Friday, February 06, 2004

Google News Democratic Primary Poll for 2/6/2004

  This Week (2/6) Last Week (1/30)
1 Howard Dean 22800 25.3% +3.1 1 19500 22.2%
2 John Kerry 21500 23.9% +4.1 2 17400 19.8%
3 John Edwards 17200 19.1% +0.9 3 16000 18.2%
4 Wesley Clark 13900 15.4% +2.1 4 11700 13.3%
6 Al Sharpton 7630 8.5% +1.5 7 6160 7.0%
7 Dennis Kucinich 7070 7.8% +0.0 6 6910 7.9%

And Joe is outta here! Which, of course, results in another bump of everyone else's shares. With Joe's numbers still included Dean's share stays about the same while Kerry continues to close the gap. Edwards and Clark are still bringing up the rear as also-rans.

Could Dean be out next week? The media still likes to talk about him. But it is all overwhelming dismissive.

The following is a chart of the Google News Media Share over the last few months:

(Methodology: All numbers are taken from the hit counts when searching on the Google News Service for news stories containing each candidate's name. Click on each name to rerun the search. You will get different results as the numbers are constantly changing. I make absolutely no claim that these numbers have any real meaning.)

Thursday, February 05, 2004

Wisconsin or bust

Howard Dean has drawn his line in the sand and it is in Wisconsin. The Deanizens have responded like gangbusters, already donating $425,000 this morning towards a $700,000-by-Sunday goal. This is the highest rate of fundraising the campaign has ever seen.

Some have apparently been complaining about abandoning the Super Tuesday strategy. As Aziz points out over at the Dean Nation blog, this has always been part of the Roy Neel strategy. In order for Dean to have any chance he has to make the big states of Super Tuesday competitive, but that won't happen without at least one significant win in his column before then. Clark and Edwards have the same strategy and drew their lines, respectively, in Oklahoma and South Carolina and won to compete another day.

Now we will see if this will work for Dean.


On one of the Dean mailing lists I belong to some Dean supporters have been expressing the opinion that if Dean drops out and Kerry wins the nomination they will not be voting for him in the Fall. They have said things like that Dean's falls proves that Nader was right that the parties really aren't any different and that its useless to even fight.

I sent the following in response:

Did people really think that taking back the Democratic party would be an easy task? Did they think that, even if Dean got the nomination, that that would mean we got it back?

Taking back the party will be a hard slog that could take years. But it will take even longer if you cut and run at the first sign you aren't getting what you want. That's Naderism to its core.

Dean HAS made a difference in this party even if it doesn't show it at the highest levels. A lot of pundits are trying to say that Dean has given the Dems a backbone transplant so he isn't needed anymore and neither are we (except for our votes and our money).


We are needed to make that transplant real. We are needed to KEEP the party chanting the Dean message UNTIL THEY MEAN IT.

Running away just because Dean didn't get the nomination and just because he got screwed by some members of the establishment (aside: not all Democratic leaders screwed Dean and Dean is not entirely blameless in the troubles he has had) isn't going to help one damn bit!

Taking back the party will be a process that will NEVER end. Even if we get it back it will only be temporary. This is a fight that WILL continue from now until the end of time.

Victory comes in small doses as well as large. D-Day wasn't the first battle of the Allied offensive against the Nazis. Not every victory is a rout. Sometimes they are damn bloody!

Look around at the Dean forces. Within this group, nationwide, there are probably about 20,000-30,000 DEDICATED political activists who weren't activists before this election cycle. Do you think that group is just going to go away? Do you think that group is just going to go back to their idle lives just because Dean doesn't get the nomination?

Hell no! They are going to run for office! They are going to take over city councils and school boards. They are going to run for commissioner, mayor, congressman, Senator and maybe, someday, President.

This is not the end folks. It is only the beginning.

Now get back to work!

Monday, February 02, 2004

Hutton and Kay went to far

Once again I think there is an interesting parallel going on here. In England we had the Hutton report come out with a complete exoneration of Blair on all points and a serious scorching of the BBC. In the United States we have David Kay come out with a complete exoneration of Bush's administration and the claim that their were abused by those rascals at the CIA.

The interesting thing in both of these cases was that the investigating party may have over done it with the exonerations by trying to push the idea that both Blair and Bush are completely innocent parties in this and did absolutely nothing wrong. Even supporters of both governments are a little taken back by that kind of blanket statement and it encourages critics to just stand their and say "Yeah right!" and for many in between to agree with the latter.

In other words, both Hutton and Kay would have served their masters better if they had found some kind of minor thing to slap them on the wrist with. Instead, they went for the complete innocence pronunciation. A verdict that has increased skepticism among the general public and, even worse, within the media.

Media relations

In an interesting post over at the DailyKOS, a Dean staffer who saw what happened on the ground in NH gives his take on what happened. His conclusion is that it wasn't the lack of good organization or a good message that did them in. The Dean campaign had both in spades. The fatal flaw of the Dean campaign was its media relations:

we should have expected this, the media's treacherous turning of the tables. and we should have dealt with it better. instead of doing the honorable thing and getting our back up when the media decided to screw us, the campaign (not the supporters who wrote letters to the editors about the most egregious "picklerizations" of the media, but we in the campaign headquarters) should have taken the neccesary steps to pander to the media. instead of talking bravely about breaking up media conglomerates, which is the right thing to do but suicidal to say so, we should have pandered to the talking heads and pundits and projected "cuddly Dean" everywhere we could, a non-threatening guy who the media can get along with. but alas, we had drunk the kool aid of inevitability and teflon, and believed that the negative media wouldn't defeat us, and that they too would come to a reckoning after we toppled King George. it didn't happen. we were mistaken, and i learned a lesson.

I'm reading a book right now full of advice on how activists can get media attention and how to coddle the members of the media in order to get good coverage. It's a sickening read in a way because everything that the author writes is probably correct and is therefore an extraordinary indictment of just how vapid and useless the media are. The media won't pay attention to you unless you are "interesting". But if you are "interesting" you will also likely get dismissed as being "kooky".

As I told my wife at lunch today, in order to get media attention, you have to go out in front of the camera wearing silly hats. But, if you wear silly hats, people will dismiss you as just someone who wears silly hats and can't be taken seriously.

It's a damned if you damned if you don't situation. Either you play by the medias rules, in which case you get accused of being a panderer who won't say anything if it hasn't been focus-grouped to hell. Or you defy those rules and the media will bury you for being "angry" or "gaffe-prone" or "crazy!"

Or, you just sell your soul to the people who run the media and maybe, just maybe, they will cut you some slack. Just so long as you don't actually try to accomplish anything real.

Coalition politics

If there is one lesson I am learning from the Dean campaign it is that you can have an impact on the political process without necessarily coming out on top when the votes are counted. Democrats in recent years have become so focused on the big 'W' wins that they have lost sight of the value little 'w' wins.

Even if he only represent 20% of the Democrats, Howard Dean can have and has had a powerful influence on the direction of the party. Whoever the eventual nominee is, they will need that 20% to make it across the finish line first next Fall. By staying in the race Dean can keep the pressure on the rest of the party to remain honest.

It's coalition politics. Something that hasn't been practiced in Democratic circles in quite a while.