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Carl Pope

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Taking the Initiative.

Field Notes Archive

Which is worst?
Vote for the Bush administration's
biggest folly!

Carl Pope's Field Notes

This One's Different
28, 2004

I've been to many gatherings of the tribe before. But never one like this. This one has a different energy, with focused, high-voltage, huge crowds at every event -- from the Emily's List Luncheon to veteran's rallies.

The Campaign for America's Future and Apollo Project sponsored a series of sessions yesterday afternoon to be held in a hall that holds 700. More than three thousand people showed up. They had to set up an impromptu outdoor rally -- and every speaker spoke twice. It was stunning to see.

At the Emily's List Luncheon, before a packed, standing-room-only throng, former Texas governor Ann Richards put on an amazing performance. As far as I am concerned, after hearing her speak, the convention may all be downhill from here. She said the President needs to understand what's happening to ordinary Americans, that "They are breathing dirty air and drinking polluted water." Wow. Lots of people are talking about the environment, using the President's environmental policies to make a point about his character and priorities.

Even the Wall Street Journal...

In a lengthy front page story, the Wall Street Journal examined this phenomenon of unity across the progressive community. The Sierra Club was prominently featured in a story that featured a headline that clearly showed the Journal's horror and amazement at this unusual occurrence: "New Machine in Fallout from Campaign Law, Liberal Groups Work Together. Coalition Exempt From Ban On 'Soft Money' Cajoles Anti-Bush People to Vote. Door to Door in Derry, N.H"

The story examines the depth and scope of the work ACT is doing through its affiliated organizations such as Planned Parenthood, SEIU, and the Sierra Club:

"Within seconds, her quarry popped up: 812 Concord-area women, their addresses marked with dots on a street map that Mr. O'Brien, a Democratic activist, printed out. Then it was up to Planned Parenthood -- and a host of affiliated liberal organizations working with ACT to divide up terrain -- to reach the voters, assess their political inclinations and cajole supporters to vote on Nov. 2."

All this represents a big change for the nation's Democrats. In the past, the various constituent and special-interest groups sympathetic to the party tended to go their own ways, often overlapping and sometimes even competing with each other. This time they are systematically collaborating, dividing up tasks and target audiences in an attempt to maximize impact."

Later in the story, our own Kurt Ehrenberg is quoted:

"A prime goal of the liberal coalition is maintaining discipline. Late last week, as 30 people gathered over wine and hors d'oeuvres at a Sierra Club house party in Portsmouth on the seacoast, one man suggested targeting wavering hunters who might be lured by environmental concerns. "Our program is not geared to sway undecided voters," responded a Sierra Club official, Kurt Ehrenberg, politely rejecting the suggestion. Instead, the goal is turning out an additional 10,000 voters who already give environmental concerns high priority but rarely go to the polls."

The Environment Brought Them Together

In her speech tonight, Teresa Heinz Kerry, revealed that she and her husband, John Kerry, got to know each other because of their mutual concern about the environment. Both of them attended the Environmental Summit in Rio in 1992.

And if you have any doubts that our issues are playing at the highest levels -- in her speech, Teresa Kerry said that her husband, as President, would encourage technologies that would develop alternative fuels and end dependence on foreign oil and reverse threats to the health of the planet such as global warming, and that he would lead in the world "by showing the face, not of its fears, but of our hopes."

One more bit of local Convention color: As Senate candidate Barack Obama's amazing and uplifting speech ended, I saw Larry King in the hall, shaking his head, muttering "My, my, my." High praise indeed.

And Lest We Forget Why We're Working So Hard...

The Sierra Club released a report yesterday documenting the Bush administration's failure to protect Americans' health from toxic waste pollution. The report, "Communities at Risk: How the Bush Administration is Failing to Protect People's Health at Superfund Sites," breaks down state-by-state the Superfund sites across the country where there's still the risk of exposure to health-threatening chemicals and identifies the communities still suffering from groundwater pollution caused by chemicals leaking from Superfund sites. It's already being widely picked up by the national media.

To download a copy and find out whether your community is affected: