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  •  Re: Why Dean can win without the South (2.66)
    I trust boots on the ground far more than a fading drawl, to be sure. In all seriousness though, I think the grassroots cannot be over-estimated. It allows someone to be everywhere at once, no longer forcing people to have to choose which states to focus on exclusively.

    "Hmm, let's not worry about Ohio". Good call, Al.

    With a thriving grassroots, its not a decision that needs to be made. Add in unprecedented fund raising(for a democrat), and I think you know who's advantages I'd wager on for the south.

    Plus which, we northerners really don't like southerners coming up here and telling us how to think.

    My apologies to AGG, I know that riles her up.

    "If any question why we died, tell them, because our fathers lied." - Rudyard Kipling

    by Marius on Wed Dec 31, 2003 at 03:08:08 PM PST

    •  Re: Why Dean can win without the South (none)
      That's the funny thing. The Dean grassroots LOVES when Dean is aggressive in the South/Midwest/red states

      So Dean so much doesn't need to coddle (bad word, but best I can do) his grassroots but so much. He can spend his time on the attack, figurativly speaking, and the grassroots will respond all the more.

      We are the radio.....What is it you want to change?

      by Karmakin on Wed Dec 31, 2003 at 03:21:51 PM PST

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      •  Its all about the 'Roots! (3.50)
        The grassroots idea is basically twofold..
        1. Have unpaid people who are decidedly 'average' people (i.e. Regular joes and janes who simply care too much not to walk the block, rather than college age or super-activist staffers and volunteers that campaigns usually rely on.)   These people tramp around states both solidly red and solidy blue doing the work that in a traditional campaign, the candidate or surogates must do.   They also provide a resourse for flooding battleground states with activists and volunteers ala Dean for America's Iowa Perfect Storm.
        2. Have millions of americans writing letters to independants and undecideds all over the country using the coordinated Letter Writing project that the Dean campaign has revolutionized.
        I don't care how much money or support that the Republicans have, they can not match these two factors. With the Dean Fundraising Machine capable of matching the Bushies $$ for $$ after we consolidate the Democratic Party, this race is going to tip wildly towards Dean.

        The democrats have all of the advantage in 2004.   A candidate that inspires, money, organization, a very disgruntled electorate, and international affairs (Plame, Iraq, Mad Cow, the Economy and plummeting $$) that threaten to devestate the President's support throughout the year.

        The ball is in the court ladies and gentleman, and we have won the face-off!

        Alex M.

        •  Re: Its all about the 'Roots! (none)
          Can't the Republicans do the very same thing, if they were willing to give up control to their grassroots?  I bet their diehard supporters would be happy to go door-to-door and write letters, if there was a place they could go to get the feeds.  This methodology is not owned by the Democrats, and some young Republican is going to come along and do just what Dean did and wipe our asses with it if we don't watch out.  The smart ones now have the model.

          Let's hope that the Bush/Rove/Cheney cabal aren't the smart ones (well we know that, don't we?).

          Bush is Hoover. Dean is FDR.

          by Katydid on Wed Dec 31, 2003 at 05:46:26 PM PST

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          •  you wuss (none)
            You sound like you've lost the fight before the first round is over.  The nice thing about Dean's campaign is he is bringing new people into the activist fold, do you hear about Bush bringing new people into the republican party?  Stop being a wuss and just fight, but some folks don't like to do anything so then they can sit back and say "see I knew you all couldn't do it", i hope you aren't like that?

            Whatever exists will, sooner or later, be turned inside out.

            by jbou on Wed Dec 31, 2003 at 05:54:25 PM PST

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            •  Re: you wuss (none)
              I don't know where you got that idea at all.  I was responding to Alex M's message that the Republicans were not capable of matching us in strategy.  His statement that "we have won the face-off".  Assuming that we own this method is a bad strategy for winning the fight over the longterm.  My whole point is that we can't be complacent and assume that the Republicans won't be able to match us strategically, we have to stay vigilant!  

              I am fighting my ass off in this election in support of Howard Dean.

              But I am not stupid.  A savvy Republican is going to come along and do the very same thing as Howard Dean.  Maybe not this year, but soon.  We cannot assume that we have won the war because we may be winning this particular battle with a new strategic maneuver.  That strategic maneuver is not copyrighted.  That is all I was saying.  Don't be complacent!  This is war!

              Bush is Hoover. Dean is FDR.

              by Katydid on Wed Dec 31, 2003 at 07:13:31 PM PST

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              •  Re: you wuss (none)

                Even if Bush had a grassroots army, they wouldn't be as effective, because they don't have the same potential voters out there waiting for them that we do.  They don't have equally effective arguments.  And their temperaments aren't as appealing as ours.  

                That all sounds a bit smug, but it's true.  Bush's strongest supporters would be disproportionately Christian conservatives, and their reasons for supporting him are social, which aren't as effective as ours.  Think about it: An undecided Iowan gets a letter explaining that Bush must be supported to fight the hijacking of our culture by homosecksuals and to stem the tide of murder caused by morning-after pills.  The letter ads that Bush can be counted on to add more Scalias and white Thomases to the Supreme Court.

              •  Re: you wuss (4.00)
                Katy in a way the GOP already did. The social conservatives were financed starting in the 80's by the Coors family et al and went out and took local election.. then moved up the chain. I believe it was that did an excellent analysis of this. After the kleptocrat wing of the gop finished using the christian-loonie (as opposed to real Christian) wing of the party they dumped them in the back seat and began sucking up the honey.

                Whats happening is that Dean and bloggers like Kos have led a grassroots movement to change the democratic party.. and american politics.

                In a way we're stealing their tactics. Democrats are the party of the little guy. Always have been. Somehow our leadership forgot this.. and we ended up where we are now

                •  Good point (none)
                  I think you have gone right to the core of the issue.  Republicans have always had their "meetups".  Back in the old days they were called Country Clubs.  In the eighties they added evangelical churches (Christian Coalition/Moral Majority).  It is not at all clear that they can use the Dean pioneered techniques to reach populations already untouched by the club/church alliance.

                  Whereas there is a boatload of disaffected urban/suburbanites out there for Dean to tap.

          •  Re: Its all about the 'Roots! (none)
            I think the Republicans can't do this for two reasons.
            1. The Republican base is less technologically sophisticated than the Democratic base.  A large number of their most enthusiastic supporters are not able to be organized easily and cheaply via the internet.
            2. Republicans are reasonably afraid of having their base carry their message.  It's one thing to have racists and bigots write checks to your campaign.  It's another thing entirely to have them go door to door as your representatives.  
            In conclusion, the "grassroots" campaign model that Howard Dean is patenting does not fit the Republican party, or even every branch of the Democratic party.  There are important constituencies (retired people, impoverished minorities, etc.) within our party that are not internet-saavy, and the ultra-left does not well represent us to the nation.  This model will only work for a candidate who can excite the radical middle of our political spectrum.  

            In Dean's case, I think this has come about through a combination of his own fiscally conservative and socially liberal policies, and antipathy towards the extreme right-wing agenda of the current administration.

          •  Re: Its all about the 'Roots! (none)
            Katy, the main and in itself entirely sufficient reason why the Republicans can't and won't match this grass-roots approach lies in one word -- empowerment.  The GOP -- especially THIS GOP -- is an anally-controlling hierarchy that can't even stand to empower the ~15% of its more moderate House members, let alone any of the great unwashed at the grass roots. What Dean has done with buying into the importance and the imperative reality of grass-roots empowerment is so alien to the thinking of most DC insiders of both parties that the DC-based Dem presidential candidates can't comprehend it.  This is far and away the most controlling Administration I've ever seen, and I've lived in the DC area (except for college) for 40 years.  

            The bottom line is that these Republicans are incapable of understanding or embracing this approach is that it's deeply unpopular among probably 60% of the American people.  To be responsive to the grass roots is to give up on imposing a narrow, vicious and destructive ideology on a people who are being buffaloed by the power of corporate money on a scale not seen in this country since the days of McKinley, who not coincidentally is Rove's hero (actually I'm sure Mark Hanna is really Rove's hero, but he's not going to admit that publicly).

          •  Re: Its all about the 'Roots! (none)
            The Republicans don't really have a grassroots, at least not anything in the sense of Dean's grassroots. The Republicans are a totally centralized institution -- the policies, stances, talking points are developed at the highest levels of the party by a very few elites and are then distributed to the rank and file for implementation. This is an time-tested, effective strategy, and they run it masterfully.

            By contrast, Dean's campaign has never been about obeying orders from Burlington. Very early on Dean realized that he could not and should not attempt to control every aspect of his campaign, so he did the same thing he did as governor: bring in smart people, elicit suggestions from all and sundry, and take the good ideas and run with them. It's that simple. Even better, ideas flow in both directions. So often Dean and Trippi talk about how dumbfounded they are as all these enthusiastic, passionate supporters spend their own time, money, and shoe leather helping spread the word.

            One thing I know from my work in software: a committed, passionate, knowledgeable group of people working in concert are much more able to spread their ideas and convert others to those ideas than a remote, impersonal, grim-faced boss.

          •  Re: Its all about the 'Roots! (none)
            The problem is not the technology.  The problem is the control.  The Republicans want the Power in a few hands.  The Democrats want the Power in the hands of the many.  This is the main difference between Democrats and Republicans... centralization of power versus flattening of the power structure.  It is for this reason that the Republicans cannot follow the Dean example.

            Unless, of course, they are bad Republicans, like Bush is, but those Republicans are in danger of losing the votes of True Republicans... those brave souls who love their country, and often those who fought The Good Fight to remove the spectre of fascism from Europe.

            I want to see "WWII Vets Go ABB" in the headlines all over the country.  "Dear Santa,..."

            The Right-Wing's Real Agenda is Fascism. Vote Democrat While You Still Can.

            by ultrageek on Thu Jan 01, 2004 at 06:02:38 AM PST

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          •  Re: Its all about the 'Roots! (none)

            Certainly, someone hypothetically "could".

            However, "could" doesn't mean "can".

            Identify WHO are going to be writing these letters.  Where are the GOP going to find tens and hundreds of thousands to write these letters?  They can't just be form letters generated by the campaign, or that'll show up as another minor embarrassment for the GOP (like the form letter letters from soldiers in Iraq...).  The only grass roots that the GOP might call on would be the Christian Right.  Who make a great captured base (as long as they're properly fed and catered to...), but aren't good at selling their considerations to the mainstream, being too ideologically isolated.

            There's almost no inherent advantage that the GOP can find in this particular tactic.  It's not expensive--so throwing money at it won't really help.  It might even hurt since many of the applications of more money would not smell like real grass roots.  It depends on organization (which the GOP can do--but the Dean campaign's already shown a remarkable level of organization of the effort, so I'm not sure that I think that the GOP can do significantly better).  It depends on hordes of real people writing their own letters--which can't be effectively done with money at all.  The GOP's funding advantage can fake this... but at great risk.  Astroturf roots will inevitably be smelled out and revealed and be an embarrassment.

            Give control to the grassroots?  Whatever are you smoking there?  Give CONTROL away?  To the "little people"?  You're talking about the GOP here....

        •  Re: Its all about the 'Roots! (none)
          Why doesn't the media understand that dems still have a leg up in 2004? It seemed like the 'meme' all over CNN last week was that Dean can't win. Mostly they seem to be basing that off national polls of some sort.

          They never seem to mention the state by state electoral math which looks pretty damned positive for any Dem. I still don't see many Gore voters going over to Bush, and certainly not Nader voters...

          •  Re: Its all about the 'Roots! (1.00)
            The really sad thing about all of you are that your like an echo chamber. Anyone, dares say anything negative or even controversial as regards your dear Dr. you all show how intolerant you are of others opinions. This shows how successful the GOP has been in creating a society out here of intolerance ..even among so called "liberals."
            •  Re: Its all about the 'Roots! (none)
              "Gov. of the Socialist republic of Vermont".

              A phrase I first saw used by the prince of darkness on crossfire, then a little while ago by you.

              This is the sort of troll-tripe this supposed Clark supporter uses in his incessant flaming of Dean.

              Now I understand  -  Clark is a Republican!!!

            •  Re: Its all about the 'Roots! (none)
              Oh trust me, the right-wing boards are the same way... the country is completely polarized.

              Every now and then i browse through what the freepers are saying, they are definitely a similar echo chamber. Everyone agrees.

              •  Re: Its all about the 'Roots! (none)
                Same way about what? That Clark is a Repub.? I could say the same thing about Dean. He's sealed his records because maybe he doesn't want anyone to see what kind of dirty deals he made with the GOP et al. while running Vermont like a Repub.?  
                   He's Running to the left to win the nomination and then he's going to veer to the right to try and win the general election not rocket science but, the media has already put the NE "lefty" donkey tail on the good Dr. and he's going to have one helluva a time removing it. This isn't 2000 either so all those Dean folks that think Dr. Dean just gets to start were Gore left off can forget that as well.
                   Switch to Gen. Clark now and avoid a crow sandwich 2 months from now folks. You know in your heart Dean hasn't a prayer of winning next fall.
                •  Re: Its all about the 'Roots! (none)
                  Then why did Clark opt into public financing and the spending limits that go along with it?  If Clark's all that and a bag of chips, then why did he commit a tactical blunder like this?  When Clark hits his spending limit in April or May, and he can't spend a dime on campaigning while Bush can hammer away with attack ad after attack ad, what's he gonna do?

                  I dig Clark, and if he gets the nod I'll support him, but I can't for the life of me figure out why he decided to go to the biggest gunfight of his career armed with a banana.

                  Get up on it like this

                  by RakDaddy on Mon Jan 05, 2004 at 02:37:10 PM PST

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    •  Re: Why Dean can win without the South (none)
      Plus which, we northerners really don't like southerners coming up here and telling us how to think.

      We really do need a 'funny' rating.

      -- born in Maine, now living below the Mason Dixon....

      -- The going's good in the land of the free, but I live in another country. -- Bob Hillman

      by J from VJ on Wed Dec 31, 2003 at 03:43:11 PM PST

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      •  Humor Ratings (none)
        I agree, we definitely need a humor rating.  And to re: the northerners comment, I can tell you that we Westerners are sick and tired of all you damn New Englanders and Southerners trying to tell us what to do.  We've only had two Presidents from anywhere West of Texas, and they were both Republicans!

        Furthermore, where do you Atlantic-hugging Easterners get off dictating to us who our nominee should be?  Nine candidates, and where's the most westerly one from?  Missouri!

        Doesn't seem like equal representation to me :P

        Conservatives are not necessarily stupid, but most stupid people are conservatives. -John Stuart Mill

        by Kaushansky on Wed Dec 31, 2003 at 07:02:44 PM PST

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    •  Yes, but how do mobilize those boots? (none)
      I think that figuring out ways to mobilize volunteers in the solidly Blue states and utilize them effectively in the Swing states is the key.

      anyone have good ideas for how to do that?

      by Alex Steffen on Wed Dec 31, 2003 at 07:02:38 PM PST

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