Friday, October 29, 2004
Madison Rally Thursday
85K See Kerry in Madison
I remember canvassing to drop literature for Kerry off last December in Iowa to try to coax caucusers out to see Sen. Kerry at a local senior center. We were hoping to have 75 to 100 folks there that night. How times have changed!!!
Contrast that to Thursday in Madison, just unbelievable! College kids hanging out of the windows at the rally, people as far as I can see, thousands of Kerry signs doing the wave, what an experience the rally near the capital was to see.
The national Kerry advance team called us a week before the event to try to pump up turnout from the Chicago area. At the time, they had hoped a showing of 40-50k would make the national news. Instead a whopping 85k turned out...
On Thursday, I got interviewed by Channel 5 (to air on Monday) when I was helping out as people were leaving the Democratic Party of Evanston. Hope I sounded okay...
The ride up I-90 was one IL car with Kerry bumpers stickers after another. We were about forty feet from the stage and had to go through metal detectors to get there. See the pic.
Anyway, when you looked back up State Street to the Capital building, it was an amazing sea of humanity. Awe inspiring to put it mildly.
The thing that kills me about the rally was how the media reported it. Every report keep saying Bruce Springsteen turned out the crowd. What a load of horseshit! The applause for Kerry was thunderous especially when he served up the red meat for the crowd. People were glad to see Springsteen, but hell no one drove from Chicago to see the Boss. Why is it the media refuses to believe that swing state voters could actually like Kerry? Even Salon.com keeps promoting this type of focus.
Enough ranting, the excitement and momentum were in the air. Kerry's best line was, "This President looked you in the eye during the debates and said how hard it was, how hard it was. (Mockingly) Well help take a burden off this President on November 2nd, send me."
I'll be coordinating Illinois for Kerry volunteers coming to Wisconsin in Madison this weekend. The final ground wars have now started!
Tuesday, October 26, 2004
Who the Hell is Daniel Dannison?
"We looked at states closest to us and said: In which one can we make the most difference?" Dannison said. "It looked like the biggest fight closest to us would be Wisconsin."
So began the bus trips.
Starting in September, the Kerry supporters have gathered each Saturday morning in Evanston and Chicago to file onto buses and into cars.
Under instructions from Democratic campaign workers in Wisconsin, the volunteers have traveled to Milwaukee, Racine, Kenosha, New Berlin, Beloit and Madison, where they have worked the phones and gone door-to-door dispensing to Democrats applications for absentee ballots. Last Saturday, the volunteers began encouraging Democrats to vote early.
An Exchange with My Friend Brian Greene
I actually feel better than yesterday. Looking at the current electoral vote indicator. Bush has 285 electoral votes to Kerrys 247 with 6 tied. However if you consider the states where the lead is less than 5% as tossups Kerry is leading 217-199.My response: I think your analysis is correct. Kerry never went for a popular vote strategy, hence why he didn't pander to the base as heavily as other candidates in the primaries. Instead he tried to stay centrist, hence why his numbers aren't as good in many solid blue states.
The basic scenario still stands that for Kerry to win he must win two of the three big tamales (PA, FL, and OH) as well as two of the three midwest battlegrounds (MN,WI,IA). I don't see how Kerry can fail to win four of the six states including two large ones and win electorally.
Bush wins if he can just take Florida along with two of the three Midwest battlegrounds.
However even if Bush carrys Florida and Wisconsin while Kerry wins the other four big prizes, he can still win electorally if everything else falls into place for him. If Bush carrys Florida, Wisconsin, Arizona, Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico, Arkansas, Virginia, Colorado, and West Virginia, he will be re-elected.
Kerry's liability in the electoral college is that Bush leads 162-67 in states with a 10 point or greater margin. Kerry has a lot more states that aren't blow outs to defend. There is much less room for error with the Kerry campaign.
Some might call it risky to not ignite the base and play to the swing vote. However, I disagree. Democrats really have no other option to win given that the Electoral College is so skewed in favor of a Republican (due to small states).
Freshpaint – I4K Canvasser and Blogger
Perhaps the most memorable moment occurred when two buses covered in Kerry-Edwards paraphernalia and loaded with chanting volunteers drove right past a befuddled-looking Alan Keyes in downtown Chicago. (Yes, this actually happened. But he looked like he was used to hearing deafening "Obama! Obama!" cheers everywhere he went!)Poor Keyes, he just always seems to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. LOL!
Monday, October 25, 2004
My latest letter to the Editor
When President Bush refused to listen to General Shinseki and others advice on the troop levels needed to win the peace in Iraq, he recklessly endangered American troops. We have now found out there were nearly 380 tons of dangerous HMX, RDX and PETN explosives stored at al Qaqaa that have disappeared. Why did George Bush and Dick Cheney feel the need to protect Iraqi oil fields, but not military depots filled with highly explosive material perfect for roadside bombs? These explosives are now being turned on civilians, American troops and the fledgling Iraqi police.
In this time of great danger, Americans have an important choice to make. George Bush's refusal to not recognize and learn from his failures means he’s doomed to repeat the same mistakes. Can we really afford four more years of George Bush's "leadership?"
Rowboat Veterans for Truth
Thursday, October 21, 2004
Bush Had a Chance to Get Zarqawi
Kerry gave a speech today that needs to be in the headlines. If it gets in the headlines, Bush's credibility on terrorism is destroyed.
"Before the Iaq war, Zarqawi was operating out of a no-man’s land in North Eastern Iraq, next to territory controlled by America’s Kurdish allies, not by Saddam."
Our military had three separate plans to attack Zarqawi, but "the administration feared destroying the terrorist camp in Iraq could undercut its case for war against Saddam."
Tuesday, October 19, 2004
Return to Davenport
One of my proudest days to date was Caucus day. Jim Spenser the field director in Scott County had assigned me a non-viable precinct with no precinct captain. My precinct was also in the strong Gephardt leaning Steelworkers union hall; a task I later found out was given to me due to my size in hopes of mitigating the "home court" advantage.
On caucus morning after an hour of visibility in the freezing cold, Jim gave me a list of 400 possible caucusers in the precinct and told me to cold call, find a precinct captain, and told me we need to escape with at least 1/6th of the delegates. To make a long story short (but great over beers), I cold called everyone on my list, found a captain, and left with 3/6 of the delegates. (Did I mention former blogger Dan Conley was the Edwards captain?)
But last Saturday, the return was thrilling as I was able to lead one of the Illinois for Kerry buses on the long trek to Davenport, IA. Talk about returning with forty-five of your best friends. Our canvass gave Scott County a first, better numbers than Des Moines for weekly contacts made. To read more about it, see my entry on the ChicagolandforKerry blog.
One more thing, the Davenport office put us in an Independent swing area that they considered a “tougher” area for Kerry. We were closing Kerry supporters three to one over Bush supporters. The main answer, “I watch the debates, and Kerry was...” It really feels like “Deja Vu,” when in the final weeks leading up to the Caucus we could feel the momentum coming toward Kerry despite the media’s best efforts to count him down and out.
I4K Storms Iowa (Yup, we ride in style)
Monday, October 18, 2004
The Congressional Black Caucus' Unwelcome March on the White House
Most folks know that I am a strong supporter of Rep. Jan Schakowsky. She understands and empowers grassroots activism in her district without ever feeling threatened like many other politicians. The result? She continues to increase her margin of victory in each election, plus has created an environment where progressive advocacy flourishes and spreads outside her district. If only other Democratic safe seaters worked like her, we would take back state legislative seats all over the country.
Anyway, enough of my Jan praise... Here is a story I heard her tell multiple times about the "meeting" Bush had with the Congressional Black Caucus in the White House.
The Black Caucus (plus Jan, as one of the minority leaders) literally marched on the White House and demanded to see the President over the crisis in Haiti. The White House said the President was busy and could not see them. Not to be deterred, the CBC+JS protested and said they were "not leaving until the President saw them."Was Kerry right in spirit to say that Bush had not meet with the Congressional Black Caucus? I'll let you be the judge.
At some point, the White House decided they just might be serious and sent Condi Rice out to talk to the group. (My thoughts: I can just see it, Andre Card must have said, hey grab one of "our" African-American folks to come out and talk to them. They'll be able to understand them.) Anyway, after a cordial meeting, the CBC+JS said thanks, but we aren't leaving until "we see the President."
After more confusion in the White House, they decided to send Colin Powell out. (My thoughts: no commentary needed) Again a cordial meeting with the CBC+JS saying thanks, but we aren't leaving until "we see the President."
To finish the story, finally they pressured the President into coming out and having a quick meeting with them. Jan, obviously didn't get into the details of the meeting, but this was the meeting where the funny Obama incident quoted in several other blogs and newspapers occurred.
For those who don't know this story, it happens after the meeting when Bush was shaking hands with the CBC+JS. He looked at Jan's Obama button and stepped back in horror. Jan figured out after a second that Bush thought her button said, "Osama." She stepped forward to the President and stated, "Obama, Mr. President. Barak Obama, he is running for Senate in Illinois." To which Bush mumbled something to the effect of "I don't know him" with Jan wittily responding, "Oh, you will soon Mr. President. You will soon."
Wednesday, October 13, 2004
Gringrich in da House
Now after this debate, I don't think there is any question the tired old "Massachusetts liberal" label is not going to work. I don't think after Bill Clinton's centrism and Bush's radicalism, the word "liberal" strikes fear into the heart of the average swing voter. Those days are gone... Although, give Kerry some credit, despite the war chest used against him, he has done a good job not allowing himself to be fatally defined.
My Attempt at Media Spin Helped by the JK Volunteer Center
While it would be a gross overstretch to compare the latest Presidential debates to the Lincoln/Douglas debates of old, the debates were a refreshing reality check that helped break through the obscuring smoke of the campaign. After the most expensive Presidential campaign ever waged, where misrepresentation was rampant and personal attack ads masked the issues, the choice between the candidates has never been clearer.
John Kerry, who had been portrayed as weak and a flip-flopper in millions of dollars of campaign ads, left no doubt that he has the strength and character Americans need in a commander in chief. George Bush's simple sloganeering and continued pretending that problems don't exist, proves he refuses to level with the American people. Kerry's well-reasoned arguments and steady demeanor contrasted with Bush's annoyance at tough questions left no doubt that not only does John Kerry understand the seriousness of the challenges faced by the American people, but he is eager to accept the difficult job as President.
So I applaud our American ritual the debates. After all serious times require a serious President, not 30-second ads and a soundbite.