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Friday, October 10, 2003

Gephardt has won the endorsement of yet another union, bringing the total up to 18 unions and 4.8 million members. This one is the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), one of the five largest unions in the nation with 1 million members nationwide and 14,000 in Iowa.
--Posted at 5:36 PM | link

Amy Sullivan and Jake Rosenfeld of The American Prospect argue that Wesley Clark has a better chance of winning over black voters than Howard Dean. Dean comes from a privileged background, and was the governor of a state where blacks are one-half of one percent of the population. Many of his positions, such as support for civil unions, opposition to gun control, and fiscal conservatism, are not likely to be popular among blacks. Clark's potential support among blacks is still unclear, but the fact that he comes from the armed forces, which Sullivan and Rosenfeld call "probably the most integrated working environment in the United States," might help him. Like Bill Clinton, Clark comes from Arkansas, and can talk about witnessing integration first-hand. Although it's tough to predict Clark's appeal to black voters at this point, Sullivan and Rosenfeld argue that his opportunities are better than Dean's, at least if it comes down to a Dean-Clark race.
--Posted at 11:34 AM | link

The American Prospect discusses the unhappiness of libertarians with the Bush administration. Libertarians have traditionally voted Republican, overlooking the party's views on many social issues and instead supporting them for their "small government" economic ideas. But thanks to Bush's foreign policy, the PATRIOT Act, and anti-libertarian economic policy, this is starting to change.

While some libertarians like Clark's chances against Bush, only Howard Dean -- with an "A" rating from the National Rifle Association and a vocal throat against the recent Iraq War -- has a shot at broad libertarian support, many in the movement say.

"If Howard Dean got the Democratic nod, I'd vote for him in a heartbeat," says Julian Sanchez, a former Cato employee now with Reason magazine.

"I have run for Congress 3 times as a Libertarian . . . [but I'm] supporting Howard Dean for President, and I have recruited other Libertarians to join me," writes Gene Berkman on a pro-Dean Web site. "I don't agree with Dean on everything, especially his opposition to tax cuts, but stopping the warmongers is more important."

All of this may be interesting in the fall of 2003. But holding on to libertarian true believers until the fall of 2004 (if Dean makes it that far) could be tough for the former governor's campaign. [Cato Institute senior editor Gene] Healy, for example, was feeling fairly warm and fuzzy about the doctor -- until Dean came out in favor of sending American troops to Liberia.

Other issues -- extending health insurance or privatizing Social Security, for example -- could derail a potential alliance with Dean as well, especially if he keeps up the left-wing boilerplate he's been spilling on some of his Democratic primary audiences.

I don't know if it's going to happen, but a mass defection of libertarians to Dean would send a strong message to Republicans, and shatter the illusion that their party stands for "small government." As far as I know, Dean has never actively courted the libertarian vote in this campaign. But Dean will have a tough time keeping the libertarians on board while still appealing to the Democratic base. Still, it's quite a feat for a Democrat to be seen by libertarians as the lesser of two evils this time around.
--Posted at 1:05 AM | link

The nine Democratic candidates debated in Phoenix, Arizona on Thursday. Here are a handful of post-debate articles, from the New York Times, Associated Press, Washington Post, and Slate. The Associated Press also has a separate article with excerpts.
--Posted at 12:44 AM | link

Thursday, October 09, 2003

According to the Washington Post, Clark's campaign is planning to use an "unorthodox approach" to win the nomination. Instead of focusing on the early primary states of Iowa and New Hampshire, where his rivals have been campaigning hard for months, Clark will campaign in states with February primaries. The theory is that even if Clark doesn't do well in Iowa and New Hampshire, he can still present himself as more "electable" than the winners of those primaries.

This was one of the issues that split Clark's grass-roots supporters and the "insiders" and led to the resignation of campaign manager Donnie Fowler. Fowler believed that an intense focus on two or three states was better than an attempt to cover all fifty.

The Post also reports that Clark is returning money, paid to him for several speeches, that might have been given in violation of federal election laws.
--Posted at 11:56 AM | link

With Bob Graham out of the way, the other Democratic candidates are pouncing on his home state of Florida to raise money.
--Posted at 11:22 AM | link

Wednesday, October 08, 2003

Kerry Accuses Dean of Liking the Yankees

BOSTON - Massachusetts Senator John Kerry is again challenging presidential rival Howard Dean's allegiance to Red Sox Nation.

With Boston preparing to face archrival New York in the American League Championship Series, Kerry said Tuesday that if New York beats Boston in the best-of-seven series that begins Wednesday, he'll send New England clam chowder to Dean's campaign. He wants Manhattan chowder from Dean if Boston wins.

Kerry last month accused Dean, the former Vermont governor and current front-runner for the Democratic nomination, of being a Yankees fan.

Dean, a New York native, called the accusation insulting, and insisted he backs Boston.
The sad thing is, I know some people who might actually vote on this issue.
--Posted at 8:24 PM | link

Daily Kos posted a link to an open letter from one of the key figures in the internet-based Draft Clark movement. It highlights the deep split between the draft movement and the "insiders" who want to run the Clark campaign.
By the time you read these words, the bell will be tolling for Wesley Clark's candidacy. It will be clear across the country that the campaign of Wesley Clark is nothing more than the Gore campaign with a better candidate - this will mean that activists, the people who can create a field organization that can win Iowa and New Hampshire, will know that this campaign is nothing more than a media creation.

This is the defining moment for the Clark Campaign. Either he will show he can take charge, or he will be forever branded a tool of insiders, unable to understand the enormity of the task. A man who cannot fill a campaign, cannot fill a cabinet. A man who cannot run a campaign, cannot run the government. A man who cannot obey the law, cannot uphold the law.

Donnie Fowler - respected campaigner, son of legendary Don Fowler - has been forced out. He was forced out because people would not come forward and tell the truth, and instead cowered and waited, even though they knew what was going on to be wrong. We were not there for him, and he is now no longer there for us.

It is crisis that makes men into statesmen, and separates leaders from followers. What must be done now is swift and dramatic action: it must be made clear that Clark is not a follower of the old politics and can step forward and staunch the bleeding. This is because the resignation makes all of the small irregularities and missteps of the campaign count as problems, and they will be brought forward. People here who think that this is the end of Clark's problems are deceving themselves. Now that the recall is over, and the spy flame has died down - a new news cycle has started, and Clark is on the menu. If he does not meet this head on, he will be swamped by every single error made. The man who runs as Mr. Clean, must, in fact be clean. Clark must prove he can run his campaign, the way he runs his mouth.
There's a lot more.
--Posted at 4:29 PM | link

Tuesday, October 07, 2003

Wesley Clark's campaign manager, Donnie Fowler, has quit the campaign.
Donnie Fowler told associates he was leaving over widespread concerns that supporters who used the Internet to draft Clark into the race are not being taken seriously by top campaign advisers. Fowler also complained that the campaign's message and methods are focused too much on Washington, not key states, said two associates who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Spokesmen for the campaign declined to comment.

Fowler has been at odds with communications adviser Mark Fabiani of California and policy adviser Ron Klain of Washington. All three are veterans of Al Gore's 2000 presidential campaign, part of a large group of Clinton-Gore activists hired by Clark as he entered the race Sept. 17.

From the start, there has been tension between the campaign's political professionals and the draft-Clark supporters, many of whom consider computer-savvy Fowler their ally.

Fowler has complained that while the Internet-based draft-Clark supporters have been integrated into the campaign, their views are not taken seriously by Fabiani, Klain and other top advisers, many of them based in Washington. He has warned Clark's team that the campaign is being driven from Washington, a charge leveled against Gore's campaign in 2000 even though its headquarters were in Tennessee. Clark's headquarters are in Little Rock, Ark.
Daily Kos has comments.
--Posted at 8:46 PM | link

Monday, October 06, 2003

Bob Graham has become the first Democratic candidate to drop out of the presidential race. CNN has the video of his announcement on Larry King Live.

UPDATE: The other Democratic candidates respond.
--Posted at 11:30 PM | link argues that a Schwarzenegger victory in California might hurt Bush rather than help him. First, Schwarzenegger will have a very difficult job ahead of him, and if his performance is disappointing, he won't be in a position to campaign successfully on Bush's behalf. Second, Schwarzenegger is surrounded by scandals related to his womanizing and past admiration for Hitler. Even if Schwarzenegger wins, these scandals will stay with him and hurt Bush by association if the two campaign together. Even one of Bush's senior advisors is quoted in the article as saying, "I don't think he would help, and I don't think he would hurt." This concedes at least that in a Schwarzenegger-run California, Bush won't get the traditional boost from having a governor of the same party.
--Posted at 12:43 PM | link

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