Saturday, September 20, 2003

From the Sat. Wall Street Journal: 

"Israeli officials said the U.S. is interested in their training materials on policing a hostile population. "

Do they need those for keeping order in Iraq or for the 2004 Republican convention in New York City?

Friday, September 19, 2003

ABCNEWS.com : Clark Tells AP He Wouldn't Back Iraq War 

Clark Tells AP He Wouldn't Back Iraq War:
"Democratic presidential candidate Wesley Clark backtracked from a day-old statement that he probably would have voted for the congressional resolution authorizing the use of force in Iraq, saying Friday he 'would never have voted for this war.'
The retired Army general, an opponent of the conflict, surprised supporters when he indicated in an interview with reporters Thursday that he likely would have supported the resolution. On Friday, Clark sought to clarify his comments in an interview with The Associated Press.

'Let's make one thing real clear, I would never have voted for this war,' Clark said before a speech at the University of Iowa. 'I've gotten a very consistent record on this. There was no imminent threat. This was not a case of pre-emptive war. I would have voted for the right kind of leverage to get a diplomatic solution, an international solution to the challenge of Saddam Hussein.'"
I can hear his people now... "Umm, sir - we wanted you to run as an Anti-war candidate so you could stop Dean. You need to go 'revise' your position."

Profile In Equivocation 

OK, since no one else is slinging mud, I will. What the hey?

Wesley Clark's position on the war?

Retired Gen. Wesley K. Clark said today that he "probably" would have voted for the congressional resolution last fall authorizing war, as he charged out into the presidential campaign field with vague plans to fix the economy and the situation in Iraq.
"That having been said, I was against the war as it emerged because there was no reason to start it when we did. We could have waited," Clark said during a 75-minute session with four reporters.
He said he "probably" voted for Richard M. Nixon in 1972 and backed Ronald Reagan.

Can someone explain this? I like Wesley Clark. Really. He is a good man who has served his country well and his entry is a positive thing for both the party and the country.

But he "probably" voted for Nixon? He was a Republican until Bill Clinton showed him the light? He "probably" would have voted for the resolution, but was against the war? Can someone explain this?

Thursday, September 18, 2003

Coulter-Franken SMACKDOWN! 

On KMOX yesterday, guess who called in while Al Franken was a guest?

That's right: Ann Coulter.

To listen to the debate (ok, it was one-sided, so "ritual humiliation" is better), you have to follow these directions.

1) Click on this link.

2) Press The Morning Meeting. You'll get a popup.

3) Hit the tab called features.

4) Then click on the two files covering the debate.

5) Serve yourself a beverage and enjoy!

DLC site 

We know the title of the DNC site. What about the title of a DLC site? Some suggestions:

"Capitulation, 2004"

"Hey, Don't Blame Me, I'm getting paid by Leiberman."

"Targeting Fox News Viewers Who Are Democrats."

Showing the Love, Since 2003 

We all can get a bit myopic in our support of Howard Dean. That is why I urge you to check out this site, run by Dan Conley. First, he's impartial about Dean, which serves as a reality check. Second, he's just too funny for words. Examples:

"Such as how on earth does John Edwards get that perfect bronze-behind-the-ears tan when he’s campaigning so long in Iowa and NH? Seeing him walk to the stage in Iowa reminded me of the old Carly Simon song ... He walked onto the stage like he was walking onto a yacht. Now I know why he plays up his blue collar roots in TV ads, he's easy to mistake for an L.A.-based CNN legal analyst. "
I'm also baffled by why the 200 best looking people in Iowa all support John Kerry. I’m serious, his campaign entourage was like an Iowa audition for America’s top male and female models. Do the really, really good looking Derek Zoolander types know something I don't?
Adding to my sense of disorientation, John Edwards is re-re-annoucing his candidacy tonight on Comedy Central's The Daily Show. What's next, Wesley Clark sending out his empty suit to announce his candidacy while Bill Clinton whoops up the crowd stage right? John Kerry and Jay Leno facing off in a biggest chin in America contest? Leonard Nimoy going in search of Dick Gephardt's eyebrows? Renee Zellwegger as Bridget Jones reading the Bob Graham diaries?

Check him out. He's smart and funny and his criticisms of Dean are well-taken.

Dean Visit 

October 15th, Kansas City. E-mail Thurston Cromwell at tcromwell@kinghershey.com for details.

Wednesday, September 17, 2003

DNC: Kicking Ass 

DNC: Kicking Ass

The DNC has jumped on this whole blogging bandwagon thingy. Goody goody.

Tuesday, September 16, 2003

Something to consider about Clark 

Wesley Clark: The New Anti-War Candidate?
The possibility that former NATO supreme commander Wesley Clark might enter the race for the 2004 Democratic presidential nomination has been the subject of furious speculation in the media. But while recent coverage of Clark often claims that he opposed the war with Iraq, the various opinions he has expressed on the issue suggest the media's "anti-war" label is inaccurate.

Monday, September 15, 2003

Guiness World Record 

On September 29th, the Dean campaign will "try to break the world record for the largest-ever conference call. That record, according to the good people at the Guinness Book of World Records, was set in September 2000, when 3,310 people rang into a call hosted by the British teen-pop group S Club 7", according to the Washington Post.

Well, as gimmicks go, it beats these (from Dave):

Top Ten Guiness Records No One Wants To Break

10. Longest-Running Show on CBS

9. Least-Jiggy Human

8. Sweatiest Palm

7. Most Freakish Person Named "Michael Jackson"

6. Most Times in "Price Is Right" Audience Without Being Asked to "Come On Down"

5. Greatest Number of Obscene Phone Calls Received From Tom Bosley

4. Most Times Hit In Face By a Goose While Riding A Roller Coaster

3. First Person To Circle Earth in Wet Corduroy

2. Longest-Running Marriage to Dennis Rodman

1. Longest Fingernails (On Someone Who Doesn't Realize Their Fly Is Open)
PS: What in the hell is "S Club 7"?!??!?!?!

Kerry Campaign shakeup 

First, Leiberman's fundraiser resigned, because they didn't, um, raise funds.

Now, Kerry's communication director resigns, because, um, the candidate wasn't communicating effectively.

For you baseball fans, remember the saying that owners fire managers because they can't fire all the players? In this case, they fire campaign staff because the candidate is uninspiring. Please, guys, don't blame the hired help because of your problems.

Missouri For Dean Invades Harken Steak Fry! 

Mud, music, groupies, roadies and screaming fans! Woodstock, right? Wrong – it was the Harken Steak Fry in Iowa on Saturday!

Missouri For Dean challenge: Find “Matt the Hat” Schmidt in this collection of DFA Official Blog Photo gallery pictures (http://photos.deanforamerica.com/gallery/23633) from the Dean rally and Harken Steak Fry. Hint – he’s not on the first page of photos.

Another interesting tidbit of news/rumor from the Harken Steak Fry: Dean rode to the picnic on the “Undecided” bus from the rally.

Randy Phillips was on CSPAN right after Clinton finished speaking and went down to the crowd. Way to go, Randy!

A large “Missouri Loves Dean” sign was prominently featured on CSPAN, and Dean referred to it at the beginning of his speech (forgive me if I misquote HD), saying: “I love this Missouri Love Dean sign, …”. Whoever made this sign, you rock! And the huge banner at the Dean rally was awesome, also. Also note in the pictures of Dean speaking at the rally (he was on a picnic table) my humble little sign “Missouri Says: Show Me Dean in 2004!” that was always planted right behind Dean’s head!

Update - I mistakenly said that Matt was not in the first page. Whoops - that first page of photos is where you will find him! Sorry!


Update: Hey, lookie me. -Matt

Hey, I know that guy! 

Chicago Tribune | Dean: Challengers are being `nitpicky'

I'll post about the Steak Fry later, I just wanted to put this story up, as St. Louis's own Karl Unsworth gets quoted.


Hey, USA Today has something worth reading this morning. Check this out:

"CNN's top war correspondent, Christiane Amanpour, says that the press muzzled itself during the Iraq war. And, she says CNN "was intimidated" by the Bush administration and Fox News, which "put a climate of fear and self-censorship."
On last week's Topic A With Tina Brown on CNBC, Brown, the former Talk magazine editor, asked comedian Al Franken, former Pentagon spokeswoman Torie Clarke and Amanpour if "we in the media, as much as in the administration, drank the Kool-Aid when it came to the war."

Said Amanpour: "I think the press was muzzled, and I think the press self-muzzled. I'm sorry to say, but certainly television and, perhaps, to a certain extent, my station was intimidated by the administration and its foot soldiers at Fox News. And it did, in fact, put a climate of fear and self-censorship, in my view, in terms of the kind of broadcast work we did."
Can I just state for all involved: "DUHHHHHHHHHHH!" I like the phrase "foot soldiers", though.

Sunday, September 14, 2003

Wesley Clark and the Dean Campaign, a Special Encounter with Joe Trippi 

Much has been written on this web log, and elsewhere, about the retired general Wesley Clark, who has been considering entering the race for the Democratic nomination. At the time of this writing it is not entirely certain whether and how Clark will enter the race. He has promised to make a decision by the end of September.

As candidates, Dean and Clark compliment each other well. Dean—the architect of Vermont’s healthcare reform—is strong on social and economic issues, while Clark—the general behind NATO’s campaign in Kosovo—is a heavyweight in the military and foreign policy category. This observation has prompted speculation that a Dean/Clark (or Clark/Dean) ticket would be the Democrat’s best chance to win the White House. Several months ago the guys at Not Geniuses floated the idea that Howard Dean should select Clark as his running mate before the start of the primary season, ensuring Dean’s victory in the primaries. Recently, a meeting between Dean and Clark in California reinforced hopes that Clark will join Dean’s campaign, but Clark later announced that he is putting together a campaign staff “just in case” he decides to run is a strong indication that he is a candidate in his own right, just waiting for the right moment to announce his candidacy.

At first, I was excited by the “ticket before the primary” strategy, but after a bit of contemplation I think that maybe it was a route not worth taking. It would foster accusations that Dean gamed the primary system, that he needed “an adult” to keep his candidacy buoyant, that the nomination has a “legitimacy problem”; it’s enough that G.W. has legitimacy issues, we don’t need our own. In short, it’s better to win fair and square without Clark, than to win with his help.

There are also several positive externalities of a Clark presidential campaign, not just for Dean, but for all Democrats. The Bush foreign policy is not panning out according to the neoconservative cookbook. The general will lend credence to criticisms of the administration’s strategy in Iraq. Keeping the Democrats’ foreign policy message salient and credible could be beneficial not only for the presidential field but for congressional candidates in 2004.

With that said, Clark’s looming campaign bears costs. The largest short-term costs will be levied on Kerry, who will loose his “military man” niche among the current field. Lieberman will find himself not the only pro-military, “strong on defense”, needle in the haystack and I suspect he too will loose important points to Clark. For the Dean campaign, the first effect of a Clark campaign is to keep out of reach pro-Clark support that would have flowed to Dean with a Clark endorsement.

At yesterday’s Harkin Steak Fry in Indianola, Iowa I was fortunate enough to briefly discuss this subject with Howard Dean’s campaign manager Joe Trippi. While the majority of attendees were seeking a closer glimpse of Bill Clinton and while Howard Dean was busy signing autographs, I noticed Trippi, leaning on the fence separating the fairgrounds.
When I approached, Trippi was engaged in a conversation with two journalists, so I quietly eavesdropped, while waiting my turn. Here is a juicy snippet from Trippi’s conversation with the press people:

“Is this a Dean/Kerry contest?” asked one of the journalists.
Trippi: “I don’t think so… Kerry had his moment.”
“Is this a Dean/Clark contest then?”
Trippi: “I can make it a Dean/Clark contest.” They laughed.

After the journalists left, I made my entry. “Mr. Trippi, what will be the effect on the Dean campaign of Wesley Clark announcing he is a candidate?”
Trippi: “It will clearly change the dynamic of the race but it will be hard for anyone to break out at this point. He will take about equally from everyone, some points from Kerry, some from us... In a crowded field, what is the net outcome?”
MV: “Do you think that at this stage it is too late for any candidate to enter the race and win the primaries?”
Trippi: “Look, it is quickly getting late. There is little time to put a campaign together. It is difficult to get on the ballot in key states, especially in large states like New York and Virginia.”

Trippi was also impressed by the recent Missouri poll showing Dean only 14 points behind Gephardt. “Keep it up, guys,” he said, “just continue doing what you have been doing”.

So maybe by taking a few minutes to find Trippi I missed out on a rare chance to get Bubba’s autograph. I still think it was worth it. Don’t you?

I can't put it any better 

First off, poll results from Missouri:

Gephardt 36%, Dean 22%, Kerry 14%, Leiberman 10%, everyone else in single digits. 39% aren't familiar with Dean, which means Gephardt has reached his ceiling but we haven't.

First off, I find it hard to believe that Leiberman has 10%. I'm issuing a challenge: can anyone name a supporter of Joe Leiberman in the state of Missouri? I don't know of one. I mean, there might be relatives of Joe's here, but 10%?!?

Second, I'm going to quote in full a comment posted by Mark Sumner on Daily Kos regarding the poll results:

"By the way, I'd like to think that Dean's strong showing in Missouri showed the incredibly active, totally volunteer group that has been running there since the first of the year. We've had over 200 at meetups in St. Louis, and I think the numbers in KC have even bettered ours. Last month, we had a fundraiser for Dean in the heart of Gephardt's disctrict. We raised $5000 (and I got to talk to Dean on the phone. Cool, huh?).

There are now several other Dean groups active in Missouri, including at college towns like Columbia, Rolla, and Kirksville. However, I'll tip my hat to those Dean folks meeting in the belly of the beast: Springfield. Godspeed, Springfield folks. "

Iowa Steak Fry 

Well, we're back and we fulfilled our goal: no one was left in the wrong state.

Everything was great. 100-150 people showed up from Missouri, including two buses of Dean supporters from KC (and Springfield and Columbia). Dyan Ortbal, Matt and the St. Louis crew beat us and got to meet Dean at the Iowa HQ.

It was great fun. Thanks to all of you for showing up and, for those of you on "my" bus, thank you for putting up with me. I promise--- I will marry a couple the next time I'm bus captain.

Thanks also for Dick King and Thurston and Tanya Cromwell for allowing us the opportunity. Thanks, as well, to Eric Thut, for helping me fufill my sacred role as bus captain and for keeping everything organized.

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