Saturday, February 18, 2006

My vote is *still* my voice

I woke up this morning to a diary at My Left Wing entitled OH-SEN: Sherrod Brown is a Progressive Democrat!

I *do* know that. No need to shout.

Let's try this again. I don't "unite behind the candidate" until *after* there's been a primary. My vote is *still* my voice.

I'm writing in PAUL HACKETT

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Friday, February 17, 2006

Sherrod Brown's "Democratic" primary challenger

Okay, because it's "what I do", and I can't find a direct link to the article online. I even tried, but it didn't yield a working email/password combination. And when I tried to find *anything* about the alleged Democrat who is running against Sherrod Brown (that "proud black man" hoping to unseat Mike DeWine, I came up empty-handed. So I'm going to go ahead and type up some of the copy of this Sandusky Register article that appears as a scan over at Buckeye Senate blog. I want the information to be out there for anyone who might otherwise consider voting for the "other guy" as a protest vote against the coronation of Brown by party insiders.

Senate hopeful says world's turned from God

Evolution is bunk and homosexuality should be a capital crime, says Fremont truck driver seeking DeWine's seat.

by Benjamin Roode

A Fremont truck driver running in the Ohio Democratic U.S. Senate primary says there needs to be more adherence to Biblical values in government, business, and education.

Merrill Keiser, 61, of Fremont, said incumbent Sen. Mike DeWine does not embody the God-driven values that need to be in the government.

"I believe that the United States has been moved in a Godless direction by the courts," he said. "To get good men on the court, we need good senators."

Business scandals and school shootings could be prevented if the Bible and prayer were followed in industry and schools, Keiser said.

Despite being on the Democratic ticket, Keiser said he is pro-death penalty, pro-gun, and pro-school prayer. He wouldn't be against making homosexuality a crime punishable by the death penalty. The United States should make conversion to Christianity part of the "war on terror" to teach Muslims the error of their choice in religion.

Evolution goes against the Declaration of Independence, he said, because to believe evolution is to deny ones basic rights.

"The teaching of evolution works against the liberties we have in the United States," he said. If a person believe in evolution, he or she "has no rights", he said. There are several other Democratic representatives serving in government who share his beliefs, he said. He did not name any.
That's all I'm going to transcribe word for word. The reporter goes on to quote an interview with Chris Redfern, who notes that extremists like this often run for name recognition, and by running the article, the paper was giving him what he wanted. So Redfern might say the same thing about me too, I guess, if he knew I existed. But what I *do* know is that there are some pissed off Democrats who don't like this business of the party bigwigs "clearing the field" for their chosen ones. Some of them might want to make a statement by voting for the "other Democrat" on the ballot, not knowing that the guy is further from being ideologically a Democrat than just about any Republican you can think of.

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Maryscott O'Connor on Fox Radio

For anyone who is interested, Maryscott O'Connor who is willing to go where some of us dare not tread, was jut on Fox radio. The interview is over now, so I've changed the title and am adding a bit about what I just heard.

It was *phenomenally* cheesy and obnoxious from what I heard. Maryscott held her own, but the whole premise is kind of insulting, complete with the little intro teasers about journeying to the far, far left and finding out how these people think. Because there's an election coming up, he adds. Here's the discussion at My Left Wing, with the background on how this, her third interview with John Gibson, came to be.

I don't know how long the interview had been going when I tuned in, but at that point Gibson was talking to Maryscott about the filthy names he's seen us lefty bloggers call each other. She countered that the right wing bloggers do that too, and he thought she meant Ann Coulter. Maryscott said no, she was talking about human beings, not space aliens.

After that there was a commercial break, and then two callers before the end of the show. The first one asked if Cheney were a Democrat, would the Democratic response be the same as the Republican response is now. She said that yes, the response would be that it was an accident, and the big problem is how it was handled afterwards. She wondered where the White House press corps suddenly got these "teeth and claws" and where were they in the run-up to the Iraq war, where were they in Abu Ghraib, etc.

The second caller asked if this hadn't been the vice president, wouldn't the police have come out right away, and wouldn't he have been given a breathalyzer test? Gibson said that, hey, wait a minute, the Secret Service called the police right away, and the police said, "okay, we'll send somebody out tomorrow". Maryscott noted that a breathalyzer test the day after wouldn't do a lot of good, and Gibson asked, "Well, do you know if it's even Texas law that you *have* to have a breathalyzer test?" She said that she didn't know, but that she did know that it was Texas law that if Whittington dies within a year from the heart attack that was a result of the shooting, the law mandates that there be an investigation. Gibson asked, stupidly, if she was hoping that he dies. Maryscott said no, she was just noting that if that does happen, Cheney and company haven't done the research that would be needed for his defense in such an event.

For more on the interview, see MSOC Rocks on Fox by pyrrho.

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More on the Hackett swiftboating

There is a diary at Kos on this topic. I was tipped off to that thread by Ohio 2nd blog, where I also learned that Rush is all over this story.

In related news, I discovered via BuckeyeSenate blog that there *will* in fact be a primary election as someone by the name of Merrill Keiser managed to get on the ballot as a Dem.

Sherrod Brown will face a primary challenge. I'm laughing. It is funny in a shoot your buddy in the face kind of way. No clue who this guy is, but I'll find out and let you know. Be interesting to see how much of a protest vote he gets. It could be considerable given the palpable anger felt by many in recent days.

I'm pretty impressed Merrill was able to collect over 1,000 signatures and fly under the radar.

If you read the comments to that post, Keiser doesn't sound like someone we will want to vote for--not that it is *easy* to find out much about him--but it does raise the possibility, at least in my mind, of a Hackett write-in. And, as I said in the comments at BSB, I'm all over that idea.

But I'm clueless about the details. Could someone help me out with that? How do you do that--what do you actually do to write someone in when you're at the voting booth?

In my clueless college days when I wasn't following politics, but always voted "because you were supposed to", I think the only thing keeping me from writing in, say, Snoopy, was the fact that I didn't know how to actually do that.

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The "swiftboating" of Paul Hackett

I first heard of the "swiftboating" of Paul Hackett in his interview with Ed Schultz. Ohio 2nd commented:

FYI, the "swiftboating" whisper campaign story that Ed Schultz is talking about was known by many people, including the leadership in the DSCC and your humble editor for a while now. I have no knowledge of the origins of it. It is what it is.

Today at Ohio 2nd, I found the link this article in Mother Jones, Backroom Battles, which gives more details:

Swift boats soon appeared on the horizon. A whisper campaign started: Hackett committed war crimes in Iraq - and there were photos. "The first rumor that I heard was probably a month and a half ago," Dave Lane, chair of the Clermont County Democratic Party, told me the day after Hackett pulled out of the race. "I heard it more than once that someone was distributing photos of Paul in Iraq with Iraqi war casualties with captions or suggestions that Paul had committed some sort of atrocities. Who did it? I have no idea. It sounds like a Republican M.O. to me, but I have no proof of that. But if it was someone on my side of the fence, I have a real problem with that. I have a hard time believing that a Democrat would do that to another Democrat."

In late November, Hackett got a call from Sen. Harry Reid. "I hear there's a photo of you mistreating bodies in Iraq. Is it true?" demanded the Senate minority leader. "No sir," replied Hackett. To drive home his point, Hackett traveled to Washington to show Reid's staff the photo in question. Hackett declined to send me the photo, but he insists that it shows another Marine - not Hackett - unloading a sealed body bag from a truck. "There was nothing disrespectful or unprofessional," he insists. "That was a photo of a Marine doing his job. If you don't like what they're doing, don't send Marines into war."

A staffer in Reid's office confirmed that Hackett had showed them several photos. "The ones I saw were part of a diary he kept while serving in Iraq and were in no way compromising. The one picture in question depicted marines doing their work on what looked like a scorching day in Iraq, said the aide.

But the whispering continued, and Hackett was troubled. "It creates doubt and suspicion," Hackett told me, saying his close supporters were asking him privately about the rumors. "It tarnishes my very strength as a candidate, my military service. It's like you take a handful of seeds, throw them up in the wind, and they blow all around and start growing. It really bothered me."

More discussion of this issue can be found at Ohio 2nd, where the blogger suggests that the person responsible for this needs an immediate (metaphorical) ass kicking for the good of the Democratic party. BuckeyeSenate also has a post about the swiftboating, and asks that anyone with firsthand information about the swiftboating email him in full confidence at staff at

And I do agree with floridagal's point in her recommended diary at Booman Tribune--indiscriminantly trashing the Democratic party as a whole is not the answer, and it hurts the people we purport to care about. But I also agree with the people who are mightily ticked off--even if it *was* Republicans responsible for the "swiftboating", people like Schumer have no business "clearing the field" and depriving the voters of a real choice. I know Oscar might think differently about that, but we agree with the bottom line that the grassroots need to "be so mobilized that we can fund and support whomever we want to run for these seats regardless of what the DSCC or DCCC want." Toward that end, you might want to check out the diary I wrote yesterday, crossposted here and here, as well as some of the comments that follow, to see if Subodh Chandra is a candidate you would like to put your support behind. Or, there's Christine Cegelis in Illinois. In her case, Rahm Emanuel recuited Iraq vet Tammy Duckworth to run against her. And finally, as I mentioned yesterday, Ned Lamont is officially announcing his intention to run against Joe Lieberman for his Senate seat in Connecticut.

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Thursday, February 16, 2006

Ned Lamont for Senate

I just learned in a post over at Atrios that Ned Lamont is officially announcing his intention to run against Joe Lieberman for his Senate seat in Connecticut.

Dear Friend,

Congratulations. Since we launched more than 1,000 people from Connecticut have signed up to volunteer, giving us the beginnings of the ground army we need to launch our campaign. During the next few weeks a team of volunteers will be individually contacting each volunteer from Connecticut who signed up and get you involved in specific campaign activities.

Because of your enthusiasm I have established a candidate committee and am in the process putting together a great campaign team.

I will formally announce my candidacy in March -- but first we need to do some more work. Joe Lieberman has already raised over $5 million and not surprisingly Republican lobbyists in Washington DC, including George H.W. Bush's former Chief of Staff, are stepping up to raise money for the Senator that was voted the most popular Democrat amongst lobbyists and Republicans in the National Journal's annual poll.

In addition to what I will contribute, it will cost $500,000 to launch this campaign and we need to begin right now. You can make a secure contribution directly to my campaign on my Act Blue page.

Click here for the rest.

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Look--a bunny!

It is so freaking oppressively gray outside, it's hard to get moving. So I decided I'd like to have something adorable to look at. Here you go...

Open thread--talk amongst yourselves.

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My Valentine's Day Surprise

If you spend much time on the "internets", you know that Valentine's Day this year started out under something of a cloud for many of us. Paul Hackett's withdrawal under party pressure from the Ohio Senate race seemed all too familiar to many of us who supported Howard Dean through the primaries. Another party "hit job"--just swell. Less than a week earlier, I had attended the grand opening of Paul Hackett's campaign headquarters in Columbus. The room was *packed*, and even though I personally wanted some questions answered before I could fully support Hackett, clearly a lot of people in that room were working hard for him already. And many more were in the process of signing up. The morning of February 14, I couldn't help but think of those volunteers, and the fact that the very moment that they were enthusiastically committing their labor and love and time and money to the Hackett campaign, people like Chuck Schumer were working in the background to cut the legs out from under their efforts. So what's the point?

This post isn't starting out too upbeat, is it? It gets better, I promise...

Shortly after coming back from from a Ted Strickland event, as I was sitting at my computer to write this post, there was a knock at the door. Demetrius answered it, and came into the office to tell me that it was a box from SusanD. I really had *no* idea what it could be, but quickly opened it to find out. When I opened the box, there were instructions to open the package first (revealing the wonderful quilt you see below) and then read the letter.

You can click the image to see a larger version. The letter started out:

Dear Renee,

This quilt is a physical representation of the appreciation all of us feel at HEP for your efforts in setting up and maintaining the HEP blog site.

Wow! I've been around for a few quilt projects--two for Howard Dean and one for Kimmy's family, but I never dreamed that I would be on the receiving end of one. I am...well, I don't know that I even have adequate words, but for starters, amazed, touched, humbled, grateful...and reinvigorated.

Because, on the note that started this post, politics really does suck. A lot. Why on earth would I *choose* to spend any of my precious free time on something that sucks that bad? Well, as I said earlier, it's Howard Dean's fault. And it's the rest of you too. It's the wonderful community that he inspired, and you all agree with me that politics *as usual* sucks. So we're working together towards something better. Sometimes that seems impossible, but we know that the impossible will just take a little while. In addition to Paul Loeb's work that I just linked, sometimes I draw comfort and inspiration from the idea of the Great Turning.

But that's all very theoretical, and sometimes I just need something tangible to hang on to. Thanks to Susan's hard work and all of your participation, now I have that "something tangible" to remind me that this is all about community. Just like Howard said.

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Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Paul Hackett interview, Part 3

This is the third part of the interview Ohio 2nd did with Paul Hackett, in Paul's Ford truck, outside campaign headquarters, right after he dropped out of the Senate race. I should tell you that I didn't set out to transcribe what turned out to be a half hour interview, and, in fact, the first part I transcribed yesterday, I did some lengthy excerpts but by no means did I take down all of it. But the more I listened, the more I kept thinking this was good stuff, and I wanted people to have the opportunity to read what Paul had to say about these issues. I will tell you up front that while I was initially a supporter, I was troubled by some things he had said, for example, about immigration. So I was hoping to learn more. I was hoping for more of a dialog. A primary, even. Anyway I, along with my husband who got to hear all of this as I transcribed it, was very impressed with the many thoughtful, eloquent responses Paul gave, especially considering the fact that he had been up all night. This is the most impressed we've been with one of his interviews.
Ohio 2nd: Watching you in the special, and watching you in the Senate, the thing that kind of struck me was that, in your heart you were a team player--that you didn't really like buckling against leadership. You started out by reaching out to the county chairs and made a real effort to play ball with everybody. So it kind of struck me as odd for you to be a rebel against leadership in this race.

Hackett: Well, I didn't start off as a rebel--

Ohio 2nd: Right.

Hackett: --in this race, I'd like to highlight. I was, as you know, encouraged by Senator Schumer and Senator Reid to get into this race. And, you may or may not know this, their wives called my wife, and told my wife that she's got to sacrifice and that I've got to sacrifice again for my country. And those are powerful words and pleas to a guy like me. And so, I did feel betrayed. Again, you can call me a crybaby--I'm just tellin' you how I feel--when they removed their support from me and shifted it to Sherrod Brown. Yeah, you bet. I felt betrayed. You know what? I'm a human being. I'm a human being. I bleed like everybody else, I've got emotions like everybody else, and yeah I felt betrayed by that. And struggled with how do we move forward effectively and successfully.

Ohio 2nd: What's your advice to all the people coming back from Iraq right now, working with the DCCC?

Hackett: Continue to work with them, and continue to get whatever support you can get from them, but at the same time most realistically realize ultimately you're on your own. I think that's a relatively fair unemotional appraisal of the reality. I don't think it's hypercritical, but at the same time I don't think it's naive. Work with them, get what you can from them, but realize that on any given day you're ultimately on your own.

Ohio 2nd: Well, how much faith do you put in their word. I mean, this is not the first time I've heard stories of Washington leadership on stuff that they've promised.

Hackett: Yeah...right. How much faith do I put in your word? I think it depends on who we're talking about. I wouldn't give Chuck Schumer--I'll bite my tongue on the next name so as not to hamper his electability--at least in our state, I wouldn't give Chuck Schumer's word the value of more than half a cent.

Ohio 2nd: Okay, back to the 2nd. You've got Jean Schmidt, Bob McEwen, maybe Tom Brinkman--what do you think of the chances of McEwen coming back from the dead?

Hackett: Ahhh, I still would put my money on Jean Schmidt. She will be the Republican incumbant, she does not have the scandal to deal with that Bob McEwen will have to deal with, and she has got Clermont County and maybe begrudgingly Hamilton County Cincinniati business base behind her. And I think since that's where the bulk of the votes are between Clermont and Hamilton County, she will probably survive her primary again. And I don't think Tom Brinkman's got a realistic chance. He will have no connection in the rural counties and has very limited connection in the greater Hamilton County area.

Ohio 2nd: So, are you going to run again? For anything?

Hackett: Um...boy, not today! Again, you know, the interesting aspect about media is, when it's in print, anybody can superimpose their take on the printed word, because they don't hear the facial expression or hear the tone of voice. Some people get spun up about that. I certainly don't have any plans. I don't see a need for me at this point. I don't know how to say it without sounding somewhat disrespectful, and I don't intend it that way, but I'm looking forward to going back to my private life. I really am. And at the same time, if I can lend a voice, particularly in a private capacity, to any of the issues I've spoken about and believe in, I'd be happy to. And if that's gay rights, fine. If that's choice, fine, and if that's second amendment rights, fine. And if that's do away with illegal immigrants, fine.

I mean, I believe in those issues, I continue to believe in them, and if anybody cares or wants my opinion, to share my opinion on those issues. But I've got no plans to run for political office. I'm not a career politician, I've never aspired to be a career politician. I aspired to step into what I saw as a void and answer a call, a very real call, to serve. And that was where my passion was--to serve. It's the same passion that took me into the Marine Corps, it's the same passion that got me into the congressional, it's the same passion that called me to answer the call of Reid and Schumer in the Senate race.

Ohio 2nd: You talked about illegal immigration. Can you elaborate on that, because that's probably the thing that touched off the most heated debate within the liberal wing of things.

Hackett: Man, they've got to get over it. There's 11 million illegal immigrants in the United States and there's nothing good about them. As a group. I mean, it's not a reflection of who they are as human beings. There's nothing good about illegal immigration. It's bad. It's bad for the country. And the country has to work at eliminating illegal immigration. And if we don't, it will continue to act as thumb on the scale of wages . Management's thumb on the scale of wages. It is a bad thing for America. There's nothing good about illegal immigration. It's a different conversation than legal immigration. Legal immigration is 180 degrees opposite from illegal immigration. Legal immigration is the future and lifeblood of America.

So, be honest about it, be mature about it, and accept the fact that there's nothing good about illegal immigration. And it's not a cause that either political party, in my opinion, should be advancing. And it's NOT a liberal cause. Let's work it out. Il-legal immigration. We are the Democratic party--we are for breaking the law? Give me a fucking break! It's bad. It's bad. It's got nothing to do with who you may view illegal immigrants as being. Yeah, they're human beings just like me, well, you know what, we've got starving human beings here in the United States that deserve our attention and support. And we can't be the police of the world and we can't be the hospital of the world, and we can't be the university of the world for free to those who come here illegally. If you want to participate in the American dream from outside our borders, come here legally. That's all I ask.

Ohio 2nd: So what do you do about it?

Hackett: Well, first and foremost you have to rewrite the immigration laws that were drafted in '86, and you have to strengthen the punishment against corporate America that traffics in illegal immigrants, and makes *money* off of illegal immigrants, and whose bottom line profits the rest of us taxpayers ultimately subsidize. And that's got to start first and foremost with increasing the damages and punishments for businesses and corporations that knowingly or have reason to know that they are hiring illegal immigrants. Because that is what continues in part to draw illegal immigrants to our borders.

Ohio 2nd: Okay, look. Ohio is so screwed up--the numbers are so bad for Ohio, and yet the Republicans control everything, and the poll numbers put the Democrats as doing no better than Republicans. What are we missing? What is the Democratic party missing that we're not selling ourselves?

Hackett: Well, I would even go further to say that the poll numbers don't even have the Democrats today keeping pace with the Republicans. And that's the challenge to the Democratic party and the Democratic candidates to have a message, and to meet the challenge of *inspiring* people to participate in that message and adopt that message, and see the light of that message. And then when you get done with that, as a Democrat, go find the Independents and moderate Republicans that it will take to get elected statewide. And if you are incapable as a candidate or as a party in attracting the interest and then developing that interest and exciting that interest, we're going to fail again.

I'm not saying *we are going to fail again*, I'm saying if you fail to do those things, we will surely fail again!

Ohio 2nd: Are you seeing the Democrats doing that? I'm missing it.

Hackett: As a statewide party, no. On the campaign trail, I've seen out there examples of those who seem to me at least to be making that connection, and whether or not they will get the support of the Democratic party statewide behind them in order to get the victory, that's a totally different conversation.

Ohio 2nd: Like who?

Hackett: Sibodh Chandra. And I like Sibodh and I like Mark Dann. I like 'em both and I'm not endorsing. I'm just saying Sibodh is a classic example of a guy who's an outsider, even though he's been elected and has been involved in politics, he's generally viewed as an outsider. Doesn't have a profile that superficially generates the support that my profile superficially generates. And, that's wrong. Because he's smart--again, I'm not endorsing him over Mark Dann--but just by way of example. He's smart, he's articulate, and he's experienced and eminently qualified to be Attorney General. That, again, is not to suggest that Mark Dann is not, but he does not generate the internal party support because he's Indian and therefore the assumption is that he cannot connect in the rural counties, and he's simply not a party insider. So he's not getting the support that he would otherwise receive.

Ohio 2nd: Now, you turn off the microphones and you talk to Democratic insiders, and you ask them about Chandra and Blackwell and stuff like that, and the assumption is that, when you get right down to it, most Ohio voters are racists, and they'll vote based on skin color. And that's the real tactic of how we're going to win and why Chandra would never win. Is Ohio really that racist?

Hackett: You know, I don't think so. I don't really agree with that presumption.

Ohio 2nd: I mean, I've heard it a lot. Am I know only person that's heard it?

Hackett: I don't know. I don't know how then you explain the success of a Ken Blackwell based on that very, forgive me, superficial premise. I mean, he's been involved in local and statewide politics for decades, successfully. So, I don't know. Maybe there's code language involved that I'm not giving credit to. I would hope that Ohio is not that racist.

Ohio 2nd: So you think that when push comes to shove and somebody's as qualified as Chandra and as charismatic as Chandra, if he went before Ohio for statewide office, you think he could do it?

Hackett: I think with a supportive party he could, yeah.

Ohio 2nd: I absolutely do. I mean, it would take a lot of energy, but I think it could happen.

Hackett: He's got it. He's got the energy.

Ohio 2nd: But it's not going to happen.

Hackett: My gut tells me that as well.

Ohio 2nd: He's not getting the support at all.

Hackett: That's my sense as well. I suspect that in the last couple of weeks he's been getting pressure similar to mine, albeit probably not on the same national scale that I've been getting it.

Ohio 2nd: Well, then what can you attribute that to besides racism?

Hackett: I think to go back to the Blackwell example, he's an outsider running against an insider. And again, I'm not trying to cryptically bang on Mark Dann. We've just fallen on this obvious example of an insider versus an outsider.

Ohio 2nd: There's a lot of concern that when the Democratic ticket comes before statewide office, there's going to be a lot of people accusing them of promoting basically White males. Is that going to stick?

Hackett: I don't think so. I mean, I see the superficial conclusion based on who's out there running around. It's certainly one of many conclusions that you can draw. Maybe I'm just being insensitive to it but, I don't think so. I mean, I don't hear that.

Ohio 2nd: I hear a lot of bitterness over the way Mike Coleman was treated, a lot of problems with the ODP party chair, how Stephanie Tubbs Jones was treated, all the heckling at the chair meeting...

Hackett: I did not see that, but now that you mention it, I've heard those same stories too. And I don't know, maybe you've got a point there. I don't know, I've not sat around and analyzed that aspect of it. I've been a little bit occupied these days.

Ohio 2nd: I'm just not hearing the fences being mended, and I think they're very important fences to maintain.

Hackett: I don't disagree.

Ohio 2nd: Any encouraging words for all the incredibly pissed off people on the net?

Hackett: Um, well--they make a difference. And they should continue to participate. And together we *can* make a difference and make a change. We can do it. And, you know, I think the reality is we all play different roles and then sometimes, at least speaking for myself, we don't realize, or I didn't realize, what exactly my role would be. And I'm content with my role if my role was to get people excited and get people in, and to, metaphorically speaking, punch a hole through which others may run. And, if that is what I was able to accomplish, that's it. That's good. That's not bad.

Ohio 2nd: Cool.

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Skullduggery Indeed

I still think this whole deal with Hackett comes down to dollars and sense - Hackett lacked the former so he employed the latter, with a major shove from Schumer et al. It takes money to run a competitive Senate race and Hackett had only raised about $250k. I believe that if Hackett thought he could win the primary and general elections with the amount of funding that he had coming in - skulduggery or not - he'd have told Schumer and Reid to pound sand, probably in those exact terms. Hackett very well may have been able to pull off the primary and general elections, but being that far in the hole on fundraising this late in the game is a problem that I don't think he could have overcome.

Apparently, Hackett didn't either.

Now we can certainly question the wisdom of the DSCC and DCCC anointing whomever they want to run for these seats, but the better approach would be for us to be so mobilized that we can fund and support whomever we want to run for these seats regardless of what the DSCC or DCCC want. I promise you that if Hackett would have had $3 million on hand that he would have told the DSCC where to go and how to get there, but with only $250k raised he was working from a position of weakness. The truth of the matter is that I don't blame the DC crowd for trying to thin the primary field - that's what they do - I blame us, beginning with myself, for not sufficiently backing Hackett so that he could tell them to pound sand. We cannot find ourselves in a position where our interests are dependant upon the good behavior of others - we have to put ourselves in such a position that if anyone threatens our interests we can put foot to hindquarters.

Politics is a nasty business, and we have to prepare ourselves for whatever nastiness the DSCC, DCCC, or RNC brings our way.

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Dean blames party "skullduggery" for Hackett leaving race.

Dean blames party's "skullduggery" for withdrawal of popular Ohio Senate candidate

"MIAMI Democratic party chair Howard Dean says he's not happy that Iraqi war veteran Paul Hackett is dropping out of the race for U-S Senate in Ohio.

Dean told a student audience in Miami that "some skulduggery in Washington" improperly led to Hackett's decision to end his bid. And he said Democrats will have a tough time winning if similar things happen to others.

Hackett was vying with Ohio congressman Sherrod Brown for the Democratic nomination. He said that Hackett was a "great candidate," and that a primary in Ohio wouldn't have hurt the party. Hackett says he's ending his eleven-month political career."

National Committee Chairman Howard Dean, center, signs autographs as he meets with supporters after speaking Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2006, at Florida International University in Miami. Dean called on the United States to reach out to Latin America with programs that encourage trade and reduce poverty. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

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Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Ohio 2nd: Paul Hackett interview, Part 2

Ohio 2nd blog now has the complete audio of the interview with Paul Hackett, as well as the audio from Hackett's interview on the Ed Schultz radio show. Here is part 2 of the transcript of the interview with Ohio 2nd, which took place this morning in Hackett's Ford truck, outside his campaign headquarters.

Ohio 2nd: Compare running for House and running for Senate.

Hackett: Well, you know the House is far less complicated logistics, far less time requirements, far less demands in all regards, monetarily, time wise, so forth.

Ohio 2nd: Did you enjoy it a lot more?

Hackett: Yeah, absolutely. No doubt.

Ohio 2nd: Talk about the primary, the Democrats. You've got Thor Jacobs, Gabby--

Hackett: Gabby, Vic and Jim Parker, of those, obviously the ones I know best are Vic, Thor and Jim Parker. I've heard of Gabby from Milford, I think she's a high school teacher. And I've heard there's other folks getting in. Here's my thought, I think that's important that they're in, and I think the process is well served by their participation, and I think that despite the chorus of people inviting me to get back in that race, or encouraging me to get in that race, I think my participation would be bad. I think it would be bad for the process, because that would deter future people from participating. Because they would see that I'm dampening down their spirit to fight, and I think their spirit to fight is more important than me coming back in.

You know, the regeneration, cultivation, and invitation of people to come into the process I think is preemintently important to the process, and to our eventual success. It's part of the cultivating of a bush league. And I have no idea if one of them will eventually defeat Jean Schmidt, but, then again, I didn't beat Jean Schmidt, and certainly nobody had any idea that I would have or we as a team would have the success however you may define that, in the special election. So, my message would be, let's get behind whomever you support, and then, whoever wins the primary, let's get behind them and give the same or greater level of effort that was given in the special election. And let's try to learn from our special election shortcomings and be successful this time.

Ohio 2nd: What did they put on the table for you to run in the 2nd?

Hackett: Absolutely nothing...absolutely nothing. What did they put on the table?

Ohio 2nd: The DCCC?

Hackett: Zero. I mean that most sincerely. The request was, "Get out of the Senate, to clear the Senate, and come back to the 2nd. And my response was, essentially, whatever I do, I cannot come back to the 2nd Congressional District, for the reasons I just articulated and also, more importantly to me the fact that I told specifically Jim Parker first, Thor Jacobs second, and Vic Wilson third, that I was not coming back into that race. And I'm not trying to create a cliche, or do anything other than the fact of being who I am, and that is, I will not go back on my word to them. And even to those who suggest, "Well, what if they get out, will you get in?" I say that's disingenuous and still bad for the process. Because if they were to get out, they would be getting out under duress and pressure--the same duress and pressure that got me out of the Senate race.

Let them have their primary. That is the process. (Laughing) How can I do to them what Sherrod Brown did to me? How can I do that, and then come out and lip the words "Stand by the process" or "I'm a man of my word"?

Look, people can call me a coward, people can say I'm really not a fighter all that they want to say. But in the final analysis, they cannot say I did not keep my word.

Ohio 2nd: They haven't actually said that to your face, right? This is in bulletin boards--

Hackett: (Laughing) I was up in the middle of the night last night! I couldn't sleep and I read Kos, and I saw the whole spectrum of comments, none of which, including those that flatter me, truly appreciate what is involved in this process. And, you can say what you want, it's a pressure cooker. And if somebody wants to come back and say "You should have stayed in this" or "You're a crybaby", because I saw all those comments, fine. Fine, maybe you're right. Maybe I underestimated it. Maybe I'm a human being. Maybe I've got a family. Maybe I am buckling to the pressure to return to my family and the good life that I've built. And, if that is your summation, I accept that. All I ask is, let me go back to my family, and live my life, and live my private life, and, if I can help in any way, I'm there, and would be willing to help. But understand my sincere commitment to the process and keeping my word. But I am not so committed to that that I feel I have to sacrifice who I am, and sacrifice my family in the process as well. What do you think about that?

Ohio 2nd: Agreed.

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Ohio 2nd: Paul Hackett interview

Ohio 2nd blog has the audio of the first part of a "day after" interview with Paul Hackett. Some exerpts below.

Ohio 2nd: So walk me through--what happened? Last week we were at the opening of your Columbus office. It was a pretty good event.

Paul Hackett: The balance between the friction from within the party to keep me out of this and the impact on me and my family, I just succumbed to. I wish I could give you more politically tough stuff, but you know, it's a lot of force. And you know, walk a mile in my boots yesterday and the preceding weekend, it was awesome.

And I have to look at that, and I have to look at what that spells out for the remaining part of what would have been the primary, and the impact that would have on my staff and my family and on me. And on the Democratic party. I just said I'm not going to give every last ounce of measure of myself when it's no longer invited.

Ohio 2nd: What was the straw? Was it Harry Reid, getting the call from Harry Reid? Was it Tim Ryan, or--

Paul Hackett: It was an accumulation of these phone calls over the last week, and phone calls to donors and host donors across the country. And that in the context of the impact on my family and my personal life. And I just said, one, are we going to be able to be successful, and I came up with a question mark. And two, I asked, what is the cost to continue on, and I know that's a heavy cost. And that heavy cost in the face of the resistance from within the party, I, I'm not going to do it any more.

And you know, look, I'm going to come out worse a month from now, the party's going to come out worse a month from now. The staff isn't going to be any better off a month from now or two months from now, and I said okay, I'll sit this one down.
I think that right now, we need to get through this, and let everybody's emotions and passions die down, and look at what we ulitmately need to accomplish. And, at least in my case, what we need to accomplish is defeating Mike DeWine. And statewide we need to accomplish getting a Democratic governor, and as many other Democrats statewide. And you're sitting right in front of me, but I'm not just lipping that for the sake of lipping it. I may not be saying it with the same level of enthusiasm that I sometimes voice my opinions, but I'm *literally* tired. I've *literally* been up all night.

Ohio 2nd: What do you say to all the people who just say "Screw the party" and "This is just typical Democrats, why should we support them when they don't support us?"

Paul Hackett: Ahhh, well, that's like what I *normally* say. That is an emotional decision, it's an emotional response, and we've got to get beyond that. I mean, look, forgive the football metaphor. There are countless offensive linemen who play football whose names the average observer doesn't know. But they play an integral role in the success or failure of a football team. So I would like to think in a worst case scenario that I and my team and those of us who shared this passion were at least an effective lineman. And we broke a hole through which others will pass through and be successful in 2006, which is ultimately what this is about, which is winning, for the Democratic cause and issues that we hold important. And whether I'm the guy who gets through, or Sherrod Brown gets through, provided that somebody gets through who shares our interests and values, that's what's ultimately important.

And look, I would be feeding you a line of bullshit if I told you that I don't feel pissed off right now at Sherrod and Chuck Schumer, but I've got more in common with them, at least in what I think is right and wrong in this world than I do with Mike DeWine, and his cronies. So, you know, I'm tired, and I'm a little bit pissed, but I'll be over both of those in a day or so. And, I did say it before and I'm saying it even today when I'm tired and a little bit pissed, that if there's something I can do that fits in my schedule, and I don't mean that as some sort of cryptic slam, I'll be happy to do it. But I'll also be honest and tell you, I'm looking forward to going back to my life. And I'm looking forward to coming home.

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Strickland/Fisher Turn Around Ohio

Just a quick post for now, but something more hopeful to focus on for Ohio than the recent threads. Demetrius and I just came back from this event in Columbus. Both Ted Strickland and his running mate Lee Fisher spoke about their vision for moving Ohio forward. The event was held at St. Stephen's Community Center in Linden, a working class neighborhood in Columbus, Ohio. They both addressed the need for a comprehensive, unified approach to turning things around in Ohio, connecting the dots between education, employment opportunities, and making young people more likely to choose to stay here to raise their families.

From the materials we received at today's event:

We know that healthy, happy children are able to learn; that good learners in effective schools become educated adults ready to contribute as workers; that able workers stay where there are worthy opportunities. We know that when good jobs are performed well, for fair pay, we start a cycle of success that builds its own momentum, creating opportunities for new investment, a growing tax base, stable families...everything Ohio has been losing for almost two decades.

Ted Strickland has been both a minister and a psychologist as well as a legislator, and I think that helps him see the big picture and how it's all connected in a way that other politicians might not. (He did this interview at Street Prophets, where I occasionally front page.) At this point, even though there are technically still two candidates in the Republican primary, it is very likely that Strickland's opponent in the general election will be Ken "Diebold" Blackwell. He is quick with the sound bite, easy answers, but the truth is, we know that quick fixes won't work. And appealing to people's prejudices, as he did in promoting Issue 1, may be a good way to motivate his base to get out to the polls, but it doesn't make the lives of ordinary Ohioans any better. It just gives them a scapegoat to distract them for a little while.

I look forward to hearing more from Strickland and Fisher, and to the efforts of the grassroots to help them win this November.

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Oh no, not again

Update: There is a post from Paul Hackett at Blog for America.

Another update, from the DNC blog, Howard Dean's words about Paul Hackett's withdrawal from the race:

As you know, Iraq veteran Paul Hackett left the race for U.S. Senate in Ohio today. In his campaigns, Paul had the courage to stand up and speak out for what he believes in. That is how Democrats will win elections and take this country back for the people who built it. Our country and our party are better off when people like Paul step up and run for office, up and down the ballot, in every election. I also want you to know that it is the policy of the Democratic National Committee not to intervene in contested primaries. We need more people running for office at every level, gaining experience and bringing new voices into our party. I want to thank Paul Hackett for inspiring so many people to be part of the political process, including many of the "Fighting Dems" running for office across the country.

Keep up the fight, Howard

From Chapter 18 of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams
Curiously enough, the only thing that went through the mind of the bowl of petunias as it fell was Oh no, not again. Many people have speculated that if we knew exactly why the bowl of petunias had thought that we would know a lot more about the nature of the universe than we do now.

If you're not familiar with the book, you probably need to read the rest of the chapter to get the context. But it's amazing how there seems to be an appropriate Douglas Adams quote to fit *any* occasion. At least, that's what Demetrius and I think. (Happy Valentine's Day, Sweetie!)

But last night's news of Paul Hackett yielding to party pressure to drop out of the race felt all to familiar to many of us.

listener wrote:
Shame on the Democrats!
This is just like what happened to Howard in Iowa!
Who do they think they are!?!!

And SusanD wrote:
How dare Reid and Schumer tell any candidate they can't run? As long as you follow all the steps and file all the papers, isn't it up to the voters?

It IS Kerry all over again, and this time I'm not playing that.

It is *utterly* recognizable and all too familiar to those of us who supported Howard Dean. And just when I would like to be celebrating what Howard Dean has accomplished in his first year as Chair, and maybe doing a fun post for Valentine's Day, party insiders go and make me feel like *this* again. Once again, I feel like we're being told, "That's cute all the stuff you're doing. You've got such spunk. But you don't count--we make the calls. Now, fall in line, and start writing checks."

Equally predictable is the scolding some fellow bloggers immediately offer when we balk at that "fall in line" part.

There is nothing official on the Hackett blog yet, but if you scroll to "Recent Entries", there are some similar sentiments to what was expressed above in the community blogs.

At least the post Low Turnout Reported at BuckeyeSenate gave me a chuckle.

But, just as fair warning, any fellow Democrats who start *today*, while this injury is still raw, A) extolling Brown's virtues, B) saying it's a good thing that we can "unite" now, or, worst of all, C) chastising us and asking incredulously "Don't you know what's at stake here?", can bite me. And I suspect I'm far from being the only person who feels that way.

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Hackett dropping out

I wasn't sure what to think when I first saw a Kos diary saying that Hackett was leaving the Senate race in this Kos diary: Hackett Quitting Politics, Rips Dems. Wondered if it was just more rumors flying, but it linked to a New York Times article, Popular Ohio Democrat Drops Out of Race, and Perhaps Politics.

Ohio 2nd has this to say, in part:

Since I received word of the story from Paul's campaign manager I'm assuming that it's legit. The final nail in the coffin must have been the getting the call from Harry Reid.

I hope they know what they are doing, because I don't.

Here are some quotes from the New York Times article:
Mr. Hackett said Senators Charles E. Schumer of New York and Harry Reid of Nevada, the same party leaders who he said persuaded him last August to enter the Senate race, had pushed him to step aside so that Representative Sherrod Brown, a longtime member of Congress, could take on Senator Mike DeWine, the Republican incumbent.
"This is an extremely disappointing decision that I feel has been forced on me," said Mr. Hackett, whose announcement comes two days before the state's filing deadline for candidates. He said he was outraged to learn that party leaders were calling his donors and asking them to stop giving and said he would not enter the Second District Congressional race.

"For me, this is a second betrayal," Mr. Hackett said. "First, my government misused and mismanaged the military in Iraq, and now my own party is afraid to support candidates like me."
Mr. Hackett said he was unwilling to run for the Congressional seat because he had given his word to three Democratic candidates that he would not enter that race.

"The party keeps saying for me not to worry about those promises because in politics they are broken all the time," said Mr. Hackett, who plans to return to his practice as a lawyer in the Cincinnati area. "I don't work that way. My word is my bond."

And finally, from Buckeye Senate Blog:
Write Your Message To Paul Here
He worked damn hard these last few months. Leave your comments, I'm sure he reads them.

Maybe I'll write something later. Right now I need to see what it is my bad wolf is growling about, and decide if I need to talk her out of it or not.

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Monday, February 13, 2006

Cheney's Got a Gun

Cheney's Got a Gun by Errorsmith
(click for midi accompaniment)

Dum, dum, dum, Cheney what have you done?
Dum, dum, dum it's the sound of your gun.
Dum, dum, dum, Cheney what have you done?
Dum, dum, dum it's the sound

Cheney's got a gun
Cheney's got a gun
His safety's been undone
Somebody call 9-1-1
What did Big Daddy do?
Looks like this hunting party's thru
White House is getting testy
Their excuses are a little lame
It's not that this is funny -
Now that Cheney's got a gun - He
Ain't takin' crap for outin' Plame!

Cheney's got a gun
Cheney's got a gun
Media frenzy's just begun
Every headline's a shooting pun
Tell me FOX it's untrue.
What did Big Daddy do?
He tried to shoot a little birdie
But, got his buddy in the face
They say this happens when you're hunting
But let me tell you something
Elmer Fudd has got to be disgraced

Run away, run away from Dick Cheney yeah, yeah yeah yeah
Run away, run away from the Chen' yeah yeah
yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah
Run away, run away, run, run away

Cheney's got a gun
Cheney's got a gun
The Veep gonna bag him one
But, Osama's still on the run
What did Big Daddy do?
Looking down his Big Barrel at you
He said to take it easy. The paramedics on his way.
It wasn't such a fun day. We didn't find that out 'til Sunday
'Cause to cover up's the White House way

Run away, run away from Dick Cheney yeah, yeah
yeah yeah yeah
Run away, run away from the Chen' yeah yeah
yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah
Run away, run away, run, run away

Cheney's got a gun
Cheney's got a gun
This song is almost done
Now everybody is on the run
Because Cheney's got a gun
Cheney's got a gun
Now everybody is on the run
Cheney's got a gun

We've got Howard Dean's back!

You have probably heard the expression, "The first casualty of war is truth" or some variation of it. Apparently it is not entirely clear who said this first, but the concept is certainly one that rings true for many of us. And even though George Lakoff warned us against using the expression "war on terror", those words seem to have gone unheeded. George Bush has cast himself as a "war president" (with many in the "mainstream media" acting as his willing accomplices) and the war is an ambigious one without a clear target or end. So with the so called "war on terror", the American people also seem to be on the losing end of the "war on truth".

And "telling the truth" is what gets Howard Dean in trouble, at least in the perception of the people who get their news from the usual channels. That and being "too angry", but recently I saw this headline: GOP's 'anger' strategy has Dems defensive. WTF? When they do it, it's a *strategy*? But when Howard Dean was righteously angry about being misled into an illegal war, he was "craaaaaazy Howard Dean".

Ugh. I'm sick of this. I really am--I'm sick of fighting. And sick of having to fight on so many different fronts, while at the same time trying to keep up with work, family, paying bills, etc. But we can't stop fighting, because that means the bad guys win, and they keep making things worse for the rest of us.

The other day, I wrote a post entitled, Supporting Howard Dean: Why it's personal, and crossposted it several places, including Daily Kos and Booman Tribune. I've linked to those posts specifically because they are the ones that generated a number of positive responses--about Howard Dean giving people hope for the future and for the Democratic party.

Howard Dean could have taken things easy after dropping out of the race for the presidency. Instead, he has chosen to take on what can be a thankless job, often keeping him in a position where he is attacked by both Republicans and those Democrats who think they can score points for "distancing" themselves from him. Yet he continues to speak the truth. It's the same truth that many of us speak in our own living rooms, but we aren't in a position to get our message out to as many people. So, when people attack Howard Dean for telling the truth, they are also attacking us and our values.

I figure if he is going to put himself out on the front lines for us, the least we can do is make sure he's got backup.

So, how do we do this? And how do we streamline our efforts as much as possible? My first thought was that we needed to have some sort of resource center that is easily accessible, which is why I set up this blog. I also have added links to Media Matters and the Rapid Response Network.

What next? Well, the thing that keeps coming to mind for me is site where people can check out various urban legends and find out if there is any truth to them. It would really be useful to have something comparable where we can check in and get the real scoop when people start spouting lies or half-truths about Howard Dean. And, if a number of people participate, the workload shouldn't have to be daunting for any one person.

Thoughts? One thing I know for sure that I need are people to be contributors. At least for starters, all I think we are going to be doing is keeping an eye on the new right wing talking points and media spin that we see being bandied about, and posting the information that fellow supporters would need to respond to that. No writing skills are required, unless you would like to post a letter to the editor that *you* have written to rebut some current alleged "gaffe" of Howard's. But if all you do is link and excerpt an article to say, "Here's what Howard Dean really said--in context!" or "Here's an article that shows what he said to be absolutely right", that's still a big help.

If you're willing to be a contributor, please email me at howardempowered at and I'll send you a Blogger invite.

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The Dean/DNC Anniversary celebration continues

Howard says "Thank you." (Video)

FYI, there's a newer post, about DickCheney, below this one. I just couldn't bear to have that guy's mug at the top of the blog, so I bumped this post back up.

In response to Corinne's post Howard Dean: Promises Kept, New Hampshire Representative Marcia Moody wrote the following.

Photo courtesy of deanocratforever's flickr album.

Yes, Thank YOU Howard Dean. In addition to your list of Howard's accomplishments in his first year as Chairman of the DNC, he also established a Lawyer's Council to investigate voting fraud. He created a Department of Veteran's Affairs all within the DNC. He is truly the most forward thinking man of this century.

I know of no other politician past or present who can equal his record of fulfilling every single campaign promise he ever made, whether as Legislator, Lt. Governor, Governor or as Chairman of the DNC.

As a freshman Legislator, I constantly draw upon him for inspiration and guidance on how I vote. I think to myself, "what would Howard do in this situation?" and then the path becomes clear to me. There are times when the pressure to compromise is almost unbearable. But then I think of the principles for which Howard Dean stands and how he never compromises what he knows to be right, and I know what I must do.
And, of course, thank you, Marcia, for being such an inspiration to the rest of us.

For more anniversary festivities, see Tim Tagaris' Kos diary, Democratic Party: Happy One Year Anniversary Howard Dean.

One year ago today, we officially elected Howard Dean as Chairman of the Democratic National Committee -- and I say we, because it was us. Who would have thought that 365 days later, Chairman Dean would walk into a packed house of state party chairs, executive directors, organizers and other officials to a standing ovation in appreciation of the "State Partnership Program" -- better known as the fifty state strategy.

For the next several days, we will have all kinds of video from state chairs, a personal video message from Chairman Dean to bloggers/online activists, and other assorted goodies in celebration of the past year.

Keep checking in at the DNC Blog.

Speaking of the DNC blog, you can watch Howard Dean's thank you message to bloggers and online activists here.

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Vice President Burr--er, Cheney

From Howard Dean's interview on Face the Nation yesterday:

The President promised two years ago that he would fire the leaker. He hasn't kept his promise. Karl Rove is not only still working in the White House but he has security clearance. Now it turns out that the Vice President of the United States may have been responsible for those leaks for political reasons. That is the kind of thing that is not been done to my knowledge since Aaron Burr was Vice President.

And another similarity between Cheney and Burr has emerged. From the story in The Australian, Cheney to friend: Sorry I shot you:
The shooting is believed to be the first time a vice-president has shot anyone in more than 200 years.

In 1804, vice-president Aaron Burr challenged Alexander Hamilton to a duel and killed him. He was never arrested and even served out his term.

See More Questions Raised About Delay in Reporting Cheney Misfire in Editor and Publisher for details about how the story took 18 hours to become public. I also highly recommend Not a laughing matter at firedoglake.

Update: Just for snicks and giggles, I did an image search for evil Dick Cheney and found this.

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Sunday, February 12, 2006

You Did It! The Bat Is Broken!

Congratulations! The Bat is broken and, as of this posting, it is already $100 past its goal, with an average contribution of over $33 per person. How much higher can we go? After all, we know Howard can put it to good use.

Show your support for our party Chair by donating to the DNC through our own Howard-Empowered bat

Consider this an open thread.

Alternate link for comments.

Afternoon update

For anyone who didn't get to see Howard Dean on Face the Nation, the DNC blog now has the transcript.

jc has a new blog up featuring Mardi Gras designs.

In case you missed these links earlier, I crossposted "Supporting Howard Dean: Why it's personal" at Daily Kos and Booman Tribune. Check out those diaries to see some familiar blog faces.

Oh, and just one more thing...


Show your support for our party Chair by donating to the DNC through our own Howard-Empowered bat

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Shake It Off

There are precious few people on the planet who actually like snakes. Snakes are universally reviled and with good reason - they're treacherous and they're often deadly. Snakes are hated in such a way that in our common vernacular one of the worse things that you can call someone is a snake. A snake is someone who has no character, someone who has no scruples, someone who has no problem with smiling in your face and patting you on the back for the sole purpose of finding out where to thrust the knife. Have you ever had to deal with a snake?

The Apostle Paul had been snake-bitten throughout his ministry in Asia Minor. Five times he received 39 lashes. Three times he was beaten with rods, once he was stoned, three times he was shipwrecked, he spent a night and a day in the open sea, and he was constantly on the move. He had been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from his own countrymen and in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and, above all, in danger from false brothers. Paul was well acquainted with snakes.

So Paul must have chuckled the last time that he was shipwrecked - on Malta - when a snake bit him as he was helping to gather firewood. Everyone thought that he was a dead man walking, but what did Paul do? Paul shook it off. Paul didn't sit around and cry about his fate. Paul didn't kvetch about his perpetual misfortune. Paul shook that snake off before the venom could get into his system. That is exactly how we have to face adversity:

Folks hating on you? Shake it off!

Spouse acting a fool? Shake it off!

Kids acting like Chucky? Shake it off!

Boss treating you like Toby? Shake it off!

Politicians lying to your face? Shake it off!

Player haters trying to take your place? Shake it off!

We cannot sit around and complain about what has happened to us - we have to shake that stuff off and move forward with what God has for us to do. If you look at the text, Paul didn't just shake the snake off of him - he shook it into the fire. You see, not only do we have to get past the problem, we have to solve the problem. Paul eliminated the source of his problem - he didn't just sit around and whine about it, he did something about it. There's an old saying that God helps those who help themselves, and there's some truth to that. We have to get past our helplessness and take care of our own responsibilities. We have to shake off adversity and squash whatever problems hinder us so that we can achieve all of our objectives. That is what Paul did on his way to Nero's chopping block, and that is what we have to do in our every-day living.

May the LORD bless you and keep you;
May the LORD make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you;
And may the LORD,
Who implores you to Shake It Off,
May He turn His face toward you and give you peace.

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Howard Dean: Promises Kept

You've given me enormous responsibility, but it's a responsibility that we share. We can change the party, but only by working together and competing in all 50 states and territories. We can change the party, but only by working together and becoming a national party again. We can change this party, but only by working together at the local level, because if we want to win nationally we have to start by winning locally.

Howard Dean, February 12, 2005

Howard Dean campaigned for the chairmanship of the Democratic National Committee with the same energy, enthusiasm, creativity, and self-confidence that he brought to his campaign for the 2004 presidential nomination. And in retrospect, I believe no other candidate could have done what Howard has been able to achieve in just one year.

In one year, Howard has instilled a renewed spirit and energy to the party that hasn't existed for a very long time. His efforts have positioned the party to be competitive in the 2006 mid-term elections. He is keeping every promise he made during his campaign to head the DNC. He's brought insight and innovation to rejuvenate the grassroots, made a commitment to party community, and focusing on the future.

I would be remiss if I did not recap some of Howard's main accomplishments from the previous year:

  • Raising more than $51 million in 2005 - a record for a non-election year.
  • Traveling to 34 states and territories, while raising $1 million for the states.
  • Launching Democracy Bonds to help fund his 50-state strategy - there are now more than 30,000 monthly donors.
  • Hiring party organizers in 43 states to reinforce the party infrastructure.
  • Investing $7 million to elect Jon Corzine and Tim Kaine governors of New Jersey and Virginia, respectively.
  • Speaking forthrightly about the party and its values.

I didn't know how difficult it would be to put into words what Howard as DNC chair means to me, yet I do know this: I have a voice now because I can say that there is someone in the Democratic Party who speaks for me. I've always called myself a Democrat but never felt any reason to contribute money. Now I do. I've been in Washington, D.C., for 20 years with a ringside seat at this circus called politics. Only now can I say there is someone who I support without hesistation.

Rather than focusing only on short-term goals Howard is leading the party to a better future by refusing to just manage what exists, having a vision for something that does not yet exist, and inspiring people to make it happen.

If you've been inspired by Howard or better yet, moved to act, please show your support for Howard's stewardship of the Democratic Party by donating to the DNC through our bat. Any amount is appreciated: it can be a nice, round number like $20 or a symbolic one, like $20.06 or $20.12. Or make a long-term commitment by purchasing a Democracy Bond. Either way, you can help Howard continue the important work he has set out to do.

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