...I'm okay with being REALITY-based.

Wednesday, December 10, 2003
      ( 1:32 PM )
Endorsement Blather

Of course I picked a huge news day to be home in bed sleeping off the third fourth fifth wave of cold in my House of Germs yesterday - so I am a bit belated on sharing my opinions. But of course, that won't stop me from sharing them nonetheless!

I have to say that I was a bit surprised by the Gore endorsement. From what Dean says, Gore approached him - Dean didn't directly ask him for the endorsement. However, I do know that hundreds, perhaps thousands, of letters were written to Gore back in October as part of the Dean Meetup activist activity. I wrote one myself asking for his endorsement. I haven't heard whether this had influence, but I'd sure like to know how many letters he got and if that did influence him.

All of the pundits seemed completely focused on the diss to Lieberman. Let me just say this once: Joe Lieberman didn't stand aside and wait to see if Gore would declare out of loyalty or courtesy - he did it out of practical self-preservation. There would have been no point in running if Gore had declared and Lieberman knew it. This just one more reason for Joe to be paaaaiined. But this is politics and Gore wasn't going to call Joe and let him know he was endorsing someone else before anyone else knew it - the risk of leaks and the fact that this just isn't how you do it - precluded that, in my point of view.

Now as for Gore pulling Dean to the center - could I be more sick and tired of the media declaring how liberal Dean is? If he's so liberal, why are Gephardt and Kerry attacking him from the left in their campaign ads in Iowa and NH? This was a strategic move by Gore to realign himself with what he sees as the emerging power in the party. The old DLC-let's-be-mini-Republicans days are gone. He put up with it during the 8 years in office and he let them run his show in 2000 and got nothing for it. He knows where the future is. Democrats and liberals who'd previously fled the party are up for fighting back now, and the only candidate willing to throw punches back at the bullies is Dean. Gore made that fantastic populist-centered speech at the convention in 2000 and then got scared into letting the DLC bulldoze him until he didn't look any different from Bush. He knows it was a mistake and he knows that his way back to power is not with the DLC crowd anymore.

I'm glad the debates are over for now. They were long, tedious exercises in repetitive Dean bashing and basically forums for us to see the wit of Al Sharpton. Once the field is narrowed, the debates will be better (though I don't know that there will be any now until the candidate is decided).

It's funny, this time last year, I was looking at the potential field of candidates and thinking to myself "Gee, this Dean guy would be great as president...but no one knows who he is and he'll never get enough notice..." And here we are, Dean has the biggest endorsement of them all, save Clinton, under his belt and the first primary voting booth hasn't even opened. I think it will only get more interesting from here on out.

Update: I just realized I didn't put any links in that post. Oh well. Blame it on the Cold Medicine.

Update 2: Here's a link. I found reference to the letters written to Gore in the NY Times:

At the same time, the campaign encouraged Dean
supporters to write to Mr. Gore, among other
Democratic figures, including former President Bill
Clinton, to seek their endorsements. A Dean aide
said that at an Oct. 1 gathering of 50,000 Dean
supporters in more than 700 cities around the
country, 2,500 people sent handwritten letters to
Mr. Gore
asking him to endorse Dr. Dean.

Mr. Gore, his associates said, loved the attention.

"Al Gore has been watching Governor Dean's
campaign pretty closely," said Roy Neel, a longtime
Gore friend and aide who was planning Mr. Gore's
aborted transition to the presidency in 2000. "They
have shown not only respect but substantive
interest in Al and Tipper."

Looks like he's still basking in the attention: Dean supporters have already sent over 14,000 letters of appreciation to Gore for the endorsement - and that is just in less than 24 hours.

Update 3: Haha! Of course: Tom Burka has the REAL story behind Gore's endorsement!

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