Friday, January 30, 2004

i know I'm not a superdelegate, but....
an affordable endorsement

I think I've seen enough to make a call, to take a stand, and to encourage anyone who reads this to do so as well. As many of you know, I just got back from New Hampshire, where I was exploring and covering the first Primary of this election. I got a chance to see Kerry, Edwards, and Dean in person. After standing back for this long, waiting and watching, I've made my choice, and I just hope it isn't to late.

I'm endorsing Howard Dean.

Of all the candidates, Dean has the best chance to beat George W. Bush in November. He governed in Vermont as a centrist. Kerry's record in the Senate is to the left of Ted Kennedy. Edwards doesn't have much of a record in the Senate, and he's running for President because he didn't think he'd get re-elected to the Senate.

Of all the viable candidates, Dean has the best blend of charisma and substance. Edwards is all style and no substance, entrancing, yes, but empty. Kerry is terribly, unescapably boring. At Dean's town hall, he presented nuanced arguments in an engaging manner. He made sense.

Dean provides a clear vision and direction for a party that has lost its way. Terrorist attacks, gloablization of corporations, trade, and ideas, and the rise of information technology require a reassesment and realignment of the two major political parties. Both are having trouble making the shift. Bush's "compassionate conservative" vision of the new Republican party is, in practice, jumbled and confusing. Most Democrats, on the other hand, have not even tried to recast their party and principles for the new challenges of the new century. Howard Dean's candidacy and platform provides a clear way forward that positions the Democratic party in the mainstream on the important issues of today and tomorrow. Fiscal discipline and equal rights under law for all Americans are not losing issues.

Dean's wife, Judith, is a powerful and inspiring person, a normal woman, independent and sucessful. In contrast, Theresa Heinz Kerry carries with her the air of Washington wealth and power. This is not unusual or fatal on the campaign trail, but there is something so beautifully radical about Judith Dean's commitment to her practice and intention to continue practicing medicine were whe first lady.

There is so much more to say, but I will stop here, and leave the rest for another time. Right now, I need a favor. The Dean campaign is running a bit low on money. And Dean, not John Kerry, and not John Edwards, is our best hope to beat George W. Bush. So we all need to make a choice. Can we afford to give $20, $50, or $100 to help keep this campaign going?

Because I don't think any of us can afford four more years of George W. Bush.

Thursday, January 29, 2004

i'm sorry.
back in california

I'm sorry that I called NH wrong, expecting a bigger bounce for edwards. I'm sorry that i misspelled every other word i typed for the past few days. I'm sorry I don't have pictures up yet, although they are coming. I'm sorry that the bulk of what I'm writing about the trip will end up in a magazine in a few months, but rest assured most of the content will find its way here early in some form. I'm sorry that joe trippi had to go, but Dean's campaign needed some bloodletting, and the shakeup guarantees some coverage and maybe a new approach by the press. I'm sorry that lieberman ever said the words "joementum," and that you may have had to hear him say it. I'm sorry that I'm so exhausted, and can't write for too much longer. I'm sorry that some of the most interesting things that happened in NH are things that I'm not going to share with you. I'm sorry you couldn't be there.

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

i have not yet begun to fight
countdown to New Hampshire: it's over, dude

two quick things. just saw dean's concession, over bar hubaloo. didn't really hear it, but I caught a few things that made me think that he's got a chance to turn it around and win the nomination. He wore a suit and used the time in front of the country to deliver, effectively, a policy adress. the rhythm of this words, the clarity and mannerism of his delivery, they all make me think that the man might bring in 1-2 million over the next few days. he looked and sounded great and i think this is far from over.

I also talked for a minute to a reporter from florida who finished second to bush in the republican primary tonight. He claimed that the US has invaded syria, citing Jane's Defense Report, and that articles of impeachment against bush will be brought up within the week by the Judiciary comittee. lunacy or a peek into the future? only time will tell. last night's best piece of gossip, that Giulliani will replace Cheney at the bottom of the republican ticket, made it onto fox news today. cheers and goodnight.
oh, I'm doing some long format pieces for tiny magazines you've never heard of
countdown to New Hampshire: all up in the shit

and when I say up in the shit, I mean UP IN THE SHIT. like, fighting my way past joe trippi cause I left my hat in the bar. arguing with joe scarborough. etc. there goes mccauliffe. anyway....

Edwards' stup speech last night: he kinda creeps me out. part of it is his consumate skill at controlling a room. you can tell how well he knows how good he is. and it's all about him, although while you're sitting there, listening, all he's doing is talking about you: "Me and you were on one side of the courtroom and on the other side would be armies of corporate lawyers. [...] and what happened is, I beat 'em, and I beat 'em again, and I beat 'em again. [...] You give me a shot at George Bush, and I'll give you the white house." You know, like the only two people in the room are him and you.

Last night, between the Edwards town hall and the post last night in the bar, we went by Kerry HQ for his talk to his volunteers. Nothing really struck me, positive or negative. Cem mentioned to us the feeling of entitlement he got from the candidate, and I think there might be something to that. One thing is for sure: the organization certainly felt more professional, in contrast to the Dean camp around the back of the same building. Firefighters in their union T's acted as bouncers.

Another great thing about being up here is running into all the lesser candidates. Vermin Supreme, for example, who's paraded through town with a boot on his head and a ram's head on his belt. Chris P. Carrot, a guy in a plush carrot suit, is carrying PETA's hopes on his orange shoulders. more on these guys later. Right now Cem needs to get some work done on his Asia Times article and I want to finde and heckle the guys from The Daily Show. keep an eye out for us on C-Span. apparently we were all over it yesterday.

Monday, January 26, 2004

gin and tonics at the momentary center of the universe
countodown to New Hampshire: -about 10 minutes

back in JDs, looking cheesy as hell rocking the wifi from the bar as the first votes are coming in in dixville notch, NH.
fighting for a drink to my left is this guy.

saw edwards' town hall. pitch perfect reproduction of his other stump stops, and i left feeling just about the same as i did coming in. damn he can speak, controlls the room like a preacher, lets all his applause grow and die on its own, never cutting it off. watch how he runs his thumb across his chin and bares his teeth as the applause carries through the room. this is too cheesy. I'm done.
ain't that america
countdown to New Hampshire: 1 day

Mon., Jan 26th, 1:38. JD's Tavern, Holiday Inn, Manchester NH--
Just came from a Dean town hall meeting in Manchester. Quick notes:

1. the mood was definitely subdued, at least through most of the talk. probably due as much to general exhaustion as to Dean's standing in the polls.
2. Martin Sheen is one of the few people left in this country who can credibly deliver powerfull oratory. I mean, damn, dude can talk. I really liked Gore's eventual concession speech in 2000, it was well crafted and well delivered, but Sheen blows him out of the water. Of course he's an actor, so it follows that he can deliver a line, but he's put in enough time as an activist that you can tell he both understands and believes in what he's saying.
3. The content of the talk was a standard stump speech. Same lines, same delivery. The only aberration was during the question and answer preiod. The last question was about Iran, and the waysin which the US can support the student/democracy movement there. As the question was being asked, a bunch of LaRouche-ies started shouting. First one, then, after he was silenced, another and another. The commotion drowned out most of the relatively nuanced response to the question, the gist of which being that the US can't really vocally support the students, as we would open up the students to charges of being anti-Iranian.
4. Edwards can work the hell out of a room and say nothing. Dean has a LOT of meat in his stump speech, but he doesn't have the charisma to take a crowd where politicians need to take them. Clinton had both.
5. WiFi in the Holiday Inn is greedy.
6. Judy Dean is great. The image of a working wife, a two career family, is more powerful and progressive in person than I had imagined.
7. Kerry/Edwards is the ticket. That's where I'd put my money. Anyone want some of that action?

Tonight, visits to some more campaign HQs. Visited Kerry and Dean's HQs last night. Max Weinberg was kicking it at Kerrys. At Dean's there was this hippy who accidentally spit a huge chunk of donut onto Cem when he came in to tell his supervisor that he'd forgotten why he went into the other room. Cem still has donut powder on his shirt. Later, at 6, to see edwards at his town hall meeting at the palace. Tomorrow, hang out with the kucinich team and try and see the Kerry post-election party. cheers.