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!