Monthly Archives: August 2003

And now the “mainstream” guns the ignition.

“Crisscrossing the country this week with Howard Dean, the underdog turned top dog who has surged toward the front of the Democratic presidential primary field, you would almost think there was an election coming up.”

NYT reporter Jodi Wilogren begins in boilerplate disingenuousness.

“Five months before the first ballot is cast and 15 months before the last will be counted, Dr. Dean, the former governor of Vermont, spent the past four days being ferried from rally to rally in a chartered jet as though in the heat of a head-to-head national campaign rather than in the nascent chapter of a long-shot bid in a crowded field. He hit states like Oregon that have little to do with nominations but could be crucial in a general election and all but ignored his Democratic rivals as he roused rabid audiences against their Republican nemesis, George W. Bush.”

And as they by and large have done next to nothing to oppose George W. Bush he had every reason to ignore them. They’re a side-show of concern only to fourth estate “insiders” (all of whom are deeply inside their own asses.)

“The staggering, seemingly spontaneous crowds turning up to meet him — about 10,000 in Seattle on Sunday and a similar number in Bryant Park in Manhattan last night — are unheard of in the days of the race when most candidates concentrate on the early-voting states of Iowa and New Hampshire and would seem formidable even in October 2004.”

Note the “seemingly spontaneous.” A good reporter would be able to tell you whether the crowds were “spontaneous” or not. But Wilogren isn’t a reporter at all. She’s an errand-boy for the editorial department.

“Yesterday morning, the campaign took another audacious step, saying that it would broadcast television advertisements in six new states beginning on Friday, and that it expected to raise $10.3 million in the three months ending Sept. 30 — more than any other Democrat in a similar period save for President Bill Clinton in 1995.

‘We have to be in the president’s face to win,’ Dr. Dean, 54, said aboard the ancient Boeing 737 his staff dubbed the Grassroots Express.

‘When this president talks, sometimes the opposite of what he says is really the truth,’ he said yesterday in Chicago, between speaking to a tepid union convention and being embraced by about 1,500 supporters atop Navy Pier, ‘and if we don’t call him on it, we can’t win.’ “

See? It’s all really very simple.

“Billed as the Sleepless Summer Tour, Dr. Dean’s 6,147-mile, 10-city rampage cost $200,000 and had its own rock-concert-style T-shirt listing places and dates. (The concept: Americans are sleepless over unemployment and the lack of jobs and health care, while President Bush sleeps soundly at his Texas ranch. The reality: Plane-riders are sleepless from crammed schedules that stretch from 5 a.m. to midnight.)

The “reality”: Only the media’s comfort matters.

“It was the flashiest and most expensive of a spate of gimmicky Democratic campaign swings this summer, from Grillin’ with the Grahams (as in Bob, the Florida senator) to Get on the Bus With Dennis (as in Kucinich, the Ohio congressman) to the Real Solutions Express, featuring Senator John Edwards of North Carolina.

The large and energetic crowds that followed Dr. Dean, and the meticulousness of his schedule and stage-managed events, prove he remains a phenomenon.

But the presidential-style trip could increase the risk of Dr. Dean peaking too early — and revealed other potential pitfalls. Holding oceans of blue Dean placards at every stop were nearly all white hands, a homogeneity the campaign tried to counter with a rainbow of supporters on stage, which only drew more attention to the lack of diversity in the audience. The feisty crowds were filled with Birkenstock liberals whose loudest ovations always followed Dr. Dean’s antiwar riff — there were few union members, African-Americans, or immigrants.”

Thus Wilogren compares Dean to George W. Bush — who was never criticized by the “mainstream” media for his “meticulous” on-stage/off-stage disparities.

“It remains unclear how such untraditional rallies will translate into the nuts-and-bolts of nominations like endorsements, voter registration, fund-raising and debates. The campaign also may have trouble keeping people interested and preventing its events in coming weeks from seeming mundane.”

Oh really? Why? Is the voting public really as enraptured with instantaneous “novelty” as its corporate security guards?

“We have momentum,” Dr. Dean said. “Keeping it is going to be a struggle.”

Don’t fall for ‘em, Doc!

“Though polls taken this early in the race can be unreliable predictors, there are statistical signs to back up Dr. Dean’s surge in popularity on the street. Zogby International, an independent firm, is scheduled to release Wednesday a poll showing Dr. Dean leading in New Hampshire with 38 percent of the vote to 17 percent for Senator John Kerry; in early July Senator Kerry had 25 percent to Dr. Dean’s 22 percent. The poll has a margin of sampling error of 4.5 percentage points. “

And it’s run by Republicans.

“As the tour began its final day, Joe Trippi, the campaign manager, announced plans not only to match President Clinton’s record $10.3 million quarter, but also to buy two weeks worth of advertisements, likely to cost $1 million, in Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Wisconsin and Washington. He and the candidate both refused to say whether the campaign would abide by spending limits to obtain federal matching funds, something they originally promised to do but later reconsidered.

‘Running for president of the United States is a marathon,’ Mr. Trippi told reporters en route from San Antonio to Chicago. “We decided we were going to run the first four miles at a 100-yard-dash pace. We decided we’re going to run the second four miles at a 100-yard-dash pace.’

The new advertising plan came after the campaign spent four days soliciting its Internet supporters to match the $1 million President Bush collected last week in the Pacific Northwest, a goal it reached during the Bryant Park rally. (There were also $100- to $1,000-a-plate parties at most stops during the Sleepless tour.)

Linda Ornelas, 54, said she came to Portland State University on Sunday uncommitted but left planning to sign on to her computer and ‘give him some money.’

‘It’s not that what he says is really so different from what anybody else says,’ said Ms. Ornelas, an administrator at a large athletic club. ‘It’s that it doesn’t feel like it’s rhetoric.’

One wonders about Ms. Ornelas’ “anybody else.” Who among this “anybody else” opposed the Iraq Attack?

“After months of low-key question-and-answer sessions in small-town living rooms, Dr. Dean adapted to the masses by sprinkling call-and-response lines and defiant finger-pointing into his standard spiel.

‘For the first time I realized the fate of the country might be in my hands,’ he said later. ‘Not just because I might become president of the United States of America. Because there were a very, very large number of people depending on me to change the course of this country.’

In Spokane, Wash., organizers had cut a basketball court in half with a burlap curtain, expecting 250 people. Instead, several hundred had to watch an enormous television behind the curtain, and 100 more were left on folding chairs in the patio, surrounding a faceless microphone.”

“Spontaneous” or “seemingly”?

” ‘He’s not running a campaign, he’s running a movement,’ wrote Natasha C., one of four people the Dean campaign invited to chronicle the trip on their Web logs. ‘These are protest-size crowds, these are not politics-size crowds, and that’s the critical difference.’

But it is unclear what the movement is for.”

How about for a genuine democracy? Nah, too “radical” for the NYT.

” Dr. Dean’s standard presentation is a smorgasbord of universal health insurance, opposition to the Iraq war, balanced budgets, tax-cut repeal, affirmative action, gay rights, early-childhood intervention and a broad appeal for ‘community.’ The defining theme is all about getting rid of the incumbent.

‘What brought me here is Dean — and George,’ said Karin Overbeck, an independent at her first political rally, in Spokane. ‘For the second time in my life, I’m ashamed of my nationality. I was born in Germany and I was ashamed; now I’m ashamed to be American.’ “

Hey, me too!

” Though Dr. Dean often says that his message is appealing to independent thinkers across the political spectrum, when he polled the crowd in Portland there were loud claps for the Green Party and Democrats, but sparse smatterings when he asked about supporters of Perot and McCain. And while the people introducing him included Hispanic teachers and black preachers, the people buying the ‘Doctor is in’ buttons were mostly aging flower children and the tongue-studded next generation”

Don’t these people know their place ?!

” ‘We’re working really hard to change that,’ Dr. Dean said. At the union convention yesterday in Chicago — where the undecided audience offered mainly polite claps for the zingers that had delighted the devoted — he tried one of his newer lines: ‘When white people and brown people and black people vote together, that’s when we make social progress in this country.’

Between stops, Dr. Dean had his first lengthy talks with a large press corps aboard the Grassroots Express. He rarely veered off-message, even when turbulence forced him into a seat between reporters from Rolling Stone and Modern Physician magazines, who traded questions on guitarists and prescription drugs.”

Like we should give a shit about these “reporters”?

” Regardless of the record crowds, it is still August — of 2003.

For each of the 800 people who skipped the Green Bay Packers game on Saturday night to chant ‘We want Dean’ in a Milwaukee airplane hangar, there must be many like the young woman in the pink taffeta strapless bridesmaid’s dress who went to the hotel bar where reporters and supporters were mingling over martinis and wondered, ‘What’s going on here?’ .”

Like we should give a shit about Little Miss Pink Taffeta?!?!

“Told it was the Dean campaign, she looked blank. Howard Dean, someone said. Running for president.

‘President?’ she asked. ‘President of what?’ “

Like Jodi Wilogren’s going to tell her?!?!