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HOWARD DEAN

2013

Howard Dean mad at Obama

2010

DAYDREAMING ABOUT DEAN

2009

THE RESURRECTION OF HOWARD DEAN

2008

GREAT MOMENTS IN POLITICAL CAMPAIGNING

[As transcribed by ABC Note from a visit by Howard Dean to room 102 at Longfellow Middle School in La Crosse where students were examining water samples under a microscope].

HOWARD DEAN : Which do you think is safer, to drink water from your toilet or from the river? It's true.

STUDENT: I'd rather drink from the toilet.

HD: That's right. . .

HD: Which has more bacteria, dog pee or river water?"

CLASS: Dog pee

HD: I do not recommend drinking urine, but if you drink water straight from the river you have a greater chance of getting an infection that if you drink urine.

THE SCREAM

RUSS BAKER - It's true that Dean yelled at his Monday night rally in Iowa. And so what? Basically, at a pep rally, he yelled like a football coach. This is described as being 'unpresidential.' But says who? Isn't giving insulting nicknames to world leaders unpresidential? Isn't sending hundreds of American soldiers to die for uncertain and misrepresented ends in Iraq unpresidential? Or worth considering as such? Isn't having an incredibly poor grasp of essential world facts and an aversion to detail and active decision-making unpresidential?
As far as I can tell, the worst Howard Dean has done is to try to be himself. Or, even worse, according to critics, to show some flexibility in demeanor when it is demanded of him.

The guy just can't win with the media and the pundits, which again suggests that he CAN win in the long run. And that scares people. One doesn't need to take sides to see that the treatment of this man is unbecoming of the media. It's also going to be seen in retrospect as colossally one-sided, not in any way balanced by comparable scrutiny or criticism of his rivals.

ABC NEWS NOTE - One thing we gotta mention: Dean is smiling when he yelps. He's not yelping in anger. So stop, fellow media world, saying that he was angry when he was yelping. . . On the Today show today, Katie played Monday's Dean speech 3 times (from late night show bits) for Chris Matthews, who said that he had played it four times on Hardball. . . Leno and Letterman, one time each last night. . . On GMA, only once. And 'we contextualized it.' So there.

DEAN RECONSIDERED

SOME TIME BACK I heard a story about a longtime acquaintance of Dean who went to his office to express his disagreement over some issue. The governor got upset and bawled him out. The man left Dean and went down the hall to another office. The staff members present told the governor that he better follow his friend and apologize. Dean did just that. The man now says he is supporting Dean for president.

This story is not a typical one about a politician. I can't think of
any of the candidates other than Dean who would act in that manner, as a man of passion but also of decency.

His way of handling the over-emphasized yelling incident is another case in point. It is clear that he is no more happy about what he did than are many voters. Yet again, his graceful, decent, and even funny way of handling this rhubarb suggests a rarity in American politics - a politician who is still human. As he told Diane Sawyer, "I was having a great time. I am not a perfect person, believe me, I have all kinds of warts. I wear cheap suits sometimes, I say things that I probably ought not to say, but I lead with my heart, and that's what I was doing right there, leading with my heart."

Most national politicians don't act like Dean because they have been taught to act in essentially artificial and non-human ways towards the real things that happen around them. They have been taught to lock up their hearts as if they were dangerous firearms. Dean dares to be himself. Whether one ultimately votes for him or not, he should be honored rather than punished for this. He has reminded us all that we are still alive and not merely virtual parodies of ourselves like our media mannequins and political puppets. - SAM SMITH

DEAN SUPPORTED NATIONAL ID CARDS
EVEN TO USE A COMPUTER

DECLAN MCCULLAGH - Fifteen months before Dean said he would seek the presidency, the former Vermont governor spoke at a conference in Pittsburgh co-sponsored by smart-card firm Wave Systems where he called for state drivers' licenses to be transformed into a kind of standardized national ID card for Americans. Embedding smart cards into uniform IDs was necessary to thwart "cyber-terrorism" and identity theft, Dean claimed. "We must move to smarter license cards that carry secure digital information that can be universally read at vital checkpoints," Dean said in March 2002, according to a copy of his prepared remarks. "Issuing such a card would have little effect on the privacy of Americans."

Dean also suggested that computer makers such as Apple Computer, Dell, Gateway and Sony should be required to include an ID card reader in PCs--and Americans would have to insert their uniform IDs into the reader before they could log on. "One state's smart-card driver's license must be identifiable by another state's card reader," Dean said. . .

"On the Internet, this card will confirm all the information required to gain access to a state (government) network--while also barring anyone who isn't legal age from entering an adult chat room, making the Internet safer for our children, or prevent adults from entering a children's chat room and preying on our kids...Many new computer systems are being created with card reader technology. Older computers can add this feature for very little money," Dean said.

NETWORKS GANGED UP ON DEAN

A majority of nightly network newscast evaluations of Democratic Presidential frontrunner Howard Dean were negative during the 2003 "preseason," while three-quarters of the coverage given to the other eight candidates was favorable, according to research conducted by the Center for Media and Public Affairs. The study also finds network airtime devoted to the campaign is down 62 percent from the year before the 1996 election, the last race involving an incumbent president.

THE MAN BEHIND THE ATTACK ON DEAN

SHERYL GAY STOLBERG, NY TIMES - The documents - those nasty tidbits that campaigns euphemistically call "opposition research" - are flying in the scrappy final days of the Democratic contests here and in Iowa. At the center of the maelstrom, Democrats say, is a 36-year-old aide to Gen. Wesley K. Clark, a frenetic, colorful and, some contend, devious communications strategist named Chris Lehane. Every campaign has people behind the scenes feeding unflattering facts about opponents to the press. But Mr. Lehane - a veteran of Al Gore's 2000 campaign and the Clinton White House, where his specialty was blunting queries from investigative reporters - is such a shrewd practitioner of what one admiring strategist called "the political black arts" that lately, when a negative story appears, rivals point to him. . .

Now, Mr. Lehane has become a target in a fight among Democrats about whether opposition research is going too far. With General Clark rising in the polls in New Hampshire and Howard Dean facing a spate of negative news reports, from stories about stock he sold as Vermont's governor to remarks maligning the Iowa caucuses, many Democrats are convinced they see the invisible hand of Chris Lehane. . .

NEWSMAX - Acting at the behest of Bill and Hillary Clinton, a senior campaign aide to Gen. Wesley Clark has carried out the "political assassination" of Democratic presidential front-runner Howard Dean, former top Clinton advisor Dick Morris contended late Friday. "I believe we have witnessed a political assassination of Howard Dean by the Clintons," Morris told Fox News Channel's "Hannity & Colmes" - hours after polls showed that Dean's once formidable lead in Iowa had evaporated. Morris named Clark communications director Chris Lehane, a former Gore campaign spokesman who cut his teeth as a key operative in the Clinton White House's attack machine. . .

Morris said that other candidates don't have the resources for the kind of opposition research that Lehane has been carrying out for Gen. Clark, whose campaign is staffed wall-to-wall with Clinton White House veterans. "The places that have the money for negative research are the Democratic National Committee and the Clintons," said Morris.

DEAN URGED CLINTON TO TAKE UNILATERAL ACTION IN BOSNIA

STEVE KOMAROW, USA TODAY - Democratic presidential contender Howard Dean, a strong critic of what he calls President Bush's unilateral approach to foreign policy, urged President Clinton to act unilaterally and enter the war in Bosnia in 1995. "I have reluctantly concluded that the efforts of the United States and NATO in Bosnia are a complete failure," he wrote, citing reports of genocide during the Bosnian civil war. "If we ignore these behaviors ... our moral fiber as a people becomes weakened. ... We must take unilateral action." The July 19, 1995, letter, obtained by USA TODAY, was written on Dean's official stationery as Vermont governor. The language appears to contradict Dean's core complaint that President Bush has followed a unilateral foreign policy, instead of a multilateral approach that relies on consultation and joint action with allies.

AFTER HOURS DIVISION
THE ESTABLISHMENT WAR AGAINST DEAN

HANNA ROSIN WASHINGTON POST - It's New Year's Eve and the tap is open. The Edwards people, with Budweisers in hand, crowd the section of bar closest to the pool tables. Nearby, some Lieberman interns sway/dance, free Bacardi Bat necklaces swinging on their necks. Someone from Gephardt's campaign is lighting a Camel Light, and the Clark guys are scattered near the TV screens.

In the smoky haze of Raxx Billiards, representatives from all but one of the major Democratic presidential campaigns can be found. "They were invited," says Sen. Joe Lieberman's New Hampshire director, Peter Greenberger, who helped put the party together. As usual, though, the Dean people didn't come.

DEAN'S PROBLEMS - Dean is in trouble, no doubt of it. Primary cause is the most excessive and gratuitous media assault on a presidential candidate in recent times. . . Dean failed to accept the fact that before you can get elected by the people you have to be selected by the crowd in charge. You don't just run for president in the Democratic Party (unless you're a Sharpton or Kucincich doomed from the start); you ask permission nicely just like Clinton did. Show the elite that you want to come to Washington to serve them, not lead others. . . . It's bad enough when a Georgia peanut farmer like Carter tries it, but Dean came out of the establishment himself so his crime was worse: betrayal rather than naiveté. And he paid the price.

It's not political. Washington is a place where more things are done illegally or under the table than just about anywhere in the world. Where your laws are made - and broken - as Mark Russell used to say. And it's the world's most powerful private club. If you want to get ahead here the first thing you've got to do is shut your mouth. And show you respect the people who really run the place. Dean didn't do that.

Dean had some other problems, though. The exit polls suggest that he had far narrower appeal than it originally appeared. He had the young and the very liberal but these were the only groups squarely in his camp. They were out there and being counted early. What wasn't being counted were the undecideds and the initially apathetic. Part of the really bad news for Dean is that he was unable to expand his core constituency.

Finally, not since Muskie cried in New Hampshire and Dukakis was photographed with his ears sticking out under a tank helmet has a candidate so facilely hurt himself as Dean did with his election night hysterics. One got the feeling that the doctor might have tried to dope himself up on tranquilizers but somehow picked the wrong bottle.

THE CASE AGAINST HOWARD DEAN FROM THE LEFT

KEITH ROSENTHAL, INTERNATIONAL SOCIALIST REVIEW - With more than a year remaining before the presidential election of 2004, the former Vermont governor, Howard Dean, has stolen national attention for his criticisms of the recent unilateral war on Iraq by confidently arguing on the campaign trail: "We're gonna' beat George Bush!"

He has called for universal health care, environmental protection, the shredding of the "Bush Doctrine" of preemptive attack, a reversal of the tax cuts and has even called out the leadership of the Democratic Party for cowering before Bush's right-wing onslaught.

But Dean has done much more than simply grab the attention of the national media. He also has many antiwar activists, progressives and former Ralph Nader voters excited about his campaign. Gary Younge described Dean in the Guardian as "the great red hope." In the Nation, Katha Pollit recently wrote, "My fingers itch to write Dean another check." She continued, "Howard Dean is Ralph Nader's gift to the Democratic Party." . . .

Though he has been dubbed a "raging liberal" by admirers and critics alike, Howard Dean governed Vermont strictly within the framework of the conservative Democratic Leadership Council. . . Back in February 2003, Dean candidly admitted to Salon magazine that if he were to win the nomination of his party he would "probably dispense with some of the more rhetorical flourishes. One time I said the Supreme Court is so far right you couldn't see it anymore. Next summer I won't be talking like that. It's true and I'm not ashamed to have said it, but it doesn't sound very presidential."

But such political maneuvering is nothing new for Dean. Upon becoming governor of Vermont in 1991, after the sudden death of then-Republican Governor Richard Snelling, Dean made a sharp turn to the right and pursued that course ever since. In his 11 years as governor, Dean would shift rightward on one position after another, all the while claiming to be concerned for the needy and less-fortunate, and disappointing all who thought they were getting someone who would govern from the liberal end of the political spectrum.

Dean inherited a massive deficit in the state budget from Snelling. Refusing to raise taxes on wealthier Vermonters (and rendering the tax system more regressive than previously), Dean declared in his first State of the State address that it would be his mission to balance the state budget with some "tough" cuts. Even though Vermont has no law requiring a balanced budget, Dean promised, "The pain for Vermonters will be real."

Dean slashed millions of dollars from all sorts of social programs, from prescription drug benefits for Medicare recipients and heating assistance for poorer Vermonters to housing assistance funds. In defending his cuts to social programs, Dean said, "I don't think I have to shy away from that just because I'm supposed to be a liberal Democrat."

Throughout the 1990s, Dean's cuts in state aid to education ($6 million), retirement funds for teachers and state employees ($7 million), health care ($4 million), welfare programs earmarked for the aged, blind and disabled ($2 million), Medicaid benefits ($1.2 million) and more, amounted to roughly $30 million. Dean claimed that the cuts were necessary because the state had no money and was burdened by a $60 million deficit.

WASHINGTON'S WAR AGAINST DEAN

The Washington establishment woke up this morning with evidence that the combined Democon and elite media assault on Howard Dean might be paying off. The Washington Post led off with its most recent poll that shows Dean falling 18 points behind Bush in a match-up.

In fact, while Dean only dropped one point between October and December, a match-up with an unnamed Democrat saw a 6 point drop for the same period. Bush gained three points in each contest. Further, the Post strangely only ran Dean against Bush. But thanks to two other polls we know that both Clark and Dean would have a hard time against Bush with the gap between Clark and Dean running from 1 to seven points, hardly enough to justify the sort of anti-Dean commentating rampant in the capital these days.

Furthermore, most of the polling was done during a period when Dean was being heavily criticized for saying that the capture of Saddam had not made us safer, but before the president's orange terror alert proved his point.

In truth, no one in the Democratic Party is showing enough strength against Bush (including Hillary Clinton).

THREE MEDIA MYTHS ABOUT HOWARD DEAN

Sam Smith

1. He is too weak a candidate to run against George Bush.

Maybe he is, but the Democrats have not come up with anyone better. For example, in the five most recent polls, Bush beats Dean by and average of 9.6 points. Bush beats Clark, presumably the best alternative the Washington establishment can produce, by 7.2 points, a statistically insignificant difference. Hillary Clinton's five poll moving average, by the way, is 7.6 points.

2. Dean is too weak among blacks.

The Washington Post wrote recently, "Dean has been dogged by questions of whether the former leader of an overwhelmingly white state would be able to attract African American supporters." Well, the answer is right outside the Post's front door where not only have a significant number of black city council members endorsed Dean but he won 61% in a straw vote at a meeting of the Ward 8 Democrats, in the poorest and blackest part of the city. And this at a contentious session where a black ward official attacked a lonely white member as "poor white trash." DC will have its primary in January and while the non-binding results will probably have little impact on elite white journalists who will continue to wonder whether the former leader of an overwhelmingly white state will be able to attract African American supporters, black voters elsewhere are likely to take note of DC's choice.

3. Dean can't win in the south

Again, while the Democrats are in trouble throughout the south - all are beaten by 30 or more points in Alabama - Dean again does well in the primary match-ups. He is currently ahead, if not by much, in Florida, Texas and Virginia. He is far ahead in DC and tied for first in Alabama. In Georgia, Dean comes in fourth, but only three points behind the first placed Clark. In North Carolina he is a distant second to Edwards and in South Carolina Edwards and Dean are essentially tied. In one of the few southern match-ups against Bush, Dean does one point better than Clark in Florida, which is to say he loses by a changeable 7 points.

This is a useful exercise in how badly the corporatized media reports political campaigns, let alone other things. The reasons for this include:

- The extraordinary length of time it takes national reporters to overcome their presumptions in the face of contrary facts.

- A bias towards certain candidates based on Washington dominant political and cultural values.

- An inability to deal with something new, which is, after all, three quarters of the word 'news.'

- A narrow, clichéd view of American politics and history.

- A disdain for hard facts such as numbers in comparison, say, to sound bites acquired over a beer in New Hampshire.

MORNING LINE

DEAN LEFT EPISCOPAL CHURCH OVER BIKE PATH

ALEX BEAM, BOSTON GLOBE - One could trace the downturn in Senator John Kerry's presidential fortunes back to the revelation that, unbeknownst to him, his paternal grandparents were Jewish, or God's Chosen People. Yet things have gone much better for Kerry's rival, Howard Dean, ever since he let slip that he is no longer one of God's Frozen People, i.e. Episcopalian. The exchange in which Dean abjured the One True Faith, as we lapsed Episcopalians like to call it, took place this fall in an interview with ABC's George Stephanopoulos. Dean said he was raised Episcopalian but left the church "because I had a big fight with a local Episcopal church about 25 years ago over the bike path. . . ."

"Over the bike path?" an incredulous Stephanopoulos asked.

"We were trying to get the bike path built," Dean answered. "They had control of a mile and a half of railroad bed, and they decided they would pursue a property-right suit to refuse to allow the bike path to be developed."

SO MUCH FOR THE INSIDERS NOT LIKING DEAN

[Another media myth down the drain]

MARK Z. BARABAK, LA TIMES - Howard Dean has emerged as the leading presidential pick among Democratic Party leaders, with more than twice the support of his closest rivals, according to a new Los Angeles Times Poll. . . Dean was favored by 32% of the Democratic leaders surveyed, followed by Rep. Richard A. Gephardt of Missouri at 15% and Sen. John F. Kerry of Massachusetts at 14%. Retired Army Gen. Wesley K. Clark had 7% support, Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina 5%, Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut 3%, and former Sen. Carol Moseley Braun of Illinois 1%. Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich of Ohio and the Rev. Al Sharpton each had less than 1% backing. . .

The survey began Dec. 4 and ended Thursday. On Monday, word surfaced that former Vice President Al Gore would endorse Dean the next day. The nod from Gore appears to have benefited Dean among these party insiders. Twenty-nine percent of DNC members surveyed before the endorsement said they backed Dean. Of the members surveyed after Gore's announcement, 44% favored Dean. . .

Most of the declared candidates enjoy high approval ratings from DNC members, with favorable ratings of 80% or more. Lieberman - the most conservative of the Democrats running - and Moseley Braun were seen somewhat less favorably, with approval from about two-thirds of those interviewed. Kucinich received mixed reviews, with 49% of those surveyed viewing him positively and 38% negatively. . .

Thirty percent of DNC members said Dean would be the most vigorous nominee the party could put up in 2004, while 14% cited Clark. Gephardt and Kerry were named by 13% each. A year ago, 2% chose Dean.

A CONSERVATIVE VIEW OF HOW DEAN COULD WIN

WILLIAM KRISTOL - Could Dean really win? Unfortunately, yes. The Democratic presidential candidate has, alas, won the popular presidential vote three times in a row - twice, admittedly, under the guidance of the skilled Bill Clinton, but most recently with the hapless Al Gore at the helm. And demographic trends (particularly the growth in Hispanic voters) tend to favor the Democrats going into 2004. . .

Bush is also likely to be the first president since Herbert Hoover under whom there will have been no net job creation, and the first since Lyndon Johnson whose core justification for sending U.S. soldiers to war could be widely (if unfairly) judged to have been misleading.

And President Bush will be running for reelection after a two-year period in which his party has controlled both houses of Congress. The last two times the American people confronted a president and a Congress controlled by the same party were in 1980 and 1994. The voters decided in both cases to restore what they have consistently preferred for the last two generations: divided government. . .

Dean has run a terrific primary campaign, the most impressive since Carter in 1976. It's true that, unlike Carter (and Clinton), Dean is a Northeastern liberal. But he's no Dukakis. Does anyone expect Dean to be a patsy for a Bush assault, as the Massachusetts governor was?

And how liberal is Dean anyway? He governed as a centrist in Vermont, and will certainly pivot to the center the moment he has the nomination. And one underestimates, at this point when we are all caught up in the primary season, how much of an opportunity the party's nominee has to define or redefine himself once he gets the nomination.

HOWARD DEAN'S MADISON AVENUE CHILDHOOD

DEAN TO GO AFTER BIG MEDIA

[Dean on the Chris Matthews show on General Electric-owned MSNBC]

MATTHEWS: Well, would you break up GE?

(APPLAUSE)

DEAN: I can't - you...

MATTHEWS: GE just buys Universal. Would you do something there about that? Would you stop that from happening?

DEAN: You can't say - you can't ask me right now and get an answer, would I break up X corp...

MATTHEWS: We've got to do it now, because now is the only chance we can ask you, because, once you are in, we have got to live with you.

(LAUGHTER)

DEAN: No.

MATTHEWS: So, if you are going to do it, you have got to tell us now.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Are you going to break up the giant media enterprises in this country?

DEAN: Yes, we're going to break up giant media enterprises. That doesn't mean we're going to break up all of GE. What we're going to do is say that media enterprises can't be as big as they are today. I don't think we actually have to break them up, which Teddy Roosevelt had to do with the leftovers from the McKinley administration.

Dean explained how "11 companies in this country control 90 percent of what ordinary people are able to read and watch on their television. That's wrong. We need to have a wide variety of opinions in every community. We don't have that because of Michael Powell and what George Bush has tried to do to the FCC."

Matthews continued:

"Would you break up Fox?"

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS: I'm serious.

DEAN: I'm keeping a...

MATTHEWS: Would you break it up? Rupert Murdoch has "The Weekly Standard." It has got a lot of other interests. It has got "The New York Post." Would you break it up?

DEAN: On ideological grounds, absolutely yes, but...

(LAUGHTER)

MATTHEWS: No, seriously. As a public policy, would you bring industrial policy to bear and break up these conglomerations of power?

DEAN: I don't want to answer whether I would break up Fox or not, because, obviously

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS: Well, how about large media enterprises?

DEAN: Let me -- yes, let me get...

(LAUGHTER)

DEAN: The answer to that is yes.

I would say that there is too much penetration by single corporations in media markets all over this country. We need locally-owned radio stations. There are only two or three radio stations left in the state of Vermont where you can get local news anymore. The rest of it is read and ripped from the AP.

MATTHEWS: So what are you going to do about it? You're going to be president of the United States, what are you going to do?

DEAN: What I'm going to do is appoint people to the FCC that believe democracy depends on getting information from all portions of the political spectrum, not just one.

DEAN'S NEW SOUTHERN STRATEGY

REP. JESSE L. JACKSON JR, AFRO-AMERICAN - Historically, the Confederate flag is a symbol of the Democratic Party. Today, however, Republicans can fly and wave it, but Democrats can't talk about it, and current Democrats don't know how to handle it. As a result, the symbol Howard Dean used got in the way of his substance, but his substance was on point. And the point was southern whites and blacks together must focus on their common economic needs, jobs, good schools, affordable health care. Howard Dean has a new Democratic southern strategy. Democrats know the divide in the South is race. Republicans have exploited it. Democrats have evaded it. Every Democrat has known since the civil rights movement that the party was becoming less competitive in the South because of race. Republicans have successfully exploited race (in proportion to black voting strength) since Richard Nixon's "southern strategy" of 1968 by, among other things, using racial code words: Nixon's "law and order," Reagan's "states' rights" and "welfare queen" and the first George Bush's "Willie Horton."

Republicans deliberately blur the distinction between social and economic conservatism. Economically, when compared to other U.S. regions, the South has disproportionately high unemployment, unfair taxes, poverty, illiteracy, poor schools and inadequate health care and housing - for both whites and blacks. . . Disappointingly, Democrats over several decades, rather than campaigning around common economic needs of southern whites and blacks, have mostly imitated Republicans on social and cultural issues, and failed to challenge around economic issues. White Democrats, South and North, want and need the black vote to win, but then avoid meeting black economic and political expectations that accompany their vote.

If Howard Dean wins the nomination around an economic agenda, and can combat the certain Republican tactic of diversion - using social issues openly, and race more subtly, to sublimate economic concerns - then Democrats may once again be able to win in the South and pursue a progressive economic agenda for the benefit of all Americans. That's Howard Dean's approach and his challenge.

A RETROACTIVE MANIFESTO FOR THE DEAN CAMPAIGN

AETHER - A draft of an idea inspired by Rem Koolhaas's remarkable pseudo-history of Manhattan called Delirious New York. . . In his book, Koolhaas pretends that Manhattan was designed according to a theory of the modern city. The imagined manifesto gives Koolhaas a way to sketch a portrait of Manhattan as it actually exists, to take it seriously as manifestation of human creativity. His book is a just-so story, a fabricated history that explicates real forces. Here, I've offered a Retroactive Manifesto of the Dean Campaign. These are the rules that might have been posted on the wall of campaign manager Joe Trippi's office, if there were such a list of rules. I am looking for examples and counter-examples - confirmation and correction. Are these really the principles that underlay the architecture of the campaign? Are there concrete examples you can suggest? Is something here plainly wrong? Hack away. . .

The Dean campaign is a network rather than an army - and that's its strength. But it's also a stupid network, and that's its other strength. "Stupid" is used in the technical sense defined by David S. Isenberg in his classic telephony paper, "The Rise of the Stupid Network." In this paper Isenberg advanced the principle that under conditions of uncertainty a network should not be optimized for some limited set of uses presumed to be definitive. Instead, the network should be as simple as possible, with advanced functionality (and intelligence) moved out to the ends of the network - to the users. . .

I got Isenberg on the phone today and talked to him about the Dean campaign as an implementation of a stupid network. Here's a little of what he said:

"I'm struck by how different that is from the Karl Rove point of view, where reporters are directed to cover the four or five stories they've selected - go to the aircraft carrier, set up the cameras right here so Bush's face looks like another bust on Mount Rushmore, or whatever. For the first time in the information age we have tools appropriate for a real grass roots, bottom up campaign.

"In the old telephone company, central planning was needed before the network could grow. You had to manage the scaling from the top down. This worked as long as growth was predictable. But the Internet was not predicted. It grew from the bottom, from interpersonal agreements among sysadmins at the edges, from a collection of networks, including small ISPs that were basically modem farms in somebody's garage. Having a network without a strong center allows massive scalability without central planning.

"If you have a Karl Rove, you know exactly where events will happen, who has to be there. But if you are a Howard Dean, and you are willing to let things happen from the bottom up, you can scale without doing all that planning."

TEN QUESTIONS FOR HOWARD DEAN

VERMONT INDEPENDENT MEDIA - Why did you support sending Vermont's nuclear waste to the poor, mostly Hispanic town of Sierra Blanca, Texas, 16 miles from the Mexican border -- a plan described as "blatant environmental racism" by Paul Wellstone?

2. Why did the Dean administration increase funding for Vermont's state colleges by only 7% while you increased funding for prisons by 150%?

3. Why did IBM, the leading polluter in Vermont, receive your Environmental Achievement Award nine times?

4. What did you mean when you said, "I've had 40 or 45 private meetings with IBM since I've been governor. And IBM has gotten pretty much everything they've asked for"?

6. Why did you wait for the courts and legislature to bring about the civil union bill before you supported it? Why did you sign the bill in private when you finally did sign it?

7. Why do you oppose the Israeli Labor Party candidate for prime minister Amram Mitzna's call for unconditional peace talks with the Palestinians?

8. While you acknowledge that you "haven't condemned Congress for passing the Patriot Act," Bernie Sanders from your own state of Vermont is leading efforts in Congress to overturn the act. Why are you not supporting Bernie Sanders' efforts and condemning Congress for its attack on civil liberties?

9. How do you respond to Annette Smith of Vermonters of a Clean Environment who says: "Dean's attempt to run for president as an environmentalist is nothing but a fraud. He's destroyed the Agency of Natural Resources, he's refused to meet with environmentalists while constantly meeting with developers, and he's made the permitting process one, big dysfunctional joke. EP under Governor Dean meant Expedite Permits, not Environmental Protection"?

10. Since you pride yourself on your "fiscal responsibility" who do you refuse to even consider any decreases in the bloated Pentagon budget?

PICKUPS FOR DEAN

During the long years of southern segregation, the white establishment managed to convince poor whites that it was blacks rather than itself that posed the biggest threat. This was not only immoral, it was a con, and a miserably effective one.

Only occasionally was the myth challenged, as when Earl Long went after black votes while holding onto his low income white constituency. When Long was elected in 1948 there were only 7,000 black voters in Louisiana. By the time he left office a decade later, there were 110,000.

It was not that Governor Long was any moral model. His language, for example, would have shocked today's white and black liberals. What he did do, and quite well, was to put together people who many at the top didn't want together. And at a time when the likes of Lyndon Johnson and William Fulbright were carefully avoiding the race issue, Long took on the White Citizens Council.

I was reminded of this the other day when Howard Dean made his comment about wanting to get the votes of people who drove pickups with confederate flag stickers. He was immediately excoriated by Kerry and Gephardt but what he was doing was simply reaching out to a constituency that Democratic liberals have too long dissed, the less successful white male. Uncle Earl would have been pleased.

By any traditional Democratic standards, this constituency should be a natural. After all, what more dramatically illustrates the failure of two decades of corporatist economics than how far these white males have been left behind? Yet because some of them still cling to the myths the southern white establishment taught their daddies and their granddaddies, the likes of Gephardt and Kerry don't think they qualify as Democratic voters.

In fact, the best way to change people's minds about matters such as ethnic relations is to put them in situations that challenge their presumptions. Like joining a multicultural political coalition that works. It's change produced by shared experience rather than moral by revelation.

Martin Luther King understood this as he admonished his aides to include in their dreams the hope that their present opponents would become their future friends. And he realized that rules of correct behavior were insufficient:

"Something must happen so as to touch the hearts and souls of men that they will come together, not because the law says it, but because it is natural and right."

This doesn't happen logically, it doesn't come all at once, and it doesn't come with pretty words. Tom Lowe of the Jackson Progressive voted a couple of years ago in favor of a new Mississippi flag without the confederate symbolism. But in retrospect, he wrote later, he realized that the voters' rejection of the change was a honest reflection of their state of mind: "Perhaps a time will come when we have truly put aside our nasty streak of racism. When that time arrives, maybe we will choose to replace the flag with something more representative of our ideals. On the other hand, when we reach that point, we may no longer care about the symbolism of the Confederate battle flag. Or perhaps we will keep it for another reason: to make those of us that are white humble by reminding us of our less than honorable past."

Or perhaps do what the whites in the Southern Student Organizing Committee did at the beginning of the civil rights movement: seize the old symbol for a new purpose. The SSOC logo showed a black and white hand firmly clasped across a confederate flag. It is, within my extensive button collection, a favorite because it illustrates how symbols can be transformed and used for better purposes. Yes, the confederate flag is still there, but firmly in the background, reminding one of how hard won were the clasped hands in front.

The decline of liberalism has been accelerated by the growing number of American subcultures deemed unworthy by its advocates: gun owners, church goers, pickup drivers with confederate flag stickers. Yet the gun owner could be an important ally for civil liberties, the churchgoer a voice for political integrity, the pickup driver a supporter of national healthcare.

We'll never know until we try. Dean, coming off some successful approaches to black voters, has now turned to another group the establishment, including its liberal branch, doesn't really give much of damn about: the struggling white male. These two groups are primarily antagonistic because they have been taught to see life that way by those who really don't want them getting along. Instead of inveighing in the best liberal fashion against all stereotypes save one's own, Dean is mixing things up a bit. A Dean bumper sticker next to a confederate flag on a pickup may not be utopia, but it would be sure sign of positive change which, these days, would be a pretty big change in itself. -

PICKUPS FOR DEAN CONT'D, & SO FORTH

THE CONTINUED controversy over confederate flags on pickup trucks is a reminder that one of the functions of political campaigns is to take our minds off our problems. It is especially fun when we can argue about symbolism rather than reality because that way no one can actually keep score.

It does get confusing, though. After introducing a new idea about whom the Democratic Party should approach, Howard Dean was excoriated by Al Sharpton who, while entertaining and often right, falls somewhat short as a mentor of morality. Sharpton was joined by some white southerners who, in attacking Dean's stereotype, implicitly projected their own - that of a south in which all the bad stuff has passed. Funny that Trent Lott never got the word.

Then, in an act of iatrogenic politics, Dr. Dean wounded himself further by describing as 'loathsome' the symbol of his proposed new constituency. That's not the best way to reach out and touch someone.

Besides, it also raises the question of whether the Democrats' Jefferson Day dinners should be cancelled since their namesake also had some pretty loathsome view on ethnicity.

The stereotype business can be tricky. Not only did some southern pickup drivers complain, but Claude Henry Sinclair Jr., commander of the Sons of Confederate Veterans camp in Lancaster, SC, told the Washington Post that he saw yet another kind of stereotype: "I don't have a pickup truck."

To be sure, Dean might have done better if he had used (as one of our readers suggested) the term 'NASCAR dads,' but in fact, politics uses stereotypes all the time. And a campaign meeting at which someone asks, "How do we get to the Jews?" has quite a different import than the same question asked at a KKK meeting.

From the day in the 1960s when Marion Barry walked into my apartment explicitly looking for a white press aide, I have felt more at home dealing with such matters openly rather than having them whitewashed with liberal euphemisms.

The irony is that despite crude terminology, politics is one of the few places where you actually see people working voluntarily across ethnic and class lines for a common goal. When you hear people like Edwards and Sharpton slamming Dean for using political slang in public, you are seeing bad acting and not much else.

It is also interesting to note, as William Saletan does in Slate, that Dean received quite a different reception before he was the frontrunner. Here's what he told the Democratic National Committee last February:

"I intend to talk about race during this election in the South. The Republicans have been talking about it since 1968 in order to divide us, and I'm going to bring us together. Because you know what? White folks in the South who drive pickup trucks with Confederate flag decals on the back ought to be voting with us because their kids don't have health insurance either, and their kids need better schools too."

Writes Saletan: "I have that speech on videotape. I'm looking at it right now. As Dean delivers the line about Confederate flags, the whole front section of the audience stands and applauds. It's a pretty white crowd, but in slow-motion playback, I can make out three black people in the crowd and two more on the dais, including DNC Vice Chair Lottie Shackelford. Every one of them is standing and applauding. As Dean finishes his speech, a dozen more black spectators rise to join in an ovation. They show no doubt or unease about what Dean meant."

The Dean controversy is driven by several factors. One is the growing liberal preference for proper language and symbolism over proper policy. Thus confederate flags soar above such other possible issues as the drug war with its disastrous effect on young black males, discrimination in housing and public transportation, and the lack of blacks in the U.S. Senate. Further, while liberals are happy to stigmatize certain stereotypes, they are enthralled with others, such as the self-serving suggestion that they represent a new class of "cultural creatives" saving the American city. And from whom, implicitly, are they saving the American city? From the blacks, latinos and poor forced out to make way for their creativity.

Another factor has far deeper roots: our fear of public discussion of class issues. Although this has repeatedly been noted by both black and white observers, it has little effect on our politics or the media, both of which project the myth that ethnic conflict occurs independent of economic divisions.

One who understood otherwise was the black writer, Jean Toomer - who once described America as "so voluble in acclamation of the democratic ideal, so reticent in applying what it professes." Writing in 1919, Toomer said, "It is generally established that the causes of race prejudice may primarily be found in the economic structure that compels one worker to compete against another and that furthermore renders it advantageous for the exploiting classes to inculcate, foster, and aggravate that competition."

Dean's real sin was that he got too close to that topic - SAM SMITH

CAN DEAN ESCAPE THE STARBUCKS GHETTO?

RONALD BROWNSTEIN, LA TIMES - Can Howard Dean escape the Starbucks ghetto? New polls in Iowa and New Hampshire, the critical first two states in the Democratic presidential race, show the former Vermont governor dominating among voters with a college degree - the sort of people more likely to stop at Starbucks than a doughnut shop in the morning. But in both states he is showing much less strength among voters who did not graduate from college.

. . . In Iowa, Dean led Rep. Richard A. Gephardt of Missouri among college-educated voters 36% to 15%, according to the survey, conducted by veteran Democratic pollster Stanley B. Greenberg. Among college-educated voters in New Hampshire, Dean crushed Sen. John F. Kerry of Massachusetts 45% to 19%, the survey found.

. . . Among voters without a college degree, the story was very different. In Iowa, among voters with a high school degree or less, Gephardt led Dean by 42% to 16%; in New Hampshire, those voters preferred Kerry over Dean 29% to 23%. Voters with some college, but not a degree, narrowly preferred Gephardt in Iowa and Dean in New Hampshire.

. . . Dean's strength among better-educated voters fits a long-standing tradition. Since the 1960s, these Democrats have favored candidates who position themselves as reform-minded outsiders, scorn politics as usual and embrace liberal positions on social issues and foreign policy. That lineage runs from Eugene McCarthy's anti-Vietnam War crusade against Lyndon B. Johnson in 1968 to George S. McGovern in 1972, and to Hart, Tsongas and Bradley.

HOWARD DEAN'S MEDICARE PROBLEM

ROBIN TONER, NY TIMES - Back in 1995, when a new Republican-controlled Congress was in a pitched ideological battle with the Democrats over the budget, Howard Dean was an iconoclastic, budget-balancing governor of Vermont and chairman of the National Governors Association, willing - even eager - to challenge party orthodoxy on spending. Dr. Dean said, according to news reports at the time, that he "fully subscribed" to the idea of substantially reducing the growth rate in Medicare spending and he praised that element of a Senate Republican budget plan that was vehemently opposed by Democrats on Capitol Hill. He argued that "we ought to put Social Security back on the table" in an effort to balance the federal budget, and he suggested that Congress consider raising the retirement age. . .

Dr. Dean's opponents, who have researched his past, assert that the record shows Dr. Dean did not stand with his party when it counted on an issue of critical importance to older voters, who loom large in early primary and caucus states like Iowa. Dr. Dean has scrambled to explain. . .

Dr. Dean's allies argue that his views were common among Democratic deficit hawks in the mid-1990's, and among Democrats who worried about the long-term solvency of Medicare and Social Security. As one aide put it, Dr. Dean "was in the mainstream of the moderate wing of the Democratic Party." Moreover, Dr. Dean maintains that his views on reining in Medicare spending were eventually embraced by Mr. Clinton and codified in the 1997 Balanced Budget Act.

BUILD YOUR OWN DEAN SITE

[An example of why the Dean campaign is having such luck.]

DEAN FOR AMERICA - How to get started with your Dean Community Site What do these kits do? These kits create fully featured campaign web community sites, such as Upper Valley for Dean and Seniors for Dean and Connecticut for Dean. These kits provide their members with powerful web tools for organizing their People-Powered-Howard campaigns.

These communities provide their users with completely customizable websites that feature searchable forums, blogs, picture galleries, book creation tools, endorsement letter servers, and Get Local event calendars. These kits are used to organize grassroots campaigners for outreach and action, and to create engaging and interactive public websites.

Where did this come from? These kits are based on a wonderful piece of open-source software called Drupal. The Drupal code base was customized by the Dean Space all-volunteer development community. The graphics were created by the Dean gSquad, another volunteer group. It's been a labor of love.

GEPHARDT SCORES DIRECT HIT ON DEAN, STANCES ON MEDICARE, SOCIAL SECURITY EXPOSED

ON CUTTING MEDICARE

"To slash the [Medicare] program to balance the budget... is not just a threat to the seniors, families, hospitals and research institutions that depend on it, it is a violation of a sacred trust."

[Gephardt letter to the Editor, Washington Post, 9/25/95]

"Dean said Congress should be willing to cut or slow growth in those programs [Social Security and Medicare]... 'We just would like to see some similar kind of backbone by the new leadership in Congress when it comes to Medicare, when it comes to Social Security and when it comes to defense.'"

[Montpelier (VT)Times-Argus, 1/30/95]

ON 1995 REPUBLICAN MEDICARE CUTS

"Gephardt was visibly emotional as he addressed area hospital administrators and reporters in yet another attack on Republican plans to trim the growth of Medicare and Medicaid. A man known for scripted speeches, Gephardt ranted and raved. . . The man known as Mr. Compromise, by political friend and foe, said he wasn't going to back off from this fight."

[St Louis Post Dispatch, 9/20/95]

"...I rise today with sadness and almost disbelief of what I am afraid is about to happen to what I believe to be the most important program, the most important help that the people of our country have enjoyed now for over 30 years. I say to the members that this is the kind of vote that comes once in a generation, maybe once in a career, about the very future of one of the most important efforts that our country has ever made."

[Gephardt speech before vote on Medicare cuts, Congressional Record, 10/19/95]

"[Dean] applauded the efforts of Senate Budget Committee chairman Pete Domenici, R-Nev., who presented his own balanced budget plan last week... Dean also said he could defend Domenici's approach to reducing Medicare costs. He said he supported more managed care for Medicare recipients and requiring some Medicare recipients to pay a greater share of the cost of their medical services... "'I fully subscribe to the notion that we should reduce the Medicare growth rate from 10 percent to 7 percent, or less if possible,' Dean said."

[Montpelier Times Argus, 5/18/95]

The cuts Dean described - reducing the rate of growth to 7 percent - was exactly what Newt Gingrich's budget proposed. This would cut at between $256 and $282 billion from Medicare: "Under the House and Senate plans, the annual rate of growth of Medicare spending would be cut from 10 percent to 7 percent... The Republicans say these changes would trim as much as $ 282 billion from Medicare.

[Dallas Morning News, 5/15/95]

ON THE VALUE OF MEDICARE

"Medicare 'is the best program this country's ever put forward for our people,' Gephardt said..."

[San Francisco Chronicle, 9/15/95]

"I think it's one of the worst federal programs ever..."

[Dean in San Francisco Chronicle, 8/17/93]

"[Medicare is] one of the worst things that ever happened... a bureaucratic disaster..."

[Dean in AP, 8/3/93]

ON CUTTING SOCIAL SECURITY TO BALANCE THE BUDGET

"In March, Rep. Gephardt single-handedly bullied President Clinton into running from a potential agreement to reform cost-of-living adjustments for Social Security payments and other government benefits."

[Editorial, Washington Times, 4/22/97]

"I also think that we ought to put Social Security back on the table and defense. If you take defense and Social Security off the table, what you've essentially said, 'We're not going to cut any of the controversial things at the federal level, despite our rhetoric about being courageous in a new day in the American Congress..."

[Dean on "This Week with David Brinkley," 1/29/95]

"The way to balance the budget, Dean said, is for Congress to cut Social Security, move the retirement age to 70, cut defense, Medicare and veterans pensions, while the states cut almost everything else. "It would be tough but we could do it," he said."

[New Orleans Times-Picayune, 3/5/95]

ON RAISING THE SOCIAL SECURITY RETIREMENT AGE, TO 70

"Host: Do you go along with that position now enunciated by both Dick Armey and George W. Bush, that the country should go ahead and look at the possibility of raising that retirement age?"

"Gephardt: I don't think it's worthy of consideration."

[Gephardt on CNN "Late Edition," 11/21/99]

"I absolutely agree we need to reduce the - I mean, to increase the retirement age. There will be cuts and losses of some benefits, but I believe that Senator Packwood [R-Oregon] is on exactly the right track, and we need to deal with the Social Security retirement age..."

[Dean on CNN's Crossfire, 2/28/95]

ON SENIOR CITIZENS ADVOCATING FOR SOCIAL SECURITY AND MEDICARE

"House Minority Leader Richard A. Gephardt and Health Secretary Donna Shalala took their Medicare campaign to Florida on Tuesday, pleading with older people to pressure Congress to reject the Republicans' proposed changes. 'This fight is your fight,' Gephardt, D-Mo., told an enthusiastic crowd of about 800 elderly voters. 'You need to speak out,' he said, urging the audience to pepper Washington with calls and letters before the House votes on the issue next week. 'You should be part of this debate,' he said. 'Write them. Call them. Tell them what you think.'"

[St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 10/11/95]

"Congressional Republicans 'are terrified of (lobbyists for elderly Americans), and I think we all better stop being terrified,' Democratic Gov. Howard Dean of Vermont, the current chairman of the NGA... said in an interview... 'I think it's perfectly ludicrous.'

[National Journal, 2/11/95]

DEAN TURNS HAWK ON IRAQ

FRED HIATT, WASHINGTON POST - It's true that he opposed the war in Iraq, [Dean] says, but he supported the 1991 Gulf War and the Bush campaign against the Taliban in Afghanistan. More interesting, at a time when many politicians are shuddering at President Bush's ambitions to remake the Middle East - conservatives, because they are skeptical of such grand reshaping ambitions; liberals, because they see resources being diverted from social causes at home - Dean sounds if anything more committed than Condoleezza Rice to bringing democracy to Iraq.

"Now that we're there, we're stuck," he said. Bush took an "enormous risk" that through war the United States could replace Saddam Hussein and the "small danger" he presented to the United States with something better and safer. The gamble was "foolish" and "wrong." But whoever will be elected in 2004 has to live with it. "We have no choice. It's a matter of national security. If we leave and we don't get a democracy in Iraq, the result is very significant danger to the United States."

And "bringing democracy to Iraq is not a two-year proposition. Having elections alone doesn't guarantee democracy. You've got to have institutions and the rule of law, and in a country that hasn't had that in 3,000 years, it's unlikely to suddenly develop by having elections and getting the heck out." Dean would impose a "hybrid" constitution, "American with Iraqi, Arab characteristics. Iraqis have to play a major role in drafting this, but the Americans have to have the final say." Women's rights must be guaranteed at all levels.

Dean is almost as sweeping about Afghanistan, where "losing the peace is not an option" and "pulling out early would be a disaster." Five times the current level of troops are needed, he said. "Imagine making deals with warlords to promote democracy. What are these people thinking?"