• comment on a post Wanted: Candidates Who Have Faced Republicans over 9 years ago
    I'm sorry, but Clinton won with 43 percent of the vote in 1992 and 49 percent in 1996. Not much better than Kerry.

    If we had had a Perot-type candidate in the race, someone who walks like a Republican but spends most of his time bashing the Republican, Kerry would have won in a walk, just like Clinton in 1992.

  • ...did a kick-ass job, and I say this as a kerry supporter. She helped make Dean a top-tier contender in Iowa in the spring of 2003, way before his fundraising took off and the media started paying attention.

    Dean's campaign made some mistakes in Iowa, but I would not blame her. A strategic decision was made to run as an outsider against Washington insiders rather than to emphasize his many achievements as governor.

    Trippi is great at self-promotion, but Dean's tv ads were absolutely horrendous toward the end of the campaign in Iowa. Again, not something that can be blamed on his local hires there.

  • Whatever respect I had for McCain died when he refused to back Kerry this year. He knows how bad Bush is for the country, but he put his party and his personal ambition ahead of the good of the country. Screw him.

    And yes, the above posters are right that McCain has zero chance of ever getting the Republican presidential nomination. Whereas in 2000 I was rooting for him (because I figured Gore would lose to anyone and thought McCain would do less damage than Bush), now I look forward to seeing him eaten alive by the right-wing hate machine.

  • comment on a post House and Governor 2006 over 9 years ago
    Republican Jim Nussle (1st CD) may leave the House to run for governor in 2006 (and he would be hard to beat, unfortunately).

    There have been rumors about Democrat Leonard Boswell (3rd CD) retiring in 2006 or 2008, but I haven't heard much about that lately.

    Kerry won both of those CDs, so we should be able to keep Boswell's seat and take Nussle's if they become open. But anything can happen, and the religious right in Iowa is very organized.

  • on a comment on Republican nomination 2008 over 9 years ago
    Couldn't agree more. As a fellow specialist with a doctorate in Russian politics, I can tell you that the consensus in our field is that Condi is very, very mediocre.

    This scenario seems all too probable. Did anyone see the post on Josh Marshall's site a few days ago about how Cheney's shoe size has recently changed? Enlarged feet is a symptom of congestive heart failure.

    I could see Bush elevating Condi to VP if she does not want to run for president. No way it will be Rudy--the evangelical base would go nuts over his pro-choice, pro-gay rights, NYC persona. The further away we get from 9/11 the less of a mystique Rudy will have.

    I thought a lot of Republicans thought Frist was incompetent. From Bush's point of view this is a plus, because he can be controlled, but for all the others who want the nomination in 2008, they will be pissed.

  • I don't like the idea of doing this through 527s. I was volunteering for the Kerry campaign and it was a pain in the ass not to be able to coordinate with the people in my precinct volunteering for Moveon or ACT. We couldn't share information about people who'd moved out of the precinct, we couldn't divvy up lists of people to door-knock, and in the end I'm sure we wasted a lot of time duplicating our efforts.

    On election day I was running to the polling place every few hours to check which "unreliable" voters on our list had voted, so the Iowa Democratic Party could take those names out of the phone bank. Meanwhile, my neighbor who was volunteering for Moveon was hanging around outside the polling place trying to strike up conversations with people who were on their way out, just trying to get their names so she could check them against her list. She wasn't allowed to go in and look at the list being maintained by the Iowa Democratic Party's designated poll-watcher. I'm sure she ended up calling and door-knocking a lot of people who'd already voted.

  • on a comment on Why Kerry Lost over 9 years ago
    How many tens of thousands of people in Ohio did not vote because they couldn't afford to wait in line for 3, 4, or 7 hours? They systematically put fewer voting machines in the heavily Dem precincts. I have a toddler. I would not be able to stand in line for 4 hours to vote. These huge lines were consistently in inner-city or college-campus precincts, never in Republican areas.

    How many thousands of people in OH had their provisional ballots invalidated because they were given incorrect information about where to vote? Then when they got there they waited in line, only to find out they weren't on the list. They got provisional ballots which were tossed out because the people voted in the wrong precinct.

    How many thousands of Kerry voters had their votes not count because machines placed in some heavily Dem precincts had very high error rates (large percentages recorded as undervotes)?

    There were also some precincts where suspiciously large numbers of votes were recorded for Peroutka or Badnarik. Could have been a machine malfunction, could have been deliberate (some polling places served more than one precinct, and if ballots meant for precinct A were fed through the counting machine for precinct B, a vote for Kerry could show up for someone else because the candidates were not always in the same ballot order).

    I believe that all of these voter suppression methods combined can easily explain Bush's entire margin in Ohio, even if you assume that there was absolutely no tampering with the machines that tabulated the precinct-level results. Bush's margin works out to something like just 10 votes per precinct in Ohio.

  • comment on a post A Captain in Every Precinct--a proposal over 9 years ago
    I was a precinct captain for Kerry before the caucuses and later in the year. I made new friends in the neighborhood, and I think we definitely turned out a lot of votes because of the hard work of locals. The Dean and Edwards campaigns did not have active captains in my precinct, and I think Edwards in particular would have done a lot better on caucus night if someone had been working the neighborhood for several months ahead of time.
  • comment on a post Why Kerry Lost over 9 years ago
    There's so much to take issue with in this diary. I reject the premise, since I think Kerry did not really lose Ohio.

    But I'll focus on perhaps the most misleading comment: Bush should have lost like Carter did if only the Kerry campaign had been competent.

    The economy this year was not great, but it was not nearly as bad as it was in 1980. The late 1970s were a terrible time for huge numbers of people economically. High inflation, high interest rates, gasoline costs much higher in real terms than anything we had this year. I don't have the "misery index" numbers in front of me, but you can count on the fact that they were much worse in 1980 (and even in 1992) than this year.

    We were not in the middle of a war in 1980. We were in the middle of a hostage crisis that made the president look weak.

    Bush has benefited from a decades-long project to make evangelical Christians vote Republican reflexively, no matter what. Some of these pastors abuse their tax-free status, mixing political propaganda with sermons and Bible study week after week for years on end. Practically every church here in Iowa was leafletted on the Sunday before the election with flyers distorting Kerry's record. The Bush campaign got tons of propaganda for free.

    Carter did not have any broad social movement pulling for him in the same way throughout his presidency.

    Talk radio is almost completely dominated by conservative viewpoints, and television networks were much more hostile to Kerry than to Bush. In 1980 there was no army of Limbaughs and Hannitys to promote Carter and demonize Reagan. there were no television networks willing to focus extensively on Reagan's alleged "character" flaws rather than on Carter's record. We didn't have a whole industry ready to promote books trashing Reagan in 1980.

    In the two years leading up to 1980 the Democratic-controlled House and Senate shot down many of Carter's domestic policy initiatives, making Carter look weak and feeding into a media narrative that he must be no good because even many Democrats criticized him. (For more on media coverage of the Carter presidency being influenced by criticism from within the Democratic Party, see Robert Entman's 1989 book Democracy Without Citizens.)

    In 1980 Carter faced a strong challenge for the nomination from a superstar from within his own party (Ted Kennedy), further demonstrating that "even Democrats" thought Carter was a bad president.

    In contrast, Bush has had the GOP united behind him for four years, pushing this "strong leadership" cult. Congress has done almost everything he's asked for, and Republicans stick to their talking points on television shows.

    In 1980 a third-party candidate, the liberal Republican John Anderson, drew votes from many progressives and liberal Republicans for whom Reagan was too conservative. We didn't have anyone prominent nationally running this year who would have drawn conservative votes away from Bush. There were plenty of people who didn't like Bush who voted for him anyway because Kerry was "too liberal."

    The right-wing noise machine would have unleashed an avalanche of distortion and character assassination against any Democrat this year. For all the criticism of Kerry's "flip-flopping", few people remember that when Dean was the front-runner the GOP was already floating press releases accusing Dean of flip-flopping and inconsistences. Yes, there were many, and there would have been more, as Dean showed by putting his foot in his mouth again and again in late 2003.

    If we had run a candidate with less foreign policy or military experience, we would have gotten slaughtered during a time of war. And Wes Clark was sadly not ready for prime time as a candidate.

  • comment on a post Punish the Swifties over 9 years ago
    The above poster is correct. It's almost impossible for a public figure to win a slander/libel case. We are not Great Britain. Even if Kerry can prove the Swifties' charges are false, he would have to prove that they all knew they were false. That would be difficult in court.
  • In my "real life," I am an analyst on Russia and have been writing about contemporary politics in that country since 1995. My sometime employer, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, has detailed coverage of the Ukrainian situation (www.rferl.org).

    We really don't care about human rights in the former Soviet Union, certainly not enough to "stand in Russia's way" about anything. Especially Bush, who looked in the eyes of a KGB creep and saw a good soul.

    I don't know enough about the Ukrainian economy to say for sure, but my impression is that the western part of the country would not be viable as an independent state--the major industries are all in the "Russian" part.

    Incidentally, I don't think Yushchenko is a big anti-Russian Ukrainian nationalist. In fact, I saw a BBC report last week from one of the rallies, and he was addressing the huge Kiev crowd in Russian, not Ukrainian. The pro-Russian residents of the east are not going to be persecuted if he becomes president. A fact of life in a democracy is sometimes you have to be governed by the guy your region didn't vote for.

  • comment on a post Christian Conservatives over 9 years ago
    I am no biblical scholar, but I do remember hearing a good BBC radio commentary by David Sacks, the chief rabbi in Great Britain, shortly after 9/11 (was living in London at the time). Apparently the Old Testament reminds us to love our neighbor once, but contains something like 30 references commanding us to love the stranger.

    The idea is that it's a lot easier to love your neighbor than to love a stranger.

    I am not disagreeing with your characterization of Christian conservatives--only with the idea that their hateful views and actions are somehow consistent with the Old Testament.

  • comment on a post NY Times: Republicans Already Overreaching over 9 years ago
    True, if Bush tries to push this in the middle of a stock market downturn, that would hurt his case.

    But I don't agree that people will start to understand that deficits matter once high interest rates start to bite them in the ass. I have zero confidence that large numbers of people will connect the dots on that one.

    Did you read that piece in The New Republic by the guy who canvassed undecided voters in Wisconsin (a state with very good public education, by the way)? These people didn't even understand what political issues were, in the sense that they saw no connection between government policies and the crap they complained about in their lives.

    The connection between the GOP's fiscal irresponsibility, a weak dollar and high interest rates is not something that can be reduced to a sound bite.

  • Opinion polls showing people care about the deficit are like opinion polls showing people don't like negative political ads. They say one thing to pollsters but don't act on those alleged beliefs.

    The media will not cover the real consequences of Bush's social security reform. At best we will get "he said, she said" stories, leading many voters to feel that it's not clear there will be any bad long-term consequences at all.

    And yes, I agree that many young people don't expect Social Security to be around for them anyway. I don't have any confidence that they will figure out that this is a big tax increase on them.

  • comment on a post ABD = Anybody But Dean over 9 years ago
    As a Kerry supporter from before the Iowa caucuses, I never understood why people thought Dean was so liberal. Kerry was always more liberal. Ask all the Democrats in Vermont who broke away to form the progressive party when Dean was governor! So the "problem" with Dean is not that he isn't moderate enough.

    Sadly, however, Dean is a deeply polarizing figure. I had several good friends who were on the Dean bandwagon in Iowa in spring and early summer 2003, before he was the front-runner. They loved him and were adamant that they could never support anyone who voted for the war resolution.

    Between July and October, several of my hard-core Deaniac friends declared themselves undecided again. It wasn't that they were buying the media bullshit about Dean. They were highly engaged and saw all of the major candidates in person several times. For various reasons, they just came to dislike Dean's style and lost confidence that he could win. On caucus night, almost all of these friends supported Edwards (one did swing to Kerry). They forgot what they said about not supporting anyone who backed the war resolution.

    In November and December 2003, I spent hours and hours talking to fellow Dems (and some independents and moderate Reps) trying to get them to support Kerry. I found it surprising and disturbing how many people had a viscerally negative reaction to Dean. Again, these were not people who learned about the campaign only from CNN. These were people who attended the Polk County Democrats' dinner, the Tom Harkin Steak Fry, the Jefferson-Jackson dinner, etc. They watched the campaign closely and strongly disliked Dean. Even one of my brothers fell into this category.

    As a precinct captain for Kerry, I found these people receptive. But as someone who believed it was quite likely that we would end up with Dean as the nominee, I was terrified.

    I know that the Dems I am talking about would have pulled the lever for Dean in the end (ABB, after all), but if people as informed as they were disliked the guy I couldn't imagine how he would climb the hill with the much less-informed mass electorate.

    I like Dean a lot, but I sincerely believe that if he is our party's nominee for president we will get slaughtered.



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