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Somehow I managed to get into the Rock The Vote closing party at The Roxy. Met the man behind the Washington Post's Reliable Source, saw Antigone Rising, LL Cool J and Maroon 5 from three feet away, but most importantly, got to shake the hand of John Edwards and see Barak Obama drop in to give us a little motivation. What a convention. What a night.
Excerpt: Despite my general fan-hood of the good Doctor, I had never seen him speak live before, so I had to give it a shot. I got lucky today and managed a front row seat to the Howard Dean show. The show did not disappoint. So today I went to an unanticipated session lead by Howard Dean. I remember liking him from the first words I ever heard him say over a year ago: "My name is Howard Dean, and I represent the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party." What chutzpah. What balls. Just to tell it like it is. Despite my general fan-hood of the good Doctor, I had never seen him speak live before, so I had to give it a shot. I got lucky today and managed a front row seat to the Howard Dean show. The show did not disappoint. Dean had three basic messages 1. You can't win if you don't run. According to Dean, "voting is the bare minimum. You can't win if you don't run." He urged all of us to run for office and shared the stories of a 21 and 26 year old who are campaigning for congressional seats. I usually get a bad taste in my mouth just thinking about running for office (kinda like the way McDonald's food tastes to me after reading Fast Food Nation), but Dean made the idea sound like a no-brainer. Don't worry yourselves, folks. I'm not running for anything now. Besides, I hate kids, and you can't be a good politician by hating kids. 2. Challenge with a progressive message even if you don't think you'll win This is where I think Dean actually represents something a bit different from most of the political voices we manage to hear. He complained that Democrats too often write off entire states or districts or counties because they perceive no chance of winning. I'm sure Republicans do the same thing. We've all witnessed the fun re-districting efforts reinforncing this silent collusion. However, Dean's point is this: take the message everywhere. How can we expect progressive ideas to win over the country if we're afraid to promote them to the people who disagree with us? He points to the Gingrich "revolution" as evidence that Republicans tried this and succeeded in many cases. According to Dean, the Republicans promoted ideologically unacceptable candidates in several rounds of elections until finally enough of the citizenry just wanted something different. I didn't matter that they didn't buy into the candidates beliefs. To them, Washington was broken and needed some new body in there to fix it. 3. Just what is that message anyway? I like the way Dean broke down the different messages from the two parties, and I think it's pretty accurate. "The Republicans run on guns, God and gays. We've got to run on national security, jobs, health care and public education." Dean claims we win every one of those four issues and need to articulate that. On national security, we're no safer after the toppling of Saddam than before. In fact, we've created more terrorists in and out of Iraq On jobs, nuff said. We've lost many, and Republicans have put their foot in their mouths by advocating outsourcing On health care, Republicans forced through a scandalous prescription drug care package that cost more than publicly revealed and does little to actually help seniors afford medication On public education, Republicans want to drain public funds into private schools with vouchers While I don't agree with him on all the justifications for the issues, I think he has the right ones. Moreover, the larger point is that democrats (small d) and progressives HAVE issues. It is so clear that the right is in a desperate position. By relying on the so-called "cultural" issues of gay marriage and gun rights and God, they are performing the standup comedy equivalent of a hack dick joke after it became clear they were losing the crowd. I hope and actually think that America wants a bit more for its tax dollars than dick jokes.
Today my lack of sleep started catching up to me. If I wasn't actively talking, walking or cheering, I was dozing off. This doesn't mean Dems are boring. It just means that ousting the occupying forces in my hometown of DC takes a lot of energy... Today's activities (July 29) - Attended African American Caucus and heard some rousing speeches by black congressional leaders. Also included drop in performances by Hillary Clinton and Teresa Heinz Kerry. Everybody wants to talk to the black people! - Participated in workshop titled Building the Vast Left-Wing Conspiracy organized by 2020 Democrats, Democratic Leadership for the 21st Century and the Campaign for a National Majority. Featured guests were David Brock and Joe Trippi - Attended interfaith service "Let Justice Roll," focused on issues of hunger and poverty and keynoted by Rev. James Forbes of NYC's Riverside Church - Performed at The Comedy Connection and a Kerry fundraiser at The Comedy Vault - Partied hearty with New Yorkers at the Gotham Magazine party at Avalon nightclub. Speakers included Steve Buscemi and Alec Baldwin. Private concert by Brian McKnight!!! - Super latenight viewing of Al Sharpton's speech on C-SPAN.
Excerpt: After today, I can confidently say that absent some act of god (or his apparent surrogate, Dubya) John Kerry will be winning this election. This statement is based on polling data I saw yesterday, but more importantly, the incredible unity and momentum of anti-Bush forces. One year ago I said the Democrats should take a leave of absense on the 2004 election. I was wrong! What an incredibible day! Here's the activity lists: - DNC Youth Caucus Featuring: pollster Salinda Lake(sp?), Art Alexakis from Everclear, President Jehmu Greene of Rock the Vote and former Newark city councillor Corey Booker, WWE wrestlers Mick Foley and Chris Nowinski from Smackdown the Vote - DemocraticGAIN training Featuring: James Carville and Stan Greenberg - Young Democrats of America reception and world debut of Russell Simmons/Babyface music video advocating voting - (Almost attended) the Black Comedy Marathon at the Roxy Supposed to feature Cedric the Entertainer, Mike Epps, Adele Givens and Tommy Davidson - Screening of documentary film about Fox News called "Outfoxed" - Afterparty for soon-to-be Illinois Senator Barack Obama at downtown spot, Vinalia Featuring: John Cusack and LOTS of dancing young dems - C-SPAN viewing at home of Barak Obama's keynote speech to the convention Featuring: Barack Obama, future president of the united states of america So that was the overview. Here's the dirt. After today, I can confidently say that absent some act of god (or his apparent surrogate, Dubya) John Kerry will be winning this election. This statement is based on polling data I saw yesterday, but more importantly, the incredible unity and momentum of anti-Bush forces. One year ago I said the Democrats should take a leave of absense on the 2004 election. I was wrong! Let's get into the Youth Caucus first: I'll try not to describe everything, cause I have to run to the Black Caucus in a few minutes. This session, though, was off the hook. SOme of my favorite moments... Art Alexakis of Everclear singing "This Land is Your Land." But he wasn't just another celebrity face at the Convention. He's actually a DNC delegate from Oregon. That's just tight. Mick Foley of WWE Smackdown the Vote surprised all of us with his hilarious partisan statements. STV is supposed to be a bipartisan get out the vote effort, but Foley strayed from the script. Some "wrastlin" fans may remember him as "Mankind," and he described the pressure on wrestlers to be careful how they influence children with their crazy moves. Mick's story explained a "three way cage battle" in which it was suggested the other two wrestlers would double team him. Foley: "In a TV interview I said, 'Bring em on.' Little did I know such an impressionable person would be watching. I thought I was making fun of wrestling, not dictating foreign policy!" For those who watch Fox News, Foley was referring to Dubya's horrible tauting of insurgents in Iraq to "bring em on" and kill US troops. For the Smackdown perspective on the Convention, check out Chris Nowinski's Convention Notes The other Youth Caucus highlight for me was seeing former Newark city councillor Corey Booker. He gave a rousing speech which nearly brough tears to the eyes of everyone in the room, including yours truly. Booker is famous for winning his seat by narrowly-beating an 16-year incumbent with his personal politicking technique of knocking on 40,000 doors. Yes. Fourty. Thousand. Doors. His speech was more of a story of the personal events that drove him to see politics as valuable, as he was assigned to help an elderly woman soon-to-be evicted because of draconian public housing rules which would force this grandmother out because her grandson was caught with drugs. Ok, this report is taking too long. Gotta go right now, but I'll try to get back and enlighten readers on some of the other activities. Thanks for stopping by!
Last night Bill Clinton proved why people love him so much (and why the right hates him). I wasn't in the Fleet Center, but I felt like he really was in my living room instead of on the tube. You should see for yourself.