Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Pelosi-Obama style - not so much the rage at themoment

Here is the link to the latest at the new home of Heidi Li's Potpourri.

The Pelosi-Obama style - not so much the rage at the moment

Monday, September 29, 2008

Truth squads and Speaker Pelosi's latest shining moment

Saturday, September 27, 2008

After you finish debating tonight's debate check out these recent items from the new home of Heidi Li's Potpourri

Please see these two posts at the new home of Heidi Li's Potpourri.

Camp Obama?! Senator Obama seems to be turning into Rev. Sun Myung Moon


As we approach a new President's first 100 days...

If you enjoy these pieces, consider bookmarking the new home or subscribing to its feed or email delivery subscription.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Two recent posts at the new home of Heidi Li's Potpourri

Monday, September 22, 2008

If Howard Dean were a CEO, he'd be ousted by now

Cross posted from the new home of Heidi Li's Potpourri

With all due disclaimers about the reliability of polls, the ones that interest me the most are the ones that are focused on traditional swing states and states that this year are tending toward being swing states (these are states that have generally been solidly "blue" but since the Democratic Party Convention are turning "purple").

Some samples from today:

  • Nevada (a state that Senator Clinton won handily, despite it being a caucus state with all the usual problems of caucuses)

  • Pennsylvania: (another state where Senator Clinton won the primary)

  • North Carolina and Minnesota (states where Senator Obama won primaries but is apparently not able to close the deal against Senator McCain)

Data like this explain why I am adamant that Dr. Dean should hand in his resignation immediately. I have nothing against Howard Dean personally. I do not know him and have no particular feelings of like or dislike for him. But he is incompetent as well as without integrity. These are not qualifications for retaining the office equivalent to CEO of a major publicly traded corporation.

If such a CEO insisted, in the face of all evidence, in pursuing a policy that would lead to short and long term major damage to the corporation and its shareholders' interests, he would not only deserve to be ousted, he would rightly be considered to have breached his fiduciary duty - duties of loyalty and care - to the corporation and its shareholders.

If such a CEO engaged in constant self-dealing at the expense of the good of the shareholders, he would be ousted and would be considered in breach of his fiduciary duties.

This by the way is what has become of CEO's like Michael Eisner (Disney) and Jeffrey Skilling (Enron). I neither like nor dislike these men, who like Howard Dean I do not know. But in all three cases I have contempt for these individuals in their professional capacities. Like Howard Dean, Michael Eisner and Jeffrey Skilling chose to pursue personal power over their responsibilities to pursue a broader purpose.

More worrying, Eisner and Skilling clung to their positions for so long that they brought major damage to the institutions they headed. For example, Eisner's refusal to step aside cost Disney millions of dollars and incalcuable good will - and at the end of the day, he was indeed forced out.

Since Dr. Dean's resemblance to these corporate officers is so pronounced, I fear that he will drag the Democratic Party through a similarly expensive and damaging fight. Not only should he resign effective immediately, Dr. Dean should make it clear that he will remove himself from seeking any influence over his choice of successor. He should state that even if Senator Obama manages a win in the general election, he, Dr. Dean, realizes that the Party must break with tradition and hold an authentic election for his successor, rather than simply permit Senator Obama to install the next DNC chair.

This is what an honorable and responsible person in Dr. Dean's position would do. I have not seen many signs of honor or responsibility from Dr. Dean, but this is a situation where Dr. Dean could begin to mend his ways.

Please consider a donation to Democrats For Principle Before Party if you would like to try to get Dr. Dean to see the light. Learn more here.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Latest from the new home of Heidi Li's Potpourri

Senator Obama and the DNC are truly determined to make the Democratic party as undemocratic as possible

CQ Politics is reporting a new twist in the shameless collusion between Senator Obama and the DNC to suggest that, at a time when the Democratic Party is deeply divided, it is somehow Senator Obama's prerogative to pick the next DNC chair. (Thanks to Dem4Hill for drawing my attention to the story.)

Apparently the new Democratic Party way is for one chair to overrride rank and file Democrats and use any number of unscrupulous tactics to install his preferred candidate as the nominee and then that nominee turns around and arrogates to himself the right to pick the next chair, even though it remains entirely uncertain that Senator Obama will win the general election or even if he does manage to do so that he will do more than squeak by. In any event, one thing we know about Senator Obama: he is not very good at forging coalitions among different segments of rank and file Democrats, let alone being able to "unify" the Party or the country. Since the DNC is meant to be the official representative of all Democrats (not that it has even pretended to live up to that job description under the stewardship of current chair Howard Dean), it is patently absurd to put the future of the Party's internal leadership in the hands of Senator Obama. The cycle of egomanical self-servingness has just been ratcheted up.

Since the DNC claims that the reason Senator Obama gets to dictate who the next DNC chair is, it is ever more important for the medium and long term health of the Democratic Party that Senator Obama not win this election. Here's the passage from the CQ Politics story that informs us that Senator Obama's internal party is based on the assumption he will win the general election, and that if he does win the DNC will once again hold a fake election rather than a real vote for the position of chair:

'“We expect Sen. Obama to be in the White House, and it’ll be his
decision as to who’ll be nominated” to succeed Dean, said Stacie
Paxton, national press secretary for the DNC.

If Obama is
elected, he will designate his choice for the chairmanship, and DNC
members would be expected to ratify his decision at a meeting
immediately after Inauguration Day on Jan. 20.'

The story goes on to say:

'If the Democrats do not win the White
House, a special party meeting would be called for an election to be
held between Jan. 1 and March 1, said DNC officials. Dean and his
predecessor, Terry McAuliffe, were both elected in meetings during the
month of February.'

If this is the way the DNC wants to play this, then there is only thing to be done by Democrats who care about seeing their Party survive the civil war that Senator Obama and Howard Dean have already brought to it. Senator Obama must not win the general election. And his defeat must come at the hands of Democrats who now realize that in the new Democratic Party way no compromise is allowed. If no compromise is allowed, if Senator Obama is determined to make the entire Democratic Party revolve around him and the DNC is willing to be a mere satellite to Senate Obama, then responsible and wise Democrats must make sure that Senator Obama loses this election.

Regular readers of this space know that I am one of the co-founders of The Denver Group, whose general election initiative is Democrats for Principle Before Party. That initiative is using advertising in mainstream media to fight for the long term survival of the Democratic Party. Just as The Denver Group took the matter of placing Senator Clinton's name in nomination from the web and into the mainstream media, Democrats for Principle Before Party now intends to take the message that in order for the Democratic Party to win back its credibility rank and file Democrats must rid the Party of Senator Obama's apparent stranglehold. We know our ads made a critical difference in making sure Senator Clinton's name was at least put into nomination in Denver. We know that the ads we have in the pipeline ready to run in swing states and in key print publications in Washington DC will make a critical difference in the fight to save the Democratic Party for long time rank and file Democrats and for those who will come after us needing a Democratic Party that is inclusive, tolerant, and pluralistic in both its internal affairs and as a matter of the policies it pursues for the country.

You can donate to the ad campaign right here:

Or to learn more, including how to donate by mail, see: Democrats for Principle Before Party.

Oh, and for anybody who believes that Bill Richardson, the politician who personified disloyalty during the Primary Season (remember his endorsement of Senator Obama even after his own state went for Senator Clinton AND he had given his word to President Bill Clinton that he would not make such an endorsement?) is not interested in being DNC chair and staying right in Senator Obama's hip pocket...well, I have a bridge in Brooklyn you might want to buy.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Latest posts from new home of Heidi Li's Potpourri

Sunday, September 14, 2008

From Heidi Li's Potpourri 2.0 - the latest entry

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Latest posts regarding Ed O'Reilly from the new home of Heidi Li's Potpourri

You can learn about the yeoman effort by Ed O'Reilly to bring a new voice to the Democratic Party here and here. Please remember to bookmark and if you like subscribe to the new home of Heidi Li's Potpourri.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Denver Group: Fundraising progress report from The Denver Group

Senator Obama: Candidate Without Coattails

See the latest at Heidi Li's Potpourri's new home.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Beware an Obsessive Focus...

Click here for the latest post at the new home of Heidi Li's Potpourri. I can only sporadically update this site, so I respectfully urge those who want to keep reading to change their bookmarks and/or register for the new home's feed at the new site.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

See the latest post on Potpourri 2.0 - and subscribe to the feed for future posts there

A recent post from the new home of Heidi Li's Potpourri.

If you are a subscribe via email or feed to this blog, please consider switching to the same services available at the new home.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

A match offer - help troop families and help The Denver Group

The Denver Group has been the beneficiary of a couple who maxxed out to it. This couple is active in supporting the families of troops based in Utah. Since they can no longer donate to the Denver Group, I thought it time to offer to donate to their efforts. I will send them up to $500 in gift cards for distribution to families in need, as soon as the next $500 hits The Denver Group via paypal.
To donate to The Denver Group via Paypal please use the button at in the sidebar of this blog.

Match update- 7:09 pm September 7, 2008: $95.00 in - $405 to go!


The Denver Group has a new website devoted to its latest mission, promoting Democrats for Party Before Principle. Please check it out and note that the sidebar provides a number of secure ways to donate online to support the mission's advertising campaign as well as information as to how to donate by mail.


The Centrality of Character in Political Leadership

[This is the latest post from Heidi Li's Potpourri at its new home. The subscribe by feed and by email features are now clearly set up at "Potpourri 2.0"]

The challenge of being President of the United States is the same challenge each adult faces every day of her or his life: when the unexpected occurs what dispositions or character traits guide our decision making in those moments where we must act swiftly under conditions of uncertainty. In ordinary life, people who rise to these occasions with excellence are those we consider wise. In political life, people who rise to such occasions with excellence are both wise and politically wise. To my mind, the most significant times George W. Bush demonstrated that he lacks both sorts of wisdom were his immediate responses to two unprecedented disasters that occurred during his presidency: the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and presumably the White House (the plane that the passengers bravely crashed was apparently aimed at the White House) and Hurricane Katrina, a natural disaster that devastated New Orleans and large swathes of Gulf Coast States.

When the 9/11 attacks occurred, President Bush escaped into the air, while Senator Clinton and Mayor Giuliani hit the streets of New York City. When Hurricane Katrina hit, President Bush again spent his time up in the air, literally and figuratively, flying over New Orleans without touching down and then dithering about what to do about rehabilitating the region.

Now more than ever Senator Obama reminds me of George W. Bush. With Sarah Palin's unexpected selection and successful debut as the Repubulican vice-presidential nominee, Senator Obama has reacted by doing very little, perhaps trying to seem above the fray, but ultimately coming across as a person ill-equipped to show leadership in the face of unexpected problems. I do not mean to compare Governor Palin's selection and success to terrorist attacks or natural disasters. The comparison lies in how a President and a would-be President respond to unexpected events that prove problematic for them - in President Bush's case because the events threatened the well-being of our country as well as his own political standing; in Senator Obama's case because the event threatens his political standing - and well, yes, if you believe that Governor Palin's policy positions are bad for the country and that were she to become vice-president she would be able to implement those positions, then her selection and success do threaten the well being of the country.

A wiser person than Senator Obama would not have let the pundits and the press treat Senator Palin with dismissive misogyny and sexism. A wiser politician would not have done so either. But time and again, Senator Obama fails to show wisdom when confronted with the hard cold fact of reality: that it has a stubborn way of refusing to be scripted and that you have to deal with that. You cannot, like George W. Bush, decide that you create your own reality - nobody has that much power. Writing a revisionist memoir will not serve as an effective response to immediate, pressing problems. Neither will staging a rally or trying to predetermine outcomes. That's the point about reality: it defies stagecraft and rigging: it must be dealt with, preferably with wisdom.

Ultimately, Senator Palin's selection and success as John McCain's running-mate matters relatively little to me - except possibly to the extent that it demonstrates Senator McCain's astute political dispositions, his ability qua politician to respond to difficult and uncertain circumstances with politically shrewd decisions. But what matters so much more is the paucity of Senator Obama's response to the display of powerful political character by both Senator McCain and Governor Palin over the last week. If he cannot respond with acuity to this sort of problematic reality, what does that suggest about his readiness, his natural dispositions, to respond wisely when confronted with the unexpected events that arise in the course of every presidency? Nothing very good.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Populist Progressivism again - this time with a preliminary caveat

Go here for the latest post at the new home of Heidi Li's Potpourri. Note that at that home you can subscribe to a feed from the new home. See information in the sidebar over there.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Heidi Li's Potpourri moves to a new location

The time for change is indeed upon us. In that spirit, Heidi Li's Potpourri is making a move. It will now be updated and viewable here.

For readers' convenience, the next several posts including the one below will appear in this location and the new one.

Looking beyond the heat of the moment

With the general election bearing down on us, it is easy to become overly reactive, to lose track of the bigger picture. The bigger picture that I care about is creating a country that is genuinely progressive, where diversity and pluralism are valued for their own sake, where norms of decency operate in our civil society, where respect for human dignity is the cornerstone of our political realm.

When I begin to contemplate this larger picture, the results of this coming presidential election matter almost not at all. Neither ticket is one I can endorse. For different reasons neither McCain-Palin nor Obama-Biden seem likely to bring this country into a truly progressive mode; it seems to me that either ticket might move the country both a bit closer and a bit further from that mode.

Now this view of the Presidential race has nothing to do with with question of which of the existing political parties has the most potential to become a truly progressive one. The answer to that is clearly the Democratic Party. The more interesting question, which is being put to me by many people from many vantage points, is whether I think the country needs a new option, a new political party. And the answer to that question has only a tangential bearing on the further question of whether, even if we conclude that the country does need a new political party, a new party that is genuinely viable can be successfully launched.

While I will continue to write about day to day happenings related to the general election and especially in the Congressional elections, I am going to use this space, Heidi Li's Potpourri, to slow down and reflect on how we might create a more perfect union, one where human dignity assumes center stage. Carpe diem.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Free facts about Act Blue and why their treatment of The Denver Group is unprincipled and objectionable

I have received a number of communications in which people express various forms of confusion about Act Blue and its treatment of The Denver Group. This will be my final post regarding this matter but I will do my best to answer the questions I have been asked.

Act Blue is a PAC, not an organ of the Democratic Party. It describes itself as "The online clearing house for Democratic action". Act Blue itself is a middleman: it does not raise money for candidates or causes; it provides a service to candidates and causes seeking Democratic action. The Denver Group chose to be listed on Act Blue - and to encourage our supporters to "tip" Act Blue, which is that organization's means of collecting funds to support itself - because The Denver Group is now and always has been committed to Democratic Action. I personally have created pages on Act Blue to support WomenCount, Sheila Jackson Lee, the late Stephanie Tubbs Jones, Ed O'Reilly, Gavin Newsome and Senator Clinton. I have also donated directly to Act Blue in appreciation for the service they provide Democratic candidates and causes.

Nowhere in Act Blue's mission statement do they make being listed there contingent on supporting the DNC as an institution or the Democratic Party's presidential nominee. Indeed among the causes and groups that remain listed on the Act Blue website are some that are directly contrary to supporting Senator Obama's presidential bid. For example:Howard Dean for President Draft Fund and Al Gore for President Draft Fund. Obviously raising money for candidates other than the Democratic Party's chosen nominee is ok by Act Blue. But of course if Dr. Dean or Mr. Gore were "drafted" to represent the Democratic Party in November's election, this would make it impossible for the DNC's preferred candidate to run in that role.

The Denver Group has never advocated replacing a freely and fairly elected nominee with somebody else; but this year the DNC has not produced a freely and fairly elected nominee. From the perspective of The Denver Group the conduct of the DNC and its officials is bad for the Democratic Party because that conduct is clearly costing the Party members and donations. Unsurprisingly, the DNC itself is listed on Act Blue, even though as an organization the DNC has driven millions away from supporting downticket Democrats as well as Senator Obama. Given this performance, at this point the DNC is hardly a group that stands for Democratic action, unless you count losing the support of millions of staunch Democrats Democratic action. I would call it something else.

Meanwhile The Denver Group is doing nicely with online contributions via Paypal and receipts via mail. If you would like to donate via Paypal, feel free to do so (please check the eligibility requirements for donation which appear over on The Denver Group website, where there is also a link to donate via Paypal).

As for Act Blue, I have only one thought for them: It's all over now, Act Blue (hat tip to Bob Dylan and his great tune "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue").


Read it to believe it.

This is what my Party, MY Party, the Democratic Party, the Party of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, of Arthur Schlesinger Jr., of Hillary Rodham Clinton, of Stephanie Tubbs Jones, of William Jefferson Clinton has come to. No internal criticism allowed. Censorship.


And worse, stupid thuggery. Apparently the people at Act Blue, like the people at the DNC, simply cannot get a simple point: that one can support the Democratic Party and support many Democratic officeholders what at the same time criticizing any particular Democrat at any particular moment. So when Democrats criticize me, a registered Democrat, I do not think that means they are not Democrats. They are Democrats who disagree with me on certain issues. That is their right, as human beings, as Americans, and as Democrats.

So when I criticize the DNC for running a dishonest nominating process and question whether it is good for the Party to have a President who accepts a tainted nomination that does not mean I am opposed to the Democratic Party. Quite the opposite. It means that I believe the Democratic Party must regain crediblity so that it will flourish as the Democratic Party in some recognizable form. I will fight for the redemption of the Democratic Party's good name precisely because I am a Democrat, a serious Democrat who means business.

A reader asked, so here it is: a link to the DNCC's official roll call tally

I am aware that on September 2 the DNCC managed to post its official tally of the roll call. I had not posted it here because I too hastily assumed that the information was sufficiently accessible already. But I am all for sharing facts, so for those seeking the official tally, you can see it here on the DNCC's official website.

What you will not find on the DNCC website is any information about precisely what occurred on the morning of the roll call when delegates were pressured and intimidated in many cases into voting against their own consciences and against the preferences expressed by those who sent them to the convention. You will not find any information about which delegates stood their ground despite such tactics. You will not find any comparative information about how many delegates per state voted other than they were pledged to do.

The DNCC is not required to release this information. But sometimes one should go above and beyond what one is required to do so as to demonstrate good faith. That applies to organizations, just as much as it does to individuals.

Desperation seems to bring out the worst in people

A few days ago I posted a response to one of the few polite communications I have received from a a strong supporter of the Obama-Biden ticket. I took the time to write the post because of the courtesy and intelligence displayed in that original communication. Apparently, the fact that I was ultimately unpersuaded to the writer's point of view, today he was motivated to send this not-so-courteous message. (I have kept the writer's identity private, because as you will see, he prefers that. Also, for the record, my surname is Feldman, not Li - Li is my middle name, listed as such on my birth certificate.) I am posting the latest round of correspondence with the writer because it exemplifies measures that taking place all over the country as desperate people realize that the DNC and Senator Obama were wrong about many people's willingness to look the other way now after being silenced and disrespected throughout the primary season.

Believe me, I understand how frustrating it is that it looks ever more unlikely that the Democratic nominee can win the presidency this November. I have spent months and months working to ensure a different result: up until the convention, I used every means available to me to persuade the DNC and the general public that a more likely person to win the White House was available to be nominated and elected by a genuine and fair roll call; I implored the DNC leadership to quit the shenanigans they were engaging in and stand strong for Democratic and democratic values.

I continue to advocate for downticket Democrats and to encourage people frustrated and angered by Senator Obama, Dr. Dean, Speaker Pelosi, et al. to respond by supporting Senator Clinton as the Party's next Democratic majority leader in the Senate. Many people are angered by my refusal to desert the Democratic Party. But I've taken a position and I am sticking to it:

One can disapprove of a Party's choice of Presidential nominee and still be a supporter of that Party, because Party power does not reside solely in the executive branch.

If you care to join me in that point of view, even a small donation to The Denver Group would help get that message out.

As for the less-than-courteous message and some ensuing back and forth, read on.

Date: Thu, Sep 4, 2008 at 11:09 AM

Dear Ms. Li-
I wrote to you several days (weeks?) ago and you chose not to respond. Which
is fine.

However, I note now that your outrage over the roll call vote at the DNC is
phony. The results have been published for days, but you haven't even
bothered to post them at your site, despite days of claiming the results
were being surpressed. And I find it interesting that these results are
being surpressed on YOUR blog because they do not fit your narrative that
there was a mass of Hillary delegates who wouldn't bend. The vote results
show that isn't true.

I can thereby only conclude you have no interest in anything but your narrow
agenda and your fantasies about Hillary Clinton, which Hillary herself
clearly does not support.

So please be on record: I am not a political person. Other than vote, I've
never been involved. But you have motivated me. Hillary is my senator.
Schumer is my senator. John Hall is my representative. You can be sure that
I am now going to steep myself in the sytem and I'll have one goal: To
expose you as the phony you are.

You don't care about your country. You don't care about about the Democratic
Party, either. After this election, I will make it my business going forward
to fight anything your phony group proposes.

You're not a Democrat. You're a phony and it's clear that you're in it for
personal publicity. I dont't like phonies in the system and now I'll devote
time to making people know that you're one of them.

now an active Democrat

From: Heidi Li Feldman
Date: Thu, Sep 4, 2008 at 11:25 AM


I wrote an entire post on blog dedicated to answering you.
I did not use your name but if you would like me to so, I am happy to identify as the author of what I called a "courteous" and "intelligent" message.

Please let me know if you would care to be identified.

Yours truly
Heidi Li Feldman

Date: Thu, Sep 4, 2008 at 11:30 AM
To: Heidi Li Feldman

No, I'm not interested in credit. I wrote to you PRIVATELY. What I am interested in is a) you looking out for the greater interest of your country and b) telling the truth. The results of the DNC vote aren't hidden. They are posted, and have been for days. But, as I say, I got the message now. You're in this for YOU and your fantasies. Got it. Sorry I misunderstood earlier

Word to the wise: if you are a Democratic officeholder you should definitely sign this

Based on some anecdotal evidence from reliable sources, it seems clear that a significant number of Democratic officeholders - e.g. governors and members of Congress - are not quite aware of just how unhappy how many people are over the botched DNC convention (among other things).

Yesterday, a friend asked me: "But what can Democratic politicans do? They can't very well attack Senator Obama now."

My reply: Regardless of whether Democratic officeholders could or should criticize Senator Obama publicly, I know they will not. They will not because it is too risky for their own political futures. But...and this is important...Democratic office holders need to realize that their conspicuous failure to affirm Senator Clinton's importance to rank and file Democrats is also very risky for their political futures. Clinton Democrats number in the millions and any Democratic officeholder who wants to remain one needs to remember that.

So, what can Democratic politicians do? They can join the initiative to support Senator Clinton for Senate Majority Leader in 2009. To do this is to show respect for Senator Clinton and all the Democrats (including those who will happily vote for the Obama-Biden ticket) that one can support Senator Clinton and her ideas without being negative about Senator Obama. Senator Obama expects to be the next President of the United States. Fine. He has money and a campaign staff to help him meet his own expectations.

Many of us rank and file Democrats expect our Party to make sure it is as powerful in the 111th Congress as possible. We believe that making Senator Clinton Senate Majority Leader is one major step in that direction.

So, Democratic officeholders - and anybody else who wants to - check out the letter at for Hillary Rodham Clinton for Senate Majority Leader 2009. Directions about how to sign our letter to Democratic Senators urging them to make that happen appear on the website. There is also information about how individuals can contact Senators directly urging them to affirm this effort. We are letting Democratic Senators know that if and when they do affirm our effort, we will list them on an Act Blue fundraising page dedicated to Senators who believe, along with us, that Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton can help our Party and our country in the office of Senate Majority Leader.

Check out the letter and learn how to become a signer here.

Substance over spectacle: Ed O'Reilly specifically asks supporters ensure focus remains on content

This just in from Ed O'Reilly:

Debate Closed to the Public--No Purpose to Appear

First, I want to thank each and every one of my supporters for all of their hard work, dedication and enthusiasm.

Tomorrow, I am having less than one half hour to debate Senator Kerry at the WBZ TV4 Studios. This debate will be closed to the public and will be shown on Boston's Channel 4 at 8:30 a.m. on Sunday, September 7th.

During the last several weeks, people from all over the state have contacted the campaign asking if they should come to the debate.

I am strongly urging my supporters NOT come to the closed debate. If Senator Kerry would agree to a public forum, there would be a purpose to coming to a debate. However, there is absolutely no point to standing around outside of a TV studio on a sidewalk holding a sign.

This campaign is not about show, it is about change and holding signs outside of a TV Studio on a sidewalk does little to effectuate that change.

I thank you for your support.

Ed O'Reilly

"This campaign is not about show, it is about change and holding signs outside of a TV Studio on a sidewalk does little to effectuate that change." Another quotable line from Ed O'Reilly.


Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Sometimes you have to quote a friend: "Democracy should not be a spectator sport" - Ed O'Reilly, 9/3/2008

Just in from the O'Reilly campaign, with an email subject line also worth quoting: "Mockery of Democracy":
This Friday morning at 8:30 a.m., Ed O'Reilly will debate Senator John Kerry for a pre-recorded taping to be shown this Sunday on WBZ TV-4 at 10 a.m. Ed has called for multiple debates and forums where the public, would not only be invited, but would be allowed to participate. "I do not believe democracy should be a spectator sport," Ed stated today. "John Kerry has set all of the terms relative to the upcoming debate and the public is not only being excluded from participating, but people are being prohibited from even attending. The terms set by Senator Kerry are an insult to the voters of Massachusetts and I call upon Senator Kerry to enter debates that are open to the public and where ordinary people can ask questions. Democracy and the election process is meant to be inclusive and not exclusive," Ed O'Reilly added.
Interested in donating to Ed O'Reilly or a group that shares his vision of democracy - The Denver Group? You can do so at this Act Blue page where both Ed and The Denver Group are featured, as are Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton and Representative Sheila Jackson Lee.

From the Party that brought us the original Voting Rights Act to a DNC that refuses to recognize the significance of votes

In 1965, enabled by the brave actions of civil rights activists who created the political climate who made it possible for him to do the right thing, President Johnson signed into law the original Voting Rights Act.

In 2008 the leadership of the DNC, with the assistance of state party officials across the country, brought us a rigged role call vote; refused ever to fully recognize the voters of Michigan and Florida, treating primary voters in those states differently than the voters in other states whose primaries were not held according to DNC requirements - but those states were not ones that seemed likely to harm the chances of the preferred candidate of Dr. Dean, Speaker Pelosis, et al; and continues to show its apparent incomprehension of the sentiments and values that made so many Democrats so proud that in the modern era the first major federal statute dedicated to justice in voting was enacted and signed into law by a Democratic president.

Although this disgrace and its consequences can never be fully erased, mitigation is possible even now. Howard Dean, Nancy Pelosi, Donna Brazile and every other top DNC official could publicly apologize to rank and file Democrats who, regardless of their attitude toward any particularly candidate, have been embarassed, disappointed, and appalled by the actions and inactions of the current DNC leadership. To mean anything, these apologies would have to befollowed up by immediate resignation from their positions; and verifiable commitments from the apologizers - e.g. Dr. Dean, Speaker Pelosi, and Ms. Brazile - that they will have no part in, play no role in, be entirely uninvolved with the internal election of the next DNC Chair and other the elections and appointments of a new crop of DNC officials. They must make the same verifiable commitment to play no role in similar processes in state Democratic Party branches.

One way you can be part of a public demand for a complete change in DNC leadership is to support The Denver Group. Please consider a contribution to The Denver Group. For a summary of The Denver Group's post convention objectives go here.

From the wicked to the absurd: the saga of the California "pass"

Let me begin with a credit to somebody who left a comment on the previous post on this site, And the Wickedness Goes On.... That commenter drew my attention to what I had previously thought might have been a principled refusal by the California delegation to the Democratic National Convention's rigged internal election of its nominee (otherwise known as the roll call vote). The LA Times decided to look into the matter. In its first story , on August 28th, on the situation the Times wrote, "The state takes a pass simply because a tally of its 441 delegate votes wasn't completed when the state's name was called."

Then yesterday, September 2, the Times followed up with this story, announcing that only by September 2 did the state complete its tally. Furthermore, the L.A. Times reports the following about its inquiry to the DNC the about the total roll call vote tally:

As for the total vote, well, Democratic officials were still working on it as of late this afternoon.

A spokeswoman for the Democratic National Convention Committee, Natalie Wyeth, said paperwork had been shipped back from the convention site in Denver, but that the Labor Day holiday delayed the tally.

Wyeth said she expected the official count to be released soon, perhaps by day’s end.

Say what? Let me get this straight. In their rush to fake a roll call vote, first the DNC does not give one of the largest and most populous states in the country a full opportunity to have its tally completed and reported at the convention; then the DNC gives a major news paper the lamest excuse I ever heard for its failure to have a final tally completed as of yesterday. Labor Day weekend made it hard to count any sooner. Say what? I worked over Labor Day Weekend but would happily have headed over to the DNC to help count if that was the problem. And you can be sure that if the DNC can't count votes any quicker than this, no way are they going to be ready any time soon to gather and ready to release information about which delegates chose to vote against the way they were pledged.

Rank and file Democrats need that information - facts about which delegates decided that their consituents' interests would be most faithfully carried out (the standard defined in the Party's rules) by voting for somebody other than the candidate the consituents voted for - so that ordinary Democrats can decide whether they want to entrust their franchise to these particular representatives should any try to become delegates again.

Now, it appears that a large number of Clinton delegates from California, where Senator Clinton won big in the primary, did not care to switch their allegiance from Senator Cinton to Senator Obama on the first ballot.

Now, maybe it was sheer ineptitude that led to California's inability to count its delegates in time to actually participate in the sham roll call. Or maybe Nancy Pelosi - DNC official, Obama supporter, and prominent California politician - thought that by not giving California time to finish its tally she would preempt the possibility that one of the early states to vote would assign a large chunk of its delegates to Senator Clinton.

Whatever the case, the California experience epitomizes the wrongfulness of the DNC's approach to this entire primary/caucus season. The DNC has consistently enabled or facilitated interference with free, fair, and open elections whether it be at caucuses in the states that held them or at its own convention.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

And the wickedness goes on...

Keep five yards from a carriage, ten yards from a horse, and a hundred yards from an elephant; but the distance one should keep from a wicked man cannot be measured.
-Indian Proverb
How [X] has conducted himself while winning campaigns is a subject of no small controversy in political circles. It is frequently said of him, in hushed tones when political folks are doing the talking, that he leaves a trail of damage in his wake—a reference to the substantial number of people who have been hurt, politically and personally, through their encounters with him. [X]'s reputation for winning is eclipsed only by his reputation for ruthlessness, and examples abound of his apparent willingness to cross moral and ethical lines.
Almost precisely these words appeared in The Atlantic magazine. I say "almost" because where I have inserted "X" The Atlantic article refers to Karl Rove.

The day has come, however, where we can almost substitute for Mr. Rove, a person from whom I stay immeasurably distanced, any of the following: Howard Dean, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and various others. These political operators and the people who they control seem willing to cross any and all moral and ethical lines in their relentless insistence on depriving Democrats of internal due process. I say we can "almost" substitute their names for Mr. Rove's because they do not seem nearly so adept at actually gaining their stated objective - the election of Barack Obama to the Presidency, an outcome that seems less likely with every gaffe and every new poll result.

The newest evidence of the wickedness of the current crop of DNC leaders is the fact that nobody in the DNC is willing to supply the following information: how the delegates actually voted in their private morning caucuses on the day of the roll call rigamarole orchestrated by Democratic Party state and national leaders. At those meetings the state party leaders, made fearful of any sort of "floor fight" (read "honest, open, legitimate, unrigged roll call vote") cajoled, pressured and demanded that delegates pledged to Senator Clinton switch their votes to Senator Obama. Wickedness.

I have been informed by various sources that delegates cannot get, from either the DNC or their State party chairs the following information: the actually tallies and ballot sheets from the morning caucuses. This means that nobody can check whether in fact Clinton delegates did switch or which of them did and which of them did not.

There is every reason to ask for this information if one cares about the Democratic Party's integrity which is rapidly reaching the vanishing point. When delegates ask for this information they are being told things like "We don't have copies of the ballots" or "We are too busy with campaigns". They are being told, in essence, to take a hike; process be damned, all that the Democratic Party cares about is result, with no heed to how it is achieved.

That type of thinking brought America an attorney general and a President who decided torture is not torture if it gets you what you think you want.

The DNC's own rules disqualify secret ballots at the convention. If the Party does not release full and verifiable tallies and ballot sheets post haste, they are not only in violation of this rule, Party officials become ever more indistinguishable from the man who stole Florida and deprived Al Gore of the Presidency in 2000.

Voting rights are at the foundation of any legitimate democratic institution. Ballots disappearing, delegates being given the runaround as they try to verify the result that was announced at the convention - these are wicked tactics, much like the threats to de-accredit delegates who at all tried to treat the Democratic Party Convention as the "deliberative body" is is supposed to be, according so "delegate guru" Phil MacNamara over on the DNCC website.

The purveyors of such political wickedness are tearing apart the Democratic Party and corroding its foundations. I for one shall remain immeasurably distanced from them and from the candidate who has capitalized on the leadership's wicked ways.

If you care to join those working hard to distance the current DNC leadership from their power, please consider a contribution to The Denver Group. For a summary of The Denver Group's post convention objectives go here.

From The Denver Group: Post Convention Goals

The Denver Group: Post Convention Goals

Like many groups reeling from the rigamarole of a nomination process used by the DNC this year, The Denver Group has been taking stock. Today, plans crystallized. Take a look and if you like what you see, consider a donation to help The Denver Group attain these goals.

Monday, September 1, 2008

The Denver Group: Labor Day update from The Denver Group

How every Democrat can help us let Senators know we want Senator Clinton to be the next Senate majority leader

An ad-hoc group of Democrats (including me) has created a website with a statement of purpose and an online version of the letter they will immediately be sending to all Senators and Senatorial candidates asking them to support Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton for Senate Majority Leader in 2009. If you go to the site, here, you can learn how to add your name as a signatory. In case you have trouble finding the information over at the website here it is, reprinted:
If you would like to sign the letter please send an email to marshamc55@gmail.com with "signer" in the subject line. Your message should included your full name, which we will add to the letter and your state and city and a contact phone number for identification purposes only. Your location and phone number will be kept private and will never appear on this site or any other public site.

Signing costs nothing, indicates that you understand that there's plenty of room for strong Democratic leadership throughout the federal government, and is a way of demonstrating your continuing support for Senator Clinton, her policies, and her political future.

Why Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton must be the next Senate Majority Leader

To understand the importance of Senator Clinton holding this position, a review of precisely what the position involves is required.

Senate Majority leaders and Senate minority leaders lead their parties in the Senate, the term that covers both is "floor leader". The Majority Leader is from the Party who holds a majority in the Senate. The current Senate Majority Leader is Harry Reid (who, as it happens, was deeply involved in the results-driven Democratic Party presidential nomination process). Senator Reid holds the post of Majority Leader rather than Minority Leader rather precariously - because at the moment the Democratic majority in the Senate is razor thin. The current majority consists of 51 Senators (with two Independents currently designated as Democrats for purposes of calculating the majority; these is because these Senators are part of the Democratic Senate Caucus). The Republican minority consists of 49 members.

In 2009, the Democrats have a meaningful chance to make their majority large enough to override any Presidential veto of legislation passed by the house. (Such a veto requires 60 votes, and one problem the current Senate has had in controlling the excesses of the Bush-Cheney administration is that the Democratic Party has had insufficient votes to guarantee an override.)

Two basic factors make 2009 a promising one for securing a larger Democratic majority. First, the Republicans have 23 seats at stake whereas the Democrats have only 12. But these numbers alone overstate the opportunity for Democrats to take a more commanding lead in the Senate, because many of the Republicans running for reelection come from "safe" districts.

States with seriously competitive races include Alaska (where the Palin pick helps the Republican candidate despite the disastrous Republican incumbent Ted Stevens, who is under every kind of investigation for every type of corruption imaginable); Colorado; Louisiana; Maine; Minnesota (where Al Franken is challenging a Republican incumbent); Mississippi; New Hampshire; New Mexico; North Carolina; Oregon; and Virginia. [source]

Regardless of how each races turn out though, it is reasonable to predict that the Democrats will go into 2009 with a Majority in the Senate and a larger one than the current one.

An effective Senator Majority Leader not only leads her Party's Senators, she knows when and how to reach across the aisle to work with select Republicans who will co-author good bipartisan bills and Republican Senators who will vote for sensible legislation regardless of Party affiliation. She works closely with the Republican Minority Leader to make these things happen. As described by the U.S. Senate's own website:
Although party floor leadership posts carry great responsibility, they provide few specific powers. Instead, floor leaders have largely had to depend on their individual skill, intelligence, and personality. Majority leaders seek to balance the needs of senators of both parties to express their views fully on a bill with the pressures to move the bill as quickly as possible toward enactment. These conflicting demands have required majority leaders to develop skills in compromise, accommodation, and diplomacy. Lyndon Johnson, who held the post in the 1950s, once said that the greatest power of the majority leader was "the power of persuasion."

The majority leader usually works closely with the minority leader so that, as Senator Bob Dole explained, "we never surprise each other on the floor." The party leaders meet frequently with the president and with the leaders of the House of Representatives. The majority leader also greets foreign dignitaries visiting the Capitol.

Senator Clinton is eminently qualified for this role. (Indeed her experience in the Senate and the respect in which she is held there were among the reasons she would have been such an excellent Democratic President this year, since working effectively with the legislative branch, especially the Senate, is a large part of what makes a President successful.) She has the policy ideas and the political savvy that can make the Senate an extremely powerful force for progressive change. Senator Clinton has the respect of foreign leaders the world over.

Furthermore, Senator Clinton now enjoys a popular mandate for her views and policies: she won more votes than any other presidential contender in a primary season ever has; polls show that were she running against John McCain she would be beating him handily; and she is a politician of national prominence who has support from rank and file voters of all affiliations.

Thus, the importance of making sure that Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton is elected by her Democratic peers to lead them in the Senate. Information on how rank and file Democrats can work toward this objective to follow. Stay tuned.

Reforming the Democratic Party through documenting what went on Denver

For those interested in The Denver Group, this site should be of considerable interest.