I kept seeing these statements about the primary candidates appearing on the network and cable news channels and appearing on the blogs too but I didn't actually realize that these statements (and subsequent assessments) were taking place at the DNC WINTER MEETING.
"Live Blogging" from the winter meeting has been taking place at MyDD. Jerome Armstrong is doing a fine job of summarizing the statements from the candidates and also giving us a feel for how the crowd is reacting to the candidates and their presentations.
One bit of irony from the meeting comes to us from Joe Biden's presentation to the meeting. Of course, he does his normal "mea culpa" for his "inartful" remarks about Barak Obama but even at that, his speech is described as "dour". The irony is that the brohahah over Biden's remarks as they were spun by the media is exactly the gripe that bloggers have had about the shallowness and banality of mainstream media in America and what passes for "political discourse".
Click the link to read the whole blog. But here are a few of Jerome's highlights:
On Governor Bill Richardson: Though he went noticeably over the soft seven-minute time limit, he kept the audience with him -- not just because he had suppoerters strategically located throughout the hall but also because he gave a very good speech. It's not be enough, in and of itself, to get him into the top tier of candidates, but it may just have gotten him on that path. (note: later on in another post, it's speculated that Richardson is one of two candidates with the potential to break out of the "second tier". Vilsak is the other one)
On Governor Tom Vilsak: . Not a bad speech, and in fact what he had to say was fairly good. But his delivery wasn't terribly energetic and he didn't really connect with the crowd, which he probably needed to do in order to break out this weekend.
On Senator Chris Dodd:When Dodd said, "let me conclude", there were a few scattered claps by the partisans for other candidates.
On Senator Barak Obama: I'd sum up the Obama presence at the DNC winter meetings by saying he's got a bipartisan message which relies upon a decentralized organization.
On General Wes Clark: The imminent candidacy of Clark is upon us. His intro song is "Stand my Ground" by Johnny Cash. Wesley Clark has his support on the netroots, and its fairly deep and established. (note: he goes on to say that Clark's candidacy is "up against the wall" in a sense in that he has to show strength early or it's futile)
On John Edwards: His transformation from his last, more traditional campaign (David Axelrod, who now does Obama, did Edwards media narrative), to a grassroots, issue-based
campaign plays to the sweet spot of liberal Democrats actually voting in the primaries. After his speech, Edwards becomes the first candidate to go out into the crowd and mingle after his
On Dennis Kucinich: Yea, he's mostly been right about Iraq, but this is a vanity candidate that doesn't deserve a second chance.
And I know you've been waiting for it, on Hillary Clinton
I'm convinced more than ever (probably due to Mark Warner dropping out) that Hillary's candidacy has stronger machinery support than any of the others. At one point, I saw Harold Ickes squeeze up next to a DNC member in the aisle, grasping him at the shoulders, pulling him close, LBJ-like, the guy reluctantly starts to nod before getting the slap on the back, and it's onto the next one.
Some of my impressions from "the cheap seats" out here in Rural Wisconsin are actually being born out. Among them is that Hillary's campaign has the most money and money buys staff, publicity and eventually an organization....she will be a formidable candidate. Biden, Dodd and Kucinich? They should be taken aside and told the truth. They are "second tier" at best and should get the hell out of the way for candidates who really have a shot at the nomination.
A more troubling bit of information comes from Glenn Greenwald over at Unclaimed Territory. His post details the appearances of Edwards and Clinton at the AIPAC meeting in New York. Here's what's troubling as Glenn describes it
Then, the Sun emphasized how vital it was for presidential candidates to attract contributions from New York Jewish groups generally, and how such contributions (as is true for all interest groups) are available only to those candidates who support those groups' so-called "pro-Israel" agenda:
A Democratic political consultant who worked on President Clinton 's re-election campaign, Hank Sheinkopf, noted that the Aipac dinner always draws a parade of politicians.
New York is the ATM for American politicians. Large amounts of money come from the Jewish community," he said. "If you're running for president and you want dollars from that group, you need to show that you're interested in the issue that matters most to them."
And, according to the Sun, what do presidential candidates have to do in order to ensure access to "the ATM for American politicians" -- the "large amounts of money from the Jewish community" in New York? What is the "issue that matters most to them"? Belligerence towards Iran:
Indeed, how to deal with Iran is likely to be the next majority foreign policy conundrum the 2008 presidential candidates face.While Mr. Edwards and Mrs. Clinton have different positions on how to deal with the Iraq war, each has used harsh language on Iran.The Sun also highlighted how vital (what it calls) "the circuit of influential Jewish donors" is to Hillary Clinton specifically:
Mrs. Clinton, who has opted out of the public campaign financing system, has tapped into the circuit of influential Jewish donors for years and has strong support in the community. A spokesman for Aipac, Joshua Block, said yesterday that the senator and former first lady has "an extremely consistent and strong record of support on issues that are important to the pro- Israel community.""She is an extraordinary leader on those issues in the United States Senate," he sai
So....this then becomes "the house that Jack Built"...in American politics.
You need mega dollars to run
Those have the money also have "issues"
To get the money from those who have it you need to make their issues YOUR issues.
If you get elected, THEIR ISSUES which you have made YOUR ISSUES become NATIONAL ISSUES.
NATIONAL ISSUES BECOME POLICY