Give ’em Hell

Posted May 14, 2003 at 6:38pm

Three political veterans have named their new Democratic consulting and direct-mail shop Whistle Stop Communications. And that’s no train wreck — er, accident.

The firm is wrapping itself in the mantle of the last great Democratic practitioner of the whistle-stop tour, former President Harry S. Truman. The firm’s literature even features this quote from the 33rd president: “We have two great goals — one to build a secure life for ourselves here at home, and the other to build lasting peace for the world.”

Truman actually delivered those remarks during a radio address on Election Eve 1948, rather than on a train, but why quibble?

And why not attach yourself to a beloved former president? There’s already a Democratic consulting firm in Seattle called FDR Services, and you can guess who that’s named for.

Whistle Stop is run by three seasoned Democratic operatives: Ann Beser, Tom

Owens and Alison McLaurin. Last cycle, all three worked for the BLOS Group, doing direct mail aimed at mobilizing Democratic base voters. Their clients included Rep. Albert Wynn (D-Md.), the Alaska Women’s Vote Project, the Building and Construction Trades Department at the AFL-CIO, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and the NAACP National Voter Fund.

Beser is also a former director of the “Women Vote!” project at EMILY’s List, has managed House and Senate campaigns, and has provided training for the Democratic National Committee. Owens is a former field organizer for the AFL-CIO and has worked as a liaison to labor for several Democratic campaigns. McLaurin is a former political director of the Democratic Governors’ Association.

Political Card. For proof that the White House does occasionally play ball with moderate Republicans (and vice-versa), you need only have shown up at Wednesday night’s annual John Chafee Dinner of the Republican Main Street Partnership, where White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card was presented with the John Chafee Award for Public Service.

The award was named for the late Rhode Island Senator, the epitome of moderate Republicanism. And to the extent that there are moderate Republicans in President Bush’s White House, Card is one of the most visible.

In fact, the dinner was crawling with moderate GOPers, with awards slated to be handed out to Sen. Pat Roberts (Kan.) and former Rep. Connie Morella (Md.). Scheduled speakers included Chafee’s son, Sen. Lincoln Chafee (R.I.), Sen. Olympia Snowe (Maine), Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge and Maryland Gov. Bob Ehrlich.

More Political Cards. You’ve seen those playing cards bearing the faces of Iraqi leaders that U.S. troops were provided with when the latest Persian Gulf War began? Well, Greenpeace, the international anti-war organization, has developed its own deck of cards, with facts and figures about nuclear proliferation, as well as pictures of world leaders whose countries possess nuclear weapons.

Bush is the ace of spades. Russian President Vladimir Putin is the ace of hearts. British Prime Minister Tony Blair is the ace of diamonds, while French President Jacques Chirac is the ace of clubs. And so on.

“While the cards were a parody,” Greenpeace Media Officer Carol Gregory said in a note to Roll Call, “the issue of nuclear disarmament is a serious one.”