Barack Obama reaches true rock star status

Sen. Barack Obama visited New Hampshire this past weekend to promote his book, The Audacity of Hope, and to participate in the state Democratic Party's commemoration of the 2006 midterm election. A lot of buzz preceded the visit, including an article comparing the Senator to Bobby Kennedy; and a lot of buzz came during and after the visit, beckoning a joke from NH Governor John Lynch about how Senator Obama was chosen to adress the State Party: "We originally scheduled the Rolling Stones. But then we canceled them when we realized Sen. Obama would sell more tickets."

While many felt the Senator's appearance was simply inspirational and were energized about his appearance, some in the audience admitted that they want to hear more substance from him in days to come. Of course, Sen. Obama recognized the nature of this and responded:

"If I decide to run, these people will know me pretty well," Obama said. "They'll have a good sense of whether I'm qualified to serve or not. . . . One of the values of retail politics is that, by the end of the process, they know where you stand and have a sense of who you are."

Though, in true Obama form, his presence alone is changing the way the folks of New Hampshire approach presidential candidates. At least to Steve Gordon who said: “He will [go into voters' living rooms to answer questions], but he doesn’t have to. He’s not going to have the desperate need to go into people’s homes to pitch himself.”

Welcome to Obama Land.

Note: I'll post Senator Obama's speech (video here) from the event as soon as I have it. Until then, check him out introducing Monday Night Football!

Help Us Find Interns for the Spring

Simon just sent this out. If you know of any good candidates (or if you're one yourself!), please let us know.


It's not unusual for us to write asking for your help. We ask you to come to the events NDN hosts in Washington, DC and around the country, to support the advocacy work NDN does and to spread our ideas and publications through your networks. But what we're asking for today is different. Today, we need your help to find the next generation of young, progressive leaders to come work as interns in our Washington, DC office.

College-age interns who participate in our part-time internship program this spring will get a chance to work directly with NDN staff on major initiatives, including the Hispanic Strategy Center, New Politics Institute, Globalization Initiative, and other NDN advocacy work. More importantly, they'll get hands on experience in progressive politics, government and working in a professional environment.

Past NDN interns have gone on to make important contributions both inside and out of progressive politics, and I'm very proud of the close relationships we still have with many of them.

Thank you for all you do and I hope you'll pass this email onto any young person you know who would benefit from the unique combination of opportunity and responsibility that defines the NDN internship program.


Learn more about NDN's internship program
To apply, e-mail your resume, cover letter, and a brief writing sample to jobs@ndn.org

Dodd - Why not now? Why not us? Why not together?

In the spirit of The New Politics, we'll be analyzing communications (speeches, e-mails, etc.) from public officials on both sides of the aisle to see how they plan to meet the challenges of the 21st century. The following is an example:

Here's an e-mail from Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT) asking members to "Help Create a Secure and More Prosperous America" by doing two things: making a contribution and joining the Dodd Corps. In the e-mail he remains optimistic about the future amid the many challenges we face, and that, perhaps an era (which NDN calls the Era of Conservative Ascendancy) has ended, ushering in a new opportunity. Decide for yourself. The e-mail's below.


Dear Friend,

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday. For me, this is the one holiday each year that passes by too quickly.

In the wake of the 2006 elections, Democrats across the country feel that we have much to be thankful for, and we do. But it would be a mistake for us to see the recent switch in the Congress as anything less than a chance to make good on a promise we made to the American people leading up to the election – we will be the party of change.

We have been given this opportunity for change – this moment in time – to come up with the answers to the problems facing our country today.

If, as some have suggested, the recent election signaled the end of the era of ideologues and indifference, it is my hope that our leadership can help bring about the beginning of a new era of idealism, ingenuity and faith in ourselves and our future.

To use our power to create, not just a future of peace and security, but a future of prosperity and opportunity, of learning and understanding;

To use our wealth to create, not just a world where some profit at the expense of many, but where many can profit to the advantage of all;

To use our leadership to create, not a nation of red states and blue states, but a world where people of every race, creed, color and religion come together to solve problems;

To use our talent, not as partisans, but as Americans: to raise the minimum wage; rebuild our manufacturing base and stop jobs fleeing our nation; make sure people can go to college without going bankrupt; make sure small businesses and entrepreneurs can exercise their talent to the fullest extent possible; make sure that all Americans have affordable health care coverage; build an economy where well-paying jobs are available to every American; and last but not least, build relationships around the world based on mutual respect, where a strong and smart America listens as well as it leads.

And ultimately, as Robert Kennedy once said, to judge success not just by the size of our gross national product, but by the health of our children, the quality of their education, the joy of their play, the strength of our public debate, and the integrity of our public officials.

We need to make the most of this moment in time we have been given -- and that is why I am writing to you today.

I am certain, with your help; we can fulfill our promise to America.

But, we must do more. Together we can lead America in a new, more hopeful direction.

That is why I am asking for you to do two things before the end of the year.

First, please consider making an online contribution to my campaign.

Your support will enable me to have the resources necessary to communicate and advocate for our common agenda to make America more secure, prosperous, and hopeful.

Second, please ask five friends to join the Dodd Corps by signing up for our e-mail list, so that we can grow our network of supporters who share our vision for a better future.

Let the generations that follow one day say of us that at the beginning of the 21st Century, after an uncertain start, America returned to her heritage.

Let them say that America preserved freedom and lived up to her highest ideals.

And let them say that in a broken time, we dedicated ourselves to the cause of an America that stands confident and proud and idealistic once again.

Why not now? Why not us? Why not together?

We can – and we must.

Thank you,
Chris Dodd

Durbin e-mail endorses Obama

This e-mail (also below) from Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) pretty much speaks for itself. Durbin has said that he has encouraged Sen. Obama (also D-IL) to run, but this is as blatant as it gets.


Run, Barack, Run!

As many of you may know, I'm a huge Barack Obama fan. I've known Barack since he was first elected to the Illinois State Senate in 1996, and I'm impressed by what he has accomplished in his relatively short political career. I'm also proud to call him my friend.

Not only does Senator Obama do a wonderful job representing the people of Illinois, in just a few short years he has proven himself to be an incredibly inspirational national leader. From his memorable and unifying speech at the Democratic National Convention to his new book The Audacity of Hope, Barack has shown that he has the best interests of all Americans at heart.

That is why I want to see Barack run for President in 2008. I believe that he is the right man to lead our country at a time of such turmoil around the globe, bringing Americans together at a time in our nation's history when we need unity more than ever.

Barack has said publicly that he is considering a run, and part of his consideration will doubtlessly include measuring the level of his support from Democrats across the country. So let's show him how strong that support is.


It's been an interesting few days for Sen. Obama, who is coming off of an address to Rick Warren's Saddleback Church where he shared the stage with Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS). (Here's a rather objective article from Salon on the appearance.)

Happy Thanksgiving all

Lots to be thankful for this year my friends. 

But of course there is much to do.

The Election Reviewed (Again) in Progress Magazine

At the risk of truly outstaying my welcome, and in once again foisting upon NDN's readers more articles in British magazines that they don't care about, i have just written the cover story for Progress, a British magazine associated with the Labour party. It is the magazine of an organization, also called Progress, which is basically the UK equivalent of NDN. And - look! - it has a sad picture of Bush on the cover. Awwww.

Anyhow, its a general overview of the recent campaign. It also includes some amateur musings on the road into 2008. The usual caveat about this not being NDN's official view is to be seen there in big letters. Anyway, this is how the piece begins:

Following their mid-term success, are the Democrats on course to win the White House in 2008?

At his post-election press conference President George W Bush told it like it was. The American people had just handed him, and his party, ‘a thumpin’’. Some days later, Karl Rove demurred. If 77,611 Americans had voted differently, the Republicans would have held on to their majority in the House of Representatives. The 2006 Congressional elections were, he mused, ‘more of a transient, passing thing’. Who was right?

There is much to support the ‘thumpin’ thesis’. The results exceeded all but the most optimistic Democrat expectations. At the beginning of the summer few thought that there was much chance of winning back either house of Congress. With a week to go, the Senate still looked comfortably out of reach. Even in the hours beforehand most commentators still thought winning both houses unlikely. When Senator-elect Jim Webb lifted his trademark combat boots aloft at his victory rally in Virginia, his party rightly celebrated a remarkable, improbable victory.


Matt Bai on the Dems in today's Times Magazine

Matt's piece today is well worth reading.  Among other things includes a reference to one of our recent post-election memos, summarized here.

Making sense of the 2006 elections: a recap of recent post-election analysis

Be sure to read this e-mail Simon just sent out - there's a ton of good stuff in it. (Note: this can also be found in memo form on the NDN website here)


We’ve all had a week to think about it, and there is now little question that 2006 was an historic event. It doesn’t matter if you call it a wave or a thumpin. This election now takes its place alongside the other the game-changing elections in our nation’s recent history: 1994, 1980, 1974, 1964 and even 1932.

I’m very proud that our work here at NDN has helped to put this election in context, and explain through the media the meaning of these important events. You can read some of the many pieces that feature our analysis: on NPR (here and here); at Business Week, La Opinion (here and here), Investor's Business Daily, The New York Times (here and here), The New York Times Magazine, The New York Times Week In Review, Newsweek, US News And World Report, Reuters, The Washington Post (here and here), The Wall Street Journal, The Financial Times (here and here), The Miami Herald, The St. Petersburg Times, The St Louis Post-Dispatch, The Milwaukee Sentinel Journal, The Santa Fe New Mexican, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Hill, and blogs like DailyKos and TPMCafe. Also listen to our commentary on The Al Franken Show on Air America.

Here at NDN we’ve been thinking a lot about how to think about what just happened, as I’m sure you have too. To help make better sense of this historic event, I wanted to send along a compilation of all the four key documents we have put out, trying to contextualize and explain the magnitude of last week’s events.

  • My initial narrative, highlighting a “day of reckoning” and discussing the end of the generation-long conservative ascendancy, along with a second piece on the same theme.

  • Our post-election analysis, highlighting some of and the practical reality that the Republicans are no longer America’s dominant party.

  • An analysis of the importance that the economy played in the victory, and the clear mandate for economic action that follows from this.

  • A memo outlining the strategic importance of our victory, and the republican failure, in the year long battle over immigration.

We also recommend the following essays that you might find helpful - some of the best analysis on the elections from friends in the progressive family.

  • NPI fellow Joe Trippi in the Washington Post talking about an election that kicked "open the door to a new era in American politics."

  • Matt Bai, of the New York Times, in a preview of an essay to come out this Sunday, on the "last election of the 20th century."

  • John Podesta, of the Center for American Progress, gives his view on the impact of the election for the conservative movement.

  • Bruce Reed, head of the DLC, gives his thoughts on the election, and our lame duck president, in his columns over at Slate.

  • Tom Schaller’s post-election analysis from The American Prospect (here and here).

  • Ezra Klein, at The American Prospect, rebutting the notion that last week’s elections were a victory for conservatives.

  • The website immigration2006 to get an even more in depth look at how immigration played in the election.

  • Stan Greenberg's comprehensive post-election polling analysis on "The Meltdown Election."

It was a remarkable election. But as important as it was, it feels like even more important ones lie ahead.

Greenberg on the "meltdown election"

Essential reading: pollster Stan Greenberg released a first cut of his big post-election poll last thursday. Yesterday, he put out the full version. Hat tip also to the Campaign for America's Future, who i think paid for it.  

Winning in the West

"The West is growing," said Senator-elect Jon Tester, "It's where the action is."



In Newsweek, Howard Fineman describes how the old narrative of North-South, Mason Dixon, the solid South, etc. is changing--and the West is at the forefront. With the Tester win in Montana last week, the opportunity for Democrats to stake a claim in the region is growing.  (On a side note, who would have thought that Montana would have two Democratic Senators?)

We have a lot to gain from looking westward. According to our very own Simon Rosenberg, quoted in the article, "It's our 21st-century-majority strategy."

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