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Because the World of Kos still doesn't begin when people arrive here and because it is now about year eleven of this particular adventure, I want to review what I remember about the beginning.

It all began for me, not with Howard Dean's speech to the California State Democratic Convention on March 15, 2003, which, living as I was in Georgia, I obviously didn't attend, but with his subsequent appearance on C-SPAN, of which I was an avid watcher back then.

They replayed snippets and I was impressed. I too wanted to know what Dean was asking. So, I went looking for an address, I suppose so I could write him. What I remember is that there was no web site and definitely no blog. It's my guess Dean for America was up and running and the blog had gotten underway by the time I met him in person in Dover, New Hampshire. He blocked my mom's wheel chair with his foot, so it wouldn't roll down the drive while we introduced ourselves.

His speech in Dover was a watered down version of his spiel and, of course, ended with an ask for donations. I suspect the phenomenal success of the blog garnering millions in a matter of days had not yet taken off. But the Dean community on the blog was steadily growing, so much so that the instigators spun off. At least, that's how I remember the genesis of Kos, where I signed up, on November 2, 2003, but didn't much blog at first. That was probably about the height of the Dean campaign and I know had me nattering about a candidate peaking too soon.

The last rally I attended in Rye, where Scott Brown now resides on the other side of the tracks, was a circus. The refurbished hotel Wentworth was swarming with hucksters and the rope line was chaotic. I kept my distance and tried to generate some interest in souvenir plates.

Howard Dean plates for Union supporters

Before I go on with the demise of the campaign, quite minutely recorded on Hannah Blog, which went live just as 2003 wound down (the first post was on New Year's Eve), let me just address part of Dean's Sacramento speech because, while it was totally convincing at the time, there are now points of disagreement.

What I want to know is what in the world so many Democrats are doing supporting the President's unilateral intervention in Iraq?
No disagreement there. In fact, that contained Barack Obama's ticket to the U.S. Senate and Obama was, indeed, the first candidate endorsed by Democracy for America after it transitioned from candidate into grass roots mode.  That Barack Obama never reciprocated fully should not, IMHO, be held against him. Dean is an inspiration, but his managerial skills are not the best and he's not a particularly good judge of managerial talent either (one reason his presidential campaign crashed).
What I want to know is what in the world so many Democrats are doing supporting tax cuts, which have bankrupted this country and given us the largest deficit in the history of the United States?
We now know that the country cannot be bankrupted and the deficit is actually a desideratum for his former colleagues on Wall Street, because that's where the bong clippers get their unearned income. Lending dollars back to the Treasury, instead of sending them back as taxes, is a two-fer. Not paying taxes to the states on that income makes it a three-fer. So, the answer to that question was/is that politicians of all stripes cater to the cats in finance, sustaining the fiction that's where the power lies.
What I want to know is why the Congress is fighting over the Patient's Bill of Rights? The Patient's Bill of Rights is a good bill, but not one more person gets health insurance and it's not 5 cents cheaper.
That was a valid question, up to a point, and Dean can be credited with putting health insurance for all on the agenda. But, note there's no mention of Medicare for all or even a public option and "5 cents cheaper" is a tell. Howard Dean, true to his roots on Wall Street, is a cheap skate. It's what kept both Blog for America and Democracy for American from being all they could be. Basically, Dean refused to spend what's necessary for good IT. The internet nerds that bailed were smart. But, what's really instructive, IMHO, about the less than successful Dean on the internet endeavor is that being cheap leads to wasteful spending. Joe Trippi spent foolishly on foofaraw because Dean was too cheap to spend on IT.

We all appreciated that Dean wouldn't sell his email list, as other politicians and propagandists and commercial enterprises routinely do, but what I came to suspect was that position grew more out of a desire to hoard what he'd amassed, rather than out of respect for the people who had flocked to his side. Supporters were to be milked, not given their head. Which is why, unlike Dailykos, Blog for America is now as good as dead. And Democracy for America is reduced to sponsoring candidates with whom it shares its list, hoping the dollars keep pouring in.  Act Blue has got even that better organized, as Dean himself eventually realized.

Finally (aren't you glad?)

What I want to know is why so many folks in Congress are voting for the President's Education Bill-- "The No School Board Left Standing Bill"-- the largest unfunded mandate in the history of our educational system!
See, there it is again, the implication that were it funded, "No Child Left Behind" would be just fine. Along with a rather Republican emphasis on local control. What we now know is that the absence of funding, of revenue sharing by Washington, is exactly the vehicle on which privatization arrives. Now we know that the answer to that question lies in the fact that the "folks in Congress" are keen to control "our educational system" without spending any money directly. Rather, they prefer their corporate cronies to do it for a profit, so they won't be blamed when it fails. Howard Dean himself was/is not a populist.

Anyway, to get back to the history, much of which, as I already mentioned, can be found on Hannah Blog, a truly non-commercial, non-data-collecting venture: after the Dean campaign for the presidency collapsed in the snows of New Hampshire, the grass roots still assembled on his blog scored a significant win for democracy. For, it was there that it was determined the Dean agenda should be salvaged by promoting his installation at the DNC. And that was accomplished by swaying the delegates to the National Convention to do their own thing, rather than follow the directives of the political leadership, and install Howard Dean to head it up. And that's how the eventual election of Barack Obama was not destined, but engineered. Principle won out over personal power and it did so right through the election of 2008.

In the interim, I just want to note, New Hampshire sent two Democrats to Congress in 2006, both largely supported by the grass roots, again in opposition to the leadership. Indeed, we had to tell Nancy Pelosi to refrain from endorsing the establishment candidate in the primary. She did, to her credit, stay out of the state and our insurgent, Carol Shea-Porter, got fifty percent of the votes in a field of four and then went on to replace the incumbent Republican in November. Then, re-elected in 2008, our Congresswoman helped shepherd the ACA through Congress, only to be sent home in 2010 because the Kochs had taken umbrage with her stand on coal. But, after she had a well-deserved rest, we sent Carol back to Washington in 2012 and plan on doing so again this time around. Carol Shea-Porter, the Congresswoman who focuses on votes, not dollars. (The first primary cost $35,000. Of course, an electoral win will never be that cheap again. But, we can afford it. The Affordable Care Act is worth whatever it takes).

Congress is up next. Never mind the presidential contenders. 2015 will be soon enough to start thinking about them.

So, just in case you missed it, that's the point of this little history. Campaigns, like candidates, need to avoid peaking too early and being cheap.  Money is for spending and don't you forget it.

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Comment Preferences

  •  If your memories differ, share them. (18+ / 0-)

    Different perspectives are what make the truth.

    by hannah on Tue Apr 22, 2014 at 04:34:13 AM PDT

  •  I bow to your specific knowledge (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DRo, ask, hannah, tardis10

    on the Dean Campaign, not a subject I am familiar with ...

    What you do highlight though, yet again, is how pernicious is the influence of money in American politics.

    It represents a true evil that must be rooted out if we ever hope to elect a representative democratic (small "d") Congress.

    I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
    but I fear we will remain Democrats.

    Who is twigg?

    by twigg on Tue Apr 22, 2014 at 05:14:33 AM PDT

    •  Either that, or we wrest control over our (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:


      It is convenient when it comes to accounting for things. We would not know, for example, the extent of the inequity in the distribution of our national assets and resources, were they not quantified in dollars.

      Congress was given charge over the currency but has chosen to abrogate its responsibility for their own purposes.

      I, for one, consider the decision in Citizens United a win for democracy because the donation restrictions were mainly designed to control contributors, rather than the candidates whose behavior needs to be restricted from the get-go. Of course, recent Congresses have been loathe to restrict themselves to doing the work of the people and prefer to natter about whom else in the general population they can disadvantage without perceptible consequence to themselves.
      That they keep picking on the weak and infirm and linguistically disadvantaged reeks of predatory behavior--except natural predators do not routinely pick on their own kind.

      by hannah on Tue Apr 22, 2014 at 05:31:46 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  There was a time (0+ / 0-)

        when currency was a "means of exchange".

        While owning a large amount of currency has always brought a better lifestyle and some privilege, it still remains a means of exchange.

        Quite how that could be considered to be speech is a leap in logic that totally escapes me.

        This is why, among other reasons, I will never be a justice of the Supreme Court.

        I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
        but I fear we will remain Democrats.

        Who is twigg?

        by twigg on Tue Apr 22, 2014 at 05:36:35 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Currency is a symbol of value, much as (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          myboo, psyched

          speech is a symbolic rendering of thought and the written word is just as much a symbol as cash.
          Agents of government are precluded from punishing people for what they think, believe and say.
          The question to ask is why it is permissible for agents of government to deprive some people of access to currency. Would we tolerate limiting access to the written word?
          Oh wait, that was the practice until quite recently and even now, that 30% of our adult population is functionally illiterate (i.e. they do not understand what they read) is not, IMHO, an accident.

          Deprivation of all kinds is the key to power.

          by hannah on Tue Apr 22, 2014 at 05:54:50 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  No more loaded concept than MONEY & its power (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            hannah, No Exit, unfangus

            For AT LEAST the span of the "Christian era", two root concepts have been beaten into - well, EVERYONE in Christendom:
            - you are an awful evil thing;
            - you need more money

            As a book-keeping tool, it's great stuff;  the way we use it, it's close to the worst stuff imaginable.  It's time for bright sisters and brothers to be thinking about how to make a post-scarcity, post-commerce society function.

            trying to stay alive 'til I reach 65!

            by chmood on Tue Apr 22, 2014 at 06:49:47 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  the "what i want to know" speech (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sharon Wraight, unfangus

    changed me too, and brought me here too

    Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D.
    Drop by The Grieving Room on Monday nights to talk about grief.

    by TrueBlueMajority on Tue Apr 22, 2014 at 05:22:16 AM PDT

  •  What I learned about politics during the past 11 (0+ / 0-)

    years is that most Americans are easily conned under the right circumstances and using the right techniques. Just create some fake threats or enemies or greatly exaggerate existing ones, employ a few key buzzwords, cast your opponents as weak, weird and un-American, and like magic the rubes will follow you off the cliff, which of course you cleverly sidestep at the last minute.

    Shorter version: most Americans are idiots.

    "Reagan's dead, and he was a lousy president" -- Keith Olbermann 4/22/09

    by kovie on Tue Apr 22, 2014 at 05:29:36 AM PDT

    •  Presumably, however, humans can learn. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      chmood, No Exit, unfangus

      And abusing idiots is shameful behavior. It's what we organize governments to prevent -- the exploitation of the weak.

      by hannah on Tue Apr 22, 2014 at 05:34:06 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  True (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        hannah, tardis10, unfangus

        But what I said is also true. The two truths are forever in conflict. We're dealing with two very different moral systems, one that seeks to exploit and thus abuse the weak-minded, the other that seeks to empower and help them. Since it's easier to do the former, the latter has its work cut out for it.

        I don't take pleasure in calling out fools. But neither can I deny their existence or the problems they cause in our political system by being fools. The founders and framers were well aware of this problem and worried that it would lead to demagogues exploiting the weak to subvert democracy.

        "Reagan's dead, and he was a lousy president" -- Keith Olbermann 4/22/09

        by kovie on Tue Apr 22, 2014 at 05:48:46 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Dean drew me here also, although a year after (0+ / 0-)

    you, that and being curious about a new word "blog".
    WTF was a blog??? Saw Kos on a cspan show and the rest is 'history' - though I've since lost my idealistic passion for politics, mostly due to opened eyes and gang-tactics that started here in 2008 IMO.

    "Life without emotions is like an engine without fuel."

    "It's said that the honest man has nothing to hide. Not true. The honest man has to hide himself, because honest men are the prime targets of those who lie."

    by roseeriter on Tue Apr 22, 2014 at 05:33:17 AM PDT

  •  Obama didn't have to abandon 50-state. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    He trusted Rahm, Rahm was da bomb, the Man who Knew People and How it All Worked.

    Damn shame.

    I live under the bridge to the 21st Century.

    by Crashing Vor on Tue Apr 22, 2014 at 05:52:26 AM PDT

  •  Yes, I've learned a lot in that time too. (0+ / 0-)

    Some of it thanks to you. But it hasn't brought me much succor. I've come to the conclusion that I'm going to die without seeing much change. When I was in my early teens, the Catholic boys would tell me stories about how you did not want to be left alone with certain priests. I found that shocking. Almost 30 years later, Sinead O'Connor did a protest on TV against the church's leniency on child sex abuse and was totally ostracized. Now fifty years later, something is being done. Only took fifty years to expose the obvious crimes of the rich and powerful.

    Now we got Capitalism run amok. Most people think they know all about Capitalism, but they don't. It's impossible for everyone to pay their debts. That would take about a 20% growth rate. They lend the same money out to 10 or 20 people. If you can pay your debts without going into poverty, then pay your debts. If you can't, don't. It doesn't matter. They got their money back and a big profit from the people who could afford to pay it back.

    "But that's not fair" people on both sides whine. Yeah, but that's the way it works. If everybody had to start a business from scratch, without borrowing money; there would not be very many new businesses. Kind of like now.

    Now you got me on a rant and I'm going to be late for work.
    Heehee. Keep it up.  

    We're fools whether we dance or not, so we might as well dance.

    by PowWowPollock on Tue Apr 22, 2014 at 06:05:51 AM PDT

    •  HeeHee. :) (0+ / 0-)

      Sorry, I got distracted by a communication from a local activist about a proposal to site a restaurant on the sand dunes as a "temporary" facility -- probably to see if it will make a profit. Otherwise, there is nothing temporary about the structure, which somehow gets to be in a sand dune because there are trees that are 20' tall.  Which explains how come they keep planting palm trees where there never were any before. The palm trees turn the marshes and sanddunes into "uplands."

      I am going to see if I can get agreement to publish the whole delicious exchange with the regulator.

      Sometimes you gotta laugh. Always you gotta remember that nothing is every permanently fixed!

      by hannah on Tue Apr 22, 2014 at 06:43:09 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  someone (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    should do a Big Media study on

    the Dismantling of a "Dangerous" Candidate,

    -- otherwise known as the "Dean Scream."

    The Expression of Enthusiasm shot round the world,

    and eagerly spun into something (Looniness), it in reality wasn't.  

    Sooner or later were going to have to: Trade in those Carbon Footprints ...

    by jamess on Tue Apr 22, 2014 at 06:54:28 AM PDT

  •  Dean was "my" candidate in the day (0+ / 0-)

    Always regretted his absence from the general; could never summon any enthusiasm for Kerry, so the entire season was like going through a sausage grinder.  Never looked at the Clintons the same way after that

    I  had no idea re: the connection between DK and the Dean campaign...clears up some things, I guess.

    trying to stay alive 'til I reach 65!

    by chmood on Tue Apr 22, 2014 at 07:10:09 AM PDT

    •  Although I can't prove it, I think I was the (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      first to use the "flip-flop Kerry" meme, in part because he wasn't as firmly anti-war as I wanted. Before the Bush people capitalized on the Swiftboaters and even before McCain's people captured them for themselves, there was evidence of veterans discontent with Kerry (all the candidates really) and I thought it inexcusable that he wasn't prepared to counter the scum. See, McCain was going to use them and then when Bush bested him, he made them available to the Bush campaign, which accounted for his claim in 2008 that he'd "done all (I) could" for Bush in 2004 and now it was his turn.
      They didn't anticipate that political engagement was going to become a constant avocation. The complaint about "endless campaigning" was sincere. Politicians want the citizenry to go back to sleep and only get roused every four years.
      Electronic communications have written finis to that.

      by hannah on Tue Apr 22, 2014 at 07:41:46 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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