Friday, September 12, 2003

Dickey steps up to the plate 

First, we get this from one of MSNBC's Embeds:
Promises from Camp Gephardt that we will hear a “special” speech from Dick in Iowa at noon Friday. This is not his usual stump speech, they say, but one where “the goal is to affect the race.” No more details are available at this time, and the staff is promising they’re not giving any extra information to the press, saying watch and see.
And, of course, you can't shake up the race without targetting the frontrunner. So the bile from the Gephardt Camp is this:
In 1965, Republicans advocated a privatized Medicare program and voted against the Medicare program that eventually passed that year.

"Thirty years later, in the midst of the so-called Republican Revolution, Howard Dean actually agreed with the Gingrich Republicans. His home state newspaper reported time and again how Howard Dean supported turning Medicare into a managed care program.

"I don't know about the other candidates, but I think making Medicare a wholly managed care program, whether it's run by the government or private companies, is the wrong thing to do and I'd never agree to that as President of the United States.

"But in 1995, the Republicans were looking to do even more. That same year, the Gingrich Republicans confronted President Clinton and the Democrats and demanded a $270 billion dollar cut in Medicare. In fact, Gingrich shut the government down in an attempt to force President Clinton to accept those Medicare cuts which they needed to fund tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans. Sound familiar? It was in this period when Gingrich said Republicans wouldn't immediately kill Medicare, instead, they'd let it ‘wither on the vine.'

"And it was also during this time that Howard Dean, as Chairman of the National Governor's Association, was supporting Republican efforts to scale back Medicare. Howard Dean told a gathering of reporters that the way to balance the budget was to cut Social Security, move the retirement age to 70, and cut defense, Medicare, and veterans' pensions. Well, I couldn't disagree more with Howard Dean. This is not what we stand for as Democrats.
To which Dean replies:
"I consider Dick Gephardt -- a man I campaigned for 16 years ago -- a friend of mine. But I am deeply saddened that he has chosen to resort to the politics of the past by engaging in name-calling, guilt by association and scare tactics.

"It is a sad day for Dick Gephardt when he compares any Democratic candidate running for President to Newt Gingrich and his divisive policies. No Democrat in the presidential race bears any resemblance to Newt Gingrich on any major issue. And for Dick Gephardt to suggest otherwise is simply beyond the pale.

"It is the politics of the past, and attacks like these, that have caused so many people to opt out of the political process. My campaign is about bringing those people back in, by offering a positive vision of the future, real solutions to America's problems, and by restoring a politics of meaning and a sense of community in political discourse."
Now my question is, if you have to go back to 1995 to find a quote to attack Dean on - don't you think you're reaching a little?

Maybe I'll get to ask Dick that tomorrow in Iowa.

Events on the Weekend 

Well, there's the Dean house party tonight, an Iowa bus trip on Saturday and presumably other things. Check here for details.

Thursday, September 11, 2003

Front Runners, Start Your Engines! 

Wow, the President's poll #s get down to the low 50s and all sorts of people want to join in the race. First Wesley, then Hillary (who's now using Wesley as her stalking horse, I suspect), now the draft Gore movement has a poll out.

You know, guys: you can't be credible in the war on terror if you were that afraid of the President when his approval rating was in the 60s. Dean had courage at a time when the Democrats needed it. When it was unfashionable to strongly oppose the President, the newcomers just weren't there.

9-11, Two Years Later 

Ted Barlow has posted Letterman's post-9-11 monologue after he came back on the air. Read it here. It may be the most moving 9-11 tribute I've seen or read.

New Iowa Poll #s 

Zogby has new poll #s out: Dean 23 (up from 6 in April), Gephardt 17 (down from 25 in April), Kerry 11.

And, get this, a third of Iowa democratic voters stillaren't familiar with Dean. The lead might get larger. Oh, and message to Joe Lieberman: you've dropped from 17% to 4%. You might want a new strategy.

Wednesday, September 10, 2003

Wesley, Wesley, Wesley 

Gen. Clark Reportedly Asked to Join Dean

By Jim VandeHei and Dan Balz

Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean has asked retired Army general Wesley Clark to join his campaign, if the former NATO commander does not jump into the race himself next week, and the two men discussed the vice presidency at a weekend meeting in California, sources familiar with the discussions said.

To view the entire article, go here

Debate Recap, Part Deux: 

Kerry's get a little defensive. Marsha, Marsha, Marsha!

"The dominance that Dr. Dean has enjoyed, and the corresponding exasperation that has caused his rivals, was clear even before the candidates sat down in Baltimore tonight. Senator Kerry was talking to reporters before the debate here, where he was repeatedly questioned about Dr. Dean's standing in the race and things that he had said.

After Mr. Kerry finished his news conference and began walking away with an aide, David Wade, a live microphone picked him up muttering with evident annoyance: "Dean, Dean, Dean, Dean."

And Neal Pollack breaks down the candidates favorite songs:

Joseph Lieberman: "That's easy. The Battle Hymn Of The Republic. And also Yesterday. It feels like it was yesterday that Al Gore and I were robbed of the Presidency in Florida, and that's why black people have to understand that I'm their friend, because I know what it's like to face unfair balloting practices! Also, I like Hava Nagila, but Howard Dean doesn't."

Dennis Kuchinich: "Rage Against The Machine really got it right in The Battle Of Los Angeles."

John Kerry: "I have many favorite songs and the list is so nuanced that you couldn't possibly understand what I'm trying to say."

Richard Gephardt: "My favorite song is whatever will make me appear simultaneously angry at the Administration but also steadfast and patriotic. Barring that, I'm really into Moby."

Debate Recap 

First off, what in the hell was the deal with the set and the sound-effects? Were they left over from "Who Wants To Marry A Millionaire?" I'll give it to Fox: that's more minorities that they've had on camera for months.

Second, memo to LaRouche supporters. Lyndon LaRouche is soooooo 1980s. Cults have become so much hipper. They're even branching into cloning and computers. C'mon guys, if you want to give up your money and your soul for a nut-case, make him today's nutcase.

OK, a real debate recap, from Slate's Bill Saletan:

"Howard Dean's performance was near-perfect. Strategically, Dean is way ahead of the pack. He has fulfilled the affirmative part of the campaign: giving people enough reasons to vote for him. Now he has the luxury of focusing on the negative part: dispelling the reasons to vote against him. Accordingly, his preparation for the last two debates seems to have focused on acting presidential and conveying competence in military and foreign policy. Tonight he accomplished both. He was at ease and in command. Rectifying his performance in Albuquerque, he projected confidence without constipation."

And I want to sit next to Howard Fineman. Oh, Howie, you cut-up:

"In the press filing center during the debate, I sit next to Newsweek's Howard Fineman, who, surprisingly, competes with Al Sharpton for the funniest lines of the night. When Gephardt trots out his Bush is a "miserable failure" line, Fineman observes, "He's really set himself up if he loses the Iowa caucuses. The headline?" And when Sharpton wonders why Bush can't find Osama Bin Laden, when even "Newsweek magazine can find him," Fineman pretends to be talking on his cell phone and announces to the assorted press in the filing center, "Wanna talk to him? I've got him right here." (Maybe you had to be there.)"

Tuesday, September 09, 2003

Dean, Minorities and a challenge 

The AP is running a story (and Drudge is linking to, which means that it will be the conservative argument against us for a couple weeks) that all of us who have been to a Meetup knows well:

"Democrat Howard Dean has drawn new faces to politics, many of them young, middle-class Web surfers. Few of those faces are of color."
"In Birmingham, Ala., nearly three-fourths of the residents are black. Last week, about 40 people attended a Meetup session at an upscale coffee shop in a mostly white, trendy enclave miles from the predominantly black, heavily Democratic western neighborhoods of Birmingham.

The crowd included college students, young professionals, artists and a few middle-aged business people. It was mostly white, except for an Asian woman and a black man who came in late, said little and left early.

The lack of diversity troubled some."
As the article points out, this is not a long-term problem. Dean's campaign is already making extensive outreach efforts offline, but we need to do the same.

A proposal: invite a person of color to the next Meetup. We should not look like the Republicans. Minority groups are our base and we should never ignore them.

Critical Mass 

Michael and I had a conversation on the phone Sunday in which he had asked me at what point we reach critical mass and the President ceases becoming popular and becomes a likely one-term President.

Look behind you, because I think we just passed it.

It isn't just the poll numbers. It is stories like this one, from the Washington Post, entitled "Reserve Tours Are Extended Army Orders 1-Year Stay In Iraq, Nearby Nations". Or quotes like this one from Sen. Tom Harkin:

“This may not be Vietnam, but boy, it sure smells like it,” he said. “And every time I see these bills coming down for the money, it’s costing like Vietnam, too.”

This isn't a time for glee or time to tell your friends I told you so. Yes, we all suspected this was going to happen. But we should resist the urge to pat ourselves on the back and redouble our efforts in persauding people.

This is a sad moment for all of us in our country. We're going to be in Iraq for a long time and no one can estimate the true cost in money, lives, or our country's credibility. We can't get out easily, but we can get those who put us there out.

Kansas City Event Update: Westport Art Fair a Success 

This past weekend several of us, including Lisa, Terri, Rob and I distributed flyers at the Kansas City Westport Art Fair. Most people accepted the flyer with curiosity, some stopped to talk about Dean and to sign up for the mailing list. Lisa even signed up a young Republican couple. I met a gentleman from Vermont who found Dean "the natural choice" but was surprised to see support for him in Missouri. I also met a libertarian, a Kucinich supporter, and many happy people carrying posters and trinkets. Thanks to everyone who helped and thanks to the art vendors for tolerated my loitering.

Monday, September 08, 2003

St. Louis Meetup Coverage 

STLtoday - News - Columnists: "Jeff Asbed, a 40-something lawyer from Glendale, voted three years ago to elect George W. Bush. Wendy Dickson, a homemaker from Manchester, cast her presidential ballot 'reluctantly for Al Gore.'

Former Webster Groves Mayor Terri Williams had backed the Green Party's Ralph Nader.

But last week, all found themselves crammed into a Kirkwood tavern with about 70 other people who share a common attraction: Howard Dean. "

Sunday, September 07, 2003

Kansas City Events Update: Fiesta Hispania on September 13 @ Barney Allis Plaza 

Great opportunity for leafleting.


From Howard Dean's Web Site:

"On Saturday, September 20, Dean supporters across the country will take action in their communities to spread the word about Howard Dean. Dean Visibility Day is an important step in shifting the core of power in American politics from back rooms and special interests to a politics based in, and built from, community. "

On September 20th Kansas City area supporters of Howard Dean have three options for increasing Dean's visibility. You can:

1. Attend the Kansas Democratic Fest in Wichita
2. Leaflet at the Waldo Fall Festival
3. Leaflet at the Plaza Art Fair

Email Michael for more information.

Missouri Political News 

Here's Steve Kraske of the KC Star regarding the last KC Meetup:

"On Wednesday, that ol'-time activism was plain to see at a Howard Dean event in south Kansas City.

The Democratic presidential candidate wasn't there. Still, 200 turned up on a weekday night.

This was not a sit-back-and-listen affair. Following brief remarks, the focus turned to involving people in a campaign that's caught the nation's political establishment off guard.

All sorts of options were presented: Sign up to ride the bus to an Iowa candidate forum. Host a house party. Send Dean postcards to five friends.

On one side of the room was a TV set playing a Dean speech. On another table were sheets outlining his positions.

It was grass-roots heaven, and one big reason Dean ranks as his party's front-runner."

But.... here's an interesting story re: Gephardt giving up the Pres race and running against Kit Bond again:

"WASHINGTON - As political rumors go, it's a doozy: Missouri's two biggest-name pols going one-on-one, statewide.

Republican Sen. Kit Bond vs. Democratic Rep. Richard Gephardt, in a 2004 battle for Bond's U.S. Senate seat.

In Washington and around Missouri in the last several weeks, the rumor has spread like kudzu among political insiders. It goes like this: State Treasurer Nancy Farmer, the announced Democratic candidate, is merely a placeholder for Gephardt should his presidential campaign turn sour."

To be blunt, this is just rumor-mongering. But... it is something to watch and the perception that it might happen hurts Gephardt's 3Q FEC #s, where he desperately needs to have a good showing.

Rapid-fire news for Sunday 

Let's see: The President isn't popular anymore, for one, according to a new Zogby Poll:

President George W. Bush’s job performance ratings have reached the lowest point since his pre-Inauguration days, continuing a steady decline since a post-9/11 peak, according to a new Zogby America poll of 1,013 likely voters conducted September 3-5.
Less than half (45%) of the respondents said they rated his job performance good or excellent, while a majority (54%) said it was fair or poor.

Dean apparently is popular, according to the same Zogby poll:

"In the same poll, likely Democratic primary voters give a plurality of their support to former Vermont Governor Dr. Howard Dean (16%), whose campaign has been gathering support in recent polling. He is followed by Massachusetts Senator John Kerry (13%), Connecticut Senator Joseph Lieberman (12%), and Missouri Congressman Richard Gephardt (8%). No other candidate polled more than 3%."

In New Hampshire, Dean still has a double-digit lead:

"The Boston Globe/WBZ-TV poll of 400 Democrats and independents was taken Tuesday and Wednesday, as Kerry was officially announcing his candidacy.

It shows Dean, the former Vermont governor, with 38 percent, and Kerry with 26 percent. But 28 percent of those polled said Dean was the strongest candidate against Bush, while 26 percent named Kerry."

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