MANCHESTER , NH - Dean Barker, co-founder of the online community Blue Hampshire, endorsed Chris Dodd for President yesterday in a post on the popular New Hampshire progressive blog. Barker is now one of the managing editors of Blue Hampshire and currently lives in Cornish, where he teaches Latin and Greek.
"This is an important endorsement for Senator Dodd here in New Hampshire and in the netroots community," said Dodd's New Hampshire Spokesman Bryan DeAngelis. "The campaign is honored to have Dean's support and we are looking forward to continuing to engage the netroots to help spread Senator Dodd's message that America needs proven leadership now more than ever."
"Chris Dodd is the strongest proponent of the progressive issues that matter most to me, and I trust him to carry those issues forward as President," Barker wrote. "I am proud to endorse Chris Dodd for President."
Barker began his involvement in politics and blogging in the summer of 2003 when he began contributing to then presidential candidate Howard Dean's campaign blog. After Dean's campaign ended, Barker began posting diaries on the popular national blog Daily Kos before starting his own blog in the summer of 2006.
Blue Hampshire is widely regarded as the most popular and influential progressive blog in New Hampshire. On average, over 800 people visit Blue Hampshire each day.
Below is the full text of Dean Barker's post endorsing Chris Dodd for President:
by: Dean Barker
Wed Sep 05, 2007 at 21:58:38 PM EDT
After many months, since December in fact, I'm ready to make a decision and declare my support:
I am proud to endorse Chris Dodd for President.
Why Dodd? There are three fundamental reasons, but in the end it comes down to this. Chris Dodd is the strongest proponent of the progressive issues that matter most to me, and I trust him to carry those issues forward as President.
I'll start with what I believe to be the single most critical issue facing our country: the very survival of our Constitution.
I teach Latin and Greek for a living. That means that I relive with students every year the collapse of the representative government of the Roman Republic and the rise of a dictatorship clothed in the language of "Empire." Today, we face a crisis in the very checks and balances of our constitution. Like the Romans, we have seen develop over the years an increasingly powerful executive branch. Its current manifestation is run amok - torture, secrecy, illegal spying, illegitimate war, a justice department no longer blind - take your pick. And like the Romans, we run the risk of losing one of the best experiments in government the world has yet seen if we do nothing to stop this trend. I do not want to see this country, which has given me so much, lose its soul in my lifetime. I at least owe it that much.
One of the central planks of Chris Dodd's campaign is restoring the Constitution . Others mention it, but he has put it front and center, and led on it. And this was the video that essentially sealed the deal for me.
The question I keep coming back to is this: what will the next president, Democrat or Republican, do with the dangerously expanded executive branch powers that will be Bush and Cheney's legacy? With Dodd, I know I will be getting a person with a lifetime of public service and a deep respect for the rule of law.
Now, onto the single most important issue facing our world - climate change.
Senator Dodd's energy plan is the boldest out there, and it merits lots of praise. Roger Ballentine, former Chair of the Clinton White House Climate Change Task Force, calls it " "Courageous... the gold standard against which all plans will be measured."
One reason for the accolades on the other end of the link up above is that he is the only candidate calling for a corporate carbon tax. Guess who likes that idea?
He [Al Gore] also praised a proposal by Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Chris Dodd to enact a carbon tax on polluters. ``I'm convinced that we should eliminate the payroll tax and replace it dollar for dollar with a (carbon) tax,'' he said.
The third major reason I am convinced I have made the right choice to go with Dodd is that on many issues, but most emphatically the war in Iraq, he has been leading right now . As early as last December, when I saw him at State Senator Peter Burling's house, he was opposing the surge in the most strident terms. And Senator Dodd neither flinched nor waited to see which way the wind would blow to speak out strongly against voting for more funding for this nightmare of a war.
There are a few other items that have attracted me to Dodd's candidacy.
* He was the only one, I believe, to call, and call quickly, for a halt on Chinese imports on food and toys until we can insure the safety of the products coming in. This tells me that his understanding of environmental policy goes beyond the "ending our dependence on Middle Eastern oil" mantra that has become commonplace.
* His campaign team presence, both in this state and within the netroots, has been outstanding. I know that's no reason to vote for a candidate, but considering what must be a smaller fundraising warchest than some of the others, I am amazed at how visible Dodd has been. His campaign does more with less, and perhaps that says a little about what type of administration he would run. And while many of the campaigns have figured it out at this point, there was a time when it seemed that Team Dodd was the only outfit around that understood that to get people interested in your candidate on blogs, you had to make the case at those blogs (instead of driving people to the website), and using recently shot video of events whenever possible. Or to put it another way, they have figured out how to do the NH style of retail politics in an online way.
* His service in the National Guard and Army reserves. I'm a little old-fashioned in this, but I believe that a commander-in-chief ought to have had some military experience. While it's not a deal-breaker for me, it's a pretty important indicator of how a president will understand the lives he has so much power over (notwithstanding W.'s sorta kinda AWOL service). I also support - and I know this is controversial - his call for national service . A country is weak when its citizenry is not called to serve in some way, whether it's as a poll worker or a teacher or a soldier.
Four years ago, Howard Dean used to talk about the "great restoration of American values." When I envision a Dodd presidency, I see that.
Why, out of such a strong field of candidates, Senator Chris Dodd? I reply simply with, why not Dodd ?
A Note on this post and Blue Hampshire: As you can see, I chose not to put this statement of support on the front page. That's because I want to make clear that my support is my own personal decision, and not an official endorsement from Blue Hampshire. Also, be aware that I'm not working for or getting paid by the Dodd campaign.
What's more, I will continue to go to candidate events, recommend (and even front page when merited) diaries in support of other candidates. And likewise, I will not flinch from criticizing Dodd or any of the others when I think it's appropriate to do so. If the staffers of other campaigns, who have been so kind and inviting to me previously, choose not to offer more access because of this, I understand completely.
I decided to go forward with this because a) it would be dishonest of me as a site admin to keep my support for Dodd to myself, and b) we are now moving into high NH primary campaign season. I think it's a darn good time to start making some choices to help out the candidates we like.