from a public HS teacher (Gov't, Religion, Soc. Issues), who is eclectic (Dem-leaning) politically and Quaker (& open) on everything else. Hope you enjoy what you find here.

Sunday, February 01, 2004

It is Sunday morning, 8:26 EST as I begin this. I have not yet read the AM paper (WashPost), although I have scanned its (and those of several other papers of note) headlines online. I have just a few thoughts to offer, and this before we see whether Dean (and Trippi, with his appearance on CNN) can do any resurrection of Dean's campaign. My guess is that the press has decided to act as if Dean is dead meat, unless he were to surprise and win something on Tuesday - he has at best a 1 in 4 chance of pulling a surprise in NM, because of a decent number of early votes cast before IA (actually more than in MI, and hence proportionally much more) and if he can get his Hispanic supporters out to communicate with Hispanic and native American voters. Kennedy's appearance for Kerry undercuts that, as the Kennedy name is still magic in most older Hispanic households (anyone remember Alliance for Progress? Or Bobby Kennedy's outreach beginning when he was a Senator?).

I am considering moving my blog to another location, which makes it far easier to offering commenting. I will probably not do that for a week or so. In the meantime people are encouraged, if they wish, to email me directly at kber@earthlink.net please preface your subject line with teacherken so that I know you are not spam or a virus

Final thoughts on this post --- I think the subject about which I would most like to reflect is why so many people get so turned off to the political process. I think most people feel shut out of meaningful participation, and are turned of by much of the way our campaigns are run and covered. Part of what drew me to the Dean campaign was the belief that this could be something very different. One failing is that the center of the campaign was not truly prepared for scale-up, and got caught between running a totally bottoms up campaign and trying to run a top-down campaign, and the two parts never met. The sad part is that in many ways the bottoms up campaign was far more effective, at least what I have seen from my own participation, esepcially in NH and VA.

I worry that if Dean does get knocked out, what life there has been in the Democratic party will fade -- as the insiders and the pundits congratulate themselves on their own perspecuity and remind themselves how right they were about Dean (not really). Far too many think that Dean can deliver his supporters - perhaps 1/3 of his supporters are likely NOT to vote for Kerry , should the junior Senator from MA be the nominee [with the sole possibility of making Dean the VP nominee, which I don't see being either offered or accepted, not just because of the hostility between them, but because they are from bordering states - that worked for Clinton-Gore, but that was a way of drawing Southern states - besides, AR and TN are two of the 3 (MO is the other) states that border the greatest number of other states.

The numbers that would sit out may not be huge - assume that Dean's base nationwide is about 15-21% of the possible Democratic voter pool. Even at the lower number, that is 5% staying home. In a close election that could be very expensive, especially if, as expected, Nader gets in the race against Kerry.

Our politics do need a major change. Dean was a flawed exemplar of what we need. In my daydreams I imagine some one who can engender the passion without having to constantly raise his voice or pump his fist ... I have seen that in Dean when he dialogues with people, in Town Meetings and in individual conversations. And btw -- I don't like stump speeches, even when the lines are very good. I know why politicians do them - they offer a condensed way to deliver a lot of key points. But what if the candidate were not so predictable as to what s/he would say: might that require the press to actually right about content and issues, rather than horserace and atmospherics [including who attacked whom, and how, and what the back at you was]?

Enough for now - I will scan the morning paper. I actually think I missed Trippi, and Dean is not on in DC area until 10:30, so I can't watch him, although I'm sure I can catch some reflections on either dailykos [nice to see it back up] or BFA from people where it broadcasts earlier in the day.
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