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September 18, 2004

BBC Blogs BOR in Austin

By Karl-Thomas Musselman

During the convention I talked to a lot of reporters from all over the place. One of which was Kevin Anderson, who is now traveling across the US for the BBC blogging with fellow reporter Richard Greene. Since he was in Austin he gave me a rang and we met at the historic Scholz's Biergarten for a chat about Texas politics. (Kevin aslo has some great stuff from Mike Lavine and folks out in San Marcos in surrounding posts. They were in Colorado recently as well.)

The Blog is here and my bit is the second story from the bottom. (Look for this picture).

I've copied my piece with him in the extended entry in case it disappears from the site blog.

I first spoke to Karl-Thomas Musselman in the lead-up to the Democratic Convention in Boston.

He was Texas' youngest delegate to the convention, and he had his own blog and also writes for the Burnt Orange Report, a Democratic blog about Texas politics.

"The creativity of grass roots blogs fills in where most journalists fear to tread," he said.

He's a government student at the University of Texas at Austin, so being in town, I thought I'd give him a call.

We met at Scholz Garden, a local watering hole where Deaniacs - supporters of insurgent candidate Howard Dean - like Karl-Thomas gathered for the Meetups, the use of which was of the Dean campaign's online innovations.

Meetup.com is a site where people with similar interests can find each other online and set places to meet up offline. The interest doesn't have to be politics.

A quick search of the Austin area shows that there are Meetups about dog agility, the right to bear arms, cat rescue and witches, just to name a few.

As a volunteer for the Dean campaign, Karl-Thomas travelled to Iowa, to New Hampshire and to Arizona. He was there in Iowa for the famous "Dean Scream" speech.

Because the Deaniacs had such an attachment to people in the campaign and the candidate himself, Karl-Thomas said it was hard to let go.

After Dean's last stand in Wisconsin, Karl-Thomas said: "It was almost like losing a loved one. You had to go through a process of grieving."

At first he felt demoralised, but Howard Dean transformed his presidential campaign into a broader campaign to elect fiscally responsible and socially progressive candidates.

Karl-Thomas had been a committed Deaniac

Dean for America became Democracy for America, and Karl-Thomas has been working to elect Democratic candidates to local and state office in Austin.

Part of those efforts has been voter registration drives, and he said that at the university, they have registered 1,720 voters as of last week.

Generally, he thinks that voter turnout will be higher for this election than in the presidential election in 2000.

He predicts turnout will be up, at levels not seen since 1992, about 55%.

"I get this sense, this feeling that this is one of those elections that is going to draw out those people who rarely ever vote, people who vote once every 20 years," he said.

As an example, he said that his uncle hasn't voted since 1976, since the Jimmy Carter-Gerald Ford race.

Karl-Thomas' uncle believes "that all politicians are crooks and sleazes", but his uncle recently registered to vote.

He said that that there are lot of people who will turn out for this election to vote for "anybody but Bush".

They may not necessarily be voting for John Kerry, but if there is anything they do this election, they will cast a vote, in essence, against George Bush, he said.

Posted by Karl-Thomas Musselman at September 18, 2004 05:50 PM | TrackBack


Karl-Thomas, the BBC blog with the piece on Austin should be there for some time.
My comments about Barack Obama on the BBC's DNC blog and my quip about Tony Blair and The Simpsons from 2003 from a "readers' comments" page of theirs are both still there.

Posted by: Tim Z. at September 18, 2004 09:50 PM
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