Howard Dean: Honoring and helping Native Americans when it's convenient for a sound bite.
Where are the DEMS in the media?

Howard Dean was in Rapid City several weeks back, and some of his visit was covered by Kevin Woster where in the lead-up to the visit, it was noted:
Howard Dean, the outspoken and controversial chairman of the Democratic National Committee, will stop in Rapid City Wednesday to meet with American Indian leaders and local Democrats. State Democratic Party Chairwoman Judy Olson Duhamel of Rapid City said Saturday that Dean is coming to western South Dakota to learn more about tribal issues and to energize party faithful heading toward the November general election.

and...

Olson Duhamel said Dean is committed to developing a better understanding of problems facing American Indians in South Dakota. That is an important part of his visit, she said.
In today's Rapid City Journal, Kevin points out that when called on further to discuss some of what he was preaching, to the benefit of Theresa Spry, one of the Democratic candidates who was a tour guide at the Soo-San hospital serving Native Americans, (and Native American herself) Howard Dean was unavailable and would talk later. And later... And later..:
And, amid the fundraising events and glad-handing, Dean made a short public appearance to a small crowd and gave a typically entertaining and skillful speech.

More interesting than that, however, was his tour of Soo San Hospital, the Indian Health Service facility here in town. It was a private tour, during which Dean - a medical doctor with a stated commitment to improving Indian health care - talked to hospital staff and patients about what the hospital does and needs.

Theresa Spry was a host on that tour. And she came away impressed with Dean's focus on issues crucial to American Indian health.

"He had fantastic questions," Spry said a day or two after the tour. "He got to see the outpatient clinic, in-patient services, mental-health services. He had a real grasp of what the situation was."

I thought that part of Dean's visit was worth more discussion. So I asked a member of his staff for a few minutes by telephone for next Monday's column. I knew it would be tough, because Dean flew out early on the morning of Aug. 17, a Thursday, for a Democratic National Committee meeting in Chicago.

and..

But Dean was too busy that first weekend for a short chat. So I came up with another column for that Monday and told his staffer I could wait another week. I also said I didn't think I had enough with Spry alone for a column.

The staffer said he'd try but later in the week e-mailed to say that Dean wouldn't have time for the interview. He didn't even offer to get me some e-mail comments, which is the typical form of communication for politicians too busy to talk.

It was hard to imagine that the national leader of the Democratic Party couldn't find three minutes in 10 days to talk about American Indian health issues and help a Democratic candidate in her challenge of a controversial Republican incumbent.
Read it all here in today's Rapid City Journal.

What help did Howard Dean give that local candidate? Nada. One of his staffers couldn't even send an e-mail in support? It's pretty clear what Kevin Woster thinks of it - basically, a letdown.

Suspiciously like the kind of support I think the State Democratic organization is able to provide to some of their candidates.

My take on it? I think we're seeing the Democratic campaign machine sputtering for lack of fuel as it draws closer to the campaign finish line. Rumor has it that (except for Herseth) their top of the ticket races are badly strapped for cash.

Anyone seen a Billion or Volesky ad in the newspapers or on TV lately? Me neither. It's the type of situation where those cash starved campaigns might look to the State Dems for some coin to prime the pump. Except their well is dry, and has been dry, and there's not much (or anything) to be expected to come between now and election day.

The financial outlook for select Democratic legislative candidates is a little brighter with some of the leftover Daschle money earmarked for that purpose. But that piggy bank is not infinite. Will we see money going to the Scott Heidepreim's, Tom Katus' and Sandy Jerstad's on the ticket? you bet we will.

But don't expect to see big cash dropped on some of those other races. Especially on some of those who might be pro-life.

Pre-General Election financial reports are coming in a few weeks, and they MAY tell the tale. Until then, most of this will remain little more than hypothesis and educated guessing based on observation.

Comments

Anonymous said…
If the Dems are cash-strapped, they are looking for free PR through news coverage. They are very good at that, with media events to announce pie-in-the-sky plans with no details. Also in the Rapid City Journal, Wooster fawned all over Daschle, talking about how accessible he apparently was. That is comparing apples and oranges. Daschle was an elected official and SHOULD have been accessible. I am not excusing Dean but it is a faulty comparison.
Anonymous said…
I happen to know that Sen. Jim Peterson is absolutely on the receiving end of the Daschle Legacy fund.

I believe that he would meet your qualifications of "pro-life"
BILL NAPOLI said…
WHAT DOES WOSTER MEAN NAPOLI IS CONTROVERSIAL? SINCE WHEN DID I EVER BECOME CONTROVERSIAL? WOSTER MUST HAVE BEEN TALKING ABOUT SOMEONE ELSE.
Anonymous said…
He must have meant someone who types in all capital letters. That's pretty controversial among the internet cruwd.
Douglas said…
Hell hath no fury like a columnist scorned.

Wooster did a neat hit job. He mixed in a semi-nice comment on Daschle who is essentially out of politics and then took his snide shots at Dean.

I wonder if Wooster has ever been refused an interview by any other politicians since he started writing.

Maybe Howard Dean did some research and checked the RC Journal editorials related to him.

Dean had a press conference. Wooster must have forgotten his good questions then.

Actually, I thought the Dean "Indian" thing was just a bit hokey, but I think even Calvin Coolidge wore a war bonnet.

Maybe we can get Dean to call Wooster and see what questions he was just itching to ask.
Anonymous said…
SEN. NAPOLI - FROM WHAT I'VE SEEN, YOU MOSTLY OPEN YOUR MOUTH TO CHANGE FEET.

"A real-life description to me would be a rape victim, brutally raped, savaged. The girl was a virgin. She was religious. She planned on saving her virginity until she was married...."

I'M SURE YOUR DEFINTION WILL PROVE USEFUL IN THE FUTURE. IF I AM EVER RAPED, I CAN JUST TELL MYSELF THAT IT DIDN'T HAPPEN BECAUSE I AM MARRIED AND HAVE CHILDREN.
Nicholas Nemec said…
Pat you're jumping to wild, unjustified, conclusions when you state that only pro-choice Dems will get money from the state party.

The decision of which candidates would get money was based on where the cash could do the most good. Have you heard of targeting? A candidates position on abortion was not considered and was not an issue.
PP said…
Nick -

"Pre-General Election financial reports are coming in a few weeks, and they MAY tell the tale. Until then, most of this will remain little more than hypothesis and educated guessing based on observation."

It's an educated guess and nothing more at this point.
Nicholas Nemec said…
Your educated guess is dead wrong and speculation not based in fact.

The SDDP has never had a litmus test on abortion that candidates had to pass in order to get assistance. Major financial assistance is targeted to races where there is a chance of a seat being picked up or where a Democrat incumbent needs help.

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