Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Real discussion? Who needs it?

The Iowa Democratic Party just issued a press release about half an hour ago to announce the speaking lineup for their 2006 Jefferson/Jackson Dinner, to be held on October 14th. I'm not a big fan of these dinners, as you may recall from this post.

Again today, on the surface we've got great news. Former two-term Democratic president Bill Clinton will give the keynote address at the party's largest annual fundraiser. The telling quote from Party Chair Sally Pederson:

“President Clinton’s visit will provide a terrific opportunity to showcase Chet Culver and our impressive group of candidates for 2006 to a large state and national audience,”

Here's what it should also say:

"It also means we can hold an event for our current governor, who's running for president, without him being overshadowed by any of his competitors."

Make no mistake, getting Bill Clinton to come to this event is huge for the party. But it's also huge for Vilsack, because it means that Edwards, (Hillary) Clinton, Kerry, Gore, Feingold, Bayh, Biden, Warner, Gravel and any of the others I may have left out will not be on hand to overshadow our own federal office-seeker. And my guess is that was the goal all along.



noneed4thneed said...

Hillary might come along. Then that would add to the speculation of a Clinton/Vilsack ticket being the works.

RF said...

I like the headline. Made me think of a radical idea: Why don't we start having real discussions with R's about issues? After all, about 50% of the people appear to prefer their approach to things. Predetermined rapid responses to all proposals from the other side don't really fit my definition of having a real discussion.

cr said...

Yes, it's frustrating to read about red herrings like flag burning or attacks on Culver's weight or Nussle's marriage.

I just returned from a meeting of A Mid-Iowa Organizing Strategy (AMOS), an affiliate of the Industrial Areas Foundation. The idea of AMOS is to conduct house meetings to determine issues that matter to people in in Ames and Des Moines. Examples include affordable housing, living wage, hunger, poverty, youth issues, and public safety. After the house meetings, the member organizations figure out the common issues and construct an agenda, which will be announced to candidates and used to advocate for change in the community.

The goal is to have 500 house meetings with a total of 5000 participants. Then at a forum in October the issues will be presented to candidates, who will be asked whether they support the issues.

What I like about this approach is that it not only addresses issues, but it tells the candidates which issues matter, rather than the other way around. Whatever the candidates do, AMOS will itself work to accomplish its objectives. For example, in Des Moines AMOS worked with a hospital to change how low-income patients are charged.

cr said...

You might check out this report on how members of Congress support the middle class.