Woman's Suburban 
Democratic Club                                
   of Montgomery County, Maryland

May Newsletter  - Volume 2, Issue 8



Upcoming WSDC Events

Upcoming Campaign Events 

Board Report: Endorsement of Dream Act  

Michael Sheehan Entertains and Enlightens WSDC Members 

Political Book Club  

Suggestion Box 


You may click on one of the above titles to go directly to that subject, or simply scroll down the newsletter.     


Thanks to Sybil Cantor and Bonnie Wicklund for their contributions to the newsletter.




Mark your calendars now for these upcoming events. For more information on locations and registration, watch for future e-mails and daisy cards - or visit our website at www.mcWSDC.org.



Thursday, June 14


Happy Hour    Girls

5:30-7 p.m.   

Redwood Restaurant and Bar, 

7121 Bethesda Lane, Bethesda  


Want to meet new people to talk politics? Join us at the next WSDC Happy Hour. Every second Thursday of each month, Democrats who are passionate about politics gather to relax and network with WSDC members and their guests. Whether you want to meet elected officials, make new friends, form new business contacts or just have fun, the WSDC Happy Hour is the perfect place to meet and greet fellow Democrats.



Saturday, June 16


Garden Party

Special Guests:Congressman Chris Van Hollen (8th congressional district)

Congressman John Sarbanes (3rd congressional district)

Congressional Candidate John Delaney (6th congressional district)


3 - 5 p.m.  

Home of WSDC member Mary Jane Checchi and John Culver 

5409 Spangler Avenue, Bethesda

Cost:  $20


Here's your chance to meet all of the Democratic candidates for Montgomery County's three Congressional districts - and enjoy garden splendors with your fellow WSDC members. John Culver served 10 years in the House of Representatives and 6 in the U.S. Senate. He was a close personal friend of Senator Kennedy from the time they met as college freshmen. He was also a friend and colleague of Senator Sarbanes, with whom he served in both the House and Senate. John and Mary Jane have some political memorabilia that you may find interesting, including a moving handwritten note from President Kennedy. To make your reservation, send your check to Judith Heimann, 6900 Marbury Road, Bethesda, MD 20817 or reserve online at www.mcWSDC.org by noon Thursday, June 14. 




Obama 2012 HQ

3750 University Boulevard West, Suite 303, Kensington



Ongoing: Mobilizing Volunteers


On Wednesday evenings and Saturdays, the campaign is reaching out to engage thousands of volunteers from the 2008 campaign and following up with supporters who contacted them online. Come to campaign headquarters to experience the energy and enthusiasm by making calls with the team! Calling hours are 5-8:30 pm on Wednesdays and  10 am -2 pm on Saturdays.


Call for Loaned Computers


The Obama campaign must equip three field offices in Montgomery County and needs dozens of computers. Do you have a computer you can loan through Election Day, November 6?


They're looking for equipment with:

  • Minimum of 2 GHZ processor speed
  • 1 GM of RAM
  • Flat screen monitor (optional)
  • Keyboard and mouse

They would like to wipe everything from your computer's hard drive and install their own software. Or they can leave your hard drive intact, disconnect it, and use their own hard drive, if you prefer. If you'd like to donate it after Election Day, the campaign will give your computer to a nonprofit that will refurbish it for a school or a low-income family.


If your computer meets the specs listed above, you can drop it off at their office in Kensington during office hours: M-F 12 - 6 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. The address is 3750 University Boulevard West, Kensington. If you can't bring it in, please click here.

Obama Postcard Project


Members are invited to participate in the Obama Postcard Project being led by the Leisure World Democratic Club. The idea is to write personal messages of support for Obama and members of Congress and to stress the importance of voting. The purpose is to help elect Obama, hold the Senate, and take back 25 House seats. Postcard writers are asked to stamp their cards before turning them in. By September, when the battleground states are clear, OFA will print labels of targeted voters in selected swing districts. If you are interested in holding a house party or writing cards, please contact Martha Robinson at mnr.rer@gmail.com or 301-288-7322.


Book Signing Party with Mark ShriverMark Shriver


Saturday, June 9

4 - 6 p.m. ญญญญญญญญญญญญญญญญญ

Home of Lori and Bill Askinazi

12504 Palatine Court, Potomac, MD


Join Mark Shriver as he discusses his book "A Good Man: Rediscovering my Father, Sargent Shriver". Books will be available for purchase and signing. NOTE: You must RSVP to Kristin@gerlachrealestate.com to be admitted.




Director ChairThe Board voted to support the Dream Act that has been petitioned to referendum and will be on the ballot in November. The Act states that students who have attended a Maryland high school for at least 3 years and have graduated from a community college in their county or completed 60 credit hours may apply to a 4-year State college or university and if accepted will be able to pay in-state tuition. As the campaign gears up we will provide updates as to how you can become involved. If you did not see the editorial in the Washington Post on May 5 click here.

                                                                                           By Bonnie Wicklund

"The Sheehan effect," is how New York Magazine described Michael Sheehan's success in helping politicians, celebrities and CEO's communicate in the media, WSDC President Jane Merkin noted, in her introductiMichael Sheehan Luncheonon of the luncheon speaker.


Sheehan, who has been working as a consultant and media coach since 1988, presented a fascinating history and analysis of presidential conventions and debates since the 1950's, illustrating his points with telling video clips.


In the early years of television, conventions were just big pageants where not much happened, Sheehan said. Then came 1968, when the Democrats "provided intense drama," such as John Chancellor being arrested on camera during the convention. This spoiled the media, and they came to expect dramatic happenings. In 1972, when the presidential candidate's acceptance speech got delayed for procedural reasons, until 2:30 AM, the media reaction was furious; subsequently, the media began to influence how conventions unfolded.


The keynote speech provided the next big impact in 1984, which Sheehan dubbed "a star is born" moment, showing excerpts from Mario Cuomo's forceful address. From then on, every aspiring Democrat wanted to be the keynote speaker, but in truth there have probably been more catastrophes than successes, he asserted. In 1988, Bill Clinton got his loudest and longest applause when he finally said "In closing...." at the end of his typically long-winded speech.


By 1992 the television networks began to cut back drastically on the coverage of conventions: from 9 to 11 PM became the hard rule. They demanded "better TV." Thus Governor Clinton began his acceptance of the nomination in New York City with a walk through Macy's. In 1996, special guests were introduced, in this case Christopher Reeves and Jim Brady, taking his first public steps while recovering from gunshot wounds. In 2008 Barack Obama accepted the nomination not in a convention hall but in a football stadium in Denver before an audience of 60,000. Finally, Sheehan noted, conventions are expensive, and partly for this reason the Democratic Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, this year will be three days rather than four.


In the first televised presidential debate, in 1960, between Richard Nixon and Jack Kennedy, the winner was said to be the Democrat by those who watched on television, while the radio audience awarded the contest to Nixon--a classic case of looks and style over substance, according to conventional wisdom. A more recent analysis, according to Sheehan, pointed out that the television audience in those days tended to be younger and more urban, while those who didn't yet have televisions, the radio audience, were generally older and rural, by implication probably more conservative.


Over the years, the debates have provided opportunities as well as risks for would-be presidents. The audience is always looking for a "gaffe," like Gerald Ford's disastrous proclamation in 1976 that there is "no Soviet domination of Eastern Europe." Or 'the sound bite," as when Ronald Reagan repeatedly chided Jimmy Carter, "There you go again!" Or "the moment," such as Dan Quayle provided in the 1988 vice-presidential debate, when he proclaimed that he had "just as much experience as John Kennedy when he came to the Senate." Lloyd Benson's comeback--"you are no Jack Kennedy"-- is considered a game changing moment in the history of the debates.


In 1992 a new format was introduced to the debates: the town hall set-up, allowing candidates to interact with the audience as well as each other. Further ratcheting up the pressure on candidates, in 1996 the networks introduced the snap poll, predicting the winner immediately after the debate, or even as it was still in progress. In the 2000 Gore versus Bush debate, "we were bitten badly," noted Sheehan. Focus groups immediately after the debate proclaimed Gore the winner, but the next day Republicans hammered away at the Vice President with such effective counter-spin that eventually polling had Gore losing by 12 points. CNN's use of the split-screen in 2004, showing both candidates simultaneously, revealed George Bush looking "testy" while John Kerry was speaking. As a result, said Sheehan, he stresses "demeanor evidence" when rehearsing candidates for debates, keeping the camera on them the entire time, even when they are not speaking.


Regarding the upcoming election, Sheehan said that Mitt Romney might have a slight advantage in the debates in that he has had lots of recent practice in the primary debates, so President Obama will need to "get back in shape." However, he went on, Romney did not always do well in the debates, so instead of worrying about what the opponent will say, we should concentrate on what the Democratic agenda is, on what we want to get across.







The June 20 selection is Age of Greed by Jeff Madrick, who argues that the relentless pursuit of outrageous wealth in the last 40 years has helped lead to America's decline.


In Assassin's Gate - our selection for August 15 - George Parker revisits the United States' misadventure in Iraq and how American intervention to remove Saddam Hussein has changed the dynamic of the Middle East.


The book club meets the third Wednesday of every other month, 10:30 a.m. at members' homes. A facilitator leads the discussion for each book. Want to join the conversation? New members are always welcome. Contact Estelle Stone at estelles@webtv.net.  

If you're interested in seeing what other books have been discussed, please go to www.mcWSDC.org and click on Political Book Club.  



 Suggestion Box

Do you have ideas for future programs? Do you know someone who would be a great speaker at a future WSDC event? Or would you just like to get more involved with the overall work of the Club? If so, please send an e-mail to  wsdc44@gmail.com or visit www.mcWSDC.org and click on "Volunteer" to complete the "It Takes a Village" volunteer form.




 Keeping members better informed, better connected and more politically effective since 1957      



Woman's Suburban Democratic Club
Jane Merkin.President
www.mcwsdc.org     wsdc44@gmail.com
Woman's Suburban Democratic Club
Sybil Cantor
Email Coordinator