Monday, September 10, 2007

Stumbling at the Starting Gate

I finally received my first invitation to an event for Amy Coffman, who is running against Jason Kander in the Democratic primary for the Missouri House's 44th District. As I've written here before, Jason is the best candidate for the position. He's incredibly smart, and his military background gives him a toughness that will enable him to stand toe-to-toe against anyone on the Republican side of the aisle. Simply stated, he's who we want representing us in Jefferson City.

For the past couple months, though, Amy Coffman has been rumored to be running for the position. While Kander has straightforwardly announced his candidacy and has been out there working for the honor of representing us, Amy has been quietly reacquainting herself with Kansas City politics after her sojourn in Alaskan politics. The suspense has been building - when she finally starts running in public, will this bright northern light dazzle?

Apparently not.

After at least two months of preparation, here is her website. Not exactly the kind of can-do, effective work that's going to carry a lot of weight in Jefferson City.

After at least two months of preparation for her campaign kick-off, she's kicking it off with a fundraiser sponsored by . . . a lobbyist for a health insurance company famous for denying coverage to dying cancer patients. Hmmm.

The 44th District is one of the most reliably democratic districts in the Show-Me State. Jason Kander will be a competent and highly effective progressive voice representing us. Already, the choice looks pretty clear.

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Anonymous travelingal said...

Because Ben and I both work, we don't qualify to get the drug for free," Casey said. "

I know this post is about potential candidates, but reading the referenced article, and in particular the quote above, really irked me. It is A prime example of hard working people who get screwed not only by insurance companies, but also our government. I also have a friend with a rare form of cancer who got the same shaft until he gave up his small business and modest earnings in order to qualify for state aid and save his life.

9/11/2007 6:01 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

Travelingal -

The current system of health insurance in this country is a sham, and needs radical change. Just think how many potential entrepreneurs are failing to create jobs and wealth for this country because nobody can afford to insure themselves until their business grows enough to pay for health insurance? How many people are stuck in jobs because they need the benefits?

Until America gets over its squeamishness about "socialized medicine" and embraces a single-payer system, we'll be stuck with a bloated, inefficient system that abandons people for profit when they need it most.

9/11/2007 6:08 AM  
Anonymous Porchpundit said...

Jason and Diana have a very strong advocate in you Dan. That was a very impressive and well crafted post.

In my view, this is shaping up as one of the most competitive 08 races in the city, although, I think we can all agree the campaign is starting very early this year. Especially for first time candidates and we will have at least two of them in this race.

Amy has her work cut out for her as a first time candidate as well, but do you happen to know whether Jason and Diana have written out those big refund checks to at least his Uncle John and some KC PR firm in compliance with Trout v. Missouri? I have not looked at the Ethics filings for a while in this race so there may be more checks than that for Jason and Diana to write because they were doing quite well in the unlimited donation market.

I still wonder whether someone else is going to jump in this race at a more traditional entry point in the election cycle. This is generally considered a safe seat so I really cannot believe these two candidate will be the last two interested in running for the 44th.

I keep hearing names and groups out there talking about entering the race but I suppose there is something to be said for the element of surprise. Who knows, it will be fun to watch to say the least. More fun than watching the Chiefs that is for sure.

9/11/2007 8:37 AM  
Anonymous travelingal said...

Dan, I agree we do need national health insurance. I'm not sure about the single payer part though because I really don't understand it. I hope it's not like Canada's but rather like Germany's where you can see any doctor or go to any hospital you want.

9/11/2007 9:21 AM  
Anonymous The Voice In Amy's Head said...

You Go Dan! Gloves OFF! There is SO much more than that and I am sure you know it. Let them have it. I love it.

9/11/2007 9:33 AM  
Anonymous The Voice In Amy's Head said...

Porchpundit put up or shut up about phantom candidates. And as far as returning money goes, Jason can do what he pleases. He raised that money in a clean way and it would be an undue hardship for him to return it now. Read the Supreme Court decision and weep Porchpundit! Jason can keep the money -- NO check writing necessary. Amy is on the run, not running for office, and THAT "is fun to watch!"

9/11/2007 9:41 AM  
Anonymous mainstream said...

Note to "The Voice In Amy's Noggin":

It looks like Porchpundit has outed me, whoever he/she/it is.

This is one phantom candidate who's not a phantom anymore.

I'll be declaring my candidacy for the 44th in just a little bit, and I'll do my best to engage Jason in a fair, but tough contest.

None of you knows me just yet, but in the upcoming months I'll do my best to argue that my experience, vision and past record makes me the most effective Democratic voice, and only choice, for the 44th.

May the best candidate win!

9/11/2007 10:00 AM  
Anonymous The Voice In Amy's Head said...

Bring it on Mainstream! Kander will clean your clock. Better not accept any debate invitations. This is getting better all the time. Are you the one that the unions are recruiting to run against Jason puppet boy, girl or it?

9/11/2007 10:54 AM  
Anonymous Porchpundit said...

Mainstream, I think you outed yourself! LOL

I really do not think that I left any strong identifying hints in my post this morning, nor will I now. (If I am water-boarded I make no promises of being able to keep a secret. Actually I will probably make up a couple of secrets to tell.)

Mainstream, if you finally made up your mind, congrats!

My guess is that you just scored some billable hours for one or more Private Investigators. Perhaps you will start hearing voices too?

9/11/2007 11:33 AM  
Anonymous mainstream said...

Note to "Voice" and PorchPundit:

The filing deadline is a few months away, and I'll be staffing and managing my campaign on my own, self-determined timeline.

Thank you.

9/11/2007 1:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I'll do my best to engage Jason in a fair, but tough contest."

What about Amy? Don't plan to engage her?

9/11/2007 2:31 PM  
Anonymous mainstream said...

Of course, I was responding directly to a previous statement. I have the utmost respect for both Amy and Jason.

9/11/2007 2:49 PM  
Anonymous The Voice In Amy's Head said...

Amy Coffman's candidacy only exists to the extent that Jason allows it too.

9/11/2007 6:27 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Voice -

Would you please email Jason and identify yourself? I suspect he'd like to encourage you to retain your enthusiasm, but adjust your expression of it.

9/11/2007 6:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Not exactly the kind of can-do, effective work that's going to carry a lot of weight in Jefferson City."

Wasn't your other favorite candidate's web site less than inspiring?

9/11/2007 8:51 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Her website was a strike against her. Are you arguing that Ms. Coffman's inability to get a decent webpage put together in two months of fulltime work on her campaign isn't a sign of ineffectiveness?

9/11/2007 9:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm just wondering if you ever encouraged the other candidate to improve her web site.

9/11/2007 9:09 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Mainstream - you'll be an interesting candidate. I wouldn't bother going after the Four Freedoms endorsement, after slamming them on blogs. I wouldn't bother going after minority support, after supporting Funkhouser over Brooks. I wouldn't bother going after Funkhouser suporters after you've turned on him. I wouldn't bother going after the Jewish vote after accusing Gottstein of imagining anti-Semitism. I wouldn't bother going after the Latino vote after claiming that everyone was behaving poorly in the Semler matter. I wouldn't bother going after the women's vote after calling Diana Kander, a bright, successful woman, a young girl trying to do a professional's job.

In short, Mainstream, I wouldn't bother putting my family and friends through an abortive race, if I were you.

9/11/2007 9:24 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Anonymous -

Actually, no.

9/11/2007 9:25 PM  
Anonymous Porchpundit said...

Dan the last couple of posts do not sound like you.

Who has been keeping track of Amy Coffman's (Full)time? I know The Voice threatened to monitor her campaign meetings a few weeks ago but I basically ignore posts under that name. Is there something I should know?

Do you really track Mainstream's comments or has someone been doing some opposition research this afternoon and evening. Where is Liddy, Hunt and the Cubans?

I know this as a very good blog but tonight it is sounding pretty creepy. Nite all. I will give this all a fresh look tomorrow.

9/11/2007 10:16 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Porchpundit -

I thought Ms. Coffman made her living as a lobbyist, and has been on free time for the past couple months. If I'm wrong, please accept my apologies.

Yeah, there's been a whole lot of opposition research done - about as much as there's been content work done on Coffman's website. Truthfully, I just googled Mainstream on my site and on the Blue Blog. I'm sure I could have a lot more fun if I put more time into it.

If that all came up in about 20 minutes, don't you think that Mainstream ought to reconsider his plans? Really?

For what it's worth, though, I agree with you on the attention we should pay to Voice. I think hit him or her with a little too much adrenaline.

9/11/2007 10:26 PM  
Blogger sophia said...

Maybe Coffman has been hiring staff that previously worked for Fred Thompson's presidential campaign. She's just waiting for Leno to return her calls.

9/12/2007 4:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So if you weren't so worried about her lack of meaningful website, why get all excited about Amy's lack of meaningful website?

9/12/2007 6:26 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

I said that her website was a strike against her, but she had spent the past 20 or so years working and learning the Kansas City community, so I knew her and was willing to overlook that strike. If she had been a lobbyist from Alaska, I might not have been so forgiving.

9/12/2007 9:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dan - You are right to be worried about Mainstream. A male spoiler emerges, and Amy has a cakewalk on election day.

9/12/2007 9:49 PM  
Anonymous Porchpundit said...

This last round of posts, coupled with the general line of this thread really aggravates me. I will respond very soon as a Democrat in the 44th State House District. But I will tell you this now, I will not be voting for young Mr. Kander next August. I was staying out of this one but Dan and Sophia you have changed my mind. More to follow.

9/12/2007 11:29 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Anonymous -

I suppose there's some truth to the thought that a male challenger would upset the gender balance on the ballot, but I don't really think that a whole lot of voters rely that heavily on gender in their choice. It would be a factor (assuming that no women join in as well), but I think Jason's strength as a candidate and speaking ability will overcome that hurdle.

Porchpundit - I'll be interested to see what has you so aggravated in a thread which has had little or nothing to do with the substance of Jason's candidacy.

9/13/2007 6:06 AM  
Anonymous Porchpundit said...

Dan I will get back with you. That thing called "work" kept me from sitting down and writing you a point-by-point. If I get the chance I still will do so. Maybe later.


9/13/2007 7:56 PM  
Anonymous Porchpundit said...

Dan you want to know what bothered me about your post, so I am gonna steal some of your bandwidth.

First of all, in your original post, you said “[w]hile Kander has straightforwardly announced his candidacy and has been out there working for the honor of representing us, Amy has been quietly reacquainting herself with Kansas City politics after her sojourn in Alaskan politics.” You have quite of a few whoppers in there Dan.

Let’s begin by examining something in a “straightforward” manner. Jason Kander has been running for office for the past several years, it is just recently that he announced for this particular office. His ambition has been clear and at times disturbing to Democrats who have met him.

Now it seems that in Dan’s world, if you really want make a “straightforward” campaign launch, you have a fabulously wealthy uncle. The first thing this uncle might do is send a little CARE package of around $65,000 to launch The Heartland Democrats. After that, when you are ready to actually pick a seat to launch your political career in a formal way, the rich uncle might just drop another $30,000, or more, into a second committee.

With this information, it now seems obvious that Amy stumbled right out of the starting gate by not having a rich uncle to buy a campaign for her. When you have money, people tend to give you things -- like Consulting Services as an in-kind donation. Amy has just embarrassed herself having to raise money for a campaign -- more than a year in advance of the general election. Bad Amy!

And Amy really screwed up by going away to school and actually being offered a job after school. Now I have not hired anyone to call around and ask Amy’s former employers about what her experiences in Alaska -- personally I would find that REALLY CREEPY-- but because I would find that REALLY CREEPY I do not have a lot of details about Amy’s work in Alaska. Do you Dan? How about Jason and Diana, do they know a lot about Amy’s time in Alaska?

Now you point out several times in your post Amy was a “lobbyist.” And we all have that vision of someone like Andy Blunt or some other lobbyist getting rich working for big business and polluters.

What you must have been saving some bandwidth and neglected to post is that Amy lobbied for the American Association of Retired Persons, or The AARP. I can’t imagine why you would not mention that Amy worked for the AARP or her experience in the Missouri State Capitol.

You also did not mention the name of the health insurance lobbyist that you demonized in your post. Well since her name is on the invitation you mentioned, why not simply type CHERYL DILLARD. Many of your readers may know Cheryl because she is an active Democrat and a very nice person.

Actually Dan, I believe you might have met Cheryl. It is my understanding that you are both on the Committee for County Progress (CCP). Until now, Cheryl may not have known what you really think of her based on your post. You seem to personally blame her for America’s failed system of healthcare financing. To me that seems a bit harsh. Actually, your treatment of Cheryl seems deserving of an apology here and the next time you see her.

Now Dan, you also seem to have neglected to mention that the other host for Amy’s fundraiser is Dale Youngs -- that is the name right next to Cheryl Dillard. You remember Dale, I think he is a former president of CCP. Why didn’t you hold Dale Youngs up for ridicule?

My point is that Dale works for a big law firm that I am sure has represented some clients who may not be Mother Theresas in the making, but I would not blame Dale Youngs for every greedy action his firm might have taken over the years.

If this is a difficult concept to grasp let me put it this way: It would be unfair of me to say, Amy Coffman’s fundraiser is being hosted by a lawyer who practiced law with Governor Blunt’s sister. I believe the statement would be technically accurate but it would be willfully misleading in my opinion.

I am also about sick of “The Voice In Amy’s Head.” I have noticed that on this blog and on other blogs that name was used to plant a really provocative attack in play, which begs response from more reasonable bloggers. The tactic forms an echo chamber.

If one used this tactic, a campaign could get the most obnoxious and at times hurtful things are said, and then the same theme is repeated in more genteel terms. Like I said several weeks ago, it sounds like something out of an Army Counterintelligence Manual, in my opinion.

I do not know who is playing this little game but here is fair warning the people behind The Voice. I do know people who have their own server-resident blogs on politics and it is easier to trace IPs from those sites. If I find out who it is I will tell the people who can do the most with that information -- regulatory or otherwise.

Dan, if you really want to help Jason Kander this is not the way to do it. This thread was mean spirited. But that seems to be the Kander approach: do whatever it takes. Personally the best thing you could do for Jason Kander is tell him to work for a few years and quit dreaming about what color he is going to paint the Blue Room.

Your post is also counterproductive because you have motivated someone with 30 years experience -- and a card carrying member of the AARP by the way -- to take a keen interest in this race now. I am not the first Democratic regular to get a very negative impression of the Kanders and the Kander campaign.

I will leave other Democrats to speak for themselves either here or in other venues – like screening committees or across the back fence with neighbors known as registered voters. There are a whole lot of political stories to tell when it comes to Diana and Jason Kander. Between those stories and the Missouri Supreme Court, it will be more difficult now for Jason to use his uncle’s money to buy a seat in the legislature.

9/13/2007 10:53 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Porchpundit -

Unfortunately, that annoyance that kept you from posting your thoughts earlier (work) will probably prevent me from addressing the areas where I think you're off base until tomorrow. But I wanted to thank you, first, for taking the time to write your comment - I'd much rather have dialog with someone who states what's on his or her mind than banter with someone who merely calls names. While I strongly disagree with most of what you write, or at least the conclusions you draw, I sincerely appreciate the effort and honesty you put into your comment.

9/14/2007 6:29 AM  
Blogger sophia said...


I'm sorry that my comment aggravated you. I won't be voting for Kander either, because I don't live in his district. I'm interested in the race precisely because Kander is such an obvious go-getter and seems likely to appear on my ballot sometime in the future. And, honestly, I probably wouldn't know the first thing about Coffman if Dale Youngs hadn't posted about her on blogccp a few months back. My efforts to find out more about her have been unrewarded by basic internet searches, so I made a receptive audience to Dan's snark about her website.

My comment (a joke) was made in the context of the small, and still fairly isolated, world of people who pay attention to local politics on the internet. It was not intended to imply an endorsement of Kander or any substantive assessment of Coffman beyond the soft rollout of her internet presence.

As for Kander, I'll own up to some instinctive bias against guys who look like they started planning their run for the presidency at the age of 9. So I found portions of your 10:53 post highly amusing. But at a rational level, I think it's foolish to automatically downgrade a candidate for having grand ambitions. So, until I have more information, I stand neutral on the question of whether the Kanders are a force for good or for evil.

Finally, regarding The Voice in Amy's Head. You suggest that Voice makes attacks that beg for responses from more reasonable bloggers. May I suggest that the reasonable response to Voice is (a) call poster out for being an obvious tool; and (b) then ignore poster. From what I've seen of Voice's posting history here and on some other blogs, there seems to be plenty who agree with me. Voice is regularly chastised by Kander supporters for being a counterproductive twit.

Voice is a joke (intentional or not). Voice is a great satire of political operative attempting to persuade the internet minions with the meaningless bluster normally associated with backroom trash talk and anonymous mailings. If I were Amy Coffman, I'd laugh my ass off reading Voice's posts. The handle itself is ridiculous - ooh, THE VOICE IN AMY'S HEAD, he's really getting to her now and feeding her doubts - scary! I'd also give credit to the blog readers for recognizing nonsense when they see it. If Voice actually is a political operative paid to do something other than try to make Kander supporters look like jerks, he/she should be fired for sucking at his/her job.

Thank you for the time you spent writing your comments. I enjoyed reading them and found them informative. You only mentioned me in your initial comment, but I wanted to assure you that I'm not a Kander supporter or part of any campaign to make Coffman look bad -- I'm just another random person on the internet.

9/14/2007 5:35 PM  
Anonymous try2Bobjective said...

Dan, you're calling Cheryl Dillard

"a lobbyist for a health insurance company famous for denying coverage to dying cancer patients. Hmmm."

So, you're trying to convince us that Cheryl, and by association Amy, are the reasons why cancer patients are being denied care.

I'm sure in future posts that you'll waste alot of our time trying to convince us that wasn't what you were trying to do.

You, and the Kanders, are a mean-spririted group of people, much like the evangelical social conservatives.

Why don't you spend your time explaining to us why you - Dan - and the Kanders are so afraid of Amy. Explain to us why you would launch such a mean-spirited, unsolicited attack.

This is an obvious, flush 'em out early tactic,

Next time you walk by Cheryl, or Amy, why don't you have the balls to look them in the eye and make and tell them that they are denying health care, and by direct implication killing people that are living with cancer.

If you think for one minute we in the 44th are going to put up with this demagoguery you're wrong.

9/14/2007 11:41 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Porchpundit -

You claim to be stealing my bandwidth - you're welcome to as much of it as you like when you engage in thoughtful dialog like you did. You raise some interesting points, but they crumble if you take a closer look at them.

1. You claim that Jason has been running for a few years. Okay, I'll go along with you and assume, without giving him the opportunity to address it, that Jason's determination to get involved in the political sphere has been on his mind for several years. So what? If that's been a factor in his decision not to make some of the mistakes in life that the rest of us have, then more power to him. Even if it helped fire his resolve to go beyond the flag-waving of most so-called patriots and volunteer to go risk his life in the GWOT, then more power to him.

If you hang around politics for a while, you do run into people who are interested in running for office. Thank God. We make it tough on our candidates to run for office - the process, including blogs and the press, subjects candidates to stress I wouldn't want to endure. I admire both Amy and Jason for being willing to do it. And if you think that Amy is any less ambitious than Jason, you must be snow-blinded. She's already jumped into and out of one state legislature - I think she has an ambition for public service, don't you?

2. Your complaints about Jason's uncle supporting his campaign sound like sour grapes to me. Do you really think that Amy has not had enough money to put up a decent website? Do you really think that Amy has not had enough money to choose a campaign launch event with someone other than an insurance company lobbyist? Sorry, my friend, but bad judgment is not any cheaper than good judgment - it may be more expensive. Amy has shown that she has bad judgment, and I don't think any rich uncle would have made any difference in who she chose to launch her campaign. Do you? Do you think that if she had a rich uncle, she would have stayed away from Coventry?

3. Is Amy having trouble raising money? I doubt it, but, if you have insider knowledge that she is, I'm surprised. You seem to imply that the reason she couldn't have a decent website or a less controversial host for her kick-off is that she's not doing well enough at fundraising. I don't believe that. We'll see in a few weeks, when reports are due. I saw the report Jason filed a while ago, and he had probably a couple hundred people giving to him - not just a rich uncle.

4. Next, you allude to rumors that the Kanders hired a private investigator to look into Amy's past in Alaska. I've heard them, too, but, when I ask for a shred of evidence, nobody has more than the claim that some friends in Alaska got phone calls asking about her. I checked the campaign disbursements report for Jason, and I don't see anything that looks like a PI. I'll head you off at the pass and acknowledge that this candidate you think has built his life around running for the Oval Office has gone ahead and committed public fraud in a state rep race, but it seems a little far-fetched to me.

Now, let me go a little far afield, without saying there's any truth to the rumor. Even if it were true (and it's not) I'm not sure I have a huge problem with it. As a democrat, I would want to know now, rather than in the general election if there were a huge problem with the democratic candidate. Wouldn't you? We just had a well-liked municipal judge get caught up in a gambling problem. We've had a city councilperson get caught up with mortgage fraud. What's so wrong with hiring a PI to find these things out now, rather than waiting for Jeff Roe to find them out in the general election? You call it creepy and say Jason did it. I call it smart, but say Jason didn't do it. Let's call this one a draw, huh?

5. So Amy is a lobbyist for AARP. I didn't even mention that Amy was a lobbyist in the original post - so I can hardly be blamed for tarring her with that brush. If you see the word "lobbyist" in an innocuous comment and immediately associate it with black-hearted evil-doers - wow. And you're intelligent and well-informed! Can you imagine what the average voter will do with that information in the general election? By your reaction, we definitely should not nominate Amy Coffman, because if anyone finds out the truth about her occupation, she will be confused with Andy Blunt. Personally, I think that's silly, but you might need to think it over.

6. Next, you criticize me for keeping Cheryl Dillard's name out of it. I wish you had shown the same discretion, because I did not want to personalize this, and I chose not to post a copy of the invitation precisely because I did not want to personalize it.

Let's be clear here. Cheryl Dillard is a perfectly decent person, with a great history of supporting progressive candidates and causes. I did not write about Cheryl Dillard, or use her name.

Instead, I wrote about "a lobbyist for a health insurance company famous for denying coverage to dying cancer patients." That's true, and I supplied a link to stories about Coventry. I recently had tangential involvement in negotiation of benefits for a group of medical professionals, and one of their starting points for negotiation was "no Coventry".

I agree that their Missouri lobbyist is not responsible for the state of health care in the US of A, but Coventry is a potent symbol of what is wrong. And I think that it was poor judgment to give the most highly visible position on Amy's kick-off to their lobbyist.

That mistake is heightened when you consider how strong a reaction lobbyists provoke in people like you. Now we have a lobbyist's campaign kicked off by a lobbyist for one of the least-liked companies in one of the least-liked industries. Does that seem like good judgment to you? Or do you acknowledge that it was a stumble at the starting gate, as I described it?

7. Next, you seem upset that I didn't trash Dale Youngs. Sorry for my oversight, but I know, trust and admire Dale. His involvement in Amy's campaign is the most persuasive reason to support her that I've seen so far. Working for a great law firm that represents clients is not the same as working for Coventry, IMHO. I suppose that if I lacked intellectual integrity, I could have made hay by attempting to tie the Coffman campaign to some unpopular client of Blackwell, but that's not the way I behave. I do my best to write this blog in an honest, fair and logical manner. Trashing Dale wouldn't meet that standard.

8. I agree with you about the Voice in Amy's head. I'd encourage you to go to Blog CCP and see who it was that first called Voice on his or her tactics - here's the quote:
"Voice -

I'm 100% on board for Jason, but I have to disagree with you on a couple issues. First, why would you choose such a screen name? It, totally without basis, implies that Amy has mental health issues. Why go that way? Why do that? What are you hoping to accomplish, other than to reduce the level of discourse on this site, and, perhaps, provoke others into similar lapses? I've only met her once, but she seems like a perfectly nice and competent person, and Dale's support of her makes me think you're simply being nasty."

I've never tracked down an IP address, but if you want to email me and set up a time to coach me through the process, I'd be happy to satisfy both our curiosities about Voice's identities.

9. You tell me that this thread was mean-spirited, but I disagree strongly. I pointed out to stumbles that Amy has made in her launch, and I stand by what I said. It's dumb that, after two months of running, her website is worthless, and it's dumb to give the most visible position in her kick-off to a Coventry lobbyist. I'm right on both those points.

10. You claim this post was Jason's approach. It was not. I wrote it and published it without any input whatsoever from Jason. I am not a spokesperson for Jason, and he has never asked me to publish anything, or edited what I write. My posting is not a part of the Kander campaign. If you don't like me, and are going to refuse to vote for candidates I support, you'll probably be voting a straight Republican ticket in 08. You are easily manipulated.

11. As for the counterproductivity of my post - so it goes. I suppose I'm proud of motivating you to get involved in the process.

12. I agree that the "democratic regulars" love to spread "stories" over back fences, generally about people who are willing to work for change. That's not the way I'm going to behave. I'll post what I know and think right here, and Amy and Dale and you are welcome and encouraged to come here and tell me when I'm wrong. Quite seriously, if I post something that is false, like your private investigator rumor, for example, I truly want you to correct me.

This is not a place for back fence slander as practiced by some.

9/15/2007 9:51 AM  
Blogger Dan said...


See my above comment. I don't have to worry about the next time I see Cheryl or Amy - I will greet them warmly as fellow progressive democrats. If they think I accused them of killing cancer patients, that is their problem. (But, just to be clear, I'm not accusing them of being that stupid. They're not, and I expect them to greet me warmly as well.)

9/15/2007 9:59 AM  
Anonymous try2Bobjective said...


What you say and what you are doing are two totally different things.

You said:

"she's (Amy)kicking it off with a fundraiser sponsored by . . . a lobbyist (Cheryl) for a health insurance company famous for denying coverage to dying cancer patients. Hmmm."

What was, then, the purpose of your commnt above?

My agenda is clear: I refuse to go along with the bullying tactics of the Kanders. Your post is also indicative of this bullying - trying to scare Amy, mainstreet and others from entering the race by showing (1) inflated fundraising and (2) other scare tactics. These are time-tested techniques.

I am also aware of the relationship between the Kanders and Ed Martin of the Pitch, and aware of the the two hit pieces, on Michele Lahr and Beth Gottstein written by Martin. It is not a coincidence that these two people defeated Diana/Gamble in the 4th at-Large race.

So what was the purpose of your post? Even a casual political observer will conclude it was a bullying piece. I have experience in designing and executing political websites. It is common, and I have recommended in the past to clients that they do not put up websites too far in advance of the election.

There are any good reasons for this, not the least of which is the fact that most people don't care about local politics at election time, much less 1 year in advance. Most people don't like or trust politicians. That's a fact.

The overwhelming, vast majority of people (99.5%) of people don't have the faintest motivation to go online and find out more about a local candidate who is running on a ballot a year down the road.

My experience has been that early political websites are:

(1) very similar to the mating ritual of the Red-Breasted Booby - the males puff themselves up in an attempt to look bigger to other male rivals. (2) only are necessary in hotly contested races, as we are seeing in the Barnes/Graves race.

So I have to conclude that either (a) Jason is behaving like the Red-Breasted Booby or (b) Jason, and perhaps you Dan, have something to fear from Amy or another potential challenger. If (b), what is scaring you?

I can also conclude that Amy is losing absolutely nothing by not having a website 1 year in advance of the election.

Rather than the scare piece you posted Dan, why don't we center the debate around solid issue that have a direct bearing on the residents of the 44th?

9/15/2007 10:43 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

More later, Try, but I'm surprised that you think my little site is an attempt to frighten or bully anyone. I don't know anyone that cowardly.

Great idea to engage on the issues. Quick, let's go to Amy's website and see what issues she wants to talk about! Jason has a whole bunch of substantive material on his site - let's see where they disagree!! This will be fun and instructive!!

. . .

Ohhh. Bummer. She has none.

How embarrassed you must be!

9/15/2007 10:55 AM  
Anonymous try2Bobjective said...

Well, Dan as usual you get an "A" for enthusiasm and an "F" for common sense.

I'm not working for Amy, but I'm looking forward to seeing the campaigns unfold and mature over the next year. And unlike you, I am not ready to call the election today because Amy doesn't have a website.

But keep shakin' those trees. Just be prepared for whatevers falls out.

9/15/2007 11:08 AM  
Blogger sophia said...


I'm trying to figure out how if 99.5% of people are not interested in going online and looking for information about candidates a year out, then why Dan's post would be an effective bullying technique.

Amy is losing something by not having a website. She is missing out on an opportunity to inform voters of her positions and qualifications. She is missing out on the opportunity to compile an email list and connect with potential future donors and volunteers. If she's following advice similar to yours, she's sending a signal to the .05% of informed motivated voters who do research these matters one year out that she prefers to interact with them in the vague sound bite fashion of mass mailings rather than taking the glorious opportunity presented by the internet to fully inform interested voters who she is and what she stands for. She is sending a signal that she prefers her voters disengaged and easily manipulated. If you don't understand these things, you have no business advising progressive candidates on their internet presence. None.

Why would you advise against putting up a website in any election at any point in time after the candidate declared? Do informed voters scare you?

9/15/2007 2:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dan and/or Sophia -

If your ultimate goal is to get Jason Kander elected, your posts are counterproductive - in a big way.

Jason Kander -

Some unsolicited advice: (1) Make a pledge now not to personally attack any of your opponents (or their supporters). (2)Strongly urge your supporters (including Dan) to refrain from lodging personal attacks. (3) Ask your opponents to make the same pledge.

Man, you've got to do something soon, or this race will be out reach within weeks.

9/15/2007 4:11 PM  
Anonymous travelingal said...

Have to hand it to KC democratic politicos...Obama vs Hillary vs Edwards can't hold a candle to you all when it comes to going for the jugular.

9/15/2007 4:25 PM  
Blogger sophia said...

anon 4:11,

Thank you for choosing the anonymous option rather than some goofy message handle like "try2bobjective." And now I will move on to my personal attack, directed at you. You are a moron. I am not a Kander supporter. I do not even live in his district. I don't know enough about Coffman to know if I'd prefer her as a candidate over Kander. All these are things you would already know if you were capable of reading what I have written in these comments and capable of believing that every now and then someone actually writes what they sincerely believe on the internet.

I'm not running some kabuki dance super secret manuever in support of Kander, where I pretend to be neutral but I've got my fingers crossed behind my back. I really am neutral. And as a neutral observer, I've gotta say I see a lot more vague forces aligning against Kander as somehow tactically inappropriate than I see anyone being all sneaky dirty against Coffman.

I'll also say that I haven't seen any personal attacks against Coffman. I think "no negative" pledges are mostly bullshit, if you've got substantive criticism to make of your opponent, go ahead and make it. If you cross the line into personal attack, we'll notice and judge accordingly without a lot of grabbing for the smelling salts by campaigns. And I'll go ahead and file your advice to Kander under the category of "bullying" as so aptly defined by my buddy try2bob.

You are correct in one sense-- Coffman should listen to people telling her to put up a website with details about her and her positions. But because my "ultimate goal" is a better informed and engaged electorate, her following of that advice would not be "counterproductive" to my goal.

9/15/2007 7:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sophia -

"Moron"? Like a dagger to my heart. Enjoy your weekend.

9/15/2007 7:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was neutral. Now I am pulling for Coffman. There is nothing wrong with being patient and showing some restraint. Two qualities Kander hasn't the foggiest clue about. He's what all of 26 (saw it on his website). I'll make a prediction, if the Kanders lose this race they will pack up and leave KC, their ambition is too strong to stay in a place where they have no chance of gaining power. I also predict there will be 4-5 candidates in this open primary and we haven't even heard from the most qualified candidate yet.

9/15/2007 8:32 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Anonymous - you must be joking, right? The only personal attacks have come from the Coffman camp side of the debate.

Me regarding Amy: "she seems like a perfectly nice and competent person".

Me regarding Cheryl Dillard: "Cheryl Dillard is a perfectly decent person, with a great history of supporting progressive candidates and causes."

Me regarding Dale Youngs: "I know, trust and admire Dale. His involvement in Amy's campaign is the most persuasive reason to support her that I've seen so far."

If anyone wants to launch "personal attacks" on me like that, please bring it on!

The only negative things I've said are that Amy showed poor judgment (opinion, but well-reasoned), that her website is bad (fact) and that the person kicking off her campaign is a lobbyist for a health insurance company (fact).

Contrast that with what has been said about Jason - he's disturbingly ambitious, he's falsely accused of being creepy, he's trying to buy his seat, he's mean-spirited like evangelical social conservatives (I am, too), and that he'll leave the town he's lived in all his life if he loses.

9/15/2007 10:42 PM  
Blogger sophia said...

I have a difficult time believing that anyone would change their vote based on what they're reading here right now. All these "I was neutral until I read that one comment" comments kill me -- really, you're going to base your support on the style and tone of some person on the internet? How about basing it on the positions of the candidates and your sense of how effective they'll be at pushing those issues?

What's really cracking me up is that I'm completely predisposed to disregarding Jason Kander based on him being a mini-Clinton (no vice in defending oneself, no virtue in defending the movement), but somehow I've come to represent a Kander partisan in the eyes of some readers just by responding to the facts in front of me. I said a few months ago that this race would be interesting for watching our Democratic overlords in action and apparently I was not wrong. If you've got a specific problem with Kander, raise it. Enough of this shadow boxing crap.

9/16/2007 12:08 AM  
Anonymous try2Bobjective said...


You and Dan definitely belong together. Dan defends Gloria Squitiro, and, by the way, is the only person in Kansas City who is in their right mind doing so.

And you're defending Dan.

I'm finding myself in the middle of the political version of the special olympics.

9/16/2007 1:48 AM  
Blogger sophia said...


I'm going to go ahead and record a "Yes" as your response to the question "do informed voters scare you?" since you think informative websites should be avoided unless it is a hotly contested race, you consider any criticism of a candidate to be mean-spirited demagoguery, and you refused to answer the question directly.

And I understand you're upset because you were told that on the internet, like at the Special Olympics, everyone gets a medal just for showing up and you haven't got yours yet. But whoever told you that got the joke wrong.

9/16/2007 11:35 AM  
Anonymous try2Bobjective said...

Sophia, I'll begin with what I actually end this post with.

You're a snake.

I'm a very practical realist with a bunch of sound statistical data behind what I say - and what most people know intuitively - and you try and tell me I'm scared of informed voters.

That’s a bunch of crap you’re handing me, and the readers of this blog.

So, provide a list of the state senators and state representatives who are running for office in Missouri in 2008, and are not incumbents, who have their websites up.

And then let's look at who's running.

I think - nope- I know what you will find. Most people that are running don't have a web site up yet. And in the unlikely event that most do, do you think, Fred Thompson, who’s at least a year behind HIS competitors, cares?

Anyways, websites don't matter this far out unless you're under the rules I set forth previously.

And Sophia, I'm not sure if you're experienced at watching daytime TV, or practicing law (based upon your posts, I really can't tell). I'm imagining you in a powder blue jumpsuit eating out of a bag of bugles while you watch Judge Judy all day and blog.

Tell me I'm wrong, please, so I have some comfort I'm not wasting my time here. Judging by your misapprehension of my previous posts, my worst suspicions may be true.

Are you really prepared to tell me that anybody who doesn't have a web site up NOW for a Nov 2008 election is suspect, and unqualified for the job of elected representative?

Instead of answering with hyperbole, just answer my question. If you have the balls. Just answer that question, in the paragraph immediately above, in a straightforward way. If you’re capable of that. It might help to put down the bag of Bugles and think, maybe even take a deep breath, turn toward the trusty old remote, and press the mute button.

You know Sophia, you're a snake.

You're someone who comes on to a blog acting innocent and oh-so-independent. But you clearly have a partisan agenda. Just like Dan. At least Dan is straight up. He’s wrong 75% of the time, but at least most of the time you know his partisan agenda.

What’s yours, Sophia?

Can’t wait for you to throw out your next transparent turd.

And I'll end with a note to both Sophia and Dan - I had to deal with a bunch of Funk supporters talking trash in support of their candidate for Mayor. Look where that got us. Now we have Dan and Sophia talking trash in support of the Kanders.

Hmmm, is there an analogy here?

9/16/2007 9:49 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

So far, Try, it's the Coffman people talking trash. As demonstrated above, the bile and personal attacks are coming from the other side.

Also, Try, you're simply wrong about the advisability of using websites early to educate the voting populace. Maybe that's the way they used to do it, but it's a new day, and smarter candidates are on board with it. go read Jeff Harris' site - or one of the others. You're clearly correct that they don't sway vast numbers of voters at this stage, but they frame the issues and sway the opinion-makers.

Just out of curiosity, who had the benefit of your sage advice in the Mayor's race?

9/16/2007 9:59 PM  
Anonymous try2Bobjective said...


The mean spirit unfortunately started with your initial post.

The point I'm trying to make is that an early website is great. If you've got the energy, have at it.

But the absence of an early website doesn't mean a damn thing.

Do you agree? That there is s possibility that the best candidate may be latest to the game with a website?

Not in this race, but conceptually?

Dan, I'm here to guarantee that you're not going to get away with dirty politics.

As an example, Dan, if your father-in-law, who worked on an oil-rig his whole life, wanted to have a fundraiser for your candidacy, there's a chance, if you loved the guy, that you would say yes.

Because he may not agree with you on all things, but he's doing it out of love, for you and his daughter. He wants you to be successful.

So I write a blog post accusing you, Dan, of holding your first fundraiser with support of big oil interests.

How would you feel? Is that fair? That's exactly what you did.

It's unconscionable Dan that you would impune a fellow CCP member as you did with your post.

9/16/2007 10:21 PM  
Anonymous try2Bobjective said...

Political Alzheimer's (PAlz)-

Dan, you apparently have PAlz, so I'll paste your original comment here so people don't have to page up

"After at least two months of preparation for her campaign kick-off, she's kicking it off with a fundraiser sponsored by . . . a lobbyist for a health insurance company famous for denying coverage to dying cancer patients. Hmmm."

As a reminder, the lobbyist you refer to Dan is Cheryl Dillard.

Cheryl, a very nice person you accuse, by implication, of denying health care to dying cancer patients.

Hello? Dan? How can you deny you made this implication and impune Cheryl Dillard???

9/16/2007 10:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't understand what out of the above quotation is untrue. It never says that she denied health care coverage. If it implies anything, it is that she fronts for a company that tends to deny coverage. I'm still waiting to hear someone deny that as an untrue fact.

9/16/2007 11:44 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Try - So that comment about "I have recommended in the past to clients that they do not put up websites too far in advance of the election" has morphed into "The point I'm trying to make is that an early website is great". Okay, then.

Now, I'll agree with you that the absence of an early website is not normally a huge deal, but I think it is significant in this instance. None of us outside of a few insiders knows anything about Amy. She has no political history here - she hasn't been heavily involved in clubs or other campaigns, at least that I know of. Her performance in the Alaskan legislature doesn't show up much on google. Without a web page, she's missing an opportunity to get her message out. People who want to know about her early, so they can form their opinions and write their checks, only know that her site is "coming soon". As I said, not very impressive, don't you agree?

All that said, yeah, sure, conceptually, the best candidate may be the latest to join and the latest to have a website. Beth's website was nothing to brag about, but she was the best candidate.

You made me chuckle with your claim that you are "here to guarantee that you're not going to get away with dirty politics." That's the easiest job in Kansas City, my friend. I don't do dirty politics, and I'm not about to start. I don't need a pseudonymous blogger with impaired logic to serve as my conscience.

Now, on to your hypothetical. First, let's tidy it up a bit, okay? Cheryl Dillard is not Amy's father-in-law. She's a friend and political ally, chosen from what I presume is a list of such people. Second, Cheryl Dillard is not working on a rig - she's a lobbyist advocating for Coventry's interests in Jefferson City.

Now, if I launched a campaign to become one of the lobbyist's targets in Jefferson City, and I had a friend who was a lobbyist for an oil company kick that campaign off, yes, I would certainly anticipate some questions. I sure as hell would.

And if you held off writing your blog post because you and I or you and my lobbyist friend happened to belong to the same political club, and you were afraid to "impugn" me with the absolute and verifiable facts, then you would be part of the problem.

And if someone criticized the person for raising the point, and claimed that an apology was owed for daring to point out the truth, then that person would be guilty of playing insider politics and trying to hush up inconvenient truths.

That, son, would be unconscionable. That would be the dirty politics you seek.

9/17/2007 6:52 AM  
Blogger sophia said...


You sir, appear to be addicted to ad hominem. Given your apparent inability to respond to arguments without projecting a full belief set and agenda onto the arguer, I guess it’s not surprising that you read Dan’s original post as vicious demagoguery rather than substantive criticism. I have already explained why I think a campaign website is a good thing (information and voter outreach). The need for Coffman to get hers up relatively early in this case would be due to the fact that her opponent already has a very detailed one up (and also the reasons Dan mentioned in his 6:52am comment). Will it make a difference in the primary – who knows? Will it hurt Coffman to take early opportunities to connect with voters? Not if she’s a good candidate. I don’t assume she’s a bad one, but I can’t really know either way because I have so little information about her.

Assuming she is a good candidate, she can only help herself by responding to this criticism by getting her website put together sooner. Perhaps you should change your handle to “Trying2Bobjective” so you can recognize that what I’m saying does not evidence a desire to trash Coffman. All of your other averments and homework assignments are denied unless expressly dealt with herein.

Speaking of which, I missed the part in my previous comments to this post where I said anything that suggested I’m a lawyer. Have you been doing opposition research on me to better target your trash talk, try2bob? That would be pretty funny, under the circumstances. Is this the part where you flush the snake from the grass and I slither out my name, address and resume to defend my honor against accusations of consuming bugles and Judge Judy? As the kids say: LMAO!!!! If I thought it was necessary to share my life and entire worldview with the internet, I’d have my own blog.

I try to avoid making comments that cannot stand on their own, rather than relying on who I am and what I do for credibility. Judge my statements by the words contained therein, not by who you imagine I am personally. I generally don't take criticism of my words personally, so composing powder blue jumpsuit scenarios only amuses me. The local folks seem to be far too eager to personalize everything (witness your behavior in these comments) and I have zero interest in that sort of engagement. Hence the pseudonym. It should be possible to discuss the pros and cons of Coffman not having a website without everyone displaying their voter cards. Frankly, I resent that I felt it necessary to point out that I am not a Kander supporter, and for all the good it did me I shouldn’t have bothered.

Now, I did a quick “balls” check and I think I can handle answering your big tough question:

Are you really prepared to tell me that anybody who doesn't have a web site up NOW for a Nov 2008 election is suspect, and unqualified for the job of elected representative?

No. Nor do I intend to argue that at any point in the future. Gosh, those balls sure do come in handy!

9/17/2007 12:07 PM  
Anonymous try2Bobjective said...


That was a very good response.

Your civility is notable in the wake of my obnoxious ad hominem tirade.

9/17/2007 6:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

didnt Dan show Beth G much love although she had unquestionably the worst website of any city council candidate in her race? a 1 page site with no positions, if I remember correctly. And considering she has claimed that she had been running for that job for years, I guess you could call Dan a hypocrite

9/20/2007 10:13 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Unless he has acknowledged that the website was a strike against her, in which case he would, once again, be demonstrating intellectual integrity.

9/20/2007 10:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Late to the discussion. Wow! I hope Dan's snarky post with its personal digs isn't the kind of campaign Jason and his supporters intend to run.

His opponent doesn't have her website up yet? Who cares? The election's almost a year away! How many other candidates for House seats have websites up and running already? I'll bet not many.

9/21/2007 12:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Like Dan says, if she's trying to get into our wallets (I got the same invitation), she ought to provide us with a little information for those of us who don't stay up on Alaskan state politics. I'd agree with you if she were a known entity running, but she's a stranger without any political history in the area. It was, as Dan said, a stumble at the starting gate to beg for money without providing any reason to support her.

9/21/2007 1:40 PM  

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