Some photos from the DNC Headquarters Opening and the Democrats United Dinner on March 25, 2004
Terry McAuliffe and Richard Gephardt Examining Part of the New DNC Headquarters
The Ribbon Being Cut
Bill Richardson Talking to Reporters after the Ribbon Cutting
Ted Kennedy at the Democrats United Dinner
Howard Dean at the Democrats United Dinner
Dianne Feinstein at the Democrats United Dinner
Joe Lieberman at the Democrats United Dinner
Let's Play, Where's Joe?
Exactly one month after Dean dropped out of the presidential race, he arrived in San Francisco to announce what's next. It was an impressive showing. Over 700 supporters packed the Palace Hotel ballroom. There's no questioning the loyalty of his followers...but we should question the relevance of Dean as we move forward.
He announced the creation of a new organization, Democracy for America (and its corresponding website that apparently collected $15,000 in its first 24 hours). The organization is an obvious attempt to harness the energy from his campaign - but to what end? The progressive agenda he acknowledges on the site is vague at best and his internet campaigning - though innovative - didn't help him at all in the primaries. And though his popularity will remain high in certain circles, he is facing the very real possibility of becoming another Jesse Jackson. An engaging speaker and tireless campaigner who will be paraded out at all the big democratic functions but never attain any real position of leadership in America.
The primary season is over and now John Kerry must fundraise. Using Federal Elections Committee numbers, Open Secrets has posted the amount of donations each candidate received up until Jan. 31. Campaign financing will always involve some “flexibility” but let’s consider these numbers solid. George Bush's campaign has over $145 million and John Kerry's has around $32 million. Those amounts sound like they could buy an entire country.
And, actually, they could.
The CIA World Fact Book lists countries’ Gross Domestic Products, or the value of all goods and services produced within a nation in a year. It turns out our candidates have raised more money than entire countries produce in twelve months. Glancing at the CIA’s list is like looking at a catalogue of real estate possibility!
Bush could buy the island nation of Anguilla, just east of Puerto Rico, where tourism is growing. He’s sure to feel right at home because Anguilla is roughly the size of Washington, D.C. The country is also developing its “off-shore banking” sector, which makes it a perfect place to store all those dollars Bush will have left over. Anguilla’s GDP is listed at the loooooow amount of $104 million! But if the country’s hurricanes and non-potable water turn Bush off, there are the Cook Islands (GDP of $105 million), the Falkland Islands ($75 million), and the Marshall Islands ($115 million). Kiribati, which is worth about $79 million, is a string of coral reefs on the equator, a perfect place to escape the dryness of a Texas ranch.
Kerry shouldn’t feel left out. Right now, he can pick up the French territory Wallis and Futuna (yes, that’s the name of a territory, not a British sitcom). Inhabitants speak a dialect of Polynesian called Wallisian. Sexy! And the country’s GDP is only $30 million, leaving the senator with $2 million to spend, spend, spend. Or, if Kerry brings in just a little more cash, he can combine New Zealand’s neighbor, Niue ($7.6 million), with the sea level archipelago Tuvalu ($12.2 million), and throw in Napoleon’s place of exile, Saint Helena ($18 million) to create an island empire. It's interesting to note that far-outsider candidate Lyndon Larouche could buy Niue, too.
So, what will it be? Take the sure thing and buy a small country? Or gamble all of those millions on winning control of a large, powerful nation in November’s election?
Election day: Renee Manrique of El Cerrito holds a sign reading, "Vote your heart" and a sign for Howard Dean on University Avenue and Shattuck in Berkeley. Motorist honked, waved and gave her the finger.
Emily Duffy, (left), and Vicki Cosgrove on election day, University Avenue near Shattuck, getting the word out for Dean and telling motorists to vote.
Having always wanted to be a weatherwoman, I couldn't help but take a look at the exit polls in CA. So, here's my big analysis (no need to stop the presses on this one): Yes, all the key constituencies voted for Kerry. 74% of Latinos, 73% of union households, 62% of gays and lesbians, large majorities of Jews, Catholics, upper income and lower income -- just about everybody voted for the guy.
But that's not the same as really, really wanting him to win. Of the Democrats polled, 58% said they would have been satisfied if John Edwards had won, and 58% percent of those people were Kerry voters. That's 60% of the voters saying they didn't care much one way or another. Witness the much talked about ABB (Anybody But Bush) vote, a crutch Dems should have been more wary of.
Depending on anti-Bush sentiment -- rather than a dynamic, fresh candidate -- to get out the vote, essentially puts the Democrats at the mercy of factors out of their control. They may wind up spending their time waiting around for tragedies in Iraq, or using all their airtime to put "Yes, but ..."s on the good economic news. Even slight improvements -- or the appearance of improvements -- in either area could moderate the ABB sentiment. Once people start seeing a light at the end of the tunnel, maybe even getting jobs, getting busy again, is John Kerry going to get people to the polls? It didn't happen last night, when only a 35% turnout in CA made it a less than Super Tuesday.
White House officials seemed like weathermen when they announced that the Bush campaign would begin churning out political ads on Thursday. For some time the political pundits have been talking of record amounts of money in Bush's re-election campaign -- all with a similar reverence that old salts pay to the ocean when the sky is red at dawn. Now officials have tracked the storm off Bermuda, and announced that it will make landfall in the next 48 hours.
Political reporting is like being a weather man. Meteorologists talk about low pressure systems that spin counter-clockwise and bring bad weather, upper-level divergences, and peaks and troughs in the jetstream.
Political analysts discuss approval ratings, voting trends amongst different classifications of race, sex, and socio-economic status. Who appeals to the NASCAR dads and who do the soccer moms prefer? Through exit polls they can call an election oh so early. It's a science that makes the eyes glaze over.
Any farmer will tell you that when maple leaves flip over and expose their white undersides -- it's going to rain. So for election 2004, I'm going to disregard the science of political reporting and listen to Norman, my mom's neighbor in Wheelersburg, Ohio.
Like my dad puts it, my hometown is: "Kill a hippie for Christ country." Norman is a former Marine and a retired stone mason who supported Bush/Cheney in 2000. He said the war in Iraq wasn't just, and said that if he was put in the position to fight in the Middle East, he'd rather go to Canada.
When the Democrats unofficially selected John Kerry on "Super Tuesday" primarily based on his ability to beat George Bush, it showed a deep, penetrating dissatisfaction with the state of the nation. Technically speaking, if it got to Norman, then it's widespread.
So the maple leaves have turned and the satillites have picked up the storm. It's a big one. The salts, farmers, and meteorologists all agree on Thursday. But in keeping with Norman, I feel that President Bush will be the one caught without an umbrella.
John Kerry speaks to supporters in Oakland, CA.
Hillary Clinton threw her support behind John Kerry as the Democratic nominee for president in the next election, according to Nippon Television Network Corporation. Let's just hope that an endorsement from Hillary Clinton does not have the same effect as an endorsement from Al Gore...
At rallies, John Kerry gets loud cheers when he promises not to appoint John Ashcroft to his cabinet (well, duh). The wild applause testifies to the power of Democrats' Beat Bush fever. According to tonight’s exit polls by CNN, California voters were infected by the feeling, with 51 percent listing Kerry’s ability to beat Bush as the reason they selected him. Now that Super Tuesday is done, and Kerry is the last man standing, I have to ask: How does John Kerry transmit the fever to the rest of the country?
Why would those indifferent swing voters, the ones who kind-of like Bush, rush to the polls to vote for someone who just promises not to be Bush? Kerry will have to be an inspirational leader to convince swing voters they’re choosing more than the Anti-Bush. He’ll have to make himself look presidential. With the swing voters, he can’t present himself as one of two options. He has to be the only get-yourselves-to-the-polls-immediately option.
Swing voters, though, may not be important for this election. When pollster and former Bill Clinton adviser Stan Greenberg spoke at UC Berkeley recently, he said that both parties are trying to energize their cores. They’re not reaching out to the undecideds; they’re getting the decideds to the polls in November. Currently, the Democrats are galvanized by a hatred of Bush that originates in anxiety over the economy and anger at the war. In order to keep that core motivated, as Greenberg suggests, Kerry will have to pray the stock market stops recovering, the jobs continue to disappear and more people die in Iraq each day, at least until November. Personally, I hope that John Kerry opts to reach out to swing voters, or that he’s not a praying man.
Get ready because on Thursday, the Bush-Cheney campaign will begin airing television ads in 17 swing states. Much like the president himself, the ads will be simple, advocating "steady leadership in changing and dangerous times." It’s a theme Democrats should be prepared for – after all, there’s a reason Republicans are holding their convention in New York. The Big Apple was the background for Bush’s greatest triumph: acting tough in the wake of the terrorist attacks.
But all is not lost. Although Kerry and the Democrats won’t want to run ads until they have an official nominee, MoveOn.org Voter Fund has taken up the fight. As Salon.com reports, MoveOn will “run television commercials in 17 presidential battleground states starting Thursday to counter President Bush's multimillion-dollar advertising blitz.”
It’s about branding. Come November, what will the Bush and Kerry brands mean to voters. Will Bush be synonymous with strength, stability, and family values? Or will he be the lying, friend-of-the-rich, warmonger? Will Kerry mean honor, honesty, and change? Or will he be the liberal stiff with the foreign wife?
The marketing machines are headed towards the gate. It all starts Thursday.
It's only been a few months since the national media covered the gubernatorial recall with great intensity. Tonight, California has received barely a passing mention on the cable news channels. Apparently, Arnold Schwarzenegger's presence in office has not led to sustained interest in Golden State politics.
Dean supporter Vicki Cosgrove stood on University Avenue in Berkeley rallying
passersby to vote for Howard Dean. Even though Dean officially dropped out of
the presidential campaign, Cosgrove and other supporters point out that Dean's
name is still on California ballots.
Dean supporter Vicki Cosgrove waves signs at passing cars on University Avenue and Shattuck, Berkeley, on election day. A crisp wind buffets the mic and Cosgrove's signs.