February 2005 Archive:

Monday, February 28, 2005


Posted by Tim Tagaris

From MyDD via AmericaBlog:

Letter on behalf of the couple used in the USA Next anti-AARP ad (the green check mark) informing Charles Jarvis that he has until tomorrow to respond on their use of the image without permission.

It appears your intended but illogical point is that the AARP is anti-military and pro-gay marriage and therefore the AARP is not credible on the issue of Social Security reform. [...]

USA Next has no right to use our clients as targets for those who choose homophobia as the weapon of choice.

Clock is ticking.

Posted at 01:06 PM in General | Comments (2) | Technorati

Two jokes

Posted by Tim Tagaris

As some know by now, former Pittsburgh Steeler wide receiver Lynn Swan is making a run at Ed Rendell in the 2006 Pennsylvania Gov. race. Of course, the campaign is "Alan Keyeseque," a feeble attempt by Republicans to get a well-known placeholder up to help other races up and down the ballot. I mean, when the Green Party is effectively making a mockery of your campaign, maybe it's time to re-think?

Former Green Party candidate for governor, Michael Morrill, today declared his intention to try out for the position of wide receiver for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Morrill admits he has no experience in organized football, has only a casual fan’s understanding of the game and at age 50 might be a little slow for the National Football League. When asked why he thought he might be qualified to be a wide receiver for the Steelers, Morrill said he was inspired by four-time Super Bowl Champion Lynn Swann. “If Lynn Swann can run for governor with absolutely no public policy experience, why shouldn’t I be able to try out for the Steelers?” Morrill responded.

Morrill was also asked what he thought his chances were to make the Steelers. “About the same as Swann’s chances to be elected governor,” he replied.


Posted at 12:51 PM in 2006 Elections - State, Pennsylvania | Comments (2) | Technorati

Saturday, February 26, 2005

New Jersey!

Posted by Tim Tagaris

Congrats to the people at the New Jersey Democratic Party -- Their new blog looks great. If you are from the Garden State, bookmark it.


Quite frankly, it is f'n great. Allow me to give some public props to Michael Giglio over at the NJ State Party; he is an asset to our side. I have had the priviledge of talking to him a few times in the past week or two--he is one of the reasons I feel great about the relationship between the netroots and the future of our party.

It's a new day.

Posted at 12:17 AM in Activism, Netroots, New Jersey | Technorati

Friday, February 25, 2005

Florida Senate Race 2006

Posted by Tim Tagaris

Another Quinnipiac poll--this time regarding Florida 2006. The data covers both races, Governor and Bill Nelson's re-election bid. For the purposes of this post, I am going to focus on the race for Senate; visit the link above for more information on the Governor's race. (MoE +/- 3.1%)

Bill Nelson: While his approval ratings have breached the all-important 50 percent mark, his re-elect numbers are troubling. At the very least, his numbers are on the rise from the last Quinnipiac polling:

50% (46)
Disapprove: 17% (17)
Don't Know: 33% (37)

Ironically, his approval ratings are higher among Republican (52%) than they are Democrats (49%).

Should Bill Nelson be re-elected, or should Floridians elect someone else:

Re-Elect: 37% (36)
Someone Else: 37% (40)
Don't Know: 26% (24)

And who do Floridians want to run against Nelson? Yep. Katherine Harris leads the way. Since Republicans vote in the primary, they are the important number; overall is in parentheses.

Harris: 37% (26)
Gallagher: 20% (19)
Crist: 16% (14) -- Crist leads the way among Republicans for Gov.
Jennings: 11% (10)

Posted at 12:11 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, 2006 Elections - State, Florida | Comments (1) | Technorati

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Hooking and blogging

Posted by Bob Brigham

In a major blow to the collective credibility of the blogosphere, the White House Hooker has begun blogging.

America blog fact checks his ass.

Posted at 05:07 PM in Netroots | Technorati

They write themselves (OH-14)

Posted by Tim Tagaris

The jokes that is...

Rep. Steven LaTourette (R-Ohio) married his longtime sweetheart, Jennifer Laptook, at the Willard Hotel on Saturday. [...]

LaTourette, 50, has been married once before. Laptook, 33, is a vice president of top D.C. lobbying firm Van Scoyoc Associates.

Talk about literally being in bed with a Washington Lobbyist (hat-tip you know who). Will the President let him into the White House, or is that innapropriate?

And forget the whole "family values" nonsense for cheating on his wife--this is a man who told her he wanted a divorce OVER THE PHONE!

I hope someone is able to mount a credible challenge against this clown in 2006. Capri Cafaro had the money in 2004, but it is evident that personal baggage weighed her down. There is no reason any NE Ohio CD should be red; that goes for the 14th (LaTourette) and the 16th (Regula, probably after he retires). Period.

Posted at 08:18 AM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - House, Ohio | Comments (1) | Technorati

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Rick Santorum Video From Yesterday

Posted by Tim Tagaris

Here is the video I shot from the town hall meeting yesterday featuring Rick Santorum. Disclaimer, I work for the candidate whose site it is posted on.

That out of the way, there are two clips:

1.) Drexel College Republicans chanting "Hey hey, ho ho, social secrurity has got to go," as Santorum enetered the building.

2.) Chris Bowers calling out Santorum on an earlier statement by the Senator that Democratic colleagues of his supported privatization. Nice try Rick.


Posted at 12:18 PM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - Senate, Activism, General, Netroots, Pennsylvania | Technorati

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Report From Santorum Soc. Sec. Event in Philly

Posted by Tim Tagaris

(video coming tomorrow of said events)

The first stop on Rick Santorum's re-election campaign this morning was Philadelphia, Pennsylvania--Drexel University. First of all, let me tell that I got lost on the way (not being from PA), and drove around for around 45 minutes more than I had to.

It was worth it...

I got there at around 9 A.M. in time to witness the pre-protest taking place outside of the ballroom the event was to take place in. At first it was a bunch of Drexel College Democrats standing outside, getting organized and passing out pamphlets. Then the College Republicans started strolling down the pavement.

You can see them coming from a mile away, or smell them coming, or sense them coming, whatever... It's funny, cause they feel like they have to put on a show; it's not even about supporting Santorum, it almost seemed like it was more about getting people to look at them. Example: One kid who deemed it necessary to put his Bush/Cheney t-shirt on in long exaggerated movements as he began approaching the crowd. It's a little thing, but it was obvious.

Anyway, the cameras were rolling and the literature was flying. One man stood out in the middle of the road with a giant sign that said, "TAX THE RICH" Back and forth, chanting, hooting and hollering like it was a college basketball game.

But the real show happened inside...

So, I am walking up the steps a few minutes before 10 A.M. to head inside and get a good seat. I was supposed to meet Chris Bowers from MyDD, but at this point I gave up hope. As I am walking up, the level of noise grew and people swarmed around me.

Well, not me, Santorum was walking up the steps right beside me. Yes, I was about 2 feet away. Soon the press swarmed and I just put my cigarette out, and moved aside from the spectacle. I walked inside the lobby and here he came again, as if he was following me. He motioned to one of the security folks that he had to use the rest room; it was only because I was restrained by a smarter man than I that I didn't follow him in with the video camera.

So, I headed inside and the show started. About 3 minutes into the event, Chris Bowers called and had no idea where to find the place. I got up and met him outside and we came back in. It gave me another chance to get a few puffs in.

Oh, I forgot to note that some shmuck from the SSA used some analogy about an aircraft carrier, let's call it, "The FDR," he said. And the ship's Admiral got an order to turn starboard. The admiral got pissed and the punchline was something about the orders coming from a lighthouse. Stupid, I know. But the "FDR" crack kind of pissed a few people off.

Where was I? Yes, Bowers and I get back inside.

Right away, Santorum asks, "and do you know what happens in four years?" Immediately, someone responded, "Bush is out of office." The smirk on the face Richy Rick (R-VA) was priceless. I only wish I got that part on tape. Sorry. The place clapped, it was great.

About two minutes later, a young man stood up and started calling Rick Santorum out and talking about Pinochet, Chile, George Schultz and the Govenator. Once again, Rick had quite a smirk on his face. The man was escorted out of the room while screaming something about "death squads."

Yes, he was a LaRouchie.

No more than 2 minutes later, the guy RIGHT INFRONT OF ME stood up. Same thing, Pinochet, Chile, and death squads. This guy kept on going--then he got roughed up. I have the entire exchange on tape, and as I said above, I will post a link to it tomorrow.

The entertainment value was high, but as someone next to me noted, "Every Democrat is hanging their head right now." He was right, it did not reflect well on us.

So, the rest of the event was pretty, ummm, uneventful. With the exception of the last minute. That was when Chris Bowers got to ask a question. Earlier in the forum, Slick Rick (R-VA) said something to the effect of conversations with Democratic Senators that supported atleast partial privatization. Chris called him on it and asked him to name names.

Rick could not.

In fact, he said that there were not any Democratic Senators who supported the Bush-Santorum corporatization scheme, but there was "one member in the House, I think."

Umm, yea. Nice try Rick--Great question Chris.

After that, I had my first Philly Cheese Steak Sandwich, in Philly, and went home.


Posted at 09:02 PM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - Senate, Activism, General, Netroots, Pennsylvania | Comments (1) | Technorati

Call Joe Lieberman Day

Posted by Tim Tagaris

I was at one of those Rick Santorum town hall meetings earlier today. It was quite interesting. I'll write on it tonight. In the meantime:

Stolen wholesale from MyDD.

Starting today at noon, make sure you drop Shaky Joe a line, letting him know you oppose all bill's to phase out social security, whether the bill is Bush's or Lindsey Grahams. Also let him know you don't appreciate his weak rhetoric in the issue...all that does is help Republican.

Here's the contact info:

706 Hart Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
(202) 224-4041 Voice
(202) 224-9750 Fax

One Constitution Plaza
7th Floor
Hartford, CT 06103
(860) 549-8463 Voice
(800) 225-5605 In CT
(860) 549-8478 Fax
(860) 522-8443 TDD

He's out of Washington today, so a call to his Connecticut offices might be in order. Especially if you are a Connecticutie.

For information why, read this.

Posted at 02:32 PM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - Senate, Activism | Technorati

Monday, February 21, 2005

Bob Casey Jr. to decide this week...

Posted by Tim Tagaris

It looks like Bob Casey Jr. will make an announcment this week on whether or not he intends to enter the Democratic primary field for the 2006 US Senate race in Pennsylvania.

Speaking of Casey, he's expected by week's end to make a decision whether or not he'll run against Santorum next year.

A recent Quinnipiac poll showed Casey with a 46-41 lead as a hypothetical candidate against Rick Santorum--those numbers are down from a DSCC poll that showed the former Governor's son with a 52-38 over the darling incumbent of the Republican right-wing.

I also happen to know that Zogby is conducting a poll on the race that features Casey Jr., Joe Hoeffel, and Barbara Hafer as potential Democratic candidates.

Posted at 03:15 PM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - Senate, Pennsylvania | Technorati

Baxley leads all...

Posted by Tim Tagaris

Alabama's Gubernatorial Race for 2006:

Bob Riley (R-incumbent) 35
Lucy Baxley (D) 39

Roy Moore (R) 38
Lucy Baxley (D) 44

Riley (R) 43 (46)
Don Seigelman (D) 34 (36)

Moore (R) 44 (40)
Seigelman (D) 34 (39)

For more on the race, here is an overview I did about a week and a half ago. Thanks to Kos for the heads up. LINK to Alabama State Democratic Party Blog

Posted at 12:40 PM in 2006 Elections - State, Alabama | Technorati


Posted by Bob Brigham

Gonzo Journalism was blogging without the computer. HST was so perfectly brilliant that the lack of technology never interrupted his vision.

Our glasses are tipped.

Thank you, for being the best political reporter ever.

Posted at 01:00 AM in General | Comments (1) | Technorati

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Heads or Tails?

Posted by Tim Tagaris

Just when you thought election results couldn't get any more strange:

Pittsfield voters on Tuesday gave Kelm and challenger Keith Deneys 154 votes apiece, behind top vote-getter Teresa Wargo, who earned 168 votes. The tie for second place in the primary left the elimination of one candidate to the fate of a coin toss.

So in a tense smoke-filled room, the combatants put it all on the line; an election cycle worth of campaigning came down to one history soaked moment. The town clerk was on hand to toss the coin, the watchful eye of the Green Bay Press Gazette on hand to record the moment.

"Heads or tails?"

And in one moment, as one hand was removed from a top another to uncover a coin that held the fate of two campaigns in the balance--it appeared that Keith Deneys had defeated the incumbent and and would move on to the General Election. But would he? Not so fast.

There was something missing from the room that left the results of the coin toss in doubt. You guessed it, the "town's board of canvassers weren't present. What a glaring oversight! As a result, the two campaigns have begun throwing barbs in the press, kicking their noise machines into high gear, bringing the matter to the fore.

Kelm said Wednesday’s coin toss simply wasn’t official. She considered the lot-draw a fitting end to the current term.

Critics will undoubtedly charge that Kelm might not be singing the same tune were she on the right side of the coin flip; a notion that I am sure her press secretary would dismiss if she had a staff. On the other hand, Deneys has attempted to turn his apparent slight into campaign fodder.

“It just concerns me that the proper details aren’t taken care of in the forefront before we do something of this nature,” he said. “It’s just another inconsistency in the way this town has been run.”

I agree, and its even more the reason we need to replace Kelm and the old regime that she represents. Mr. Deneys, we are pulling for you, and if you get to call--please choose tails.

UPDATE: How I missed this, I have no idea...

It appears Deneys won the second "coin toss." However, it wasn't really a coin toss--they just picked the winner from a hat. The vanquished Kelm has until Tuesday to decide whether or not to pursue a recount.

In light of a recent discovery that Deneys is affiliated with the "adopt a sniper" program, I hope she does.

Posted at 03:01 PM in General | Technorati

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Rick Santorum is already campaigning...

Posted by Tim Tagaris

I hesitate to write about the PA Senate race, but we do focus on the 2005/2006 "swing races" and defeating Rick Santorum is going to be priority number one, period. That fact doesn't change whoever the nominee is.

I received an email the other day noting that Santorum is barnstorming across the state on a "town hall" speaking tour. He is attempting to accomplish two goals: 1.) Campaigning to dismantle social security. 2.) Running for re-election in 2006. His staff is also sending out emails to supporters, asking them to not only attend his events, but "bracket" them with letters to the editor, radio talk show calls, and building their AMWAY volunteer scam.

You can find the list of events in the extended entry and information on how to counter their "bracketing" efforts with one of our own.

The point is this. How long does the Democratic Party and DSCC think we can wait to start a full-scale campaign against Rick Santorum? Shouldn't we be building organization on the ground right now!? Democrats in PA have lost THIRTEEN straight full-term US Senate elections, and this attitude is in large part why it happens. I don't care who the nominee is, but in an era where Republicans run perpetual campaigns, we have to get out of the mindset that we can run for 12 of 24 months and expect to win on election day. It obviously isn't working.

Where is the leadership in PA organizing against Rick Santorum's "town halls?" The short answer is, they aren't. We are letting him run amuck across the state starting his re-election bid, unmolested. We wouldn't stand for this in 2006, so why 2005? So it's up to the grassroots, yet again.

If you can make it to one of them, great. If you are from PA and can write a letter to the editor, even better. I will be at Drexel University on February 22nd if you care to join me--let me know. Good chance I will be at the one in Easton PA (Bucks County) on the 25th as well.

To "bracket" Santorums appearances with letters to the editor, here is a great resource. It gives you all the tools you need to write a letter, and quickly send it to as many outlets as you want within your selected zip code.

Monday, February 21st
Location: Allegheny County
Duquesne University
Student Union - Duquesne Room
600 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA
Time: 10:00am - 11:15am

Location: Cambria County
University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown
Heritage Hall Living Learning Center
450 Schoolhouse Road
Johnstown, PA
Time: 3:00pm - 4:30pm

Tuesday, February 22nd
Location: Philadelphia County
Drexel University, Behrakis Grand Hall
Creese Student Center
3210 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA
Time: 10:00am - 11:30am

Location: Delaware County
Widener University
University Center - Webb Room
One University Place
14th Street, between Walnut and Melrose
Chester, PA
Time: 2:00pm - 3:30pm

Wednesday, February 23rd
Location: Erie County
National City Bank
Community Room
801 State Street
Erie, PA
Time: 9:30am - 10:45am

LPenn State University
HUB - Robeson Center
Room 117
State College, PA
Time: 2:00pm - 3:30pm

Thursday, February 24th
Location: Dauphin County
Messiah Village Senior Center Chapel
100 Mount Allen Drive
Mechanicsburg, PA
Time: 9:30am - 11:00am

Location: Lackawanna County
University of Scranton
Gunster Student Center - Eagen Auditorium
Scranton, PA
Time: 4:00pm - 5:15pm

Friday, February 25th

Location: Northampton County
Lafayette College
Colton Chapel
Easton, PA
Time: 10:30am - 11:30am

Location: Bucks County
Ann's Choice
10000 Ann's Choice
Warminster, PA
Time: 1:30pm - 3:00pm

Posted at 03:30 PM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - Senate, Pennsylvania | Technorati

Friday, February 18, 2005

Full Senate Rundown

Posted by DavidNYC

Markos has a rundown on every potentially interesting Senate race for 2006.

Posted at 09:12 PM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - Senate | Technorati

Lieberman Primary Challenge?

Posted by Tim Tagaris

Believe me, I would love to see it. I am a strong believer that fighting inside primaries is the best way for us to change the face of our party. We do it in presidential races, why not the Senate? Is that body not important enough?

Personally, I believe the fact we don't routinely have contested Democratic primaries on the Senate level is the fault of our national party (more on this later). This is especially true in open seats and ones with a Republican incumbent. However, some Democrats need to be put on notice as well. Unfortunately, this is why it would be so tough to take out Joementum in a contested primary (MoE +/- 3.3%)

Among Democrats:

Approve: 72%
Disapprove: 19%
DK: 9%

His numbers drop only slightly when you expand beyond Democrats only and into Republicans and Independents.

Posted at 09:40 AM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - Senate, Activism, Connecticut | Technorati

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Arlen Specter & Special Election Scenarios

Posted by Tim Tagaris

By now, most of us have heard the unfortunate news that Arlen Specter has been diagnosed with Hodgkin's Disease and will undergo treatment with chemotherapy. I gotta say, this was one of the more inspirational quotes I have read in some time; from Specter:

"I have beaten a brain tumor, bypass surgery and many tough political opponents, and I'm going to beat this, too"

...and we hope he does. However, many have asked what happens should Specter resign, or tragically, worse? From the Pennsylvania Election Code:

§ 2776. Special elections for United States Senator; nominations.

Whenever a vacancy shall occur in the office of United States Senator, said vacancy shall be filled for the unexpired term by the vote of the electors of the State at a special election to be held at the time of the next general or municipal election, occurring at least ninety (90) days after the happening of such vacancy, and it shall be the duty of the Governor to issue writs of election to the various county boards of elections and to the Secretary of the Commonwealth within ten (10) days after the happening of said vacancy.

There is more, but the long and the short of it is this:

If Specter has to leave inside of a 90 day window before the 2005 General Election in PA, then Governor Rendell will appoint a replacement, and there will be an election in November of 2006. In that case, there would be TWO United States Senate elections in that year.

If Specter has to leave office 91 days or more before the 2005 election in PA, the Governor would once again appoint a replacement until the November 2005 elections in PA. In that election, the Democrat appointed (presumably) would have to "defend" his/her seat against a candidate appointed by the Republican Party of Pennsylvania.

In both cases, 2005 & 2006 special elections, there is no primary for either party. The nominees for the seat are appointed by each of the state party aparatuses. Whoever were to win that election, would serve until Specter would have been up for re-election--2010.

Hope I got it right, and I hope it helps.

Posted at 11:50 AM in Pennsylvania | Comments (1) | Technorati

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

PA Senate 2006

Posted by Tim Tagaris

Disclaimer: I am working for another candidate in the PA Senate race, helping to get his online program off-the-ground.

Bob Casey Jr.'s hypothetical margin over Rick Santorum is slipping. Two weeks ago the DSCC released a poll that set the netroots ablaze; Pennsylvania's Auditor General Bob Casey led Rick Santorum 52-38 in a "what-if" battle of the titans. Today, that margin has tightened some. MoE +/- 2.8%

Casey: 46%
Santorum: 41%

Other candidates don't fare nearly as well as Casey.

Rick Santorum: 47%
Barbara Hafer: 39%

Rick Santorum: 50%
Joe Hoeffel: 34%

Because of my work situation, I don't want to talk to much about the race specifically--not on SSP. It's just out of respect for you and David for letting me write here.

And no, my candidate is none of these 3; we have an even longer way to go.

Posted at 09:28 AM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - Senate, Pennsylvania | Comments (2) | Technorati

Tuesday, February 15, 2005


Posted by Tim Tagaris

Busy day at work, I am really sorry. Atleast at my job, I will never be fired for blogging.

Quick question(s) for you. When is this blog operating at its best? When is it at its worst? Talk to me about quantity and categories of posts for the past few weeks. Which would you like to see more of, which less? Overall, how many original posts a day is good for you?

Update: I have received a few emails telling me the comments don't work on SSP today. We'll try to get that fixed toot-sweet. -- Tim

Posted at 01:44 PM in Site News | Technorati

Pataki Circling the Drain

Posted by DavidNYC

The third poll in a week - this one courtesy of the New York Times - demonstrates just how bad life is for George Pataki (registered voters, no trendlines):

Spitzer: 49
Pataki: 34
Undecided: 14
(MoE: ±3%)

The rest of Pataki's numbers are even more atrocious. Job approval: 43-41 (lowest since his first year in office). Favorables: 33-38 (again, lowest since 1995). Spitzer's numbers, meanwhile, are awesome: 59-13 job approval and 39-7 favorable.

Oh, and one point I'll add (because Steve Soto taught us all to ask this question): The poll undersamples Democrats (and Republicans, but by a smaller margin). The spread in New York state is (according to the most recent enrollment figures) 47% Dem, 27% GOP and 20% independent. (Another 3% are potentially confused members of the Independence Party who may think they are registered "independents," while the final 3% belong to an assortment of other small parties.) The NYT poll has a sample of 43D-25R-22I.

Granted, according to CNN's exit polls taken during last year's election, Republican-identifiers apparently voted in greater strength than the number of GOP registrants would predict. But those figures are only useful for determining how to weight for likely voters. Since the NYT is only talking to registered voters at this very early date, it should re-weight accordingly. The Times weights for other factors but not, evidently, party ID.

The bottom line: Among registered voters, I think the numbers are actually a bit worse for Pataki than even this abysmal showing indicates. Time to throw in the towel, George.

You can get the full results here (PDF).

Posted at 01:17 AM in 2006 Elections - State, New York | Comments (1) | Technorati

Monday, February 14, 2005

It's no America's Top Model

Posted by Tim Tagaris

Is your U.S. Senator hotornot?

Head into the extended entry for more information. I hesitate to say that these pictures are suitable for work. I mean, everyone has on clothes, but when was the last time you really looked closely at Mitch McConnell?

Top 5:

1. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ)
2. Barack Obama of (D-IL)
3. Mary Landrieu of (D-LA)
4. Russ Feingold of (D-WI)
5. Maria Cantwell of D-WA)

Bottom 5:

1. John Thune (R-SD)
2. Robert Bennet (R-UT)
3. Mike DeWine (R-OH)
4. Craig Thomas (R-WY)
5. Trenet Lott (R-MS)

Hottest Political Party?

Democratic Senators average a 4.7 rating out of 10
Republican Senators average a 3.1 rating out of 10

Response from #1 ranked Senator Lautenberg:

"I'm trying to get to the bottom of it," he said. "I look in the mirror, too. And sexy can't have all these wrinkles."

Posted at 06:20 PM in General | Technorati

Support Howard Dean & the DNC

Posted by DavidNYC

Howard Dean became chairman of the Democratic National Committee this weekend. Today, at the start of the week, it's time to show our full support for him. Why is this important?

• To those outside the Democratic Party, we must demonstrate that all Democrats stand united behind Howard Dean.

• To the old-guard establishment within the Democratic Party, we must show that the netroots must be taken seriously.

• And to all concerned, we must make it clear that we're willing to put our money where our mouths are, to back up our words with dollars.

There will be a time once again in the very near future where we will need to organize and mobilize. But right now, the way we can send our message is with our hard-earned cash. So I strongly urge you to contribute what you can via ActBlue:

Contribution amount: $

You can keep track of donations here.

Posted at 02:27 PM in Activism, Netroots | Technorati

AmericaBlog blows open PropaGannon

Posted by Bob Brigham

John Aravosis of AmericaBlog.org has quite a Valentine's Day present for Scott McClellan. AmericaBlog.org has linked James D. Guckert, who "reported" on the White House under the pseudonym Jeff Gannon, to as many as six different internet escort profiles -- with X-rated pics -- and ratecards quoting $200/hour or $1,200/weekend.

Link Warning: The AmericaBlog scoop in not safe for work.

Posted at 01:48 PM in Activism, Netroots | Technorati

State Party Blog Project: Update

Posted by Tim Tagaris

We can show them with more than just money.

In the hours since Howard Dean was selected to lead our party into the years ahead, the blogosphere has responded by contributing $97,000 plus in the past 48 hours to the DNC. We do so as a show of support for the Governor. "We've got his back." For the little its worth, I urge you to continue contributing nationally, but I also implore you to act locally.

One of the major tasks ahead of us is building a solid party infrastructure that has been woefully neglected until now--until the grassroots uprising inspired in large part by the Dean campaign. The State Party Blog Project attempts to take those first steps, online, in our own states. Please link our effort to your blogs and websites, and most importantly, keep working towards our goal.

We have been at the project for a few weeks, and already have had some successes. I want to take this opportunity to outline some of those victories, implore you to apply pressure in states that are close to coming around, and attempt to convince states that don't seem to be listening.

Success Stories

Alabama: Yes, I am partial. Not because I am from the state (cause I am not) but because working with the technology director of the Alabama State Democratic Party was a lot of fun. Great guy, the state party is lucky to have Brannon on the team. From our first emails:

i have been wanting to do this. not sure exactly how to go about it. any insight would be greatly appreciated. Brannon AL Dem Party

Well, a few weeks later--we have this: http://www.aladems.net/nucleus Great work, Brannon!

Florida: No real point in looking to the past, and it probably wouldn't have been used much--but imagine what a blog would have done in this state during the 2000 recount. With a Gov. and Sen. race in 2006, the party has jumped into the 21st century. From the first email returned by the Florida Democratic Party back in December:

I've gone so far as to walk through the blog creation process at blogspot.com and to download movable type for potentially hosting a blog on our webserver. We also wrote a very simplistic web diary for use by our delegation during the convention. [...]

I love blogs. I read several regularly. We already run a yahoo group that allows some members to carry on discussions. What more will a blog do for us?

I don't know if the emails back and forth had anything to do with it, and quite frankly, it's not important. But this is:


Tennessee: I wish I still had the emails to share, but the good people at the Tennessee Democratic Party were one of the first to respond when the initial call by the project's participants went out.

Now, they have a blog up.

Massachusetts: In response to a flood of emails from the netroots:

Hey folks, The MDP is going to start a blog. In addition to our forum.


Right now we are trying to decide who the blog moderator will be.

Iowa: This is another state that didn't have a blog when the project first started. Well, they had one, they just never used it. Which is another important facet of the project--getting states that have blogs, and don't use them, to start.

We have been assured in the case of Iowa, that will change. From the Iowa Democratic Party:

The Iowa Democratic Party does have a blog! See Here it is just getting started, and we have new staff coming on board next week, so things should start picking up. You can contact me if you have any questions, comments, concerns, or would like to volunteer to help.

-Andrew Brown

But here is the point, once again. I could go down the list and count off state party websites that did not have blogs when we started, but do now. All of these blogs appeared after some form of outreach from our effort. Some of the states said they planned on starting a blog at first ask by the SPBP. Others did not. Either way, if they have a blog now, that is a victory.

But more important than celebrating our successes, is working towards states that are coming around--they just need a little more prodding. For example:

States We Can Get--Keep the Pressure On!

North Dakota is an easy get--if we follow up. From the Executive Director. Kind of makes me bad for going off on this state on the site.

We are interested. Thanks, Vern Thompson

Short and sweet, but that's fine. Someone, grab that ball. Here is the email address to use: vthompson@demnpl.com

New Jersey: Sorry to solicit more emails to the NJDP Mike, don't take it the wrong way--I really do like you.

Thank you so much for your input. There has been an increase in the number of requests for the New Jersey Democratic State Committee to provide a blog to our supporters. I assure you that the idea is being considered, so please check our website often for updates! We post new information, and ways for our supporters to get involved very often, so thank you for visiting our site, and we hope to hear from you soon!

Michael Giglio
IT Director
New Jersey Democratic State Committee

Pennsylvania: Could there be a more important race in 2006 than our opportunity to take out Rick Santorum? Seriously. This is why Democrats have lost 13 straight full-term U.S. Senate elections in PA. They say they are short-handed, well let them know that we will pick up the ball for them!

I just called and spoke to the PA Dem webmaster. He thought a blog is a good idea and told me that there is an intention to create a blog. But he is part of a three person team with a number of tasks, so it doesn't sound like we'll get a weblog soon.

He asked me if there is an email going around because I was "the fourth person" who called him today to inquire about a weblog.

So that is a quick down-and-dirty update. I have made all of the requisite updates on The State Party Blog Projet Blog. Atleast I hope I have. That is the hub for information and all of the tools you need to push the project down the field. Oh, not to glance over them. But we are going to include D.C. and Puerto Rico. More information on that shortly.

Please, take advantage of them. It is a new day for the Democratic Party. What better gift can we give our new Chairman than working to rebuild the infrastructure of our party and convince them (like we should have to convince) to implement the tools that allow us to participate and communicate directly from the roots.

Let's open those lines of communication.

Posted at 11:52 AM in Activism, Netroots | Technorati

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Calling out the Illinois Democratic Party

Posted by Tim Tagaris

Yo. Anybody there in Springfield? Cause no one is responding. I hate to call you out in public, but many have tried in private. Now I gotta shame you. Your website is the worst mechansim for any sort of meaningful communication or information I have ever laid eyes on in my life.

I am not even trying to get all Internet evangelical on you; you gotta crawl before you can walk. But seiously, as a native, I am embarassed.

Where to even begin:

1.) At the very least, most candidates/parties make sure their contribution page is up to snuff. After all, they want the loot. But you can't even contribute on the website. You have to call or email to get instructions. What happens when you call? Do they get the information and a carrier pigeon comes to pick up the check?

2.) Maybe this is a simple oversight on your party, but do you know there is no way to even call on the front page? No telephone number, no email address to an info-at. The only HINT of contact information is an email address to the webmaster. Seriously, how can you not do better than that?

3.) The links page is funny. Someone got ambitious and attempted to link us to each state parties in the country. An ambitious goal for that crew, even if it doesn't really promote activism in Illinois. However, they apparently got lazy and stopped after twenty-some states.

Out of 102 counties in Illinois, there is contact information for seventeen of them. Sure, not every county has a Democratic Party, we are working to change that--especially if you won't. But I am quite sure that the number of existing counties with local parties is more than seventeen.

No one is asking for for an exhaustive list or user-friendly splash, heaven forbid. But let's make an effort.

4.) The candidates page says, in reference to 2005 races:

Visit this section again next election. Thank you!

That made me laugh. I really believe they were thinking, "yeah, visit it on election day and see who to vote for." Well what if people want to GET INVOLVED with some of those local candidates but don't know how to find them! Unbelievable. Does anyone else find that quote funny? Especially in light of the rest of the site?

5.) The Join the Team page still talks about building off the successes of 2002. Let's assume for a second they think 2002 was home to the last successes of the party. Whatever, fine. But you are missing the point. Give us some options to, umm, "join the team." I don't know, some form where I can check some boxes or type some text. We aren't asking for much here. . . We can even pretend that when I submit it, someone will read it.

6.) The press releases page is apparently under development. Unfortunately, it has been for a few months now. It is not too tough save a release, drop it on the server, and link it. No one is asking for beauty here.


7.) The calendar page is the shining light of the website. Only, there is no calendar actually. It only provides information on fundraisers. Two of them to be exact. But beggars can't be choosers--thanks for updating that part.

People have tried. Many. I know because they email me or comment on it in other blogs. I know because I have tried myself. We want to help you here. Be pissed at me as you read this, fine. But myself, and many others want to help -- ttagaris@yahoo.com

Blow up their phone lines with this number: 217.546.7404
- email here: jgyure@ildems.com

Posted at 11:15 PM in Activism, Illinois | Comments (3) | Technorati


Posted by Tim Tagaris

"It's time to punch the clock." The "Battle for America," has just begun.

Posted at 01:10 PM in Activism, General | Technorati

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Blogosphere United

Posted by Bob Brigham

BlogPAC is leading an effort to unite the blogosphere behind Howard Dean.

Contribution amount: $

Here at the Swing State Project, we've been very focused on the future of our Democratic Party. We've covered the campaign for DNC Chair extensively. DavidNYC travelled to the Eastern Regional Caucus, I travelled to the Western Regional Caucus, and Tim has written dozens of posts on the campaign. We did this because we care about the future of our Party. Now that we have a reform Democrat leading the DNC, it is time for the blogosphere and the netroots to come together and support our leader.

If you have a blog, syndicate this and join a united blogosphere. You can also help by emailing your friends and sending them to:


UPDATE (DavidNYC): I just kicked in 25.01 - and I'm a poor student in debt up to my ears! So please, please contribute. Nothing could be more important than showing we are united in our support for Dean, and at this precise moment in time, dollars are the way to send that message.

UPDATE: $10467.69 from 215 donors in the first hour.
UPDATE 2: Be patient, ActBlue is running a little slow due to the response.
UPDATE 3: $22871.55 from 458 donors in the first two hours.
UPDATE 4: Interesting Times says Actblue, "appears to be swamped"
UPDATE 5: $34263.77 from 675 donors in the first three hours.
UPDATE 6: $43082.20 from 883 donors in the first four hours.
UPDATE 7: Kos says, "the ActBlue servers were so hammered that many went over and donated directly at the DNC site."
UPDATE 8: Blogsnow is tracking this as one of the most talked about items in the blogosphere.
UPDATE 9: Timeline: Atrios posted at 12:03 PM eastern, Markos posted the syndication code four minutes later at 9:07 AM pacific.
UPDATE 10: In five hours, 1000 people donated.

Atrios says:

We've set up a blogosphere-wide donation page, so show your support.

Remember: money talks. So, one way to get Candy Crowley to shut the fuck up is to play to Dean's strengths, which include gettting lots of turkee from the netroots.

Kos says:

Now that "Chairman Dean" is official, let's get Dean's back.

That fundraising link is being shared by a great deal of blogs.[...]

Remember, the GOP will unload on Dean. Everytime you hear the "Dean Scream" without context, consider donating. When you hear some empty head talk about the party "moving left" with Dean, consider donating. When you hear about unnamed big dollar Democratic donors whining about pulling their money out of the party, consider donating.

TalkLeft says:

Congratulations, Dr. Dean. Let's give him the ammunition he needs to successfully reform our party. Here's a blogosphere-wide contribution page.

Chris Anderson says:

The button may not work. ActBlue, the site handling the contributions, appears to be swamped right now. This is a good thing. If the button doesn't work you can go to the contribution page directly.

Articulate.babble says

Those of us who have followed Dean through the highs and lows know that he’s got our back. It’s time to get his. Donate to the DNC and show Howard that we support his efforts to reform this party!

I am a Reform Democrat.

For a trip down nostalgia lane, here’s a video link to Dean’s famous “What I Want to Know” speech two years ago at the DNC winter meeting. Now he’s DNC chairman.

What a country!

Damn Liberals says:

The GOP didn't want this. The status quo Democrats, like Lieberman, didn't want this. Dean represents a driving force that will give the party back to the people. This is a threat to those in power. As long as we are ignorant, they can rule. Dean refuses to allow us to remain ignorant any longer. As such, those in the GOP will open up with both barrels on him, probably starting tomorrow on the Sunday talking bobble head shows. We must watch Dean's back, and close ranks in support of him.

One way we in the Blogosphere can do this is through showing our support with our wallet. Please consider donating NOW to the DNC in support of electing Howard Dean to the chairmanship.

Posted at 12:11 PM in Activism, DNC Chair, Netroots | Technorati

Friday, February 11, 2005

Jeff Gannon

Posted by Tim Tagaris

If you are a regular visitor to SSP, there is no doubt that you have come across the Jeff Gannon story by now. If not (or even if you have), here are two of the best recent summaries:

1.) Press release put out by the DailyKos diarists who broke, and have remained on top of, the story.

2.) Jon Aravosis, of AmericaBlog, on CNN last night with Aaron Brown. He did a great job and represented us (the lefty blogosphere) well.

And to think I remember joking around with David on messenger over a week ago about whether or not this story had legs.

Posted at 10:31 AM in Activism, Netroots | Technorati

Harkin to abandon the Senate?

Posted by Tim Tagaris

Iowa: With Democratic Governor Tom Vilsack stepping down, the rumor mill has begun to churn for the 2006 open election. Congressman Jim Nussle (R-IA) has already declared that he is going to chase the seat. Now, rumors of a potential heavyweight showdown between Nussle and Tom Harkin have begun to surface.

Harkin, a Democrat in his fourth term, was asked Thursday in a conference call with Iowa reporters about rumors he may make a bid for the chief executive post back home in Iowa.

The governor's seat will be open in 2006, when Democratic Gov. Tom Vilsack has said he will step down after two terms. Several Democrats are considering runs, but the only announced Democratic candidate is state Rep. Ed Fallon of Des Moines.

"I don't know - that just went all over the darn place and I don't know what's all behind that," Harkin said of the rumors.

In fairness, the tone and tenor of the article kind of leads you to the conclusion that Harkin will stick around in the Senate, and thank God for that. I suppose that is easy for me to say, being from Chicago and living in Pennsylvania. The piece concludes:

Harkin does appear to be ready to tackle a fifth Senate term in 2008. "I love my job," he told reporters.

Posted at 09:46 AM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - House, 2006 Elections - Senate, 2006 Elections - State, Iowa | Technorati

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Minnesota Minnesota Minnesota: Republicans

Posted by Tim Tagaris

Might as well cover the spectrum today.

Congressman Mark Kennedy is expected to make an announcement tomorrow regarding his intention to run as the Republican nominee to replace Sen. Mark Dayton (D-MN).

Former U.S. Sen Rod Grams who lost to Dayton in 2000 has already declared he will attempt to reclaim the seat he once held. Other possible Republicans include Congressman Gil Gutknecht and Mary Kiffmeyer, Minnesota Secretary of State.

If Kennedy runs, that means Gutknecht will not, as he indicated when he originally expressed his interest in the seat:

Gutknecht, who represents Rochester, said he didn't envision a primary battle with Kennedy. Instead, switching on a "Godfather" voice, Gutknecht said he hoped it would be settled "by a meeting of all the families" - state party leaders and Minnesota Republicans in Congress.

If nothing else, Dayton dropping out has made the senate race in Minnesota a lot more interesting.

Posted at 07:44 PM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - Senate, Minnesota | Technorati

Franken will not run for Senate

Posted by Tim Tagaris

Al Franken kept his listeners on edge until minutes before the conclusion of his show, when he finally said:

"Anyway, I'm not running for Senate in 2006. Minnesotans are very serious about their politics; it would be silly for me to run, I don't live there."

Before the official decision, he played around with the audience for hours, hanging on until the last moment to release his decision. In the segement prior to the final commercial break, the radio host claimed that he "didn't know" whether or not he was going to run, and would get the advice of Norm Ornstein during the break and then make his decision on the other side.

When they came back Al talked about his career as an author and talk show host and acknolwedged that he has always thought about "being involved in politics in a different way." Then he talked about the proud progressive history in Minnesota, from Hubert Humphrey to Paul Wellstone. He honored those two by saying anything that he has accomplished in politics is in no small part because of them.

He then talked about believing in honoring his committments. That included his two-year contract with Air America Radio. That was the first solid clue his answer to the question tossed around all day would be, "no."

Right before making his decision not to run official, Franken and Ornstein discussed the need for people like Franken in radio to "push back" against a Right Wing Noise Machine. They mentioned Britt Hume, Bill Bennett, and Rush Limbaugh who they "debunk" on a daily basis because, "it is fun, and it is easy."

He concluded by saying that if he did decide to take on Norm Coleman in 2008, he would move the show to Minnesota and live inside the state while running.

Then he promoted tomorrow's show, and signed off.

Al Franken's website

Posted at 02:59 PM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - Senate, Minnesota | Comments (3) | Technorati

Alan Page: Minnesota Senate 2006

Posted by Tim Tagaris

When David suggests a candidate, I am inclined to learn more about him--such is the case with Alan Page. The more and more I learn about potential candidates to square off against Mark Kennedy, the more and more I think Dayton dropping out was a blessing in disguise.

So far we have a full slate of interesting candidates: Air America radio show host Al Franken, Minnesota Public Radio host and author Garrison Keillor, Minneapolis lawyer Mike Ciresi, and State Senator Steve Kelley. Ciresi and Kelley were both vanquished by Dayton in the 2000 primary. The St. Paul Pioneer Press has a full report on a large handful of potential successors.

But as I read about Alan Page, I really began to appreciate the man and his accomplishments. Page is the state's first African-American Supreme Court Justice. Others might know him as a Hall of Fame football player, part of the vaunted "Purple People Eaters."

Much of Page's activism has centered around providing educational opportunities for underprivileged children. His outreach includes establishing foundations to provide tuition for down-trodden students and co-sponsorship of a national essay writing contest to promote literacy.

In 2004, Page won re-election to the State Supreme Court in overwhelming fashion:

Alan Page 72%
Tim Tingelstad 28%

For more information:

Page Education Foundation Scholarship

Minnesota Supreme Court Justice Profile Page

2004 Campaign Website

Posted at 11:34 AM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - Senate, Minnesota | Comments (2) | Technorati

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Al Franken to Run in Minnesota? Tune in Tomorrow...

Posted by Tim Tagaris

We learned earlier today that incumbent Democrat Mark Dayton (MN) will not seek re-election to the United States Senate in 2006. In the past few hours, a number of names have been tossed around. Bob mentioned public radio host and author Garrison Keillor as one possibility.

Toss another radio personality into the mix. Air America Radio's Al Franken is set to make an announcement on his radio show tomorrow.

Possible candidates range from Minneapolis lawyer Mike Ciresi, who ran against Dayton in the 2000 primary, to radio show host Al Franken, who told The Associated Press he would make an announcement on his show Thursday.

For the Republicans, Congressman Mark Kennedy (Rep. MN-6) still appears to be the frontrunner. Even still, our friends at Dayton v. Kennedy now need to get a new blog--which is funny to me.

UPDATE (by David): Looks like Franken is indeed in.

Posted at 06:46 PM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - Senate, Minnesota | Comments (4) | Technorati

Alabama: Roy Moore to run for Governor

Posted by Tim Tagaris

Everyone's favorite Constitution Party candidate, Roy Moore, looks like he will be running for Governor of Alabama in 2006. The GOP is ready to accept Moore into their "big tent" to take on incumbent Republican Governor Bob Riley in what would shape up as a spectular primary pitting wingnutery vs. extreme wingnuttery.

Moore flirted with the prospect of running for President of the United States under the Constitution banner in 2004, campaigning to turn the United States into a "Bible-based republic." Moore is the Chief Justice in Alabama who was booted for refusing a federal judge's order that the Ten Commandment be taken down from outside the state judicial building.

This is actually a seat that the Democrats can pick-up. However, the Democratic Party of Alabama would much rather have a rematch with Riley as opposed to taking on the extremely popular Moore. The Alabama State House of Representatives is controlled by the Democratic party, adding the Governor's Mansion would be a nice boost.

The Democratic nominee will most likely be Lt. Gov. Lucy Baxley or a rematch against ex-Governor Don Siegelman. In 2002, Riley defeated Siegelman by a mere 3,110 votes.

Posted at 04:31 PM in 2006 Elections - State, Alabama | Technorati

Dayton calls no joy

Posted by Bob Brigham

Senator Dayton, thanks for your service, we'll miss you.

Garrison Keillor, where do I send a check?

Posted at 02:41 PM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - Senate, Minnesota | Technorati

Clinton leads Pataki & Giuliani

Posted by Tim Tagaris

Two days ago, David pointed to the Siena College poll that has Elliot Spitzer crusing Pataki in a race for NY Gov.

Falcon4e pointed out in the comments that Pataki's best bet might be to square off against Hillary for the US Senate seat. That might be the case, but if the race were held today, he would get beaten even more soundly in that contest. It is also interesting to note that Clinton would not only demolish Pataki, but leads Giuliani as well.

Quinnipiac Poll released today (registered voters, early December in parens for first poll):

Clinton: 61 (58)
Pataki: 30 (36)
Undecided: 5 (4)
(MoE: ±2.8%)

Clinton: 50
Giuliani: 44
Undecided: 5
(MoE: ±2.8%)

Many more particulars on the Quinnipiac press release.

Posted at 11:40 AM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - Senate, 2006 Elections - State, New York | Technorati

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Senator Feingold Interview

Posted by Tim Tagaris

Is done...

Well, it turns out that I am second-to-last blogger to ask a question; chances are anything I have thought out will have been covered at that point. That's fine--I am just happy to be there. So. . .

Put your questions/comments in this entry. I will keep the screen open while the Q&A is going on, crossing off questions as we move along. If something is left by my turn, I will fire it out there.

Also, feel free to trackback people from your sites--I will do my best to blog the exchange as it happens, just like we did with Donnie Fowler's interview.

Overview: The first question I asked was about veterans and "supporting the troops." I got so pissed while thinking about 250,000 vets a year waiting in line for care, people I know personally who have died in Iraq, and Republicans waving their purple fingers at the SOTU, that I stuttered and stammered through the whole question.

The second question I asked was about the Senator's quote in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

"If at some point people say, 'Hey, we think you ought to run for president' (and) it's a serious thing, I'm going to listen. I would only run if I honestly believed that I was the guy that really could win, that I was the person who was the best candidate to run"

That one, I managed to get out without making myself sound like a smitten fifth grader. Extended entry...

5:52 P.M.

I am about to call in right now. I am a bit frustrated because on Tuesday night where I work--there is Irish dancing classes that go on upstairs. It sounds like a train is running through the building. I hope the conference is taken on mute for all callers, otherwise I will have to go outside to my car and take the call. If that happens, I will post a full update when its over.

6:02 P.M.

Gotta take the call outside. Will update when it's over. Sorry folks.

7:05 P.M. (Recap)

Right off the bat we got into 2008. Markos asked about other potential candidates for president wooing Washington insiders to bolster future runs.

The Senator countered with a refrain he repeated throughout the Q&A. Locking down insiders right now is a losing strategy. We don't even know what the world is going to look like in two years and it would almost be irresponsible (my word) to make a decision on 2008 right now, and start agressively moving towards it.

I gotta be honest--I had to take the conversation in my car (not running), so I was freezing and not able to take many notes. However, I think detailing the following is important:

He acknowledged a battle for the soul of the Democratic Party is taking place. He stressed that if there is a WINNER of that battle, and we divide ourselves in the process, the party is in trouble. I agree, sort of...

In my mind, Tim Roemer has little place in the future of "my" Democratic Party. See Mercatus. Congressmen like Martin Frost who run television ads claiming their Republican opponent isn't Republican enough. . . Umm, not palatable to me either. I understand that in some areas of the country you gotta do what you gotta do to win. But there is a line where personal principles have gotta come to the fore--and "Who supported President Bush?" "Speaker Hastert, and Martin Frost" "Kay Hutchinson and Martin Frost." Umm, no thanks.

But I think what most of SSP readers want to know is whether or not we got any clues as to whether or not Feingold is running in 2008. I came away from the interview unsure. It is obvious that he is seriously thinking about; waiting to see how things play out in D.C. and across the country before comitting to anything.

Were it Final Jeopardy, I would guess that he will be the progressive option on the ballot in Iowa, New Hampshire, or whatever states come first in the next cycle.

At the end of the interview, Chris Bowers asked him whether or not he was aware that in most online polls for 2008, he leads--almost exclusively.

Hopefully that translates at some point into him realizing that people are saying, "Hey, we think you ought to run for president."

Cause he "oughta."


Posted at 03:00 PM in 2008 Election - President, 2008 President - Democrats, Activism, General, Wisconsin | Technorati

Hastert to Retire? IL-14 in 2006

Posted by Tim Tagaris

Talk about burrying the lede. I knew Dennis Hastert's career was coming to a close, but I had no idea 2006 was going to be the end.

Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio) has circulated a document to his K Street donors that ranks the “efficiency” of the top 10 House leadership PACs, breaking down how much each of them contributed to candidates as a percentage of total expenditures.

The rankings are prompting operatives on K Street to believe Boehner will need to be taken seriously in a leadership reshuffle after the expected retirement of Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) at the end of the 109th Congress.

So would we be able to mount a challenge on IL-14 in 2006? Probably not. It is a pretty rural area, with the exception of Aurora, that stretches from the suburbs of Chicago out west through farm country towards Iowa. In 2000, President Bush carried Illinois' 14th CD 54% to 42% over Al Gore. Dennis Hastert was initially elected in 1986 with 52% of the vote and hasn't faced a serious challenge since then. In 2004, Hastert handled Democrat Ruben Zamora 69% to 31%.

Interestingly enough, there is a growing hispanic demographic in the district that now accounts for 20% of the population. Still, the top two priorities in Illinois for 2006 should be:

1.) Taking out Henry Hyde (R) (or his replacement) in IL-6 with Christine Cegelis (D)

2.) Defending the seat of Melissa Bean (D) who upset 36 year incumbent Phil Crane (R) in IL-8.

Posted at 10:42 AM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - House, Illinois | Comments (1) | Technorati

Monday, February 07, 2005

Spitzer Crushing Pataki but Behind Giuliani in New Poll

Posted by DavidNYC

Siena College has a new poll out covering my favorite race, NY Gov. Here's how things look (registered voters, no trendlines):

Spitzer: 51
Pataki: 35
Undecided: 15
(MoE: ±3.9%)

For a race that's almost two years away, 15% undecided seems remarkably low - a product, surely, of the high name-recognition that both men, particularly Pataki, have. In fact, that really tells the whole story here: Spitzer's favorable/unfavorable/unsure rating is 48-17-34; Pataki's is 39-45-16. With 34% DK, Spitzer has room for improvement. Pataki, glub-glub-glubbing with a negative rating and few undecideds, has little room for movement, especially when (in a separate question), 57% say they'd like "someone else" to be governor.

The Spitzer-Giuliani matchup provides a different picture but actually tells a similar story:

Spitzer: 40
Giuliani: 49
Undecided: 11
(MoE: ±3.9%)

Giuliani, over three years after 9/11, still has impressive favorables: 61-28 (with just 11% unsure). This certainly is what accounts for Spitzer's weaker performance against Rudy than against George. But the key difference here, as I noted above, is that Spitzer has room for improvement. Until and unless the GOP starts running a Swift Boat-style campaign against Eliot, his numbers should only get better. (Except among Wall Street whiners, it's hard for an AG by himself to drive up his own negatives.)

The bottom line: If it's Spitzer vs. Giuliani, we will have a serious horserace on our hands. (That's a big "if" - I don't think Giuliani has shown much interest in running.) But I'm confident that Eliot can go toe-to-toe with Rudy, who will be five years out of office by the time election day 2006 rolls around - and 13 years removed from his last serious election campaign (in 1993 vs. Dinkins). He'll be rusty, and Eliot will be fiesty. I'll take that matchup.

(Thanks to NYCO.)

Posted at 05:26 PM in 2006 Elections - State, New York | Comments (3) | Technorati

Bush's "budget man" hates the troops...

Posted by Tim Tagaris

From the third presidential debate: George Bush

I propose a detailed budget, Bob. I sent up my budget man to the Congress, and he says, here's how we're going to reduce the deficit in half by five years.

When the president first told the American people about his "budget man," I envisioned a tiny fella that looked like Buddy Lee running around Capitol Hill with a briefcase, screaming about how low low low his prices are and how crazy he must be for slashing them everywhere.

Little did we know that the "budget man" carried a big stick, and instead of swinging at the reckless tax cuts for the wealthiest among us--he is reaching out of the strike zone and attacking the troops. In fact, the budget man and the president HATE the troops.

Now the VA and the same troops "we support" are forced to fight a war on two fronts: One in Iraq & Afghanistan, and another for the most basic care and fulfillment of benefits promised when they signed the contract that the government wrote:

Support the troops?

President Bush's budget would more than double the co-payment charged to many veterans for prescription drugs and would require some to pay a new fee of $250 a year for the privilege of using government health care, administration officials said Sunday. [...]

The government had no immediate estimate of how many veterans would be affected if the user fee and co-payment proposals were adopted. But veterans' groups said that hundreds of thousands of people would end up paying more and that many would be affected by both changes. [...]

Mr. Fuller added that the budget would force veterans hospitals and clinics to limit services. "We are already seeing an increase in waiting lists, even for some Iraq veterans," he said.

In Michigan, for example, thousands of veterans are on waiting lists for medical services, and some reservists returning from Iraq say they have been unable to obtain the care they were promised. A veterans clinic in Pontiac, Mich., put a limit on new enrollment. Cutbacks at a veterans hospital in Altoona, Pa., are forcing some veterans to seek treatment elsewhere.

What a dick. I can't wait to see Jonah Goldberg and his fellow warrior typists defend this bullshit budget. The contract that the men and women of our armed services sign is apparently only good for the promises they make to our government, and not the ones we owe in return for their service.

As if the stick wasn't short enough for existing veterans and new ones returning from Iraq. Currently:

1.) At least 250,000 veterans are forced to wait for their disability claims to be resolved by the Veterans Administration (VA). Sometimes up to two years. Despite the fact that thousands of veterans returning from Iraq will file disability claims, the FY 2005 budget reduces to number of staff responsible for processing those claims.

2.) A 2002 study showed that 150,000 veterans wait more than six months for an appointment for primary care.

Oh yeah, here is the kicker.

3.) For every dollar in disability these wounded warriors will collect, they will have to forgo a dollar of their Social Security benefits. That is, of course, if the president can't take away social security from those troops (and the rest of us) first.

And after all of the bullshit that our veterans have to endure when they come back home from combat, they are forced to take a stick in the eye with this 2006 budget while they listen to Republicans scream "support the troops," while they dip their fingers in purple ink in the most spectacular show of grandstanding and hypocrisy of all time.

So let's be honest with ourselves from now on. I don't care what color the stink finger you wave at me is; if you supported the troops, you would fulfill the promises made when you wrote the contract.

Posted at 03:53 PM in DNC Chair | Technorati

Russ Feingold Interview

Posted by Tim Tagaris

Tomorrow night, I, along with several other bloggers, have the opportunity to ask a question of Senator Russ Feingold. So I have decided to turn to SSP's readers; what question do you think I should ask? Whether it be an actual question, or a topic you would like to see asked about, drop a comment below.

Personally, I am inclined to support a Feingold candidacy if and when he decides to run. Whether it was the informal poll on Kos this weekend, or previous polls on MyDD, it appears I would have a lot of company.

In the interim, take a moment to read the senator's op-ed in today's Christian Science Monitor. Here is a brief snip I appreciated on engaging the Middle East through dialogue, diplomacy and aid, as opposed to the current short-sighted policies of the Bush Administration.

But if we want a less threatening future, we Americans need to get in the game, increase our diplomatic presence, listen to the people on the ground, and combine widespread, quick-impact development projects with long-term investments in fighting corruption and promoting the rule of law. This has to be done in Mali and across the developing world. Most of all, we need to stop thinking solely in terms of how the world will look next year, and start thinking about how it will look in 50 years [...]

It is time to plan again for a generational effort, to commit to a policy of engagement, and to plant a new crop of wisdom. The US must engage with Muslim communities, and offer tangible support to struggling nations.

Without that sustained, consistent effort, our talk of partnership in the fight against terrorism will be seen for what it is: an empty gesture, and an empty-handed one at that.

Posted at 11:15 AM in 2008 Election - President, 2008 President - Democrats, Netroots | Comments (4) | Technorati

Sunday, February 06, 2005

The 101st Fighting Keyboarders

Posted by Tim Tagaris

Normally I don't write about Iraq, despite my strong feelings on the topic. For a few reasons, the past few days have really gotten me steamed about the situation overseas. Then this about sent me over the edge tonight...

Rising Hegemon picked up on a qoute from Jonah Goldberg of the National Review, detailing why Goldberg declares himself ineligible to fight in a war him and other warrior typist have been vociferously promoting for almost two years now.

As for why my sorry a** isn't in the kill zone, lots of people think this is a searingly pertinent question. No answer I could give -- I'm 35 years old, my family couldn't afford the lost income, I have a baby daughter, my a** is, er, sorry, are a few -- ever seem to suffice.

Well Jonah, Atrios found the first thirty-something who gave his life in Iraq and left a child behind--I found five more. I would imagine these families might not have had quite the "nest egg" your family has built up either.

Here's the first. You can also read the letters he wrote to his unborn child whom he never got to meet.

Army Pfc. Jesse Givens, 34, of Fountain, Colo.

Givens was killed May 1, 2003, when his tank tumbled into the Euphrates River when a riverbank gave way. He wrote what follows to his sons, Dakota, 5, and Carson, who was born four weeks after Givens' death:

"Dakota -- You are more son than I could ever ask for. I can only hope I was half the dad. You taught me how to care until it hurts, you taught me how to smile again. You taught me that life isn't so serious and sometimes you have to play. You have a big, beautiful heart. Through life you need to keep it open and follow it. [...]

"Bean (his pet name for the unborn Carson) -- I never got to see you but I know in my heart you are beautiful. I will always have with me the feel of the soft nudges on your mom's belly, and the joy I felt when we found out you were on the way.

"I dream of you every night, and I always will. Don't ever think that since I wasn't around that I didn't love you. You were conceived of love and I came to this terrible place for love. Please understand that I had to be gone so that I could take care of my family. I love you, Bean."

Four more in the extended entry, Jonah...

Sad to the depths of his 4-year-old soul, Jack Shanaberger knew what he didn't want to be when he grows up: a father.

"I don't want to be a daddy because daddies die," the child solemnly told his mother after his father, Staff Sgt. Wentz "Baron" Shanaberger, a military policeman from Fort Pierce, Fla., was killed March 23 in an ambush in Iraq.

Or how about this?

Pfc. Stephen Downing, 30, of Burkesville, Ky., gave up his truck-driving job to join the Army to provide a better life for his children, Taylor, 9, and Stephen, 5.

"His kids were everything in the world for him," Downing's ex-wife, LeAnn Emmons, told a local newspaper.

A man with a soft spot for all children, Downing -- killed Oct. 28 by a sniper in Ramadi -- told his family he would also be fighting for the children of Iraq. "He told his kids that he wanted Iraqi kids to have the same opportunities (American) kids do," Emmons said.

How about this one, Jonah?

It was his own bottomless love for his wife and two daughters that gave rise to the worst fear for Army Chief Warrant Officer William Brennan, an Army helicopter pilot killed in a crash Oct. 16 on a mission to protect Iraqi civilians fleeing under fire from insurgents.

"It's not the fear of death that wears me down. It is the feeling of not being there for my three girls," Brennan, 36, of Bethlehem, Conn., wrote in an Easter letter to his sister. Only 2 years old when his own father died, Brennan worried that, if he were killed, his children "would never know me."

Not good enough yet? How about this one?

Army Sgt. Pamela Osbourne, 38

Less than a week after Cawvey died, Osbourne was killed by shrapnel from a rocket attack on her camp in Baghdad. A native of Jamaica, Osbourne came to America when she was 14 with two dreams -- to become a U.S. citizen and to serve in the military.

A medical condition could have kept her out of Iraq duty, but Osbourne was determined to serve her country, her husband Rohan Osbourne told a local newspaper in Hollywood, Fla.

While she was deployed, her husband tended to their three children, ages 9 to 19. A supply specialist, Osbourne managed to call home almost every day, between 5 a.m. and 6 a.m.

I am really getting pissed off right now.

LINK to above information.

Posted at 12:54 AM in International | Comments (1) | Technorati

Saturday, February 05, 2005

Best. Entry. Ever.

Posted by Tim Tagaris

Sorry I haven't had a lot of time the last few days to blog, but rest assured, things will be back to normal tomorrow. The State Party Blog Project and a trip to Philly this morning has held me back some.

In the meantime: Check out this entry on Oliver Willis.

It's a video (that you don't have to download) of Alan Keyes stage diving at a Rage Against the Machine concert at the request of Michael Moore and his daughter, who he was nice enough to "cut-off" because she is a lesbian, just a few days ago. And by the way, the technology that Oliver Willis uses for his blog is down right tremendous.

Posted at 09:54 PM in General | Technorati

Friday, February 04, 2005

Taking it to Bush in Omaha

Posted by Tim Tagaris

President Bush arrived in Nebraska this morning to campaign for the corporatization of social security. The University of Nebraska (Omaha) College Democrats met the president, 300 strong, to protest.

You can find the entry on their blog. The group also has photos from the protest that you can take a look at here. We certainly need more of this type of on-the-ground reporting through the blogosphere. I am thankful they took the time to detail, online, the days events through photos.

It is worth noting that 4 of the five states on the president's current trip have contested US Senate elections in 2006. Three of those states, Nebraska, Montana, and Florida have Democratic senators and are all "red states."

In Nebraska, Senator Ben Nelson has dodged two bullets in the early stages of the campaign. First, Governor Mike Johanns was named Secretary of Agriculture in the president's administration. Then Nebraska football coach and beloved congressman, Tom Osborne, decided he would stay put in the House, for the time being.

Nelson eeked out a victory in 2000--51% to 49% over Republican Don Stenberg.

Posted at 08:02 PM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - Senate, Florida, Montana, Nebraska | Technorati

Thursday, February 03, 2005

State Party Blogs: Quick Update

Posted by Tim Tagaris

The response to the State Party Blog Project has been tremendous. Thank you. There has even been some direct feedback from the actual state parties on the site. I want briefly highlight one in particular: Arizona.

In short, the state's non-traditional campaign director made a direct appeal for bloggers. They need writers! It sounds like a great opportunity to get involved doing something most of us already enjoy. So, if you would like to do some blogging for the Arizona Democratic Party, please use the contact information below.

Tony Cani
ADP Non-Trad Campaigns Director

Posted at 12:17 PM in Activism, Arizona, Netroots | Comments (3) | Technorati

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

More Madness

Posted by Tim Tagaris

The President...

"Soon I will send to Congress a proposal to fund special training for defense counsel in capital cases, because people on trial for their lives must have competent lawyers by their side."

The Not So Way Back Machine...

The so-called "sleeping lawyer" case became an international embarrassment for Texas. It was an embarrassment that was well-deserved. Texas officials under both former Gov. George Bush and current Gov. Rick Perry argued that Burdine's sleeping lawyer did not violate his client's constitutional rights.

If you were curious, Burdine was on Death Row.

Posted at 09:41 PM in General | Technorati

You're kidding right?

Posted by Tim Tagaris

From President Bush's State of the Union Address

For example, in the year 2027, the government will somehow have to come up with an extra 200 billion dollars to keep the system afloat

This is humorous for 2 reasons...

1.) If we are forced into privatization, the governmenet will somehow have to come up with an extra" two trillion dollars by 2015 to afford the transition.

2.) Ironically, in the past 2 years, we have found 200 billion (plus now) dollars to pay for a failing occupation based on a series of lies in Iraq.

There is NO Crisis continues with the coverage.

Posted at 09:29 PM in General | Comments (1) | Technorati

The place to be for State of the Union

Posted by Tim Tagaris

There is NO Crisis has a list of bloggers who will be commenting on the event in real-time HERE. There will also be a rapid response they have set up that you can visit and, more importantly, participate in HERE.

No further text necessary tonight. There is NO Crisis is the place to be.

Posted at 05:03 PM in Activism, Netroots | Technorati

State Party Blog Project: Now YOU have the tools

Posted by Tim Tagaris

So it's looking good that Howard Dean will become our next DNC Chairman, and that means we have a mandate. A mandate to reform the party.

Don't get it twisted; the fact that Howard Dean will most likely be heading up the Democratic Party is our victory. It is the voice of the grassroots lifted up into the halls of power once owned by the "aristocracy of consultants." No more.

It is incumbent upon us to continue this fight and provide our state parties the tools available to communicate with the grassroots. When that is done, we begin at the county level - and so on.

For those familiar with the State Party Blog Project, I have created a website to give you all the tools to make the job happen. It will also serve as a hub for information and updates on our progress.


For those not familiar...

This project is a grassroots effort encouraging all 50 Democratic state parties to not only put a blog on their official website, but to use it effectively. The Internet is the only medium of communication available for mass two-way communication. It is not only an effective fundraising tool (the language most "professionals" speak), but has tremendous organizational and communicative benefits most fail to recognize.


The time has long passed to build an effective communication infrastructure online. If the good folks in Washington, D.C. don't want to do it, then the netroots will pick up the slack once again.


Posted at 01:03 PM in Activism, Netroots | Technorati

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

And there was joy in Mudville

Posted by Tim Tagaris

Martin Frost just withdrew from the race for DNC Chair.

"I am calling my supporters to thank them and to inform them of my decision today to withdraw from the race for DNC Chair. I have also called Governor Dean and congratulated him for running a strong campaign. The challenge ahead for Governor Dean will be to unite the Party, rebuild the DNC and win elections in every region of the country.

Read the rest of Frost's press release here.

Posted at 04:10 PM in DNC Chair | Technorati

Fowler Done: Chairman Brewer Next?

Posted by Tim Tagaris

From the Detroit Free Press:

People who said they were familiar with the situation told the Free Press that national party activist Donnie Fowler and Michigan campaign officials notified national party leaders they needed an extra $2.5 million on the last weekend before the Nov. 2 vote.

They said they would have to curtail the state campaign if the money wasn't forthcoming, used lax accounting practices and were so disorganized that several campaign vans turned up missing, said the Democrats, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Fowler and Michigan Democratic Party Chairman Mark Brewer vigorously disputed those charges Monday, which they said were part of an effort by party rivals to undermine Fowler's DNC candidacy.

That should serve as the death blow to a Fowler DNC candidacy that was, if you listen to him, picking up steam. But will the fallout end there?

ASDC Chairman Brewer, who personally kicked Jerome and Matt Stoller out of the ASDC sponsored candidate Q&A, is running for Chairman of the Michigan Democratic Party. He has already has the endorsement of Governor Granholm. The election takes place February 19th at the state party convention.

Governor Granholm's Opinion Form

Posted at 01:16 PM in DNC Chair, Michigan | Technorati

Ohio: Mayor Coleman to run for . . .

Posted by Tim Tagaris

. . . Governor.

That sound you hear is the air being let out of my sails. Apparently Coleman, along with every other registered Democrat in the state of Ohio, is running for governor. The Mayor of Columbus is set to make the bid official with a noon annoucement from his home.

So with depression setting in, and an increased likelihood that we will not field any credible downballot statewide candidates, let's do an unofficial Ohio 2006 Cattle Call (I wish I had the arrows like Jerome):

1.) Congressman Sherrod Brown (NO CHANGE)

The nomination for governor is still his if he wants it. The only thing Coleman's announcement changes is that Brown might now be forced into an early decision. He orginally stated that he would have liked to wait six months before declaring his intentions one way or the other.

2.) Congressman Ted Strickland (NO CHANGE)

The Senate nomination is probably his if he wants it as well. He has already made it clear he is not running for governor, swinging his endorsement to Congressman Sherrod Brown. He then crytpically told reporters that he would be running for "federal" office in 2006. Apparently people like to take their sweet time making decisions in Ohio.

With one exception...

3.) Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman (UP)

Coleman rises simply because he officially makes the decision to run. That's great, but if Sherrod runs, Coleman gets stomped. Unfortunately Congressman Brown has a history of waffling on these statewide decisions, eventually bowing out of potential runs.

If Congressman Brown keeps people waiting for his decision, and eventually decides not to run--the nomination will likely go to Coleman. My displeasure is not that I think Coleman would be a bad candidate, I just really like Sherrod, Dammit!

4.) Jerry Springer (THE WILD CARD)

Who knows what Jerry wants to run for in 2006. Many would like to see him keep raising money for candidates and keep his name off the ballot. I don't think that will be the case--Jerry is running for something.

In 2004 he seriously explored a potential bid for US Senate against George Voinovich. He eventually stepped aside for Eric Fingerhut's failed run. But the year is 2006, and all indications are that Jerry is thinking more about running for governor than he is thinking about giving the senate another go. I personally wish it was the other way around. It will take a "different" kind of candidate to beat Mike DeWine, and with Jerry's name ID and ability to self-finance the race, I think he actually has the best chance against the sitting Senator.

5.) Akron Mayor Don Plusquellic (DOWN)

This annoucenment makes it almost official, he will not be running for Governor (or US Senate). This might be the only bright spot of the Coleman decision; Plusquellic is now freed up to run for Secretary of State or Auditor (or Lt. Governor). I am not sure if that interests the Akron Mayor. Time will tell...

6.) Former Ohio Atty General Lee Fisher (POOT)

And no thank you...

Fisher has already run for governor once and lost to Bob Taft, the current (and worst ever) governor of Ohio. In fact, Mayor Michael Coleman was Fisher's Lt. Gov. on that ticket. I would think that Coleman's decision today also came after consultation with Fisher.

So, without further ado, my (ever changing) Ohio predictions:

Governor: Sherrod Brown vs. Michael Coleman

Senate: Jerry Springer runs unopposed in the primary

Ted Strickland: Runs for re-election in his congressional district

Don Plusquellic: Runs as Lt. Gov on Coleman's ticket -- if not -- runs for Sec. of State.

Fisher: Stays home

State Auditor: Democrats field no credible candidate

Sec. of State: Eric Fingerhut (big time guess here) -- If Plusquellic runs, Fingerhut stays home and watches Buckeye football with Fisher on Saturdays.

Posted at 10:58 AM in 2006 Elections - State, Ohio | Comments (1) | Technorati

February 2005 Archive: