Saturday, May 31, 2008

More from the Department of You Have GOT to be kidding

As a general rule, this blog is relentlessly positive - focused on the many merits of Senator Clinton, less concerned with the defects of other candidates.

But I am literally disgusted by Senator Obama's most recent, most craven move. NOW, he resigns from Trinity United? Now?! Give me a break!

Oh, I forgot, that won't happen this primary season. Fine, let's win the hard way!

Breaking news: The NYT picks up Count the Votes Cast!


Since the MSM seems to be unable to state Senator Clinton's position clearly... apparently falls to we small speakers out here blogging.

Senator Clinton's Current Position about taking Issues to the Convention

Direct quote from Senator Clinton herself:
Asked if she now envisioned the dispute over Michigan and Florida extending beyond June 3, Clinton replied: "It could, I hope it doesn't. I hope it's resolved to everyone's satisfaction by that date, because that's what people are expecting, but we'll have to see what happens."
Senator Clinton has not taken a position on whether she will concede the nomination prior to the Convention.

Nor, in my opinion should she. She has not been pushed around with regard to how to run her campaign so far, why start now. The Rules Committee is busy dealing with Michigan and Florida; the superdelegates may take positions now that change in a week or a day; and if we want a Democrat in the White House this January we all better hope that Senator Clinton remains open to becoming the nominee.

May 31 morning media roundup: DC, RCB, DNC

Regardless of what the Rules and Bylaw Committee does today about the challenges being presented by Michigan and Florida, eyes are on the meeting. Here's coverage. Bear in mind though, the nomination is not conclusive until the convention itself.

Postcards from Florida: Send them to those who need reminding about the voters there and everywhere

If you want to send an e-card from Florida straight to a superdelegate or a D.N.C. or Democratic Party Leader,
you can find some wonderful ones here.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Word from "our" volunteer in Puerto Rico

Fellow Clinton supporters helped defray the cost of travel for "Dee4Hill" as he is known to Taylor Marsh regulars. Here's his first bulleting from Puerto Rico, just in.

Dee Sat, May 31, 2008 at 2:50 AM
Hey heidi,

Got in to pr today. Looking good on the ground. Will email Taylor tomorrow, after I get my feet really wet.

Hill yeah!

You may have seen this, but it is so worth another look


And just see if you can resist donating to Senator Clinton after you do!


Count the Votes Cast catches on

I have urged people to sign the open later at
I have also donated some of my own money to the group's cause, and time to offering whatever bits of advice I could, although I am not affiliated with the group. Today, the treasurer took the time to let me know that Count the Votes Cast is succeeding in raising the profile of the case for seating Michigan and Florida fully and fairly. Below is the heart of his message:

We have the TV ad scheduled to run on CNN in DC,
Arlington and Alexandria tomorrow from 3pm - 12 am 8 spots
altogether and also it will be broadcast on ABC-WJLA Channel 7 on the
early am news 6-7am (2 spots) and then on Good Morning America (1
spot). Also we have the Open letter being published in the Express a
publication of the Washington Post. NPR in Boston has already picked
us up and is interviewing a couple of us tomorrow for Here and Now
- Robin Young - and want to interview me attending the rules meeting
on Saturday. Our web site has all this info and we now have almost
[1000] signers of the letter so far. (link inserted by HLF)
Amazing effort can achieve amazing outcomes!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Sometimes you just have to quote yourself!

Over at Taylor Marsh's site, I found myself making this comment, which - I can't help it - I'm reproducing here. Feel free to quote your own favorite lines spoken or written by you in the comments on this post! Let's all be a tad self-congratulatory together.

Heidi Li: "Senator Obama has so much baggage that the MSM has left unclaimed to date that if he were traveling by air courtesy of MSM, he would never have a thing to wear." - May 29, 2008

And here are two quotes I enjoyed from an informal survey I took while seated at an outdoor cafe in Edinburgh earlier today.

"I just think it would be good for America to have a woman as President of the U.S." - 29 year old Edinburghian woman (with tolerant friend).

"It would be a good thing to have the first woman as President" - 32 year old woman from Zurich, Switzerland.

Senator Clinton's best callers are on the case!

For those who think Senator Clinton is not fighting to win this nomination, think again. I have a friend belongs to team of GOTV callers for Senator Clinton, a team that has been highly effective over and over again. She just cc'd me on the message excerpted below. If you too are a a caller for Senator Clinton, here's some inspiration. If you have not called before, no time like the present to begin!

Message excerpts:

Hi all,
We've done such a fantastic job that we've been given the list of top targets for tonight -- a group of undecided voters usually reserved for the pros! [note from HLF: "pros" = campaign staffers]
Last night, for some reason, I reached a large number of undecided voters. It was so rewarding to talk to them about my reasons for supporting Hillary, getting a sense of issues important to them, and discussing those issues, too.
This is one of our final chances to make a difference for Hillary by reaching voters directly. Let's take this opportunity tonight to reach as many undecided voters as possible!
To victory!

Party Rules, Party Lawyers

In a different context, I once wrote about how lawyers seem to respond to codes or bylaws:
Whether attorneys with a strong technocratic bent can shift to a more ethical stance when facing ethical difficulties is ultimately an empirical, psychological question. It seems highly plausible, however, that at best black letter codes do little to stimulate genuine ethical deliberation and at worst actively discourage it.*
Having reviewed the recent memo from the D.N.C. staff attorneys and their assistants, sent to the members of the RCB in preparation for the May 31 meeting, I am as committed to what I wrote before as ever I was.

The D.N.C. lawyers' memo concludes that the the best the RCB can do for Michigan and Florida voters is divide those states 50/50 between Senator Clinton and Senator Obama.

The analysis is very technical. It construes language, it specifies facts, it covers the scope of the RCB's authority. And then it delivers a conclusion that the RCB can hide behind should they do anything other than seating Michigan and Florida's delegations in full and as the voters in those states voted. This could be convenient for the RCB because then they can say, "Well, our lawyers made us do it. The most we could possibly do is split the delegates 50/50. Our lawyers made us."

  1. As every lawyer with a client knows, no lawyer can make a client do anything.
  2. And as every skilled lawyer knows, with as many provisions and facts in play in the current situation confronting the RCB, any lawyer could persuasively argue that the RCB should seat the delegations fully and representatively.
  3. As every in-house lawyer knows, one's "client" (in this case the R.C.B., a committee of the D.N.C.) prefers advice that will kerfuffle as few feathers as possible. Given the mess the D.N.C. has gotten the party into, recommending a 50/50 split might seem appealing to D.N.C. lawyers because it does not require them to take into account the full measure of the situation. That is, the lawyers can say, "The D.N.C. codes and bylaws made us do it."
Further objection:
  • As every skilled lawyer knows a code cannot make a lawyer recommend anything if the case being decided is a hard one. It is precisely when unexpected and difficult situations arise that rules written for everyday use lose their grip. That does not mean that lawyers have to.
At the moment, I feel sympathy for the RCB members. Since nobody else in the D.N.C. wants to take responsibility for bravely heading off a situation where the Party runs its best candidate against John McCain (and how ridiculous is it that one must exercise bravery to make a legitimate choice!), it now falls to the RCB to take a stab at the problem. In Denver it could be the credentials committee, but Denver is a long way away.

One word of consolation to the RCB: I assure you that should you decide to seat Florida and Michigan as the voters voted, there will be no shortage of top-flight lawyers who will defend your decision. It won't even be hard. As a friend likes to say, a pro could it with one hand tied behind her back, while eating a ham sandwich.
*Heidi Li Feldman, Codes and Virtues: Can Good Lawyers be Good Ethical Deliberators, 69 S.Cal. L. Rev. 885 (1996).

Interesting dilemma for MSNBC

Friend 1 just said: "I wish I could shut those idiots on MSNBC up!" Friend 2 replies: "I think the only way to do that is with a Hillary nomination, but they are so stupid and self-absorbed, that probably wouldn't even do the trick."

I realize: Actually, it would be fascinating to watch MSNBC wrestle with their own desire to marginalize Senator Clinton by ignoring her with their competing desire to villify her. Which would they choose? Why, whatever will make them the most money. Of course.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Time out to listen to Senator Clinton

While the pundits and the press have been writing her off, and Senator Obama speaks as if he has already won the nomination, the best choice for the Democratic nomination keeps doing one of things she does best, explaining why she merits - yes, merits - both individuals' votes and the Democratic nomination. Some remarks and comments from Senator Hillary Rodham from the past 24 hours:

"I'm here asking for your support. I'm the underdog in South Dakota, I've gotten used to that role,"
Clinton said. "But as this election has gone on I've gotten stronger and stronger and since February 20th. I've won more contests, won more votes, won...
[speaking to a crowd in Rapid City, S.D.]

"We have not gone through this exciting unprecedented historic election only to lose," Clinton said at an event in Billings, Montana. "You have to ask yourself who is the stronger candidate?"

"I will be your champion," Clinton told the crowd of mostly Lakota men women and children. "I will fight for you. I will stand up for you, and I will work my heart out for you."
[speaking at Pine Ridge Indian Reservation]

Drawing more applause, Clinton said, "We need a president next January who understands the obligation that the United States government has to the tribes that represent the first people of the United States."
[speaking at Flathead Indian Reservation]

Hey, D.N.C.: stupidity or perfidy, which is it?

Paraphrasing Senator Clinton: while Senator Obama might be able to beat John McCain in general election, Senator Clinton certainly can. Just look at the swing states or the polls. Just imagine when the Republican attack machine really starts in on Senator Obama.

One would think that the D.N.C. and the Democratic Party organizations (state and national) would prefer to win the general election this November. If so, they will make sure Senator Clinton becomes the nominee, which they can do by reversing their influence on the superdelegates and by treating Michigan and Florida voters like they actually matter.

If winning the Presidency for Democrats is the goal, than choosing anybody other than Senator Clinton to run would be incredibly incredibly stupid. Another theory: in an incredible sell-out of rank and file Democrats, the Party insiders and elders may not actuallly be aiming for a win in November. That would be an act of incredibly perfidy.

So, Dr. Dean, Speaker Pelosi, etc. etc.: which is it? Stupidity or perfidy?

Postscript: I suppose another explanation is lunacy. Remember the Dean Scream?

Donate to Senator Clinton, and practice "voting":
If you think the problem is stupidity
donate five dollars here.
If you think the problem is perfidy donate ten dollars here.
If you think the problem is lunacy, donate 15 dollars here.
Some bizarre combination of the above, make it 25 dollars.

[all donations via these links will count toward the ongoing Denver or Bust drive sponsored on this site - look to the righthand column for details - and NOTE a match is on!]

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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Line in the sand: another friend's question answered

Question: If the reason you won't vote for a Democratic ticket headed by Senator Obama is out of a commitment to human rights, how will you feel if Senator McCain wins and continues the abysmal Republican record on all things human rights related?

Answer: Just fine, thank you very much.
This question is highly speculative at this point. It presupposes that the Democratic Party will end up nominating the weaker candidate for beating Senator McCain. The nominee can and should be Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, the candidate who can carry the states needed to put a responsible Democrat in the White House come January. However, the answer to the speculative question remains: just fine, thank you very much.

I must be able to look myself in the mirror every day. The one person I must be able to live with is myself. There are only so many compromises I can make before I have compromised myself away. I refuse to surrender my integrity.

This means that there are some things I simply will not do, some people with whom I will not associate, some organizations I cannot support. That does not mean I have to support distasteful alternatives. You will not find me voting for Senator McCain this fall.
Sometimes, though, one must draw a line in the sand. I will not act punitively (vote for a Republican in whom I do not believe just to punish the D.N.C., for example). But neither will I cringe and be bullied into supporting and voting for a candidate sponsored by a Party - both of whom, candidate and Party - who have put on an amazing display of misogyny, sexism, and contempt not only for Senator Clinton, not only for the men and women who prefer her, and not only for women generally. The D.N.C., the Democratic Party and - sadly - Senator Obama have all, to date, shown contempt for human rights, contempt for voters' rights, and contempt for the values of common decency that must underlie any political organization that I am willing and able to support.

If there is no honorable political party to support then it is time for a new political party. My job as citizen will be to channel my efforts toward that goal. Whether it means reclaiming the Democratic Party or creating a meaningful alternative, I am ready, willing, and able to do that.

I am not willing to be a patsy for a political party that seems unable to conduct itself prudently let alone honorably.

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Must see!

Just watch!



Another question from a different friend: Why would Senator Clinton concede the nomination before Denver?

Senator Clinton might decide she would rather be the dominant force in American politics for the next 20 years by stepping into the shoes of greats like Senator Ted Kennedy, and she might decide that the best way to do that is to support a Democrat in the executive branch so that the legislative and executive branches can work effectively together.

Senator Clinton might decide she's sick of the nonsense and could spend her time more productively than taking her candidacy to Denver.

I have no way of knowing Senator Clinton's intentions. I doubt she has made any sort of decision right now. You see, of course, she's a little busy what with running for office and racking up millions of votes despite the reality of the efforts of those trying to make her quit.

I do know this however. The best way to empower Senator Clinton right now is to participate in GOTV efforts in Montana and South Dakota and if you can to donate directly to her campaign. If you want to join a collective effort specifically aimed at encouraging and motivating Senator Clinton to stay in until Denver, please consider donating via this link.

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A friend has asked me to face reality: ok, here's some reality

The reality that concerns my friend is the way various people claim or seem to be consolidating around Senator Obama as the nominee before the Democratic National convention in August.

I have absolutely no problem facing reality. I do have a problem with self-fulfilling prophecies and with incomplete report of reality. Superdelegates can say whatever they like, but since they cannot in any official way bind themselves to a candidate prior to casting their ballot AT THE CONVENTION, Senator Obama can "bank" all the superdelegates he likes, and then they can all withdraw their deposit.

Senator Clinton may choose to pull out of the race before Denver. That is her prerogative. But I have not read anything credible that suggests that this is part of her plans.

Believe me, I have lived for a long time with the "better candidate" losing - whether it be presidential elections or primary races. I will certainly manage. The country may or may not do so well.

As for worrying about what could have been done differently: unless it is a way of thinking about how to succeed now, it does not help deal with present reality.

Under no circumstances will I be casting a ballot for Barak Obama this election if he heads the ticket for the nomination (with just one caveat: although I doubt she wants it or would take it, I might consider voting for Senator Obama with Senator Clinton on ticket as v.p., but I really don't think reality will come to that option!).

Here's some reality that the Democratic Party officials and the superdelegates should consider. I have voted for their candidates even when they were not my first choice among Democrats. But something transformative has occurred this time around.

And it is not the phenomenon, which I do applaud, that a person of color can attract a wide political base in the Democratic primaries.

Actually, I'm talking about transcendence not just transformation. As a human rights advocate I cannot support an organization that has disregarded women the way that the D.N.C. has. The Party did not and does not have to nominate Senator Hillary Clinton to have avoided showing their contempt for women. But this is one cold reality: one cannot take back contempt. It leaves a hard imprint.

Senator Clinton herself may even urge unity on behalf of the Democratic Party should Senator Obama become the nominee.

That does nothing to erase the imprint of contempt for women that the Party as an organization has displayed. And for me, as a matter of conscience, I cannot support a Party that displays contempt for human rights. No how, no way, not on any day.

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You want news, here's some worth reading - May 27th media roundup

Watch Senator Clinton speak in Puerto Rico. If you ignore the obnoxious reference to "chattering classes", here's a story with video about Senator Clinton's latest efforts to reach out to South Dakotans. Story and photos of President Clinton campaigning in South Dakota the day before yesterday. Coverage related to Senator Clinton's address in Billings, Montana tonight. (Some candidates even go to states they may not win...). President Clinton in Great Falls, Montana.

Senator Clinton actually "bridges Montana's Continental Divide."

A friend asked me my opinion of today's "news"

My reply (although it departs from a news story from yesterday):

Bill Clinton: "She is winning the general election today and he is not, according to all the evidence," Clinton said. "And I have never seen anything like it. I have never seen a candidate treated so disrespectfully just for running."

"Her only position was, 'Look, if I lose I'll be a good team player. We will all try to win, but let's let everybody vote, and count every vote,' " he said. (Emphasis added.)

And it is added because it is the reason that I simply will not support anybody other than Senator Clinton for the Democratic nomination. This has become, to my mind, a matter of human rights, a matter of basic decency, a matter of civility in the highest form of the word.

You want my comments on the news: except for small local papers and the very occasional exception from the large media outlets, there is no "news" in the sense of classic journalism anymore, and most certainly not with regard to the coverage of Senator Clinton. News has been replaced by "infotainment", a sneaky and dangerous substitute.

President Clinton nails it when he remarks upon the fact that Senator Clinton has been treated with unprecedented disrespect just for running. What gall. How despicable.

Human rights transcend all else, and no one cannot be consequentialist in these matters (that is how we end up with people who think it is ok to torture individuals to save other individuals - a questionable assumption at best, but even were it to hold, that would not justify the torture of any single individual).

As the D.N.C., Senator Obama, and most of the media have conducted themselves they have converted this election into a matter of human rights. I will not willingly be complicit in anything that tramples upon the right of a serious woman with millions of supporters to fight to lead this country.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Questions Asked, Questions Answered

Good Information is Hard to Get

I asked folks to send along nuts-and-bolts questions about the D.N.C., the history and workings of the Democratic Party, and matters of political theory and practice. Here is a selection of the questions I received, with my replies.

If people have further questions, send them to me and I will try to do more posts like this one. I will do my level best to answer accurately. I will not be taking questions that call for my opinions of specific candidates or that are personal in nature. With that caveat, feel free to to send in any questions that you think I may be able to answer.

An excerpted version of this post appears here.
  • Question: When we give $3 on our tax returns does this go to the RNC and DNC? If so then why shouldn't there be a Federal regulation of each party?
Short Answer: Yes, funds go to the R.N.C .and the D.N.C., but only for the purpose of financing their national conventions. This purpose was designated by Congressional legislation and it is regulated by federal law and rules administered by the Federal Election Commission.

Somewhat longer answer:
In both law and politics there is tremendous tension over public campaign finance and the government regulation of political activities. This compares to the tension about the relationship between government funding of religious organizations and regulation of their activities. In a nutshell: the more narrow the funding, the more limited the government regulation. Because the R.N.C. and D.N.C. can only use federal funds received for operational expenses at their conventions, courts have, so far, not regarded this sort of funding as giving the federal government the right to further regulate Party activities.
  • Question: I'm confused as to how Senator Clinton’s campaign is keeping track of the number of delegates required to secure the nomination.
Somewhat short answer: There really is no simple answer to this question, but I will try. At the outset of this year’s process, a candidate who won 2025 delegates at the convention in Denver (“regular” and “super” delegates included) would have achieved the simple majority required to become the nominee. With Michigan and Florida unseated, the overall number of delegates is 3736 and so to win a simple majority at a convention that excludes Michigan and Florida, a candidate must secure 1868 at the convention. Because of the ever shifting winds with regard to Florida and Michigan at different times during the course of this primary season, both Senator Obama and Senator Clinton have named different numbers that their campaigns would regard as constituting a simple majority. For example, at one point, a proposal was floated that would seat half the delegates from Michigan and Florida. If this were done, the math changes accordingly. Divide 313 (the total number of MI and FL delegates) by two and you get, rounding up, 3892 total delegates. On this scenario, a simply majority is 1947.

Short answer: Since in one way or another Michigan and Florida are likely to be seated, it is virtually impossible for either Senator Clinton or Senator Obama will arrive in Denver with a majority of “regular delegates”. This will leave the choice of the nominee up to how the superdelegates vote. Superdelegates can change their minds right up to and including each ballot at the convention, regardless of any endorsements or pledges they give – these pledges and endorsements simply are not binding.

Bottom line: The race is very close and if neither Senator Obama nor Senator Clinton withdraws before Denver, the superdelegates will have to take responsibility: their votes at the convention will decide the nomination, assuming the nomination is decided on the first ballot, and assuming that all delegates selected by primary and caucus vote according to the results in their states on the first ballot. (Yes, incredibly enough, this is just an assumption because different states have different rules as to just how bound their non-superdelegates are!) Important disclaimer: Precisely because the rules are slightly indeterminate in defining the number of delegates needed and because the Michigan/Florida situation increases this indeterminacy, my own numerical analysis involves interpretation. I believe my interpretation to be a reasonable one, but it probably is not the only reasonable one.
  • Question: How does the D.N.C. pick its chair?
Short Answer: Via election.

Slightly longer answer: Generally, candidates who run for the position are prominent members of the party, and they do confer with each other about their intentions to run. No candidate can be “drafted” to lead the party. The election is regulated by internal Democratic National Party Rules.

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I approve this message

Just arrived from a friend:
"No self respecting woman should wish or work for a party that ignores her sex."
Susan B. Anthony 1872
This is sufficient reason for starting a new party for by and of women, or else to clean the Dem Party out of the whole festering lot of sexist men and frightened, enslaved or greedy women who do their bidding. The dirty little secret is out: The Dem boys were just kidding when they spouted equality and rode to triumph on our backs. Never again. Hear us roar.
I also approve this message.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

President Carter is really on my nerves

It really is quite remarkable for Jimmy Carter, a man who could not win reelection to the presidency precisely because he had no idea how to campaign or connect with voters, to now be out preaching about what the superdelegates will do and what voters should do.

Rather than rely on my own views of President Carter's leadership and judgment, let me share the thoughts of the late Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., written during President Carter's run for office and during his time in office. Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. was nothing if not a major progressive. Check out his opinions of President Carter. (All quotation are from Journals: 1952-2000.)

July 13, 1976

"It is perplexing that Carter, with all his talk about party unity, has made such negligible efforts to bring in [Ted] Kennedy, Udall, McGovern, and Humphrey."

October 27, 1976

[On trying to decide whether to vote for Carter in the race against Ford]

"I vacillate every day and probably will not make up my mind final until I have the moment of truth with the voting machine. Today, I do not feel I can possibly vote for Carter. [After reading in the NYT that Carter reads the book of Genesis literally]: I do not like to to be influenced by a candidate's religion but a fundamentalist in the White House seems a little too much."

November 1, 1976

"Election eve. We went across the street to watch the last respective national half hours for Carter and Ford. It was hard to decide which was more repulsive. I have resolved reluctantly to vote for Carter.... I do so with great misgivings. Carter may turn out to be a sensational President. He may also turn out to be another weirdo, as incapable as Johnson and Nixon of listening to dissent or accepting the legitimacy of opposition.


I feel that [Carter's] election will mean the exclusion of the tendency in the Democratic party with which I have worked for nearly thirty years--stemming from FDR and Truman and going through Stevenson, JFK, RFK, McGovern. That style of politics---open, curious, ironic, civilized, questioning--is, or appears to be, quite alien to the closed, sanctimonious, rancorous, punitive politics of Carter."

November 3, 1976

"The deed has been done. In the end I could not bring myself to vote for a man who believes that Adam and Eve once existed and that Eve was literally made out of Adam's rib (as he explained in a letter to the Atlanta Constitution and believes he has seen flying saucers. So I left the presidential space blank." (emphasis added).

Worried? Not Senator Clinton.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

A very specific action alert: heavy lifting to make sure the DNC seats Florida and Michigan fairly

Important update: May 26, 4:53 pm: Count the Votes Cast is needs fund to put up its letter in an ad in the Washington Post; some money has been raised but the cost is high and many more donations are needed. Please donate here if you can, in any amount you can.

Along with millions of other Democrats, regardless of their preferred candidate, I share in the desire to ensure that the D.N.C. does not disenfranchise the voters of Michigan and Florida who participated in the only primary elections they could.

Several wonderful groups have organized to rally 'round this cause. One that needs help now is called Count The Votes Cast. This is a very professional group of volunteers, and they have some donors who will match funds raised but the would be matchers need to be motivated by folks like us.

Count the Votes Cast needs to publish the following letter in the Washington Post next week and they need $53,000 for a full page ad. The letter deserves no less. The organization is a registered 527 ("PAC") and by federal law cannot accept more than $5000 per donor. But surely there are enough of us out there to raise these funds. Contribute here to make sure this letter gets the best possible viewing. Please.

To Howard Dean and The Democratic National Committee

Florida and Michigan are not going away. Neither is the lesson of 2000. Back then it was the Republicans who thought subverting a basic premise of our Democratic process, counting all the votes, didn't matter. Eight disastrous years later, we know how wrong they were.

This year it is we Democrats who are about to violate that basic premise.

Mistakes in judgment were made by all sides. If there are punishments for breaking "the rules" they should be applied to the rule breakers, not the voting citizens. And not a punishment that violates the democratic process itself. Excluding Michigan and Florida from the nomination process is unacceptable: we are a nation of fifty states, not forty-eight.

The Florida and Michigan delegates must be seated in accordance with the results of their primaries. In Florida, since both Senators Obama and Clinton were on the ticket, the solution is obvious. It was a valid, certified election on a level playing field and the validity of its result is not in question. In Michigan, the solution is less obvious. But there is a solution.

As reported by the Des Moines Register in October of 2007, Senator Obama decided to take his name off the ballot. This was a political decision. He then arranged with the Michigan Democratic Party to have his name represented by a line that read, "Uncommitted". John Edwards joined him and voters who went to the polls that day knew that "Uncommitted" represented both Senator Obama and John Edwards. The evidence suggests that the electorate knew this because "Uncommitted" received 40.7% of the votes, the second highest total. And Senator Clinton was not the only candidate on the ballot, other Democratic candidates were listed as well. The question to be resolved is how to apportion the 40.7% of the vote represented by "Uncommitted".

John Edwards consistently received, on average, 14% of the vote in the primaries in which he competed. Using that as a guide and based on the Michigan totals of 238,168 votes cast for the "Uncommitted" line, Edwards would then receive 89,158 votes and Senator Obama 149,010. We think this is not only fair, but probably under counts what a populist like John Edwards would have received in Michigan. We also suggest the delegates be apportioned accordingly.

It is time for the DNC Rules committee to do the right thing. Florida and Michigan delegates must all be seated. The popular vote totals must now include voting figures for all three candidates for all fifty states.

After what transpired in 2000, the Democratic Party cannot afford to not count the votes. To do anything less could cause serious damage to the Democratic Party, not just in November, but for years to come.

Concerned voters

Paid for by Count The Votes Cast PAC ( and not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee

Dare to Compare: why progressives must make sure Senator Clinton becomes the Democratic nominee

This post rests on the following central ideas:
  • No one can predict the future. But by almost every data source, Senator Clinton has a stronger chance of beating Senator McCain this fall than any other candidate still in the race for the Democratic nomination.
  • Senator McCain is in no way a progressive. He may have successfully portrayed himself as a "maverick", he may even be a maverick in some respects, but he is a conservative Republican.
  • If Democrats want to take their best shot of ending the most anti-progressive reign of government since Ronald Reagan, they should nominate Senator Clinton.
See for yourself how Senator Clinton compares to Senator McCain on just several issues:
As a committed progressive and a patriotic citizen, I fear for this country if Senator McCain becomes our next President. As a student of politics, I know that a Party should run its strongest candidate against the other Party's nominee. As someone familiar with the history of the development of the Republican attack machine, I know that the general election will be hard fought.

None of these bits of knowledge come as shockers. So Democratic Party, this is very easy to understand: want a progressive and a Democrat in the White House as of 2009? Nominate Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton as your candidate.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Thankfully, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton is no Lyndon Baines Johnson

Why Senator Clinton should not play Lyndon Johnson to Senator Obama's Jack Kennedy

Memorial Day Weekend is descending upon us. In the frenzied atmosphere of this political season, it seems like a good chance to take a contemplative moment. I am using this one to share my reflections on the various problems with any suggestion that an Obama - Clinton ticket makes sense, either for the Democratic Party or for Senator Clinton. Now this, of course, is just my opinion. As of now, Senator Clinton seems uninterested in the role. She might ultimately decide to accept a position as Senator Obama's running mate. Senator Clinton is smart enough and politically savvy enough that if she makes that choice it will be based upon information and belief that I, your basic citizen-supporter of her candidacy, do not have.

From where I sit, I cannot think of a more cockamamie analogy or idea. Here's where the analogy's strengths begin and end: in order to bolster his appeal to a number of demographic groups not keen on him as president, John F. Kennedy Jr. held his nose and asked Lyndon Johnson to run on the ticket with him. And having Johnson on the ticket definitely helped Kennedy beat Nixon. So might it be with Senator Obama vis-a-vis Senator Clinton.

But was this good for the Democratic Party, or the country as a whole? Tragically, we will never know what would have happened had President Kennedy not been assassinated. All we can go upon is what happened to the Party and the country once Johnson took office upon that awful event.

Lyndon Johnson was an exceedingly complicated person, to say the least. In Congress, he, like Senator Edward Kennedy, worked ceaselessly for progressive causes of his day, paying particular attention to the then worse, now still present, problem of rural poverty in the United States of America. He was a complicated person, and a fine member of Congress.

Johnson wanted badly to be President. So, he accepted the vice-presidential slot, assuming it would be a springboard for an eventual candidacy, after President Kennedy served his full term or terms.

LBJ hated being vice-president. President Kennedy did not like him and did not count him as one of his inner circle. A vice-president in that position is worse than a ceremonial office holder. As a member of the president's administration, such a vice-president cannot criticize the president's policies nor can she or he strike out on his or her own initiative. Unless a president chooses to give the vice-president real power, the vice-president is totally hamstrung while in office.

I do not think this country can afford to have Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton hamstrung. We cannot even afford that risk, and we have no way of knowing whether Barack Obama would, were he president, give Senator Clinton real responsibility and real power.

Back to LBJ. He did indeed become president, not via election, but as a result of the Constitution's mechanism for replacing a sitting president who cannot continue in office. The year was 1963. The Vietnam War was underway. President Johnson wanted to concentrate on domestic affairs, to build what he called the Great Society. To his credit, he did make some progress on this front, especially with regard to protecting the franchise when he backed and signed into law the Voting Rights Act of 1965. But like President Kennedy before him, President Johnson devoted himself, right from the get go, to continuing American involvement in Vietnam. When he defeated Republican Barry Goldwater in the 1964 presidential race, LBJ took it as a mandate for both the Great Society and the continuation of the war in Vietnam.

This was the beginning of the end for President Johnson. Through some combination of political forces and his own personality, he became obsessed with winning the war in Vietnam, just as rank and file Democrats were becoming increasingly disillusioned with the conduct of the war and suspicious of the validity for the reasons for the U.S. presence in the first place. By the end of 1967 the Johnson administration was in total shambles. Johnson could not pay for the Great Society initiatives he promised because he burned through money escalating American involvement in Vietnam. Public dissatisfaction with the war and with Johnson mounted.

This chaotic state of affairs led to an unprecedented challenge to a sitting Democratic President. Other Democrats declared their own candidacies for the nomination and the presidency in 1968. And on March 31, 1968, LBJ withdrew from the race, realizing that he had lost the country's confidence in his ability to govern. He stepped down from office in 1969, handing over the presidency to Republican Richard Milhous Nixon, who defeated Hubert Humphrey handily in the 1968 election and devastated George McGovern in the 1972 election. Nixon then brought upon the country the catastrophe of Watergate and southeast Asia the horrors of extending American bombing into Cambodia.

Senator Clinton is way too smart to end up following in Lyndon Johnson's footsteps. She may share his genuine concern for the poor and for the disenfranchised. But she is no war-monger. She has consistently objected to the current administration's escalation of an unpopular and unsatisfactorily conducted war. Were she president, she would not continue U.S. involvement in Iraq. Furthermore, Senator Clinton fully understands that while we must have a sound military and practice effective foreign affairs, if we spend all our money on warfare we won't have have any left for important domestic primaries.

Both as a human being and as a politician, Senator Clinton seems obviously far more balanced than LBJ ever was.

Since I fully expect Senator Clinton to become this country's next President, by virtue of being elected to the office this fall, I am most definitely thankful that Hillary Rodham Clinton is no Lyndon Baines Johnson.

Further reading:

May 23 - media round-up number one

A taste of things to come, should Senator Obama head the Democratic ticket against Senator McCain. Check out Utah (admittedly, a state unlikely for any Democrat to win in the general.)
The prejudices of the "blogosphere" finally get noted for the rest of the world. (Note to blogosphere: the rest of the world includes most of the voters in general elections.)

Read this to appreciate why , even if the superdelegates or the candidates themselves go for a unity ticket - not a good idea, in my own opinion - Senator Clinton had better top the ticket.

It's the swing states, stupid! Oh, and just to be perfectly clear FLORIDA is one of them.

Harrisburg - Sen. John McCain may have to worry about his chances in Pennsylvania, while Sen. Hillary Clinton can feel emboldened by her performance in key swing states.

A new Quinnipiac University poll Thursday shows Mr. McCain faring behind both Sen. Clinton and Sen. Barack Obama in Pennsylvania.

Meanwhile, Mrs. Clinton can tout her general election advantages, indicating she may have a better chance in the fall than presumptive Democratic nominee Mr. Obama.

The poll shows her besting the Republican challenger in the three largest swing states in the November election. Since 1960, no president has won office without winning two of these three: Pennsylvania, Ohio and Florida.

The survey shows Clinton, D-N.Y., leading McCain, R-Ariz., in all three, while Obama, D-Ill., only beats McCain in the Keystone State.
(emphasis added; source)

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Count the Votes Cast - because it really is about voters' rights

If you care about the franchise, go here right now.

Count the Votes Cast: "It is fundamentally undemocratic to disenfranchise 2.3 MILLION voters."

May 22 night-time news roundup: Florida, Florida, Florida

Another lawsuit has been filed, this time by two Florida superdelegates, arguing that Florida's delegation must be seated in a meaningful and timely fashion.
An article reprinted in Illinois, via the Providence (R.I.) Journal, analyzing the Democrats democracy deficit.
A view from Canada.
Apparently, both Democratic candidates and their representatives are discussing the situation directly with some Rules Committee Members prior to the May 31st Committee meeting.
Senator Clinton may or may not end up taking the democracy deficit issue to the Convention.

May 22: A visit to Senator Clinton's national headquarters

Today a business appointment took me to the suburbs of Washington D.C., so I had a chance to stop at Senator Clinton's national headquarters, located just outside the city. This meant that I got a tour of the functional but spartan offices of the people I usually communicate with by phone or email, and a chance to chat with them about the campaign, about people on the web helping each other help Senator Clinton, and more.

I even had the chance to show several of Senator Clinton's most hardworking staffers the ever growing number of comment on why, how, and when Senator Clinton makes us smile. It was a delight to see the smiles on the faces of the Clinton campaign staff members as they read the comments.

I departed knowing that Senator Clinton most definitely is in this race to win it. No signs of anybody packing up. I also left knowing that the people at the heart of this campaign, like Senator Clinton herself, are paying careful attention to us "regular" folks who have voted for her, blogged about her, donated to her, and are determined to see her as the Democratic Party's nominee this November.

Count Every Vote - another grassroots movement fighting for the franchise

Learn more.

May 22 morning media-roundup (all links fixed)

While Senator Clinton calmly discusses her dedication to go all the way to Denver to ensure that voters in Michigan and Florida, we see yet again the unlikelihood that Senator Obama will gain the confidence of voters concerned with smart conduct of international diplomacy. Obama's problem gets coverage outside of Washington, D.C. - coverage from Utah.

Senator Clinton returns to Washington D.C. today to serve in her Senate capacity as a member of the Armed Services Committee, holding the generals accountable for their conduct of the situation in Iraq.

Further indication that if you do not want Senator McCain as your next president, time to make sure Senator Clinton clinches the Democratic nomination.

Great letter to the editor in Ohio. And another one in Florida.

Clinton campaign chair Terry McAuliffe and President Bill Clinton head to South Dakota. The President heads to Montana shortly.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Some speech! It certainly made me smile.

Senator Clinton's speech in Boca Raton, Florida today.

Please, leave a comment about when, why, and how Senator Clinton makes you smile.

Hillary Rodham Clinton Makes Me Smile

For we supporters of Senator Clinton, I think it time for some lighthearted joyousness.

(Senator Clinton does not have the time for this luxury as she is rather busy trying to convince people in Florida that they actually matter to the D.N.C. - a task that certainly requires seriousness since nobody at the D.N.C. seems to be doing or saying anything to help out. But, I digress...)

I am typing this on the plane home from Oregon, and I began because I realized that I am feeling rather happy. Then I realized why. I was thinking of things about Senator Clinton, her career, and her candidacy that make me smile. I'll list a few here. If you want to add any by commenting, feel free.
  • Whenever I picture Senator Clinton saying things like, at the end of this process, after all the votes have been cast, we will have a nominee whoever SHE may be. I not only smile at the phrase but at the evident glee with which Senator Clinton speaks it.
  • When I realize that Senator Clinton is one heck of a good campaigner. She may not love speechifying enormous crowds, but she clearly loves connecting with voters - whether it be five thousand at a time, five hundred at a time, or five at a time.
  • When I listen to the sheer intelligence that shines through Senator Clinton's every speech, every policy proposal, and every quip.
  • When I recognize the wisdom of her pragmatism and the genuineness of her idealism.
  • Whenever I appreciate again how Senator Clinton charts her own course, not out of an unwillingness or inability to listen to the counsel of others, but because after considering the counsel and opinions of others, her self-leadership guides her choices.
  • When I think of the serenity and confidence Senator Clinton radiates at the present moment.

Once more: It's about the franchise, stupid

Florida. Michigan. The D.N.C will soon decide whether to seat those delegations in accordance with how the voters there voted. Of course, if this is done, the DNC will have to accept what is already reality: the nominating process is far from over, and superdelegates are going to have different indicators of what the "will of the people is". One thing seems clear: the will of the people who have voted in Demcratic Party primaries so far is that they do not want another Republican administration up next. Another seems clear: of the two candidates who have won hundreds of delegates and millions of votes, Senator Clinton is far more likely to beat John McCain in the general election. Beating McCain will necessitate Democratic wins in Florida and in Michigan. Since the Reagan Revolution, Florida has never been a lock for Democrats, and of course it didn't help when the Supreme Court brokered that state for Bush in 2000.

President Bill Clinton points out
that now the D.N.C. wants to treat Florida just as Jeb Bush and the rest of the G.O.P. did in 2000.

What shortsightedness. Frankly, what stupidity.

(Meanwhile, private groups are working hard to preserve the voters' rights of Floridians and Michiganders who cast their ballots in good faith in the only chance they had to vote. I have been working with some of these groups, and have and will donate to their cause. When I have information about how you can do so, I will pass it along. In the meantime, unless you are maxed out, please donate directly to Senator Clinton's campaign! Let her know you want her to fight for Florida and Michigan, all the way to Denver!)

If you have already maxed out to Senator Clinton, consider donating to this group. If you do not want to set up a paypal account but wish to donate, you may donate to support this site (look to your right), and I will match with a donation to the group.


Attached you will find a facsimile of an open letter to be be published addressed to Howard Dean and the DNC prior to the DNC Rules Committee meeting to be held in DC on May 31st. [note from HLF: I will post the letter text separately].

We are raising funds to place this as a full page ad in the print media: The Washington Post and Roll Call and The Hill papers. Our grassroots organization is raising its voice to join the rising clamor around the country to count all the votes cast in Florida and Michigan and seat all the delegates at the Democratic Convention.

Without considerable pressure from the grassroots it is likely that an unacceptable deal will be struck. Only the votes of Super delegates can create the opportunity for Hillary to be nominated and our open letter is the argument how and why they should do so.

This letter is the result of a meeting of Supporters which included active local campaigners and influential political figures in the Boston area. A Political Action Committee has been formed called Count the Votes Cast ( ) to be the sponsor of this letter.

We are soliciting donations to fund the full page ad as we speak. To get this letter published will require donations URGENTLY. We are looking for a small number of $1000-$5000 donations and a large number of smaller donations We have a Paypal account set up now to receive donations immediately. Donors should go to and create an account if they do not have one.

The Paypal recipient is

Our website at is under construction and will be up within 24 hours but due to the pressure of time we need donations NOW.

Please support this grassroots effort and give generously!!!

Also join the Rally in Washington on May 31st

(info at

All contributions to Count the Votes Cast PAC are subject to the limits and prohibitions of the Federal Election Campaign Act and are not deductible for tax purposes. This solicitation is paid for by Count The Votes Cast PAC ( www.countthe and not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee.

State of the tally: Oregon

Senator Clinton has apparently won the more rural counties in another state, this time in Oregon. Oregon will be tallying for a quite a while yet, but in meantime here's great county by county data.

May 20 Oregon election tally, 11:20 p.m pacific

Not all precincts have reported, and provisional ballots - those that need to be checked for validity - will not be counted until Thursday - so the final margin between Senator Obama and Senator Clinton remains to be seen. Right now, this is where matters stand.

There was plenty of action on the ground today here in Oregon, with voters streaming to the polls all day. As an official poll observer designated by the Clinton campaign, I saw this with my own eyes. Not appropriate for me to report now on what was happening inside the Washington County elections office, but this photograph shows an orange-vested election worker standing in the middle of the road, accepting ballots from cars during the beginning of the evening rush hour. This is entirely legal (and in my opinion correctly so) under Oregon law. In Oregon, one may drop-off one's ballot (in a doubly-secured envelope) in a number of ways, but one of the most appropriate is to give it directly to an election official who then places it right in an official collection box (in the picture, the small blue box at this worker's feet).

I have not one regret about coming to Oregon for Senator Clinton. It was an honor to make people aware of her support when I was doing visibility and it was both an honor and responsibility to serve on the voter protection team. We shall see how the tally ends up - but not for at least a couple more days!

May 20th: one of the day's most important numbers

From the Clinton campaign:

Clinton Campaign Raises $22 Million in April

Fundraising pace represents campaign's 2nd best month of the campaign

The Clinton campaign tonight announced that it raised approximately $22 million in the month of April.

"Senator Clinton’s game-changing victories last month turned the tide for this campaign and resulted in an outpouring of grassroots support," said Campaign Chairman Terry McAuliffe. "Just like Hillary, our supporters continue to fight. The support for Hillary continues to grow with each month and we are so thankful to the army of supporters who have assured that we’ll have the resources needed to win the upcoming contests."

Included in the $22 million total, representing the campaign’s second best fundraising month to date, is $10 million raised by the campaign in the 24 hours after Hillary’s significant Pennsylvania victory. This total is in addition to a loan to the campaign of $5 million.

Additional details will be available in the campaign’s FEC report, to be released later this evening.

Please donate now.
Let the world know that Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton will go to in Denver,
on the way to the White House
as the next President of the United States of America.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

On to the grand finale in Oregon!

I am headed out, head and hopes high, to watch the polls on behalf of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, the person who will be the next President of the United States. Between working on behalf of the rule of law and on behalf of Senator Clinton, I am bursting with pride and good cheer.

Of brain tumors and judgment...

I just learned that Senator Edward Kennedy has been diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor. First, I would like to offer my most heartfelt support for Senator Kennedy and his family as they battle this situation with the spirit their family is known for.

Second, I must share a personal experience regarding the effects a brain tumor can have on a person - not me, but my mother, Patricia Susan Feldman.

My mother died when she was fifty-nine years old, after fighting her capacious heart out against cancer for a year. She was admitted to the hospital and diagnosed with cancer about a year before she died. The diagnosis was stage 4 lung cancer (almost always swiftly terminal). The cancer had already metastasized and the first place it spread was to her brain, where she had a large number of tumors, some small, a couple extremely large.

Lung cancer is often not caught until it spreads to another part of the body, and it often spreads to the brain first. In the year leading up to the diagnosis, my mother had not been acting in character, not at all. A person of great depth of feeling and sensitivity, she showed some strange emotional blind spots. A person of tremendous consideration, she acted in some very oddly unkind ways.

I would try to speak to her about what was going on, and I could not get through to her at all. This was particularly strange itself because she and I had a singular ability to communicate effectively with each other.

Meanwhile, my mother was working at her career as she usually did; taking care of her home the way she usually did. I wondered, along with other family members, if she were depressed (her own mother had died not long before my mother started to act unusually). But we never imagined that she had lung cancer or a brain tumor.

I was abroad, in India, when I received news of my mother's diagnosis, and the news that one of the large tumors in her brain was at the base of her skull and could easily rupture and kill her immediately. With the advice and help of my wonderful brother-in-law and sister-in-law who were traveling with my husband and me (my husband, his sister, and her husband are all originally from India, although all emigrated to the U.S. as adults, and now are U.S. citizens), I - along with my husband - cut our travels immediately, returning to the U.S. to see my mother.

I arrived at the hospital, direct from the airport, after the worst 20 hours of my life (that is how long the flight(s) took, Madras being a long way from northern New Jersey). I saw my father. I then went in to see my mother, who was receiving (and received throughout her illness) top rate care from the doctors, nurses, and other staff at University Hospital of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey.

After speaking with my mother privately, it was time for doctors and nurses to check on her. One of the doctors took me aside and I had a chance to ask about my mother's brain tumors. My own work in the philosophy of mind and cognitive science meant that I wanted to know more about the location and effects of the tumors. The doctor explained that one of the tumors in my mother's brain was growing directly in the region that affects emotion and judgment guided by emotion. She explained, "That tumor has been there, cooking for a long time."


I cannot say this information was good news. But it was highly explanatory. It made sense of all the uncharacteristic conduct my mother had displayed over the previous year. She had not seemed herself. And she was not herself. For we are most essentially who we are when our cognition and our emotion work together to guide us, and the part of her brain that controls this intersection was precisely one of the places her illness had wreaked havoc.

It would be ridiculous for me to make any claims about Senator Kennedy's current sad illness and any symptoms of it: I do not have expertise or information enough to comment, let alone the right to comment.

But it did seem a moment to talk about brain tumors and the ways they can rob people of their best judgment.

And again, a moment to wish Senator Kennedy a complete triumph in conquering his own illness.

Senator Clinton rocks Kentucky - she just rocks!

[links repaired!]

Senator Clinton in Maysville, KY on May 19, 2008.

This is not a person departing from the fight for the nomination. Read about it.

Oh, and since Senator Clinton does not go to one state only to ignore another - so from Maysville, she did a video interview with KVAL in Oregon.

On the ground in Oregon, Election Day, First Post

Voting continues to be extremely heavy here in Oregon. I spoke to a young man just now (8:20 a.m. local time) who will dropping off his ballot when he gets off work at 3 p.m. I have been asked to serve the final shift as a poll watcher in the Portland area later today. The rules are that anybody on line by 8 p.m. must be allowed to submit a ballot. I anticipate a late night.

In at least one Oregon county they are geared up to count a heretofore unprecedented number of votes. Extra machines have been brought in and have been tested. They were to be retested at 7 a.m. this morning, zeroed out, and the goal was to begin counting by 8 a.m. Expect a late night from Oregon, and do not trust any projections. Many counties in Oregon are rural and too poor to have extra machines. The voting will take longer there.

So far, I am mightily impressed by the voting set-ups I have been observing. Scrupulous safeguards, many voluntarily undertaken, have been put in place by county election officials to ensure as full, complete, and accurate account as humanly possible.

Report from a major caller for Clinton!

This just in:

Hi! Yesterday alone we connected with more than 55,000 voters.

Every call we make makes a difference. Election day calls are especially important because we can actually get voters to the polls. Yesterday, I spoke with numerous people who were convinced that it was useless to vote because the election is over. We must reach these people -- we must let them know that the race is not over, that their vote is very important, that they should tell their friends and family -- everyone they know who is for Hillary -- to vote and bring them along to the polls.

So, please, take whatever time you have today -- a lunch hour, a coffee break, even -- and make your calls for Hillary. This race is so close. What we're doing is so important. Thank you all so much.


All I have to say to the pundits and the press

Truman Laughing over "Dewey Defeats Truman"
Original caption: NOV 4 1948-St. Louis, Mo: This photo of President Harry S. Truman laughing as he holds an early edition of the Chicago Tribune for Nov. 4th, 1948, was taken by United Press staff photographer Frank Cancellare. The newspaper, whose headline jumped to an erroneous conclusion as early election returns came in, was shown to HST as he stopped here during his victorious return trip to Washington D.C. Credit:UPI

Go here for more information.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Time out for gratitude, expressed

The work here in Oregon is interesting and exciting - but the trip has been long, tiring, and logistically tricky - and it ain't over yet. Apart from my own firm conviction that Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton deserves my best effort to make sure she becomes the next President, what has made this trip possible is support and encouragement from many sources. A non-exhaustive list:
  • a truly supportive husband who has never, not once, displayed sexism in all the years I have known him (and since we are both over a hundred years old that is a loooonnngg time!)
  • the Marshans in so many ways
  • Taylor Marsh herself, by leading by example
  • many individuals in Portland who have provided great service or offered encouraging words
  • my mother's felt presence in my life even after her death
  • any number of Clinton campaign staff who have made sure that we volunteers stay organized and are used effectively
  • one particular person who I think would prefer to remain anonymous but shares my love of ice cream
  • and of course, the amazing calico catties!

Beaverton, Oregon - written May 19, mid-afternoon local time

People are voting in a steady stream and the ballot collectors are making it easy. There are all sorts of volunteer workers manning the voting tables. Obviously, I don't know how people are voting, but I have heard people asking if it is too late to register as a Democrat for the primary (yes it is), and this is probably a good sign for Senator Clinton. Generally, the crossovers in places like Beaverton - a suburb of Portland - have broken for Clinton. Example: the suburbs of Philadelphia. I do know for a fact that many, many people in this county near Portland did register as Democrats, switching from Independent or Republican. The demographics of the county suggest that these are switchers for Clinton, so this information is very positive.

On the ground in Oregon, Monday morning, May 19

Over here on Pacific time, things are just starting to get into gear for the day. I will write more about my own experiences of the day once I have some, but for now let's go in-depth regarding one of the people volunteering for voter protection efforts and the Clinton campaign, Paddy McGuire. A former deputy secretary of state for Oregon, Paddy (we are actually on a first name basis since we both attended the training session yesterday, where we met and chatted briefly) is all the more impressive because he's right here with the rest of us, supporting Senator Clinton because he does not want four more years of current Republican policies. When a seasoned politician like Paddy steps up for Senator Clinton, you know she has a real chance in Oregon. Paddy has lived in Portland for many years, and as I snapped a picture of him, he was telling me how much he enjoys living here, raising a family here.

If only the current hapless D.N.C. would listen to Paddy's Five Simple Rules for Coming Back, written in 2004.

Hillary Clinton is "the voter darling!"

Another smart letter that appeared in today's Washington Post. Reprinted below.

Hillary Rodham Clinton's 41-point blowout win in West Virginia shows that she's the stronger candidate in terms of electability in the general election. No Democrat has won the White House without winning West Virginia since 1916. Her win in West Virginia also shows her diverse coalition of supporters: working-class voters, middle-class voters, rural voters, women and seniors. Barack Obama may be the media darling, but Hillary Clinton is the voter darling.


Silver Spring

The writer does occasional volunteer work for Hillary Clinton.


I received this message from a supporter of Senator Clinton. While I agree with some of it but not with all of it, it definitely warrants the attention of people at the D.N.C. and, really, I think anybody's attention. So I am sharing a large excerpt from this message with anybody who sees this post:
Happy trails to you! ... The media, in the past week, adopted the ignore her strategy, and I am getting seriously worried. I hope that Senator Clinton understands that if she is not our nominee, MANY of us are defecting. We will not tow the party line regardless of her requesting us to do so. The DNC, by disenfranchising Florida and Michigan, proved themselves to be no better than Republicans. Moreover, the DNC allowed the very state that ruined the 2000 election to have their votes eliminated. ... If Democrats want to remain in power, the Donna Brazile branch of the Party will not succeed, people [are] angry and people are defecting, either to Independents, or to Republicans. Regardless of one's registration, we all have the freedom and conscience to vote for the person that we WANT to represent us. Party loyalties aside, the American voter has a heart and a deep belief in democracy, which is why they vote. Asking us to vote for a subversion of our process will not fly in the face of choosing between a "brand" and a war hero. Please convey those thought to Senator Clinton.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Read this! Fun AND informative - by riverdaughter via the confluence

More photos of Clinton supporters in Portland, Oregon

These were all snapped in front of the Portland campaign office. Volunteers everywhere!

It's the Franchise, Again - This time from Oregon

After spending Friday and Saturday doing "visibility" for the Clinton campaign here Portland, Oregon, today I began to switch gears. Still in Portland, but now focused on voter protection efforts.

This morning I attended a meeting at Senator Clinton's campaign office. Representatives from the Oregon Democratic Lawyers Council briefed us on Oregon voting laws and regulations, specifically those most relevant to today and tomorrow and on Tuesday, Oregon's actual primary day.

In Oregon, there is a huge spike in voting starting on the Saturday before election day and going to its highest on election day itself. Even though many Oregonians mail in their ballots long before election day, the real action is starting now and running through Tuesday as people drop off their ballots.

While voting continues through to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, counting starts Tuesday morning, after the counting machines are tested and zeroed out. As a member of the voter protection team, one of my most important functions on Tuesday will be to make sure that any dysfunctional machines are put out of service for the election. Other duties: observe the county "opening boards" - the people who take the ballots and scan them through the counters; and make sure that anybody on line by 8 p.m. gets to cast a ballot.

I will find out later this afternoon where the Clinton campaign needs me most. I doubt it will be right here in Portland but it may be. The operations director in the Portland headquarters is first-rate. The plan: she will be speaking to the best in-state volunteers in offices throughout Oregon to determine where the need for a legal team member is greatest and let me know where to go.

As I sat around the table with others who will participate in ensuring the integrity of Oregon's election, I realized anew that every single ballot cast in a certified election matters and must matter to the D.N.C.

Around that table were young attorneys, older attorneys, a court reporter, and a former official who served in the Oregon Secretary of State's office. All were there for Senator Clinton but also for the sake of the franchise, the right to vote and vote meaningfully: that right that women got only with the passage of the nineteenth amendment, less than 100 years ago.

At moments like that one, I understand why Senator Clinton goes to as many places as she possibly can - as do President Clinton and Chelsea Clinton. The effort to reach every voter as personally as possible is certainly strategically wise, but my guess is that something more than that motivates Senator Clinton. She understands that every individual voter matters because each one of us has both an incredible power and a serious responsibility when we exercise our franchise, our right to vote. By reaching out to individual voters in every single state, regardless of the toll on her resources, Senator Clinton shows the same respect for the franchise that made me decide to extend my stay in Oregon.

The tin ear is starting to scare me

I believe that Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton will indeed top the ticket for the Democratic Party even if the fight for the nomination goes all the way to the convention.

I better be right. Because while Senator Obama inspires many, his tin ear scares me. His latest words - "Be nice to Clinton supporters" - and his repeated intention to declare himself the nominee are so off-putting that I cannot possibly see how he can gain the respect of Democrats' who are already bothered by what comes across as arrogance and sexism on Senator Obama's part. I am not claiming that Senator Obama means to be arrogant and sexist. I am claiming that huge numbers of Democrats - and independents and Republicans who might be willing to vote for a Democrat rather than vote for John McCain - find that he repeatedly sounds like he is arrogant, sexist, and, in a word, patronizing.

It will be a tragedy for this country and for the world if we end up with four more years of Bush-Cheney-like policies, which is what Senator McCain is offering. But it is going to be hard for somebody with a tin ear to gain enough voters in the general election to beat the Republican Party.

Apart from all that, I am tired of arrogance and sexism. And I am really tired of feeling patronized by somebody seeking the highest office in the country. But most of all, I am scared that a politician with such a tin ear cannot possibly win that office at a time when we so badly need a Democratic administration in the White House.

Sunday morning media round-up

This is just too wonderful. This is just too important. This is Senator Clinton at her absolute best, closing in on Oregon.

Oregon: Portland and Voting

Just some street scenes from a stroll yesterday. While you are here, you may want to check out the Oregon Voter Rights Coalition.

Oregonians have until 8 p.m., May 20 to cast a vote for Senator Clinton.