The stupidity of the DNC

By Les Kinsolving

How is it possible for the Democratic National Committee to make such absolutely horrendous mistakes like a national Kerry-Edwards fund-raiser at the Whoopi Goldberg Filth Festival? Whoopi has been dropped from all ads for Slim-Fast.

From Albany, N.Y., the Associated Press reports another major error, which had to be corrected by Sen. Kerry himself:

The former chairwoman of the New York State Democratic Party on Wednesday called it “a total outrage” and “very stupid” that Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton has not been offered a prominent speaking role at the Democratic National Convention.

“It’s a slap in the face, not personally for Hillary Clinton, but for every woman in the Democratic Party and every woman in America,” said Judith Hope, a major party fund-raiser.

Hope said she would appeal to Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry to “correct this omission” and would send an e-mail message to more than 1,000 New York women – “many of them major donors to the Kerry campaign” – complaining about the slight.

The Kerry campaign had no immediate comment.

But then Kerry invited her to be a principal speaker – correction – introducer – of her husband!

Asked about Clinton’s role Tuesday, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, the convention chairman, said, “Senator Clinton will speak also. She’s a major star in the party.”

But later, convention officials said Clinton would appear at the convention’s opening night as part of a special segment featuring all the women senators, but she was not expected to speak. (italics added)

“To include the wife of the governor of Iowa, who I’m sure is a wonderful woman, and to not include Hillary Clinton is just such a glaring injustice,” Hope said.

“It is, frankly, very stupid,” she added.

In May, Kerry campaign officials had said both President Clinton and his wife would play prominent roles at the convention.

“It’s a total outrage,” Hope said. “Women all over New York state and all over America are being asked to carry a very heavy responsibility for winning this election for the Democrats.”

Clinton spokesman Philippe Reines had little to say Wednesday, simply commenting that Clinton is looking forward to attending the convention and working hard for the Democratic ticket of Kerry and John Edwards.

Clinton has been campaigning across the country for Sen. Kerry and has become one of the campaign’s major fund-raising attractions.

“Hillary Clinton has been a team player for this ticket from Day One,” Hope said.

If Kerry falters this year, Edwards and Clinton would be seen as the top candidates for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination.

That, ladies and gentlemen, is the AP’s reports of the first Democratic National Committee’s major act of stupidity – in which they open festivities with America’s only elected president who was impeached and convicted of perjury and obstruction of justice – and is STILL under criminal investigation by the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York – for Pardongate.

Slick Willie is a principal speaker – but not his wife, Sen. Hillary!

She is still only an introducer.

How can the national committee of any major political party be so dumb?

But, there is even more DNC unbelievable stupidity, this even shameless.

Boston’s Channel 5 reports the following, under the headline:


To snub the state’s last presidential nominee in his own back yard would seem unforgivable. But to embrace him would surely dredge up unflattering memories of the oft-caricatured politician’s amazing plummet in the 1988 campaign – and invite trouble for this year’s nominee from Massachusetts: U.S. Sen. John Kerry, who served as the Dukakis lieutenant governor for two years.

Fairly or unfairly, Dukakis represents every political label that Democrats want their current candidate to avoid: liberal, soft-on-crime, tax-and-spend, and presidential loser to a man named Bush.

“The first rule for the Democrats is to avoid a picture of John Kerry and Mike Dukakis together at all costs,” said Rob Gray, a former spokesman for Republican Massachusetts Gov. William Weld.

Do you remember when Teddy Kennedy actually ran against incumbent President Jimmy Carter – and finally withdrew at the end of a bitter primary battle?

Surely you remember the Democratic National Convention giving this loser a prime-time speech.

And do you remember – I remember because I was there covering that convention – that right after Carter’s acceptance speech, came the traditional “We-are-all-together” pose for all the cameras? I do, because I watched at close quarters poor Jimmy chasing the elusive Kennedy all over the stage – unsuccessfully.

Channel 5 in Boston goes on to report:

“Dukakis’ race was an embarrassment for the party. He blew a 17-point lead. And the party feels in retrospect that they nominated the wrong guy.”

Every four years, both parties have to contend with the question of what to do with their own particular cast of presidential losers. Former President Jimmy Carter was shunned for two decades after his crushing 1980 defeat to Republican Ronald Reagan, before being honored with a video tribute in 2000. The 1972 loser, George McGovern, has been a guest at previous conventions, but not given any kind of a prominent role.

Two of the three Republicans who lost over the past 30 years are former presidents – George H.W. Bush and Gerald Ford – and have been accordingly allotted prominent, if not starring roles at subsequent conventions. In 2000, Republican Bob Dole – who was on losing tickets in 1996 for president and 1976 for vice president – gave a speech.

The quandary is a bit more complex for Democrats this year, however, because of the convention’s location in the state where Dukakis presided as governor for 12 years.

Massachusetts Democrats say that ignoring Dukakis would be an injustice to a man who has served the party loyally for decades. Never again a political candidate, Dukakis has since been a regular on the airwaves, defending the party and its candidates.

“He may have run a bad campaign, but he is not a bad person,” said Dan Payne, a Democratic consultant who worked on Kerry’s Senate campaigns. “He has never embarrassed himself, his state or his party. It would be a disservice to him to ignore him completely.”

Convention officials have not yet released their full slate of speakers. But Dukakis did not appear to be high on the list.

“Didn’t I hear … that he was going to be out of town?” Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe said recently.

Can you imagine a national Democrat Party chairman saying that about any Democratic Party presidential nominee – who was the governor of Massachusetts, and whose lieutenant governor was John Kerry?

Well, that’s what the man said!

Channel 5 also reports:

“I’m going to be in and around the place,” said Dukakis, who now keeps a low profile as a Northeastern University political science professor.

Dukakis said he has been told to keep a night open midweek for what he assumes would be a brief appearance with others to wave at the crowd. (italics added)

Kerry’s convention liaison, Jack Corrigan, who served as Dukakis’ field coordinator during the 1988 campaign, said that the former nominee will be recognized during the convention, but he would not reveal details.

The state Democratic Party, Corrigan and other 1988 alums are also helping to organize a reception for Dukakis on July 28 at a Greek restaurant in Charlestown.

“To ignore someone because he lost an election is shameful,” said state Democratic Chairman Phil Johnston, who – like many state Democrats – once worked in the Dukakis administration. “We’re going to do everything we can to honor Michael Dukakis during that week. Just because he lost an election doesn’t mean he wasn’t right.”

Shameful indeed. I agree.

Governor and presidential nominee Dukakis will be so shamed – but Baltimore’s Mayor Martin O’Malley is to be honored as a principal speaker!

I telephoned Mayor O’Malley’s press office, where I had the pleasure of talking to Rick Abbruzzase.

O’Malley has been under very heavy fire from fellow Maryland Democrats for favoring a new pro baseball team in Washington to compete with the Orioles and for announcing he is more worried about the Bush administration than he is about al-Qaida – among other major blunders.

Therefore, I suggested, the mayor could, in large measure, begin to redeem himself if only I could be authorized to report the following:

“Baltimore’s young Mayor Martin O’Malley today informed the Democratic National Committee that he wished to be replaced as a principal speaker at the Democratic National Convention in favor of U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York and Gov. Michael Dukakis of Massachusetts.”

Mr. Abbruzzase was most courteous and affable in receiving this suggestion. He said he would call back. When he did, he explained that Mayor O’Malley was grateful for this honor from the Democratic National Committee – and such decisions are entirely up to the committee.

So tough luck, Hillary and Gov. Dukakis.