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August 26, 2008


How did it get to be common wisdom that Casey had the right to speak at the convention in 1992 in the first place?

There are a lot of Democratic politicians in the country and most of them won't get a speaking slot? Only 11 of 28 current Democratic Governors are speaking this round and only 16 of 49 Senators.

Brendan -- please see this Kevin Drum post:


He looked up news accounts from the time and found that Casey "was prevented from speaking because he wanted to give a pro-life speech." According to Drum's analysis, it wasn't simply because Casey had pro-life views (so that part of the zombie lie is a lie). But he said he wanted to give a pro-life speech, and so didn't get to speak with no one really even arguing the "he didn't endorse" excuse at the time.

JimmyM, Casey was very publicly hostile to the Clinton nomination.

NYTimes April 1992:

With Pennsylvania's primary only days away, the state's Democratic Governor today criticized his party's Presidential primary process -- and its likely nominee, Bill Clinton -- saying the process had produced a front-runner who could not win. He urged the party's uncommitted delegates to remain neutral so that a stronger nominee could be selected at the convention this summer.

"We have to recognize reality," Gov. Robert P. Casey said in an interview today. "The primary process is not producing someone who has a good crack at winning in November." Pennsylvania Democrats hold their primary next Tuesday.

Referring to low turnouts in earlier primaries, Governor Casey said, "We've got a tiny minority of Democrats voting for Bill Clinton, and he's winning every race without generating any sparks, any enthusiasm, any momentum."

Mr. Casey spoke highly of the Arkansas Governor's resilience and intelligence, but added: "People have a tremendous unease about him. He's got a tiny, fly speck of support."

He said the Democratic Party should consider a strategy of having all uncommitted delegates to the convention in New York in July remain uncommitted so that they could consider nominating another candidate should Mr. Clinton fail to win more support.

Why would they have wanted him to speak at the convention?

(I particularly like the way Hillary's team adopted many of his talking points 16 years later.)

There is a fair degree of nuance to this event and the real "facts" will probably never be known. It's about decisions based on subjective judgments and even the fixed points aren't clear-cut.

Kevin Drum himself is making a measured judgment and forming an opinion. It may be reasonable, but it isn't definite.

Dunn doesn't evidence that Casey had a specific message he wanted to present and that he was told he couldn't deliver that message and so he wasn't going to be allowed to speak.

Brendan says there isn't enough evidence so it's a myth, but that implies that we definitely know is wasn't true either. I would take issue with that conclusion as well.

The debate is about fairly diverse motives and how much weight to give to different factors. Plus, different people were involved so there probably wasn't even a united set of motives - just an end decision.

For some this is about the right to be outraged. If you are "pro-life" you can feel Casey was censored.

You can also accept that Casey was censored but that it was completely reasonable to do so (that's another conclusion that Kevin Drum makes).

On top of that individuals can be outraged that the Democrats "denied the truth about their motivations" (I think Tom Mcguire falls into that category to some degree). For me that is forming an opinion based on an opinion, but I see how it can follow logically.

You can also accept that Casey was censored but that it was completely reasonable to do so

If you check out this article by The Hill, (http://thehill.com/leading-the-news/obama-tightens-grip-on-podium-speeches-2008-08-26.html), you'll note that these convention speeches are very finely managed.

Conventions aren't fora for wide ranging debate, they're partisan rallying events. The point is supposed to be "We're Right! They're wrong!".

Casey was upset that he couldn't make a pro-life speech at his convention, but nobody will be making a pro-choice speech at the Republican convention this year. Nor a speech that claims the surge was a failure and the Iraq war a debacle. Nor a speech that Republican fiscal policy has been a disaster for the country. Lieberman, like Zell Miller before him, will be billed to say that his (former) party has abandoned it's ideals and become a danger to our nation's security. But he won't be lobbying for a woman's right to choose.

Brendan, the post you link to above ended with your statement:

"I do hope we can agree that the Times should have acknowledged that this claim is disputed."

So anything disputed is a "Myth"?


I think we agree, at least up to a point. It's sort of a round-robin.

1) what did Casey want to say (we're not completely sure)

2) why didn't Casey speak (there are several apparent reasons with different views on which was central, also refers back to item #1)

3) what does it mean (nothing at all; Democrats won't allow debate on abortion; Democrats are intolerant)

4) how do some individuals feel about it (is it reasonable to be outraged)

I think you are generally agreeing with me - it's just that the term "censored" seems heavy handed.

That's what a lot of this story is about - presumed heavy-handedness (and I think we are dealing with steps 3&4 above).

But this is a different approach than the one Brendan has taken (which was more to focus on steps 2&3).

At the very end, just above, I had intended to type - "steps 1&2"

So the last sentence should be -

But this is a different approach than the one Brendan has taken (which was more to focus on steps 1&2).

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