Tactics and Substance in the 2004 Elections GoogleNews: Howard Dean

January 13, 2004

by J

DC Votes Today

Washington DC's nonbinding primary is today. First Primary Blog will undoubtedly have lots of coverage. There's been some griping that Dean didn't go to a recent debate in D.C. What I fail to understand is why there wasn't more griping about the candidates, some of whom, I believe, reside in the District, who had their names removed from the ballot. Dean can't win for trying with some people. Typical too-liberal Democrats if you ask me: "Do exactly what I want exactly the way I want or I shall trash you constantly." I liked this comment by Norm in response to someone whining about the fact that DFA sent an email to DC supporters reminding them to vote:
Dean was making visits to DC in April, May, June, July, August, September and November. Overall, he made about 12 visits to DC. He asked for our votes in the primary in June and September. Where was Al? Nowehere to be seen. Rev. Sharpton didn't start showing up around town until September, after Dean had already earned the endorsement of 6 City Council members, due to his heavy presence in the city, his repeated phone calls to them and his asking them for support. Dean did his heavy lifting early on. Sharpton doesn't show up until the last quarter when he's already way behind and then starts bad mouthing Dean for not being here.

It's great that Sharpton's here today, but to claim he's the only one participating in this primary is false. Dean is in a dog fight in Iowa and New Hampshire. He has a realistic chance of winning the Democratic nomination. He put his time in early on and now he's concentrating on IA and NH.
And, I don't blame him for concentrating on Iowa this week. It's a pragmatic and rational decision--the kind of approach many Dean supporters like him for. Anyone who says that Dean ignored or dissed D.C. just hasn't been paying attention.
Posted by J at January 13, 2004 10:43 AM

You're playing a zero-sum game there with the Governor's time, whereas my criticism of the campaign and the lack of attention it has given the DC primary has been directed at the organization. No, I don't feel a need to have Howard Dean personally press my flesh (unlike the voters in Iowa and New Hampshire, who seem to think this is some constitutional right of theirs), but I do expect the campaign to make mention of the primary taking place (I just checked, and BlogForAmerica has yet to mention anything today about the DC primary--instead, they feature the Delaware HQ opening--that couldn't have been held for tomorrow, perhaps?). The primary isn't even mention in the right-hand sidebar. I'm glad that Dean's still on the ballot (the invectives I can throw at the Fidgetity Five and the Non-Democratic National Council would get this post blocked by your anti-spam filter), but being on the ballot is just the minimum necessary. I thought the Dean Campaign was about doing more with more people?

As I've written in my personal blog, as a resident of the District of Columbia, I hate to be a one-issue voter, but when that issue is the lack of representation, I can't very well have much of an impact on any other issue without resolving this one, can I?

Posted by: Glen Engel-Cox at January 13, 2004 11:39 AM

Yes, I do expect more from the Dean campaign than the bare minimum. I really thought he and his campaign were much better than the other five (now, I think they're only a little better). There was no mention of the Primary on his website, no candidate statement in the Voter's Guide, no serious get out the vote in the District. Sure he was here last summer and early fall. Once the other major candidates dropped out, he expected to win so put no more effort here. He'll use his win as an small early boost, politically expedient, but once again, DC voters will be abused....

Posted by: Jill at January 13, 2004 08:34 PM

I'm pretty disappointed that they didn't mention it on the blog today either.

However, there is an official Dean statement on DC's status here, which I will reprint:

"I find it fundamentally unfair that citizens of our nation's capital are treated as second class citizens of the country. Residents of the District of Columbia have given their lives protecting democracy as members of the Armed Forces. They pay taxes, they serve on federal juries, and they perform all other duties of citizenship. Yet because they have no vote in Congress, they are denied fundamental equal rights as American citizens.

"Representation is a fundamental right enjoyed by all other Americans, and citizens living in the District of Columbia deserve no less. It is a bedrock of the nation's constitution and was the catalyst for our fight for national independence. Taxation without representation was unacceptable in colonial times and it is unacceptable today.

"As President, I will support Eleanor Holmes Norton's 'Taxation Without Representation Act' and work to ensure the full voting rights and representation of the residents of the District of Columbia in both the Senate and the House of Representatives."

Posted by: V at January 13, 2004 10:33 PM

That statement is also here.

Posted by: V at January 13, 2004 10:35 PM

As well as the link on the very front page of both DeanforAmerica.com and blogforamerica.com. I'm sorry it's in there with the eight states where "YOU CAN VOTE RIGHT NOW" but don't you think grouping DC with the states is a good step in the right direction?

I suppose there's some sympathy for DC where the primary doesn't count (neither does WA - they actually cancelled ours), but I get a little tired when people ask for special treatment. Equal treatment, Absolutely.

Posted by: fish at January 14, 2004 12:37 AM

Me again - I take it back. There should be a lot more coverage of the DC primary than I've seen so far, and it's not asking for special treatment.

The first part is still true, but I want to apologize for that last bit. And now back to your regularly scheduled fabulous posting at Value Judgment.

Posted by: fish at January 14, 2004 12:56 AM

Except, fish, that this primary is non-binding. I think the actual DC caucuses or primary or whatever is in February.

I support statehood (or whatever DC people think is most appropriate to rectify the current travesty), but this vote was, in terms of the primary itself, mostly a glorified straw poll. Given that turnout was so light (to DC folks: If you want to have a vote to emphasize that you don't have the right to vote, you need to vote!), I'm not surprised it didn't get much press.

On the other hand, the way the party handled this was horrible. They could have been much more supportive, but instead told the candidates to pull their names from the ballot. But then, I find the way the Democratic party handles most things to be dreadful.

Posted by: J at January 14, 2004 08:13 AM

I had no problem with making the primary binding--it was the council who caved into the Democratic Party leaders, selling it for having the issue of DC representation become a topic at the convention. I think it would have been a topic at the convention if they had tried to not seat the binding delegates.

Be that as it may, simply listing DC with the states where absentee primary voting is going on is insulting, even more so because they still have DC listed. It's over guys. You won, albeit against a strong showing by Sharpton. Why not crow a little about it. But still, no mention on the Blog at all about it.

Sorry, but the Dean Campaign is showing that they can ignore DC with the rest of 'em.

Am I bitter. Yeah, I think I'm getting bitter.

Posted by: Glen Engel-Cox at January 14, 2004 09:33 AM

It was a non-binding primary that saw only 15% turnout. Pffft. Big deal. I don't blame Dean for not wasting resources on DC.

And my opinion (as a former DC resident and current DC worker) is that DC will NEVER get statehood or be taken seriously politically--that's just the way it is. I mean, if DC got statehood, they'd have to change the name from "District" of Columbia to something else, and we all know that's not going to happen. Hell, you can't even get this town to get upset and change the overtly racist name of their pathetic football team...

Posted by: david at January 14, 2004 02:18 PM

Yes, there was 15% turnout. Which is more than "the 8 percent who typically show up for the celebrated Iowa caucus" (source: Washington Post, Jan. 13, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A13061-2004Jan13_2.html).

The constitution mandates that there be a District, but it doesn't mandate its size. Let's make it just the Federal properties downtown--the mall, the Capitol, the White House--and let's make the rest a state (of Columbia) or give it back to Maryland as they gave Arlington back to Virginia. But don't justify a continuing travesty of democracy by ridicule.

As VJ have here:

First they ignore you
then they laugh at you
then they fight you
then you win.
- Gandhi

Posted by: Glen Engel-Cox at January 14, 2004 07:47 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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