Dean on DFA in Iowa

Since MyDD is primarily a Dean lament blog, as a follow up to Jerome's excellent post about Iowa (below) and Reid's excellent diary on Iowa (in the diaries), I thought reproducing some of Roger Simon's interview with Dean (used to help produce the story Jerome quotes in his article) would be of interest:Me: You were being told right up to the end you were going to win Iowa. What happened to all your voters?
Dean: At some point after November I'll figure out what went wrong with the count. That kind of stuff is worth doing. There's a million reasons (I lost): Edwards got endorsed by the Des Moines Register; Kerry ran a terrific campaign in the last three weeks, I mean there are million things. Every campaign makes huge mistakes, every one of them. And the losers have to chose which mistake did them in and the winners get absolved of all of them. And so, you know, what is to be gained by all this? There's nothing to be gained by "kiss and tell" articles blaming people inside the campaign, which is why I don't get into that because everybody has made mistakes in every campaign, so what's the point in singling people out?

And there's nothing to be gained by going back and saying, "Well, if I had only done this, and if I had only done that" because, you, you know, "There by for the grace of God go I". A lot of it's momentum. And you know we don't have a lot of control about that. I mean, we could go through and have 10 theories about why John Kerry won and why we lost, and one of those theories would be right but we don't know which one and we're never going to know.

Me: But you must have some regrets.
Dean: The one thing I really regret for the sake of the country, not for the campaign, is not asking Judy (Dean's wife, Dr. Judith Steinberg) to come out earlier. Because after she came out we got tons of mail from women, saying, "Oh, my God, I didn't have any realization that a normal person could actually do this, you're a great inspiration to us." And that I thought was great. And she was, of course, much better at it than I ever imagined her to be and she liked it, to much to my astonishment. She's never going to give up her medical practice to do this, unless I win some day.

Me: You don't rule out running for president again.

Dean: Certainly not. I hope I won't have to think about that until 2012. And I'm not going to think about it at all until November. I want Kerry to win in the worst way.

I also hope we won't have to think about it until 2012 (or well, 2010), but it remains interesting to see that Dean would at least consider another run. Frankly, however, if Dean was unable to overcome Edwards in 2004, I fail to see how he could have a chance of overcoming him after Johnny Sunshine has been a two-term Vice-President. In the future, if progressives want "one of our own" to be the nominee, it will probably be necessary to employ the strategy used by Barack Obama in the Illinois Democratic Senate primary. Using an alliance of the netroots, new labor, African-Americans, progressive whites and a little luck (the Blair Hull scandal was huge) he won a majority of the vote in a hotly contested six-way primary. It may take someone like Obama, or even Obama himself, to repeat that feat in 2012.

Democrats Adopt Horrendous Platform on Iraq and Pre-Emptive War

The Democratic Platform became finalized today. I'll be providing a link to the entire document when it becomes available. Quite frankly, so far the language on Iraq, war and the military looks like it sucks:The committee had to avoid demands by a group of activists that the document describe the entry into Iraq as a mistake and lay down an exit strategy to get American forces out of Iraq....

The committee adopted language brokered by the Kerry campaign saying that as other nations add troops, "The U.S. will be able to reduce its military presence in Iraq, and we intend to do this when appropriate so that the military support needed by a sovereign Iraqi government will no longer be seen as the direct continuation of an American military presence."

A vague promise to maybe, slightly lower troop involvement sometime in the future after we somehow convince more countries to join up with our wildly successful occupation? I can really feel the connection to reality and the anti-war vibes a flowin'. Considering that by a 54-44 margin in a recent Gallup poll, the majority of Americans now believe going to war was a mistake (and I can only imagine what percentage of Democrats feel that way--maybe 80%), it is striking that we have a platform that does not in anyway represent the vast majority of the party. Then there is this gem about pre-emptive war:Democratic criticism of Bush's pre-emption policy has been nuanced, acknowledging that first strikes can be necessary, especially during the fight against terrorism. The Democratic Party's platform, for example, reserves the right for a pre-emptive war if candidate John Kerry becomes president.

Like Kerry, the platform says Bush has damaged American credibility and strained relations with allies by appearing to act unilaterally. Democrats say Bush should have built more international consensus for action against Iraq rather than planning to invade and then asking for support.

The Iraq war was a mistake, and not just because we did not manage to convince more nations to send tens of thousands of more troops into the quagmire. Also, pre-emptive war is an international crime of the highest order, not something that Democrats should "reserve the right" to conduct if we feel threatened.

I am going to work and vote for Kerry anyway, but this is sickening. Follow this link and submit your own platform plank on Iraq, pre-emptive war and other military matters. Remind the party what its voters, members, donors and activists think about these issues. Tell them to do a better job representing our beliefs and carrying our hopes for the future.

Blogging the convention

Alright, the Democratic Convention blogging credentials came today via snail mail (kinda ironic isn't it, that there wasn't an e-mail sent out as well). It's sorta bitter sweet. With the Dean campaign, one of the things I did was head up blogger outreach. It didn't involve much, really, the entire campaign seemed to be about blogger outreach at times. I was more occuped with directing the online advertising efforts. But we had plans... Even as far back as the fall of 2003, Matthew Gross and I starting to talk about how to integrate the bloggers with the 2004 convention. Without a doubt, blogging and bloggers would be in a prominant position had Howard Dean won the nomination. Heck, we'd even be inside the hall! But this, especially compared to the GOP, rocks anyway.

So, what's it gonna be like? I've got a wee bit of experience covering conventions, as Markos and I did this once before. Back in March of 2003, we got ahold of the CA Democratic Party, and pitched the idea of blogging there. With the help of a staffer that Markos schmoozed via email, Bob Mulholland took the bait, and we arrived green-with-creds to sit among the Cragg Hines, Adam Clymer, and Tom McCurry's of the world. Here's kos blogging it (skip through the posts to read his daily accounts, especially this one). For MyDD, this old page (scroll down) has the goods.

We were not objective reporters by any sense of the word, meeting with David Bender, Dean's Sr. advisor at the time, to talk strategy, congratulating Dean on the speech; I was even cheering from the press bleachers during Dean's speech, and afterwards, in the pressroom with Karl Frisch, who worked for the CA Dem Party at the time, we three were beside ourselves in enthusiam to share with the more objective reporters as to what we saw had happened. But we played the blogger-reporter role as well. The most curious thing that I observed, was that by simply holding a mic of a pencil & pad, you could walk up to a politician/operative, they'd see the creds hanging around your neck, and start talking. Without wifi, we only had 10 minutes to work on the solo computer, so we were limited in the amount of blogging that we could do of the event.

Assurred that the Boston convention will have wifi, can't imagine otherwise, I'll blog a lot more of those moments, as well as share some video. I'm expecting that the DNC thinks we will hack for the Democrats, and we will, but with a twist of the unknown spin (authenticity) as well.

I know a number of bloggers were not invited by the DNC because they forgot to fill out their security forms, and that there are limited spaces. They were mailed out on Saturday, so if you are on the list, you'll probably get it by the end of the week. Even if you're not invited, you can always be a street-blogger. I'm getting airline tickets for the GOP convention in NYC this week, and plan to street-blog the event. Drop-in MyDD blogger Matt Stoller is going to open-up a blogger-pad (with wifi) near the Garden in NYC that week, from where we'll cover the event. If your on the left, starting position or on the bench, drop me a line and I'll keep you posted as it's organized.

Update: The DNCC has informed me that they screwed up, and that I will have access into the hall.

Does The South Favor Southerners?

Supposedly, regional preference for a regional candidate is felt strongest in the south. In fact, the notion that southern Democrats would do much better in the south than non-southern Democrats is almost accepted as fact within the blogosphere world of armchair political punditry. However, take a look at the difference in the partisan index (scroll to the bottom) in the old eleven confederacy states from 1988 to 1992, when the Democratic ticket hit the South with a double-whammy of favorite sons:
	     Partisan swing from 1988 to 1992
Alabama 		     GOP +1.3
Arkansas		     DNC +18.7
Florida 		     DNC +7.1
Georgia 		     DNC +5.0
Louisiana		     DNC +1.5
Mississippi	     GOP +1.4
North Carolina	     DNC +2.1
South Carolina	     DNC +2.5
Tennessee		     DNC +7.7
Texas		     GOP +4.1
Virginia		     DNC +2.9
This comes out to a mean +3.7 DNC, and a median +2.9 DNC. Without Clinton's home state, the mean change is +2.2 DNC, and the median is + 2.5 DNC / + 2.1 DNC. Without both Clinton and Gore's home states, the mean shift is +1.6 DNC, with a median of 2.1. Outside of the two home states, that is not much of a shift, especially in a year where both the Democratic Presidential and Vice-Presidential candidates were southerners who had won statewide re-election by landslides within the previous four years.

Edwards instantly makes North Carolina a swing state, and a couple of points might be just the trick in Florida and Arkansas (but then again, Gore was from the South as well). However, do not expect other places in the South to instantly become competitive now that Edwards is the VP. Edwards has great favorable numbers, and I expect the boost he brings to the ticket will have a small national, rather than a large regional scope.

Why should Edwards NOT be the VP?

Two weeks ago I ran a poll here on MyDD that asked people to pick their favorite VP option. Not surprisingly, after more than 300 votes had been cast, Edwards won with a huge landslide, collecting a majority of the votes and more than tripling any other candidate (Dean and Clark were roughly tied for a distant second). I had expected the results to come out this way, since rarely does anyone speak badly of Johnny Sunshine on the Blogosphere anymore.

So, even though I am one of the many who believes Kerry / Edwards is the ticket with the best chance to beat Bush, perhaps for a moment we should take a deep breath and examine what might be wrong about choosing Edwards as Vice-President. After all, Edwards isn't perfect, and since Kerry is probably not going to choose him anyway, it is probably for our own good that we develop a list of excuses that will make us feel better after Edwards is not selected.

I'll start it off. Edwards should not be on the ticket because while he is well liked, most people do not seem to believe he is quite ready to be President (these people are wrong, but so it is). During the primary season, for example, his favorables were just as good as Kerry's, but Kerry regularly trounced him. While there are probably multiple causes for this, it is possible that the most significant was a sentiment among the general populace that he was somehow not qualified to be President. On an anecdotal level, a friend of mine in Chicago said her mother, an Iowa caucus-goer, absolutely loved Edwards, but did not feel he was ready to be President. In a campaign where Kerry will be running against a certain someone who is regularly viewed as an unqualified puppet of his advisors, this is a liability he absolutely does not need. In short, Edwards would not be viewed as a serious enough choice.

Your turn.

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