chose him by acclimation a week ago. In a show of sensitivity that the Washington Democrats should appreciate, Dean appears to be deliberately lying low for a while, a concession to all the chatter over the last few weeks declaring the chairman is not a spokesman for the party, and that he won't be crafting the party's message. Knowing Dean's temperament and personality, this initial period of hibernation won't last for very long. And it shouldn't. Dean got the job as party leader because he has edge and attitude and conviction." Update: Believe it or not, even the Wall Street Journal says, ""Americans want Democrats to stand up to Bush," via Political Wire: "Just 34% want Democrats to 'work in a bipartisan way' to help pass the president's priorities." Must be "Joementum" and friends.
If you Google Howard Dean today you will observe that Dean's debate in Portland yesterday with the delusional Richard Perle elicited a variety of headlines in the daily newspapers of these United States. Except for The Oregonian, they all ran the same AP story with this lead: "Howard Dean, the newly minted leader of the Democratic Party, and former Pentagon adviser Richard Perle made clear their opposing views on the war in Iraq during a debate marred by a protester who tossed a shoe at Perle." Here are the different headlines, most of which feature a piece of footwear, rather than the substance of the debate: "Protester throws shoe at Richard Perle" (Seattle P-I, Washington Post, LA Times and many, many others); "Shoe tossed at ex-Pentagon adviser during debate" (CNN with a photo of the famous shoe, and many, many others). Exceptions to the rule: "Howard Dean trades barbs with former Pentagon adviser Richard Perle at debate in Oregon" (the AP story, again, in the San Diego Union-Tribune) that has a photo of Dean, not the shoe, and "Polar opposites Dean, Perle trade barbs at debate", Channel 3, Burlington (VT). Here's a quote from The Oregonian story, "U.S. foreign policy debate packed with left, right jabs: "Howard Dean, Democratic National Committee chairman, and Richard Perle, a conservative foreign policy expert, were the cordial antagonists during a lively, 90-minute joint appearance before about 2,800 people in the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall." It covers the issues discussed in the face-off and has this about Dean's debut on the national media stage as DNC Chair: "Dean said that he and other Democrats had supported earlier conflicts, including the war in Afghanistan, but that the Iraq war "was not justified by the information we had at the time." Dean also accused the Bush administration of failing to develop and invest in long-term strategies to improve U.S. security and of ignoring graver threats than that posed by Iraq's Saddam Hussein. "We picked the low-lying fruit in Iraq" while ignoring developing nuclear programs in Iran and North Korea, Dean said. "It is not strong defense policy to run up trillions of dollars in deficits and have the paper held by the Saudis and Chinese," he said. A majority of the audience clearly sided with Dean, greeting the former Vermont governor with campaign rally-type cheers." How much will the shoe fetch on eBay and do you think the shoe will distract readers from the substance of the issues under discussion? Update: "Big Eddie" Schultz on Air America AM1090 in Seattle this morning commenting on the "Great Shoe Debate" yesterday: "Dean kicked ass." He also wondered why the media has not played any audio or shown any video of Dean's first public appearance, since so many were "worried" and other things about his ability to perform in his new position. Update: The last word on "The Great Shoe Debate" from me goes to The Daily Times of Pakistan, from their article, "Shoe thrown at leading US neocon": "Richard Perle, one of the country’s leading neocons and an architect of the Iraq war, met his just deserts when an irate member of the audience he was addressing in Oregon threw a shew at him screaming “liar, liar.”
You need look no further than the top of this page to see that Kaushik is capable of tipping his hat to Dean, when he feels it's appropriate. But his article this week in The Stranger, "Dean of the Establishment," sounds an alarm over the the immediate future of the Democrats: "Pre-Gingrich, Republicans hewed to the Tip O'Neil dictum that "all politics is local." Gingrich turned that maxim on its head, nationalizing the party's message; his 1994 "Contract with America" gave conservative candidates around the country a unified set of themes to run on. And it worked. Dean, by contrast, offers the worst of both worlds: The incompetent old guard remains in command, but the troops in the field will have more independence to go off and fight their own battles. That means, inevitably, more confusion, more infighting, and a more muddled message." I'm not sure I agree, but once again, his words are worth reading and thinking about.
Thursday, February 17, 2005
John Nichols, writing in the The Nation: "With the selection of Howard Dean as its chairman, the 213-year-old Democratic Party has become something it has not been for a long time: exciting. A measure of that came three days before the 447 members of the Democratic National Committee chose him, at a pre-victory party Dean held in a microbrewery just blocks from DNC headquarters. Hundreds of his mostly young, mostly liberal supporters packed the place to hear Dean declare the Democrats to be the "party of the future." They also got a signal that he remained "their man," not the neutered version of himself that party insiders were still hoping he might become in his new role. When a backer bellowed the updated Harry Truman slogan that became a mantra for Dean's presidential campaign-"Give 'em hell, Howard!"-a wicked grin rippled across Dean's face. "I'm trying to be restrained in my new role," he chirped. "I may be looking for a three-piece suit." Then he burst into laughter and exclaimed, "Fat chance!" The crowd cheered. Reporters flipped open notebooks. A faint shudder was heard from the offices of Congressional Democratic leaders. And Republicans, recalling the Iowa caucus incident that so damaged Dean's presidential prospects, repeated their tired take on the Vermonter's political resurrection: "It's a scream."- from the article, "Now He Has the Power." Dean would disagree and say "we have the power," but it's very much worth reading anyway, for the possibilities it suggests. Another college paper heard from: The Wayne State University "South End" says, "Maybe Howard Dean can put some life back into the Democratic Party."
I just heard that Air America's "Unfiltered" show will be "checking in" with Dean in a few minutes. It's on AM 1090 in Seattle or online here. Update: I guess they are checking in without Dean actually being on the air. "Checking in" means they are talking about him. Summary: They're "worried."
From Ray Minchew at Democracy for Washington: "On March 6, Governor Dean is in town to speak at Foolproof.org's American Voices event. We have booked space with Progressive Majority at Bambuza, across the street from this event, at 9:00pm that evening. We invite all members, activists, family and friends to join us for a fun evening of chatting with old friends and making new ones, and we'll have a couple special guests as well! Please RSVP here, so we can tell Bambuza how many to expect."
"For years, the GOP has cried foul saying the Democrats unfairly tried to frighten voters by saying that Republicans were out to weaken or destroy Social Security. They always insisted that they had no such intention. Now that claim stands fully exposed. The Bush administration and the Republican majority in Congress clearly are on an ideological crusade aimed at gutting the retirement program and causing its collapse. Dean needs to make that case, and to bring the party, and its elected officials with him. They need to make the argument that Democrats will not compromise on Social Security, and that they will not allow the president’s plan to peel younger workers off of the program with a promise of "private" investment accounts."-from the article on the ILCA website, "Electoral Politics: Will Dean Make a Difference?" ""President Bush's budget has brought Enron-style accounting to our nation's capital."- from "Howard Dean's Statement on Fiscal Responsibility" in support of the "Blue Dog Democrats" news conference calling attention to the Rovian's fiscal blunders. Keep in mind this observation from Bob Shields that he sent along, when you read/hear about how Howard Dean is such "wild" man: "So, an administration that does background checks on prospective audience members at campaign events, even now on Bush's Social Security tour, allows a cretin like Gannon/Guckert into the White House for two years with no checks? That Gannon/Guckert is gay isn't the point, of course, it is the fact that he is a tax evading prostitute that makes his acceptance immoral." And New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd is still waiting for her press pass, after two years. Update: A reading of Maureen Dowd's column today reveals that I misunderstood the timing of Maureen Dowd's press pass problem. It was during the first two years of the Rovian Administration. I can't wait to see what question she asks, if she ever gets called on at a White House press conference. Update: Want to win "a free subscription to the American Prospect, a night on the town with the magazine staff, and former Labor secretary Robert Reich's distinctive voice on his or her home answering machine..?" The liberal periodical is having a contest: "You're in an elevator with a potential moneybags," he wrote, "and you have, say, seven floors to tell him why he should write you a check. Well, we all know the basic outline of conservatism's elevator pitch: 'We believe in freedom and liberty, and we're for low taxes, less government, traditional values and a strong national defense.' But what is liberalism's?"-reported in this LA Times story today, "Seeking a rallying cry, louder voices." The article offers some early contest submissions. It's not about Dean, but the idea and the article are in the ballpark. They are both, I think, very weak efforts at political strategy and journalism. If you want more blather about Gannon/Guckert, go to Kos. Update: By at least one frame of reference, Dean is a moderate, middle-of-the-road kind of politician. Chastised by those to his "right" for blunt talk and "liberal" positions on the issues, folks like Joshua Frank, writing on the CounterPunch site say the DNC job has neutralized him and his supporters: "The Hogtying of the Deaniacs."
Beltway insider David Broder of the Washington Post renders the first verdict in his column for the Washington Post, syndicated all over: "To everyone's surprise, Dr. Howard Dean's first treatment for the ailing Democratic Party was a dose of tranquilizers." If he isn't screaming he's putting them to sleep, I guess. I have developed a somewhat warped fascination with the mendacious traitor named Robert Novack, who bestows his wisdom about Dean upon us and makes a specific prediction: "The conventional wisdom in Washington is that the flamboyant Dean will overpower newly installed Republican Chairman Ken Mehlman, the understated 2004 Bush campaign manager. Old Democratic hands are not so optimistic about the coming Mehlman vs. Dean televised face-offs — cool and disciplined vs. emotional and unpredictable. “Dean will have a circus on Sunday, and we’ll clean up the elephant droppings on Monday,” a Democratic veteran told me. On those Sunday programs, Dean will be asked what to do about Iraq. He will not imitate Joe Biden’s nuanced analysis, but instead will serve up red meat. It is unlikely Dean would or could adjust to the new atmosphere observed by sophisticated Democratic strategists since the Iraqi elections. Bashing George W. Bush and his war policy, Dean’s specialty, no longer seems so suitable." In a moral and just world, Novack would be in prison, but we'll just have to wait and see if he is any good as a soothsayer. For another point of view, try Rick Holmes in the Boston Herald: "Republicans and the commentators in their corner are aghast at the prospect of Howard Dean elected to run the Democratic National Committee. Don't the Democrats know they should be moving to the center? Haven't they learned they need to talk like Republicans on values and national security? Don't they get it? Well, no, maybe they don't. Or at least I hope they don't."
Wednesday, February 16, 2005
Dean Says GOP Offical Must Apologize" "concerns a statement linking Dems to a controversial attorney in New York, about which Dean said ""The American people deserve better than this type of political character assassination." New York's Republican Governor said ""within the realm of appropriate political discourse," about the statement Dean found objectionable. Another AP story attempts to charge Dean with flip-flopping: "Dean seeks media blackout, changes mind." What the headline leaves out is that the decision to keep the press out was made while Dean was seeking the DNC Chair position. Now that he has gotten the job, Dean feels the closed door policy is not appropriate, according to the article. As I predicted, Dean is going to be a media target.
Bulldog Conversion: Yesterday it was Harvard, today it's an editorial in the Yale Daily News welcoming Dean with "As chairman, Dean is ideal cure for DNC's woes." Here are the words of someone who had a higher SAT score, better grades, wrote a better essay and also possessed a more impressive extracurricular resume than you or me: "During the primary season last year, many of my pieces in these pages emphasized the perils of nominating Howard Dean for the presidency, and I still retain my belief that Dean would have been a poor choice for Democrats to put at the top of their 2004 ticket. However, for the job of DNC chairman, I believe Dean -- with his conviction, outspokenness and credibility on deficit issues -- to be an excellent choice for the Democrats. In fact (forgive the pun), he's just what the doctor ordered. Democrats now need a bold leader to provide credibility and a coherent message. I think they've found him in Howard Dean." AlterNet's Media Culture column provides this view, "Dean DNC hoedown." Their summary statement: "Much of the coverage amounts to another chapter in the media's Schroedinger's Cat coverage: Media misrepresents person/issue; provides unflattering coverage; comments on the fact that "the public" is skeptical of said person/issue. As if their peeping had no effect. Still they've been as remarkably restrained as the Republicans (for now) whose official comment was: "Howard Dean's energy and passion will add to the political discourse in this country, and he will be a strong leader for his party." Just wait." I'm not a cat person so will somebody tell me about "Schroedinger's Cat," please? The Nation has this combo-plate of ideas and quotes, "Zephyr Teachout to Howard Dean" by their editor, Katrina vanden Heuvel. She's far more gentle on Zeph than I. Update: "As RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman praised the election of his new counterpart Howard Dean, influential Republican front groups were already planning a mendacious offensive against the new DNC chair,"-from The Nation's "the daily Outrage" column today. Bob Shields sends along a link to The Straight Dope that explains the reference to Schroedinger's Cat, above. Unfortunately, I am too feeble-minded to deduce the meaning of this information.
Tuesday, February 15, 2005
An op ed in the Augusta Free Press (VA), "Southern Comfort for Dean?" claims "Dean's also been portrayed, frankly, as a screaming nutcase. But we here at www.raisingkaine.com believe that these are all false stereotypes that couldn't be further from the truth. We also believe that the Republicans are in for some very unpleasant surprises in coming months and years as their illusions and fantasies are shattered one by one." Paul Krugman's "Dean represents fighting moderates" shows up in the P-I. I was thinking that Dean reminds me of our own Governor Booth Gardner in some respects which helps to account for Dean's popularity here. I won't go into all the parallels, but think about it yourself. The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel has this editorial: "Dean worth the gamble." The title tips the message. Watchout for this guy: "Ex-Congressman Frost signs on with Fox News Channel," BET.com quotes Jesse Jackson who says Dean will "fight for a Democratic party that occupies the moral center," in their story, "Dean Promises to Take This Country Back."
Dean sent an email today, entitled "Your new job," which contains a five point action plan for supporters, as well as a petition of support.
The staff of the Harvard Crimson, our nation's next generation of inside the Beltway journalists and pundits says, "Deaniacs Rejoice-The Doctor will point Democrats in the right direction." Sadly, the only place I could find "Howard Dean Announces DNC Transition Team" came from an obscure website. It is, however, worth examining. Actually, I now see that Political Wire also found it worth sharing with the American populace. They even use the official DNC version of the press release. The Fox-watching "News Hounds" site looks at their coverage of Dean's appointment. MyDD notices that NY Times columnist Paul "Krugman in Harmony with Blogsphere on Dean." They quote Krugman at length, but here's a taste: "Those words tell us what the selection of Mr. Dean means. It doesn't represent a turn to the left: Mr. Dean is squarely in the center of his party on issues like health care and national defense. Instead, Mr. Dean's political rejuvenation reflects the new ascendancy within the party of fighting moderates, the Democrats who believe that they must defend their principles aggressively against the right-wing radicals who have taken over Congress and the White House. It was always absurd to call Mr. Dean a left-winger. Just ask the real left-wingers. During his presidential campaign, an article in the muckraking newsletter CounterPunch denounced him as a "Clintonesque Republicrat," someone who, as governor, tried "to balance the budget, even though Vermont is a state in which a balanced budget is not required." Even on Iraq, many moderates, including moderate Republicans, quietly shared Mr. Dean's misgivings - which have been fully vindicated - about the march to war." Update: CounterPunch, one of the sites that Krugman quotes to prove his point, responds today and stands by it description of Dean: "Dean a "Safe" Moderate."
Monday, February 14, 2005
Special Correspondent Kurt Zumdieck files this report: "The Seattle celebration of Dean's coronation as DNC Chair, at the Highway 99 Blues Club on Saturday night, had a good turnout of the Doctor's finest and most fanatical. The dungeon-like setting of the club quickly proved ironic as the first huzzah was raised; "We are the establishment now!", to which I quickly retorted, " What the hell are we gonna do now." The raffle afterwards for Dean memorabilia (bumper stickers) barely interrupted the mingling, but Mary Robinson credentialed all of the Deaniacs with a pictured tag that read "The Chair is in". It was the must-have of the party and got some favorable nods from patrons at the bar. One gal said she had met our Man and "Dean was cool." Some familiar faces made the scene, like Dwight Pelz, who made an early appearence, and the defeated, but not down Greg Rodriguez, who seemed to be relieved to be able to return to family life after his run for State party chair. He promised to help work on a state-wide initiative (which I have been promising for so long) to bring about real voting reform, when he got his legs back underneath him. Working the crowd with my urgent spiel about voting reform, and how I wanted to make a direct appeal to Dean himself, with an action plan for voting reform initiatives in 20 swing states, was met with a mix of bemusement and "yeah, buts....". Just as the warm-up act got off the stage did our folks begin to leave. When I cut out at nine, four of the younger crowd had begun to cut the rug. The last gaggle of Deaniacs were now "with the band."
Tonight from 7-8pm PT, WBUR's "On Point" will discuss "Howard Dean Takes Over." Here's their set up and guest list: "Despite the efforts of some of the Democratic Party brass, former Vermont governor and presidential candidate Howard Dean has succeeded in his bid to chair the Democratic National Committee. Some in the Democratic Party worry that Dean is a polarizing figure at a time when the Democrats need unity, perhaps more than ever. Dean supporters assert that his grassroots organizational strength and hard-ball approach is just what the doctor ordered. Tune here in here to the broadcast tonight on Northwest Public Radio. to hear reaction to Howard Dean's election as the new Chairman of the Democratic National Committee. Guest list: Howard Fineman, Newsweek's chief political correspondent, senior editor and deputy Washington bureau chief · Bob Kerrey, President, New School University, former Democratic Senator from Nebraska · Katrina vanden Heuvel, Editor of the Nation Magazine and co-editor of "Taking Back America and Taking Down The Radical Right" · Wayne Dowdy, Chairman, Mississippi Democratic Party." Update: 7:07 pm. I'm listening now. Click on the player button under "Your NPR News Station."
Cokie Roberts sends this toxic Valentine to Dean and the Democrats with her "Political Wrap" today on National Petroleum Radio's "Morning Edition." Ron Brownstein's column, not a news article, in today's LA Times, "Democrats Seek to Outmaneuver Republicans by Imitating Their Strategy," seeks to explain what's going on at the DNC. Executive summary: "Plenty of Democrats still worry that this drive for greater unity and ideological consistency, if it becomes a lurch left, could hurt the party by repelling voters in red states whom the next nominee will need to win the White House. For now, these doubters are reassuring each other that a presidential candidate determined to court the center (paging Sen. Hillary Clinton!) can redirect the party in 2008. Maybe. But right now, the loudest voices in the Democratic Party belong to those clamoring less for another Clinton than for their own Bush." I'll hate myself in the morning, but here's Zephyr today, giving advice to Howard Dean without deigning to say his name: "Zack Exley recently wrote a great piece addressed to the next DNC chair about how he should use the internet. It is largely focused on ground-game advice about how to win elections using technology. It's a brilliant piece, important and very concrete, and I will urge the next DNC chairman to read it, ask his staff to read it, and quickly develop a plan to implement something along those lines." Like Zephyr, her current effort is grandiose, self-important, self-promoting and contains some good ideas. Since I have already soiled my hands this morning, let's see what a certain Mr. O'Reilly has to say about the Good Doctor: "...why did the party turn to a man with so many negatives? The answer is that Dean can fire people up. And that's no small feat in Democratic circles. John Kerry was the ultimate party pooper. He had all kinds of trouble getting folks, including the Democratic choir, to sing along. "Stodgy" is probably the best word for Kerry. The Dems badly need charisma; Dean has it. But all in all, Howard Dean will probably hurt his party. He is generally intolerant of red state values, and Republicans will seize upon this to serve up Dean, Hillary and liberal extremism in one puffed-up soufflé." That's pretty much the same argument that Cokie made. Update: Tom Curry at MSNBC must have overslept, because he just posted, "Why Dean dominates the Democrats." Choice quote: "Once Howard Dean applies the same techniques that he used during his campaign to the word ‘Democrat’ and turns the DNC into the primary place fighting the Republican agenda, that is a party that can do extraordinary things,” said Simon Rosenberg, head of the New Democrat Network, who ran against Dean for the chairmanship." First lie against Dean to be repeated since he became DNC Chair: "Former Vermont governor Howard Dean was recently quoted as saying he hates all Republicans and what they stand for." Of course, he never said that. He has a record of working with like-minded Republicans in Vermont and elsewhere. And only an imbecile would write-off a big chunk of the electorate with a comment like that. I am anticipating that this lie will be repeated, repeatedly. Update: Ray Minchew sets the record straight on this quote: "It’s being mis-quoted as “I hate Republicans” when he said “I hate THE Republicans” – clearly referring to the party, not the people." Thanks, Ray.
Sunday, February 13, 2005
This is from the conservative writer, Thomas Lindaman, on the conservative blog "The Reality Check." A fair and balanced excerpt: "Dean energized voters young and old and made them believe in the party again. This one factor cannot be overlooked if the Republicans want to maintain any kind of momentum in the future. And if he can recapture the magic he had prior to the Iowa Caucuses, it will create a seismic shift in the Democrat power balance." MyDD's "descrates" offers this commentary, from which I have taken my headline to this post. One of my conclusions from reading Lindamin is that the Rovians must try to take down Dean, again, in order to protect what they believe is their property, our government. Stay tuned.
This story by Dick Polman of the Philadelphia Inquirer is in print all over today. It takes a longer view of yesterday's event: "But Dean didn't get the job by wowing the activists with liberal red-meat rhetoric. He got it by talking nuts and bolts - promising, for example, to pump big bucks into the state parties and to energize the demoralized. Former skeptics seem satisfied; as Ed Kilgore, an activist in the party's moderate wing, remarked the other day: "Dean chose to stress the stuff that unites Democrats and causes the least amount of heartburn. It was tactically smart." Many grassroots Democrats also felt they owed him for services rendered in 2004. After flaming out on the presidential trail, Dean didn't sulk or disappear. Operating below the media radar, he set up an online money-raising operation and stumped all year for local candidates - more than 600 - in both red and blue states. "That produced an enormous amount of loyalty," said Philadelphia lawyer Mark Aronchick, a party activist who traveled frequently with Dean last year. "He proved the point, `What I was asking you to do for me, I'll do for you.' He showed that he was for real. And many of us liked the fact that he was turning on the younger generation - kids expressing all the idealism that we wanted our own children to have."
E.J. Dionne from the stable of Washington Post handicappers lays out the challenges facing Dean and asks, "Can Dean Give 'Em A Winner?" Saying he's no Deaniac, Dionne nonetheless offers this assessment: "It's stunning that a year after Dean's crash-and-burn exit from the presidential race he emerged as the top candidate to lead the party back to glory. His victory is the result, in part, of his shrewd understanding of the politics of the 447-member Democratic National Committee -- something his rivals for the job acknowledged by throwing in the towel in advance of yesterday's vote. But there was another reason for Dean's comeback: He appeared to be in the best position to meet most -- though not all -- of the competing demands of Democratic activists." Meanwhile, back in the friendly confines of the blogosphere, Jerome Armstrong describes the post-Chair wrangling at the DNC meeting, on MyDD. It's not all that interesting, but provides some closure as its title suggests: "New Day."
Saturday, February 12, 2005
Dean Accepts DNC Helm With Low-Key Speech," from the LA Times includes this quote: "The former Vermont governor, whose 2004 presidential bid ran aground amid questions about his judgment and temperament, acknowledged that few -- including himself -- could have predicted such a rapid return to national prominence. But he won the chairmanship the same way he went from dark horse to one-time frontrunner for the Democratic presidential nomination: by developing an ardent following at the grassroots and tapping widespread contempt for the party's inside-the-Beltway leadership." The P-I and the Times go with very similar versions of this AP story, from the P-I. Under some duress, here is the NY Times story, "Democrats Elect Dean as Committee Chairman." I didn't see any passive-agresssive digs in my reading of the story, so maybe they are chillin' for the moment.
"If you told me one year ago that I'd be standing here today, as your choice for Chairman of the Democratic National Committee, I wouldn't have believed you. And neither would have a lot of other people."-from Dean's speech this morning, as prepared. Mara Liasson gave a "fair and balanced" media rebuttal: "Dean Is Likely Choice for DNC Chair.' The NPR piece that aired this morning in some markets was done on Wednesday and the troops have fallen in line a little more since then. But Mara just couldn't resist playing "The Scream" one more time. Why doesn't she ever replay any of the lies and flubs our President has uttered?
"Remember, the GOP will unload on Dean. Everytime you hear the "Dean Scream" without context, consider donating. When you hear some empty head talk about the party "moving left" with Dean, consider donating. When you hear about unnamed big dollar Democratic donors whining about pulling their money out of the party, consider donating."-from Kos. He makes it easy with this link: "Support our DNC."
(02-12) 08:16 PST WASHINGTON, (AP) -- "Democrats elected Howard Dean chairman of their national party on Saturday, casting their lot with a skilled fund-raiser and organizer whose sometimes caustic, blunt comments can lead to controversy."-from the AP story. C-SPAN must have slept in, because I couldn't get their feed online. And Howard Dean had another announcment this morning: "First let me introduce my brother, Jim Dean -- the new Chair of Democracy for America. Jim has been a tireless supporter of the grassroots, and many of you have met him at events around the country."-from the Blog for America.
"For Dean, it's the empowerment," is the CNN story on Dean. Tidbits: "The turning point in Dean's campaign for party chairman came on January 31, when state Democratic chairs endorsed Dean. The Dean takeover is a lot like the takeover of the Republican Party by conservative activists in the 1960s. Conservatives felt disempowered after 30 years in the wilderness. In the short run, the Goldwater takeover looked like a disaster for the GOP. But in the long run, well, look at what happened." From the AP story on the wire now comes, "Democrats set to choose Dean as chairman." "Democrats set to make Dean leader" is from Keralanext.com out of India. They predict: "Chairman Dean can expect his first few weeks in office to be a bruising time." From the Baltimore Sun, "Leaders praise Dean as new DNC chairman." Excerpt: "Top Democrats fell in line behind incoming party Chairman Howard Dean yesterday, muting any doubts they might harbor about his re-emergence on the national scene and what that could mean for their struggling party. Reid drew laughter from members of the DNC when he thanked those who ran for chairman "and all the Democrats I tried to get to run." Remember Iowa? The Des Moines Register story is "Democrats believe Dean is up to task." Appetizer: "To some, Howard Dean will always be known as red-faced and hollering like a football coach at halftime, as he appears in video clips that TV networks have run incessantly since the 2004 caucuses. But Iowa Democrats aren't worried about that lingering image, forged during Dean's concession speech on caucus night. They're more concerned about whether the likely chairman of the Democratic National Committee can yield the spotlight. It will be a task for the outspoken former Vermont governor to curb his tendency to publicly critique the Democratic Party, but Dean has assured supporters he can do it, say Democrats who plan to elect him today in Washington, D.C." If "he is up to task," then why are "Iowa democrats" so concerned? Midwestern skepticism? The Cox News Service story, "Democrats attempt to regroup-Party leaders try to rebuild with Dean as DNC chairman" has this from Bill Clinton: "All that has to happen is you have to have a clear vision, a plan for the future, good campaign tactics and fight like the devil," said Clinton. "We need to brand ourselves better. There were too many people who didn't know why we were Democrats except that we were against President Bush's policies." The Seattle Times has "Is Howard Dean the right choice to revive the Democratic Party?" from Washington Post Beltway insider Dan Balz. He does a review of the conventional political wisdom on Dean's and his new job and the issues it presents for the Democratic party. I hate to link to a lying self-serving traitor who quotes another self-serving traitor, but Novak says Trippi is predicting Dean will break his promise not to run for president in 2008. Wanna hear from a red state? "Kansans weigh in on comeback" quotes Democrats there on Dean's new job. Another story from India, "Dean Aims to Bring a New Style to Democratic Party" offers this quote: "For Joyce Cusack, a Florida delegate, it's time for Democrats to embrace their party's values. "We are trying so hard to be like Republicans and we're not. I think Howard Dean says clearly that we are different," she said. "We are the party of ordinary citizens and not the elite, we are everyday working folk." This story, "Howard Dean, rebel firebrand turned Democratic Party head" is from the Turkish Press. Here's taste: "Ultimately, it was his heavily televised primal scream after one disastrous primary that killed his chances for the nomination. But when the more compromising John Kerry's loss to President George W. Bush in November left the party leadership chastened, Dean discretely lobbied local party branches around the country to support him to be DNC chairman. The move dumbfounded the consultants, bureaucrats and money-men in Washington who normally called the shots at party headquarters." What would a day be without consulting the New York Times? If you read Dean Makes Final Rounds as Party Chairman Race Ends," "you'll have to wait for another to day to find out. They get on the "take a new look at the new Dean" message train. They repeat this zinger from the good Doctor: ""When you think of the New Testament, they get about 2 of the values and we get about 27," he said. "Look, we're not perfect, but at least we know what we're supposed to do," Dr. Dean said. "At least we know that we are supposed to reach out to people who struggle."
Many of you will remember Nancie Kosnoff as the first face you saw at the Washington for Dean headquarters on Westlake, during Howard Dean's presidential campaign. She sends along this party announcement: "Howard Dean is going to be the next DNC Chairperson!!!! – Saturday evening, February 12. Celebrate our BIG (better late than never) VICTORY with all your true blue friends! 6pm - Highway 99 Blues Club and all details: here.
C-SPAN is covering today's DNC meeting from 6:45 am to noon, Seattle time. See it here or on your cable-enhanced tv. If things drag, read this paper from the Progressive Democrats of America, "Why Dean is Good for Progressive Grassroot Democrats." From the article: "Only three months ago PDA jumped headlong into the Ohio election results fight, simultaneously with entering the Dean for DNC fight. One path led Barbara Boxer and a core group of House members led by John Conyers and Stephanie Tubbs-Jones to stand fearlessly against voter suppression of African Americans. The other path led to a new DNC Chair, a man who believes in small donors and volunteer energy, who comes from outside the Beltway, who opposed the war in Iraq, and who stands up for principles when challenged."
Friday, February 11, 2005
"Jim Dean, the candidate's brother, says he can tell from Howard's tone of voice that "he's very much approaching this the way he approached his office when he first became governor. He knows there's plenty to learn and plenty to get acclimated to. He's got some plans and some convictions about what he wants to do, but I think he's taking a very open approach." No one expects Dean, famously outspoken, to completely muzzle himself. Dean jokes that the Washington insider's definition of a gaffe is "when you tell the truth and they think you shouldn't have." His style ever will be blunt: "We have to never be afraid to say what we believe," he insists."-from the AP story. You get the idea.
"It seems that despite all the doubts about his ability to be president, a lot of Democrats continued to admire this small-state doctor who had the courage to stand up against a war he believed was wrong and touched a nerve in a lot of voters."-from CBS Senior Political Editor Dotty Lynch.
Short Version: "We've got to stop beating on each other and redirect our fire against the people we disagree with."-- Former President Bill Clinton, quoted by the Washington Post, on the Democratic Party's main problem, from Political Wire. Long Version: "Progressives and Democrats: Assert your brand" from Thom Hartmann on Common Dreams via The Smirking Chimp. Free sample: "Democrats must reassert their brand, and establish their identity. To do this, the Party must say, loudly: "We're for the average working stiff in America, and we'll prove it by bringing jobs back from overseas by pulling out of the WTO and NAFTA, supporting organized labor, strengthening the social safety net, and keeping government from being a honey pot for either churches or corporations." And then they must come up with a simple name for it, like Newt's "Contract" or Roosevelt's "New Deal" or LBJ's "Great Society" to provide voters with a hook for identification."
"Rove on Dean" from the Financial Times discusses an alleged "second scream" that Rove mentioned at a media conference this week in New York: "But just for the record, Rove - the man President Bush affectionately calls "Turdblossom" - considers Dean a worthy opponent who could be a good chairman of the Democratic national committee." Doublespeak is alive and well in the White House. MSNBC presents highlights of Dan Balz' commentary in the Washington Post, "Ailing Democrats put faith in Dr. Dean," that covers all the possible pros and cons of Dean's impact on the body politic. "As New DNC Chairman, Dean Vows To Restructure Party," from the New York Sun, covers a speech yesterday at a gathering of state party leaders from across the country: "Previewing the acceptance speech he will give after votes are cast on Saturday, Dr. Dean told a gathering of state party leaders from across the country that he will spend a "disproportionate amount of my time" in states that Democrats had all but abandoned in the last election." The Baltimore Sun has this editorial, "Broadening the tent" that offers "congratulations for his anticipated victory, a comeback story come true because of hard work against long odds. His election was opposed by party leaders who favored candidates they thought would be less controversial." Their prescription for tent broadening might not be Dean's preferred strategy, however. Today's Boston Globe has a long story about the genesis of Dean's run at the DNC job, "For Dean's movement, an unlikely inspiration." Executive summary: Dean looked carefully at the success of the Christian right and has come to this conclusion: "After the Democrats' losses in November, Dean made it clear he intended to change the party hierarchy, not be changed by it. In a December speech titled "The Future of the Democratic Party," he laid down his marker with a quote from Harry S Truman: "We're not going to get anywhere by trimming or by appeasing. And we ought not to try it." Texas political consultant Billy Horton has "Howard Dean will make a great party chair for Dems" in the Houston Chronicle. What he says: "Perhaps we have wrongly come to see succinct candor as a kind of arrogance because we have forgotten that some of our best, including confident decision-makers like Harry Truman, did not dabble in political double talk. I find it refreshing that Dean's quick and sure answers to the press and political opponents are just what our party needs. His honesty, intellect and clarity of language will send Republicans packing on the Sunday talk show circuit." Update: Oh, I almost forgot the NY Times story, "A New Dean for a New Job. But the Old One Lingers." They never fail to piss me off, like everybody's old Uncle Sourpouss: "At that event, as Dr. Dean made his first public appearance as the presumptive chairman of the party, he began to give some clues about how he will lead it. There were early signs that he plans to perform a high wire act, balancing the older, rabble-rousing image from his presidential campaign that appeals to his ardent fans with the one of a more muted consensus-builder that he has presented to win over skeptics in the Democratic Party establishment." "Most of you know there are a lot of people in this city who are afraid I'm going to be very unorthodox - and I am," Dr. Dean declared to hundreds of mostly young supporters. Bob Kerrey, the former Democratic senator from Nebraska who is now president of New School University in New York, put a finer point on Mr. Kerry's comments about Dr. Dean. "He has to give people confidence there isn't a 'Democratic wing' of the Democratic party," Mr. Kerrey said, a reference to a trademark campaign phrase that Dr. Dean used to distinguish himself from moderates during the primaries. "The biggest challenge for Howard is going to be overcoming his own words and his own previous statements." Gee Bob, what have you done lately to unite, not divide, the Democratic party? If politics is war, Kerrey is not being patriotic and isn't that cause for consequences? Do we need to be tougher on those that drive wedges into our message in the pages of the major media? My Left Coast bias must be showing because I prefer the LA Times story, "Democrats Aren't Giving Bush a Break This Term" by Ron Brownstein. At least he characterizes the Dems as fighters, while he picks apart the various constituencies and wings of the party.
Thursday, February 10, 2005
The votes haven't been counted but the work has begun: "Dean meets with Reid, Pelosi," from The Hill. The punditry from others continues: "Democrats Find a Defiant Voice," from the Christian Science Monitor. If you can support RealPlayer, listen to Matt Bai of the New York Times Magazine, Paul Berendt and some republican on WBUR discuss the return of Howard Dean to the national center stage. Consumer Warning: The show's headline is omnious: "He's Back."
From an email Kerry sent today: "We have a strong Democratic Party - and we need it to be stronger. Strong enough to turn back George Bush's efforts to privatize Social Security. Strong enough to insist that every child in America has health insurance. Strong enough to elect candidates committed to Democratic ideals at every level of government and in every region of our country. On Saturday - just two days from now - Howard Dean will be elected as the new chair of the Democratic National Committee. He'll need the ideas, engagement and financial support of the entire Democratic Party to succeed. Let's welcome Howard Dean and give him the groundswell of grassroots support he needs." Then he says go here.
Wednesday, February 09, 2005
"Progressive Democrats of America (PDA) was proud to join in the challenge of Ohio's electors and to protest the numerous voting irregularities which shamed our country in the 2004 presidential election. Now is the time to pass legislation to make certain such abuses do not happen and every vote is counted in future elections. Election outcomes must be determined by voters, not politicians. To achieve this goal, we call on every PDA activist to lobby their Congressional Representatives to support and/or cosponsor the VOTER Act (H.R. 533), introduced by Congressman John Conyers, Jr. and Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs-Jones. Send a letter to your representatives now by clicking here."
Susan Estrich writes this commentary suggesting some realistic goals for Dean at the DNC. Robert Kuttner of the The American Prospect takes an honest look at Dean and comes up with some strengths and concerns. More advice for Dean from House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.): "Leave policy to the elected officials."- from The Hill.
Tuesday, February 08, 2005
James Ridgeway writes in the Village Voice and quotes everybody from Novak to Lieberman to Kerry to Margaret Carlson who is the only one who likes Dean. I don't know who Margaret Carlson is, but I like her. This article, with its jaded attitude, is another reason why I was able to leave my hometown. MyDD has this post from Covin that answers stuff like the Voice piece and anticipates the onslaught of attacks on Dean, once he gets into the DNC Chair job.