The U.S. vs. John Lennon

I had the fortune to see a preview of the movie "The U.S. vs. John Lennon" tonight. Alas, the fortune was not good.  The movie certainly takes one back to the Sixties and is a reasonably decent biography--with a bit of hagiography thrown in--of John Lennon.

The viewer is given a bit of Lennon's early life and then really finds its center at the point that he meets Yoko Ono and increasingly speaks out against the war in Vietnam.  Much footage is devoted to the "bed in" after John & Yoko are married and there is take-me-back-in-time footage of Nixon (including his resignation speech), J. Edgar Hoover, massive anti-war protests on the Mall, etc.  There are snippets of many interviews with a diverse range of  individuals, including Yoko Ono, Gore Vidal, Angela Davis, Bobby Seal, Mario Cuomo, George McGovern, Geraldo Rivera (treated as a serious journalist!), and several friends, journalists, and radicals from back in the day.

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November '06: Some Changing Campaign Geometries

I originally wrote this as a late response to a thread that is already yesterday's news.  But I think some of the points are worth discussing, or at least noting, more broadly.  Chris wrote about the Republicans coming back to close the gap.  I agree that we need to, as the cliche goes, run as if we're 10 points behind.  But the game has changed in some ways, all in the Democrats' favor.

1)  Money.  Yes, the GOP still has an advantage.  But the advantage is much narrower than in recent election cycles AND they suddenly have a lot more terrain to defend.   The House and Senate campaigns are much more fought on terrain that they're trying to hold than on terrain we're fighting to hold.  In other words, we're on Offense, they're on Defense.  I like it.

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"People Powered" or just plain grassroots

As a fan of the on-line political world in general and MyDD in particular, I'm going to vent about the seemingly stylish affectation of writing about "people powered" campaigns as if they were something new under the sun.

What Chris, Markos, and others mean when they say "people-powered" is nothing more than a good old-fashioned grassroots campaign as opposed to a campaign built around institutional support.

There are a couple of fallacies at work here.  One is to suggest that campaigns that don't originate or sustain themselves from the netroots are somehow legitimate and don't involve people.

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Jerome & RedState.org

The past couple of days, Jerome has been catching some nasty flack on RedState.org because of his belief in astrology.  [Yes, I read RedState.  Once or twice a day, I brace myself and log on.  Know thy enemy.  Though often I feel as if I need a full bio-hazard suit to protect me from the foul toxic environment over there.]

Okay, so we Virgos don't believe in astrology.  

But Jerome's belief in astrology is as relevant to his political analysis and commentary as me being a UCLA football fan is relevant to driving a car.

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Which race do you most want to win on June 6?

Which race do you most want to win on June 6?   For me, it's Francine Busby in the CA-50.  Aside from gaining the seat, I'd love to have the media frenzy over what it might portend for the Democrats in November.

Other races of note on Tuesday are the Montana Senate primary between Tester and Morrison and the California gubernatorial primary between Phil Angelides and Steve Westly.  There are probably others that are below my radar screen or that I've forgotten.

So, what do you think?

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Control of the House and CA-50 turnout

I just read DavidinNYC's excellent post over at SwingStateProject talking about the prospects for Democrats retaking control of the House in 2006 courtesy of the excellent recruiting of second tier candidates.   But he adds a caution, citing Democratic turnout in the CA-50 (Francine Busby) Special Election: <Almost all of these second-tier people will only win if there's a major wave this year. While some signs point to such a wave (eg, the national polls Todd mentions), others indicate the opposite (eg, Dem performance in CA-50). We may have done a good job recruiting on the second-tier, but don't get excited unless a wave really materializes.> While I think caution may be in order, I think that prospects for turnout in November are better than some might draw from the CA-50 results.

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Disturbing note on Hackett campaign

There were a couple of posts from folks who worked on the Hackett campaign that indicated a lack of experience in doing elementary things like focusing and organizing canvassing, getting in absentee ballots, etc., and a pre-occupation with things like job titles and ego boost.

A successful campaign, especially in a red or purple distict, has got to have a lot of things go right.  And that includes staffing.  

It's great if the netroots identify a great candidate and provide a focus that brings in volunteers and dollars.   But a lot of the effort is wasted without having people who are competent at the nuts and bolts of campaign field operations.

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