Monday, June 30, 2008

The Denver Group hits the wires

Yahoo! And see here and here and here.

5:15 update: Release is going nationwide!

Here. Here. Here. Here.

A new face being hit by old tactics: Ed O'Reilly

Because I live in Washington D.C. which does not have full and meaningful representation in the U.S. Congress, I regard every Senator and Representative as responsible for representing me - it is a second best solution until Congress awards the residents of the nation's capital proper representation.

Ed O'Reilly, running for Senate against John Kerry in the upcoming Massachusetts Democratic Primary, is somebody I want in Congress representing me. I have been researching Mr. O'Reilly for a while now, since a friend drew my attention to him. Unlike the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, Mr. O'Reilly is for universal health care, because Mr. O'Reilly understands that without genuinely universal coverage the economics of the idea of universal coverage will not work. This is just one instance of Mr. O'Reilly adopting the right position for the right reasons. Learn more about Mr. O'Reilly in latest nationwide coverage.

John Kerry has not been challenged in a primary since he was first elected to the Senate and it does not appear he's best pleased with having to work to keep his position as the Democrat to beat in November. His campaign has used all the smear tactics we've seen used by Democrats against Democrats this election cycle. Not a pretty sight. But Mr. O'Reilly is just sticking with one of the hardest aims in American politics: defeating a very well-funded opponent who many people do not scrutinize as carefully as they should.

Ed O'Reilly: the sort of Democrat I want to see in Denver - and Washington, D.C.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Stephanie Tubbs Jones


Congresswoman Tubbs Jones and Senator Clinton reintroduce their Count Every Vote Legislation.
Yesterday I was thinking about the rank and file Democrats who have come together because of Senator Clinton's candidacy. Today I found myself thinking about the more high profile Democrats who came together for Senator Clinton, some of whom did so at real risk to the their own political futures. Although more than one name came immediately to mind (I plan to write about others in future posts), one person has been at the forefront of my thoughts.
She is Representative Stephanie Tubbs Jones.

Rep. Tubbs Jones stands out to me not just because I had the honor and privilege of observing her at events, large and small, related to Senator Clinton's candidacy. Yes, she gave her all in support of the candidate she preferred. Yes, her eloquence and enthusiasm impressed me. Yes, her loyalty to Senator Clinton showed a level of personal commitment and principle not readily found in politicians.

But Rep. Tubbs Jones stands out on her own. She is an American politician to be admired and respected because of her long service in the cause of true progressivism. The latest examples include: Rep. Tubbs Jones' stand against the FISA bill and her stand against giving George W. Bush a blank check to run his occupation of Iraq. But there are less well known examples too.


Rep. Tubbs Jones consistently participates in the Home Court annual basketball game, a charitable event sponsored by Georgetown University law students to raise money for the homelessThe game pits members of Congress against members of of Georgetown University Law Center faculty and staff. I try to participate each year in this unique fundraiser, which has been going on for more than twenty years. I remember when I was new to the annual game, and I know that one of the first members of Congress who not only listed himself or herself in the program as a participant but who showed up and participated was Stephanie Tubbs Jones.

It is easy to put your name in a program. My colleagues and the members of Congress who show up and participate in Home Court's annual fundraiser have other things do with a weeknight evening. But part of being truly progressive is putting your heart and your effort into both big time and smaller time causes. And part of being somebody others can and do believe in - and there are many who believe fiercely in Representative Tubbs Jones, and who will make sure she is reelected to serve for as long as chooses to run - is putting in the real effort, showing up, doing the work - year after year, week after week.

Stephanie Tubbs Jones is that sort of American progressive. Long may she serve. I hope to see her in Denver. I know we'll both be showing up, working away. Maybe we'll even find a basketball court and practice for the next Home Court game.

Living history: collective action past, present, and future

Precisely because of the power of collective action, I don't have to take the time to write the text to go with the title of this post. All I have to do is suggest that you read this.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Getting real


Like so many people this political season, I have been fortunate to "meet" some amazing people via their blogs, my blog, or somebody else's blog. These meetings have reminded me, more often than not, of how many people of good will and good humor are out there. Most of the people I have met out there and over here on the web I will probably never meet in person.

But today I had the privilege of keeping an appointment with somebody who before I knew only via online exchanges. I met Jack. And I met his absolutely fabulous mother. And I met his charming niece (that's me with K in the picture; I am showing K the special victory pose reserved for winners; K is modeling my necklace).

Jack and I do not live TOO far from each other - although far enough that the get-together provided me with a day long excursion to another part of the Maryland-Virginia area where I had not been before.

We talked politics. But we also told stories about jobs and family. We noted movies we all liked. Jack explained his secret: if he opts for a piece of technology or a fledgling industry standard (as in going with HDTV only to have Blu-Ray carry the day in the high definition optical disc wars), his very choice actually causes the alternative to triumph. (Hmmm....just occurred to me that this MAY explain the sorry situation the Democratic Party is in...but, I digress.) Jack's mother made me laugh and made me think about some things in new lights. Jack summed up Geraldine Ferraro's strength when responding to hostile questions from reporters: when she answers "it is just snap snap" [picture the appropriate "snap snap" gesture, which Jack supplied.] We aired our opinions of how public schools treat their best teachers and other staff and our views of doctors and hospitals.

Basically, we just hung out and had fun. Something we would never have done were it not for Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton. So, Senator Clinton, thanks for bringing about this fine meeting. And thank you for bringing all sorts of people together, who are still working together, online and off, to make the Democratic Party and the United States better than ever.

And thanks, Jack and family, for your warm welcome and a fun day. It was real.

As for the rest of us, let's stay real and use our ties to fix the Democratic Party and support Senator Clinton by retiring the debt.

What an open convention really means


Find out here.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Friends, the time HAS come for UNITY

A surprising number of people sent questions to me today asking whether the Democratic Party is required to hold a roll call vote at its convention this August. Rather than answer individually, I thought I would use this space to express my view on the point.

My view: I do not know. The main reason I do not know is that I do not know what the current Party rules and bylaws require. But there would be little point in researching what the current rules or bylaws require because the Party can modify its rules and bylaws via any number of mechanisms, so regardless of what the rules or bylaws say, whether there will be a roll call vote remains an open question.

At the fundraiser summit held at the Mayflower last night, Senator Obama was asked whether he supported or expected a roll call vote at the convention. He did not answer the question directly. When he was pressed by the questioner for a direct answer, he replied that he was not going to "negotiate" the convention at the Mayflower event last night.

Apparently, then, Senator Obama does not know or did not know last night - or chose not to tell us of his knowledge - whether there will be a roll call vote at the convention in Denver.

So, I don't know and Senator Obama did not enlighten the questioner last night. Dr. Dean has not spoken on the point. Senator Obama told us he was proud to be the leader of the Democratic Party. Dr. Dean has not resigned as chair of the Party. They would seem to be the ones who could answer the roll call question clearly. I will write to each of them for an answer.

Meanwhile, though, I want to say that the time has indeed come for unity. Unity among Democrats.

All Democrats should unify in expecting the Democratic Party to abide by democratic principles and procedures at its convention this summer. I believe that those principles require the highest standards of transparency and meticulously fair procedures. Indeed, I believe this so strongly that I am working hard to help Democrats unite in the name of democracy - a cause that has little or nothing do with which particular candidate any particular Democrat voted for during this primary season.

In the name of keeping the Democratic Party democratic, I have helped to organized The Denver Group. Click here to learn all about The Denver Group: a cause we can all get behind!

The fundraising summit: Part IV; the atmosphere

Some friends have asked for my sense of the "feel of the room". Ok. I am happy to report that, but please understand that this is just my own perspective. I did not care to stick around and chat with all and sundry. I think there were two groups in the room, each one developing a stronger identity the more Senator Obama spoke. One group reminded me of the caricatures of groupies: these folks are certain that Senator Obama will be the nominee (which is very likely) and they were trying very hard to show that they want him to include them in his program. The other, seemingly larger group, responded in a rather lukewarm fashion, ranging from even more annoyed by Senator Obama than before tonight to totally underwhelmed by him.

The fundraising summit: Part III: Senator Clinton knows exactly what she is doing

One of the most impressive moment of tonight's meeting, sponsored by Senator Clinton for purposes of introducing her "top" fundraisers to Senator Obama, came right before Senator Clinton turned the mike over to Senator Obama. Senator Clinton turned toward the group, people who had cheered her and cheered her as she entered, people who have worked hard on her behalf, and she told us that our work was not yet finished; that regardless of what happens this November she would need our support to make sure that every American had a real chance to make the American dream true for him or her. It was a unique moment. A public figure, Senator Clinton, turning to us, about 150 people (I am guessing very wildly) and she made it clear that her first loyalty is to those who have shown her loyalty,

The fundraiser summit: Part II: Of humility

Well, I have not yet been able to sleep on it.

I know why: Senator Clinton and Terry McAuliffe were absolute troupers, somehow delivering simultaneously a message of Democratic unity and a recognition of the unique relationship between Senator Clinton and her supporters. Senator Obama, however, left me cold. And since I will not be voting for Mr. McCain in November, I still do not feel I can, in good conscience, vote for Senator Obama.

The most revealing moment of the evening: early in his remarks, Senator Obama told us he would have to be "extraodordinarily humble." Anybody who tells me he or she must be humble is telling me he or she is not about to be humble.

The fundraiser summit: Part 1

Tonight's event, sponsored by Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, has left me with a complicated mix of feelings. But my feelings should, I think, take a backseat to the best job I can do with regard to relating what went on, in a relatively descriptive fashion. After I sleep on it, I will offer what I know to be commentary.

The event in question: a meeting of Senator Clinton's top fundraisers. The purpose: to introduce us to Senator Obama to this group.

What happened:
Before any of the formal events began, there was a chance for many people to greet those who we have seen at other events over the past 18 months, to connect, and to discover that the ties we forged are still as strong as ever.
The best person I met tonight who I have not met before: Dorothy McAuliffe, Terry McAuliffe's wife. So smart, so intelligent, so gracious. We laughed about how Terry portrays her in his book, What A Party, and I had the opportunity to thank her for her direct support of Senator Clinton as well as her indirect support, because Dorothy McAuliffe made it possible for Terry to race all over the country leading the charge on Senator Clinton's behalf.
The program:
  • Terry McAuliffe introduced Senator Clinton, to one of the finest receptions I have ever observed anybody receive. Everybody was on their feet, applauding and applauding Senator Clinton, who looked relaxed and calm.
  • Senator Clinton spoke. Senator Clinton emphasized the point that she and the 18 million who voted for her have unfinished business. She reiterated her view that it is crucial that a Democrat be elected to the presidency this year. Then she discussed how hard she would work for down ticket Democrats. She took time to single out Sheila Lee Jackson and Stephanie Tubbs Jones, among other Congresspeople present; Senator Clinton said that Ms. Jackson and Ms. Jones are sisters to her. Then Senator Clinton talked about how hard she would work to swell the ranks of Democrat senators and representatives. Eventually, she introduced Senator Obama to us, those she kept referring to as her friends.
  • Senator Obama made remarks. I will discuss and describe these in my next posts. Senator Obama took a few questions - these exchanges I will also discuss in later posts.
  • After the q-and-a with Senator Obama, the gathering broke up. I left more or less in the same situation as when I arrived: entirely confident about Senator Clinton's political future; not overly impressed by Senator Obama; extremely proud of the gracious welcome and support Senator Clinton and Terry McAuliffe displayed toward Senator Obama.
To be continued...

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Money managers: Senator Obama featured in the news

Even as the stock market takes another tumble, Senator Obama's own campaign finance strategy seems to be showing signs of weakness. After embarrassingly reversing his pledge not to accept public financing - thereby turning off his small dollar donor base - Senator Obama finds himself dependent on large donors, especially since he has chosen to refuse government matching funds. This shoot-yourself-in-the-foot syndrome worries me when it afflicts somebody running to be President of the United States.

Tonight I attend a finance committee meeting as Senator Clinton's guest. What I expect to tell, if asked: that I had an extra successful day raising money to retire Senator Clinton's debt. What I expect to hear: pleas for donations to Senator Obama. Hmm....somehow I don't think this is what the D.N.C. was expecting when they tweaked the rules to produce Dr. Dean's and Speaker Pelosi's preferred presumptive nominee.

RETIRE THE DEBT: preparing for a meeting with Senator Obama

Donation link on this post is repaired as of 7:57 a.m. - you can also donate by clicking the icon of Senator Clinton in the upper right of this blog.

At the invitation of Senator Clinton's National Finance Committee, tonight I will be at meeting here in D.C. where Senator Clinton and Senator Obama will both be in attendance. I am happy to attend as I believe the meeting will be largely informational. As a scholar and a citizen I am always open to information. But often at meetings like this, one has an opportunity to contribute as well as to receive information. I would love to be able to deliver the news that my own efforts to RETIRE THE DEBT hit it big today. I know many people are waiting for July 4 to contribute. But if you have just 5 dollars to give today here, I could have quite some news to deliver this evening!

The Denver Group has a logo!


The photograph a detail from the Colorado State Capitol Building, located in....Denver!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Pledges made, pledges kept


For me today has been a good one in the Department of People Keeping Their Word. Not only have many of those who pledged to The Denver Group followed up and sent in their donations (big thank you to those who have already donated and those planning on doing so), but I received an acknowledgment (upper right) of the match I ran recently for retiring Senator Clinton's campaign debt and Fisher House.


Also, I - along with many others, I am sure - received an email with the message below from the Clinton campaign. This message that redoubles my already unyielding commitment to retiring Senator Clinton's debt, and doing so in a way that preserves her independence in every way possible. If you can help, please donate.
I made a promise to you, and I intend to keep it.

I told you that if you stood up for me, I would always stand up for you. You did more for me than I could have ever imagined, and I'm going to keep my end of the bargain and keep fighting for what we believe in -- in the Senate and on the campaign trail, helping to elect a new Democratic president and a bigger Democratic majority in Congress.

That relationship will endure thanks to the remarkable journey you and I have shared. But there's something else -- less endearing and I hope less enduring -- that our campaign has left behind: our substantial campaign debt.

I'm so grateful for all you've done for me -- all the ways you have given your time, energy, and financial resources. But today I am asking once again for your help ridding our campaign of debt so we can keep fighting together.

***snip**

As you know, I had to loan money to my campaign at critical moments. I'm not asking for anyone's help to pay that back. That was my investment and my commitment because I believe so deeply in our cause.

But I do need your help paying the debts we accrued to others over the course of this campaign. We put everything we had into winning this race, and we came just about as close as you can.

I will never regret the energy, effort, and passion we put into one of the closest and most expensive primary contests in history. But I need your help to move on to the next phase of our journey together.

***snip***

You've done so much for me over the past 17 months, and I can never thank you enough. But I hope you know how much I appreciate everything you put into our campaign.

Sincerely,
Hillary
Hillary Rodham Clinton

P.S. Everywhere I go, people tell me what a big difference our campaign has made in their lives. Let's keep working together throughout 2008 and beyond to advance the causes we believe in and to advocate alongside people whose voices need to be heard.

Brutus, Denver, and the D.N.C.

Shakespeare is in the air, it seems. Other people are enjoying the Bard's King Lear and that play's relevance to current Democratic politics. I have Julius Caesar on my mind. Specifically, my favorite speech in the entire play.

It is not the more famous funeral speech made by the character of Marc Anthony. Instead it is the speech given by Brutus, the figure in the play whose deeds and emotions reflect the major theme animating the play: the conflicting demands of patriotism and friendship, and the strain this puts on a person trying to act honorably. Although people tend to forget this, Brutus is the hero of the play. And, as often happens with Shakespeare, people remember a line or two, taken out of its original context, and this makes it easier for people to forget the nature of the play or a particular character.

In Act 3. Scene II: Brutus goes to the Forum to address the people of Rome, after Brutus and several other Roman senators have together killed Caesar. Brutus speaks at the Forum to give publicly his reasons for participating in the killing of his friend:
Be patient till the last.
Romans, countrymen, and lovers! hear me for my
cause, and be silent, that you may hear: believe me
for mine honour, and have respect to mine honour, that
you may believe: censure me in your wisdom, and
awake your senses, that you may the better judge.
If there be any in this assembly, any dear friend of
Caesar's, to him I say, that Brutus' love to Caesar
was no less than his. If then that friend demand
why Brutus rose against Caesar, this is my answer:
--Not that I loved Caesar less, but that I loved
Rome more. Had you rather Caesar were living and
die all slaves, than that Caesar were dead, to live
all free men? As Caesar loved me, I weep for him;
as he was fortunate, I rejoice at it; as he was
valiant, I honour him: but, as he was ambitious, I
slew him. There is tears for his love; joy for his
fortune; honour for his valour; and death for his
ambition. Who is here so base that would be a
bondman? If any, speak; for him have I offended.
Who is here so rude that would not be a Roman? If
any, speak; for him have I offended. Who is here so
vile that will not love his country? If any, speak;
for him have I offended. I pause for a reply.
(emphasis added)
Brutus's point: Caesar overreached, by seeking the servility of Romans, their mass dedication to him and him alone, rather than to the best traditions of Rome. And Brutus, as a true lover of of the best in Rome could not stand by and permit even a loved friend do this. Democrats face a similar conundrum with regard to the D.N.C.: we must object to its methods this primary season, not because we do not care about the Democratic Party, but because we care so much about the best traditions of the Democratic Party. We can insist that the D.N.C. clean house and correct for the inequities that have brought us to the juncture we are at today; we can demand that the convention return the Democratic Party to its best nature.

NOTE: Julius Caesar is a play based on historical facts about Ancient Rome. My admiration for Shakespeare's Brutus and the speech quoted here in no way condones any sort of physical violence in politics in the United States today.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Be careful what you wish for...

Back in the days of his failed presidential campaign, Howard Dean harnessed the power of the web for communicating, organizing, and fundraising for his effort to become the Democratic Party's presidential nominee. That did not happen for Dr. Dean. But the network he created went on to become moveon.org and that group has indeed used the power of the web for communicating, organizing and fundraising. Not for Dr. Dean or the D.N.C. though.

But Dr. Dean did indeed get his wish: many more citizens using the internet to connect, communicate, engage in political action, get organized, and raise money for good causes. Best recent example: Just Say No Deal.

What makes Just Say No Deal special is that it is a true umbrella group. It tolerates diversity and champions pluralism while at the same time keeping to its core message. It is a resource created by and used by all sorts of people, including those who have relatively little or no experience using the web or using it for political action.

Just Say No Deal: just exactly what Dr. Dean wished for!

(If you just say no deal, you might be interested in this.)

Keeping the Democratic Party democratic

More information about The Denver Group. And more will be available tomorrow at The Denver Group. Take a look. Join the party - the party that is about keeping the Party honest.

Denver: here we come!

The Denver Group is now an official entity, getting more official by the minute. Most importantly, The Denver Group can now legally accept contributions. Check out the shiny new donate button at the site.

Make men's voices heard

In a piece in Salon magazine, Rebecca Traister offers her analysis of who it is who is bothered by Senator Clinton's treatment by the D.N.C. and others. Her main points:
  • It is mostly women who are disturbed, angered, and alarmed.
  • Such women will ultimately vote for whoever the Democratic nominee is.
Many have criticized Traister's piece. The best critique I've seen is over at NoQuarter.
My own beef against the piece is that it ignores men. At least one main organizer of Just Say No Deal is a man. Moreover, in my own grassroots effort to retire Senator Clinton’s debt, many contributions come from people with male names as well as many from those with female names. Since contributions to campaigns over $200 dollars are publicly available for viewing Traister could certainly have figured this out.

If you are a man or if you love a man - or if you fall into both categories - consider
a donation to retire the debt: make men's voices heard!

Monday, June 23, 2008

RETIRE THE DEBT: one fabulous video



If you are having trouble viewing this video on this site go here.

Icons


"Of the 210 statues in Washington, only nine are of women leaders. Less than 5 percent of the 2,400 national historic landmarks chronicle women’s achievements."

No, these figures do not reflect the actual percentage of women leaders or of women's achievements. What these figures tell us is that in the capital of our country, where I live and work, and where statues and monuments mean a great deal, women and their achievements are, relatively speaking, ignored.

You cannot live in Washington, D.C. without noticing this. But even if you do not and have only visited Washington D.C. as a tourist, try to think of a statue or monument you saw dedicated to a particular woman and her accomplishments. Try to think of one that features as prominently as any of the statues of men leaders you have seen.

Maybe you have been to the relatively new F.D.R. memorial and seen the statue of Eleanor Roosevelt, fitted in among a park devoted primarily to celebrating her husband (and I love that memorial and admire F.D.R., but still...). Or, perhaps you have seen the Vietnam Women's Memorial, tucked into a spot a distance from the well-known Memorial Wall (which I think is a moving tribute to those who died in Vietnam War, but still...)

No wonder so many girls brought on school trips or by their parents to tour the nation's capital get the impression, explicit or implicit, that men always have - and always will - run the show.

But frankly, although I'm all for more public representation of past women leaders, I'm seriously bothered by writers who treat living women leaders as if they are no longer relevant or somehow by putting them on a pedestal manage to make them seem like they are consigned to the past. That was why I could not enjoy New York magazine's recent piece of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton. Early on the piece announces she is now iconic (among other things).

When it comes to the living, it is difficult to assess who is iconic and who is not. But that's not what matters when it comes to Senator Clinton: what matters is that she is a working politician, with a political future in front of her - if she wants that, which I believe she does.

By all means, let us work to memorialize past women leaders and their achievements. But certainly one other way to celebrate them is to support the career and aspirations of current women leaders, including Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

The politics of RETIRE THE DEBT

Preface

Before I get to the substance of this post, I need to make something totally clear. I am not a personal friend of any member of the Clinton family nor of any member of Senator Clinton's campaign staff. Nor do I work for the campaign. As an active volunteer, I have been at some meetings and on some conference calls related to the campaign. I have had the opportunity to shake hands with Senator Clinton and President Clinton. We have exchanged some words. It would be my honor and privilege to encounter either of them again, but that may well never happen.

So, what I have to say here is based on my understanding of politics, politicians, and Senator Clinton, which comes primarily from years of reading newspapers and magazines, studying history and political theory, reading widely about American politics from colonial times to the present. I have also read Senator Clinton's books and President Clinton's memoirs, among books and memoirs by other politicians. I know a few politicians and a few people who have worked in politics and they have taught me general things about politics.

I am not a blogger or journalist who claims or has any particular inside information and I am not in a position to have any particular influence over any particular politician. And I have no reason to make anybody think otherwise.

The point of the post

Very good people who are staunch supporters of Senator Clinton have asked me why Senator Clinton's website does not have a "debt meter" or whether I could suggest that there be one. I would not even know to whom to make such a suggestion. But neither would I make it, and here's why.

Senator Clinton is a politician. And there's nothing wrong with that. As with any job or calling, being a politician can be a good thing or a bad thing. There are outstanding politicians, admirable ones, mediocre politicians, terrifying ones. As with all people in all jobs, there are no perfect politicians. As with all people in all jobs, politicians have to navigate tricky situations, ones where competing considerations - of principle and pragmatism - make it difficult to decide how best to solve a problem.

That's the situation Senator Clinton is in with regard to her suspended campaign, her decision to be true to her word and show support for the Democratic contender for the presidency, and to her desire to maintain the loyalty and support of her most dedicated followers. There really is no way a person in Senator Clinton's position, no matter how intelligent and accomplished (and Senator Clinton ranks very high in both those regards) can satisfy anybody who wants her to place one of these aims above the others. They pull in different directions.

Having said that she would devote effort to raising money for the D.N.C., Senator Clinton cannot really press hard to have people donate to her campaign. Similarly, although on a much, much smaller scale, since I have publicly devoted myself to raising money to retire Senator Clinton's debt, I would not feel comfortable pressing hard to raise money for anything that was not connected to this, unless and until I publicly change my primary purpose. Note that I can do that - switch purposes - much more easily than a politician in Senator Clinton's position can. She has said she is loyal to the Democratic Party; the Democratic Party needs to hold a convention; she must work toward a successful convention. I, who am not a politician, can say, when I am ready, I prefer to work toward a different cause than retiring the debt or toward no political cause at all. That is a luxury I enjoy because I am not in politics. Of course, since I am not a Senator or a presidential candidate, there are advantages I do not enjoy; advantages Senator Clinton does. I cannot sponsor bills in the Senate; I cannot aid constituents; I can neither nominate nor approve appointments to the Supreme Court, just to name a few examples. But, precisely because there some politicians who are excellent and admirable in almost all respects, I am perfectly delighted that they are there to enjoy the advantages of their position while I am here enjoying the advantages of mine.

I can keep a running tally of the donations to retire the debt that come through links to Hillary Clinton for President that are connected to me. I can insist that what is best for Americans, all Americans, right now is to empower Senator Clinton. I can explain how retiring the the debt does that.

My political part is easy to play compared to the one Senator Clinton must. That seems reasonable: Senator Clinton has decided to be a politician, I have not. She need not solve the dilemmas of a professor and I need not reconcile the claims upon a presidential candidate in Senator Clinton's position.

What is even easier is, if you are persuaded of the importance of empowering Senator Clinton, is to donate whatever you can to RETIRE THE DEBT. This is not to say that it is easy to find a spare few dollars, especially for many people in this economy. But to go to a website and donate is much easier than having to balance the concerns Senator Clinton is balancing (all while carrying on the business of being a United States Senator). So if you can spare the dollars, donate. You can take pride and satisfaction in doing something - even if the doing is not the hardest thing you've ever done. And then you, like me, can go back to navigating the tricky situations in your own life. If you are like me, an admirer of Senator Clinton's, you will feel fortified because you helped to empower her; and if like me, you have learned things about yourself and others by participating in her candidacy, you may find it easier to find the optimal solutions for those tricky situations.

Funding women in the voting process - a brief historical note

June 18 , 1873 - Susan B. Anthony is found guilty of illegally voting, a federal crime.

"Susan B. Anthony is not on trial; the United States is on trial."--Matilda Joslyn Gage

More than any other woman of her generation, Susan B. Anthony saw that all of the legal disabilities faced by American women owed their existence to the simple fact that women lacked the vote. When Anthony, at age 32, attended her first woman's rights convention in Syracuse in 1852, she declared "that the right which woman needed above every other, the one indeed which would secure to her all the others, was the right of suffrage." Anthony spent the next fifty-plus years of her life fighting for the right to vote. She would work tirelessly: giving speeches, petitioning Congress and state legislatures, publishing a feminist newspaper--all for a cause that would not succeed until the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment fourteen years after her death in 1906.' continued...
Susan B. Anthony and her lawyers based their arguments on her right to vote on then recently passed Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. At the outset of the trial, Anthony and her attorney believed they stood on solid legal ground. Ultimately, however, Anthony was convicted and fined for illegal voting.

Before Anthony ever dropped a ballot in the box, she had to register to vote. When she arrived to do so the election inspectors at first refused to register her. Note how she convinced them:
[A]ccording to one published account, Anthony gave the men an argument that she thought might catch their attention: "If you refuse us our rights as citizens, I will bring charges against you in Criminal Court and I will sue each of you personally for large, exemplary damages!" She added, "I know I can win. ... There is any amount of money to back me, and if I have to, I will push to the 'last ditch' in both courts." (emphasis added)
The men registered Anthony to vote.

Susan B. Anthony used her trial to draw attention to the cause of women's suffrage. But throughout the episode she had access to a well-regarded attorney who counseled and represented her. And she had this access because she had the means to pay him.

Shattering glass ceilings costs money. As it did for Anthony, so it has for Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton. Senator Clinton has millions of "backers". I know that all of them who can will donate to retire her primary campaign debt so that her political position rests on the firmest possible financial foundations. If people in the 19th century put their money behind Susan B. Anthony, then surely people in the 21st will put theirs behind Senator Clinton.



Saturday, June 21, 2008

A donation to RETIRE THE DEBT = an affirmation of human rights

When I began my efforts to persuade Senator Clinton's supporters to act on her behalf by retiring the debt from her primary campaign, I mentioned to friends that this cause went hand in glove with the ongoing struggle for women's equality and autonomy. For hundreds of years of Anglo-American history, women's property rights were nonexistent or almost totally subjugated to their fathers or their husbands. Women still receive systematically lower pay then men who perform the identical jobs.

So, each woman's financial autonomy and equality is a matter of concern for all those who believe in women's autonomy and equality. And because I agree with Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton's claim that women's rights are human rights, I believe that every person who believes in fundamental equality of human beings should take some responsibility for ensuring women's financial autonomy and equality.

Senator Clinton gained my vote because I believe she is the best qualified and most talented candidate to be our next President. My commitment to retiring her campaign debt arose for many reasons, but with this post I highlight it as part of a larger commitment to human rights.

A donation to RETIRE THE DEBT = An affirmation of human rights

Feel like watching and listening to an articulate candidate?

You may or may not find this candidate's life story appealing. You may or may not agree with this candidate's position. You may or may not be willing to vote for this candidate. You may or may not be willing to donate to this candidate. Who is this candidate? Ed O'Reilly.

But if you feel like watching and listening to an articulate candidate, check this out.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Anything worth fighting for generally involves some fighting

Apparently, some people (including Senator Obama himself) are becoming rather miffed that not every Democrat is prepared to support or vote for Senator Obama. (My own position remains the same: I will not vote for Senator McCain because I disagree with his policies; and at the moment I will not vote for Senator Obama primarily because I have serious objections to his health care plan and his proposals about withdrawing from Iraq, but also because, the process by which he has come to be the presumptive nominee has not been procedurally fair, in my opinion. Senator Obama himself stood in the way of correcting inequity in the process, and even now as the presumptive Democratic nominee, who has consolidated his campaign with the D.N.C. over in Chicago, he has offered no assurances, made no insistence that the D.N.C. Convention in Denver be procedurally meticulous and transparent. As a Democrat, who knows that candidates up and down the Democratic ticket need a Party that people trust and respect, I know the D.N.C. must repair its legitimacy for the long term good of the country.

Meanwhile, somebody just told me that although my writings on this blog were once "laudable" now they are "divisive". Be that as it may, this got me thinking about my personal favorite "divisive" Americans. Who are yours?

Abraham Lincoln
Martin Luther King, Jr.
Lucretia Mott
Cady Stanton
Sojourner Truth
Booker T. Washington
Earl Warren
Frederick Douglass
Levi Coffin
Rosa Parks
Robert Kennedy, Jr.
James Earl Chaney
Andrew Goodman
Michael Schwerner
Alexander Hamilton
Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Jr.
Eleanor Roosevelt
Linda Coffee
Sarah Weddington
Margaret Sanger

A Must Read

This is one of the most eloquent, brave, and sensible things I have read in a good long time.

Communicating with Mark Penn: update

Just a brief update to my effort to make Mr. Penn himself aware that it would be helpful to those of us working to retire Senator Clinton's debt to know if he would be amenable to naming a figure he would accept in lieu of the one he is currently claiming. (For legal purposes, that figure could be anywhere from 1 dollar to any amount less than what he and his firm has previously billed; also, in answer to a reader question, it is entirely possible for Mr. Penn and his firm to do this without the difference between what was previously billed and a less amount constituting a campaign contribution.)

This morning I figured out how to contact Mr. Penn's office directly. I spoke to a very courteous person in that office, explained that I had already faxed my request to more general information inquiry phone numbers at Mr. Penn's firm, but that I felt that courtesy required that I make every effort to make sure that Mr. Penn actually knew I had made my request to him public and what specifically I was requesting. I told this person that although I am in no way a public figure of Mr. Penn's fame, I had occasionally wished I had known of a request being made of me when in fact I did not.

Again, most graciously, the person from Mr. Penn's office gave me a direct fax line, and I have sent my original request to Mr. Penn to that number. I will keep you posted.

RETIRE THE DEBT: Remembering Iowa

Interesting tidbit from the L.A. Times back in July 2007:
He backs Clinton; her backers help him - After Iowa ex-Gov. Tom Vilsack dropped out and endorsed her, her big donors gave $87,000 to his defunct campaign.
We cannot go back in time and win Iowa for Senator Clinton for this year's presidential race. But we can call upon the good people of Iowa, and all those who wanted a win for Senator there, to join us in retiring Senator Clinton's debt. My goal at the moment is $50,000 ASAP. Notice this is less than the entire amount Senator Clinton's supporters stepped up and gave to Governor Vilsack to retire his debt.

Friends help friends. So if you appreciated Clinton supporters lending a hand to Governor Vilsack, now is the time to lend a hand. And if you did not appreciate Clinton supporters doing that, lend a hand anyway!

RETIRE THE DEBT - DONATE

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Copy of an inquiry to Mark Penn

In my previous post I said I wondered what amount Mark Penn and his firm might accept in exchange for an amicable mutual settlement of what lawyers call "hold harmless" agreements. In nonlegal terms, this just means that that the parties contract that in exchange for one (in this case Senator Clinton's campaign) paying an agreed upon amount to the other (in this case Mr. Penn's company) the parties agree not to seek more money or services from one another in relation to the matter being settled.

I like to act, not just wonder. So I have just sent the following inquiry to Mr. Penn via his company's New York City's office email:
Dear Mr. Penn,
I am a private citizen who volunteered on Senator Clinton's campaign. I have been working extremely hard to assist Senator Clinton in retiring her debt. In a call today Senator Clinton emphasized that she is not seeking donations to reimburse her for the money she lent her own campaign but she is seeking assistance in raising money to pay outstanding bills to vendors. I know your firm is among Senator Clinton's campaign's largest creditors, and may be the single largest creditor. On my own initiative I posted a suggestion on my blog, Heidi Li's Potpourri. I am a professor of tort law and contract law, so you will understand where I am coming from. I suggested that you let us know the amount you would accept in exchange for a mutual hold harmless agreement between you and your company and the Clinton campaign and Senator Clinton. I personally have set a target of raising $50,000 (all my donors are small dollar folks) toward whatever amount you think fair under the circumstances. It would help me, and your company too, if you could provide some guidance in this matter.

With respect,
(signature)

I will let readers of this blog know if and when I hear back from Mr. Penn.

Meanwhile, if we deduct Senator Clinton's loans from the campaign debt, and we assume that she owes just under 30 million dollars (the figure I've seen reported), our job is to raise $28 million. (Maybe less if Mr. Penn will accept less!)

Now this may sound daunting. But Senator Clinton's campaign raised over $225 million (225,000,000) dollars during the primary season (includes money for GE as well as primary), 10 million the day after Pennsylvania alone. So surely we can find another $28 million between now and the Convention at the end of August. There are 330 million people in America, as a wise man pointed out to me, and most of them have not donated 5 dollars to Senator Clinton's primary campaign. 181 million people voted for Senator Clinton. If each of them either donated or found somebody to donate $20 to her campaign, bye bye debt.

Let's Kiss that Debt Good-Bye!
RETIRE THE DEBT - DONATE NOW

Of Pride and Pragmatism

A friend was kind enough to update me on a conference call Senator Clinton just had with many of her volunteers. Here is what Senator Clinton had to say about our efforts to retire her primary debt: "She does not want help paying back the money she lent the campaign, but asked for help paying the vendors."

Let me clarify exactly what this means. Senator Clinton is saying she does not us to help her repay herself - she lent her own personal money to the campaign -a separate entity from her personally - and she's willing to absorb that loss. But she owes money to "vendors" ranging from Mark Penn to caterers and maintenance staff and so forth.

The pride I feel: I don't know too many people, let alone politicians, regardless of their personal wealth who make it clear that they will absorb a loss of over 10 million dollars rather than seek donations from her supporters.

The pragmatism: Senator Clinton is not going to expect those who worked for her to go unpaid. Now, the vendors to whom she owes fees for things like lighting and catering should get paid in full. But her biggest outstanding debtor is Marc Penn's firm, which is reportedly owed 5 million dollars. Now, if Marc Penn wanted to he could simply forgive that debt. Apparently he has not chosen to do so. Maybe he cannot forgive the entire debt because he must consistently pay his own employees. I do not know.

But here is what often happens in situations where a debtor owes a creditor but the creditor is willing to compromise - perhaps because the creditor did not perform services as well as it might have or perhaps just out of graciousness. The parties agree on an amount that will, basically, settle the debt. After the creditor receives that money the parties agree to an amicable parting of the ways - in legal parlance, they agree to release on one another from further obligations.

I would really like to know what amount Mark Penn would accept in exchange for such a set of mutual releases. But here's my new game plan for RETIRE THE DEBT.

While I remain committed to raising every last penny Senator Clinton owes every vendor, my first priority would be to induce Mark Penn to accept a lesser amount than what he has billed for in exchange for an amicable end to this episode in his relationship with the Clinton campaign.

So starting today, I am raising money in the name of negotiating with Marc Penn for him to accept significantly less than 5 million dollars. I am going to focus on a big enough number to get Mr. Penn's attention but not so big that I cannot possibly raise it. More pragmatism.

I think that if I keep plugging away, giving it my all, I can raise $50,000 dollars by the end of August. I really think I can do it. I think I can do it with five dollar donations. So long as I work really hard. My pride in Senator Clinton makes me happy to work on her behalf. My pragmatism makes me know the work is needed.

Want to help? If so please donate to retire the debt.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Pure speculation, and a couple of requests

When I have facts of interest I share them. When I am delivering opinion, I (try to) make it clear that I'm opining. Tonight I'm sharing speculation, not based on a single bit of information that is not available to the entire world. If you are still interested, read on!

All day people have been asking me about a reported meeting or joint appearance that by Senator Clinton and Senator Obama supposedly scheduled for June 26. People want to know: is it really happening? why would Senator Clinton participate? should she participate? is her participation a quid pro quo for assistance from Senator Obama to retire Senator Clinton's debt?

I have absolutely no private information about whether this event is definite or what its specific purpose will be. My educated guess is that at this sort of event, the purpose will be to raise money either for Senator Obama or for the D.N.C. And then if there are other joint appearances some will be for these purposes and possibly for the purpose of retiring Senator Clinton's debt.

Because Senator Clinton is a person of her word - recall she promised to campaign in every single state, actively and robustly, no matter what, and boy did she ever! - and she said she would work on behalf of the Democratic candidate for the general election if asked to do so, and because she certainly understands perfectly well that the D.N.C. has deemed Senator Obama the Party's presumptive nominee, then if Senator Obama requests her assistance, she will give it. That is what it means to stand by your word. You do things you committed to do even at the risk of making some people unhappy or angry. For a politician it takes real guts to stand by your word and take those risks. Senator Clinton deserves, in my opinion, nothing but respect for choice to follow through on what she said she would do.

Now, neither Senator Clinton nor Senator Obama can make anybody donate to the D.N.C. They can ask, but last time I checked Senator Clinton, like everybody else I know of, sometimes asks for things that she does not get and maybe even asks knowing she won't get them. That does not mean she is insincere in asking. But all she can do is ask. Senator Clinton's campaign has never taken the tone of delivering commands to her supporters; the Clinton campaign style does not include missives from on high. So I doubt that that Senator Clinton is about to start making demands in whatever joint appearances - or whatever solo appearances she makes, for that matter.

Some people think Senator Clinton should be more insistent on her own behalf. Well, how insistent she chooses to be is precisely that: her choice. It is a matter of personal style and political judgment. And it is a matter that I think she must decide for herself, just as all mature adults ultimate have to choose for themselves how to conduct themselves and what personal character they want to try to develop and maintain.

I do not know Senator Clinton well enough personally to know the following, but I can speculate: Senator Clinton understands that we, her mature adult supporters, will make our choices and judgments according to our own best lights. We will listen to her respectfully, because we have been all along, so why would we stop now? And then we will each decide what is right for each of us.

For myself, I do want to see a new and improved D.N.C. I don't think that giving the D.N.C. money any time soon will serve that purpose. For myself, I am not prepared to back Senator Obama in his quest for the presidency (neither am I prepared to back Senator McCain). For myself, I would prefer that Senator Clinton need not rely on any requests from Senator Obama for donations to retire Senator Clinton's debt.

So for me, that means that right now in this phase of this ever-evolving election season, I want two things.
  • I want us, Senator Clinton's supporters, to quickly retire her debt so that there is no need for Senator Obama to make any requests on Senator Clinton's behalf.
  • I want to start improving the national Democratic Party by ensuring that they have a fair and proper convention in Denver.

Of course, I - like everybody else - often want things that I don't get. With regard to these two wants, I can simply do as Senator Clinton does - ask for help with regard to seeing my desires realized.

So my two requests, in order of priority.
  1. Please donate to RETIRE THE DEBT and find some other people to help. Every five dollars that arrives is just fabulous.
  2. Please support The Denver Group, which is heading for official status as I type. Many people are using this site - Heidi Li's Potpourri to pledge to The Denver Group. This lets the world know that as soon as it is legally permissible The Denver Group will have money to achieve its goals. Drop a comment on one of my posts if you would like to be added to the list of pledges.

A Fun Read

Midweek humor respite: read this from the NYT. If it makes you laugh (it surely did me), consider a small donation to RETIRE THE DEBT! Donate here or here.

[update: I was just asked if this article is a hoax. Only if the NYT's got fooled. Here's a link to the online version with a cartoon and all.]

[further update: The opera is for real, Tierney's plot suggestion is just his suggestion. But now Tierney is hosting a related contest.]

Must Read

The Denver Group - The Pledges; and RETIRE THE DEBT

The Denver Group: The pledges
  1. Anonymous - $250
  2. Anonymous - $50
  3. Kavala007 - $100
  4. Anonymous - $100
  5. Anonymous - $500
  6. Mirlo - $150
  7. Virginia - $500
  8. Anonymous -$100
  9. Dawn28 - $100
  10. Anonymous - $100
  11. shestheone - $50
  12. corage - $25
  13. sold on hillary or McCain 08 - $50
  14. Texasdemocrat -$20
  15. mjr17 -$10
  16. navyvet48 - $100 (to be given in increments - and that's a fine way to proceed!)
  17. grandme - $100
  18. wodjie - $10
  19. DanDee - $50
  20. DWPforHill - $10
  21. njbitch - $20
  22. Boo Radly - $50
  23. old - $8.25 (for the date of start of the convention - 8/25/08!)
  24. anonymous - $100
  25. Ani - $25
  26. Sally - $100
  27. tvlcrazy - $100
  28. LAmusing - $8.25
  29. pipster - $10
  30. fif - $50
  31. democraticjack - $100
  32. shtuey - $18
  33. Firelight - $20
  34. aekwestcoast -$50
  35. Seattlegal - $100
  36. Birdie - $200
  37. GaGirl - $100
RETIRE THE DEBT
Yesterday was great day in this all-important effort. On June 18, we made it past $8000!
You can help by donating here or here. Either way, the money goes straight to Senator Clinton for the sole purpose of retiring the debt.
I remain absolutely committed to retiring the debt if I have to do it singlehandedly and for the rest of my days!

The Denver Group - a progress report

First, a repetition of some earlier information:

The Denver Group will be ready, willing, and able to accept donations within a week. In the meantime, I will be recording pledges to the group here. You can pledge by leaving me a comment with the amount you plan to donate and letting me know how to identify you on the pledge list.

We want to show the world just how many people are going to insist on a convention with a nomination process fair to all Democrats!

Maxxed out to Senator Clinton? Fed up with the D.N.C.? Want to let them know? Pledge now, pay up later! The Denver Group.

Second, we are getting support from all over the blogosphere and from a wide range of individuals.

Third, The Denver Group is quickly being organized into an official entity. Until then, I will happily record any pledges anybody wants to make. Talk about a fun list! Here's the latest one:

The Denver Group: The pledges
  1. Anonymous - $250
  2. Anonymous - $50
  3. Kavala007 - $100
  4. Anonymous - $100
  5. Anonymous - $500
  6. Mirlo - $150
  7. Virginia - $500
  8. Anonymous -$100
  9. Dawn28 - $100
  10. Anonymous - $100
  11. shestheone - $50


Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Tuesday aftenoon: random bits of news

For single best read I have seen regarding Mr. Gore's endorsement, see this open letter over at No Quarter.

Today has been exceedingly busy. I even had a chance to appear on POTUS '08, which asked if I could do an interview on the ongoing effort to RETIRE THE DEBT. I must say that the interview was conducted with the highest level of respect and civility. Kudos to POTUS Live with Tim Farley for their professionalism. I was able to note the great response from contributors, which is, of course, what probably grabbed the show's attention in the first place. So again my heartfelt gratitude to those who have donated and to those who are planning to. Go here to donate: retiring Senator Clinton's debt is the least we can do for her.

Finally, The Denver Group is making progress in gaining official legal status. Thank you to those who have written in support of the group, and those who have begun to spread the word. A special thanks those who have made pledges. We are working as quickly as possible to enable you to turn those pledges into contributions!


Monday, June 16, 2008

Memo to the D.N.C.: Perhaps all that's happened between us ISN'T water under the bridge

But we do still have Denver. And now we have The Denver Group. Take a look.

The Denver Group will be ready, willing, and able to accept donations within a week. In the meantime, I will be recording pledges to the group here. You can pledge by leaving me a comment with the amount you plan to donate and letting me know how to identify you on the pledge list.

We want to show the world just how many people are going to insist on a convention with a nomination process fair to all Democrats!

Less than 24 hours after publicly announcing The Denver Group, we already have received these pledges:
  1. Anonymous - $250
  2. Anonymous - $50
  3. Kavala007 - $100
  4. Anonymous - $100
  5. Anonymous - $500
  6. Mirlo - $150
  7. Virginia - $500
  8. Anonymous -$100
  9. Dawn28 - $100
  10. Anonymous - $100
Maxxed out to Senator Clinton? Fed up with the D.N.C.? Want to let them know? Pledge now, pay up later! The Denver Group.

Believe it or not, the Democratic Party does not have an official nominee yet - and what one amazing person is doing to make that clear

Although many people do not yet realize this, Senator Obama has not secured the nomination as the Democratic candidate for President in 2008. He is the presumptive - and even likely - nominee, but he cannot be the official nominee unless and until he is elected as such at the convention. And as before that election rests largely in the hands of the party's superdelegates, who say what they like, cannot make their preference stick until the convention and a ballot occurs. A large number of concerned Democrats have been contacting superdelegates to express their concern that whatever else may be the case, they doubt that Senator Obama can win the general election against the presumptive Republican nominee, John McCain.

One person who has been amazingly persistent in contacting superdelegates is "DanDee". She just sent me the responses she has been receiving. In many cases she has been unable to identify working email addresses for superdelegates (oddly, while many have time to hear from Howard Dean and Senator Obama, they seem to have little interest in making themselves available to rank and file Democrats; note to all superdelegates, if you do want to make yourself available send contact information here and I will happily compile an updated list and post it). In many other cases, she receives what is clearly a cursory, form reply; in a couple some more personal writing, but it is scornful. Of the responses DanDee shared with me, this is the only one that struck me as showing any grace and also provides useful information.

Sent: Sunday, May 18, 2008 6:09 PM
Subject: Response from your email to Susan Turnbull

Thank you for your recent email regarding our nominating process. I have received hundreds of emails and have attempted to read them all. But, because of the sheer volume, I am responding in a general email. It is heartening to know that so many people are so personally engaged in our nominating process.
To clear up any misunderstanding about my position as a super delegate, it is important for me to first explain that as Vice Chair of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), one of nine nationally elected officers, I must remain neutral until our nominee is apparent. This position is mandated by the DNC Charter. According to Article Five, Section 4 of the Charter, the National Chair is "responsible for ensuring that the national officers of the Democratic National Committee maintain impartiality and evenhandedness during the Democratic Party Presidential nominating process." For this reason, I will continue to remain strictly neutral during this presidential primary period in order to respect and honor the process. You can be assured that as soon as we have a nominee, I will be giving 100% for our nominee.
Also, despite some misinformation to the contrary – I am not a member of either the Rules and Bylaws Committee or the Convention Credentials Committee. I do not have a vote in either of those committees.
One factor about my position that I want to make crystal clear is that despite my current role as a Party officer, I consider myself a long-time (38 year) Democratic grassroots activist. Most "super-delegates" who are not elected during the regular primary or caucus process, are almost exclusively long-time party activists who hold our positions due to election to the DNC from state parties or by election to Federal office. More than half are DNC Members who, like me, have spent decades in our community working at the polls, engaging Democratic voters and speaking out on the issues. Because super delegates are not bound by election to one candidate, "super delegates" some of our party's most committed members, will weigh several factors before committing to a candidate. It has been obvious that the results of the primaries and caucuses will certainly be a factor in the decision-making but not the only factor. I am also confident that each super delegate will consider the decision sincerely and with great deliberation. It is also the case that many super delegates are waiting to announce their personal commitment until the final contests are held on June 3rd.
On May 31st the issue of the seating of Michigan and Florida will be considered by the Rules and Bylaws Committee. This is the same group that enacted the original rules regarding the sanctions on these two states. Several proposals are before the committee. Actually, although I am not on the committee, I am confident that there will be delegations seated at the convention from each state. Who those delegates will be and how many votes will apportioned to each delegation will be decided on May 31st. I support representation from both Florida and Michigan.
It has been an incredible time for the Democratic Party and for our Nation. The results in Mississippi, Louisiana, and Illinois in recent months electing three new Democratic Members of Congress demonstrate a trend that I sincerely hope will continue this fall when we increase our majorities in the House and Senate and take back the White House after eight long and difficult years.
It is time to put our country first. This election isn't about one candidate. This election is about our country.
Thank you again for your email; I hope your concerns have been addressed.
Warm regards,

Susan W. Turnbull
Vice Chair
Democratic National Committee


Now "official neutrality" is probably a euphemism. But at least Ms. Turnbull understands and respects her role at the Denver Convention.

It is to reach out to such superdelegates that we must show them, by our dedication to maintaining Senator Clinton's political power, that they have an alternative to a candidate who many of us believe is not the best choice for the Democratic nomination. My own view is that in this regard, the most convincing thing we can do right now, right away is donate whatever we can to retire Senator Clinton's campaign debt. By giving Senator Clinton political financial independence we also give her political capital.

DanDee has been doing her bit - if you can spare even five dollars please donate to RETIRE THE DEBT - all donations today are in DanDee's honor!

Fun news about RETIRE THE DEBT

The effort to retire Senator Clinton's primary campaign debt is picking up all sorts of steam. One of the most effective videomakers in the Clinton camp previous made this video, Hillary Clinton is Not For Sale. Now she has a new video out, which also highlights the need to retire the debt, this time in the context of highlighting Senator Obama's shortcomings as an effective general election candidate for the Democratic Party. I'll say no more and simply refer you to the maker's website, where you can watch the new video yourself. Or just head straight to youtube.

Then, please come back here and donate to RETIRE THE DEBT
This is the single most effective way to tell the DNC and the delegates to Denver that we need a candidate who can win!

Of friendships and politics

Most of my closest pre-campaign friends either favored Senator Obama or at least regarded him as a an acceptable candidate. Most have not engaged as intensely as I have with this campaign season. Most cannot understand why I will not "stop beating a dead horse" (to quote one friend) by objecting to Senator Obama as the Democratic nominee. After all, with it so clear that Senator Obama will in fact be the nominee, they comment, why fuss? Others, who share my distaste for Senator McCain's policies, express opinions ranging from puzzlement to anger that I could even consider withholding my vote from the Democratic contender.

Many of my "campaign friends", the fine people I have come to know through my recent political activities, urge that I vote for Senator McCain. These friends object to Senator Obama's positions and to his character. They mistrust Senator Obama, regard him as arrogant, manipulative, unreliable, untrustworthy and ungracious (to say the least to Senator Clintons supporters). I share many of their opinions.

The precampaign friends tend to know little or nothing about my ongoing effort to retire Senator Clinton's debt; many are tired of hearing about Senator Clinton or about the primary season in general and some are not excited by the general election. Since I try not to be a crashing bore, I don't advertise my unwavering commitment to retiring Senator Clinton's debt to these friends. And since many have not followed the ins and outs of the nominating process, they do not want to listen to a detailed explanation of the various ways in which the D.N.C. leadership and Senator Obama himself have thus far gamed the party's system to make Senator Obama the presumptive nominee.

The campaign friends certainly know about my drive to retire the debt. They have rallied around this cause, spreading the word far and wide. They share my excitement as, bit by bit, we make a dent in that debt. These friends rarely tire of discussing the latest appalling actions by Dr. Dean, Speaker Pelosi, Senator Reid, and Senator Obama.

Regardless of their differences with regard to both politics and to my own actviities this year, both sets of friends adopt a view toward voting in the general election that is fundamentally guided by consequentialist reasons. Those who dread the state of affairs in which we end up with President McCain cannot understand why I am not planning to vote for Senator Obama even if I have "hold my nose" (again to quote a friend) while doing so. Those who dread the scenario that winds up with President Obama have difficulty accepting that I will not vote for Senator McCain - although it must be said that these friends have been far more understanding and tolerant of my disagreement with them than the friends who are dissatisfied with my view that unless and until Senator Obama actually earns my vote, he will not have it.

At the end of the day, the precampaign friends who truly care how I in particular vote should be glad that I myself choose abstention rather than that I opt for Senator McCain or for Senator Obama,if these are indeed the alternatives come November. Because if somebody told me that I simply had to pick one or the other, that I could not reject both, I might well pull the lever for Senator McCain, although I most definitely would be holding my nose while doing it. My reason: I simply cannot vote for a candidate chosen by what so far has indeed been a corrupt Democratic nomination process. I will not endorse that perversion. Even if I regarded Senator Obama more highly than I do, the ends do not justify the means by which the Democratic Party is trying to promote him.

That ends-justify-the-means sort of reasoning characterizes the current administration: it is a style of thought that can slide one down a slope pretty fast. President Bush uses it to justify torture, for example. And Senator Obama's supporters seem to use it to justify their bullying and threatening to get all Democrats to shut up and fall in line. I say: no thank you. Certain means are simply unacceptable.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy Father's Day, President Clinton


We've done a lot today toward retiring Senator Clinton's debt, sir, but we want the Clinton family to have a Father's Day they will never forget. So we will keep donating to retire that darn debt!

Paging All Fathers, Paging All Fathers - we celebrate you and, yes, we need you

Fathers.
For many of us they are the people who (often along with our mothers) provided for us, making sure we were fed, clothed, and educated, to the best of their financial ability.
Fathers.
The ones who (along with our mothers) paid for braces or piano lessons or summer camp.
Fathers.
The ones who (along with our mothers) took us to the beach or on a vacation.

My father always told me that his job was to make me independent and to make sure that my life was filled with more opportunities than his own was. He heard that from his father.

Now, fathers, we - your sons and daughters - need you one more time. We need the opportunity to make sure that Senator Clinton is beholden to nobody other than the voters for her political future. We need to know, again, that our fathers (along with our mothers) have our backs.

Today we celebrate all that is best about fathers. And today we ask, with respect, if you will donate whatever you can (and we know that this may be no more than 5 hard earned and carefully saved dollars, and we are grateful for each and every one you can spare), to help us RETIRE THE DEBT.

You have been there for us before. We need you to be there for us again. Once a father, always a a father.

To honor your father, donate to RETIRE THE DEBT.
If you are a father, donate to RETIRE THE DEBT.


Let's give President Clinton, Chelsea Clinton, and Senator Clinton a Father's Day they will never forget!

HillBuzz: Forget the Kool-Aid: the DNC's Now Serving New Coke

Sunday morning news roundup: focus on Democratic politicians' reactions to working with Senator Obama

The D.N.C. seems ever more determined to thrust a candidate on the Party from whom major Democratic politicians are already distancing themselves from. Consider Senatorial candidate and from Virginia Governor Mark R. Warner (and note the comments of his supporters who said the remain "Clinton people"). Check out Ohio Governor Ted Strickland, who indeed could not be making his disinterest in running as v.p. with Senator Obama more "crystal clear."

Senator John Kerry is vulnerable to a primary challenge - his first since he was elected to the Senate in 1984 - from fellow Democrat Ed O'Reilly, not least because of Senator Kerry's support for Senator Obama.

I wonder just when U.S. Representative (Ill.) Rahm Emanuel will retract comments he made last week (or at least make it crystal clear that they definitely only applied to House candidates), when "he argue[d] against reading too much into the holdouts. [Emanuel] said most of them always stay out of national politics and that the party is generally unified around Obama." Emauel said, "They're just going to stick to their knitting," he said. "It's not that they're anti-Obama."

Meanwhile one staunch Obama backer, Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, a superdelegate who has endorsed the presumptive nominee, has decided that it would be best not to "burden" Senator Obama by making an appearance at an Obama rally in Detroit Monday. You see, Mayor Kilpatrick faces felony charges and an attempt by the Detroit City Council to remove him from office.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

In the name of cold-blooded pragmatism

[The title of this post refers to this excellent post by riverdaughter.]

In the name of cold-blooded pragmatism, men and women of conscience must insist upon the following:
  • The hapless Dr. Dean's immediate resignation from his position as head of the D.N.C.
  • That the D.N.C. observe the simple basics of democratic processes by holding a ballot at the convention that has on it both major contestants for the Democratic Party nomination: no voice vote, no request or demand that that Senator Clinton release her delegates.
  • Rahm Emanuel, and others, stop trying to kid us with absurd statements about how downticket Democrats always "stick to their knitting" rather than ride the coattails of a presidential nominee in whom they believe.
  • Speaker Pelosi must stop speaking until she is prepared to support Senator Clinton's name on a first ballot at the D.N.C. convention.
  • Senator Obama cease and desist from associating with outright anti-semites and overt misogynists.
In the name of cold blooded pragmatism there is only one way to act so as to insist on these and like measures. Men and women of conscience must support Senator Clinton financially now. The more quickly we demonstrate that our money goes to this cause before all others, the more quickly we can turn to all the other strategies and methods for resisting the D.N.C.'s disgraceful conduct, and its smug complacency about how we will all be led down the primrose path to vote for whoever they nominate, no matter how corruptly they do so.

In the name of cold blooded pragmatism
: RETIRE SENATOR CLINTON'S DEBT.

RETIRE THE DEBT - casting a broader net!

Via ActBlue, I have created a webpage just for the purpose of the retiring Senator Clinton's primary campaign debt. You can get to that page here. Please spread the word.

Important information: my ActBlue page takes people straight to Senator Clinton's website. It includes a "thermometer" that measures progress toward the goal I have set for that page (currently $100,000). Others with ActBlue accounts or pages can link to the RETIRE THE DEBT page on ActBlue.

Of course, donations right here are always welcome!

A Donation to RETIRE THE DEBT = A hug for Hillary


An amazing supporter of Senator Clinton's accepted my challenge to donate today - I had said that if $100 came in by 5:00 pm I'd post this picture, from the first occasion on which I met Senator Clinton (in February of this year, at her home) - and this wonderful person just put in the entire $100 himself. If the picture makes you smile, please consider donating even five dollars to RETIRE THE DEBT.


RETIRE THE DEBT: A summary of reasons and information