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eRiposte

The LiberalOasis Dem Convention Blog

August 2, 2004 -- 12:45 AM ET PERMALINK
Best of The Convention Bloggers
(edited Aug. 2 9 AM ET)

Best Overall Coverage: Pacific Views

Best Team Coverage: The American Street

Powerblogging Award For Prolific Posting: Talk Left

Best Liveblogging: Pandagon (for coverage of Edwards' speech)

Best Obama Coverage: Afro-Netizen

Best Gossip Post: Electablog (on Ted Kennedy's posse being shut out of a luxury box)

Best Moment: Watching Natasha of Pacific Views chase down Bob Novak

Best Photo: The Power Of Many (of Jerry Springer)

Funniest Post: Tom Burka -- "Hope Delayed At Security Kiosk Outside Fleet Center"

Best Line: Librarian.net -- "What's it like? It's like Burning Man for Democrats, without the nudity or the drugs. Everyone is walking around grinning like they've just had their first threesome."

August 2, 2004 -- 12 AM ET PERMALINK
Interview With Rep. Tammy Baldwin

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On Thursday, LiberalOasis and Burnt Orange Report had the opportunity to interview Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), the sole open lesbian in Congress, who addressed the convention in prime time to talk about health care.

Below is an edited transcript. Click here to read BOR's write-up of the interview, and here to read another take from the official convention blog BostonDParty.

LO: How do you feel the party has been handling gay, lesbian and bisexual issues at this convention? Is...you being on the podium important, or are there some issues that are not being talked about, like marriage rights, as openly as some would have liked?

TB: First of all, there's two really distinct honors that I had this week.

One is being named a Vice-Chair of the convention.

And when the party communicated that fabulous news, they noted that my selection...was the first time an openly gay or lesbian person had ever been named the Vice-Chair of a national party convention.

And I see that as an extraordinary message of inclusion.

Secondly, as you noted, I had the immense honor of being able to speak on opening night during prime time, and I think that should...send several messages.

First of all, the importance the party places on...health care, which is what I was asked to address...

...it points to the importance of Wisconsin as a swing state.

And equally as important, it recognizes again that gay and lesbian people are in the center of this party, in places of prominence, and not just typecast as spokespeople for gay and lesbian issues...

BOR: ...I know that...one of your passions has always been health care issues...How do you get people...to stop...looking at you as a lesbian candidate, but as a health care candidate...?

TB: Before ever running for Congress I was involved in local politics and state level politics. And so to a certain degree, to the people who vote for me, this was old news...

...[Also,] working with the media was a key issue...

...I kind of laugh to myself that every time I ran for a different level of office...the reporters always wanted to write the story: "Can An Out Lesbian Win?"

And what we said was, you can absolutely write that story -- once.

Early on in the campaign, it's a legitimate news story. You can't write it every time you talk to me.

And it was sort of a negotiation that ended up working very well...

LO: Do you feel that your fellow members of Congress are looking at you the way your constituents in Wisconsin look at you?

TB: Absolutely. Because I work with them on committees, projects for our party...the caucuses I belong to...

...at the same time, couple times a year, I get to introduce them to my partner Lauren...and that's probably a transformative process for my colleagues.

Frankly, I bring her to the White House holiday party...The last few years, I've introduced her to a Republican president. I hope that changes his views --

BOR: What kind of reaction did Bush have...?

TB: He was polite and cordial. I can tell you at those parties every member of Congress wants to spend two seconds saying a few words, so it is very quick.

LO: And do Republican members of Congress give you the same level of respect that Democratic members do?

TB: Absolutely. Now, unfortunately their votes don't follow suit...

...President Bush might have been polite to my face, but I certainly don't feel like his policies are at all respectful...

LO: How is [the election] going to play in Wisconsin, considering that it seem that the Bush-Cheney campaign [is eyeing] Wisconsin [as] its Number One blue state pickup...?

TB: ...Whenever I'm home, which is every week, people communicate their biggest anxieties and their biggest concerns.

And consistently, for some time now, the chief anxieties and concerns have been our health care system. People are losing health care, they're at the verge of not being able to afford it anymore.

There's also a lot of job instability in Wisconsin.

We've lost a lot of manufacturing jobs. Those that are coming back aren't necessarily at the same salary or wage level.

And people are worried. They don't feel like they're keeping up with the high cost of tuition, child care, gasoline...

...We also, obviously, like every other state, have many people deployed over in Iraq. There are huge misgivings about the pretense under which George Bush brought our troops there.

So, I'm feeling very encouraged that Wisconsin, given those concerns, that we're going to absolutely pull Wisconsin out for John Kerry.

LO: Bush came in to Wisconsin saying, John Kerry thinks Hollywood is the heart and soul of this country, but it's places like Wisconsin that are the heart and soul of this country. Is that kind of --

TB: That maybe one statement with which I agree, with the second half. Wisconsin is the heart and soul of this country. But John Kerry knows that too.

It's interesting [that] George W. Bush, whenever he has come to Wisconsin, has picked a very conservative hamlet of Wisconsin, has scoured the entire crowd who's come in -- we've had horrible instances of people who might wear a T-shirt that expresses some slight disagreement with our current president. And they've been arrested or shoved off to the side...

...George Bush is not even seeing the real Wisconsin, like John Kerry has when he's been with us.

BOR: What kind of reception would George Bush get in [your district of] Madison?

TB: Well I don't know. I've never seen him there.

August 1, 2004 -- 10:30 PM ET PERMALINK
Dean's Vision

From Howard Dean's Tuesday speech at the Take Back America conference:

[Democrats always make] the following joke..."I belong to no organized party, I'm a Democrat."

[LO heard the joke several times during the week, even though the convention was quite well organized.]

And everybody always laughs.

And if we keep laughing at that, we're going to laugh ourselves right out of existence.

The way the Republicans beat us, is years ago they started to make sure that somebody ran for the school board, and somebody ran for county commissioner, and somebody ran for every single office that you can think of...

...And we didn't do that.

We still have 70 races on the Republican side that as far as I know are uncontested. When Newt Gingrich took over the Congress...in 1994, almost every seat was contested.

[And] a whole lot of people had no expectation of winning.

We need [to] partner with organizations like Campaign for America's Future and a whole lot of organizations -- Progressive Majority -- to rebuild the Democratic Party structure to take back this country for ordinary people.

Rebuilding the party and/or the liberal movement was a hot topic this week in Boston, with people buzzing about last week's NY Times Magazine article "Wiring The Left-Wing Conspiracy."

Dean is certainly not the only person involved in such reform activity, but what he's doing is terribly important and honorable and unglamorous.

He is getting down in trenches, trying to give the party a new and improved foundation -- race by race, brick by brick.

While much of the NYT article gives the feeling (rightly or wrongly) that much of the resurgent liberal activity is top-down, coming from money men in NY and CA, Dean's vision has always a bottom-up grassroots one.

Furthermore, his Democracy for America organization is putting on premium on backing candidates in red states:

We can not be a national party unless we're willing to take our case to Mississippi and Utah and Alabama and Texas...

That's not a strategy for '04, but a strategy for beyond.

This was one of the satisfying aspects of this past week: seeing and feeling all this energy geared to the long-term success of liberal ideals.

We in the grassroots (and those in the suites) just need to make sure that this energy continues after November.

August 1, 2004 -- 7:15 PM ET PERMALINK
Kucinich's Message To The Idealists

From Rep. Dennis Kucinich's Wed. address to the Take Back America conference:

For those who say, "Well. you can't bring about any change within the Democratic Party," well let me tell you something.

Eight states. Eight states have put into their state Democratic Party convention support for the idea and the principles of [a cabinet-level] Department of Peace, including the state of Texas.

Kucinich shows how idealism and pragmatism are not mutually exclusive, but in fact, the latter can and should be a tool for the former.

Kucinich is a guy who is, fairly or unfairly, essentially out to step with the time. In a "war on terror" moment, he's preaching non-violence.

(He's not preaching non-violence in terms of Al Qaeda mind you. He voted to authorize the Afghan war, and does not consider himself a pure pacifist.)

Driven by pure conviction, even though everything is stacked against him, even though he realizes he can't win today or tomorrow, he does not bend to the time.

And he finds a way to make progress.

Now, LO would question his choice of battles.

He talks about how non-violence should be the "daily work" and "organizing principle" of our nation and all others, which is not just a good goal, but an essential one.

But he hangs the success of that on a cabinet department, which seems misplaced.

As he said himself on Wed.:

We have a capacity to [make non-violence the organizing principle]. The question is whether we have the intention to do so.

As LO has noted before, the US already has an Institute of Peace.

But has creating the building changed anyone's approach towards conflict resolution in the halls of power? No.

It doesn't even ensure that believers in non-violence run the place. Daniel Pipes, who said, "what war had achieved for Israel, diplomacy has undone," currently sits on the peace institute's board.

Because the intention is not there.

It would seem to LO that persuading the public to embark on a different foreign policy approach based on non-violence would come before establishing the bureaucratic structure to implement it.

Kucinich however, ignores naysayers like LO, ignores the current political winds, plants his flag, and finds a way to advance his agenda, even if it doesn't look like advancement to you.

That's the only way that idealists ever win.

Side note: for the best Kucinich coverage of the convention bloggers, go to Burnt Orange Report.

August 1, 2004 -- 2:15 PM ET PERMALINK
Wilson Fights Back

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Ambassador Joe Wilson made two newsworthy assertions in his Wed. Take Back America conference speech that have barely been noticed.

1. Wilson suggested the "reports officer" -- who the Senate Intel report cites as saying Plame "offered up his name" for the Niger mission -- feels he has been misrepresented.

Wilson said in his speech:

There have been assertions made that my wife was somehow responsible for my trip, as if it made a difference.

As I remind people, this was pro bono, and Niger ain't Paris.

[LAUGHTER]

And yet, the committee that wrote this recommendation that showed up in the body of the report didn't bother to call the CIA.

Had they called the CIA, as two enterprising reporters did a week after Mr. Novak's article appeared, they would have heard the official CIA position, which was that Wilson's wife had nothing to do with this...

...They did not ask the CIA. They did not ask the head of the task force who made the decision.

They just quoted a reports officer, who came to see my wife after the report came out in tears, and said what can I do.

And he has since written a letter, but his wife will not let him publish it, because they are afraid.

2. Wilson raised the possibility that Bush, Cheney and Rove are illegally interfering with a criminal investigation.

On my road to Boston, I was ambushed.

I was ambushed by a Republican National Committee-directed smear campaign, based upon lies and distortions.

And you've seen it in the Wall Street Journal. You've seen it in the right-wing blogs. And you've seen it in Bill Safire's...column.

I've been accused of being a traitor to my country, and of being a liar...

...Now the same people who are involved in this campaign, the RNC -- The RNC I remind you is headed by the President, the Vice-President and with which Karl Rove has an intimate relationship.

These are the same people who have been called to testify before the special counsel and/or the grand jury.

Indeed, when the President testified, when the President spoke with the special counsel, he was accompanied by a criminal defense attorney.

Now I ask you, does this campaign against me not at least give the appearance of being interference in an ongoing criminal investigation by people who may well be the subjects and targets of this investigation?

The only other report LO has seen on Wilson's speech was from Jason Zengerle on The New Republic's convention blog, which dismissed Wilson without any backup:

To my ears, Wilson's explanations rang hollow, either misrepresenting the charges against him or making new claims that were impossible to verify. His performance left me convinced that his credibility is pretty much shot.

TNR doesn't say what charges are being misrepresented, and how so. So LO can't respond.

But it is true that in the case of the "reports officer", Wilson made an unverifiable claim.

At the same time, the Senate Intelligence Report made an unverifiable claim for the same reason, quoting a guy anonymously, making it impossible for anyone to verify it.

(And a very selective quote it seems to be, no more was given than "offered up his name".)

And Wilson is making the point that by leaving out what others in the CIA have said, the Senate report, on that matter, can't be taken at face value.

LO would note again that the committee was unable to make any bipartisan conclusions about Wilson, leaving the GOP to vent in an addendum.

A side note: following a Dennis Kucinich speech about non-violence, Wilson opened his speech with this:

I'm sorry Dennis Kucinich had to leave...I wanted to ask him if it was OK if I harbor just a little bit of violence towards a certain journalist.

Also, some other "16 words" news items.

Colin Powell has been hauled into the grand jury.

Talking Points Memo has the latest on the forgeries.

And the Seattle Post-Intelligencer decries the Wilson smear campaign, saying:

GOP senators' claims that Wilson's wife, CIA agent Valerie Plame, suggested him for the job rests on modest evidence; there's more substantial evidence to the contrary. In any case, a suggestion wouldn't have been improper.

(UPDATE 8/1 7 PM ET -- Check out convention blogger American Amnesia's interview with Wilson.)

July 31, 2004 -- 6:50 PM ET PERMALINK
Bounce Watch

Newsweek is reporting a four-point bounce for Kerry in its poll.

But they crunch the numbers in a silly way, using three-way race data (treating Nader like he's on 50 ballots, ignoring other third party candidates) and using an average of data from the day prior and the day after Kerry's speech.

Much more interesting is this line from Newsweek's press release (via Daily Kos):

In the two-way race, in interviews on July 29, Kerry/Edwards received 49 percent and Bush/Cheney 47 percent. On July 30, Kerry/Edwards got 54 percent and Bush/Cheney 41 percent...

Of course, those are half-samples taken before news of the speech had time to be absorbed, so take that with a big grain of salt. We need a few days before drawing conclusions.

(UPDATE 8/1 10:50 AM -- Keep in mind that a typical bounce is in the 5-7 range, and David Brock said to LO this week that Kerry should expect less because his base was already consolidated.)

July 31, 2004 -- 6:20 PM ET PERMALINK
Moore Highlights

Of the speeches LO covered outside the hall, Michael Moore's barn-burning speech from the Take Back America conference (hosted by Campaign for America's Future) received the strongest audience reaction.

(And that is saying a lot).

Here's some highlights:

On The Media

-- You haven't just been "embedded." You've been "in bed with" the wrong people.

On The Politics of Hate

-- It's just a small minority of people who hate...

...They don't believe two consenting adults should have the right to be in love and share their lives together and be legally protected by the state for doing so...

...They're not patriots. They're hate-triots.

On The Rise Of The Unlikely Voter

-- Who are these 50 percent who don't vote? Are they the wealthy and the privileged? No.

They are the people who have been the most hurt by the Bush Administration. They're people of color. They're single moms. They're poor. They're working class. The young people...

...And they are now talking politics. And they are not apathetic.

And I think we're going to see a significant number of them leave the house on November 2.

On Dale Earnhardt Jr.

-- I was flipping around on the dial, and I came across the NASCAR race on Fox. And there was NASCAR champion Dale Earnhardt Jr. telling Fox [that] I took my crew to go see Fahrenheit 9/11.

And then he said, I think all of America should see this movie...

[That's not the verbatim Dale quote, though Moore's website has it.]

...I'm thinking, "Oh my God, I hope [Bush] is not watching this race while eating pretzels."

On Kerry's Iraq War Vote

-- You are supposed to be able to believe the president.

Because if we don't have that, that basic thing of being able to believe what comes out of the mouth of the president of the United States, my friend, what are we left with?...

...John Kerry did what 70 to 80% of our fellow Americans did. He believed...

...Do we point our finger at them now? Do you point your finger at your neighbors and your friends who supported the war at the beginning but no longer support it because now 54% of this country believes the war is wrong and never should have been fought?

Do you? Does one in this room sit on your high horse and look down at them? "Oh, you supported the war! I didn't!"

Of course not. Of course not.

People come to the wrong conclusions at their own speed. And you know what, friends? We are getting better at this.

Because during Vietnam it took years before we figured it out. This time, it only took months. It only took a few months before the majority of Americans figured out how wrong this president was.

[APPLAUSE]

And that applause is for our fellow Americans, because they will always respond in the right way when given the truth.

Alternet has the full transcript of the speech.

Additional commentary from convention bloggers at Seeing The Forest (here and here) and The Power of Many.

(UPDATE 8/1 10:50 AM ET -- C-Span has the video of the speech. Hat tip to Seeing The Forest.)

July 30, 2004 -- 1:50 PM ET PERMALINK
Notes

-- There's a lot more convention posting left to do. An interview with the sole open lesbian Rep. Tammy Baldwin, dispatches from the Take Back America conference (Joe Wilson, Moore, Kucinich, Dean, and perhaps others), and the obligatory final thoughts.

LO is having a little delay returning to home base, so posting Friday will likely be light to nil, but keep checking back during the weekend.

-- For readers in Los Angeles, LO will be on the Free Speech Show tonight at around 11 PM PT on 1540 AM.

-- Bandwidth costs have been very high this week. Any contributions to defray costs are most appreciated.

July 30, 2004 -- 4 AM ET PERMALINK
Man On A Mission

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kerry

kerry

Last Sunday, in the Minneapolis Star Tribune, LiberalOasis laid out the five big things Kerry needed to do with his acceptance speech:

1. Distinguish Himself On Terror

Done.

2. Explain What He Would Do On The Economy

Done.

3. Frame His Life Story

Done, and in particularly deft fashion, taking his childhood abroad, which the GOP likes to mock, and showing what it taught him about America.

4. Keep It Short

Done. LO was hoping for 40 minutes, but will happily take 46, which is still shorter than average.

5. Mention Bush Little

Bush's name was only said twice, and Cheney's once.

Now that understates the number of shots Kerry took, but overall, the speech was far more about Kerry's life and agenda.

That means Kerry concluded Bush's standing is weak enough that he had the luxury to emphasize himself and forge a bond with the public.

But Kerry didn't only pull off the Big 5.

There were several smaller flourishes that made it a great speech.

Going at the Saudi royals and making the case for alternative energy strategy.

Stressing stem cell research (which got a particularly big response in the hall, bigger than LO would have expected. National chord struck?)

Sticking with the poverty issue that John Edwards raised the night before by telling the nation how poverty has risen.

(That's not a political no-brainer either. It's not a Clintonian "middle class" issue. But it renews the moral purpose of the party.)

And the "valuing families" riff was spot on (and reminiscent of Clinton's successful 1992 speech where he said our families have values but our government doesn't.)

So you got to give the speech an "A".

Now, to have this speech truly break the deadlock, the issue is follow-through, and not letting the GOP spinners squelch the bounce over the next few days.

July 29, 2004 -- 9:15 PM ET PERMALINK
The Night So Far

Wesley Clark's passionate tribute to those who made the "ultimate sacrifice" for "freedom," and his strategy for true national security and victory in the war on terror received thunderous applause.

From Clark:

The safety of our country demands urgent and innovative measures to strengthen our armed forces. The safety of our country demands credible intelligence.

The safety of our country demands cooperation with our allies. The safety of our country demands making more friends and fewer enemies.

The safety of our country demands an end to the doctrinaire, ineffective policies that currently grip Washington.

Enough is enough! A safe America - a just America - that's what we want, that's what we need. And with John Kerry and John Edwards, that's what we will achieve.

Then, Joe Lieberman's premature pride that Iraq has been "liberated" barely caused a ripple, as many delegates seemed happy not to pay attention.

Soon after, Nancy Pelosi expressed confidence that Dems would take back the House. LO is getting the vibe here that folks here don't think that's empty boasting.

In chatting with some DCCC folks who dropped by Bloggers' Alley this afternoon, LO got the sense that they agree with Rep. Jan Schakowsky (see the LO interview) that a real wave (a la 1994 and the year of Newt) may well be building steam under the radar.

As Beltway Dems often pooh-pooh their chances in self-defeating fashion, this is heartening.

Of course, LO was bought off with calamari, Shirley Temples, and gift bags last night, so our credibility is shot.

July 29, 2004 -- 8 PM ET PERMALINK
"July Surprise" Watch: They Got Foopie!

The New Republic reported earlier this month that Bush was pressuring Pakistan to bag some "High-Value Targets" before the election, with one Pakistani source saying they were pressured for a score around the time of the convention.

What's the best Pakistan could do, for the final night of the convention?

"Foopie." They got "Foopie". Not exactly Osama.

Of course, Foopie was arrested five days ago. Pakistan just happened to announce it today.

See past LO posts on "July Surprise" here and here.

July 29, 2004 -- 7:30 PM ET PERMALINK
Interview With Media Matters' David Brock

David Brock and his Media Matters team have been watchdogging and batting back right-wing spin throughout the convention. Brock joined LO in "Blogger's Alley" inside the hall at 3:30 PM ET today:

LO: How successful has the right-wing been in counterspinning the convention?

DB: I think we don't fully know the answer yet. I think the main thing is really going to be after we get the first polls...

...[the GOP] has attempted to set it up for Kerry to have a huge bounce...

...the fact of the matter is that with the race so tight, and Kerry's base having [already] gelled...that it's not really realistic for there to be a 15-point bounce or 10-point bounce, which is what the Bush pollsters have been saying they think will happen.

So what I anticipate is a bounce that is less than what Bush said will happen.

And then the entire spin will be about how America had met the ticket this week and decided they were too liberal.

That can't happen yet until they get the polls. That's number 1.

Now, they've had these trial balloons...from what I can tell, don't seem to have had any staying power.

[For example,] there was the Teresa Heinz "shove it" comment that played all through cable all day Monday...I don't think that really did much.

LO: All sorts of things [like that] are happening on Fox News, The New York Post, The Boston Herald. Are you seeing that bleed into the mainstream media?

DB: Yeah...the fact that Teresa Heinz Kerry was confronted by an editorial page editor of a newspaper that has a lengthy history of terrorizing both the Clintons and Teresa Heinz Kerry, that piece of it didn't get reported...

...[also,] the NASA suit "controversy"...

LO: ...That [photo of Kerry] was on the cover of the New York Post, has it been a talking point for the rest of the media?

DB: I don't think that one has penetrated so much...

...Their attempt...was to try to make this a big "Michael Dukakis in the tank" kind of moment.

And I think most people sort of saw through that, although Fox did play it up and Fox's Brit Hume accused Kerry's campaign manager of making something up on the air [about whether or not the photo was leaked by Kerry opponents]...

...Then there was the Drudge story last night...about supposedly the recreation of certain scenes in a movie that we're going to see tonight. There doesn't seem to be anything to that either.

LO: Wasn't that debunked a long time ago?

DB: Yeah it was...debunked two years ago by the New York Times. These two books that are making these allegations -- the PR representative of one the authors called the author a crazed extremist.

LO: Are you seeing the Drudge report get any pick-up?

DB: ...I wasn't watching the [cable news shows] this morning [but ] from what I understand [it] did get significant pick-up...

...when I was down in Radio Alley at 7 AM this morning, so many of the radio show hosts I saw, the homepage was the Drudge Report...

...So I went on and tried to say well this was debunked a long time ago, but you can't get to everybody and these things spread.

July 29, 2004 -- 5:30 AM ET PERMALINK
African-American Caucus Meeting: Interview With Delegates

These were conducted the morning of 7/29, discussing if Kerry has a political problem with the African-American community.

W. Paul Mayhue
King County Commissioner, 16th Distric
Grand Rapids, Michigan

Gert Hobson
Grand Rapids, Michigan

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LO: How do you feel about the convention so far?

WPM: So far I think it's been revealing, interesting. A lot of coalitions have been formed. A lot of people have gotten to know each other better.

I think what has happened in the world community, in terms of what the Republican Administration has done, has brought us together as Democrats, to let us know that we have to be like the old imperialists.

That we have to go and wage the war and then after the war then we have to deal with the spoils.

LO: Do you feel that African-American concerns and issues are being heard, being addressed by the party and by the Kerry campaign?

WPM: I think that what's going to happen there is, the African-American concerns are going to be heard. They're going to be forged.

And I just pray that the concerns that some of the African-Americans in the South have about the campaign sending in people that are inexperienced and don't know what they're doing -- we can change that before the election happens.

[Then] maybe in the South, that can help turn out the vote, which in turn [will] help us to have a stronger victory in November.

LO: It always seems to be that the leadership has problems fully resonating with the African-American community. Is that the key, having local people in the region take the lead?

WPM: That is the key. Having local people in the region, and at the local level, take the lead.

They can send their campaign people in to be observers, to be resource people, to get resources from the campaign. But the actual work and the actual leadership has to come from the local people.

LO: Now George Bush recently said to the Urban League, the Democratic Party takes you for granted...do you think that message from Bush and the Republicans is going to resonate?

WPM: I don't think that message from Bush is going to resonate.

Because it came from a person that not only has taken us for granted, but he refused to go and sit and talk with the NAACP, which says a lot about him.

So his message won't resonate, and it hasn't resonated in this convention.

LO: Does he have a point?

WPM: I don't really think he...has a point. And let me tell you why...

...the largest amount of African-American political strength is concentrated in the Democratic Party.

So we as people that are part of the black caucus, we have to fight, just like we would in any party, to get our just due. We're used to fighting to get our just due. So I don't think that's a real valid point.

GH: We have work to do. We always get kind of put on the back burner and gradually make our way to the front as the election comes.Because, again, we are the base vote.

We don't split our votes different ways, we're not undecided, we're always decided to be Democrats.

But we have work to do, but we going to turn out this election in 2004 for the Kerry-Edwards ticket, and then we can fight out anything else we have to do beginning November 3.

Roma Thurin (left) and Stacy Erwin
Saginaw, MI

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LO: How do you feel about the convention so far?

RT: It's exciting and exhilarating and we're united and headed in the right direction.

LO: Do you feel that African-American issues and concerns are being addressed by the party and by the Kerry campaign now?

RT: Yes.

SE: Yes, I think that many of the concerns within the African-American community are some of the concerns within the world as well.

LO: You hear some of these reports that the Kerry campaign wasn't as diverse at it could be, wasn't speaking to the African-American community as much as it should. You're not feeling any of that tension right now?

RT: Not at all. [Laughs] We're sorry.

LO: That's OK.

RT: We don't have any of that controversial --

LO: No, no. It is what it is.

RT: [re-answering the question] No, not at all...

LO: ...George Bush has said last week that the Democratic Party takes African-Americans for granted. You don't feel that's going to resonate in your communities?

RT: No.

SE: No...It's a matter of being listened to, and being part of the dialogue and part of the conversation, and by being here at the convention we are afforded that opportunity.

Mark Mulugd
Virginia

roma

LO: How do you feel about the convention so far?

MM: Very informative. Very exhilarating. Really a good kickoff.

LO: Do you feel that it is succeeding in addressing the issues of the African-American community?

MM: Well it did, but I am expecting more in the days to come. But I believe the general outline has been done.

LO: Are there specific issues you're looking to hear more about?

MM: Well yeah, about jobs...it's been a difficult time for families across the nation, for the black Americans.

So I really hope that this will be spelled out in the platform.

And I'm convinced that the candidates are the right candidates, very fortunate to have them.

They understand our issues, our values. Senator Kerry and Senator Edwards will do a good job.

LO: There have been reports that some African-Americans feel the Kerry campaign isn't doing a good job and isn't diverse enough and isn't listening. You're not sensing that?

MM: Well, I am. But it's a new time. New leaders are coming up, like Obama, and I think we'll get there.

This is a much better forum for us. And I think we'll connect, and I think in the weeks and months coming up we will be going around the country, mobilized.

This is a great opportunity to change the next four years.

LO: George Bush just said last week to the Urban League, does the Democratic leadership take you for granted, do they earn your vote, do they deserve it. Do you think that message is going to resonate?

MM: That was a good question, and I don't think we should be taken for granted.

But the point is, the Republican Party is far from what we needed.

The Democratic Party still has a framework for us, it provides us with the opportunity, and we're embracing each other.

And I think it's a great opportunity for us to work and make a difference in the Democratic Party. I think it's our tradition, and they understand our values, and I think it will succeed.

Julian Rogers
Cleveland, OH

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(Rogers is next to Alicia Reece, Vice-Mayor of Cincinnati)

LO: How do you feel about the convention so far?

JR: I think it's been a great convention. We're having a lot of fun, meeting a lot of new people and hearing the candidates' views on all the issues that are important to us.

LO: Do you feel that African-American issues and concerns have been properly addressed and heard during the convention?

JR: Absolutely, African American concerns are the same concerns of the rest of the American people. We're concerned about jobs, we're concerned about health care, we're concerned about education, those are important to African-American people and same as with the rest of the country I would imagine.

LO: There have been some reports that some in the African-American community have been a little uncomfortable with a lack of diversity in the Kerry campaign, not paying attention to African-American issues enough. Is that the way you feel?

JR: No absolutely not.

LO: So when Bush said last week, the Democratic Party takes you for granted, do you think that's going to resonate with the African-American community?

JR: I don't think that's going to resonate one bit with the African-American community.

The policies of the Bush Administration have just been devastating to the places where African-Americans live, and we're going to see higher job losses, the education system is failing across the country, and I think we really need a change.

July 29, 2004 -- 3 AM ET PERMALINK
Paparazzo

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From the "Blogger Bash" (l to r): Christopher Rabb, Afro-Netizen; Sam Seder, The Majority Report; Jesse Taylor, Pandagon; Janeane Garofalo, The Majority Report; Tom Burka, Opinions You Should Have

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Dave Johnson (right) of Seeing The Forest stalks Rob Reiner outside the Fleet Center

July 29, 2004 -- 2:45 AM ET PERMALINK
You've Seen Bloggers Jump The Shark! Now Watch Them Sell Out!

From Wed. night's "Blogger Bash," thrown by SpeakerPelosi.com:

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Be impressed! Be revolted! Be confused! LiberalOasis is all those things.

Then again, LO already raises money for the Dems, so apparently we'd bought in anyway. Now, LO just got fed for it.

And LO did get the rare experience of hearing Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND), in his brief remarks to the bloggers, give a "shout out."

Since the calamari was especially tasty, the bar was open (LO indulged in a free Shirley Temple), and we all got gift bags, go help make Pelosi the Speaker.

July 28, 2004 -- 10:26 PM ET PERMALINK
Edwards Ad-Lib

His hat tip to Teresa was unscripted (the one to his wife and family was scripted.)

July 28, 2004 -- 9:55 PM ET PERMALINK
American Values

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The Kerry campaign was unafraid to showcase John Mellencamp tonight, despite the GOP attacks on him for singing the song "Texas Bandito" -- which included the lyrics, "He's just another cheap thug that sacrifices our young... You're going to get us killed with your little white lies" -- at the "controversial" celebrity fundraiser.

Of course, Mellencamp only sung "Small Town" tonight (John Edwards night), not "Texas Bandito."

Nvertheless, it shows the Kerry campaign isn't flinching in the face of ginned-up GOP ridiculousness.

For those of you thinking "What About Margaret Cho?," we don't know what role, if any, the Kerry campaign played in her disinvite from this past Monday's Human Rights Campaign fundraiser.

And whatever role it was, HRC bears the final responsibility there; it was a fundraiser for itself, not for the Kerry campaign or the Dem party.

Furthermore, according to the Boston Herald (not a reputable source, mind you), the concerns rested on Cho's plans to criticize Kerry on stage, not necessarily for anything she would say about Bush.

That wouldn't make the disinvite right, but it would be a different issue than what happened with Whoopi, et al.

July 28, 2004 -- 8:45 PM ET PERMALINK
Sharpton

He's off-script, saying several lines not in the official transcript sent to us media whores ahead of time.

Obviously, Al knows best. He blew the roof off.

July 28, 2004 -- 8:15 PM ET PERMALINK
On The Radio

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This is Roger Hedgecock, the conservative radio host that interviewed LO a couple of hours ago.

Hedgecock railed against "Fort Boston," with all the tight security going on.

LO offered that getting your bags checked hadn't really been that big a deal. Hedgecock said it was putting restrictions on participating in democracy.

There you have it. Liberals taking terror more seriously.

July 28, 2004 -- 7:40 PM ET PERMALINK
Senator Pat Leahy

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"I want to offer a friendly word of advice. If the Vice President is watching this speech on TV, he might want to change channels."

July 28, 2004 -- 5:55 PM ET PERMALINK
African-American Caucus Photo Gallery

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Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee puts on her Stetson and announces that "Texas is in the house!"

hillary
Hillary Clinton was greeted with a standing O as she was introduced as "the next female President of the United States."

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King County Executive Ron Sims, running to be Governor of Washington state, made a bid for rising star status with a passionate, humorous and fiesty speech. He's in a tough primary with state Attorney General Christine Gregoire. More on the race here, here, here and here.

More on those delegate interviews later.

July 28, 2004 -- 5 PM ET PERMALINK
In The Hall

Cut out on the TBA conference a little early. Heard some excellent speeches from Gary Hart, Dennis Kucinich and Joe Wilson (Wilson had much newsworthy righteous indignation.)

But LO was hoping for debate between the three, and Hart and Kucinich left the room. So LO moved on to the Fleet Center.

Still, there will be some good stuff to post once LO can transcribe the recording.

July 28, 2004 -- 1:55 PM ET PERMALINK
Notes

-- LO is currently at the Take Back America conference, waiting for a debate on Iraq between Kucinich, Joe Wilson, Gary Hart and Katrina vanden Heuvel. Will live-blog if possible.

-- LO spent the morning at the African-American Caucus meeting and conducted several interesting interviews with delegates. Will post transcripts and photos when possible, probably late tonight.

-- Readers in the San Diego area can hear LiberalOasis around 3:30 PM PT on the conservative Roger Hedgecock talk radio show on 600 AM.

July 28, 2004 -- 4 AM ET PERMALINK
The Rep. Jan Schakowsky Interview

jan

At yesterday's Emily's List fundraiser luncheon, LiberalOasis had the chance to interview the hard-working liberal congresswoman Jan Schakowsky of Illinois.

Schakowsky addressed liberal relations with the DLC, her prediction for the congressional elections, and what the real WMD is.

Below is an edited transcript.

LO: What do you say to liberals who may not be inspired by Kerry, who say I really hate George Bush...but give me a reason to like John Kerry?

JS: ...This goes way beyond partisan politics...Our democracy is in peril right now.

In terms of all the issues that ordinary people care about, starting with foreign policy.

The fact that this man is willing to send us into war when we don't need to go, sacrifice lives and billions of dollars.

And health. More and more people are struggling with health care, with education for their children. They want clear air to breathe and clean water to drink.

They want a future. They want the kind of America that we grew up believing, good for real values of democracy in this world.

All that is gone under George W. Bush.

So I say to them, "Get over it! Get registered. Get out to vote."

LO: You're known as a bona fide liberal in the halls of power, in the halls of Congress. What kind of struggles and obstacles do you have to go through every day to get your causes, our issues, advanced?

JS: None right now. I've never seen such a united Democratic Party.

You look at people who have the podium. As a liberal, did I have a problem yesterday?

Just in terms of members of Congress: Tammy Baldwin and Stephanie Tubbs Jones were up there making speeches.

Any progressive I think would have been proud with what they heard yesterday...

...so as a person on the left of the party, or as the late Paul Wellstone would say, the "Democratic wing of the Democratic Party," I feel very, very comfortable right now.

LO: Are you concerned at all, once Kerry wins, that there will be knockdown, drag-out fights with the DLC wing of the party?

JS: No. I call that a high-quality problem.

Because, look...we can't even have a conversation about expanding health care right now.

We're trying to hang on to what we have, to stop bad things from happening.

That's what we do every day in the Congress of the United States.

And we're not succeeding. When it comes to our civil liberties. When we're talking about corporate control...at the expense of everyone else.

We're losing those battles right now.

So at least, we can have a spirited debate [if Kerry wins].

[For example,] what does John Kerry mean when he says health care should be a right, and not a privilege? How do we expand health care to cover everyone? Do we mean universal health care? How do we get there?...

...So while I fully expect that there will be disagreement within our own party, I can't wait to have those, because we can't have them now.

LO: Liberals are not always seen as being responsible when it comes to foreign policy. There's a notion that we are too soft, too pacifist, can't trust us with the keys --

JS: Well, I have to tell you that I have -- as someone that voted against the war -- now discovered the weapon of mass destruction: testosterone!

And this Administration has testosterone poisoning.

Now, I love men...But if you really get to the bottom of it, that is the best explanation for us going to war, because there is no good reason that we did that.

LO: So what do we have to do to put forth on our vision?

JS: I think on that front, John Kerry has really articulated and understands the necessity of, in the 21st century, having an international coalition that believes in treaties and international agreements.

And international infrastructure -- the United Nations...

...I am so optimistic...that we're finally going to have a mature and sane foreign policy.

LO: How do you feel about November?

JS: I predict a big victory for John Kerry...

...When you see the polls, the polls poll likely voters.

Which means that every new person that we register that says they're going to vote for John Kerry, bring us closer to victory...

...if we do our job, then it won't be close. Because we have the opportunity to get a lot of new people, young people, single women, 22 million of whom did not vote in the year 2000...

...At the end, when people really start to focus...we're going to see a wave that I think, I believe, can make Nancy Pelosi the Speaker of the House, which is something I work on.

I also head up a division of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee called Women Lead that helps women candidates but also to engage more women, like all those single women...

...And I just think that all of those folks through our grassroots efforts are going to make a big sweep. I think we'll have the Senate --

LO: But you get these reports sometimes [that] Democratic insiders don't feel they can take the House, don't feel they can take the Senate --

JS: Can I tell you what? This election is not about Democratic insiders. It's not.

It's happening out in the districts, in the neighborhood.

It's happening in the movies with Fahrenheit 9/11.

It's happening where people work and around the kitchen table, where they figure out that they're having trouble making ends meet.

This is not an insiders' election. I think people have gotten the message, and they're going to respond and come out to vote.

***

Check out Rep. Schakowsky's online feature: "Bush Administration Misstatement of the Day"

July 28, 2004 -- 4 AM ET PERMALINK
While Waiting By The Air America Booth

janeane

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Yes, the hair is again black. Who says there's no news here?

July 28, 2004 -- 4 AM ET PERMALINK
Michael Moore

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Posting verbatim the many highlights of Moore's Tues. afternoon address is on the to-do list, might have to wait for a post-convention wrap-up. (Though some other blog may have already done so, poke around.)

July 27, 2004 -- 11:15 PM ET PERMALINK
Obama or Big Brother 5?
(edited July 28 3:30 AM ET)

Natasha from Pacific Views, fellow convention blogger, said to LO and Byron LaMasters of Burnt Orange Report that the major networks would regret not airing Barack Obama's keynote address.

LO said in response that they won't regret counting up the money they made on their commercial shows.

But Natasha, at least, should be right.

Instead of Obama, the networks aired:

CBS -- Big Brother 5
NBC -- Last Comic Standing
ABC -- Less Than Perfect (repeat)
FOX -- Quintuplets (Andy Richter, what are you doing in this shallow cesspool of a sitcom?!)

That's what trumped Obama. It's simply shameful.

Obama delivered one of the finest expressions of Democratic values, here's just one example:

obama

John Kerry believes in America. And he knows it's not enough for just some of us to prosper.

For alongside our famous individualism, there's another ingredient in the American saga.

A belief that we are connected as one people.

If there's a child on the south side of Chicago who can't read, that matters to me, even if it's not my child.

If there's a senior citizen somewhere who can't pay for her prescription and has to choose between medicine and the rent, that makes my life poorer, even if it's not my grandmother.

If there's an Arab American family being rounded up without benefit of an attorney or due process, that threatens my civil liberties.

It's that fundamental belief -- I am my brother's keeper, I am my sisters' keeper -- that makes this country work.

It's what allows us to pursue our individual dreams, yet still come together as a single American family. "E pluribus unum." Out of many, one.

And while LO might quibble with an arguable distancing from the word "liberal" and overlooking the atheist/agnostic minority, this passage was powerful stuff that the crowd ate up, and may prove very effective in reaching out to the swing:

Yet even as we speak, there are those who are preparing to divide us, the spin masters and negative ad peddlers who embrace the politics of anything goes.

Well, I say to them tonight, there's not a liberal America and a conservative America -- there's the United States of America.

There's not a black America and white America and Latino America and Asian America; there's the United States of America.

The pundits like to slice-and-dice our country into Red States and Blue States; Red States for Republicans, Blue States for Democrats.

But I've got news for them, too.

We worship an awesome God in the Blue States, and we don't like federal agents poking around our libraries in the Red States.

We coach Little League in the Blue States and have gay friends in the Red States.

There are patriots who opposed the war in Iraq and patriots who supported it.

We are one people, all of us pledging allegiance to the stars and stripes, all of us defending the United States of America.

obamacrowd

The networks passed on a true rising star and a creative and inspiring proclamation of Democratic values.

Anyone reading this who works for the ABC, NBC or CBS news departments, who has a shred of dignity, should raise some hell inside their respective newsrooms tomorrow morning.

A side note: LO received this email dispatch from Get Your War On's David Rees:

You probably saw his speech live, and not via PBS, so you missed the spectacle of Mark Shields and David Brooks achieving simultaneous orgasm.

July 27, 2004 -- 9:41 PM ET PERMALINK
Howard Dean

LO has been a little top-heavy on Dean coverage so far, and the speech he gave at the convention was a sliver of what he said at the Take Back America conference today (which LO plans to discuss in more detail later).

But just for the record, the whole place went nuts when he came out. And when he left.

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(Yes, yes. Convention blogging = bad photography.)

July 27, 2004 -- 9:22 PM ET PERMALINK
Senator Tom Daschle

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You will not be surprised to hear that a Daschle speech does not exactly rattle the rafters. But this passage of his speech is a deft rebuttal to Dubya's attempts to pillory Dems on values:

Doing right by America means we don't just talk about our values -- we live them.

And we honor the fundamental difference between right and wrong.

John Kerry's entire life has been an inspirational example of doing right by America.

When our generation was called to serve in Vietnam, he answered that call. He risked his life to save the lives of others, and led his small band of brothers to safety.

He didn't talk about patriotism -- he lived it.

That kind of argument does not only work for veterans, but anyone that goes the extra mile to serve the public.

July 27, 2004 -- 9:01 PM ET PERMALINK
Senator Ted Kennedy

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Time and again in America's history, we as Democrats have offered new hope -- of a stronger, fairer, more prosperous future for all our people -- a society that feeds the hungry, shelters the homeless, and cares for the sick -- so that none must walk alone.

When the elderly faced poverty and sickness that threatened their golden years, we created Social Security and Medicare.

When the voices of many citizens went unheard and their lives were blighted by bigotry, we fought for equality and justice -- for civil rights and voting rights and the rights of women, for the cause of Americans with disabilities.

When higher education was beyond the reach of veterans returning home from war, we created the GI Bill of Rights -- and we have continued ever since to make college more affordable for millions more Americans.

When men and women needed protection in the workplace, we demanded safe conditions for their jobs.

We insisted on the right to higher pay for working overtime.

We guaranteed the right to form a union.

We pledged a fair minimum wage, so that no one in America who works for a living should have to live in poverty.

Only leaders who know this history -- and abide by the ideals that shaped it -- deserve to be trusted with our nation's future...

...All of us who know John Kerry know that he is a fitting heir to these ideals...

...John is a war hero who understands that America's strength comes from many sources -- especially the power of our ideas. He knows that a true leader inspires hope and vanquishes fear.

...The hope of real victory against terrorism and true security at home.

Of good health care for all Americans.

Of Social Security that is always there for the elderly.

Of schools that open golden doors of opportunity for all our children.

Of an economy that works for everyone.

That's the kind of America we'll have with John Kerry in the White House.

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A fitting speech for the old-timer.

Obviously, elections are won looking forward and not backward.

But reminders of the historic successes of the past can be useful. They bind a party, give direction, and renew sense of purpose.

And Kennedy was smart enough to connect the past to goals of the future.

He didn't get beyond the broad brush as far as future goals go. But in the end, that's Kerry's job.

July 27, 2004 -- 6:25 PM ET PERMALINK
We're Live (Finally!)

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July 27, 2004 -- 3:45 PM ET PERMALINK
Semi-Live Blogging: Take Back America Conference

LO is presently at what seems to be the hot liberal ticket, the Take Back America conference by the Campaign For America's Future.

Howard Dean, Robert Reich, Sierra Club's Carl Pope and others have already spoke. Michael Moore is going to be on any minute.

The turnout is so huge, the overfill crowd was ushered in to a second room for a parallel meeting, so Dean and Reich and the others could speak to everyone.

In case you were wondering, Dean's still got the juice.

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He brought the crowd to its feet with his calls for party infrastructure reform from the bottom up.

For you political junkies, following Robert Reich's speech, the MC made a sly reference to "Governor Reich." Another campaign perhaps?

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And for too much information, the crowd is on its feet, waiting for Michael Moore, as he goes to the bathroom...

July 27, 2004 -- 3:20 PM ET PERMALINK
Emily's List Mega-Luncheon

Through a little serendipity, LO got into a massive fundraiser today for Emily's List, the longtime fundraiser for pro-choice Dem women candidates.

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The pic above is of the crowd as they are waiting to get in, more than 2,000 people.

LO heard great speeches by Emily's List Prez Ellen Malcolm (top) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi

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And while there LO also scored an interview with one of the great liberal congresspeople, Rep. Jan Schakowsky.

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No time at the moment to get into detail, or post the interview, but stay tuned...

...In the meantime, a fun Schakowsky fact: she's seen Fahrenheit 9/11...twice!

July 27, 2004 -- 2:45 AM ET PERMALINK
LO On Air America Tonight

Exec. Ed. Bill Scher is scheduled to be on NYC's #1 evening talk radio show "The Majority Report" at around 7:45 PM ET. Go to airamericaradio.com to find a station near you or to listen online.

July 27, 2004 -- 2:40 AM ET PERMALINK
Giving Up On The Public

At yesterday's blogger breakfast, discussion turned to the "decline" of party conventions as big news stories, because the conflict and dramatic decision-making is largely gone.

LiberalOasis asked AP's Walter Mears:

Why is it that conflict is a necessity...to reach the level of news?

Why is not news, as a public service to the country, to say...the party has come together to reaffirm their principles, and tell the country the positions they are taking, so they can make an informed decision come November?

Mears responded:

It is. We're doing our best to do that...

...the substance of it, the platform, the speeches and so forth, will be covered, probably with more words than they need.

But, you know, the coverage is there. The question is if anybody wants it.

Go check out the coverage today.

Surely, some of the substance of last night's speeches will be covered in a cursory way.

But will the media delve into the issues that were raised last night, and attempt to inform the public what's behind the speeches and elevate the discourse?

Not a chance.

Bill Clinton's speech in particular was quite substantive, hitting several issues that are not top of mind for most voters, pols and pundits.

For example, in talking about how Bush reacted to 9/11, Clinton raised Bush's rejection of several treaties:

[Bush] and his congressional allies [used] the moment of unity to push America too far to the right and to walk away from our allies.

Not only in attacking Iraq before the weapons inspectors finished their jobs.

But in withdrawing American support for the Climate Change Treaty, the International Court for war criminals, the ABM treaty, and even the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.

And Clinton continued, criticizing Bush's nuke policy:

Now they are working to develop two new nuclear weapons which they say we might use first.

How many Americans even know new nukes are even an issue? How many reporters covering campaign know? (Did you know?)

Now that Clinton put it out there, will any media outlet analyze it in more detail, so more people will know? Don't hold your breath.

Clinton also returned to his anti-crime policy, which Bush is turning to shreds:

In this year's budget, the White House wants to cut off federal funding for 88,000 uniformed police, including more than 700 on the New York City police force who put their lives on the line on 9/11.

As gang violence is rising and we look for terrorists in our midst, Congress and the President are also about to allow the ten-year-old ban on assault weapons to expire.

Our crime policy was to put more police on the streets and take assault weapons off the streets. It brought eight years of declining crime and violence.

Their policy is the reverse, they're taking police off the streets and putting assault weapons back on the streets.

Did the pundits last night then explain how Bush is doing a two-step on the assault weapons ban?

Or talk about how the Clinton and Bush policies have affected crime rates?

LO didn't see any TV last night, but safely guesses, no.

Some press talked about how Jimmy Carter slyly knocked Bush's (lack of) National Guard service, compared with Kerry's Vietnam duty.

But did they explore Carter's complete rejection of Dubya's claim on being the beacon of freedom and liberty to the world?

Carter said:

Let us not forget that the Soviets lost the Cold War because the American people combined the exercise of power with adherence to basic principles, based on sustained bipartisan support.

We understood the positive link between the defense of our own freedom and the promotion of human rights.

Recent policies have cost our nation its reputation as the world's most admired champion of freedom and justice...

...we cannot enhance our own security if we place in jeopardy what is most precious to us, namely, the centrality of human rights in our daily lives and in global affairs.

Now, Carter didn't go into much detail, only saying "recent policies."

The assumption would be he means Iraq.

But as LO has noted, there are plenty of other countries where human rights is clearly not Bush's top priority.

There's something else that the media could fill a few chunks of coverage with, but won't.

None of this is to say that the media are screwing the Dems this week. The coverage may well be positive enough to give Kerry a juicy bounce.

But is the public being served?

Mears and others, jaded perhaps from doing this for years, already assume no one wants the dry policy stuff, they only want the drama and conflict.

A lot of the time, that's probably true.

But it's a cop out to cave in to that assumption and stop providing serious policy analysis (and not try to make it interesting).

Especially during a rare party convention, and when an election, and the course of our country, is on the line.

July 27, 2004 -- 1:05 AM ET PERMALINK
Establishment 1, Blogger 0
or This Is What You Call The Next Wave Of Journalism?

How did the first night of real-time convention blogging go, you ask?

First, for some (inc. LO), the wireless access up in the nosebleed section wasn't working.

Below is Dave Johnson of Seeing The Forest, struggling, soon before he got tapped for an impromptu Daily Show bit.

johnson

LO then tried the 3rd floor media center (below), where many traditional journos go to write and file their stories via an ethernet connection. This is outside the convention hall, so reporters watch the speeches on TV.

3rdfloor

But for some reason, LO's connection wasn't happening.

And upon returning to the blogger nosebleed section, LO was told the section was now full, and was turned away.

That meant watching on another TV, sitting on the ground in the 7th floor hallway, with the true believers who don't need no stinkin' floor passes.

lofloor
sitonfloor

Finally, a staffer pointed LO towards another nosebleed section, this one behind the podium, obstructed view.

obstructed

Despite all that, LO will have some substantive insight shortly...

July 26, 2004 -- 6:15 PM ET PERMALINK
Things You Just Won't See At A GOP Convention

catinhat

July 26, 2004 -- 5:40 PM ET PERMALINK
More Breakfast

Actually, the breakfast was a solid event. Keynote speaker and Illinois Senate candidate Barack Obama spoke briefly, as did Kerry's Vietnam crewmate Del Sandusky.

But the heart of the event were speeches by longtime Associated Press political reporter Walter Mears (who is blogging the convention for AP subscribers) and Howard Dean of Democracy For America.

Mears was respectful of the bloggers, even complimentary. But there was a definite disconnect.

bloggerbreakfast
Walter Mears

One blogger asked who Mears was going to vote for, and Mears declined.

When the blogger asked how we could trust him if we didn't know his viewpoint, so we could compensate for it, Mears retorted that he's "objective."

There was some chuckling.

But it was a good window into the mind of a mainstream journalist.

Mears sincerely believes the AP always plays it straight, not recognizing (or rejecting) that many news consumers aren't buying it and are seeking other sources.

Afterwards, Dean (who hadn't heard Mears) provided the counterpoint:

bloggerbreakfast
Howard Dean

I read a paper, that I used to like a lot, and...I noticed on the front page of the incredibly prestigious paper...that every single article was an opinion piece...

...They weren't labeled that way.

But, you know, you get to the third paragraph and -- if Senator Kerry does this or does that then this is likely to happen...

...That was somebody's opinion. That's not news...

...What's happened is under the influence of Rupert Murdoch...the rest of the American media has become more entertainment-oriented and less news-oriented.

So my attitude towards bloggers is "why not?"

Who says that you're any less qualified to deliver the news, as long as people understand what it is?

It was a good way to start the week.

July 26, 2004 -- 4:55 PM ET PERMALINK
Blogging Jumps The Shark

bloggerbreakfast

The Dems organized a blogger breakfast this morning to kick of the convention, and the mainstream media pounced on it. There may well have been more paid journos than bloggers.

Let the overexposure begin!

In the pic above, Steve Soto of The Left Coaster is on the far left, being interviewed by a Cox News Service reporter.

Dave Pell of Electablog (back turned with backpack) is talking to the National Journal, with a Boston Herald reporter looking on.

July 25, 2004 -- 10:55 PM ET PERMALINK
Blog Coverage

The Wall Street Journal has profiles of most of the bloggers covering the convention.

The Chicago Tribune has a piece on convention bloggers that prominently features LO.

July 25, 2004 -- 10:55 PM ET PERMALINK
Editor's Note

On Monday, LiberalOasis plans to cover a couple of events in the morning and early afternoon, and expects to post dispatches beginning in the mid-afternoon.

There will be no Sunday Talkshow Breakdown.

July 25, 2004 -- 12:15 PM ET PERMALINK
LO Previews Kerry's Speech For The Star Tribune

Check out "Kerry's Moment" in today's Minneapolis Star Tribune, laying out the five things to look out for in Kerry's acceptance speech.

The online version, at this writing, reads a little funny, as it inadvertantly leaves out key subheads.

July 23, 2004 PERMALINK
Great Moments In Convention Acceptance Speeches
(posted July 23 1 AM ET)

Gearing up for next week's convention, LiberalOasis has been checking out past candidate acceptance speeches.

Below are some notable highlights from the last few decades to chew on until Monday, when LO begins blogging on a 24-7 schedule throughout the convention.

Faith, Meet Sleeve

Ronald Reagan, 1980:

I have thought of something that's not a part of my speech and worried over whether I should do it.

Can we doubt that only a Divine Providence placed this land, this island of freedom, here as a refuge for all those people in the world who yearn to breathe free?

Jews and Christians enduring persecution behind the Iron Curtain; the boat people of Southeast Asia, Cuba, and of Haiti; the victims of drought and famine in Africa, the freedom fighters of Afghanistan [sic], and our own countrymen held in savage captivity.

I'll confess that I've been a little afraid to suggest what I'm going to suggest. I'm more afraid not to.

Can we begin our crusade joined together in a moment of silent prayer?

God bless America.

This appears to be the first time an acceptance speech ended in "God Bless America," although references to God and faith appeared in some prior GOP and Dem addresses.

Democrats did not begin to follow suit until Bill Clinton in 1992 (Clinton ended with a "God bless you" in 1996).

In any event, while LiberalOasis appreciates Ron Reagan Jr.'s sentiment about political exploitation of religion, the notion that his father, "never made the fatal mistake of so many politicians, wearing his faith on his sleeve to gain political advantage," doesn't quite hold up.

Nobody Paid Enough Attention To Terrorism, Right?

Bill Clinton, 1996

We are fighting terrorism on all fronts with a three-pronged strategy.

First, we are working to rally a world coalition with zero tolerance for terrorism.

Just this month I signed a law imposing harsh sanctions on foreign companies that invest in key sectors of the Iranian and Libyan economies.

As long as Iran trains, supports and protects terrorists, as long as Libya refuses to give up the people who blew up Pan Am 103, they will pay a price from the United States.

Second, we must give law enforcement the tools they need to take the fight to terrorists.

We need new laws to crack down on money laundering and to prosecute and punish those who commit violent acts against American citizens abroad; to add chemical markers or taggents to gunpowder used in bombs so we can crack the bomb makers; to extend the same power police now have against organized crime to save lives by tapping all the phones that terrorists use.

Terrorists are as big a threat to our future, perhaps bigger, than organized crime. Why should we have two different standards for a common threat to the safety of America and our children?

We need, in short, the laws that Congress refused to pass.

And I ask them again, please, as an American, not a partisan matter, pass these laws now.

Third, we will improve airport and air travel security. I have asked the Vice President to establish a commission and report back to me on ways to do this.

But now we will install the most sophisticated bomb-detection equipment in all our major airports. We will search every airplane flying to or from America from another nation -- every flight, every cargo hold, every cabin, every time.

Al Gore, 2000:

We must confront the new challenges of terrorism, new kinds of weapons of mass destruction, global environmental problems, and new diseases that know no national boundaries and can threaten national security.

Number of times George W. Bush mentioned terrorism in his 2000 acceptance speech: 0

Though he did say, "my administration will deploy missile defenses to guard against attack and blackmail." Thank goodness.

But the Alabama National Guard Is Another Story...

George H.W. Bush in 1992, mocking Clinton's position on the first Iraq war:

What about the leader of the Arkansas National Guard, the man who hopes to be Commander in Chief? Well, I bit the bullet, and he bit his nails.

Before Kerry, Before Dean, Before Trippi, Before the Internet...

There was George McGovern:

Let the opposition collect their $10 million in secret money from the privileged few.

And let us find one million ordinary Americans who will contribute $25 each to this campaign, a Million Member Club with members who will not expect special favors for themselves but a better land for us all.

You Can't Say "Optimism" Enough

The "optimism" buzzword is not unique to this political season. Bob Dole tried on the optimism mantle in 1996:

Optimism is in our blood. I know this as few others can.

There once was a time when I doubted the future. But I have learned as many of you have learned that obstacles can be overcome.

And I have unlimited confidence in the wisdom of our people and the future of our country.

Tonight, I stand before you tested by adversity, made sensitive by hardship, a fighter by principle, and the most optimistic man in America.

As you can see, buzzwords only go so far.

You Can Say "Jobs" Too Much

George H.W. Bush set the bar a wee too high for himself in 1988:

On jobs, my mission is: 30 in 8. Thirty million jobs in the next eight years.

His son learned the lesson.

Number of times George W. Bush mentioned jobs in his 2000 acceptance speech: 0

Class Warfare Never Works, Right?

Bill Clinton, 1992:

He has raised taxes on the people driving pickup trucks and lowered taxes on the people riding in limousines. We can do better.

One More Lie To Throw On the Pile

George W. Bush in 2000:

I will not attack a part of this country, because I want to lead the whole of it.

Bush in March 2003:

Obviously some people in Northern California do not see there's a true risk to the United States posed by Saddam Hussein.

Bush this month:

Senator Kerry is rated as the most liberal member of the Senate, and he chose a fellow lawyer who is the fourth most liberal member of the Senate.

Back in Massachusetts, that's what they call balancing the ticket.

And again this month:

My opponent said that a bunch of entertainers from Hollywood conveyed the heart and soul of America. I believe the heart and soul of America is found in places like Duluth, Minnesota.

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