Tuesday, December 30, 2003

Howard Dean's Greatest Hits… On His Opponents

The Lieberman campaign sent this out to people yesterday but I didn't get a chance to post it. It is hilarious when you think about the criticism that Dean has dished out on his opponents but now can't take the pummeling he is getting back.

Dean Said Democrats in Congress "Capitulated" to Bush’s Agenda
Dean said "congressional Democrats have capitulated to the president's agenda too often and are acting too much like Republicans -- and it is hurting them."
[AP, 1/26/03; in Hotline, 1/26/03]

Dean said the Democratic Party Misplaced Its Moral Compass and Forfeited the 2002 Elections
Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, who delivered a party-bashing speech to the group Thursday, hopes to persuade party voters that he is the most traditional Democrat in the nomination fight. "What is shameful is a national party that 'misplaces' its moral compass and cannot provide strong direction to its candidates, members and donors," read a four-page letter signed by Dean and obtained by The Associated Press. Speaking of the 2002 midterm elections, he said, "Too many races were not lost they were forfeited by our party's leadership and that is truly shameful."
[ABC News, 6/7/03]

Dean Accused Opponents of Saying Anything to Get Elected
He also criticized many of his Democratic opponents, saying that they are often "mealy-mouthed" and will say "whatever to get elected."
[Denver Post, 6/10/03]

Dean Said His Opponents Are "Bush Lite"
"These people are all good people … but I’m different than they are," former Vermont governor Howard Dean said, gesturing at the others on the stage. He said he had credentials as a governor and as a candidate who’s "not afraid" to fight. "If you want social justice in America, we have to have Democrats who are proud to be Democrats, and we have to stop being afraid of Democrats," he said. "We are not going to beat George Bush with Bush Lite."
[USA Today, 6/23/03]

Dean Said the Democratic Party was Unprincipled and Scared Silent
"Too many Democrats in Washington have become so afraid of losing that they have remained silent or only halfheartedly fought the very agenda that is destroying the democratic dream of America," [Dean] said yesterday. "In order to change America, we are going to have to change the Democratic Party, and make it stand for principles once again."
[Manchester Union Leader, 7/30/03]

Dean Called Joe Lieberman "Despicable" for Raising Questions About Dean’s Stance on the Middle East
"You know the honest truth is that most of this, I think what Joe and others are doing on Israel is despicable. I think that is a real mistake and it does divide the Democratic party which has been a very strong supporter of Israel. But I think, a lot of this stuff is motivated by my position in the polls right now and that’s part of politics. I don’t think it’s a good part of politics though and it’s Washington politics at its worst."
[CNN’s Wolf Blitzer Reports, 9/10/03]

Dean: We Are Out of Power in the White House… Because We Didn’t Stand Up for What We Believed In
"We have been silent too long. We are not out of power in the White House and the Senate and the Congress because George Bush ran a great campaign. We are out of power in the White House and the Congress and the United States Senate and the United States Supreme Court because we didn’t stand up for what we believed in. And now we’re going to stand up for what we believe in again."
[Dean Remarks to the Democratic National Committee Meeting, 10/3/03]

Dean Called Members of Congress "A Bunch of Cockroaches"
Howard Dean, who is increasingly giving his presidential candidacy an anti-Washington cast, cranked up his rhetoric on Tuesday, saying that if he won, members of Congress were "going to be scurrying for shelter, just like a giant flashlight on a bunch of cockroaches."
[New York Times, 10/15/03]

Dean Said His Opponents Did "Almost Nothing" to Improve Health Care
Dean said his opponents "with a combined three-quarters of a century in Washington, D.C., they have almost nothing to show for improving access to or quality of healthcare. … America needs someone in the White House who has a record of getting things done."
[Dean press release, 10/19/03]

Dean "Assaulted" Gephardt in the Mail and on the Air – in "the First Ad to Mention a Democratic Opponent by Name" – for Supporting the War in Iraq.
Democrat Howard Dean, in a close battle with Dick Gephardt in Iowa, launched a television commercial Monday that takes his rival to task for backing President Bush on the war against Iraq. In the first ad to mention a Democratic opponent by name, Dean questions Gephardt's work last fall with the Bush administration in drafting the congressional resolution authorizing the president to use force in Iraq. ... The television commercial follows a mailing sent last week criticizing Gephardt for his position on the war in Iraq. Gephardt voted to authorize the use of force, and more recently, to spend $87 billion on the rebuilding of Iraq and Afghanistan. The two-pronged assault on Gephardt underscores the intensity of the competition between the two.
[Associated Press, 11/17/03]

Dean Attacked Clinton’s Centrist Approach to Policymaking as "Damage Control."
"Some Democrats have accepted the Republican notion that the Social Contract cannot be preserved, let alone made stronger. While Bill Clinton said that the era of big government is over, I believe we must enter a new era for the Democratic Party -- not one where we join Republicans and aim simply to limit the damage they inflict on working families. I reject the notion that damage control must be our credo. I call now for a new era, in which we rewrite our Social Contract. We need to provide certain basic guarantees to all those who are working hard to fulfill the promise of America."
[Dean remarks on "Keeping the Promise of America," as prepared for delivery, 12/18/03]

Dean Called the DLC the "The Republican Wing of the Democratic Party."
"One of the reasons I wish the others guys running for president would tone it down a little bit is that at the end, we're all going to have to pull together in order to beat George Bush," [Dean] told several hundred people at a packed town hall meeting. And, he added, "even the Democratic Leadership Council, which is sort of the Republican part of the Democratic Party … the Republican wing of the Democratic Party, we're going to need them too, we really are."
[Los Angeles Times, 12/23/03]

Dean Likened Democratic Leaders to Prostitutes
Asked why he thinks the country is so polarized, Dean said that after the 2000 election Democrats simply "collapsed" for some "impossible-to-determine reason." "The president said, 'I want $1.2 trillion worth of tax cuts' when he first got there," Dean said. "The Democratic leaders' reaction to it was, 'Oh, no, it should only be $900 billion.' You know, you cede the debate to them. Now ... it's like Winston Churchill: 'We've already established what you are, madam, now we're just talking about the price.' It's ridiculous."
[Concord Monitor, 12/27/03]

Dean Attacked DNC Chairman Terry McAuliffe for Failing to Stop Opponents from Attacking Him
Complaining about the torrent of attacks raining down on him from his rivals for the Democratic presidential nomination, Howard Dean on Sunday criticized his party's national chairman, Terry McAuliffe, for not intervening to tone down the debate. "If we had strong leadership in the Democratic Party, they would be calling those other candidates and saying, “Hey look, somebody's going to have to win here," Dr. Dean, the former governor of Vermont, told reporters trailing him as he campaigned through central Iowa. Referring to one of Mr. McAuliffe's predecessors, he added, "If Ron Brown were the chairman, this wouldn't be happening."
[New York Times, 12/29/03]

What a crybaby hypocrite Dean is.

Monday, December 29, 2003

Crybaby Dean ...
Last week, I authored a column about Dean's flip-flopping: ["Frontrunner Dr. Dean is Mr. Flip-flop"].
This morning, I wake up to another hypocritical stance by Dean: ["Dean criticizes Cheney task force, had own energy group"].
And then, there is this: ["Dean Wants Party Leader to Slow Rivals' Attacks"].
I don't know even where to start but I do know that it is becoming crystal clear that Howard Dean is not ready to lead this nation.
I have already written enough about the flip-flops above, but the hypocrisy is just too much at this point. Dean has been verbally assaulting Vice President Dick Cheney - and rightfully so - about his secret energy panel for months [BTW, of course, no mention from Dean about Hillary Clinton's secret health care hearings in the 1990s that basically killed our chances of getting a decent health care bill]. And then we find out that Dean had his own secret energy task force. Okay, this is just getting to be too much.
Now, let's talk about the attacks.
First, Dean is technically asking for it. He is the frontrunner and frontrunners always get attacked. Second, if Ron Brown were alive and heading up the DNC, he wouldn't be doing jacksh*t about the attacks on Dean. Brown didn't do anything about the attacks on Bill Clinton in 1992. Sure, just before the New York primary when it looked like Jerry Brown might swipe the nomination from him, Brown did call Brown to stop attacking Clinton. Brown told him to screw. But this was the March of a very long primary season. The 2004 primaries haven't even cast a vote yet and Dean is already squealing like a teenage geek getting a tittie-twister. Lighten up already!
Second, this is the same Dean who attacked McAuliffe and said he would replace him if elected now calling on McAuliffe to rescue him! Again, how hypocritical is that?
This is a part of the process, Howard. If you can't handle your fellow Democrats giving you some political hipchecks, what are you going to do when Karl Rove starts the onslaught? Cry some more? Gosh, such amateur hour.
Dean has run an amazing campaign so far. He has outraised his opponents by multiple folds. He has invigorated the base and brought thousands of other people to his campaign and the political process. However, it is becoming clear that Howard Dean is in way over his head and taking the party to a disastrous result if he is the nominee.
The key now is, when will the Deaniacs get a grip and smartly abandon their candidate for someone more electable?

... might be dropping
American Research Group released a poll today from New Hampshire showing Dean's lead dropping a bit: Dean 37 percent, John Kerry 19 percent, Wesley Clark 12 percent, Joe Lieberman 6 percent, Dick Gephardt 4 percent, John Edwards 3 percent, and Dennis Kucinich at 1 percent. While Dean is still in the lead, he has lost as much as 8 percent in a matter of days. Also, his lead, which peaked at 32 percent, is now down to 18 percent. ARG will be tracking daily from New Hampshire until Primary Day ["2004 New Hampshire Democratic Tracking"]. I will post numbers every once and a while, especially if there are significant changes.

Here is some of the reaction from the other candidates about Dean's crying, in the order it was sent out:

Dick Gephardt: "The race for the Democratic nomination should be a contest, not a coronation. Howard Dean has spent the last year criticizing me and other candidates at every opportunity. Now, as he makes a series of embarrassing gaffes that underscore the fact he is not well-equipped to challenge George Bush, he suddenly wants to change the rules of the game. I said almost a year ago that this campaign should be a contest of ideas. Since that time, I have offered bold, innovative ideas that will create jobs, guarantee every American health care that can never be taken away and make us independent of Middle East oil. I want caucus and primary voters to judge us on our ideas and that’s why we must have a vigorous debate on our records and proposals. Anything less would be an insult to Democratic voters."

Joe Lieberman entitled his email, "Terry Help!" and sent out a file with all of Dean's attacks against his rivals. Here are Lieberman's comments: "Throughout this year, Howard Dean has repeatedly attacked other Democratic candidates. But when recently challenged on his own policies, misstatements and retractions, Dean responded by complaining to the party chairman that we're being mean to him. I've got news for Howard Dean: the primaries are a warm up compared to what George Bush and Karl Rove have waiting for the Democratic nominee. If Howard Dean can't stand the heat in the Democratic kitchen, he's going to melt in a minute once the Republicans start going after him. Voters deserve to know why Howard Dean wants to raise middle class taxes and why I want to cut them. They deserve to know why he wants to shut down markets abroad and why I want to open them up. And they deserve to know why he is abandoning Bill Clinton's policies and I want to build on them. It's a matter of being open and honest with the voters."

John Kerry: "Listening to Howard Dean's comments yesterday makes me wonder if he's worried about our Party's chances for victory or his own personal political future. No one who really cares about the future of the Democratic Party would make such a divisive and threatening statement. Sadly, they're part of a pattern. He was the first candidate to attack in this campaign and the first to run negative ads, and he has been attacking Democrats and their accomplishments during the Clinton years from day one of this race. Sometimes he's had to apologize for it, like when he said he's the only white candidate to speak about race in front of white audiences. His fellow Democrats and President Clinton deserve better than to have their hard work dismissed and distorted for Dean's own political advantage. To win back the White House, we need better than Howard Dean has been offering, we need answers not just anger."

Saturday, December 27, 2003

Pulling out ... quick!
Facing more death in Iraq during an election year, the Bush administration is abandoning their big plans for Iraq and pulling out early: ["Attacks Force Retreat From Wide-Ranging Plans for Iraq"]. This is both good and bad news. First, it is good news because the fewest American casualties, the better. The bad news? We'll be leaving the country in chaos and in the hands of the same types of dictators we have supposedly tried to "rescue" their people from. Then, American business will open up trade relations with that dictator until we no longer need him and some other crackpot American president will force us to go back into the country years later in an effort to remove that dictator and attempt to control the country's oil again.

More NAFTA analysis
IPS has an analysis of NAFTA at 10 years, quoting the amazing Lori Wallach: ["North American Deal Dismal After a Decade"].

Gephardt predicts the future?
Dick Gephardt has really been on a tear lately. On Friday, his campaign sent out a fake letter to Santa from GWB, thanking him for the Dean campaign. Then, the campaign posts this: ["The Ghost of Christmas Future: A Preview of what will happen if the Democrats nominate Howard Dean..."]. Absolutely hilarious.

More polls
A poll from Alabama by Polling Report this week shows a five-way Democratic primary race: Howard Dean and Joe Lieberman with 11 percent, Wesley Clark, Gephardt, and the Rev. Al Sharpton within striking distance at 9 percent, and Carole Moseley Braun with 7 percent. Over 30 percent are undecided and President Bush clobbers all the Democrats by 30-plus percent.

Friday, December 26, 2003

More on Nader ...
John Nichols has a pretty good piece on Nader's decision not to run as a Green: ["Election Matters: Fleeing the Greens"]. He makes two really good points:

The best bet is that the field of likely voters for the Greens or an independent Nader candidacy has shrunk significantly. Unless the Democrats destroy themselves, either with a fratricidal fight for the nomination or by selecting a pro-war, pro-free trade candidate like Joe Lieberman, 2004 is not shaping up as a particularly good year for breaking the grip of the two major parties.
Excellent point, and quite relevant.

... after Green Matt Gonzalez's near-win in the December 9 San Francisco mayoral race, Nader and the Greens ought at least to consider making 2004 a year for building capacity at the local level, rather than reducing capacity nationally.

Exactly. And after the Democratic Party collapses - and it will if it can't beat Bush - the Greens will be able to grasp even more political power from them.

Called up ... then fired!
Imagine, you serve your country in the National Guard or reserves and then some maniacal think tank-types who draft foreign policy for an AWOL, chickenhawk president decide you should be shipped off to die for oil. And your reward? Well, you're fired!: ["Pink slips greet returning soldiers"].

What the hell is this?
Got this link from a reader: ["Satellite Eyes Secret Project"]. Is it a secret pipeline? What the hell are they doing there? Maybe this whole invasion was about oil after all. It will be interesting to see if anything comes of this one. Isn't modern technology cool?

Thursday, December 25, 2003


Lobbyists muffled Big Dig criticism
Frank Phillips has a huge story in the Boston Globe this morning about how a secret lobbying group squelched criticism against the Big Dig: ["Report says lobbyists muffled Big Dig criticism"]. Personally, I can't wait to see this report because a lot of us who have been following Boston politics knew about some of these people and how powerful they were, but didn't know they were an actual group. They operated so secretly that no one really knew they were an official group, but we knew that there were some powerful people consistently lobbying for this project.
They did have the political victims, most notably, Boston City Councilor Diane Modica, who was a constant critic of the project and its affect on the North End neighborhood. She was squashed by hotshot real estate attorney Paul Scappichio in 1997. And, as the story reported, they reined in a lot of pols.
It's strange that the only one they couldn't buy was Republican Joe Malone, who made a fatal mistake challenging Celluch in 1998. Malone knew the Big Dig would be a failure, probably because of his own business failings [that Back Bay gym that went under after failing to pay its taxes, that restaurant in Waltham, P.J. Nuttings, or whatever, etc.].
Of course, there was this one guy who first predicted this whole mess. He was the guy who floated the Boston Bypass project as an alternative to the Big Dig. His idea was to build a highway around the city, similar to the FDR highway which runs along the East River of NYC. He and a few friends had a grassroots movement supporting the project, hanging up homemade signs around the city [some which still stand today] stating "Back the BB!" Unfortunately, this guy was also destroyed and ridiculed by the powerful people of Boston - like PR giant George Regan, and others, who have apartments and offices on the waterfront and didn't want to look at a highway. I wonder where the BB guy is now. He was so ahead of his time.
Lastly, on the new Central Artery Tunnel, it is truly amazing. I haven't been on the southbound side yet but the north side is pretty cool. There is this funny dip and wide turn in the middle of it and if you take it too fast, you could crash into a wall - like that truck driver did a few months back. Also, the bridge is magnificent.
However, is it all worth $15 billion? No. In fact, the traffic is just as bad as before, just as many critics said it would be. Also, it is a tunnel. You don't get to see the beautiful downtown of Boston. You don't get to see the lights at night. The project most definitely was a big mistake.

Dean finds Jesus ...
Also in the Globe is this story about Howard Dean putting everyone on notice that he too would be using Jesus as a campaign tool: ["Seeking a new emphasis, Dean touts his Christianity"]. Well, if it is OK for Bush to use Jesus as a campaign tool, why not Dean? In the end, all will be judged by their actions. And it is important to remember that the road to salvation is to try and walk the path of Jesus as closely as you can, not actually be Jesus or God. That's impossible, as we all know. I would contend that Dean's probably closer in his actions than Bush to being Christ-like. But not by much.

Kucinich qualifies
The Associated Press is reporting that Dennis Kucinich has qualified for federal matching funds of up to $18.6 million. He won't actually get that much, since he has only raised a few million, but he has the potential to raise that much. This is exciting because it means that Kucinich can blanket the airwaves with his great new George Lois television ads: ["Listen up"].

Wednesday, December 24, 2003

More polls ...
American Research Group has two new polls out from Arizona and Oklahoma.
In AZ, Howard Dean has 24 percent, with Clark at 15 percent, Joe Lieberman at 9 percent, Dick Gephardt at 7 percent, and Kerry at 6 percent. A whopping 35 percent are undecided.
In OK, Dean has 24 percent, with Clark nipping at 21 percent, and Lieberman at 9 percent. 34 percent are undecided.
On Monday, they posted numbers from South Carolina: Dean with 16 percent, the Rev. Al Sharpton and Clark tied with 12 percent, John Edwards at 11 percent, and Gephardt and Lieberman tied at 7 percent.

More pranks with a point
University of Washington student Republicans' bake sale was shut down because they had different prices for different races: ["College Bake Sales Spark Conflict"]. I love the comment by the president of the black student union saying the sale made him feel "itemized." You feel itemized? Imagine what it would be like to not get a job or scholarship just because you were white.

Kerry goes into the red ...
Well, at least now we have a rough idea what his Louisburg Square manse is worth: ["Kerry Takes a Mortgage of $6 Million on His House"].

NAFTA: A big flop
Great piece here which says it all: ["NAFTA has been a big flop"].
Glass ceiling cracked ...
OK, it's the Washington Times. But they are reporting that women outnumber men in higher paying, white collar managerial and professional occupations: ["More U.S. women crack glass ceiling"]. Here is the quote that needs response:
"At the computer, women are just as productive as men. This fact alone has opened up a world of opportunity for women and is bringing an end to outdated concepts like the glass ceiling."
Now, will it lead to the end of outdated [and out and out racist] concepts like affirmative action, quotas and set asides? Here's hoping we can eventually get to a gender- and color-blind society.

... but more immigrants being allowed in?
OK, it's the Washington Post. But if Bush plans on running his reelection campaign by allowing more immigrants into the country, we have a serious problem ["Immigration Reform on Bush Agenda"].
Lobbyists working with the White House said Bush is developing a plan that would allow immigrants to cross the border legally if jobs are waiting for them.
This is the key: Chapter 26 in the NAFTA treaty allows a myriad of trained immigrants to cross over the border to work in the United States for a fraction of the wages earned by Americans. This is a problem with the nursing industry in Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas, where nurses are being hired at $4 and $5 an hour - not the $15 to $20 the unionized nurses earn - to work in hospitals. After their days are over, the nurses are quickly shipped back to Mexico at the end of the day.
Any immigration "reform" that doesn't seal and protect the borders, end the visas for foreign workers and instead train Americans for these jobs, and send the illegals packing back to their homelands, is ass-backwards. The only thing liberalizing the border is going to do is lower American wages.
Instead, we should have a foreign policy that promotes nation self-sufficiency - essentially, building small economies, human and political rights, within nations to raise wages and remove any need for the illegals to come here. Once we do that, the immigration problem will be solved.
This is just another giveaway bill for big business which doesn't want to pay living wages for employment.
This move will outrage a lot of Bush's base - many of whom are guarding the borders armed like militia. However, they have nowhere to go, do they? The Democrats will also not take advantage of this issue because most would read my comments and call them xenophobic even though it is the most sensible solution to the problem.

Tuesday, December 23, 2003

"Frontrunner Dr. Dean is Mr. Flip-flop"
My new column about Howard Dean flip-flopping all over the place ...
One of the great things about politics is the opposition research team. These groups of well-paid, hired hands hunker down in front of microfilm, rifle through paperwork and scan videotapes, in search of all kinds of secrets about a candidate. Sometimes, the hired guns strike pay-dirt - finding a nugget of hidden information they can forward to an eager reporter looking for a hot story.
In the 2004 Democratic primary, research teams have been camped out in Vermont, rummaging though all kinds of information on renegade frontrunner former-Gov. Howard Dean. Since Dean has sealed all his personal files - until 2013 - most of the good stuff will be hidden from the public until then. However, that doesn't mean these teams haven't found anything. Voters are discovering that Dean has flip-flopped on a number of important issues.
Last week, thanks to Sen. John Kerry's research team, it was revealed that Dean actually supported the Biden-Lugar resolution, a mechanism that President George W. Bush could have used to invade Iraq - without a vote from Congress. According to the Associated Press, the resolution Dean supported was only slightly different than the one the Senate adopted.
Kerry's rallying cry? "The facts are now clear: Dean supported giving the President the authority to go to war. Only when he determined it to be politically advantageous, did he take an anti-war stance."
Rep. Dick Gephardt's team has been extremely successful in revealing Dean's flip-flopping.
The first was Dean's rhetoric about lost manufacturing job while at the same time being a champion of "free trade." While campaigning in Iowa last month, Dean complained to the Scripps Howard News Service that, "the manufacturing sector just keeps losing jobs and people wind up taking jobs with no benefits," quickly forgeting his own role in these job losses.
Back in 1993, Dean was a cheerleader for NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement, even participating in a press conference with then-President Bill Clinton to show his support for the trade treaty. Dean told the Rutland Herald on Nov. 16, 1993 that NAFTA would create jobs in Vermont and help clean up the environment in Mexico.
However, the opposite occurred: 10 years after its passage, the environment in Mexico is worse than before and over 1.6 million low skill decent wage jobs have moved there from our country. In Dean's home state, exports dropped by 38 percent. An analysis by the Economic Policy Institute found over 44,000 jobs have been lost in Massachusetts due to NAFTA, 6,000 in New Hampshire.
Even though some evidence shows that free trade is bad for most American workers, that hasn't stopped Dean [and others] from supporting other bad trade bills, like PMFN trade relations with China. No one really needs to be reminded that China is still a communist dictatorship - one step barely above Saddam Hussein - a country that tortures its people, is involved in piracy, and slave and prison labor.
One other issue which has received a lot of play in the news is Dean's positions on Medicare.
While Dean is now campaigning in support of Medicare, as governor, he supported the 1997 Balanced Budget Act which proposed gutting $200 billion from Medicare - the same cuts that then-Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich supported. Gingrich cracked that Medicare was "going to wither on the vine" and the government was shut down in a reckless game of chicken with Clinton. Dean's diagnosis at the time was clear: Gut the health plan of poor retirees to balance the budget.
Then, there were the Dean tax breaks for Enron and hundreds of other big corporations, a story someone leaked to the Boston Globe. During his 11 years as governor of Vermont, Dean implemented tax breaks for a number of big corporations, including Enron, to set up insurance businesses. He then signed a measure into law that would reduce public disclosure requirements on the companies that received the tax windfalls. In 2001, Dean said he wanted Vermont to "overtake Bermuda" as the "world's largest" haven for captive insurance industries.
Dean now campaigns against Bush, stating he gave away the store to "Ken Lay and the boys who ran Enron." Isn't this kinda hypocritical?
Another example was Dean's supposed support for college kids. On the stump, Dean said he supports more spending on college education. But according to the Burlington Free Press [Jan. 23, 1992], to balance the budget that year, Dean proposed cutting funding for the Vermont Student Assistance Program, a program which provides aid to poor college students. A few years later, in 1995, Dean proposed eliminating the Vermont Student Assistance Corp., the state student aid agency to "increase efficiency," according to a Montpelier Times-Argus article [Oct. 19, 1995]. The proposal would have ended aid to 3,700 needy students.
On campaign finance reform, Dean has also flip-flopped.
Back in March, he said he would accept matching funds for his presidential campaign, promising to make it an issue in the primaries if others opted out of the public financing system. Then, last month, Dean opted out of the system, choosing to follow the path Bush paved to almost absolute political corruption.
Now, we are all human. People can and do change their minds. But after looking at some of the research done on Dean it becomes clear that he can't seem to hold any political values.
Simply put, Dean's flip-flopping borders on the pathological.
Whether the current Democratic frontrunner's flip-flopping will damage him or not remains to be seen. But the information gathered by his opponents is enough to make a person wonder about Howard Dean. And it is enough to wonder whether he is qualified to be president.
NADER: No Green Party run ...
... but may decide later to run as an independent
Huge political news this afternoon: ["Nader Rejects Green Party Backing"].
To start, I predicted that Ralph Nader would not run as a Green on Aug. 15: ["DemPrimPred"]. While the Greens and Nader had a lot in common, Nader was never really a Green.
First, he wasn't registered to vote as a "Green." He has always been registered as an "independent." Second, he isn't as socialistic as most of the rank and file Greens. While there are subsets of Greens - some disenfranchised liberal Democrats; others European-styled left-wingers - most Greens are totalitarian socialists. They want to control every part of a person's life. I have spent a lot of time around Green Party members. There are a lot of good people involved with the party. And for a time, I thought there was great potential for the party to grow. There still is actually.
But the problem is that some factions of the party want to control every little part of a person's life. I nicknamed these people "the no cream in my coffee crowd." They actually think that when someone wants cream - from a cow - and not soy milk, they are assaulting Mother Earth. Such nonsense.
Another faction within the party that will keep them from succeeding are the movement people. These people are so obsessed with so-called "diversity" and marching and protesting in rallies, that they never complete the hard work that is required to win elections. In essence, the movement people are their own worst enemies. They want true and meaningful change but will not put in the time and effort that is needed to implement that change. The diversity issue is a big one, especially since Greens limit their "diversity" plank to gender and race ["No White Men Allowed" or "You are to blame for everything that is bad in the world because you are white and you are male"], while ignoring diversity of religion and opinion. Are white men to blame for a lot of stuff? Sure. But that doesn't mean there aren't good and decent white men - who aren't stupid. While there are some pro-life Greens [as one explained it to me, I'm a Quaker, we don't believe in abortion because it is the taking of a life], Christians - even ones who follow the true path of Jesus Christ, who was a leftist - are frowned upon. And if you differ from the 10 Key Values, look out. You could be stoned in the town square! So much for diversity.
To be honest, some of the movement people have slowly begun to get it: It is OK to march for Mumia so long as they create the Voter's list database too. And other Greens are really busting their asses to compete. Matt Gonzales almost won the San Francisco mayoral race. Other Greens have been victorious at the local level in New York, California, New Mexico, and Massachusetts. But there is a limited landscape where they will be successful.
As someone who has been around politics for a long time, I have learned a few things. The first is that you don't implement political change by screaming in someone's face about the rights of the milk coming from a cow. Yes, candidates can speak [preach? yell?] from the pulpit - that is their job. But it is the job of the political party to get the important work done behind the candidate in order to win elections and, hopefully, make the world a better place.
You also don't implement change by forcing others to do your will. You implement true and meaningful change by living as an example for others to follow. I can't tell you how many times I have been able to affect people's lives by doing nothing but being myself. Sure, I have rebuffed some people with my strong beliefs and have learned that you get more bees with honey than with vinegar. I have also learned that by promoting a different way of life - not through the militaristic forcing of people to follow your rules, but by the action of being a living example of good and worth - you can change a person's mind. And that is the only way you can truly change a person's mind. You can't force people to not eat meat or not drive SUVs. But you can provide alternatives to beef that taste just as good and might be healthier and upgrade SUVs for better gas mileage with hybrid batteries which would cut the pollution down. See what I mean?
However, back to Nader.
I think Nader has made a huge mistake here - unless he isn't running in 2004 which is still a possibility. Frankly, I don't think Nader will run in 2004.
But if he were going to run, he should have stayed with the Greens [or run as a Democrat, as former Boston Phoenix political reporter Seth Gitell suggested he do: "Nader as a Dem in 2004?". However, it is too late to enter the New Hampshire primary and probably others. Plus, Nader has already openly endorsed Dennis Kucinich in the primaries]. Running as an independent is an even bigger task than running as a Green. Nader is almost setting himself up to get even fewer votes than in 2000 [Even though he seems to have delusions thinking that he can beat Bush]. At least the Greens have some semblance of volunteers who could help him get on the ballot in most states. Without that organization, what is he going to do? He had problems hiring people in 2000 to work on his campaign. What is he going to do this time around? Few will work for him because of the stigma around his supposed stealing of the election from Al Gore.
As well, Nader has removed himself as a threat to the Democrats and this action has cost him any leverage he may have had to secure [blackmail?] the Democrats into doing some meaningful reform, like Instant Runoff Voting [IRV]. Nader could have gone to Terry McAuliffe and said, 'Terry, I won't run if you get IRV implemented in Democratically-controlled state legislatures tomorrow.' Essentially, Nader could have forced the Dems to share power by giving up a small pound of flesh. This would have guaranteed the Greens some clout in future elections - and would have been a crowning achievement to Nader's already substantial list of four decades of accomplishment.
Whatever Ralph decides to do, this is good news for the Democrats. With a minimized - or nonexistence - Nader candidacy, liberal and left-of-center voters will have nowhere else to go but to hold their noses and vote for the Democratic nominee. Sure, there might be a socialist candidate [look at the 2000 Florida results: Natural Law Party candidate John Hagelin received 2,281 votes. Worker's World Party candidate Monica Moorehead received 1,804 votes. Even Socialist David McReynolds received 622 votes - enough votes to guarantee a Gore victory! However, no one ever blames them for Gore's loss]. Nader's calls this mentality "the liberal virus": ["Nader vs. the 'liberal virus'"].
So, those candidates could siphon precious few votes from the Democratic nominee. But now there will be a clear shot for the Democrats against Bush. The key now is, Will they do what they need to do to win? And frankly, if they can't beat Bush, the Democratic Party will truly be dead and America will need a competitive Green Party [or other independent party] to compete against the Republicans.
I have emailed some of the political campaigns to see if there is any reaction to this development. I will post anything I get during the next few days.

Monday, December 22, 2003

So, who actually caught Saddam?

There has been a lot of discussion about the media's handling of the invasion of Iraq. Specifically, most of the big stories have been broken by the foreign press and then slowly - if ever - trickled out into the American press. This is surprising but not so when you think about how controlled the American press is, especially television - which has become a mind-numbing tool, drugging Americans with celebrity, sports, and crime nonsense.
Recently, another writer friend of mine was in Montreal on vacation. He emailed me - and others - about a newcast he saw on the CBC showing American soldiers shooting into a pro-Saddam rally. The majority of the people in the rally were women and children. He was shocked by the footage and wondered how the American press covered the event. When he returned to the states a few days later, he emailed some of us about the incident and was shocked that there was nothing in the print media about the incident. We didn't see any of this on American television either, as many of us mentioned to him. All we have seen are anti-Saddam men shooting their AKs into the sky in jubilation.
Then, there are these reports that the Kurds actually caught Saddam Hussein and may have been holding him until the American soldiers could come and get him:
["We got him: Kurds say they caught Saddam"]
["Saddam was held by Kurdish forces, drugged and left for US troops"]
["Revealed: Who really found Saddam?"].
I find the last post interesting, especially in light of what we have seen and heard. Hussein reportedly told American soldiers that he was willing to negotiate a release. The American soldiers reportedly told him that they had a message from George W. Bush. Then there is the issue of the bunker which really was more like a jail when you look at it. Unless you weren't looking at it as a jail cell. So, was he being held or was he hiding? In the end, we may never know. As Winston Churchill once said, "The first casualty of War is always Truth."

Another timely quote ...
"The science of government it is my duty to study, more than all other sciences; the arts of legislation and administration and negotiation ought to take the place of, indeed exclude, in a manner, all other arts. I must study politics and war, that our sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. Our sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history and naval architecture, navigation, commerce and agriculture in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry and porcelain." - John Adams
I wonder when - if ever - that our children will be able to perfect the art of music, art, and peace, instead of being paid to to perfect the art of war and death. Maybe it will be my children. Maybe yours. But I do know that Americans really have to start thinking - and working - towards a higher level.

Nice Kucinich piece
Once again, Yvonne Abraham proves why she is one of Boston's best political reporters: ["Undeterred, Kucinich keeps on"]. She puts you right into the moment. Abraham even quotes local musician Laurie Sargaent, whose The Twinemen, is one of Boston's hottest new trios. Nice stuff.

New Hampshire voter is anything but typical
The Sunday Concord Monitor did a great analysis of the voters of New Hampshire and how much they have changed over the years. Unfortunately, it isn't posted online yet so I will have to post it later.

It's about time ...
America Coming Together is starting to target blue-collar voters in a number of states: ["Democratic-linked group targets blue-collar voters"]. It is about time. However, if the Democrats nominate a free trader, it won't work.

Latest poll numbers
The Concord Monitor Sunday released a poll showing Howard Dean way ahead of everyone in New Hampshire: Dean with 41 percent, John Kerry with 17 percent, Wesley Clark with 13 percent, and both John Edwards and Joe Lieberman at 6 percent. It should be noted also that President Bush would clobber the entire field in the general election. Kerry had the best numbers against Bush - 55 to 40. As an aside, the Monitor also published an overview of polls by Research 2000 from March until now. In March, Kerry had 38 percent, Lieberman had 20 percent, and Dean had 11 percent. It is amazing what a military invasion can do to a presidential campaign. In June, Kerry was still leading - with 30 percent, with Dean at 21 percent, Dick Gephardt at 11 percent, and Lieberman at 10 percent. By October though, Dean was way out in front: Dean at 33 percent, Kerry down to 18 percent, and Clark at 14 percent.

Friday, December 19, 2003

Guest co-hosting tonight!
Tonight, I will be a guest co-host on the "No Censorship Radio" show on WMBR from 6:30 to 8 p.m. [88.1 FM in Cambridge]. Guests include Ian Maxwell MacKinnon and Eric Zinman who will be playing the roles of W. and Cheney in a satirical skit about Christmas. You can read about their Zeigeist Gallery performance in the Boston Phoenix [http://www.bostonphoenix.com/boston/events/state/state.asp].
Linda P. and I will also be talking politics and news and playing some music. You can hear the show online at http://www.wmbr.org and click on the "listen live" icon in the upper righthand corner.
Here's hoping everyone has a happy and safe holiday season!

More poll numbers: The Howard Dean campaign continues to steam roll across the country with Wesley Clark, Dick Gephardt, and Joe Lieberman emerging as the alternatives. Here are some new poll numbers.
In Georgia on Thursday, Zogby showed Dean with an 11 point lead: Dean at 18.8 percent, Gephardt with 7.5 percent, Clark at 6.5 percent, Sharpton with 5.6 percent, and Lieberman in at 5.5 percent. However, 42 percent are undecided. It is also interesting to note that the numbers have flipped: Clark, Lieberman and Gephardt were tops in October. Bush has a huge lead over the Democrats.
A new Capital Consultants/Wispolitics.com poll showed Dean with a 20-plus point lead in Wisconsin: Dean at 33 percent, Lieberman at 12 percent, Clark at 11 percent, and Gephardt with 9 percent. 22 percent are undecided. Again, this is a flip from October where Dean was in third with Lieberman leading.
In New Hampshire, American Research Group showed Dean still leading with Kerry gaining slightly: Dean at 45 percent, John Kerry at 20 percent, Clark with 8 percent, and Lieberman at 6 percent.
On Wednesday, SurveyUSA also showed Dean with a comfortable lead in New Hampshire: Dean with 45 percent, Kerry at 15 percent, and Lieberman and Clark with 11 percent.
Quinnipiac University showed Dean opening up in Pennsylvania: Dean with 28 percent, Lieberman at 17 percent, Gephardt with 10 percent, Clark with 9 percent, and Kerry at 7 percent. Bush has a 6- to 11-point lead on all the Democrats.
On Tuesday, Survey USA released a poll from Arizona showing Dean and Clark neck and neck: Dean 31 percent, Clark with 29 percent, Lieberman with 10 percent, Gephardt at 9 percent, and Kerry with 7 percent.
Also, WMUR Channel 9 released a poll in New Hampshire showing Dean with a 29 point lead: Dean at 46 percent, Kerry at 17 percent, Clark at 10 percent, and Lieberman with 7 percent.
SurveyUSA also published a South Carolina poll showing Dean and Clark in a tight race: Dean with 21 percent, Clark with 20 percent, with Sharpton and John Edwards coming in with 15 percent. Gephardt has 10 percent.
In Oklahoma, SurveyUSA showed Clark leading: Clark with 34 percent, Dean at 21 percent, Lieberman with 11 percent, and Edwards and Gephardt with 8 percent.

Saddam rumors?
ABCNews is reporting that Saddam infiltrated US command in Iraq: ["Saddam Hussein’s Loyalists Infiltrated U.S. Operations in Iraq"]. Wow.

Monday, December 15, 2003

Capture reaction
After reading and re-reading my post on Sunday about the capture of Saddam Hussein, I realized that maybe I was a little too harsh. However, last night, I read Greg Palast's take on things, posted on Common Dreams: ["Jessica Lynch Captures Saddam; Ex-Dictator Demands Back Pay from Baker"].

While having his hair styled by US military makeover artists, Saddam listed jobs completed at the request of his allies in the Carter, Reagan and Bush administrations for which he claims back wages:
1979: Seizes power with US approval; moves allegiance from Soviets to USA in Cold War.
1980: Invades Iran, then the "Unicycle of Evil," with US encouragement and arms.
1982: Reagan regime removes Saddam's regime from official US list of state sponsors of terrorism.
1983: Saddam hosts Donald Rumsfeld in Baghdad. Agrees to "go steady" with US corporate suppliers.
1984: US Commerce Department issues license for export of aflatoxin to Iraq useable in biological weapons.
1988: Kurds in Halabja, Iraq, gassed.
1987-88: US warships destroy Iranian oil platforms in Gulf and break Iranian blockade of Iraq shipping lanes, tipping war advantage back to Saddam.
In Baghdad today, the US-installed replacement for Saddam, Paul Bremer, appeared to acknowledge his predecessor Saddam's prior work for the US State Department when he told Iraqis, "For decades, you suffered at the hands of this cruel man. For decades, Saddam Hussein divided you and threatened an attack on your neighbors."
In reaction to the Bremer speech, Mr. Hussein said, "Do you think those decades of causing suffering, division and fear come cheap?" Noting that for half of that period, the suffering, division and threats were supported by Washington, Saddam added, "So where's the thanks? You'd think I'd at least get a gold watch or something for all those years on US payroll."
Exactly, exactly, exactly! I am so thankful that I wasn't alone in my take on this.

Speaking of Palast [and the clueless New York Times ...]
I forgot to post this on Thursday but I watched part of C-Span's "Washington Journal" which was broadcast from the D.C. newsroom of the New York Times. Two guests which I saw during the three hour program were editor Richard Berke and one of the Washington Bureau Correspondents, Sheryl Stolberg: ["Washington Journal Entire Program"].
I got a little excited because I thought by listening to the program that I would get a little more insight into how the NYT's Washington Bureau operates and how they go about getting their stories. Thought wrong. Very little insight was given into how they both came up with stories to cover. Both of them also came across as pompous and arrogant asses [It's the Times, this shouldn't have surprised me] and both seemed like they didn't want to be there. Stolberg was especially smug and obstinate. On a number of occasions, she corrected callers on such little points that one had to wonder why she bothered even coming in to work that day.
The callers, both left and right however, were really dead on.
The first caller on, from Henniker, N.H., wondered why there wasn't investigative reporting done in newspapers and questioned whether more coverage should be devoted to Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and the connections to the Bush Administration. Berke pooh-poohed the question. When Brian Lamb pointed to an article in the Baltimore Sun, Berke said he hadn't read it and he didn't know the reporter. Huh? You don't read your competition? You don't know other Washington Bureau reporters? How clueless is that?
Then Berke got two zingers:
From a guy in Texas: I wonder why you guys won't publish any of Greg Palast's stories?
Berke: "I'm not familiar with what stories the caller is talking about ..."
A woman, also from Texas, brought up the fact that the NYT ignored Dennis Kucinich's play in the debate and wondered why. She also talked about the problems with Diebold electronic voting machines and wondered why the NYT was not doing its own investigations. She also said: "This gets no coverage but his date with some woman, that is in the news."
Berke said the paper had to make some hard choices about who got covered "Kucinich doesn't have the organization, the money, the support, to merit such attention as Howard Dean." But he didn't even mention the voting machine issue.
Again, how clueless is this guy? He doesn't know about Palast? He doesn't know about the voting machines? He creates a tier system as to which candidate should get covered. This is the newspaper of record? Oh my Lord.

Nader, Kerry, Kucinich and Lieberman
Yesterday, John Kerry supporters - attending a rally with Sen. Ted Kennedy in Portsmouth - attacked Ralph Nader, according to a Union-Leader correspondent: ["Kerry camp disdainful of possible Nader run"]. Wasn't able to find the link though. Maybe I'll post it tomorrow.
There was a cute little note in the Concord Monitor "Capital Beat" column this week:

Ralph Nader, the former Green Party presidential candidate, quietly landed at Manchester Airport Monday, one day before the big debate. Though he obviously didn't crash the debate, we haven't been able to find out what Nader was doing in the Granite State.

Note to Barrick & Skalka: Dennis Kucinich invited him to the debate.

We do know that a young guy wearing a Lieberman button picked Nader up at the airport. A spokeswoman for the Lieberman campaign stressed that Nader's chauffeur wasn't a Lieberman staffer or volunteer and that campaign officials had no plans to meet with Nader.
Latest poll numbers
The Boston Globe/WBZ-TV released a poll this morning showing Howard Dean with a huge lead in New Hampshire: Dean 42 percent, John Kerry 19 percent, Wesley Clark with 13 percent, John Edwards with 7 percent, Joe Lieberman at 5 percent, and Dick Gephardt slumping with 3 percent. The rest had 1 percent or less. The poll was conducted by KRC Communications Research.
Social Research Lab has a poll out of Arizona: Dean at 22 percent, Clark at 12 percent, Lieberman at 9 percent, Kerry has 8 percent, and Gephardt with 7 percent.
In Texas, Dean also leads with 16 percent. But Clark and Lieberman are close behind with 14 percent, and Gephardt has 12 percent. The poll was released by the Scripps Howard Research Center.

Sunday, December 14, 2003

Obviously, everyone is riveted to their TV sets right now with the news that Saddam Hussein has been captured. He was reportedly found hiding in a hole in a bunker near his home town of Tikrit.
However, a few quick points.

The unnecessary war
First, the capture and eventual trial of Hussein doesn't change the fact that this was an unnecessary war. This cowboy run into Iraq has depleted our financial accounts, weakened the status of our military by spreading it too thin, to a dangerous level where available soldiers are at a minimum and where our reserve units are exhausted, and taking away resources from the real war on terrorism: The Afghanistan operation and going after Osama bin Laden - the actual perpetrator of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Second, his capture doesn't change the fact that - so far - we have lost hundreds of American soldiers and many thousands more injured - losing their arms, legs, etc., and all for what? For some two bit dictator who was no threat to U.S.? This doesn't take into account the thousands of innocent Iraqi citizens killed in these operations, never mind the millions of Iraqi women and children who died during the sanctions put in place after the first Gulf War.

Our fave thug
Third, all of this doesn't change the fact that Hussein was America's favorite dictator. I hope when he is finally brought to trial - televised for the entire world to see - that he gets himself a really good lawyer. In his testimony, Hussein should talk about the years of support he received from the American government. He should talk about the years our government didn't do jacksh*t while he was maiming, torturing, raping, gassing, and killing his own people with arms he got from U.S.! I keep saying this and I will keep saying this: We know Hussein had weapons of mass destruction because we sold them to him!! Military apparatus flowed to Iraq after Donald Rumsfeld, an executive and board of director for numerous defense contractors, met with Hussein in 1983. I hope Hussein owns up to his evil behavior, however, he should place part of the blame where it is deserved: By exposing the fact that he spent years doing this with the approval and financial assistance of President Ronald Reagan and all the rightwing thugs that controlled the White House at the time.

Iraq's future?
So what does the future hold for Iraq? To start, let's be honest: There is a good chance Iraq will never become a "democracy." More than likely, it will become a police and natural resource slave state for our gluttonous obsession with foreign oil. In fact, if you look at the background of at least one thug who the United States has put in control of the country, this is a serious possibility.
Dr. Ahmed Chalabi - who has a history of corruption, ties to spooks, and financial swindles - is the head of the Iraqi National Congress [INC], a dissidents group funded by the CIA. Chalabi reportedly helped rip off $150 million in CIA funds with the help of a PR hack named John Rendon, of the Rendon Group, who one leftist Web site called, "not only a puppet of war-mongers, but also as woefully corrupt and unaccountable - a double deceiver of the American people."
In 1991, Chalabi formed a bank in Jordan called Petra Bank. However, when the bank went bust, Chalabi quickly fled Jordan - robbing thousands of shareholders of $500 million. A year later, according to writer Eduardo Galeano, a Jordanian court tried him in absentia and sentenced him to 20 years of prison and hard labor - the same year that the INC was formed and Chalabi was crowned the head of the Hussein opposition.
Chalabi later grabbed the ear of Richard Perle, then-CIA head James Woolsey and Bill Kristol to help write the plans to overthrow Hussein between 1997 and 1998, according to Senate Foreign Relations Committee testimony. It should be noted that yes, Woolsey and Kristol are the same people you see on FoxNews talking about how great the invasion is going, invasion plans they helped write.
Now, Chalabi is leading the Governing Council. However, when will he be extradited to Jordan to serve for his crimes? Will the "coalition forces" allow the Jordanian military or law enforcement to go in and grab Chalabi and bring him to justice like we have done with Hussein? Doubtful. It should also be noted that Chalabi is also an American, Australian, and British citizen but hadn't been in Iraqi since 1958 before the invasion. So where do we get off deciding he should have any role in the new Iraqi government?

Thinking positively
However, let's take a more positive track for just a second. There could be hope for "democracy" in Iraq. I like to joke that unlike the people of Kuwait and Saudi Arabia - our other royal dictator allies in the region who happily and regularly torture their own people while we do nothing about it - the people of Iraq know about voting and know about elections. Iraq did have elections - granted with only one candidate, Saddam Hussein. Sh*t, if you think about it, the United States supposedly has a "democracy" and we are only allowed to seriously consider two candidates! Often, these two candidates are basically the same, backed by the same financial interests, campaigning for the same things, much to the chagrin of millions of Americans who know the process is rigged and decide to not even bother. Bluntly, our "democracy" is barely one step above what the Iraqis' had under Hussein. Our government is spying on people, rounding up Americans and unconstitutionally holding them without counsel or trial. And we hold ourselves up as examples to the world? Come on. In the end, if the Iraqis actual get a chance at "democracy," they will at least know what it means to actually cast votes, unlike our other allies in the region.

America's future and the current regime
Lastly, politically, the American people have a lot to worry about. Sure, it is 11 months until the general election. Anything can happen. And that is just it: Anything can happen. And don't be surprised if some strange things happen.
Some pundits have already started talking about an "October Surprise" - a terrorist attack or major event [capturing bin Laden?] that will be used to solidify President George W. Bush's reelection campaign. It is pretty shocking and frightening that the mainstream press would actual speak in such a conspiratorial manner about a sitting president and yet, at the same time, flog Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean when he repeats a theory that Bush might have had advance warning about the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks - a much more believable theory. Of course, many people in the media and country read about Gen. Tommy Franks telling a cigar magazine last month that if a weapon of mass destruction were detonated on American soil, the military would take over the government. Great. Can anyone say dirty bomb? Could Hollywood write a better script? Let's make sure we keep letting those trucks come in over the Mexican border unregulated, shall we? Fools.
But back to the election. More than likely, Bush's CREEP will make sure that Hussein's trial is strategically broadcast some time after the political conventions so he can use it as fodder for his reelection campaign and because the American people are distracted, tired, worried about their jobs, and allowing the fear-mongers to run their lives, they will march to the polls and keep the warlords in place.

Thursday, December 11, 2003

A talk with author Charles Brereton
Charles Brereton has just released his fifth book about New Hampshire politics, the funny and informative, "Primary Politics," Peter E. Randall Publisher, http://www.perpublisher.com.
Brereton traces his experience with the primary from before 1972 to the 2000 campaign. He also makes the case that the historic New Hampshire primary should be preserved but that national parties should tweak the rest of the process to encourage participation. I talked with Brereton recently about his new book and politics in New Hampshire.

P: This is your fifth book, and a lot of them have been about New Hampshire politics and the primary. But you said you had a specific reason for writing this book.

CB: New Hampshire may be a small state but it does have a rich texture to it. And I really didn’t think there was anything available for reporters to use, to really understand that texture and particularly the history of the state in the post-World War II period. So that’s why I wrote "Primary Politics," so this would be available.

P: You had mentioned that you didn’t have a computer, and you write with a typewriter. Do you do your research by hand, with newspapers, going through the archives and microfilm and stuff like that?

CB: Yeah, it’s all done by hand until I’m done with the draft and then I have someone put it on her computer. Then, it was transferred over to Peter Randall, who obviously, since he has done over 400 books on New Hampshire politics and culture – he has computers too – but not me. I’m totally befuddled by anything mechanical. I never advanced to electric typewriters. So, I’m very old-fashioned that way. I have yet to find my way to the Information Superhighway – not even to the on-ramp.

P: In your book, you talk about ethnicity in Manchester and the shift of different cultures. Has it affected the outcome of certain primaries? Has that had an influence at all?

CB: Well, particularly in 1972 by Ed Muskie’s weak showing [in Manchester but] winning with 50 percent of the vote. It has more to do with the internal dynamics of New Hampshire politics in terms of our state primary more than presidential primary. That was the one time it was the main factor.
The thing that got me thinking about that so much was when I read David Hoeh’s book, "1968-McGovern-New Hampshire." David is an experienced operative and he writes in his book that every election there seems to be a "Manchester surprise." And there was no more surprising thing than the infamous Canuck letter back in 1972 [A nasty letter published in the Manchester Union-Leader before the primary claiming that then-candidate Ed Muskie was bigoted towards Franco-Americans, a large segment of Manchester’s population at the time].
One reason I think this state is so strongly Republican is that there have been people like [former-Gov.] Styles Bridges and Bill Loeb [the late-owner of the Manchester Union-Leader], who have been able to drive that wedge between the Franco-American community and their natural alliance to the Democratic Party.
And it continues to this day because if you look at what happened in the last Senate race turned out, [former-Gov.] Jeanne Shaheen did very poorly in Manchester and the surrounding communities and its one of the reasons the Republicans controlled the Senate, is that one vote from New Hampshire that normally, I think, would have gone Democratic. And then the presidential race last time around was so close, another reason, because that Manchester went for George Bush rather than Albert Gore.

P: MassINC recently did a report about the flight of residents from Massachusetts to New Hampshire, about 78,000 people in the last 12 years. The assumption is that the people in the southern tier tend to be more liberal, at least on social issues. But if you look at election results – using the Shaheen and Sununu example – that isn’t always the case.

CB: When I moved into the state 35 years ago and started working for Pete McCloskey in that first primary I was involved in 1972, that was not only the election with large population growth to factor in, but the first time 18-year-olds could vote. There were some people who lived in southern New Hampshire when I would spout this theory that, the liberals are coming to New Hampshire, just shook their heads and said, No, they come here, pretty much, as economic refugees. They do not like the high tax rates in places Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey … It has been a very different influx of newcomers here, differing to what has happened in Vermont where a lot of radicals i.e. Bernie Sanders, have moved up from New York, and made Vermont – once considered a conservative state – far more progressive than New Hampshire which has not become a progressive state at all, despite the population growth.

P: There has always been a move underway to take the First in the Nation primary away from New Hampshire because the state isn’t as diverse as other states. But the population shift has made the state more diverse than it used to be, even before 12 years ago … you see larger minority populations than before, larger immigrant populations than before, the national obsession with it not being diverse enough … the state has changed.

CB: Well, [N.H. Democratic activist] Marty Gross sort of pointed out how shallow that argument is. Representative of what? We are a very diverse country. Even with all the change in the state, it’s still not as multicultural as Massachusetts or New York or places like that. What all that population growth tells you though is that there is something going on here. We may have a frost-belt climate, but the way we think is very sun-belt. And that is where you have enormous population growth as well - in Nevada, California - these states that constantly add new representatives while a lot of Northeastern states are losing representatives, but not New Hampshire.

P: Even if you moved it to another state – even it was small and intimate – like Rhode Island or Delaware – you still wouldn’t necessarily get the same hands-on campaigning. John Q. Public has a chance to meet the candidates over time.

CB: I think it would be impossible, given our state law, and the love affair working reporters have with New Hampshire, to switch New Hampshire and replace it with Rhode Island, or what have you. I think the road they are on to is much more dangerous – where everything gets front-loaded – if it is not a national primary campaign in name, it is in fact and that is what we are very close to. That is the problem.

P: I was looking at the election returns in the back of the book and was amazed to see almost 50 percent voter turnout in every primary in New Hampshire. In Massachusetts, even when Paul Tsongas ran in 1992, if I recall correctly the turnout was pretty low.

CB: It’s abysmal, yeah. It is hard to compare one state to another because not all states allow independents to vote [in their primaries]. So, you will have a lower turnout anyway. I really wish they had a standard format for voting in the states that way. It would encourage turnout. But you’d get the Republican establishment … they don’t not want independents coming in, mucking up the works like John McCain did. They’re going to protect their turf. There was a movement to remove independents from voting in the primary in the last session here. That is a 50 state puzzle. But it would be nice to let independents vote.

P: You have a plan for having 25 primaries and 25 caucuses determine a political party’s nominee. However, if you had to choose between a regional primary or another plan other than yours, which do you think would be the best?

CB: I’m not a fan of regional primaries. I’m not a fan of national primaries. I will probably get in trouble for saying this but there really should be a single small- or medium-sized state, in each of the regions of the country. We’re almost there in terms of Iowa and New Hampshire being the traditional starting points. Having South Carolina follow New Hampshire by a week – I’m not opposed to that. I think southern politicians, being able to be heard on their home turf, is a good thing. And now, for the first time, we have New Mexico with a caucus and Arizona with a primary, a week after.
The problem is that Terry McAuliffe let six other states come in there and you have a very difficult task for the less-financed candidates to get out there and have a chance to state their message. All he had to do, with all these states like Michigan that were complaining, is to say, if you want to move a caucus in there, go right ahead. That turns out to be what Michigan did but then he let these other states all slip in there and it’s a disaster waiting to happen. If New Hampshire lost its First in the Nation status – and I will probably get in trouble for saying this – I would prefer having a Maine or a Vermont replace us, rather than a regional system or a national system. Any single small New England state. If you were trying to replace [New Hampshire] with a Wyoming or South Dakota, states with small populations where you still do person to person campaigning, well, winters out there are very different from winters here. The travel would be just very difficult for the candidates and the press, etc. I had to drive across Wyoming – I know what a place like that is like – you just can’t do it. For those reasons, I would say forget about it.
If you move from New Hampshire to Maine, you are going to run into the same problems – there aren’t enough African-Americans, there aren’t enough Latinos, so why wipe out 80 years of political history just to replace it with something so similar?

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

The Kerry choke:
Here's my latest column in The Star about John Kerry's lost campaign.
Watching our home state Sen. John Kerry's presidential campaign break down over the last couple of months has not come as a big surprise. People who watch politics have been waiting for this moment for a long time.
For over four years, Kerry has made it known that he desired the Oval Office and his place in history. We knew that he had all the qualities of a good presidential candidate - war hero, a former prosecutor, former Lt. Gov., three terms in the Senate, tall and handsome good looks. On paper, Kerry is the perfect Democrat. But at the same time, a lot of us knew the collapse would be coming. Whether it took months or years, Kerry was never going to be able to close the deal.
Here's why.
As many political watchers know, Kerry is not a very good campaigner when it comes to meeting with people one-on-one, and Iowa and New Hampshire are all about retail, door-knocking politics. He is fuzzy, aloof, and has never been able to identify with "the common people," if you will. All the Harley-Davidson rides and denim jeans were never going to save him. As well, he peaked too early. His crash is what happens when a candidate is the frontrunner two years away from an election. But a larger part of the problem is Kerry's own time in the Senate.
As someone who has watched Kerry over the years, seen him in other races, and observed him lose all spine when the tough votes came along, the disintegration is not a big surprise. For 18 years, Kerry has done very little he can point to by way of accomplishment.
When he first came to the senate, Kerry was a champion of campaign finance reform, refusing political action committee [PAC] money and only accepting $250 donations. Then he changed his mind and started taking big money - even forming his own presidential slush fund PAC. He paints himself as a champion of the environment but what has he actually done for the environment? Just voting against drilling in ANWR isn't enough.
For the most part, Kerry has had a safe seat in the Senate. Politicians who have safe seats are the ones who are supposed to be the visionaries. They can afford to take chances as big thinkers and float the new ideas. Despite the opportunity to forward meaningful legislation and really affect people's lives in a positive way, Kerry hasn't done the job.
As he ramped up his road to the White House, Kerry could have started building his legislative resume, laying the foundation for the ideas to come. But instead, he coasted or even hurt his own cause, by ignoring political opportunities to shine in the gentlemen's club. In fact, his actions on legislation are coming back to haunt him on a massive scale in this campaign.
Take organized labor.
Kerry has always had a bad relationship with the unions in Massachusetts. But lucky for him, most of these voters had nowhere else to turn. Anti-union zealots Jim Rappaport (1990), Bill Weld (1996) and Michael Cloud (2002), were Kerry's challengers. However, instead of making some inroads with the union folks, Kerry kicked the shins of the working class time and time again, by voting for NAFTA, GATT and the WTO, and PMFN trade status for China.
Kerry, like Sen. Kennedy and other Democrats in Massachusetts, took advantage of the fact that many voters had nowhere else to go. Instead of standing up for workers, Kerry helped pass bad corporate and workers' legislation. His reaction to working folks has been a blasé toss of the hand, while reciting nonsensical globalist gobblygook: If Americans can't compete with 10 cent labor in China, too bad. At an event in Manchester, he said precisely that to a handful of unionized Verizon workers complaining about outsourcing. They were all pretty shocked but I wasn't.
All across middle America, working families are struggling to put food on the table because the factory jobs are gone. People have to work two or three service slave jobs at a fraction of the wages they once earned. Kerry helped these people lose their economic advantages as Americans and now he wonders why the voters don't support his presidential campaign?
Then there is the war vote which has cost Kerry dearly.
Supporting the president's invasion has hurt other campaigns, and it is one of the reasons former-Vt. Gov. Howard Dean is even taken seriously at all. At the time of the vote, Kerry and others were worried about being painted as too liberal for not backing the war. Well, it has come back to haunt them. In an interview with Rolling Stone last week, Kerry reacted to the bite back, saying he didn't know Bush was going to screw up the war. "Screw up" weren't his exact words, but since this is a family newspaper, we won't quote him directly.
Rep. Dick Gephardt also voted the same as Kerry but isn't being treated as badly by working folks because, for the most part, Gephardt has stood with working people. Kerry doesn't have that to fall back on and the brie and wine crowd became Republicans years ago.
In the end, all the staff changes are not going to whip this campaign into shape. It is a sinking ship unless Kerry can find a direction - any direction - as to where he plans to lead the nation.
Campaigns are strange things. Anything can happen and Kerry might pull it off, despite the fact that the Democratic insiders are now rallying around Dean in droves [Former Vice President Al Gore endorsed Dean Tuesday morning]. But with recent poll numbers showing he will lose Massachusetts, one has to wonder if Kerry shouldn't save face and hang it up now.

San Francisco update
Wow, wow, wow: Democrat Gavin Newsom holds on to win by 11,000 votes: Newsom with 118,651 to Gonzalez at 107,030. Good job Greens! Keep sending them wakeup calls.

More reaction to the debate
Guess who was at the debate last night? Ralph Nader! ["Supporters show NH's spirit for politics"].

A Dennis Kucinich supporter, former Presidential candidate Ralph Nader, said, "I always wanted to go to a debate that had eight or nine people," a reference to his exclusion from the 2000 Presidential debates. "The key is to beat Bush," said Nader, who called former Vermont governor Howard Dean a "work in progress."

Campaign ads
I have seen a bunch of the presidential campaigns and some of them are pretty impressive. C-Span has run them during breaks in their coverage which is good because unless you live in New Hampshire [Boston media market], Iowa, or some of the later states like South Carolina, Oklahoma, Arizona, or Delaware, you probably haven't seen any of these ads.

The Wesley Clark has two black and white bio ads which are pretty good. I would love to know who produced these because both are impressive. However, a good ad doesn't mean I would actually vote for the guy. I personally don't like him for a whole lot of reasons I have already gone into here on Politizine.
Joe Lieberman's "I'm was McCain voter and I'm with Joe" ads are annoying. Sorry Joe, McCain was a rightwing populist and you're no populist. The other ones where he is sitting in the cafe trying to act like a regular Joe aren't too bad though.
Dick Gephardt's fighting for American jobs ad is short, sweet and to the point. NAFTA is one of the big problems and Dick was at least trying to stop Clinton and the Republicans.
John Edwards has some town hall meeting clips which emphasize strong labor planks and trade issues.
John Kerry also has a town hall meeting ad which isn't too bad either, mainly harping on prescription drug coverage. The "100 Days" ad is a good collection of ideas.
Howard Dean's stand alone field ads are quick, cheap, and thoughtful but just look homemade. Taking back our country? From who? Why? Please be more specific. The bio ad is pretty good and the response to the Club for Growth attack ads isn't bad either, even if they were telling the truth. By rescinding the entire Bush tax cut, taxes on regular families will go back up another $1,900. That is a fact. Not all tax cuts are bad. Ending the marriage penalty tax and giving the working class more of their money back are essential. Some candidates, like Dean and Gephardt, don't get this.

More polls
The Howard Dean juggernaut continues. Muhlenberg College Institute released a poll from Pennsylvania this morning: Dean has 19 percent, Joe Lieberman at 12 percent, John Kerry and Wesley Clark tied with 10 percent, and Dick Gephardt with 6 percent. Gephardt's low numbers in a major labor state is not a good sign. Shockingly, Bush beats all the Democrats by 7 to 12 percent. In a one-on-one, Kerry does best: Bush 47, Kerry 40.
The Virginian-Pilot reports Dean with 21 percent, Lieberman far behind with 13 percent, Clark with 11 percent, Gephardt at 8 percent, Kerry with 7 percent, the Rev. Al Sharpton with 6 percent, John Edwards at 5 percent. However, in a general election match up, Bush clobbers all the Dems by 15 to 19 percent.

Tuesday, December 9, 2003

More Gore fallout
First off, Joe Lieberman, Gore's running mate in 2000, is beside himself: ["Lieberman Says Gore Call 'Too Late,' Blasts Dean"]. Oh, poor baby. Well, your rightwing tendencies cost Al Gore the presidency. So, why can't he endorse who he wants?
The Progressive's Matt Rothschild has his take on it: ["The Gore Endorsement"]. He says it ain't over and he's right. But I don't think it will be Wesley Clark left standing. It might be Dick Gephardt and John Edwards though.
Mitch Frank of TIME says, it wasn't a surprise: ["Why Gore's Endorsement Is No Surprise"]. His closing line is priceless:
The angry liberals argue that times have changed - with the country
polarized between love and hatred for this president, there are no swing voters
in the middle to appeal to. Gore obviously believes it, and he’s not afraid to
say so.
He's right in a sense. Plus, Gore's endorsement of Dean was a slap at the Clintons who put in Clark to stop Dean. Too bad Gore didn't realize his progressive populism in 2000.

Koppel, the ass
A big Thank You to the audience at tonight's debate who started yelling at ABC's Ted Koppel about his stupid question concerning money and polls to Dennis Kucinich, Carole Moseley Braun, and the Rev. Al Sharpton [watched during C-Span's tape delay]. Here's NHpolitics.com's take on it: ["Process the focus of the 'dust up'"]. I love Kucinich's response, who verbally spanked Koppel to the roar of the crowd about the media destroying American politics:
"We start talking about endorsements, now we're talking about polls, and then we're talking about money. Well, you know, when you do that, you don't have to talk about what's important to the American people."
That's right. Let the debates be about ideas and leave the discussion about polls and strategy with us bloggers, hah! Even after that, Koppel sloughed it off, and even followed up in a lectured tone.
Ignoring Kucinich and the others is becoming a pretty easy habit, as noted by John Nichols: ["John Nichols: Go-along media ignoring Kucinich"].
However, Scott Spradling, the political reporter for WMUR, actually asked some pretty impressive questions during the debate. So, it just goes to show you.

More polls
Suffolk University/WHDH released this poll from New Hampshire last night: Howard Dean at 35 percent, John Kerry at 12 percent, Clark at 10 percent, Lieberman at 6 percent, and Edwards and Gephardt tied with 5 percent, with a whopping 23 percent undecided.
On Monday, the Pew Research Center released three state polls:
In New Hampshire, Dean has 34 percent, Kerry with 20 percent, Clark and Lieberman with 8 percent, Gephardt with 5 percent, and Edwards is at 4 percent.
In Iowa, Dean is at 29 percent, Gephardt with 21 percent, Kerry at 18 percent, Edwards has 5 percent, and Kucinich at 4 percent.
In South Carolina, Edwards is back on top with 16 percent, Clark has 11 percent, Gephardt is at 10 percent, Lieberman has 9 percent, Sharpton at 8 percent, and Dean with 7 percent.
Franklin Pierce College also had a New Hampshire poll Monday: Dean with 39 percent, Kerry at 14 percent, Clark and endorsement cost you your campaign?
Edwards at 5 percent, Lieberman with 4 percent, and Gephardt at 3 percent.

Dems hold San Franciscoso Mayoral seat
It looks like the Greens won't win the San Francisco Mayoral seat: ["Election returns"]. However, Matt Gonzalez has nothing to be ashamed about. He had a fraction of the money, scared the pants of the developer's pet candidate, and still got over 40 percent of the vote. However, the writing is on the wall. Democrats really better get it together or else they will continue to win by the skin of their teeth ... and lose too.

Monday, December 8, 2003

Gore to endorse Dean

Who-wah! What a power play. Or, is this a mistake?
One of the great things about the Dean effort so far is that the bulk of the support is pretty anti-establishment. He has brought thousands of people who aren't normally involved in politics into the process. This is a good thing for the candidate. But what would happen if all those people became discouraged? If they see the campaign shift, the insiders come aboard, and the candidate lose spark as he starts to play it safe. What are these people going to do when Dean eventually shifts to the center - or even to the right - in an effort to appeal to the moderate masses?

Sunday, December 7, 2003

Sharpton blackout!
After spending most of the day shoveling and blowing two feet of snow from my driveway, I settled down with a cold beer in front of the VCR to watch Al Sharpton on Saturday Night Live, which I taped from last night. The problem is that there was no Al Sharpton last night! Channel 7, the Boston NBC affiliate, blacked out the show and instead broadcast the best of Steve Martin. I was furious! So, I get on the computer, do a google, and find out that a lot of NBC affiliates refused to broadcast SNL: ["Viewers Miss Sharpton's 'SNL' Act"]. How friggin' trivial is this? 'Wah, we're worried about fairness issues, wah.' Well, if this is the case, then don't all the TV stations owe Ralph Nader [and other federal election independent candidates] a whole lot of free air time, since he was barred from the 2000 debates? If anyone knows where and when this will be rebroadcast, please email and let me know. Sharpton is really funny and I bet he was hilarious on SNL.
NRA seeks to bypass CFR laws
Here's a clever trick: ["Gun lobby seeks broadcast outlet, media exemption from campaign finance rules"].

Hoping to spend as much as it wants on next year's elections, the National Rifle Association is looking to buy a television or radio station and declare that it should be treated as a news organization, exempt from spending limits in the campaign finance law.
Anyone remember Elian Gonzales? He was the young Cuban boy whose mother fled the country for a better life in America. His mother drowned off the coast of Florida and he was plucked out of the water and taken care of by Cuban dissidents until the Clinton Administration sent him back to Cuba to his dad. Well, Elian turned 10 this weekend and Fidel held a big birthday party for him, complete with coverage in the mainstream American press: ["Elian's 10th birthday...Castro: Socialism will survive him"] . However, this got me to wondering: Isn't communism about everyone being equal? Why are they holding up Elian above other children in Cuba? Is Fidel going to appoint him as the boy king successor?

Kerry shows he really is a regular guy
Gotta love this one: ["CURSING KERRY UNLEASHES FOULMOUTHED ATTACK ON BUSH"]. Note to Kerry staff: Forget the motorcycle; forget the hunting photo ops; forget the brand new Levis and leather jackets that were obviously never worn before but placed on to make him look like a regular guy. Forget all of that. Instead, start swearing! In fact, do more! Start spitting, grabbing your crotch every once and awhile like a baseball player, have a few pops in the local pubs of New Hampshire and Iowa. This is the way to normalcy John! Trust me. There is nothing like seeing a pol down a couple of beers at the local pub, acting normal like everyone else. I still hear friends talk about how cool it was when they had a beer with Candidate X.

Saturday, December 6, 2003

More on the voting machine conspiracy ...
Pretty good piece in the Atlantic Journal-Constitution about the DRE touch-tone screen voting machines: ["Electronic votes touch off doubts"].

Tests of computerized systems in Ohio this week did little to reassure skeptics. Detroit-based Compuware Corp., in a technical analysis of the four major voting machine manufacturers, identified 57 potential security risks in the software and hardware tested. The findings prompted Ohio Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell to delay plans for having a computerized system in place for the 2004 presidential election. "I will not place these voting devices before Ohio's voters until identified risks are corrected and system security is bolstered," Blackwell said.

Interesting. However, they then said this:

Computerized voting systems also may be vulnerable to hackers or scheming programmers bent on stealing an election, some experts warned. A hacker could add votes to an individual voting terminal and a programmer could insert a "Trojan horse" program with a hidden code that could change vote totals, then cover its tracks, it has been suggested.

Again, how? These machines aren't hooked up to the Internet. Anyone who has gone to the polls can see that the machines stand alone in the corner and are not hooked up to the Internet. So, how can a hacker get into the system? It doesn't make any sense.
However, there is another piece out there that does address some of the issues from an interesting angle. PBS's Robert Cringely takes the whole thing from an IT perspective: ["No confidence vote"]. I especially like this section towards the end which makes a hell of a lot of sense.

Forgetting for a moment Diebold's voting machines, let's look at the other equipment they make. Diebold makes a lot of ATM machines. They make machines that sell tickets for trains and subways. They make store checkout scanners, including self-service scanners. They make machines that allow access to buildings for people with magnetic cards. They make machines that use magnetic cards for payment in closed systems like university dining rooms. All of these are machines that involve data input that results in a transaction, just like a voting machine. But unlike a voting machine, every one of these other kinds of Diebold machines -- EVERY ONE -- creates a paper trail and can be audited. Would Citibank have it any other way?Would Home Depot? Would the CIA? Of course not. These machines affect the livelihood of their owners. If they can't be audited they can't be trusted. If they can't be trusted they won't be used.

Or, if they can't be trusted they shouldn't be used.

... getting play with the Dems
Off and on today, I have been watching C-Span which is broadcasting speeches from the Florida Democratic convention. Both John Edwards and John Kerry have raised the question of whether or not the voting machines manufactured by Diebold can be trusted. Edwards called on Bush to give back Diebold donations: ["Edwards blasts Bush on donation"]. Very interesting. This means that people are talking to them about this issue on the campaign trail because neither of them mentioned anything about this before and neither of them did anything to give teeth to the $3.5 billion Help America Vote Act legislation that they both, I assume, voted for.

Dean makes the move
Howard Dean's campaign is making its move: Setting course for their political game plan beyond New Hampshire and Iowa in an effort to clinch the Democratic nomination quickly, according to an article in the Boston Globe this morning: ["'50-state strategy' seen in Dean's TV ad push"].

Joe Trippi, Dean's campaign manager, announced yesterday that the former Vermont governor will start a multimillion-dollar, nonstop TV advertising spree in South Carolina and New Mexico beginning next week and continuing through Feb. 3, when those states vote. The campaign expects to begin similar ad buys within 10 days in two other states holding elections that day, Arizona and Oklahoma, with plans still under development for a third ad push in Missouri, North Dakota, and Virginia, the remaining states whose elections immediately follow the leadoff contests in Iowa and New Hampshire. On Sunday, the campaign will also air a 30-minute Dean infomercial in Madison, Wis., that is heavy on the physician-politician's biography. His aides hope the extended ad will attract supporters in later-voting states, such as Wisconsin, Washington, and Maine. Dean was more sanguine, saying after a speech to about 100 people gathered at the Mason City Public Library: "This is really not something new that's being rolled out Monday; it's more of a public acknowledgment of plans that have been going on for several months."

Washington cancels primary Globe correspondent Eli Sanders updates on the latest in cancelled primaries: ["Wash. cancels presidential primary"].

Friday, December 5, 2003

Kucinich's hot site ...
According to Alexa.com, the Dennis Kucinich for President campaign has one of the hottest sites on the Web. However, according to the campaign, Alexa.com didn't want to list Kucinich with other sites on its Presidential 2004 promotional page. After sending out an email encouraging supporters to email Alexa.com and have them promote the Kucinich site growth, the company did: ["Presidential Candidates on the Web"].

The enemy is ... The sweets
OK, Joe Lieberman is taking on the most evil of all things in America - the jelly doughnut: ["Lieberman takes on jelly doughnuts"]. Shock, gasp, horror, of all things to go after - the jelly doughnut. I guess we should be thankful. He could have gone after my personal fave, the Boston Creme.
But seriously, yeah, junk food is bad. We all know this. Do we need more regulation of this stuff though? No, we don't. If people kill themselves on sweets, they kill themselves on sweets. There isn't anything we can really do about it. It's funny though: He can suggest more regs on this but I would bet anything that he doesn't favor labeling genetically-engineered or modified Frankenfood. I think I will try and find out. :-)

Reaching the people, Nixon style
Speaking of Lieberman, the campaign has made a major TV buy [$300,000] for next week and will be broadcasting an "unedited, televised town hall forum" in New Hampshire. According to a press email, the half-hour forum will be filmed live-to-tape next Thursday and will air on Saturday, Dec. 13 at 7 p.m. on WMUR [Manchester's Channel 9]. The audience will be composed of undecided voters.
This is very reminiscent of ads aired by Richard Nixon in 1968 which were well written about in Ted White's classic - and must read - political book "The making of the president: 1968."
Currently, Lieberman is the only candidate spending big money on the Boston TV market, with ads on five different channels.

Dean on jobs
Howard Dean spouted off about jobs today after the release of the latest unemployment figures:
"Today's job announcement is another link in the chain of President Bush's broken promises. When he proposed his program of tax cuts for the rich, he said they would create 306,000 jobs a month. November's 57,000 job record puts the administration even further behind its promise -- and puts the American worker further behind the eight-ball. Worse yet, manufacturing -- the heart of American prosperity -- continued to lose jobs for the 39th consecutive month. In November, another 17,000 American factory workers got the unwelcome news that they lost their jobs -- just in time for Christmas. Meanwhile, the Administration and the Republican Congress refuse to take up the extension of unemployment benefits that would help millions of jobless workers in the new year. It's time to take back America and put America back to work."
Baines endorses Kerry
Manchester Mayor Bob Baines, fresh from his victory over Republican Carlos Gonzalez, has jumped on what many believe is a sinking ship. According to a press release this afternoon, Baines endorsed John Kerry. This endorsement was rumored to be coming. Baines is best known as a former high school principal and will head up the "Educators for Kerry" effort.

Democrats in the South
This weekend, the Democrats will be in Florida for their annual state convention, hopefully broadcast on C-Span. There are rumors that there will be a straw poll. However, CNN's "Inside Politics" is reporting that President Bush is barely leading Dean or Wesley Clark in Florida by 8 percentage points. Stu Rothenberg noted that while 8 percent is above the margin of error, for a sitting president, these numbers aren't very good for Bush. I would add that these numbers are surprisingly high for someone like Dean who many - including myself - predict will have a bitch of a time down south.
In the primary, Dean has 16 percent, with Lieberman and Clark at 15 percent, Dick Gephardt with 9 percent and Kerry hobbling at 6 percent.
Rothenberg also predicted that both Arkansas and Louisiana while tilting Republican, will be in play next year.
In other polls, Zogby is showing Dean vaulting to the top of the South Carolina pile: Dean with 11 percent, Lieberman and Clark at 9 percent, with Al Sharpton, Gephardt, and John Edwards lumped together with 7 percent.