Tuesday, June 27, 2006


As a strong partisan Democrat, I generally like it when people attribute wisdom to the Democratic Party. But here the attribution is somewhat erroneous. Dick Lamm sought the nomination of the Ross Perot's Reform Party--the folks who gave us Pat Buchanan in 2000 and, in some states, Ralph Nader in 2004--in 1996, with Perot's initial encouragement. Perot quickly became estranged from Lamm, and then defeated him for the Reform Party nomination. Since leaving the Governorship, Lamm has never run for office as a Democrat again. (His wife did unsuccessfully seek a U.S. Senate seat as a Democrat,)Lamm's views on the perils of immigration and multiculturalism do not represent the views of either the Democratic Party or the Republican Party. They are alarmist and at variance with reality. Latinos, no less than other immigrants, learn English and assimilate. There is no movement for California to secede from the United States and become Mexifornia: Mexicans come to the United States precisely because they want to become part of the United States and gain its typical economic opportunities.Our country has to decide how best to deal with illegal immigration. The hysteria fostered by the people who fear Mexifornia is as likely to produce a genuine solution to this problem as McCarthyism was to produce an end to the Cold War.Lamm may be the most outspoken American politician. He is outspoken though in a similar way to the late Governor George Wallace. He is the man who produced national outrage while Governor with his "solution" to high healthcare costs: old people, he said in most famous line, have a "duty to die" and get out of the way. Not since George Wallace had any American governor been denounced so fervently by so many.

May 8, 2006



John Conyers is one of a relatively small number of congressmen outside of Pennsylvania that I know personally to some degree. I had a couple of long talks with him while serving as a Congressional intern in 1967. I had a long conversation with him while attending a Democratic fundraiser in in New York City in or around 1985. I had dinner with him and staff while attending a national conference on health care in New York City in 2004.Conyers is a brilliant man, well versed on numerous public issues. He is outspoken, passionate, and deeply engaged in Congressional struggles for a better health care system, workers rights, voter's rights, and improvements in the federal judiciary. He is in his mid-seventies now, but he looks and acts much younger than that.Any Republican attempt to demonize him will have as much success as earlier attempts to demonize Tip O'Neill, Ted Kennedy, and Bill and Hillary Clinton. The House judiciary committee does not vote on judicial confirmations. It does vote on impeachments. Likely future House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said that she and the caucus will make decisions for the Democratic Party on impeachment of federal officials, and not Conyers alone.Conyers first won a Congressional seat in 1964 by a small margin in a heavily contested multi-candidate primary. A new constituent had volunteered to help him, and she quietly did normal campaign grunt work. Then Conyers heard her name, and got her public endorsement. Her name was Rosa Parks, and her endorsement was key to his election. She worked many years as a staff member for him. She was the first of many extremely good staff selections that he made.

May 30, 2006



Yes, there is some spinning of wheels as Dean activists plot out different ideas for keeping at least some of the Dean movement together. But the campaign is so rich in quality people that coming up with a group of organizations, working together on some projects, working individually on others,is hardly a bad sign. From the New Democratic Coalition, which emanated from the McCarthy and Kennedy campaigns, to Americans for Common Sense, from the McGovern Campaign,to Independent Action, from the Udall Campaign, to the Rainbow Coalition, from the Jackson Campaign, to the Concord Coalition, from the Tsongas Campaign, post-election organizations of candidate supporters have had a big influence on the Democratic Party. The same is true with the Republican Party, with the Christian Coalition from the Robertson campaign being the prime example.

Campaign-based organizations may last a long time (there is still a Woodrow Wilson Club which meets annually in Carlise, Pennsylvania) or a shortime (Americans for Common Sense only about three years), but they are an honorable tradition, and Dean supporters should be praised for carrying on and enhancing it with the possibility of mutiple organizations.

February 24, 2004


Howard Dean replied to NY Republican State Chairman Minarik's smear in the right way. We cannot let them get away with the tactics of character assassination and guilt by association, and Dean's rapid response showed them there would be price for this kind of disgusting tactic.
It is wonderful to have a national chairman who will engage with state figures as well as national figures. We cannot let thugs with respectable titles prevail over people of decency and public spirit.

February 16, 2005


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