Friday, August 24, 2007

All Politics is Local

Yesterday evening, the my lovely spouse and I hosted a neighborhood get-together at our home for Jason Kander. I put hand-written notes on the invitation I delivered up and down my street, and was pleased to see the turn-out of neighbors who at least wanted to meet this liberal who had volunteered for Afghanistan.

Politically, Jason hit it out of the park, as I knew he would. He's a polished speaker and you can tell he really enjoys meeting and listening to people. I'm pretty sure that when I put his yard sign out next year, it will have several twins on the block.

It was great to hear and see my neighbors, though, and their issues. The woman across the street is frustrated by Governor Blunt's mishandling of the fee offices for auto licensing. The Republican from down the street thanked Jason for his service. We all had different issues and concerns, and we discussed them freely over drinks and snacks.

Personally, I wouldn't want to run for office, and expose myself to all the negativity that comes with even a "clean" campaign. I'm not quick enough or clever enough to jump from discussing license offices to education to Medicare to the intricacies of energy conservation.

I'm really glad that Jason Kander is willing to do it, though, and that he does it so well. And I'm glad that my neighborhood came out to meet him and see for themselves who he is and what he believes. Politics last night was as local as it gets, and it kind of gave me goosebumps to see democracy working.

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22 Comments:

Blogger Janet said...

gah. I know I'm not in his district, but I would LOVE to meet him and his lovely wife, just to thank him for his service in that hell-hole.

8/24/2007 9:13 AM  
Blogger Chimpo said...

I went to high school with Jason. Worked a forensics tournament he was in, and he was a very good speaker back then. Glad to see he is out there making a positive difference.

8/24/2007 10:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You have not gushed so openly over a political couple since Funk and Gloria. Same cloth?

8/24/2007 5:18 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Depends on what you mean, anonymous.

8/24/2007 6:15 PM  
Anonymous mainstream said...

I think here's a pretty big difference between Funk & Gloria, and Jason and Diane. As a matter of fact, they are almost polar opposites while still remaining democrats.

The Kanders have serious political aspirations extermely early in life, that they're taking actions on.

The Funk & Gloria? Not so much.

The Kanders have common sense and good political instincts, even at a relatively young age. Funk and Gloria? Not so much, at an older age.

I think what they have in common is at least a small amount of true idealism (perhaps more than I'm willing to give both of them credit for) and a certain pragmatism.

But they're applied in two totally different ways.

Yeah, they're basically apples and oranges.

8/24/2007 9:51 PM  
Anonymous mainstream said...

Anon at 5:18, I'll take a stab at that answer.

I think they are very close to polar opposites. With faint and another fainter similarities.

First the opposites. The Kanders have had political aspirations from a very young age. The Funks? Not so much.

The Kanders have common sense and political instincts, even at a young age. The Funks? Not so much, even at an older age.

Similarities? Maybe some idealism (perhaps more than I think) and some pragmatism? Although both couples have a totally different way of being pragmatic.

I think the strongest similarity is between the women. Both women are strong and independent, and both are combative and controversial.

However, Diane has the common sense and political instincts, Gloria not so much.

Diane, I do apologize for the comparison. Comparing you to Gloria is apples and oranges, as a matter of fact comparing to Funk to Jason is too.

8/24/2007 10:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did she show up?

8/24/2007 10:53 PM  
Anonymous mainstream said...

Dan, you can take down one of my posts, I thought my first comments were lost fumbled by my inept typing.

100 apologiies for the duplicate blather.

And I'm referring to one of my posts on this THIS THREAD. I know what you were thinking...

8/24/2007 10:55 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Mainstrem - rather than deleting one and having pinheads accuse me of deleting the one that damaged my hidden agendas or some nonsense like that, I'll leave both up.

Like you, I see a lot of similarities and a lot of differences among the two couples. I would phrase them differently, but I agree that they share an idealism that is undeterred by cheap-shot critics, or the type of person who would object to a spouse participating in a campaign.

8/25/2007 9:40 AM  
Anonymous mainstream said...

Yes. I like spousal involvement. My wife will continue to be my most important sounding board and counselor.

We talk about this frequently - while what I said above is true, she would not expect me to ask her advice on something she knows little or nothing about. That's just common sense. Conversely, she would not ask my advice on things that I have no experience. And I would not expect her to.

So we have judgement that is being exercised by both the elected official, and the spouse. The elected official has to exert judgement, and the spouse has to have pretty much the same attitude for things to work effectively.

In my opinion, Funk the elected official is not exercising appropriate judgement.

Now let's talk about the judgement of the advisor.

I strongly object to Gloria's current role, and worse, the poor judgement she is exercising. I'll get to that important distinction in a sec.

I say that with some iota of credibility. During the campaign I strongly supported her role as campaign manager. I also defended her strongly against what I considered to be small-minded, extremist partisans that were issuing a bunch of useless scare-talk the month between the election and Funk taking office.

As you can tell, I have changed my mind on this. And it's not really becaue she's a spouse, it's because of her judgement. and the absence of any political instincts.

When I say political instinct, I don't mean instincts learned by years of political experience. I mean good political judgement that either comes naturally or with lots of different experience sets. Some corporate managers will have good political instincts, as do many other different people, including some (but not all) neighborhood leaders, managers in not-for-profits, and yes, even some lawyers.

These insincts may come naturally, or more commonly are learned the hard way by having to make decisions in an environment of competing interests.

Unfortunately, Gloria's heart may be in the right place, but she just doesn't have the experience or mentor that's really needed.

Diane, however, is a Lathrope & Gage lawyer, and has important skills that she has learned managing and dealing with competing interests. Perhaps more importantly, I believe she thrives-on and welcomes the challenges of managing competing interests.

I have some issues with Diane, but in spite of them think that she will be a capable advisor to Jason. And she should be.

Btw, how did I get started on Gloria again on this thread? I don't know, but I have a lot of time invested in typing here so I'm just gonna press the "PUSH YOUR COMMENT" button.

8/25/2007 9:15 PM  
Blogger thepaintman said...

Just like Mark Forsythe name. I never heard of Jason Kander.

8/26/2007 12:50 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

Mainstream -

You're beginning to sound reasonable - are you somebody else posting under Mainstream's name? (kidding . . .)

I don't have much of a problem with people who disagree with Gloria's involvement because they don't think she's effective. I disagree with them (and you), but that's okay. I think a lot of the criticism, though, is directed at her simply because she is the mayor's wife taking an active role, and I think that's stupid. It sounds like you and I agree that if she is helping the mayor effectively, then she should keep on doing it. If she's damaging him, then she shouldn't. I think she's helping him, but I can understand your position. You look at the last few months and are justified in thinking that she lacks political instinct. I look at the next 3 years, and think she's on the right path. We can discuss in a 3 years whether I was justified.

As for Diana Kander, I want to be careful in my tone here. If we were face to face, I would be gently smiling and using a friendly tone of voice. But your credibility is a little hampered when you pontificate on her while getting her name and her employer wrong. But we agree that Diana will be a fine advisor to her husband.

Paintman - Mark Forsythe is a guy who ran for city council but lost in the primary to Jan Marcason and Mel Solomon. He runs two websites now - the Kansas City Post and My Town, My Take, both of which are on my blogroll.

Jason Kander has been involved with local politics for several years, but this is his first race, and it is awfully early in the election cycle to expect anyone to know his name. His primary opponent is even less-known. But I'm sure when it comes time to case a ballot, you will have opinions about both.

8/26/2007 10:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can someone answer this simple question, just how is it that a couple as young as the Kanders have so many enemies not only in Kansas City but within the Democratic Party?

I go to fundraisers and people talk about Diana and Jason in hushed tones and shaking their heads. The comments range from "I don't trust them" to "They are BIG trouble."

People are afraid to talk about them in public, and I mean like you would about any candidate. It is as if, people in the party expect some kind of retribution from Diana and Jason.

Is the vast majority of party activists just caught up in mass hysteria is there a problem here with Diana and Jason? How did they manage to piss off so many people, important people, so fast? It is not just that these people are supporting someone else, because they seem to still be looking for someone to run against Jason, very quietly.

8/26/2007 2:11 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Anonymous -

I've seen similar nonsense with other candidates. The very fact that you hear people muttering without saying anything whatsoever to support their muttering is a reflection of how groundless the muttering is. Personally, I find people like that despicable, and their negative muttering is, IMHO, a huge flaw in their own character.

One of the reasons I have this blog is because people like that disgust me so deeply. I prefer to post my own biases and defend them. If anyone has anything substantive they want to say that counters my opinion, they are welcome to do so and may change my mind. But baseless gossip of the sort you describe is nothing but cowardly behavior from weak people. The next time you hear someone talk that way, I encourage you to press for details and specifics. If they deliver hearsay and generalizations, tell them that they should be ashamed of themselves.

8/26/2007 2:49 PM  
Anonymous Interested Bystander said...

Just what are you scared of, Anonymous? Personally, I think it's this: Jason Kander represents something increasingly rare in politics today. Someone who actually takes action on his beliefs, even if that action places him personally at risk.
Jason initiated HDA as a vehicle to help democrats get elected by taking back the "values debate" when the party nationally had ceded that debate to the republicans. He and Diana worked tirelessly to that end and the democratic party is better off for their efforts.
Jason believes strongly that our nation is at risk from radical terrorists. Instead of just talking about that problem and bemoaning the response of the administration, he volunteered to go to Afghanistan and be an active part of the solution. At great personal risk to himself. And Diana, who had to worry constantly throughout her husbands deployment, continued to work tirelessly to support democratic candidates and goals.
Jason and Diana Kander are the real thing. Young Democrats who are willing to put themselves on the line for the greater good. So, Anonymous, maybe that's what those people are afraid of.
I think that's really sad.

8/26/2007 4:53 PM  
Anonymous mainstream said...

Dan – so I ended her first name with an “e” instead of an “a”, and got her law firm wrong. I’ll bet you my watch that her employer is with several blocks of Lathrop & Gage. Big deal. Quit being such a nitpicky partisan, you’re a bigger man than that. My credibility is very much well and intact based upon my sound reasoning and strong intellect.

Anyways, to Interested Bystander and Dan -

Anon above, in the immortal words of Meatloaf, took the words right out of my mouth. I was saving that comment for a future thread on CCP Blogorooski. However, Anon made a mistake. He/she asked a legitimate question, but didn’t modify it correctly. Here’s the correct version:

Why have the Kanders, at such a young age (24 and 26) made so many enemies? The enemies they have made are solid, influential mainstream Democrats, many who currently hold elected office in Kansas City/ Jackson County and surrounding areas.

Ok, Dan, I probably got their ages wrong, but you get my point. This is an honest question, and concern that I have. I’m not trying to cast aspersions here, or to discredit the Kanders but a significant amount of people - honest straight up people whom I trust – are really mad at them.

Making enemies with evangelical social conservatives is a noble objective, but they have enemies who are downright damn good democrats. All of the stuff I have heard has a common theme that the end justifies the means.

Kansas City isn’t Chicago, we’re pretty polite here (at least most the successful politicos and money interests are). So a lot goes unsaid, or a lot is said quietly and only in certain company. Plus, a lot of people who are concerned about the Kanders aren’t in their district, so it would create an unseemly appearance to be proactively against them.

On paper the Kanders are just fine – but I hear all of this other stuff and it has me honestly wondering and concerned.

So feel free, gentlemen, to criticize me, my intentions, my lineage, and my credibility.

I can take it.

8/27/2007 9:25 AM  
Blogger sophia said...

I don't know if or why the Kanders face opposition from influential party people. If they do, I can imagine scenarios where that isn't necessarily a bad thing. I agree with Dan to the extent that if people oppose the Kanders, they should be willing to explain why and not just try to slide by on appeals to authority.

I can see why people are more likely to be reticent about the details on the internet than they are face to face, but if people have serious concerns about Jason Kander (that apparently are more background/institutional based than policy grounds) and they're truly afraid of retribution I'm curious why they're not airing those concerns in substance anonymously on the internet. I think anonymous 2:11 and mainstream have hinted at it, but really, what is the essence of the concern? Not team players? Dirty campaigners? Excessively open in their ambition? What is the "end" that allegedly justifies the means?

8/27/2007 12:34 PM  
Anonymous mainstream said...

Sophia - I think you make very good points. I am currently more in a learning mode rather than in an attack mode on this one.

8/27/2007 1:52 PM  
Anonymous Porchpundit said...

Mainstream and Dan, for the record, Diana Kander did work a Lathrop and Gage at least until late summer 2006. I am only trying to clear up a factual point, and "not making a point."

I have met the Kanders on several occasions and I have to say they are their own worst enemies because they come across as way too aggressive and ambitions. They communicate a "do what it takes" mentality.

The way Diana ran the Gamble campaign, which just filed its final campaign finance report in the last few weeks, served to aggravate several party activists who actually supported Gamble! I have been meaning to really look at the Gamble filings just to see how the money was spent and who it was spent on because I think it could tell us a bit more about the Kander Style. I know that sounds boring but basically I am a political junkie, but I also live in the 44th so I would like to know.

I think Mainstream hit it just right with his later posts. He did not make wild accusations, but one would be foolish to ignore all the smoke and pretend that there could not be a fire. The early posts sounded a bit like Eddie Haskell on peyote Mainstream.

With regard to dissing anonymous posts, how many people on here can be identified by their handles? Almost everyone on here is hiding behind a persona. Unless you happen to be Dan and The Star decides to OUT you!

All the best everyone. Love the blog it is a regular read for me even if I am not a habitual poster. Go Dems!

8/27/2007 5:55 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Mainstream - I TRIED to be easy on you when I pointed out that you were doubly wrong when you claimed that Diane Kander works for Lathrop. Maybe it was picky, but facts do make a difference to those of us who don't settle for truthiness - yourself normally included.

Mainstream, Porchpundit, and others - I don't begrudge you all a little cynicism about the Kanders, but I'd strongly encourage you to depend much more on what you yourself see and know rather than what some politician has to say under his or her breath. The Kanders are certainly upstarts, and it would be unusual indeed for the powers that be to share their power without some grumbling.

8/27/2007 8:28 PM  
Blogger sophia said...

Porchpundit,

I looked at the final Gamble report a few weeks ago to see if it had any payment to Axiom (it didn't). A lot of expenditures went to staffers, but Diana Kander was far from the highest in compensation. If memory serves, her compensation was almost nominal. The rest seemed standard - mailings, office space, phones.

8/28/2007 11:08 AM  
Anonymous Porchpundit said...

Sophia thanks for you post. I don't remember mentioning Axiom but it is good to know that it is not there.

My interest in the ethics report came up a few weeks ago when this race was discussed on Blog CCP, I think. It could have been here, I am sorry I am not sure.

There was a question posted about whether the candidates had a track record with regard to how they run campaigns, basically do they play by the rules?

This is dangerous to do from memory, but it was noted that Amy Coffman really did not have campaign experience locally and that Diana Kander had ran Doug Gamble's, so I looked up Gamble's report on the Ethics Commission Web site. I was probably in a "look how smart I am" mood that day.

At that time the final report was several months late at that time, and I mentioned that over on Blog CCP. It was the fact that the report would be several months late being filed that really attracted my attention to it. It is my understanding that the report was filed shortly after those blogging posts.

I admit I have not put any time toward looking over the reports. I think I will now.

If I am mixing up a thread on here for a thread on Blog CCP I apologize, I read both of them and there are some of the same usual suspects posting on both sites.

As far as how much Diana was paid by the campaign remember there being $1500 or so in the pre-election report, which is a lot of money when you consider the underfunded garden variety pinko's I have campaigned for since the late 70s. (smiling) You must work for The Establishment! (again smiling)

I have to say, if she works for Gamble on the commercial side of the ledger, as it is my understanding she does, I am surprised she reported anything as campaign income at all.

On the whole I really believe that Mr. Kander is pretty young to run for public office, but we will see.

I could be a lot more detailed about concerns I have heard about Jason and Diana's political activities, but to do so I would have to use people's names in such a way that it could appear I was speaking for them, and I am not going to do that, so I will not interject that information into this discussion. I hope you understand.

I will stick with the assessment I gave before, they seem to have a "do what it takes" reputation. I will stand behind that statement based on what I know.

I really have tried to stay out of this one except to provide factual information, such as, the delinquent ethics report or the fact that Diana had worked at the L&G firm like Mainstream had said. On the whole I would rather throw (rhetorical) rocks at Matt Blunt.

8/29/2007 4:46 PM  

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