Benny's World

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Hard Out There Petitioning for Dems in A Red District

This is another report about field activities from a volunteer's eyes in IL-15. This is about obtaining signatures for petitions to put candidates on the state ballot.

On Wednesday, I received a note from John Edwards' Midwest OneCorps coordinator that our Champaign-Urbana group would be soliciting petitions in order to properly put John Edwards on the ballot for the Illinois Democratic primary. My understanding is that this is common practice and all candidates, regardless of party, must have the legal number of signatures. Since I'm new to doing real grassroots work, I did ask how many signatures were needed. No one I asked was totally clear about it, but the goal was to get as many as possible.

Today was Dad's Day at the University of Illinois, and the Illini were playing a home game against the number 5 ranked team in the nation, Wisconsin. Big 10 game. OneCorps was meeting in Champaign near Assembly Hall between 8 and 9 this morning, and as I live only 2.5 miles from it, I chose to ride my comfort bike and meet the folks there.

It was the best method of transportation since parking was already beginning to become a premium with big tail gating parties and kickoff was scheduled for a little past 11am.

There were only a handful of us as our OneCorps chapter is very small.

But here's a picture of getting a clipboard with the petitions attached from one of our leaders.

We took our clipboards, and set forth to do some canvassing amongst the big crowds in the nearby parking areas. We were forewarned it would be a tough crowd.

The crowd was full of Red Shirters for Wisconsin and Orange Crush for the Illini. While it was exciting to see such enthusiasm for the football teams, it was clear that either the crowd goers (a) weren't interested in signing petitions or (b) were not registered voters who wanted to get a Democratic candidate on the ballot. My cohorts and I tried to stay within the same area, and they fared better than I did in getting some signatures. Both said they had better luck with women.

Moi? I got zippy-do-dah, and I believed I could obtain more fruitful results at the Urbana Farmer's/Free Market, where the crowd goers are more friendly to Democrats. My team concurred. I left them at the pre-game activities.

I returned to get my bike, kept secure in a vehicle, and the the round-up leader who had it still was around and got it out of the car, ready for me. She had found tickets for any of us who wished to get signatures, and I had one of them. However, I returned the ticket as I knew someone else could enjoy the game better. I wanted instead to stay on task for my candidate. As I told the One Corps leader, I relish a good game of college football, but I wanted to get the job done. She seemed appreciative and wished me luck getting around via bicycle the growing, snarling traffic of game attendees.

It took me almost twice as long to get home because of the traffic and waiting. I took a little time to cool off in my AC'd home as it was already 85 degrees after my arrival. I got to the Urbana Farmer's/FreeMarket by 10:30, later than I expected, but still I made it. The market was not quite as full because of the game, but we had plenty of hard core Dems passing by, and oddly Ron Paul supporters near the space. I'm supplying a pic to give readers a lens of what the farmer's/free market looks like.

I also got to say hello and chat with Tony Fabri, who is the appointed current County Auditor, but running for the election next year, and he is our County Dem chair. He remembered my name, which impressed me since I see him only a few times a year. He's a busy person.

The person of the day was Kai. She got quite a few to register to vote in our County. Of
those, many were students and new to our area. She also reminded other folks if they changed addresses, to re-register as well. Kai is the gal on the right in the picture below.

And in the end, the Illini beat Wisconsin 31-26. Good for the Illini. Not certain how the rest of my OneCorps group did, but I'm betting they were better than I was.

In the end I obtained 13 signatures for my candidate. I'll do better next week.

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Friday, October 05, 2007

John Edwards: For Real in Rural Areas

He's a rugged politician.

And here is the Next JRE, Shawn Dixon, in this pic:

Proud young law student who sees JRE in doing what it is right for all of us. He's persuasive.

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Columbus, KY Greets its First Ever Politician: John Edwards

Thanks to Shawn Dixon, who got more people to vote for Columbus, KY, a town of 229.

Great vlog by JSamuel at the Democratic Underground. Photo of Dixon courtesy of yours truly.

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I am a John Edwards Netrooter

Lately I have been in the cross hairs of blogs, some of which are trying to declare that John Edwards campaign is DOA because he is accepting public finance monies. Kos, Taylor Marsh, etc, are saying that Edwards could do without it because the netroots are helping candidates raise more money in general. But Edwards had a bit slower 3rd quarter fundraising than some of the others. No one denies it, and now anyone's contribution, since many of them are smaller than $2300, are matched one for one up to $250. I am one of those who cannot donate like Oprah Winfrey, so my donation is actually worth more because of the match.

JSamuel in his comment at the Daily Kos gave 10 good reasons why Kos is misguided in his views:

1. You criticize Edwards for taking public financing because it benefits him (which I disagree with, but not the point).

2. You however do not criticize Clinton and Obama for not taking public financing because it benefits them.

3. A 527 is not a Washington lobbyist.

4. The DNC is not a Washington lobbyist.

5. Public finanicing is the way to get big money out of our primary.

6. The DNC will only be in use AFTER the primary is held so that it does not conflict with the message of public financing, which you continuously ignore.

7. You have no problem with the Dem nominee having 150M but you have a problem with the DNC having 150M.

8. Do we want to support party building and the 50 state strategy or not?

9. John Edwards does not control, run, or have any responsibility for what 527's do or the money they raise.

10. You only seem to have a problem with 527's when they are brought up by the Edwards campaign.

He is on the mark. Kos says the netroots can help as it did with Dean. But now that Kos has attention of the traditional media, he has become more like them. Taylor wants to be like them. Both are out of the traditional places media writers come from: law, journalism, entertainment, and sometimes academia. Kos is a lawyer, Taylor Marsh is out of the entertainment business and in radio. Both appear more concerned about the "image" of the campaigns rather than the ideology.

The truth is Kos, Open Left, Digby, Taylor Marsh, etc, have become the elitists that Mudcat Saunders spoke of a few months ago. Their self-indignation arose when their attitudes were correctly called out by an old cowhand in the grassroots with this comment:

I have bitched and moaned for years about the lack of tolerance in the elitist wing of the Democratic Party, or what I refer to as the "Metropolitan Opera Wing". These are the people who talk of tolerance but the only true tolerance they ever exhibit is for their own pseudo-intellectual arrogance.

Maybe I like old cowhands from rural areas, but I've always thought Edwards was right to follow his instincts and not sell out to the big interest groups. That includes Fox News. Kos, Bowers, Stoller, and Taylor insisted that Fox News was not a legitimate news organization and no candidate should allow himself or herself to be framed by them by appearing on their debates, and to an extent, to be on their shows. Edwards was the first to say "No" to FN.

Then Clinton appeared on FNS over a week ago. Suddenly the big Netroots sites heard crickets on this topic. I made a comment about it, and it was still crickets, even with netrooters over at the Daily Kos.

It's my opinion, that for someone who created a website for those who felt strongly about the netroots, Kos has transformed his own site away from the netroots. Or else I have been transformed into a real netrooter, in which case Kos did his job for awhile, but I think he, along with Taylor, etc, have sold us out in the name of big money in politics. I'm clearly very frustrated by it. I thought ideas mattered more than money, and at the Yearly Kos, it was very clear the Netrooters were sick of being sold out to the big interests. Edwards received the most applause at the forum there. But now, such is not the case with Kos or Taylor Marsh anymore. I think they are beginning to be worried that if they don't kowtow to the Clintons in the event they become the nominee (and the pronoun is correct, it is not she, but they, since Hillary Clinton cannot get the nomination without her husband's recognition), they will be frozen out in media calls, etc. It's nice that Peter Daou makes them feel included at the moment, but Kos, Jane Hamsher, and Taylor Marsh are being sold a bill of goods and I can bet that like the health care plan and other people the Clintons have known in their lives, those blogs are used, disposed, and they will move on, regardless of the outcome of the election.

Today, I took out links to Kos and Taylor Marsh from my blogroll because they don't share my values about the progressive blog sphere anymore. It's not to say, don't visit their sites or listen to their shows. Both people are dynamic in their own rights.

I will not sell out John and Elizabeth Edwards to anyone, and that's why I am fortunate that I don't depend on blog ads or clicks for this site. I just blog. I get noticed occasionally, and I'm glad when I do. But I've always been here just for my own musings and to promote the good things about the Edwards family. They are good to their core, and that's why a lot of folks other than myself do like them. They want decency, fairness, justice, and they live it in their own lives. John Edwards has not changed in how he conducts business. He takes risks, always has. If anything, he took a big risk on his vote on the war. He was wrong. And has said so.

Now, having learned a lesson or three, he wants to correct the course of our country. He has the most progressive plans of any candidate. I have no doubt he could change the course, if given the opportunity.

Note: more links to be added later.

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Thursday, October 04, 2007

JRE Channels the Dixie Chicks

Not perfectly, but he could not ever follow. No wonder he is with the Dixie Chicks in how they do business. They were booed, criticized to no end, then came back with this title song, and won all kinds of awards along with respect. JRE will win in it the long run, and I will post later what the barriers other bloggers, who are supposed to champion Dems, are doing, because they have bought into big money possibilities for themselves.

No wonder John Edwards leads in head to head match ups in Texas and other places. He channels the Dixie Chicks here.

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Wednesday, October 03, 2007

JRE "teaches for a day" in NH

He visits a business education class, and they discuss about deficit reduction, how to grow the middle class, etc.

Too bad he didn't get the AFT endorsement, but I do know he is strongly for improving public education, and an excellent product of public schools in America.

H/t to Hissyspit at the DU for this video.

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John Edwards: Stop Cronyism with Blackwater

John Edwards was on Keith Olbermann's show tonight to talk about Blackwater and the problems with private contractors. Bush and his ilk gave away big contracts as "no bid" to Blackwater, Kellogg Root and Brown, etc, all corporate welfare recipients.

I also like it that John Edwards tells the truth about the polls: it's too early for primaries. Folks are just beginning to look at the races, which from talking to Iowans, he's right.

And good ol' Keith--asking JRE to say hello to Elizabeth. Keith and EE are kindred spirits in many ways.

Oh, for a good round up of JRE news today, go here.

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