Welcome Ari Berman, and Host Joe Trippi.

[As a courtesy to our guests, please keep comments to the book.  Please take other conversations to a previous thread. - bev]

Herding Donkeys: The Fight to Rebuild the Democratic Party and Reshape American Politics

Joe Trippi, Host:

At the beginning of 2003 – when I was packing my bags to head up to Burlington – you would have been hard pressed to find many people outside Vermont who had ever heard of Howard Dean…and even fewer who would have believed that our unlikely presidential campaign would ignite a movement that would turn the political world on its head and re-energize a moribund Democratic party towards a comeback in the White House and both houses of Congress.

In Herding Donkeys Ari Berman tells a compelling story about how the Dean campaign sparked a grassroots resurgence and laid the foundation for the Democrats’ improbable success over the next 4 years. He captures some of the untold stories from the 2004 campaign and Howard Dean’s years at the helm of the DNC where, despite the ire of Rahm Emanual and other establishment Democrats, his 50-state strategy helped lead the Democrats out of the desert and back into the majority.

In his book, Berman brings you back to 2003, before you had ever heard of Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube, to show how the campaign pioneered the use of the Internet in campaign fundraising and organizing – bringing new people and energy to the party:

“On August 23, 2003, Howard Dean’s campaign had just embarked on the frenetic Sleepless Summer Tour—ten cities in four days across 6,147 miles, raising a quick million via its campaign blog in the process. You could watch the dollar amount inch upward in real time on a giant baseball bat posted on the website.… The campaign was going to deplane for an hour in Boise and was expecting “fifty people or so,” [press aide Matt Vogel] said. When Dean landed on the tarmac, 450 people were waiting to greet him, holding blue DEAN FOR AMERICA signs. A social worker named Delmar Stone could barely contain his exuberance. “The last time I was this excited about someone who could change the world,” Stone said, “was when I heard about Jesus!”

Dean was not quite the Messiah, but he had been on quite a roll. He’d just graced the covers of Time and Newsweek and would soon shatter Bill Clinton’s three-month fund-raising record by amassing an army of small donors over the Internet, using that money to air TV ads in six states a full five months before voters in Iowa went to their first-in-the-nation caucus. [read more]

Though the grassroots movement our campaign built didn’t ultimately send him to the White House, Dean knew that he had tapped into something powerful that could transform politics as we knew it. His 50-state strategy at the DNC – which was ridiculed by many at the time – led to huge gains in 2006 and set the table for Obama’s success in 2008.

The progressive grassroots of the party re-energized by the Dean campaign and the Dean Chairmanship of the Democratic Party rose up and embraced Obama’s campaign — worked their hearts out and helped deliver him to victory. But even while Obama’s campaign honed the grassroots tactics that won him the White House, some in Obama’s inner circle – most notably Rahm Emanual – treated the progressive grassroots with contempt. With Rahm at Obama’s side in the White House, Berman tells how the Obama administration lost a major opportunity to rally them in support of the President’s agenda.

With Democrats now facing the possibility of another few years in the desert, Berman leaves us asking whether the grassroots energy that the Dean campaign sparked can be re-ignited – from the ground up – across the country.

For more about the book before our live chat at 5pm ET, check out the website where you’ll find excerpts and reviews.

154 Responses to “FDL Book Salon Welcomes Ari Berman, Herding Donkeys: The Fight to Rebuild the Democratic Party and Reshape American Politics”

BevW October 10th, 2010 at 2:00 pm

Ari, Welcome to the Lake.

Joe, Welcome back and thank you for Hosting today’s Book Salon.

Joe Trippi October 10th, 2010 at 2:02 pm

Welcome everyone. I’ve read “Herding Donkeys” and its a great read – want to get right to it here — Ari — why did you decide to write this book? What made you put your energy into this topic?

Ari Berman October 10th, 2010 at 2:02 pm

Thanks so much for having me! Look forward to the salon.

dakine01 October 10th, 2010 at 2:04 pm

Good afternoon Ari and Joe and welcome to FDL this afternoon.

Ari, I have not had an opportunity to read your book but do have a question.

Why does it feel like we actually elected a Republican administration in so many ways? I’m 58 years old and so much of what I see is what used to be the Republican Party platforms when I was growing up. Is it because of the right wing noise machine and the Fox Newsization of things?

Ari Berman October 10th, 2010 at 2:05 pm

Joe – Really appreciate you hosting this. I felt like all the other books about Obama published after the election were going to be very much about insider politics and I thought the real story of the campaign–and of the broader change in politics and the Democratic Party in the 21st century–had to do with the incredible grassroots mobilization that started with you and the Dean campaign and was drastically expanded by Obama. And I felt like someone had to tell that story and it might as well be me.

egregious October 10th, 2010 at 2:05 pm

Welcome to Firedoglake – glad you could join us today!

Joe Trippi October 10th, 2010 at 2:06 pm

Ari — my question is that there has been a lot written about the Dean campaign, and the progressive grassroots — what are the things that you feel you bring to light that other accounts have missed?

nahant October 10th, 2010 at 2:09 pm

With Democrats now facing the possibility of another few years in the desert, Berman leaves us asking whether the grassroots energy that the Dean campaign sparked can be re-ignited – from the ground up – across the country.A

One could Hope!
Welcomed Joe & Ari, sorry I haven’t read the book yet but if we can once again harness that energy that Howard brought to the progressive movement maybe we could get rid of these many Blue Dogs from the party. BO did harness some of that and then as you say Rahm betrayed us all.
So my question is can that movement be re sparked to return the country to it’s people and away from the Rich & Corporations??

Ari Berman October 10th, 2010 at 2:09 pm

Joe, I think that your book did a really good job of capturing the Dean campaign but there had been no book that traced the evolution of that movement from Dean to Obama and the relevance of it today. So that’s what I think is new about the book–how I tell the stories of the organizers and activists and the battle of the soul for the Democratic Party based on extensive on the ground reporting, starting with the Dean campaign, through when Dean becomes chair of the DNC and does the fifty-state strategy, and on to Obama and his fifty-state campaign. And the book ends with the question of what happened to Obama’s movement and looks at the rise of the Tea Party, which in some crucial ways has emulated the Dean/Obama playbook.

Joe Trippi October 10th, 2010 at 2:10 pm

I have to tell you your account of the early Dean campaign captured almost exactly what it felt like — it almost hurt to relive it the read was so good.

Ari Berman October 10th, 2010 at 2:12 pm
In response to nahant @ 8

Yes, I think the movement can be resparked but it will require giving the grassroots a seat at the table that has previously been missing in the Obama administration. During the campaign they very effectively created space for bottom-up participation and gave organizers and activists the tools to organize creatively in their areas. And that has not meaningfully translated to governance yet, which is one of the big things I think Obama needs to try to improve on.

Joe Trippi October 10th, 2010 at 2:13 pm

One of the things I would like to focus on is what went wrong? How did the Obama campaign use the progressive grassroots to get to the White House and then leave it all on the vine? How did it happen? And who let it happen?

Teddy Partridge October 10th, 2010 at 2:15 pm

Thanks for chatting today, Ari and Joe.

Ari, did the Dean campaign envision how Obama would expand on their work? Can the Obama people see the next thing coming down the pike? Are politicos and operatives always too involved in the immediate and the now to envision what the next step looks like?

I really appreciate your spending your Sunday afternoon/evening with us at FDL today.

Ari Berman October 10th, 2010 at 2:15 pm
In response to Joe Trippi @ 10

Joe – I’m glad you felt that way! I think in many ways the Dean campaign still remains somewhat overlooked–it really was the first campaign of the 21st century and the amount of innovation in the campaign created the space for an insurgent candidate to prevail in ’08. As you told me, ‘we pioneered it and Obama perfected it.’ And I think the lessons of that campaign–about how to get the grassroots involved at the bottom-up level and give them the tools to effectively organize, remains really relevant in politics today. In some ways, Obama learned the lessons of Dean during the campaign and then forgot them once he got to Washington.

GlenJo October 10th, 2010 at 2:15 pm
In response to Joe Trippi @ 12

Welcome, Ari and Joe, and thanks for asking that – that was pretty much my question too.

Joe Trippi October 10th, 2010 at 2:17 pm

For what its worth Teddy — it was clear to me that the Dean campaign was going to lead to a more energized party –

Ari Berman October 10th, 2010 at 2:18 pm
In response to Joe Trippi @ 12

The Obama administration did not prioritize the progressive grassroots after the election like they did during the campaign. And I think that really starts with naming Rahm Emanuel chief of staff. Rahm never appreciated the grassroots and never thought they mattered, so once he took over the admin he and other top aides pushed those organizers and activists aside and decided to run a very conventional, top-down, insider White House. And that proved to be very detrimental. As Dean tells me in the book, “The contempt with which he held the progressive wing of the party was devastating and incredibly demoralizing. That’s basically saying to your own people, You got us here, now F-you.”

dakine01 October 10th, 2010 at 2:19 pm
In response to Ari Berman @ 14

In some ways, Obama learned the lessons of Dean during the campaign and then forgot them once he got to Washington.

Gee, I wonder what the biggest difference between the election campaign staff and the White House staff was?

(not really)

fuckno October 10th, 2010 at 2:21 pm

Why is it that the Democratic Party, starting with Clinton has thrown all of it’s populist democratic principles under the bus, and reduced itself to an odious caricature of an elite serving bunch of thugs?

Ari Berman October 10th, 2010 at 2:22 pm

Teddy – As Joe says, I think the Dean campaign knew they were going to energize the party and change politics–that was pretty clear once the campaign got going. Dean always talked about taking back the party and that’s what he did when he became DNC chair. Obama was smart enough to build on what Dean was trying to do, while Hillary Clinton and her inner circle either ignored or disparaged Dean & co.

The interesting thing about the period we’re in today is that it seems like the right and Tea Parties are the ones who are mobilizing and Obama is now using the conventional Washington playbook. And I think its incumbent on the Obama team to try to keep innovating and push the boundaries of typical DC politics, rather than just conforming to it.

Lorraine Watkins October 10th, 2010 at 2:22 pm
In response to Ari Berman @ 14

Thanks so much for this book. And for coming to FDL.

Obama learned the lessons of Dean during the campaign and then forgot them once he got to Washington.

From down here among the grass, it appears Obama did not forget. He used the Dean apparatus but has never embraced Dean’s/our liberalism or participatory democracy in framing policy.

Joe Trippi October 10th, 2010 at 2:22 pm
In response to nahant @ 8

I will answer this by asking Ari another question — to what extent was Rahm Emanual responsible for chilling out the progressive grassroots influence? My answer nahant is that the bottom -up nature of a true Democratic party is what brings the party its energy — and that means that Ari is right — the grassroots needs to build the party and force those at the top to cede power.

Ari Berman October 10th, 2010 at 2:22 pm
In response to dakine01 @ 18

Yes, it’s Rahm replacing Plouffe as the key person in Obama’s inner circle.

nahant October 10th, 2010 at 2:26 pm
In response to Ari Berman @ 11

That is for damn sure. All this bi-partisanship crap that BO has been touting has led to many defeats for the common citizen like a public option, cram down for home owners and so much more. Do you think that “If” the Dems keep both houses, will they change tactics and start from the high ground of their position in negotiations with the party of no, no way, nada, nein nix, next Congress?

Ari Berman October 10th, 2010 at 2:26 pm
In response to Joe Trippi @ 22

Based on my reporting, Rahm was very much responsible for excluding Dean from a job in the administration and the WH political operation made sure that Organizing for America did whatever the White House wanted. So instead of having a two-way dialogue between Obama and his supporters–which Obama promised after the election and was so crucial to the campaign–all the power flowed from the White House on down. To quote Dean again, “The White House began to believe that they could mobilize their supporters without hearing what their supporters really wanted in terms of specific change.”

Teddy Partridge October 10th, 2010 at 2:26 pm
In response to Joe Trippi @ 16

Well, that’s worth a great deal. How differently did the Obama campaign play out, how differently was the Democratic Party energized, than how you saw it from inside the Dean campaign?

Did you foresee the bold, decisive, motivating leadership of Tim Kaine, for instance?

Joe Trippi October 10th, 2010 at 2:28 pm

Also I need to fully disclose that I am working against Rahm Emanual in the Chicago Mayor’s race — and will be working for Sheriff Tom Dart if he enters the race. But when Rahm really trashed Howard’s 50 state strategy and thought is was a waste of money and resources. And I think Rahm carried that resentment into the White House — Ari do you agree with this? What did Rahm dislike Howard so much? And also why did the Obama White House not find a role for Dean? Howard and I have had our differences — but he has been horribly mistreated — why do you think that is?

Ari Berman October 10th, 2010 at 2:29 pm
In response to nahant @ 24

That’s a very interesting question. If Dems retain the house and the senate (that’s a big if!) the administration could try to lay out a bold legislative agenda and then use that as a basis for future negotiations. Or they may try to cut a bunch of deals with Republicans and Blue Dogs on issues like tax cuts, social security and the deficit, in order to both seem “bipartisan.”

Teddy Partridge October 10th, 2010 at 2:29 pm
In response to Ari Berman @ 25

So when did Rahm come on board? Was he always part of the Obama operation? I was so surprised to read in Woodie’s tome that Rahm was a quick, easy choice for Obama, because I never thought of them as teammates.

Should we have seen Rahm as integral to the Obama operation, or was it simply the first sign of a major shift away from campaign mode, and (arguably) success?

Teddy Partridge October 10th, 2010 at 2:30 pm
In response to Ari Berman @ 28

Defeat of Democratic conservatives, moderates, and Blue Dogs will be taken as a signal within the Village that Obama needs to move to the right. Illogical, but Broderiffic. Whether Obama can resist this siren song will define the second half of his first term, and possibly determinative of his second.

hackworth1 October 10th, 2010 at 2:32 pm

Mr. Trippi, Did Dr. Dean cut you loose before or after the Dean Scream? Why was the Dean Scream so difficult to counter?

(After all, was it not a matter of sound-remixing sabbotage from Republican Media Operatives?)

Ari Berman October 10th, 2010 at 2:33 pm
In response to Joe Trippi @ 27

I don’t think Rahm every respected Dean because Dean came up as an insurgent, both in his presidential campaign and as DNC chair, and he didn’t owe the Washington establishment anything. In fact, he bypassed them. And so when Rahm went to ask Dean for money in ’06 and Dean refused to give it to him on Rahm’s terms, Rahm went ballistic. And he never forgave Dean for that. And when it came time to pick a White House team, I don’t think Rahm wanted to give an alternate power base–which Dean had–any say in the administration. He was viewed as more trouble than he was worth. As former DNC chair Steve Grossman says, Dean is a prophet without honor is his own land.

Joe Trippi October 10th, 2010 at 2:34 pm

Teddy — its the network stupid to paraphrase Carville — and the network is getting bigger and more powerful everyday — it was clear to me that we in the Dean campaign were pioneering a primitive version of what was possible in an age in which people could be empowered to make a difference. Just as the Obama campaign made the Dean campaign look like a joke there will be a campaign in the next 2 to 6 years that will make the Obama campaign look like a joke. The tools people can use to connect with each other are more powerful than the parties — and if neither party gets it — the people will form their own. That in a way is what is happening with the Tea Party.

john in sacramento October 10th, 2010 at 2:35 pm

Did you foresee the bold, decisive, motivating leadership of Tim Kaine, for instance?

You forgot the snark tag Teddy ;-)

Ari Berman October 10th, 2010 at 2:35 pm

Teddy – Rahm was tight with Axelrod and Obama from their Chicago days but he did not play a major role in the campaign. It was only right after the election that Rahm became the top player in the Obama world, partially because Plouffe stepped out of the picture. I think the Obama people thought they needed someone like Rahm in DC–a backroom player with connections on Capitol Hill–but they didn’t foresee that putting someone with such an antagonistic relationship with the grassroots–who in many ways personified the old politics–would have such a harmful effect of the Obama brand.

Ari Berman October 10th, 2010 at 2:39 pm
In response to Joe Trippi @ 33

Joe makes a good point. No party or candidate has a monopoly on innovation and, as former Obama pollster Cornell Belcher told me, “we don’t own the market on change.” In some ways the Tea Party is Dean 3.0 and they have learned the lessons of Dean and Obama and used it to really influence the Republican Party–whether you agree with them or not.

RevBev October 10th, 2010 at 2:39 pm
In response to Ari Berman @ 35

Do you think that they “get” it now with so much of the excitement/freshness/hope lost? Doesn’t seem so with their insults to the Progressives.

Joe Trippi October 10th, 2010 at 2:40 pm
In response to hackworth1 @ 31

I left the campaign a few weeks after the “scream” — the campaign was hit long before the scream — remember we took 3rd in Iowa before the scream — that fact is that Edwards, Kerry, Gephardt were doing daily conference calls and coordinating their attacks on Dean. The entire Democratic establishment went into a stop Dean or anyone but Dean mode — and ganged up before and after the scream to finish us off.

hackworth1 October 10th, 2010 at 2:40 pm

What if Gary Hart had been forthright about Donna Rice? Wouldn’t that have been groundbreaking? A politician telling the truth. He might have won.

Ari Berman October 10th, 2010 at 2:41 pm

I don’t think you can really blame Kaine for the decisions the upper echelon o the Obama White House is making. He’s just a hired gun–that’s what always happens when the WH takes over the DNC. But I think that OFA could be a lot more bold and creative when it comes to trying to get Obama supporters involved in the legislative process. And I think the outside groups have to figure out a better way to put pressure on Obama and OFA, like Tea Party is doing with Republicans.

Joe Trippi October 10th, 2010 at 2:45 pm
In response to Ari Berman @ 40

Ari what should or would you have had Obama do on the inaugural and how it is that they missed such a huge opportunity? Also why is it that so many progressives knew that is was over the day he picked Rahm as Chief of Staff yet no one said anything — everyone sort of went along with it. This is the guy that trashed everything Dean did as DNC chair and no one said a thing.

Watt4Bob October 10th, 2010 at 2:45 pm
In response to RevBev @ 37

IMHO Rahm is personally responsible for having flushed Obama’s brand equity down the toilet, and it will go down as one of, if not the biggest political mistake in history.

Mauimom October 10th, 2010 at 2:45 pm
In response to Ari Berman @ 35

I think the Obama people thought they needed someone like Rahm in DC–a backroom player with connections on Capitol Hill–but they didn’t foresee that putting someone with such an antagonistic relationship with the grassroots–who in many ways personified the old politics–would have such a harmful effect of the Obama brand.

The fact that it’s taken them TWO YEARS to wake up to the effect of Rahm, and to get him out of the WH [although I take it he jumped, rather than was pushed] shows what a bunch of slow learners these Obama folks are.

Ari Berman October 10th, 2010 at 2:46 pm
In response to RevBev @ 37

I think the events of the past two years have proven what happens when you take your base for granted and ignore and demobilize them–there’s an enthusiasm gap. And now would seem the perfect opportunity for Obama to recognize that he needs to get his supporters back on board–if only for self-interested reasons–such as protecting the Democratic majority and his own re-election prospects. But I think criticizing them for whining or being insufficiently appreciative of his legislative agenda is the wrong way to go. He needs to inspire them again and give them something tangible to fight for.

hackworth1 October 10th, 2010 at 2:48 pm
In response to Ari Berman @ 40

What about a DUMP OBAMA Campaign? Outside groups have been like Rodney Dangerfield. They get no respect. We are F’ing Ret*rds. We need Drug Testing. A campaing to Dump Him might instill the Change That We Voted For.

Teddy Partridge October 10th, 2010 at 2:48 pm
In response to Ari Berman @ 36

Plus, of course, the Teabagger Party has successfully masked from its own participants its huge, secret funding from billionaires. Always easier to look grass-rootsy when you’ve got the money to cover up where your money actually comes from.

Joe Trippi October 10th, 2010 at 2:48 pm
In response to Mauimom @ 43

Mauimom — I see no sign that they have learned — or that Rahm’s departure means that they are going to change.

fuckno October 10th, 2010 at 2:49 pm
In response to Ari Berman @ 44

Feels like advice given by one confidence man to another:

“And now would seem the perfect opportunity for Obama to recognize that he needs to get his supporters back on board–if only for self-interested reasons–such as protecting the Democratic majority and his own re-election prospects.”

Watt4Bob October 10th, 2010 at 2:49 pm
In response to Joe Trippi @ 41

This is the guy that trashed everything Dean did as DNC chair and no one said a thing.

That’s why it’s called ‘shocked-disbelief’ it leaves a person speechless.

Ari Berman October 10th, 2010 at 2:49 pm
In response to Joe Trippi @ 41

Joe – As you point out, the administration wasted a huge opportunity after the inauguration to get people involved substantively in the admin. Instead they told them to buy mugs or go to parties. And Obama’s own activists thought that, after the election, their work was done and they could go back to their previous lives–which was also a mistake. The feeling was ‘let’s trust Obama to do the right thing.’ And the Obama team successfully spun the fact that Rahm would be a perfect marriage of the old and new politics. Obama would be the inspirational leader and Rahm would be the one with the DC connections to get things done…Instead, what happens is that Rahm’s politics significantly deluded Obama’s brand and even legislative successes–like healthcare–now look like failures.

Lorraine Watkins October 10th, 2010 at 2:50 pm

Let’s stop wishy washy-ing around. The book and conversation confirms what has been known about Emanuel since the Congressional elections at least.

It’s Obama’s policy and It’s Obama’s opinion of his liberal base.

Joe Trippi October 10th, 2010 at 2:51 pm
In response to fuckno @ 48

I know Axelrod and I believe he is really sincere in wanting to change things and make a difference — I have a hard time squaring that with what I am seeing.

Ari Berman October 10th, 2010 at 2:51 pm

Yes, that’s true, major money is now funding a good chunk of the Tea Party and using them. But it’s also true that a lot of it was spontaneous and unexpected and the left needs to understand the roots of The Tea Party and also what’s motivating them in order to be able to counteract them.

hackworth1 October 10th, 2010 at 2:53 pm
In response to Ari Berman @ 50

Re Health Care Insurance Reform: Hard not to look like a failure when it failed to provide health care in any significant way.

Mauimom October 10th, 2010 at 2:53 pm
In response to Joe Trippi @ 47

Thanks, Joe, for a powerful observation.

Just another reason for me to send back the latest Obama plea-for-funds with a “thanks, write when you execute some CHANGE” response.

fuckno October 10th, 2010 at 2:54 pm
In response to TalkingStick @ 51

Right, and when we glibly define Obama’s failures as failures of the “Obama Brand”, we know that we are in the midst of a concerted marketing effort on behalf of a bankrupt Party to “manufacture consent”.

I am off to wretch…

Joe Trippi October 10th, 2010 at 2:54 pm
In response to Ari Berman @ 50

Ari do you think this was all premeditated? That the Obama campaign essentially knowingly “used” the progressive grassroots to win — but knew they were going to turn it all off once in power?

Loo Hoo. October 10th, 2010 at 2:55 pm

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if Obama made Howard Dean his Chief of Staff? Rouse is interim. I doubt he’s in the mix, though. Is there some bad blood between Obama and Dean? Rahm and Dean, yes, but Obama and Dean?

*dreaming*

dakine01 October 10th, 2010 at 2:55 pm
In response to Ari Berman @ 50

…deluded Obama’s brand…

Now that’s about as Freudian a typo/spelling error as there is…

hackworth1 October 10th, 2010 at 2:57 pm
In response to Ari Berman @ 53

Fox News Watchers are convinced, persuaded, brainwashed that Immoral Liberals, Blacks, Immigrants, the other are ruining America. Tea baggers need to take back America. And their Federal Income Taxes are too high. Even if they don’t have a job.

Rupert Murdoch has convinced unemployed Rubes that they pay too much in Federal Income Taxes.

Joe Trippi October 10th, 2010 at 2:58 pm
In response to Loo Hoo. @ 58

Yes you are dreaming — I think people have no idea how much anything related to the Dean campaign is despised by the Democratic establishment.

Watt4Bob October 10th, 2010 at 2:58 pm
In response to Ari Berman @ 50

… even legislative successes–like healthcare–now look like failures.

Sorry, but you’ve lost me there, the lies and secret deals that accompanied the HCR campaign are just unforgivable.

The Health Insurance industry has acted with complete impunity since HCR passed.

My premiums increased by 30% since passage, and I have a brand new $4800/year deductible.

Ari Berman October 10th, 2010 at 2:59 pm
In response to Joe Trippi @ 47

That’s a question I’ve been wresting with–I think in the Obama campaign there was always a push and pull between old and new, establishment and grassroots, progressives and centrists. And Obama somehow appealed to both factions and lead them to believe he was on their side. So at some point one side was bound to be disappointed. And the soaring rhetoric of the Obama campaign and it’s innovation somewhat masked the fact that Obama himself was a pretty conventional politician and never tried to be the standard-bearer for the progressive movement. I don’t think the Obama campaign necessarily just “used” the progressive base, but they certainly didn’t prioritize them after. There was a vacuum after the election and that’s when the establishment stepped in and took over.

fuckno October 10th, 2010 at 2:59 pm
In response to Joe Trippi @ 52

Axelrod and Cantor agree in believing that the little people should take individual responsibility for their own lives (Foreclosure moratorium), yet collectively bear the burden of irresponsible Bankers.

Why should anyone continue vote against their self interests, because voting for the ‘D’ has become exactly that?

bgrothus October 10th, 2010 at 2:59 pm

Thanks so much to everyone for being here today.

Could you talk a bit about where we might go from here? The New Yorker had a story recently about the differences between using the internet as an organizing tool and what was done in the 1960s with the Civil Rights movement. The division between a top down leadership driven movement (CR, 60s) and the decentralized small d democratic movement that is the internets.

I thought it was an interesting article.

Ari Berman October 10th, 2010 at 2:59 pm
In response to dakine01 @ 59

ha, sorry. hard to spell when I am typing fast. meant to say diluted.

Ari Berman October 10th, 2010 at 3:01 pm
In response to Loo Hoo. @ 58

you are dreaming. Dean also does not have the skill set to be a chief of staff. He’d be much better in a cabinet role, like HHS, which is what he originally wanted.

Joe Trippi October 10th, 2010 at 3:01 pm
In response to Ari Berman @ 53

Ari — back to the book – what is the one thing that really surprised you. I mean what is the one moment or thing you discovered that you want us to all know about — or just knocked you off your feet? Is there one?

Prolier than Thou October 10th, 2010 at 3:01 pm

Write a book called “[Edited by Moderator]” and maybe I will buy it. Can you please tell us why any American should vote for such a group of congenital losers as the Democrats? Just look at Europe. They have generally have universal health care, free and high quality nursery schools, five weeks paid vacation, and parents get paid time off when they have children. There are 187 countries with paid maternity leave but the US is not one of them. It is high time to take the Democratic Party out back and figuratively [Edited by Moderator]so a true Social Democratic party can rise in its ashes.

Oh and please don’t tell me that I have to vote Democratic because they are one red hair to the left of the Republicans.

hackworth1 October 10th, 2010 at 3:01 pm
In response to Ari Berman @ 66

Deluded was good, too. Rham deluded Obama. The brand got diluted.

john in sacramento October 10th, 2010 at 3:02 pm
In response to Ari Berman @ 40

I’m sure you’re probably right about Kaine

But about Obama being open to including the ‘grass roots’ … Meh, I’m thinking notsomuch. David Sirota wrote a piece almost two years ago that I think explains Team Hopey-Changey’s attitude towards those of us they think of as the great unwashed masses

“This is the violin model: Hold power with the left hand, and play the music with your right,” David J. Rothkopf, a former Clinton official who wrote a history of the National Security Council, said on Friday, as news of Mrs. Clinton’s and Mr. Geithner’s appointments leaked.

This quote, from the New York Times story asserting that Barack Obama will govern from the center-right, highlights a very important dynamic in politics: the tendency of politicians to use the argot of progressivism in their public presentations (to “hold power with the left hand”) – all while wielding conservative policy (“playing the music with your right”).
[...]

Mauimom October 10th, 2010 at 3:02 pm
In response to Ari Berman @ 50

As you point out, the administration wasted a huge opportunity after the inauguration to get people involved substantively in the admin.

Ari [and Joe], I’ve always maintained that if Obama had come in and listed the myriad of problems left by the Bush administration, and said, “look, there’s a LOT wrong, there’s a LOT of work to be done; I can’t do everything at once, but I hear your anger, pain and frustration, and I will work, work, work to make things better,” this would have both

** taken away a bunch of the energy that flowed to the Tea Party because people thought their problems weren’t being addressed; and

** inoculated Obama against some of the “didn’t get things done” charges. [Of course this assumes he actually DID try to get things done, rather than putzing around and "turning things over to Congress."]

Why do you think he pursued this completely passive, “let’s look forward, not backward” MO? Was this Rahm’s influence, or Obama’s own timidity?

dakine01 October 10th, 2010 at 3:02 pm
In response to Ari Berman @ 66

Oh I figured that part out – but it did fit in an unfortunate way. :})

fuckno October 10th, 2010 at 3:03 pm
In response to Joe Trippi @ 52

On what Obama record do you hang your belief in the sincerity of his objectives, – unless socializing gains and privatizing losses is the change you too, are aspiring towards?

Mauimom October 10th, 2010 at 3:03 pm
In response to Joe Trippi @ 61

I think people have no idea how much anything related to the Dean campaign is despised by the Democratic establishment.

This just shows how deluded the “Democratic establishment” is. The “base” loves Dean.

RevBev October 10th, 2010 at 3:04 pm
In response to Ari Berman @ 63

And certainly we did not see him as Bush redux with the war expansion, tolerance of torture, no looking at any crimes of the previous administration. He disclosed much of his hand pretty early in rejecting positions during the election. It was early on reported that he and Kennedy had disagreed about health care; I don’t think I ever saw the details.

hackworth1 October 10th, 2010 at 3:06 pm
In response to fuckno @ 74

Him mean: privatize gains, profits and socialize losses, expenses, costs.

Ari Berman October 10th, 2010 at 3:06 pm
In response to bgrothus @ 65

My friend Sam Graham-Felsen, who used to write for The Nation and was Obama’s blogger during the campaign, posted an interesting response to the New Yorker article: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sam-grahamfelsen/what-gladwell-got-wrong-b_b_746658.html

The best online organizing creates empowerment offline. But you can’t just turn grassroots politics off and on like a switch. I think that’s what the Obama people forgot–you have to give the grassroots real ownership and something tangible to fight for, and make them feel like they are invested in the process. That’s what they did so brilliantly in the campaign, and new media was an extension of that.

I’m not sure how the next few years will play out but it’s certainly possible that the extremity of the GOP and Tea Party, if they take over the House and/or Senate, will motivate Democrats to go out and redouble their efforts and will give Obama an opportunity to reengage with his supporters. Especially if Palin is the GOP nominee in 2012.

Joe Trippi October 10th, 2010 at 3:07 pm

Kevin – I strongly believe that it will take an independent movement to make real change or scare the Democrats enough to make it happen. Both parties are caught up in the money game and its corrupted the process.

fuckno October 10th, 2010 at 3:09 pm
In response to hackworth1 @ 77

thnx.

RevBev October 10th, 2010 at 3:09 pm

Several voices here at the lake think Obama has almost planned to be a one term Pres. Do you see any reason to believe that?

hackworth1 October 10th, 2010 at 3:09 pm
In response to Ari Berman @ 78

The loss of the house will surely give Obama and the remaining D’s the cover they covet to continue to enact a Republican agenda.

hackworth1 October 10th, 2010 at 3:10 pm
In response to Joe Trippi @ 79

You da man.

underemployedlovinit October 10th, 2010 at 3:10 pm

Every once in a while a political party disintagrates which opens the door. It seems that could be occurring with the democratic party today. No?

hackworth1 October 10th, 2010 at 3:11 pm
In response to Joe Trippi @ 79

I meant that for you. You are telling a big truth there. Both parties are effectively totally corrupt.

Ari Berman October 10th, 2010 at 3:12 pm
In response to Joe Trippi @ 68

Joe – I knew a lot of this story from having covered it at The Nation, so in terms of reporting the book I just tried to flesh out a lot of my earlier reporting and do it in a way that would be most interesting and accessible as a book. What I found most interesting is that there was an internal battle inside the Obama campaign to define what the campaign stood for–and that is something that a lot of the other Obama books miss. And much of that fight pitted the Dean people who joined the Obama campaign against the more established players. And it is a fight that is ongoing today, in terms of what Obama and the Democratic Party should stand for.

When I started the book, right after Obama’s election, I did not foresee the rise of the Tea Party or the fact that they would use the Dean and Obama playbook so effectively. That has been really surprising to watch.

hackworth1 October 10th, 2010 at 3:13 pm

Obama’s legacy is this:

He revived a Republican party that was in its final throes, if you will*.

To Paraphrase Dick

Joe Trippi October 10th, 2010 at 3:13 pm
In response to fuckno @ 74

I have shut down bars with Axelrod — I have talked with him for hours and hours — back when I was with Dean and he was with Edwards — he was the only one in the Democratic establishment who got it — who was really trying to figure out how to change things — I believe to my core that he has a sincere desire to make a real difference for people. Then I saw them pick Rahm and thought WTF? Ari did you talk to Ax for the book? What do you think?

Ari Berman October 10th, 2010 at 3:19 pm

There is a great scene in the book where you and Tom Ochs are talking to Axelrod and he seems to get what the Dean campaign was trying to do in a way that others did not. I think others in the campaign studied Dean really carefully–Plouffe, Steve Hildebrand, Joe Rospars–and tried to build on that. Axelrod has been a bit of a mystery to me after the election–he was obviously buddies with Rahm from Chicago, but I thought he would push harder to make sure that Obama’s outsider, reformist brand was kept intact and also that Obama wouldn’t needlessly antagonize his base. Clearly, neither has happened.

Joe Trippi October 10th, 2010 at 3:20 pm
In response to Ari Berman @ 86

Ari — What is Dean’s view of Obama, Rahm et al — does he view them separately? I mean does he feel Obama just listened to Rahm, or does he believe Rahm was doing what Obama wanted in regard to Howard and the progressives?

Ari Berman October 10th, 2010 at 3:22 pm
In response to Mauimom @ 72

Yes. I think Obama needed to more clearly lay out the incredible mess he inherited and how he was going to try to fix it, and emphasize that message day after day after day, so that the American people could see a) that a lot of the current problems were not his fault and b) that he had a handle on what to do about it.

hackworth1 October 10th, 2010 at 3:22 pm

And it is a fight that is ongoing today, in terms of what Obama and the Democratic Party should stand for.

They should keep doing what they’re doing! Bending over for Multinational Corporations and isolating voters. That’s what the public wants. They don’t want jobs, healthcare and peace. They want to keep choosing between the lesser of Republican and Republican wannabes.

Prolier than Thou October 10th, 2010 at 3:22 pm
In response to Joe Trippi @ 79

That’s good to hear.

I personally think we need to hit 25% unemployment under a Palin Administration before anything is really going to change. The social democracies in Europe were built on the ashes of disasters and I am afraid the same process is about to play out in the US. History will not be kind to those who continue to support either the Democrats or Republicans.

fuckno October 10th, 2010 at 3:23 pm
In response to Joe Trippi @ 88

Joe,

Could you please paint us a picture of Dean’s likely appointments had he gotten the nod, Treasury, State, etc?

bgrothus October 10th, 2010 at 3:23 pm
In response to Ari Berman @ 78

I agree that the internet is a fantastic organizing tool. As a long-time organizer, I know it has been a game changer.

And there is no way to compare the times we are in now, compared to the 30s or the 60s, however similar they appear in some ways.

I live in NM where the 50-state strategy was embraced and is still welcome (to the best of my knowledge), in terms of keeping people active. We have some good reasons to vote for the Democrats here this season, and though we are looking at some difficult races, maybe we will pull it off.

The state is also fairly accessible, largely, I think, because we have a small population. We are currently paying the price of Big Bill’s overreach, despite good things he has done. It may be that corruption is finally going to the mat, though it will certainly be a force for more rounds in the political ring.

UncertaintyVicePrincipal October 10th, 2010 at 3:24 pm
In response to Joe Trippi @ 88

Joe this sort of thing is fascinating, so what do you think happens to someone like David Axelrod? I mean one has to admit that his recent attitude is nothing like someone who worked for a progressive campaign. Perhaps the most astonishing comment being how progressives “need to be drug tested” if they believe in the very things that Obama himself was in favor of when he started his campaign– but there have been many like that recently.

Ari and Joe, what is it, is it DC? Does it just change anyone who enters the overweening conservative atmosphere? Or is it power? Both? I feel like I should be jaded and say “Oh I knew this would happen” but I must admit to being utterly amazed. My tendency was to think that the progressive part was just an act, but from what you say here it’s the other way around. Thoughts?

RevBev October 10th, 2010 at 3:24 pm
In response to Ari Berman @ 91

How weird or ironic that the candidate who pledged himself to be very transparent is indeed oddly inscrutable. He must like it that way.

Joe Trippi October 10th, 2010 at 3:25 pm
In response to Ari Berman @ 89

Plouffe did a great job managing the campaign and deserves all the credit he gets — he did an amazing job – but he had never been all that into the grassroots in any of the other campaigns I had seen him in — so it always truck me that he “had gone to school” on the Dean campaign and was almost an engineer working at it.

Ari Berman October 10th, 2010 at 3:26 pm

Based on what he’s told me, I think that Dean separates Obama from Rahm and views them differently. He’s a lot more critical of Rahm than Obama. His basic take is that Obama has been ill-served by having so many Washington insiders on his team and has failed to adequately counter them. But I still think he views Obama as one of the good guys.

fuckno October 10th, 2010 at 3:28 pm
In response to Ari Berman @ 99

Get him off of da Hopeium, quick!

GlenJo October 10th, 2010 at 3:28 pm
In response to Ari Berman @ 91

Yes, exactly. That message needed to be sent everyday by somebody at the WH. I think they decided to sell the sizzle instead. The problem is that we are almost two years down the road and there is still no steak.

Following on with the Paulson/Bernanke/Geithner bailout extend and pretend has taken a huge bite out of Obama’s cred. Things are NOT getting better.

econobuzz October 10th, 2010 at 3:28 pm

His basic take is that Obama has been ill-served by having so many Washington insiders on his team and has failed to adequately counter them.

Pardon me, but this is a cop out.

Joe Trippi October 10th, 2010 at 3:28 pm
In response to fuckno @ 94

I think the only two jobs he has a chance at were HHS and Surgeon General. But I don’t think he had a shot at anything — not even those. I called over to the White House to tell them they should think about him for Surgeon General and there was nothing but hilarious laughter on the other end of the line.

jeffbarea October 10th, 2010 at 3:29 pm
In response to Joe Trippi @ 79

Slivers of light on that – I’m particularly proud of the Yes on Prop 19 example. If only there were more leaders like John Hampshire who can see beyond party affiliation.

fuckno October 10th, 2010 at 3:29 pm
In response to econobuzz @ 102

and such cop out is highly suspect, if not all together bewildering.

Joe Trippi October 10th, 2010 at 3:30 pm
In response to Ari Berman @ 99

Amen — that’s my view of how Obama (and maybe Ax) went wrong as well

fuckno October 10th, 2010 at 3:31 pm
In response to Joe Trippi @ 103

Sorry, I wasn’t clear.

Who would have Dr.Dean appointed had he become #44?

RevBev October 10th, 2010 at 3:32 pm

Do you think Michelle Obama has a role in any of this? Any explanation for why she has become almost invisible?

hackworth1 October 10th, 2010 at 3:33 pm
In response to Joe Trippi @ 103

Had Dean gotten any position inside the Admin, he’d have been good for helping to keep a few seats in the D column this November.

The Republicans are the ones who are laughing now. They were at Death’s door 20 months ago. Now look at them!

econobuzz October 10th, 2010 at 3:33 pm
In response to hackworth1 @ 87

Obama’s legacy is this: He revived a Republican party

Amen.

Ari Berman October 10th, 2010 at 3:33 pm

I think a few things happened:

1. After the election, Obama was persuaded that he needed the DC establishment more than his grassroots base in order to solve problems. So that pushed things to the right

2. He overlearned the lessons from the Clinton years, particularly re: healthcare, and decided to let Congress slice and dice his legislative agenda, rather than taking ownership of the process

3. At the same time that Obama’s supporters were not asked to mobilize, the right was mobilizing, so that created a situation of asymmetric warfare, whereby the whole debate on healthcare and other issues got dragged to the right

4. Obama has been loath to take on the more conservative faction in his party, like the Blue Dogs, who have exerted considerable influence.

bgrothus October 10th, 2010 at 3:33 pm
In response to RevBev @ 108

Invisible except for her arms, of course.

Joe Trippi October 10th, 2010 at 3:34 pm
In response to fuckno @ 107

No idea — Dean hadn’t given much thought to those kinds of things — he was surprised to be in the thick of the race and started out thinking he had no chance of winning

fuckno October 10th, 2010 at 3:35 pm

Ari, Joe,

Do you agree with Axelrod re. foreclosure moratorium:

Ax: “I’m not sure about a national moratorium because there are in fact valid foreclosures that probably should go forward” because their documents are accurate…Our hope is this moves rapidly and that this gets unwound very, very quickly”

please, explain if you would.

fuckno October 10th, 2010 at 3:36 pm
In response to econobuzz @ 110

It’s the foil that keeps us enslaved.

econobuzz October 10th, 2010 at 3:36 pm
In response to Ari Berman @ 111

After the election, Obama was persuaded that he needed the DC establishment more than his grassroots base in order to solve problems.

Pardon me, this makes no sense. By whom?

hackworth1 October 10th, 2010 at 3:37 pm
In response to Ari Berman @ 111

Is there any discernible difference between a Blue Dog and a New Dem (Obama)?

cbl October 10th, 2010 at 3:37 pm

great to see you here – haven’t seen you since the News Blog dayz :D

the coming Foreclosure Fraud tsunami may pre empt President Palin – but a topic for another post

Joe Trippi October 10th, 2010 at 3:37 pm
In response to Ari Berman @ 111

Ari – I actually think they over learned the lessons of Jimmy Carter — an outsider who the Washington establishment hated — and that drove them to pick a fixer like Rahm and signal that they were going to play ball with Washington — and that was the day the whole thing went down the proverbial….

Ari Berman October 10th, 2010 at 3:37 pm
In response to Joe Trippi @ 103

I think Tom Daschle would’ve been ok with Dean getting HHS, had he been health czar, but Tom Harkin told me that the people around Obama–i.e. Rahm–were not about to allow that to happen. Plouffe also wasn’t a big fan of Dean and blamed him for the lengthy battle over whether to count Mich and Florida during the primary. So Dean had few internal advocates on the inside–even though he was really popular with the rank-and-file and could’ve been a big asset to the admin in some respects.

Ari Berman October 10th, 2010 at 3:39 pm
In response to Joe Trippi @ 119

Agreed.

Ari Berman October 10th, 2010 at 3:39 pm
In response to econobuzz @ 116

By people like Rahm and Gates and the Clintons.

hackworth1 October 10th, 2010 at 3:39 pm
In response to Joe Trippi @ 113

It was you, Joe. You made a silk purse from a sow’s ear.

spocko October 10th, 2010 at 3:40 pm
In response to Ari Berman @ 86

I just never get a sense that anyone in any position of power in any of the local parties, or liberal groups had/has any appetite for a fight. Why is that?

EXAMPLE:
I did a lot of research on the Tea Party people in Oct of 2009 and March of this year (especially the Tea Party Express).and I acted against them. One of the things that astonished me was just how little effort was put into directly disrupting them.

I didn’t see anyone getting info to the press about who there were and who was backing them to discredit them during that time. I wrote and spoke to dozens of editors, producers and reporters during the Tea Party Express cross country tours while they were building up steam. I pointed out their racist member Mark Williams and how TPE had to PAY to have black people on stage. I pointed out how TPE was getting free local resources in each revenue strapped community while screaming “No taxes” (For example using $6,000 of local police protection in LA while fund raising and screaming NO Taxes!”)

The other thing I found out was just how self-reinforcing the Tea Party is with the Right Wing media and their activists. They raise money that pay for ads, which fund RW shows which then do promotion for the events.

On our side, we bloggers are marginalized and called names by the professionals in charge. Bush held special events for their bloggers, we get yelled at. I’ve run some extremely effective campaigns against the right wing media costing them millions of dollars in revenue and getting the woman who brought down Gray Davis fired. Allow me to note to you that no groups want to hire me or even associate with me. It seems like the ability to identify talent and promote a new generation of fighters and strategists has been blown.

seabos84 October 10th, 2010 at 3:43 pm

the organizing tools have to online, AND, have to be COMPLETELY independent of any candidate control or party lackey control.

campaigns, at a certain level, all the same work – WHAT are we gonna do?:

phonebank, leaflet, sign wave, media, doorbell …

The SNAFUS happen when no one can easily answer:

WHO is gonna do WHAT?
HOW is who gonna do it?
WHEN is who gonna do it?
WHERE is who gonna do it?

IF you had an open online scheduling program, people could sign up for what they like to do when they’re available, INSTEAD of trying to corral everyone into the big phonebank on Wed. night OR the big door to door next Saturday –

get the fucking control freak Grima Wormtongues outta business.

IF you make it easier to participate, MORE people will participate. Right now, the online tools are just electronic shoeboxes, and when the kerry people get the shoeboxes from the dean people and fuck over the deal people … I mean the obama people fuck over the hillary people …

then all kinds of people are mad and pissed off and they ain’t gonna help nobody do nothing.

get the fucking control freak Grima Wormtongues outta business.

make the scheduling software open to anyone -

does that mean some places will get run over with laroushies? yup! so what. that means the locals there will have to get rid of the larouchies, OPENLY.

ultimately you’ll have a healthier REAL GRASSROOTS “organization”, instead of these incessant cow patch grassroots organizations where we grassroots get shit on, pissed on, chewed up, stomped on and used up … until the slimeballs come back in two years to do it again to us.

rmm.

econobuzz October 10th, 2010 at 3:44 pm
In response to Ari Berman @ 122

My take is that the legacy of Obama will be largely determined by his failure to take the progressive case to voters — across issues.

Your take?

hackworth1 October 10th, 2010 at 3:44 pm
In response to Joe Trippi @ 119

Big, Big Statement here. Get Rham and Play Inside Baseball. What was it Obama said in one of his bios, about being imprintable with the varying ideals people tend to imprint on him?

Joe Trippi October 10th, 2010 at 3:44 pm
In response to fuckno @ 114

Ax clearly thinks that there are people who should be foreclosed on — and if you believe that — the quicker they are unwound the better. Pushing off inevitable foreclosure is only going to delay the day of reckoning — I mean I think that is what he is saying in that quote. From an economic 101 point of view he is right – cept that the guys who wrote the book are the ones that got us is the mess.

Ari Berman October 10th, 2010 at 3:45 pm
In response to spocko @ 124

On the Obama side, a lot of the organizers who went into OFA didn’t fight hard enough to have a say in how policy was made. They were true believers who were ok with the WH line. Or, if they weren’t, they simply disengaged from the process.

Meanwhile, a lot of the progressive groups tried to work hand in hand with the admin, rather than pressuring them on policy fronts to achieve a more progressive outcome.

Thus, when the Tea Party came around and pushed the whole debate to the right, the progressive side was not initially well-prepared to fight back.

Ari Berman October 10th, 2010 at 3:47 pm
In response to econobuzz @ 126

He has been reluctant to make an affirmative case for the power of the government to help people or to lay out his own ideology. I thought he’d make a pragmatic case for progressive governance after the election, at least on some issues, but he has yet to.

econobuzz October 10th, 2010 at 3:48 pm
In response to Ari Berman @ 130

Thanks.

fuckno October 10th, 2010 at 3:48 pm
In response to Joe Trippi @ 128

Joe,

econ 101 addresses economics, – it’s disappointing that you fail to notice that rigged economics, our currently emulated status quo is not part of the curriculum.

Please wake up!

edit: you might want to visit naked capitalism for a bit of reeducation.

Ari Berman October 10th, 2010 at 3:48 pm

Also, I think it’s far too soon to call Obama a one-term president. Let’s at least see who the GOP nominee is first and how the economy is doing closer to 2012. I like his chances against Palin. Joe, do you think Romney could get through a GOP primary? I think that’d be his toughest opponent, if so, but I don’t see how Romney separates himself from “Obamacare”

Joe Trippi October 10th, 2010 at 3:50 pm
In response to Ari Berman @ 120

In the end I think it is better that Dean isn’t part of the administration — if he was on the inside he would not be able to speak out and challenge the President or his policies. And if he wants to run in the future he can and will not have to defend policies he probably would have had to implement that he did not agree with. I think it is better that Dean didn’t get an appointment

UncertaintyVicePrincipal October 10th, 2010 at 3:52 pm
In response to Ari Berman @ 111

Good summary, thanks.

Depressing though, since another way to say all of this is: They used progressives when they wanted to get elected, then figured it was the right they needed, so avoided the progressives like they owed them money– and worse, started very visibly bashing them to gain cred with the right.

And now, if they end up losing the majority in the House, it will be because of the lack of votes from the left. Not from the right, with whom they were never going to get any support anyway.

I think it’s tragic. One of the worst lost opportunities ever, politically. And virtually everyone I know feels the same way.

Joe Trippi October 10th, 2010 at 3:52 pm
In response to fuckno @ 132

I talk to Naked Capitalism all the time — I am saying what I think AX means — not what I think. Sorry — but Washington is part of the rigged game and most of the “experts” Rahm and the gang brought in were in on the rigging

Ari Berman October 10th, 2010 at 3:52 pm
In response to Joe Trippi @ 134

Dean played a very valuable role during the healthcare debate, pushing Obama on the public option, and I would like to see him do that more on other issues. But because he was just recently chair of the party, his tendency is sometimes to stay out of these intraparty fights.

RevBev October 10th, 2010 at 3:53 pm
In response to Joe Trippi @ 134

Thanks for that…a hint that there may still be some integrity. Nice

hackworth1 October 10th, 2010 at 3:53 pm
In response to Ari Berman @ 130

The time for that was the first 100 days, when we had a mandate for change and clear majorities in both houses. He can make a pragmatic case for progressive governance after we lose the majority in the house, but it won’t be very effective.

econobuzz October 10th, 2010 at 3:54 pm
In response to Joe Trippi @ 134

if he was on the inside he would not be able to speak out and challenge the President or his policies.

I think this is true. One of the reasons I wanted to see Warren stay on the “outside” also.

Joe Trippi October 10th, 2010 at 3:54 pm

Ari — after writing the book are you afraid where where things are headed for progressives or are you optimistic that things will change under obama? I guess the question is do you see the glass half empty and leaking or half full but building?

spocko October 10th, 2010 at 3:56 pm
In response to Ari Berman @ 129

Regarding OFA. I approached them in 2008, not only offering my help with going after the right wing media but my help with media, messages and narratives. They suggested that I get back to them after I had experience in DC.

I guess my years of coaching some of the most powerful tech CEOs in Silicon Valley didn’t mean much.

BevW October 10th, 2010 at 3:57 pm

As we come to the end of this Book Salon.

Ari, Thank you for stopping by the Lake and spending the afternoon with us discussing your new book and the Dean Campaign.

Joe, Thank you for returning and Hosting this great Book Salon.

Everyone, if you would like more information,
Ari’s website
Joe’s website

Ari’s book

Thanks all,
Have a great week.

fuckno October 10th, 2010 at 3:57 pm

If the glass is a euphemism for democracy, – the glass is Humpty Dumpty broken.

Joe Trippi October 10th, 2010 at 3:58 pm

Congratulations on a Great book Ari! Thanks everyone!

Ari Berman October 10th, 2010 at 3:59 pm
In response to Joe Trippi @ 141

I feel both emotions. The fact that progressive grassroots activists were able to build such an effective political movement–which led to a Democratic Congressional majority and a Democratic president–is the hopeful part. If they did it once, they can continue to build on it. But the fact that the Tea Party has used Dean/Obama playbook better than the Democrats in the past two years has been disheartening. I see the fight for the soul of the Democratic Party and Republican Party as still ongoing and up for grabs. The next two years will probably be a hard slog for Obama but if he gets re-elected he may still be able to do some transformative things.

fuckno October 10th, 2010 at 4:01 pm

Recap: We can always rely on the insight passed to us by Upton Sinclair…

Ari Berman October 10th, 2010 at 4:01 pm
In response to BevW @ 143

Thanks Bev. I really enjoyed the provocative discussion. Thanks for hosting Joe and adding your insights! Hope everyone likes the book.

econobuzz October 10th, 2010 at 4:06 pm

Great. Thanks Ari and Joe.

GlenJo October 10th, 2010 at 4:12 pm

Ari, Joe, Bev, thanks!

Teddy Partridge October 10th, 2010 at 4:12 pm

Thank you for this wonderful talk today.

I recommend this book to anyone, especially those interested in where the Democratic Party needs to go to regain its soul. As a recently re-registered Non-Aligned Voter, I must say I saw some hope here.

Some.

RevBev October 10th, 2010 at 4:17 pm

Thanks for saying that. Have to say….I found the discussion quite depressing. We’ll certainly see in the way ahead.

Teddy Partridge October 10th, 2010 at 4:23 pm
In response to Joe Trippi @ 103

Well, that’s it for me then.

All she wrote, as the old folks used to say.

bobash October 11th, 2010 at 8:45 am

Sorry I missed this real time. I found this book salon to be very informative and insightful. Thanks Ari and Joe.

A question I would’ve asked had I been here, and on which I hope to hear more on at the lake:

In the context of

I see the fight for the soul of the Democratic Party and Republican Party as still ongoing and up for grabs. The next two years will probably be a hard slog for Obama but if he gets re-elected he may still be able to do some transformative things.

Can progressives retake the soul of the Democratic Party while Obama is still in office, or does winning the Democratic party back from the establishment corporatists require a successful primary challenge to Obama, and is this possible in even the best of circumstances?

I personally can’t imagine how Obama can successfully change colors this far into the game, given his “opaque” deals with health insurance, pharma, MIC, the wars, the surveillance state, etc. To have any credibility he’d have to repudiate too much of what he’s done thus far, in which case he’d have no credibility. I would have liked to ask Joe and Ari how, hypothetically given the mission, they would architect a 2012 primary challenge based on progressives stealing the party from the establishment, and whether or not this is remotely possible from a professional campaigner’s point of view. I.e., what could progressives be doing now to make such a challenge successful?

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