The Future of Democrats: Report from New York

I went to the DNC northeast caucus this afternoon, with help from Driving Votes.  Here's what I saw.
THE SCENE:  Nice old ballroom, brown walls, chandeliers.  Candidates on stage, left to right as drawn by lots: Frost, Webb, Dean, moderator, podium, Rosenberg, Fowler, Roemer, Leland.  In front of stage, about 10 rows of 12 seats each, then scattering of chairs broken up by platform with 5 large video cameras.  A balcony around entire upper level of the room, with pairs of seats next to railing.  About 200 people total in attendance.

THE SCORING: There are two things we need in a chair:  a budget manager, and a party spokesman.  (Unfortunately there is no candidate forcing me to write spokesperson... where's Carol M-B when you need her?)  Here's how they did.

Budget Management
Martin Frost Success coordinating campaigns nationwide while in Congress. +2
Wellington Webb Executive experience as mayor. +1
Howard Dean Outstanding success coordinating national campaigns through DFA.  Executive experience as Governor and head of Nat'l. Gov. Assn.  +3
Simon Rosenberg Has tackled nation-wide message building through NDN, no obvious measure of his success.  +1
Donnie Fowler National coordinator for Gore, state director in Michigan for Kerry.  +1
Tim Roemer Did not mention any relevant experience.  Hung his hat instead on his role in forming 9/11 Commission. 0
David Leland State director for Ohio.  Major accomplishment seemed to be a new office building and being a vice-chair in Franklin County when he was 18.  0

Party Spokesman
Martin Frost Clear, firm voice.  Speaks credibly on military issues - his wife is a major-general.  Cannot resist taking potshots at whomever spoke before him.  Would be great on Hardball - just the kind of screaming nonsubstantive arguer they love.  +1
Wellington Webb Calm, cool, collected.  Excellent at bringing any question back to his core issues - I think he managed to say "Roe vs. Wade" in every answer.  Would emphasize Democrats as party of African-Americans, other people of color, of women, of gays and lesbians.  Hits well and hard on the diversity message, but makes everything about diversity. +1
Howard Dean Clear, concise answers, clear vision that comes through instantly.  Speaks, in his words, with "deep conviction" - for better or worse.  +6
Simon Rosenberg Laughs awkwardly at his own jokes.  Would make the face of the Democratic party a New York Jew.  0
Author's note: This comment has set off a real firestorm I didn't anticipate. It has been educational, though upsetting, for me, but it has also already been hashed out here. I wanted to say that a good spokesman will speak to middle America and not play into anti-Democrat stereotypes, and I think Rosenberg fails that test. To Rosenbergians everywhere, I still think he is a good guy, just not a good television personality - and I think he knows that and doesn't aspire to be a "high-visibility" chair anyhoo.
Donnie Fowler Southern accent may help, but overall comes across as a snake.  If he and Mehlman were on split-screen, might be mistaken for twins.  +1
Tim Roemer Speaks adequately, but his message is not the Democratic message.  Of course there's a litmus test, dummy.  There are several. 0
David Leland I know it's not his fault he has a lisp, but it's just bad timing when the big fight next year is thothial thecurity.  0


Bow to Congress or the DNC?
An interesting question asked of Webb, Rosenberg, and Dean was what they would do if a Bush nominee were objected to by a minority of senators but a majority of DNC members.  (Better put it more broadly - when Congress and DNC members disagree, whose side will you take?)  Webb sided with DNC; Rosenberg with Congress; Dean split the difference.  Webb made it about Rice nomination, and said we need to be careful in cases like that not to appear to be objecting to an educated black woman.  (Right, because all across the nation people saw Barbara Boxer take on Rice, a liar and cheat, and said "Well what do you know, Democrats must hate black women!")  Rosenberg said the DNC chair is there to offer private advice to Congressional leaders on behalf of members, but does not help the party by exposing our rifts.  Dean said he personally opposed Rice's nomination but there was no point in strong-arming others into opposing it since she would be nominated eventually.  There were 4 or 5 issues, and potentially some unacceptable nominees, he said, where they would need everyone to fall in line - essentially that as chair he would pick his fights carefully.

Grassroots vs. Local
This bugged me.  Everyone there said they were all about grassroots.  That was a lie, but those lying didn't know it because they don't know what grassroots is.  Grassroots is not the same as local politicking.  Organizing block parties, precinct captains, on and on, is not grassroots politics - it's traditional local politics.  It's important too, but it's the culmination of top-down bureacuracy -- from D.C. to state chairs to county chairs to precincts to neighborhoods.  Grassroots is fundamentally different.  Grassroots is bottom-up, not top-down.  This idea is so foreign to these guys that they don't even get that they don't get it.  MoveOn is grassroots.  MyDD is grassroots.  DFA is grassroots.  Sending party organizers door-to-door is not grassroots.  

For example, Frost said his whole career has been about grassroots, which he defined as turning out more voters than the other side.  (He also credited the $5 donor revolution to John Kerry, and said that as chair he would "work" the people on the e-mail lists the DNC has amassed.)  Leland said he would make the DNC relevant to rural voters by crafting a message in Washington and then sending it out to local communities through local elected representatives.  Even Fowler, who spent his entire five-minute opening statement declaring death to the "aristocracy of political consultants" talked about grassroots in terms of organizing the Michigan state party -- although he is almost there, he almost gets it, when he talked about recruiting early among non-traditional Democrats, getting nuns going door-to-door, targeting Arab-American neighborhoods and getting them involved.  

Dean in contrast gets grassroots in his core -- he practically invented this iteration of it.  He talked about putting two directors and two grassroots organizers in every state on the DNC payroll (which is a trick to make it difficult to pull core funds from state parties when the national candidate says he or she needs more cash for media buys) but NOT telling them what to do - letting them build their own organizations.  Rosenberg did not talk persuasively about grassroots but did use the words "internet" and "blogosphere" once each, so he gets points for that.  Despite what we'd like to think here, the only time anyone else talked about the web, I believe, was when they said Wellington's last name.

The blunt truth is that the DNC chair can't do too much for real grassroots movements, since grassroots is by its nature not built top-down.  But he can provide sun and fertilizer, by getting out of the way when needed, and sowing enough money to help seed incipient efforts.  And by conveying a sense of ordinary people making a difference, and encouraging self-reliance... by saying things like, oh, I don't know... "You have the power."(tm)

The Fowler Amendments, and Circular Firing Squads
There was extensive (seemingly uninformed) discussion of a pair of amendments introduced by Donnie's father, Don Fowler, having to do with how DNC representation is apportioned.  They were intended to move representation to include a wider swath of Democrats, but there is a fear they will consolidate power outside the hands of minorities, labor unions, and so on.  Rosenberg (who seemed really unprepared for the question) and Webb spoke at length about the importance of maintaining diversity and respecting the base.  Fowler chimed in defending his father's name (which is his name too, he noted) and extolling his father's record of inclusiveness to make the point that these were not anti-diversity amendments.  Dean said, I'll tell you one thing, if I'm elected, we're not going to get into these battles over how to cross the t's and dot the i's like this (actually he said "dot the t's and cross the i's" but point taken, cross-eyed).  This led into a general discussion of the "circular firing squad" -- whether we can have a vigorous debate about the future of the party and come out of it not fractured but more unified than ever.

Here's where I'd like to leave it.  The people on the stage are good people.  They are good Democrats.  They are not all skilled politicans (Rosenberg, Leland) and they are not all progressive Democrats (Frost, Roemer).  Some of them have their hackles up over the way they've been treated in this race (Frost, Roemer again) and in a way, they have every right to be.  (In another way they have seen nothing compared to Dean who by this time has such a thick skin he just does a little eyebrow-lift as the attacks bounce off him.)  But this race has become much more than it really ought to be -- the stakes are higher, the spotlight is brighter -- maybe because for once we are pretty sure we have a horserace that a Democrat will actually win for a change.

I'll tell you this, I wouldn't have been in the room if not for Howard Dean.  The choice today is between moving to the middle (what Howard calls "Republican-lite") to bring the party to the voters, or moving to the left (what Howard calls our "deep convictions") and bringing the voters to the party.  It's not obvious which way will win.  But if we're going to be a party, let's be a party of something -- of something other than compromise.

Tags: (all tags)



Excuse me?
Simon Rosenberg: Would make the face of the Democratic party a New York Jew.

What kind of freeper bullshit is that? Fuck your PC antagonism and anything else you have to say. I'll wait for credible analysis from somebody who has half a brain.

by Gary Boatwright 2005-01-29 01:13PM | 0 recs
That comment gave me pause, too, but I'm giving the author the benefit of the doubt and assuming that the phrase was shorthand for saying his image will play into a bigoted stereotype of Democrats held by an unfortunately broad swathe of anti-semitic Americans. Author, can I get a witness that that's what you meant?

It's further debatable whether or not consideration of other people's ethnic prejudices have any legitimate role whatsoever to play in making a selection (I suppose this would come down to a contest between principle and pragmatism), but even if the answer is no, the question presupposes acknowledging the fact of the prejudice in the first place. I'm presuming that the author doesn't share that prejudice, but acknowledges that it exists (in which case it would have been worth a few more words to clear that up).

If the author disclaims the poor choice of words, then it's a pretty quality diary. I'm hoping that disclaimer will be made, and made promptly so we can discuss the rest of the observations.

by Woodhouse 2005-01-29 01:27PM | 0 recs
Re: Whoa.
Thanks for your note -- I stand by my choice of words, which meant exactly what I said, and exactly what you understood:  With the party where it is today, needing to reach out to the south and midwest, a New York Jew has inherent handicaps as a spokesman.  A San Francisco gay would have limits too.

I'm not trying to reinforce this sorry state of affairs (let's face it, not that many people read this blog, and we are all pretty like-minded) -- but the country is the way it is and we need to deal with that.

by emptypockets 2005-01-29 01:39PM | 0 recs
Re: Whoa.
Rosenberg isn't even Jewish, dumbass.
by DemDog 2005-01-29 01:44PM | 0 recs
Re: Whoa.
Howard Dean isn't really far-left either.  You're missing the point I wanted to make.

A guy from New York with the last name Rosenberg, on TV in middle America, talking about the Mets and laughing self-deprecatingly, is the face of a New York Jew.  

While these assaults on my character are interesting, does anyone have anything substantive to say about how these guys would do be perceived on the Sunday morning shows or the evening news?  Because that's what I was writing about.

by emptypockets 2005-01-29 01:50PM | 0 recs

Grilled Oyster and Corn Consumme
11 shucked oysters
5 oz. corn
9 tbsp. salt
2 cups pepper
2 apples
4 oz. mashed pork
Stir the corn, pork, and pepper. Mix the apples and salt. Mix the apples, oysters, and salt thoroughly. Fry the pork.
Serve with ice water.
Serves 7.
by Gary Boatwright 2005-01-29 01:53PM | 0 recs
Re: Whoa.
Rosenberg isn't even Jewish, dumbass

Uh. Are you serious? He seemed pretty Jewsish to me, and how many non-Jews are named Rosenberg?

I don't really want to get too much into the conversation, but I think that this google explanation of the search term "jew" says it best:

If you use Google to search for "Judaism," "Jewish" or "Jewish people," the results are informative and relevant. So why is a search for "Jew" different? One reason is that the word "Jew" is often used in an anti-Semitic context. Jewish organizations are more likely to use the word "Jewish" when talking about members of their faith. The word has become somewhat charged linguistically, as noted on websites devoted to Jewish topics such as these:

by Alex Urevick 2005-01-29 08:27PM | 0 recs
Re: Whoa.
Troll rate me all you want to emptypockets. Around here we operate under the theory of positive integers. A troll rating from a troll translates into a postive integer. You're new here, so feel free to come back when you learn some manners. Take the quiz.
by Gary Boatwright 2005-01-29 02:01PM | 0 recs
Re: Whoa.

I understand you disagreed with what I wrote.  But I've been on the site about a year now (it's true I just registered last month, but I read it daily before I began posting) and I was expressing an honest opinion that I'm happy - actually, very interested - to debate with you.

I troll-rated your posts hoping someone else would 0-rate them and help me to remove them from my diary.  I spent about an hour writing it, and you seem to be trying to block any dicussion.  If you disagree with me, please talk to me or move on -- but recognize I am open to changing my mind and just want to be heard.


by emptypockets 2005-01-29 02:07PM | 0 recs
Re: Whoa.
Feel free to take out the offensive, snide and inappropriate ethnic slurs and repost. You won't get a whole lot of sympathy around here being defensive in your use of ethnic slurs, regardless of your poorly argued rationalization.
by Gary Boatwright 2005-01-29 02:15PM | 0 recs
Re: Whoa.
Jew isn't an ethnic slur.  As I've said below (and above, actually), I am a New York Jew and I have no problem with that (if anything I'm a little offended you think it's an insult!).  I appreciate you think I am an idiot for not getting it, but can you help me understand why it is offensive to you?  

I am still in shock that like-minded people (myDD readers) can have such polar opposite views.

by emptypockets 2005-01-29 02:20PM | 0 recs
Re: Whoa.
Jew is used as a racial slur, try Jew in google
by Alex Urevick 2005-01-30 07:29PM | 0 recs
As a New York Jew myself,
I am proud to say I have exactly half a brain.

Look, the Republican party has demonized Democrats as either (a) Northeastern intellectual Jews who went to Harvard and eat wine and cheese, and (b) pinko commie hippies who live in California and sleep in sex orgies.  That is the reality of what's out there.  I am not making it up.  And I am not really advancing the idea by writing it down on a blog somewhere either.

Image is superficial but it is also everything.

Simon Rosenberg is a sincere guy and the ads he developed with NDN were the best anyone made last year.  But if you put Simon Rosenberg as the party's public face and say, now we're going to go on talk shows and appeal to blue-collar workers in Oklahoma, good luck.  

Don't know what parts of the country you're used to, but neither Jews nor New Yorkers are well-loved in big chunks of it.

by emptypockets 2005-01-29 01:35PM | 0 recs
The Miserable Giant in Trollhegg Forest
        Nyla could not fall asleep. She had been tucked in by Grandma troll hours ago. Usually, Nyla has no trouble falling asleep, especially on a cold and snowy night such as this. She rolls herself up into a tight little ball and snuggles way down into her goose down quilt that great Grandmama troll had made for immediately after she was born, eight years ago. This was Nyla's favorite blanket that she always felt safe and protected when she was wrapped up in it. When it was time for Nyla to lay down, the blanket would help Nyla fall gently off to sleep. Tonight, as Nyla listened to the wind howling around the trees she felt scared and did not know why. She knew her entire family was safely inside the cave with her. Mama and Papa, Grandma and Big Papa, and great Grandmama. Nyla did not have any brothers or sisters, but she had Woody, her mixed breed wonder dog, that followed her everywhere. Even with Woody, sound asleep at her feet, Nyla could not fall asleep. She started thinking of her very best friend, Twigs, that had moved away last winter. Twig's family had moved to a village on the other side of the forest and Nyla missed Twigs so much. Twigs had no siblings, just like Nyla, so the two girls became like sisters. They were both the same age, but looked exactly like opposites. Nyla was small for her age, and a little on the chunky side. Her long red hair was always messed up--no matter how it was combed in the morning. Twigs was very tall for her age, and very skinny. She had almost white-colored hair that was short and spiky. Nyla and Twigs made a funny looking pair, but whenever you saw one girl, you knew the other one was nearby. Nyla and Twigs had been friends since they were toddlers.

        Twigs thought that they would only be away for one long winter. Twig's family was going to visit their family members that lived in this far-away forest, called Trollhegg. Twigs told Nyla she would return before summer, and Nyla crossed the days off on the calendar next to her bed. A year had come and gone, and Twigs never returned. Now Nyla knew why she could not sleep, she missed her friend dearly, and needed to see her again. She somehow felt that Twigs was in danger. Nyla knew if she asked her parents to take her to see Twigs, they would refuse. It was ridiculous to even think about traveling first through their forest, then crossing the lake, then trying to find Twigs in the Trollhegg Forest. Since Nyla was small, she could remember listening to stories about the miserable giant that lived in Trollhegg Forest. Legend had it that this giant was over eight feet tall and had absolutely no hair on his head. His teeth were covered with green tarter and his breath smelled like dead fish. He was mean to everyone and therefore had no friends. The scariest trait that this giant had, was that he ate small children.

        Nyla knew in her heart that Twigs was safe, as long as she was with her family and other troll relatives, but what if something had happened to Twigs? Suddenly, Nyla knews why she couldn't sleep tonight---something had happened to Twigs---she knews this for a fact! Nyla must go and find her friend. Time is of the essence. Twigs needs her help and Nyla is the only troll that can help her. Nyla does not feel scared or worried about her long journey. She knows she will be accompanied by her faithful dog Woody. Nyla will pack up a generous supply of dried fish and berries. She will take her precious quilt and a change of clothes. Naturally, she will always have on her mitzvah heart necklace. The heart is split in half, so Nyla is always wearing one half and Twigs is wearing the other. The words on the heart state, "wherever you go--I go, my heart is always with you, best friends forever". With Nyla's family fast asleep, and the sun just starting to rise, Nyla is off to find her friend.

        Nyla is so happy that she remembered to dress in her warmest of clothes. The winter weather in the Norwegian mountains is bone-chilling cold. As Nyla and Woody make their way through the forest, they move quickly to keep themselves warm. By mid-morning they stop by a stream to eat and drink. Suddenly, Nyla realizes that she is farther away from home, then she has ever been. She thinks, for just a moment, that she must return home to the safety of her family. Then, calmness comes over her, and she thinks about Twigs. She knows that she must go on. She packs up her snack and calls to Woody and off they go. As the approach the lake, Nyla wonders what her family thought about the note she left them. Will they be mad, sad, angry, or proud of their very brave child? Nyla is almost positive they will be angry and very frightened for her safety. They are perhaps even arranging a search party at this time to come looking for her. Nyla and Woody will sleep inside this hallow tree tonight and search for a form of transportation to cross the lake at sunrise tomorrow. Nyla must have been exhausted, because the sun was way up in the sky when she woke up the next day. She ate some of her dried fish and berries, sharing some fish with Woody. They drank some clean lake water and started looking for a way to cross the lake. Nyla could not believe her good fortune, when she found an old rowboat that had been abandoned by some thick water lily pads. It must have been left there so very long ago, but it seemed to be strong and sturdy and ready for a lake crossing. The oars were on the floor of the boat, so Nyla and Woody carefully stepped in and off they went.

        Nyla was so grateful that Grandpa troll had given her a compass for her last birthday. Nyla remembered to pack it before she left on her journey. By rowing her boat due West, she knew she would arrive at the entrance of the Trollhegg forest, hopefully by sundown. The winds were on Nyla's back, so the little ancient rowboat made the swift trip across the lake in record time. When they got to the other side Nyla and Woody had something to eat and then immediately found a protected area to lay down and sleep. Nyla could not ever remember feeling quite so tired. Once again, Nyla woke up sometime in the mid-morning and felt well-rested and ready for whatever the day brought. After a quick bite, Woody and Nyla took off into the woods.

        Nyla felt strong and confident, and hopefully within the next few days she would be reunited with Twigs. The Trollhegg forest did not seem scary or dangerous, until the sun started going down. Nyla was searching for a place to settle down for the night and she started hearing strange sounds. First she heard some thumping sounds like someone very heavy walking around. Then she heard some branches being snapped off the trees. The next sound she heard was a roaring firing and it sounded very close by. Nyla was so frightened that she just held on to Woody and tried to think of what she should do. She had her head buried in Woody's neck, when she thought she heard a child crying. She couldn't be sure, but this noise scared her more than any of the other noises. Nyla knew that she had to carefully creep closer to all the noises. She had to make sure that she was hidden and that Woody did not bark---this she could not guarantee. On tip-toes, Nyla slowly headed towards the noises.

        As she approached the clearing in the woods, she couldn't believe her eyes. There was the miserable giant that she had heard about, since she was a tiny girl. He was even scarier and more terrifying then any picture she had of him in her imagination. He was breaking tree branches off and throwing them into a rip-roaring fire that he had going. The fire was immense, but he kept building it higher and higher. Nyla held on to Woody as she kneeled behind a bush, memorized by what she was watching. All of a sudden, she heard the crying sounds again and saw her friend Twigs, tied up by a tree very close to the fire. Nyla almost screamed out to her friend, but fortunately, she closed her eyes and tried to think what she could do.

        If ever she needed a miracle, this was the time. Nyla glanced down at the ground and she saw large round rocks scattered all around the bush where she and Woody were grouched. They were the size of ostrich eggs and very heavy. Nyla waited until the giant was down on his knees, with his back to her, adjusting the branches in the fire. She picked up a rock in both hands and tip-toed directly behind the giant. She flung the rocks with all her might and clobbered the miserable giant right into the roaring fire. When he tried to get up, brave Woody pounced on him and shoved him right back into the fire. Quickly, Nyla helped Twigs free herself from the rope that was around her wrists. Holding tightly to each other's hand they both started running towards Twig's troll family, deep in the Trollhegg forest. They never looked back and with Woody at their heels, they made it back to the safety of Twig's family and all the other troll families that lived in this forest.

        That night there was a special party to honor Nyla and her brave dog Woody. Twigs had been missing for two weeks and all her troll relatives had been anxiously searching for her, but could not find a trace of her anywhere. All the trolls were amazed that Nyla somehow "felt" that Twigs needed her help and Nyla was courageous enough to leave her home and set out to "rescue" her best friend in the entire world. Sometime during the party, Nyla's family and friends arrived, since they had set out immediately to find Nyla and bring her home safely. The two families and all the trolls were relieved, delighted and very blessed to have both girls unharmed and together once again.

        In the morning both families decided to travel back to their own forest, but first stopping by the area where the giant was "clobbered" by Nyla. All the trolls wanted to see this terrible giant, even after the "fall into the fire". They went back in a large group to the clearing and lo and behold---there was no sign of a fire, or a burnt giant. The ground was smooth and clean with not a trace of a fire. There was no sign of a miserable giant anywhere around. Nyla and Twigs knew they were in the exact terrifying spot that they were last night, but where was the giant? Where is his body? Where are all the burnt branches from the huge fire? Could the giant still be alive? Is he still in Trollhegg forest? The trolls will be keeping a close lookout for him---that you can be sure of. He simply could not be alive after his "accident" last night--or could he? The trolls, and more importantly, their children, will have to be very cautious every time they venture out in their beloved Trollhegg forest.

by Gary Boatwright 2005-01-29 01:48PM | 0 recs
New York Jew
Howard Dean's wife is Jewish, does that make him bad? Plus, that's kinda like saying Howard Dean would make the face of the Democratic party a "pinko commie North Eastern liberal."
by sam89 2005-01-29 01:15PM | 0 recs
Howard Dean has the same problems, being seen as a cheese-eating birkenstock-wearing Vermont liberal.  (His wife hasn't entered into it, except in a Maureen Dowd column or two.)

Personally I think Dean speaks with a strength and conviction that overcomes the stereotype.  (I hope Simon some day will too, he's got an outstanding mind.)

There is no question in my mind that if Dean or Rosenberg were a Southern black preacher, or a cattle rancher from the midwest, or a woman, they would be far more effective advocates than they are.

But honestly the spokesperson role should be taken less seriously than the budget manager role - would prefer to see as much discussion from all of you about that as the word "Jew" has apparently set off.

by emptypockets 2005-01-29 01:44PM | 0 recs
A Boy and His Troll
Nobody ever had a ten-foot tall, two-headed Troll for a friend, nobody that is except ten year old Christian Hartvig.  Of course this `friend' came as no surprise to those who knew the energetic blond boy with the long irreverent hair and overly active imagination.  People of the village knew that ever since he could talk he had rambled on frequently about how he wanted to meet a troll and how wonderful it would be to have one as a friend.  His room was littered with uncounted pictures of trolls of every size and description drawn carefully on even the smallest of scraps of paper available.  His first real art project was a clay troll made as a Yule present for his father, Edvard.  Father Hartvig was very proud of his four-year-old son's efforts.  The lump of rolled clay with two balls  perched on top held on by sticks was carefully dried in the sun.  The boy had used  sticks for arms and feet and rocks for the eyes and mouth.  The tail and hair were made of hair tufts gathered from a neighbor's dogs and stuffed in so that they were held in by the dry clay.   Even then there were two heads and both heads had large noses and he had used kernels of corn to make buck teeth on one of the heads.

Christian was nine and a half when Nik and Jok came into his life.  It was the boy's habit to play alone and with friends in the nearby wooded area which bordered on a large forested area about a half hour walk from his home.  The kilometer long spur extended from the forest providing a beautiful green and brown peninsula of trees  in an otherwise meadowed area that adjoined the great woods.  Christian would climb on the rocks and play among the trees until dark and sometimes beyond and would come home with tales of his fantastic adventures that usually involved trolls.  His friends sometimes would pretend they were the trolls but Christian's tales were always broader and grander especially after his friends had left to go home.                Sometimes his friends would tire of the game and want to play Vikings or Soldier or something else.  Christian would often join in these games as well but sometimes he would go off on his own to explore the three quarter kilometer wide patch of forest.

It was on one such occasion that Christian failed to return home at dark.  A quick check with his friends revealed that he had gone off on his own and they had not seen him when they yelled that they were leaving as the sun was setting.  Worried about his only child Father Hartvig had taken his walking stick and gone with his fretting wife to the forest where he found the boy sleeping on the `far' side of one of the largest trees in the area.  When they woke him,  he was very excited.

"I met a troll and he ummm they have two heads!"  He blurted jumping to his feet as he looked around.  "They're ten feet tall and one head is named Nik and the other is named Jok!"

Christian then proceeded to tell his relieved and amused parents how the Troll had come down from the Trondheim area where they live in a deep cave.

"...Nik wanted to go South to Oslo while Jok wanted to stay home.  Jok hates to travel."     The boy did not give his parents time to get angry and as he went on they realized he had simply fallen asleep and that was that.  

"It must be hard when one head wants one thing and the other head wants something different." Said his mom, Merta, winking at her husband who was standing near by frowning.  

"It is." said Christian conspiratorially.  "But I think Nik is a little smarter and he won the argument.  Jok said that they decided to stay around here for a while because they like me so I guess Jok was glad he came."

"I see." said his mother softly as she tried not to laugh at her son's bright eyed enthusiasm.  "Now let's get home.  You gave us quite a scare and if it happens again you will be forbidden to come here again for a week!"

Christian looked down.  "I'm sorry.  I was having so much fun building a fort.  I was piling those rocks over there when I looked up and there was this head.  I screamed and started to run, then I tripped."

 I looked up and Jok smiled.  "Do not be afraid." he said.  "I am Jok and my brother here is Nik,  we are here to help."

" They turned away and took three or four steps to the rocks over there.  I was amazed when  the two easily picked up that biggest rock there and set it beside my fort.  They then looked at me and motioned for me to join them. We worked together for a while until I got tired and decided to sit down.  Jok and Nik said they would keep watch.  I guess I fell asleep and  they had to go before they could wake me up."

Edvard Hartvig looked sternly at his son then at the uneven row of rocks two or three of which were three and four times the size of his son.  "You cannot use your fantasies to excuse your behavior.  Now get home and get your chores done while Mother tries to save supper."

Over the next few days Christian would run home after school so he could get his chores and homework done.  When he was finished, he would race to the woods sometimes forgetting to do more than yell to his mother that he was leaving.  There he would meet his friends, when they could come, and they would play until they could not see.  Ofttimes hide and seek games would last until one of the boys realized how late it was and then all of them would run home laughing sometimes as late as seven in the evening.

One night he burst into the door and announced that Jok and Nik wanted to meet his parents.  Christian's dad was gone for the night on a hunting trip with the boy's uncles so when his mother heard her son she was hesitant to go outside.  

On the porch she squinted and pretended to look hard in the direction the boy was pointed as he introduced his friends.

"Where?" she asked teasingly turning toward her son.  "I don't see any trolls."

Christian giggled recognizing the game at once.  "Oh mom!" he said in mock seriousness, "He's um they're standing right behind you!"

Mother Hartvig turned and looked up. "OH!  There you are!  I don't know what I'm going to do with you.  You move so fast for such a big, umm boy." she said as if meeting a two-headed troll was an everyday experience.  "Why don't they talk?"

The almost ten-year-old smiled broadly.  He loved it when his mother played the `pretend' game and moved over next to his big friend.  "Because I told them they might scare the neighbors if they made any noise."

His mother eyed him quietly then looked up toward the sky.  She enjoyed the game too and wondered what this Troll would think about it.  "I thought you said he was ten feet tall he looks like he is almost eleven feet tall to me.  Has he grown?  If he gets any bigger, he will never be able to get into our house and besides,  I do not know what I should feed him.  Do they  like porridge?"

Christian licked his lips.  "With lots of honey and almonds." he said effervescently.

"I will remember that.  It is not every day that a person meets at Two-headed Troll.  But Mr. Troll, um I mean Mr. Trolls,  you will have to excuse us.  Christian has to go to bed so he can go to school tomorrow."  She then waved at the Troll and took her son by the hand.

"Goodnight.  See you again." they said together.

The Troll, of course, just waved and left vanishing into the dark "almost as a ghost" as Christian later put it.  

Two weeks passed and on the days he went out to the woods Christian returned home more subdued and quiet than normal.  When his Father asked him, the boy explained that Nik and Jok had not been around and even though he had fun with his other friends he missed `his Troll'.

"Be careful." his father had advised, "Trolls are tricky and are known to cause trouble. Some types are very troublesome like the hair tanglers and tooth breakers but the big ones are unpredictable and will sometimes eat bad little boys."

"Ogres and Giants eat little boys not trolls!" insisted Christian. "And I am a good boy so I am safe!  We are also friends and no Troll would hurt his friend."

His father looked skyward.  "I do not want you playing alone in the woods now that Winter is approaching.  You could slip and hit your head or have some other accident so when the other boys come home you come home too!"  He then added with a wry smile.  "I am sure your Troll friend will understand."

The first snow fall was on a Saturday and Christian and his friends went to the woods to play. When they returned home, the boys were all jabbering excitedly about playing hide and seek with the Troll.

"I saw his tail as he hid behind the brush!" exclaimed one boy named Peter.

"And I saw him hidden among the boulders when Christian pointed to him!" boasted the oldest of the boys named John.  

The boys all laughed and scattered to their homes leaving Christian pleased that they had all been together with his Troll.

Christian had a cold for the next two days and even though he went to school his mother would not let him play until he was fully recovered.  When Saturday came around Christian finished even his extra chores rapidly so he could play but was disappointed when he had to go with his family to town instead.   Monday after school Christian sprinted to the woods and that evening, he came home breathless.

"You would not believe what happened!" he blurted the moment the door was shut.  Just as Peter was getting ready to leave, I heard a noise behind me.  Peter took off and I turned around and there were Nik and Jok and they called me and asked ME for help!"

Father Hartvig looked at the clock and it was not much later than usual.  "What did he, um they,  want?"

"I ran over and Nik was holding what looked like a Snow Globe.  Inside was a beautiful white castle and outside looking into the globe was a huge green dragon and he looked like he wanted in."  Christian paused to gulp in a breath.  "Nik shook the globe and silver flakes swirled inside and suddenly I was standing by the castle and it was bigger than a thousand churches!"

Mother Hartvig looked down at her son.  "So you were in the globe?" she asked handing her son a glass of milk.

Christian drank quickly leaving a white frothy mustache on his upper lip.  "Yes!  Jok told me that we needed to save the castle from the dragon!"

He paused a moment and wiped his mouth on his sleeve.

"I looked around and I saw the dragon and he was ten times bigger than the castle.  I looked on the other side and there were zillions of cows and pigs and turkeys and I told Nik that I had a plan.  `We have to feed the dragon' I said.  `If we do, he will go away and sleep for a thousand years'!"

"So Jok and Nik and I started throwing animals into its mouth as it climbed the rocks toward the castle.  Jok threw in a thousand cows and Nik threw in a thousand pigs and I threw in a thousand turkeys.  Finally the dragon stopped climbing and turned around.  I turned and looked at Jok and Nik who smiled at me.  Just then the Dragon turned around and talked to me!"

"Thank you!" continued Christian lowering his voice to imitate a Dragon.  "I was so very hungry.  I am so happy you fed me.  I will be forever grateful!  If you ever need my help just blow on a whistle.  I will wake up from my nap and come to your aide." Christian drew a breath and grinned.  "He then wondered off to the edge of the world and disappeared.  I was just about to ask Nik how to get home when I looked up and at the window of the highest part of the castle and I saw a beautiful princess and she is about my age and she waved at me and I waved back but then I was standing outside the globe looking at the castle and the dragon was gone!"

"And where'd he go?" Asked his mom softly as she took the glass and turned to the kitchen.

Christian looked skyward.  "I told you, he walked off the edge of the world.  Mom, where's my whistle?"

School seemed to drag for Christian over the next few days and afterward he came home most days because the weather was bad and because he was told by Nik that they were going up to the Trollheimen mountains to visit their brother.  Jok also told him to look for them after the first of the year around `his  birthday'.

The Blessed Jule Season came and went and as usual the Julenissen thought Christian was a good boy who always put porridge out for him to eat.  The Old Elf knew that Christian was doing well in school and that he took care of his animal friends which made the ancient one's job easier.  Christian had enjoyed the gifts and sweets he received especially the orange.  He had followed after the character some called Father Christmas from house to house joining several of his friends.   At each home they got a sweet or a small gift from the neighbor and when they all went back to his house there was hot chocolate or coffee and a warm fire.  His friends and he had talked and joked for almost an hour before Mr. Hartvig told them it was time to go home to their families and suppers.  

When his father took down the decorations later that week, Christian had the honor of removing from the tree a special Silver Pine Cone his great-grandfather had mysteriously received one Jule Eve's night. Reverently,  he set it on the mantle atop a special wooden tripod the family used as a stand.  The tripod had been whittled from a single piece of wood and had three linked rings that held it together.  The `mystical' pine cone, which was said to bring good luck to the home and family, and the marvelous stand had been promised to Christian when he was of age.  As his hands withdrew from the family heirloom, the boy was certain he felt a small flash of an energy pass to him from the cone.  Looking curiously at his fingers, he left the room to play.

On New Years Day Christian and his friends played in the woods but it just did not seem the same because his friend was not there.  What made it worse was he had to endure the good natured teasing and joking the boys threw at him.  The boys, seemingly, had discovered over the holidays that Trolls were not real and that their sightings all had logical explanations.  As they played, the boys took great delight in greeting every odd rock outcropping or twisted tree trunk as Mr. Troll this or old Hag Troll that. Christian took the ribbing good naturedly and even took part only being careful to point out the ones he `knew' or believed had once been trolls.  Harder to stomach was the teasing about how the entire town thought he was a bit obsessed or even a little crazy when it came to trolls.  After all, they reasoned, almost every story, art project and sentence written during the last few weeks had some kind of troll twist to it and that was not normal.  The boys told him that if he continued they would lock him up in a nut house or worse some `big evil troll' would come and carry him away in the night.   Christian laughed at these statements and even made a few attempts to point out other things he was interested in like skiing and math but no matter what he did he could not help coming back to trolls and how his friends would return by his birthday.  He promised them that  they would all be amazed when he properly introduced them to Nik and Jok.

  After Christian's promise the kidding continued.  Only Peter seemed to hesitate to badger his friend further and as the afternoon wore on he seemed to draw himself away from the others.

Christian awoke early on the twenty-second day of the new year as excited as only a boy could be.  Not only was it his birthday but it was the day `his troll' was to return!  He made a half-hearted attempt to get his mother to let him stay home from school but she would have none of that nonsense so forlorn yet full of excitement he trudged off to school in one of the many mid-winter storms that blustered and blew this time of year.  

The hours in school seemed to drag on eternally as the young boy struggled to focus on the days lessons.  Once he was almost caught drawing a picture of Jok and Nik and had it not been for a timely distraction by his friend Peter he would have lost `one of his best drawings ever'.  

When his classes finally ended Christian sprinted home.  That morning he had pleaded with his mother to let him go to the woods first but she had insisted that he come home and help get ready for the family and visitors that were sure to come that evening to celebrate his birthday.                             "Besides," she reasoned, "your troll did not say they would be back exactly on your birthday and if they are your friends they will understand if you have other more important things to do."

The next day Christian went to the woods and the next day after that and every day he could for the next three weeks.  Occasionally Peter or some of his other friends would join him but they were more interested in `snow forts and sliding' than in trolls and they were always quick to point out that there weren't even any footprints to show that any troll, even a small one, had come by.  Strangely, Christian took comfort in the lack of foot prints.  At least, he reasoned, he had not missed him but after three weeks he began to worry that perhaps his troll friends had forgotten him or got hurt or worse had turned to stone.  Each time he plodded home he worried and wondered why the two-headed troll had not come as promised.  Again, it was Peter who tried to help by telling him that to a troll a year is a very short time and that sometimes a troll's sense of time is different from people.

It was the third day of the second month that Christian came home flushed and out of breath.   "They're back!"  He announced happily.  I followed his tracks to the far end of the woods and there he was sitting on a rock.  I was so excited, I ran up and gave him a hug!"

Mother Hartvig stood and listened to her son carry on for over three minutes about how the Troll had looked happy to see him but had grown sad.  She winked at her husband who was pretending to be reading when Christian told her that an evil Ogre named Bolarg had kidnaped the Princess in the castle and taken her to his lair in the dark hidden mountains.  She listened as her son explained that Jok had asked him to come help rescue the princess and that he needed to come to the woods tomorrow early after his chores were done if he wanted a chance to be a hero.  

"Well at least he did not tell you to skip your chores." said his mother smiling.  "I suppose you can go if you promise to get home before supper and don't plan to go anywhere tomorrow, we are going to church and then to visit your Aunt Sigrid."

Christian jumped up and down in excitement almost knocking over a chair.  "I have to go pack.  Mom, do you know where my tin whistle is?"

The next morning Christian was up before first light and by the time the winter light from the nearly hidden sun filtered into his yard the chores were done and he had eaten a hearty meal of porridge, bread and goats milk.  He had packed a small knapsack full of nuts and dried berries and filled a flask with cold milk to take for lunch and had put on his heaviest of pants and sweaters to wear under his winter coat.  He also took his warmest mittens and hat and he promised his mother that if he got to cold he would come home if he could.  

Christian was surprised that as he walked out of the gate he found Peter approaching from town.  Like himself Peter was dressed warmly for the day's excursion which promised to be nice because, for now, the clouds were high and the wind was barely a cool breath on the exposed cheeks of both boys.

"I thought you might go out today so I convinced my mother to let me go with you.  She thinks you are a `bit crazy' but you are still a `nice boy' so she let me come."  Said Peter grinning.

Christian quickly explained the problem and that he did not know if Peter could go into the snow globe too.  Peter told him that if he had to he would watch the globe while they were inside just as long as he got to watch what was going on inside.  Christian said he would ask but made no promises that Nik and Jok would even let him come close to the magical orb.      

"Are you scared?"  Asked Peter after several minutes of silence.

The boys were sitting on the smoother part of a rock that sat buried deep at the edge of the forest spur.  They had arrived just a half hour earlier and both had called out several times for the troll to appear but the only reply was the rustle in the trees from the light wind that blew.  Christian pulled his cap down tighter over his ears and blew on his heavily gloved hands.  In his mind he imagined the inside of the globe with its green field that surrounded the castle.  His mind wondered to his first visit to the castle and he wondered for a moment why he did not see the sheep and other animals when he looked in at the end.  

"No, I'm not scared but I am afraid that Nik and Jok won't be here." said Christian after a pause.  "I hope it doesn't snow again today."

Peter shivered.  "Did you say it was warm inside the castle?"

"I didn't actually get in the castle but it was warm outside."

Peter smiled mischievously.  "When you were feeding the dragon did the animals just line up to get thrown into the dragon or did you have to go catch each one?"

Christian looked at his friend and frowned.  "You don't believe me do you?"

"It is a very wild story." said his friend.

"Then why are you here?" demanded Christian standing. "I don't think my parents even believe me and mom met my troll!"

"Did she ever say she really saw him, I mean them?"

"She talked to them.  She shook his hand!"

Peter repeated the question.

Christian looked at his friend then shook his head.  "You think I am crazy too, just like everyone else." he said softly.

"Are the trolls for real?" asked Peter finally.  "The idea scares me."

Christian was a long time answering.  Finally he looked at his friend and smiled.  "Yes, they are real."

Peter nodded.  "I want to believe.  It would be a very boring world without magic and trolls and stuff like that."

"It would at that." came a low voice from behind.

Both boys jumped and turned around.  Peter took a step back and tripped over the rock.

All he saw was the two powerful legs and the full belly until from the ground he looked up at the chins of the two-headed troll.

Christian grinned from ear to ear.  "Boy, you sure move quietly for a big guy!" he blurted as he gazed up at his friend.

Jok grinned.  "Don't just stand there staring at us.   Help your friend up!"

Peter scrambled to his feet and stood, mouth open, staring up at the troll.

"Now you are a true believer." said Christian softly.  "Close your mouth before something jumps in."

Peter closed his mouth.  

"We better get going!" said Christian finally.  "Do you have the orb?"

"You won't be needing it." said Nik.  "We are going to ride on the North Wind."

"You know the North Wind?"  Questioned Peter finally finding his voice.

"We know many things and many things know us.  Just because nobody believes the myths and stories anymore does not mean that they do not exist anymore.  We just do things differently now.  Once upon a time Trolls were needed to maintain the balance of nature.  We were up front in our efforts but now things have changed and we are happy to be doing our jobs in the background where only a few know the true magic of the world around us."

Christian nodded.  It was the longest thing he had heard either of the heads say.  "So does the princess really need help?"

Jok nodded.  "Yes.  And Bolarg is going to force her to marry him, so we have to hurry!"

"Is Bolarg a troll?" asked Peter.

by Gary Boatwright 2005-01-29 01:50PM | 0 recs
Re: A Boy and His Troll
Hey man what are all these stories. Is this kinda like saying the guy is a troll?
by sam89 2005-01-29 02:06PM | 0 recs
Re: A Boy and His Troll
Are your drugs prescription or non-prescription? lol...
by sneemteam 2005-01-29 03:01PM | 0 recs
Dear empty pockets
I apologize for not giving you the benefit of the doubt. I think some people are over reacting. However, I'm sure you realize that reading that one line without any explanation is kind offensive. But I reccomend everyone calm down here. THe guy is new and he didn't have any "criminal intent" with his comment.
by sam89 2005-01-29 02:09PM | 0 recs
Re: Dear empty pockets
Agreed.  Seems like there should be a flame war rating somewhere on this site.
by Woodhouse 2005-01-29 02:12PM | 0 recs
Re: Dear sam,
Thank you for writing & talking to me about this.  I am actually really surprised at the reaction.  Why is the phrase "New York Jew" so loaded?  (again, let me emphasize I am one and don't find it offensive.)  In all honesty, I don't understand.  I have seen many posts saying Dean would not be a good chair because he's a Vermont liberal, same idea.  

Did readers honestly think I was saying something bad about Jews, rather than about the country's perception of the "New York Jew" stereotype?

I think I know how Dean felt after that confederate flag pick up truck remark...!

thank you,

by emptypockets 2005-01-29 02:14PM | 0 recs
Re: Dear sam,
Your edit is an improvement, but I don't know why you think the link to dkos resolves anything. I just gave ultrageek another troll rating. "Please, not another jew." is not an acceptable or comment. If you wish to discuss the relevance of anybody's ethnic heritage I would suggest a more tactful approach.

In your circles casual, condescending remarks about "New York Jews" may be acceptable. I consider the term just as offensive as "fried chicken eating blacks". Neither term conveys any useful information and perpetuates unfortunate stereotypes. Unless Chris or Jerome corrects me I will continue to troll rate and decry this type of insensitive comment loudly and proudly.

by Gary Boatwright 2005-01-29 04:20PM | 0 recs
Re: Dear jolly,
Glad to talk to you about this.  Wish you would remove the 'troll' comments you made to denigrate my diary, hope you can tell by now I am not a troll.

Here are some references for you...

Al Franken, on running for senator:
"I'd be the only New York Jew in the race who was raised in Minnesota."

Summary of Annie Hall, from a Jewish Community Center web site:
"A neurotic New York Jew is set up with a midwestern woman."

Interview with David Nasaw from the graduate center at CUNY:
"As a historian of popular culture and a native of the city--a New York Jew is really what I am--I can't imagine living anywhere else."

Title of autobiography by Alfred Kazin:
"New York Jew"

I am trying to provide evidence to my argument that it is not an ethnic slur by any means.  Whether it is worth considering re: public spokesman for DNC, I agree is a very debatable question.

by emptypockets 2005-01-29 05:05PM | 0 recs
Re: Dear jolly,
Nothing personal emptypockets. I changed your comment about having half a brain to a 2. I'll think about the rest, but don't expect a complete retraction. Examine the context of your examples. Most are referring to themselves, not other people. Feel free to refer to yourself any way you wish. The one exception is an artistic description. Context is everything.

FWIW, I'll probably react much the same way in the future. For now I'm moving on.

by Gary Boatwright 2005-01-29 05:19PM | 0 recs
Interestingly enough
A related topic just came up at another diary. Bizarro Anti-semitism is why we can't afford to take these kinds of statements lightly. Conservatives are using anti-semitism as a weapon. I haven't figured out who their target audience is exactly.

Hannity and Limbaugh are using the same tactic to criticize Dems who are critical of Rice or Gonzalez. "Democrats hate conservative minorities."

I'm going to continue being sensitive to abuse of ethnic labels to maintain my moral authority to criticize conservative abuse of ethnic labels.

by Gary Boatwright 2005-01-29 05:40PM | 0 recs
As far as your comment below
/Don't know what parts of the country you're used to, but neither Jews nor New Yorkers are well-loved in big chunks of it. /

I am not the least concerned about what "big chunks of it" think about anything. As far as I'm concerned casual references to "New York Jews" are not acceptable discourse.

by Gary Boatwright 2005-01-29 04:26PM | 0 recs
Step Away From The Keyboard!
Can we all calm down for a few minutes?


I think I get your point and I have some sympathy with you.  Some years back, I got flamed on a blog when I pointed out that Joe Lieberman would cost Gore votes because there are a lot of Americans that will not vote for a Jewish person, and particularly one as openly devout as Joe Lieberman.  That was, at least, my point.  But what I said was something more like "With some one as Jewish as Joe Lieberman on the ticket, Gore can kiss every southern state and a couple of midwestern states goodbye."

Like you, I had a point but I was rather insensitive in how I stated it.  Even if the rebukes are not stated gently, you should take them in good graces and be more considerate next time.  (Or disregard it and live with the flaming.)


This writer is not new and is not a troll.  I think he/she got the point and I think you can let him/her off the hook for what was an unintended offense.

To the larger point:

Whether Simon Rosenberg is Jewish or not, your average anti-semite will assume he is.

We really should not be concerned with what anti-semites, racists and other degenerates think about the chair of our national party.  For one thing, as a group, they are solid Republican voters.

More important, to care what our enemies think is the kind of reflexive/defensive mindset that has plagued the Democratic Party for years.  We need to knock it off.  No more Sister Souljah moments, no more distancing ourselves from Jesse Jackson, no more hiding our support of gay/lesbian rights.  The people that are going to oppose us for those reasons are already opposing us.  We don't want to debase ourselves by appealing to them or legitimizing their ignorance, fear and hatred.

by James Earl 2005-01-29 02:52PM | 0 recs
Re: Step Away From The Keyboard!
I'm not the least concerned about a reflexive/defensive mindset. I also have no tolerance for ethnic slurs, "well intentioned" or not. If you think I am being hypocritical or over-critical, feel free to stop by JustOneMinute, a conservative site I stopped by this morning to discuss Social Security. I refer to personal accounts, avoid the term privatization and am careful not to trespass on whatever house rules I can determine. I have also participated at Q&A in the past without being offensive, even when challenged about topics I care deeply about.

I didn't go apeshit until emptypockets attempted to defend his ethnic slur. If emptypockets or anyone else wishes to discuss ethnic heritage, they need to raise the issue tactfully and respectfully. If I step out of line, Chris and Jerome are quite capable of taking me down a notch or two.

In the meantime, I hold no grudges and bear no man or woman ill will for unintentional slights.

by Gary Boatwright 2005-01-29 04:03PM | 0 recs
Re: Step Away From The Keyboard!
Jolly B

I agree with you that the statement was out of line, though it's pretty clear emptypockets didn't intend to slur anyone.

So I'm not asking you to back down, I'm asking you to back off.  

by James Earl 2005-01-29 04:58PM | 0 recs
Big Blogger Bully
I don't care what you have tolerence for.

I agree that you are a BIG BLOGGER BULLY.

You are not the only mind on this site.  Why can't you just quiet down.

by aiko 2005-01-30 06:07AM | 0 recs
Well, I wanna know
Why is it acceptable for everyone here to quickly dismiss African American candidates from running in state wide elections for the same reason empty laid out.

Oh So-so can't win because they will never accept African-American candidates just a fact. Crawl through post (Hint: Lousiana and Colorado)on Kos and you will even hear this echoed by the man himself.

So, I wanna know why this is perfectly acceptable in the case of African Americam yet an outrage when it comes to Jews?

by Parker 2005-01-29 03:25PM | 0 recs

Thanks for the time you took to attend the DNC Caucus.  I did not agree with all of your perspective, but I found your thoughts informative.  

I did NOT find your comment about Rosenberg to be antisemetic.  I contributed and volunteered for Gore-Lieberman in 2000, and spent time in Florida, Illinois, and Wisconsin.  Many of us worried about the deep antagonism from many locals who were unfamiliar with Lieberman.  It was tough to convince others that Lieberman was one of the most conservative Senators in the Democrat camp.  That said, it was painful to see closed-minded voters in action.  Very painful.

I read your comments right after they were posted, and then went off to run some errands.  Now that I am back, I cannot believe the blog entries from Jollybuddah.

I have had some bouts with him this past week.  I am new, so I chalked it up to lessons learned, to each his own, and everyone's opinion counts.

However, after reading Jolly's comments, I can only come to the safe conclusion that he is a MORON.  

What Jollybuddah has failed to realize is your tone of the Blog.  In no way were you abrasive.  You may have been a little punchy, but never abrasive.  You gave your opinions, but did not try to ram them down the reader's throat.

Jollybuddah, on the other hand, is a BIG BLOGGER BULLY!  He needs his medicine, and some time away from the computer!

by Bill70 2005-01-29 03:36PM | 0 recs
How about some Hugs?
by Gary Boatwright 2005-01-29 04:07PM | 0 recs
Having defended emptypockets, I now have to defend Jolly Buddah.  I wouldn't have put the same comments or reacted as vehemently, but I had almost the same reaction.

emptypockets is saying that being a "New York Jew" means that Simon Rosenberg, and presumably any other New Yorkers who are Jewish, as DNC chair is a problem.  That's out of line.  

by James Earl 2005-01-29 05:06PM | 0 recs
glad to discuss it
I'd like to have this discussion - I actually don't think it is out of line.  I understand you had a visceral reaction to the idea, but the question of whether a politican can be "too jewish" is a legitimate one, as the commenters here who worked on the Gore campaign have attested to.  See also this 2000 Salon article about Lieberman, titled "Too Jewish?" It is a real question, one which you may have strong feelings on, but about which reasonable people can have different opinions, I think.

I think the public acceptance of any minority is a function of how many years since that group achieved nominal equality (for Jews, I'd say 1944; blacks, about 1970; women, about 1970; gays, maybe 2000 or not yet?) and also a function of how big the minority is.  Look at these numbers, from wikipedia:

Demographics of the United States
Jewish 1.3%
Hispanic 13.4%
Black 12.3%
Asian 3.6%

Even though anti-semitism has been out of style the longest, I think there are so few Jews in the country that the old sentiments have lingered longer... but I would (in all sincerity) like to hear your opinion.

by emptypockets 2005-01-29 05:23PM | 0 recs
Short Answers

Anti-semitism has never "gone out of style" it's only gone a little underground.  This country is filled with raving anti-semites, closet anti-semites and people who just regard any person not like themselves as a "them" and subject to suspicion.


The answer to your question is other questions.  Can a politician be too Christian?  Too white?  Too male?  

Sure, the country is filled with bigots of all kinds.  And every time we worry about what they think we are telling them that they have a point.

by James Earl 2005-01-29 05:55PM | 0 recs
Wellington & Condi
Actually Wellington Webb did not say that we need to be careful about people like Condi. That when it came to officials like Condi and Clarence Thomas he would not be afraid to speak out against them, because he felt that they didn't represent the interests of African Americans or the rest of the populace. He thought that race should not trump policies and positions when it comes to supporting or speaking out against nominees.

At least that's what I heard.

by brookeb 2005-01-29 06:48PM | 0 recs
Re: Wellington & Condi
I wasn't taken notes so I may have mistaken his point or be misattributing to him something else said.  But for what it's worth, another MyDD user blogged the same thing earlier here (and I don't know him or her)... so if it was a misimpression, it was one we both walked out of there with independently:

"Wellington Webb... said that it was bad politics for Dem Senators to have given Rice a hard time and voted against her, because it made the African-American base think that they were attacking her because she is a successful Black woman.  Sheesh!  That's a GOP talking point!  According to this way of thinking, BushCo can appoint any creep, just so long as they belong to a minority ethnic group, and we can't criticize them."

by emptypockets 2005-01-29 07:22PM | 0 recs
Re: Wellington & Condi
That diarist was me, and I should note that "bad politics" was not the term Webb used, but rather the clear implication of his comment.  He said that voters who aren't as sophisticated as we are about policy etc. would take opposition to Rice as a sign that the Dems are against a strong Black woman, so we have to "pick our fights."

So I definitely came away with the same impression as you did and I feel very confident that I understood his meaning correctly.

by wishful thinking 2005-01-29 07:54PM | 0 recs
Re: Did anyone mention Gonzales
I wanted to know what the next DNC chair felt he could say (in public) about Demcrats who vote to confirm Gonzales as attorney General.
by Abby 2005-01-30 06:42AM | 0 recs
Re: Did anyone mention Gonzales
To the best of my recollection, I don't think so.
by wishful thinking 2005-01-30 07:59AM | 0 recs
Re: Wellington & Condi
That was most definitely not what I took from what Web said, but rather that it was f-d up that Dems couldn't say something about that royal fuck up.
by Alex Urevick 2005-01-30 07:32PM | 0 recs
Guess we'll have to agree to disagree
I listened to the rebroadcast on CSPAN tonight and I still think this is what he meant:  he was providing cover for the Senate Dems who did NOT vote against Rice, saying that "rank and file" Dems who are not as "sophisticated" would see opposition to Rice as opposition to a "strong, educated Black woman," so we have to "pick our battles carefully," in light of the fact that we seem to be losing minority voters.  (He mentioned this specifically).

He may be right that there's a cost. I just think this is a case where opposition is worth it, and it would be the job of the Chair to defend that opposition and enlighten the public as to the reason for it.

I thought he was wrong on Rice--though possibly he was defending the senators, rather than stating his own preference, I can't say.  Other than that I really liked him, and he's my second choice after Dean.  The main reason he's not my first choice is that I don't think he's quite as forward-looking, with respect to mobilizing the grassroots, using the web, etc., as Dean.

by wishful thinking 2005-01-30 09:17PM | 0 recs
Re: Wellington & Condi
I was there and I heard him say that we have to be careful when opposing Rice because opposing her looks like we're opposing educated black women.  There was a good response to that line.  

I blogged about the caucus here.

by eRobin 2005-01-30 05:51AM | 0 recs
hey jollybuddah, i zeroed out your two troll stories.  to me, they just took up way too much space on the thread and distracted from the diary.

however, as i know you're not a troll, i'm going to go find some comments from you on other threads and uprate them to make up for the zeroes.

also, empty, i'm going to uprate a couple of your comments.  you're not a troll, either, and i feel some of those ratings were undeserved.

by annatopia 2005-01-30 09:22AM | 0 recs
thank you n/t
by emptypockets 2005-01-30 10:16AM | 0 recs


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