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Thursday, January 31, 2008

Super Tuesday Watch Party

The Drexel College Democrats and the Drexel College Republicans are hosting a Super Tuesday primary results watch party on Tuesday, February 5th, from 7pm to midnight in Behrakis Grand Hall. All members of the Drexel community are invited, and there will be free pizza, door prizes, and forums and discussion areas.

The event is being supported by Drexel Votes 2008, and is being organized by the Drexel Democrats and Drexel Republicans (although naturally, the Republicans haven't done anything and have an organization in name only! Just ask Sean.) Whether you identify as a Democrat, a Republican, or an independent, you're welcome to come out and enjoy the evening.

Of course, as at any Drexel Dems event, we'll be there if you need to register to vote, get an absentee ballot, or answer any political questions you have (unless you're that kid that supports Gravel and heckles us. Then we'll only talk to you for 15 minutes before we get frustrated and ignore you.)

Hope to see you then!


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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The Other Primary Races

(Photograph by Albert Yee.)

With all the excitment about the presidential primary, it can be easy to forget about the other primaries going on at the same time. Here in Philadelphia one of the big ones is the race to replace indicted state senator Vince Fumo, between Joe Vignola and Anne Dicker.

As you guys remember, we voted to endorse Anne Dicker in this race way back in December, before Vignola had officially thrown his hat into the ring. Well, Vignola and Dicker are both strong candidates, but we have a particular affinity for Anne Dicker. She is a co-founder of Philly For Change and has a strong background with community organizing here in Philly, including helping out the Drexel Democrats over the years. A number of students helped out with her run for state rep in 2006, and her progressive positions made her a student favorite and a natural endorsement for us.

Last night Vignola and Dicker debated the issues at the Philly Neighborhood Networks Forum (Fumo declined to participate), and I strongly recommend reading the recap from Dragonballyee or from Philly Neighborhood Networks. It's pretty clear that Anne is the strong progressive in the race, but Vignola would be better than Fumo also.

After reading the recap, I'm convinced we all made the right decision endorsing Anne Dicker for state senate.


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Monday, January 28, 2008

Just For William

So we had the debate today between the Drexel Republican(s) and the Drexel Democrats, and it went great! The ABC producer said that the short video of the whole thing will be put on the ABC website this Friday, and of course we'll have the link and a longer analysis then. However, in the meantime, I promised William Mulgrew some information that he apparently hadn't come across during his studies.

I'll present it in graphical form, because it makes for such a nice image.

Click "There's more..." for the rest of the good stuff.

The above chart plots the federal budget deficit (in real dollars) each year since 1989. Anyone can look at that chart and see the emptyness of Mulgrew's cries that those irresponsible Democrats caused the terrible national debt. Mulgrew may ignorantly claim that it was the Republicans in congress that restored fiscal discipline in the 90's, to which I would explain further that that the trend began in '93 and '94, before the republicans were in congress. More importantly, the reduction in the budget deficit was the direct result of the "Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1993." This bill passed the house without a SINGLE REPUBLICAN VOTE. That's right, all 175 Republican congressmen voted against the measure, and it passed the house 218 to 216. The act raised taxes on wealthy individuals and corporations, and the budget deficit began to fall.

Combined with economic growth during the 1990's, Clinton was actually able to run a budget surplus by 1998 to help pay down the debt. Then those crazy republicans got worried about paying down the debt too fast, and passed Bush's tax cuts without triggers to repeal them if the surplusses disappeared, and the rest is history. Republicans washed their hands of his '93 tax plan, and now Mulgrew wants to take credit for it?

There were a bunch of other frustratingly ignorant things that Mulgrew said, and when we get some video of the debate I'll write more (depending on what clips get included in the final cut, obviously).

I thought that this debate was great, and I think Mulgrew did his side no favors with his aggressively rude and patently silly arguments. His own teammate was embarrassed and rolling his/her eyes (don't want to incriminate anyone, but it's on tape...) when Mulgrew spoke.

I would love to do more debates, hopefully they can be tailored more narrowly so that Mulgrew can only lie about one thing at a time.

Your moment of Zen: Mulgrew asserted that more Americans die (he didn't say "are murdered," he said die) in Philadelphia each year than in Iraq, but you don't hear the Democrats calling for withdrawal from Philadelphia.

I leave it as an exercise to the reader to find the holes in Mulgrew's "logic."


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Sunday, January 27, 2008

Obama Wins Big

Yesterday Barack Obama won the South Carolina Democratic primary, by an unexpectedly large margin. He was projected to win by 10%-15%, but the final tally was Obama 55%, Clinton 27%, and Edwards 18%, a 28% margin of victory for Obama.

It was a great night for Obama, because he won everything that he needed to, and more. The two big fears for the Obama camp were that he wouldn't win by "enough" (anything less than 10 points) or that he would do very poorly amongst white voters, and get pigeon-holed by the media as "the black candidate." He allayed both fears with his resounding vistory.

He won by greater than 2:1 over Sen. Clinton, twice what the polls were showing, and he did it once again by getting new voters to the polls. Young voters made up 14% of the turnout, compared with 5% in 2004. As for race, he won 24% of white voters, which was good enough to be described by Norah O'Donnel as a three way tie for white voters. His big margin came from winning 81% of black voters, which is a serious problem for Sen. Clinton.

We won't know yet what kind of effect this win will have on the race, but if Obama's team sat down on friday night and wrote a wishlist for what they wanted to happen, this probably would have surpassed it. If anything can give him the momentum he needs to go into Super Tuesday and come out stronger, this was it.

Furthermore, his victory speech was quite good. I always approach his speeches skeptically, because I can't imagine that every speech he gives is as good as it is inevitablly described, but I dare you to watch it and compare it to other contemporary politicians. They don't suffer the comparison well. Clinton, trying to minimize the significance of the primary, didn't even give a concession speech, and Edwards made the mistake of speaking after Obama. Edwards is a pretty good speaker, but his speech felt pretty flat after hearing Obama's.

My favorite part?
And as we leave this state with a new wind at our backs, and take this journey across the country we love with the message we've carried from the plains of Iowa to the hills of New Hampshire; from the Nevada desert to the South Carolina coast; the same message we had when we were up and when we were down – that out of many, we are one; that while we breathe, we hope; and where we are met with cynicism, and doubt, and those who tell us that we can't, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people in three simple words:

Yes. We. Can.

But anyway, I'm gushing. Watch it yourself.

I watched the returns from the Philly for Obama watch party, and it was a bit anti-climactic. The minute the polls closed, Obama was immediately the projected winner, as he had a 25% lead in the exit polls, which would require a miracle to be wrong enough for him to lose. As Edwards was trailing Clinton by 8-9 points all night for second, the only drama was whether Obama could stay over 50%. I didn't think he would, but then I have had an atrocious record of predicting results so far this year, and he finished with 55%.

The early projection did make for this funny image:
After 108 votes, he was already projected to win.

Anyway, this result improves his chances on Super Tuesday, and if Clinton and Obama both make it through Super Tuesday, Pennsylvania will begin to get really exciting. Between March 11th and our primary on April 22nd, there are NO OTHER DEMOCRATIC PRIMARIES OR CAUCUSES! Thats 6 weeks of attention to decide the nomination. If you have a favorite candidate, they will want and appreciate your help!
Click "There's more..." for the rest of this post.


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Friday, January 25, 2008

GOP Candidates on Iraq

I've been taping most of the debates this year so that in the fall, when the Republican candidate inevitablly tries to squirm away from what he said in the primary, I'll have plenty of video evidence. Last night, at the Florida GOP debate, All the candidates were asked if the Iraq war was worth it, and except for Ron Paul, they said all said it was.

Their answers were so mind-bogglingly asinine that I submit the video here without further comment.


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Monday, January 21, 2008

Sunday Meeting Recap

Last night we held a meeting, and here is a quick recap for those of you who couldn't make it. Between the weather, the long weekend, and the playoff football, there were quite a few of you who couldn't make it, as we only had 15 people there!

First, Peggy Banaszek, a candidate for state representative from Philadelphia, spoke to us for about a host of issues. I found this very interesting, because Peggy is a first time candidate with a background in both healthcare and college democrats, and she brought an interesting perspective about state and city politics. As you know, the Democrats just took control of the legislature this year, and Peggy emphasized that it's important to take advantage of the opportunity this affords Democrats. Peggy spoke for about 15 minutes, and took questions for just as long. Even though I wish that more people took advantage of the opportunity to listen and ask questions of a candidate, the fact that there were only 15 students made the meeting informal enough to be very interesting.

Anyone who is interested in helping Peggy's campaign can either contact here campaign at or contact us directly and we'll put you in touch with the campaign.

Next we voted on our executive board for 2008. Meet your new leaders!
Chairman: John L.
President: Sean M.
Vice President: Dadly C.
Treasurer: Barbara T.

Political Director: Kristen S.
Events Director: Danielle
Social Events Director: Giancarlo
Membership Director: Caroline T.
Technology Director: Sam C.
Fundraising Director: Theo S.

At our next meeting (February 10th) you can sign up for committees. I strongly recommend anyone who wants to help out sign up for 1 or 2 committees, as its the easiest way to get involved.

Our next meeting will be Sunday, February 10th, because we're skipping a week due to the superbowl. However, on Tuesday, Feb. 5th, we are hosting a watch party at Barahkis Grand Hall for Super Duper Tuesday. It will be a pretty big event, as we have university support and funding behind it. Stay tuned for more details about that.

We're also continuing to work on hosting the Neighborhood Networks conference here at Drexel on March 29th.

Click "There's more..." for everything you missed at from the meeting.


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Thursday, January 17, 2008

About Those 30 Second Spots

Living in a swing state my whole life, I've developed somewhat of a taste for political ads. Most are dreadful, but my loathing of awful ads has only heightened my appreciation of good ads.

This single ad from Republican Congressman Duncan Hunter (He's running for president- Who knew?) explains why no one could ever take his campaign seriously.

That ad was aful for a few reasons. The cheap production values practically scream "not a serious candidate." The fact that the whole thing looks like a mix between a parody of a political ad and a late night spot for your local furniture warehouse (off I-95! Everything Must Go!) doesn't help his cause either. I mean, when was the last time you saw a serious presidential candidate run an ad with a freaking 1-888 number? And was it just me, or did that voiceover guy sound sarcastic?

And what about that stock footage at the end of the ad? Hunter is clearly about 10 years younger in that clip than today. I guess he thinks he looks better without gray hair and wrinkes. You tell me.

But beyond that, why the hell Hunter thinks that grandstanding about the Mount Soledad Cross is a good basis for a presidential campaign is beyond me. The script for the ad reads like a silly parody of right wingers. Liberal judges trying to get rid of crosses?

Here's another of my Hunter favorites.

The best part about this one is at the end, when we learn that not only did Duncan Hunter approve of "this message," but he wrote it too! How impressive! How authentic! I can't imagine why no one takes this man seriously!

For contrast, take a look at this ad from Al Franken that's been getting some good press on the intertubes recently.

I liked it, and not just cause I'm a big fan of Al Franken. It was an effective biography ad, but it also obviously sought to improve his mid western street cred. He was born and raised in MN, but he became successful as a Big City writer and comedian, and now he's coming home to run for senate. It was a little tongue in cheek without going over the heads of older voters.

Al Franken, unsuprisingly, makes good ads.
Duncan Hunter, unsuprisingly, makes stupid ads.

If you aren't competent enough to produce a good ad, why should anyone think you're competent enough for elected office?

Click "There's more..." for my full analysis and another one of his brilliant ads.


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Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Romney Wins Michigan

Well, with Romney winning (pretty handily actually) in Michigan, it looks like the GOP circus train is going to keep on rolling a while longer. The exit polls didn't really show anything particularly unusual; Romney and McCain's support in each question tracked roughly (within margins) with their overall vote totals, and when they varied, it was pretty predictable (ie McCain did better amongst people who cited "Iraq" as their most important issue, Romney did better amongst those who cited "Economy.")

My feelings about the GOP primary are perhaps best summarized by what Josh Marshall at TPM said the other day:

"Whatever happens in this election, whoever wins, we'll all be able to agree that the complete humiliation of Fred Thompson made it all worthwhile. "

After tonight's sixth place finish for Rudy 9ui11ianni (He edged out "uncommitted 3% to 2% and got spanked by Ron Paul), I think Rudy! deserves a nod as well.

"Whatever happens in this election, whoever wins, we'll all be able to agree that the complete humiliation of Fred Thompson and Rudy Giulliani made it all worthwhile.

One of the only things I found interesting from that exit poll was the question "Which candidate is most likely to bring needed change?" The responses are given as the percentage of votes each candidate received from each group of respondents, by answer. It's kind of a trivial question because it presupposes "needed change," so you would expect the responses to correlate with who the respondents voted for, and in large part they do (although humorously, "Hunter" wasn't a choice, and his voters apparently chose "Thompson").

However, every candidate won a majority of respondents that said that he was "most likely to bring about change" except for Rudy 9ui11iani. He only won 36% of voters who thought that he was "most likely to bring about needed change" while Romney and McCain took 50% of those votes. This is probably best explained by the dynamic in Michigan; everyone knew that Romney needed a win, and more importantly, McCain needed a loss or the media would stop everything and nominate him right there in Detriot.

Also, with only 4% of 1200 respondents selecting Rudy, we;re talking about a sample size of ~40 people, and so it's not a particularly meaningful result.

Caveats aside, though, I think it's clear that Rudy's supporters have given up and have moved to their second choice. It seems like ages ago that Rudy was standing front and center in all the debates as the national frontrunner. Oh well. I guess the Republicans just forgot about 9/11.

I didn't watch tonights Democratic debate, and from what I've heard, that was a smart choice. If I hear the phrases "race card" or "gender card" one more time I'll, well, do nothing, because it will happen at least 20 more times before I go to bed.

Finally, a quick word of advice to CNN: Let's leave Larry King off the "best political team in television." It isn't because he's older than death; I just don't think he's particularly insightful. I got the distinct impression he doesn't care about politics at all and he'd much rather be asking Sylvia Brown if Anna Nicole Smith's ghost had anything interesting to say about Britney Spears. Actually, I think he did start talking about that...

Click "There's more..." for some more insightful analysis, and an embarrassing number from the exit poll for Giuliani.


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Friday, January 11, 2008

Vote Clusterfuck '08!

Michigan has the stupid (in my view) open primary system where any voter can vote in any primary, regardless of party affiliation, which lends itself to efforts like the following.

Kos is proposing that since the Democratic primary in Michigan is meaningless (Obama and Edwards aren't on the ballot because MI defied the national party and moved their primary ahead), MI Democrats should vote for Mitt Romney in the Republican primary.

The logic is as simple as it is beautiful.

  • The Democratic primary is meaningless.

  • There are 3 or 4 viable Republican candidates right now who represent competing interests in the Republican party.

  • Romney needs a win in MI more than any of the other candidates to stay in the race.

  • Romney has more money than God, and as long as he's viable he'll spend that money on negative ads against the other Republicans, and they will also.

  • It is in the interest of the Democratic party for the Republicans to keep attacking each other, and have their nomination fight go on long and stay nasty (last nights GOP debate was ugly).

  • Therefore a vote for Romney in Michigan is a vote for a Republican clusterfuck.

I hereby throw my meager support behind this effort! If any Drexel Democrats have Democratic friends or family in Michagan, please let them know and encourage them to vote for Romney instead of throwing their vote away.

Clusterfuck '08!


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Sunday, January 06, 2008

Winter Term Meeting Times

Now that the Winter term is starting, we need to decide what day of the week is best for everyone to get together. Please vote in these quick polls to help us decide when the best meeting time is. If you have any dates or times that you absolutely cannot make meetings, please let us know in the comments, and we will try to work around them.

What day should our general body meetings be held?

What time should a weekday meeting be held?
5:00 PM
6:00 PM
7:00 PM
Other (Elaborate in comments)


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Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Who's Your Candidate?

I'm hardly as wonderful a blogger as John, but I just had to share this nifty tool -- Glassbooth. It's like a personality quiz to tell you which candidates you most identify with. ABC has a similar quiz, and I'm sure there are others out there, but Glassbooth is great because it only asks you about the issues you care about proportional to your interest in each area. And it gives you a great breakdown of candidates' positions using quotes and voting records. Check it out!

And remember, Iowa caucuses tomorrow...Election 2008 has officially begun.