by Nathan Empsall, Fri Dec 21, 2007 at 05:23:18 PM EST
This is the weekly campaign blogger post for Joe Biden.
Between its current fundraising push and the FEC matching funds, the Biden campaign finally has the resources to put up some solid ads. If you live in Iowa, you've probably already seen these:
The campaign blogger posts for Joe have tended to focus on four things: my personal reasons for supporting Joe, new policy initiatives, Iowa momentum (such as rising polls (now at 8%) or his myriad of endorsements), or his winning debate performances. I want to add something to that mix today: national and New Hampshire momentum. More specifically, great newspaper coverage.
About a week ago, Jerome wrote, "Newspapers are dead, and their endorsements don't mean squat." I disagree. Newspapers are certainly in decline, but there are plenty of folks in the hospital, even in the ICU, who aren't dead yet. Yesterday, Todd pointed out that the Des Moines Register's endorsement does seem to have made an impact, but there's more to it than that. People may not vote the way their local daily tells them to, but many want to vote for a candidate who is viable, and they do allow the paper to tell them which candidates fit that description. You'll never hear a voter say, "I support Joe Biden because the Storm Lake Times endorsed him!" but you might hear someone say, "Gee, a newspaper endorsement and the state House Majority Leader? I guess his campaign is stronger than I thought - maybe I should give him a second look." And while it is true that circulation isn't what it used to be, there are still more newspaper readers than there are bloggers or cable news watchers. Per Wikipedia, DailyKos has an average of 519,000 daily visitors, while 2.3 million souls suffer through Bill O'Reilly each night. The three networks beat out the newspapers, but the fact is that USA Today still has 2.3 million readers each day - and that's just in print, I don't know what the online numbers are. Newspapers continue to have more of an impact than blogs or cable news, and their coverage does shape the story.
Until that day, I'll remain excited about positive newspaper coverage, which Joe Biden has been receiving a lot of lately. The Des Moines Register may have endorsed Hillary, but you can tell it was close:
Even in our last major round of deliberations, we kept coming back to the question, Why not Joe Biden?
Many of the arguments we have made on behalf of the tested leadership of Sens. Hillary Clinton and John McCain apply to Biden as well. He knows how to get legislation passed. He, too, has deep foreign-policy expertise. We're inspired by his fierce defense of civil liberties. His work on legislation to combat domestic violence has no doubt prevented injuries and saved lives. He might, indeed, make a good president.
In my state of New Hampshire, I wait with bated breath for the Concord Monitor's endorsement, as they wrote a glowing article about Joe after he met with their editorial board:
Bush and most of Biden's competitors for the presidential nomination in his party share the tendency, he said, to view each problem abroad in "splendid isolation." Biden called this view "incredibly naïve" while speaking Monday to editors and reporters at the Concord Monitor. He said that the world has changed since the 1990s and that America's credibility abroad has suffered under an administration that has failed to consider other countries' viewpoints.
Several times, the Bush administration could have better protected America's interests by working harder to reach a consensus with its allies, he said. If the president had brokered an agreement with Turkey to allow troop passage before invading Iraq, Biden said, the domestic insurgency that followed Baghdad's fall could have been stymied. If the president had established a policy toward Russia with Europe when President Vladimir Putin began to move toward authoritarianism, his rise could have been curtailed. And if Bush would endorse Biden's plan to support local governance in Iraq, the country could stabilize.
"We don't try to connect the dots," he said. "There has been a tendency to think you can deal, in isolation, with single countries."
Update 10:32 PM: That's a great Concord Monitor article, but this is the one I actually meant to quote. Oops.
Biden, who will soon begin his 35th year as a U.S. senator, is a pragmatist. He is quick to separate the ideal from the achievable. In this season of promises, that's refreshing. His approach to health care, the top domestic issue, is by some standards, modest. It calls for insuring every child - children are cheap to insure than adults - and subsidizing the catastrophic care whose costs terrify the uninsured and underinsured. To move toward universal coverage, Biden would allow anyone to join the federal employee health plan on a sliding scale based on income.
Biden's health plan is hardly perfect. But he's right when he says it could avert the kind of massive pressure from insurers and other vested interests that could otherwise kill meaningful reform. Biden's right about a lot of things. He has only an outside shot of becoming president. But his opinions on the issues are worth hearing. End Update.
And while the Union Leader endorsed McCain, they still ran a good article about Biden this week on their front page:
Though he's clearly not interested in the top State Department job, he twists the notion that he's qualified for it into a positive for his presidential campaign.
"Are you prepared to vote for anyone for President at this point in time in our history who's not capable of being secretary of state? Would you consider appointing any of my opponents as secretary of state? Just think about it." ...
He is currently ranked as one of the least wealthy United States senators. But, Biden said, there's a "liberating aspect" to his non-millionaire status: "I don't owe anyone anything."...
Yes, yes, that's all early state stuff, and I promised you national momentum. First of all, Biden was last week's Democrat of the Week, along with Patrick Leahy, at Huffington Post for his outspoken stance on the CIA tapes scandal. And here's a story from yesterday's LA Times page A1:
This political volunteer knows about waiting.
For more than 20 years, she has nurtured the dream of a Biden presidency.
Goodmann is a longtime foot soldier for Biden on Iowa's eastern frontier. She was there when he sought the presidency in 1987. Two decades later, she campaigns for him again in her hometown....
"Jostling with windmills," she said. "I've been there before and won."
[Biden] draws enthusiastic crowds to his events and last week began his first sustained TV ad campaign. He was approved for $857,000 in matching funds this week by the Federal Election Commission, helping to ease the financial pressure on his cash-strapped campaign.
Operatives for rival candidates say privately they've detected substantial pockets of support for Biden in some rural areas and in the ethnic, heavily Catholic industrial towns along the Mississippi River in eastern Iowa. Complicated caucus rules mean those pockets could produce enough delegates for Biden to have an impact.
With polls showing Bill Richardson's support appearing to fade and Chris Dodd still struggling to catch on, Biden's advisers are hoping for a strong fourth-place finish and say they can even envision coming in third. Their outside hope is for Biden somehow to overtake Edwards, who draws much of his support from the same blue-collar and rural voters Biden is trying to woo.
And finally, The New Republic:
For a man who has chaired two Senate committees, who has endured horrific personal tragedy, who thwarted Robert Bork's Supreme Court nomination and has appeared on about 10,000 Sunday talk shows - who has paid his dues - Biden doesn't seem trapped by the grim specter of his poll standing. He seems to be having ... fun. The kind of face-to-face interaction that the trail offers - a chore for many candidates - is what seems to make him feel alive. (In this sense Biden is much like Bill Clinton, and nothing like Hillary.) After his remarks at the Benchwarmer, he schmoozes every voter as though that person alone will decide the caucus outcome. He spends close to five minutes explaining to one man why he dropped out of the 1988 presidential race, what Bork had to do with it, and how the decision may have saved his life (because Biden later discovered he was suffering from brain aneurysms)...
Earlier in the evening, Biden had offered his crowd an assurance: "I have the same passion and enthusiasm I had for this the day I walked on the Senate floor 35 years ago." As he stands amid a dwindling circle of voters, clearly prepared to chat until nobody's left, in the pursuit of a goal that barely seems attainable, you get the feeling he must really mean it.
On a roll, bay-bee!
Update 10:32pm: If you'd like to volunteer, call 302-574-2008. Phone banking or recording earfl messages can happen from the comforts of your own home in Tucson or Miami!
On a personal note, I want to thank Shai for today's front-page domestic violence post. A very important and moving issue we should all consider, not just politically but socially, culturally, and emotionally as well. Thank you for bringing our attention to it tonight, Shai.