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January 25, 2008


A bit more background on why this decision unnerved me:

I heard a while ago about the candidate videos, but I didn't realize until MLK Day that they'd be taking the place of live speeches.

I do some ghostwriting and speechwriting in my day job. I've written for a former U.S. Senator and for nonprofit leaders.

I am still smarting over the recent Clinton-Obama feud over whether words "mean anything" in our political life. I personally believe that words - spoken live, to as great an audience as possible - mean a great deal.

Perhaps I believe that even more after seven years of a president who has little regard for his own language, never mind that of others.

Perhaps I believe it even more in an era when videos have taken the place of much of our face-to-face communication.

Indeed, to me, our Idaho candidates' speeches are perhaps the
most integral part of the banquet - even more so than the keynoter. So
that's why this decision strikes me as wrong, and why I would like to see if it's not too late to have both the videos and speeches.

Canned Speeches? I thought as the Idaho Democratic Party, the candidate we wanted to "can" was Helen, not our own candidates! Don't can Salmon and don't can our candidates either! People aren't driving down from N. Idaho just to see our guys on the flat screen. We are coming to see AND HEAR from our candidates LIVE. I'll wait to see the slick TV adds at home, thank you very much. We deserve the LIVE version at the Frank Church!

I think the video candidate speeches are a great idea. In the past we have had too many complaints about the evening lasting too long. We have a large slate of candidates for speeches this year and even though we give them a time amount, once you're up there, it’s hard to say everything you want in that time amount. I also believe that our speaker this year and this decision go hand in hand. He is high-tech, internet blogger - speeches by video are a new "youtube" idea which is interesting and forward thinking.

I'm with Wendy. I really don't feel much is being sacrificed as opposed to what will be gained. The format will help the evening go smoothly and train some of the luddite candidates on a tool that is becoming more necesary to win a race. And the candidates will most certainly be there for any live interaction one should desire. And frankly anyone who wants to can view the stump speeches at the JFK banquet in 43sb archives. As one who was there I'm thinking a prepared video may be vastly superior for some candidates. Other than the speech you wrote Julie, of course.

And change seems to be the theme this year. I'm embracing it.

Julie your outrage should be directed at the lack of beer at the caucus. :-)

I am sorry that our campaigns have come down to money instead of the quality of the candidate. I would like to see our candidates in a live performance because I would like to see how they respond to the pressure tank of speaking to an audience. Anyone with enough money and editor can represent themselves well but what can they do without the bells and whistles that is what I want to know.

Wendy, thanks very much for stopping by to comment. I know the night goes on a very long time; I only wish we could find another way to shorten it, especially since allowing four men to speak would take perhaps 15 to 20 minutes.

Maybe the videos could be screened before or during dinner? To me, the speeches are a truly integral part of the banquet. And again, I really wonder what Frank Church would have to say.

For that matter, I am not sure Kos himself would agree with this.

Sisyphus, as someone who helped bring blogging to Idaho, I am all for technological upgrades. I just believe that some things need to be preserved.

You know, our forebears happily listened to Lincoln and Douglas debate for hours. Now we need our political rhetoric shrinkwrapped into YouTube-friendly soundbites. Yes, video is a necessary part of our current political culture, but I think this move is symptomatic of our attention deficit disordered times ... and it makes me sad.

Sorry, Julie, but I agree with our distinguished minority leader on this one: This is about Kos, and raising money, and down-ballot races, and embracing technology -- and I don't see what would be gained by making people sit through both a LaRoccoronation and a likely-long-winded three-way Congressional free-for-all along the way. I'd say, let the candidates stand (at their tables) and wave in the spotlight for a few seconds at the tail-ends of their videos... but otherwise, let the videos be the "wholesale" politics and keep the retail politics truly retail (i.e. make them work the room).

I am another vote for let them work the room. Often the folks at these events are folks that already know the candidates and often have decided who they support.

Working the room is a lot easier then door to door, BUT it gives the same benefit of the real person and not the canned speech.


As one who holds a degree in history I agree wholeheartedly with the sadness associated with a bygone era, particularly when it comes to politics. I also think its a loss for all of us that people don't pay attention like they should. I think it contributes to the election of the poor leaderhip this country has. But just like Lincoln and Douglas tailored their arguments to a voter audience composed of only men who had few other distractions, voter ADD is a political reality of this day and age. One must cope.

Don't get me wrong Julie, I'm sympathetic. Its just not a petition worthy event for me. But I'm one that didn't feel the need to go to Elko to see live speeches of the presidential candidates or go to the depot to watch Craig resign. I also find the speechifying tedious for the most part always hoping to see signs of the next JFK only to come away disappointed. And I think poor attendance for the Banquet in the past is in part due to people who agree with that. I don't mind the party trying new things. In fact its a breath of fresh air. We desparately need new blood and if they think this'll help I'm all for it.

I agree whole heartedly with Sisyphus. This is a breath of fresh air. We, as democrats, need to be ready and willing to embrace change. This is a breath of fresh air, and we are in desparate need of new blood. This is certainly a way to engage new people. Who knows, we all might see a side of the Candidates that we wouldn't even have caught a glimpse of during live speeches. The more power to the State Party for being creative, and breathing life and excitement into such a wonderful event.

One last comment, I truly believe in my heart that the last thing the State Party should ever be accused of is disrespect. The people who work there, go in every day with one objective: to elect democrats to office. It is a worthy objective, one I appreciate very much.

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