CHEAPER BY THE DOZEN
The Democratic primary season hasn’t become so heated that the various campaign are openly stalking one another. True, there were reports yesterday about Howard Dean staffers being assaulted by Dick Gephardt staffers at Iowa events. But that shouldn’t have come as much of a surprise, given the high stakes for Gephardt in that state.
More surprising is the distinct lack of interest being shown in Sen. John Kerry by younger Democratic voters, particularly on college campuses.
Kerry hasn’t been rating large crowds on his occasional forays to universities. His recent trip to the University of New Hampshire drew spartan crowds and little attention. “He just didn’t network those folks the way other candidates did,” says a Howie Dean volunteer in California. “We pushed hard on college Democratic groups, environmental groups, those types. Kerry went after the establishment.”
Kerry’s campaign, many observers agree, lacks any sense of political energy beyond the hum of professionals going about their work. None of the youthful exuberance that younger volunteers and grassroots types usually bring to a campaign. Just what that feeling of joie de vivre — or lack of it — can mean became abundantly clear in Boulder, Colorado, earlier this week.
Dean was appearing at the University of Colorado. His appearances on campuses usually draw at least a few hundred, and more at his larger rallies. The Kerry campaign, attempting to put up some sort of resistance, organized a waffle breakfast — Dean waffles on issues, get it? — to take place at about the same time as the Dean event. And what did the Kerry campaign’s efforts achieve?
No more than a dozen attendees. The event was planned by Kerry’s University of Colorado student supporters, who number about, well, a dozen.
Meanwhile, Dean was speaking before hundreds of students, who cheered on Howie’s announcement that he was a metrosexual, even though he later claimed he didn’t know what that meant.
“If Governor Dean pulls this thing off [the Democratic nomination], it is going to be his outreach to younger voters that helps put him over the top,” says the Dean volunteer. “We’re the ones who are driving this thing on the Internet and on the college campuses. The other candidates aren’t doing much at all.”
EVERY TOM, BOOK, AND HILLARY
Unlike his colleague, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, the best-selling author, Sen. Tom Daschle doesn’t shake down fellow Democrats for book sales. Very quietly, Daschle and his publicity team will embark next week on a national book tour to tout Daschle’s tome on the changing political landscape wrought by the presidency of George W. Bush.
Clinton, on her book tour, offered to make appearances on behalf of Democratic candidates with the understanding that her book, entitled “Living Hysteria” (or something like that), would be sold at such events or purchased in bulk prior to her appearance.
Daschle isn’t doing any of that. In fact, he currently isn’t slated to make any appearances on behalf of Democratic candidates. “Right now, he’s only fundraising for himself,” says a Daschle adviser. “He’s expecting a tough re-election race and needs the money.”
A more cynical type might regard Daschle’s lack of collegial fundraising as a sign that party regulars don’t want to be seen with their drab minority leader, who has overseen the fall of his party from majority to minority status in the Senate.
Not true, says the aide. “There will be plenty of time to help others. This book is the chance for the leader to help himself.”