Here's a Kerry guy who ran a Kerry blog who has thrown his support behind General Clark. Why? Among other things, he was particularly disheartened by Kerry's constant, and oftentimes unfair, sniping at Dean. Let's give Dan a warm welcome into the Clark family.
Each one of our local Congressional Districts' delegate slates: Reynolds (26), Quinn (27) and Slaughter (28) has collected enough petition signatures to qualify for inclusion on the March 2nd New York Presidential Primary ballot. This is a huge accomplishment. Everyone who participated should be proud of this feat. Think of the hurdles we faced: bad weather, apathetic and/or hostile voters, the Holiday season. Yet we did it. About 100 volunteers - from Geneseo to Buffalo - from Rochester to Niagara Falls - collected over 2,700 signatures from registered Democrats during the period from Thanksgiving through Christmas. The campaign didn't pay a cent to get those petitions signed. This was a 100% volunteer effort. We have a great group of volunteers and coordinators in our area. Thanks to Jeremy Toth, Terry Wegler, Robin Schimminger and Dave Swarts for their guidance during this effort. Thanks to all of you who hustled in the cold to get people to sign petitions for this campaign. Our group started with a meetup at Kahunaville on the second Monday in September. Seven people showed up. Now, the fun can begin. A caravan is being organized out of Cleveland. This caravan will pass through upstate NY and end up in New Hampshire over MLK weekend. If you have a free weekend, please consider joining the caravan. Despite what the media may lead you to believe, NH isn't a done deal for Dean. "Undecided" is in second place in New Hampshire in most recent polls. Clark and Kerry are battling it out for the #2 slot. Dean has been organizing for over a year. Clark has been in this race for 2 months. Please visit the official campaign website. Donate money to their $1,000,000 drive. Volunteer to help the New Hampshire effort from the comfort of your own home. Check out the innovative, lively and informative community blog. This campaign is just hitting its stride, folks. There's so much more to do and a lot of fun to be had, now that the hard part is over. Thanks again to all of you, and congratulations.
I haven't updated for a few days because it's simply been incredibly busy. We held a follow-up petition meeting yesterday. So far, the 28th (Slaughter) district has qualified. Congratulations to Terry Wegler and everyone who worked so hard to get those signatures (Assemblyman Schimminger got about 300 signatures on his own). The 27th is nearly there - about 150 signatures short. The 26th is a bit behind, so we have some work to do on that end. If anyone can help the 27th out, please e-mail Jeremy Toth at firstname.lastname@example.org for more info. If anyone can help the 26th out, please e-mail Alan Bedenko at email@example.com for more info.
Scot Lehigh, Boston Globe columnist, opines that Clark is "finally making headway" "Clark drove the point home. Predicting that Bush would question the national-security credentials and resolution of the Democrats, he said: 'Let me tell you what happens if he tries to do that. I'll put my 34 years of defending the United States of America and the results that I and my teammates in the United States Armed Forces achieved against his three years of failed policies, any day.'" I find it better to slowly gather support in advance of primary season, rather than peaking 6 weeks ahead of primary season.
Ralph Nader's Presidential Exploratory Committee has a website. Click on the link to fill out a questionnaire, and tell Nader exactly what you think about a possible 3rd party run on the Green Party ticket in 2004. Think Florida. For Ralph Nader to run for President in 2004 would be an unmitigated disaster. In 2000, Nader opined that there was essentially no difference between Al Gore and George W. Bush. Nader cynically and selfishly thought that the country would be better off with a Bush presidency because it would predictably become such a fiasco of an administration that Nader's own views would contrast even more starkly and, theoretically, become even more attractive after 4 years of Bush. Well, the Bush years sure have been a catastrophe, but that fact merely underscores the cynicism and sheer idiocy of a Nader candidacy in 2004. Those who oppose Bush are certainly more united in their desire to expel Bush from the White House, but Nader sure isn't going to be the one to support. Indeed, Nader is seen more than ever as being nothing more than a spoiler who helped subject us to Bush/Cheney. Please. I beg of you. If Nader has any common sense, or sense of decency, he ought set aside his impossible aspirations to become President, and instead pledge his support, and that of the Green Party apparatus, to whomever the Democratic nominee might be so that there is a united centrist-progressive coalition to defeat Bush in 2004.
While George Bush gets an MRI for his self-inflicted knee problems, other Presidential candidates are busy, oh, testifying before international war crimes tribunals 'n stuff. http://www.un.org/icty/transe54/transe54.htm Click on Dec. 15 & Dec. 16 transcripts. Interesting to see a politician take time out just weeks before a critical primary to perform selfless duty for his country.
I know, I know. The American Spectator is about as "fair and balanced" as Pravda, ca. 1982. But I'm a firm believer that one has to know what the opposition is thinking in order to defeat it. I'm not talking about Howard Dean, (who, by the way, I think has peaked). Instead, I'm talking about the Republican Party ensconced in Washington. The Republican Party that has control of all three branches of government right now. Remember how the GOP used to stand for "good government" and "less taxing, less spending." Well, it doesn't anymore. Not even close. The GOP right now is more *ahem* liberal with its wallet as any Democratic administration or legislature ever dreamed. So, I turn to the pages of the ultra-right wing American Spectator. Run by R. Emmett Tyrrell. Published by Alfred Regnery. Of Vince Foster conspiracy theory fame. Of Anita Hill smearing fame. Of Troopergate fame. When September and October 2004 roll around, this should be the Democratic Nominee's MANTRA: "According to an analysis by the Heritage Foundation, 2003 marked "the first time since World War II that federal spending has topped $20,000 per household." Worse, "the 7.6 percent average annual growth over the past two years more than doubled the 3.4 percent average annual growth from 1993 to 2001." Think of that: The Clinton government was more frugal than Bush's. And this isn't just war on terror spending."
Milosevic Trial Helps Clark Try to Gain Notice: "General Clark has spent more than 100 hours with Mr. Milosevic over the last decade, negotiating with him and other Balkan leaders during the Dayton talks that brought peace to Bosnia in 1995, and then in the period before the NATO bombing campaign in 1999 to force the Yugoslav Army out of Kosovo. General Clark also said he had told the court that Mr. Milosevic had had advance knowledge, and command and leadership responsibility, for atrocities during the violent breakup of Yugoslavia, including the massacre of thousands of Bosnian Muslims from the town of Srebrenica in 1995. According to officials in The Hague, General Clark cited a conversation in Belgrade in August 1995 in which he asked Mr. Milosevic that if he had so much influence over the Bosnian Serbs, why he had allowed Gen. Ratko Mladic, the Bosnian Serb military commander, to kill so many people at Srebrenica. 'Well, General Clark, I warned him not to do it, but he didn't listen to me,' General Clark reportedly quoted Mr. Milosevic as saying."
General Clark testified against one of the most brutal, dangerous dictators Europe has seen in the last 100 years. (Slobodan Milosevic is in good company with the likes of Hitler, Stalin and Mussolini). Taking a cue from what happened in Nuremburg after World War II, the civilized world is trying war criminals from all sides in the Yugoslav civil war. Of course, Milosevic was the spark that started that war. I can't describe how proud I am that General Wesley Clark - the man whom I support for President - testified this week against this butcher Milosevic. Clark, ever mindful of his sense of duty, thought nothing of taking a week out from his incredibly busy campaign schedule - just over a month before the pivotal New Hampshire primary - to give his testimony. Clark's sense of service to mankind in this case trumps his own self-interest. That's what leadership is about. I don't know if testifying at the ICTY will earn Clark any votes, but it should.
We will hold a meeting on December 16th (TODAY) at 7pm at: 3514 Delaware Avenue, Suite 204 Town of Tonawanda (That location is near the Brounshidle, but NOT the Brounshidle; it is just South from Sheridan Drive). Please bring all your completed petitions to this meeting. We will begin transmitting petitions to HQ in NYC this week, and it will give us an idea of whether we've qualified all the CDs.
I don't know how many of you have visited this great website called www.clarks-army.com, but I urge you to do so. It's geared towards just the sort of grassroots effort in which we're engaged. I got this e-mail from Clarks' Army today: Grassrooters Phil & Laura (VA) have come up with the most AMAZING way to send ONE email, requesting an ENDORSEMENT for General Clark, to a BUNCH of your State's Elected Dem's AUTOMATICALLY! Talk about EASY! Go to this link and scroll down the center of the page and look for your state: http://www.clarkvalley.org/phpweb/index.php?module=pagemaster&PAGE_user_op=view_page&PAGE_id=10&MMN_position=27:27 Once you click on your state, go to the bottom to see who the letters are (and are not) sent to -- so you know who will get your email and who may still need an individual email. There are sample letters and suggestions. Also, Clark's Army has put together sample letters, as well, on the Clark's Army Link's Page: www.clarks-army.com/lp.html However, your letter should be personal and from your heart, so please use these letters as a guideline, only! It takes a moment to reach over 100 NYS Legislators. Please do one today!
Check out this nice piece in today's New York Times. "Needless to say, that has not appeared to have been a problem for General Clark. He was full of military metaphors in Harlem, where he accepted Mr. Rangel's endorsement. Asked by Gabe Pressman, the veteran New York television reporter, if he had 'not yet begun to fight' against Howard Dean, General Clark nearly spat back his answer. 'Yes, and I'll take one more naval hero's words. `Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead,' ' said General Clark, who served in the Army, not the Navy. 'We're moving out.'"
Just when you thought the Bush Administration couldn't do any worse comes this little tidbit of information via Calpundit. As you may recall, the Pentagon decided a few days ago to exclude evil Saddam apologists like France, Canada, Germany and Russia from obtaining any Iraq reconstruction contracts. This was alleged to be in the interests of US security. On the last page of the document, signed by DDS Wolfowitz, is a list of countries that are eligible to bid for Iraqi contracts. Evidently, Saudi Arabia, Azerbaijan, Eritrea, Uganda, Uzbekistan, and the Dominican Republic pose a lesser threat to US security than Canada, France and Germany. But wait. There's more. THE NEXT DAY, Bush called some of those very same countries - France, Germany and Russia, asking them to forgive Iraq's debts! This is either contemptably malicious or horrifically incompetent. You pick. Since when is which apparently pose a lesser threat to US security than Canada,
Scot Lehigh, op-ed writer for the Boston Globe says that Clark was the one candidate who really made the most of last night's debate. "Still, frustrating as the forum was, presidential politics is about making the most of the moment. The candidate who came closest to that last night was General Wesley Clark. When he began his campaign, Clark was a decidedly uncertain trumpet, but in several answers last night he spoke with both conviction and seeming expertise about the United States and its role in the world."
I think Clark did quite well --- with the 5 minutes or so of speaking he was apparently allotted. I really can't wait until the herd is thinned out a bit in this race. I don't know if anyone was counting, but it seemed to me as if other candidates - especially Dean - got a whole lot more time to ramble, and more follow-up questions, than anyone else. In any event, I thought Clark did a great job expressing his foreign policy bona fides. As Josh Marshall points out, this campaign may very well become a Dean-as-strong-on-domestic-issues vs. Clark-as-strong-on-foreign-policy battle. What was striking about last night's "debate" was the absolute idiocy of the questions asked. The first half-hour or so were devoted to an examination of Gore's Dean endorsement, and then to candidates' standing in the polls and the size of their warchests. I mean, COME ON. If you want to ask those questions, do it on Nightline, Ted. This is the LAST DEBATE BEFORE THE IOWA CAUCUSES AND NEW HAMPSHIRE PRIMARY. Ask some bloody relevant questions about actual ISSUES. Don't waste my time with process and post-mortems. Atrios has a great post about the inanity of last night's questions.
I don't think this is a necessarily a big negative for Clark. I don't think this endorsement spells "guaranteed nomination" for Dean. I actually think this bodes pretty well for Clark, in the big picture. How? Over the last decade, the Democratic Party has become more centrist while the GOP has lurched to the far, radical right. Understandably, those further left in the Dem Party spectrum have become somewhat disillusioned with the party heirarchy. (see Ralph Nader 2000 -ed.) Although Kucinich thought he would be the one chosen by the left wing, they have instead flocked to Dean. Let's face it - Dean has run a great campaign. I just don't think he's the best candidate. So, the left wing of the Democratic Party has found this folksy, straight-talking Vermont Governor around whom to rally. Gore, who purposefully shunned his ties with Clinton during the 2000 election, has merely staked his claim in the left wing of the party via this endorsement. The more mainstream, center of the party is still up for grabs. After all, if Dean is at 42% in New Hampshire, that means that "someone else" is at 58%. The problem now is that there are eight "someones" dividing that 58%. That's where the good General comes in. The centrist and conservative wings of the Democratic Party have yet to rally around a candidate. Lieberman - as conservative a Democrat as they come - is slipping, and this Gore endorsement hurts him the worst. Kerry's campaign is in heavy self-destruct mode. Sharpton and Moseley-Braun are barely making the cut in recent polls. Kucinich still has the Greens and Socialists locked up. Gephardt's numbers are slipping despite his Union endorsements, and his campaign is on a collision course to nowhere. The only ones with any traction right now are Clark and Edwards, with Clark out ahead. If Clark polls a respectable 2nd in New Hampshire, the primary turns to South Carolina and Arizona in early February. Clark has a real shot against both Edwards and Dean in South Carolina. The goal right now of all of us involved in the Clark effort is to make sure our candidate becomes the sole alternative to Dean. I think Gore's endorsement of Dean might actually help that process along.
Please scroll down - our meetup date will remain the 1st Monday of every month. The next meetup is on January 5th at the Brounshidle.
Last week, I blogged that our meetup days had changed. That information was incorrect, and has since been rectified. Please know that our regularly scheduled meetup day - the 1st Monday of every month - remains the same. Our next meetup will be January 5th at the Brounshidle. Sorry for the bad info.
Zogby has a new New Hampshire poll that has good news for Clark (and Dean) supporters, and bad news for Kerry & Edwards folks. In October, Dean was at 40%, Kerry at 17%, Clark was tied for third with Edwards at 6%, Lieberan was at 3%, and 19% remained undecided. The latest December poll shows Dean's support grew to 42%, while Kerry dropped five points to 12%. In the meantime, Clark took sole possession of the number 3 spot at 9%. Lieberman's support increased from 3 to 7%, while Edwards' dropped from 6 to 4%. Gephardt's support dropped one point to 3%, while Kucinich reached the single digits again with 2%. Sharpton and Mosley Braun are out of the picture. If you look at the poll's progression since February 2003, Clark went from 1% to 9%. Kerry went from 26% (the lead) to 12%. Dean, astonishingly, went from 13% to 42%. What's really going to be interesting is the early February primaries. Clark is polling really well in South Carolina, and we all know what happened to John McCain in 2000 - he trounced Bush in New Hampshire, but was soundly defeated in the South. Of course, Clark will win South Carolina based on his message and background. He won't have to resort to the dirtiest of dirty tricks, as Bush did.
The Democratic Party has its own meetup, and I urge people to join and, well, meet up. This link will let you sign up for the Democratic Party Meetup in your area. It doesn't cost anything, is a good place to have a Clark presence, and is set for Wednesday, December 17th at 7pm.
As any of you on the buffaloforclark Yahoo Group already know, we've decided to cancel this evening's meetup. Why? 1. We just met last week. 2. Everyone's time is better spent collecting some signatures tonight. Jeremy & Terry will be at the Brounshidle to greet anyone who shows up. Thanks to them for that. Also: If anyone needs petitions, the quickest way to get some is to go to the Brounshidle Hall at 3354 Delaware Avenue in Kenmore at 7pm sharp. Go to the downstairs bar and see Jeremy or Terry. They've got 'em. Also - I've gotten some e-mail via my meetup notebook about this. If anyone is reading this from anywhere in NYS and wants to volunteer to gather petitions and doesn't know whom to contact, send an e-mail to Elise Harris at firstname.lastname@example.org. Happy petitioning.
Hope everyone had good Turkey tidings. If you paid attention to the news at all this past week, (which I avoided), you may have noticed that a certain leader of the free world figuratively parachuted into Baghdad and was whisked away 2 1/2 hours later on Thanskgiving Day. You may know (but, given our shoddy news quality, probably didn't) that Bush didn't even bother to eat with the soldiers whom he graced with his presence on Thursday. Whether you think it was a crass political stunt or not, it's good that Bush actually went to Baghdad to face the men and women he's put in harm's way. Of course, Tony Blair did so months ago. And he publicized it. But I digress.... Here's a blast from the past that should wake us all up out of our tryptophan-induced sleepiness. Check out the bill of goods Bush was sold from neocon hawks around him. I can picture him telling aides on the flight back to Crawford that it just wasn't supposed to be like this. Doug, Don, Ahmed, Condoleeza and Rich all said he would be welcomed as a liberator.