Wednesday, February 18, 2004

The end of Dean
Howard Dean stepped out of the presidential race this afternoon. He did not endorse any of the remaining candidates but said he would try and galvanize his organization to revitalize the Democratic Party. This is like Jerry Brown all over again when he tried to change the Democratic Party with his "We the People" organization but never followed through with it. Of course, there was no Internet then, just Brown's very active 800#. Dean said he would also not be releasing his delegates, a very smart move. He will remain on the ballot in future states to allow his supporters to vote for him in attempt to get more progressive delegates for the convention. But with the 15 percent threshold needed to win delegates, Dean's hope to win more delegates is doubtful. He really should just endorse one of the remaining candidates and be done with it.

Here's Dean's statement from his blog:
"Today my candidacy may come to an end--but our campaign for change is not over. I want to thank each and every person who has supported this campaign. Over the last year, you have reached out to neighbors, friends, family and colleagues--building one American at a time the greatest grassroots campaign presidential politics has ever seen. I will never forget the work and the heart that you put into our campaign.
In the coming weeks, we will be launching a new initiative to continue the campaign you helped begin. Please continue to come to for updates and news as our new initiative develops. There is much work still to be done, and today is not an end-it is just the beginning.
This Party and this country needs change, and you have already begun that process. I want you to think about how far we have come. The truth is: change is tough. There is enormous institutional pressure in our country against change. There is enormous institutional pressure in Washington against change, in the Democratic Party against change. Yet, you have already started to change the Party and together we have transformed this race. Along the way, we've engaged hundreds of thousands of new Americans in the political process, as witnessed by this year's record participation in the primaries and caucuses.
The fight that we began can and must continue. Although my candidacy for president may end today, the most important goal remains defeating George W. Bush in November, and I hope that you will join me in doing everything we can to support the Democrats this fall. From the earliest days of our campaign, I have said that the power to change Washington rests not in my hands, but in yours. Always remember, you have the power to take our country back."
CNN's new debate rules?
FoxNews is reporting that CNN's next Democratic presidential primary debate will limit the inclusion to any candidate who has received at least 10 percent in a primary. This would essentially black out Dennis Kucinich and/or Al Sharpton. Or will it? Kucinich received 16 percent in the Maine Caucus and Sharpton received 20 percent in the D.C. Caucuses, so who knows. If a caucus counts as a primary in CNN's eyes, well, it is still a four-way debate. If not, there could be problems. While John Edwards wants a one-on-one with John Kerry, keeping Sharpton out of the debate would be a mistake and could alienate black voters.

Is it a Weekly Standard ad or a Bush 2004 ad?
So I get home, plunk myself down in a chair and switch on the news, mostly because I want to see some of Dean's announcement and I can't find anything but minor clips. I leave it on FoxNews and start flipping through the newspapers when I hear an ad for The Weekly Standard, a conservative weekly, pimping subscriptions. I look up and in between the media accolades for the mag, there are pictures of President Bush at his desk, in a roundtable, on the aircraft carrier where he declared "Mission Accomplished" in the Iraqi invasion. I stop and think to myself, is this an ad for the president's reelection campaign or a magazine? Yeah, sure, it is a conservative magazine. But the ad is more like a campaign ad than a magazine ad. Is there some department who investigates the content of ads? I don't know but this needs to be looked at. I can imagine the howling that would be going on if a liberal weekly were showing President Clinton in such a glowing light during an election year and promoting the fact that the White House reads its rag. This is ridiculous.

Short clips
Ted Rall has an elegy for Dean: ["Howie, we hardly knew ye"].
FAIR's Laura Flanders looks at Kerry's Foreign Policy team ... and doesn't like what she sees: ["Not quite a dream team"].
You gotta wonder a little about Alex: ["Alex Polier, Insta-Celebster"].
Anti-war protester and former Jane Fonda boy-toy Tom Hayden thinks the time is now: ["The Progressive Populist Moment Has Arrived"].