Burnt Orange Report

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July 26, 2004

Last Saturday

By Karl-Thomas Musselman

Arising from our ‘non-smoking’ room, we packed up the bags and moved to Pittsfield, out in far western part of Massachusetts to go the Democracy Fest, the national pre-convention gathering of Howard Dean delegates, ‘shadow’ delegates like us who are officially John Kerry (etc.) delegates but Deaniacs at heart, and other hardcore volunteers and Blog for America commenters.

We arrived around noon while things were already in progress, and met up with Fran Vincent, Austin delegate and volunteer organizer of Democracy for Texas as well as Marla Camp who is on the DFT steering committee and was on the National Platform Committee in Florida.

Throughout the day, we attended training sessions sponsored by the Latinos for Democracy people from California. Alongside that, there were entertainers down in the dining tent; everything from political bands, comedy groups, slam poets, solo singers, and speakers. Dean campaign manager Joe Trippi spoke around 2 pm which prompted some interesting discussion. This event, being a gathering of the core of the hard core activists, had a number of people who were incredibly upset with Trippi for what they believe he did to the Dean campaign at the end. There are complaints about his firm managing the horrible media ads, not paying attention to Iowa, not paying attending to minority building, etc.

Personally, I find it ironic that some of the Deaniacs dislike Trippi so much. Come on, you have to at least thank him for building an enormous campaign first so that he could screw it over in the end! Note my sarcasm.

He spoke about his book, The Revolution Will Not be Televised. Or rather, he spoke on how it was not a ‘tell all’ (though according to those in the know, he apparently bashed a number of people and Howard Dean after the whole campaign reshuffling. Dean also had his words, but kept them in private conversation I was told.

In any case, he outlined what his greater vision was for political organizing beyond the Dean campaign. About how we are in the time between TV being the dominant medium to the Internet taking over. It’s an idea of how people will return to the community driven model of interaction, organization, and socialization instead of being driven by the solitary conversation that direct mail and tv ads create now.

He was asked a question along the lines of, “If you were the Kerry campaign manager, what dream idea would you love to do to the campaign.” Trippi’s response was that at the national convention, during his nominating speech, he would have Kerry make the announcement that he was putting the future of his campaign into the hands of the American people by not accepting $75 million, taxpayer funded, public financing check for the post-convention portion of the general election campaign. By making a bold statement like that, for one, a media firestorm would be created, and two, it would advance the acknowledgement of online organizing and fundraising to now, not 10 years from now.

I understand his vision and I can see, just like in any of the other Deaniacs, there is a deeper commitment, vision, and belief behind what we are all doing. And that gives me hope.

During the afternoon, Glen Maxey spoke, though I missed it due to talking to a Hartford Current Reporter for an hour. She was a story on young Dean supporters and what has happened to them post-campaign. If anything, it brought back a lot of memories and a big smile from me.

Most of the rest of the evening was spent eating and drinking out in the main tent until it got late. We headed out to Fran’s campsite where the Texans and other Deansters got together to stand around the fire, drinking, and telling stories about the campaign. It was a magical moment, reliving so much of what happened, with people from six different states all knowing what you are talking about, down to the smallest detail. It was community.

Posted by Karl-Thomas Musselman at July 26, 2004 03:41 AM | TrackBack


Boy, you guys turn on your own real fast. First Wilson, then Berger, now Trippi. Your people go stale quickly. Where's the preservatives?

Posted by: peter at July 26, 2004 01:22 PM
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