Tactics and Substance in the 2004 Elections GoogleNews: Howard Dean

November 3, 2003

by J

Thursday Announcement

So, the latest email from Governor Dean to his campaign email list promised a big announcement of some sort on Thursday. Specifically, it said:
P.S. Pay close attention to your inbox this week. On Thursday I will be sending you the most important email of this campaign. Please be sure to open it.
So, what message could this important email contain? I have several guesses:
  • An announcement about foregoing matching funds -- something that I have mixed feelings about, but not in the way most people seem to
  • An announcement of a major union endorsement (SEIU and/or AFSCME)
  • An announcement of a major personal endorsement -- would have to be someone like Gore or Clinton (or Clinton), but I think all three are unlikely at this stage of the game
  • A vice-presidential announcement -- but there's been no buzz where I'd usually expect to hear some buzz about such a thing, so I doubt it
My guess is that it's going to be an email about campaign finance. I predict they'll forego matching funds in order to be competitive in the general. Pandemonium will ensue among the Democrats. It doesn't seem to me like these other things would qualify as 'most important email of the campaign.' But, what do I know? And maybe I'm missing something entirely. We'll find out in a few days.
Posted by J at November 3, 2003 09:30 AM

I'd put a paycheck on J's second bullet point: the endorsement of the SEIU.

Here's what it comes down to, in terms of horse-race politics. Dean versus Clark (and their six meetings prior to Clark's entry are another story entirely) versus Gephardt/Kerry. In short, he's got to beat Gephardt in Iowa and Kerry in New Hampshire. He's on track for the latter, and the impending endorsement of the SEIU will almost certainly seal the deal for Iowa.

The AP reported the SEIU will endorse Dean or nobody for now.

The LA Times had a good piece on it, too.

The Dean Camp has clearly been rolling this out all week, and it'll culminate on Thursday with the endorsement of the SEIU. With that, Dean does what he needs to do in Iowa, humiliates Kerry in New Hampshire, and then promptly makes what will apparently be the *second* biggest announcement of his campaign: that General Clark will be his running mate, thus unifying the moderate Clintonistas under Clark with the party insurgents under Dean.

Posted by: Ben at November 3, 2003 10:52 AM

It's true that the SEIU decision (or non-decision) is supposed to be made on Thursday, but I also read somewhere that they may not announce it immediately. (That doesn't make much sense to me, though.)

I agree that it's definitely a plausible option, but I'm not quite convinced that one union endorsement (that's not the AFL-CIO) makes for the "most important email of the campaign." But, I also agree that it would go a long way towards helping Dean beat Gephardt in Iowa.

As for the Clark veep thing. I just don't know. There was some very nasty stuff going on just before Clark entered, with the Clarkies claiming Dean offered the Veep position, and people like V and myself wondering whether Clark was leaking that idea to weaken Dean. On the other hand, there's been comparatively little sniping between those two candidates (a bit, but compared to some other pairings relatively little), so who knows?

I did have a pet theory at one point that Clark was running for VP, but all the 'real political experts' apparently believe that no one would ever do that.

It's all a mystery. An entertaining mystery, though. To be sure, I agree with you on the strength of the pairing. Even given Clark's weak campaigning, I think that Dean/Clark would be unbeatable in the general (assuming the voting infrastructure isn't rigged -- and that's a big assumption.) I think that Dean's grassroots will work harder for their guy at the top of the ticket -- and that edge will be necessary.

On BFA, someone came up with the idea that maybe the email will be a big GOTV plan -- to knock on 100 million doors for Dean in the next year. At 500,000 doorknockers and 200 doors each, it's theoretically do-able.

Posted by: J at November 3, 2003 11:06 AM

Ah -- Another reason why I put the SEIU endorsement lower on the list of probabilities is because that doesn't seem to be the kind of thing that requires everyone on the email list to pay attention to the extent that Dean says "Please be sure to open it."

But again, this may be way over-analyzing, and maybe the campaign is just trying to generate some hype. Hmm.

Posted by: J at November 3, 2003 11:36 AM

J, I may have to take back my paycheck offer. Lloyd Grove's Lowdown in the NY Daily News leads with Dean's upcoming campaign 'manifesto', "Winning Back America". A good guess is that the 'most important' PS on the email you got was a teaser for the release of this book. Just another possibility.

Posted by: Ben at November 3, 2003 12:23 PM

Recommended Reading:

The Politics of Truth: Inside the Lies that Led to War and Betrayed My Wife's CIA Identity: A Diplomat's Memoir
The Politics of Truth... A Diplomat's Memoir

Worse Than Watergate: The Secret Presidency of George W. Bush
Worse Than Watergate: The Secret Presidency of George W. Bush

Against All Enemies by Richard Clarke
Against All Enemies: Inside America's War on Terror

LIES by Al Franken
Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right

The Great Unraveling
The Great Unraveling

The Great Big Book of Tomorrow
The Great Big Book of Tomorrow

Clinton Wars
The Clinton Wars

Blinded by the Right
Blinded by the Right: The Conscience of an Ex-Conservative

Waging Modern War: Bosnia, Kosovo, and the Future of Combat

Subject to Debate: Sense and Dissents on Women, Politics, and Culture

Living History

The Hunting of the President: The Ten-Year Campaign to Destroy Bill and Hillary Clinton

John Adams

Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation

Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace

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