Thursday, November 06, 2008

On November 4th the voters in Delaware and in the USA spoke clearly. Voters in Delaware chose Jack Markell as their Governor, based on his honesty, fresh ideas, and hope for the future, and determination to form a government of, by, and for the people of the state. Voters in the USA chose Barack Obama for the same reasons. Candidates with old, failed ideas, and with negative campaigns were rejected by voters. Both of these elected leaders helped legislators (state and national) also get elected, providing them with allies who are well positioned to help get their agendas achieved.
While Obama and Markell are both wonderful men and candidates, their success depended on incredible campaigns, and both were based on strong grass roots organizations. Volunteers and contributors made these victories possible. I know a slew of people who put in a slew of time, who contributed lots of dollars, and who simply put their lives on hold this past election season. My hat is off to each of you.
Let me mention the Newark operations. Ann at Snappy Auctions ( ) in Newark donated the use of some of her building (all of her building on the 4th) for the Obama campaign to use, primarily for phone banking, but also for launching drives to PA for canvassing. If you have any stuff to sell on eBay, consider giving her a call at 302-355-3528. If you helped phone bank or canvass, she may give you a discount. Anne and Aaron led the running of the office, with the help of many, many other volunteers. I can’t say enough good things about how incredible Anne and Aaron are.
Paul Ruiz leads the Democrats at the University of Delaware (UD). He built a wonderful team, and together they helped to deliver Pennsylvania for Obama. Anne and I put the word out that the UD students needed financial help, to cover gas money and bus rental money for their drives to PA and pizza money for the phone banking, and we were overwhelmed. I accompanied well over 100 UD students who went to Philadelphia on the 4th, along with three area high school students. There are no slackers there—these young adults all delivered, and they give me tremendous hope for the future of our country. They were blown away by the quick financial support (and offer of driving support) that the community offered with very little notice. Newark delivered for the students, and the students delivered for Obama. Congratulations!
Let me share two concerns I harbor. I will try to avoid using a label to describe Barack Obama (for instance the first African American President, a liberal President, etc), for I think that it is unfair to describe the complete Barack Obama with a single label. This is similar to saying ‘this is my Jewish friend, my black co-worker, my conservative cousin.’ I hope that you do not use such labels with your friends, and for the same reasons we should avoid using them with President-elect Barack Obama. Let’s rise above that. No single label can capture the man that we elected to be our 44th President.
Second, I do not want Barack Obama to pull a George Bush, and govern to his base and disregard/abandon the rest of the country. I recognize that the liberal wing of the Democratic Party fully supported Barack Obama, and was critical to the results on the 4th, however I do not expect him to govern from the far left. I of course want him to consider the concerns of the far left, but I want him to fashion policies that are best for the country, even if they are not policies that are the first choice of liberals.
Michael Moore wrote a letter on his blog this week, and I agree with most of Moore’s points. However Moore encourages Obama to adopt a very anti-war stance, and I don’t feel that this kind of ideological-driven approach, which has failed the country for the past eight years, is the right approach for Obama. That isn’t change that I believe in. I trust Barack Obama to collect all of the information and opinions, from generals (active and retired), soldiers, diplomats (US and foreign), intelligence agencies, leading legislators, and citizens, and to develop policies for the country from a nearly clean sheet of paper, and to be forthright with the country during this process. You may or not share this concern.

So now what? I have a life to get back to, as do each of you, lives that you have neglected in the past weeks and months. But will I put my political life and this email list/blog on hold for two or four more years? No.
The country has many, many very serious problems. We need to remain informed, engaged, and to provide support. Barack Obama will not be able to please you or me on every issue. As a country we have selected him to level with us, to give us the full story, to make very difficult decisions when necessary, and we have promised that we will stand with him, making sacrifices where needed. That is what ‘government by the people’ means. I urge you to 1) share your views, but 2) support President-elect Barack Obama even when he makes a decision that you wish he did not make. We need to ‘have his back.’ The country’s problems are too overwhelming for him to worry about having the full support of the volunteers and voters who brought victory on Tuesday.
These very same issues are equally true for Governor-elect Jack Markell. We need to stay informed, to share our views, and to support his decisions. Together, we can solve the problems facing Delaware, the country, and the world. Let’s stand together with Barack Obama and with Jack Markell. Let’s make the dreams come true, let’s change the world.
Paul S Baumbach
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Monday, October 27, 2008

Progressive Update--10/27/2008--Countdown

Nine days to go. Are you ready?
Cheerleading—Obama/Biden have run the best presidential campaign in history, and they are nine days from making history. calculates a 97% likelihood of victory on the 4th, and a Electoral Vote (EV) margin of over 150. I am convinced that what we need is not only an EV victory, but a large EV victory, so that in addition to inheriting an incredible mess from Bush, Obama will have the mandate to make the broad changes to get the country on the right path.
Villanova political science professor and friend Matt Kerbel shared with me the following last Tuesday: “I'm pleased to be able to say that nothing has changed structurally from when we spoke a few weeks ago. This is still an election about the economy, and Obama is poised to win. He was able to use the debates to close the deal with a number of previously undecided voters, and he comes out of that penultimate period having passed the threshold test of acceptability for an electorate looking to make a change. With the markets starting to settle, he is off his peak numbers slightly, but he holds a commanding position in the electoral college and he will be able to press that advantage by virtue of his unprecedented fundraising. McCain can no longer win without an external event changing the trajectory of the race. With two weeks to go, he needs to maintain morale among his supporters and position himself to take advantage if something unexpected happens. But he cannot win it if things remain as they are.”
Has anyone reading this volunteered more for another election year? There is a reason for this wave of Democratic success—the harnessing of the grass roots energy built up over the past four years.
Speaking of four years—I’d like to reflect on the past four years. I was moved to begin this email list/blog four years ago when the country re-elected Bush. I consider this four years of penance for not having worked harder in 2004. What are you prepared to do in the first four days of November so that you will not have any regrets for the next four years?
Working for Obama—I have attached a form with a list of how you can help in those four days. If you haven’t done so already, please print, complete, and turn into the Wilmington or Newark office, or FAX to me (302-397-2675) and I’ll submit it for you. Please complete it and submit it by Wednesday.
Results Watch – I plan to be in Wilmington on Tuesday night—I don’t yet know where. Timothy’s in Newark is hosting a results party on the 4th, on the second floor. If you want to see the results with fellow Dems, but want to remain in Newark, head to Timothy’s.
Delaware State Wide—This morning’s shares their state-wide endorsements, and I share them: Biden for Senate, Hartley-Nagle for US Congress, Markell/Denn for Governor/Lt. Governor, and no endorsement for Insurance Commissioner (IC). No endorsement (by DL or by me) is notable, as both DL and I are fundamentally progressive, Democratic folks. The challenge is that the Republican candidate, John Brady, is a very reasonable candidate with reasonable positions, and the Democratic candidate, Karen Weldin Stewart, while holding very good positions, has weaknesses. While I will likely vote all D’s on these five races (actually in all races), I certainly understand fellow progressive Democratic voters who choose to vote for Brady for IC.
Biden, Castle, Markell all seem like shoe-ins. I suspect that Denn will win, but I marched with him yesterday in the Newark parade to help him seal the deal. The IC race seems to be too close to call.
Unless you live downstate in the 41st RD (where Republican turned Democrat John Adkins is running), I feel that Delawareans voting straight D is a very good strategy. There are some fine Republican legislators running, but there are also some Republican candidates running reprehensible campaigns (Lee, Copeland, Ramone, Clatworthy, Gates, etc), and some with terrible policies. We just received a mailing from Planned Parenthood, with many candidates’ views listed. You can go to, enter your address, and see the responses (if they participated) of every candidate you will be considering.
To take the majority in the state house, candidates Becky Walker (, Mike Barbieri (, Rebecca Young (, and John Kowalko ( especially impress me.
There are some great folks running for Senate seats (where progressive Democrats are necessary to reverse the tradition of desk drawer vetoes), most notably Mike Katz (, John Mackenzie (, and Bethany Hall Long ( This weekend I submitted a letter to the editor supporting all three candidates, as the prescription necessary to fix our state Senate.
Get out there and make the change happen!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Progressive Update--10/16/2008

Less than three weeks to go. What can you do to bring change to your town, county, state, country in the next 19 days? What are you doing so you can celebrate the night of November 4th?
Obama/Biden Yard Signs and Bumper Stickers—I still have many Obama/Biden yard signs to sell—they cost me $5 each, and I am selling them for $5 each. I also have Obama/Biden bumper stickers ($1 each). Email me for more information.
Cheerleading—The McCain/Palin ticket failed to pull an October surprise. McCain’s gamble backfired; the country clearly told McCain that it hates his negative campaigning. McCain is now working hard to avoid a November meltdown. Obama is well on course to not only get the 270 Electoral Votes (EV) to win—he is closing in on receiving more than 350 EVs. Look to and for good EV coverage. The US Senate should end up with at least 57, and perhaps as many as 60 Democrats. Our daughters and nieces may be safe for the next four to eight years from having Roe v Wade overturned. Let’s seal the deal, and ‘bring it on home.’
Working for Obama—The Obama campaign has office space in Newark, in the Snappy Auctions building (the old Wilmington Trust, 211 Elkton Road) at Park n Shop in west Newark. You even get a free Obama/Biden button when you volunteer! You can call Aaron at 357-7710 if you have any questions about volunteering, or email him at Aaron and Anne are miracle workers for the campaign in Newark.
Drive for Change (D4C)—There are four opportunities each weekend to go door-to-door in Pennsylvania (Chester County) for Obama. We leave from Snappy Auctions twice a day on Saturdays and twice on Sundays. No experience required, they do training. You are always paired with someone (bring a buddy!).
Call for Change (C4C)—We are calling into PA (phone-banking) seven days a week, from 2-9pm on weekdays and from noon-5pm on weekends, in the Newark office space. Bring a cell phone and charger if you are able. The volunteers are on fire in Newark.
GOTV (Get Out The Vote) Training at the Wilmington (Riverfront) HQ this Tuesday the 21st at 7pm. There will be a GOTV trainer from Pennsylvania explain the plan for the next two weeks, and how you can help.
State Wide—There is a forum on both this Saturday and this Sunday with panels of candidates. See the flyer at Come meet and hear Kowalko and Gates, Sorenson and Mackenzie, Copeland and Denn, etc.
The following I am repeating from my last post.
There are many, many races, with some great progressive candidates. has the list of candidates endorsed by PDD (progressive dems of delaware). Matt Denn ( is probably in the toughest state-wide race, and could certainly use your help (time and money).
Helping to take the majority in the state house, candidates Becky Walker (, Mike Barbieri (, Rebecca Young (, and John Kowalko ( especially impress me. A Democratic majority in the state house will make it possible to bring needed reform to health insurance—the Republicans have been stalling this (and pocketing lobbyist money) for years. Let’s make change happen in Dover!
There are some great folks running for Senate seats (where progressive Democrats are necessary to reverse the tradition of desk drawer vetoes), most notably Mike Katz ( and John Mackenzie (
Get out there and make the change happen!
Paul S Baumbach
These emails and other entries are maintained at my blog:
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Friday, October 10, 2008

Progressive Update--10/10/2008

Less than four weeks to go. What are you doing so you can celebrate the night of November 4th?
Obama/Biden Yard Signs and Bumper Stickers—I have 140 Obama/Biden yard signs that I want to sell immediately. They cost me $5 each, and I am selling them for $5 each. PLEASE come and get signs from me! At this price, get several! I don’t have bumper stickers yet.
Cheerleading—The McCain/Palin ticket is melting down worse than the Dow. Obama is well on course to not only get the 270 Electoral Votes (EV) to win—he is closing in on 350. Look to and for good EV coverage. Lest you get complacent, remember the 2004 Swift Boating. Certainly McCain is embracing the Karl Rove smear tactics with a vengeance. Further, I have attached a file with reasons to keep working hard even with Obama leading. Think about the following question: Healthcare has been a known problem for decades—what will be necessary for President Obama to make healthcare a right for all Americans? My answer—Obama needs an electoral landslide next month. We can make it happen.
Working for Obama—The Obama campaign has office space in Newark, in the Snappy Auctions building (the old Wilmington Trust, 211 Elkton Road) at Park n Shop in west Newark. You even get a free Obama/Biden button when you volunteer! You can call Aaron at 357-7710 if you have any questions about volunteering, or email him at Aaron and Anne are incredible in getting this operation geared up so well.
Drive for Change (D4C)—We will have four opportunities each weekend to go door-to-door in Pennsylvania for Obama. We leave from Snappy Auctions on Saturdays at 9am and at 1pm, and on Sundays at 10am and at 2pm. No experience required, they do training. You are always paired with someone (bring a buddy!).
Call for Change (C4C)—We are calling into PA (phone-banking) seven days a week, from 2-9pm on weekdays and from noon-5pm on weekends, in the Newark office space. Bring a cell phone and charger if you are able. But most important, bring yourself (and a buddy!). They called 681 voters two nights ago! The volunteers are on fire in Newark.
Presidential Debate Watch at Timothy’s in Newark, the last one, Wednesday night at 8:30pm. We will pack the 2nd floor! Come a little early and order a drink and some food (nachos?). Bring some cash to buy an Obama shirt from the UD Democrats, bring a charge card and you can contribute online to the campaign after Obama puts the final nail in McCain’s coffin.
Donations—Let me know if you can pitch in some bucks to help the UD students in their incredible phone bank and canvassing efforts (to cover gas for driving, and pizza/soda for phone banking).
I donated over 300 Obama/Biden buttons to the Wilmington office, Newark office, and UD students. If you volunteer and don’t get one, find me and I have a few ones left to give out.
State Wide—There is a forum on Saturday the 18th and Sunday the 19th with panels of candidates. See the flyer at The following I am repeating from my last post.
There are many, many races, with some great progressive candidates. has the list of candidates endorsed by PDD (progressive dems of delaware). Matt Denn ( is probably in the toughest state-wide race, and could certainly use your help (time and money).
To take the majority in the state house, candidates Becky Walker (, Mike Barbieri (, Rebecca Young (, and John Kowalko ( especially impress me.
There are some great folks running for Senate seats (where progressive Democrats are necessary to reverse the tradition of desk drawer vetoes), most notably Mike Katz ( and John Mackenzie (
Get out there and make the change happen!
Paul S Baumbach

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Unintended Consequences--10/02/2008

I posted this on the Progressive Democrats of Delaware Yahoo Group today:

“We have had a bad banking situation. Some of our bankers had shown themselves either incompetent or dishonest in their handling of the people’s funds. They had used the money entrusted to them in speculations and unwise loans. This was, of course, not true in the vast majority of our banks, but it was true in enough of them to shock the people of the United States, for a time, into a sense of insecurity and to put them into a frame of mind where they did not differentiate, but seemed to assume that the acts of a comparative few had tainted them all. And so it became the Government’s job to straighten out this situation and do it as quickly as possible. And that job is being performed.

[Later] After all, there is an element in the readjustment of our financial system more important than currency, more important than gold, and that is the confidence of the people themselves. Confidence and courage are the essentials of success in carrying out our plan. You people must have faith; you must not be stampeded by rumors or guesses. Let us unite in banishing fear. We have provided the machinery to restore our financial system, and it is up to you to support and make it work.”
Who said this? George W Bush? No. Ben Bernanke? No. Henry Paulson? No.
This came from FDRs first fireside chat. It is hard to find a more notable Progressive Founding Father than FDR.

I have been silent on this bulletin board in the past days, on the topic of the bailout (the framer in me strongly prefers the term rescue plan).

Part of the reason is that I have a horse in the race. I am a professional, fee-only investment advisor. The S&P 500’s 19% decline this year, and stocks’ 10% decline in September, have hurt my business, but much more importantly, my clients. While I have a few ‘millionaire’ clients, I have more clients with more modest life savings. For this reason, I worry that on this forum my words could be viewed as the words of Wall Street, and dismissed out of hand.

There is a risk that my silence can be viewed as agreement. This has not been the case. I reached my breaking point with the posts showing dismay over the tax breaks recently inserted into the bill the Senate approved last night. What the heck did you expect?

Due to populist, grass-roots opposition to the bill over the past two weeks, the house voted against it. What exactly did you think would result? This isn’t a game, it is a crisis. Legislators immediately looked to see what could be added to gain the necessary additional votes in the House.

I read that some folks do not like the views of NY Times’ Tom Friedman. I agree with many of his insights. I especially agreed with much of his Monday column, “As others have pointed out, you can’t save Main Street and punish Wall Street anymore than you can be in a rowboat with someone you hate and think that the leak in the bottom of the boat at his end is not going to sink you, too.”

I deeply respect the insight of Warren Buffett. In an interview yesterday he noted that when an EMT arrives at an accident scene he doesn’t say, “this guy wasn’t wearing his seatbelt, let him die.” That isn’t a progressive viewpoint. When did it become OK for progressives to adopt the paternalistic view that if Wall Street caused this problem, let them rot (and let the country rot with them)?

I agree that the initial 3-page Paulson/Bernanke plan was crap. But it was a start, and it was a 100% essential start. The Congress worked for days on fleshing it out. Then the public outcry was whipped up, and the House defeated the bill. Congratulations.

I have more respect for those who say ‘the current plan is fatally flawed in this manner, here is an alternative’, as long as that alternative has a good chance to pass in Congress now. Otherwise, it is as good a sentiment as saying ‘Bush deserves to be impeached, so let’s do nothing until we get this done.’ It is an idealistic waste of time.

Some of the alternative sure seem like crap to me. The “Net Worth Certificate Program” does the exact thing that the defeated bill does—it has the government (FDIC) give cash to the banks in return for promissory notes tied to the ‘toxic mortgages’. My favorite piece of this program is to suspend fair value accounting. In other words, it calls for a return to Enron accounting. Let’s solve this screw-up by forgetting the lessons of the last one.

Let’s admit the obvious—we are in a mess and there is no perfect solution. There isn’t even any good solution. There are merely a bunch of stinky solutions. Buffett states that “I’d rather be largely right than precisely wrong.” No bill going through Congress to address the economic situation will be wonderful, or even good. It can, however, be good enough.

We cannot wait 100 days to act. If we do, you won’t be able to buy a car with financing when yours breaks down next month, you won’t be able to take a job out of the area (as you won’t be able to buy a house, with a mortgage, there), you will likely find your existing home equity line of credit frozen, and many businesses will be unable to hire seasonal employees for the holidays. Waiting 100 days is no more a solution to today’s economic crisis than waiting for global warming to solve this winter’s problems with high heating oil prices.

Buffett describes the current economic situation as a financial Pearl Harbor. Buffett isn’t known for hyperbole. FDR didn’t wait until the next election to address the Japanese attack. FDR led.

We need leaders. We know that W is no leader, and he has zero credibility. This leaves us with the Congress, and to some extent our presidential candidates (and Congressional candidates). As our dearly departed Defense Secretary said, you fight wars with the army you’ve got. Well, we have a battle to wage now. The army we’ve got are our senators and congressmen and congresswomen. We cannot wait 100 days to act. Yes, get them good information, best ideas from the smartest economists. But please stop flooding them with ill-informed rhetoric (the ‘no Bailouts act’).

Their job now is to get a well-intentioned bill through Congress and signed into law to help revive the economy. The more resistance that is given, the more need there will be to insert bad policy to get more votes.

The current bill in several ways is worse than the one the House defeated on Monday. Last week’s objections deserve the credit.

“Let us unite in banishing fear. We have provided the machinery to restore our financial system, and it is up to you to support and make it work.”

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Progressive Update—10/1/2008—Under 5 weeks to go

Less than five weeks to go. Who will you be helping to win on November 4th? When is the next time you are pitching in?
Please come to a talk by Villanova professor Matt Kerbel this Saturday, from 3:30-5pm, at the Newark Unitarian church (, about the 2008 Presidential campaigns and election. The flyer is at My favorite observation he shared four years ago is how traditionally in the Democratic primaries, the candidates stand in a circle and try to shoot each other, such that the last person standing gets the nomination, but could be near fatally wounded in the process.
Cheerleading—The McCain/Palin bounce has fully evaporated, after leading in national polls by 2-4%, McCain/Palin are now trailing by 4-6%. is currently projecting Obama winning with 286 electoral votes (EVs), ignoring Ohio, North Carolina, and Florida which are currently tied. The site also projects 58 Democrats in the Senate (a pickup of seven). shows a 28% likelihood of a blowout—Obama winning 375 or more EVs, providing a strong mandate to jump-start his policies.
In 2004 we saw how a lead could evaporate in the weeks before the election. I share many opportunities to pitch in below.
Working for Obama—The Obama campaign has office space in Newark, in the Snappy Auctions building (the old Wilmington Trust, 211 Elkton Road) at Park n Shop in west Newark. You will no longer need to drive up 95 to the Riverfront to help Obama.
Drive for Change (D4C)—We will have four opportunities each weekend to go door-to-door in Pennsylvania for Obama. We leave from Snappy Auctions on Saturdays at 9am and at 1pm, and on Sundays at 10am and at 2pm. You should be back to Newark in six hours (1.5 hours drive time, ½ hour orientation, and 4 hours door-knocking). No experience required, they do training. You are always paired with someone (bring a friend!).
Call for Change (C4C)—We are calling into PA (phone-banking) on weeknights, generally from 6-9pm, in the Newark office space. Bring a cell phone and charger, and a laptop and charger if you are able.
Vice President Debate Watch at Timothy’s in Newark, Thursday night at 8:30pm. Go to to signup and learn more. We will pack the 2nd floor! Come a little early and order a drink and some food (nachos?).
Sign Up—Please sign up for these events if you are able. It permits us to prepare, to have enough space in the office, to let the PA offices know how many volunteers are driving north, etc. To signup, go to, enter your zipcode and a search radius to find events near you.
If you live near Newark, to save yourself time, register at My.BarackObama.Com (myBO), and provide your address. Within myBO, join the Newark DE for Obama group. Select it and search for the group’s events (and signup).
Donations—The Newark office space can use gas cards (to help folks driving to and through PA), and can use ‘go phones’. A volunteer yesterday bought one for $30 from the Rite Aid near the Newark office. This included 300 minutes, and after calling 50 PA voters, she had only used 24 minutes!
I donated a box of Obama/Biden buttons to the office. While they last, you get one for free when you volunteer.
Obama/Biden Yard Signs and Bumper Stickers—The Newark office will not have any yard signs or bumper stickers. I have ordered a bunch of these, personally. When they arrive, I will be selling the yard signs for $5 each and the bumper stickers for $1 each. I have NO IDEA when they will arrive.
State Wide—There are many, many races, with some great progressive candidates. has the list of candidates endorsed by PDD (progressive dems of delaware). Matt Denn ( is probably in the toughest state-wide race, and could certainly use your help (time and money).
To take the majority in the state house, candidates Becky Walker (, Mike Barbieri (, Rebecca Young (, and John Kowalko ( especially impress me.
There are some great folks running for Senate seats (where progressive Democrats are necessary to reverse the tradition of desk drawer vetoes), most notably Mike Katz ( and John Mackenzie (
Please mark your calendars for Saturday October 18 and Sunday the 19th, for two candidate forums held in Newark. The flyer is at
Get out there and make the change happen!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Progressive Update—9/26/2008—Break's Over

About forty days to go to election day. What will you be doing during those days?
Cheerleading—The McCain/Palin bounce has ended. Obama/Biden are back on top, but only by a hair. McCain’s decision to put his campaign on hold so he can go to DC and demonstrate his lack of economic knowledge shows the low quality of his decision-making, as much as his selection of Palin.
Obama is currently ahead in projected EVs (Electoral Votes). See the site which goes a step further than in analyzing the projected EVs. Nearby PA is currently going blue, 49% to 45%. I lose sleep over McCain taking PA and, with its 21 Electoral Votes, the election. So what am I doing?
Working for Obama—I am one of two volunteers leading Obama operations in Newark, DE. We are about to have some space in the Snappy Auctions building (the old Wilmington Trust, 211 Elkton Road) at Park n Shop in west Newark. We will use it to launch drives to PA for door-knocking, and to hold phone banking. You will no longer need to drive up 95 to the Riverfront to help Obama.
Leaders—I need folks who are willing to commit to run a phone bank (or drive to PA) every week from now until election day, on the same day/time. Consider finding a partner, so if you are ill or on business, the partner can back you up. Work together—it is way more fun. I mean you! If you are willing to serve, but only if I can find a partner for you, let me know.
My.BarackObama.Com (myBO)—Please sign up at this site, and provide your address. Within a day or two, you should be able to phone bank into Pennsylvania (or other nearby battleground state) from your home. Look for Neighbor to Neighbor (N2N), the term for volunteers calling folks to get votes for Obama.
Newark DE for Obama Group—If you live near Newark, please join the Newark DE for Obama group. Events in Newark will be announced there. Where practical, please sign up for these events, as it ensures that we be prepared. Upcoming ones include
Debate Watch at Timothy’s in Newark, tonight at 9pm. Go to to signup and learn more. Let’s fill Timothy’s tonight!
Drive to PA, from Snappy Auctions, this Saturday, at 9am—Go to to signup.
Phone Banks—Sunday from noon-5pm, signup at and on Monday from 6-9pm, signup at These are at Mallard Advisors, 273 E Main Street in Newark (2nd floor). We need people, if at all possible, to bring cellphones. Please signup ahead of time if possible.
State Wide—There are many, many races, with some great progressive candidates. has the list of candidates endorsed by PDD (progressive dems of delaware). Matt Denn ( is probably in the toughest state-wide race, and could certainly use your help (time and money).
To take the majority in the state house, candidates Becky Walker (, Mike Barbieri (, Rebecca Young (, and John Kowalko ( especially impress me.
There are some great folks running for Senate seats (where progressive Democrats are necessary to reverse the tradition of desk drawer vetoes), most notably Mike Katz ( and John Mackenzie (
Please come to a talk by Villanova professor Matt Kerbel on Saturday the 4th, from 3:30-5pm, at the Newark Unitarian church ( The flyer is at
Please mark your calendars for Saturday October 18 and Sunday the 19th, for two candidate forums. The flyer is at
Random Extra—Consider making a $5 (or more) donation to, as an honorary gift, ‘in Sarah Palin’s honor’, using address McCain for President, 1235 S. Clarke Street, 1st Floor, Arlington, VA 22202.
Obama/Biden Yard Signs, Bumper Stickers, Buttons—I have ordered a bunch of these. Only some of the buttons have arrived. I will be giving these to folks who show up for phone banks and canvassing. When they arrive, I will be selling the yard signs for $5 each and the bumper stickers for $1 each. I have NO IDEA when they will arrive.
“Break’s over.”—Get out there and make the change happen!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Progressive Update--09/16/2008--Time to Be the Change

Obama Cheerleading—I know that it looks much more challenging for Obama now than it did two weeks ago. Do not fear—there are several factors which caused this short-term bounce for McCain, and several other factors that should permit Obama’s campaign to return to its solid lead.
Please come to the Unitarian church in Newark ( on Saturday October 4th from 3:30 to 5pm, to hear professor Matt Kerbel discuss the upcoming presidential election, and the media’s impact. I chatted with him on Saturday, and you do NOT want to miss this!
Jeff Feldman is the ‘east coast George Lakoff’, who studies the frames that progressives can use to help influence voters. This week he issued a call to arms. It is must reading for those concerned about a McCain/Palin victory. Really, please read it at It ends with a charge: Let's get busy. Let's work together. Let's not waste one more minute being afraid. Let's win this damn election.
Obama Challenge—Obama doesn’t have a vision of how he will bring change to our country; he has a vision of how we will bring change to our country. Well, it’s time for you and me to get to work.
Steps to get involved.
1) Sign onto (or establish an account and signon), provide your zip code in your account settings. This can be your ‘launchpad’ for helping Obama win in November.
2) Search for Speak Out opportunities, including writing Letters to the Editors in swing states
3) Search for nearby Events. We setup ones that the campaign calls Drive For Change (D4C), involving driving to swing states (PA, VA for us), and canvassing (going door to door) there. Enter your zip, and a radius, and you can find similar events leaving from your area. Sign up, so we know that you are coming.
4) Search for Neighbor to Neighbor opportunities, including getting lists of voters in swing states (for calls, letters, etc).
5) Let me know if this doesn’t work.
I am organizing weekly D4C trips from Newark to Chester County, PA. In September, we will be going to Kennett Square and Oxford, but in October and early November, we will be needed in West Chester. We meet at Newark High School’s parking lot at 8:45 every Saturday morning.
So far we have had VERY low participation—this has to change. Are you willing to let McCain win Pennsylvania, and to become the next president? If not, it’s time to get to work, time to go to Pennsylvania and line up enough voters to bring the state to Obama. Starting this Saturday!
[Obama Yard Signs—I have ordered 100 Obama/Biden yard signs, from the Obama campaign (which helps Obama win). I have no idea when they’ll come in—I’m hoping by month-end. When they do, I want to sell them all, quickly, for $5 each.]
Delaware Challenge—We survived a rough Delaware state primary. It is time to get some wonderful Democratic candidates elected in November. Ones that I feel are worth fighting for, that are up against well-funded Republicans, are Matt Denn for Lieutenant Governor, Michael Katz for 4th Senate District, John Mackenzie for 6th Senate District, Bryon Short for 7th Representative District (RD), Rebecca Walker for 9th RD, Mike Barbieri for 18th RD, Rebecca Young for 22nd RD, and John Kowalko for 25th RD. There are other wonderful candidates—I’ve met these candidates, and I know that they face dedicated opponents.
How to help—‘do a google’ on the candidate and their race, and find out their positions. When you find a candidate that you would like to help, consider providing your time, treasure, and talents. Candidates need your time calling voters, going door to door to talk and to deliver literature, to stuff envelopes, etc. Candidates need your contributions, to pay for yard signs and mailed brochures and ads. Candidates need your talents, in brainstorming the next brochure, in speaking with the press, etc.
Be the change this fall. Make the difference, in your town, county, state, and country. Get to work!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Progressive Update--9/10/2008--Delaware State Primary WrapUp

Scorecard on my candidate support
US Congress—FAILURE. My endorsed candidate Jerry Northington received only 10% of the vote. Karen Hartley Nagle won with a strong 55% of the vote. In retrospect, her name recognition (she has run more than once before), and her endorsements (by the party bosses, by politicians, and by groups including unions) enabled her to overcome low fundraising. I suspect that the women’s vote in Delaware helped her (and another Karen) yesterday. I am hopeful that this does not bode well for McCain/Palin.
Governor—SUCCESS. This is the main story yesterday. Jack Markell won a close (51%) victory over party-boss favorite John Carney. This came from tremendous organization, grass roots support, and a clear vision. This victory showed that the party-bosses are out of touch with Delaware Democratic voters, and need to be shown the door. The people can, and do make change happen, and in Delaware Democratic voters are fed up with ‘the Delaware Way’ of back-room politics. It is a new day!
Insurance Commissioner—No grade, for I did not endorse. I was SURPRISED that Karen Weldin Stewart won (42.5%) over party-boss favorite Gene Reed (39%). Again, in retrospect, I feel that two factors permitted this underdog to win. Women likely helped Karen, and just as importantly, the Delaware Democratic voters surprised me by standing up for ethics. Gene Reed (legally) took in notable contributions from folks tied to firms that the DE Insurance Commissioner’s office contracts with. This clearly fails the smell test to me, and apparently to 42.5% of the voters. I am proud of the voters in electing Karen. She will be facing John Brady, who is reported to be a fairly progressive Republican candidate.
County Executive—SUCCESS. Again ethics mattered to voters, who gave Chris Coons almost a 30% margin over disgraced Tom Gordon.
County Council President—No grade, for I was perched on the fence. Incumbent Paul Clark won with 57% of the vote against late-filing candidate Bill Dunn. I am hopeful that Clark will recognize that Dunn’s 43% showing, given the brief and low-cost campaign run by Dunn makes clear that voters are concerned about uncontrolled development in New Castle County, and that they are willing to stand up to elected officials who forget that.
State Senate District 6—No grade again. Here Newark-resident (and late-filing candidate) John Mackenzie squeaked out a narrow victory (51% to 49%) over Hockessin-resident Mike Terranova. Mike had campaigned long and hard, and had many endorsements (including the party-bosses), however he was unable to win in this gerrymandered district with 80% of the voters living in Newark. Hopefully this disadvantage will prevent Republican incumbent (and admittedly nice lady) Liane Sorenson from beating John Mackenzie in November.
State Senate District 4—Mike Katz scored a strong victory (63%) over Dee Durham, and will face Republican John Clatworty in the district currently served by Charles Copeland (who is running for Lieutenant Governor). Katz is a great candidate and a great guy.
County District 12—I had hoped that Tom Scherer could unseat incumbent Bill Bell, but Bell won with 65% of the vote. It is hard for a shoestring campaign to unseat an incumbent, even when the incumbent does a poor job of representing his district. As with Paul Clark, however, I am hopeful that Bill Bell will see this as a wakeup call and be more mindful of smart-growth in the future.
State Representative 41—Delaware Loses. Disgraced Republican (but I repeat myself) John Adkins switched parties to try to win back his seat in the house (after he was forced to resign in an ethics scandal). The district Democratic voters gave him 54% of the vote in a head-scratcher. I guess that name recognition trumps character in the 41st district.

I will post my take on ‘races that matter’ in a week or two.
Obama Update—I am among several folks organizing Drive to Change, carpools to PA to canvass in our neighboring swing state. If you are interested in this opportunity, please follow these two steps. First, register at Also consider signing into appropriate groups (Students for Obama, Delaware for Obama, Newark for Obama, Women for Obama, Hillary Supporters for Obama, etc). Second, check this a few days ahead of time for volunteer opportunities. I will try to have my Saturday Drive for Change events up sometime Wednesday each week. This is much more efficient and effective that a slew of volunteer-maintained email lists.

Mini-diary/blog from yesterday.
I voted at 8am, saw a friend Tom who was a poll worker. My almost-19-year-old son Mike voted the first time a little later, and my wife took a picture of this. I headed to the office for a little catch-up.
I agreed to work my local poll for Jack Markell, at Downes Elementary in Newark, from 10-1 and from 4-8. We had John Mackenzie and friends of Mike Terranova (the two candidates for the 6th senate district) for the entire time. Mike Terranova was there for at least a quarter of the time, as he spent time at several of the 14 voting locations in this race. As this was the most populous voting location for the race, Mackenzie spent his whole time here. We had one volunteer for Gene Reed in the morning, one for Chris Coons in the afternoon, and one intern for Planned Parenthood for much of my first shift.
Voter traffic was modest throughout the day, a steady trickle. Speaking of trickle, we had some serious rain around 11am or so. It gave some of us the opportunity to walk voters from their car to the building under our large umbrellas. We had about 530 voters overall, over 11 hours, or about 50 per hour.
One of the most interesting aspects of working a poll is the human interactions (or lack thereof). Many voters treat poll workers as lepers—at all cost, avoid eye contact! My standard line is ‘thank you for voting’, and occasionally ‘Jack Markell appreciates your vote’. Fortunately, shortly into my first shift the other poll worker gave me her (too large for her) Markell shirt, and so I convinced myself that if I got the voter’s attention with a friendly greeting, they would get the message that Jack Markell is a nice guy with nice friends.
I like both John Mackenzie and Mike Terranova, and I enjoyed time I spent chatting to each of them, and with their volunteers. (I also appreciated the subs and spring water that Mike Terranova provided.) John clearly had a more grass-roots shoe-string approach, but make no mistake—it was carefully planned and executed. He and his volunteers did a wonderful job of determining what it would take to win, and then delivering.
The most touching moment came at 7:58pm when an older couple (in their 90s) arrived in the parking lot, but took too long to make it to the building. The poll workers followed the letter of the rules, and did not permit these nice folks to vote when they got to the line after 8. As these voters supported John, Mackenzie noted that he would feel terrible if he lost by 2 or fewer votes.
I waited until 8:15 or so when the tallies of the four voting machines were posted on the school entrance door. I scribbled furiously, and headed to my car, and began the drive to Markell’s HQ on the Riverfront (100 yards from Carney’s HQ). The place was hopping, even though by 9pm it was too close to call. The energy level rose steadily as the last few precincts reports came in.
I saw many friends, and folks who worked tremendously hard for Markell. Jack was mobbed by supporters when he arrived, and to no one’s surprise, his acceptance speech was great. I stayed pretty long, long enough to see Senator Tom Carper arrive, chat with Jack, and give a few words to the media. John Kowalko also arrived, and had a nice chat with Jack. I spoke with Senator Sokola about his past and future work to end discrimination based on sexual orientation. I introduced myself to Mike Katz, who won the primary in the 4th senate district. I was very impressed with him.
PDD members Rebecca Young and June Eisley were on top of the world, with Jack’s success over the RDD (Regressive Democrats of Delaware). As with John Kowalko’s victory in 2006, we have now seen that idealistic people can make a difference, and can bring change to Delaware.
I saw several Obama volunteers, who all see Markell’s victory as confirmation that a smart, good candidate can win, that voters take their responsibility seriously, and can join together to move their state (country) forward.
Yes, we can.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Progressive Update--09/05/2008--Delaware Primary & Obama Update

Delaware’s Primary Election is this Tuesday. VOTE, I insist!
If you don’t know where you vote, go to
Who to vote for? I offer three sources of opinions on your decisions, if you are registered as a Democratic voter.
If you have time, look to which yesterday rolled out its endorsements, along with some reasons. Note that, despite the website title, there are conservative views posted on this site. It keeps it lively. The ‘editors’ are all liberals, however they permit all to respond, across the political spectrum. I refer to these endorsements as DL. has those candidates endorsed by PDD (on whose endorsement committee I sit). Note that on Wednesday we endorsed Rebecca Young (PDD founder and executive director) in her campaign to beat Republican incumbent Joseph Miro in the 22nd RD (Representative District). Note also that this includes good candidates that PDD endorsed outside Newark, including Michael Katz in the 6th SD (Senate District) and Tom Scherer in the 12th New Castle County district. I refer to these endorsements as PDD
I have my own endorsements are marked as PSB. Note that there are several reasons to endorse or not endorse a candidate, or not to endorse any candidate in a race. In some cases, it could be that all candidates are equally attractive (or unattractive), it could be that all are OK but each has at least one significant flaw/weakness.
US Congress—Jerry Northington, endorsed by DL, PDD, PSB
Governor—Jack Markell, endorsed by DL, PDD, PSB
Insurance Commissioner—no endorsement by any of ‘us three’
County Executive—Chris Coons, endorsed by DL, PSB, no endorsement by PDD
County Council President—Bill Dunn, endorsed by DL, no endorsement by PDD or PSB
State Senate District 6—John Mackenzie, endorsed by PDD
I consider it very important for Markell and Northington to be elected on Tuesday.
Obama Update
Robin Whitaker ( is the Delaware Women for Obama Chair. She is organizing a statewide effort for Meet and Greets in homes of supporters, in which folks will discuss and document the differences between Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin. Please contact Robin right away if you would host one of these events. If you can’t please ask family, friends, colleagues. This isn’t limited to women. It is limited to women, and people who know and care about women.
Drive for Change—this is the name of the program for having volunteers drive to battleground states. Locally, we are setting up regular opportunities to go to Chester and Delaware counties (in PA). Tomorrow morning you can meet at the Newark High School parking lot at 8:45, to head to West Chester PA for work either door-knocking (rain permitting) or phone calling. There is also a group leaving from the Riverfront, going to Delaware county.
To see what opportunities are available near you, go to, and look for nearby events near to you (including Drive for Change gathering points near your home). We will try to keep all such opportunities publicized in this manner this fall.
There is an event to register voters at the Kennett mushroom festival this weekend. You can find this online at the site mentioned above.
The Wilmington HQ for the campaign is having a grand opening on Sunday. The location is Riverfront Shipyard Center (the Old Nautica Store), 1000 Justison St. Wilmington, DE 19801. Stop by and meet folks!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Questions for Karen Hartley Nagle--08/26/2008

Karen is running in the primary for US Congress. In this race, I have endorsed Jerry Northington, one of her two opponents.
Today I shared the following with a friend, who plans to listen to Karen on WILM this morning:

Three questions for Karen

If so far this year (in the most recent financial filings) you have raised less than $3,100 in individual contributions, how do you expect to beat Mike Castle who during the same time raised over a half million dollars?

With negative $700 in the bank, how can you compete with Castle, who has over $1.5 million—that is positive $1.5 million? These figures come from

If you are indeed committed to getting Republican Mike Castle out of office, then after losing to Dennis Spivack in the Democratic primary in 2006, 40% to 60%, why did you run as a candidate of the Independent Party of Delaware, and divert 2% of the general election vote, which would otherwise have been available to weaken Castle?

Monday, August 25, 2008

Progressive Update--08/25/2008--Obama & DE Update

Seven Weeks (and a day) To Go to the November Election
Obama Update 1—I am hosting an Obama Acceptance Speech Watching Party this Thursday at 9pm. For more information, and to RSVP, go to
Obama Update 2—I am leading or co-leading the effort within Delaware to help Obama win in Pennsylvania—cross-border work (generally door knocking, but perhaps also phone banking). UD student Paul Ruiz and high schooler Tim McBride are organizing youth for Obama (email if you know of a student who may be interested in helping). We need lots of people who can drive (themselves and others, including youth) to PA, likely Chester County, every weekend in September and October (and the first weekend in November). I expect to have more information on this next week.
Obama Update 3—I have signed up at In the ‘neighbor to neighbor’ (NTN) section on the left, I can click on Delaware NTN, and be presented with 50 phone calls that will help the campaign. At this point, it is generally verifying names and addresses, but shortly will be getting folks to help at events throughout the state. The provide the script, and you can do it all online, perhaps on your lunch hour.
Delaware Primary Election—September 9th.
Governor—I strongly prefer Jack Markell ( over John Carney. Jack has brought fresh ideas and delivered in his 6 years as treasurer. I feel that Carney has been a party insider for too long, and is too beholden to the ‘good ole boys’. I agree with state senator Karen Peterson that he has failed to distance himself from current Governor Ruth Ann Minner, whose failures include healthcare in state prisons and the DE Psychiatric Center’s mismanagement. If you agree with me that the state Democratic Party has failed Democrats throughout the state in the past, and needs fresh leadership, vote for Jack Markell on the 9th.
US Congress--I am hopeful that, with Biden on the ticket, Delaware will have a chance to kick Mike Castle out of Congress. My pick for Democratic challenger is Jerry Northington ( My second pick is Karen Hartley Nagle. Micheal Miller is a very distant third.
State Senate—I like Michael Katz in district 4 (, who is running against fellow Democrat (but for less than a year) Dee Durham. I have not endorsed either candidate in district 6 (Michael Terranova and John Mackenzie)—I like both candidates.
New Castle County—I like Chris Coons much more than Tom Gordon for county executive. I am wimping out and not endorsing either candidate for county council president (Paul Clark and Bill Dunn)—both candidates have their strengths and weaknesses. I prefer Tom Scherer in council district 12, a fresh challenger to incumbent Bill Bell, who can use your help.
What can you do. First, determine which candidates you like. Next, contribute. This can be time, talent, and treasure. Most have websites (,, all have phones. Ask how you can help them. It could be making phone calls, it could be door knocking, it could be showing up at events, it could be writing a check, it could be putting a sign in your yard. Everything helps.
Paul S Baumbach

Monday, August 18, 2008

Progressive Update--08/18/2008--Obama Update & Delaware Primary Forum

Obama News—Delaware (finally) has a state director of the campaign, Marla Blunt (, who is initially working out of DelDems HQ off Basin Road. Please email her or Rob Carver ( if you would like to volunteer.
Paul Ruiz ( is the ‘State Director for Delaware Students for Barack Obama' (both college and high school, where Tim McBride is helping). Paul has a very impressive gameplan, including canvassing trips into PA every weekend, starting 9/6/08. For now, I suggest that you work through him if you are interested in door knocking in PA.
The national convention starts next week in Denver. has a mini-schedule. Expect the VP to be named this week, and look for a great speech by them next week, before the culmination, Barack Obama’s acceptance speech on Thursday night before 75,000 Democrats.
Earlier this summer, Democrats across the country were asked to meet in neighborhood groups (including several in Delaware) and share their top concerns for the country. This feedback was incorporated into the Democratic Party’s Platform, “Renewing America’s Promise.” The full 94 pages can be found at Thanks are due to everyone who participated in this effort. The platform will be discussed, perhaps amended, and voted upon at next week’s national convention.
Delaware Primary Election—On September 9th, the state will determine which Democrats will face which Republicans in the November election. I have shared my thoughts on many of these races in past posts. It is time for you to make up your mind.
I chair the social justice committee of my church, We are hosting a Delaware State Primary Candidate Forum, this Saturday, from 8am to 3pm. There are seven primary races represented, with fourteen or more of the sixteen candidates agreeing to participate. Please find the current flyer at These forums need three factors to be successful—high participation by candidates, high participation by the audience, and good moderators. We have lined up WDEL’s Allan Loudell in the morning and WILM’s John Watson in the afternoon as the moderators. What we need is YOU. Please join us! Consider printing the flyer and posting it at work, and sharing it with your friends.
Paul S Baumbach

Monday, August 04, 2008

Progressive Update--08/04/2008--State Wide Offices

There are seven Democratic candidates for the three state-wide offices up for election this year—Jack Markell and John Carney for Governor, Matt Denn and Ted Blunt (who is withdrawing) for Lieutenant Governor, and Gene Reed, Karen Weldin-Stewart, and Tom Savage for Insurance Commissioner. I have met with all but one of them (John Carney), in my role as member of the Progressive Democrats of Delaware’s Endorsement Committee.

Governor—I endorse Jack Markell for this office. Both candidates are good individuals, with good experience and character. I find that the Markell/Carney comparison is similar to the Obama/Clinton comparison. Carney has been an insider to the state Democratic party for longer, and is less likely to ‘rock the boat’. Jack Markell, in contrast, is more likely to offer fresh ideas (he has produced a 70-plus page blueprint for his plan for Delaware, if elected). In January I endorsed Markell, based on his willingness to stand up to part insiders. He called the Democratic leadership in the legislature to stop state Senator Harris McDowell’s roadblock to offshore wind power, and he called the Democratic leadership in the legislature to open the General Assembly to the public, making it subject to FOIA, the Freedom of Information Act.

One of my top reasons for backing Barack Obama is his willingness to take on tough issues, and to make waves when they need to be made (calling for higher gas mileage requirements, for instance). Jack Markell shares this admirable trait. John Carney’s waffling on Eminent Domain convinces me that Jack Markell is the best choice for Governor. Please vote for Jack on September 9th.

Please note, that as with Hillary, should John Carney win the primary election, I will be pleased to back him against the Republican candidate. However, during the primary, I prefer ‘the change candidate’, Jack Markell.

The Progressive Democrats of Delaware has endorsed Jack Markell. The state and county Democratic Party has endorsed John Carney (not necessarily a positive in my book), and is spending their warchest for misleading radio ads promoting Carney as ‘the windpower candidate’, rather than spending it to win races against Republicans.

Lieutenant Governor—This is an easy call, as the 2nd Democratic candidate is withdrawing, leaving Matt Denn as the Democratic candidate in November. The reason that I spend time on this race is two-fold: I like Matt Denn and think that he will make a good Lieutenant Governor, and second, he will be facing Charlie Copeland, a northern Wilmington Republican state Senator, and heir to the DuPont fortune. Yes, this is the same Charlie Copeland who refused to let his fellow senators vote on SB141, the bill to make it illegal in Delaware to discriminate against people based on their sexual orientation. He said that it would be bad for business. That’s crap, and Copeland is stuck in a Ward Cleaver time-warp. The problem is that the Copeland campaign is very well-funded, and so Matt Denn needs your help. Go to to contribute or volunteer.

Matt has been an outstanding Insurance Commissioner, breaking the mold set by the prior Republicans, and actually having the office work on behalf of citizens, rather than on behalf of the insurance companies. He will bring the same ‘dedication to the people’ to the office of Lieutenant Governor, with your help.

The Progressive Democrats of Delaware has endorsed Matt Denn.

Insurance Commissioner—This race is a pain. There are three very nice people running for the office. All have strengths, and all have weaknesses. I would like to take pieces of each to create a perfect candidate, but I can’t. I will therefore share the positive traits of each, and will remain on the fence. I expect to support whomever wins the primary, in their run against Republican John Brady in November.

Gene Reed has worked in the IC office for more than twenty years, including time in each department, and working under both Republican and Democratic ICs. He knows the office inside and out. He also has the best-organized campaign, with plenty of volunteers and money to get the word out. If money and experience in the department matter, Gene is the most likely candidate to win the September primary.

Tom Savage is a wonderful fellow. He is a retired firefighter, with twenty years’ experience as an unpaid lobbyist working in Dover for firefighters and police. He has a laser-focus on bringing single-payer medical coverage to Delaware. He has said that he would not run for re-election if he is unsuccessful in this initiative in his first term.

Karen Weldin-Stewart is similarly focused on improving healthcare for Delawareans. Her background is varied, and has focused on state oversight of failing insurance companies (think of the role that the court plays with bankrupt individuals and companies), maximizing the benefits that can be paid out to policyholders.

Again, all three want to serve as the next Insurance Commissioner. There are enough weaknesses in each that I am not comfortable endorsing any. I plan to back whichever candidate the Democratic voters (like you) choose on September 9th.

Delaware Liberal—I have been afflicted with a disease—I am becoming addicted to, a blog on (primarily) local Delaware political topics, (primarily) by liberals. It is rough and tumble and raw, but like listening to Howard Stern, can be habit-forming (so I hear). I suggest that you ‘stalk’, read but don’t post, for awhile. I was lambasted in my first post, as I did not understand that ‘Dr. McDowell’ was not the writer’s attempt to describe (barely) Democratic state Senator Harris McDowell, but rather universal healthcare advocate Dr. Floyd McDowell, one of the founders of IPOD, the Independent Party of Delaware.

Help in Deciding—I am chair of the Social Justice committee of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Newark (UUFN, We are hosting an all-day forum on Saturday August 23rd starting at 9am, with candidates for primary races (Democratic governor, Republican Governor, Democratic Insurance Commissioner, Democratic US Representative, Democratic state Senate District 6, County Council President). Don’t take my word on which candidate to support in the primary—come to the forum on 8/23/08 and meet the candidates yourself! (I’ve attached a preliminary flyer. Please consider posting it around town/county/state.)

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Delaware Democratic Party Gets Mean--07/24/2008

The Delaware Democratic Party is sponsoring radio ads promoting John Carney’s candidacy for Governor. On the one hand, this makes some sense, as the state (and county) party endorsed John Carney (despite support for Markell from RDs including the 23rd). However, I have two objections with the party’s actions. First, I would prefer that our party’s resources be used against Republicans (and fusion candidates) and not against faithful Democratic candidates such as Jack Markell. Second, I would prefer that their ad was factual. The ad portrays Carney as the primary force behind the BlueWater Wind deal. It brings to mind the comment about the fellow who was born on third base thinking that he hit a triple. Carney eventually provided some support for the deal—he was in no way a leader in bringing the BWW deal to fruition.

Jack Markell is hosting a press conference at his Riverfront campaign office (920 S Justison, Wilmington, DE 19801) on Friday at 11am, to present his disappointment with the actions of the Delaware Democratic Party in directing resources against Democrats rather than Republicans.

If you agree with Jack that this is a poor use of Delaware Democratic money, and/or if you agree that the fact-checking in the ad is atrocious, and a dis-service to the Delaware voters and to the DelDems Party, then try to attend the press conference.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Progressive Update—07/21/2008—New Castle County

A meeting worth attending—This Tuesday, the 22nd, at 7pm, the New Castle County Council meets, at the City/County Building at 800 N French Street in Wilmington. You may want to be there.
Section H of the Agenda has two items of particular interest. There is a proposal for the council to pay or not pay the attorney fees incurred by Sherry Freebery. Why is this interesting? The fees are $3.7 million, and are claimed to be tied to Freebery’s defense against charges that she and Tom Gordon (more on this in a bit) ran county government ‘as a criminal enterprise and misusing county resources and personnel for their own political and personal benefit’. Several of the most serious charges were dropped against Freebery, but in the process she pleaded guilty to a felony of lying about having received a $2.3 million loan from (developer and) DuPont heir Lisa Dean Moseley.
An interesting twist in this case is whether (Republican) US Attorney Colm Connelly trumped up the charges against Sherry and Tom as part of the Justice Department witchhunt against Democrats. I have no idea about this. If true, then it seems like the US Justice Department should cover the legal fees. I don’t see why New Castle County taxpayers should have to foot the $3.7 million bill.
An attorney tasked by council to review the request has recommended against the county reimbursing the bill. Let’s hope that the council follows this recommendation.
The second item of interest is a proposal by six county council members (McClellan, Cartier, Hollins, Street, Tackett, and Tansey) that County Council President Paul Clark refrain from introducing and spearheading development legislation for the time being. Clark was criticized for sending an email out about development issues. The two criticisms on the email are that Paul sent it out with a electronic tag from his wife’s law firm (which represents developers), and that Paul sent it out to developers and did not include council members. Several council members are concerned with, if not the reality, at least with the appearance of undue pro-developer influence on Paul Clark and council.
This proposal has been criticized as political. It may be. It may instead be a good-faith attempt by council members to take a timeout and examine the system, to ensure both the reality and appearance of a level playing field between residents and developers. If you support this resolution, even if you cannot attend the meeting, please let your county council person know of your support.
I support the proposal, as a wonderful step towards good government, but not as harsh criticism of Paul Clark’s actions. I like Paul, and I feel that his heart has always been in the right place. However I am also a strong proponent of recusal—not voting on an issue where you have a conflict of interest (real or perceived). This helps strengthen the trust of your constituents. I think that council members are right to call for this timeout, to explore how to help strengthen the trust of county residents in their county government.
If you have a strong opinion on either/both of these issues, please attend the meeting (get there early), and sign up to speak on this issue.
Race #1—County Executive—Chris Coons is the current New Castle County Executive. He is running for re-election. His primary opponent is Tom Gordon (I told you I’d get back to him). Tom was the previous County Executive, who lost his bid for re-election due to the criminal indictment. Gordon eventually plea-bargained down to two misdemeanors. Gordon is a former police officer, and is popular amongst several unions. Coons has had to deal with difficult finance times. Gordon served when property values were rising and transfer taxes were rising—Coons suffered with the reverse situation. Gordon contorts the history to claim financial brilliance, when the facts are that he was at the right place at the right time, he enjoyed a stiff tailwind. Chris Coons has dealt very, very well with a stiff headwind. He has made necessary, but at times unpopular, budget cuts.
For this race, my decision is based on character. Chris Coons is someone I trust to lead the count for the next five years. Gordon is not, not even close in my book. I endorse Chris Coons for New Castle County Executive.
Race #2—County Council President—Paul Clark (yes, as discussed above) is running for re-election. This weekend we learned that local community activist Bill Dunn will be running against him in the primary. I have only recently been able to chat with Bill at length. As with several races this year, I find that both candidates have both strengths and weaknesses, and I haven’t yet selected one to endorse, I encourage you to learn about each, to choose whom you will support.
On that note, Newark’s UU church ( is hosting a candidate forum on Saturday August 23rd. We are inviting every candidate in a primary in September that affects Newark (Congress, Governor, Insurance Commissioner, County Executive, County Council President, 6th Senate District). Please mark your calendars to come to the forum, and tell your community association, book club, faith community, blog, etc).

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Update--John Viola & Matt Denn--07/10/2008

As an update on the most recent posting, I have an update on John Viola who is running for re-election in the 26th RD. I am told that he fought against Bluewater Wind, and is pretty consistent in opposing most progressive legislation in Dover, including manufactured housing reform.

I also forgot to mention Matt Denn, who is running against Republican Charlie Copeland for the office of Lieutenant Governor. Matt has been a terrific progressive leader as Insurance Commissioner. His Democratic opponent Ted Blunt is a wonderful candidate, but has decided to end his run. I and the PDD fully endorse Matt Denn's candidacy, and this is a race that will need dollars and volunteer time (Copeland is a DuPont heir).

Progressive Update--07/10/2008

Obama—There are a lot of opportunities to help Senator Barack Obama become our next President. You can go to, and sign up, including for a local group (I belong to the Newark, Delaware, and the Chester County (PA) groups. The website should show you events in your area. You can reach out to Rob Carver ( and ask how you can help. The national campaign is working on bringing some campaign staff into the state this month, to help out. Those of us in New Castle County may direct a bit of our attention to the Pennsylvania battleground, as we did in 2004. Stay tuned!
The Republicans have found a way around the limitations of federal campaign limits for McCain (who is taking taxpayer money for his campaign), by co-opting the Republican Governor fund, which has no donation limits. So keep sending what you can to Obama’s campaign (online works well), and look for cool fundraisers to join.
Delaware Campaigns—As with the presidential primaries, Democrats have a wealth of choices this year, and Delaware is no exception. We have many choices to make this September 9th, including for US Congress, Governor, Insurance Commissioner, and County Executive.
I serve on the endorsement committee of the PDD, Progressive Democrats of Delaware ( One reason is that this election cycle I wanted to have better information to make my decisions, and to share information with you. We send out surveys to the candidates, and consider ‘how progressive’ each is. We examine their survey responses, we interview face-to-face several, and for incumbents, we examine their voting record (whether they ‘walk their talk’). Please consider donating to PDD (online is easiest), so that we can back our endorsements with checks. Money talks. PDD endorsement checks (or lack thereof) give elected officials more reason to consider taking liberal stands once in office. One sitting senator marked on her survey that she supported open government, but when asked to sign the petition to bring Senate Bill 4 to the floor she refused. PDD refused to endorse or contribute to her campaign as a result. Actions have repercussions.
I also serve on the 23rd Representative District (RD) committee. This week we sent checks totaling $4,800 to 17 candidates (Markell, Denn, Coons, Weldin-Stewart, Short, Johnson, Barbieri, Hall Long, Mackenzie, Terranova, Northington, Hartley-Nagle, Kowalko, Jacques, Viola, Boulden, and Clark), listed in decreasing order of check amounts. Thanks are due to all committee members, and to all who come to the annual spaghetti dinner, where we raise the money to make these contributions!
US Congress—There are three candidates for US Congress. I have friends who support Karen Hartley-Nagle and those who support Jerry Northington. Both have good progressive credentials. PDD and I endorse Jerry Northington. Jerry comes across initially as ‘another Michael Berg’, a single-issue (end the war) candidate. Further examination (go to reveals that he is very committed to healthcare and education reform. Whomever wins the Democratic primary will have an uphill battle to unseat Mike Castle, however this is certainly the best year to unseat Republicans. If you, like me, are tired of Castle’s tired claims of being a moderate while voting for so many of Bush’s policies, including restricting the state child health insurance program (SCHIP), then you know that this race requires our help.
Governor—There are two good candidates, John Carney and Jack Markell. Both are fine people, and fine candidates. PDD and I endorse Jack Markell as the candidate best prepared to deliver needed changes to the state. Many of us feel that John Carney is too tied to the ‘old party structure’, and owes too many favors. While most candidates spend their time listing promises during the campaign, Jack has prepared a 43-page blueprint of not only his goals, but also of his methods to achieve those goals for our state. This is typical of Jack, an incredibly intelligent and principled man who is quick to roll up his sleeves to solve problems. I have witnessed first-hand his instrumental work on behalf of the Delaware Money School, the Earned Income Tax Credit, and PDD. He has earned my vote many times over.
Insurance Commissioner—There are three candidates here. Neither PDD nor I have yet endorsed. All three have strengths and all three have weaknesses. I’ll focus on strengths. Tom Savage has made a pledge—if we don’t have single-payer healthcare in Delaware at the end of his term, he will not run for re-election. That is dedication. Karen Weldin-Stewart has pledged to refuse contributions that could taint her judgment, and has worked decades in the area of insurance company receivership (overseeing firms which are in jeopardy of being unable to meet their obligations). She speaks passionately about bringing universal healthcare to Delaware. Gene Reed has served within the commission for about twenty-years, in each division. He has been working for Delaware’s consumers under both Republican and Democratic Insurance Commissioners. He has the endorsement of the state (and county) Democratic Party.
County Executive—Chris Coons is running for re-election against prior County Executive Tom Gordon. Tom lost the last election under an ethics cloud (which he plea-bargained down to a misdemeanor). In his first term, Chris has angered many county employees due to firm management. As a result, Tom Gordon has the backing of both employee unions and several unions. I join most progressives in backing Chris Coons, and hoping that Delaware rejects Tom Gordon for a second and final time. PDD has not yet endorsed a candidate in this race.
Honorable Mention—John Kowalko is running for re-election to the 25th RD. He is the most progressive Representative, and perhaps the most progressive legislator in Dover. He doesn’t yet have a Republican opponent. If he does, please pitch in. I and the PDD enthusiastically endorse John. Mike Barbieri is running for the 18th RD seat held by Republican Terry Spence. Mike is a great progressive, and came close two years ago. I and the PDD endorse Mike’s campaign. Democrats Mike Terranova and John Mackenzie are running in a primary for the 6th Senate District (SD), held by Republican Liane Sorenson. Both candidates have strengths, and neither I nor the PDD have yet endorsed either candidate. Tom Scherer is running against incumbent William Bell in the 12th County Council district. Tom is a very green candidate with a gigantic heart, running against a councilman who Tom claims has done next to nothing for his district. Consider seeking out Tom and lending a hand (and some money). State Representative Bethany Hall-Long is running for the 10th SD seat vacated by retiring Steve Amick. If the Republicans find someone to run against Bethany, she will need our help. Will someone progressive PLEASE run against 11th SD State Senator Tony DeLuca (they fellow whose claim to fame is solving the impasse which he himself created with offshore wind power)? Bryon Short is running for re-election in the 7th RD in north Wilmington, against Republican James Bowers. Short surprised Republicans last year when he captured the seat previously held by Wayne Smith, who left the House to serve as a lobbyist. Quinton Johnson is running for the 8th RD, where Bethany Hall-Long currently serves. This new candidate will need help if the Republicans put up an opponent. Democratic candidate Earl Jacques and Independent James Spencer are running against Republican Vince Lofink in the 27th RD. Earl came within 60 or so votes of victory in 2006. Earl is not the most progressive candidate, but he is shifting ‘our way’. A victory in the 27th could tilt the majority of the House to the Democratic side, which would result in the chairmanship and the majority of each committee shifting to Democrats in January.
I apologize for my Delaware-centric focus. There is only so much time in the day, and so I focus on issues closest to my home. I will later this summer point out the US Senate and House races where you can make a real difference. 2008 can bring a real change to the US Senate if we pick up enough seats. Note that the reason that the country is so dissatisfied with the Congress at this time is that, despite a resounding victory for ‘end the war’ candidates in 2006, too many Republicans in the Senate prevented the majority of Senators from being able to place a timetable and other limits on the Iraq Occupation. To help Obama be better able to push through needed reform (health care, education, foreign affairs), he needs a strongly supportive Senate and House. has a Hot House races and an All Senate races page with great information. Note that a friend’s college friend, Jeff Merkley, is staying ahead of Republican Gordon Smith in his race to become a US Senator from Oregon.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Letter to Editor--Wind Power is Here--06/26/2008

I sent this several Delaware papers this afternoon.

Job Well Done

Deep thanks are due to all of the private individuals who worked so hard to convince Delaware’s legislature to support a wind farm off Delaware’s coast. This was a major victory for ordinary citizens, and shows what people can do when we have the will and tenacity to stand up and fight for what we believe in.

We finally brought reluctant state legislators to the table to craft a solution. While many people who came late to the game may try to take credit, the real credit is due to the people who applied the pressure on our legislators early and often. I am grateful for public officials such as Jack Markell who supported the wind farm proposal very early, and who, at some risk, lent the prestige of their offices to the fight. I was especially moved by Jack’s January 3rd call for the legislature to get the process back on course.

A great leader is one who begins by looking in his heart for what is right, and disregarding the potential political fallout. In his early and steady action to bring offshore wind power to Delaware, Jack Markell has shown me that he is a great leader, and the best candidate for Delaware’s next governor.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Letter to Editor--Spineless Senate--06/17/2008


What do you get when you give eleven state senators backbones? No one yet knows.

House Concurrent Resolution 38 would finally bring wind power to Delaware, ending the stall tactic that Senators DeLuca and McDowell imposed in December. HCR38 status--stuck in committee for two months.

House Bill 71 would empower our judges to properly sentence drug offenders, and ease our appalling prison situation. HB71--stuck in committee for two months.

Senate Bill 4 would bring real open government to Dover. HB4--stuck in committee for five months.

Senate Bill 141 makes it illegal to discriminate against people due to sexual orientation. Even with ten senators sponsoring it, SB141 has been stuck in committee for over a year.

Black holes are not only found in space-—they are alive and well in Dover.

By keeping these bills in committee, the committee members prevent their fellow senators from having a say on the issue. That is incredibly spineless.

Each bill has eight to ten senators sponsoring it. If each sponsoring senator, along with one to three additional senators, signs the petition, the bill can be brought up for a vote on the senate floor. Unfortunately, this requires eleven state senators to use their backbone at the same time--an event never witnessed in Dover.

If you feel that your senator has a backbone, ask them to petition HCR38, HB71, SB4, and SB141 onto the senate floor. Prove me wrong.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Progressive Update--05/29/2008

Nomination has a good summary of the race for delegates. Obama is about 47 from victory, and it appears that he will cross the line on Tuesday with the Montana and South Dakota primaries, the last two—finally! I expect Hillary to bow out next week, perhaps on Monday, after the winning Puerto Rico primary.

These three primaries pale in importance to Saturday’s meeting of the DNC’s rules committee, which will decide on ‘what to do with Florida and Michigan’. This is Hillary’s hail mary prayer, one which will not be answered. Most expect the delegates to be split 50/50 between Obama/Clinton, or given half a vote each with a net gain to Hillary of about 20—in either case, this doesn’t change the fact that Obama will have the necessary majority of delegates by Wednesday morning.

While Hillary can stay in the race, and fight the Rules committee’s decision in Denver before the Credentials committee, this would be an all-or-nothing tactic—if she fights and loses (which is highly likely), she is toast in the party, and will have ended her career. At some point, there is a limit to her ego, and she has to care a smidgeon for the good of the party. It is the job of the 200 undeclared superdelegates to swing to Obama after he gets the majority of delegates to convince Clinton that her battle is over, and it is time to begin acting like a loyal Democrat.

To find out how to help the Obama campaign, go to You can go to Find Events, and enter your zip code to find area events. You can go to Volunteer to sign up and learn about how you can help. There is a ‘ community’ where you can link up with area Obama supporters.

It’s Our is currently projecting that Democrats will pick up 5 US Senate seats (Alaska, Colorado, Kentucky, New Hampshire, and Virginia) this fall, and there are five more that could swing our way (MN, MS, NC, OR, and TX, yes, Texas). The same site shows Obama (and Clinton) both winning enough electoral votes to beat McCain this fall. I take this with a grain of salt, as Obama will not be running against McCain, but rather Obama and his running mate will run against McCain and his running mate. Furthermore, the polls do not yet reflect the impact of Nader and, much more significantly, Bob Barr, the Libertarian Party’s nominee. Barr is a perfect compliment (in Republicans’ eyes) to McCain, a staunch conservative, and may well bleed a bunch of votes from McCain, just as Nader did to Gore in 2000.

State of the State—There are currently ten Delaware races with primaries—eight between Democrats and two with Republicans. On the Democratic side, there are three folks running for Mike Castle’s Congressional seat. For Governor, the Progressive Democrats of Delaware (PDD) and my 23rd Representative District (RD) have endorsed Jack Markell, and I concur. For Lt. Governor, Ted Blunt has stepped aside, leaving Matt Denn no longer worrying about a primary. However, he is set to run against DuPont heir (well-financed) Charlie Copeland in November, a formidable challenge. There are three Dems running for Insurance Commissioner, Reed, Savage, and Weldin-Stewart. If Reed would return the campaign contributions from insurance company executives (and spouses), I would support him, however this looks unlikely. I’m waiting to learn more about them during the PDD endorsement process.

There are two Dem candidates for New Castle County Executive: Chris Coons and Tom Gordon. My RD and the New Castle County Executive Committee (NCCEC) has endorsed Coons, and I support this. In the 6th Senate District (SD), there are two Dems running for incumbent Republican Liane Sorenson’s seat: Mike Terranova (retired police officer) and John Mackenzie (Christina School Board member). I hope to learn more about the strengths and weaknesses of each at Monday’s 23rd RD meeting, and during the PDD endorsement process. In the 12th New Castle County Council district, I prefer Tom Scherer to incumbent William Bell. There are two Wilmington races with Democratic primaries, however I don’t know anything about the candidates.

At this time, the only contested non-primary race for the state legislature pits Democrat Bryon Short against James Bowers. Bryon won a special election in an upset a year ago to fill the spot vacated by Wayne Smith, the Republican who left the House to become a lobbyist the next day (typical career path for Republicans). This will be hotly contested.

Getting Involved in DelawareJack Markell’s campaign website is and includes events and volunteer opportunities. I hope to attend a Country Barbecue supporting Jack on July 19th from 5-8pm in Townsend. The cost is $25 per person (kids eat free), and you should RSVP to

By the way, last night the NCCEC endorsed John Carney’s bid for governor, not Jack Markell’s. This isn’t too surprising, as Carney has been Governor Ruth Ann Minner’s Lt. Governor for eight years, and is ‘the establishment candidate’, the candidate supported by the old Democratic Party movers and shakers. If you want more of that, then John Carney could be your candidate. I’m looking for a real change, in Dover in addition to in Washington DC, and this is why I support Jack Markell for governor.

Furthermore, keep an eye out for the ‘negative campaigning’ in this race. As a biased supporter of Jack Markell, I am starting to see some personal attacks by Carney, while Markell’s comments are most often focused on Minner/Carney policy shortcomings and related areas of disappointment.

Chris Coons’ site is I hope to attend a reception ($50 per person) on June 16th from 6-8pm at Rebecca Young’s home. RSVP to Tara Quinn at 302-427-3690. There is also a beef-n-beer fundraiser ($40 per person) from 6-10pm at the Mill Creek Fire Hall on June 7th, when he kicks off his campaign.

Matt Denn’s site is His kickoff is Saturday June 7th, including an announcement at the New Castle Old Courthouse at 4pm. I haven’t heard about a fundraiser yet, but you can contribute on the website.

John Kowalko’s site is While he doesn’t yet have a filed opponent, there is no question that Delmarva is trying hard to recruit someone. There is a fundraiser in Newark for the 25th RD (where he serves) this Saturday from 7-9pm. I have tickets ($15 for one person, $25 for a couple)—let me know if you would like a ticket.

The Progressive Democrats of Delaware’s site is You can contribute online. There is a 4th of July event planned. This group is instrumental in helping voters identify candidates who share our liberal views, helping us separate the wheat from the chaff, so we can be smarter with our political contributions of time and money. Please consider joining the PDDs!

Delaware Legislative UpdateThere are three pieces of legislation that I care a lot about, and all three are holed up in the Delaware state senate.

SB4—This bill will open up our legislature, which exempted itself decades ago from FOIA, the Freedom of Information Act. If you think that our state legislature should be open to the light of day, contact your senator and urge them to get Senate Bill 4, the FOIA Bill, onto the floor for a vote.

SB141—This bill would make it illegal to discrimate against someone based on their sexual orientation. Without this protection, people can be kicked out of their apartment, or fired, purely due to being (or appearing to be) a gay or lesbian. Delaware is one of the few Dark Ages states that does not currently make this illegal. Please contact your senator and ask them to work with Senator Sokola to get this bill onto the Senate floor for a vote of the full Senate.

HCR38—This is a House Concurrent Resolution to bring wind power (and jobs) to Delaware. Senator McDowell (embarrassingly a Democrat) has done everything in his power to prevent this from happening, despite the three state agencies agreeing that the Bluewater Wind contract meeting all requirements and being the best for the state. In times when fossil fuel prices are rising ten times the overall rate of inflation, you would think that everyone would be falling over themselves to get this going. Well McDowell has jammed the works for more than five months, despite overwhelming public support for this deal. Please ask your Senator to bring HCR38 onto the floor, and to vote to get Delaware moving on reducing our reliance on fossil fuels (and on the Delmarva Power monopoly).