Sunday, June 04, 2006

Press Conference Highlights

On our continuing tour of Memories of the ODP Dinner, we next rewind back to the beginning. Redhorse and I drove to Columbus together and rolled into the Vet a little before five. We registered, scoped the scene, ran into Debbie Phillips . . . then we got these:

With our newly minted blogger credentials, we set off to check out the Media Availability Room. Finding rooms at Veteran’s Memorial proved to be a bit of a challenge, so Obama’s turn at the mic was about half over when we got there. Reading over my notes, I’m again taken at how deft he is. For example, he was asked a question about the latest filings in the Scooter Libby case. After the disclaimer that he doesn’t follow the particulars of the case, he runs out the following (I’m paraphrasing from my notes):

What’s clear is that during the run-up to the war, the Administration ran a PR campaign – some of it legal, some of it perhaps illegal. But illegal or not, war should not be spun and our reasons for going to war should not be spun.
He takes a case Americans are concerned about and turns it into an indictment of the administration that works independent of how the case actually plays out. Sheer artistry.

Chris Cillizza has been reading the signs to predict who will run in ’08. Despite noting last week that Obama had retained the and is generally flying around the country like a man possessed, this week he keeps Obama off the will-they-run list. He claims to find next-to-no evidence that Obama is “taking substantial steps” toward running.

Probably. But I was struck by Obama’s responses to questions on the topic. First he was asked to “handicap his chances of running.” He declined. Sure, 90% of national figures play coy at this stage, but the answer is not no. Second, he was asked if he has enough experience to be president. Paraphrasing again:
No one has enough experience to be President. I think everyone who gets elected looks around the first day and says “Woah. This is a big country . . . I am humble about what I know I don’t know.”
That’s a carefully crafted answer from an accomplished wordsmith paying close attention to how it plays politically. This is a small datum to be sure, but compelling in its way. Maybe he’s getting ready for a Pres. run, or perhaps he’s setting himself up as the obvious veep candidate.

Next up, ODP Chair Chris Redfern and DNC Vice-Chair Susan Turnbull.

This got interesting when the topic turned to election fraud. I asked about RFK Jr.’s Rolling Stone article and what the Dems are doing to secure the vote in November. To say the least, Redfern did not take the cautious approach. He recommended that everyone read the article. He didn’t morph into full-on Stolen Election Guy, but he didn’t change the subject either. He was not shy about quoting some of the stats Kennedy laid out in the piece.

Redfern then launched into a recital of ODP’s voter protection for November. Apparently, the Party has retained or will retain counsel in all 88 counties. Turnbull chimed in that the Ohio problems continue to be Topic A wherever she goes in the country. She says that the DNC plans to have a presence here as well.

Joe Biden was a bit late, so we didn’t get much of him. He gave a preview of his speech, then opened it up. When asked about the possibility of launching investigations if the Dems take a house in November, he became the anti-Pelosi. His “overwhelming recommendation” is not to do it. We have urgent problems, need to reach across the aisle, blah blah. Then the real concern: “I hope Democrats have learned from the Republicans [in the late Nineties.]” Going back to his intro, he says his first message is “Elect, elect, elect.” Presumably his second message is “Don’t overreach, don’t overreach, don’t overreach.”


joebu said...

I am glad Redfern acknowledged the Rolling Stone article and did not pass it off. All too often, Dems are so afraid to be labeled as conspiracy theorists, whiners, or sore losers.

We have to stop worrying about what the Republicans and the media will call us when we stand up for something. They will smear us no matter what we do, even if we follow the Republicans in lock step.

I believe that Ohio was stolen in 2004. In short, there are way too many statistical anomalies that go against the heavy weight of political logic, even when construing the circumstances most favorably to the official winners.

Now, my belief does not absolve Kerry whatsoever of the critical mistakes he made in campaign. Had he run a better campaign, perhaps the margin would have been beyond the Republicans' capabilities to subvert.

I can understand if Dems are still skeptical of whether the 2004 election was stolen because of the lack of a smoking gun. Therefore, a set of facts is always available to different interpretations.

However, I think the events of 2004 clearly show that the Republicans and their big business and religious clients have the upmost contempt for our democratic processes.

We Dems must face this reality or else we will be in for future rude awakenings. We can't wish for this issue to somehow go away or not exist.

As much as we want to live in the ideal political world that elections are always legitimately decided on issues and candidates, we must recognize that election shenanigans have been around all throughout US history. One need not look any further than JFK winning the 1960 election as a result of Richard Daley stuffing the ballot box in Chicago.

I often notice that many liberals or Democrats tend to underestimate how insidious human beings can be. That attitude often underlies a refusal to believe or acknowledge something that is so frightening because it shakes the foundation of our democratic institutions at their core. People don't want to think that some of our fellow Americans of very credible standing can possess such incredibly dark attitudes toward our society and institutions.

boringmadedull said...


After the Salon piece on Kennedy's article, I certainly wouldn't advise folk to jump on the "we waz robbed" bandwagon.

Not that I would have anyway... esp. as an insidious rightwinger, ever willing to sell out friends, associates, and grandma for some scraps from George Soros' table...

Pho said...


I'm in the process of reading Kennedy's piece now. I'll surf over to Salon to check that out. Thanks for the tip.