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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Something to Do

Summer is almost here. Summer of 2008.

While we do not yet have a nominee for certain, I think we can say with a high degree of confidence that Senator Obama achieving a majority of the overall pledged delegates in Kentucky last Tuesday will prove to be, ultimately, what secured him the nomination of the Democratic Party in 2008. This was, and always has been, as both candidates and their surrogates agreed at the outset, a contest for pledged delegates.

The thousands of you who played a role in that achievement, that majority, deserve a massive round of appreciation and praise.

Now's when the hard part begins...


Some of us were here on the internets blogging in 2003 and 2004. (Many more were readers and have since joined the discussion.) Those were different times.

To be a Democrat in 2003 was to have watched in successive election years (2000 and 2002) our party lose ground despite the hard work of so many good people with solid values and amazing ideas. 2004, we felt, was going to be different.

Some of us supported a guy named Howard Dean. Some of us supported a guy named Wesley Clark. Many fewer of us supported candidates like John Kerry, or John Edwards or Dennis Kucinich (whom I voted for in the CA primary in 2004). A very, very few of us supported Dick Gephardt.

Yep. That was me.

2004, ultimately, proved to be a massive disappointment for us. It ended up being a year on par with 2000 and 2002. And, yes, that sucked.

But something happened in the aftermath of that loss, something different from what had gone on in 2000 and 2002. As a party and as a blogosphere, we matured and we rallied, and, yes, we came together and renewed our engagement instead of having a pity party and disengaging or giving up.

We changed. And as we changed, the times changed with us. Our hard work paid off, and we redoubled our effort.

Howard Dean became the Chairman of the DNC.

George Bush failed in his attempt to privatize Social Security. Conservatism failed in its response to the natural and, then, man-made disaster that was Hurricane Katrina. And we here in the netroots rallied.

We formed local blogs. We supported long-shot insurgent candidates. We got organized locally. We believed. And in 2006 we worked our asses off for change.

And we won.


2008 is the natural consequence of all that hard work.

We have a candidate, Barack Obama, who...while different from Chairman Dean in some respects...is similar to Howard Dean in key areas. Both opposed the war from the beginning and both are firm believers in the greatness of what we can achieve when we organize ourselves at the grassroots level; both men are rooted in the 50 State Strategy as the most powerful way to grow the Democratic Party and enact the reforms we seek.

You have the power is the natural corollary to change comes from the bottom up.

This has been a grassroots campaign for the nomination, and, if things go as they seem to be headed, 2008 will mark the first grassroots campaign for President.

We in the netroots have a role to play in that.


I want to make a simple invitation tonight.

In the coming weeks I'll be letting you know all the various ways you can maximize your effectiveness this summer and fall whether on behalf of the nominee of our party or working for a candidate downticket in a local race.

For right now, I'd like to highlight two tools that you can sign up for and learn to use in ten minutes. Both of these tools relate to Barack Obama and his campaign, but the basic principle behind them applies to any campaign in any locale.

First, if you haven't already, I'd encourage you to sign up at MyBarackObama.com, or MyBO as they call it in the campaign.
MyBarackObama.com is the social networking wing of the campaign. It's where you can blog, where you can find friends, and where, most importantly, you can get linked up with other folks who support Barack Obama who live near you so that you can take action together.

For now, I'd like to invite you to join me and a bunch of other readers of DailyKos.com at MyBarackObama.com. You can do this in three easy steps:

1. You'll have to sign up.

2. You'll have to search for and join a group called Kossacks for Obama. (You should also enter your zip code and join a group near you.)

3. If you're willing, you can also be my friend! (Hint, my name is Paul Delehanty..User 276 on Page 12 of Kossacks for Obama...search for me, I should be easy to find.)

Once you've done all that, you will have begun to use a tool we didn't have in 2004. Social Networking, or what some people call Web 2.0, is a way for you to have your personal space within the campaign to make Barack Obama our next President.

You can blog, you can fundraise, and, most importantly, you can link up with likeminded people near you and all over the USA and abroad. Currently, I only have 1 friend. You can help me change that, too!


Social networking is a big deal. It's actually, and I'm not bullshitting here, our best hope of building the kind of network we need to build in one summer and fall to make victory in 2008 not just a possibility, but a overwhelming likelihood.

We need to be registering voters and getting folks plugged in...now. You can help with that...and I intend to write diaries that show you how.

Now, for the second thing to do.

This is really easy. It's more simple than anything you'll do all week.

I'd like to invite you to join an open Google Group, a listserv, called Netroots for Barack Obama. There's 122 of us there. I think we should try to double that.

A listserv is a powerful tool. Yes, it takes learning how to set your email browser to forward the messages into one folder...or subscribing to a daily digest instead of receiving every email as it's sent. But, once you've got the hang of it, a listserv like the Netroots for Barack Obama google group is an extremely powerful way to stay connected to what folks who support Barack are thinking and doing day to day.


That's it.

That's all I'm asking you to do this weekend. It will take ten minutes.

However, in those ten minutes you will have signed on to use two tools that we did not have in 2004...the Google Group and the Social Networking Site.

With those two tools...in addition to reading your favorite blogs...you will have plugged yourself in to something powerful.

And that's the point. That's how we will make change in 2008...by coming together and getting organized. We could have given in and folded up the towel in November of 2004...we did not. In 2008, it won't be easy. We have a long summer and fall ahead of us. But, this time we've made a commitment to each other that it will be different.

We've learned, we've grown and we're ready. We know what's possible. We don't know yet what we will attain. There's more I'm going to tell you about down the road.


Monday, May 19, 2008

Bush / McCain, McCain / Bush, Bush McSame

Brilliant stuff from Josh Marshall and TPM:

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Don't miss NC coverage tonight from Pam

of Pam's House Blend.

Is it just me...

Is it just me, or has the Washington Post online had something, or, uh, two or three or four things, up on their front page about Reverend Wright non-stop for ten days?

Today's WaPo Wright headline courtesy of Dan Balz.

(And Richard Cohen has to get a parting shot in today, as well.)


I read the WaPo Front Page twice a day and their obsession with Wright has been over the top.

Monday, May 05, 2008

the Judgment of Howard

I wrote months ago comparing the current demographic situation in the Democratic Party to the Judgment of Solomon where two women go before the King each claiming to be the true mother of a child and the King suggests cutting the child in half and each mother taking part.

The true mother relents and cedes out of love and maternal passion for her infant, and the King, satisfied he has found the true mother, orders the infant given to her whole.

Of course,we are in just such a situation now, if you'll forgive the literary metaphor. These polls spell that out on some level. The true mother has been apparent since Iowa.

One wise commenter in that thread on dailykos, however, made an interesting point about the actual historical moral of that tale. As well as being about maternal love, the Judgment of Solomon is a story about how Solomon unified Israel by bringing a sword at a crucial moment, forcing a decision about Israel's future and his own leadership.

Who loves the party more? Who is reaching out to bring us together? Which campaign has sacrificed and worked to bring us together, has worked to lay the foundation of the future of our party? Which campaign best represents the future of the Democratic Party?

It took the metaphorical sword of Solomon to move the competing factions within Israel to unify: and, yes, for that to happen, one side had to win and the other had to lose. Israel had to unify under Solomon's leadership to move forward.

That was Solomon's judgment, too.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Moyers: "Beware the Terrible Simplifiers"

May 2, 2008
BILL MOYERS:Welcome to the Journal.

I once asked a reporter back from Vietnam, "Who's telling the truth over there?" Everyone he said. Everyone sees what's happening through the lens of their own experience." That's how people see Jeremiah Wright. In my conversation with him on this broadcast a week ago and in his dramatic public appearances since, he revealed himself to be far more complex than the sound bites that propelled him onto the public stage. Over 2000 of you have written me about him, and your opinions vary widely. Some sting: "Jeremiah Wright is nothing more than a race-hustling, American hating radical," one viewer wrote. A "nut case," said another. Others were far more were sympathetic to him.

Many of you have asked for some rational explanation for Wright's transition from reasonable conversation to shocking anger at the National Press Club. A psychologist might pull back some of the layers and see this complicated man more clearly, but I'm not a psychologist. Many black preachers I've known - scholarly, smart, and gentle in person -- uncorked fire and brimstone in the pulpit. Of course I've known many white preachers like that, too.

But where I grew up in the south, before the civil rights movement, the pulpit was a safe place for black men to express anger for which they would have been punished anywhere else; a safe place for the fierce thunder of dignity denied, justice delayed. I think I would have been angry if my ancestors had been transported thousands of miles in the hellish hole of a slave ship, then sold at auction, humiliated, whipped, and lynched. Or if my great-great grandfather had been but three -fifths of a person in a constitution that proclaimed, "We the people." Or if my own parents had been subjected to the racial vitriol of Jim Crow, Strom Thurmond, Bull Connor, and Jesse Helms. Even so, the anger of black preachers I've known and heard about and reported on was, for them, very personal and cathartic.

That's not how Jeremiah Wright came across in those sound bites or in his defiant performances this week. What white America is hearing in his most inflammatory words is an attack on the America they cherish and that many of their sons have died for in battle — forgetting that black Americans have fought and bled beside them, and that Wright himself has a record of honored service in the Navy. Hardly anyone took the "chickens come home to roost" remark to convey the message that intervention in the political battles of other nations is sure to bring retaliation in some form, which is not to justify the particular savagery of 9/11 but to understand that actions have consequences. My friend Bernard Weisberger, the historian, says, yes, people are understandably seething with indignation over Wright's absurd charge that the united states deliberately brought an HIV epidemic into being. But it is a fact, he says, that within living memory the U.S. Public Health Service conducted a study that deliberately deceived black men with syphilis into believing that they were being treated, while actually letting them die for the sake of a scientific test. Does this excuse Wright's anger? His exaggerations or distortions? You'll have to decide or yourself. At least it helps me to understand the why of them.

But in this multimedia age the pulpit isn't only available on Sunday mornings. There's round the clock media — the beast whose hunger is never satisfied, especially for the fast food with emotional content. So the preacher starts with rational discussion and after much prodding throws more and more gasoline on the fire that will eventually consume everything it touches. He had help — people who for their own reasons set out to conflate the man in the pulpit who wasn't running for president with the man in the pew who was.

Behold the double standard: John McCain sought out the endorsement of John Hagee, the war-mongering Catholic-bashing Texas preacher, who said the people of New Orleans got what they deserved for their sins. But no one suggests McCain shares Hagee's delusions, or thinks AIDS is God's punishment for homosexuality. Pat Robertson called for the assassination of a foreign head of state and asked God to remove Supreme Court justices, yet he remains a force in the Republican religious right. After 9/11 Jerry Falwell said the attack was God's judgment on America for having been driven out of our schools and the public square, but when McCain goes after the endorsement of a preacher he once condemned as an agent of intolerance, the press gives him a pass.

Jon Stewart recently played a tape from the Nixon white house in which Billy Graham talks in the oval office about how he has friends who are Jewish, but he knows in his heart that they are undermining America. This is crazy and wrong -- white preachers are given leeway in politics that others aren't.

Which means it is all about race, isn't it? Wright's offensive opinions and inflammatory appearances are judged differently. He doesn't fire a shot in anger, put a noose around anyone's neck, call for insurrection, or plant a bomb in a church with children in Sunday school. What he does is to speak his mind in a language and style that unsettles some people, and says some things so outlandish and ill-advised that he finally leaves Obama no choice but to end their friendship. Politics often exposes us to the corroding acid of the politics of personal destruction, but I've never seen anything like this — this wrenching break between pastor and parishioner. Both men no doubt will carry the grief to their graves. All the rest of us should hang our heads in shame for letting it come to this in America, where the gluttony of the non-stop media grinder consumes us all and prevents an honest conversation on race. It is the price we are paying for failing to heed the great historian Jacob Burckhardt, who said "beware the terrible simplifiers".

h/t westcott dailykos

Thursday, May 01, 2008

The Gas Tax Gimmick is not a "Real Solution"

This is a great comment from a North Carolinian on Jake Tapper's blog (which now let's me post again):

So all of the folks saying they want a short term solution...

What do you do at the end of the summer when the 18 cents a gallon comes back PLUS the regular increased price of gas? You lose more money when the gov't and the oil companies try to make up the difference.

Does anyone remember the "short term" increase in the price of gas following Katrina? Gas jumped 50 cents to a dollar nationwide and hasn't headed south since. Why do we want to give the folks that control gasoline an excuse to crush us come Labor Day?

Besides, why does anyone think the same gov't that has put us in this situation would get this tax break passed by Labor Day, anyway?

I for one am not looking for a Band-aid, I want a real solution. I thought Hillary was the candidate with real solutions.

That's exactly right. Clinton claims she's for real solutions yet she endorses the McCain Gas Tax Gimmick. Here's part of what I wrote:

I don't see anyone responding to this reality: the gas tax pays for 300,000 American jobs that repair things like the bridge that collapsed in Minneapolis.

300,000 jobs is a lot of American jobs.

We can only bury our heads in the sand about energy independence for so long.

Why are we at war in Iraq, costing 4,000 lives?

It's a war John McCain and Hillary Clinton voted for. Now they both propose a gas tax gimmick (that won't pass) instead of dealing with fuel efficiency and CAFE standards that will make America less dependent on foreign oil.

That makes us safer and more secure.

We can do great things as Americans if we put our minds to it.

I'm for the guy willing to go to Detroit and demand more fuel efficient cars. That's Barack Obama and that's honesty. It's not easy, but it's needed right now.

Katrina, Minneapolis...that's what gas tax gimmicks and a lack of investment in our infrastructure gets us.

And, yes, that tax goes directly to 300,000 American jobs. 300,000 families able to make their mortgage payments.

I'll gladly pay my $15.75 this summer. It's a good deal all told.