• on a comment on Why I'm a Democrat over 7 years ago

    On FDR's relationship with Jews, there is much to read and consider.  His Secretary of the Treasury did a diary that is most interesting, not as extensive as Ickes, but it does record his understandings.  Morgenthau was FDR's Neighbor and family friend as well as his banker.  

    FDR's Speech Writer, Samuel Rosenman, has done a biography of some interest, covering the matter of FDR's relationship with American Jews, and Jewish Organizations.  FDR appointed a significant number of American Jews to judicial and other administrative positions.  Study his relationship with Felix Frankfurter, beginning in the 1920's.  

    FDR faced a Congress that was totally dominated by Southern Racists -- they held all the significant committee chairmanships.  They were totally opposed to European Refugees, many of whom were Jews, and they, not FDR controlled the quota for migration. Even with that opposition, between 33 and 1942 about 29% of Austrian, Czech and German Jewish persons living in those places in 1933, gained entry to the US with valid visas. There is a significant other catagory not open to count, and that is persons and their families who came in outside the quota because they had skills and knowledge deemed of importance for science and national defense.  By 1942 the US probably had about 1/3rd of the Jewish population of the three countries mentioned above, plus others from other quota groups, such as French.  It is very hard to verify a count.  

    The ship St. Louis presents a problem because the tickets and the Cuban Visas were Financial "deals" among the Cubian Mafia and then VP Batista, and the Gestapo.  When the ship arrived, Batista claimed he had not been sufficently paid off, (as he had been with previous landings) and thus the passengers could not land.  Hoover told FDR that it was a Mafia operation, (he only knew half of it), but that if FDR allowed it to land, he would be identified with a Mafia operation.  So FDR made a political decision -- no landing.  It is sad given the long term outcome, but in the context of the times, understandable.  FDR did not have the power to over-ride congressionally imposed quotas.  As someone who has explored this history, I don't see that FDR had a choice, but Congress did, and it was solid in opposition. Blame is wrongly placed.  

    Not mentioned, but I will go on about the claim that FDR did not allow the bombing of Auschwitz or the rail lines leading to the camp.  FDR did not engage in selecting bombing targets.  What he did engage in was making sure the command lines matched his expectations. In late 43 early 44 there was a huge controversy over who would hold command over Air Assets as we prepared for Normandy, and eventually Churchill and FDR settled it, and gave control of the air assets to Eisenhower which he acquired in early March, 1944.  After that date all air assets were programmed in support of Normandy.  (and support of Normandy meant maintaining deceptions).  There is absolutely no evidence that any request to Eisenhower's command ever reached them dealing with either Auchwitz or the rail lines.  The evidence is that these requests did reach State, and the refugee committee, but went no further.  I cannot imagine Ike releasing any air assets during May - August of 1944 for any diversion not related to Normandy and the exploitation of that effort.  


  • on a comment on Why I'm a Democrat over 7 years ago

    Yes, and Harold Ickes Jr, son of the Harold Ickes who served FDR as Secretary of Interior from 1933 till after his death in 1945, is a lead manager in Hillary's Campaign.  The Ickes Diaries are one of the great sources for FDR lore.  There are times when I see Ickes Jr. on TV, and recall all I have learned about his dad, "The Great Curmudgeon" as he was called -- and I understand Harold Jr's call to politics, and sometimes I see a flash of his dad, but for the most part I see someone tamed by too strict a keeper.  

    Harry Hopkins came to FDR through Eleanor.  She first met him at Henry Street Settlement House on the Lower East Side, where he was a social worker, and together they worked on labor issues when FDR was Governor.  Hopkins was in ER's orbit till after Howe died.  He served as head of WPA during the first term, and I would suggest that the most important thing he did was to send Aubry Williams, his deputy, to Tennessee to investigate a claim that Blacks in WPA were being paid 20% less than whites doing the same parallel projects.  Williams found it was true, and Hopkins got FDR to forward charges to DOJ  -- it turned out the State WPA Director was pocketing the 20% difference -- and he was prosecuted.  It is the first time in US History that Equal Pay for Equal Work was enforced by court order.  

    It would turn out that in 1955 Aubry Williams would be one of the Employers of Rosa Parks, and the one who, earlier, paid for her to attend Highlander Folk School to study Non-Violent Direct Action.  (From the early 1930's Eleanor had contributed about $100 per month from her speaking and literary fees to this school.)  

    I guess I would rather think of Rosa as representing the legacy of Hopkins and ER and FDR than someone who just got some of the genes.  

  • comment on a post Why I'm a Democrat over 7 years ago

    I too admire FDR, and am old enough to remember him, and to have gone with my mom to vote for him in 1944.  She let me make the X on the paper ballot in the right place.  You are right -- people who liked him were passionate, and they never really lost that passion, though a good many of them voted for Ike in 52.  While a grad student, I spent a couple of delightful months in the summer at Hyde Park working in the FDR archives, ending the day of reading by walking over to the overlook behind the mansion at the beloved Hudson River Valley.  If you haven't been to Hyde Park, you should go and at least take the tour and see the museum.  

    But it is important to remember some other things about FDR -- he was an extremely accomplished politician, and the things he accomplished depended on those skills.  Many of the New Deal programs were not his own -- much of it came through former Republican Progressives who had their origins with TR, and over the 1920's, FDR kept in touch and brought them into his orbit.  Take a good look at the Karl Rove in FDR's life -- today few have any idea who Louis Howe was -- but he met FDR when he was first elected to the New York Legislature in 1909 -- Howe was a Albany based Newspaper Reporter in the "Frontpage" style for a string of upstate NY papers, and the two of them never seperated until Howe died in 1936.  Without Louie Howe -- no FDR Period.  Howe decided about 1910 that FDR should be President (a Freshman state legislator) and he devoted the rest of his life to that end.  He ran all the campaigns, was the junction box through which all the State Party people connected with FDR, (It was machine politics days and he was principle political and policy advisor.)  He was a disorderly little man, always burning holes in his ties and suits with Cigarette Ash, He had asthema, many other illnesses, but he was a political genius.  You can't get at FDR without Louie.  

    ER eventually became close to Louis after Franklin got Polio, he taught her to speak at political meetings, to drive, and he crafted her political career just as he did Franklin's.  Essentially he made ER into the political partner Franklin needed, even though the ER-FDR Marriage was over for all intents and purposes.  Louis forced ER to become a pol so as to eventually lure FDR back into politics.  He also encouraged her to create her own independent career as a teacher and writer, and to acquire an independent circle of friends.  Most of the understanding of the ordinary Joe and Jane FDR was credited with as Governor and President -- that's Eleanor not FDR.  FDR did not hang with labor organizers, social workers, Black (then Negro) college presidents and NAACP leaders -- that was Eleanor, and she made certain they all had social and face time with FDR so as to move him along.  Social Security??? not without Eleanor.  Fair Labor Standards Act -- Eleanor and Francis Perkins.  

    To get a sense of this circle of people, read Doris Kerns Goodwin's "No Ordinary Time" -- Jonathan Alter just came out with a new overview -- readable, though I have some quibbles with his interpretations.  Blanche Wissen Cook is at work on a 4 volume ER bio -- three are published, just excellent.  If you have a used bookstore handy and you see Robert Sherwood's "Roosevelt and Hopkins" it will be cheap, but it is excellent even though nearly 50 years old.  There is just so much great material on the Roosevelt Circle and the politics of the era.  If you inherited the passion, you need to ground it well so you can use it.  

  • comment on a post Did Any Democratic Committees Work? over 7 years ago

    I've done field organization and campaign management since the 1960's within the DFL in Minnesota.  Paul Wellstone's victory in 1990 was entirely based on it.  In fact I first met Keith Ellison during that campaign when he stepped in to do an important piece for Wellstone.  Let me put some content to this conversation.  

    First of all -- you have to create a social organization that is on-going.  People who are going to manage their own precinct or a legislative district need to know each other over time.  What really works is regular low key social events -- for instance, the pot-luck dinner once a month or so.  People who are willing to make a pan of Lasangna, or two pies for twenty are people who are "buying in" to an effort.  You do this across organizations -- that is you invite in the activists from Labor, local education issue areas, the party people, the environmental crowd, and yes, the Move-on and other such groups.  If you are smart -- you bring in people who know the new technologies and methods -- but it is much more about creating a social entity that can turn on come election time. Such a group can sponsor training for volunteers, it can organize a canvas -- but together with other such groups, it can also authoritatively request that current office holders come and speak, and above all, answer questions.  

    We saw the evolution of this during the recent Ellison campaign -- The Wellstone linked liberal Jewish Community doing social events and political forums with the Somali immigrant community.

    I has to become a tradition --  

  • on a comment on Moving Away from the 1960s Left over 7 years ago

    We all would benefit from a 1960's Timeline.

    The 1964 Civil Rights Act "Intentionally" did not deal with Voting Rights.  The bill finally passed in July of 64, and the presidential election was just a few months away.  Johnson was set for a blowout with only one little cloud in the sky, and that was called the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party that demanded recognition as the Democratic Party of Mississippi, and seats for its delegation at the convention.  Remember Fanny Lou Hammer?  

    Post Election, Johnson had huge congressional majorities, won over 60% of the vote, a real mandate, and once Selma heated up, he used his political capital to go sing "We Shall Overcome" in Congress and get the Voting Rights Act passed. He had the choice of doing that or having hundreds of Selmas.  

    Then came Watts.  And then Detroit and Newark and hundreds of smaller events called Urban Riots.  Virtually all of them were about Police Abuse or other acts of oppression in Urban and non-Southern locations.  None of the acts of Congress or the good will of Johnson had any impact on this underside of racist institutions.  But as a follow-on to the Voting Rights Act it illustrated the vast complexity of all that needed to change, and how much more difficult it would be compared with the recent legislative battles.  This realization occured at the same time Vietnam became an issue and the anti-Vietnam protests seriously began.  White Liberal support for Civil Rights activity began to diminish as all the facets of the Anti-War movement emerged -- and it wasn't all about demonstrations.  The 1966 mid-term elections reduced Johnson's congressional strength, and subsequently White Liberals tended to focus on War Policy looking ahead toward 68, and Civil Rights efforts more narrowly focused on local community organization.  Of course efforts were made to patch up the two wings -- one has to study in detail King's decision to take leadership in anti-War activity as expressed in the 1967 Riverside Church speech...but it never really happened, though it did result in the Neo-Con's leaving the Democratic Socialists and the left and making their way toward Republicanism.  Are these things a reaction to Voting Rights?  No, not directly, but they all happened in a very short period, and in the same political environment.  Old Coalitions broke into pieces, new and seemingly unlikely ones were created, and many of these failed.  The generation who were born in the late depression and did Grade School during World War II, entered college in the late 1950's, and who were founders of the early 1960's movements, finished school and moved off into jobs and family life -- and a new post war generation came on the scene with quite different life experiences.  Political Interests changed as a result.  

    I see little thought given here to the Cold War Framework in which much of this all transpired.  There are now some excellent histories (Mary L. Dudziak's "Cold War, Civil Rights: Race and the Image of American Democracy" and Thomas Bostelmann's "The Cold War and the Color Line") that posit a direct connection between the success of the Civil Rights Movement and American Foreign Policy Interests.  Yep, Department of State as prime cheerleader for the movement's success.  Essentially in the post Colonial Black and Brown world where the competition between the Soviets and the US played out, the old Jim Crow system was antithetical to US Interests, and successful, non-violent change was a huge plus.  Then if you read the Mitrokhin Archives -- the KGB files that somehow got delivered to the Brits after 1991, you find huge evidence the Soviets were trying to make Civil Rights efforts fail -- given Soviet interests in the Black and Brown post Colonial World.  Put simply, you have to account for the Cold War -- overt and covert.  

  • comment on a post Moving Away from the 1960s Left over 7 years ago

    Couple of examples that don't exactly fit the emerging periodization here.  One needs to explain the 1990 election of Paul Wellstone based on a very underfunded grass-roots effort that not only captured the nomination by the Party Process, but successfully managed the election.  In Paul's case it was based on seriously knitting together over 20 years the progressive organizations that emerged from the 60's (Civil Rights, Human Rights in the Carter sense, Environmental matters, Labor Union issues, Feminist groups, Welfare Rights organizations -- and much else, and bringing them into the DFL party where they learned to build cross issue coalitions.  Tom Harkin's base in Iowa is quite similar, and he was elected in the early 80's, and Russ Feingold (a very close friend of Wellstone's) was elected in 1992 grounded in a very similar coalition effort.  These three built their base on the issues that emerged in the 1960's, and they succeeded when the Right was ascendent.  I could add others to these three -- Bernie Sanders in Vermont for instance.  

    The common thread of this set of negative cases to the general thesis, is that they either took leadership and power in the existing political party -- and used it to create a cross issue participatory process -- or in the case of Sanders, built his own.  Essentially it was 60's culture somewhat modified and always open to expanding the coalitions.  In many ways the things that Howard Dean is doing today are follow on's and an expansion of this model, which compared to the 60's is indeed far more appreciative of institutional frameworks.  

    One needs to appreciate one reason why many in 60's movements were adverse to institution building.  The Old Left of the 1930's was very institution minded, and by the 60's, many of these were "the opposition" or perhaps the most reactionary parts of society.  The face of Labor was George Meany and perhaps for a time Jimmy Hoffa -- the voice of progressive labor was Walter Reuther who had been effectively sidelined after the 1950's merger of AFL and CIO.  The New Left had the same basic problem with what remained of old left political culture.  One needs to read Irving Howe's late 50's and early 1960's attacks on the emerging progressive efforts -- I would suggest a good long library session with Dissent Magazine where much of the debate was published.  This debate left many of the leaders of the New Left Institutional adverse.  

    I would suggest taking a really good look at the underlying causes of the 1968 disruptions at the Chicago Democratic Convention.  Much of the party was essentially a private club run by power brokers such as Mayor Daley, and both the Kennedy and McCarthy campaigns were about changing the power system.  And in fact that awful 68 convention did agree to change -- it appointed the McGovern Commission, later the McGovern-Fraser Commission, which vastly limited the reach of the old time power brokers, and created the rules for much broader participation.  It was not the public leaders of the New Left that led this, but it was very much progressives who had absorbed the ideas of the New Left.    

  • comment on a post New Left Book Recommendations over 7 years ago

    Matt, I can agree with most of the book recommendations above, but please don't miss the Academic history of the Anti-War Movement of that Era, An American Ordeal: The Antiwar Movement of the Vietnam Era by Charles DeBenedetti and Charles Chatfield.  Syracuse U Press.  It does it broadly and properly, beginning in the 50's with the Anti-Nuclear Testing campaigns -- and moves on till 1975, and includes the changing political strategies of the periods.  

    The Anti-Nuclear Testing campaigns (SANE and Student Peace Union) flowed into support for the mass based Civil Rights Movement with non-violence at the core of the collaboration in 1960 -- but no one, and I mean no one can do this era without reading all three volumes of Taylor Branch's Social and Cultural Biography of Martin Luther King.  There are many many other histories of the Civil Rights movement noted in the Bibliography and in the text -- but you have to get the full measure of it to understand the late 50's and the early 60's.  So read -- and then work the bibliography.  

    Tom Hayden's own biography, is highly significant because he deals with the founding of SDS in the late 1950's as a mostly white organization designed to support the Black Civil Rights Movement. (David Horowitz had fits with me on one of the History lists when I laid out the process by which SDS changed from a founding intent into something quite different.)   Read Hayden in conjunction with Isserman's bio of Michael Harrington, "The Other American" (Remember JFK got everyone to read Harrington's book, "The Other Americans") -- as JFK was beginning to move in the direction of some sort of Poverty Program. Gitlin is also critical -- all of his books on the 60's -- but he came along a bit after Hayden, and you need to comprehend these very short eras.  

    No one has thus-far mentioned the fact that the 60's was quite international.  Movements in the US had a huge influence on France in 68, Germany in 68, and I would also add Czechoslovika in 1968 (and with Charter 77).  I would go so far as to say that some elements of the American 60's are there when the Berlin Wall came down in 1989.  You are right about institution building, because if that had happened at all, some of those movements would have been useful in 1989.  Tony Judt's recent book, "Postwar" had a number of great chapters on the British, French and German movements that arose in Europe, both E & W in the 60's and afterwards.  Again -- a fantastic bibliography that can take you out to the specifics.

    I highly recommend Tom Wells history of the Anti-Vietnam War movement, "The War Within: America's Battle Over Vietnam"  That's the big picture, but I would also recommend you read "Rads: The 1970 Bombing of the Army Math Research Center at the University of Wisconsin and the Aftermath."  By Tom Bates (1992).  It is the best book I know of that gets into disillusionment on the part of activists.  

    I haven't begun to think what Feminist Lit I would recommend, but from about 1967 onward, a good part of the "liberal" movement is Feminist.  

    Just last week when Jenne Kirkpatrick died I felt called upon on Firedoglake to do a negative Obit on the lady.  In 1968 my slate of precinct delegates beat her slate of precinct delegates in perhaps the most solid DFL precinct in Minneapolis.  (2-6 at that time).  Her Husband Evron Kirkpatrick was one of the Godfathers of Hubert Humphrey, but one cannot understand that era unless one comprehends how Gene McCarthy's slates beat him on his home ground, and why that was critical in Jenne running and joining the Neo-Con's.  Two books by David Lebedoff, "Ward Number Six" and "The 21st Ballot" (Schribners and U of Minn Press publications respectively) will get you down to the ground level fights in the political arena that were part of the larger fight.  

    By the way, I agree that attention needs to be paid to Gene McCarthy's role in all this.  Hopefully someone is doing a decent biography. I would also point out that McGovern's campaign in 1972 in Minnesota, which while it did not win him the state electors, did move the most progressive DFL types into control of the State Legislature, which they kept for nearly 20 years.  (we just got it back).  

    I also agree with the recommendation that you must read Robert Caro's "Master of the Senate" about Lyndon Johnson during the time he was Majority Leader in the 1950's.  In particular, focus on how he dealt with all the progressives elected in 1958 -- that was the core of the votes for change in the 60's.  

    Warning! the term "Liberal" has a number of meanings in the context of the 1960's.  You will need to research this, and sort it out your own way -- but it doesn't mean the same thing it means today, and in Europe it has a very different and negative meaning, and among activists in the US during the 1960's it means mostly negative things. You have to conceptualize and not just lable.    

  • comment on a post Richardson Attacks McCain over 7 years ago

    Think Gender Gap.  Right now the Dem's have a good advantage here, and by taking on McCain properly, we can increase it.  

    Reproductive Rights -- obviously, but not the right issue right now.  

    McCain is terrible on education issues, and for working class and middle class women, this is a very significant issue.  Combine that with afterschool programs and pre-school education, even his Headstart voting record -- and you can cut a swath through his appeal with his own voting record.  Democratic and Independent Women voters have a particular take on this issue that has to be understood to use it properly.  More than 60% of them are in the full time work-force while they have children at home, and for them, the quality and availabilty of appropriate education they can manage while working full time is important.  "He-manship" doesn't cut it when you work this issue properly.  I believe McCain sits on Ted Kennedy's Ed & Labor Committee, which has to review NCLB this year and re-authorize.  This is a great chance to push him on an issue that matters to millions of voters.  

    Energy Policy.  As far as I can tell, McCain has never voted for anything that represents support for alternative energy.  I expect him to be given a hard time on this in Iowa, where the undercurrent is all about Bio-Fuels, Wind Energy and Ethanol -- turning Iowa's ag assets into a variety of types of new energy, where Farmers may actually have a stakeholder role in production.  McCain is a "big oil" pol -- and he can be brought up short on his failure to support R & D and deployment of alternatives.  The questions about McCain's stance have to be precisely targeted in Iowa (each state is different).  In Iowa it is significantly the farmers, the equiptment salespersons, and the like who are now very interested in, and investing in these alternatives. They are Republicans. McCain can be thrown for a loop if the messages are properly drawn and targeted.  In New Hampshire the same set of issues are environmental -- in Iowa it is about support for developing a profit center.  

    There are more such issue centers where McCain's record is horrid -- we just need a strategy to use them so as to reveal his voting record.  

  • comment on a post Iraq Study Group to Call for Phased Withdrawal over 7 years ago

    I suggest we look at the ISG report not as a solution to Iraqi policy but rather look at it as a factor in creating dynamics.  Up til now it has been Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld saying my way of the Highway, and Congress conned into not uttering much of a peep.  But come January, Come Biden's long hearings, that report becomes a point of departure -- the on the table alternative that whether you agree with it or not says there must be alternatives.  So out of the Box what Biden may do is call the members to testify, dig into their thinking on every point, and further push the policy question into the realm of new alternatives.  

    What has to happen is Bush has to be forced out of the catbird's seat and into a real semi-public debate about alternatives.  If Biden plays off this alternative by committee properly, he forces Bush to engage and accept alternatives.  

  • comment on a post Playing Around with SUSA over 7 years ago

    Looking for a Democratic (DFL) pick up in a Senate Race -- Well, we Minnesota DFL types want the Wellstone Senate Seat Back, (from Norm Coleman) and it looks as if Al Franken is ready to declare.  Yes, we know there will be others in the race during Precinct Caucuses in March 2008 as there should be, but you want a win-able race, we gottch yuu one.  

    Now, let me answer a few classic questions.  First of all, about that matter of sending a stand up comic to the Senate.  Walter Mondale answered it over a year ago in a seminar from the Carter Center on C-Span -- (late night filler).  He said, many in DC did not know they were stand up comics, so it was time Minnesota sent them a real one.  

    Is Al Franken from Minnesota?  No, not born here, but he grew up here and was part of the same High School Class (St. Louis Park) as Norm Orenstein and Tom Friedman. Unlike them, Al Franken is a grad of both Harvard and the Dudley Riggs Caffe Expresso Troupe, and he spent the last spring and summer doing Ice Cream Socials, Corn Roasts, and Turkey Races -- and anything else that allowed for a DFL'er to march in a parade. What the media has failed to pick up on is the new act Al does with Walter Mondale, with Mondale as Norwegian Straight man Comic.  I realize the taste for this may be limited, but They are getting good at the duo routine.  

    Norm Coleman according to the latest polls is at 48% approval.  I think that can be driven down with a little effort, and time is to start thinking about how to set up the pile driver.  One of the reasons we need a 50 State Plan a la Howard Dean is so that we can spend a little money and effort to drive down Republican rankings before we actually finish our endorsement and nomination process, not for a particular candidate, but on generic voting records and all the rest.  

    Remember, Norm Coleman (former St. Paul Mayor, DFL) was the Co-Chair of Wellstone's 1996 Senate Re-election Campaign, and he chaired both Clinton's state 92 and 96 campaigns -- it was only after that that he got twiddled by Rove and Boschwitz, and converted to Republicanism.  In fact Norm had some conversations with the Clintons in 1992 and 93 about his running against Wellstone in 1996 -- as they thought Wellstone too far out.  In the end, and given how one gets endorsed and nominated in Minnesota, he rejected that proposition, but it was made and considered.  For a time the Clinton run DNC actually had a rented office right next to the State DFL office near the legislature that was about that opposition in the Labor building near the Capitol.  No big secret.  At least we had a member funded DFL Office next door in the same building.  

    Amy Klobuchar got about 57- 58% of the vote for Senate this year, and I suspect many other DFL nominees rightly supported can do almost or at least as well. Amy will be a dependable Liberal-Progressive.  

    There are two semi-announced opponents to Franken, the current Mayor of Mpls, and the former Majority Leader of the State Senate, Dean Johnson.  Johnson was defeated by the rabbid right on the fact that he kept Gay Marriage off the Ballot this fall.  He is a Lutheran Minister and former high ranking Military Chaplain.  Others may come forward, but I doubt either can defeat Franken.  Anyhow, good opposition makes for a stronger candidacy.    

    Anyhow this will be an important seat and worth paying attention to the campaign and all.  I hope I have provided enough background, back to Mondale's comments at the Carter Center a year ago, to make clear what it all involves.  And of course there is more.  Much more.  

    Someone needs to interview Molly Ivins or ask her to write up the historical essay about how Al got asked to run or at least think about running.  Years ago Molly was a St. Paul Legislative reporter for the old Minneapolis Star, and she knows Minnesota Politics pretty well, following it carefully.  She was a Nation Fan of Paul Wellstone, and she is part of the board of Wellstone Action.  Sadly she has had a cancer relapse, but she may still make it for many more years.  Anyhow -- apparently it was her twit to Mondale and Franken that moved the idea, and I hope someone interviews Molly for the details, just in case, so that the twit is really in the history.  

  • comment on a post Just A Step Forward--But What a Step! over 7 years ago

    Thinking 2008 -- well maybe there will be a Senate Race in Minnesota between Al Franken and that guy who stole the Wellstone Seat, Norm Coleman.  The announcement should be late winter or early spring, but Franken is already doing his basic organization.  

  • comment on a post Nearly Final Senate Polling Averages over 7 years ago

    The 5th District DFL (Minneapolis) is a predominately white district, but Tuesday we probably will elect Keith Ellison, African American and Congress's first Muslim.  The decision to do this was very controversial, with some of the formerly Liberal Dem's around Martin Sabo, (our retiring Congressman) quite publicly making the case they will vote Green.  But assuming Ellison wins, he can stay for two decades, as the district is essentially 74% DFL.  

  • comment on a post It's All About Transition over 7 years ago

    Some time ago I began to look at 2008 less in terms of personalities, more in terms of qualities and skills.  I put Foreign and Diplomatic experience high on my list, knowledge of the administrative responsibilities quite high, and I thought we should look to someone who had been a Governor.  

    Gradually I realized that Bill Richardson had all those qualities.  A Legislator, a special Presidential envoy (to N. Korea no less) UN Ambassador, Sec. of Energy -- and now sailing toward his 2nd term as New Mexico's Governor.  I am not convinced of my own "realization" yet, but I think we might give him another look.  His SW base, his hispanic background, and yet his knowing his way around DC and the Hill -- all suggest that properly campaigned, he could be very appealing across many factions.  Compared to where Obama is right now -- Richardson has so much more experience -- and after GWB, we are going to need that.  

  • comment on a post The right's Cindy crisis over 8 years ago
    Two Minnesota Women are on their way to Crawford Texas to Join Cindy tomorrow.  

    Senator Becky Lowrey is, I believe, the highest ranking Democratic Elected Official to have lost a child in Iraq.  Her son, a Helicopter Pilot was killed this spring.  Becky Lowrey has been in the state Senate for twelve years, she had twelve children, and she is a farmer's wife from a district just south of Duluth.  Her son is buried in Arlington.

    She is traveling with Candidate Colleen Rowley, Retired FBI agent who called Director Muller on his narrative of the Moussaoui story.  Rowley is running for Congress in the 2nd District.  

    Howard Fineman had the nerve to say tonight that Democrats are staying away from Camp Casey.  Not Minnesota DFL women!!!

  • Perhaps for non-Minnesota DFL'ers, I need to explain a bit about our system.  We begin the cadidate choice process next March in Precinct caucuses.  Then through a county and District set of conventions, we select State Delegates -- and they have a convention in mid June, where they make an endorsement.  The caucus-convention process puts very heavy emphasis on organizational skills. -- so between now and March the name of the game is finding Precinct organizers, and helping them spin up interest in the candidate and campaign.  

    State Convention is about getting 60R of about 1300 delegates.  Also important to remember that we have to endorse a Governor, Sec of State, Attorney General for statewide office -- so many delegates are going to be more stromgly motivated by a different race.  

    OK -- the Primary is then in early September, so if the endorsed candidate has a primary challenge, the actual General Election campaign is only seven weeks long.  

    I think we have an interesting candidate for the Sixth Congressional District.  He was a DFL'er, but then served in the Ventura Administration, but now has announced for Congress -- Tinklenberg.  He will run as a DFL'er in the district that went nuts for Jesse Ventura, and apparently Ventura will endorse him.  He is also a Lutheran Pastor -- and a fairly significant part of that district is Swedish Lutheran.  The Sixth is north of the Twin Cities, running from the Wisconsin Border to just beyond St. Cloud.  The Eastern part of the district is exurban Twin Cities -- the West is mostly German and Irish Catholic and much more tied to farming.  Tinkleman's big issue is transportation.

    The other interesting race will be in the 2nd CD -- this is where Colleen Rowley (the FBI Whistleblower) will be running against John Klein, who is retired CIA.  Like the 6th, it is Suburban and Rural Rowley has already announced and is attending every parade and picnic in the district.  The 2nd is very much winable with the right candidate, and I see much promise in Rowley.

    Yes, the 3rd is Republican, but it is moderate Republican.  Ramstad is pro-choice, pro-stem cell research -- and Ramstad out ran Bush in the precincts in the district in Hennepin County.  Amy doesn't have to win the district -- she does have to get people to split tickets.  

    It will be a tough campaign, but I think 2006 will be a DFL year.  


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