How We Got Here, In Three Easy Steps (Videos)

“Deja Vote” a pagano/parente production

Citizens speak out about how the DNC handled the Florida and Michigan votes and how they treated the democratic candidates.

ONE: Just so we’re clear. The video above shows where we were at on May 31, 2008, rallying to Count All the Votes in Florida and Michigan at the DNC RBC Meeting in Washington, DC. All the votes were not counted.

TWO: The DNC (s)elected presidential candidate Barack Obama instead of candidate Hillary Clinton, who won the popular vote.

THREE: So, as the Democratic Party refused to acknowledge our collective voice, 18 million strong, we are selecting ourselves — The People, the original, inclusive base of the Democratic Party — and making our voices heard.

Of course, this is only the Reader’s Digest version of where we’ve been until now, but will serve as reminder and encouragement.

Oops, Didn’t Realize I Was So Late: Dean’s DFA

What and Who Is Democracy For America?

Talk about a bamboozlement. What a strategy. It appears that attempts to organize now, after the Hillary fact, are, well, several years too late, to put it mildly. This one bowled me over, like I’d been hit in the gut. It doesn’t mean that I’m giving up; I’m just saying.

Howard Dean, it seems, has been busy training Democratic operatives and bloggers in a highly organized manner for a while now. Where have I been? I hadn’t heard of DFA until this week. This from fellow blogger, Claudiabl*:

DFA (Democracy For America) along with Netroots Nation are organizations founded by Howard Dean for the purpose of “training” campaign workers and promoting progressive candidates

That makes sense, right? It makes sense to have launched such an operation, considering the ass-whooping Dean and company got in 2000 and 2004. At the time, there were rampant “what hit us?” conversations about how Republicans had organized at the grassroots level, situating themselves in local government and on school boards. And what with the “swift-boating,” we were patsies and pansies and weren’t going to take it anymore. (I can’t help it, even though Democracy For America was on my side and ostensibly formed for good progressively strategic reasons, my mind keeps wandering over to the Hitler youth movement as a comparable. I should be ashamed.)

Why Was DFA Founded?

DFA was founded to reform the Democratic Party:

DFA members are working everyday to build a stronger more progressive Democratic Party. We believe the Democratic Party must be driven by people-power and responsive to the needs of everyday Americans.

Why sure, “people-power.” Me too, I’m for that!

Too often, once leaders from any party get elected, they get tied to a culture of incumbency and insular thinking that is dominated by special interests. DFA members fight for a culture of activism and rebuild policies and platforms for grassroots empowerment. It is our mission to constantly revitalize the party with new members, progressive ideas, and effective actions.

Huh. I guess that the Clintons were among those cultural incumbents. Bill had been so wildly popular as to be elected twice (first time for Dems in 40 years), and accomplish so much for our country, that Dean couldn’t wait to take ’em down.

How Are DFA and The DNC Connected?

Evidently, DFA elected Howard to the DNC Chairmanship — Who knew? I had no idea how screamin’ Dean had gotten that position:

In 2005, DFA members elected our founder Howard Dean to the Chairmanship of the Democratic National Committee. With the 50 State Strategy, Governor Dean has successfully delivered on our campaign commitment to stand up for Democrats and our principles in every district in every state.

Our work hasn’t ended with electing a new chairman to head the party, DFA members have run for all levels of party office from precinct captains to county and statewide party chairs. We don’t just talk the talk. DFA members do the work it takes to make change happen. Join us in our mission to reform the Democratic Party.

DFA, The DNC, and Obama

Dean had run a hallmark campaign in 2004. Indeed, it was the first Presidential primary campaign to make effective use of online technology to mobilize and raise contributions from small individual donors. Dean’s training of campaign workers and bloggers would seem like a dovetail fit with Obama’s so-called grassroots community organizing background, combined with the forces of the progressive grassroots moveon.org. Moveon caught the attention of Congress and the DNC with their effective online protest and voter campaigns beginning in 2003. I was an active member, from their Berkeley inception as they grew into a national movement, until their early endorsement of Obama which I protested.

A Florida progressive blog, Florida Politics carries along the DFA message in their state, and notes that their blogging software is similar the Daily Kos, apparently a bragging right. Lately, they’ve reported on the huge Obama operation being set up there, and the takeover by his campaign of a portion of FL’s previous delegate selection. Just as with Michigan, I wonder if the Sunshine State will Remember in November or warm to the candidate who blocked fair reflection and counting all their votes.

Integrating Activists With Grassroots Media

If you fish around on the DFA website under their trainers and training agenda, you will find that we PUMAs and Just Say No Deal Coailtion Members, and likely Hillary herself, ladies and gentleman, are very late to this table.

Last summer we did a session of Night School live from the YearlyKos convention in Chicago. We featured Chris Bowers from OpenLeft.com and Katrina Baker from Living Liberally to discuss building open progressive communities.

Of course it now stands to reason how the DNC could so “quickly mobilize” to announce their move to Chicago last week, and accomplish it over the weekend.

Early Involvement In Presidential Endorsement

Question: How did all the progressive causes that we — I and other Democratic Party members, now-refugees — fought for over our entire lives get absconded by people who seem ready and able to disregard us and our efforts? Hey, over here, I’m a progressive too. How did they choose to throw Hillary away? Or did she or her old-school campaign staff not see DFA as a force?

It appears that DFA had weight in making their early assessments of the Presidential candidates in terms of progressiveness. I don’t see any mention of Hillary Clinton being engaged with them. Perhaps they were deterred by Mark Penn’s purported initial barriers to her easy access, or perhaps Dean didn’t include her? Obama even used their training manuals for his trainings!

All throughout 2007, DFA members were engaged in the Presidential race. DFA kicked off the year with messages to the candidates demanding to hear their plans for ending the Iraq War and combating global warming – and Senators Edwards and Obama, Gov. Richardson, and Rep. Kucinich responded with special videos to DFA members. Gov. Richardson sent campaign staff to a DFA Training Academy and Sen. Obama’s campaign used the Training Academy manual for their trainings. (emphasis mine) This engagement culminated in November of 2007, with the largest online poll of the election season. Over 154,000 DFA members voted in response to “Vote for Me Messages” from the candidates in the race. As a response to the overwhelming support for progressive leaders, DFA launched the Unite for a Progressive President campaign.

Big Tent No More

DFA appears to send out strident press releases, endorsing their progressive candidates and slamming others within the Democratic Party who don’t go along. Evidently, they deemed Obama and Edwards the most progressive, crediting their organization with Iowa’s win, and challenging an unnamed candidate with: what’s all this inevitability talk, huh? Bwa ha ha ha ha.

So, it’s clear that the DNC Chair, under the auspices of Democracy For America, preferentially campaigned, and built an organization, to defeat Hillary Clinton from within, and from the git go — way before Iowa and months, if not years, before the DNC RBC Committee Meeting on May 31, 2008. Pardon me. I am now officially more than naive. I thought I kept up, but maybe I was just a “holiday Democrat” after all. Until this campaign season, I always thought that the DNC was a neutral body that contained all Democrats in “the big tent.” Oops, my bad.

From DFA, originally dated January 3, 2008:

Progressives Win! Obama Wins. Edwards Second.

Democracy for America Lead the Way in Iowa
Des Moines, IA – Democracy for America, our nation’s largest progressive political action organization with over 9,000 members in Iowa, has shown their power tonight in Iowa. With the one-two finish of Senator Barack Obama/Senator John Edwards in the Iowa caucus, it is clear that progressive voters are the key constituency in this election. DFA’s Unite for a Progressive President Campaign made the difference here in Iowa. Democracy for America’s Unite for a Progressive President Campaign brought together the strengths of the Iowa caucus process and the commitment of DFA members throughout the country. The 675,000 members of DFA gathered tens of thousands signatures on a national call to action, wrote over 6,124 letters to Iowa DFA members, and plastered the Des Moines Register with an ad asking Iowa Democrats to not leave their caucus until a progressive wins their location.“If you listened to people last year, it was as if there was no need to vote. There was all this talk about inevitability, but, tonight, Democracy for America’s members here in Iowa proved that primaries matter, progressive values are what make the Democratic Party strong,” said Jim Dean, Chair of DFA. (* bold format mine, itals theirs)

In sharp contrast to 2004, issues of concern to progressive voters have been front and center in this presidential race. The activism and involvement of progressive Democrats have transformed the Party and fundamentally altered the primary landscape. From universal health care to ending the War in Iraq to global warming, every Democrat in the race has seen the need to take a strong stance. Those Democrats who have taken a stance have seen their support increase among voters.

“Tonight’s caucus results are further proof that progressive voters make up the core of the Democratic Party – they are the key constituency in this election. DFA members and progressive Democrats support candidates who fight for progressive values: bringing our troops home from Iraq, expanding universal health care for all Americans, and fighting to end global warming,” said Arshad Hasan, Executive Director of DFA.

Dean’s Mission Remains The Same

Now I’m wondering exactly when did my candidate and I get voted out of the Party? It would appear as if the strong-arm tone and tactics that characterize many people’s encounters with the Obama campaign have roots in the mission of an organization that has been at play since Dean’s piercing scream. The fratboy doc never gave up. In fact, he has been very hard at work getting back at anyone who ever laughed at him, and is still intent on going all the way to the White House. Memory lane, y’all.

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* Hat tip to Claudiabl for the lead.

Just Say No Deal Answers Questions on Sirius Radio

Just Say No Deal Coalition Interview on Sirius Radio

Just Say No Deal spokespersons, Will Bower of PUMA and Diane Mantouvalos of HireHeels.com, were on satellite radio today. This is the question and answer part of their interview.

On the show, Will and Diane effectively frame the questions — including “he won, she played negatively, DNC, 50 state campaign, caucus problems, the rules, and switching things in the middle of the game” — that many democrats have about the protest vote movement. They address why we are standing on principle and justice, rather than blindly supporting a Party that went astray.

Will introduced himself at The Confluence yesterday:

Two big things happened to me this year. I became a writer for the Huffington Post *and* I became an administrator for the largest pro-Hillary group on FaceBook (called “Hillary Clinton for President – One Million Strong”), which then had a membership of 27,000 people.

A third big thing happened to me. I met Harriet Christian at the DNC’s RBC hearing. You can read my account of it here:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/will-bower/my-evening-with-harriet-c_b_104594.html

I also met someone else that night — “Sista Christian Louboutin” of HireHeels.com. It was Sista who later mentioned me to Diane Mantouvalos and vice versa. HireHeels.com, of course, was the nucleus around which “Just Say NO DEAL” would later be born.

Will describes how Just Say No Deal was quickly formed and caught on fire:

After another member of the FaceBook group (Thuc Nguyen) created some images for us, I took the PUMA / Party Unity My Ass concept to my FaceBook group with the idea of having it be a mascot and a call to arms…. and it caught fire there *immediately*. Within a few days, “The National” contacted us for an interview, which you can read about here:

http://thenational.ae/article/20080607/FOREIGN/763911149

Meanwhile, Diane was preparing the conference call that would give birth to “Just Say No Deal”. Being that she knew of me through “Sista” and through The Huffington Post and through the PUMA article in The National, I was invited to participate.

Press coverage and an angry electorate that felt swindled made for a quick launch:

http://tinyurl.com/6e2wak

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/2008/06/12/2008-06-12_hillary_clinton_fanatics_keep_fight_aliv-1.html

http://firstread.msnbc.msn.com/archive/2008/06/13/1138240.aspx#comments

http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2008/06/13/a-clinton-backer-turns-to-mccain/

http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/256106

http://www.politico.com/blogs/bensmith/0608/McCain_mingles_with_Clinton_supporters.html

* Hat tip to commenter Henry Dubb for posting interview link on The Confluence. And to the Confluence who published Will’s intro letter, excerpted here. Thanks to Will and Diane for their organizing wizardry and for articulately stating our concerns to the public.

Obama’s Return to Michigan: Will They Remember?

It appears that Obama is intent on winning no matter how many longtime loyal Dems or states he has to throw overboard. I wonder if Michigan voters can forgive and forget how he treated them in the primary? 55 percent voted for Hillary Clinton; Obama took his name off the ballot in a state where he was not expected to win, and his campaign blocked various re-vote and fair voter reflection measures. Is Al Gore to the rescue enough?

From The Hill, June 16, 2008 by Sam Youngman, on Obama’s return to Michigan and the AP Story about his nontraditional campaign strategy:

Obama’s two-day visit to the state underscores just how important his campaign views Michigan to its electoral success.

The Associated Press reported Monday that Obama’s campaign is looking at a strategy that would allow the Illinois senator to lose the traditional battlegrounds of Florida and Ohio, but he would need to hold onto three states Sen. John Kerry (Mass.) won in 2004 — Pennsylvania, New Hampshire and Michigan. Gore won Michigan in 2000.

Just about every poll recently conducted in the state shows Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) with a narrow lead. The RealClearPolitics average of polls has McCain leading Obama by less than two percentage points.

Obama has an uphill battle against McCain in Michigan in his bid to claim the state’s 17 electoral votes.

Not only did McCain win the primary there in 2000, but he competed vigorously in this year’s primary before losing to native son and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R) by nine points. McCain’s defeat there was considered respectable since Romney’s father served as governor of the state.

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.), one of the only Democratic candidates who didn’t remove her name from the Jan. 15 ballot, won the primary with 55 percent of the vote. Because there was still a full slate of Democratic candidates — former Sen. John Edwards (N.C.), New Mexcio Gov. Bill Richardson and Sen. Joseph Biden (Del.), although they were not on the Michigan ballot — it is difficult to tell how many of those who voted for “uncommitted” did so as a protest vote in favor of Obama.

Yee-upp. Shaking my head. Sigh.

More here on Obama’s new strategy. Hat tip to Riverdaughter. Wha hap-peen here? I thought this was to be a 50 stater. How many are overboard as of now? Apparently when you begin with 57, you can afford to lose a few. Okay, I be nice.

Give Me One Reason — New Beginning

“Give Me One Reason to stay here, and I’ll turn right back around.”

Tracy Chapman

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New Beginning

“The whole world’s broke, and ain’t worth fixing.

It’s time to start all over, make a new beginning.

There’s too much pain, too much suffering.

Let’s resolve to start all over, make a new beginning.

Don’t get me wrong, I love life and living,

But when you wake up and look around

At everything that’s going down all wrong,

You see we need to change it now,

This world of too few happy endings.

We can resolve to start over and make a new beginning.

Start all over.

The world is broken into fragments and pieces.

That once were joined together in a unified whole.

But now too many stand alone, there’s too much separation.

We can resolve to come together in the new beginning.

Start all over.”

1993 Tracy Chapman

Hillary Delegates Being Switched To Obama

The video above was published on YouTube on April 3, 2008 by a Texas Hillary Clinton delegate who decided to document the harassment she was receiving from the Obama campaign. The one below was published on May 18, 2008 by the same delegate, as she continued to be pressured. She was placed on their delegate roster, after repeatedly informing them that she is a Clinton delegate.

Ok…so I called the Obama campaign. Sure enough they had me in there as an Obama delegate. . . . He was acting like it was just all a big mistake, but once I stopped acting like a confused person and started laying into him, his excuse was, “I’ve heard you guys are doing the same thing. I’m not listening to you anymore. Click.”

So he knows what he’s doing and it’s deliberate and it’s on tape.

As I mentioned in “Raise Your Hand If You Think Florida’s Over”, a member of Obama’s staff is hammering Hillary’s Florida supporters, including Sen. Bill Nelson, who filed suit against the DNC to count all of his state’s votes cast, and Jon Ausman, Member FLorida DNC. It seems the Obama campaign is threatening to unseat Hillary delegates and replace them with their own. Can they just do that?

The nature of Obama’s campaign strong arm tactics, as seen in these two examples, is consistent with this “incident-report-summary-redacted” from El Paso, TX, which seems to document similar shenanigans. And remember the reprehensible treatment Obama supporters dealt to anti-war, progressive maverick, popular Houston U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), a loyal Clinton supporter.

From No Quarter on voter intimidation —

Comment by Evelyn | 2008-05-30 08:37:54:

. . . I was at the Texas Caucus and the Obama supporter’s took the Packets as early as 6:30 AM which they were told not to do, They never let go and then when time came to vote they took over the precinct by some of them pushing the people that were supposed to run it across the room to chairs. They called in incorrect totals for Obama instead of correct ones. He actually had 4 delegates and they called in 19 delegates.

Some of them ended up spending not only the night but a couple of days in jail, when my 88 year old Mother showed up, who can hardly walk on her walker, and they took her walker away from her when she said she was there to vote for Hillary. They said you are in the wrong place old woman; this is an Obama precinct, and you need to go across town. When I saw what was happening I called the police. . . .

Guns? Knives? Obama Bully Tactics in Full Swing

No keeping things under the rug anymore. Obama’s coming out swinging and looks like he’s itching for a fight. What ever happened to hope and change?

Is this guy scary or what? Why is the presumptive Democratic nominee talking about a Presidential Election campaign in terms of a “knife and gun” fight? This is Presidential level discourse? Shouldn’t he be talking about ideas, programs, platforms, and policies?

He sounds like he’s inciting a riot in using terms like that. And what is shameful is that he lives from within a mindset that could even conjure up the analogy, and use it before an audience. This is just getting worse and worse. I guess he’s planning on skipping over that debate/town hall foolishness and taking it directly to the streets.

From The Hill’s Blog Briefing Room:

Obama on GOP: ‘If They Bring a Knife to the Fight, We Bring a Gun’

June 14 — @ 2:47 pm by Andy Barr

Barack Obama is warning supporters that the general election fight between him and John McCain may get ugly, but the Illinois senator is vowing not to back down.

“If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun,” Obama said at a fundraiser in Philadelphia Friday, according to pool reports.

“We don’t have a choice but to win,” Obama said, joking that he has heard “folks in Philly like a good brawl. I’ve seen Eagles games.”

Obama again said that the GOP will make try to make him look “scary” to voters.

Obama pledging to swing back at the GOP drew much applause from the crowd.

Republican National Committee spokesman Alex Conant said Obama’s rhetoric abandons Obama’s campaign themes of hope and change.

“In the last 24 hours, he’s completely abandoned his campaign’s call for ‘new politics’, equating the election to a ‘brawl’ and promising to ‘bring a gun,’” Conant said.

Obama doesn’t need any help from the GOP to make him look “scary” — he’s doing quite fine on his own, thank you very much.

UPDATE: Here’s further coverage via Time Magazine of the event. It seems as though the PA leadership, as mentioned earlier, Rendell, Casey, are fully on board the Kool-Aid train. It’s a movin’ down the track, and it ain’t comin’ back. Woo woo! We’re dreamin’ if we think they’re a lookin’ back. Governor Mark Warner (D-VA) has, however, removed himself from VP consideration, reports Politico’s Ben Smith, after he accepted his state’s Dem nomination for the U.S. Senate race in November.

Give ’em Hell, Harriet! (Interview)

We pesky older women just won’t shut the @#$% up and skulk away sedately like they want us to. Harriet Christian’s cell phone-captured video rant went viral after she voiced her frustration about the sorry state of the Democratic Party. At the DNC RBC meeting, 30 party officials decided the fate of over 2.3 million votes in MI and FL. It was just too much for her and millions of us. Here’s her articulate June 2, 2008 interview with Neil Cavuto on Fox News discussing the roots of her anger. She does not give one inch. Give ’em hell, Harriet!

Hat tip to Vets4Hill for tech help.

Count Every Vote Rally in DC, May 31, 2008, Sign Up!

http://www.hillaryresponders.com/

A Count Every Vote! Rally for FL and MI is being held in DC on Saturday, May 31, 2008. The rally will coincide with the DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee Meeting, which is planned to determine the fate of votes cast in those two states. The following text is from their website, and the colorful button up top links directly to a sign up page. Sign up! Pass it on!

See you there!

LadyBoomerNYC

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Dear Fellow Hillary Supporters,

If you believe that the DNC must honor our core democratic principles and enfranchise the people of MI and FL and their respective delegations,

If you believe that Hillary Clinton is best for our party, most likely to win in November and best for our country,

If you believe the contest for the democratic nomination must not end before all of the votes from each State and US Territory have been cast and counted and that nominating conventions, not candidates (or the media), declare the nominee,

If you believe that the media and DNC have underestimated the passion, strength, intensity and determination of Hillary supporters and the power of the women’s vote,

Then Join a group of Hillary supporters who are planning to visit Washington, D.C. on Saturday, May 31st to attend the meeting of the DNC Rules Committee. The Rules Committee will meet at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel -2660 Woodley Road NW, Washington, DC


….the DNC Rules Committee is meeting that day to make a determination with respect to MI and FL and we think it is essential to convene in Washington to support our cherished democratic principles, help enfranchise MI and FL and to show that Hillary has equally high numbers of passionate, devoted supporters who believe fervently that she will be the better general candidate and best president.

Our purpose is not to divide the party or attack the DNC or Senator Obama. At the same time, Hillary’s strong support cannot be dismissed in DNC efforts to unify the party.