Lunchtime at Democratic Party Headquarters
Every day some time between noon and one the proud and the few at Democratic Party HQ gather around the conference room table for lunch. It is a time for people to take a much needed break from their busy days, to unwind, and to enjoy the company of their co-workers. The range of topics discussed varies as greatly as the restaurants we order from. Whether it is celebrity gossip over Siam Orchid or the lastest news from the State House Floor over Smokey Bones, the conversation is always lively.
My two personal favorites topics are chicken fingers and jokes, an odd combination I know. As a connaisseur of good chicken fingers I am always eager to try out a new restaurant. As far as Concord is concerned, I have had them all. It seems that the consensus of the lunchtime gang is that Longhorn Steakhouse offers the tastiest, most delicious chicken finger.
As for the jokes, well it really can be summed up with one; it probably is told every day at lunch and somehow never loses its hilarity- "A grasshopper walks into a bar, and the bartender says to him, 'Hey, we have a drink named after you', and the grasshopper replies, 'You have a drink named Steve?'"
So over the next couple days I want all of you to join the lunch discussion. What are the best chicken fingers in Concord in your opinion, or in your part of the state for that matter; I am always looking for a quick snack when I am on the road. And the "grasshopper joke" may lose steam one day...what are some good ones we can replace it with. Don't be shy, what is chicken fingers and jokes between Democrats?
Someone I loved… Now what?
This morning on my way into work I stopped behind a truck that featured a bumper sticker that read, “Someone I loved was murdered”. Pangs of empathy immediately ran through me for the driver of the truck but as we started to drive away I began to think, “But what do I do now that they have shared this with me.” Does the driver want more cops on the street, tougher gun laws, more prisons, or better neighborhood watch organizations? What can we learn from this obviously tragic experience that the driver, in the form of a bumper sticker, has chosen to share with me and everyone who drives behind them?
If I have spoken at one of your town meetings you have probably heard me say that I am not too interested in whether we have a national message coming out of DC for this campaign. I strongly believe that if we go door to door (like we will all over the state this weekend) and talk about the things that matter to us, what our passions are, they will move more voters than something that comes out of DC and is poll approved for the entire country.
It’s 100 times more powerful to say:
Someone I love is sick but can’t afford the high cost of prescription drugs and other health care costs. We shouldn’t be the only industrialized country that can’t provide health care for everyone
Someone I loved died while suffering from Alzheimer’s and I think we should support stem cell research to try to find a cure.
Someone I love is a teacher and because of No Child Left Behind is forced to teach a test instead of fostering the next generation of leaders and thinker.
Someone I loved died in Iraq
Norman Rockwell Moments
Last night I attended the inaugural meeting of the Kensington Democrats. Sure there have been democrats from Kensington that helped John Kerry in the 2004 general and Howard Dean had an organization there for the primary, but it has been a while since a Kensington town committee focused on acting locally. It felt like a storied and almost cliché moment when a group gets together, only 8 at first, to talk about the issues that matter to them and then moves on to think of who else in town is interested in the same issues, who they ran into at the store last week, or the guy that lives just down the street. Moreover the recent decision of Jim Weber, one of the founding co-chairs, to run for our citizen legislature drives it home one bit further
It’s grassroots moments like these that feel particularly pronounced this week as the power hungry delegation from Michigan tries to usurp our traditional role as the second contest in selecting our presidential candidate. In 2004 Michigan held its caucus over the Internet, which in my mind is about as grassroots as growing genetically modified seedless red grapes in the frozen tundra of Siberia and then calling it Champagne.
So we should continue to create our Rockwell moments and Michigan should start slow, maybe by drawing stick figures.
Today is my birthday. I turned 29. And I feel old.
I don't remember looking this far down the road when I was in high school, for instance, to try to imagine where I might be on this day. But not in my wildest dreams did I think I would be here, in New Hampshire working to build and support the grassroots of the Democratic Party. If I had tried to picture myself I probably would have been working in Washington DC helping Democrats govern because I was sure that President Clinton was changing the way the public viewed Democrats, able to balance budgets, achieving progressive goals without big government, in short governing moderately but still forcefully. No 5th grade kids will be the ones heckled at the bus stop for supporting Democrats again (like I was on election day 1988) because, simply, we wouldn’t loose again; we had proven our worth. And yet here we are, out of power, pining for our chance to set the national agenda.
Above my desk right now is a 3-foot by 5-foot photo of Bill, HRC, Gore, and Tipper from 1992. It reminds me on a daily basis that we can win, we can govern, and that what I do today can help us get there. I hope that I don't ever lose that sense of urgency.
Sorry guess this is just the rant of someone showing his old age.
Btw, I ride a size large mountain bike if anyone wants to get me a new one and my favorite color is red.
First Annual Student Summit
More than 25 College Democrats from across the state (and even a couple from Massachusetts) gathered on Saturday in Manchester for the first ever NH Student Summit. More important than the numbers that showed up in the middle of a Saturday in spring was the enthusiasm of those who came. As evidence, at least two students ran for each of the 6 executive council positions of this newly formed group.
In 2004, students made up about 9% of the Kerry/Lynch vote. We didn't start this early last cycle, we didn't have a focused statewide student group, and we didn't have the national political winds at our backs. In January when Republicans raised college loan costs in a ridulous attempt to pay for tax cuts for the rich and "bridges to nowhere" they pissed off the wrong group.
Social Event Ideas: Ways to Increase Membership
"Putting the Party Back in the Party" is a line Alex Lee, the Concord Town Chair, is fond of and I for one am a big proponent of social events. And now, during the spring and summer, is the perfect times to hold them (as opposed to the fall when we are focused like a laser on electing Democrats).
Often times we don't think our social networks are as big as they actually are. We have book clubs, church groups, fellow parents at our kids school, people we always run into at the supermarket, and, simply, your next door neighbors. Don't forget the person that cuts your hair, your pharmacist, or the kid who helps you take the groceries to the car. And all these folks are more likely to accept an invitation to a social event than coming to a Democratic town meeting.
These are my favorite three ideas for social events, obviously there are many variations:
Picnic/BBQ: Hey, anything with food is a sure winner in my book and nearly always guarantees a big crowd. A couple examples are the Franklin Spaghetti Dinner which was on March 25th and the Rockingham County Dems upcoming Clam Bake on May 13. Yours does not have to be a big affair, hot dogs and potato salad works just as well as anything else.
Rummage Sale: For me this is the ultimate three-fer. We get rid of our junk lying around, we raise money for the town committee, and the town comes to us. Fantastic!
Movie Night: I love movies and TV so besides offering me food the easiest way to get me to an event is to show a movie. Movies like Fahrenheit 9/11 or Going Upriver: The Long War of John Kerry are very popular choices. Hopkinton has been very successful with a monthly movie night and even purchased a digital projector just for their events (which they are willing to loan to other towns).Please post your ideas belows
. I look forward to reading new ideas for social events. And if you are having an event with food, be sure to post the location and date because I would love to come.
Red Sox Nation has been waiting 177 days for this....Opening Day 2006. It looks to be a promising year for the Olde Towne Team with the return of the likes of Manny, Papi, Schill, and Tek and the addition of some young guns like Beckett, Coco and Wily Mo (I ordered my #15 jersey this weekend).
So whether you are watching Don and Jerry this afternoon or listening to Joe and Jerry, take some time to post your thoughts on the Sox prospects this season. Will they make the playoffs, win the world series? Will Josh Beckett win 20 games? Will Keith Foulke save one?
My prediction: 97-65, 1st place in the AL East, lose to the Cardinals in the World Series