July 17, 2003  ·  admin

Governor Dean won’t be able to post today due to scheduling, and Joe Trippi is still on an airplane, so it looks like he won’t either. Thanks for all your comments — every visitor here is welcome over at Blog for America, our official campaign blog. The conversation here is riveting.

Tomorrow is Governor Dean’s last day here, so feel free to keep making suggestions and hashing it out in this thread. We’re all big Lessig fans on the Internet Team, and it has been, as many have said, an historic week. Lessig quotes EFF founder Mitch Kapor as saying “Architecture is politics.” For me, what is so powerful about this campaign is how the Internet is completely changing the architecture of politics. We talk alot about how the energy and momentum is bottom-up, but I think what sometimes gets lost is how the innovation is bottom-up and person-to-person as well (or e2e as Lessig might say). The results of self-organizing are not only more people, but more ideas about how to do local politics. The idea of sending 30,000 letters to Iowa at the last Dean Meetup came from the grassroots, and that has been reported. What hasn’t been reported is that most of the Dean flyers that people are passing out at farmers markets and summer fairs around the country are put together by grassroots organizers working through the Net. Independently of the official campaign, a Seattle group thinks of a flyer idea, which a New York group designs, which they circulate through the Dean listservs, which gets stapled to a Bulletin Board in Missouri by a group of Dean supporters who met through the Internet. A Georgia group designs “Dean Cards,” which are now spreading around the country. 10 years ago, so many of these ideas would have stayed just that — the person with the flyer idea would have turned to her spouse, mentioned the idea, and gone to work. Now that same “mention” – except through the Net – can lead to tens of thousands of flyers all over the country. We’ve still got a long way to go in terms of building an architecture that allows even more person to person to group connections – and the resulting innovation – but what’s amazing about this campaign (from the inside) is how Joe Trippi and the entire campaign is not only willing to allow that innovation to thrive, but believes it is essential to restoring our democracy.

Zephyr Teachout
Internet Team, Dean for America

  • Andrew

    Dean for President, Lessig for Vice President!

  • http://aphid.org aph

    or at least technology czar. meanwhile the riaa is pushing a bill through the house that would put people in prison for 5 years for uploading a single song using p2p. We need more people in Washington that understand these issues, because too many congressmen have been led by the MPAA/RIAA lobbyists that sharing is equivalent to stealing and that all ideas are property.
    thank you howard for taking the time to listen to the the other side of these issues. i hope you see that protecting access to our culture is in our national interest.

  • Andy

    That’s a good question.

    Any ideas on vp’s?

  • Diana

    Re the good ideas coming from the people who post–how true! I’ve been trying to think of slogans that Dean people can wave on signs during rallies. Some ideas have come from the blog, to wit:

    “You Don’t Have to be a Millionaire to Elect a President”

    “Bush Lied–Thousands Died”

    and of course, “People-powered Howard.”

    As a partial answer to people who think the Dr. is too far left because he approves of civil unions, I thought of “Equality, Not Exclusion.”

    It may be simplistic, but you know, the Elephant Party will trample all over us with their slogans and sound bytes. I think we should come up with our own *before* they come up with theirs. It’s too dangerous to let them define the race. That’s what has got the Democrats into so much trouble…until the Dr. appeared!

    Signing off–

    “Don’t bother to take the aspirin, just call the Doctor!”

    Diana in northern Virginia

  • http://www.thenation.com/issue.mhtml?i=20030804 Roey

    The nation had a really good article entitled “The Web Rewires the Movement.” Check it out, click on my name.

  • The Watcher

    I read all this rhetoric about Dr. Dean being “for the people,” but I’m not so sure I like it. I’d prefer a candidate who was for himself, who was sure of his principles and gets elected because of them. I don’t want someone who bends to his constituency to get elected, but someone whose principles are what get him elected.

    I’m watching the Dean campaign because for once, in a long while, I see someone who might live up to that. I want his mind to change when the facts change, not when people threaten to stop voting for him.

  • http://www.cafeshops.com/133tz4dean Latro

    Dean is so dang 133t! This guy is like FDR crusading against the Trusts, Monopolies, and the corrupt luserz in power! Show me the voting booth, man, I wanna drop a vote for the Internet Prez!

  • Anonymous

    Integrity, Gov. Dean, integrity. If you want to have a chance at this election, you can’t make it so obvious that you’re afraid of speaking your mind — that you’re letting your campaign advisors control your words.

    E.g., the same-sex marriage issue — why not just say you support it? It’s obvious to everyone that you do, but you instead look like someone who is afraid that moderate America will reject such “extremism.” We *don’t* need another Al Gore, Gov. Dean.

    When they ask you why you now support using the word marriage, just be honest: “I was afraid of the reaction, but now I realize I need to be forthcoming” or something to that effect. Because to be honest, Gov. Dean, unlike Bush, you’re not very good at hiding your true political feelings, and if you try to hide them, you’re going to lose the election or primaries.

    Wouldn’t you rather lose in honesty than by twisting your perspective? It worked for McCain — he gets more respect now than ever before.

    The same goes on the death penalty… be honest. America will vote on how you look when the Russerts of the world trap you into revealing that you’re manipulating your political stance to appeal to moderates — NOT on the death penalty issue alone.

    I like what I see in you, Gov. Dean, but you’re listening to your advisors too much. Remember when Gore walked towards and encroached into Bush’s space during the 3rd debate in 2000? And how silly Gore looked? He was clearly taking stage directions from his advisors to use his height to his advantage, but he did it with so little finesse that he looked like a conniving puppet. You can be above that, Gov. Dean, but it will take confidence, independence, and *courage.* You can’t afford to fear losing.

  • John Christopher Jones

    I like the spirit in this campaign, but let me make a warning:

    Everyone needs to learn to guard against polarized language.

    The lobbied candidates may decided to call Dean an “anti-business” candidate before most people hear of him. Then, what’s your choice? Call yourself pro-consumerism? Try to explain that an issue isn’t polarized?

    We really need to be prepared to counter Newspeak, and we can counter it WITH Newspeak if we’re quick enough. The lobbied are “pro-monopoly”, Dean can be “pro-enterprise” or “pro-venture”. The idea of an “anti-business” candidate resonates mostly with economists, but it’s simple language. Ventures, enterprise, those speak clearer, and monopolies are a plague for businessmen as much as for customers.

    I’m really shocked at how US politics seem to be taking the forms of George Orwell’s 1984 and Germany’s Nazi literature almost to the letter. (Blitzkreg, anyone?) Newspeak is a fact of political language. It’s very difficult to talk to people in literal terms when they’re enganged in political newspeak mode. Keeping the language honest will be important for this campaign. I think this means writing the definitions without giving into the temptation GOP has (Patriot Act, Clean Air Act, etc).

  • Eddie

    Well, that’s easy: Dean is pro-entrepreneur and pro-family business. ;)

  • marvin ammori

    i posted on monday that gov. dean should not refer to himself all over his website as Gov. Howard Dean, M.D. and just drop the M.D.
    it’s done now, the M.D. dropped. so maybe his staff have been reading these. maybe they just figured that out from someone else.
    3 more comments.
    i feel like this is a pretty liberal group, and we’re inclined to like Dean. But it’s insane for Dean to post so little, and much of it so general. This is really one of the most important moves Dean has made, I think, and if used well it could have been an original moment, like Clinton’s sax on Arsenio. the people on this blog are pretty educated and in touch with lots of other people online. if Gov. Dean could get us VERY excited about him, he would have a group behind him that would only expand in numbers and conviction. the post tomorrow better be very good, answer some of the repeated questions, and at least imply some understanding of and perhaps sympathy with the other side (our side) of the IP and communication issues. if not, the gov. is making a big mistake. this forum is much too important for the Dean posts it’s gotten so far. I think we would even welcome a post a week or two from now, after Dean has digested the information: announce that.
    #2: today’s NY Times explains the new procedure for sending the white house email. the sender has to go through 9 webpages and answer the question of whether or not he agrees with the white house’s policies, list address, name, etc… that is not the white house being in touch with the people. the Dean post tomorrow should be a stark contrast, like “Dean does respond.”
    #3: meetup would be better if people didn’t have to register on it to vote on the place of meeting (unless you fear disingenuous votes from opponents). or at least, information on meetup locations, once chosen, should not require registering (not sure if it does). people will register after the meetup i suppose, and it should be as easy as possible to get together… a lot of people don’t like registering for things, esp. if they feel undecided on which candidate to support still, and you need not only a base, but outreach, of course…

  • Factotum

    I’m glad I missed most of the week. This was pretty much not worth doing. Prof. Lessig: Next guest blogger should get lessons first.

    Off for awhile – looking for work after this week’s layoff.

  • Lucian

    I dont think sending out mail is a good idea unless the mail is easy to read, and has ideas.

    Dean needs to win the battle of ideas not so much the battle of image or counter propaganda.

    Dean can start off being critical of Bush, but theres going to come a time when people will want to know, “Ok Dean we know you dont like Bush, but what’s your ideas? Why are you better than Bush?”

    Dean has to convince the world hes more knowledgeable than Bush. I think we already know hes smarter than Bush, but this needs to be pointed out, proven.

    Then you can send the proof out to college campuses in the form of flyiers, or via websites. Dean needs to have the best solutions.

    I’m an independent, to me both the Democrats and Republicans seem to want bigger government, I’m not against big government if I control that government. Convince independents and people who are anti government that they have complete control over government again, and Howard Dean will win the election.

    I think the best way to do this is through things like this, Blogs, Interviews, perhaps Dean should take notes and tell us how he feels on a certain issues, and let us respond, and he can read the responses to help him research and come to conclusions on certain issues.

    Dean could market himself as a supporter of TRUE democracy, something that every America wants no matter what side they are on.

    I think Dean has a better chance at beating Bush than anyone else mainly because so far hes the only one who innovates. He seems honest, and thats exactly what is missing right now, while everyone feels our politicians are just lying to u s.

  • Nathanael Nerode

    On this website? Dean needs to come out with a strong stand on the (ab)use of copyright and patent as tools of censorship and suppression and destruction of knowledge, both deliberately and accidentally (as with the films from the 20s).

    He hasn’t come out with that principled stand yet. Details may take time, but we need to know for sure that he opposes the use of “intellectual property” as an end-run around the First Amendment.

  • Ian Field

    Zephyr is Dean for America’s (DFA) talented and beautiful (so I’m told) Internet media whiz. She and Mathew Gross do most of the posting at the campaign blog: http://www.blogforamerica.com


  • http://www.webnesia.com rushmc

    Yes, the net is a useful and powerful tool for disseminating information and rallying people around a cause. However, please remember that it IS only a tool, and that it works best by far when the product it is used to hype is solid (net users being especially savvy consumers). I am impressed with Dr. Dean so far, and I hope that he will continue to move boldly into the public and political arenas and take advantage of the increasing opportunities to let his voice–and thoughts–be heard. Don’t be content with the mileage and boost that using the net has given you here at the start: it’s a long haul, and you need to continue to build momentum. Think about WHY this approach (direct, honest, two-way communication with people you treat as informed citizenry rather than naive audience) has worked…a real understanding of that will be more important to you in the long run than any short-term benefits you may garner now.

    People are forgiving of mistakes (just look at what Bush has gotten away with relatively unscathed so far!), but increasingly less so of people who are perceived to be weak, uncommitted, unprincipled, or timid. I think this is the most important thing a candidate can know entering into this campaign.

  • jayo

    I feel that most of our problems with policy would be solved if we could get Big Business out of politics. If “Big Business” where no longer able to “buy” laws. We would not have the DMCA, SuperDMCA, Copyright Extention, Software Patents on Basic Mathmatical Equations, etc.

    Big Business is still and has corrupted the US, and this corruption was greatly pointed out after one of the hearings on copyright this year. I do not have the exact quote but it went something like this:

    When confronted just after the May 15 hearing the RIAA Lawyer, MR. MARKS, was asked about the DMCA and the subpeana process and he said that the DMCA is in effect, so he doesn’t need a court order. Then he said: “If your innocent, you have nothing to fear” After which a gentleman overhearing the conversation informed the RIAA Representative, “Nazi Germany said the same thing!”

    Credit for the statement above giving to “directive” on the Dmusic boards. (he was the one who was there)

    Statements like these cry out, that something is wrong with the system, and radical change needs to be taken to shift power back to the people where it belongs.

  • Anonymous

    To be honest, I was excited when I heard that Gov. Dean would be guest blogging. I have heard so much about him, and was expecting this to be his sales pitch to the tech community. Now I am questioning why he even chose to do this. As multiple people have said, the responses are just to general and not very thought provoking. I was hoping to get more of a sense of who Dean was, but I don’t think I have been able to. This was a great opportunity to get in touch with more tech savvy intellectual people that I think the Gov. has missed out on. I had much higher exepctations I guess.

  • http://www.smother.net/jsin J-Sin

    Dick Cheney’s energy papers were finally released after a FOIA request issued in April of 2001. These papers detail Iraqi oil. Are we still to believe that this war had nothing to do with their oil? Dean America needs you to call for an independent investigation into the war in Iraq, the build-up, and what it is really all about. Already more people have died in this war then in the first war. Perhaps there is a connection between 9/11 and Iraq–Bush knew about it to some degree and let it happen so he had an excuse to prepare for invading Iraq. Maybe? Maybe not. Let’s find out what the truth is. If we could investigate and impeach Bill Clinton then these crimes of Bush should result in the same if not total removal from office.

    I urge everyone to contact their representatives and call for an independent investigation. America cannot sit idle while we allow the elite rich to rule the world with an Iron Fist.

  • http://www.charm.net/~pete/pete.cgi Pete

    I’m rather interested to see what kind of influence on the Governor’s policy decisions the grass roots will have after having such a huge impact on the campaign. It’s one thing to allow people design card and hand out flyers on their own, but how about distributing the work down and taking input and policy cues from supporter/researchers? That would be the logical extension of an “open source” campaign in that it would allow citizens to “scratch their personal itch” as ESR put it…

  • Michael Chermside

    Several people have complained about how “general” Gov Dean’s postings have been, and I share the same concern. (But note that I’m not an unbiased source… I had already donated > $200 to Dean’s campaign prior to his appearing on Lessig’s blog.) I would like to give him an opportunity to correct that in his next (and final?) post. What I’d like to do is come up with 3 or 4 simple direct questions about intellectual property law and policy and ask Gov. Dean to please respond to each (“I don’t know enough” is a perfectly valid response, but I hope not the response given to every question).

    Why only intellectual property law and policy questions? Because that’s the true focus of this forum — there are lots of other places to ask Dean about his opinion of the Patriot Act. And I would like to see how Dean approaches the questions, and how informed he (and those he already has around him as advisors) is/are. If he doesn’t give the same answer I would but he uses a principled, reasoned approach… well, that’s what I wanted to know.

    So… if you agree, please propose questions below. Remember… simple, straightforward, on-topic, and no more than 3 or 4 (so we’ve a better chance of getting serious answers).

  • Jason Cecil

    I’ve found the debate on the blog this week to be interesting and stimulating. I admit, I only found it because of an item in one of my political newsgroups, but the conversation about the issues has been stimulating.

    I do think, however, that many who have posted have unrealistic expectations of the political process. Gov. Dean should have been better prepared by his staff to at least discuss the issues that normally dominate this forum. People expect presidential candidates to be instant experts on issues big and small, especially the ones they care about deeply. With a president, it is more important to look at his (or her, someday) philosophy about governing and his approach to the issues. “How does he make a decision on an issue he may not be familiar about?” is a question I care very much about. Bush is notorious for delegating and getting bored with details. He doesn’t want to know the ins and outs of an issue. He wants his staff to present an “either or” choice with black and white results, nuances be damned. With the exception of Clinton’s reliance on polls, I felt his deliberative process had merit. At the same time, a President needs to be confident enough to trust his instinct during times when a decision is needed NOW without having all the information. Dean’s stance on copyright protection and laws will likely reflect Prof. Lessig’s philosophy should be become president. First, his staff experts on these issues admittedly are fans of Prof. Lessig. Second, I doubt that Prof. Lessig would turn his blog over to Dean were he not confident that Dean is at least friendly to his point of view on the issues he cares about.

    You also have to realize that Republicans are scouring this blog for anything that is being written by anyone from the Dean campaign. His statements have been general statements of philosophy for that very reason. The GOP dirt machine will look for any way to take a comment and twist it to make it look like Dean advocates killing all brown-eyed babies or something equally ridiculous and/or horrible. Just look at what they did to the Clintons…or anyone else who doesn’t cowtow to the conversative line.

    Speaking of the GOP, I find it very interesting that Karl Rove, the evil (and I mean that quite literally) genius behind the current Bush presidency, is openly “hoping” that Howard Dean wins the Democratic nomination. See the current issue of Newsweek under the week’s quotes for his reported statement.

    Why would he be doing that? Understanding that Rove is a master of being devious, I don’t think it’s an “oops, our secret hopes are open now!” moment. This White House NEVER lets anything leak that it doesn’t want leaked. So that begs the question…why did they leak that the GOP/Bush secret hope that Dean is the Democratic nominee since he’s “most beatable”?

    While the other 8 candidates for the nomination might heartily agree with that assessment, I’m wondering if there is not reverse psychology at play. Bill Clinton was relentlessly attacked in the primary season in 1992 when no one knew (or cared) who he was. I’ve read more than one memoir of that campaign where the assessment was, “They wouldn’t be attacking him if they weren’t afraid he could actually win.”

    Does this also apply to Dean? Does the jaunty “Please Nominate Dean” message from Rove, Limbaugh, and the rest of the right wing media machine really hide a fear that Dean, if nominated, would resonate with a significant portion of the electorate and perhaps could actually win in 2004? Reverse psychology has never been tried, but as Gray Davis in CA picked his opposition when he attacked Dick Riordin (sp)… I think we as Democrats need to be on guard for Bush and his rapidly growing war chest trying to “select the Democratic
    nominee” in 2004. I don’t think they’d be so obvious as to pick someone who obviously won’t win like Moseley-Braun, Kucininch, or Sharpton (my opinion…no offense to supporters of those candidates), but since Dean is currently surging… I wonder if the White House is leaking this “Dean’s the easiest to beat” mantra b/c they are really scared he COULD beat them, not the other way around.

  • http://www.smother.net/jsin J-Sin

    Nice thoughts Jason, I’d have to agree with you on the psychology of Karl “Evil” Rove. He is a political mastermind of sorts but to be honest his evilness will hopefully be his undoing. Personally I think Dean is the best candidate right now because if he gets the nomination there will be a HUGE turnout at the polls. Just look what happened with all the protests that started in the virtual world and got millions out to protest.

  • anna

    jason, it’s called reverse psychology. rove thinks that if he screams hard enough for dean to be the nominee, that people will reject dean and bush will end up running against a weaker candidate.
    it’s rove’s lame attempt at a dirty trick, and i for one am not falling for it.

  • jim

    I am excited about Gov. Dean but I too need to see more about his positions. Especially intellectual property rights, etc.
    I’m disappointed in the Lessig guest blog. Was really looking forward to hearing what the Gov. had to say. I’m still waiting.

  • http://www.smother.net/jsin J-Sin

    It’s amazing how dirty politics get dirtier with each new media. First it was print, then radio, then television, now the Internet. Dean is obviously one of the top tier candidates and the Bushies know it. In my opinion some of the other top tier candidates are Kerry and Wesley Clark (who hasn’t announced he’s running yet). Personally I’d love to see Clark run but only on a Democratic ticket. Although he’s not as liberal as I would like he would and could beat Bush on every item. I still obviously like Dean but my question to him would be if he would consider running as a VP candidate alongside whoever gets the nomination. I’d ask the same of Kerry or Clark too. The most important thing with the 2004 election is that Bush does not win. He cannot. If he does, I officially will have lost all hope with the American people and will pack my bags for Canada! :)

  • Michael Chermside

    Okay, I promised myself that I’d be patient and see what others had to say first, but I’m not very good at being patient. As per my post above, I propose the following as a question for Dean to answer:

    Mr Dean, the ability of people to re-use copyrighted materials is near and dear to many reading this blog. One way to permit this is to release materials to the public domain. As president, would you be willing to commit to submitting to Congress a bill intended to increase the number of works in the public domain? If so, what is one means of releasing them that you would include (eg: reducing copyright terms, requiring renewals, govt payments for public domain contributions, etc).

  • Jonathan Putnam

    simple question: as president will you advocate the use of open source projects for government services? I remind you that there is a large community of developers that would go ga-ga over a president (or any politician) who chose to enrich the public with useful computer tools, rather than award a contract to a private proprietary system. mosaic was a govt. initiative. what’s next?

  • http://www.smother.net/jsin J-Sin

    Question: Would you fight to repeal the USA Patriot Act, restoring all of our citizens lost civil liberties and form a non-partisan Office of Civil Liberties that could monitor all government to prevent further abuses?

  • http://www.yeekyakairforce.com MB

    Great post! I’m as excited about this inovative campaign as I am about Dean.

  • http://home.telepath.com/~hrothgar/pd_size_model_2.html Timothy Phillips

    At 10:03 AM today a contributor wrote: “the ability of people to re-use copyrighted materials is near and dear to many reading this blog. One way to permit this is to release materials to the public domain.”

    The difficulty with this statement is that things in the public domain are not copyrighted. In my case, and I suspect their are others whose situations are similar, I don’t have much need to “re-use copyrighted materials”. Given a reasonable margin of fair use, first sale rights, access, and a reasonable breadth and consistency in the distinction between “sentiment” (sometimes carelessly called “idea”) and “language” (also called “expression”) , I am willing to wait until the copyright expires on the materials in question, and only then use them. But the wait should be for a moderate time; life+70/95 years is ridiculously long.

    Note the condition, “given a reasonable margin of fair use, first sale rights, access, and a reasonable breadth and consistency in the distinction between ‘sentiment’ and ‘language’”. Lest I be misunderstood I will state that these limitations on copyright’s scope, necessary though they are, are no substitutes for reasonable limits on its duration. Even if the scope of copyright were as it was in 1790, with no performance right, no derivation right, and no need for a concept of “fair use” since most uses other than republishing the copyrighted book itself were “fair”–even if we had copyright as narrow in scope as this, life+70/95 years would still be too long.

    Note also that I think the copyright terms created by the CTEA are too long even as they operate prospectively. The retrospective effect of the CTEA was a still greater insult than its prospective effect. It was like being just a year or two from paying off the mortgage on a house, only to have the bank send some nasty brutes to say, “That house you bought for a hundred thousand dollars: we’ve decided you should have payed two hundred thousand dollars. You owe us twenty more years of house payments. “

  • http://www.smother.net/jsin J-Sin

    Another question for Dean:

    Would you make your White House this difficult to email? Or would you find a better way?

    I called the White House comment line before the war in Iraq started to state my objection. I said to the operator that I was opposed to the war in Iraq and that we should have the UN’s support in any engagement with Iraq. Then I asked for the operator to read back what she had put in her computer as my response. She said that I disagreed with the UN and supported Bush. I obviously had to correct her but it’s these type of inconsistencies and false tallying that scares me. Is this why our President appears to be so popular because pollsters either record the wrong response or ask dubious questions geared towards a particular response. Sure polls have been like that for quite some time but enough is enough. It also scares me that the networks have agreed to not conduct exit polling during elections–whether they totally abandon that old system for this new one is still left to be decided, but with control of elections being put in corporations hands our sense of democracy is changing…I digress.

  • Me

    Uhm… one thing I take issue with.

    Our Democracy (and it isn’t really, it’s a Representative Republic, but why split hairs?) doesn’t need saving.

    The fact that you’re a candidate for President proves that.

  • Bill Rehm

    And a man who’s drowning doesn’t need to be saved by the lifeguard swimming towards him. The fact that the lifeguard is in the water proves that.

  • Jim Hassinger

    My favorite for vp would be Wesley Clark. That would hold the naysayers who maintain, without evidence, that Dr. Dean is a “peacenik” and another McGovern.

  • Me

    Uhm, no, Bill.

    If we had no elections, we would have a problem. If we had no opposition candidates, we would have a problem.

    Our system of government provides for an orderly transition of power every time there is an election (well, 2000 was a bit wonky, but it got sorted out in the end, and except for a bunch of knee-jerks who just really, really hate Bush and can’t find any other reason, the majority of the nation has gotten over it).

    Now, if we had someone refusing to leave office, that would be one thing. If we had a lack of candidates, that’s another.

    But we don’t. Gov. Dean is one of a bunch of Democrats seeking the nomination to run for President. He is welcome to try. Nobody is saying he doesn’t have the right to run, nobody is trying to stop him from running. Yes, people are interested in keeping him from WINNING, but that’s because they support other candidates.

    See the difference? You talk about a man who’s in mortal peril, who would need saving whether the lifeguard was on the way to do so or not. I’m talking about a man who hasn’t even gotten in the water yet; very little chance of his drowning to say the least.

    All we really need to do is maintain things. That’s not saying there aren’t things that are important, because there are: we do need campaign finance reforms to make the monetary aspect less important, and we do need to make sure that touchpad voting systems have publicly analyzable code so that we know, by the transparency of process, that the elections are not tampered with.

    But the system itself is still solid and is in no need of saving. Stop trying to pretend that somehow Gov. Dean is the only one who can “save” it, and concentrate on presenting him as the best candidate for the job, if you believe he is.

    I personally haven’t made up my mind yet.

  • anon

    Um. Remember that
    a. Gore got more votes than Bush in the nation overall
    b. by any consistent standard of ballot counting, from the most strict to the most lenient, Gore got more votes than Bush in Florida (this was shown by the newspapers’ recount).
    c. With Florida’s electoral votes, Gore would have won the Electoral College.
    d. Five Supreme Court “Justices” declared that “irreparable harm” would be caused if the votes in Florida were recounted. (What irreparable harm? According to Scalia, “a cloud” would be cast over Bush’s legitimacy. How is this “irreparable harm”? And doesn’t stopping the vote count create a bigger cloud, especially since it turned out that Bush got fewer votes than Gore?) This was a self-evidently wrong decision.
    e. The aforementioned “Justices” were appointed by Bush’s father, or by the man who was President when Bush’s father was vice-president. Two of them had known conflicts of interest, and failed to recuse themselves. This gives obvious, and damning, evidence for their motives in making the clearly wrong decision.
    f. Bush is President.

    This is not how elections work in a successful democracy. However, the country recovered from the fraudulent “election” of Rutherford B. Hayes, and hopefully it will recover from this one as well. We shall see whether Bush attempts to steal the next election as he did the 2000 election. If he does, then the system will evidently be in need of saving. If he doesn’t, we may be OK.

  • Juan Eliseo Caceres

    Me gustaria saber si el Gobernador Dean tiene alguna pol�tica referente al acceso al Internet de las minor�as en USA. Sabe el Gobernador cuantos latinos en los Estados Unidos accedemos al Internet, c�mo har�a para poder romper la brecha tecnol�gica entre los ciudadanos de este pa�s.

  • Dave Buster

    I would like to hear more from Democrats during the upcoming election on some of the more “real” issues and distortions presented by the Bush administration: i.e. horrible Homeland Security, gutting the environment, the coming fiasco with North Korea, ties to the Saudi government, Taliban in Afghanistan, the economy (obviously), etc.

    All I hear from the left these days is “yellowcake”. We have so many more pressing issues that carry far more weight than the line in the SOTU, but that’s all I seem to hear these days.

    On another note, I like the fact that Governor Dean is here, but being that tomorrow is his last day, can we get some more stances on the issues than the few he has blogged about already?


    Gov. Dean: What follows is a Letter to the Editor I have sent to the Burlington Free Press. They may use it or they may find it too long for their format. Whatever, as a strong supporter, I wanted you to see my take on your future challenge. You have wowed many of the informed thus far, but you have a tougher job ahead in winning over the bulk of the populace — the uninformed. I hope it is helpful. KD


    Former Governor Dean has reached the top tier of Democratic candidates. His passion on the issues and grass roots appeal has excited many of the Democratic faithful, including myself.

    My experience from a career in news and as a media consultant/trainer tells me that Dr. Dean’s real challenge lies ahead.

    Dean’s support thus far appears to have come from those who are angry at George Bush and his radically conservative policies, as well as what is seen as a passive Democratic leadership. Dean’s support in other words
    is largely from the informed, those who take their politics seriously

    Most voters, however, do not keep up with the issues to any great degree. When they pull that lever in the voting booth, it is usually based on two questions: do I like this candidate and, second, is he (or she) a strong leader, i.e., is he presidential in bearing?

    The elements are hardly insurmountable, but Howard Dean has a ways to go on both counts. A few suggestions as starters: Dr. Dean has a great smile; he should use it more often. He also needs to give us some relief from his machine gun style delivery. It would be wonderful to see him in some low-key, reflective situations, such as on a porch swing in discussion with a few potential voters.

    Self-effacing humor is always attractive in a candidate. It is also important generally to take the high road whether discussing the president or other Democratic candidates. Occasional criticism is understandable, but it is unbecoming if it is overdone.

    Howard Dean tends to be very combative with media – and they are happy to oblige. If you knock heads with a reporter, in most cases, you will lose. Instead of fighting them, it is far better to work with them to reach their very large audiences.

    It is worth noting that Senator John McCain also was seen as a straight talker and because he took the time to nurture the reporters on his bus, he got adoring coverage. Even George Bush has done a pretty good job of schmoozing the campaign and White House media.

    I am not suggesting a major Howard Dean makeover. His success to date speaks for itself. I would suggest there are other attractive facets to Dr. Dean that we have not yet seen. Most Americans – the largely less informed – still do not know his name, much less his persona. The impressions they get will be made in the next year or more to come.

    Kevin Delany
    Washington, D.C.

  • Me

    “a. Gore got more votes than Bush in the nation overall”

    The error margin of paper (punch card) ballots is KNOWN to be as high as 4-5%.

    Now, Gore “won” (according to your thinking, which is false to start with: it’s electoral votes, not the popular vote total, that matters) by only 0.5% of the vote.

    We can NEVER say with any accuracy that Gore won the popular vote. As far as the 2000 election goes, it was a statistical tie, and that’s the best we can do. Considering that Gore won Mexico by 1.3 Million, a full million of which were suspect, anyone who tells you Gore won the popular vote is lying through his/her teeth.

    “b. by any consistent standard of ballot counting, from the most strict to the most lenient, Gore got more votes than Bush in Florida (this was shown by the newspapers� recount).”

    Back this up with a source. I heard news reports that were exactly the opposite: that by Democrats’ standards, Gore would have lost, while by Republicans’ standards, Bush would have lost.

    “c. With Florida�s electoral votes, Gore would have won the Electoral College.”

    With Florida’s electoral votes, Bush DID win the electoral college.

    “d. Five Supreme Court �Justices� declared that �irreparable harm� would be caused if the votes in Florida were recounted. (What irreparable harm? According to Scalia, �a cloud� would be cast over Bush�s legitimacy. How is this �irreparable harm�? And doesn�t stopping the vote count create a bigger cloud, especially since it turned out that Bush got fewer votes than Gore?) This was a self-evidently wrong decision.”

    Only if #2 and #1 are both correct; you didn’t source #2, and #1 is self-evidently false. This hasn’t stopped the liberal media from trying to cast a pall over Bush’s legitimacy anyways, though.

    “e. The aforementioned �Justices� were appointed by Bush�s father, or by the man who was President when Bush�s father was vice-president. Two of them had known conflicts of interest, and failed to recuse themselves. This gives obvious, and damning, evidence for their motives in making the clearly wrong decision.”

    Not sure which conflicts of interest you speak of, but there’s a reason we have the Supreme Court. It’s to adjudicate matters like these. Your dislike of the outcome is no reason to attack the legitimacy of the supreme court of the land.

    “f. Bush is President.”

    Or at least some guy wearing his underwear is. ;)

  • Clay

    Dr. Dean has a problem in that he is seen as weak on defense. One way to counter this is by presenting the health care system as a second front to the war on terrorism. After all how can we handle a wide scale biological attack if people can’t get their kids in to see a Dr. as it is?

    There is no way anyone can beat Bush by being Bush Lite. If Dr. Dean pushes medical care for all children it can help bring the non-voters back into the fold. At the very least it would force Bush to back the issue himself.

  • http://www.bennett.com/blog Richard Bennett

    Tony Blair gave a speech to Congress yesterday, in which he said: Can we be sure that terrorism and WMD will join together? If we are wrong, we will have destroyed a threat that, at its least is responsible for inhuman carnage and suffering. That is something I am confident history will forgive. But if our critics are wrong and we do not act, then we will have hesitated in face of this menace, when we should have given leadership. That is something history will not forgive.

    I think it would be interesting to compare Blair’s moral seriousness, his gravitas, and his vision to Dean’s yapping dog, petty, and silly criticism of the campaign that deposed Saddam Hussein, but it wouldn’t be fair to make such comparisons because they inevitably show Dean to be a lightweight.

    So I won’t do that.

  • Carlton Nettleton

    The margin of error quoted assumes that EVERYONE in the country used punch card ballots using the same model of punch card machines. Quoting this obscure fact is also a misunderstand what margin of error means. I am not surprised since I have observed many instances of nonscientific people abusing scientific language to support casual observations and using those casual relationships as fact or proof to something generally not support by facts.

    Margin of errors are applied to OBSERVATIONS to provide qualifiers when it is impossible to make a continuous recording of observations. Margin of error is generally used to incorporate instrument error, human error, bad record keeping and the obervation that natural processes are chaotic and/or do not behave identically under the same measurement conditions. High margins of error often indicate poor recording techniques, bad equipment and/or improper application of theory to data. Scientific studies with high margins of error are usually sent back to the researcher since they show poor methodology and sloppy research.

    The only standards that have any meaning are the standards the judge overseeing the recount had ordered – a statewide recount of ALL legal votes in every county in the state. The only standard in which Bush wins Florida is when you ignore the overvote on the optical scanner ballots – an overvote on an optical scanner ballot is when the bubble is marked for one candidate AND that voter has added candidate’s name on the write-in line.

    If you don’t believe me, then try the experiment yourself:

    Or better yet, here is the link to the raw data from the NORC study:

    What evidence do you have that the votes in New Mexico are invalid? There are no facts to support your claim, just as there are no facts to support your claim that Gore lost the popular vote in Florida. Just because you don’t like the truth, or the outcome, doesn’t mean you can ignore it or supress the facts. It is about time that people of good conscience starting standing up and calling things what they are – lies.

  • Carlton Nettleton

    Thanks to everyone for having us Dean people over for the week. Like most guests, we have trashed the place and overstayed our welcome. I hope to come back sometime in the future, but this time mostly as a lurker. I know next to nothing on IP issues so I hope to learn a bit more before participating in the future. While that would normally not stop me from commenting, this blog expects its contributing members to have a good grasp of the material.

  • Me


    They’re not lies. Gore didn’t win the popular vote overall. Even if it were entirely optical, with an error margin of 1-2%, he wouldn’t have better than a statistical tie.

    And where the hell did I ever mention New Mexico?

  • http://chronotope.com/chronotope/ filchyboy

    Nope me. We have a Constitution to “adjudicate matters like these.” It very specifically lays out the method for dealing with matters like these.

    SCOTUS is not mentioned. The House is.

  • Me

    Filchyboy, the Constitution is there as a reference. When people can’t agree on the law, however, it goes to the courts.

    Better than having a fistfight over it.

  • http://www.smother.net/jsin J-Sin

    Me: Say “hi” to Karl Rove for us.

  • Phoenix Woman

    What I find interesting is that the tenth post in this thread is by someone who chides Dean for not being courageous, yet was himself too cowardly to make a post with any sort of name. (Too bad for him that the sysops can see his IP address anyway.)

  • Phoenix Woman

    Oh, and “me” —

    Please provide cites showing that Al Gore, as you claim, lost the overall popular vote in the US. Most legitimate sources I’ve seen say he won it by over 500,000 votes.

  • Peter

    Jason writes:
    “I do think, however, that many who have posted have unrealistic expectations of the political process.”

    I agree. While Gov. Dean’s staff should have prepped him more regarding the issues that dominate this blog, too many of the bloggers here ignore the issues which exist beyond this blog.

  • Me

    Phoenix Woman: Gore did not “Win”. It was a statistical tie.

    Anyone with any knowledge of basic math and political science can see that, when Gore’s supposed victory margin is an order of magnitude less than the margin of error, it is not a “victory” of any sort. I provided citations up above. You can look up the numbers of votes yourself.

    And J-Sin: You may bite my red-hot, glowing ass.