The Dean campaign in 2003 vs. 2007: where's the energy?

Mousepads, Shoe Leather, and Hope: Lessons from the Howard Dean Campaign for the Future of Internet Politics.

This is a new book out that's about Howard Dean's campaign, written by individuals in the campaign the chance to tell their stories with an eye to documenting the Internet campaign revolution and providing lessons to future campaigns. I've got a chapter in it, that I'll post more about later hopefully. Here's Tom Streeter to talk about the book, jerome

Having recently had the honor of editing a collection of stories about the internet and the Dean campaign by campaign veterans (Mousepads, Shoe Leather, and Hope), I can't help thinking about the differences between then and now, between the fall of 2003 when Howard Dean was upending all the rules and leading the most significant grassroots Presidential campaign in a generation -- and now, when we have a bunch of perhaps interesting candidates but very little of the energy. What's different? What's the same? Where's the energy?

Maybe the energy is just spread out. Dean's type is no longer alone. In 2003 Howard Dean stood alone in both his politics (the war etc.), his straightforward style, and of course his use of the internet. Now, everyone is using the internet, and a significant chunk of the Democratic party has followed Dean's lead away from triangulation, being Republican-lite, and disdain for the grassroots. Edwards, Obama, Richardson and others have all adopted elements of Dean's political playbook and principles.

But as I read and listened to the stories of people who were deeply involved in the campaign, I can't help thinking that there's more to it than that. In 2003, spontaneous efforts were breaking out all over the country on behalf of Dean, without guidance and often without knowledge from headquarters. Maybe I'm missing something, but I don't see much of that now. In spite of some candidates' efforts to do things differently, it seems like it's mostly about money and TV news shows again. What happened? What can be done about it?

If you want to be taken back to that time, you can read Amanda Michel's chapter about the creation of GenerationDean. (This was the largest youth movement of this type at least since the McGovern campaign.) Or as Zephyr Teachout puts it, reflecting back on 2003:

"I forget sometimes that we did, but we really believed. As mechanical and jaded as we were about some of the operations . . . there was a core passion that we all shared about actually changing the shape of political society.

"There's no clear answer to me about why that happened . . . It's not so simple as the DNC speech or the NYC Meetup flipping a switch. I don't remember when I first started believing that it was possible--this restructuring of society . . . I like to think some of the tools I had a hand in were instrumental--Get Local and so on--but I can really imagine the Dean campaign without all of these things, except perhaps Meetup. What I can't imagine is the Dean campaign without that conviction and belief, the culture of passionate, pragmatic work toward something much different and bigger than a candidate--the tool that made up the molecular structure of everything we did--in a deeply contentious, anxious environment, the one tool that held us all together, if barely."

Where did it go?

Tom Streeter, Burlington, Vermont

Tags: grassroots, Howard Dean, netroots, President 2008 (all tags)



Re: The Dean campaign in 2003 vs. 2007: where's th

I think obama is running deans campaign .

I saw his rally in Ny , more like a rap concert , it was filled with a lot of college age kids.

So in that sense he is knida running a Dean - like campaign , although i don't know what the outcome will be this time around.

by lori 2007-09-29 04:22PM | 0 recs
Re: The Dean campaign in 2003 vs. 2007: where's th

It's hard to say, isn't it, though it is certainly keeping things interesting.  Personally I think he has taken a more mainstream approach to the same messages in his candidacy but provided a much more well supported organisational framework to the activities of supporters while letting the enthusiasm and energy remain decentralised and spontaneous.  His website is an amazingly sophisticated resource for supporters and the emphasis on grass-roots activity seems to acknowledge the motives and aspirations of Dean's ground-breaking and phenomenal 2004 campaign.

by Shaun Appleby 2007-09-29 04:30PM | 0 recs
Re: The Dean campaign in 2003 vs. 2007: where's th

I think he has taken the best of Dean and worked on it and has done away with the worst .

Organization wise , you have to give his campaign a lot of credit , in the early states he has built a very good organization .

And in Iowa , a good organization is half way to success

by lori 2007-09-29 04:38PM | 0 recs
Re: The Dean campaign in 2003 vs. 2007: where's th

I agree but I admit I am puzzled why this hasn't translated into significant poling gains, as Hillary supporters are quick to point out.  Tactically I think the Obama campaign is content to remain in second place until late in the primary campaign but I am still curious at the polling results not improving at this stage.  We shall see.  I am not worried yet.

by Shaun Appleby 2007-09-29 04:53PM | 0 recs
Re: The Dean campaign in 2003 vs. 2007: where's th

I don't get it as well , there is a lot of enthusiasm for his candidacy especially the young voters.

Although I don't know how far and away  he is from Clinton on the youth vote , but I think a lot of his voters are young so his campaign might have a point on the hidden cell phone vote thing but the challenge is to get this guys to the polls.

He is still in great shape in Iowa and if he can pull that off he can find a way to victory , because I think he has the best organization there as of now , I have no idea about Clinton's organization in Iowa , although I know she will be fine.

Both of them have to avoid a last place finish.

You can look at the internals of this Iowa poll to get an idea of how his support breaks down demographically and what location in terms of rural/city. 7-09/32529239.pdf

by lori 2007-09-29 05:02PM | 0 recs
Re: The Dean campaign in 2003 vs. 2007: where's th

"Candidates of change" have died by the dozen relying on the youth vote.  The next time the youth vote surges to carry a "candidate of change" to victory will be the first since, umm, George McGovern in 1972.

by InigoMontoya 2007-09-29 09:27PM | 0 recs

People are struggling to understand the disconnect between the party "elites" (who focus on personality and vision) and rank n' file party voters (who focus on bread and butter issues). Obama, like many before him, has appeal among the elites which makes it difficult for them to understand why he is not enjoying support among rank n' file Democrats.

Mark Penn understands this from his polling. That's why Clinton relentless campaigns on bread 'n butter issues to rank n' file Democrats and Democratic constituent groups. Obama's people do not understand this. That's why he skips AARP debates and holds big rallies on college campuses. t.aspx?ci=28813&pg=2

Combined crosstabs from 4 Gallup Polls
August/September 2007

Clinton 41
Obama 27
Edwards 14

Clinton 52
Obama 23
Edwards 13


Clinton 46
Obama 22
Edwards 16

Clinton 53
Obama 38
Edwards 4


18- to 29-year-olds
Clinton 46
Obama 33
Edwards 11

30- to 49-year olds
Clinton 46
Obama 30
Edwards 12

50- to 64-year olds
Clinton 47
Obama 23
Edwards 14

65 years and older
Clinton 51
Obama 14
Edwards 16


Clinton 53
Obama 22
Edwards 9

Clinton 42
Obama 28
Edwards 17

Clinton 52
Obama 20
Edwards 16

Clinton 41
Obama 31
Edwards 11


High school or less
Clinton 56
Obama 18
Edwards 14

Some college
Clinton 44
Obama 30
Edwards 12

College graduate
Clinton 45
Obama 27
Edwards 14

Postgraduate education
Clinton 39
Obama 28
Edwards 13


Less than $30,000
Clinton 59
Obama 20
Edwards 11

$30,000 to  $75,000
Clinton 45
Obama 27
Edwards 15

$75,000 or more
Clinton 37
Obama 30
Edwards 14


Men 18-49
Clinton 39
Obama 34
Edwards 14

Men 50+
Clinton 44
Obama 20
Edwards 14

Women 18-49
Clinton 51
Obama 29
Edwards 10

Women 50+
Clinton 53
Obama 18
Edwards 15


Clinton 50
Obama 25
Edwards 12

Democratic-leaning independents
Clinton 42
Obama 25
Edwards 15


Clinton 53
Obama 17
Edwards 15

Clinton 46
Obama 25
Edwards 14

Clinton 46
Obama 29
Edwards 11

by hwc 2007-09-29 09:36PM | 0 recs
Re: Demographics

I think your wrong you have your polls.But there are people like me and my friends that are first time voters,and we are all voting for Obama.Polls are fine,just remember there not talking to everybody out here.

by redtime12 2007-09-30 06:18AM | 0 recs
Re: Demographics

It's true that none of the candidates has quite recreated the Dean energy. The funny thing is, I think the Dean energy is still there. The Dean people I know (in SoCal) are still involved in races up and down the ballot, or have got jobs in campaigns or administrations. These are almost all people who weren't involved in politics before the Howard Dean phenomenon.

Most of the Dean people I talk to actually haven't picked a horse yet. Those that have have gravitated more toward Edwards because he moved to the left and staked out that liberal territory early.

As to where the Obama excitement is, I think his campaign is intentionally keeping it bottled up so as not to repeat the mistakes of previous campaigns. Paraphrasing the Carville statement from "Our Brand Is Crisis": campaigns are kind of like sex; you always want to control when you peak, but sometimes you just can't.

There was a point at the end of July where Barack Obama was tied or ahead in the three early states; my recollection is he had just gone on the air for the first time in SC and immediately took double digits off of Hillary's lead. I think his campaign has held back since then. I think it's just now begun unleashing that excitement.

Yesterday's Newsweek poll bears that out. Obama is up 28%-24%-22% (though still in the MOE) among likely voters in Iowa: e/newsweek/page/0/

The other big difference between the Dean campaign and the Obama campaign is that Dean had the energy without the organization (in the early states). From what I've heard, the Obama campaign has been spending money and energy on organization (building the lists, training volunteers, etc.) so that when it comes time for the big push, the channels will be there.

We shall see. Very interesting from where I'm sitting.

by davefordemocracy 2007-09-30 06:44AM | 0 recs
Re: The Dean campaign in 2003 vs. 2007: where's th


You really are starting to sound like an Obama supporter.  You sure you don't want to come to the light side?

by Obama08 2007-09-29 11:09PM | 0 recs
Re: The Dean campaign in 2003 vs. 2007: where's th

There's a fundamental difference - Dean's campaign was about something more than one person, it could have been anyone - it was about the ideas.  The Obama campaign is all about one figure.

The Dean campaign also had a very political component to it - the Obama campaign is more of a social phenomenon as far as I've seen it.

by Peter from WI 2007-09-29 08:40PM | 0 recs
Re: The Dean campaign in 2003 vs. 2007: where's th

I find a common ideological and values-based thread running through the Dean and Obama campaigns but that is a personal and subjective perception.

by Shaun Appleby 2007-09-30 12:21AM | 0 recs
Disagree--Dean was combative

Obama's message seems to be "can't we all get along."

I see them as polar opposites.

Obama's appeal seems to me to be purely personal charisma, and he's got a lot.

Dean had a certain amount but I think that derived partly from his "representing the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party."

The only candidate doing that, IMHO, is Edwards. Kucinich is too far to the left, everyone else is clearly staking out ground for the general.

As for horse race strategy, it looks like second or tied for first is a good place to be right now. I do remember how surprised I was with the ultimate outcome in Iowa last time around.

by Coral 2007-09-30 07:43AM | 0 recs
Re: Disagree--Dean was combative

I think can't we all get along' trivialises Senator Obama's position.  I believe he considers, and rightly so, the partisan rhetoric as an artifice which is standing in the way of debate on substantive issues which are facing us.  I think he would prefer to argue these issues on their merits with statesmen genuinely representing the Republican ideological position rather than spend a presidential term throwing bricks at each other.  I believe the Clinton's enjoy this struggle, and it defined their legacy.  I don't think Dean addressed it really, except in his clear and powerful opposition to the war.  Obama wants to clear the decks for action so we can get down to business.

Curiously I see Obama as genuinely progressive and I think there is ample evidence of this for those who can see it, and I agree with your assessment of his campaign at this time.  He has consistently been behind Hillary but not out of touch.  This last quarter is going to be very interesting.

by Shaun Appleby 2007-09-30 02:31PM | 0 recs
Two problems with that

1. It relies on pony-GOP rather than the real one.  The real GOP simply wants to block any Dem initiatives, whether they're any good or not, unless public opinion makes it politically suicidal to do so.  The GOP can only be negotiated with when they realize they've lost.  And if they've lost, why negotiate with them?

2. Obama's now had plenty of opportunity to spell out his positions on substantive issues, and on the whole, he's not particularly innovative.  Even if the pony-GOP replaced the real one sometime between tomorrow and January 20, 2009, I don't see how Obama's using his willingness to reach across the partisan divide to come up with new win-win solutions.

I remember watching Obama at the 2004 Dem convention, and saying to my wife, "he's gonna be President someday."  And for several months after he declared his candidacy, I've been open to the hope that "someday" would be January 2009.

But I keep on seeing Edwards put real meat on the bones of his ideas, and I keep on seeing Obama coming up with proposals that are either too cautious, too halfway, or lacking in substance.

by RT 2007-09-30 05:41PM | 0 recs
Re: Dean vs. 08

You are so wrong.  Not a one of the top tier candidates can hold a candle to Dean or the hope and belief that he generated that "we" can make a difference. Enthusiasm for Dean crossed party, age, and political spectrum.  Not a one of the top tier candidates will even commit to being out of Iraq by the end of their first term (2012).  Not a one of the top tier candidates has the fire in his belly for reform and fairness that Dean had. Not a one of the top tier candidates has a vision and the will to lead this country into the 21st Century let along the future. The best they can muster is more of the same ol' bull shit.  So the best I can muster for 08 is anyone but Hillary.  Christ, the last thing this country needs is more Clintons or Bushes.    

by dkmich 2007-09-30 05:39AM | 0 recs
Re: The Dean campaign in 2003 vs. 2007: where's th

I think the difference is when Dean ran he campaigned on what he believed in and the young people followed him.  Obama is trying too hard to make himself the candidate of the young people but he does not stand for anything concrete and so it falls flat with the rest of Americans.  

by changehorses08 2007-09-30 07:48AM | 0 recs
The Dean campaign in 2003 vs. 2007

Where's the Gene McCarthy energy?

Where's the Bill Bradley energy?

Where's the Paul Tsongas energy?

Howard Dean was hardly unique in Democratic primaries. In fact, every cycle has a "darling of the left" who "challenges the establish" candidate. Every cycle this candidate is the sensation on college campuses and in Starbucks across the country. Every cycle this candidate crashes and burns from lack of Democratic base support...too "hip" for the voters.

by hwc 2007-09-29 04:55PM | 0 recs
Re: The Dean campaign in 2003 vs. 2007


And our establishment candidates always lose in the general.

Shall we repeat the trend of losing or think outside the box for once?

by Namtrix 2007-09-29 05:00PM | 0 recs
Re: The Dean campaign in 2003 vs. 2007

 Took the words right out of my mouth.

 Every time, the "establishment" candidate then goes out and runs a perfectly conventional campaign, takes no risks, blows off the base in an attempt to look "centrist", and... loses to the Republican.

by Master Jack 2007-09-30 06:51AM | 0 recs
Well, Bill Clinton won

and Gore did win in 2000 but the Democratic establishment acquiesced in GOP theft of the election.

by Coral 2007-09-30 07:45AM | 0 recs
Re: The Dean campaign in 2003 vs. 2007

The difference is that Dean's campaign grew into something else that overtook the rest of the Democratic Party in less than 2 years - and not just because he was elected chairman.

by Peter from WI 2007-09-29 08:42PM | 0 recs
Re: Howard and the campaign

were both unique.   Dean, like JFK, are opportunities in history that were lost and can never be recovered.  We are stuck with the same ol' shit candidates preaching the same ol' shit they were preaching in the 80s.  

by dkmich 2007-09-30 05:43AM | 0 recs
Re: The Dean campaign in 2003 vs. 2007

The problem is that Obama is really Bush-lite trying to appeal to younger voters.  This voting demographic is usually more liberal than the rest of the populus and giving them cotton candy about the audacity of hope doesn't work when they want a mini revolution.

by changehorses08 2007-09-30 07:52AM | 0 recs
Bush is not on the ballot

and I think that makes all the difference in the world.

by John DE 2007-09-29 05:22PM | 0 recs
Obama = Deaniacs plus Clarkies plus AA's

From my vantage the grassroots in Washington, DC, there is so much more enthusiams and energy behind Obama than there ever was for Dean (I was a active Clark supporter).  Obama has most of the white liberals, who were split between Dean & Clark in 2003, PLUS African-Americans who mostly sat it out until it was all over for Kerry in 2004.

by howardpark 2007-09-29 05:28PM | 0 recs
It was the people not the candidate

I have always held that the big story was not Dean but the Deaniacs.  He didn't make us, we made him.

People who had never donated money, volunteered their time or even paid attention to campaigns before Labor Day got involved. People who hadn't done anything political other than voting, since college or ever, made changes in their lives to become more active and attentive citizens.

And it wasn't all about the Kiddie Korps that the corporate press/media focused on.  At most Dean events I was part of, including Iowa, there were as many people older than I was, 49, than younger.

Dean was not the producer or the leader, but instead he was the product of a diverse movement of people into politics in reaction to the Republican and right-wing excesses that began in the 90s and, with the invasion of Iraq, lit some fires.  

Currently the most visible product of this movement is the left blogosphere.  We won't really know or understand the effects of this movement for a few years.

Many of the people who were activated in 2003-2004 have not continued their activism, but many have and they are part of all three of the major candidates' campaigns.

If the apparent level of excitation is less than it was in 2003-2004, it is because the people are already engaged.

by James Earl 2007-09-29 08:29PM | 0 recs
Re: It was the people not the candidate

The Miramar Democratic club still meets regularly. Our state representatives still visit us, and they don't want money. We meet. They tell us the inside story of battling the Republican majority in the state legislature. They tell us what they need from us. We take their message and spread it locally.

I still have the feeling that I am a part of something bigger than myself. I pick myself up after a defeat (we get a lot of them here in Florida) and keep on going. After Dean, I put my efforts into individual campaigns all over the country. Now that can pay off big time. I get a lot of satisfaction just in sending in my small donations in any event.

Dean gave me the activist "habit" because I'm hooked. It's like hurricane hunting, which I like to do too. I gear up for elections every 2 years and I gear up for hurricanes every year. If Dean were to run again, I'd jump on his bandwagon. He'd make such a great president. Oh well.

by misscee 2007-09-30 05:16AM | 0 recs
Re: It was the people not the candidate

I agree with much of what you say.  Dean was a maverick and the young people discovered him.  They were excited because he was saying what no one else in Washington dared to say.

Now every candidate to some degree is agreeing with Dean so its hard to be a maverick.  I believe Americans are engaged but they are not angry anymore.  They have moved on from this administration.  Hillary's lead has not changed that much since February.  People know what they want and have known for quite a while.  When you know what you want you don't need to march with pitchforks you just need to know where your polling place is.  

by changehorses08 2007-09-30 07:58AM | 0 recs
My story

I was Howard Dean's Hawaii Field Organizer, and I'll tell you what happened to my energy --

I got beaten.  Badly.  I didn't even get to vote for my guy while his campaign was still officially extant.  And then John Kerry, who correctly relied on Richard Gephardt to stupidly kamikaze against Dean in service of his ego, ran an inept campaign that allowed Bush to take office in 2004.

Then, in 2006, when we returned the Dems to Congress, they started all right, then ended up being rubber-stampers themselves.

This turned me off of politics in a massive way; the conclusion I drew was very much that Howard Dean was a uniquely inspiring figure, capable of leadership which the overall Democratic Party was not prepared for.  For me, it was the candidate.

Don't get me wrong -- I'm going to cast a vote for Edwards in the primary with a clean conscience.  But if Dean declared, I'd be working 40-hour weeks again.  Because I believe in him.

by Kimmitt 2007-09-29 08:51PM | 0 recs
Re: My story

Howard Dean has shown us what a great president he would have been by his leadership in the Democratic Party.  His 50 state strategy has been the catalyst for Democratic takeover of Congress.  I think the Dems have done a good job but they believed if they took power the President would have to work with them.  They underestimated his determination to destroy anyone even another branch of Government that doesn't completely agree with him.  It is even more important to stay active now.  The stakes are higher.  

But when you think about what happened to Howard Dean don't forget the complicity of the Media.  I will never forget the night of the SCREAM. Judy Woodruff high-fived Jeff Greenfield and said we got him.  I don't think until that moment I realized how much the media controls these elections.  

by changehorses08 2007-09-30 08:09AM | 0 recs
Where's the energy?

Well one observation worth mentioning is that in just 5 days, Ron Paul has raised over $1,025,000.00 on the Internet.  Why?  Because Ron Paul is making a broad, big-picture, narrative -- about not just the horrible Iraq Invasion, but about the larger issue of the corrupt United States Foreign Policy for the last 60+ years. As the value of the U.S. Dollar continues to plummets, Ron Paul is also the only candidate in the race willing to take on the Central Bank monopoly over our Nation's currency (which produces never-ending public debt through their profiteering off of the mere printing of our dollars), whose very existence itself is a violation of the U.S. Constitution (which explicitly says that only Congress can create money - and not an outside group of private Industrialists/Profiteers).  The U.S. News Media doesn't want to recognize Paul, but there is some real grassroots energy there because the broad narrative against Corporatism/Monopolies is being made.

For the Democrats, recall that in early 2003, Howard Dean was the first one out of the gate to go around and speak out in opposition about both the Iraq Invasion and also in outrage about the Democratic Party's complicity in the Iraq Invasion (Dennis Kucinich only entered the race later on). He did this with a sense of rightous disgust and passion in his voice (while maintaining his mild-mannered personality). At the time, that narrative was new and very refreshing, and it opened up the floodgates to a lot of inspiration and support for Dean. His innovative Web site design, was also a big technological breakthrough, that also helped galvanize support and provide an important new fundraising mechanism/machine for his candidacy.

Now, in 2008, a Democratic candidate could inspire the same groundswell of grassroots support by, again, speaking out to a larger narrative and calls for major reforms.  While the other candidates nibble around the edges of criticizing the mismangement of aspects of Foreign Policy, only Dennis Kucinich and Mike Gravel have really made the criticism on far broader, philosphical, and moral scale.  So, the real question is, why hasn't someone like Dennis Kucinich really caught fire yet?  

One problem I see is that the Kucinich Web Site has no rolling fundraising counter, no thermometer, no baseball bat, etc., to help draw people in and get them excited and competitive about fundraising and organizing.  Also, since he ran in 2004, he is not exactly a "new face" on the National scene like Howard Dean was, yet he also has low name recognition because the U.S. News Media does not talk about his accomplishments:  H.R. 676 (Medicare for all),  H.R. 1234 (Iraq Withdrawal), and H.R. 333 (Impeach Dick Cheney), among other things. The grassroots, however, should be talking about those things because we cannot look here to the Corporate U.S. News Media to be honest about any of those subjects or what is best for the public interest. They don't want reform.

There are also other broad narratives that candidates can make as well, on Health Care, on the massive debt that this Country is in, on Global Warming, and on economic fairness and security.

Missing from all of the Democratic candidates, is a way of tying together all of the important policy initiatives together as FDR did with his "four freedoms" speech.  FDR also equated economic security with National Security which is something you almost never here any modern Democrat do. So often Democrats just talk about their 4-point plans and peicemeal policy details without framing the problems of American Society into a broad narrative and talking with conviction about major reforms and bold changes that will affect real change. Democrats always seem to shy away from "the big narrative" - perhaps because they don't want to offend many of their Corporate donors. But, of course, for decades the GOP hasn't given a rats ass about who they offend - they never shy away from making a "big picture" argument for getting elected - even if it is a total lie.

The other problem is that back in 2004, all of the other candidates were regarded as insiders while Howard Dean, being a Governor, was perceived as the only viable "outsider" (Al Sharpton and Carol M. Braun lacked that type of credential). In 2008, we have a race of all insiders, although some of them fight the establishment (Kucinich, Gravel), and most of them play right into the establishment's corrupt and bloody hands (i.e., Hillary Clinton). In 2008,, it is a crowded field leaving people also more confused and misdirected.  The U.S. News Media keeps on coronating Hillary Clinton "the winner", yet Obama has been the one attracting the largest crowds and energy with his charismatic personality. But unlike Dean, he has no real broad policy narrrative.

If we could have a candidate with Obama's charisma and "freshness", and Dennis Kucinich's bold policies and reforms, then you'd really have something that people could really go bananas over.

John Edwards might be the closest approximation that we have to that type of combination in the race, right now.  But for all the hoopla some make about Edwards "two Americas" speech, he has not really approached drawing together all of his policies into the type of FDR "four freedoms", big-picture narrative and where the policies themselves are bold enough to match the ideology.

It would be nice if Elections in this Country were not about personalities at all, but just about policy changes. Dennis Kucinich's policies are the clear winner here:

  • No NAFTA
  • No World Bank, No IMF
  • Recognizing that there is a difference between true self-defense and acting like the Roman Empire.
  • No War, Torture, WMD, as an instrument of foreign affairs.
  • Medicare-For-All (not for profit, no Insurance)
  • National Green Energy program to make us indpendent from Oil and create jobs
  • Holding War-Profiteers accountable (like Dick Cheney) to the law.
  • Cutting the bloated $800 Military budget down to help pay off our Nation's staggering debt.

If all Democrats supported these type of changes, it would not matter at all who was up and who was down -- we'd all win!

by DerekLarsson 2007-09-29 09:57PM | 0 recs
Paul gets 0% by NARAL on pro-choice voting record

case closed, no matter which side of the aisle or in his case, the fence, he's sitting on.

He disgusts me.

by misscee 2007-09-30 05:36AM | 0 recs
pro-choice voting record

Are you planning on having an abortion anytime soon?

I don't know why people get so worked up over this issue at Election time when it is something that only effects about 0.0000125% of the population to begin with. Economic issues, War & Peace issues, the staggering U.S. Debt, the declining standard of living, the loss of Habeus Corpus, etc., clearly are far more important to the fate of America.

I think Democrats are far too myopic about this issue and get into trouble because of that view. I personally was born at 5.5 months (born prematuer) and lived. Was I not a human life at 5 months? Would it have been just okay to abort me?  This is a complicated issue and we should not be rooting for unfettered abortions here anyway.

Adoption and birth control should be promoted, not abortion.

In any case, Ron Paul is an actual doctor who believes that the Federal Gov. does not have a role in condoning the practise, but that the individual States can decide as they want.

by DerekLarsson 2007-09-30 11:09AM | 0 recs
Re: pro-choice voting record

Childbirth kills, in case you didn't know. Banning abortion kills.

Did you know that one of the greatest, if not the greatest crook of all times, stole extremely small percentages of pennies from banks. He wrote a computer program that channeled it into his own account. He only got caught because he got greedy.

What percentage point would be acceptable to you with respect to airplane safety? I don't have time to look up the percentage of women who die in childbirth, but whatever it is, if I don't want to risk it, screw Ron Paul       ;)  

The statistic that you supplied is meaningless to me.

by misscee 2007-10-05 02:06PM | 0 recs
Re: Where's the energy?

Derek -- Sorry but Ron Paul does not believe in any kind of social safety net.  He sounds like a maverick next to other Republican candidates but he is really a libertarian who doesn't believe that government can and should help individual Americans.  

by changehorses08 2007-09-30 08:16AM | 0 recs
Re: Where's the energy?

Understand, that I don't agree with all of Ron Paul's positions, but I understand his philosophical framework, and there is merit to the majority of his arguments and the historical data to back them up. I respect him because of the boldness and honest reappraisal of the Corporate and Federal rot that this Nation is stuck in - which he is willing to talk about and confront directly.

From our Country's inception to 1913, we never had our personal wages (from our labor) taken away by the government (that concept was thought to be akin to slavery by our founding fathers). And we had never had this giantantic War Establishment/Military-Industrial-Comple x to endlessly feed with our own wage money (nor were we before then so spiritually bankrupt to accept the mass-violence of War as just one more foreign policy "option" on the table). We also had low inflation all throughout the 18th and 19th centuries (a nickle was worth a nickle), because we did not have this Central Bank monopoly (International Bank cartel: Rothchilds, Rockefellers, Morgans, Warburgs, etc.) profiteering off of our money (generating never ending pubic debt that we can never escape from) and then diluting the money supply and its true value (pushing the standard-of-living down).

We have to break this establishment down sometime before it bankrupts the Nation.  Ever look at the value of the U.S. Dollar today compared to other currencies? The U.S. Dollar is rapidly becoming worthless and unstable.

So Ron Paul is confronting the root-cause issues of our Nation's problems and not just nibbling around the edges (like so many other politicians do).  That is to be commended.

Now don't get me wrong, I beleive in social security and the Dennis-Kucinich/Michael-Moore solution to health care. Kucinich also has a similar position to Paul regarding the Military-Industrial-Complex and redefining U.S. foreign policy (taken together, this is why Kucinich is my favorite candidate).

But at the same time, Ron Paul's argument is a broader argument against the monopolies, against corporatism, against insurance company control, etc., (unlike Ronald Reagan's so-called "small government") and:  a)  returning power back to free markets, where true competitive free markets (not the monopolies) do produce lower costs for consumers (Tvs, computers, cell-phones, etc.),  b) returning power back to the local communities - where it is easier for the people to participate, and c) returning back the people's hard earned wages into the people's pockets so that more power is in their hands.

It is a valid, consistent, and well-thought out intellectual approach and should not be confused with what happened in the 1980s - which was actually the opposite (monopolistic, federal expansion, Military-CIA buildup), despite Reagan's deceptive "small government" talk.

Paul has a much more middle-class friendly and consumer-friendly and worker-friendly narrative than any of the other GOP candidates and much more than the totally fruadulent, reverse-Robin-Hood modern GOP/right-wing playbook.

So, I would love to see a General Election debate between someone like Ron Paul and someone like Dennis Kucinich.  Two honest and sincere yet different intellectual approaches to making life around us fairer for the little guys, and limiting the power of the Corporate aristocrisy that we currently are enslaved by today. One wants to return power to the people by taking it away from the corporate monopolies and also the government (which invariably becomes co-opted by them).  The other wants to return power to the people by taking it power away from the monoplies and using the government in a positive way.  They are both intellectually valid and productive points of discussion.

But who does the U.S. Media keep coronating?
A Rudy Gulliani .vs. Hillary Clinton matchup.
That's what they want to see because they know that then that there will be no great debate and the Corporate status-quo will stay the same and be protected.  

But this 2008 Election is our moment now to put major reforms on the table.  Our Country is in trouble (we're $60 Trillion in debt, folks) and that means the whole establishment itself cannot be sustained.

The mavericks (Paul and Kucinich) are putting the right conversation on the table here.

by DerekLarsson 2007-09-30 12:12PM | 0 recs
Re: Where's the energy?

Derek -- this country is in the mess it is because the so called Liberterian Republicans have been in charge.  Do you also feel that involving this nation in a war which has cost 675 billion is a better way to spend money then educating all Americans, or making sure that every American has healthcare?  I support Hillary Clinton because I feel that she cares about the problems of Americans--we have been invisible to this president.  If you don't like to pay taxes or accept Governmental services then stop driving on this nation's highways--cause the rest of us pay for them.  

by changehorses08 2007-10-01 09:16PM | 0 recs
Re: The Dean campaign in 2003 vs. 2007: where's th

I think the answer is pretty simple. In 2003, it was clear, really irrefutably clear, that none of the DC candidates were proposing any sort of significant change. So that Democratic primary voters, who instinctively seek change, knew that they would have to go against their own party leadership, and Dean's campaign by both its message and its form, made clear he represented a clear alternative.

This time out, both the message and the form have been co-opted by DC candidates. Ask most Hilary supporters, and they don't see themselves as supporting the Establishment, insider candidate. Almost no Obama supporters will agree that his campaign is driven largely by establishment money and policy people. And Edwards, because he was on teh ticket in 04, has struggled mightily to convince people that his platform is really one of change, despite his agressive policy proposals, simply because the candidate as well as the structure and form of the campaign have not appeared as new, different or insurgent.

In short, the energy was co-opted.

by desmoulins 2007-09-29 10:58PM | 0 recs
I like Edwards just as much

and find him as charismatic and with the same sort of creative, dynamic, changing leadership. Also, he is able to connect emotionall to his supporters.

The difference is that now we have more than one progressive candidate.

by mrobinsong 2007-09-29 11:08PM | 0 recs
Re: The Dean campaign in 2003

From December 2003 to the Spring of 2005 I was a volunteer moderator on the Forum for America and its successors. I also was heavily involved in our local Dean meetup.

I attended the Harkin Steak Fry in September 2003 and was part of that army from at least a dozen states who  flooded the balloon field in orange t-shirts. The problem there was most of us weren't going to be able to participate in the Iowa caucus.

In 2003 I wasn't new to politics. Before that I had run several legislative district campaigns and I was an elected member of our state party committee. You might even say I was (and still am) part of the party establishment.

At one point I had the opportunity to ask a national staffer for Dean if we would be getting precinct targeting information. The answer I got was, "You'll have to figure that one out yourself."

By the time of the Missouri primary there were only two of us left who were active Dean supporters in our county [the funny and sad part about that - we had all of this leftover literature, so the two of us trudged door to door in sub freezing temperatures the Sunday before the primary doing literature drops in two precincts until we ran out. Howard Dean got 7% of the vote in our county, but 12% of the vote in those two precincts]. If we would have had more people (and a campaign organization) we could have done some serious damage.

What I've noted in politics before and since then - when it comes to individual presidential candidates, their support tends to be a mile wide and an inch deep (to varying degrees). The average amateur fan doesn't have the discipline, the staying power, or the resilience to endure the ups and downs of a long campaign. In short, they're fickle. I haven't seen anything in 2007 to convince me otherwise.

I was moderating on the Forum for America the night of the Iowa caucus and watched its traffic plummet in the short period following. I kept thinking, "It's one damn caucus, there are a whole bunch of others to follow..."

After February 5th we'll all witness the same phenomenon for those campaigns which don't quite make it.

by Michael Bersin 2007-09-30 07:29AM | 0 recs


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