Thursday, January 13, 2005

Technical Notes...

I've been stuck on an ancient computer for a while, but tonight I finally had a chance to view some of my websites on some other browsers...

Apparently I owe an apology to people using Mac OS X with Internet Explorer. I do not know if it was the computer I was on or the combination, but I got the good old drop the articles below the Archives/Links column trick...

Forgive me, it is late and my jargon is dead.

Anyway, sooner or later (probably the latter), I will try to get away from using the lousy Blogger template anyway.

Until then...

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Howard Dean Makes Run for DNC Chair Official

Almost simultaneously this morning I saw the broadcast e-mail from Democracy for America and had the Doctor himself pop-up on my TV.

I have very mixed feelings about this. I fear that, for the first time in my memory, the national committee chairman may be an issue in the campaigns of the actual candidates, but then again, that may not be bad.

Yes, I do fear the whole… “Look, the party of liberals run by liberals” rhetoric rolling out of the Republican machine, but if Dean can help the Democrats get control of the message first and hang on to it, this should be countered. A Republican talking head (one of the less rabid ones) on CNN is already beating the Dean will make the Democrats the party of Bed and Jerry’s and Michael Moore drum.

Besides, as so many others point out, centrist Democrat presidential candidates are running at .500 and are in danger of not making the playoffs.

Maybe we need to define a brand of “New Liberalism” for the future.

As for Dean, on his CNN appearance, his words sounded good. His message was mine. Everything I have talked about on this site (though admittedly, not as often as I would like…)

Primarily, he wants to…
Ramp up the grassroots efforts, such as precinct workers and get out the vote efforts, saying that the Democrats are “twenty years behind the Republicans” in this area.

Define the Party: In words I used here some time ago, when you think of Republicans, two or three words immediately come to mind (politics, not obscenities, people…), but when you think of Democrats, it is difficult to do this. We need to build an identity for this party.

Tighten up the message control. The Republicans and their conservative spin army own our asses when it comes to this. We are their bitches. This can and needs to be fixed.

If Dean can do these things, while building party unity, then he is my man. I will need to take a look at the other candidates before I really get behind Dean, but it is probably time to get off the fence.

Here is the broadcast e-mail I received:

As I have traveled across our country, I have talked to thousands of people who are working for change in their own communities about the power of politics to make a difference in their own lives and in the lives of others. Every group I have spoken to, I encouraged them to stand up for what they believe and to get involved in the electoral process -- because the only sure way to make difference is to step up and run for office yourself.

Today, I'm announcing my candidacy for the Chairmanship of the Democratic National Committee.

The Democratic Party needs a vibrant, forward-thinking, long-term presence in every single state and we must be willing to contest every race at every level. We will only win when we show up and fight for the issues important to all of us.

Another integral part of our strategy must be cultivating the party's grassroots. Our long term success depends on all of us taking an active role in our party and in the political process, by volunteering, going door to door and taking the Democratic message into every community, and by organizing at the local level. After all, new ideas and new leaders don't come from consultants; they come from communities.

As important as organization is, it alone can no longer win us elections. Offering a new choice means making Democrats the party of reform -- reforming America's financial situation, reforming our electoral process, reforming health care, reforming education and putting morality back in our foreign policy. The Democratic Party will not win elections or build a lasting majority solely by changing its rhetoric, nor will we win by adopting the other side's positions. We must say what we mean -- and mean real change when we say it.

But most of all, together, we have to rebuild the American community. We will never succeed by treating our nation as a collection of separate regions or separate groups. There are no red states or blues states, only American states. And we must talk to the people in all of these states as members of one community.

That word -- 'values' -- has lately become a codeword for appeasement of the right-wing fringe. But when political calculations make us soften our opposition to bigotry, or sign on to policies that add to the burden of ordinary Americans, we have abandoned our true values.

We cannot let that happen. And we cannot just mouth the words. Our party must speak plainly and our agenda must clearly reflect the socially progressive, fiscally responsible values that bring our party -- and the vast majority of Americans -- together.

All of this will require both national perspective and local experience. I know what it's like to lead hands-on at the state level and I know what it's like to run for national office.

With your help, this past election season, Democracy for America, already started creating the kind of organization the Democratic Party can be. This past election cycle, we endorsed over 100 candidates at all levels of government -- from school board to U.S. Senate. We contributed almost a million dollars to nearly 750 candidates around the country and raised millions of dollars for many more candidates.

Together, we helped elect a Democratic governor in Montana, a Democratic mayor of Salt Lake County, Utah and an African American woman to the bench in Alabama. Fifteen of the candidates we endorsed had never run for office before -- and won.

I also have experience building and managing a local party organization. My career started as Democratic Party chair in Chittenden County, Vermont. I then ran successful campaigns: for state legislature, lieutenant governor and then governor. In my 11-year tenure as governor, I balanced the state's budget every year.

I served as chair of both the National Governors' Association and the Democratic Governors' Association (DGA). And as chair of the DGA, I helped recruit nearly 20 governors that won -- even in states like Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Mississippi.
All of these experiences have only reaffirmed what I know to be true. There is only one party that speaks to the hopes and dreams of all Americans. It is the party you have already given so much to. It is the Democratic Party.

We can win elections only by standing up for what we believe.

Thank you and I look forward to listening to your concerns in the weeks ahead.
Governor Howard Dean, M.D.

Dean to Seek Democratic Chairmanship

An interesting look at Howard Dean

Monday, January 10, 2005

Quick, random note on the traditional media (It Sucks...)

I think about this a lot.

The Righties hate the evil Mainstream Media, the Lefties hate the evil Mainstream Media. The Righties call it Liberal, the Lefties notice that the supposedly liberal media hasn't done them any favors recently...

So which is it? Left or Right? And I am not talking about Rush, Fox, Air America, or anyone's Editorial/Opinion Page.

No, it is not politically slanted. It is just bad. That is all.

Not bad as in evil, but bad as in incompetent. As in bad journalists, bad editors, bad producers... Even some of the old pros have fallen into the cess pool of weak attribution and a complete avoidance of in-depth reporting on difficult, complex issues; even experienced people who know better (Yes, Danny, I'm squinting at you now).

We, the consumers of the media, are slanted. So when we see bad journalism, we think it is slanted towards the other side. But in the end, there is no slant, just inane coverage of complex issues that pisses everyone off.

Back in 1991, I was a Senior in high school looking at a career in journalism. I attended at National Press Club conference for the supposed best and brightest student journalists in the country. I took a look at the people at that conference, imagined what the media would look like in 10 years with these people in it, and found a new career goal.

Over 10 years later, the media looks even worse than I imagined.

And I held out for awhile, I didn't stick my fork into the "MSM" until the 2004 Campaigns. And this antipathy is still reserved, mostly, for broadcast news.

But in the end, my TV is still on CNN as I write this. What's a body to do?

UPDATE: January 11, 2005
I was in a mood yesterday morning when I wrote this. I hand't heard about the CBS report yet...

So, double everything I said above.

Atrios runs down some examples of bad journalism over the last few years in his post What Liberal Media

No Blood Feud Between Clinton and W

I wrote the following this morning as a comment on a conservative blog that was using this article to bash the Liberal Media (unfortunately, he didn't tell me where to find the Liberal Media...)

He is one of the few conservative bloggers I've seen that doesn't actually hate Clinton. Actually called him "a very good president."


Anyway, I though my comment would make a decent post here...

Well, if we hold W to the same standards as some of the above comments hold Clinton to, then it would be fair to say that no President has any influence, except as a political spokesperson and in the area of foreign policy. There is probably quite a bit of truth there.

And Clinton did do more to get OBL than Bush did before 9/11, though I can allow that this might have changed if W had more time to get settled into the office before the attacks.

I know that there are Clinton people and there are W people and that we may be able to find common ground on our politics, but not with these two personalities.

As far as the MSNBC article, you are right and that it does not mention any time that Clinton reached out to W. This doesn't mean it didn't happen, just that it was not reported here.

Still, I would guess that it was W reaching out to Clinton though. W was rough on the man during the 2000 campaign, and I would be surprised if Clinton had a lot of warmth for his successor initially.

To me, it seems to be one of those "only Nixon could go to China" situations.

Finally, the ex-presidents club is a tiny one. For W it is even smaller, since I have the sense that his father tries to stay out of the way, so he is not the greatest resource for counsel and guidence.

Anyone who has held the office is going to have value as an advisor to the current occupant of the office. This is probably true for every job imaginable, from corner store clerk to Leader of the Free World. I'd say that W does have something to gain from a friendly relationship with Clinton, but I also believe that the warmth is valid and honest.

It just took awhile after the 2000 campaign for the dust to settle and clear and for a warm relationship between these two to become possible.