April 2005 Archive:

Saturday, April 30, 2005

The Uber-Campaign

Posted by Bob Brigham

Last night I was at a fundraiser for a first-time candidate running for State Assembly. Stop what you're thinking, the idea you have in your head about what that event might have been like isn't relevant. Schädelmann sets the stage:

A virtual who's who of past and present elected officials were on hand in support of her candidacy, including Supervsiors Jake Mc Goldrick and Gerardo Sandoval, and City Attorney Dennis Hererra. Former California Assembly Speaker Leo McCarthy was also in attendance (and serves as the campaign's chair) and various other past elected officials were there to show their support.

Oh yeah, and a junior Senator from the East Coast flew in for the event. And the ballroom atop the Merchant's Exchange was filled with more than 500 people. And the people were more excited by the candidate than they were with the Senator, who happens to be John Kerrey.

Seeing this made me think of the Uber-Campaign, running for the legislature like you're running for Congress, running for Congress like you're running for Senate and running for Senate like you're funning for President.

The event was for Janet Reilly -- Democrat running for an open seat in the 12th Assembly District. The crowd was huge, so large in fact that I got tired of bumping into people and left before Kerrey showed up, but Schädelmann reports:

While Kerry' presence was certainly appreciated by those who attended, his remarks were short and the crowd's enthusiasm for McCarthy and Reilly was a lot stronger. [...]

But to sum up - while Kerry was a draw, the clear star of the evening was Janet. And if one was measuring charisma wattage, Janet, with the courage of her convictions and her ability to communicate, was blowing doors off the 2004 Presidential nominee.

That is the Uber Campaign: have a statewide caliber event, bring in last year's standard bearer, turn out a huge crowd, and remain the center of attention.

It was a solid event, very well managed. They had volunteers working the elevators to keep people moving to the top floor, more than a dozen working sign in (which moved quickly because the majority pre-paid by credit card online and could grab a pre-printed nametag instead of writing a check). The focus was clearly on the campaign organization with around two dozen working to get people into the room with only two more pouring drinks (only problem).

They had a videographer and I saw two people who take great pictures snapping digitals, which should provide some great shots of the high-energy candidate working the room like a pro.

In post-modern politics, there is more to lose by not meeting expectations than there is by overkill. People want overwhelming campaigns, and it is actually the internet that will keep them personal.

When there was a misconception about the event in the paper, the campaign used their blog to set the record straight:

We got a spurt of press today on the Kerry event, with the Examiner and Chronicle both running items. If you read the Chronicle article, they had one fact wrong. Tickets start at $25 for the event, not $250. You can reserve your tickets by clicking here.

The Uber-Campaign is more concerned about cash flow than warchests, getting buy-in and then turning that into on-the-ground support. Many of the people who paid $25 to attend will use email to turn out their friends when they throw a house party (it is a sign of a good Bay Area fundraiser if Kos shows up...he's in the UK, but there were two bloggers there).

Bigger, better, faster. Why measure in inches when you can measure in yards?

Posted at 03:20 PM in California | Comments (1) | Technorati

Princeton Filibuster Hits 100 Hours

Posted by Bob Brigham

If you go to www.FilibusterFrist.com you'll see the counter has it a couple of hours behind the sign that I'm seeing on the webcam. I'll go with the webcame. This is great!

Posted at 02:51 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate | Comments (1) | Technorati

VT-Sen: Sanders Frightens Douglas; Takes Huge Lead

Posted by Bob Brigham

From David Sirota:

Vermont Gov. Jim Douglas (R) today announced he is not running in the open-seat 2006 Senate race. This is huge news, and a reflection on how Bernie Sanders has become a dominant force in Vermont and national politics. Douglas was heavily courted by the White House, with President Bush personally lobbying him to run. The fact that he declined such high-powered pleas shows just how frightened the Republicans are - and should be - of Sanders. They no doubt polled the situation, and saw just how wide and deep Sanders support is throughout the state. They understand that over the years, he has built an unrivaled following not only among progressives, but, as the Washington Post notes, also among working class conservatives who see him as a lonely voice in Washington with the guts to speak up for their economic concerns. And they understand that for millions of Americans who feel ignored by both parties, Sanders has become a powerful symbol that politicians can be successful AND represent the interests of ordinary people.

Sirota heaps some praise on MoveOn and calls on Howard Dean to hold the Sanders' coalition together by keeping it from becoming a three way race. Bernie Sanders has huge momentum now that everyone in Vermont will learn that the best the GOP could offer realized he couldn't win.

Posted at 02:38 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Open Seats, Vermont | Technorati

Saturday Schedule

Posted by Bob Brigham

2:00 PM (eastern) Governor Jim Douglas announcement

3:00 PM (eastern) Filibuster Frist at Princeton University will hit 100 hours (with 50K hits online in 36 hours)

Swing State Project will have weekend updates on both.

Posted at 01:08 AM in Site News | Technorati

Vermont Governor Jim Douglas Not for Senate

Posted by Bob Brigham

Gov. Jim Douglas (R-VT) is between a rock and a hard spot. On one hand, he wants to be a U.S. Senator. On the other hand, Gov. Douglas knows he will lose if he runs against Rep. Bernie Sanders. So a lot of people are telling Douglas he'd have a better chance of holding an office if he focused on trying to get re-elected.

It sounds like we'll know what he's running for tomorrow. This has been moving rapidly, the local press has filed multiple stories in the last few hours.

The AP kicked things off:

MONTPELIER, Vt. Governor James Douglas is expected to announce tomorrow that he will seek re-election and not run for an open U-S Senate seat next year.

The governor is planning a news conference in Burlington, but the governor's top aides won't say what he plans to announce. [...]

Several political observers say since Douglas is making the announcement while the Legislature is in session it means he is sure to say he doesn't intend to run for the Senate.

And Channel 3:

Governor Jim Douglas announced today, he will make "an announcement" at an afternoon press conference at the University of Vermont.

And Channel 5:

Just nine days ago, Sen. Jim Jeffords announced he plans to retire at the end of his 18th year, in 2006.

Then, Douglas told reporters he's focusing on his job at the statehouse and has no timetable for making a decision.

That changed sometime on Friday.

Sources close to Douglas will only say that he's considered his options carefully and wanted to clear the air as soon as he could.

And back to Channel 3:

"I don't know. I guess I'll probably talk about my future political plans," he told Channel 3's Kate Duffy. Asked what they are he replied: "You'll have to come and see, Kate." Prodded for a sneak preview he smiled: "You wouldn't tell anyone, would you?"

Sen. Jim Jeffords, I-Vermont, announced last week he would retire instead of seeking a fourth term in Washington. Political insiders say if Douglas is making an announcement this early, it likely means he will seek re-election instead of a Senate seat.

"I'll have something to say about it tomorrow. I'm not being very helpful am I? I have to give the weekend crew something to do, right?" he joked. [...]

A decision the governor will keep secret until Saturday.

Reading through the articles, it seems to me the Vermont press corps has a problem with chain-yanking politicians. Announced an announcement? "You'll have to come and see"?

What a typical politician, thinking this is all some theatre that revolves around him. Jim Douglas doesn't get it, he especially doesn't get it on health insurance.

Posted at 01:02 AM in 2006 Elections - Senate, 2006 Elections - State, Vermont | Technorati

Friday, April 29, 2005

VT-Gov: Jim Douglas

Posted by Bob Brigham

Vermont's Republican Governor Jim Douglas is threatening to veto legislation moving through the state legislature that would provide universal health care in Vermont. Gov. Douglas has been getting negative press for parroting insurance industry lies about the bill. Why is Douglas so opposed to this bill and to expanding access to health care in general? An in-depth look at his close ties to industries that oppose health care reform offers many clues.

WITHIN WEEKS OF BEING ELECTED, DOUGLAS MOVES TO GUT HEALTH CARE: Before Douglas even took office, the Associated Press reported that he said one of his priorities will be to "scale back some of the state health care programs that have been expanded over the past several years." Specifically, Douglas said he wants to scale back laws "in which the state requires insurers to price policies regardless of an individual's health status or age" – laws that advocates point out "makes insurance more affordable for the sick." [Source: AP, 12/19/02]

DOUGLAS'S TOP AIDE WAS BUSINESS LOBBYIST WHO FOUGHT HEALTH CARE REFORMS: The Burlington Free Press reported that Douglas's Deputy Chief of Staff, Betsy Bishop, is responsible for the governor's legislative agenda. Bishop was formerly a business lobbyist who, in 2002, actively lobbied against commonsense legislation to allow small businesses to participate in the state's health-care insurance program. [Sources: Burlington Free Press, 5/5/03 and 2/5/02]

DOUGLAS'S CAMPAIGNS FUNDED WITH INSURANCE INDUSTRY CASH: In 2004, Douglas relied on $300,000 worth of potentially-illegal ads by the Republican Governors Association – an organization funded with huge contributions from the health insurance industry. Research in 2002 showed that the RGA had accepted $671,000 from the insurance industry. [Source: Vermont Democratic Party research, 10/26/04]  

DOUGLAS HAS TRIED TO HIDE HIS RELIANCE ON INSURANCE INDUSTRY CASH: In 2004, Douglas claimed "90 percent" of his campaign cash came from in-state donors. He failed to mention the $300,000 cash infusion he received from the insurance-industry funded RGA. He also failed to mention that in 2002, his campaign pocketed more than $500,000 from the national Republican Party coffers that are regularly filled with health care/insurance industry cash. [Source: Inside Track, 3/30/05]

DOUGLAS'S HYPOCRISY ON HEALTH CARE CONTRIBUTIONS: In 1998, Bond Buyer magazine reported that Douglas was pushing a bill "to prohibit lawyers from making contributions to political campaigns of public officials with whom they may do business, in order to eliminate the appearance of pay-to-play." Yet, after his campaign relied on a warchest of insurance industry cash from the national Republican Party, Douglas is now threatening to veto critical health care legislation. [Source: Bond Buyer, 7/30/98]

Posted at 04:50 PM in Vermont | Technorati

Nuclear Option is the Crybaby Option

Posted by Bob Brigham

The DSCC is now running with Josh Marshall's Crybaby Option meme. From an email:

The Crybaby Option

In early 2003, then Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott first used the term "nuclear option" to describe a plan to abolish the filibuster as we know it.   He picked this colorful phrase because it fully captured how extreme it truly is to blow up 200 years of Senate tradition.

Problem is, "nuking" the Senate doesn't poll well, so the Republicans have tried and tried to convince everyone that Democrats came up with the term and that they prefer to call it something else entirely.  Even some in the so-called liberal media have started using "constitutional option," presumably because the Republican talking points said so. 

Remember - this whole issue is only a big deal because right wing Republicans started whining about not getting their way on every single judicial nomination.  Winning 95% of the time apparently wasn't enough for them.  Heck, maybe we should just start calling it what it is - the crybaby option.

The Lion Roars

Sen. Ted Kennedy has been on the Senate Judiciary Committee for years and knows the difference between good nominees and bad nominees.  And, boy, has Bush nominated some real stinkers!
Now you can learn just how bad these nominees truly are by reading about their long records of extremist activism on Kennedy's web site.


Do yourself a favor.  Try not to throw anything at the computer while you're reading.

That isn't easy to do.

Priscilla Owen:

  • Owen consistently reverses jury decisions involving claims of wrongful discharge, injury on the job, and worker compensation;
  • Owen frequently dissents in cases upholding protections against discrimination, sexual harassment, and other workplace abuses;
  • Owen consistently dissents in cases involving upholding consumer protections, narrowly interpreting laws that protect consumers;
  • Owen has consistently favored overturning jury verdicts that would hold business accountable for abuses;
  • Owen supported the reduction and elimination of buffer zones designed to protect reproductive health care clinics in Houston;
  • Owen opposed a woman’s right to choose in at least thirteen cases involving the ability of pregnant minors to obtain an abortion if a judge finds them mature enough to make their own decision;
  • Owen has been accused of judicial activism by her Republican colleagues on the Texas Supreme Court, including Bush administration Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.

William Myers:

  • Myers has consistently worked to protect private property rights at the expense of environmental concerns. For example, he has opposed federal authority to protect wetland areas under the Clean Water Act.
  • In the two years he served as Interior Department Solicitor, he issued only two opinions, both of which overturned regulations that protected environmental interests from private development.
  • His constant work on behalf of industry interests in his capacity as Solicitor at the Interior Department resulted in a number of disturbing conflicts, two of which resulted in ethics investigations; one of those investigations is still ongoing.

Janice Rodgers Brown:

  • A 1999 dissent drafted by Brown suggested that the First Amendment allows employees to use racial epithets in the workplace;
  • A Brown decision would have barred administrative agencies from awarding compensatory damages in race discrimination cases;
  • A Brown opinion would have struck down a law requiring paint companies to help fund treatment of children exposed to lead paint;
  • Rated "unqualified" by three-fourths of the state bar's examiners when nominated to the California Supreme Court;
  • Brown told a meeting of the Federalist Society that “where government moves in, community retreats [and] civil society disintegrates”;
  • Brown has said that government leads to “families under siege, war in the streets…”
  • Brown said that “when government advances, freedom is imperiled [and] civilization itself jeopardized.”
  • Brown told an audience that people of faith were embroiled in a “war” against secular humanists who threatened to divorce America from its religious roots.

These people a crazy and the fact the Republicans will destroy the Senate to force these extremists upon America is proof that the Nuclear Option really is the Crybaby Option

Posted at 03:21 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate | Comments (4) | Technorati

Filibuster Continues: Rain or Shine

Posted by Bob Brigham

I just received an on-the-ground report on the Princeton Phenomenon. One of my buddies has arrived in Princeton and is having a blast at the Frist Filibuster.

He says there are 20-25 people, a picnic atmosphere with cookies and soda near the bullhorn-amplified student filibuster.

Any predictions on which school will be the next to join?

UPDATE The students have been getting creative with what they've been reading during the filibuster. I'm told somebody read 3,000 digits of Pi.

UPDATE Congressman Rush Holt has taken the floor and students are using their cell-phones to let Senators listen to his speech!


UPDATE Congressman Rush Holt just finished. Thank him for standing up for the filibuster with the students, drop him a note at:


UPDATE Josh Marshall is trying to work something out where people can support the students with pizza, watch Talking Points Memo for details.

Posted at 01:58 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate | Comments (2) | Technorati

Princeton Phenomenon: Filibuster Frist

Posted by Bob Brigham

One of the marvels of instant communication is the potential for an action to become a phenomenon. At Princeton University there is an action that has captivated the online community -- and appears to be still gathering momentum.

From www.FilibusterFrist.com:

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, Class of '74, is preparing to change Senate rules to prevent a Democratic filibuster of judicial nominees. This "Nuclear Option" would end the constitutional role of the Senate as a deliberative body that respects minority views, and judicial nominations could be approved without even the minimal degree of mainstream acceptability that has been traditionally required. The implications for the federal judiciary, and the nation, are tremendous: the next round of appointees to sail through would no doubt be extremists ideologically committed to dismantling post-1937 constitutional jurisprudence (meaning no EPA, no FDA, no corporate liability, no healthcare or social welfare programs - ever). In short, Robby George (or any of his James Madison Program posse) could be our next federal judge or Supreme Court Justice.

To protest this destructive move, members of the Princeton University community have come together to hold a non-stop "filibuster" outside the Frist Campus Center (a building sponsored by Senator Frist's family).

And people are noticing the student's filibuster, which has already lasted over 70 hours. Students at Carleton have filibustered and this is expected to spread across campuses nationwide.

The press is noticing:

The blogs are noticing:

You can follow this at:

Princeton Progressive Review. This is great!

Posted at 01:24 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate | Technorati

VT-Gov: Jim Douglas Taking Lots of Heat

Posted by Bob Brigham

While some discuss Vermont Governor Jim Douglas as a possible Senate candidate, with all of the trouble he's having in the press, he might have trouble holding onto his own seat.

He was blasted by the Burlington Free Press for, "removing the lone African-American member of the state's Human Rights Commission when his term expired and replacing him with a white member, thus creating the first all-white commission since its creation in 1988."

And Douglas is taking a great deal of heat for his expected veto of health insurance, from the Brattleboro Reformer:

Add it up, and the scare stories about what a government-run health system would mean ring rather hollow. Care is already being rationed, by limiting the best care to those who have the ability to pay. We are already paying more money for less health care. And we still have more than 40 million Americans who have no health insurance and are more likely to develop expensive and deadly conditions because they postpone care because they lack the money to pay for treatment.

Is this what Gov. James Douglas and the Republicans in the Legislature support? A system that works only for the fortunate few? A system that is bloated and inefficient? A system that all of us end up paying for anyway in higher consumer costs, higher taxes and higher insurance premiums?

The time is now. And again, as in so many other issues, Vermont can show the way -- but only if our leaders have the guts to do it.


Well that is something Douglas lacks. He doesn't seem to have the guts to focus on civil rights for non-whites. He doesn't seem to have the guts to solve Vermont's health care crisis.

With how out-of-touch he is, it is a wonder that people are even talking about him getting another office.

Posted at 09:52 AM in Vermont | Technorati

2008 President: Insider's Choices for Nominees

Posted by Bob Brigham

Via, MyDD, Political Wire has the scoop:

A National Journal poll to be released tomorrow of "congressional and political insiders" finds Sen. George Allen (R-VA) ranked first among 2008 GOP presidential candidates and Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) ranked first among Democrats. Each of 215 insiders were asked to rank their top five choices.

Democratic Party
388 pts - Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY)
192 pts - former Senator John Edwards
166 pts - Governor Mark Warner (D-VA)
125 pts - Senator Evan Bayh (D-IN)
90 pts - Senator John Kerry (D-MA)

Republican Party
229 pts - Senator George Allen (R-VA)
217 pts - Senator John McCain (R-AZ)
184 pts - Senator Bill Frist (R-TN)
127 pts - former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani
109 pts - Governor Mitt Romney (R-MA)

What do the insiders know?

I'm still waiting to see if the Democrats will get behind a pro-choice, red-state Governor, who says what he means and means what he says. Bonus points for a western state candidate, double bonus points for speaking Arabic. Triple bonus points for a dog named Jag.

Or I guess we could let the insiders settle on Hillary.

Posted at 01:09 AM in 2008 Election - President | Comments (3) | Technorati

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Explain This to Me

Posted by DavidNYC

This entry (at least so far as I know) has nothing to do with politics. It's about technology. Over at DailyKos, 33% of the visitors use the awesome Firefox, while 57% still use the atrocious Internet Explorer. At MyDD, a site thought to have a lot over overlap with Kos, the numbers are actually a lot different: 39% Firefox, 45% IE. Over at Atrios, it's a whopping 48% Firefox to just 33% IE.

And here at the Swing State Project, we're a real low outlier, at just 22% Firefox to 64% IE (including 1% using Explorer 4.0, the only site where that old browser even registered at all). If you look at other liberal/left wing/Democratic blogs, they are similarly all over the map. I don't think size is the explanation. Sadly, No gets about as many visitors a day as we do and they're at 36% FF, 45% IE. Meanwhile, South Knox Bubba, another similarly-sized blog, is an almost perfect match at 21% Firefox, 65% IE.

I would have thought that most of these blogs draw from the same pool of readers, but these numbers indicate that the makeup of the readership from blog to blog can vary substantially. Anyone have any ideas why this is the case?

P.S. If you haven't switched to Firefox, I have no idea what you're waiting for. Go get it. You'll thank yourself.

Posted at 11:11 PM in Site News | Comments (1) | Technorati

CA-Gov: A.G. Bill Lockyer Abandons Gubernatorial Bid

Posted by Bob Brigham


Attorney General Bill Lockyer abandoned plans to run for governor next year and will instead run for state treasurer, a source close to Lockyer told The Associated Press on Thursday.

Lockyer, who told reporters as recently as last month that he planned to run for the Democratic nomination to take on Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, was expected to announce his new plans Thursday afternoon. [...]

Lockyer's surprise decision transforms the field of Democrats vying to succeed Angelides in 2006. They include Sen. Joe Dunn, D-Garden Grove; John Chiang, a member of the state Board of Equalization; and Assembly Majority Leader Dario Frommer, D-Glendale.

For anyone not closely following California politics, it is now readily clear that Phil Angelides is the top dog moving up while Lockyer tries for Angelides' hand-me-downs.



  • Angelides: officially the top Democrat in the state.
  • The Party: Democrats still mad about Lockyer's re-call vote can now brag that such actions will not be rewarded.
  • LGBT Activists: One of the clearest contrasts between Angelides and Lockyer was over gay marriage. In addition to gay activists being vindicated by the court, they have also been proven as enough of a power to scare out Lockyer.
  • Schwarzenegger: An expensive primary would have focused on who could bash the Governator the most.


  • Lockyer: Best case scenario is now a demotion and the Sacto gossips will focus on his weakness.
  • Steve Westly: Controller Steve Westly was considering tossing his hat in the ring. It could be argued that he would have had a chance in a three-way race, but I just can't see any way he could best Angelides in a head-to-head matchup.
  • Other Treasurer Candidate: State Senator Joe Dunn, Board of Ed's John Chiang and Assemblymember Dario Frommer will now have to compete with Lockyer's $11 million warchest with Lockyer having the potential to win Treasurer out of pity as something of a consilation prize.

This will continue to break rapidly, stay tuned.

Posted at 03:23 PM in 2006 Elections - State, California | Comments (1) | Technorati

Philly-DA: Philly Bloggers at it Again

Posted by Tim Tagaris

Last week, about a dozen bloggers from Philadelphia launched a concerted effort to promote the candidacy of a 38 year-old Philadelphia prosecutor running for District Attorney, Seth Williams.

As I noted on first day to raise awareness online for Seth's campaign, this is pretty important news. But today, the rag-tag group of bloggers helping to raise the profile of a candidate they deeply believe in are taking it to another level.

They have a specific request on how you can help the campaign if you live anywhere near Philadelphia, and unlike most campaigns, their request is not money. In true grassroots fashion, they are asking you to volunteer for Seth's campaign. So if you can, I would encourage you to do so. I am signing up as soon as I finish writing this post.

But what makes these bloggers special is three things: As I have already noted, they recognize that the best way to change the face of the Democratic Party is to get involved in the primaries. In this instance, among many other issues they recognize the importance of the death penalty in a District Attorney's race. They are deeply concerned with incumbent Democrat Lynn Abraham's reliance on it as a "crime prevention" tool.

The second item of note is their sharp realization that, collectively, they have power. They have the power the make a real difference in this race. It's all about the blogosphere trending towards regionalization, and they are way ahead of the curve. They are forming the bonds of a solid network that will not only help Seth Williams over the top, but infrastructure that will help elect Democrats in 2005, 2006, 2008 and beyond. As important, these bonds will also help to keep elected officials accountable once in office.

But there is more. These bloggers see the big picture; the impact that online communication has offline and the elusive meshing of the two. That's why it's so important that they are soliciting volunteers on the ground. That's why one of them is, as I type, working on creating a blog to coordinate many of these efforts in a central location and give the tools and direction necessary to make online activism translate directly into votes. And if all goes well, I hope that the largest paper in Pennsylvania will cover today's day of action.

For more information on Seth, read the recent Philadelphia Inquirer article about him. And again, to volunteer for Seth's campaign, please click here. And if you have a blog, please write about it.

Posted at 01:08 PM in Activism | Technorati

MD-5: Steny Hoyer Pressured to Resign as Whip

Posted by Bob Brigham

In the fallout over Democrats and working people losing the Bankruptcy vote, Atrios is now calling for Steny Hoyer to resign.

And he's right. Hoyer failed in his duties when 73 Democrats voted with the GOP. Not only did Hoyer fail by letting so many Democrats defect, he even voted for the bill himself. He has utterly failed as a whip.

I'm calling Steny Hoyer (202) 225-4131.

UPDATE Kos adds his indeed to Eschaton's call for Stoyer to step down. Chris Bowers has details on the "Problem Children" of the Democratic Caucus.

Posted at 10:43 AM in Democrats, Maryland | Technorati

WA-Sen: Dino Rossi Not Running for Senate

Posted by Bob Brigham

King County Journal:

Dino Rossi on Wednesday said he will not run for the U.S. Senate, citing his desire to have an impact on the political culture of Washington state and the impact that serving in the other Washington would have on his young family. [...]

Chris Vance, chairman of the state Republican Party, said Wednesday that while he doesn't think Rossi will run, others may not take his "no" at face value.

"There are people and organizations who will want to change his mind," Vance said. "The senate campaign committee will try to persuade him otherwise."

The reason Republicans have urged Rossi to run is that they are worried Chris Vance will run and make even a big ass of himself than Rossi would. I just posted a look at the GOP primary and general election implications and since it was written understanding that Rossi's decision would come first, I'll let it stand for now as a first look at former Congressman Rick White, and Safeco President and CEO Mike McGavick.

Posted at 10:06 AM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Washington | Technorati

CA-Gov: Schwarzenegger Flunks Education Poll

Posted by Bob Brigham

Following yesterday's new poll numbers that showed Schwarzenegger with a re-elect number of 29, we now have a major new poll on education. This poll isn't just bad, this is have your Secretary of Edcation resign bad. From the San Francisco Chronicle:

Sacramento -- Richard Riordan, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's secretary for education, announced his resignation Wednesday as a new poll showed the governor's approval rating plummeting to an all-time low, largely because voters don't support his handling of education.

Schwarzenegger's education policy, backed by Riordan, has faltered this year as the governor has come under intense fire by school officials for reneging on a promise to devote more money to education in the state budget.

Before we get into the poll numbers, one thing that pops in my mind whenever I think of former LA Mayor Richard Riordan.

His tenure was marred by an incident last summer when he told a 6-year-old girl named Isis that her name means "dirty, stupid girl." The remark, caught on camera, prompted some to call for Riordan to resign, but he apologized and, with Schwarzenegger's support, stayed on.

Anyway, in California, the Secretary of Education doesn't really do anything other than show up when the Governor has a presser about kids. Governor Schwarzenegger's Administration may be trying to get a clean slate now that Riordian is leaving, but this is Arnold's disaster and the Governor bears full responsibility.

Back to the poll, 2,502 registered voters, April 4-17, ± 2 pts:

Even with his low approval ratings, however, the poll shows that many voters agree with the Republican governor's stated goals to make education the state government's top priority and to change the teacher tenure system.

But asked whose approach they prefer in fixing the state educational system, 39 percent of likely voters cited "Democrats in the Legislature," compared to just 25 percent who cited Schwarzenegger's plans, and 15 percent who favored the approach of the Republicans in the Legislature.

Survey director Mark Baldassare says the governor's latest poll numbers underscore the increasingly deep worries of residents about the state of education in Democrat-leaning California as the governor pushes plans for a special election later this year.

"Concerns about his handling of education issues has now generalized to more global concerns about his overall leadership,'' said Baldassare. "The governor -- who had been so successful in communicating with people outside his party, telling them he was working in their best interests -- has lost considerable support among independents and Democrats.''

And the numbers could still be moving. This poll was in the field for almost two weeks and was pretty stale by the time it was released. It shows a 43% approval rating. But yesterday's poll went into the field after this poll concluded, and showed a 38% approval.

My gut says that Schwarzenegger has yet to bottom out.

Posted at 09:35 AM in 2006 Elections - State, California | Technorati

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

MoveOn Rally

Posted by Bob Brigham

I enjoyed tonight's MoveOn rally in the heart of San Francisco. It was easy to get to, efficiently organized over email, and only lasted an hour -- it was almost a flash mob.

If anyone is fool enough to doubt the people power potential of e-organizing, it was on display tonight. I've worked on a similarly sized rally thrown together in 72 hours, but it took twice as much local staff to turn out a crowd in San Francisco as MoveOn used to turn out people for 150 rallies in 48 states.


If you look at the signs, you'll realize that they are tiled with four sheets of printout for each sign. Not only did MoveOn turn out a crowd, but they worked towards message consistency while giving people the tools to quickly make their own signs. At the edges of the rally early on, I noticed lots of people walking up, proudly carrying the sign they made in 5 minutes with 8 pages of computer printout, a piece of cardboard, and some tape.

The minimum level of staff intensiveness didn't hinder the flow of the event. There were brief speeches with a bullhorn, but the rally was spread out across such a long area of sidewalk that most people were content to hold their signs, wave at the honking cars, and of course: tell stories of past protests.

You can't attend any protest, especially in San Francisco, without hearing battle stories of the protests against the Iraq, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Vietnam wars...the tales of the Free Speech Movement, strikes and lockouts, Governor Reagan, Richard Nixon, President Reagan, President Bush, President Bush, and the recent protests against Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Moveon deserves a great deal of credit for making tonight as easy as possible for supporters. People joined up, stood together on principle, and still had most of the evening to spend with loved ones.

It was very impressive.

Posted at 10:31 PM in Nuclear Option | Technorati

S.F. Move-On Filibuster Live-Blog

Posted by Tim Tagaris

Bob just called me from San Francisco's Moveon event, as advertised. While this event is a lot more mellow than the LiveBlog of the Ahnold protest the second I picked up the phone, Bob's voice was drowned out by horns honking and cheering supporters.

The event is taking place on the main one-way thoroughfare that connects the Golden Gate Bridgea and the Bay Bridge, so there is plenty of traffic to compliment that 1,000+ event-goers Bob estimates are still pouring in. The rally is taking place right infront of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, often a target of the radical right-wing power grab, at the James R. Browing building.

CBS is respresenting the local network news organizations and there are professional photographers in attendance as well to record to the rally. Signs include: "Save the courts" "Right-wing judges only" "Keep out" "Courts Seized by right-wing radicals."

It's been raining all afternoon, but the showers went away in time for the rally and the crowd continues to swell. Bob described it as a real mellow event thus far.

Updates in the extended entry.

Update: 1

Frank Chiu is doing an interview on the 12 Galaxies. Apparently that is something that natives understand that escapes me.

Chanting has begun, "save the courts." A lot of people with digital cameras and mini dv camcorders, so Bob is guessing there is going to be a lot of images coming down later. A lot of families and kids are there.

The people from Phil A. Buster are at the event, giving away audio CDs, music that they are using for an MTV ad campaign. It's just a real well organized. There is a high ratio in event organizers in arm-bands that are doing a great job.

Small speeches from a bullhorn in the center of the group have started happening as well.

Posted at 08:02 PM in Activism | Technorati

IL-6: DLCer O'Malley to Challenge Cegelis

Posted by Tim Tagaris

Christine Cegelis will have primary opposition in the race for Henry Hyde's open seat in IL-6. Peter O'Malley, a self-described "moderate" and arbitrator, announced his intentions to run against Cegelis this afternoon.

When I am back home in Illinois, I live about 3 minutes outside of IL-6. In 2004, I cheered heartily for Christine Cegelis and the grassroots machine they constructed while pushing Henry Hyde to the limit. This morning, I spoke with some people from "back home," who were at O'Malley's campaign kick-off. I was surprised to hear Peter's Ol'Boys network appeared to take shot after shot at Christine on a day that should have been about him.

“42% was not good enough; it was a moral victory and we can’t have those” said by Jim Reynolds, Vice Chair of the DuPage County Democratic Party who introduced O’Malley today
Point of fact, Christine actually received 44.2% against Henry Hyde against 2004, a 30 year incumbent. Being as close as I am to the 6th, I also know that Vice Chair Reynolds did nothing to help Christine in 2004. If he did, it might have been a "real" victory, instead of just a "moral" one. But in another ironic twist, the "O'Malley Gang" seems to be set on making electability a campaign issue. O'Malley himself added yesterday:
"Christine has done a tremendous job." But he portrayed himself as better able to win in the Republican congressional district.
Now for the irony: In 2002, O'Malley ran for the DuPage County Board, and came in exactly fourth out of four candidates--receiving 18% of the vote. That's not even a moral victory.

In 2004, he ran for a slot as alternate Party delegate in the 6th Congressional District, the one he is running in now, and got nine percent of the vote, a full 60% behind the winner. So, I am not sure how well that electability argument can be substantiated if and when he is called on it.

But Christine made the case that she offers the best chance for Democrats to take the seat:

"I've already had 18 months of planning, organizing, getting an organization together," she said. "I think I'm the strongest candidate to take this seat."
And with the support of Democracy for America, who named her as a second round Dean Dozen candidate in 2004, I think she is right. Jim Dean (Howard's brother) responded this morning in an online chat when asked about Christine Cegelis:
I will also add that both myself and others intend to keep fighting for those candidates - like Richard and Christine Cegelis - who deserve widespread support and respect within the Democratic Party. Both of these candidates have accomplished a great deal and we do not itend to let that go to waste.

Posted at 05:51 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Illinois | Comments (3) | Technorati

Live Blog Tonight

Posted by Bob Brigham

Tim Tagaris and I have spent some time doing phone-relay, live blogging where the one on the ground phones in updates to the one in front of a computer.

The most notable was the Schwarzenegger protests in San Francisco. Tonight we'll be providing live coverage of MoveOn's Stop the Judicial Takeover protest in San Francisco.

The event will be held in front of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which should combine with the passion over the "Nuclear Option" and the excitableness of Bay Area protests to create a memorable night.

It starts at 8 PM Eastern (5 PM local), tonight. Join us.

Following the San Francisco protests of Arnold Schwarzenegger live-blog, we posted on the protest in Berkeley that scared off the Governator. We also did this for the DNC Western Regional Caucus: #1, #2, and #3. And we've live-blogged conference calls with Simon Rosenber and Donnie Fowler. Tonight should be fun and I'm sure we'll have more to come.

Here is what MoveOn says about tonight (from an email):

MoveOn PAC Sponsors 150 Rallies in 48 States
to Oppose Nuclear Option

New TV Ad Features Rampaging Elephants in Slam of
Republican Move To Control Federal Courts

Vice President Gore Speech Will Headline DC Event

View Rallies at: http://moveonpac.org/event/events/index.html?action_id=4

Washington D.C. --- MoveOn PAC will kick off a week of campaign activities to oppose a Republican attempt to eliminate the filibuster of presidential nominations for the federal judiciary. A new TV ad and at least sixty rallies in over forty states will spearhead the effort. On Wednesday, Vice President Al Gore is scheduled to give a major address on the subject at a MoveOn PAC rally in Washington DC. The Senate may vote this week to eliminate the 200-year-old rule.

"Our government was founded on principles of checks and balances to ensure that no one party holds absolute power," said Ben Brandzel, MoveOn PAC Advocacy Director.

The ad, which begins airing tomorrow on CNN nationwide, features animated elephants, symbolizing radical Republicans, rampaging through the Capitol, only to be stopped on the steps of the Supreme Court.

"You would think it would be enough for Republican leaders that their party controls both houses of Congress, the White House, and has appointed most of the sitting Supreme Court Justices and appellate judges, but no, they want complete control of the federal government. To get it, they're willing to toss out a 200 year old rule that has balanced the rights of political majorities and minorities and served the American people well since the early days of the Republic, said Brandzel"

Wednesday, MoveOn members and allied organizations will participate in “Rallies to Stop the Judicial Takeover”. They will call on their senators to vote against the Republican effort to seize full control of the federal courts by packing them with right-wing judges. The events are organized by the 3.1 million-member grassroots organization, MoveOn PAC, and the Coalition for a Fair and Independent Judiciary, an alliance of the nation’s leading civil rights and public interest organizations opposed to a right wing judicial takeover.

To dramatize the impact of the attempted Republican judicial takeover, volunteers will symbolically cordon off court houses and declare them property of the Republican leadership. The rallies will occur on Wednesday, the day Senate Republican leaders are expected to call a vote to eliminate the filibuster.

This past weekend in 800 neighborhoods across the country, MoveOn PAC members went door-to-door handing out window signs and urging friends and neighbors to call their senators.

MoveOn PAC
TV :30






ANNOUNCER (VO): Republicans control the White House.




ANNOUNCER (VO): And the House of Representatives. And the Senate.




ANNOUNCER (VO): Republican Presidents appointed the majority of judges on most of our appeals courts. But radical Republicans want absolute control of the entire government. So they’re planning to break the rules, eliminating checks and balances to get more extremist judges approved.




ANNOUNCER (VO): A few courageous Republicans have said “no” to the radicals. Will your Senators have the same courage? Call them.


SUPER “CALL YOUR SENATORS TODAY, 202-224-3121.” THEN SUPER “PAID FOR BY MOVEON PAC, www.moveonpac.org. THIS COMMUNICATION IS Not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee. Moveon PAC is responsible for the content of thIs ADVERTISEMENT”.


ANNOUNCER (VO): MoveOn PAC is responsible for the content of this advertisement.

View ad at: http://www.MoveOnPAC.org

Posted at 05:50 PM in Activism, Site News | Technorati

OH-Gov: Tom Noe Scandals Boil Over

Posted by Bob Brigham

Swing State Project has examined rare coin scandal surrounding Ohio Governor Bob Taft and Tom Noe here and here. Today, the Toledo Blade reports:

COLUMBUS - A state senator tried to ask the chancellor of the Ohio Board of Regents yesterday whether Tom Noe should resign, but a gavel stopped him.

At a Senate Finance Committee meeting, Sen. Dan Brady (D., Cleveland) had a question for Chancellor Rod Chu, who was testifying about the proposed higher education budget. [...]

"Chancellor, don't you believe that, for the good of the state, that Mr. Noe should resign?'' Mr. Brady asked.

The commitee's chairman, Sen. John Carey (R., Wellston), gaveled the question out of order, ruling that it wasn't on the topic of the hearing, which was the state operating budget.

Mr. Chu didn't answer Mr. Brady's question.

The Feds might answer it for him. From WTOL News 11:

TOLEDO -- News 11 has new information about a federal investigation surrounding prominent Toledo businessman and well-known republican, Tom Noe. Greg White, the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio has confirmed that Noe has been under federal investigation for a couple of months.

White would not talk specifics, but he did tell us the probe involves campaign contributions made by Noe last fall. Noe and his wife, Bernadette, are both vocal supporters of President Bush, but investigators will not say if the questionable contributions by Mr. Noe were made to the Bush campaign. [...]

U.S. Attorney White stressed that no charges have been filed and this is an on-going investigation by the F.B.I. and the U.S. Attorney's office.

Stay tuned...

Posted at 05:49 PM in Ohio | Technorati

CA-Gov: Schwarzenegger Falling and Retreating

Posted by Bob Brigham

Not long ago, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger was expected to coast to any easy re-election. But in a few short months, the Schwarzenegger administration has nose-dived and is on course to crash and burn in California's 2006 gubernatorial campaign.

First up, not what Schwarzenegger wants to see in the news:

OAKLAND, CALIF. — California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's "Year of Reform" is fast becoming a year of retreat.

What began in January as an outsized agenda — encompassing a range of issues as arcane as redistricting and as controversial as merit pay for teachers — has steadily shrunk as a chastened governor is set back on his heels, stung by his own missteps and an increasingly emboldened opposition.

Already, he has abandoned an initiative to privatize the state's pension system, as well as promises to drastically cut the bureaucracy in Sacramento. Now, he appears to be considering a plan to drop the merit-pay measure. Add in a few ill-conceived comments antagonizing immigrants and nurses, and Governor Schwarzenegger has reached a low point of his administration.

The problem with California is that when a politician is perceived to be weak, they are eaten alive. Which is why the latest poll numbers are even worse news for the Governator. From the subscription only Hotline:

Pollster Mark Mellman: "Schwarzenegger's failures and his failings and his battle with teachers, nurses and public safety workers have taken a tremendous toll on his image. He's nose-dived and is now worse off than George Bush in California"

The poll (onducted 4/18-21 for the California Teachers Association; surveyed 800 likely voters; margin of error ± 3.5%) shows Schwarzenegger with a 29% re-elect number and an approval rating of only 38%.

The last poll I noticed had Schwarzenegger at 43% (down from 59% in January).

Has Governor Schwarzenegger really fallen more than 20 pts so far this year?

It really doesn't matter...at this point, the sharks smell blood in the water and no matter how much Arnold retreats on the issues, he will be chased down and ripped apart.

Cover the eyes of the children, this is going to get ugly.

Posted at 05:22 PM in 2006 Elections - State, California | Technorati

CO-Gov: Choosing on Choice in Democratic Primary

Posted by Bob Brigham

Denver Post:

In case of a Democratic primary, many have pledged to work against former Denver District Attorney Bill Ritter, a Catholic who opposes abortion rights. [...]

Schoettler says a network of Coloradans dedicated to electing women to top political seats will be eager to cut checks should [state Senate President Joan] Fitz-Gerald enter the race.

"A lot of us have a lot of energy that we're willing to put into electing Sen. Fitz-Gerald," said Meg Froelich, a board member of NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado.

In Washington, the well-heeled EMILY's List - a national group that funds female candidates who champion abortion rights - also is eyeing a possible Fitz-Gerald candidacy.

"We're watching the Colorado race with a great deal of enthusiasm," said spokeswoman Ramona Oliver. "If Joan, a pro-choice Democrat, decides to get in, we'll seriously consider getting involved."

This is going to be a huge race in 2006 and the overwhelming interest in the Democratic primary shows the consensus view that the general election will be the Democrats to lose.

There seems to be good deal of institutional excitment around the Fitz-Gerald option, the unions are also on board:

"If Joan ran, it would energize labor and we would bust our humps to get her elected," said Colorado AFL-CIO president Steve Adams. [...]

Labor groups' money and activism are credited largely for the Democratic takeover of both legislative chambers in 2004. Union brass are looking for a gubernatorial candidate to back next year.

Mitch Ackerman, president of Colorado's 5,000-member Local 105 of the Service Employees International Union, lauded Fitz-Gerald's record for "working people" in the state. Specifically, he cited her work this year on a bill to lower the cost of prescription drugs.

"Our members appreciate her efforts and know she'd keep working on their behalf as governor," he said.

Mark Schwane, executive director of the 2,000-member American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, credits Fitz-Gerald for championing higher wages and better health care for state workers.

"There's been a lot of talk about her candidacy. Our members would support her if she made the decision to run," he said.

When Congressman Mark Udall decided to focus on building a 2008 senate campaign, it looked like it would be a wide open primary. But in the last month and a half, it appears that a consensus has started to form around Fitz-Gerald.

We're still waiting to hear if venture capitalist Rutt Bridges or Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper get in, but it sounds like people have agreed not to choose Bill Ritter.

On the Republican side, University of Denver President Marc Holtzman is running and we're keeping an eye on Colorado Treasurer Mike Coffman, Congressman Bob Beauprez and former Congressman Scott McInnis.

Posted at 03:17 PM in 2006 Elections - State, Colorado | Technorati

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

OH-02: A Strange Twist

Posted by DavidNYC

The special election in Ohio's second district can't be scheduled, as I understand things, until Rep. Rob Portman actually gets confirmed as trade rep and steps down from his House seat. The committee responsible for his nomination approved him unanimously, but now there's a bit of a hold-up:

But Sen. Evan Bayh, an Indiana Democrat, has placed a "hold" on the nomination. This could block Portman from being confirmed in time to represent the United States at a trade meeting early next week in Paris.

Bayh wants Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, a Tennessee Republican, to schedule a vote on a China trade bill strongly supported by U.S. manufacturers and many other lawmakers in exchange for dropping his hold.

The bill Bayh is pushing would allow the Commerce Department to put duties on Chinese imports to offset government subsidies. That could encourage U.S. companies to file a flood of cases charging China with subsidizing exports. (Emphasis added.)

This is definitely an interesting move by Bayh, and if I wanted to, I suppose I could also label this a post on the 2008 presidential election. I have to believe that the DLC - a group with which Bayh, moreso than almost any other elected Democrat today, energetically associates himself - opposes this kind of "protectionism." Maybe I'm wrong on that specific detail, but nonetheless, this strikes me as a sort of economically populist move designed to showcase Bayh's bona fides for the sake of certain parts of the Dem base.

As for Ohio's second, this procedural move by Bayh could delay the special election there - for how long, I'm not certain. I have a feeling that Portman won't be made to cool his heels for very long, but if Bayh is tenacious (and this could get him exactly the kind of press he's hoping for), then maybe the nomination will get put on hold for a while. And Frist has shown himself to be an incompetent parliamentarian - I wouldn't be surprised if Bayh could deviously outsmart him on this one.

Posted at 04:37 PM in 2005 Elections, 2008 President - Democrats, Ohio | Comments (1) | Technorati

Monday, April 25, 2005

MT-Sen: Conrad Burns and Jack Abramoff Staff Scandal

Posted by Bob Brigham

What is the one thing that makes a worse scandal than an Jack Abramoff golf trip? A hunting trip.

Shawn Vasell has made Swing State Project before. He is one of the major links between Jack Abramoff and Montana Senator Conrad Burns, having worked for Abramoff directly before and after working for Burns (he was State Director).

Vasell was already a key figure in multiple investigations and now he is at the center of a scandal that will enrage Montanans in a way that the corruption scandal never could.

Even before this latest scandal, Sen. Conrad Burns was in trouble. The Abramoff corruption scandal was hurting his campaign, he was sinking in the polls, and the press had tired of his B.S. responses to the corruption investigations. And now this...

The Thanksgiving Deer Scandal

New West Network Managing Editor Courtney Lowery has THE SCOOP:

Washington lobbyist Shawn Vasell, a former aide to Montana Sen. Conrad Burns, has already attracted some unwanted media attention in our nation's capital as a key link between Burns and controversial lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Now we've come across an interesting little story on the Web (with photos) about Mr. Vasell and his Thanksgiving deer that if true, is not likely to endear him even to loyal Republicans.

Vasell, who Burns’ spokesman J.P. Donovan said worked as the office’s state director for about a year before stepping down in December of 2002 to go back to Abramoff's firm, was named and pictured on a Web site about hunting and fishing written by one J.R. Reger. Reger, in what can only be read as a fit of macho hubris, details the rockin' good time that he, Mike Reger and Vasell apparently had on a spur-of-the-moment, day-after-Thanksiving hunting outing. Only problem is, the story depicts the boys in apparent violation of at least four Montana hunting laws.

FOUR VIOLATIONS? Like Conrad Burns; like Jack Abramoff; Shawn Vasell appears to have a total disregard for the law.

In particular, Vasell allegedly shot a deer from the window of a pickup truck, a clear no-no. And, a quick phone call to the Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks licensing department tells us that state records (which search back to 2002) show there have been no hunting licenses issued to a Shawn Vasell in the state of Montana. So if that's his deer he's posing with in the photos ...

It gets better...

So what is the response?

Reger, reached on Saturday via phone, would not comment on the story or confirm or deny its accuracy, but told New West he would have time to talk about it later. Alas, he has not returned repeated phone calls since then and - surprise - his site had been taken down by Sunday morning. We figured this might happen, so we made sure we recovered it through Google's cache of pages, which is where you can read it here.

Why would anyone so brazenly brag about breaking the law?

The story certainly doesn't read like something that was made up, though it's a bit of a mystery as to why Reger would be so eager to brag publicly about things like his hunting buddy shooting a deer on someone else's land after dark. There is one clue though. Elsewhere on his site, Reger writes: "Every Monday morning I look forward to reading the paper. Moreover, I look forward to reading about one of my delinquent friends or acquaintances getting into trouble with the Fish, Wildlife and Parks Department. For the fine amount paid, and trust me on this one, the amount of good press you get from doing something wrong is totally worth it. I highly recommend poaching a little or doing something minor to get your name in the paper at least once a year."

Montana blogger Matt Singer points out:

This trip was illegal. If Reger reported the details accurately, multiple laws were broken. Shawn Vasell has not had a hunting permit in Montana (at least not since 2001). He apparently shot the deer from inside a car (illegal). Later, he helped one of the Regers move a deer that had been shot on a neighbor's property without permission after dark following drinking (illegal). This isn't just illegal. It violates many of the unwritten rules of landowner/hunter relations.

Violating the unwritten rules of the west will result in the worst punishment. Singer also focuses on a fact all of you Jack Abramoff scandal watchers will appreciate:

One of the most interesting points is buried in the story. Shawn Vasell's official website lists one of his accomplishments as having "obtained federal [Indian school construction] monies for participating clients." This is exactly the question at issue in the original Washington Post article that brought this former Conrad Burns staffer's name to our attention. Burns was accused of giving money to Abramoff clients because of special connections. Now, one of Abramoff's former coworkers is claiming that their firm was responsible for lining up Indian school construction monies for their clients. Hmmm....

Conrad Burns lied when he said he would only serve two terms (he is running for his fourth). He didn't want to lose touch with Montana, but he did. Burns has been spending time with some very crooked people back in Washington, DC. But that isn't as bad as bringing those crooked people back to Montana to break Montana's laws and the rules of the west.

In Montana, you don't violate your neighbor's property and start shooting. Especially after dark.

You never shoot from a vehicle. There is an exception to this rule if you have a permit saying you are disabled, but otherwise you never, ever, shoot from a vehicle.

If someone is shooting -- after dark -- on another person's property, you call the sheriff. You don't help them drag their poached deer to the truck in a conspiracy to move the game across the property line before it is gutted and tagged.

In Montana, you respect guns, you respect property lines, you respect hunting safety, you respect the law, and you respect the game. Nothing is worse than an east-coaster disrespecting law, custom, and common sense...with a gun in his cityfolk hand. Actually, there is one thing worse, when that person was State Director for a Montana politician.

Here is the contact info for the eight offices that Shawn Vasell managed as Burn's State Director:

Senator Conrad Burns - Billings Office
222 N.32nd St., Suite 400
Billings, MT 59101
Tel: 406-252-0550
Fax: 406-252-7768

Senator Conrad Burns - Bozeman Office
211 Haggerty Lane, Suite A & B
Bozeman, MT 59715
Tel: 406-586-4450
Fax: 406-586-7647

Senator Conrad Burns - Butte Office
125 W. Granite St., Suite 200
Butte, MT 59701
Tel: 406-723-3277
Fax: 406-782-4717

Senator Conrad Burns - Glendive Office
324 West Towne
Glendive, MT 59330
Tel: 406-365-2391
Fax: 406-365-8836

Senator Conrad Burns - Great Falls Office
321 First Ave. North
Great Falls, MT 59401
Tel: 406-452-9585
Fax: 406-452-9586
TDD: 406-761-6885

Senator Conrad Burns - Helena Office
208 N. Montana Ave., Suite 202A
Helena, MT 59601
Tel: 406-449-5401
Fax: 406-449-5462

Senator Conrad Burns - Kalispell Office
1845 Highway 93 South, Suite 210
Kalispell, MT 59901
Tel: 406-257-3360
Fax: 406-257-3974

Senator Conrad Burns - Missoula Office
116 West Front Street
Missoula, MT 59802
Tel: 406-728-3003
Fax: 406-728-2193

Posted at 11:15 PM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - Senate, Montana, Republicans | Comments (2) | Technorati

Sen. Isakson (R-GA) Pimped Filibuster on Senate Floor

Posted by Tim Tagaris

File this under, priceless.

Senator Isakson on the floor of the United States Senate extolling the virtues of the filibuster to protect the rights of the minority from being overrun by the majority.

"Don't you fear that the Shi'ites inevitably being in the majority, that you will be overrun? And he says, 'oh no, we have a secret weapon.' Mr. President, this is a Kurdish leader, in the middle of Iraq in the 21st century who said he had a secret weapon. And when asked what it was, he said one word, 'filibuster'" [...]

"It is one of their minority leaders, proudly stating one of the pillars and principles of our government, as the way they would ensure that the majority never overran the minority."

Quicktime File (from senate.gov website) - Just watch the whole thing, it's about 1 min 30 sec, and it's priceless.

Posted at 04:56 PM in Nuclear Option | Technorati

TX-22: Morrison Drops Out. . . In a Kos Diary

Posted by Tim Tagaris

A statement from Richard Morrison, in a DailyKos diary:

It is with great sadness that I must withdraw my name from the race for District 22. [...]

I am not giving up my fight. I will continue to stay active and work hard for democrats. I ask that you do the same. Tom DeLay is bad for democracy and bad for America. If I can be so bold, I demand that each one of you will commit to work as hard for Congressman Lampson or Councilman Quan as you did for me. Democracy will suffer if you slack off even one bit.

The announcement comes just four days after he asked the Netroots for their support, on another Kos diary. The request was made after attempts by the DCCC move Morisson aside for a different candidate to take on Tom DeLay in 2006. What is interesting to me is that, as of right now, there is no mention of him dropping out on his campaign website.

Color me a skeptic, but what do you think brought on Morisson's sudden change of heart?

Posted at 04:16 PM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - House, Netroots, Texas | Comments (5) | Technorati

WA-Sen: Republicans Can't, Well, Beat Maria

Posted by Bob Brigham

Seattle Times:

Sitting in the opulent Senate dining room, stirring more than eating a bowl of bean soup and sipping a Diet Coke, Cantwell shrugged off the idea that she should be running scared.

"It's kind of good to be that (top GOP target) right now," she said, sounding more calm and collected than she did during her last campaign. "It gets people galvanized. It gets people paying attention. It is like getting up for the big soccer game Sunday."

She doesn't even have an opponent and already she is working the word, "soccer" into interviews.

Republicans are working feverishly to proffer more mainstream candidates who can win statewide. If the goal is to defeat a sitting senator, best to do it after the first term. The GOP plans to attack Cantwell as a weak leader out of sync with tax-averse Washington voters.

First, however, the party needs to come up with a name challenger.

So who are the potential candidates? Do any of them have a chance?

Here is the current Cattle Call:

[Dino] Rossi: Rossi would benefit from pent-up feeling that he was robbed of the governor's title. That felt more true about three months ago. The downside is Rossi can no longer hide from social issues, as he did during the governor's race. Rossi is anti-abortion, anti-gay marriage. He no longer can say the job he seeks doesn't have anything to do with such topics. He also loses his status as a change agent, which served him well in the governor's race. Republicans are in power. He is another vote for an over-empowered George Bush.

Rossi can claim he was robbed all he wants, but that will only remind people he is a loser. This would be a higher profile race and Rossi's extreme views are way out of the mainstream. Washington voters will be inherently worried about giving George Bush another seat in the Senate, in Rossi's case they would be giving Bush an extreme, right-wing vote. Rossi is being considered out of respect, not because he would make a good candidate.

Former Congressman Rick White: This grudge match would be a revival of the 1st District congressional battle of 1994. White beat Cantwell in the Republican landslide and held on for two terms until 1998. The first question about White is, where the heck has he been? He is currently president and CEO of TechNet, the technology network, an association of high-tech CEOs based in Palo Alto, Calif. White lives in Washington and commutes to California, but he would have some explaining to do.

Trying to explain that he commutes to California is not going to contrast well with a Senator talking about Saturday morning soccer games. White has been out-of-town and every mention of this fact will remind voters that he is also out-of-touch.

Safeco President and CEO Mike McGavick: McGavick, former chief of staff for Sen. Gorton, is the wonder executive who turned Safeco around. He has politics and policy in his blood. If I were Cantwell, McGavick is the challenger I would least like to run against. He would bring a businessman's touch and political savvy gained in Gorton's shop. But he earns a high salary at Safeco and may not like the legislator role. A CEO is a CEO, unaccustomed to collaborating with 99 peers and making two cross-continental flights a week. Still, McGavick has charm and a knockout résumé.

This is yet another example of how thin of a bench the Washington GOP has to work with. Turning to an outsider for a major race a clear indication to Republicans that even if they could work up through the ranks, it wouldn't matter. I don't see him running and the fact that his name is being mentioned is a clear sign of desperation of the part of the GOP.

[GOP State Chair Chris] Vance: Vance is the outspoken, in-your-face chairman of the state GOP who has never wanted to be just party chairman. He ran for state superintendent of public instruction, a nonpartisan post, in 1996 and lost. He ran for the 9th Congressional District in 2000 and was beaten by Adam Smith, collecting a mere 35 percent of the vote. Landslide Vance lives and breathes politics. He would run and doorbell at a pace that would tire the Energizer Bunny. He is the fallback candidate if the others don't materialize.

Vance is a two time loser and a complete nut. He made an ass of himself every time is stepped in front of a camera during the recount. I'm sure he would love to run and I would love him to run also. Vance would get stomped.

Posted at 02:45 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Washington | Comments (1) | Technorati

MT-Sen: Montana Auditor John Morrison Runs for US Senate

Posted by Bob Brigham


HELENA -- Democratic State Auditor John Morrison, a former Helena attorney who has spearheaded efforts to make health insurance more affordable for Montanans, announced Monday his bid for U.S. Senate against Republican incumbent Sen. Conrad Burns.

News of the campaign was not unexpected. Morrison, 43, was considered a likely challenger to Burns and had been soliciting donations in recent weeks on a Web site offering information on how to contact his campaign.

"As a Montanan, I'm very concerned about the way things are going in Washington, D.C.," Morrison said in a written statement. "And so I've been talking with lots of my fellow Montanans about a bid for the United States Senate in 2006, and have begun laying the groundwork for a Senate campaign."

Senator Conrad Burns is heading to the slaughter house come November 2006 and whoever wins the Democratic primary will need to find a place to live in D.C.

Burns is running for his fourth term, after breaking his oath to serve only two. Burns has a 36% re-elect number, is up-to-his hat in a corruption scandal, and has a voting record that shows complete disdain for the interests of Montana families. If the feds don't send Burns to jail, the Montana voters will send him packing.

UPDATE The AP story was updated with this:

Big Sandy farmer Jon Tester, the Democratic president of the Montana Senate, is also considering a run for Burns' seat. He said Morrison's announcement will not affect his decision, which he planned to announce by mid-May.

"I've known (Morrison) was going to run for a long time," Tester said. "If I decide to run, I knew that was going to be part of the equation."

Posted at 02:30 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Montana | Technorati

MT-Gov: Brian Schweitzer's First Pardon

Posted by Bob Brigham

Billings Gazette:

MISSOULA - Gov. Brian Schweitzer exercised his pardon power for the first time Friday, forgiving a Missoula couple for colliding with his unmarked Montana Highway Patrol car in the parking lot of the city's newspaper.

"I've met Montanans in bars, restaurants and on the street," said Schweitzer. "This is the first time I've met a Montanan because he ran into me." [...]

After the vehicles bumped, causing no damage, Schweitzer said he realized he could grant pardons and sent the couple on their way.

This is yet another reason why Schweitzer is popular from Ekalaka to Eureka (in Montana) and across the country. Schweitzer doesn't wait to poll before acting, he just does the right thing and goes about the rest of his day.

Posted at 01:21 PM in Montana | Technorati

VT-Sen: MoveOn and Bernie Sanders

Posted by Bob Brigham

Last Friday I wrote about MoveOn's email to Vermont members asking if the organization should back Congressman Bernie Sanders for Vermont's open Senate seat.

The results where overwhelming...

Here is the email sent by MoveOn:

Dear MoveOn member in Vermont,

On Friday, we asked you if you thought it was a good idea for MoveOn to help Bernie Sanders, the independent Congressman, run for Jim Jeffords' Senate seat in 2006. (Senator Jeffords is retiring.)

Well, the results are in: out of the folks who responded, 96% of you think that we should join together to send Congressman Sanders to the Senate. You're willing to put your time and money where your mouth is, too – thousands of you volunteered to help with the campaign, and together you said you'd contribute over $135,000. (And that's just MoveOn members in Vermont, since Friday!)

Since we're in the middle of our emergency campaign on judicial nominations, it may be a few weeks before we're able to raise money for Sanders from our whole base. But with your strong endorsement, we're moving forward, and we'll be in touch soon. Together, we'll make sure that Vermont sends a real progressive to the Senate in 2006.

–Eli, Noah, Ben, Joan and the MoveOn PAC Team
April 25th, 2005

96% -- that is larger than the percentage of people who like chocolate.

This race is moving very rapidly, here is the recap on the scramble.

Posted at 10:02 AM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Open Seats, Vermont | Comments (1) | Technorati

2008: Evan Bayh Running for President

Posted by Bob Brigham

Indianapolis Star:

Although the $6.8 million in U.S. Sen. Evan Bayh's campaign fund is more than most of his colleagues have on hand, Bayh continues to cross the country to raise more, according to his most recent campaign disclosure report.

The Indiana Democrat won't say whether he's preparing for a potential presidential bid in 2008. But he apparently doesn't mind joking about the possibility. [...]

"A president from Indiana," Bayh said. "It kind of has a little resonance to it."

The quote is funny, but it is the fundraising effort that keeps his name in the Cattle Call.

Posted at 08:51 AM in 2008 President - Democrats | Comments (1) | Technorati

Sunday, April 24, 2005

NYC-Mayor: Ferrer the Bumbler

Posted by DavidNYC

Just a few days ago, in discussing the mayoral race in New York City, I opined:

Ferrer will continue to make mistakes (everyone in NYC knew that his Diallo comments were an enormous error the moment he uttered them) - partly because he now has a seeming penchant for them, and partly perhaps out of desperation for losing Sharpton - or, chastened and burned, he will run an overly cautious campaign.

As someone who admittedly has not been fully tuned into this campaign, I had no idea how right this guess (and it was only a guess) would actually be. To wit:

On Monday, Fernando Ferrer, a Democratic candidate for mayor, announced his proposal to revive a tax on stock trades, and his rivals immediately denounced it as misguided and hurtful to business. On Tuesday, pressed to defend the plan, Mr. Ferrer said that the city was under court order to produce billions for public education, and his opponents pounced on that mistake to paint Mr. Ferrer as gaffe-prone and ignorant.

And on Thursday, a day after Mr. Ferrer said that Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg had failed to extract any additional state aid for education, he was left once again to defend himself against claims that he was wrong. (Emphasis added.)

Wow. I know that to many people (especially non-NYers), these issues may seem a bit arcane or even downright inscrutable, but I assure you, Ferrer's stumbles represent some pretty serious screw-ups. This hardly seems like the kind of campaign that will stay intact until the primary in September. Everyone is gunning for Ferrer, and he just can't handle the incoming fire. And the biggest beneficiary may well be the incumbent Republican Mike Bloomberg.

Posted at 03:43 PM in New York | Comments (1) | Technorati

Studying the "Nuclear Option"

Posted by Bob Brigham

While Senate Republican Leader Bill Frist is whipping the zealots into a foaming-at-the-mouth frenzy over the GOP plot for absolute power, people who care about the Constitution, checks and blances, seperation of power, minority rights, and the institution of the United States Senate should spend some time getting reading up on the details.

Over at The Next Hurrah -- a must read blog -- Kagro X has been probing the issues surrounding the "Nuclear Option" in detail that demands to be studied and enjoyed.

Nuclear Option Proliferation
Notes on the Nuclear Option -- Part II
Notes on the Nuclear Option -- Part III
Notes on the Nuclear Option -- Part IV
Notes on the Nuclear Option -- Part V
Notes on the Nuclear Option -- Part VI
Notes on the Nuclear Option -- Part VII
Notes on the Nuclear Option -- Part VIII
Notes on the Nuclear Option -- Part IX
Notes on the Nuclear Option -- Part X
Notes on the Nuclear Option -- Part XI
Notes on the Nuclear Option -- Part XII
Notes on the Nuclear Option -- Part XIII
Notes on the Nuclear Option -- Part XIV

Footnotes on the Nuclear Option
Footnotes on the Nuclear Option -- Part II
Footnotes on the Nuclear Option -- Part III

Posted at 03:42 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Nuclear Option | Technorati

NY-Gov/Sen: Weld Chatter

Posted by DavidNYC

Over at DailyKos, there's some renewed chatter about Bill Weld being recruited by the NY GOP to run against either Clinton or Spitzer. It all strikes me as wishful (Republican) thinking, but in any event, I don't think Weld has the fire any longer to take on either of these formidable campaigners.

Posted at 02:51 PM in New York | Technorati

Swing State Project Leads the Pack

Posted by Bob Brigham

As long as I can remember, I've associated DavidNYC with New York City. So his decision to move Swing State Project headquarters to Washington, DC was viewed, by me at least, as part of a major trend in the industry.

Now, the Atlantic Monthly is following suit:

WASHINGTON — IRVING KRISTOL snubbed New York when he left for Washington in 1988, pronouncing Manhattan no longer the "nation's intellectual center" as he packed off his ideological enterprise.

The Atlantic Monthly does not have as lofty a motive for moving to Washington in the months ahead. David Bradley, the owner of the venerable magazine, said the recent decision to move and consolidate his publishing enterprises in Washington was driven by economics, not symbolism or a desire for cachet.

But the news has given some readers, writers and thinkers - not to mention Bostonians - a familiar pang of anxiety, a reminder that even in the democratic Internet age, all cultural capitals are not created equal. [...]

However far the geographic divides have been bridged, certain places are doing better than others. The interplay between personal contact and ideas still matters, at least somewhat.

And while three East Coast cities have jockeyed for prominence, a perceptible southward tilt is continuing, as Boston has evolved from its liberal arts and political origins, and Washington has, in a sense, matured. Intellectuals still reside in Boston, New York and Washington (and hop the shuttle easily among the three), but in a highly charged political environment, there has been a move away from academic ideas toward ones generated in the real world, or at least real government. And if not that, then in think tanks.

Of course, some of you be thinking that the Atlantic Monthly's move to DC had nothing to do with Swing State Project. And the more cynical of you might be thinking that David's move to DC had less do with a trend towards geographic concentration of ideas and more to do with his choice of law schools. And you might be right.

But all kidding aside, I think Swing State Project does benefit from geography, at least when it comes to our bi-coastal distribution and the resulting time zone advantage.

I also believe there is a right place for each time. I felt certain that I was at the center of it all during San Francisco's dotcom boom. But those days have passed.

So is Washington, D.C. the new best place to be? Or are telecommuters like David Sirota on to something when they ditch D.C. and move to Montana?

Posted at 02:32 PM in Site News | Comments (3) | Technorati

TX-22: Smoking Gun

Posted by Bob Brigham

Washington Post:

The airfare to London and Scotland in 2000 for then-House Majority Whip Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) was charged to an American Express card issued to Jack Abramoff, a Washington lobbyist at the center of a federal criminal and tax probe, according to two sources who know Abramoff's credit card account number and to a copy of a travel invoice displaying that number.

DeLay's expenses during the same trip for food, phone calls and other items at a golf course hotel in Scotland were billed to a different credit card also used on the trip by a second registered Washington lobbyist, Edwin A. Buckham, according to receipts documenting that portion of the trip.

House ethics rules bar lawmakers from accepting travel and related expenses from registered lobbyists.

Busted. Twice. With a paper trail. Smoking gun. Help Richard Morrison. DeLay is going down.

Posted at 01:04 AM in Texas | Technorati

LA-Mayor: Hahn Cracks in Debate

Posted by Bob Brigham


Struggling in the polls, Hahn assumed the role of a challenger, accusing Villaraigosa of being the candidate of inertia and shopworn ideas.

"(Villaraigosa) wants to defend the status quo," said Hahn, who is seeking a second, four-year term.

When the incumbent calls the challenger the status quo candidate it is time for a serious ass whoopin. If that isn't enough evidence, you know Villaraigosa is going to win when Hahn is bogged down in denials:

Hahn responded by saying that "no one has found that anyone has done anything wrong in my administration so far."

Villaraigos is going to kick Hahn's ass. My bet is it will be a double-digit victory.

Posted at 12:39 AM in 2005 Elections, California | Technorati

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Frist Chickens Out on Nuclear Option

Posted by Bob Brigham

Two days ago, I wrote:

As the 2008 Presidential campaign heats up, it looks like Frist is the crazy one and Santorum the one doing the daring, but too chicken to do the deed.

I wrote that after Santorum indicated he wanted to chicken out on the Nuclear Option after GOP polls showed the folly of such an action.

It looks like I was wrong, it looks like Frist is chicken, too:

Senate aides say that Senator Bill Frist, the Republican majority leader, has decided to defer a fight over the rule change until at least after the May recess, postponing a confrontation that many had expected as early as next week.

So Frist doesn't have the guts to declare war on a two party system, but he also doesn't have the guts to stand up to the religious zealots who will use tomorrow to try to start a holy war.

Frist and Santorum -- the GOP leadership is crazy in the head and weak in the knees.

Posted at 05:55 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, 2008 President - Republicans | Technorati

VT-Sen: Scramble for Open Seat

Posted by Bob Brigham

On Wednesday, Vermont Senator Jim Jeffords announced he would not seek re-election. The resulting scramble has launched a domino effect throughout Vermont's political world, potentially opening up seats all the way down to the local level. In 72 hours, a lot has changed in Vermont.

Representative Bernie Sanders has moved the fastest. Within the first 24 hours, he ensured that Democrats coalesced around his candidacy which will prevent a viable threat of a three way race. Within 48 hours, Sanders was on the phone with bloggers, locking down the endorsement of Vermont legend, Blogfather Jerome Armstrong. Today, David Sirota (the go-to guy for all things Sanders), has a must read post: Who is Bernie Sanders? When it comes to quick reaction and real-time politics, Sanders is setting the pace.

With Sanders locking down the support of Independents and Democrats, the only question is who will jump in the GOP primary. Much of the action in the GOP primary will occur after a decision by Vermont Governor Jim Douglas.

Kos says:

There is no one in Vermont as popular as Sanders. And while Bush and Rove pressure Republican Governor Jim Douglas to enter the fray (the only Republican with a hint of a chance), Douglas isn't suicidal. Or stupid.

Political State Report seems to agree:

Jim Douglas will be urged to run but he is very cautious and would have a hard time beating the popular Bernie and so he will not run. I expect Brian Dubie our Republican Lieutenant Governor to run for the senate. He would be the only Republican to have any chance. I think he is too right wing to win. If he does not run, then millionaire Jack McMullen will try again to buy the seat.

David Sirota examines Douglas's liabilities, including his close ties to President Bush (who is hated in Vermont) and his support for Social Security Privatization (which is hated everywhere, but especially so in Vermont).

As I listed before, the subscription only Hotline lists the follow potential GOP candidates:

Aud. Randy Brock
'92 nominee/Gov. Jim Douglas
LG Brian Dubie
Ex-House Speaker Walt Freed
'98 candidate/'04 nominee Jack McMullen
'04 House nominee/ex-USAF pilot Greg Parke
IDX Systems Corp. CEO Richard Tarrant

The Republican Party is justifiably scared shitless of what Congressman Sanders could do to them if he wins. But conventional wisdom already says that the GOP's best case candidate would be facing such intimidating odds that he won't even run.

Senator Bernie Sanders -- it has a nice ring to it.

Posted at 03:13 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Open Seats, Vermont | Technorati

MO-Sen: Jim Talent's Gift for Unpopularity

Posted by Bob Brigham

Regular Swing State Project readers know that when a sitting Senator has a re-elect number under forty, it means they are headed towards a loss. It doesn't mean they will lose, but it does mean they are losing. The latest poll numbers on Missouri Senator Jim Talent are in the range normally reserved for politicians under indictment or in the throws of a major scandal. In Senator Talent's case, it looks like he earned his dangerously low popularity through consistently demonstrating his aptitude for voting against the interests of Missouri families.

From the Missouri Democratic Party:

Now a new survey shows that Talent is the most vulnerable Senator in the nation.

Just 36 percent of Missourians say that they would vote to re-elect Talent in 2006, while 64 percent say that they want someone else or are undecided. Despite 11 years in Washington, Talent has failed to show an overwhelming majority of Missourians any reason why they should keep him there. "We cannot recall an incumbent senator with lower positive ratings than Talent," said Harstad Strategic Research, which conducted the survey of more than 600 likely voters. (emphasis mine)

Senator Conrad Burns re-elect number is also 36, but for that Burns had to repeatedly lie to Montana voters about only serving two terms (he is running for his fourth) and be bolo tie deep in a major corruption scandal.

It looks like Jim's talent is pissing off Missouri voters every time he casts a Senate vote.

Today's trivia challenge: Can anyone cite an instance where the year before successful re-election a Senator had a re-elect number of 36?

Posted at 02:16 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Missouri | Comments (3) | Technorati

2006 Senate: "Nuclear Option" vs "Constitutional Option"

Posted by Bob Brigham

Swing State Project has joined with practically everyone in referring to the GOP's power grab of ending the filibuster as the Nuclear Option. This is fitting, because of the severity of the action and the inevitable mutually assured destruction response by the Democrats. However, now that GOP polls show the GOP losing, it is time to change the language.

From Josh Marshall:

If you're conversant with the Republican national political debate taxonomy, you know that there is a point at roughly 15 to 16 days after the GOP starts losing a debate that crack teams of specially trained GOP spinmeisters are sent out to bamboozle gullible newspaper editors and TV producers into changing their vocabulary to make it conform to the latest findings of GOP focus groups. [...]

Now, let's be frank. There's no intrinsic reason why banning filibusters for judicial nominations should be called the 'nuclear option'. And if Republicans want to start referring to it as the 'judicial act of love' they can do that. But one side in a debate shouldn't be able to order the refs in the game to rewrite the lexicon just because people don't like what's happening. And yet that's just what's happening. Republicans are now making a concerted push at a whole slew of news organizations, trying to convince them to stop using the term in their coverage, on the argument that it's an attack phrase concocted by the Democrats. And it would seem the editors and producers are either too ignorant or too lily-livered not to let them have their way.

It is abusive to change the definitions in a debate just because you are losing a debate. It is a clear indication of a loss.

And many voters see through this. Remember when privatization became accounts? Well the word change didn't change the direction or slope of Bush's poll numbers on Social Security.

This should be seen as what it is: desperation.

And it should be seen as abusive and any reporter dumb enough (David Kirkpatrick) to buy into a change in definitions during the debate should be ridiculed.

Posted at 12:49 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate | Technorati

Friday, April 22, 2005

MO-Sen: Referendum on Stem Cell Research?

Posted by Tim Tagaris

In 2002, Republican Jim Talent eeked out a 22,000 vote special election victory for U.S. Senate over Jean Carnahan. This time around, Democrats are clammoring for a chance at defeating Talent, with a very interesting storyline emerging, even before the first official declaration.

Democratic state Sen. Chuck Graham, a symbolic leader of stem-cell research supporters, said he will probably challenge Republican U.S. Sen. Jim Talent, who has endorsed legislation to criminalize a certain kind of stem-cell research.

Graham, D-Columbia, who would be his party’s first candidate for the 2006 Senate race, is paralyzed from injuries he suffered in a car accident while a teenager and has helped lead the effort against Missouri legislation that would ban a type of stem-cell research commonly known as therapeutic cloning.

I haven't seen much polling data on stem cell research since the election, but the last numbers I found indicated a vast majority of Americans not only favor embyonic stem cell research, but federal funding for projects.

"Do you favor or oppose federal funding of research on diseases like Alzheimer's using stem cells taken from human embryos?" (Aug. 2004 - MoE +/- 3%)

Favor: 64%
Oppose: 28%
Don't Know: 8%

Several other Democrats have expressed interest in running for Talent's seat, including: Attorney General Jay Nixon and State Auditor Claire McCaskill. McCaskill, lost in Missouri's 2004 race for Governor, earning 48% of the vote against Matt Blunt. Secretary of State Robin Carnahan is also seriously considering a run.

Long-time Swing State Project readers might recognize Carnahan after expressing my angst over the uninspiring Russ Carnahan's (Robin's brother) primary victory over Jeff Smith in 2004.

Posted at 08:22 PM in Missouri | Comments (4) | Technorati

VT-Sen: Will MoveOn Back Bernie Sanders?

Posted by Bob Brigham

As a Yellow Dog Democrat, I did some soul searching about whether I should support Independent Congressman Bernie Sanders for Vermont's open Senate seat. After about 3 seconds, I decided that I would be supporting Bernie Sanders for Senate with my time and money.

MoveOn is in a similiar situation and I hope will come to the same conclusion. Today, MoveOn sent an email to their Vermont list asking for help deciding whether to back Sanders. The email directed people here:

Should MoveOn back Bernie?
On Thursday, Democratic Senate Leader Harry Reid told the press the he though having Independent representative Bernie Sanders run for Senate would be “good for Vermont and good for the country.” Rep. Sanders has been a hero on many of MoveOn’s issues, and if he becomes the consensus candidate quickly and is able to raise enough money, he could keep Gov. Douglas out of the race.

So, should MoveOn raise money to send Rep. Sanders to the Senate? We don’t pretend to know Vermont politics as well as you do, so we’re turning to you to help make this important decision.

I appreciate the fact that MoveOn is getting feedback from their large list of Vermont supporters. If you are a MoveOn member in Vermont, you should give them your thoughts.

UPDATE: Vermont's Jerome Armstrong jumped on the bandwagon. David Sirota is already raising money.

Posted at 05:35 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Democrats, Netroots, Open Seats, Vermont | Technorati

2006 Senate: Cheney and Reid on "Nuclear Option"

Posted by Bob Brigham


WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Vice President Dick Cheney on Friday threw his weight behind Republican efforts to ban Senate filibusters against Bush administration judicial nominees, in a move that would set up a bitter confrontation with Democrats.

Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid responds:

In the span of three minutes, the vice president managed to reinvent 200 years of Senate history and ignore the fact that Congress has already approved 205 of this administration’s nominees. Apparently, a 95 percent confirmation rate is not enough for this president. He wants it all, even if it means shattering the checks and balances in our government in order to put radical judges on the bench.

Last week, I met with the president and was encouraged when he told me he would not become involved in Republican efforts to break the Senate rules. Now, it appears he was not being honest, and that the White House is encouraging this raw abuse of power.

It is disturbing that Republicans have so little respect for the separation of powers established by our founding fathers. Based on his comments last week, I had hoped that the president was prepared to join Democrats in taking up the work of the American people, but it is clear this is no longer the case. If the White House and Congress insists on proceeding down this road, Democrats will do all we can to ensure that Congress pursues an agenda the American people can be proud of.

So Bush is going back on his word to join a right-wing power grab. This is a raw abuse of power by the Republican Congress and the GOP's own polls show that the backlash will be severe.

The Republicans know this is wrong and they know it will hurt the Republican Party. Crazy.

Posted at 02:43 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate | Technorati

AZ-Gov: Republicans Scared of Janet Napolitano

Posted by Bob Brigham

From the AP:

PHOENIX - Two prominent Arizona Republicans said Thursday that they will not challenge Gov. Janet Napolitano in next year's gubernatorial race.

Former Maricopa County Attorney Rick Romley and U.S. Rep. Rick Renzi are the latest Republicans declining to run against the Democrat.

U.S. Rep. J.D. Hayworth announced last month that he wouldn't challenge Napolitano and will instead run again for Congress.

Remaining potential Republican challengers include former Gov. Fife Symington, former Attorney General Grant Woods, and Keith DeGreen, a Scottsdale attorney and radio show host.

The Arizona GOP is so desperate that their only options are has-beens (DeGreen ran for US Senate in the eighties). Napolitano is popular and on her way to an easy re-election.

Posted at 01:22 PM in Arizona | Comments (2) | Technorati

CA-Gov: Schwarzenegger's Office FUBAR

Posted by Bob Brigham

Peter Nicholas and Robert Salladay have a must-read article that goes to great pains to avoid using the word, 'clusterfuck' when the story seems like it wants to type the word itself.

SACRAMENTO — Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is facing infighting among his senior staff and campaign team, which has contributed to a series of political missteps that threaten the once soaring governor's ambitious agenda, more than a dozen aides and lawmakers said Thursday.

With a lede like that, you know it is going to get ugly:

The problems are considered bad enough that they are expected to be discussed today as the governor's senior aides gather for a strategy meeting.

Schwarzenegger is reeling after successive policy reversals, gaffes and clashes with well-organized opponents have deflated his once-buoyant approval ratings. The latest setback came this week when he told a newspaper publishers association that the United States should "close its borders." He later apologized, explaining that he misspoke because of his imperfect command of English.

But a range of advisors see the remark as a sign of deeper strains. People with ties to the administration use words like "dysfunctional" and "civil war'' to describe the atmosphere within the warren of offices where Schwarzenegger and his top aides work.

I thought "dysfunctional" might be a little strong, until I read this:

Lawmakers say they are confused about who speaks for the administration and who has the authority to close political deals. [...]

One lawmaker, who would not be identified, said Schwarzenegger's top staff made clear that they, and not Finance Director Tom Campbell, should be consulted on budget policy — although a governor's finance director traditionally serves as chief budget negotiator.

Here is the political definition of clusterfuck (and a sign Schwarzenegger's Chief of Staff is failing):

People close to the office describe a hub-and-spoke system with Schwarzenegger at the center and various aides having little idea what others are doing. Though that structure has centralized power at Schwarzenegger's desk, downsides include confusion and a lack of coordination among staff members.

And the fact that Democrats can win is increasing all of these strains:

A consequence of the internal infighting has been an increasingly emboldened opposition, with Democrats in the Legislature spurning talk of compromise and expressing optimism that they can unseat Schwarzenegger in 2006 — a prospect that seemed far-fetched as little as three months ago.

"While the governor was still in the planning stage, still debating within his inner circle which direction he wanted to take … the opposition got organized and mobilized,'' Allan Hoffenblum, a Republican strategist, said, citing the vocal protests mounted by teachers, nurses, police and firefighters. "He got outflanked."

But the last line brings up the new talking point on Schwarzenegger:

Then he retreated.

Schwarzenegger talks big...and then he reteats. He doesn't have the team he would need to win, the civil war is costing him, and it is looking more and more likely that California will eat him up and spit him out before he loses re-election.

Posted at 11:52 AM in 2006 Elections - State, California | Technorati

2006: Schweitzer Wins

Posted by Bob Brigham

Chick Johnson:

HELENA - Gov. Brian Schweitzer on Wednesday passed out the accolades to members of the Montana Legislature for their work and for approving nearly all of the items on his agenda.

"I think that this Legislature has done a wonderful job in this session," Schweitzer told reporters at a morning press conference. "As the chief executive I would ask for little more than they delivered. While all the ink is not dry yet, it appears as though we're going to do some pretty remarkable things in this legislative session.''

He congratulated the Republican and Democratic leaders of the Senate and House and paid tribute to the freshman lawmakers who were empowered to stand up for their beliefs on the bills. At times, Schweitzer was able to persuade some freshman Republican representatives to support his proposals, even as the GOP House leaders opposed them.

So here is the press version of the laundry list:

  • Promote the production of ethanol in Montana by mandating its use in fuel.
  • Require groceries to put up signs telling people the country of origin of most meat sold in stores, even as Congress had passed a similar requirement but postponed it and is considering making it voluntary.
  • Reinvest money in state's colleges of technology, the two-year schools.
  • Put $80 million into Montana's K-12 school funding over the next two years, which Schweitzer called one of the largest increases in state history.
  • Set a balanced budget that will have a projected surplus or general fund balance of about $80 million as of mid-2007, without raising taxes and that honors the spirit of the budget spending cap.
  • Eliminate the property tax on business equipment for some 13,000 businesses by raising the exemption from the tax to $20,000 in business equipment, up from the current $5,000.
  • Crack down on methamphetamine use in Montana through a series of measures that Schweitzer said amount to the strongest package in the nation, apart from Oklahoma's.
  • Help improve access for hunting and fishing by making permanent the Habitat Montana, block management and the fishing access enhancement programs.
  • Reinstate the Made in Montana program, which the administration of Republican Gov. Judy Martz had discontinued, to promote items produced and grown in Montana.


Posted at 01:38 AM in 2008 President - Democrats, Montana | Comments (1) | Technorati

Thursday, April 21, 2005

IL-6: This is Your GOP

Posted by Bob Brigham

Chicago ABC 7:

April 21, 2005 — Republican Congressman Henry Hyde made some surprising comments Thursday on the impeachment hearings of President Bill Clinton. He now says Republicans may have gone after Clinton to retaliate for the impeachment of Richard Nixon. Hyde is stepping down after this term.

Hyde lost the battle against Clinton. And when his seat opens up, the Republicans are going to lose it. Sorry Mr. Hyde, but your politics are finished.

Posted at 11:39 PM in Republicans | Technorati

2006 Senate: Voters Fear "Nuclear Option"

Posted by Bob Brigham

Earlier today, I posted on Santorum's Slowdown of the "Nuclear Option" -- which was rumored to be in reaction to internal polling showing that such a move would doom GOP Senators in the 2006 election.

This is true, and some smart Republicans decided they didn't want Frist's lust for absolute power to sink the ship, so somebody leaked the numbers...

This is the current state of the GOP, staffers leaking ugly numbers to keep the religious zealots from destroying the institution of the U.S. Senate. From the AP:

WASHINGTON - Private Republican polling shows scant support for a plan to stop minority Democrats from blocking judicial nominees, officials said Thursday, as two of President Bush's most controversial appointments advanced toward a possible Senate confrontation.

These officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said a recent survey taken for Senate Republicans showed 37 percent support for the GOP plan to deny Democrats the ability to filibuster judicial nominees, while 51 percent oppose.

Additionally, the survey indicated only about 20 percent of Americans believe the Republican statement that Bush is the first president in history whose court appointees have been subjected to a filibuster, a tactic in which opponents can prevent a vote unless supporters gain 60 votes. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity, noting the survey data has not been made public.

When timing collides with hubris, ain't it a bitch?

Coincidentally, the polling was presented to GOP aides a few hours after the Senate Judiciary Committee voted along party lines to send the nominations of Texas judge Priscilla Owen and California judge Janice Rogers Brown to the full Senate for confirmation. Bush picked Owen for the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans and Brown for the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in the District of Columbia.

Democrats filibustered the nominations in 2003, preventing a final vote on both. Bush resubmitted the names when the new Congress convened following last fall's elections.

Conservatives have signaled they hope Majority Leader Bill Frist will use either Brown or Owen — or both — as the trigger for a confrontation with Democrats.

At this point, if Frist chickens out his Presidential campaign becomes a joke. On the other hand, the GOP moves forward, then they are jumping off a bridge. It appears that the Republican Senate is just another extremist cult with a suicide pact, because public opposition means nothing to the zealots who think they are hearing the voice of God:

Republican strategists concede their efforts to swing public opinion behind their move suffered in the wake of congressional intervention in the case of Terri Schiavo, the brain-damaged woman in Florida who was being kept alive with a feeding tube. The survey suggested the GOP faces a challenge if it hopes to gain significant public support before moving ahead on banning judicial filibusters.

"Polling on this issue is not going to make a difference. We are going to try to do what's right," Hutchison said during the day.

Crazy fuckin' idiots.

The Family Research Council, a conservative organization, has arranged a rally for this weekend in Tennessee to build support for the GOP plan and accuse Democrats of waging filibusters based on faith. Frist is scheduled to appear by videotape.

Again, the GOP is lead by crazy fuckin' idiots.

Posted at 10:21 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, 2008 President - Republicans, Republicans | Technorati

CT-Sen: DeLauro Floating a Challenge?

Posted by DavidNYC

From DailyKos:

Staffers for Rep. Rosa Delauro of Connecticut floated a possible Lieberman primary challenge at a local party event last night. Now, it may very well have been an eager staffer fantasizing about such a challenge (Delauro would become a national figure and grass- and netroots hero overnight), or it could be a something a bit more orchestrated, a trial balloon of sorts amongst the types of people whose support would be critical for such a David v. Goliath challenge.

Delauro would be a great candidate to take on Lieberman. Other possibilities are Attorney General Dick Blumenthal, who is fixated on an uphill gubernatorial challenge. Or, a favorite alternative of mine, former Republican senator Lowell Weicker -- the very guy who Lieberman ousted with a challenge from the right in 1988. He left the Republican Party and served as governor of CT as an independent. At 74, however, he may be done with politics.

DeLauro's district covers New Haven, where I went to college. She was often in the local news and regularly visited our campus. I got the sense she was a pretty popular and well-regarded figure. Her House website is here, her campaign website is here. A note to the DeLauro team: If you guys want to start a blog, we'd be happy to help.

UPDATE (Bob): Kos has an update where DeLauro says she is supporting Lieberman's re-election.

UPDATE (David): Heh. Thank goodness I put that question mark in the title! Alright, so the search begins anew.

UPDATE (Bob): I think we'll have a better candidate who will put Lieberman at a financial disadvantage.

Posted at 06:02 PM in Connecticut | Comments (1) | Technorati

Philly-DA: Seth Williams Day is Big News

Posted by Tim Tagaris

There is something brewing in the blogosphere today, and Young Philly Politics is leading the charge. There are two Democratic candidates running in a contested primary for District Attorney in Philadelphia: Challenger Seth Williams vs. Incumbent Lynn Abraham (couldn't find website).

What's interesting to me is that Daniel, author at Young Philly Politics, is organizing a cadre of almost exclusively Philly bloggers to rally behind Seth Williams in the primary. This is huge for two reasons:

1.) A group of bloggers realizing that the best way to change the face of the party and start electing "Reform Democrats" is to get involved in the primaries. In this respect, they are way ahead of the curve--especially since outside of presidential races, the choice is often to sit on the sidelines and support the winner.

2.) Regionalization. The people who are supporting Seth Williams overtly on their blogs with a series of action items are almost exclusively from Philadelphia. They have organized, and under Daniel's leadership have amassed quite a coalition. I have written about this (regionalization) quite a few times in the past. BlogPAC has begun an effort to regionalize. And frankly, it is going to be the centerpiece of a certain Senate race in PA that I am working on.

I am curious to see how this plays out in terms of actual results. It is something I will follow closely. For a list of Philly bloggers participating, click here.

Update: Chris Bowers of MyDD (also from Philly) has just jumped on board. Technorati Profile of "Seth Williams."

Posted at 05:06 PM in Netroots | Comments (2) | Technorati

Nuclear Option: A Tangled Web in Ohio

Posted by Tim Tagaris

When the infamous middle of the night passage of the Medicare bill happened in Congress, part of the fallout was the story told by Nick Smith (R-MI) about GOP leaders strong-arming him to change his vote their way by using support for his son's election bid as the lever.

Smith stood firm and voted against the bill, which passed by five votes on Nov. 22. But shortly afterward he leveled an explosive charge: Unnamed lawmakers and business interests had promised substantial amounts of money to his son's congressional campaign if Smith voted for the bill and had threatened to support other candidates if he did not change his vote.
Fast-forward to Ohio, and the impending nuclear option. According the the Cincinnati Post, Senator Mike DeWine has not indicated which way he will move in the event that Bill Frist pushes the button. But what is interesting, is the amount of contributions his son, Pat DeWine, has received from U.S. Senators in his contested primary for the open in seat in Ohio's 2nd Congressional District. The Cincinnati Enquirer reports:
What does U.S. Sen. Trent Lott of Mississippi care about Hamilton County? Here's a surprise: $5,000 worth. Sen. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska cares $3,000 worth, and Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah spent $1,000 on the southwest corner of Ohio.

All three Republican senators made large donations through their political action committees to the Hamilton County Commission campaign of Pat DeWine last year. So did other Washington-area individuals and groups. Campaign finance reports show DeWine collected about $50,000 from senators, PACs and individuals outside Hamilton County for his primary defeat of John Dowlin.

Trent Lott, as we all know, is right at the center of the nuclear option debate. Looking back at Republican tactics to use family members to force a member's vote a certain way on key votes, this is a question that should be investigated. After all, referring to the Nick Smith situation, even Newt Gingrich conceded:
And Republicans were mounting a defense, with former House speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) telling C-SPAN that Smith was "a disgruntled retiring member" who was the victim of nothing more than the usual treatment in a close vote.
Time to start asking more quesitons.

Posted at 03:06 PM in Ohio | Comments (2) | Technorati

PA-Sen: Santorum, from Showdown to Slowdown

Posted by Bob Brigham

The Hill:

Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.), a leading advocate of the “nuclear option” to end the Democrats’ filibuster of judicial nominees, is privately arguing for a delay in the face of adverse internal party polls.

Details of the polling numbers remain under wraps, but Santorum and other Senate sources concede that, while a majority of Americans oppose the filibuster, the figures show that most also accept the Democratic message that Republicans are trying to destroy the tradition of debate in the Senate.

The Republicans are keeping the “nuclear” poll numbers secret, whereas they have often in the past been keen to release internal survey results that favor the party.

While these numbers are secret, Santorum's poll numbers are public and sinking. The GOP now has solid evidence that the "nuclear option" is political suicide, yet they will probably do it anyway. The backlash brewing against the zealots could be a powerful force in 2006 Senate elections. While Santorum may have cold feet, this has gone too far for Frist to chicken out. As the 2008 Presidential campaign heats up, it looks like Frist is the crazy one and Santorum the one doing the daring, but too chicken to do the deed. Keep handing them rope and please, somebody make some popcorn.

Posted at 02:48 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, 2008 President - Republicans, Pennsylvania, Republicans | Technorati

VT-Sen: Cattle Call

Posted by Bob Brigham

With Senator Jim Jeffords seeking not running for re-election, Vermont's open seat will be closely followed by Swing State Project. From what I've read, Democrats are excited about Bernie Sanders, coalescing around his candidacy.

Indeed, Sanders is best positioned for victory and his campaign is likely to activate a nationwide network of progressives desperate to have a vote against unanimous consent.

The full Cattle Call, from the subscription only Hotline:

A complete list of potential candidates mentioned in today's coverage:

Rep. Bernie Sanders

Aud. Randy Brock
'92 nominee/Gov. Jim Douglas
LG Brian Dubie
Ex-House Speaker Walt Freed
'98 candidate/'04 nominee Jack McMullen
'04 House nominee/ex-USAF pilot Greg Parke
IDX Systems Corp. CEO Richard Tarrant

'94 nominee/'00 candidate/ex-state Sen. Jan Backus
'04 GOV nominee/Burlington Mayor Peter Clavelle
'00 nominee/ex-Aud./state Sen. Ed Flanagan
Sec/State Deb Markowitz
VT Nat'l Guard Maj. Gen. Martha Rainville
'02 GOV nominee/ex-LG Doug Racine
'04 LG nominee/ex-state Sen. Cheryl Rivers
'02 LG nominee/ex-state Sen. Pres. Peter Shumlin
AG Bill Sorrell
Treas. Jeb Spaulding
'90 GOV nominee/state Sen. Maj. Leader Peter Welch


Posted at 02:32 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Open Seats, Vermont | Technorati

RI-Sen: Stephen P. Laffey Primary Challenge to Chafee

Posted by Bob Brigham

Providence Journal:

Is Cranston Mayor Stephen P. Laffey going to challenge U.S. Sen. Lincoln D. Chafee in a Republican primary?

Many Rhode Islanders have been asking that question for some time, but now national pundits are also starting to ponder such a race.

And Laffey hasn't taken any steps to quell such speculation.

In fact, his office has issued a statement in response to queries from reporters that has stoked the fires even more. It does not say much about his plans, but takes shots at Chafee, without mentioning him by name.

"I've been across the State of Rhode Island, and what I have found is that fair-minded Republicans, Democrats, and independents are not happy with the way things are running in Washington and neither am I," the statement reads. "Rhode Island needs strong, independent leadership in Washington, not weak, indecisive waffling."

The press is giddy, "inner circle" types are hyping his viability, GOP insiders are trying to keep him out, and there is even an online petition urging him to run.

This sounds like a race:

Norman G. Orodenker, a close family friend of Laffey's and one of his closest political advisers, said Laffey will make a decision by late spring.

"He's not weighing running for mayor of Cranston again. The question is only what he does," said Orodenker, a partner with the law firm Tillinghast Licht LLP. "He's got several possibilities."

Laffey's roommate at Bowdoin College and close confidant Thomas Marcelle said that once you become a statewide figure, like Laffey, "statewide races become open to you, whether it be for lieutenant governor, general treasurer or U.S. Senate."

The Club for Growth types don't seem to have a plan with the former leader coming at this from a different perspective than the current leader.

Current Leader:

David Keating, executive director of the Club for Growth, a conservative organization that has bankrolled races against moderate Republicans, said the Chafee race "is definitely on our radar."

Keating's group has not formally studied Laffey's record or backed any candidate, but he said Laffey seems in-line with his organization.

"From what we've heard . . . he's willing to take on wasteful, entrenched interests that really have no concern for the local taxpayer," Keating said.

Former Leader:

Steven Moore, president of the Free Enterprise Fund, a conservative lobbying group, said that "it's not hard to get to the right of Lincoln Chafee. He's easily the most liberal Republican in the Senate."

Moore, who is also a former president of the Club for Growth, said that it's "certainly a potential" that someone could beat Chafee in a primary, because Republican primary voters "tend to be more conservative than general voters."

But, he warned, "there's real danger that even if you can beat Chafee in a primary, that all you're going to be doing is turning it over to a more-liberal Democrat."

In a heavily Democratic state such as Rhode Island, Moore said, "Unfortunately for conservatives, Lincoln Chafee might be the best you can get."

It will be interesting to see the degree to which the GOP grassroots involves themselves in this race. With the internet, the wingers really don't need the Club for Growth. That is where the whole online petition thing comes in. To date, only 285 people have signed it:

Challenge Chafee

Cranston Mayor Stephen Laffey is considering a run against liberal Sen. Lincoln Chafee in next year's GOP primary in Rhode Island. Sen. Chafee is widely considered the poster-boy for RINOs - Republicans in Name Only. Not only is he a liberal's liberal, but he regularly gives aid and comfort to the opposition...such as in 2004 when he announced he wasn't voting for President Bush.

The ONLY argument in favor of keeping Chafee in his father's old senate seat is that at least he votes for Republican leadership; that his vote is needed to keep Republicans in the majority. However, Chafee is on record as saying that if his one vote could switch control back to the Democrats, he just might do it.

Republicans really don't need another Jim Jeffords in their midst.

And the fact is, Republicans now enjoy a FIVE seat advantage in the senate. They can lose Chafee and still retain the majority.

In addition, if they DID lose Chafee's seat in Rhode Island, the odds are they'd pick it up by winning one or more vulnerable Democrat seats in another state in 2006.

The problem is, when people say there isn’t a dime’s worth of difference between a Democrat and a Republican, it’s so-called Republicans such as Lincoln Chafee who blur the philosophical distinctions. A strong argument can be made that culling RINOs from the GOP herd will make it far easier for average voters to distinguish one party from the other.

Mayor Laffey is a successful businessman and economic conservative who has restored financial stability to the City of Cranston since taking over as mayor two years ago (http://www.cranstonri.com/generalpage.html?page=28). Many political insiders believe that not only could Mayor Laffey defeat Chafee in the Republican Party primary, but that he’d actually be the strongest GOP candidate in the general election, as well, since many Republicans simply will no longer vote for Chafee under any circumstance.

That being said, conservative columnist Robert Novak is reporting this week that “National Republican leaders are pressuring Cranston Mayor Stephen Laffey to stay out of the Rhode Island Republican primary election against liberal Sen. Lincoln Chafee.”

Is it just me, or does it seem that whenever grassroots conservatives let “national Republican leaders” pick our candidates, we end up with dogs with fleas? Remember, it was those same “national Republican leaders” who defended the re-election of Sen. “Jumping” Jim Jeffords...just before he jumped over to the Democrat Party, thus handing back the newly-won GOP majority in 2000 to Tom Daschle and the Democrats.

BRUSHFIRE ALERT: Conservatives and Rhode Island Republicans deserve a competitive GOP primary race for the U.S. senate seat currently occupied by Lincoln Chafee. So please sign the petition below urging Mayor Laffey to get in the race to give voters a choice and conservatives a chance.

They guy who wrote the petition:

Chuck Muth is President and CEO of Citizen Outreach and a professional political consultant. He also is a former executive director of the American Conservative Union, a former National Chairman of the Republican Liberty Caucus, a former county GOP chairman, state party executive director, communications director, press secretary, direct mail fundraising consultant and legislative candidate.

This is going to be a fun one to watch. I don't know if it will take the Club for Growth's initial involvement to make this interesting. This guy Muth seems to know what he is doing, he made it into the local press, and if he can get a few thousand signatures it might we be enough to get both Laffey and the Club for Growth interested in the campaign.

Posted at 01:12 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Rhode Island | Technorati

NYC-Mayor: Sharpton Staying Mum

Posted by DavidNYC

It's hard to believe Al Sharpton would ever really keep his mouth shut, and who knows whether he'll keep his promise, but according to the NYT, he won't be endorsing anyone in this year's Dem primary for NYC mayor.

Before I go any further, let me say that I have absolutely no dog in this fight. Being away from my hometown, I haven't followed this race as closely as I did the last mayoral contest. But moreover, I just haven't been in the least bit inspired by any of the candidates. Nonetheless, this race matters to eight million New Yorkers and an equal number of people who live in the greater metropolitan area.

Anyhow, that aside, what does Sharpton's move mean? Well, it's pretty deadly for the Ferrer campaign, it seems. Sharpton was explicit in saying that Ferrer's recent comments about the Amadou Diallo case, in which Ferrer said he thought that the shooting of Daillo was not a crime, were the deciding factor. (If you aren't familiar with the Diallo case, I strongly urge you to follow the prior link - it was a seminal moment in recent New York City history.)

This suggests to me that one of two things is likely to happen: Ferrer will continue to make mistakes (everyone in NYC knew that his Diallo comments were an enormous error the moment he uttered them) - partly because he now has a seeming penchant for them, and partly perhaps out of desperation for losing Sharpton - or, chastened and burned, he will run an overly cautious campaign.

Either way, this throws the field wide open. Ferrer was still the front-runner (though declining) in a Q-Poll even after his Daillo remarks - he had a 36-21 lead over his nearest opponent, Manhattan Borough President (a mostly powerless job) C. Virginia Fields. But pre-Diallo, it was 4013. I'll bet ya that gap tightens up a good bit more more, and soon.

Posted at 01:08 PM in New York | Technorati

LA-Mayor: Spending Cap and Gloves Come Off

Posted by Bob Brigham

From the LA Times:

Villaraigosa campaign strategist Ace Smith said the city councilman, who raised $1.8 million by last Sunday, would collect as much as he can.

"Jim Hahn ran one of the sleaziest campaigns in American history four years ago," said Smith, referring to the June 2001 matchup in which Villaraigosa lost to Hahn. "We know we are going to need every dollar possible to respond."

Hahn campaign strategist Kam Kuwata said that "all the money in the world cannot cover up" Villaraigosa's "very shaky record" in public office.

Hahn and Villaraigosa, meanwhile, spent the day attacking each other's records on crime and education.

Two weeks ago I noted Villaraigosa's financial advantage. However, both numbers reported at that time showed a low level of interest with less than impressive contribution totals. Now, the independent spending it giving Hahn temporary relief from being at a financial disadvantage.

Mayor James K. Hahn and his opponent, Councilman Antonio Villaraigosa, can spend an unlimited amount of money on their May 17 runoff election because the cap was lifted Wednesday when two unions with close ties to Hahn reported spending $320,000 to support his reelection.

Hahn has so far benefited from $402,632 in independent spending, primarily from unions, while Villaraigosa has benefited from $121,865, less than a third as much.

There are no limits on independent expenditures, but spending more than $200,000 for or against a candidate removes the $1.8-million cap on how much candidates can spend.

The election is May 17th and with less than a month to go, this race is going to get expensive and nasty. Here are the latest poll numbers that I've seen:

Councilman Antonio Villaraigosa has pulled ahead of Mayor James Hahn by 18 points in the race to lead the nation's second-largest city, according to a Los Angeles Times poll released Tuesday.

Voters would oust Hahn for Villaraigosa by a margin of 53 percent to 35 percent if the election were held today, according to a survey released on the newspaper's Web site. Twelve percent were undecided.

The poll held few positive signs for Hahn, with nearly two-thirds of likely voters saying they believed his policies have left the city no better off and desiring a new direction.

A half a million in IE money isn't to do too much for an unpopular mayor who is trailing by 18 points.

Posted at 12:39 PM in 2005 Elections, California | Comments (1) | Technorati

2006 Congress: CAFTA Vote Implications

Posted by Bob Brigham


WASHINGTON - Opponents of a free trade agreement with six Central American and Caribbean countries said Wednesday they have the votes to kill the deal when it comes up for a House vote.

This will be far from a party-line vote. The DLCers will vote with Bush while vulnerable Republicans join Democrats in blocking the deal. The 2006 implications will be decided by which members vote with the other party.

Rep. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, an opponent, said that if a vote were held now on the Central American Free Trade Agreement, 195 Democrats and more than 60 Republicans would reject it, well more than enough to defeat the measure in the 435-member House.

“If CAFTA weren’t so wrong-headed and opposition to it so deep, Congress would have voted on the bill shortly after the president signed it” last May, Brown told a large anti-CAFTA gathering including farm-state lawmakers from both parties, Democrats with ties to organized labor, and groups representing agriculture, labor, religious, human rights and environmental interests.

So it looks like Democrats will lose around 10 votes, with 95% of the Party voting for workers. That means that around 150-170 Republicans could be entering the 2006 cycle with the baggage from this vote.

An issue like CAFTA has the potential to turn many a safe district into a competitive race.

I'll have more once we have a better idea of how this is breaking. It looks like great news for Democrats.

Posted at 12:12 PM in 2006 Elections - House | Comments (1) | Technorati

TX-22: Update on Probing DeLay

Posted by Bob Brigham


Republicans made their second attempt in two weeks Wednesday to get a deadlocked House ethics committee functioning again, adding the new proposal to blunt Democratic demands for an investigation of DeLay. Some House Republicans have acknowledged the steady Democratic attacks have made them nervous.

Democrats gave no ground. They said they wouldn't allow the evenly divided committee to conduct investigations unless Republicans reversed a rule providing for automatic dismissal of cases.

Contrast this with two months ago. The GOP has lost all negotiating room on the issue. Rules are going to return to congress. DeLay is going to be fairly investigated. And the corruption is so widespread that many will go down with DeLay.

Posted at 10:40 AM in Texas | Technorati

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Frist on "Nuclear Option" for Legislation

Posted by Bob Brigham

Capitol Buzz has the video and the scoop:

At a Lincoln Day Banquet, Frist stated, “All of you know the story of the filibusters, the obstruction and the list of bills we were obstructed on …that obstruction is not going to move America forward… Democrats do have an obligation to come to the table, to allow us to vote. From reforming Social Security…to addressing the problems of our legal system…to making health care more available and more affordable, they have a responsibility to be more than the party of ‘no.’” [Frist remarks, Lincoln Day Banquet, 3/4/05]

Now, Frist is flip-flopping.

Posted at 06:25 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate | Technorati

TX-22: GOP Charade, DeLay Yet to be Probed

Posted by Bob Brigham

Early I posted on reports DeLay would be probed by the House Ethics Committee in a fair and full investigation. That, is not the case.

Jesse Lee points out:

Basically the deal offered was this: they are willing to do just about anything, including immediately commencing an investigation of DeLay, as long as they can dismiss it with a party-line vote. Nice try.

Here is what House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer says:

"This proposal on the ethics process by the Republican leadership is a charade and an absolute non-starter with Democrats, who reject it out of hand. It is a calculated attempt to divert attention from the fact that the Republican Majority has neutered the Ethics Committee in the House by imposing partisan rules that hamstring any meaningful inquiry, sacking the former Chairman and two other Republican Members of the Committee, and firing non-partisan professional staffers.

"While the American people are surely interested to see that Tom DeLay's fellow Republicans agree that his behavior demands investigation, this offer does not address the fact that Republicans are in a position to block other investigations on a party line vote. This issue is bigger than the Majority Leader, it is about the integrity of the entire House now and in the future.

"In addition, Rep. Hastings's personal assurances on ethics rules and practices - even if put in writing - cannot be the basis for resolving the Republican roadblock on the ethics process. The House ethics process should be based on bipartisan compromise that is supported by both parties, not on personal agreements between individuals that can be made irrelevant by a change of heart or chairmanship.

"The one true thing that this proposal demonstrates is that the Republican leadership is worried that the American people see right through its empty excuse for gutting the ethics process. They are starting to feel the heat for bypassing the Ethics Committee itself and revoking the bipartisan ethics rules that had served this institution and its Members well since 1997.

"The Democratic position on this issue is crystal clear: We should reinstate the bipartisan ethics rules as called for in the Mollohan-Hefley bill, or at the very least the Speaker ought to appoint a bipartisan task force to examine ethics rule changes and report back to the Members."

So we are still waiting on Congress to restore ethics rules, but I was right that this would get interesting.

Posted at 05:30 PM in Texas | Technorati

TX-22: Tom DeLay Getting Probed for Corruption

Posted by Bob Brigham


WASHINGTON - Retreating under pressure, Republicans on the House ethics committee said Wednesday they were ready to open an investigation into allegations of wrongdoing against Majority Leader Tom DeLay.

This is going to get good!

Four of the five Republicans on the committee were ready to move ahead, said Rep. Doc Hastings, the panel's Republican chairman. The panel also has five Democratic members.

The Republicans were "prepared to vote at the earliest opportunity to empanel an investigations subcommittee to review various allegations concerning travel and other actions" by DeLay, he said.

The ethics committee has authority to start an investigation based on information it receives "through public and other sources," Hastings said.

This is a big day for DeLay news, this broke earlier:

House Majority Leader Tom DeLay treated his political donors to a bird's-eye view of a Three Tenors concert from an arena skybox leased by a lobbyist now under criminal investigation.

DeLay's political action committee did not reimburse lobbyist Jack Abramoff for the May 2000 use of the skybox, instead treating it as a type of donation that didn't have to be disclosed to election regulators at the time.

The skybox donation, valued at thousands of dollars, came three weeks before DeLay also accepted a trip to Europe — including golf with Abramoff at the world-famous St. Andrews course — for himself, his wife and aides that was underwritten by some of the lobbyist's clients.

Two months after the concert and trip, DeLay voted against gambling legislation opposed by some of Abramoff's Indian tribe clients.

House ethics rules require lawmakers to avoid the appearance of any conflict of interest.

Posted at 03:39 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Republicans, Texas | Comments (2) | Technorati

SF-Mayor (2007): Time Magazine Clocks Newsom at 80%

Posted by Bob Brigham

From the San Francisco Examiner:

Time puts Newsom's approval rating at 80 percent, which Newsom political consultant Eric Jaye said is "in the ballpark."

"It may be a few points higher or lower," said Jaye. "He is enjoying an extraordinary level of popular support given how contentious San Francisco politics are."

During his brief tenure in office Newsom has been the subject of glowing pieces in GQ, Esquire, Harper's Bazaar, and the New Yorker. Time also singled out Newsom for its 2004 "People Who Mattered" feature.

The first paragraph says he's looking good for re-election in 2007, the last paragraph reminds us why he might be looking good in 2008.

Posted at 03:32 PM in 2007 Elections, 2008 President - Democrats, California | Comments (1) | Technorati

Whole Lot Going On

Posted by DavidNYC

Due to our downtime this morning, we've been getting scooped on a whole bunch of important stories regarding the 2006 midterm elections. So, better late than never, we'll give you the executive summary:

• Vermont Senator Jim Jeffords, independent, will be retiring. I'm sorry to see him go - he's a latter-day hero for standing up to the GOP. Interestingly, another independent, Rep. Bernie Sanders, might replace him. Hopefully the Dems won't be dumb enough to run against Sanders and split the vote to the GOP's benefit. (David Sirota has a lot more on Sanders.)

Despite a poll which showed a Republican challenger "just" ten points back, it seems like the GOP might give Robert Byrd a free pass in 2006. The story comes from Bob "No Facts" Novak, so the usual salty caveats apply.

• A new Q-Poll on the PA senate race shows Casey widening his hypothetical lead over Santorum, from 46-41 to 49-35. That seems like too huge a jump to me, making me wonder if there isn't some extraneous noise. Then again, the GOP's taken quite a beating the past couple of months. Unfortunately, this poll does not include Chuck Pennacchio - grrr. I sent an e-mail to Quinnipiac asking them why, but haven't heard back yet.

Posted at 02:51 PM in 2006 Elections | Technorati


Posted by DavidNYC

If you tried to reach the Swing State Project this morning, we apologize for the site being down - we hit our bandwidth limit and had to bump it up to get back online. Evidently, we've become a bit more popular than we anticipated. The site should be working properly now.

Posted at 01:38 PM in Site News | Technorati

NYC-Mayor: Whatever, Bob Kerrey

Posted by DavidNYC

Now go back to doing whatever it is you do, you flake.

Posted at 02:10 AM in New York | Technorati

US Elections: New Pope a Campaigner

Posted by Bob Brigham

This is a troubling history, via AmericaBlog, from AFP:

German Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the Vatican theologian who was elected Pope Benedict XVI, intervened in the 2004 US election campaign ordering bishops to deny communion to abortion rights supporters including presidential candidate John Kerry. [...]

A footnote to the letter also condemned any Catholic who votes specifically for a candidate because the candidate holds a pro-abortion position. Such a voter "would be guilty of formal cooperation in evil, and so unworthy to present himself for holy communion," the letter read.

The letter, which was revealed in the Italian magazine L'Espresso last year, was reportedly only sent to US Catholic bishops, who discussed it in their convocation in Denver, Colorado, in mid-June.

Sharply divided on the issue, the bishops decided to leave the decision on granting or denying communion to the individual priest. Kerry later received communion several times from sympathetic priests.

Nevertheless, in the November election, a majority of Catholic voters, who traditionally supported Democratic Party candidates, shifted their votes to Republican and eventual winner George W. Bush.

The new Pope has "intervened" in our elections because his wants to limit our rights to satisfy his dogma. Bill Frist has launched a holy war against dissent with plans to take it nuclear. Stopping the Theocoms from achieving absolute power will be a defining battle for the 80% of the public who doesn't want government run by zealots. I can't imagine a rationalization for a Democrat ending up on the wrong side.

Posted at 12:23 AM in Democrats, International | Technorati

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

TX-22: Online Research Open Letter to Justice Kennedy

Posted by Bob Brigham

Dear Justice Kennedy

Via Atrios, I read how Tom DeLay said it was "incredibly outrageous" that you have done "research on the internet" (as a fellow traveller on the information super-highway, I'm sure you read Atrios often and saw his post).

If by any chance you are out consulting the Technorati, I humbly suggest that you spend a little time researching Tom DeLay. If it pleases you, try House of Scandal and Drop the Hammer. I know you will do your own research -- as Tom DeLay alleged -- if you find important links, feel free to put them in the comments.

Thanks for stopping by Swing State Project.

P.S. Bookmark the Daily DeLay. And make sure you stop by when the GOP uses the "nuclear option" on the Constitution.

Posted at 11:20 PM in Netroots, Texas | Technorati

VA-Gov: Tim Kaine Trailing by 8

Posted by Bob Brigham


April 16, 2005--In the race to become Virginia's next Governor, Republican Jerry Kilgore leads Democrat Tim Kaine by eight percentage points, 44% to 36%.

Forty-nine percent (49%) of Virginia have a favorable opinion of Kilgore while 33% have an unfavorable opinion. Eighteen percent (18%) are not sure.

For Kaine, the numbers are 44% favorable, 31% unfavorable, and 25% not sure. [...]

The telephone survey of 500 Likely Voters was conducted Thursday night, April 14, 2005. The margin of sampling error is +/- 4.5 percentage points, with a 95% level of confidence.

If Kaine's strategy isn't working, at what point would the campaign make the necessary adjustments?

Posted at 06:36 PM in 2005 Elections, Virginia | Comments (2) | Technorati

NY-Gov: Magic 8-Ball Says, "Signs Point to No"

Posted by DavidNYC

It's always interesting to watch a prominent politician's career slowly, slowly circle the drain. It's like a toilet bowl inside a centrifuge: There's already a morbid coriolis effect before someone reaches out to finally flush it. George Pataki is most definitely jiggling the handle:

With Gov. George E. Pataki expected to announce his political plans as soon as next month, talk of his future has consumed the capital. And many of the signs are pointing away from Albany.

Numerous lobbyists, lawmakers and political operatives here say they do not expect him to run for a fourth term as governor. They point to a slow but steady exodus of aides from the Pataki administration, to unenviable poll numbers, and to indications that some of his supporters are beginning to cozy up to Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, a leading Democratic contender in the 2006 governor's race.

Former Senator Alfonse M. D'Amato, a friend and confidant of Mr. Pataki's who helped make him governor, has shared a few meals with Mr. Spitzer and has praised him publicly. And Mr. D'Amato's former chief of staff, John Zagame, was listed as a sponsor on the printed invitations to two fund-raisers that Mr. Spitzer held last year.

Ouch! That's gotta sting! Al D'Amato, the very reason George Pataki won the governor's mansion in the first place back in 1994, has turned Judas. Personally, I have no idea how Eliot could stand even five minutes of breaking bread with Senator Space Alien, but then again, the Spitzer's got some serious fortitude. As distatesful as it may be, it's a canny move that hammers a few more nails into Pataki's political coffin.

A Marist Poll from a couple weeks ago showed Spitzer dominating Pataki by an astonishing 60-33. Considering the absolute highest number a New York Democrat can expect in a perfect storm is about 65%, that's just devastating. (Yes, Schumer got over 70% last year, but he also wasted many millions of dollars to do that.) Siena College also had Spitzer up by a less stratospheric 48-34 (and admittedly, Pataki inched up a bit from their prior poll). But no matter what, I just don't see how Pataki could ever want this race.

Posted at 01:21 PM in New York | Technorati

2006 Midterms: Republicans in Trouble

Posted by Bob Brigham

New CBS Poll:

Disapproval of the Republican-controlled Congress even extends to 39 percent of Republicans, along with 59 percent of Democrats.

Just 37 percent think what the current Congress has accomplished so far has been good for the country; 41 percent think what Congress has done has been bad.


Some of the current negativity about Congress may be attributable to the legislature's involvement in the Terri Schiavo matter. When asked which one thing that Congress has done over the past year sticks out in their mind, the top response is Congress' involvement in the Terri Schiavo case, volunteered by 9 percent. 3 percent name the war in Iraq — an issue at the top of Americans’ priority list. [...]

The impression on public opinion of Congress’ association with the Schiavo case seems to have been more negative than positive. Half of those who name the Schiavo matter as the most notable Congressional accomplishment think that what the Republicans have done so far has been bad for the country, nearly two-thirds of them disapprove of the job Congress has done, and six in ten have an unfavorable view of the Republicans in Congress.

Among one important Republican constituency — Republican evangelical Christians — there wasn't any more mention of the Terri Schiavo case as Congress' most notable action than there was among all Americans.

My how things change in 10 years:

Public approval of Congress remains nearly as low as it was last month during the Congressional intervention in the Terri Schiavo case, an intervention most Americans disapproved of. Now, 35 percent approve of the job Congress is doing, while 51 percent disapprove. [...]

Views were more positive in 1995, just after the Republican takeover of the House. Then, 48 percent thought what the Republican Congress had accomplished was good for the country, and 33 percent thought it was bad.

That is a major shift in public opinion for a single decade. Add to that Bush being humiliated over Social Security:

In addition, seven in 10 Americans express uneasiness about President Bush’s approach to Social Security, which he has attempted to make the hallmark of his second term. More Americans are uneasy about Mr. Bush’s approach to Social Security today than they were in February. Now, just a quarter feels confident that Mr. Bush will make the right decisions regarding the program.

The backlash is brewing.

Posted at 01:05 PM in 2006 Elections - House | Technorati

08-Dem: Governor Brian Schweitzer for Campaign Manager

Posted by Bob Brigham

While Kos wants Schweitzer for President, I'd be happy to have him manage the campaign. In a must read Salon interview, Montana's Governor Brian Schweitzer offers the following advice:

And how do you persuade the most conservative voters -- the ones for whom abortion and gay marriage are be-all, end-all issues -- that they should think about education and healthcare as important "moral values" too?

The most conservative voters? The beauty is that I only need about 50 percent to win. The most conservative voters will not even give me a shot. I don't need 100 percent of the vote. Just do the right thing, for God's sake. And if that means I'm only going to be governor for the next three and a half years, so be it. Just tell 'em who are you are, tell 'em what you believe in, and tell 'em in a way that they're gonna believe you.

Schweitzer on standing up:

"You know who the most successful Democrats have been through history?" he asks. "Democrats who've led with their hearts, not their heads. Harry Truman, he led with his heart. Jack Kennedy led with his heart. Bill Clinton, well, he led with his heart, but it dropped about 2 feet lower in his anatomy later on.

"We are the folks who represent the families. Talk like you care. Act like you care. When you're talking about issues that touch families, it's OK to make it look like you care. It's OK to have policies that demonstrate that you'll make their lives better -- and talk about it in a way that they understand. Too many Democrats -- the policy's just fine, but they can't talk about it in a way that anybody else understands."

That sounds like a not-so-veiled criticism of John Kerry.

Oh, Washington, D.C. The problem is, they get to Washington, they drink that water, they get Washington-speak. This is not a criticism of John Kerry. It's the reason that people keep saying, "Oh, [the next Democratic president is] likely to be a governor." It's because governors are faced with this all the time: Their language has to be the language that is clear enough for Joe or Mary Six-Pack to understand. When you speak on the Senate floor or on the House floor or in a Cabinet meeting, you don't even have to use the words that we use. It's a new language -- you know, "budget reconciliation, blah blah blah blah."

No. When you're out visiting with folks in a way that touches their heart, you tell them, "We're going to find the money to do the right thing." Well, when a senator stands on the Senate floor, it'd take him two hours to explain that.

It isn't about policy stances:

You need to have good solid policy -- that's important. But you've got to touch people. They've got to know you; they've got to know that you believe in what you're saying. And that's probably more important when people vote than your policies. Because how the hell are they going to raise their families, maybe work two jobs, go hunting on the weekend, bowl and drink beer with the boys on Tuesday night, and still have enough time to figure out who's telling the truth about the budget, about healthcare, about education?

So it's about the candidate himself -- about coming across as authentic and as someone voters will say is "one of us"?

They look up there and say, "That guy's a straight shooter. If I wasn't so busy bowling and working and fishing, and if I had time to spend on these issues, I bet I'd come to the same conclusions that that guy would. But it's a good thing that he's doing all that studying and stuff, because I'm busy fishing and bowling."

On consultants:

What happened was -- consultants. "Oh, this issue, that issue, some other issue." They're all talking about the issues. And I just kept pushing them in the Senate race: "Why don't we just run the gun ad and nothing else?" And they said, "No, no we've got all these issues."

So this time around, when we started shooting ads, they had some polling data, and they knew what pushed the buttons of the people in Montana. And I said, "No. This is the way this campaign is going to work: The more times that we run ads with me on a horse or carrying a gun -- it's better if I'm doing both -- the more likely it is that we'll call me a governor at the end of the day. Because what those ads said is, "I'm a real Montanan."

Talk is cheap...

A whole lot of it's visual. I heard somebody say, very early in the last presidential campaign, that they turned the volume off on their television and just watched the two candidates, and they said, "Bush is going to win." You know, when Bush walked in the room, he'd say, "Oh, hey, how ya doin' there?" giving somebody a high-five right there, giving somebody a thumbs up. When Kerry walked in, he found his way to the podium, and he described in painful detail -- with big words, in a strong way -- all the things that he was going to make right for the American people. [...]

Look, I started this out by saying that Democrats can win if they lead with their hearts. Let people feel you! Don't try to verbalize. Let them feel you first. If you're not a passionate person -- I happen to be. If I'm for something, you're gonna know it pretty quick. And if I'm agin it, you're gonna know it too. I'm straight about those things. Some people can't do that. Maybe they've had a lot of time in politics, or they're lawyers, or it's just their makeup. And they have all these highfalutin pollsters and media people, and they say, "Well, there's this demographic that kind of bleeds into this demographic, and you don't want to lose these over here because you were on this." I don't believe any of it. I think most people will support you if they know that you'll stand your ground.

Even if they don't stand on the same ground?

That's right.

On electability:

And then it was "electability." Democrats were thinking, "Oh gosh, we've just got to win. Let's get somebody that's electable." And they thought, "This guy Kerry, he's a smart guy, a senator; he served in the war, so they can't ding him for that; he voted for the war." So they started making it into a thinking thing rather than using the heart. Now, Kerry may have been the best candidate, but he wasn't selected because he was the best candidate from the heart. He was selected because in Iowa and New Hampshire people intellectualized it. They said -- and remember, this wasn't Joe and Mary Six-Pack making this decision -- "I love Howard Dean, but I think I'll marry John Kerry because Mom and Dad are going to like him better."

Schweitzer's first 100 days in office were a huge success. If we don't let the DLC water down our populist message, this can be the playbook for historic wins across the west during the 2006 backlash.

Posted at 01:05 PM in 2008 Election - President, 2008 President - Democrats, Democrats | Technorati

2006 Senate: No Negotiations Under Nuclear Cloud

Posted by Bob Brigham

With Republicans on the verge of forcing a historic re-alignment with the right-wing power grab's Nuclear Option, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid is urging Republicans to abandon their quest to break the Senate rules.

To help understand the dynamics at play, I highly recommend the following letter from Senator Harry Reid to Republican Whip Mitch McConnell:

April 19, 2005
The Honorable Mitch McConnell
United States Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510

Dear Mitch:
Thank you for your letter yesterday regarding judicial nominations.  I assume that your reply to my March 15 letter is not a substitute for Senator Frist’s promise over a month ago to offer a compromise for resolving this issue.  Democrats anxiously await that proposal.
I wholeheartedly agree with you that there is much important work to be done in the Senate.  That is why it is so baffling that Republicans would precipitate this destructive confrontation over the Senate’s decision to reject a small number of judicial nominees.  As you well know, the Senate has confirmed 205 of President Bush’s judicial candidates and turned back only ten, a 95% confirmation rate.  Ten rejected judges – only seven of whom are currently before the Senate – does not seem reason enough for Republicans to break the Senate rules, violate over 200 years of Senate tradition and thereby impair the ability of Democrats and Republicans to work together on issues of real concern to the American people.
For example, you are absolutely right that “our transportation infrastructure needs improving.”  That is why I issued a public call last week for the Senate to take up the highway bill.  Once we finish the supplemental appropriations bill, the Majority Leader has a clear choice: if he moves to proceed to the highway bill he can allow us to do the work that the American people sent us here to do.  If, on the other hand, he chooses to launch what Senator Lott dubbed “the nuclear option,” it will be clear that the Republican agenda is not based on the needs of the American people but rather on the demands of radical ideological elements in the Republican Party base.
I am committed to resolving the dispute over judicial nominations amicably.  The first step in that process should be for the Majority Leader to abandon his proposal to break the Senate rules.  We should not negotiate under a nuclear cloud.
Democratic Leader

Posted at 01:05 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate | Technorati

PA-04: Heinz Not Challenging Melissa Hart

Posted by Bob Brigham


"I'm definitely not doing it in 2006. I've thought about it in my life, but it's just not right at this particular time," [Chris] Heinz told The Associated Press by phone from New York City, where he lives.

If you ask me, that's best for all. It would be one thing to live in Pittsburgh and go for it, but when a reporter calls you at home in another state to ask if you're running, the correct answer is usually no.

This is a good district, and this move by Heinz allows Democrats the opportunity to come at this from the ground up.

Posted at 10:06 AM in 2006 Elections - House, Pennsylvania | Technorati

NY-Sen: Financial Reports

Posted by Bob Brigham

In case anyone was looking for evidence that Senator Clinton is as effective a fundraiser as her husband, look no further:

WASHINGTON, April 18 - Even as Republicans struggle to find a candidate to challenge Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York next year, she has embarked on a furious fund-raising drive that appears to have left her with a larger reserve of cash than any other senator seeking re-election.

Her campaign reported on Monday that she had amassed nearly $4 million in contributions in the first three months of this year, meaning that she will close the first quarter with $8.7 million in the bank. [...]

The amount raised by the Clinton campaign during the first quarter of the year strongly suggests that her base of support is swiftly mobilizing, even though Republicans are having trouble recruiting a big-name candidate to run against her.

However, that is just what she's done to build her campaign the largest warchest out of all Senators standing for re-election in 2006. What about other candidates?

But remarkably enough, the nearly $9 million that Mrs. Clinton has in the bank does not capture the full extent of her fund-raising ability, say her campaign advisers and other Democrats.

That is because Mrs. Clinton spent her first four years in office playing host to fund-raising events not so much for herself as for House and Senate candidates around the country, as well as the three major Washington-based Democratic campaign committees.

Her campaign advisers estimate that she brought in at least $45 million for other Democrats, including Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts, the Democratic candidate for president. Indeed, Whitehaven, the Clinton home in Washington near Embassy Row, has been a hub of Democratic activity, with frequent fund-raising dinners and receptions.


Posted at 08:57 AM in 2006 Elections - Senate, New York | Technorati

PA-Sen: Financial Reports

Posted by Bob Brigham

The Morning Call has fundraising totals for the 2006 Senate Race.

WASHINGTON -- | Sen. Rick Santorum raked in nearly $2 million in campaign contributions during the first three months of the year, giving himself a large financial head start over Democrat Bob Casey Jr.

Santorum's haul, combined with money raised earlier, gave him $2.8 million in cash on hand as of March 30.

Casey, who entered the race in early March, raised $90,000 and had just $73,500 in the bank after expenses, according to his financial report."

Casey has overwhelming name ID and received a good deal of press when he announced. It is troubling to see such a poor outpouring of support, if Casey excited people even slightly he should have been able to have raised three times that from people not asked, but looking, to give. Santorum may have off the chart negatives, but it looks like Democrats are taking a wait-and-see approach when it comes Casey Jr.

Posted at 08:35 AM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Pennsylvania | Technorati

Monday, April 18, 2005

MT-Gov: Schweitzer's First 100 Days

Posted by Bob Brigham


HELENA - With a red carnation perched on his lapel and sprouting a small banner proclaiming "100 Days," Brian Schweitzer sat casually in his Capitol office and grinned.

And why not? Montana's first Democratic governor in 16 years reached this landmark of his new administration with little to complain about.

While Schweitzer has little to worry about, the same can't be said of the GOP:

They don't like that he wears jeans with his tie and sports jacket [...] GOP leaders complain that Schweitzer bullies contrary lawmakers

Of course, Schweitzer denies he bullies those poor, wittle wepublicans.

But nobody is spending worry about Bob Keenan and game because they are too busy admiring Schweitzer's budding legacy:

Craig Wilson, who heads the political science department at Montana State University-Billings, said Schweitzer has reason for satisfaction.

"He's gotten what he's wanted," he said, attributing the successes to Schweitzer's elaborate preparations for becoming chief executive.

"You've got to have some ideas to start with, some policy proposals to start with," Wilson said. "You have to hit the ground running. He has some ideas to start with. He showed that coming out of the box."

Schweitzer's successes are all the more remarkable in the face of GOP animosity, Wilson said.

"Democrats elected a governor for the first time in 16 years and there were bad political feelings going into the session," Wilson said. "He won and Republicans are angry over reapportionment. They were mad about what happened from the beginning, were loaded up and wanted to take shots at the governor."

Schweitzer readily ticks off his wins _ programs to promote the ethanol and moviemaking industries, provide college scholarships, make prescription drugs more affordable, help businesses insure their employees and give Montana-made food a label declaring its birthright.

So Montanans are happy, anyone else?

While coping with the hectic pace of the Legislature, Schweitzer also has managed to attract national attention.

Schweitzer's election, in the Republican bastion of the intermountain West and in a year of few Democratic victories nationally, raised plenty of eyebrows. He got noticed for his hard-line approach to downstream Missouri River basin states' demand for water. His request that the Pentagon send Montana National Guard troops and water-toting helicopters home in time for the summer fire season made national news.

Schweitzer shrugs off the notoriety, saying it means nothing unless a benefit to the state. Still, he's not shy in explaining his national appeal.

"I'm a straight shooter. I tell it like it is and that is a diminishing commodity among politicians," he said.

Holding his first elected office, Schweitzer admits awe at where he finds himself daily.

"It's hard for us to imagine all the conversations that have occurred in this room in the last 100 years," he said.

"I sometimes early in the morning or late at night sit back and ponder about the magnitude of this office and the difficult decisions that have been made in this office over the last 100 years," he said. "It's a remarkable responsibility and it's not something I take lightly at all."

The first 100 days of the new dawn in Montana are a success.

Posted at 11:18 PM in 2008 President - Democrats, Montana | Technorati

MD-Gov: O'Malley Beating Ehrlich

Posted by DavidNYC

Like I said below, the Balto Sun has been busy doing some in-state polling, so we've got another post on Maryland. This time it's the Governor's race (likely voters, January in parens):

O'Malley: 45 (40)
Ehrlich: 39 (40)
Undecided: 16 (20)
(MoE: 3.2%)

Martin O'Malley is the Democratic Mayor of Baltimore. Bob Ehrlich is the incumbent Governor, whose job approval has been hurting since January. Then, it was 54-31; now, it's 51-38 - a pretty big spike for the disapproval, especially. One-time DailyKos front-pager Tom Schaller explains:

"Bob Ehrlich is hurting Bob Ehrlich," said Thomas F. Schaller, a University of Maryland, Baltimore County political science professor and a supporter of Democrats.

Ehrlich's attempts to shift blame for his shortcomings to the Assembly is "wearing thin," Schaller said. "People vote based on ability to lead, not on ability to complain," he said.

Good. Let's throw him an anvil.

Posted at 11:02 PM in Maryland | Technorati

MD-Sen: Mfume Leads in Primary, Cardin Leads in General

Posted by DavidNYC

The Baltimore Sun has a pair of big new polls out for the Maryland senate and governor's races. Buncha things to look at. This post will deal with the senate side of things. This is how the primary is shaping up in the very early running (likely voters, no trendlines):

Kweisi Mfume: 32
Ben Cardin: 26
Chris Van Hollen: 16
Undecided: 24
(MoE: 4.5%)

Mfume is the former head of the NAACP and the only person to officialy declare as a candidate, while Cardin and Van Hollen are both Congressmen. I don't have any particular opinion on this primary, but the Sun does note that Cardin fares best in a head-to-head matchup with the likely GOP candidate, Lt. Gov. Michael Steele, clocking in at 41-37. Mfume also leads, 43-41, while Van Hollen trails, 37-41. (These matchups, by the way, have a lower MoE of ±3.2% due to a larger sample size.)

Earlier stories indicated that another MD Congressman, Dutch Ruppersberger, was interested, but he announced last week that he's out. And yet another Rep. - Elijah Cummings - has also made noises, but I'm not sure what his status is. I guess the lesson is that in a small state, every Congressman thinks he can grow up to be Senator one day.

By the way, don't fret too much about Steele's seemingly good showing in a blue state. There may be a worry that, as an African American Republican, Steele might be able to make inroads into the black community. The Sun is pretty emphatic that this isn't the case, stating point-blank that Steele "generally fares no better" than the white Republican governor Robert Ehrlich among blacks.

Furthermore, the Sun buries the most important point in the final paragraphs:

Steele is more conservative than Ehrlich on social issues, and that could pose a problem for him with Maryland voters, Crenson said.

"He's a likable figure, and he's been generally low-profile during this administration. He hasn't been called upon to be the bad guy," Crenson said. "But any Democrat who runs against him is going to try to smoke him out on abortion, stem cell research and gay rights, and he's going to be placed in a very awkward position."

So this guy is a tabula rasa. Just wait until we shake the truth loose.

Anyhow, got any thoughts on the primary? Who do you like?

Posted at 10:34 PM in Maryland | Comments (1) | Technorati

IL-6: Hyde to Retire

Posted by Tim Tagaris

On his 80th birthday, today, Henry Hyde (R-IL) announced that he would not seek re-election to the United States House of Representatives in Illinois 6th Congressional District.

For the Democrats, Christine Cegelis (new website almost finished) is the most-likely challenger to whatever Republican the GOP throws her way. In 2004, Cegelis earned 44.2% of the vote against Hyde, a marked improvement from past challengers. Cegelis was buoyed by the support of a very strong grassroots network that included local DFAs that rallied around the progressive female seeking to defeat the author of the "Hyde Amendment." She was also a Dean Dozen candidate.

The candidate favored to challenge Cegelis is State Senator Peter Roskam (R-IL), a "favorite of religious conservatives." More much more coming on this race in the next few hours/days. It will be one of the most exciting of 2006.

Disclaimer: I am helping out Christine's campaign with online outreach.

Posted at 06:08 PM in Illinois | Comments (1) | Technorati

Dems: Direction and Means

Posted by Bob Brigham

Linda Feldmann has a good article in the Christian Science Monitor on the battle for the soul of the party:

Democrats, in fact, are counting on those dwindling numbers to help them as they look for that right combination of message, candidates, infrastructure, and opposition stumbles - with a dash of opposition hubris - to win back their mojo in 2006, if not 2008. So far, the party in power has obliged on that last score: House GOP leader Tom DeLay is under siege over ethics. President Bush faces an uphill climb with his No. 1 domestic priority, remaking Social Security. A majority of Americans objected to Congress and Bush turning the Terri Schiavo tragedy into a federal case.

But Democrats aren't gaining from the other side's losses. Polls show the GOP congressional leadership is less popular than the president - but the Democratic leadership fares still worse. And even among rank-and-file Democrats, only 56 percent approve of their own congressional leadership, according to the Pew Research Center. Among Republicans, the analogous number is 76 percent.

It is hard to project strength when you're watered down to half of your base.

Here is one model people are looking at:

For now, then, while the Republicans reap the benefits and risks of total control, some Democrats are focusing on infrastructure. In a New York Times commentary last month, former Sen. Bill Bradley of New Jersey called on his Democratic brethren to build a Republican-style "pyramid" of power - a base of donors and foundations, a second layer of think tanks, a third layer of political strategists, a fourth level of partisan media, and, if all goes according to plan, a Democratic president at the top.

Last weekend, in Scottsdale, Ariz., Democratic strategist Rob Stein was to hold a confab of party fundraisers to begin such an enterprise. Newly minted Democratic chair Howard Dean is also working on structure, building up state Democratic parties.

What message will go through the new structure?

Polls also show the public doesn't get a clear message from the Democrats - beyond "just say no" to Republicans. Around town, pollsters and Democratic policy groups are hunkering down and formulating ideas they hope will propel their party back into power. One new group, called Third Way, is a stepchild of the Democratic Leadership Council, the centrist group that was Bill Clinton's ideological home base. Third Way is working with centrist Democratic senators to draft ideas, and ultimately legislation, on national security, the economy, and cultural issues. Another group, the Center for American Progress, launched in 2003 by former Clinton chief of staff John Podesta, calls itself nonpartisan, but has emerged as a premier purveyor of progressive Democratic analysis - some say spin.

A couple of other Clinton alumni - pollster Stanley Greenberg and campaign guru James Carville - have also been on a quest, via their group Democracy Corps, for what they call a dominant "narrative" that Democrats can take from battlefield to battlefield, from Social Security to the budget to tax reform. Of the six Democratic vision statements they tested in a February survey, one scored highest for its potential to sway likely voters to their party's side: "The Democrats say America is only strong when we are strong at home, as well as in the world. We must invest in our own people to expand opportunity and build our own economy. Promoting American jobs, industry and technology is our starting point and mission in building a strong America."

Third way? I thought there were two ways, the winning way and the losing way. I guess the Third Way is the losing while selling-out way.

It worries me that only 56% of Democrats approve of our congressional leadership. If Democrats don't respect the Party, why would swing voters?

We need to fight, earn the respect of America through bold action, and then talk about the progressive way.

Posted at 06:01 PM in Democrats | Comments (1) | Technorati

TX-22: Tom DeLay Billboard - Vote

Posted by Bob Brigham

Democracy for America's billboard campaign is one step closer to being seen by drivers in Congressman Tom DeLay's 22nd District.

DFA's innovative Open Source message creation has not gone unnoticed by Swing State Project, with posts here, here, and here.

I just received an email from Tom Hughes. Out of 20,000 submissions, DFA has narrowed it down to 30 finalists. When you read the answers you'll see ideas that probably wouldn't have come up from a few consultants deciding the attack, so go choose your favorite. Full email and list of slogans in the extended entry.

Full Email:

You and over 20,000 others submitted slogans for the billboards we plan to put up in Tom DeLay's backyard -- a groundswell that even DeLay himself can't miss.

Suggestions came through all channels: email, on the phone, on the web, and by fax. They varied widely, but the message was always loud and clear: when it comes to this man who calls himself "the Hammer," we're ready to hammer back.

With the help of a team of Texans, we've worked down to the top thirty responses -- is your slogan among them? Find out now, and vote for your favorite:


Even DeLay can't deny the stench of corruption surrounding his leadership. In an interview this week, a reporter asked him if he had "ever crossed the line of ethical behavior in terms of dealing with lobbyists, [his] use of government authority or with fundraising." His response? "Ever is a very strong word."

He has made Congress a playground for corporate lobbyists and he has made Texas a case study in abuse of power for personal gain. He has run roughshod over ethics rules and Texas laws and he's threatened judges, prosecutors and even Republican colleagues who get in his way. DeLay is the definition of out of touch, out of control leadership.

Even in the face of all this, Tom DeLay's Republican Party is determined to protect him. Outside groups and DeLay's defenders in Congress have stepped up their campaign to smear anyone who challenges him.

Something tells me that you won't be intimidated -- vote now to decide what you want to say:


Democracy for America is about clean government that works for all Americans. Tom DeLay and the Republican Party he has built are about the opposite -- a government bought and paid for by corporate interests and right-wing billionaires.

DeLay and his defenders say that you're the one who's out of the mainstream. He insists that he represents the values of his constituents and the majority of Americans.

But judging by the responses we received from all over Texas -- and all over the country -- that's just not the case. So let's put our message up for all to see, and let the people decide.

Thank you.

Tom Hughes
Executive Director
Democracy for America

P.S. -- Don't forget to vote for the best billboard:


Here are the the best slogans:

  • Nail the Hammer

  • How am I doing? (Photo of DeLay) Call (DeLay’s DC office number)

  • (Photo of Texan) Tom DeLay does not represent me.

  • Rep. DeLay, Your ethics don’t match our values. --From the growing majority in the 22nd district

  • Don’t mess with Ethics!

  • “Education is not my job.“ -- Tom DeLay

  • Delay listens to powerful insiders... but does he ever really hear YOU?

  • Tom Delay: Unchecked and Unbalanced

  • Tom DeLay Is Messing With Texas

  • Tom Delay: Hammering the Constitution one civil right at a time

  • Tom Delay: Exterminating Democracy right here in America

  • (Picture of Delay) Congressman for sale (or at least his vote is)!

  • Corporations spent millions to send Tom DeLay golfing, and all you got was this billboard.

  • Would you buy a used car from this man?

  • Looking for moral decay...look no farther than Tom DeLay!

  • Tom DeLay: Putting your taxpayer dollars to work, 18 holes at a time.

  • We apologize for the DeLay, public service will resume shortly.

  • Tom DeLay: My Values Should Be Your Values

  • Tom DeLay: The best representative money can buy.

  • Tom DeLay: All His Ethics Aren’t in Texas

  • Why vote for Tom DeLay, when you can buy him?

  • DeLay, no longer.

  • Tom Delay: Bad for Texas, Bad for America.

  • America for Sale! Call Tom DeLay for details.

  • Ethics are a moral value. Tell Tom.

  • While he is looking out for big corporations, who is looking out for you?

  • Tom Delay: Unethical, UnTexan!

  • Tom DeLay: Never before have the taxpayers done so much to improve the golf game of a public official.

  • When a man fails to understand separation of powers, it is time to separate him from power.

  • When Ethics Get Hammered, The Voter Gets Nailed.

Together, we've come up with 30 lines. Do with this list what you will...

I love Open-Source politics.

Posted at 04:40 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Texas | Comments (1) | Technorati

PA-Sen: Choosing on Choice?

Posted by Bob Brigham

As Lakoff says, when you negate a frame you invoke the frame. In Pennsylvania's 2006 Senate race, we are seeing this proven. In the past two days, the Philadelphia Inquirer has devoted a large number of column inches towards examining the subject that the DC insiders said wouldn't be an issue: Choice.

Yesterday, Karen Heller had a column titled, No primary for you. The sub-head read, "With Senate candidates like these, one thing's certain: Women lose."

If Casey defeats Rick Santorum, Pennsylvania will have the dubious distinction of fielding one of the Senate's most moderate Republicans and one of its most conservative Democrats, so conservative the Republicans will wonder why he isn't theirs.

Casey was chosen for several reasons: name, name, name, and that his politics are virtually indistinguishable from those of Santorum, to say nothing of his looks, age and family life.

Like his father - did we mention that his father was the late governor Robert Casey? - the state treasurer is staunchly anti-abortion. He's also staunchly against gun control.

Choice as an issue will not matter in the Pennsylvania race. There is no choice.

Well, actually there is. Which Carrie Budoff and Thomas Fitzgerald report on today:

But as a 2006 U.S. Senate candidate, recruited by national Democrats for one of its highest-profile races, Casey will be forced to address abortion as he seeks the nomination from a party in which he holds the minority view. [...]

Top Democratic leaders see Casey as their best chance against Republican Sen. Rick Santorum, who worked for eight years to help pass the 2003 ban on late-term abortions. To win the nomination, Casey must first get by Chuck Pennacchio, a University of the Arts professor who supports abortion rights.

So will choice become an issue in the primary?

"A lot of women will make sure that not a nickel of their money goes to Casey," said Kim Gandy, head of the National Organization for Women, which has gathered 13,000 signatures on a Web protest petition.

There is even talk of wealthy donors boycotting the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee in retaliation. You can see the passion in the Karen Heller piece:

Casey is not an appealing choice to progressive women. Specifically, he makes this progressive woman ill.

Santorum and Casey are like the old Patty Duke Show, they walk alike and talk alike and, gee, if you can tell them apart, please, let me know. [...]

Both parties should be open to more voices. I just don't want Bob Casey's voice representing mine.

Casey's Web site offers no positions yet, though he's uttered plenty of hollow platitudes about "supporting working families." Aren't we all for working families?

He supports various welfare entitlements which, a cynic might point out, poor women are going to need, especially if access to choice keeps diminishing.

Like all voters, Philadelphians ought to be selfish. Women voters ought to be selfish. I don't see either candidate representing my interests, or those of a lot of other women.

I've asked social and political activists why, more than a year before the election, this huge state can't produce better candidates instead of Brylcreemed clones. One organizer said to me, "I tend to support causes that have a realistic chance of getting accomplished."

There has to be more choice than none.

As regular readers know, Swing State Project's Tim Tagaris directs communication for pro-Choice Democrat Chuck Pennacchio. He offers his take on MyDD and Daily Kos.

I have two concerns at this point.

My first concern is that by negating Choice as an issue, it has become the defining story of the campaign. By agreeing with Santorum, not only are we turning off our base, but we also threaten to invoke right-wing frames by signaling to voters that the right has the good ideas. As the storyboard of the 2006 campaign unfolds as a backlash against the theocrats assault upon personal rights, my worry is that Democrats may be unable to take advantage of the national debate in this key race.

My greater concern is that some DC consultants want to move Democrats away from individual rights at a time that we should be highlighting our defense of civil liberties. Pennsylvania will be the most nationalized race in 2006, my choice is for a candidate who is on message with the rest of the Party.

There are ways that anti-choice candidates can approach the issue without harming the Party. But this isn't it:

Like his father, Casey Jr. said he believes the government's right to protect the vulnerable includes the unborn. He bases his conviction on biology, he said, not his Catholic theology.

"There's a life there," he said.

Casey said he will not make it a defining issue.

Regardless of what the Casey campaign is planning, with a stance like that I don't see how abortion can be anything other than the defining issue.

Posted at 01:18 PM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - Senate, Democrats, Pennsylvania | Technorati

Democrats Winning the West

Posted by Bob Brigham

If there is an opening for Democrats, several political analysts say, it is in the social issues that animate the Republican Party base but collide with the Western ethos of live and let live.

That is one of the key lines from the LA Times article, Democrats Push for a New Frontier. Recently, some Democrats have argued for hopping on the theocrat bandwagon as part of a bizarre strategy to tie Democrats' future to the south. As a member of the reality-based community, I'll look out West, as the LA Times reminds us:

In a year of crushing disappointment, Colorado was a bright spot for the Democrats in 2004. Here on the front porch of the Rocky Mountains, the party gained a House seat, elected a U.S. senator and won control of the state Legislature for the first time in 44 years. [...]

In addition to the party's strong 2004 showing in the Colorado Legislature, Democrats elected a governor in Montana and took control of the House and Senate in Helena, the first time they won either chamber in a decade.

The party also now has governors in Arizona, New Mexico, Oregon, Washington and Wyoming. Overall, Democrats gained 31 legislative seats across the West in 2004, but the party continued to lose ground in the South.

Want a Democrat to win in 2008?

At the presidential level, the West accounted for six of the 10 states where Democratic nominee John F. Kerry topped Al Gore's 2000 performance.

New Mexico and Nevada — which President Bush carried by less than 1 percentage point and 2.6 percentage points, respectively — had two of the four tightest contests in November.

The way some are trying to win in the south is mutually exclusive with winning out west. For me, the smart choice is clear:

Now, more than a century after newspaperman Horace Greeley passed on his famous advice — "Go West, young man" — Democrats are paying new heed to those words.

The South is increasingly Republican. Democratic states of the East and Midwest are steadily losing electoral clout to the Sun Belt. So a number of Democrats are urging their party to emulate generations of pioneers who sought their fortune in the rugged landscape across the Great Divide.

For a long time, Democrats out west suffered from a message that was screwed up by city-folk. Now that those stereotypes have finally started to fall, I hope that western Democrats won't have the burden replaced with a screwed up message by southerners.

Democrats need to talk in a "Western voice" that resonates with voters and lays to rest old stereotypes, said Pat Williams, a Montana congressman for 18 years until retiring in 1997.

Williams, a fellow at the O'Connor Center for the Rocky Mountain West, a policy center at the University of Montana, said when it came to environmental issues, he "seldom mentioned the word 'wilderness' because that denoted the national government setting aside huge pieces of a state. Instead, I always talked about clean places to fish, hunt and camp."

Gov. Schweitzer is blunter still. Seated in the governor's modest office in Helena, he is the very image of Western informality in bluejeans and a loosely fitted bolo tie.

"Don't dress like a lawyer," he counsels his fellow Democrats. "Don't talk like a lawyer. And be prepared to go out and meet people and answer their questions straight. Don't wiggle around and sort of be with them and sort of be against them…. I think most people don't spend the time to figure what all the issues are all about. They want to know you have a heart and a backbone."

If you are even slightly interested in the future of the Democratic Party, I suggest you go read this.

Posted at 08:46 AM in Democrats | Technorati

GA-Lt.Gov: Pat Robertson Slaps Ralph Reed

Posted by Bob Brigham

New York Times:

But as he completes his journey from Christian advocate to professional politician, Mr. Reed, 43, finds himself carrying some baggage: his ties to an old friend, the Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

In Washington, federal investigations of Mr. Abramoff, a close ally of Tom DeLay, the House majority leader, have revealed that Mr. Abramoff paid Mr. Reed's consulting firm more than $4 million to help organize Christian opposition to Indian casinos in Texas and Louisiana - money that came from other Indians with rival casinos. [...]

Some of Mr. Reed's past patrons - including the Rev. Pat Robertson, the Christian broadcaster who set Mr. Reed on the national stage by hiring him to run the Christian Coalition - say his work with Mr. Abramoff's Indian casino clients raises questions about how he has balanced his personal ambitions with his Christian principles.

"You know that song about the Rhinestone Cowboy, 'There's been a load of compromising on the road to my horizon,' " Mr. Robertson said. "The Bible says you can't serve God and Mammon."

If you don't know the song about the Rhinestone Cowboy, here is what Pat Robertson was saying about Ralph Reed:

There'll be a load of compromisin'
On the road to my horizon
But I'm gonna be where the lights are shinin' on me

Like a rhinestone cowboy
Riding out on a horse in a star-spangled rodeo
Rhinestone cowboy
Gettin' cards and letters from people I don't even know
And offers comin' over the phone


When the Devil came knockin' -- Reed took his $4,000,000 and ran...for office.

But the New York Times reports people see through it:

In Georgia, Mr. Reed's rival in the Republican primary is playing up his links with Indian casinos to try to revive longstanding criticism from conservative Christian purists that Mr. Reed has sometimes put his own ambitions ahead of their goals. At the meeting near Atlanta, for example, his opponents were doing their best to sow doubts in the crowd.

"The Christian Coalition, they may have some shady background," said Robert McIntyre, the treasurer of the Spalding County Republican Party, who still wore a Ralph Reed sticker on his lapel. "I was being loyal to Ralph Reed, but since now some things have come up, I need to listen. I am now wavering." [...]

Unlike most conservative Christian leaders, Mr. Reed was drawn to Republican politics first and evangelical faith later. He arrived in Washington as a 19-year-old Senate intern in 1981 and became executive director of the College Republican National Committee two years later, under Mr. Abramoff as chairman.

Mr. Abramoff was "a conservative firebrand," Mr. Reed wrote in his book "Active Faith." The men became so close that Mr. Reed sometimes slept on Mr. Abramoff's couch and later introduced Mr. Abramoff to his future wife.


Posted at 02:02 AM in Georgia | Technorati

Sunday, April 17, 2005

MN-Sen: Klobuchar Announcement Speech

Posted by Tim Tagaris

Here is the full text of Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate in Minnesota, Amy Klobuchar's official announcement speech made earlier today. Klobuchar has raised, at last report, $580,000 since Senator Dayton (D-MN) made it official that he would not seek re-election. Her campaign website can be found HERE.

SNIP:To learn a little bit about responsibility, we need to listen to the everyday heroes of our state--- people like the nurses who watched over my baby daughter when she was sick in the hospital, the police officer who stayed out all night to get that final piece of evidence we needed to solve a murder case, the reservists who leave their families behind to protect our nation abroad, the small business owner who goes the extra mile to provide health care benefits to a pregnant employee, and the farmer who struggles to keep his land and send his kids to college at the same time.
Full speech in the extended copy.

Good afternoon. Welcome to the house I grew up in. It's where my Mom, Rose Klobuchar, still lives. And this morning she gave me one piece of important advice that she wanted me to share with all of you: don’t step on her tulips.

I’m proud to have my family here with me today. I first want to introduce the two most important people in my life: my husband John and my daughter Abigail.

John grew up in Mankato, and his parents are here with us today. John is the third of six children – all boys. Let me tell you, my in-laws were never so happy with me than the day our daughter Abigail was born. And we’ve all been happy ever since.

My mom was a second grade teacher until she was 70. Her students still stop me on the street to tell me about how, with commitment and love, she shaped their lives just as she shaped mine, by teaching me to value education and curiosity and good humor.

My dad, Jim Klobuchar, is also here with us today. He’s also retired, or sort of retired. I say that because he continues to write books and still organizes adventure trips. As a newspaperman he brought life to the stories of ordinary people doing extraordinary things. He taught me that with faith in God we can meet our biggest challenges. He taught me to be leery of those with too much power, to take on the tough fights and to follow my dreams.

This house, this driveway, have marked the beginning of many journeys for me. My first day of kindergarten, and all through elementary school, my sister and I would walk across the street there, through the Bezenar’s backyard, and up the hill to what was then called Beacon Heights School.

It was here on this driveway where I started many a bike trip with my dad, including the one that took us all the way to Jackson Hole, Wyoming: 1100 miles in 10 days with all our gear on our bikes and our backs, 3 flat tires, 5 angry farm dogs and 1 tornado. Compared to that trip, this journey is going to be simple.

This journey started two months ago when our friend Mark Dayton announced that he would not seek another term in the United States Senate. Since then, I’ve received a generous outpouring of support and encouragement from people throughout Minnesota, many of whom I’ve worked with over the years.

As the chief prosecutor for Minnesota’s largest county, in which I represent nearly one-quarter of the people of this state, I’ve fought to make our communities even better, safer places to live. I’ve fought to protect the most vulnerable among us. I’ve fought to make government more accountable and efficient. I have a proven record of making a difference and producing positive results for the people I represent.

I’ve listened to them. I’ve listened to my family. I’ve thought long and hard about what I can do for our state. I’ve listened to our everyday heroes: farmers in Clay County, workers in Duluth, small business owners in Rochester, and veterans from across the state.

And so, today, where so many of my own journeys have begun, and with a commitment to the everyday heroes across Minnesota, I announce my candidacy for the United States Senate.

I run for the United States Senate so that I can make a difference for the people of Minnesota. I am a public servant who will put the greater good of the many in front of the interests of the few. Just as I have done as a prosecutor, I will stand up for what’s right without fear or favor. I will devote myself to solutions that improve people’s lives instead of fixating on issues that divide. I will bring Minnesota common sense to the halls of Congress.

I love this state. I’ve gotten to know Minnesota pretty well in the past 44 years--on the back of a bike, through my work as President of the Minnesota County Attorneys Association, and through John’s and my families’ roots on the river banks of southern Minnesota to the forests and lakes of the north.

As Minnesotans, we share so much in common. We believe in hard work and fair play. We believe in a secure nation and safe communities. We believe in personal integrity and responsibility.

I believe in hard work and fair play. My grandpa was a miner, working 1500 feet underground in the iron ore mines in Ely. He didn’t even finish high school, but he and my grandma saved money in a coffee can in the basement, and they saved enough to send my dad to Ely Junior College. From there he went to the University of Minnesota. He married my mom. They moved here to this house where I grew up.

I remember my mom driving me in her red comet car to piano lessons. After the lessons during Christmas time we’d drive around town looking at all the Christmas lights in the big houses. And when I looked at those houses and imagined the lives inside them, never once did I think that I couldn’t achieve everything that those kids could achieve. It would take work. It would take student loans. I worked as a car hop and typed student papers in college to get there, but I did it.

That’s because Minnesota has always stood for opportunity through hard work -- the idea that no matter where you come from, if you work hard, you can give the uplifting gift of education to your children, you can have security in your later years, you can achieve your dreams.

That’s why we in Minnesota are horrified by the way Washington has turned a $200 billion dollar budget surplus into a $400 billion dollar deficit. Every baby born in Minnesota is now saddled with a $26,000 “birth tax” – their share of the burgeoning federal debt. That’s a lot more than you can fit in a coffee can.

As a Senator, my philosophy will be: “pay-as-you-go.” You want to do some more spending, fine, but show how you’re going to pay for it. You want an additional tax cut, ok, but show how you’re going to pay for it. During the Clinton administration Congress used this rule to balance the budget and produce surpluses. We need to do it again.

As a public servant I go to work every day with a mission that we treat people the same no matter where they come from. That’s fair play. Whenever we prosecute a well-connected wealthy person, like a pilot or a CEO, the courtroom is packed with friends and we receive dozens of letters asking for leniency. When we prosecute a poor person, she’s lucky if her mom can take time off to attend.

When we prosecuted a judge for stealing $400,000 from a mentally disabled woman, it was standing room only at his sentencing. The room was filled with movers and shakers, all there to say this man shouldn’t go to prison. Even the former Miss America testified, but that didn’t bother me; hey, I was Ms. Skyway News of March of 1988.

But what I remember most about that case is the two African American men that came to watch. They had been in the courthouse for their cases and, except for the court reporter, they were the only African Americans in that room. They told me that since they had once gone to jail to pay for their crimes, they thought the judge should go to jail to pay for his. And they said, “you know, we think you need us here.” And we did. They were our guardian angels: the judge got four years. They were there to say, by their presence alone, that we can’t have two systems of justice, one for the rich and powerful and one for everyone else. We can’t have two health care systems, we can’t have two economic systems.

Minnesotans deserve fair play.

That’s why I’m so concerned about the way Washington has shifted the tax burden in this country so that an outsized share of the tax cuts have gone to the wealthiest among us. In Minnesota, we’d rather give them to the many, not the few.

I have always been proud to live in a state and country where we wrap our arms around the most vulnerable – our kids, our elderly, our disabled. It’s what we do. We take care of our kids, our parents and grandparents. That’s why we know that you can’t protect Social Security by diverting money out of the system. We need a Social Security system that’s a guarantee, not a gamble.

In Minnesota we know that farmers deserve fair trade agreements that let them compete on an even playing field. And in Minnesota we know that consumers get better prices when big drug companies face competition. When I go to Washington I will focus on real health care reform by insisting that we negotiate lower prices with the pharmaceutical companies and I will target spiraling health care costs.

That’s fair play.

I also believe in a secure country built on a strong military and safe communities. No political party has a monopoly on patriotism or the fight against terrorism. I am proud of the men and women who serve our country on the front lines everyday – many from rural areas of our state. In Minnesota we all agree that we must fully equip our troops before we send them to fight. And we must all share in the cost of protecting our country from terrorists and hostile nations.

But security begins at home with safe communities. I’ve seen this with the work we do in the neighborhoods. Block clubs, neighbors watching out for each other, coupled with strong, smart law enforcement have made a difference. We’ve cut crime. We’ve assigned prosecutors to each school to work hand-in-hand with school officials and police to intervene early in kids’ lives. We’ve targeted sex offenders, gangsters, and felons with guns.

In Minnesota, we need to be relentless in our approach to the newest crime challenge -- the highly addictive drug methamphetamine -- as we move forward. The best way to attack this drug is not only to be tough on dealers and stop it at its source, but also to invest in effective treatment.

Safe communities also mean maintaining Minnesota’s proud heritage of conservation, clean water and clean air. In a state that depends on clean water for our citizens, our economy and our tourism, we should be able to eat the fish that we catch. I will insist on rules that keep mercury at safe levels so our lakes, rivers and streams can sustain our Minnesota way of life.

I also believe in responsibility and personal integrity. We are all responsible for our own actions and our own priorities, and in Minnesota we know that there is a difference between right and wrong.

We know that it’s wrong for the people in Washington to make closed-door, back-room deals to change the ethics rules to protect powerful partisans. And it’s right to put integrity and our country’s interests first.

To learn a little bit about responsibility, we need to listen to the everyday heroes of our state--- people like the nurses who watched over my baby daughter when she was sick in the hospital, the police officer who stayed out all night to get that final piece of evidence we needed to solve a murder case, the reservists who leave their families behind to protect our nation abroad, the small business owner who goes the extra mile to provide health care benefits to a pregnant employee, and the farmer who struggles to keep his land and send his kids to college at the same time.

The 2006 election should be their election, not an endless 24-hour-a-day T.V. shoutfest about what’s right and what’s left. This election should be about what’s right and what’s wrong.

I also believe that government must be more than just about talk. If you’re going to serve, if you’re going to meet the needs you see every day, in the schools, on the streets, you can’t duck responsibility. Taking responsibility means putting your principles into action to get results. Leading an office of nearly 400 people, I've balanced budgets and set priorities. I offer a record of hard work, innovation, and results in protecting people’s safety. During my service as chief prosecutor, serious crime has gone down significantly in Hennepin County. We have worked for justice without regard to partisanship, wealth or privilege, and we’ve earned the respect of Democrats, Republicans and Independents.

From the moment I took office I said that I would measure our success by results. To get results you must take on the tough fights and you must win them. As a new mom who was pushed out of the hospital after 24 hours with my sick baby in intensive care, I took on the HMOs and the insurance industry lobbyists and fought to get one of the first laws in the country to guarantee 48-hour hospital stays for new moms and their babies. And we won.

As a lawyer in private practice, I took on a big telephone monopoly to get more competition in the telephone industry, and we won.

As a prosecutor, I saw how many people were killed and severely injured by drunk drivers -- I saw that people with 22 DWIs were never going to prison and I went to the Legislature with a felony DWI bill with tougher penalties for chronic drunk drivers. It took us two years but we got it passed, and we won.

When I became County Attorney I said that I would make our office more accountable to the citizens we serve and measure our success by results. We’ve taken on the tough cases and we’ve won.

Cynics say you can’t bring this philosophy of responsibility and results to Washington -- that it’s too big for one senator from Minnesota to make a difference. I don’t buy it. Minnesotans send their senators to Washington because they want them to make a difference.

It’s humbling to think of some of the great people we’ve sent to represent us in the Senate: Hubert Humphrey, Walter Mondale, Dave Durenberger, Mark Dayton, and Paul Wellstone.

Inspired by these heroes, but even more by the everyday heroes whose names have never been headlined, I am ready to take this fight for Minnesota to our nation’s capital.

I am the daughter of a teacher and a newspaperman.

I am a wife and a mother.

I am a prosecutor.

I am an advocate.

I am a Minnesotan.

And with the help and support of the people of Minnesota, I will be your United States Senator.

Posted at 11:44 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Minnesota, Minnesota | Technorati

MT-Sen: Burns Spins Out of Control

Posted by Bob Brigham

It can be a beautiful thing to read a good writer thoroughly smackdown a United States Senator.

Embattled Montana Senator Conrad Burns published an Op-Ed in this morning's Billings Gazette. A few hours later, columnist Ed Kemmick posted his response on the Billing's Gazette's City Lights Blog:

[H]is opinion piece is a textbook example of political B.S. It’s not a particularly skillful or polished piece of B.S., but it is a fine example of all the little tricks of the trade that politicians employ when they want to dodge an issue. This one starts with a good-old-boy “Old West” line, with Burns just wishing he could settle his feud with Montana Democratic Chairman Bob Ream out in the street at high noon, with, you know, real guns and stuff, instead of this damned pussyfooting bang-out-your-thoughts-on-a-computer malarkey.

Luckily, the Gazette decided that reprinting he said/she said would not accurately show what was going on. So the Gazette took it a step further with some truth says:

Fortunately, just above Burns’ guest opinion, we have the Gazette’s editorial on the same subject. It fills in the many holes deliberately left in Burns’ piece. The editorial points out that the Washington Post reported that Burns “pressured the Interior Department to put the Saginaw Chippewa project in the school program, even though it didn’t meet requirements.” It didn’t meet the requirements because the tribe is filthy rich, thanks to its casino operations. Ream, and others, see some connection between the fact that Abramoff was a lobbyist for the tribe and also donated $130,000 to a political action committee formed by Burns. Nor did it seem a coincidence to some that Abramoff, or some of his clients, paid for things like trips to the Super Bowl for aides to powerful lawmakers. Anyway, the Post reported that when Burns’ efforts on behalf of the Michigan tribe were unsuccessful, “Burns earmarked $3 million for the Saginaw Chippewa school anyway.”

You’d never know any of this from reading Burns’ piece. He makes it sound as though he was simply doing a favor, for reasons of his own, for the Democratic senators from Michigan.

He plays the same selective game with the subject of the Super Bowl junket. He says the trip was perfectly allowable because it was thought at the time that it was paid for by a tribal government, and Senate Ethics Committee rules allow the acceptance of gifts from sovereign nations. He acknowledges, however, that given Abramoff’s misleading statements, “the staff have subsequently been unable to determine who actually paid for the trip.”

In other words, they found a loophole, so what’s the problem? The problem is that “the good people of Montana” don’t think a senator’s staffers should be accepting expensive junkets from anybody — not from lobbyists, not from sovereign nations, not from connected fat cats. Burns’ willful blindness on this is the result of living in D.C. for too long.

Way too long.

Via Left in the West.

Posted at 10:32 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Montana | Technorati

TX-22: DFA Billboards Final Call

Posted by Bob Brigham

Last week, I wrote about the wonderful campaign by Democracy for America to open-source the message creation for billboards in Tom DeLay's 22nd Congression District in Texas. DavidNYC then posted on the idea Richard Morrison suggested. Even DNC Chair and for DFA leader Howard Dean seems to catching the spirit.

Blog for America just mentioned Swing State Project and a great Kos Diary by Fran for Dean.

Greg Greene writes:

Let's keep the brilliance coming — make your bid for billboard immortality today. The finalist slogans will be annouced tomorrow.

So send in your entries.

Posted at 04:28 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Activism, Netroots, Texas | Comments (7) | Technorati

NV-Sen: A Pass or a Great Target

Posted by Bob Brigham

Over at Western Democrat, Jonathan Singer has a good look at Nevada's 2006 Senate race. My view is that the west could come into play far more than conventional wisdom suggests and it is imperative that we have a serious candidate.

Now that the GOP has been completely taken over by Theocrats wanting to start a Holy War, we have a rare opportunity to win seats that otherwise would seem out of reach. The over-reaching Theocrats scare westerners.

People move to Nevada because they don't want government imposing morality upon their lives. Lots of people, making Las Vegas the consistent winner of the fastest growing urban area.

There is a backlash brewing in 2006 and it will be amplified out west, especially in Nevada. We have a nice team of western bloggers coming together, if Reid won't recruit a candidate, maybe we need to.

Posted at 01:56 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Nevada | Technorati

NYC-Mayor: Bob Kerrey for Mayor of NYC???

Posted by Bob Brigham


NEW YORK - Former Sen. Bob Kerrey is considering entering the city's mayoral race, saying Mayor Michael Bloomberg has not fought Republican lawmakers who have hurt the city with tax cuts and reductions in national security funding.

"I am angry about the way New York City is being treated by Washington D.C.," Kerrey told The New York Times in Sunday editions. "Who is fighting these guys? What would Giuliani and Koch be doing now? They'd be raising hell!"

The 1992 Democratic presidential candidate, a former Nebraska senator and governor, said he would decide within a few days whether he will join the crowded Democratic field. He is now president of New School University.

Here is where it gets really interesting:

Aides to Bloomberg said they were surprised by Kerrey's comments since he accepted an offer to head "Democrats for Bloomberg." Kerrey said he began having second thoughts after accepting the offer.

Posted at 01:07 PM in New York | Comments (5) | Technorati

Saturday, April 16, 2005

TX-22: Tom DeLay Campaign Debt in Finance Statement

Posted by Bob Brigham

Not only is Tom DeLay's re-elect polling number under 40, but his campaign is burning money, resulting in the Majority Leader taking a personal loan to keep his campaign afloat:

In the first three months of this year, DeLay's personal campaign committee took in $438,235, including $100,000 he borrowed personally for his campaign, according to the latest records from the Federal Election Commission.

The loan was from Southern National Bank in Sugar Land, Texas, according to his quarterly campaign finance report filed late Friday. DeLay still owed $88,330 on the loan at the end of March.

Where is the money coming from?

More than half of DeLay's contributions, $221,000 were from corporate political action committees or trade associations. [...]

Among the individual contributors were Tony Rudy, a former DeLay aide, and his Rudy's wife, Lisa, who each gave $2,000. Rudy made the contribution while working for Greenberg Traurig, the former law firm of lobbyist Jack Abramoff. A grand jury and two Senate committees are investigating work Abramoff did for several Indian tribes.

Bob Perry, a longtime backer of conservative causes, and his wife, Doylene, contributed $8,000 to DeLay.

Perry was a financial backer of Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, a group that campaigned against Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., during the 2004 presidential election. Perry also was a contributor to Texans for a Republican Majority and the Texas Association of Business, two groups at the center of the Texas investigation.

Posted at 11:17 PM in Texas | Comments (2) | Technorati

OH-2: Open Seat Update & Testing New Ideas

Posted by Tim Tagaris

Six GOP candidates have already announced their intention of running for the soon to be open 2nd Congressional District in Ohio. The latest two to throw their hat into the ring are State Representative Tom Brinkman and former U.S. Representative Bob McEwen. So far, no Democrats have announced their intention to run for the seat. Current Representative Rob Portman (R-OH) was nominated by President Bush to become the next U.S. Trade Representative and is slated to stand before the Senate Finance Committee in a confirmation hearing next Thursday.

Swing State Project's very own DavidNYC started a discussion on DailyKos a few weeks ago about using this special election as a "trial run" to test out ideas involving grassroots/netroots type activism that might be risky to give a first go in a hotly contested seat.

I agree. When it comes to netroots activism, this would be a great opportunity to attempt the difficult process of distilling national support for a candidate down to the local level where it actually translates into votes, volunteer hours, and results on-the-ground. That means creating an online infrastructure that gets people talking to people in like-minded communities, whether those are interest or location based. As of right now, and outside of fundraising, most candidates/campaigns think the only option is to cast a "national net" and attempt to catch the pieces that fall between the cracks into their own states/districts. The "national net" might be fine for Presidential races, and it certainly has helped out quite a few statewide and congressional campaigns, but until we attempt to create the infrastructure that targets specific demographics (ie. location), we are leaving a lot of potential on the table. This would be my first priority with the OH-2 special election.

Now we just need a candidate. But as Bob is fond of saying. "Forget about the candidate, we have an election to win."

Posted at 07:54 PM in 2005 Elections, Activism, Ohio | Comments (5) | Technorati

MT-Sen: Montanans Not Donating to Burns

Posted by Bob Brigham

Senator Conrad Burns vulnerability has been once again demonstrated by his latested campaign finance disclosure. Of interest, 40% of Burns cash is coming from PAC's, not people. Of the contributions from people, 40% are out-of-staters. No wonder Burns' re-elect number has dropped to below 40%.

Support for Burns is so thin that the embattled Senator is actually worried about being being outraised by a challenger:

Burns said he may not be able to out-raise the Democrats ''but I intend to definitely outwork them.''

In response, Brad Martin, executive director of the Montana Democratic Party, said, ''That's the press release of a senator in trouble''

''Our poll shows him down 15 points because of bad votes on Social Security, the farm budget, veterans health care and a host of other issues important to Montanans,'' Martin said.

Burns is so likely to lose that there might even be a crowded Democratic Primary:

Democrats who are considering running against Burns are former state House Speaker Daniel Kemmis of Missoula, R-CALF President Leo McDonnell of Columbus, state Auditor John Morrison of Helena, former state Rep. Paul Richards of Boulder and state Senate President Jon Tester of Big Sandy.

If there is a primary, it will double limits on contributions to Democrats. Kos says Tester will be getting in soon and notes,

Should be a fun primary, and the winner will have a great deal of momentum against dead-in-the-water Burns.

Posted at 04:23 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Montana | Technorati

RI-Sen: Stephen Laffey Primary Challenge to Lincoln Chafee

Posted by Bob Brigham

National Republicans and Bob Novak are scared:

National Republican leaders are pressuring Cranston Mayor Stephen Laffey to stay out of the Rhode Island Republican primary election against liberal Sen. Lincoln Chafee. [...]

Laffey, who is to the right of Chafee, is described by his supporters as confident that he would win the primary against the incumbent senator.

DavidNYC has a great post about Chafee's problems in the general election over at Daily Kos.

Posted at 03:42 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Rhode Island | Comments (1) | Technorati

MT-Gov: Republicans Help Schweitzer Craft Legacy

Posted by Bob Brigham

Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer has been in office for only a few months, yet already people are talking about a "legacy" crafted on support of small business and smart energy policy. From the Great Falls Tribune:

HELENA — Three major Schweitzer administration proposals won slim approval in the House on Friday, as a handful of Republicans defied party leadership to hand the Democratic governor key victories on ethanol, wind power and business taxes.

The dramatic votes came during a daylong floor session, interrupted three times by party meetings where Republican leaders strongly urged their brethren to use their 50-vote block to stop the Democrats' initiatives. [...]

[House Republican Floor Leader Michael] Lange also gave a fiery speech against the wind-power bill, calling it an "abomination" and an attempt by Gov. Brian Schweitzer to start crafting his own "legacy" for the state.

"I want to kick it right in the governor's teeth with this bill," Lange said. "So vote no."

Yet on each bill, at least one Republican declined to follow the party line.

Ethonal and wind energy are great legacy issues in Montana. And the business tax issue wasn't a tax increase, rather it exempted 13,000 small businesses property taxes by freezing the rate on business equipment taxes and increasing from $5,000 to $20,000 the amount of equipment exempt from taxation. Those 13,000 small business owners will remember Schweitzer achieved bipartinsan support to lower their bills, the farmers love ethonal and wind power will pay dividends for years to come.

Posted at 03:28 PM in 2008 President - Democrats, Montana | Technorati

VA-Gov: Tim Kaine Supporting Theocracy

Posted by Bob Brigham

From Raising Kaine:

The GOP, under the leadership of the Far Right, is now attacking Democrats for lacking Christian Faith. This is deplorable politics, and quite frightening to see. These sorts of attacks should not surprise us though. The GOP has found that the best way for them to win has been to attack Democrat’s patriotism (as in the case of both Max Cleland and Tom Daschle), and now they are just upping the ante. If they are successful here in Virginia, this will only encourage them to escalate these attacks further.

Agreed. So what does Tim Kaine do? Does he blast the Theocrats like Sen. Majority Leader Reid or make theocracy a campaign issue like DNC Chair Howard Dean? No, he joins the religious war by trying to triangulate himself as being holy enough to be part of the theocracy.

Tim Kaine has gone a great distance to try to undermine the GOP’s strategy. He’s been ahead of the game, putting up radio ads all across Virginia, but most especially in the rural areas of the state, talking about how his religious faith has guided his life.

Instead of criticizing the theocrats for starting a Holy War, Tim Kaine is helping them by joining their Holy War. This selfishness is actually undermining Democrat's national effort to stop the Holy War.

Here are some more resources:

Tim Kaine: Virginia: Tim Kaine campaign rejects reason; rejected by voters

Tim Kaine: 2005 Virginia Governor, who is running Kaine's campaign?

MyDD Tim Kaine: More Self-Hating Democrats

Posted at 02:12 PM in 2005 Elections, Democrats, Virginia | Comments (11) | Technorati

2006 Elections: Backlash Against GOP Holy War

Posted by Bob Brigham

Here is the headline you don't want on the Editorial Page of the New York Times:

Bill Frist's Religious War

Right-wing Christian groups and the Republican politicians they bankroll have done much since the last election to impose their particular religious views on all Americans. But nothing comes close to the shameful declaration of religious war by Bill Frist, the Senate majority leader, over the selection of judges for federal courts.

Senator Frist is to appear on a telecast sponsored by the Family Research Council, which styles itself a religious organization but is really just another Washington lobbying concern. The message is that the Democrats who oppose a tiny handful of President Bush's judicial nominations are conducting an assault "against people of faith." By that, Senator Frist and his allies do not mean people of all faiths, only those of their faith.

Indeed. And people are talking about how the GOP Theocracy now extends to the highest level of government:

It is one thing when private groups foment this kind of intolerance. It is another thing entirely when it's done by the highest-ranking member of the United States Senate, who swore on the Bible to uphold a Constitution that forbids the imposition of religious views on Americans. Unfortunately, Senator Frist and his allies are willing to break down the rules to push through their agenda - in this case, by creating what the senator knows is a false connection between religion and the debate about judges.

Senator Frist and his backers want to take away the sole tool Democrats have for resisting the appointment of unqualified judges: the filibuster. This is not about a majority or even a significant number of Bush nominees; it's about a handful with fringe views or shaky qualifications. But Senator Frist is determined to get judges on the federal bench who are loyal to the Republican fringe and, he hopes, would accept a theocratic test on decisions.

Senator Frist has an even bigger game in mind than the current nominees: the next appointments to the Supreme Court, which the Republican conservatives view as their best chance to outlaw abortion and impose their moral code on the country.

We fully understand that a powerful branch of the Republican Party believes that the last election was won on "moral values." Even if that were true, that's a far cry from voting for one religion to dominate the entire country. President Bush owes it to Americans to stand up and say so.

So Mr. Bush, will you stand up and say no before the Theocrats' Nuclear Holy War begins?

Posted at 01:59 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Nuclear Option, Republicans | Technorati

2006: DeLay's Republican Theocracy a Campaign Issue

Posted by Bob Brigham

LA Times:

"This is going to be an issue in 2006, and it's going to be an issue in 2008," Dean told about 200 people at a gay rights group's breakfast in West Hollywood, "because we're going to have an ad with a picture of Tom DeLay saying, 'Do you want this guy to decide whether you die or not? Or is that going to be up to your loved ones?' "

Dean, a practicing physician until he became governor of Vermont in 1991, added: "The issue is: Are we going to live in a theocracy where the highest powers tell us what to do? Or are we going to be allowed to consult our own high powers when we make very difficult decisions?"

My guess is that Art Directors at Democratic political consulting firms having already begun beefing up the stock image libraries with pictures of Tom DeLay.

Posted at 01:53 PM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - House, 2006 Elections - Senate | Technorati

2006 Senate: Reid on Frist's Holy War

Posted by Bob Brigham

From Senator Reid:

I am disappointed that in an attempt to hide what the debate is really about, Senator Frist would exploit religion like this. Religion to me is a very personal thing. I have been a religious man all my adult life. My wife and I have lived our lives and raised our children according to the morals and values taught by the faith to which we prescribe. No one has the right to judge mine or anyone else’s personal commitment to faith and religion.

God isn’t partisan.

As His children, he does ask us to do our very best and treat each other with kindness. Republicans have crossed a line today. America is better than this and Republicans need to remember that. This is a democracy, not a theocracy. We are people of faith, and in many ways are doing God’s work. But we represent all Americans, regardless of religion. Our founding fathers had the superior vision to separate Church and State in our democracy. It is a fundamental principle that has allowed our great, diverse nation to grow and flourish peacefully. Blurring the line between Church and State erodes our Constitution, and our democracy. It is a blatant abuse of power. Participating in something designed to incite divisiveness and encourage contention is unacceptable. I would hope that Sen. Frist will rise above something so beyond the pale.

Posted at 01:25 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Nuclear Option | Technorati

RI-Sen: Chafee's War Purse

Posted by Bob Brigham


WASHINGTON -- Sen. Lincoln Chafee, who is likely to face a strong challenge in his re-election race in 2006, raised about $136,000 in the last three months, far less than other New England senators gearing up their campaigns.

Ouch. That is embarrassing.

At least two Rhode Island Democrats have announced they will challenge Chafee, who is seeking his second full term. He was appointed in November 1999 after the death of his father, Sen. John Chafee, to fill the remainder of the term. He was elected to a full term in 2000.

Democrats Sheldon Whitehouse, a former Rhode Island attorney general, and Secretary of State Matt Brown have each announced they plan to challenge Chafee.

According to campaign reports filed with the Federal Election Commission, Chafee has raised a little more than $1 million for the 2006 race since the last election, and has about $765,000 in cash on hand.

Not only is Chafee's fundraiser inept, but incompetence seems to be a trait Chafee looks for when hiring, check out the damage control:

"The senator is $1 million ahead of where he was at this time in the 2000 race," spokesman Stephen Hourahan said.

So with five years to raise money, Senator Chafee is no better than he was when he was thrust into an unexpected race while mourning his father's death?

Posted at 01:10 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Rhode Island | Technorati

Friday, April 15, 2005

2006 Senate: Coalition of Religious Organizations Blasts Frist

Posted by Bob Brigham

From Press Release:

Senate Majority Leader Frist’s Attack on the Religion of his Opponents “Offensive,” says a Coalition of Religious Organizations

Religious Coalition Appeals to Frist to Put the American Value of Religious Tolerance Ahead of Frist’s Partisan Political Agenda of Forcing Senators to Accept Bush’s Extremist Judicial Nominees

Friday, April 15 -- A coalition of progressive religious leaders and organizations today expressed outrage that Republican leaders are attacking the faith of Democrats and progressives in a cynical, partisan effort to win support for a handful of extremist judicial nominees.

”Such an action is immoral, deceitful, and beyond the pale of even politics as usual,” said Rev. Albert M. Pennybacker, Executive Director and Chair of Clergy and Laity Network and coordinator for the Building the Beloved Community Coalition. “We call on Senator Frist to immediately cancel his plans to attend the event, and we urge all Republicans to condemn this wholesale attack on the religious practices of their political opponents.”

According to the New York Times, Sen. Majority Leader Bill Frist will join an organization called "The Family Research Council" in a national telecast on April 24. The Council is calling it "Justice Sunday," are saying Democrats want to use the Senate filibuster "against people of faith."

“As people of faith, we protest the religious manipulation of the filibuster issue,” said Pennybacker. “Attacks by Republicans on the religion of those who differ politically are offensive in America.”

The Clergy and Laity Network will sponsor a national prayer vigil on April 24 and is inviting citizens of all faith traditions to protest this unprecedented attack, which is add odds with America’s religious traditions

The CLN and DriveDemocracy are the coordinators of a national coalition of more than 65 religious organizations. Their national "Breaking the Silence" campaign kicked off April 4 at Riverside Church in NYC and is continuing with a national tour of America. Details of these and other events can be found at www.clnnlc.org and www.drivedemocracy.org.

Posted at 05:01 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Nuclear Option | Comments (1) | Technorati

Thick as Thieves

Posted by DavidNYC

Anti-immigrant thug Rep. Tom Tancredo is now the second Congressman, after Cowardly Chris Shays, to dis Tom DeLay. Staying true to my pledge to make sure everyone knows that DeLay's stench befouls all Republicans - even those who make a public show of disavowing him - I offer you A Brief History of Tom & Tom. Thick as thieves, these two are.

Posted at 03:55 PM in Republicans | Technorati

MT-Sen: Daschle v Thune in Big Sky Country?

Posted by Bob Brigham

One of the most talked-about examples of the power of blogging is the story of how Senator John Thune paid bloggers to attack the media and how this allowed him to beat for Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle. This story became even more interesting after information came out on how GOP prostitute and fake report Jeff Gannon, "worked in tandem with the local bloggers, picking up on their complaints about the Argus Leader."

Are we already seeing this play out in other states?

In Montana, there is a new blog hyping embattled Senator Conrad Burns. As Montana blogger Matt Singer uncovered, one of the bloggers, Dave Holman, lives in Virginia where he works for the American Spectator. The other blogger lives in California and Washington, DC.

The Montana GOP lists the out-of-stater's blog on the front page of their website, calling it "the best you’ll see about Montana politics."

And it appears the blog was started with the goal of mimicking the Daschle v Thune blog, from the first post:

And expect there to be a lot of dirt-throwing, from the Democrats and the (shall we say bias) media outlets in the state of Montana. This blog will be the light between dirt.

Dave Holman, noted the following on his east coast blog:

Click on over to the new blog started by an anonymous buddy, Dirt Between Light Bulbs. It'll be your first stop for daily updates on the Montana 2006 Senate race, Sen. Conrad Burns's defense of his seat, which is one of the most vulnerable GOP seats next year.

Who is this "anonymous buddy"? The Dean of the Montana blogosphere, Granny Insanity, offers her theory:

I think the guys are pros. Consider the timing of their appearance then read their stuff. I’m a crazy old woman and I can see the standard nonsensical arguments.

I think somebody is paying them to guard a couple of seats here.

The timing is interesting, considering it followed Senator Thune's briefing to GOP Senators on how to use blogs.

My hope is that Montana journalists will be smart enough to resist rolling over for these guys.

Posted at 03:38 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Montana, Netroots | Comments (1) | Technorati

WV-Sen: Byrd up by Ten in GOP Poll

Posted by DavidNYC

The Anderson Group did a poll last month for the National Republican Senatorial Committee on the West Virginia senate race. While it's not 100% certain that Byrd will run for re-election, it seems pretty likely to me that he will. The opponent in this poll is GOP "dream" candidate, Rep. Shelly Capito (likely voters, no trendlines):

Byrd: 52
Capito: 42
Undecided: 8
(MoE: ±4.3%)

Before you get too excited, please note that Byrd won his last election (in 2000) by a margin of 78-21 (not a mis-print). It's a little troublesome to see him this close, but of course, this is a partisan poll. Also interesting is the incredibly low level of undecideds. Byrd has 110% name recognition in his home state, and I'm guessing that Capito must be well-known, too. (WV only has three congressmen, so that would make sense.)

But remember this as well: Byrd is an institution in West Virginia in a way that few other politicians have ever been in any other state. I've read many a time that you can't drive very far in WV without coming across a Robert Byrd High School or a Robert Byrd Bridge and the like. Personally, despite the political shift we've seen in WV in recent years, I think Byrd still has more than enough mojo to pull this one off.

(Thanks to Dave Weigel for the poll.)

Posted at 02:02 PM in West Virginia | Comments (5) | Technorati

MT-Sen: GOP Acting VERY Defensive

Posted by Bob Brigham

Everyone following Montana's 2006 Senate race knows Conrad Burns is extremely vulnerable. This includes the Montana Republican Party, who have thrown a hissy fit because State Auditor John Morrison has a website. Talking about running scared, the fact the GOP is scared of a (pretty crappy) website demonstrates their defensiveness as they attempt to recover from losing the Governor's mansion, the State House, and the State Senate during the 2004 cycle.

If being spanked last year wasn't bad enough, this year the Montana GOP is stuck with Corrupt Conrad Burns at the head of the ticket.

Matt Singer says:

The GOP is scared about next year. They’re already on the offensive against potential opponents and no one has even declared. Maybe that’s because Burns’ reelect numbers are lower than those Appalachian Hills that East Coasters call mountains.

While it takes little to scare the Montana GOP, instead of fearing Morrison's third rate website, maybe they should be worried about this.

Posted at 01:24 PM in Montana | Technorati

2006 Senate Races: GOP Losing on "Nuclear Option"

Posted by Bob Brigham

From The Hill:

GOP fears it's losing Frist v. Reid Senate Republican leaders were due to meet last night amid rising concern that they are being beaten on the “nuclear option” by Sen. Harry Reid’s (D-Nev.) public-relations war room.

The GOP’s talks follow a meeting last week in which aides warned Bob Stevenson, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist’s (R-Tenn.) communications director, that something needs to be done to win back lost ground, a participant said.

“I think there’s a realization that this particular [Democratic] effort has to be countered and they’re in full-scale attack mode,” a GOP aide said, adding, “I think that people know that we’ve got a serious problem here."

Reid's War Room is working...

The team is headed by Jim Manley, whom Reid hired in December from the office of Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.). Stephanie Cutter, who was campaign spokeswoman for Sen. John Kerry’s (D-Mass.) presidential campaign, joined Reid’s team last week to coordinate outside liberal groups and Senate Democratic policy and communications staff in the fight over the nuclear option. Reid’s war room currently employs eight staff members and is part of a nearly 20-person communications team.

Now it is one thing for Democrats to have a War Room to preserve the Constitution and the filibuster, but it is a far different thing if the GOP sets up a War Room to push their agenda of absolute power:

He did not say whether Republicans would establish their own such team, noting that “having a war room inside the Capitol is unprecedented.” Nevertheless, he indicated that more aides would be drafted to the fight over the nuclear option.

For people keeping score, Democrats are winning and this is going to be a huge issue in the 2006 Midterm Elections:

Another GOP aide said: “There’s a general sense in the rank and file that we are a little in the hole and that Democrats have been more aggressive on messaging, that we’ve kind of gone dark. Democrats have gotten a head start and defined the issue ahead of us.”

At a closed-door luncheon Tuesday, members of the Democratic caucus were presented a stack of more than 260 press editorials from 41 states and the District of Columbia arguing against changing Senate rules to prohibit judicial filibusters. That’s quite a change from a year and a half ago, when many editorial boards criticized Democrats for blocking confirmation votes on President Bush’s judicial nominees. [...]

“They turned it around,” the aide said, and “one can suggest that it’s because of our lack of organized countermessaging.”

A few GOP senators said that when they returned to their states they heard more talk from their constituents about the nuclear option than Social Security.

Posted at 11:23 AM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - Senate, Nuclear Option | Technorati

2006: Tom DeLay's House of Scandal

Posted by Bob Brigham
Tom DeLay has led this House like a hammer. When it comes to record-high gas prices, the privatization of Social Security and bringing down the soaring cost of health care, DeLay always chooses his special interest friends over the interests of middle class families. With your help, the DCCC will put an end to Tom DeLay's House of Scandal -- once and for all.


Go check it out and see whether your Representative has been caught in DeLay's web of corruption.

The DCCC is the only organization whose sole mission is defeating Tom DeLay and every Republican congressional member in the country. The DCCC is working tirelessly to recruit, train, advise and fund candidates to take on Tom DeLay and his army of defenders.

The DCCC sits in a unique position. We are able to react quickly and wage a national campaign on behalf of all our outstanding Democratic candidates – and to hold every last one of Tom DeLay's Republican Rubberstamps accountable for his or her actions.


Contribute to the DCCC. It is the singular mission of the DCCC to clean up the House with a Democratic majority. The DCCC is recruiting candidates that can beat Tom DeLay and the members of his House of Scandal. By electing Democrats, middle class families will be put first – and not DeLay's special interest cronies!

We need to make sure that people all across America know how Tom DeLay's scandalous actions entangle all of his Republican colleagues. The DCCC is fighting to clean up the House without DeLay. We need everyone in this fight. Send an email to your friends about the website.

Sign our pledge to Clean Up the House in 2006. There is nothing stronger than people joining together to voice their opinions (and especially their opposition to Tom DeLay's House of Scandal!) and then invite your friends and family to join the DCCC's Clean Up Crew.

Forward on the Tom DeLay's House of Scandal Video.

Send a letter to your local newspaper. Tell them how you feel! Make sure your local paper knows all of the ties that your Member of Congress has to Tom DeLay, Inc.

Posted at 09:50 AM in 2006 Elections - House | Technorati

MA-Gov: Deval Patrick First Democrat for Governor

Posted by Bob Brigham


BOSTON - The top civil rights enforcer in the Clinton administration announced Thursday he will seek the Democratic nomination for Massachusetts governor in 2006. Deval Patrick cited what he said were weaknesses in the economy, business development, public education and health care.

"We don't suffer from a lack of ideas, but from a failure of leadership," Patrick said in a statement. "Not only are we losing jobs and population, but we are losing faith in ourselves."

Good quote, but the one people will be talking about was in the Globe

Patrick, 48, the first African-American candidate for governor in the state's history, also took a swipe at his probable Democratic primary opponent, Attorney General Thomas F. Reilly, who he said represents the old politics and has a record of caution and an insider focus.

That earned him a headline with the word, "outsider" -- but it was clear it was his word not the Globes.

Here is the early contrast:

On education, he said he wanted a public system, from kindergarten to college, second to none. He said he wants smaller classes, after-school programs, to ensure school safety, and to ''honor teachers as professionals."

He said he views charter schools as a fine idea, but only as laboratories for innovation that can be transferred to public classrooms. He said he supports the MCAS test, but said it should be only one part of a more complete evaluation of students.

On social issues, Patrick said he opposes the death penalty and strongly supports same-sex marriage, positions likely to appeal to the state's liberal Democrats. Reilly supports the death penalty and, while he at first opposed same-sex marriage, has recently supported it. They both oppose Governor Mitt Romney's initiative to roll back the state income tax.

Patrick stopped short of saying he would sign a tax bill to pay for initiatives. Instead, he said he wanted to challenge voters to decide how to pay for programs and other increases they want: either with new taxes or cuts in other areas of the state budget.

Secretary of State William Galvin is also considering a bid.

The AP say's Patrick has already donated $100,000 and the Globe cites unnamed sources saying he could go as high as $500K.

My early view is that he has a good thing going every time people use his name and Obama's in the same sentence.

But one factor with even more potential is that he had a glowing diary from Fredrick Clarkson on Daily Kos. If Patrick can ignite the netroots, this will get interesting.

WEBSITE: Deval Patrick

Posted at 09:06 AM in Massachusetts | Comments (1) | Technorati

Thursday, April 14, 2005

2006 Senate Elections: GOP Hates America

Posted by Bob Brigham

Washington Post:

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist is all but certain to press for a rule change that would ban filibusters of judicial nominations in the next few weeks, despite misgivings by some of his fellow Republicans and a possible Democratic backlash that could paralyze the chamber, close associates said yesterday.

The strategy carries significant risks for the Tennessee Republican, who is weighing a 2008 presidential bid. It could embroil the Senate in a bitter stalemate that would complicate passage of President Bush's agenda and raise questions about Frist's leadership capabilities. Should he fail to make the move or to get the necessary votes, however, Frist risks the ire of key conservative groups that will play big roles in the 2008 GOP primaries.

If Frist does this he shuts down the Senate. And if the GOP shuts down the Senate, then the following Senators are not going to look forward to the voters' check on absolute power during the 2006 elections:

  • Senator George Allen (R-VA)*
  • Senator Conrad Burns (R-MT)*
  • Senator Lincoln Chafee (R-RI)*
  • Senator Mike DeWine (R-OH)
  • Senator John Ensign (R-NV)*
  • Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT)*
  • Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX)*
  • Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ)*
  • Senator Trent Lott (R-MS)*
  • Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN)*
  • Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA)*
  • Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME)
  • Senator Jim Talent (R-MO)*
  • Senator Craig Thomas (R-WY)*

* Social Security: on record voting in favor of "deep benefit cuts or a massive increase in debt."

In addition, such a move would allow the following Democrats a hero vote to bolster their 2006 re-elections:

  • Senator Daniel Akaka (D-HI)
  • Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM)
  • Senator Robert Byrd (D-WV)
  • Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA)
  • Senator Thomas Carper (D-DE)
  • Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY)
  • Senator Kent Conrad (D-ND)
  • Senator Jon Corzine (D-NJ)
  • Senator Mark Dayton (D-MN)
  • Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA)
  • Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA)
  • Senator Herb Kohl (D-WI)
  • Senator Joseph Lieberman (D-CT)
  • Senator Ben Nelson (D-NE)
  • Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL)
  • Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI)

Posted at 11:21 PM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - Senate, Nuclear Option | Technorati

2008 President: Ask Dr. Bill Frist

Posted by Bob Brigham

If you are interested in more information on the 2008 Presidential bid of Senator Bill Frist, I recommend you visit Ask Doctor Frist.

Thanks Atrios!

Posted at 11:04 PM in 2008 Election - President, 2008 President - Republicans | Technorati

2006 Senate: Religious Wackos Take Over Senate

Posted by Bob Brigham

New York Times:

WASHINGTON, April 14 - As the Senate heads toward a showdown over the rules governing judicial confirmations, Senator Bill Frist, the majority leader, has agreed to join a handful of prominent Christian conservatives in a telecast portraying Democrats as "against people of faith" for blocking President Bush's nominees.

Fliers for the telecast, organized by the Family Research Council and scheduled to originate at a Kentucky megachurch the evening of April 24, call the day "Justice Sunday" and depict a young man holding a Bible in one hand and a gavel in the other.

People of faith? These zealots aren't people of faith, they are the American Taliban....no matter how much they hide behind the flag, these basket cases are no different than Waco or Jonestown or those idiots who strapped on their tennis shoes for the ride on the comet and when they start talking about one party rule then all people of faith should be worried.

Posted at 10:37 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Nuclear Option | Technorati

CA-Gov: Phil Angelides is Running for Governor

Posted by Bob Brigham


AN FRANCISCO - How could California's charisma-challenged state treasurer even dream of trying to unseat Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger? Phil Angelides cites the advice he gives his three daughters: "It never matters what the odds are. What matters are your beliefs, and what you do to pursue them."

The 51-year-old Angelides has become the first Democrat to officially announce he is running against Schwarzenegger, who is expected to seek re-election in 2006.

Despite some recent setbacks, Schwarzenegger remains popular in a state that has almost always elected its governors to second terms. But political observers warn that he should not underestimate Angelides, a man regarded as shrewd and aggressive by his friends, ruthless and mean-spirited by his enemies.

Schwarzenegger has been tanking in the polls and is far weaker in California than many out-of-state pundits assume.

Soon after Schwarzenegger got elected in a recall election in 2003, Angelides positioned himself as the "anti-Arnold," portraying the highly popular Republican as an out-of-touch plutocrat who failed to keep his campaign promises — a strategy that was seen as foolhardy until Schwarzenegger suffered some reversals of fortune.

Assailed by teachers, firefighters and other public employees, Schwarzenegger last week scrapped his effort to privatize state pensions, the latest in a series of retreats in the face of opposition from unions and other Democratic constituencies. Polls show his approval ratings dropping below 50 percent for the first time.

"Arnold was elected because he said he was going to do extraordinary things for people, but he's turned out to be an enormous disappointment," Angelides said. "The thing I find most mystifying is why someone who came in with such enormous political capital chose not to use it."

When conventional wisdom said Schwarzenegger would sail to re-election, Angelides was dogging the Governor. Now that the push against the Governor has paid off by lower his approval ratings, Angelides is being recognized as a smart Democrat willing to stand up to Schwarzenegger.

A Sacramento native of Greek descent, Angelides got his start in politics as a student at Harvard, protesting the Vietnam War and campaigning against President Nixon in 1972. Angelides went on to make a fortune as a real estate developer before returning to politics full-time. As state Democratic chairman in 1992, Angelides helped Bill Clinton win California.

But he also came under fire during that year's bruising Senate contest, in which Barbara Boxer narrowly beat GOP candidate Bruce Herschensohn after a last-minute leak from a Democratic operative that Herschensohn had visited strip clubs. Angelides denied involvement in the leak but later said the information was fair game.

"Angelides is a mean-minded, terrible partisan hack," said GOP strategist Ken Khachigian, who ran the Herschensohn campaign and previously worked for Nixon and President Reagan. "Arnold can expect a mean gut fighter who'll run a very hard-hitting, dirty campaign. He'll stoop to anything."

This is exactly the type of nominee the Democratic Party needs to win. And for all you east-coasters, how is this for a stamp of approval?

Angelides has also leveraged his role as an officer of CalPERS, the nation's largest state pension fund, to push for greater transparency in the financial markets.

"He's smart, he's aggressive, and he's creative," said New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, who claims he and his fellow Democrat are "joined at the hip" in their work crusading for corporate accountability.


Posted at 07:55 PM in 2006 Elections - State, California, Democrats | Technorati

Jack in the House

Posted by Bob Brigham

Via AmericaBlog, here is the information on www.JackintheHouse.org:

JackintheHouse.org explores the world of GOP superlobbyist Jack Abramoff who spent years trading money for influence in the halls of Congress. The site provides a road map to Jack Abramoff’s unscrupulous back-door deals with ethically-challenged Members of Congress and provides a means for visitors to urge the Chairman of the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct to take action against those who have worked for Jack’s interest, rather than the public interest.

JackintheHouse.org is a project of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW).

You can use Jack in the House to find information on:

Ed Buckham
Conrad Burns
Tom Delay
John Doolittle
J.D. Hayworth
Susan Hirschmann
Bob Ney
Grover Norquist
Richard Pombo
Ralph Reed
Michael Scanlon
David Vitter
Neil Volz

and of course...

Jack Ambramoff

Posted at 02:44 PM in 2006 Elections | Technorati

VA-Gov: Tim Kaine, Jerry Kilgore Warchests

Posted by Bob Brigham

Richmond Times-Dispatch:

Gubernatorial candidates Timothy M. Kaine and Jerry W. Kilgore have raised more than $15 million combined, an unprecedented amount of money for an election that is still seven months away.

Kaine, the Democratic lieutenant governor, brought in slightly more than $8 million as of March 31, according to campaign reports that are due tomorrow at the state Board of Elections.

Kilgore, the leading Republican candidate who stepped down as attorney general on Feb. 1 to focus on the Nov. 8 election, will report collecting more than $7 million, his campaign said yesterday.

Kaine brought in more than $2.6 million between Jan. 1 and March 31, according to the latest campaign reports. That includes a January gift of $1.5 million from the Democratic National Committee. He entered April with $5 million in cash. [...]

Kilgore received about $1.7 million during the first three months of the year and lists $4 million in cash. His campaign contended that it actually raised more money from donors when the DNC infusion is removed from Kaine's report.

It was irresponsible for Terry McAuliffe to blow $5 million on his way out the door. It would have been prudent for McAuliffe to let the incoming Chair direct the money and give if it was actually in the best interests of the Party's future as part of a long-term plan. IMHO, giving Kaine more money to lecture Democrats is a self-defeating strategy.

Posted at 12:07 PM in 2005 Elections, Virginia | Technorati

NJ-Gov: Corzine a Kossack

Posted by Bob Brigham

Senator Jon Corzine posted his first diary on Daily Kos. In a brilliant strategical maneuver, the Democratic Leadership Council is mentioned four times.

Posted at 11:05 AM in 2005 Elections, New Jersey | Technorati

FL-Sen: Katherine Harris Slipping

Posted by Tim Tagaris

Senator Bill Nelson is up for re-election in 2006 as the only statewide elected Democratic official in Florida. Some may recall the infamous Schiavo memo distributed by Senate Republican Mel Martinez, also of Florida. The memo read:

This is a great political issue, because Senator Nelson of Florida has already refused to become a cosponsor and this is a tough issue for Democrats.

Today a new Quinnipiac poll was released on Florida's 2006 U.S. Senate election:

Senator Nelson Job Approval: (MoE +/- 3%)

Approve: 50% (50)
Disapprove: 17% (17)
DK: 33% (33)

And Nelson's opponent? Polling among Republicans in Florida:(MoE +/- 5%)

Representative Katherine Harris: 31% (37)
State Chief Financial Officier Tom Gallagher: 23% (20)
Attorney General Charlie Crist: 17%
Lieutenant Governor Toni Jennings: 8%

Posted at 11:04 AM in 2006 Elections - Senate | Technorati

TX-22: Quote of the Year

Posted by Bob Brigham
"Somebody ought to look at the organizations and ask the New York Times, The Washington Post, the L.A. Times, Time, Newsweek, AP, why they're spending all these resources they are. ... Are they collaborating with all these organizations that are funded by George Soros?"
-Tom DeLay
Washington Times

In Tom DeLay's world, the problem isn't the corruption, the problem is people are talking about the corruption.

Posted at 10:41 AM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - House, Texas | Technorati

CA-10: NDC and Congresswoman Ellen Tauscher

Posted by Bob Brigham

If you have a moment, go read Atrios on the Bankruptcy Bill. The good people of CA-10, and all Democrats for that matter, should be ashamed of Tauscher today.

Tauscher is often mentioned as a possible Vice Presidential nominee. Let's just say that speculation is no longer necessary.

The NDC email Atrios cites was also picked up by David Sirota. Interesting when you consider that NDC representatives are so scared of being exposed that they've hauled Sirota's boss to the Hill to be yelled at because David has an email account.

Posted at 10:25 AM in California | Technorati

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

TX-22 & CA-46: Defense of the Clones Part II

Posted by Tim Tagaris

April 5, 2005

The wife and daughter of House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Sugar Land, have been paid more than $500,000 since 2001 by Mr. DeLay's political action and campaign committees, according to a New York Times review of disclosure statements filed with the Federal Election Commission and separate records in Texas.

April 11, 2005

"I think that Chris Shays again has demonstrated he's totally out of touch with what the mainstream of the Republican members of Congress are feeling and that he is disloyal to the party and to people as individuals," said Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif.

April 13, 2005

California Republican Rep. Dana Rohrabacher: Wife Rhonda Carmony makes $40,000 a year as his campaign manager.

According to FEC reports, Rohrabacher's wife is still receiving bi-weekly payments of $1169.85 since the conclusion of his last campaign. She is the only "staffer" still drawing a salary.

Posted at 08:30 PM in California, Texas | Technorati

TX-22: Defense of the Clones

Posted by Tim Tagaris

From AmericaBlog:

This is an email the Center for American Progress just received from, apparently, a Republican city council member in Tom DeLay's district. And, oh yeah - the guy is a Baptist Deacon.

Hey ass hole [sic]. Tom Delay happens to be my congresman [sic] and I am happy with the job he does for me and my district. Why don’t you get the F@&* out of our district and leave us alone. Better yet, come speak to me personally and I will show you what I think of you.

Kevin Cole
Pealrand [sic], TX
[Cell Phone # Redacted]

What's that? Could it be that Kevin Cole also has been investigated for receiving illegal campaign contributions (.pdf)--just like his hero, Tom DeLay? Meanwhile, the Pearland City Council has stripped Cole's bio page from the city website. However, thanks to the wonders of Google cache, here it is.

The moral majority, indeed. Yet another reason to support the Center for American Progress and Dropthehammer.org

Posted at 07:49 PM in Texas | Technorati

Netroots: Call Tim Redmond

Posted by Bob Brigham

The San Francisco Bay Guardian, a weekly rag, has some explaining to do. Bay Guardian Executive Editor Tim Redmond:

It's annoying that so many bloggers want to be treated as journalists when they can't even bother to pick up the phone and call a source to get accurate information or find out if there's another side to the story. It's annoying that so many are so happy to send misinformation and inaccurate rumors whipping around the blogosphere at light speed without ever making any effort to get to the truth. It's annoying that they can be so self-righteous.

Previous paragraph:

Markos, to his credit, never claimed to be a journalist. He calls himself an activist, and that's perfectly fair. I wish he would disclose all of his clients; it would give his site a bit more credibility, but that's his choice.

Of course, Tim Redmond never bothered to pick up the phone and call Markos to get the truth (I know this because I just got off the phone with Markos). Had Redmond bothered, Markos probably would have told him that he doesn't have any clients, isn't taking any clients, and hasn't had any clients for some time (facts Markos has disclosed publicly, repeatedly).

Tim Redmond seems happy to print "misinformation and inaccurate rumors" without even bothering to pick up the phone and I find that to be quite annoying. So why don't you show him that bloggers do have phones by bothering to pick up yours and calling Tim Redmond at (415) 255-3100 -- ask him when he's going to stop spreading misinformation and inaccurate rumors.

While it is always fun to get into a debate about whether bloggers are activists or journalists, it is ironic to see the Bay Guardian enter this debate. For those unfamiliar, the Guardian is nothing more than fringe activists posing as journalists.

I think the Bay Guardian angst against bloggers is born from jealousy. More people read Daily Kos before Markos wakes up each day than ever read the Tim Redmond. I live in San Francisco, but the last time a grabbed a Bay Guardian was for potty-training my dog. While the bloggers quickly beat back the internet regulation bill, you would need to find a historian to locate the last time the Guardian won at City Hall. While the Redmond can offer little support to his local Green Party candidates, an endorsement from Markos is highly prized by national Democrats.

For the record, bloggers aren't journalists, they are bloggers. Some bloggers may also be journalists and many are far more respected as journalists than Tim Redmond.

Posted at 05:34 PM in Netroots | Technorati

TX-22: Purple Monkey Dishwasher

Posted by DavidNYC

So, Tom DeLay. You're awash in corruption, everyone is gunning for you, and it's time to defend yourself at a big press conference. What do you have to say for yourself?

"I'm not here to discuss the Democrats' agenda," Mr. DeLay said. Instead, he renewed his complaints about "judicial activism," saying that reining in the courts was well within the purview of Congress.

"Congress has constitutionally mandated oversight responsibilities over the judiciary, just like it has over the executive," Mr. DeLay said, "and we would be shirking our constitutional obligation if we did not look at these issues as they come up."

Uh huh. Whatever you say, big guy. (I actually just "accidentally" typed that out as "bug guy." Maybe Freud was right: There are no accidents.) And this has what to do with the price of Reeboks in Minneapolis?

Newt Gingrich called this a reverse "Hillary Clinton defense," ie, a vast left-wing conspiracy. (If only we were that powerful!) The Newtster also said it wouldn't fly, and for once, he's right. Way to stick to your guns, Mr. Ball-Peen. Good luck with that strategery.

Posted at 05:30 PM in Texas | Technorati

Don't Let "From the Roots" Die on the Vine

Posted by DavidNYC

I've long been fond of the blogs published by the official apparatus of the Democratic Party. While they provide good information, I like them better for the simple fact that at least some establishment types "get it" and want to engage in two-way communication with the netroots.

As I recall, the DNC was the first up to the plate, with the cleverly titled "Kicking Ass." The DSCC (the guys responsible for our Senate campaigns) upped the ante with the fancy Scoop-based "From the Roots." (The even-cleverer answer to "How do you remove a Bush?") The DCCC (Congress) is also in the mix with its blog, "The Stakeholder." (The Democratic Governors' Association has yet to get into the game, but their website promises an overhaul "soon." Hopefully that makeover will include a blog.)

The DNC and DCCC blogs all continue to update regularly, multiple times a day. But From the Roots appears to be withering. There hasn't been an update since January 7th. It's a shame, because it's a very polished blog, and the only one of the three which permits user diaries (like at DailyKos and MyDD). It seems to me that the DSCC just needs to hire a full-time blogger, or establish a solid volunteer corps. Either would be easy - there are tons of knowledgeable folks out there who are also good writers.

The bottom line is, if we're gonna put pressure on the state parties to create and maintain blogs of their own, I think it's incumbent upon our national organizations to show leadership on this issue. DSCC, whip out some Miracle-Gro and get that baby flourishin' again!

Posted at 05:13 PM in Democrats | Technorati

TX-22: Morrison Gets in on the Game

Posted by DavidNYC

Yesterday, Bob posted DFA's request for people to come up with clever tag-lines to use against Tom DeLay. (Let's call it "open source sloganeering.") I have to say, I really like what our man Richard Morrison (who is taking on DeLay once again in 2006) has already tossed out there:

"No one in this picture will personally profit from this campaign."

Incredibly adorable family, great caption. Says it all for me.

(If you need some background on this story, go here.)

Posted at 04:24 PM in Texas | Technorati

TX-22: Taking Aim at DeLay's Contributors

Posted by Tim Tagaris

Working for Change is taking aim at one of Tom DeLay and the Republican Party's biggest contributors, Verizon. The effort builds upon activism by similar organizations, such as, Dropthehammer.org, a group intent on drying up the money used to pay for Tom DeLay's legal defense fund.

Working Assets, the group behind Working for Change, does a good deal of promoting and funding of progressive causes across the country. They note that since the year 2000, Verizon has contributed upwards of $5.5 million to Republicans and even hired St. Ralph Reed as a consultant recently.

Similar groups, like Buy Blue, have received national attention and success educating Democrat on how to make purchasing decisions that are in-line with their principles.

Posted at 02:53 PM in Activism | Comments (1) | Technorati

Political Blog Consultants

Posted by Bob Brigham

My recent post on Matt Stoller got me thinking about the unfortunate situation of a lack of experienced political blog consultants. While there are many people who can help a campaign set up a blog, there really aren't that many who can help a candidate get other blogs involved. Tim calls this "thinking outside the website" and this holds more potential than any other tactic.

But who are campaigns going to hire to make this happen? Corzine snatched up Matt Stoller, Sherrod Brown grabbed Tim Tagaris, Reid landed Ari Rabin-Havt, Markos isn't consulting any longer and I'm not taking any additional clients. Of course, Jerome Armstrong is available, but not everyone is going to be able to hire the Blogfather himself.

If you are interested in online communications and you are looking to hop on a campaign, send me a resume: bob.brigham -at- swingstateproject.com. With 33 Senate races, 435 House campaigns, hundreds of important state races there will be lots of opportunities.

Posted at 02:33 PM in 2005 Elections, 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - House, 2006 Elections - Senate, 2006 Elections - State, Netroots | Comments (1) | Technorati

NJ-Gov: Corzine's Online Campaign

Posted by Bob Brigham

Hiring Matt Stoller was one of the smartest things that Senator Jon Corzine has done in his campaign for governor of New Jersey. Stoller is editing Corzine Connection and Corzine for Governor along with the offsite campaigning.

In addition to being a great blogger, Stoller is also one of the leading strategists in the Democratic Party. This race will be captivating, if for no other reason than Matt Stoller is involved.

And there will be disco dancing.

Posted at 02:05 PM in 2005 Elections, Netroots, New Jersey | Technorati

PA-Sen: Democratic Party Should Give Back the Money

Posted by Bob Brigham

The Pennsylvania Democratic Party is campaigning hard -- to win the award for the most incompetent Democratic organization in America.

The best thing Senator Rick Santorum has going for the fact that the his opposition party is lead by T.J. Rooney and Don Morabito.

Yesterday, the PA Democratic Party made a major play against Senator Santorum. Don't worry if you didn't hear about it, you aren't alone.

They issued a press release, but it flopped in the traditional media.

The press release did find it's way to Politics PA (that has a section where they post any press release) and Big News Daily. If you have a paid subscription to the National Journal or Roll Call you might have read about it.

But a lot of people who would have been interested in reading about it, didn't. Which is too bad, because people should have read about it.

In a shocking display of incompetence, it isn't even listed on the PA Dems website. It isn't listed on the PA Dems blog, because Morabito has zero understanding of blogs:

For the next hours, scattered among questions about the 2006 US Senate race, people insisted that the state party step up and start communicating with us.

It ain't gonna happen (I believe that is even a quote).

What was the excuse? He said money. I told him the party would raise money online. He said that the state party is in debt. I told him that getting a blog up can be free. He said they didn't have staff to work it. I told him there were plenty out there that would love to write for the blog. I even pointed to Chris Bowers of MyDD (sorry Chris). He said they hired a consultant from Massachusettsto look into it. Great...

And they wonder why they have lost 14 straight full-term U.S. Senate elections in PA.

The fact that it flopped in traditional media shouldn't have mattered as much as it did because people should have read about it online. This could have spread like wildfire across the blogosphere, but it didn't.

You see, Don Morabito is unqualified to participate in post-modern politics. Just like you wouldn't want him to perform surgery on you or try to fix your car, I don't want him anywhere near a key senate race.

So when it comes to giving back money, I think that the PA Democratic Party should give donors back the money that has been wasted on Don Morabito's salary.

This is a character test for T.J. Rooney. He should admit poor judgment, and return the wasted money.

Posted at 12:54 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Pennsylvania | Technorati

TX-22: Circle the Wagons Before Circling the Drain

Posted by Tim Tagaris

It's probably not a very good sign when news of new scandals about you are popping up so frequently that you are forced to create your own personal "war room."

House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas) has assembled a “formal structure” to counter news stories about his perceived ethical improprieties and ensure the support of Republican lawmakers, GOP sources say. [...]

Meanwhile, House Republicans, particularly those in the leadership, are monitoring the headlines, too. Although there is no formal whip effort to track support for DeLay, Berry and Flynn have been charged with managing the concerns of any Republican lawmakers.

That's funny. They need a Whip to whip the official Whip, Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), into shape--all in the name of standing behind a national disgrace. I really hope there is some way we can keep DeLay around until the 2006 elections are done.

Like DavidNYC noted earlier, get every single Republican Congressman/woman on record defending or attempting to distance themselves from the bugman and drop the hammer on them in 2006 either way.

Posted at 12:47 AM in Texas | Technorati

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Damned if They Don't

Posted by DavidNYC

Matt Yglesias is spot-on in his assesment of how certain Dem groups are handling L'Affaire DeLay:

I continue to have concerns about the Democratic strategy surrounding the Tom DeLay matter. What, for example, is the DCCC doing trumpeting efforts by vulnerable Republicans to distance themselves from DeLay? They should be emphasizing everyone's ties with DeLay. Rick Santorum is just the Senate version of DeLay. And I'm totally unimpressed with Chris Shays's conversion to the anti-DeLay cause. Abandoning your friends when they get in hot water shows you're a coward, not a principled and independent thinker.

Bob's post below about Nancy Johnson has got me thinking. We should stick it to every Republican no matter what they say about Tom DeLay.

Don't back away from DeLay? Well, then you're definitely scum and we'll be sure to point that out, thank you very much. Try to distance yourself, ala the cowardly Shays? Well, then we'll just point out how close you are to the guy in the first place. It wasn't long ago that Shays had this to say about The Bugman:

"I think he's been a great majority leader."

The GOP loves to pull this kind of stunt no matter how far Dems bend over backwards - think of how they tried to blow Mary Landrieu out of the water even after she had loudly supported Bush's tax cuts and the Iraq war resolution. The Rove rule is: You hurt us, we hurt you; you help us, we hurt you. For the schoolyard bully crowd, that's heads I win, tails you lose.

Guess what, chumps? Now the tables have turned. So here's your choice on DeLay: Damned if you do back away from him, damned if you don't. Enjoy, suckers.

(Shays quote thanks to Cunctator.)

Posted at 07:33 PM in Republicans | Technorati

OH-Gov: Sherrod to Decide Soon

Posted by Tim Tagaris

After a flurry of decisions and non-decisions, the noise coming from Ohio died down over the past month. To review, we know three things about the two major statewide seats up for grabs (Gov. & Senate):

1.) Michael Coleman, Mayor of Columbus, is running for Governor (campaign website).

2.) Ted Strickland is not running for Governor, but could still run for U.S. Senate against Republican incumbent Mike DeWine.

3.) Akron Mayor Don Plusquellic will not run against Michael Coleman in a primary, so he is out for Governor.

Today, a fourth piece of the puzzle has been placed on the table. Sherrod Brown is "leaning against abstaining from running for Congress again." I have no idea what that means either, but Congressman Brown added, "I’ll have an answer by the end of the month."

Nothing against Michael Coleman, but I, personally, hope the answer is a yes. Although Congressman Brown's passions lie more in the federal arena (trade notably), if he isn't going to run for U.S. Senate, then I hope he runs for Governor. As great as he is in the House, Ohio only stands to benefit with Sherrod on the stump, educating voters and speaking passionately on the issues the concern residents in "The Heart of it All."

Posted at 07:32 PM in Ohio | Comments (7) | Technorati

CT-5: Nancy Johnson Watch

Posted by Bob Brigham

Johnson Watch:

On Sunday, April 10, Connecticut Congressman Chris Shays called on Delay to step down as Majority Leader, and Republican Senator Rick Santorum harshly criticized Delay for his history of ethical lapses. So, where has our Congresswoman, Nancy Johnson, been? Totally silent.

The site has a counter that currently stands at 1 days, 15 hours, 53 minutes, and 32 seconds. Spread the word, this is great!

Posted at 06:49 PM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - House, Connecticut | Comments (2) | Technorati

2006 House: Is Delay Ethically Fit? Ask Your Representative

Posted by Bob Brigham

Campaign for America’s Future has a great new action to hold Republican's accountable for supporting DeLay's corruption. From an email:

Our plan is to have constituents call their member of Congress and get them on the record answering the question, “Does my Representative believe that Tom DeLay is ethically fit to serve as House majority leader?” We request that callers enter their information on our website so that we can keep track of who stands with DeLay, who stands with democracy and who ducks the question. Once we gather, analyze and double check the data, we’re going to release it to the public and to the press.

Take a moment and help CFA Open Source the research.

Posted at 06:27 PM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - House, Activism, Netroots | Technorati

TX-22: Project for SSP Community

Posted by Bob Brigham

One of the most interesting aspects of post-modern politics is the potential of using Open Source message creation. While this scares the hell out of many political consultants, I'm confident enough to realize that all of you are smarter than me. It appears I'm not alone in this realization, check out this email:

From Democracy for America:

If you could say something -- in a big way -- to the people of Congressman Tom DeLay's district in Texas, what would it be?

We're looking for a slogan -- something short, something memorable, and something that lets the people of his district know that it's time for him to go.

We're buying billboards in the 22nd Congressional District, and if your slogan is selected, it will be part of Democracy for America's big splash in Tom DeLay's backyard.

Suggest your Tom DeLay slogan here:


You have a lot of material to work with, thanks to Tom DeLay himself. Everything is fair game -- his abuse of power, his money-for-influence machine, his corporate shilling, his ethics rebukes, his foreign trips with lobbyists, his huge campaign payouts to family members, his bullying of fellow Congressmen.

You can even use his more recent threatening of judges and his wild lashing out at critics. And remember, his nickname is "The Hammer" and he's a former exterminator -- those facts might come in handy as well.

What message do you want to send?


With the folks at Democracy for Texas we're going to take your slogan and make a stand on DeLay's home turf -- where his political base erodes more and more every day.

You were the first to put an ad on the air in his district last year, when everyone thought Tom DeLay was untouchable. Our efforts helped give him the scare of his political life and his lowest margin of victory ever.

Now it's time to finish the job -- and have a little fun doing it.

Thank you,

Tom Hughes
Executive Director
Democracy for America

P.S. -- Don't forget to suggest your slogan:


My hunch is that Swing State Project has a pretty smart readership. Here is your chance to prove it. Feel free to brainstorm in the comments, maybe collectively we could both identify a line of attack and refine the message prior to submission.

Posted at 02:14 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Activism, Netroots, Texas | Comments (10) | Technorati

E-Mail Subscriptions and Blogads

Posted by DavidNYC

If you've signed up to receive an e-mail subscription to this site via Bloglet, you may not have gotten any e-mails recently. That should be fixed now, but please let us know if you're experiencing any problems with the system.

If you haven't signed up yet, it's free and easy. You can do so in the box below in this post, or in the right-hand column. You get just one e-mail per day (sent overnight) which contains short excerpts of each SSP post that day.

Separately, you've probably noticed that the SSP adstrips are once again open for business. We have two new advertisers in the left-hand strip, so please pay them a visit if you are so inclined. Traffic has been steadily climbing around here lately, so now is a good time to think about putting up an ad.

Posted at 01:47 PM in Site News | Technorati

CA-26: David Dreier Stonewalls

Posted by Bob Brigham

Raw Story has the scoop:

Ranking Democrat on the House Rules Committee Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY) penned another letter to Rules Committee Chairman David Dreier (D-CA) asking for ethics hearings Monday, RAW STORY has learned. Dreier has previously demurred to hold hearings.

Chairman Dreier responded last week in a letter to Rep. Slaughter stating, "As we move forward with the Committee's agenda in the 109th Congress, I will keep your request in mind."

As Rules chairman, Dreier sits in a powerful position relative to ethics charges that have swirled around House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX). Dreier gave $5,000 to DeLay's legal defense fund, one of the larger donors that includes much of the Republican House caucus.

He'll keep ethics "in mind"? Slaughter penned the appropriate response...

"I am disappointed, however, that you provided no timeframe as to when a hearing on this important matter will be scheduled," Slaughter said in a statement provided to RAW STORY. "It is imperative that the Committee hold hearings on this as soon as possible. I would suggest that we do so within in the next few weeks."

Dreier could not be reached for comment.

Just because Dreier is from a district traditionally considered safe doesn't mean that he'll escape the wrath of his constituents for his role in facilitating Tom DeLay's corruption. Dreier is both preventing justice and contributing to the perpetrator. Voters tend to notice things like this.

UPDATE: Rep. Slaughter has Daily Kos diary with more.

Posted at 01:09 PM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - House, California | Technorati

TX-22: Barney Frank Afraid of Tom DeLay...Leaving

Posted by Bob Brigham

USA Today:

Democrats think they can make DeLay an issue that costs Republicans seats in next year's elections. "Democrats have gone from being frustrated that people weren't paying enough attention to DeLay to being afraid he's going to be thrown out too soon," says Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass.

DeLay will be throw out, either by the Republicans or by the voters -- or he'll be dragged out in handcuffs. No matter what happens, Democrats have captured the ethics high-ground and GOP corruption will be a major issue in 2006. As Kos notes:

Republicans can expect attack ads featuring DeLay whether they speak out against DeLay or not. The Hammer is endemic of what the modern Republican Party has become -- a cesspool of corruption. It is, indeed, everything they ran against in 1994.

Posted at 12:57 PM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - House, 2006 Elections - Senate, Republicans, Texas | Technorati

CA-Gov: Arnold Schwarzenegger's $60 Million Report Card

Posted by Bob Brigham

My how convention wisdom evolves. Six months ago, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger was expected to cruz to re-election. Now he's in for the battle of his life, from the Contra Costa Times:

California's teachers are girding for a battle royal.

The 335,000-member California Teachers Association began assembling a $60 million war chest last weekend to fight off Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's anticipated actions on school funding guarantees, teacher pay and tenure, all of which are expected to appear on a special election ballot in November.

Even in California, $60 million is a huge campaign fund. And this is just the teachers. Add in the nurses and the firefighters and the unions and the Democratic Party and the people, and it is easy to see how a quarter of a billion dollars could be spent against Schwarzenegger in the next two years. In all probability, there could be far more spent. Here is a key point from the story:

But California teachers can opt out of their union's political activities at the local, state and national level without losing any of their rights and privileges, said CTA vice president Dave Sanchez.

Some teachers take that option. Others, like Mt. Diablo union president and CTA state representative Mike Noce, think the political lobbying is so worthwhile that they contribute more.

"This equalizes the little guy," said Noce. "It gives me a voice in Sacramento."

The current political climate has incensed teachers to such a degree that several teachers who initially opted out came back to Noce to change their minds, he said. Even political neophytes have hit the streets, demonstrating outside San Francisco's Ritz-Carlton Hotel last week when Schwarzenegger was in town to raise campaign money.

People were unhappy with Gray Davis. But when it comes to Schwarzenegger, the people are pissed off.

Posted at 12:26 PM in 2005 Elections, 2006 Elections - State, California | Technorati

CT-02: Finally a Social Security Forum

Posted by Bob Brigham

Hartford Courant:

WASHINGTON -- There's finally going to be a Social Security public forum in Rep. Rob Simmons' congressional district - but the featured congressman isn't Simmons. It's Democratic Rep. John Larson.

Crossing that line is especially sensitive, because Simmons, R-2nd District, is already a popular punching bag for national Democrats hoping to pick up congressional seats in 2006.

And Democrats believe an important way to gain voters is by tying Republicans to President Bush's teetering campaign to allow future retirees to have personal Social Security accounts.

Simmons is in serious trouble. Props to the College Democrats for staging this:

The controversy involves the Connecticut College Democrats' April 16 event in New London. The group is inviting the public to a "forum on Social Security with Congressman John Larson and Second District Congressional Candidate Joe Courtney."

Posted at 10:16 AM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - House, Connecticut | Technorati

RI-Sen: Chafee Turns on Tom DeLay

Posted by Bob Brigham

From CQ, via The Stakeholder:

A second Senate Republican facing a difficult election next year suggested Monday that House Majority Leader Tom DeLay needs to do more to address ethics accusations leveled against him recently.

"We've got to uphold the highest standards of legality and ethics,'' Lincoln Chafee, R-R.I., said Monday. "You can't have your leader under a cloud. It makes it difficult to run."

But here's the line everyone is thinking:

Political analysts say it is prudent for Republicans running for re-election in 2006 to anticipate attacks from Democrats if they fail to speak out against DeLay.

Of course, Chafee didn't demand DeLay resign. So by my count he's still fair game. Atrios says Chafee should flip.

Posted at 09:36 AM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Rhode Island | Technorati

LA Mayor: Antonio Villaraigosa Wins

Posted by Bob Brigham

I tend to think of campaigns as a science as much as an art. For you scientists, my question is whether there is any possible scenario where Antonio Villaraigosa could lose after this assist?

LOS ANGELES - Basketball legend Earvin "Magic" Johnson endorsed Antonio Villaraigosa for mayor Monday, giving the challenger one of the race's prized endorsements and another A-list supporter in the politically crucial black community.

Johnson played for Hahn last time, but no more...

One of Southern California's most popular figures and now a successful businessman, Johnson endorsed Hahn over Villaraigosa in their runoff four years ago, part of a surge of black support that helped secure Hahn's victory in 2001.

Showing once again he has political game, Johnson explains:

Speaking at one of his health clubs in the San Fernando Valley, Johnson's announcement became as much a denunciation of Mayor James Hahn's leadership as an embrace of Villaraigosa's candidacy. The former Los Angeles Lakers star said the administration had been crippled by an ongoing corruption investigation.

"You can't point to the Hahn administration and find 10 things he has accomplished because he was so bogged down by the scandal situation," Johnson said. "The city was not moving forward." [...]

Johnson was outraged, like many blacks, when Hahn helped push out the city's black police chief, Bernard Parks, in 2002. There were other problems, too — most important, Hahn's failure to do more to create jobs, Johnson said.

"I expected him to be like his dad, and that didn't happen," Johnson said, referring to late county Supervisor Kenneth Hahn, a revered figure in the Los Angeles black community.

This is getting the play in the news it deserves. This is all-star. This is a done deal.

Posted at 09:05 AM in 2005 Elections, California | Technorati

Monday, April 11, 2005

Zell Lieberman

Posted by Bob Brigham

Via Eschaton, here is the transcript:

BARBARA COMSTOCK, FMR. JUSTICE DEPT. SPOKESWOMAN: Paul, as Bob pointed out, Tom DeLay is one of the most effective leaders, which is why the Democrats have tried to make this a campaign issue. Now as you know from your friend Senator Zell Miller and Joe Lieberman, oftentimes people break in the party.

Of course, Crooks and Liars has the video.

Quite a day for the junior senator from Connecticut.

Posted at 11:13 PM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - Senate, Connecticut | Comments (1) | Technorati

Conrad Burns scandal is a huge story

Posted by Bob Brigham

The corruption saga surrounding Senator Conrad Burns (R-MT) is a national an international story:

Members of the Senate are also feeling pressure over their ties to Abramoff.

Last month, Democratic leaders in Montana demanded that Senator Conrad Burns, Republican of Montana, who is considered vulnerable in his re-election bid next year, return $137,000 in donations from Abramoff and his tribal clients.

Ouch. Across the pond they are talking about the vulnerability of Montana's junior senator.

Posted at 07:43 PM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - Senate, Montana | Comments (5) | Technorati

Tom DeLay Scandal: Reps. Blunt, Nussle, and Gerlach hit with ads

Posted by Bob Brigham

Press Release:

Public Campaign, a nonpartisan money and politics watchdog group, will launch television advertisements in three congressional districts tomorrow to build pressure on Republican members of Congress to demand Majority Leader Tom DeLay's resignation. The ads will run in:

-- The 7th Congressional District of Missouri, currently represented by Majority Whip Roy Blunt

-- The 6th Congressional District of Pennsylvania, currently represented by Rep. Jim Gerlach

-- The 1st Congressional District of Iowa, currently represented by Rep. Jim Nussle

"With Rep. Chris Shays' courageous statement yesterday calling on Tom DeLay to step down, we are turning up the heat on Republican members to join him," said David Donnelly, National Campaigns director of Public Campaign. "DeLay's big money scandals and cash-and-carry politics should be repudiated by elected officials everywhere."


Posted at 06:25 PM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - House, Iowa, Missouri, Pennsylvania | Comments (1) | Technorati

Senator Conrad Burns caught in a lie

Posted by Bob Brigham

From Matt Singer:

Conrad Burns today is saying that the Abramoff-connected trip taken by two of his staffers “shouldn’t have happened, but it did.” He also says, “A lot of things happened that I didn’t know about.” [...]

But even stranger is that Burns says “his office is unaware of anyone giving clearance” while only two weeks ago he referred to his office checking Senate rules. Did people in his office approve the trip or not. Were they aware of what gifts their staffers were taking or not? Who is running the show at Camp Burns?

You can find out more about Senator Burns involvement in multiple corruption investigations. Burns re-elect number has fallen below 40 and getting caugh lying isn't going to help things.

Posted at 05:24 PM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - Senate, Montana | Technorati

Joe Lieberman is a disgrace

Posted by Bob Brigham

While Reuters headlines, "Democrats Seek to Block Bolton as UN Ambassador" we have quite a different message coming from Senator Joe Lieberman.

Lieberman is being used alongside Oliver North to bash Democrats for blocking Bolton.

Over at DailyKos there is a comment that deserves to be printed out, framed, and mailed to Senator Lieberman. From IGrantius:

You know, here's the thing I think Joe never quite understood:

When you're just some senator or congressman, or governor or mayor, you're always free to criticize the party over anything. We need disparate voices, challenging voices, we're a big tent, all that.

BUT. The moment that you accept a presidential or vice presidential nomination, you also agree to represent the entire party, and the unspoken agreement is, you will do it for the rest of your life. It is no small thing for 40 some million Democrats to invest their hopes in you. In exchange for that support, we ask only one thing. Win or lose, you will spend the rest of your life staunchly defending the party, laboring to get Democrats elected wherever you can. You can leave the moralizing, the deal breaking, and what have you to the next generation of young Turks. You have just graduated to Senior Statesman.

That's why Democrats love Teddy Kennedy. It's how Bentsen wound up in the Clinton administration. It's how Dole survived Ford. None of those men ever shat on their friends. They danced with the girl who brung them.

Not Joe. Somehow he thinks that he can return to his cozy position as the Grand Poohbah of Centrist Scolding.

It doesn't work like that. We get one chance every four years to nominate two people. If you accept our invitation, you owe us your blood sweat and tears. Now and forever. If you can't life up to that, fuck you. You're gone.

I'll second that "fuck you" and add a friendly reminder to Stop Bolton.

Posted at 03:19 PM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - Senate, Activism, Connecticut, Democrats, International | Technorati

Lieberman Challenge Template

Posted by Tim Tagaris

Bob's last post about Joe Lieberman immediately reminded me of a recent entry by DavidNYC that could provide the template for a 2006 primary challenge aimed at stopping Joementum.

David draws the parallel between Joementum's seemingly high approval ratings and how U.S. Senator Arlen Specter (PA) had similar approval ratings, yet was pushed to the brink by Pat Toomey in a 2004 Pennsylvania primary. Make sure you read Bob's post first, then read David's HERE.

UPDATE: (Bob) When making the comparisions between the two, it is important to remember why Pat Toomey lost.

Posted at 11:44 AM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Connecticut | Technorati

Sunday, April 10, 2005

NOmentum: Lieberman re-election and the Connecticut Democratic Party

Posted by Bob Brigham

Swing State Project has been closely following the potential 2006 primary challenge to Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman. We've looked at the polls, the geography, the tactics, and the news. In a recent post on the news, I cited a Manchester Journal-Inquirer article with the following quote:

In an extraordinary encounter last week with members of the Democratic State Central Committee, the senator was forced to defend his hawkish record by Myrna Watanabe, Harwinton's town chairwoman.

Watanabe, a professional science writer who took notes on the exchange, told Lieberman that while she appreciated his "very good" voting record, she wanted to know how she could present him for re-election in her town when "our people are pretty pacifistic" and were opposed the war in Iraq "from the beginning," when "our people don't support Rice," and when "they are most unhappy with Gonzales."

She said Lieberman responded that he does what he believes is right, that he didn't want the war to be used as a litmus test, and finally that he didn't have to come to Harwinton.

Watanabe read the post on Swing State Project and contacted us. I asked her if she could give a quote I could post. She responded with 2,000 words...

Myrna Watanabe is retaining the copyright for what follows:

If it weren’t that computers are very glitchy, I would think I’m getting the electronic finger from Lieberman. Granted, I do sign these group emails asking our congressional delegation to oppose this bill or that bill, as there’s not much out there to support nowadays; but the day after I asked Lieberman that very polite question at our Democratic State Central Committee meeting about how to sell him to my town committee, I followed up with a fax (letterhead, real signature) offering a dialogue with him. (I wasn’t going to offer to contribute to his campaign or babysit for his dog or anything that would have fiduciary value.)

Since then, I’ve received two emails from his office. The first was a form letter thanking me for visiting his online contact center. As I haven’t a clue what that’s all about, having never visited his online contact center, and having no interest in spending my time visiting it, I thought that perhaps, just perhaps, it was in response to one of those People for the American Way or some other group’s click-through email letters. But just in case, I figured I’d send an email back, warning them that if it just happened to be a response to my fax, it was unacceptable. It bounced. Not really having the time or inclination to send it to one of his staffers directly, I figured I’d forget the whole thing—although I must say, some of my friends in the Party are egging me on to push for a real reply.

But today, I received another email from his office. This time, it was totally blank. My system’s a little slow, so I gave it enough time to develop, just in case it had a photo of our senator as a young man pumping Lyndon Johnson’s hand or something else of historic value. Nada. Just blank--an email written in the electronic equivalent of invisible ink. Is this, I have to ask myself, the way Joe Lieberman’s office responds to a request for a dialogue?

It shouldn’t be this way. Many of my friends, both inside and outside the Democratic Party, have known Joe Lieberman for a long time. When I first introduced myself to him, requesting that he listen to the anti-war message during the run up to the Iraq War vote, I mentioned the name of a mutual friend who had nothing but praise for Joe. “He’s a good man, a fine human being,” my friend had said.

But something must have happened to Joe Lieberman during his political career. I was chatting with one of his old political friends the other night, who remembers when Joe was a true liberal. I asked him if he thought that Joe could be a victim of what my dear friend Robert Flower, who has run many a political campaign in Westchester County, New York, refers to as the politician’s revolving door. Joe’s friend agreed that, yes, this is what probably happened to Joe.

Robert’s theory, which I explained to Joe’s friend, is that after people are elected to office, they suddenly believe all the rhetoric and think that they were elected, not because they supported a particular stance, or the party line, or were in the right place at the right time, but that there's something intrinsic in them that makes them better than the people who worked for them and/or voted for them. In their minds' eyes, they assume mythic proportions. And they begin believing the myth. Once that happens, Robert says, they go through this revolving door where they become something other than a member of the group that elected them. They forget where they came from. It sort of reminds me of a T-shirt I saw a young man wearing yesterday, with a two-headed arrow, one end pointing to his head and the other pointing to his genitals. The one to the head was labelled, "The Man," the one to the genitals, "The Myth".

And, unfortunately, that's what happened with Lieberman. He goes around joking that he was elected vice president of the United States--except it isn't a joke to him or to his audience. He has to know he is an historic figure, but he seems to have forgotten how this all occurred and to whom he owes his luck (or lack thereof).

Until recently, we on Democratic town committees (DTCs) didn't even hear from his people. Now, they're trying to schedule meetings between town committees and him, and the number of takers is probably far fewer than Lieberman would like to see. But back when Lieberman started in politics, so I hear, he made his way with the help of Democratic town committees and good Democrats from around the state, an obligation, some say, he has forgotten.

Lieberman doesn’t need the town committees to run for office, but he needs them because their delegates designate the party nominee for U.S. Senate. Town committees in Connecticut are the groups politicians love to hate. A good town committee, one that will work for a candidate, raise money for a candidate, and share information with a candidate is worth its weight in gold. But, like everything else, some town committees are terrific, some are helpful, and others are useless. But even if useless, they are powerful. If a town committee chair doesn’t support a candidate for a wider office—as an example, my enthusiasm for our last congressional candidate was negligible, and I didn’t like some of her volunteers—he or she can tell the candidate, as I did, not to come to their town. The candidate can ignore it, but it looks bad for a candidate to have no elected officials from the party, no other party candidates, and no members of the town committee with her when she visits. One town committee chair told me that Lieberman’s people asked him to fill a room with people for a visit by Lieberman to take place within a few hours of the request. The town chair said something very rude to Lieberman’s staffer, and asked that that message be given directly to the senator. So Lieberman appeared with only one elected Democratic official at his side. (It was in my district. They didn’t call me and ask me to bring out the troops—as I tried to do for Dodd--but they know better than to send me anything but blank emails.)

These negative feelings toward Lieberman have been growing for several years. The war in Iraq, of course, has been a major polarizing factor. During the buildup to the vote on the war, Lieberman was unreachable for discussion. The anti-war groups, including moveon.org, found it impossible to meet with him (not that Dodd was much more reachable, but Dodd's office was, at least, accommodating and was willing to share his conflicted thoughts about the impending war vote with us).

By the time Lieberman's people attempted to contact Democratic town committees for support for his run for president, his people were on the receiving end of quite a bit of hostility from the committees. I told his people outright to stay away from us: we weren't interested. And I was not alone.

When rumors hit the streets that Lieberman was possibly up for a Bush cabinet position, many of us had had enough--and that predates the Rice, Gonzales, and Chertoff votes. I asked at our State Committee meeting if we could have a vote on the sense of the State Committee to tell Lieberman exactly how we felt about him taking a position with the Bushies. Our then state chair, George Jepsen, discouraged us from doing that, but another state committee member urged that we call Lieberman's office to voice our displeasure, and Jepsen agreed.

Meanwhile, some people who are considering running for office--from town selectman on up to statewide office--are privately voicing concern about making a run with Lieberman at the top of the ticket. Although our voters tend not to vote straight party line (despite our endless statements that they undoubtedly will), there is a concern that voters will see anyone on the Democratic ticket as painted with the Lieberman brush. Now, with the Quinnipiac poll showing positive figures for Lieberman in the comfortable high 60s, one would ask why should that matter? Yet I can tell you that three years ago, when I was distributing flyers that had a local candidate posed with Lieberman (something we can't do anymore because of campaign finance laws), people came up to me, pointed to Lieberman's photo, and said, "If he's with your candidate, I can't vote for your person." If I were in Lieberman's shoes, I wouldn't get too comfy with the poll numbers because they do not detect the undercurrent of dislike and mistrust.

Now, let's get back to DTCs. If the state Democratic convention were held right now, Lieberman wouldn't have the votes to get the nomination without doing some very, very, very serious arm twisting--and even then he might not have the votes. Maybe the population still likes Joe Lieberman, but his friends in the Democratic Party are having second or third thoughts about him. To some it's the votes, to others it's the war, to still others it's the Dem-bashing rhetoric, while others are concerned about the spectacle of Lieberman at Bush's elbow when Bush signs some particularly un-Democratic piece of legislation. But even more telling is that his good friends, people who've known him for 20 or 30 years and who came into politics with him or came up in the party with him, don't want to be associated with him. Months and months ago, many of them, independently, contacted Joe or his close associates and made it clear that Joe was doing himself and the party no good by kowtowing to the Bushies and by continuing his strong support of the war.

After I asked my polite question to Lieberman at State Committee last week, I started getting emails and calls from people telling me that they, too, are seriously disturbed about Lieberman's political stances. The day after the State Committee meeting, there was a meeting of 4th C.D. town chairs at which Mitchell Fuchs, the Fairfield DTC chair, lambasted Lieberman for his votes, his coziness with the Bushies, his stance on the war, etc. One town chair sent me the following email: "Tell him he doesn't have to come to XXX either, unless it's to announce he isn't going to run again." Another town chair told me, "We hate him here!" He probably doesn't have many friends on State Committee either. When he responded to my question by saying that he had a 70 percent favorable rating, someone in the back yelled out, "From Republicans!"

As I see it, Lieberman has a choice: he can go forward, risk not being the party’s nominee, and come up with a third-party endorsement; switch to the Reps, with whom he will be very uncomfortable; do a mea culpa and take on the cloak of leadership of the Democratic Party (“I made a mistake on the war; I shouldn’t compromise with these people because there is no compromise; I will lead us out of this political morass.”); or declare that it’s time to retire and think of something else he can do as an elder statesman.

I suspect that Joe won’t like any of these choices. But he should have thought of that before he cuddled up with the Bushies. Yes, Joe, Democrats do have a litmus test. You have to support good Democratic principles, 24-7, every day of the year, every vote in the Senate (not exactly every vote; we’ll leave you some leeway, but on the big things, and especially in what you say and how you say it, you’ve got to prove you’re a Democrat). And you can’t sleep with the enemy because the stench of dead bodies stays on you.

© 2005 Myrna E. Watanabe

Posted at 11:57 PM in Connecticut | Comments (11) | Technorati

Senator Hillary Clinton presidential ambitions attacked

Posted by Bob Brigham

The problem with being the early mainstream media frontrunner for the 2008 Democratic Party presidential nomination is that everyone wants to tear you down. Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton will certainly understand this dynamic in the coming years.

From the AP:

ALBANY, N.Y. - Claiming Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton is running for the White House, New York's GOP chairman has kicked off a national "STOP HILLARY NOW!" fund-raising effort to thwart her 2006 Senate re-election bid.

"Stopping Hillary Rodham Clinton is the most important thing you and I can do as Republicans in the next two years," says the fund-raising appeal sent out by Stephen Minarik. "You could say it's our duty as Republicans."

Minarik's fund-raising letter, dated Friday, promises a Republican "truth squad" that will "monitor Hillary's appearances and expose her lies."

While Minarik has sent out similar missives to New York Republicans, Friday's appeal — a copy of which was obtained by The Associated Press — is his first to the potentially more lucrative national anti-Clinton audience.

Clinton, who has said she is not looking beyond her Senate re-election effort, has countered with fund-raising appeals of her own, including a March 31 e-mail warning supporters she is "the No. 1 target for the right-wing attack machine."

And now this from drudge:

The project being billed as "Hillary in the Raw", like you've never seen her before, is set to drop in September by liberal Ed Klein, former NYT MAGAZINE editor, VANITY FAIR, PARADE contributor and author of multiple works on the Kennedys.

"The revelations in it should sink her candidacy," a source close to Klein warns the DRUDGE REPORT.


Last week, Clinton stalwart Ann Lewis fired off an email to supporters warning of the 'Swift Boat' tactics coming against the former first lady turned senator.

Now the coming sales pitch for ' THE TRUTH ABOUT HILLARY What She Knew, When She Knew It, and How Far She’ll Go to Become President' reads: 'Just as the swift boat veterans convinced millions of voters that John Kerry lacked the character to be president, Klein’s book will influence everyone who is sizing up the character of Hillary Clinton...

'Despite more than a dozen years in the national spotlight and more than a dozen unauthorized books about her, she has managed to keep many secrets from the public -- especially about her turbulent marriage and its impact on her career. There have been plenty of rumors about what Hillary and Bill Clinton did behind closed doors, but never a definitive book that exposes the truth. Bestselling author Edward Klein draws on rare access to inside sources to reveal what Hillary knew and when she knew it during her years as first lady. Klein’s book, embargoed until publication, will break news about the choices and calculations she has made over the years.'

Yes, the 2008 presidential campaign has already begun.

Posted at 08:45 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, 2008 Election - President, 2008 President - Democrats, New York | Comments (1) | Technorati

Shays: Buzzoff Bugman

Posted by Bob Brigham


WASHINGTON (AP) - Rep. Christopher Shays said Sunday that fellow Republican Rep. Tom DeLay should step down as House majority leader because his continuing ethics problems are hurting the GOP.

"Tom's conduct is hurting the Republican Party, is hurting this Republican majority and it is hurting any Republican who is up for re-election," Shays told The Associated Press on Sunday.

Shays is right, of course. Hopefully, DeLay won't listen because if DeLay were to step down it would rob Democrats across the country of a great campaign issue. Thanks to DeLay getting caught, the entire country is learning of the vast corruption that controls the Republican Party. It isn't just the corruption of one man, it is the web of corruption.

Posted at 06:15 PM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - House, 2006 Elections - Senate, Connecticut, Republicans, Texas | Technorati

Democratic Leadership Council obit

Posted by Bob Brigham

From v2aggie2 diary at MyDD:

One of the candidates was Joe Lieberman, our 2000 VP Candidate, and for all intents and purposes, the DLC candidate for 2004 (he was a former chair of the DLC). Now, I know a lot of folks around here don't like Lieberman, and the reasons have merit (though I must admit, I probably don't feel as some do on this topic), but I liked Joe in 2000, and thought he would run a strong campaign in 2004. Boy was I wrong! He ran a Republican-lite campaign, to say the least. At the various dinners shown on C-SPAN during the pre-primary season, you could hear a pin drop when he spoke. Needless to say, he generated no excitement. And his primary performance showed, as he was resoundingly defeated everywhere he went.

This was also, in the end, the proof of the ultimate fall of the DLC. Once a vibrant force in the party, it had become bland and stale. The DLC had now resorted to attacking Howard Dean at every turn. This was truly ironic, for the DLC was attacking a vibrant leader who had many "New Democrat" Ideas that had brought the DLC to prominence. During the primaries, I felt that Dean and John Edwards had both assumed the "New Democrat" mantle.

Well, here we are in 2005. George W. Bush is still president, and Howard Dean is DNC Chair. Where does the DLC go from here?

Well, in my view, the days of DLC being the dominant wing of the party are over. And in reality, was it really that dominant after 1992? It probably was the most influential wing by default due to Bill Clinton. But it never reached the vibrant potential that it could have, and, though many disagree, this is a shame. The petty attacks against other Democrats since the election have not the helped the DLC's cause.

The biggest problem facing the DLC is that it has become conventional wisdom that they do more harm than good. At the macro-level, their triangulation against Democrats has been disasterous for the Party. But it is also important to realize that at the candidate level they are equally counter-productive (ask Lieberman). In a post-campaign finance reform world, their big checks can't flow and being associated with the DLC is the surest way for a candidate to lose the support of the netroots. Our good ideas are coming from the Center for American Progress and the blogosphere and our campaign support is coming from people, not corporations. We don't need them, they only harm us, they are just dead weight. The sooner they are left behind the sooner we'll be winning again.

UPDATE: Go read this.

Posted at 03:20 PM in Democrats | Technorati

Ohio Governor Bob Taft and Tom Noe

Posted by Bob Brigham

Yesterday, I joined the blogswarm of outrage over Ohio's rare coin scandal. For those joining late, Ohio Governor Bob Taft gave a sweetheart deal to a major GOP donor to invest state money in "rare coins" -- which became all the more rarer when $300,000 worth were "lost in the mail" (whoops). What I didn't know is that Tom Noe was also appointed and reappointed by Governor Taft to the Ohio Board of Regents, even though he is a college dropout. From the Toledo Blade:

BLADE: You appointed him to the [Ohio] Board of Regents that oversees higher education and he doesn't have a college degree. Why did you do that?

TAFT: What's that got to do with the price of eggs in Siberia? That's ridiculous.

Ridiculous indeed.

Posted at 02:49 PM in Ohio | Technorati

TX-22: Tom DeLay Corruption News

Posted by Bob Brigham

Three big stories for those following the corruption scandal that has engulfed the GOP:

Jack Abramoff is indicating he'll cut a deal with prosecutors and says, "Those S.O.B.s. DeLay knew everything. He knew all the details."

Congressman Chris Shays bucks DeLay, calls him, "an absolute embarrassment to me and to the Republican Party."

• A Washington Post story on DeLay's offensive notes, "DeLay is continuing his high-decibel comments -- including his warning last week about "a judiciary run amok" -- on the theory that he is going to remain himself and not bend to the opposition, friends say."

Remember, Clinton suffered the worst damage not from Republican attacks, but when Lieberman joined the Republican chorus attacking Clinton. Now that Chris Shays is playing the same roll the momentum will increase faster than any other milestone short of the indictments.

The Abramoff story is also key. In addition to saying he had the goods on DeLay, he also said, "There are e-mails and records that will implicate others." Which could be devasting to Republicans in the 2006 mid-term election. When Senator Conrad Burns was implicated in an Abramoff scandal his re-elect number dropped to 36 and the White House had to dispatch Karl Rove to Montana to clean things up. Can the GOP afford to have any others implicated?

The DeLay offensive that the GOP is plotting will probably be remembered as the best thing to ever happen to the Democratic Party in a long time. The GOP seems to be going out of their way to tie Republicans to a corrupt lawmaker who is so unpopular he'll lose his re-election if he isn't locked up first.

DeLay's days our numbered, but thanks to the wingnuts, this will drag out far longer than it should.

The 2006 backlash is coming.

Posted at 01:01 PM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - House, 2006 Elections - Senate, Connecticut, Montana, Republicans, Texas | Technorati

Schweitzer for President?

Posted by Bob Brigham

Opinion Journal

Not only had the citizens of the nation's fourth largest state elected a Democratic candidate as governor for the first time in 20 years, they'd also rolled back GOP dominance to a 50-50 split in the state House, taken a 27-23 majority in the Senate, filled virtually every position of real authority in the state's higher offices with Democrats, and defeated referendums on re-allowing cyanide leaching in mining (despite millions of dollars of industry lobbying money promoting the idea) while approving of the medical use of marijuana. [...]

Red, blue or purple--color-coding Montana's patterns of voting is just too simplistic, and Brian Schweitzer fits the non-conformist mold to a T. A prosperous farmer/rancher from the area of Whitefish in the tony Flathead Valley country, Mr. Schweitzer cultivates a well-spoken, gun-owning, dog-loving, native-ritual-doing, shot-of-whiskey-drinking true-west style somewhere between that of Jeanette Rankin (a famously antiwar liberal Republican elected to the U.S. Congress before women's suffrage was passed) and Mike Mansfield (the conservative Democrat senator and former ambassador to Japan whose voting record, taken as a whole, was more liberal than that of George McGovern).

Schweitzer for President?

How all this sorts itself out over the short term is anybody's guess, but Mount St. Schweitzer is certainly stirring things up--from driving himself around the state with his pet dog, Jag, to flying the tribal flags of the seven Native American Indian reservations in Montana in rotation above the rotunda in the capital, a unique symbol of the governor's maverick streak.

That streak came to the fore at the annual state governors' meeting at the White House, where Mr. Schweitzer upbraided both President Bush and Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt. He likened the president to a bad cattle auctioneer and Mr. Leavitt to a cowpoke "riding for the brand." National Democrats swooned at the audacity of the freshman governor from the Mountain West. And some even started to whisper a number: 2008.

Tribal flags at the White House? There's always a first time.

UPDATE: Find out more about the story behind:


Posted at 12:52 PM in 2008 Election - President, 2008 President - Democrats, Montana | Comments (2) | Technorati

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Walmart major politcal issue

Posted by Bob Brigham

Walmart is finally getting the scrutiny the company deserves. The more that is learned, the more people are boycotting.

David Sirota:

Progressives in Colorado are on the verge of passing one of the most important pieces of legislation when it comes to workers, health care, and Wal-Mart. Denver's Rocky Mountain News reports that under pending legislation, the state "would publish a list of companies that offer little or no health insurance - as well as how much they're costing the state in Medicaid." Wal-Mart is expected to be high on the list.

Consider the following statistics to understand how disgusting Wal-Mart's willingness to shaft its workers really is: The company is one of the wealthiest in the world, regularly topping the Fortune 500 list, with almost $300 billion in annual sales. The company is so flush with cash, it pays its top executive almost $20 million a year, showers the Republican Party in campaign cash, uses its army of lobbyists to push for estate tax cuts for the Walton family, and, according to a former top executive, spends freely on anti-union activities.

MyDD's Levana:

I was doing my daily email actions which included an email from the Citizen's Action Network(CAN) for Naral Pro-choice America to all major US Pharmacy Chains. As most of you probably already know, Pharmacists across the country have been denying to fill prescriptions for birth control due thier personal opposition to women being allowed to control their own fertility. [...]

I already hate Walmart for other reasons, but a lot of women shop there. Not only do they refuse to stock certain products, but they give their employees carte blanche to decide who gets what medicines they need based their "personal convictions." Now, this policy is against the law in some states, and I'm sure it is illegal under the Civil Rights Act. Not only am I angry at the discrimination against women, but this policy is just ridiculous. If employees are allowed to decide which customers are allowed to buy certain products based on their personal beliefs, then chaos could ensue at Walmarts everywhere.

Posted at 11:43 PM in Activism | Technorati

TX-22: Tom DeLay Corruption: Drop the Hammer

Posted by Bob Brigham

I have taken a previous look at Drop the Hammer, but I wanted to come back to the subject to focus on a couple of key points in the effort to expose Republican Majority Leader Tom DeLay as corrupt.

First of all, I think www.DropTheHammer.org deserves some serious credit. The Drop the Hammer effort deserves an 11 on a ten point scale when it comes to online activism. The American Progress Action Fund has given clear notice that companies willing to facilitate corruption will face accountability.

But what I really like about the Drop the Hammer effort is the flow-chart of the corruption. If you care at all about America's democracy, you should check out the DeLay corruption page on Drop the Hammer.

Posted at 09:01 PM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - House, Activism, Netroots, Republicans, Texas | Technorati

Republican absolute power

Posted by Bob Brigham

From the AP:

WASHINGTON - Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid said Saturday that the fight over President Bush's judicial nominees is really a battle between Democrats who believe in checks and balances and Republicans who want everything their way. [...]

"When it comes down to it, stripping away these important checks and balances is about the arrogance of those in power who want to rewrite the rules so that they can get their way," Reid, D-Nev., said in his party's weekly radio address.

The Republican plan has been dubbed the "nuclear option" because some say it would blow up Senate relations.

If the GOP goes forward with their plan for absolute power, it will shut down the Senate:

Reid has threatened to retaliate by slowing down or stopping Senate business through procedural maneuvers.

While the fight is technically over the internal rules of the Senate, Reid said it is still important. "This isn't about some arcane procedures of the Senate. It is about protecting liberty and our limited government," he said.

Without the judicial filibuster, "the U.S. Senate becomes merely a rubber stamp for the president," Reid said. "It would mean that one political party — be it Republicans today or Democrats tomorrow — gets to have all the say over our nation's highest courts."

Reid also targeted House Majority Leader Tom DeLay in his remarks. While not identifying him by name, Reid said there was a "Republican leader threatening judges who protect our rights and corrupting our government by running roughshod over the ethics committee to protect himself."

Listening to Tom DeLay or the Constitution...Democrats are 100% right. There are no two sides to this story.

Posted at 06:54 PM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - Senate, Nuclear Option, Republicans | Technorati

Can't trust Republicans in Ohio

Posted by Bob Brigham

Via AmericaBlog and David NYC, from the Toledo Blade:

Since 1998, Ohio has invested millions of dollars in the unregulated world of rare coins, buying nickels, dimes, and pennies.

Controlling the money for the state? Prominent local Republican and coin dealer Tom Noe, whose firm made more than $1 million off the deal last year alone. [...]

And the state has maintained its stake in Capital Coin despite documented problems:

* Two coins worth roughly $300,000 were lost in the mail in 2003.

Why does the GOP insist on plundering? Your money, plundered. The GOP corruption knows no bounds. Tom DeLay would be proud.

Posted at 06:42 PM in Ohio | Technorati

Why does the US military target journalists?

Posted by Bob Brigham

Not everyone works for CNN, so some people can say the truth.

Posted at 06:39 PM in International | Technorati

Evolving Blogosphere

Posted by Bob Brigham

Lots of changes in the blogosphere. Assrocket and Company over at Punchline have stopped hiding and started using their names. Over at DailyKos, there is growing ridicule for bloggers too sissy to accept comments. I'm still waiting for the backlash against bloggers referring to themselves in the third person, as I'm rooting for the DLC to hit the trifecta.

Posted at 03:58 PM in Netroots | Comments (2) | Technorati

Lord have mercy on the Democratic Party

Posted by Bob Brigham

From the Sioux Falls Argus Leader:

Did Daschle give a campaign speech?

They came to Vermillion on Tuesday to praise Tom Daschle, but after he spoke, it seemed clear this was not his political eulogy.

Many of the nearly 1,000 people who heard the former senator at the Farber Forum thought his remarks sounded like a campaign speech. [...]

Daschle staffers have said he does not miss the Senate, so people shouldn’t anticipate another bid for that job. Others suggested his address sounded like a presidential campaign speech.

For some reason, disgraced Democrats have a personal need to be publically thrashed in the Democratic Party presidential nomination process. Last time it was Lieberman who needed to be taught that his failed tactics of old have no place in post-modern politics. Next time, it looks like Tom Daschle is begging to be taught the same lesson.

A Dakota Democrat who can't even win his own state? At least we'll have some comic relief in the 2008 presidential primaries.

Posted at 03:22 PM in 2008 Election - President, 2008 President - Democrats | Technorati

LA Mayor Villaraigosa

Posted by Bob Brigham

I haven't written about the L.A. mayoral race, because frankly I have little interest. And judging by the latest fundraising numbers, I'm not alone. But all signs point towards Antonio Villaraigosa easily winning the runoff. That will be made easier with his financial advantage, from the AP

LOS ANGELES - Mayoral candidate Antonio Villaraigosa has reported raising $652,000 over several weeks for the May runoff election, grabbing an early edge against Mayor James Hahn.

Hahn, seeking a second four-year term, trailed his fellow Democrat with about $408,000 in donations over the period, campaign figures from March 9 to April 2 showed. [...]

Along with at least a temporary financial edge, the figures, released Thursday, also give Villaraigosa's campaign a symbolic boost, particularly since Hahn held a fundraising edge in the primary season.

Sounds like momentum.

Posted at 03:05 PM in 2005 Elections, California | Technorati

Friday, April 08, 2005

National Press Circus

Posted by Bob Brigham

Crooks and Liars (of course) has the video. There is a consensus that the White House Hooker received a smackdown.

We're still waiting on the intimate details of Gannon's "relationship" with Scott McClellan.

Americablog's John Aravosis has multiple posts.

Posted at 06:48 PM in General | Technorati

Everyone hates Republicans

Posted by Bob Brigham


When Bush's face appeared on giant screen TVs showing the ceremony, many in the crowds outside St. Peter's Square booed and whistled.

ABC News:

President Bush's standing with the public is slumping just three months into his final term, but Americans have an even lower regard for the job being done by Congress. Bush's job approval is at 44 percent, with 54 percent disapproving. Only 37 percent have a favorable opinion of the work being done by the Republican-controlled Congress, according to an AP-Ipsos poll.

Bush's job approval was at 49 percent in January, while Congress was at 41 percent. [...]

The number supporting Bush's handling of some domestic issues dipped between March and April, to 42 percent for the economy and 38 percent for issues like education and health care, according to the poll conducted for The Associated Press by Ipsos-Public Affairs.

Support for the president's approach to his top domestic priority, Social Security, remained at 36 percent, while 58 percent oppose it.

New York Times:

But Democrats say they intend to use the renewed focus on energy issues to revive their case that Mr. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney, both of whom worked in the oil business, are more interested in helping oil companies than in helping consumers. And several recent polls suggest that the spike in oil prices and the resulting rise in gasoline prices have undermined Mr. Bush's political standing.

"When gas prices go up to the level they're at now, they are in some ways the economic equivalent of the color-coded terrorism alerts," said Geoff Garin, a Democratic pollster. "They work their way through into public opinion very quickly in terms of affecting people's opinions about the direction of the nation and raising the stakes on pocketbook issues generally."

An NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey published Thursday showed a drop in approval of Mr. Bush's handling of the economy to 41 percent from 46 percent two months ago. A USA Today/CNN/Gallup poll released this week found an even sharper drop, to 41 percent from 48 percent five weeks earlier.

The 2006 backlash is materializing.

Posted at 05:51 PM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - House, 2006 Elections - Senate, Nuclear Option, Republicans | Comments (1) | Technorati

Dianne Feinstein's damage worse than Lou Sheldon or Traditional Values Coalition

Posted by Bob Brigham

From the A.P.

Organizers of the gay pride parade held in the city every June announced Thursday that Feinstein was the winner of this year's "Pink Brick" award, a dubious honor bestowed on the public figure the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Pride Committee decides has done the most to damage the gay rights cause. President Bush and talk show host Laura Schlessinger were the previous winners.

Joey Cain, president of the committee said Feinstein was nominated for the prize for telling reporters the morning after Bush's re-election that progress on the gay marriage front "has been too much, too fast, too soon." [...]

Feinstein's competition for the prize, which is the gay community's answer to Hollywood's "Golden Raspberry" awards honoring the worst in film, was the Rev. Lou Sheldon, a vocal opponent of gay rights, and the Traditional Values Coalition, the Orange County-based organization Sheldon leads.

Feinstein was out of line with her comments against San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom. Remember, Newsom has been vindicated for his civil rights stance. Feinstein's DLC-style attack on Newsom was more about him going too far too fast. She's jealous that Newsom has been a better Mayor than she was. While Feinstein faced a recall, Newsom is more popular than chocolate. Feinstein was wrong, Newsom was right, and now Feinstein is getting what she deserves.

Posted at 04:47 PM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - Senate, California | Comments (1) | Technorati

CT-Sen: Joe Lieberman, Vulnerable?

Posted by DavidNYC

First and foremost, this is not a post on the wisdom or merits of challenging Joe Lieberman in the Democratic primary next year. This is, however, a quick look at whether Lieberman may or may not be vulnerable to such a challenge. When Markos posted the results of the most recent Quinnipiac poll over at DailyKos, one thing jumped out at me:

Lieberman job approval among CT Democrats:
Approve: 66
Disapprove: 23
Don't Know: 11

That looks pretty strong, no? A 66-23 approval rating doesn't exactly suggest vulnerability to a primary challenge. But check out these numbers from what I feel is a very closely analogous situation:

Specter job approval among PA Republicans:
Approve: 61
Disapprove: 20
Don't Know: 20

This poll was taken in February of 2003, a little over a year before the PA Senate primary in 2004 - in other words, roughly in the same timeframe as the Lieberman Q-Poll (the CT primary should take place in August of 2006, if I'm not mistaken). Again, those numbers certainly didn't make Arlen Specter look at-risk.

But he was seen as being out-of-step with his party faithful (indeed, like Joe, Arlen's approval among Dems was actually slightly higher than among GOPers). And he was indeed challenged vigorously. You could describe it as a "challenge from the right," but I think it's also valid to say that Pat Toomey represented those who wanted to challenge Specter for his perceived disloyalty to the GOP - in other words, for reasons not dissimilar to those many of us put forth for unseating Joe.

And remember what happened:

PA GOP Senate Primary Results
Specter: 51
Toomey: 49

Phew! That was close! Specter won by just 17,000 votes out of over a million cast - when not long before the election, he had a 3-to-1 approval rating among his own party members. Pretty remarkable that Toomey came so incredibly close to unseating an incumbent senator in a primary - but perhaps not all that surprising.

So what does this say to me? Two things: 1) Polls such as these don't accurately reflect the views of likely primary voters; and 2) a 3-to-1 approval rating does not mean you are invulnerable to a challenge. Joe Lieberman should probably not be sleeping too soundly.

(Cross-posted to DailyKos.)

Posted at 03:23 PM in Connecticut | Comments (1) | Technorati

Action Hero Chickens Out in Berkeley -- Live Blog

Posted by Tim Tagaris

Not a very good week for California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in the Bay Area. First their were the mass protests in San Francisco, his approval rating dropping to a paltry 43%, and today, the action hero known as Governor was a no-show for a speaking engagement with Bayer.

Girlie Man? Yeah.

Ahnold, who is "not beholden to special intersts," has taken tons of money from the pharmaceutical indusrty, vetoed a bill making safe importation of affordable medicine. Today, the California Nurses Association, Machinists Local 1546, Teamsters, and teachers all showed up at the event to protest to support patients, students, workers, and affordable health care.

The only person missing was Arnold. (Liveblog in the extended copy)

I just got off the phone with Bob Brigham who, again, was at the event. He said that the rain was coming down so hard that you could see the animals marching two by two to the ark. He told me that the event was very well organized and attended, especially since no one really knew about it until yesterday.

"The passion is certainly here," Bob said.

I also had a chance to speak with frequent Kos and MyDD contributor, Paul in Berkeley. He said, "We drew a line and said, the Bay Area is not a place where he is welcome. He should stick to doing visits to shopping malls in orange county, because the bay area is an Arnold free zone."

As I was on the phone with Bob and Paul, I could hear all kinds of people driving by and honking their horns in solidarity. The California Nurses Association is to be commneded especially. They were the ones that gave Bob the bottle of water as he breathed in the smoke from smoke bombs at the San Francisco rally; today, they were there with an umbrella for him. They are really taking the fight to the action hero.

The moment that word came that Arnold had cancelled the event, a celebration ensued among the dozens and dozens of protesters in attendance.

If you are in California, take a look at the campaign website of Phil Angelides. I know at least one member of his staff, and I am very impressed by what they are doing. Maybe you can volunteer a few hours if you live out that way?

Posted at 01:17 PM in 2006 Elections - State, 2006 Elections - State, Activism, California | Comments (1) | Technorati

Arnold Schwarzenegger down to 43%

Posted by Bob Brigham


SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is showing himself to be an ordinary mortal after all with a significant policy retreat on Thursday and a new poll showing his approval rating down sharply.

Swept into office in an unprecedented recall election in 2003, the Republican's approval rating fell to 43 percent from 59 percent in January, according to a Survey and Policy Research Institute poll released on Thursday.

I'm heading to the a Schwarzenegger protest right now. The link to the last protest is here, today's is in Berkeley.

More to come...

Posted at 11:03 AM in 2006 Elections - State, Activism, California | Technorati

Democratic Leadership Council Exodus

Posted by Bob Brigham

Last month Kos had to step in to get the DLC to honor the wishes of Senator Barack Obama and remove him from their list:

Twice the DLC has tried to claim credit for Obama, slapping him up on their list of members, and for the second time, they've had to back down. [...]

They may love the guy, but Obama want's nothing to do with the DLC. Remember, Obama raised over $3 million from MoveOn members, the very organization the DLC wants purged from the party's ranks. We know where Obama's loyalties lie, and it's wiith the netroots. He's one of ours.

This little episode also highlights the DLC's interesting tactic of slapping up people on the list without asking for permission to do so, an attempt to take credit for peoples' success.

Kos asked: "Anyone else who seems out of place on the list? Anyone else we can peel off this list?"

I think we can all guess what happened next...

I started looking at the list and a few items jumped right out at me. For instance, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom was still listed as a county supervisor even though Al From claimed credit for his 2003 election. I noticed that Tim Ryan was listed as a state senator even though he is in his second term in congress. DavidNYC took some screen shots (HERE pdf), I expected to come back in a month or so to see the list cleaned up.

What I found was an exodus. Dozens of names have been scrubbed from the list.

Sure some politicians were term limited and many lost their seats (after taking DLC advice?). But many up and coming politicians have decided they want nothing to do with the DLC strategy of attacking Democrats through triangulation.

Congressman Ryan's name disappeared. California gubernatorial candidate Phil Angelides is no longer on the list. Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano has no need for the DLC. Hell, even Ken Salazar would rather stand with Obama than the DLC.

In fact, the DLC is no longer taking credit for:

Phil Angelides, State Treasurer, CA
Janice Bacon, Morgan County Commissioner, IN
Marshall Bennett, State Treasurer, MS
John Y. Brown, Secretary of State, KY
Chris Burris, Mayor, Stone Mountain, GA
Jo Carson, State Representative, AR
Nancy Chard, State Senator, VT
Ken Clark, State Representative, AZ
Patrick Colwell, State House Majority Leader, ME
Kathleen Connell, State Controller, CA
Lou Correa, State Assembly Member, CA
Dolores Coulter, Mayor, Barnegat Township, NJ
Chris Cummiskey, State Senate Assistant Leader, AZ
Preston Daniels, Mayor, Des Moines, IA
Nadia Davis, School Board Vice President, Santa Ana, CA
Peter Derby, Trustee, Irvington, NY
Jim D. Garner, State Representative, KS
Jeff Gombosky, State Representative, WA
Michael J. Hare, Council Member, Wilmington, DE
Leigh Herington, State Democratic Leader, OH
Bob Holden, Governor, MO
Robert Jackson, State Senator, KY
Steve B. Jones, State Representative, AR
Vera Katz, Mayor, Portland OR
Joseph E. Kernan, Governor, IN
Peter Larkin, State Representative, MA
David Lemoine, State Representative, ME
Gary Locke, Governor, WA
Charles Love, School Board Chairman, Hamilton Co., TN
Frana Araujo Mace, State Representative, CO
Scott C. Maddox, Mayor, Tallahassee, FL
Carl Miller, State Representative, CO
Mike Moore, Attorney General, MS
Ronnie Musgrove, Governor, MS
George Nakano, State Assembly Member, CA
Janet Napolitano, Governor, AZ
Alice Nichol, State Senator, CO
John O. Norquist, Mayor, Milwaukee, WI
Barack Obama, U.S. Senator, IL
Norman Oliver, City Councilman, Wilmington, DE
Ed Perimutter, State Senator, CO
Anthony Petrucci, County Commissioner, Dauphin Co., PA
Terry Phillips, State Senator, CO
Margaret Planton, Mayor, Chillicothe, OH
Ray Powell, Commissioner of Public Lands, NM
Eric Miller Reeves, State Senator, NC
Peggy Reeves, State Senator, CO
Elaine Richardson, State Senator, AZ
John Riggs IV, State Senator, AR
Joe Riley, Mayor, Charlston, SC
Stacy J. Ritter, State Representative, FL
Carroll G. Robinson, City Councilman, Houston, TX
Laura Ruderman, State Representative, WA
John Ryan, Council Member, Barnegat Township, NJ
Timothy J. Ryan, State Senator, OH
Ken Salazar, U.S. Senator, CO
M. Susan Savage, Mayor, Tulsa, OK
Dan Schooff, State Assembly Member, WI
Derrick Seaver, State Representative, OH
Tyrone Smith, Water Basin Municipal Water District Board Member, Carson CA
Gregory R. Stevens, State Representative, IA
Christopher Travis Swanson, Kern County School Board Member, Tehachapi, CA
Daryl Sweeney, Mayor, Carson, CA
Tracy Vance, Vice Chairman, Lee Co., IA
Val D. Vincent, State Representative, VT
Patrick D. Welch, State Senator, IL
J.D. Williams, State Controller, ID
Cathy Woolard, Council President, Atlanta, GA

Posted at 12:07 AM in Democrats | Comments (1) | Technorati

Thursday, April 07, 2005

MT Senate Minority Leader Bob Keenan is a pansie

Posted by Bob Brigham

Via Left in the West we have George Ochenski's lastest must-read:

Everyone has come home from the store with some purchase or another only to discover the label won’t come off. First it tears away in strips, then you’re reduced to scraping at it with a razor blade until finally only a sticky residue remains, tenaciously defying all attempts to remove it. The same thing happens in politics—and sometimes those sticky political labels spell long-term trouble. [...]

Comes now the 2005 Legislature, with its own sticky labels. Gov. Brian Schweitzer has done a commendable piece of work in scraping off some of the Demo’s “tax and spend” label with his opposition to new taxes and commitment to holding the line on spending. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for his hapless opponents who, through a failed strategy of their own devising, have now stuck themselves with a sticky label that reads “Whining Republicans.”

Take, for example, Senate Minority Leader Bob Keenan, who has been a constant Schweitzer critic. Perhaps rightfully shocked at his first legislative experience in the minority party, Keenan has gone over the edge of credibility in his role as Chief Whiner. Unfortunately, he pulled his party over that edge with him. Now, people on the streets regularly talk about “whining Republicans”—to say nothing of the flood of letters to the editor in papers across the state echoing and condemning exactly that image. [...]

The real trouble, however, may come in the future. Sticky labels, by definition, are tough to remove. Keenan and some of his Repub pals, whether by design or accident, have concocted a very negative label for their party that doesn’t appear to be fading with time. Should that label stick until the next election—and it’s hard to see why it wouldn’t—the results may last far beyond the end of the 2005 legislative session.

The 2006 election in Montana will see both competitive races for congress and the senate. I've met Bob Keenan and he's a wimp. When Democrats win at least one of the GOP federal seats, I'll send Keenan some flowers and thank him for all of his whining. I'll probably send pansies.

Posted at 10:04 PM in Montana | Comments (2) | Technorati

Tom DeLay and Brian Darling

Posted by Bob Brigham

Last night, MyDD's Jerome Armstrong exposed the link between former consigliere to Senator Mel Martinez, Brian Darling and Republican Majority Leader Tom Delay.

Now the Campaign for America's Future is demanding an explanation:



Majority Leader Connected to GOP Schiavo Strategy Memo Author

WASHINGTON – The Campaign for America’s Future today challenged House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas, to explain his relationship to corporate lobbyist Brian H. Darling. Darling is the author of the Republican strategy memo that said the personal tragedy of Terri Schiavo presents a “great political issue” for Republicans.

Rep. DeLay last month told the conservative Family Research Council that "God brought to us" the Terri Schiavo tragedy and linked it to a strategy to defend the conservative movement.

Darling worked for the Alexander Strategy Group, a Washington-based corporate lobbying firm heavily connected to Rep. DeLay. Darling’s clients included Universal Bearing, Inc., a company owned by the Hanwha Group, which has direct ties to the foreign agent that paid for Rep. DeLay's improper trip to Korea. The Korea-U.S. Exchange Council was created to promote Hanwha Group Chairman Seung Youn Kim, according to the New York Times.

The Alexander Strategy Group was formed by Rep. DeLay’s former Chief of Staff Ed Buckham, who also introduced Rep. DeLay to corporate lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Former DeLay aide Jim Ellis, who was indicted for money laundering, was a consultant to ASG. Former DeLay staffer Tony Rudy, former DeLay PAC director Karl Gallant, and Rep. DeLay’s spouse, Christine DeLay, all worked for ASG.

The Campaign for America’s Future last week launched a television and newspaper ad campaign to hold Rep. DeLay accountable, highlighting the controversy surrounding the House Majority Leader who is increasingly seen as a liability to his party.

The DeLay corruption appears to have infested the entire Republican Party. Every day we learn more and every day more Republicans are joining Senator Rick Santorum in being publically linked to DeLay. And things are just warming up...

Posted at 05:42 PM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - House, 2006 Elections - Senate, Florida, Texas | Technorati

Schwarzenegger loses pension privatization battle

Posted by Bob Brigham

Hours after the news broke of the new Schwarzenegger poll, the Governor has admitted defeat and given up his plan to privatize pensions. From The AP:

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Under pressure from firefighters and police officers, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Thursday backed off, for now, his plan to privatize California's public employee pension system.

The Republican said "misconceptions" among firefighters and police officers that privatization would strip them of death and disability benefits had come to dominate the issue.

Over the past few weeks, Schwarzenegger has waged a campaign to put privatization on the ballot during a special election next fall. But on Thursday, he said he would wait until the June 2006 election if lawmakers did not craft a compromise measure in the coming months.

This is a major defeat for the embattled Governor. Having this on the spring ballot prevents Schwarzenegger's re-election campaign from coordinating with the initiative money. Schwarzenegger has already dropped 10 pts. this year and now that it is clear he can be beaten everyone will pile on. This week has been a major turning point in California's 2006 gubernatorial campaign. Schwarzenegger is unpopular, on the run, and things are only going to get worse. It is so bad the Governator can't even visit San Francisco without huge protests.

The Democrats are now favored in the 2006 race for governor.

Posted at 04:56 PM in 2006 Elections - State, California | Comments (1) | Technorati

Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) declares war on Democrats

Posted by Bob Brigham

A.P. Short says the DLC wants war with Democrats:

Over the weekend, a key Democratic leadership coalition escalated hostilities along an already volatile front in one of Washington's bitterest ideological disputes. It was a savage and overwhelming broadside - talking heads fanned out across the entire spectrum of the broadcast media, and establishment bloggers fired up their iMacs to take their case to the global network with coordination, zeal, and ruthlessness. [...]

The DLC wants to fight a war with the activists and the progressives for the soul of the party. They believe that if if this fight is fought on their terms, using the empty language whose use they have perfected over the course of so many soulless and lackluster campaigns, they can win easily. [...]

So as the Democratic right wing takes to the airwaves to declare war on us, the soul of this party, let them hear the cry of this lowly "activist," proud to have stood up against a foolhardy, counterproductive response to a national tragedy, proud to have vehemently opposed the return to aggressive war in the nuclear age in Iraq, and proud, even still after everything, proud to be a Democrat.

For the life of me, I can't understand why the DLC attempts to triangulate by bashing Democrats. That isn't quite true, I understand that is what they are paid to do. What I can't understand is why Democrats let the Democratic Leadership Council get away with it.

Campaign finance reform has rendered the DLC obsolete, they no longer own the Democratic Party and these desperate cries for relevance are the last gasps from the political deathbed of the corporate bagmen.

Posted at 04:36 PM in Activism | Technorati

TX-22: Tom DeLay vulnerable; Democrats gearing up

Posted by Bob Brigham

Republican Congressman Tom DeLay (R-TX) has been getting plenty of ink on the likelyhood of Majority Leader losing his seat in congress.

Now the Associated Press is bringing the story to every small-town paper in the country:

HOUSTON - Democrats, who often ignored Rep. Tom DeLay's Republican-leaning district, see a political opening in 2006 now that the House Majority leader faces ethics questions and dismay over his intervention in the Terri Schiavo case.

The AP story mentions the latest polling (see more here):

This week, a Houston Chronicle poll in the district found that 49 percent said they would vote for someone else. That number has sparked the most interest in a Democratic primary in the district in years.

"Now that DeLay is being pushed ever closer to the political brink, everyone is realizing that any of these challengers on his worst day might be better than DeLay on his best day," said longtime Democratic strategist Kelly Fero.

The AP also lists possible contenders:

Among the potential Democratic challengers:

_Richard Morrison, a lawyer from Sugar Land, Texas, captured 41 percent of the vote with only $630,000 against DeLay's $2.9 million in last November's election. Morrison is favored by local Democratic activists who believe he deserves their loyalty for his strong showing.

_Houston City Councilman Gordon Quan, a Chinese-American immigration lawyer, could capitalize on the district's growing Asian and South Asian population.

_Former Rep. Nick Lampson, whose district was redrawn to favor the GOP and covered areas that DeLay now represents, including the NASA area and Galveston. Lampson said he has been approached by several people but hasn't decided whether to run.

A nascent effort to draft former Rep. Chris Bell (news, bio, voting record) fizzled when Bell responded to e-mailers that he preferred to focus on his gubernatorial ambitions.

The good news for Democrats is that it is looking like we'll have a contested primary. That would allow more exposure early and help Democrats in the nationalization of running against Tom DeLay. The story of local campaigning will speed the increase in DeLay's name recognition nationwide and give Democratic challengers across the country the perfect villan.

I was delighted when I read the following:

Morrison, who initially offered to step aside out of party loyalty if Quan wanted to run, said he has changed his mind.

"I'm not going to be scared to spill Democratic blood," Morrison said. "I'm a victim of my own success. Last time, the wisdom was, don't do it, he (DeLay) will stomp you into the ground. ... And now it's a race."


Posted at 03:32 PM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - House, Activism, Texas | Technorati

Schwarzenegger's double-digit crash in polls

Posted by Bob Brigham

From the LA Times:

He's too interested in PR gimmicks, many voters think, and should be putting more effort into dealing with legislators.

Fewer than half of Californians now approve of the way the governor is handling his job, a sharp decline since January.

Moreover, people think California has gotten off on the wrong track.

These are the findings of a statewide poll to be released today by the Survey and Policy Research Institute at San Jose State.

California's 2006 gubernatorial race is moving and reading through these numbers I'm sensing more of an ongoing trend than a brief shift.

Voters were read these statements, with the order rotated from call to call, and asked to agree or disagree:

• "He's doing a good job of working with legislators and getting things done." Agree 43%, disagree 43%.

• "He's right to bypass lawmakers and focus on his ballot initiatives." Agree 38%, disagree 47%.

• "He's too interested in gimmicks, public relations and image." Agree 49%, disagree 41%.

• "He should be putting more effort into working with legislators so he'd get more done." Agree 62%, disagree 25%. Even Republicans agree, 49% to 34%.

And it isn't just the usual suspects who have turned, but independents are moving as well:

The voter groups most sour on Schwarzenegger are Democrats and women, L.A. and Bay Area residents, blacks, Latinos and Asians. No surprises there. But it's significant that independents tilt slightly against him. Republicans remain his biggest boosters.

The governor's job performance is approved by 49% of voters, disapproved by 38%. His rating is worse among all adults: 43% approval, 43% disapproval — a steep slide since it was 59%-26% in January. Polls last year had shown Schwarzenegger with stratospheric job ratings in the high 60s.

People also were asked a standard question about whether they think "things in California are going in the right direction or are they seriously off on the wrong track." Only 39% answered right direction; 49% said wrong track. In January, it was almost reversed: 52% right track, 35% wrong direction.

Taken together, it is hard to imagine how the Governor could have done worse in the early months of 2005.

While his celebrity got him into office and his gimmicky events and ballot initiatives raised his approval, it is now clear that voters see through his tricks. With no foundation to fall back upon, it appears the Governator is heading for termination.

Posted at 01:13 PM in 2006 Elections - State, California | Technorati

Save Phil A. Buster

Posted by Bob Brigham


Hi! I'm Phil A. Buster, welcome to my website. Thanks for coming!

The Republican leadership in the Senate is threatening to destroy me and hurt my friends, Checks and Balanz. Our founding fathers created this system of checks and balances over 200 years ago. And now Republican leaders in the Senate want to take that away from all of us.

I'm the only check that prevents a party that controls the presidency and the houses of Congress from abusing that power. We can't allow Senate Republicans to rewrite our country's history just to serve their own partisan political agenda.

Posted at 01:05 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Nuclear Option | Technorati

Virginia: Tim Kaine campaign rejects reason; rejected by voters

Posted by Bob Brigham

Tim Kaine is on track to get spanked in Virginia's gubernatorial campaign. The latest numbers I'v seen show Republican Jerry Kilgore up by 10 and the blundering Kaine campaign is only making things worse.

Luckily, it is not too late for Kaine to turn things around, but the campaign shake-up and message re-write need to happen now. Kaine is getting advice so bad it would be called political malpractice, but by definition it isn't based in reality, it isn't based in reason.

The Kaine campaign has lost touch with reality and it is playing out in the papers. It would be one thing to lose the Governor's seat in Virginia, but Kaine seems hell-bent on taking down the Democratic Party in the process.

This isn't the first time I've written on the self-destructing Kaine campaign. And unless Kaine gets smart and fires his faith-based campaign staff, it won't be the last.

You see, there is a science to political campaigns. Tactics can be quantified and evaluated. Cognitive scientists who study the issue can demonstrate that Kaine's strategy backfires and will hurt the campaign with both swing voters and the base.

Yet Tim Kaine has rejected science and instead chose to embrace a faith-based campaign strategy. When the right does this, it makes strategic sense as cognitive scientists have proven. When the left does it the candidate is going to lose.

The great thing about a reality based understanding of campaigns is that by learning the results for different actions, you can avoid poor decision making. Even though he is 10 pts down, the Kaine for Governor campaign seems to think such an advantage is unnecessary.

The worst part is the way the Kaine campaign seeks to impose their disproven zealotry on the rest of the Democratic Party.

From today's Washington Post:

In February, Kaine took his message to the Democratic Party's annual Jefferson-Jackson Dinner.

"Sometimes our candidates have trashed the religious right, when what we meant to trash is a bad idea," he said, prompting more than a few hard-core Democrats to squirm in their seats. "We should never, never label people who are from the religious right."

It is one thing for Kaine to make an ass of himself and lose his gubernatorial campaign. It is another when he says the word "never" twice in reference to Democrats living in a reality based world.

Posted at 12:30 PM in 2006 Elections - State, Virginia | Technorati

Brian Darling is only the fall guy

Posted by Bob Brigham

Yes, Republican's wrote the Schiavo memo. Yes, the write wing bloggers (Powerline) have egg dripping off their long noses. Or was that egg on their keyboards. Yes, liberals won. Yes, the wingers wanted to make a big deal out of the memo and we should oblige.

But the one thing that is missing from the conversation is the fact that Senator Mel Martinez has a history of forcing staffers to take the fall for his decisions.

In fact, when Mel Martinez won, his blaming of staff was a major concern for the editorial board of the St. Petersburg Times (Nov. 4, 2004):

When challenged, Martinez was too eager to assign blame to his staff or to groups he said he couldn't control. As a senator, he will need an office and a staff that speaks with the measured and centrist tone he says will be his own. He can't pretend to be above it all if the people he employs are not.

In Florida it is even a running joke:

From Jim Defede, Miami Herald October 3, 2004 (B1):

In the hotly contested race for U.S. Senate, candidate Mel Martinez has stayed on the offensive, first against fellow Republican Bill McCollum and now against Democratic nominee Betty Castor. Since we expect more of the same in the final weeks leading to the Nov. 2 showdown, the following is how I imagine next week's strategy session will go between Martinez and his campaign staff.

Martinez:Good afternoon everyone. Where are we?

Staffer No. 1:Well, the polls are still very close. It's a dead heat between you and Betty Castor.

Martinez:OK, any ideas?

Staffer No. 2:We could try debating her on the issues.

Martinez: Issues! Are you crazy? No, what we need to do is slime her just like we did Bill McCollum in the primary.

Staffer No. 1:Are you sure you want to go negative, sir?

Martinez: Oh, I'm not going to go negative. You guys are. This week, Danny and Tom will issue statements suggesting the reason Castor supports stem cell research is because she has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's and that she is mentally incompetent to be a senator.

Staffer No. 2:Is that true, sir? Does she have Alzheimer's?

Martinez:Of course not. But once you guys say it, some nitwit's going to believe it. And if the media goes nuts and blasts us for being insensitive, I'll step in, act disgusted by your assertions and repudiate you as a couple of ''young turks.'' But even after I distance myself from your remarks, some people will still believe Castor is sick. This is going to be great.

Staffer No. 1:I'm sorry, sir. There is only one problem. You can't call Danny and Tom ''young turks'' because you already called Pete and Bobby ''young turks'' after you had them accuse McCollum of being in bed with the ''radical homosexual lobby.''

Martinez:Darn it! [Pause in conversation. Martinez can be heard talking to himself.] Think, Mel, think. I got it! We'll call them overzealous.

Staffer No. 1:Nope. We used that one for the guys at the ad agency that produced the commercial labeling McCollum ''antifamily.''

Martinez: OK, how about rogue staffers? You guys wouldn't mind being rogue staffers would you?

Staffer No. 1:No, sorry sir, you called Carlos and Hector rogue staffers after they issued that news release you wrote for the Spanish-language radio stations calling the federal agents who seized Elián González ''armed thugs.''

Martinez: Well-intentioned but misguided?

Staffer No. 2:That's what you said about Sandy and Diane after they said Castor was an accomplished thespian in college.

Martinez:Renegade? I don't remember condemning anyone on my staff for being a renegade.

Staffer No. 1:Well, we were saving renegade for the commercials suggesting Castor may have been a founding member of al Qaeda.

Martinez:[Sounding annoyed.] Look people, I can't do this on my own. I need your help. I realize none of you like being repudiated. Do you think I like repudiating you? I don't. But I made it very clear from the beginning that this campaign was going to be based on one simple theme: plausible deniability. I can't get elected if people are going to hold me accountable for the mean and nasty things we're doing. My only hope is to blame each and every one of you.

Staffer No. 2:You're right, sir. And, I think I speak for everyone in this room when I say we are all honored to be the kindling in the bonfire of your vanity.

Martinez:OK, I have no idea what you just said. Sounds like homosexualist talk to me, but nevertheless if it was an apology, I accept it. Now let's get back to the hard work of this campaign. Remember, the mud isn't going to sling itself people. In the meantime, get me a thesaurus because for the next 30 days I'm going to repudiate each and every one of you like my life depended on it.

Martinez was given this warning before he was even sworn in as a Senator. He's in the big leagues now and he was given proper public notice that his old tricks would no longer be tolerated. Brian Darling isn't the one should be taking the fall.

Posted at 02:46 AM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - House, 2006 Elections - Senate, Florida, General | Technorati

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

2005 Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Cartooning

Posted by Bob Brigham

Nick Anderson won the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Cartooning.

The Washington Post Writers Group put together a special webpage to celebrate the honor. If you care enough about politics to be reading Swing State Project, I suggest you take a moment to enjoy the compilation page the Post put together. And remember, if you don't salute, you're not a patriot.

Posted at 11:16 PM in General | Technorati

My Night is Shot -- Yours Might Be Too

Posted by Tim Tagaris

Just released three hours ago is an eighty page study by The Pew Research Center for People and the Press.

The Title: "The Dean Activists: Their Profile and Prospects"

You can find the full report in .pdf form HERE.

The overview, in HTML can be found HERE.


Who are the internet activists, the people widely known as "Deaniacs" who joined the Dean campaign as it slowly grew from asterisk status in early 2003 polls to the frontrunner position at the beginning of 2004? A new Pew survey provides the first detailed look at the cyber-soldiers of this pioneering campaign. An internet survey with a random sample of 11,568 activists drawn from the online database of those who had contributed money or otherwise worked on behalf of Gov. Dean provides insight into who they are, why they joined, how they reacted to Dean's loss and President Bush's reelection, and what they think about the future of the Democratic Party.

Good chance I will be posting on the full report tomorrow or the day after for anyone who wants to discuss, or just doesn't have enough time to read the whole piece. I just wish I was confident my printer could handle 80 pages right now.

Posted at 07:15 PM in Netroots | Technorati

TX-22: Drop the Hammer

Posted by Bob Brigham

Republican Majority Leader Tom DeLay is one day closer to a perp walk. Today, both the New York Times and Washington Post broke new ground in the Republican corruption scandal.

And now there is a new website:


The website is targeting the corporation funding the corruption Majority Leader:

Tell Corporate America to Drop the Hammer House Majority Leader Tom DeLay is widely regarded as the most powerful member of Congress. DeLay's abuse of this power has encircled him in a web of scandal. He has already been admonished three times by the bipartisan House Ethics Committee and a political action committee he set up in Texas is currently the subject of a grand jury investigation.

A network of large corporate backers have come, cash-in-hand, to DeLay's defense. American Airlines, Bacardi USA, Nissan USA, RJ Reynolds, and Verizon have all contributed thousands to Tom DeLay's Legal Defense Fund.

Send a message to these corporations and tell them to stop enabling Tom DeLay's unethical behavior. Let these corporations know that unless they stop supporting Tom DeLay, you'll stop supporting them.

The website has an easy-to-use form to send the following letter:

Dear [Company]:

I am writing concerning [Company's] contribution of $[XXXX] to Tom DeLay's Legal Expense Trust.

The bi-paritsan House Ethics Committee has rebuked Tom DeLay three times. DeLay's Texans for a Republican Majority political action committee is the subject of a grand jury investigation for money laundering and illegal campaign contributions. Three of DeLay's closest associates have already been indicted.

Everyday the accounts of Tom DeLay's corruption get worse and worse. Prominent conservative voices, such as the Wall Street Journal editorial page, are saying that Tom DeLay has gone too far.

As a consumer, it's unacceptable to me for your company to support Tom DeLay's unethical behavior. It is time to restore ethics in Washington. It is time to demand more of our politicians.

You can restore my confidence in your company by:

(1) providing an explanation of why your company contributed to Tom DeLay's Legal Expense Trust;

(2) pledging that you won't donate any more money to Tom DeLay's Legal Expense Trust; and

(3) formally requesting that Tom DeLay's Legal Expense Trust return the money you have already contributed

I look forward to a response from you on this important matter.

Thank you.

I used their form to voice my displeasure. You should too.

Posted at 03:20 PM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - House, Activism, Texas | Comments (1) | Technorati

2006 Minnesota Senate: Amy Klobuchar

Posted by Bob Brigham

From a press release:

Amy Klobuchar, who has yet to formally announce her candidacy for U.S. Senate, has raised $580,000 in the month and a half since Sen. Mark Dayton announced he would not seek re-election, her campaign committee reported today.

"I'm very pleased and humbled by both the financial and volunteer support that our campaign has received over the past few weeks," Amy Klobuchar said. "This support will allow me to stand up for the people of Minnesota and champion ideas that will make a difference in their lives."

A substantial number of Klobuchar's contributions were received through her website, amyklobuchar.com, and many of them were raised personally by Klobuchar who called people from her kitchen table.

Posted at 01:53 PM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - Senate, Minnesota | Technorati

2006 Senate Primary: Lieberman is in trouble

Posted by Bob Brigham

Via Kos...

Quinnipiac Univ. 3/29-4/4. MoE 2.5% (No trend lines.)

Lieberman approval ratings
            All    GOP    Dem
Approve      67     72     66
Disapprove   22     18     23

Lieberman deserves reelection?
            All    GOP    Dem
Yes          66     73     65
No           25     22     25

Senator Lieberman is more popular with Republicans and more loathed by Democrats?

Posted at 01:30 PM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - Senate, Activism, Connecticut | Comments (2) | Technorati

California needs a real Governor

Posted by Bob Brigham

Read the protest live-blog HERE.

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is no longer the hero, he is the villan. Tonight every news station from Santa Rosa to Santa Cruz had a truck to document the fact that teachers, nurses, and firefighters know Schwarzenegger is screwing up California. Tomorrow, every paper will have coverage of how the people who make California great have joined together to explain how Schwarzenegger is hurting the people of California.

Every day from now until November 7, 2006, Schwarzenegger will be held accountable. He is beatable. And he will face a wrath unlike anything Gray Davis faced.

Check out the Democrats, Phil Angelides and Bill Lockyer because one of them is going to beat Schwarzenegger.

Posted at 12:39 AM in 2006 Elections - State, Activism, California | Technorati

Schwarzenegger backlash, critical mass achieved

Posted by Bob Brigham

Tonight was a turning point in California politics. The gubernatorial race is more than competitive, I'd now call it leaning Democratic.

Tonight, the people who actually run California, the teachers, the nurses, the firefighters, the citizens joined together with a united message that the Governator is hurting the people.

Living in San Francisco, one sees a great deal of protests. But the crowd tonight was not the people I marched with all night when Bush started the war. Tonight's crowd wasn't radicals, but radicalized opinion leaders. Imagine your second grade teacher, face strained while shouting, "Shame" and you'll know tonight's story.

...more to come.

Read the protest live-blog.

Posted at 12:21 AM in 2006 Elections - State, Activism, California | Technorati

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

CA Gov. 2006: "The Tipping Point" (LIVEblog Part 1)

Posted by Tim Tagaris

This is one thing I love about California, and San Francisco in particular, they don't play around. Bob Brigham is on-the-ground right now, phoning in updates from a large scale protest against California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. The event: Arnold's $1,000 to $100,000 a plate fundraiser. Bob referenced it in a post earlier today, here are the updates. It looks like Govenator's re-election will not be as smooth as many anticipate:

Bob says that there are easily 3000 people there right now, and they are all over the place. He counted at least 10 telvision news trucks, 30 photographers, and 2 helicopters constantly circling overhead. He said he couldn't tell what the plane flying above had on it's banner, because it was directly overhead (that made me laugh). He told me that this is nothing short of a rock concert atmosphere.

Bob just called me back to let me know that there is a group forming to the side that is going to attempt to block the Governor from even entering the event. Firefighters are all over the place with signs that read, "Not my neighborhood firehouse," and are holding professional looking signs with burning buildings demanding that local firehouses be kept open. Other signs read: "Money for schools not corporate interests"

Bob's quote to me was: "It looks like the tipping point. There is blood in the water. The race is going to be extremely competitive."

The two Democrats vying to compete for the Governor's mansion in California are State Treasuruer Phil Angelides -- (campaign website) and Attorney General Bill Lockyer.

He also mentioned that Assemblyman Mark Leno was rushing down from Calfifornia to speak at the event.

More on everything (updates) in the extended entry--cause Bob keeps calling.

UPDATE: Bob just called back and put his phone in the air to let me hear the chant, "RECALL ARNOLD."

He says that every single off-duty emergency personnel is there to protest George Bush and Arnold. The police are now breaking out more barricades. Bob claims that there are more off-duty police officers on the people's side of the barricades than Arnolds.

"They are taking over the street now. The street is shut down. There are about 50 people on the middle of the street, they just took it over." "There are smoke-bombs going off." He is laughing/coughing. "I am right in the middle of all of this, this is amazing."

There are green smoke bombs going off--green and gray smoke going off all throughout the crowd.

"We have the street" -- "We have taken the street." "The cops have no interest in restoring control. The police are laughing." Bob has no idea how Arnold will even get inside his fundraiser.

The limos that were approaching the hotel, the motorcade, has been surrounded by protestors. Traffic is shut-down. The situation is completely out of control. The dirt-bike cops are leaving. It is all shut down he says.

More later...


The police just tried just arrest somebody, and the crowd started chanting "shame on you," -- the cops let him go. And now that same guy is leading the march to re-take the street, and Bob is right next to him wearing his BlogPAC hat.

They had the guy cuffed, uncuffed him, and now he is leading the charge the re-take the street.

Bob just put him on the phone for me to interview him. His quotes:

"If I felt any better I would be the cupcake, like the sprinkles. Its about taking back the power."

He just told me that when the cops cuffed him, he told them he was out fighting for their rights as well. Then they patted him on the back, uncuffed him, and said, "let's get this thing going," and sent him on his way.

He said he is not worried about getting arrrested -- not for this cause this cause. He would pay a fine go home, feeling good, and he would hang that citation on the wall.

Five reporters were waiting to interview him while he was on the phone with me.

COPS ARE GETTING OUT OF CONTROL. IT IS GETTING VIOLENT, Bob says. They are shoving people all over the place.

More soon...

Backup called for: The California Highway Patrol is there.

The banner on that airplane I referenced above was paid for by Calif. Nurses Association and it said, "Arnold, Calfornia is not for sale."

Arnold is going to enter the building on the opposite side of the building that the protesters shut down the street. The police are now marching down the street in lock-step.

The violence has worn down. Bob said that the cops ruthlessly arrested one guy and hauled him into the hotel. The crowd is swelling, Bob puts the number at 10,000 for crowd size. More and more people keep on coming.

Again, the police do not have on full riot gear, just helmets so far with the huge nightsticks. But the violence has calmed. But, Bob can only comment on one of the sides of the building, but there are people on all sides.


The motorcade is now forming to come down Nob Hill. Sixty motorcycles (police) are escorting Arnold's motorcade down the street.


"Arnold's San Francisco priveleges have been revoked; he can never come back again." - Bob Brigham

He also wanted me to let you know that there is a protest going on at the GAP right now that one of his friends is organizing (Cory Black is leading the boycott). People are protesting the chain because of the owner's contribution (Don Fisher) to Arnold's re-election campaign.

Four streets are now blocked. And the crowd continues to grow. No word on the motorcade, as it is coming down the street on the opposite side of the building.

Bob Brigham just talked to rising star Mark Leno and he asked Californians to sign a petition to stop Arnold at:

Petition at California for Democracy.

"Using the Internet there is going to be a grassroot uprising in California." -- Assemblyman Mark Leno


"It is amazing how many nurses are here in their scrubs. They just gave me a bottle of water to quench my thirst after the smoke from the smoke bombs." -- Bob Brigham

Street Closings:

California Street
Pine Street
Grant Street (Chinatown)
Stockton Street


"The sun has set. The streetlights are on. The crowd has laid siege to the building, controlling all entrances, and all streets. The streets belong to the people." -- Bob Brigham

The crowd is chanting that Arnold is chicken. The crowd is now chatning "na na nana hey hey hey good bye" (I can hear that). The professionalism of the organizing is "pure west coast."

The nurses have a staging area at St. Mary's park -- a half block away. The firefighters provided the flatbead truck that serves as a stage with sound equipment to amplify music and speeches.

More signs:

Stop the budget cuts -- save social security
Public Health - Not Corporate Wealth
Don't Target Our Children (held by an 8 year old over her head)
Hands off workers pension
Workers are not a special interest


People were pounding on the Governor's car, while it was speeding out of the garage. Bob said the car peeled out, and you can literally smell the burnt rubber from where he is standing. He fled with his tail between his legs.

The motorcade is following the Governor's car down the street. It's over.

The people won.



Code Pink, a group founded by women to protest the war in Iraq, also showed up -- and not the same way as the other protesters.

Instead, they rented a $325-a-night room in the hotel, donned pink wigs and hung an anti-Schwarzenegger banner out a window before hotel security intervened. [...]

The protest organizers weren't content to limit their efforts to the hotel on Tuesday. The California Nurses Association drove a mobile anti-Schwarzenegger billboard to opening day at SBC Park and had an airplane flying over the city with a banner saying: "Arnold: California is not for sale."

"We're going to have a blast,'' said Rose Ann DeMoro, executive director of the nurses group. "We've been protesting at 38 of the governor's fund-raisers since November, and we expect this to be the most significant."

Earlier on Tuesday, protesters also took their complaints to the governor's biggest financial backers. Demonstrators showed up outside the Gap store on Post Street in midafternoon to protest the $225,000 that company founder Don Fisher and his family have given to Schwarzenegger and his committees.

Posted at 08:32 PM in 2006 Elections - State, Activism, California, California, Netroots | Comments (5) | Technorati

Primary campaign against Lieberman heats up

Posted by Bob Brigham

NOTE: Swing State Project is closely following the 2006 Senate Primary in Connecticut. You can read more about the strategy and check out the maps.

Manchester Journal-Inquirer:

In an extraordinary encounter last week with members of the Democratic State Central Committee, the senator was forced to defend his hawkish record by Myrna Watanabe, Harwinton's town chairwoman.

Watanabe, a professional science writer who took notes on the exchange, told Lieberman that while she appreciated his "very good" voting record, she wanted to know how she could present him for re-election in her town when "our people are pretty pacifistic" and were opposed the war in Iraq "from the beginning," when "our people don't support Rice," and when "they are most unhappy with Gonzales."

She said Lieberman responded that he does what he believes is right, that he didn't want the war to be used as a litmus test, and finally that he didn't have to come to Harwinton. [...]

Watanabe said she was unsatisfied when Lieberman concluded that they had had a "difference of opinion." She subsequently wrote him saying it was more like a "gaping chasm between you and the state party's rank-and-file."

"Your 70 percent approval rating will do you no good in getting the party's nomination if our Democratic town committees refuse to support you," she warned.

Lieberman's voting record:

In the last three months, Lieberman has sided with the president's stated position on five votes and disagreed on just one, according to VoteTracker, a nonpartisan subscription service that follows every vote cast in both houses of Congress. [...]

The president doesn't take a position on every bill before the Senate, but the Republican majority certainly does. So far in the 109th Congress, Lieberman has agreed with the opposition on 17 votes and disagreed on 63.

His stands with the Republicans included his vote against California Sen. Barbara Boxer's objection to certifying the results of the 2004 presidential election, which failed 74-1, as well as his vote to invoke cloture in the debate over the bankruptcy bill, which passed 69-31.

Lieberman's votes with the Republican majority included his votes on the Rice, Gonzales, and Chertoff nominations, the class action bill, and the genetic information bill.

But it is his words that embarrass Democrats:

Lieberman's toughest critics, however, say he has become not so much embarrassed as traitorous at a critical time when Republicans -- and very partisan Republicans at that -- control both the White House and the Congress.

Many point to the much-publicized kiss Bush planted on Lieberman's cheek on the night of his state of the union address in January as the most poignant symbol of the senator's fealty to the president.

John M. Orman, a Fairfield University political science professor who recently announced his intention to mount a Democratic primary campaign, says he's also disgusted with Lieberman's support of Bush's claim that Social Security is in "crisis" and with the senator's support for the invasion of Iraq.

Citing a statewide poll from last year that showed slightly more Republicans supported Lieberman than Democrats, Orman branded him a "Republicrat" who might as well switch parties.

"He calls it being a New Democrat or a DLC Democrat," the professor said, referring to the centrist Democratic Leadership Council, which Lieberman helped to create.

"But in a Democratic primary, that's what the Democrats' rank-and-file will have to decide. Are we a party of accommodation or of opposition? I believe we must be a party of opposition."

"Lieberman, for example, was just on national television with Chris Shays," Orman added, referring to the Republican congressman from Connecticut's 5th District. "Shays was arguing that the Congress had gone too far in the Schiavo case, and Joe Lieberman was there talking almost like Tom DeLay."

It isn't just words that have create the "gaping chasm" between Lieberman and Democrats, it is also the blood on Lieberman's hands:

It may be Lieberman's early and continued support for the invasion of Iraq, however, that has drawn the most wrath from Connecticut Democrats, including some party leaders.

The lead Democratic co-sponsor of the Gulf War resolution in 1991, Lieberman joined Republican John McCain in 1998 to introduce the Iraq Liberation Act, which made the "liberation" of that country U.S. policy. He later became the lead sponsor of a 2002 resolution authorizing Bush to use force, if necessary, to disarm Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.

Lieberman's corporate donors may be able to buy him the seat for another six years, but the boos he will hear whenever he takes the stage he's earned on his own.

Posted at 07:37 PM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - Senate, Activism, Connecticut | Technorati

California 2006 Gubernatorial: Schwarzenegger loses SF privileges

Posted by Bob Brigham

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is on the verge of being eaten alive by west coast political sharks with a keen sense of the first drop of blood in the water.

In 2000 California Insurance Commissioner Chuck Quackenbush was eaten alive, in 2003 the victim was Governor Gray Davis, and the last year the cannibals went after Secretary of State Kevin Shelley. Next up, The Governator?

It looks like Schwarzenegger has become so politically radioactive that he can't even visit San Francisco:

Quite a greeting is being planned for Arnold Schwarzenegger's visit Tuesday to San Francisco -- with labor groups hoping to turn out upwards of 5,000 (some say 10,000) protesters to razz the governor's big-buck fund-raiser at the Ritz-Carlton hotel. [...]

"That's the skinny we've been hearing -- word is there are going to be a lot of folks out," said Deputy Police Chief Greg Suhr. "And it's not your usual First Amendment crowd. It's a lot of firefighters, teachers and nurses."

I scouted the site earlier and it looked like a cop convention (I haven't seen the police put on a show of force like this since the first days of the war). If the protest is successful, tonight could be the tipping point in the 2006 gubernatorial campaign. One drop of blood in the water and the instincts of the sharks take over. The inevitable frenzy would make the race competitive faster than you can say, "Hasta la vista, baby."

Posted at 06:27 PM in 2006 Elections - State, California | Technorati

Senator John Cornyn

Posted by Bob Brigham

Kos has the early roundup but it looks like the blogosphere will (rightly) be pushing on Cornyn for some time to come. I especially liked this idea from TPM:

Apropos of Sen. John Cornyn's suggestion today that judicial activism may be an underlying cause of the rash of murders of judges and their families, perhaps the Democrats need to introduce a sense of the senate resolution condemning those who threaten violence against judges or offer excuses for those who commit violent acts against members of the bench.

Posted at 11:20 AM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Activism, Texas | Technorati

Howard Dean to speaks to politics of old

Posted by Bob Brigham


LITTLE ROCK - Howard Dean, former governor of Vermont and now chairman of the Democratic National Committee, will be the keynote speaker Friday at the Association of State Democratic Chairs luncheon.

Dean will highlight the committee's agenda to strengthen the state parties in his speech.

That couldn't be a better topic for the ASDC. Under Mark Brewer's reign ASDC has been a disaster.

Posted at 01:49 AM in Activism, Arkansas, DNC Chair | Technorati

Monday, April 04, 2005

Online Campaigning

Posted by Bob Brigham

Swing State Project covers more than what is going on in the states, we also try to following the evolving role of the internet in political campaigns. The 2006 cycle will take online campaigning to a level few can imagine now. These drastic changes in the fundamentals of campaigning will create winners and losers.

When Tagaris and I aren't posting here, we are both busy consulting candidates and causes in the best practices to catapult movements online. Here are some things we've been writing about lately.

My ATM Pin Number or On-Line Fundraising

There are many good reasons why this has become a cult classic. Read this one first.

Here are some more classic posts by Tim:

The Small Blog as the Small Donor of 2006/2008

No Filter: The Net as a Tool for Upstart Campaigns

I've been laying off the campaign guides for a few months, but you might enjoy a three-piece series I did for the New Democrat Network:

The 2024 Presidential Campaign

Modern Fireside Chats

Mehlman's Modernization

Also, you might be interested in:

Post-modern Politics

Simon Rosenberg's DNC Blog Plan

We'll be doing more of these posts, use the comments to suggest any subject areas.

Posted at 05:21 PM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - House, 2006 Elections - Senate, 2006 Elections - State, Activism, Netroots, Site News | Technorati

Montana Senator Conrad Burns "beatable"

Posted by Bob Brigham

Emmett O'Connell has a look at the Montana's 2006 senate race at Western Democrat:

The 2006 Senate races will be a big time in the West. Its an opportunity to show that the Democratic Party is the real deal in the West, with most of the western states having contested Senate races. If you were to choose on Western Republican to go after, it would be Senator Burns of Montana.

Montana is the romantic heart of the Western Democrat movement, with our sweep last year. Only Colorado came close to matching the enthusiasm in Montana, and they have an open race for Governor to hang their hat on in 2006.

Burns is looking everyday like a more vulnerable candidate. If Bush’s Social Security fiasco can be hung around his neck or he can become the Judy Martz of 2006 (a Montana Republican known far and wide as being corrupt), and if his lackluster re-elect numbers stay low, I think he’s beatable.

O'Connell goes on to throw a nod towards Dan Kemmis. While I love Kemmis, I think he would either have to move or turn in his law license to have a chance. There is just too much history in Montana, Democrats nominating a Missoula lawyer is running joke. The frames invoked are simply too powerful for even Kemmis to overcome.

That said, it will be very interesting to see how the primary plays out.

Posted at 04:54 PM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - Senate, Montana | Technorati

North Dakota farmer's appreciate Democrats

Posted by Bob Brigham

This is certainly good news for Senator Kent Conrad (D-ND):

MEDINA, N.D. -- It's tough to make a living as a farmer in North Dakota these days, Owen Olson says. [...]

"If it wasn't for the federal government here," said Olson, 39, "nobody would be farming."

No one is talking about eliminating federal subsidies, just reducing them. But in North Dakota, where more than three in four farmers receive payments -- the highest percentage of any state -- the proposals working their way through the hearing rooms on Capitol Hill are big news.

Bush proposed cuts of $5.7 billion from agricultural programs over the next 10 years as part of a deficit reduction package. The House Budget Committee set the figure at $5.3 billion, while its Senate counterpart said $2.8 billion should be trimmed.

The GOP quest against the family farm on behalf of multi-national agribusiness will be a major issue in the 2006 election. An entire demographic -- rural voters -- is coming into play and ready to swing.

Posted at 04:41 PM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - Senate, Economy, North Dakota | Comments (2) | Technorati

Feingold raising money

Posted by Bob Brigham

Associated Press:

WASHINGTON - U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold, whose name has become synonymous with campaign finance reform, is raising both his profile and thousands of dollars with his new leadership political action committee.

Feingold, D-Wis., is using the PAC to fund political travel, like his high-profile trip to Alabama last week, and to make contributions to fellow Democrats as he tries to help the party regain the Senate next year.

The PAC, the Progressive Patriots Fund, is also likely to pay political dividends for Feingold, especially if he decides to run for president in 2008, as some are urging him to do. The travel is getting him exposure among voters and media outside Wisconsin, and the PAC's contributions will earn him gratitude from influential Democrats.

"After the election, I got a tremendous amount of input from people saying, 'How do we turn this thing around in the Senate, the House and the presidency,' and asking me to help," Feingold said in a telephone interview. "So this is an opportunity where you can have a fund that allows you to do that sort of thing."

I took a look at Feingold's first blog post and Tim has gone in-depth here and here. We will be following the 2008 Presidential Election with info on Democratic nomination and Republican nomination.

Posted at 03:04 PM in 2008 Election - President, 2008 President - Democrats, Wisconsin | Comments (1) | Technorati

Anti-Sam Brownback

Posted by Bob Brigham

In the comments, our friend KansasNate gives us a heads-up about his new blog, which is dedicated, "to the Savaging of Sam Brownback" (R-KS).

The Anti-Sam

Posted at 02:27 PM in 2008 Election - President, 2008 President - Republicans, Activism | Comments (1) | Technorati

2006 Primary: Should Matt Brown drop out?

Posted by Bob Brigham

NBC 10 in Providence is running a poll:

This week the jockeying is in full swing for the Democrats trying to unseat Sen. Lincoln Chafee.

We have two congressmen -- U.S. Rep. Patrick Kennedy and U.S. Rep. Jim Langevin declining to give up their seats.

And both of them urging the only declared candidate, Sec. of State Matt Brown to leave the race.

Former Attorney General Sheldon Whitehouse seems to be the most likely nominee to face Chafee but Brown appears ready to force a primary.

Rappers, put on your political consulting hats, and tell me.

Should Matt Brown drop out of the race for Senate?

Currently, 66% are saying No.

Last week, I looked at the 2006 Democratic Party Primary for U.S. Senate and voiced my dismay at this quote:

But state Democratic Party Chairman William Lynch said: "It's never a good thing to have primaries."

In an effort to wipe the egg off his face, Lynch showed up at a Brown fundraiser and his quotes suggest he is quite shellshocked:

State Democratic Party Chairman William Lynch said his presence at the Hi-Hat didn't necessarily mean he would support Brown over former state Attorney General Sheldon Whitehouse, who is expected to announce today his candidacy against Brown in the Democratic primary.

"The party may or may not endorse someone in a primary," Lynch said. "There have been times when the party has, and there have been times when the party hasn't."

Posted at 01:53 PM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - Senate, Rhode Island | Technorati

TX-22 New Tom DeLay poll shows drastic shift

Posted by Bob Brigham

Houston Chronicle:

House Majority Leader Tom DeLay's footing among his constituents has slipped drastically during the past year and a majority of his district disapproves of how he handled the Terri Schiavo case, according to a Houston Chronicle poll.

Nearly 40 percent of the 501 voters questioned Wednesday through Friday said their opinion of the powerful Sugar Land Republican is less favorable than last year, compared with 11 percent who said their view of him has improved.

But check this out, the Majority Leader's re-elect number is below 40.

Yet 45 percent said they would vote for someone other than DeLay if a congressional election in the 22nd District were at hand; 38 percent said they would stick with him.

"There seems to be no question that there has been an erosion in support for the congressman," said John Zogby, whose polling company, Zogby International, performed the survey. "He is posting numbers that one would have to consider in the dangerous territory for an incumbent. And he isn't just an incumbent, he is a longtime incumbent."

Tom Delay has a 38% re-elect number!

Schiavo backfires on Congressman Tom Delay:

On the Schiavo issue, DeLay consistently has stated that his constituents backed his decision to lead Congress into the dispute over whether to continue nourishment to the severely brain-damaged Florida woman.

"Everywhere I went (in the district) people were ... very supportive of the efforts to try and save her," DeLay said Wednesday at Sugar Land Regional Airport.

But nearly 69 percent of people in the poll, including substantial majorities of Democrats and Republicans, said they opposed the government's intervention in the longstanding family battle.

Respondents in the Chronicle survey also were critical of DeLay's individual role. Nearly 58 percent disapproved of his decision to get Congress involved. [...]

DeLay argued that his morals guided him in the case of Schiavo, who died Thursday. But nearly half of those polled said he intervened in the case for political gain.

Posted at 12:31 PM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - House, Texas | Technorati

Sunday, April 03, 2005

2006 Primary: Joe Lieberman credibility bankrupt?

Posted by Bob Brigham

I actually did vote for it before I voted against it:

The greatest hypocrisy on this bill may come from the Democrats, who often speak as if they are the party of working people. Some Democratic senators spoke against the bill and then voted for it. One of them, Senator Joe Lieberman, spoke for it and against it, voted for cloture (cutting off debate and moving the bill toward passage) and then voted against the bill.

Posted at 06:28 PM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - Senate, Activism, Connecticut, Economy | Technorati

2008 Presidential Campaign

Posted by Bob Brigham


WASHINGTON - Politicians invariably answer the question about presidential ambitions by saying it's too early. Or they're too busy to be thinking about running. Or they're too focused on being re-elected senator or House member or governor. Don't believe them.

While sidestepping the question, they're often hiring consultants and visiting places like Iowa and New Hampshire.

No one has announced his or her candidacy for the White House in 2008, but there's plenty of speculation about who might run. Of course, no potential presidential candidates let on that they're after the top job. [...]

Some politicians don't bother to try to quash rumors that they might run.

"One of the issues is whether saying that you're in the running for the White House compromises your current position," said political scientist Charles Franklin of the University of Wisconsin-Madison. "For some, it doesn't matter."

So, for example, when Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis., was asked by a TV reporter early this year if he would "rule out" running for president in 2008, he responded, "Why rule it out?"

So who is running for President in 2008?

It is hard to tell, but we might as well start keeping score. Here are some names I've heard, please add in the comments anyone who should be included who I've left out. Since we have around 1,000 days until most people start paying attention, we'll have plenty of time to examine them all.

2008 Presidential candidates - Democrats;

  • Evan Bayh
  • Joe Biden
  • Barbara Boxer
  • Wesley Clark
  • Hillary Clinton
  • John Edwards
  • Russ Feingold
  • Al Gore
  • John Kerry
  • Gavin Newsom
  • Barack Obama
  • Bill Richardson
  • Brian Schweitzer
  • Tom Vilsack
  • Mark Warner

2008 Presidential candidates - Republicans:

  • George Allen
  • Haley Barbour
  • Jeb Bush
  • Dick Cheney
  • Bill Frist
  • Newt Gingrich
  • Rudy Giuliani
  • Mike Huckabee
  • Chuck Hagel
  • John McCain
  • Bill Owens
  • George Pataki
  • Condoleezza Rice
  • Mitt Romney
  • Rich Santorum
  • Randall Terry

Posted at 03:13 PM in 2008 Election - President, 2008 President - Democrats, 2008 President - Republicans | Comments (4) | Technorati

Vatican Politics: Papabili

Posted by Bob Brigham

The Papal election really should be brought into the open. The dymanics of campaigning for Pope are more complicated than almost any election. Reuters has profiles of potential candidates to be the next Pope, including:


Cardinals and archbishops, all with extensive resumes. Who knows what will go on behind the closed doors, but I have a feeling it will feel like Chinatown.

The Conclave:

The Cardinals must take an oath when they first enter the Conclave that they will follow the rules set down by the Pope and that they will maintain absolute secrecy about the voting and deliberations. The penalty for disclosing anything about the conclave that must be kept secret is automatic excommunication.

The Cardinals all take seats around the wall of the Sistine Chapel and take a ballot paper on which is written "Eligo in summum pontificem" -- "I elect as supreme Pontiff...". They then write a name on it, fold it, and then proceed one by one to approach the altar, where a chalice stands with a paten on it. They hold up their ballot high to show that they have voted, then place it on the paten, and then slide it into the chalice. The votes are then counted by the Cardinal Camerlengo and his three assistants. Each assistant reads the name, reads the name aloud, writes it down on a tally sheet and then passes it to the next assistant. The third assistant runs a needle and thread through the centre of each ballot to join them all together. The ballots are then burned, as well as all notes made. If a new Pope has been elected, the papers are burned with chemicals (it used to be wet straw) to give white smoke. Otherwise, they give off black smoke, so that the waiting crowds, and the world, know whether their new Holy Father will soon emerge from the Sistine Chapel.

Until the conclaves of 1978, each Cardinal was provided a throne, a table and a canopy (or baldachino) over their heads. Paul VI abolished the practice because, with the internationalization of the College of Cardinals, there was simply no room any more. Whereas there were only 80 electors before then, the number had risen to 120. The thrones used to be arranged in two rows, along the wall facing each other. The canopies and thrones symbolized that, during the sede vacante when there is no Pope, the Cardinals all share responsibility for the governance of the Church. To further this symbolism, once the new Pope was elected and announced the name he would use, the Cardinals would pull on a cord and the canopy would collapse.

To be elected Pope, one Cardinal must receive more than two-thirds of the votes. Except that, under the new rules established by Pope John Paul II, if 30 ballots have taken place without any Cardinal being elected Pope, then the Cardinals may then elect by simple majority. This is an important change and may well be the most important change made. In the past, it has often been the case that a particular candidate has had solid majority support but cannot garner the required two-thirds majority, eg, because he is too conservative to satisfy the more moderate Cardinals. Therefore a compromise candidate is chosen, either an old Pope who will die soon and not do much until the next conclave (which is what was intended with John XXIII!) or someone not so hard-line wins support. The difference now will be that if, in the early ballots, one candidate has strong majority support, there is less incentive for that majority to compromise with the cardinals who are against their candidate and they simply need to sit out 30 ballots to elect their man. This may well see much more "hard-line" Popes being elected, and given the conservative trend of most appointments to the College by Pope John Paul II, it is almost certainly going to be a man cut from the same cloth. There will also be far less incentive for the Cardinals to finish quickly as in the past. After such a long papacy, they may need time to arrive at a strong consensus on what type of papacy the Church now needs. They will also be staying in comfortable lodgings, rather than sleeping in foldaway cots in hallways and offices in the Sistine Chapel.

The cardinals vote on the afternoon of the first day, then twice each morning and once each afternoon. If they have not elected someone within the first nine votes, then they may devote up to a day to prayer and discussion before resuming. They may do the same every seven unsuccessful votes after that.

The Cardinals are not permitted any contact with the outside world: no mobile phones, no newspapers or television, no messages or letters or signals to observers. There will be regular sweeps of all relevant areas for listening devices. The Cardinals will for the first time be visible, at least twice daily, to the observing world, when they move the 350 metres from the Domus Sanctae Marthae to the Sistine Chapel and back again. No doubt, Vatican "experts" will be hired to expound at length on what the countenance of certain key Cardinals indicates as they are filmed moving to and from the Chapel!

From Wikipedia on modern practice:

In 1996, John Paul II promulgated a new apostolic constitution, called Universi Dominici Gregis (Shepherd of the Lord's Whole Flock), which, unless superseded by later regulations, now governs the election of the Pope's successor. The procedures outlined, however, in many cases date to much earlier times. Universi Dominici Gregis is the sole constitution governing the election; it abrogates all constitutions previously issued by Popes. Under Universi Dominici Gregis, the cardinals are to be lodged in a purpose-built edifice, the Domus Sanctae Marthae, but are to continue to vote in the Sistine Chapel.

Several duties are performed by the Dean of the College of Cardinals, who is always a Cardinal Bishop. If the Dean is not entitled to participate in the conclave due to age, his place is taken by the Sub-Dean, who is also always a Cardinal Bishop. If the Sub-Dean also cannot participate, the senior Cardinal Bishop participating performs the functions.

Since the College of Cardinals is a small body, some have suggested that the electorate should be expanded. Proposed reforms include a plan to replace the College of Cardinals as the electoral body with the Synod of Bishops, which includes many more members. Under present procedure, however, the Synod may only meet while called by the Pope. Universi Dominici Gregis explicitly provides that even if a Synod or ecumenical council is in session at the time of a Pope's death, it may not perform the election. Upon the Pope's death, either body's proceedings are suspended, to be resumed only upon the order of the new Pope.

It is considered poor form to campaign for the position of Pope. However, there is inevitably always much speculation about which Cardinals have serious prospects of being elected. Speculation tends to mount when a Pope is ill or aged and shortlists of potential candidates make appearances in the media. A Cardinal who is considered to be a prospect for the papacy are referred to informally as being papabile (plural: papabili), the term being coined by "Vaticanologists" in the mid twentieth century. [...]

Beginning of the election

On the morning of the day ascertained by the Congregations of Cardinals, the cardinal electors assemble in St Peter's Basilica to celebrate the Eucharist. Then, they assemble in the afternoon in the Pauline Chapel of the Palace of the Vatican, proceeding to the Sistine Chapel while singing the Veni Creator. The Cardinals then take an oath to observe the procedures set down by the apostolic constitutions; to, if elected, defend the liberty of the Holy See; to maintain secrecy; and to disregard the instructions of secular authorities on voting. The Cardinal Dean reads the oath aloud in full; in order of precedence the other cardinal electors merely state, while touching the Gospels, that they "do so promise, pledge and swear."

After all the cardinals present have taken the oath, the Master of the Papal Liturgical Celebrations orders all individuals other than the cardinals and conclave participants to leave the Chapel. The Master himself may remain, as may one ecclesiastic designated by the Congregations prior to the commencement of the election. The ecclesiastic makes a speech concerning the problems facing the Church and on the qualities the new Pope needs to have. After the speech concludes, the ecclesiastic leaves. Following the recitation of prayers, the Cardinal Dean asks if any doubts relating to procedure remain. After the clarification of the doubts, the election may commence. Cardinals who arrive after the conclave has begun are admitted nevertheless. An ill cardinal may leave the conclave and later be readmitted; a cardinal who leaves for any reason other than illness may not return to the conclave.

Each cardinal elector may be accompanied by two attendants or conclavists (three if the cardinal elector is ill). The Secretary of the College of Cardinals, the Master of Papal Liturgical Celebrations, two Masters of Ceremonies, two officers of the Papal Sacristy and an ecclesiastic assisting the Dean of the College of Cardinals are also admitted to the conclave. Priests are available to hear the confession in different languages; two doctors are also admitted. Finally, a severely limited number of servant staff are permitted for housekeeping and the preparing and serving of meals3. Secrecy is maintained during the conclave; the cardinals as well as the conclavists and staff are not permitted to disclose any information relating to the election. Cardinal electors may not correspond or converse with anyone outside the conclave, by post, radio, telephone or otherwise. Universi Dominici Gregis specifically prohibits media such as newspapers, the radio, and television.


On the afternoon of the first day, only one ballot is held. If no-one is elected on the first ballot, four ballots are held on each successive day: two in each morning and two in each afternoon. If no result is obtained within three days, the process is suspended for one day for prayer and an address by the senior Cardinal Deacon. After seven further ballots, the process may again be similarly suspended, with the address now being delivered by the senior Cardinal Priest. If, after another seven ballots, no result is achieved, voting is suspended once more, the address being delivered by the senior Cardinal Bishop. After a further seven ballots, the cardinal electors may reduce the two-thirds majority requirement to a simple majority requirement. The cardinals may also eliminate all candidates except the two who have received the greatest number of votes in the previous ballot; in this case as well, a simple majority suffices for an election.

The process of voting comprises three phases: the "pre-scrutiny," the "scrutiny," and the "post-scrutiny." During the pre-scrutiny, the Masters of the Ceremonies prepare ballot papers bearing the words Eligo in Summum Pontificem ("I elect as Supreme Pontiff") and provide at least two to each cardinal elector. As the cardinals begin to write down their votes, the Secretary of the College of Cardinals, the Master of Papal Liturgical Celebrations and the Masters of Ceremonies exit; the junior Cardinal Deacon then closes the door. The junior Cardinal Deacon then draws by lot nine names; the first three become Scrutineers, the second three Infirmarii and the last three Revisers. New Scrutineers, Infirmarii and Revisers are not selected again after the first ballot.

Then the scrutiny phase of the election commences. The cardinal electors proceed, in order of precedence, to take their completed ballots (which bear only the name of the individual voted for) to the altar, where the Scrutineers stand. Before casting the ballot, each cardinal elector takes a Latin oath, which translates to: "I call as my witness Christ the Lord who will be my judge, that my vote is given to the one who before God I think should be elected." If any cardinal elector is in the Chapel, but cannot proceed to the altar due to infirmity, the last Scrutineer may go to him and take his ballot after the oath is recited. If any cardinal elector is by reason of infirmity confined to his or her room, the Infirmarii go to their rooms with ballot papers and a box. When the Infirmarii return to the Chapel, the ballots are counted to ensure that their number matches with the number of ill cardinals; thereafter, they are deposited in the appropriate receptacle. The oath is taken by all cardinals only at the first vote.

Once all votes have been cast, the first Scrutineer chosen shakes the container, and the last Scrutineer removes and counts the ballots. If the number of ballots does not correspond to the number of cardinal electors present, the ballots are burnt, and the vote is repeated. If, however, no irregularities are observed, the ballots may be opened and the votes counted. Each ballot is unfolded by the first Scrutineer; all three Scrutineers separately write down the name indicated on the ballot. The last of the Scrutineers reads the name aloud.

Once all of the ballots have been opened, the final post-scrutiny phase begins. The Scrutineers add up all of the votes, and the Revisers check the ballots and the names on the Scrutineers' lists to ensure that no error was made. The ballots are then all burnt by the Scrutineers with the assistance of the Secretary of the College and the Masters of Ceremonies. If the first election held in any given morning or afternoon does not result in an election, the cardinals proceed to the next vote immediately; the papers from both ballots are burnt together at the end of the second vote. The colour of the smoke signals the results to the people assembled in St Peter's Square. Dark smoke signals that the ballot did not result in an election, while white smoke signals that a new Pope was chosen. Originally, damp straw was added to the fire to create dark smoke; now chemicals are used.

Now here is some good stuff, who can win. From about.com:

Technically, any Catholic male who has reached the age of reason, is not a heretic, is not in schism, and is not “notorious” for simony can be elected pope — there is no other requirement for election (although there are several requirements before a person can actually assume the papacy once elected). It might even be technically possible for them to elect a non-Catholic male, if they had reason to believe that he would immediately convert to Catholicism.

The lack of a long list of formal requirements is probably due to the fact that, in times past, it was possible for the elector cardinals to elect a new pope not through formal ballots but rather through sudden acclamation after being inspired.

However, that would involve a great deal of paper work:

If for some reason a lay person were elected, the Dean of the College of Cardinals would first have to ordain him to the appropriate clerical offices, from priest through bishop, before he could take over the post of Bishop of Rome that is required of all popes. If he is already a bishop somewhere, it is tradition that he set aside that post.

So I'm going to keep my eye on the papabili. A dark horse could emerge, but the odds are far greater that it will be a cardinal or archbishop than a bishop.

In fact, I'd be worried if it were a bishop. While such a scenario could spring forth from a deadlock, it would be far more likely that it would occur if there was a consensus to choose a young candidate to extend and further institutionalize the reign of Pope John Paul II.

Posted at 02:03 AM in International | Technorati

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Choice in Pennsylvania: Abortion and 2006 Democratic Primary for U.S. Senate

Posted by Bob Brigham

Associated Press: Abortion stance could haunt Casey in Senate bid

But like Santorum, Klink, and Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid, who helped talk Casey into running, Casey opposes abortion rights. And that could give moderate Republicans in the important Philadelphia suburban swing region one less reason to cross party lines as they did in large numbers to help elect Rendell in 2002.

Casey is unlikely to avoid the abortion question even in the Democratic primary.

Despite Rendell's attempts to clean house, at least one candidate who favors abortion rights has vowed to compete against Casey in the primary — Charles F. "Chuck" Pennacchio, 45, a history professor at The University of the Arts in Philadelphia. A longtime Democratic organizer, Pennacchio has not run for office before but said his campaign has raised about $25,000 so far.

While Pennacchio's campaign is more about using the power of the Internet and low-key "meet-ups" with the candidate to promote grass roots activism within the party, a spokesman said Pennacchio definitely will raise the subject of abortion in the primary campaign.

"It's an issue that voters in the Democratic primary are concerned about," said the spokesman, Tim Tagaris, citing Senate Democrats' efforts to block judicial nominees who oppose abortion.

Yes, that is Swing State Project contributor Tim Tagaris getting the nationwide ink. Earlier this week, Tagaris was referred to as a blogging guru in the Pennsylvania press.

The AP article gives the history:

Ron Klink's experience is Bob Casey's bad dream.

Klink, a onetime TV news anchorman in Pittsburgh and a longtime congressman, lost the 2000 U.S. Senate race against Republican incumbent Rick Santorum after a campaign that failed for various reasons to gain traction. [...]

In the general election campaign, Klink said, national party leaders' promises of financial and field support failed to materialize. [...]

Klink said he was proud to be a "Casey Democrat" — a reference to Casey's father, the late governor, whose strong views made him a national hero to the anti-abortion movement. He bitterly recalled being portrayed as "Santorum Light" during the 2000 primary because of his abortion stance and blamed his defeat partly on Democrats who refused to vote for him for that reason.

By a 2:1 margin, Pennsylvania Democrats prefer a pro-choice candidate. The worry about moderate Republicans and Independents not supporting Casey is born not just from history, but also from the fact that 40% of Republicans and 54% of Independents also prefer pro-choice candidates. This is something people notice.

If Tagaris says it is going to be an issue, then it is going to be an issue. The national attention to the issue signals that it will be heard and the polling suggests it may play a major role. No wonder, "haunt" was the word used in the headline.

Posted at 08:10 PM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - Senate, Pennsylvania | Comments (6) | Technorati

U.S. Senate "Nuclear Option" and 2006 midterm elections

Posted by Bob Brigham

Over at DailyKos, Kargo X has kickstarted a conversation on the coming "Nuclear Option" -- the Republican scheme to end the filibuster and gain absolute power.

If the GOP pushes forward with this power grab, it will force a major backlash against Republicans in the 2006 midterm elections. During the Schiavo usurpation, Bush dropped 10 pts in the time it took for Santorum to permanently tie himself to the issue.

If the GOP continues their quest for absolute power, the backlash will be severe. Already, Democrats have 12 Republican Senators (facing re-election in 2006) on record with their Social Security vote.

It has become conventional wisdom that Americans oppose the GOP plan to privatize Social Security. If the GOP moves for absolute control of the Senate while Bush forces privatization then the storyline gets a villian in a potent way. Add Tom DeLay as the public face of Republicans in Congress, a splintering of the conservative coalition, and a united Democratic Party. Together, this could result in a major restructuring of party perception in a nationalized 2006 midterm election cycle.

Senator Bill Frist (R-TN) wants to be President so he needs to protect his record. In addition, the following Republican Senators need to worry about running for re-election in 2006:

  • Senator George Allen (R-VA)*
  • Senator Conrad Burns (R-MT)*
  • Senator Lincoln Chafee (R-RI)*
  • Senator Mike DeWine (R-OH)
  • Senator John Ensign (R-NV)*
  • Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT)*
  • Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX)*
  • Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ)*
  • Senator Trent Lott (R-MS)*
  • Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN)*
  • Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA)*
  • Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME)
  • Senator Jim Talent (R-MO)*
  • Senator Craig Thomas (R-WY)*

* Social Security: on record voting in favor of "deep benefit cuts or a massive increase in debt."

In addition, such a move would allow the following Democrats a hero vote to bolster their 2006 re-elections:

  • Senator Daniel Akaka (D-HI)
  • Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM)
  • Senator Robert Byrd (D-WV)
  • Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA)
  • Senator Thomas Carper (D-DE)
  • Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY)
  • Senator Kent Conrad (D-ND)
  • Senator Jon Corzine (D-NJ)
  • Senator Mark Dayton (D-MN)
  • Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA)
  • Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA)
  • Senator Herb Kohl (D-WI)
  • Senator Joseph Lieberman (D-CT)
  • Senator Ben Nelson (D-NE)
  • Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL)
  • Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI)

Posted at 06:36 PM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - Senate, Arizona, Indiana, Maine, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, Nuclear Option, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Wyoming | Technorati

Friday, April 01, 2005

Rhode Island 2006 Democratic Party Primary for U.S. Senate

Posted by Bob Brigham

Providence Journal:

PROVIDENCE -- Rhode Island's former attorney general and U.S. Attorney Sheldon Whitehouse advised close family and friends earlier this week that he has decided to run for the U.S. Senate seat held by Republican Lincoln D. Chafee.

Barring the unexpected, Whitehouse's long-anticipated entry into the closely watched Senate race guarantees the spectacle of a two-man fight for the Democratic nomination to take on Chafee in November 2006.

A formal announcement by the 49-year-old Whitehouse is expected Monday, but he signaled his decision in a series of e-mails in which he foresaw that U.S. Rep. Patrick Kennedy would pull himself out of the running before the week was out.

Facing a potentially costly primary contest against Secretary of State Matthew Brown, the only announced Democratic candidate for Chafee's Senate seat so far, Whitehouse also took the occasion to state the obvious: "I will have to become a fundraising demon in the new quarter, which will bring you expensive requests for contributions, contacts and so forth."

This sounds a lot like Pennsylvania, almost sounds like a pattern...

Party Bosses back a candidate who lost a Primary campaign for his state's top job:

In 1998, [Whitehouse] beat out two Democratic competitors to become the state's attorney general, but did not survive a three-way primary when he ran for governor four years later. He trailed former state Sen. Myrth York by 926 votes, with then-Rep. Antonio Pires placing a distant third.

Candidate hires top-dollar consultants:

Whitehouse advised these supporters on Tuesday he had already opened a campaign account and hired well-known Washington political consultant Mike Donilon. [...]

When asked whether the Washington-based Donilon, a top adviser to Sen. John F. Kerry's presidential campaign who also worked on the Rhode Island campaigns of U.S. Sen. Jack Reed and Providence Mayor David N. Cicilline, was already on the Whitehouse campaign payroll, Preston said: "Mike would be part of any Whitehouse campaign team."

(Preston said the Rhode Island race would be one of two high-profile races for Donilon, who has also signed on to work for the reelection of one of the national GOP's top Democratic targets in '06, freshman Florida Sen. Bill Nelson.)

Campaign uses other elected officials to strong-arm and force out any other Democrats (so candidate doesn't lose like he he did in gubernatorial primary):

Without formally announcing, Whitehouse already has the backing of many in the state's political elite, including Kennedy and Langevin, who have both publicly urged the 35-year-old Brown, who is midway through his first term in office, to get out of the race. [...]

Brown campaign spokesman Matt Burgess said the secretary of state has no intention of leaving the race, and "looks forward to a thorough and thoughtful discussion of how to best solve the problems people in Rhode Island are facing everyday."

Burgess also sought to minimize the significance of Whitehouse's high-wattage political backing, saying: "This race is going to be decided by people in Rhode Island -- not a handful of political insiders and politicians. It just doesn't work that way anymore."

The State Democratic Party comes out against democracy:

But state Democratic Party Chairman William Lynch said: "It's never a good thing to have primaries."

Never. As is in democratic primaries are not ever good; on no occasion; at no time; under no circumstances. Letting the People participate in democracy is never a good thing.

Posted at 05:18 PM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - Senate, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island | Comments (4) | Technorati

OH-02: Open Seat, Special Election 2005

Posted by Bob Brigham

Blogfather Jerome Armstrong on OH-02:

Seems pretty clear that this is a longshot, but one worth contesting with the backing of Project 90 and BlogPac. As David NYC has stated, this is where the netroots can put ideas to test, taking this Open Seat on a trial run for '06. We'll be running against DeLay in '06 in all 232 of the Republican held seats, starting with the OH 2nd this fall.

Cincinnati Enquirer:

Two Hamilton County Republicans - county Commissioner Pat DeWine and state Rep. Tom Brinkman - said Monday that they are running to replace U.S. Rep. Rob Portman.

DeWine and Brinkman are the first to commit to what's expected to be a crowded contest. Both men hustled to Pike County Monday night to introduce themselves to Republicans in the easternmost part of Portman's 2nd Congressional District, two hours east of Cincinnati. [...]

Other possible GOP candidates include former U.S. Rep. Bob McEwen, who splits his time between Hamilton County and Northern Virginia; former state Rep. Jean Schmidt of Clermont County; WLW talk-radio host Bill Cunningham; Cincinnati lawyer Bill Keating Jr.; and state Rep. Tom Raga of Warren County.

On the Democratic side, state Rep. Todd Book of Scioto County is thinking about running. State Rep. Tyrone Yates of Hamilton County says he would consider a run only if Book didn't.

Even though the election date has not been set, DeWine is kicking off his campaign today with a bus tour of the 2nd District. His father, U.S. Sen. Mike DeWine, will be among those aboard.

Brinkman said he decided to enter the race when county Commissioner Phil Heimlich, a close ally, opted to run for lieutenant governor instead of Congress. Heimlich is joining Attorney General Jim Petro in his run for governor in 2006.

To recap:

Potential Republican Candidates:

  • State Rep. Tom Brinkman

  • WLW talk-radio host Bill Cunningham

  • County Commissioner Pat DeWine

  • lawyer Bill Keating Jr.

  • former U.S. Rep. Bob McEwen

  • State Rep. Tom Raga

  • former State Rep. Jean Schmidt

Potential Democratic Candidates:

  • State Rep. Todd Book

  • past nominee Charles Sanders

  • State Rep. Tyrone Yates

Posted at 03:25 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Activism, Ohio | Technorati

TX-22: Delay violates 18 U.S.C. §115 (a)(1)(B)

Posted by Bob Brigham

From Raw Story:

Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) has issued a strongly-worded letter to House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX) over his recent remarks threatening those involved with the Schiavo case, which Lautenberg takes to mean federal judges, RAW STORY has learned.

Full text:

April 1, 2005

Tom DeLay
Majority Leader
House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Majority Leader DeLay,

I was stunned to read the threatening comments you made yesterday against Federal judges and our nation’s courts of law in general. In reference to certain Federal judges, you stated: “The time will come for the men responsible for this to answer for their behavior.”

As you are surely aware, the family of Federal Judge Joan H. Lefkow of Illinois was recently murdered in their home. And at the state level, Judge Rowland W. Barnes and others in his courtroom were gunned down in Georgia.

Our nation’s judges must be concerned for their safety and security when they are asked to make difficult decisions every day. That’s why comments like those you made are not only irresponsible, but downright dangerous. To make matters worse, is it appropriate to make threats directed at specific Federal and state judges?

You should be aware that your comments yesterday may violate a Federal criminal statute, 18 U.S.C. §115 (a)(1)(B). That law states:

“Whoever threatens to assault…. or murder, a United States judge… with intent to retaliate against such… judge…. on account of the performance of official duties, shall be punished [by up to six years in prison]”

Threats against specific Federal judges are not only a serious crime, but also beneath a Member of Congress. In my view, the true measure of democracy is how it dispenses justice. Your attempt to intimidate judges in America not only threatens our courts, but our fundamental democracy as well.

Federal judges, as well as state and local judges in our nation, are honorable public servants who make difficult decisions every day. You owe them – and all Americans – an apology for your reckless statements.


Frank R. Lautenberg

Posted at 03:03 PM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - House, Texas | Technorati

Montana Senate 2006: Third Degree Burns

Posted by Bob Brigham

Via Left in the West, I've learned that some Montanans want to give Montana Senator Conrad Burns the dreaded Third Degree. In fact, they have a Federal Political Action Committee and a website:


This PAC was founded to make a "big impact" by running "negative attacks" as part of a strategy that plans, "to run early and repeated negative ads" in an attempt to "raise those negatives so high that they can not be overcome" as part of a "truly grassroots effort, fueld by constituent anger."

Conrad Burns has consistently voted against the interests of the people of Montana and the United States since he's been in office. In 2000 he won re-election by a mere 3% - fewer than 15,000 votes.

The 2004 election proved the power of negative campaigning. The persistent raising of doubt, early in the cycle, creates an enormous obstacle for a candidate. True or false -- and we have the advantage of truth-- negative attacks make a big impact.

To that end we've founded the Third Degree Political Action Committee. The Third Degree PAC is dedicated to shining the light of truth on the actions of Montana Federal candidates and politicians. With an eye towards the future, Conrad Burns is only the first target. The plan is to raise money with which to run early and repeated negative ads - probably on radio at first - against Burns. Raise those negatives so high that they can not be overcome.

This is a truly grassroots effort, fueled by constituent anger. We need more volunteers, for research, web and ad design, strategy, and more.

You heard them, they need:

  • Volunteers
  • Reseach
  • Web Design
  • Ad Design
  • Strategy
  • "more"

Visit the forums.


Posted at 12:14 AM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - Senate, Activism, Montana, Netroots | Technorati

TX-22: GOP turns on Tom Delay

Posted by Bob Brigham

If you are even remotely interested in what goes on the today's Republican Party, you should read this.

Posted at 12:11 AM in Texas | Technorati

April 2005 Archive: