May 2005 Archive:

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

TX-Sen: Barbara Ann Radnofsky Running for Open Seat

Posted by Bob Brigham

I would have paid attention to the following no matter what, but since Mr. Liberal penned it (and is involved), I'm paying close attention. From MyDD:

As of 4PM EST, news is spreading across the Lone Star State that their senior Senator, Kay Bailey Hutchison is running for Governor, and will declare her candidacy on June 6th. She'll be taking on her recent bete-noir and current GOP Governor Rick Perry in what promises to be a bloody GOP primary indeed. Perry has a great deal of support from conservatives in the state, while Hutchison is wildly popular in the state itself and especially with moderate GOPers (what one would use to call "Old Guard" Republicans in the state, back when the GOP was a minority there). Already, Perry has compared Hutchison to Hillary Clinton, and Hutchison has attacked Perry as corrupt and ineffectual. The GOP leaders will have to take sides in this race, and the end result will NOT be pretty for the GOP.

An open senate seat?

In the comments, Byron of Burnt Orange looks at other potential candidates:

Another candidate that I've heard of is Juan Garcia. Garcia is a former officer in the navy who was originally recruited by the local leaders and the state party to run for state representative against Gene Seaman, a Corpus Christi area Republican. Then, several weeks ago, a "Garcia for Senate" website (since taken down) appeared by supporters of Garcia. When contacted by the Corpus Christi Caller Times, Garcia said that he was considering a run.

A lot of Democrats would like to see State Rep. Rick Noriega (D-Houston) run for the seat. Noriega is currently in the army reserves and is serving in Afghanistan. Noriega's wife filled his seat during this past session. Noriega has been in the state house for several sessions now and has a progressive voting record.

As for current and former Dem congressmen, Frost has ruled out a run. Lampson is running against DeLay. I would seriously doubt that Sandlin is interested in a run. Chet Edwards would be a great candidate, but we'd lose his seat in congress. Charlie Stenholm would be a good candidate statewide at some point, but I don't know if he is interested.

But back to Radnofsky. After reading through her website and some of the interviews from Texas bloggers, I'm most impressed with what she has accomplished so far in her life.

I've been passively watching to see whether Kay Bailey Hutchison would run for re-election, but figured I'd find out more about our candidates after her decision. Now it looks like that time has come and I'm excited to closely monitor this race.

Now go to Mr. Liberal's diary and follow the links. Especially Radnofsky's website, it has a lot of information.

Posted at 08:08 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Open Seats, Texas | Comments (1) | Technorati

DCCC: Health Insurance for the Troops

Posted by Bob Brigham

From the subscription-only Hotline:

Using Memorial Day as a backdrop, the DCCC went up in 12 CDs over the weekend to pick at Republicans for opposing military benefit expansion.

John Havens, who identifies himself as a retired adjutant general in the Missouri National Guard, says in the 60-second radio spot that "thousands of brave National Guard members and reservists" serving on active duty "lose the same health insurance other soldiers can count on" when they return home. An announcer, noting that Congress recently "defeated a plan to extend health coverage to members of the Guard, the Reserves and their families," mentions a Republican who opposed the plan and asks listeners to tell the member "he owes those who serve our nation more than Memorial Day speeches. "

The spot takes issue with the members for opposing a procedural motion to H.R. 1815 that would have expanded the TRICARE insurance program to National Guard members and Reservists.

The targets?

According to a DCCC spokeswoman, the spot airing in airing this week in a "strategic buy" covering the home districts of 12 GOP lawmakers: Vito Fossella (NY 13), Sam Graves (MO 06), John Hostettler (IN 08), Tim Murphy (PA 06), Bob Ney (OH 18), Richard Pombo (CA 11), Dave Reichert (WA 08), Rick Renzi (AZ 01), Rob Simmons (CT 02), Mike Sodrel (IN 09), Charles Taylor (NC 11) and Ed Whitfield (KY 01). Different versions of the spot mention each representative by name.

These 12 Representatives should be ashamed -- our troops deserve better.

Posted at 04:33 PM in Arizona, California, Connecticut, Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Washington | Comments (2) | Technorati

SSP Fundraising Update

Posted by Bob Brigham

On July 19, 2004, Swing State Project joined forces with MyDD to raise money for Ginny Schrader. By July 30th, the team had raised $800.

This cycle, the fundraising is starting a year earlier. And we made it to $800 in 6 days, instead of 11. The netroots power comes from a large number of people coming together for a common cause. Judging by our initial success, I'm confident that together we can accomplish a great deal for worthy candidates. Join us:

Posted at 12:48 PM in Site News | Technorati

CA-Gov: Digging Holes to...Fill Them

Posted by Bob Brigham

Last week, Swing State Project reported on Governor Arnold Schwarzenneger getting busted having government workers dig a hole in the ground so that he could fill it in for a photo-op.

Today, we have the weakest attempt at spin I've seen in a long time. From David Vossbrink:

"San Jose crews were already planned to be at that location to work on scheduled repairs that require removing old pavement and replacing it."

So there was a plan to dig a pothole to fill it in, it had nothing to do with the photo op. Wink-wink, nod-nod...

Posted at 12:36 PM in 2006 Elections - State, California, Scandals | Technorati

San Diego Mayoral Special Election

Posted by Bob Brigham

I love Special Elections. While most regular elections are carefully scripted affairs that have been planned for years, Special Elections are last minute sprints. Following the abrupt resignation of San Diego's mayor, there is a Special Election scheduled for July 26th (likely to be followed by a runoff). From the AP:

SAN DIEGO - Fifteen candidates submitted signatures before a Friday filing deadline to run for a spot on the July 26 ballot to replace embattled Republican Mayor Dick Murphy. [...]

Donna Frye, a Democratic city councilwoman who nearly won a write-in bid in November's disputed mayoral election, is widely considered the front-runner to replace Murphy.

Frye, who is married to the legendary surfer Skip Frye, ran a surf shop and campaigned for clean water before joining the City Council in 2001. She has campaigned on a theme of ending what she sees as a culture of secrecy at City Hall.

With a surf shop owner leading the rag-tag pack, it isn't surprising to see she's facing competition for a valet, a P.I., and of course, a rich guy trying to buy the seat. Full candidate list after the break.

Donna Frye - City Councilmember
Jerry Sanders - Businessman
Jeremy Ledford - Sales for McKesson
Jonathan Schell - Software Engineer
Les Swazzo - Full time student
Paul M. Dekker - Computer Consultant
Tony V. Theodore - General Manager
George R. Cook - Property Manager
Bernard Palecek - Dir. of Operations, California Mortgage Consultant
James Galley - Water Plant Operator
Ed Kolker - Mediator
Christopher Perl - Customer Service Rep. 2/HSBC Auto Finance
Michael Hill - Bartender/Manager
Jim Bell - Ecological Designer
Michael Shelby - Motorcycle Sales & Services
John P. Casey - Small Business Owner
Richard Rider - Taxpayer Activist
Christopher McKerlie - Marketing Manager
Kent Mesplay - County Air Quality Inspector
Bret Patterson - Airline Employee
Thomas Knapp - Supervisor
Christopher L. Wylie - Teacher/Artist
Steve Francis - Executive Chairman-AMN Healthcare
Shawn A. McMillan - Attorney
Ronnie Douglas Lawson - Private Investigator
Joseph Braverman - Researcher
John Washington - Valet Attendant-Cashier
Mac Sperry - Activist, Writer, Political Theorist
Patrick Shea - Attorney Businessman

Posted at 11:46 AM in 2005 Elections, California, Special Elections | Comments (1) | Technorati

TMP Cafe

Posted by Bob Brigham

Where else can you tell Marshall Wittman to go fetch you a cup of coffee.

Talking Points Memo's TPMCafe

Posted at 10:38 AM in Netroots | Technorati

Monday, May 30, 2005

Tom DeLay T-Shirts

Posted by Bob Brigham

From Raw Story:

"The fallout from NBC’s “Law & Order: Criminal Intent” episode featuring the Tom DeLay T-shirt continued over the Memorial Day break," Roll Call's Mary Ann Akers will dish Tuesday. "House Republican message makers, back in their districts and vacation destinations, are armed with talking points on what to say about the episode that so riled their fearless Majority Leader."

If you hate judges as much as Tom DeLay, you can now get your Tom DeLay: Judicial Exterminator T-Shirts.

Posted at 10:43 PM in Activism | Technorati

MT-Sen: Populism Needed in Red States

Posted by Bob Brigham

I really had intended not to post over the long weekend, but there is an online discussion of Democratic populism that is critical to the future of our Party, so I decided I'd rather examine it today than worry about it during the chaos of next week.

Paperwight started the discussion with a precinct-by-precinct examination of how Congressman Bernie Sanders out performs Republicans in the reddest areas of Vermont. David Sirota had more to say and then linked it back to the Montana miracle of Democrats winning in the west.

With all eyes on Montana Senator Conrad Burns re-election campaign and a new poll being released (Left in the West explores it), let's look back at the roll populism has played in Big Sky elections since Burns was elected in 1988.

In American politics -- and especially in the Senate -- incumbents have a huge advantage over challengers. It is difficult for a senator seeking re-election to lose. Absent a major scandal, the most vulnerable election for an incumbent is the first re-election campaign.

For Conrad Burns, that campaign was his 1994 re-election. In that race, Montana Democrats fielded Jack Mudd, a Missoula attorney and Dean of the Law School to challenge the newbie senator. Mudd was what we now refer to as a DLC Democrat, he focused on following polls to try to find a way to not anger voters while avoiding a message of economic populism. Mudd lost.

In 2000, Burns was much stronger of a candidate and had the luxury of being on the same ticket as George Bush after eight years of a Democratic White House (as an aside, Clinton visited and won Montana in 1992). The insiders said Burns would cruise to an easy re-election and not a single Democratic elected official challenged him, instead three statewide officials chose to fight it out in the gubernatorial primary rather than take on Burns. But an unknown farmer named Brian Schweitzer decided to take on Burns -- with little institutional support -- running on a message of economic populism.

Comparing the 1994 and 2000 outcomes shows the power -- especially in the "red states" -- of running a man of the people with a message of economic populism.

Here are the 1994 and 2000 results (PDFs):

218,542 Votes (62%)
131,845 Votes (38%)

208,082 Votes (52%)
194,430 Votes (48%)

That is an astonishing difference in outcomes that can be attributed 100% to running a candidate who is a farmer -- not a city lawyer -- with a message of economic populism.

As everyone knows, Schweitzer went on to be elected Governor of Montana during the 2004 "Montana Miracle" sweep that voters allowed as Democrats stood proud and promised to fight as populists. Governor Schweitzer now enjoys a 57% approval rating, four points higher than President Bush.

Montana Democrats are now faced with deciding between keeping the populist winning streak alive or returning to the DLC message that has wrought nothing but heartache and failure.

Democrat state Senate President Jon Tester is another fiery farmer with a bread-and-butter message of economic populism, while State Auditor John Morrison is another city lawyer on track to suffer the same fate as Jack Mudd and Dusty Deschamps (1998 Montana congressional candidate who was stomped).

There is a Da Vinci code for Democrats and that involves fighting as a populist. There is no reason why the 2004 sweep can't carry over to 2006, all that is necessary is a will to stand strong for the people and ditch the DLC, polled-based, boring campaigns of old.

That is why I'm proud that Swing State Project is supporting Jon Tester. I expect Tester to beat Burns and in the process, continue Schweitzer's trail-blazing of a message that resonates in the heartland, in rural areas, in red states.

Join us with a contribution:

Posted at 02:38 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Democrats, Montana | Comments (3) | Technorati

Friday, May 27, 2005

MT-Sen: Tester for Senate Website (+ Weekend Break)

Posted by Bob Brigham

Montana state Senate President Jon Tester now has a website for his bid to oust embattled U.S. Senator Conrad Burns:

Contribution amount: $

UPDATE (Tim): You can track your progress at this link; let's see if we can't get this number up to 25 contributions of $25.01 by the end of the weekend. The candidate even includes Swing State Project and other blogs on his In The News page.

UPDATE (David): The Swing State Project will be taking a short vacation for this Memorial Day weekend. Please check back in with us on Tuesday. And in the meantime, please consider helping out Jon Tester in his bid for the US Senate. I can't think of a more deserving candidate.

P.S. Have a great weekend!

UPDATE (Bob): Thanks for helping get Tester off the ground. After you join us in helping out Tester, please join us in unplugging and enjoying the weekend. Remember America's heros this Memorial Day. See you Tuesday.

Posted at 03:29 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Activism, Montana | Technorati

Stem Cell Research Living Will

Posted by Bob Brigham

From Crooks and Liars:

I hereby certify that neither I, nor any member of my family, including but not limited to: children, grandchildren, cats, dogs, etc. and any "after acquired" family will never, ever, under any circumstances (even with my fingers crossed) take or ingest any form of drug treatment or medical breakthroughs that are in any way associated with or connected to Stem Cell research. I am morally opposed to this type of medical malfeasance that our lord and Savior and Dr. Dobson most assuredly rebuke. I declare that I am of sound mind and body (as so it is hence with respect to the aforementioned family members) as we execute this irrevocable document and thusly said, this document shall not be challenged in a court of law. This is so despite the fact that I or said parties, would either now or in the future, be the beneficial recipient of such a repugnant life enhancing treatment . Only the Devil's greatest tool, i.e. "temptation" could lead us into sinful thoughts of partaking of this reprehensible policy.


Rest of Family


Notary Public


Posted at 03:23 PM in Activism | Technorati

CA-Gov: Political Cheapness

Posted by Bob Brigham

Today's San Francisco Chronicle:

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger traveled to a quiet San Jose neighborhood Thursday, and -- dogged by protesters -- filled a pothole dug by city crews just a few hours before, as part of an attempt to dramatize his efforts to increase money for transportation projects.

The choreographed press opportunity -- at least the governor's fourth recent event involving transportation issues -- seemed aimed as much at thwarting the demonstrators who have followed Schwarzenegger for weeks as grabbing new attention for his proposal.

The Governor is using state resources to tear up our roads so he can pretend to fix them on TV? This is one of the most pathetic acts of political cheapness I have ever encountered.

Even worse is the fact the Governor's handlers were busted trying to pull of this little stunt. You be the judge, is such an event an adequate rapid response to yesterday's FRONT PAGE STORY:

10,000 protest governor

Sacramento -- Thousands of public employees staged the biggest political rallies of the year at the state Capitol and in Los Angeles on Wednesday, charging that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's policy agenda shortchanges schoolchildren and undermines the fabric of California's poor and middle class.

The protests came after weeks of increasingly heated, campaign-style rhetoric from both sides as Schwarzenegger moved the state closer to a special election on issues such as state spending and teacher tenure.

Schwarzenegger has derided unions as "special interests" whose grip on Democratic party politics is the source of many of the state's ills. At the Capitol on Wednesday, firefighters, teachers, nurses and others -- many wearing the insignias of their professions -- stood under a sweltering late- afternoon sun and, in the most charged and personal rhetoric yet, fired back.

"The CEO of California is ... picking on women in wheelchairs," Frances Gracechild, director of Resources for Independent Living, told a crowd of roughly 10,000 people. "The only thing I can think of so he won't have to do hard time in hell is resign." (emphasis mine)

This on top of the product placement scandal? I don't think Schwarzenegger will be back.

Posted at 10:51 AM in 2006 Elections - State, California, Scandals | Comments (1) | Technorati

Boycott Bali

Posted by Bob Brigham

In solidarity, I suggest you join the Boycott of Bali.

Posted at 12:48 AM in International | Technorati

CA-Gov: Product Placement in Campaign Ads?

Posted by Tim Tagaris

You have simply got to be kidding me. What a clown Arnold Schwarzenegger is.

The TV ad, released in May, features Schwarzenegger talking to people in a lunchroom, and places Pepsi and Arrowhead Water in prominent spots next to the governor for one-third of the ad.

Donors connected to Pepsi Co. and Arrowhead Water's parent company, Nestle, gave the governor a total of $279,800 in campaign contributions. Also recognizable on-screen are Ruffles, Sun Chips, Cheetos and a SoBe Beverage, all brands owned by Pepsi.

And polling results released earlier today over at Polling Report (subscription only) tell the story (MoE +/- 2%).

"Overall, do you approve or disapprove of the way that Arnold Schwarzenegger is handling his job as governor of California?"

Approve: 40%
Disapprove: 49%
Don't Know: 11%

"Do you think things in California are generally going in the right direction or the wrong direction?"

Right Direction: 35%
Wrong Direction: 57%
Don't Know: 8%

Phil Angelides,
not sponsored by Pepsi, your next Governor of California.

Posted at 12:46 AM in 2006 Elections - State, California, Scandals | Technorati

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Bush Losing War on Terror

Posted by Bob Brigham

Senator Harry Reid, via Talk Left:

As of this month, more time has passed since 9-11 than the time between Pearl Harbor and the defeat of Japan. During those three years and eight months – sixty years ago – we invaded North Africa and Normandy. We freed people from the Philippines to France. Hitler lay dead and Tojo was in chains. We had defeated fascism around the world and had begun to build the new United Nations.

But today Osama bin Laden is still on the loose, our homeland is still not secure, we’re still not energy independent, and – in many ways – Americans are less safe than we were before 9-11.

If Bush and Rice wouldn't have been so incompetent, Osama would have faced justice by now. Instead, Bush decided to invade Iraq, pushing our country into a needless war which we ARE LOSING.

Not only are we losing, but Juan Cole says we're going to keep losing. In the process of losing the war in Iraq, Bush has destroyed the perception of U.S. invulnerability.

In the days following 9/11, the entire world rallied for America. Each day since then, Bush's disasterous policies have turned much of the world against us. Bush has lost a war, lost the lives of far too many American soldiers, and lost a once in a lifetime opportunity.

In the time it took FDR (Democrat) to kick ass worldwide, Bush (Republican) couldn't even kick Osama's ass. It isn't just that Bush doesn't measure up against America's great leaders, but with each passing day he is ensuring a legacy: Worst. President. Ever.

Posted at 02:49 PM in International | Comments (1) | Technorati

MT-Sen: Jon Tester Announcement News

Posted by Bob Brigham

Jon Tester, Democrat running for the U.S. Senate in Montana, received a ton of good press during his state-wide announcement tour. Swing State Project has adopted Tester and since this is an amazing pick-up opportunity for Democrats, we will be following this race very closely.

To allow everyone to see how this race is shaping up from the start, I've compiled a collection of reports on the kickoff, including news on the Pearl Jam involvement.

If you like what you see, help Tester get his campaign up and running with an early contribution.

First, The Missoulian:

After 45 minutes of snaking through Missoula traffic, a large gray tractor-trailer parked at the University of Montana's College of Technology on Wednesday afternoon. The driver, U.S. Senate candidate Jon Tester, emerged - promising to stand up for Main Street Montana.

A former music teacher and a Democrat, Tester, 48, has been on a state tour promoting his candidacy for U.S. Senate since Tuesday.

The tour began in his hometown of Big Sandy. He has driven through Havre, Great Falls, Billings, Bozeman, Butte and, finally, Missoula.

When Tester wins, he'll be one of a handful of senators who know how to work a double-clutch on a big rig.

Tester said his campaign will focus on issues that affect the overlooked populations in the state, namely the middle class and American Indians.

Too many working-class people in Montana have been pushed into the ranks of the working poor, Tester said.

After his initial swing through the state, Tester said he will begin a tour of Montana's Indian reservations. "You can't address Montana's economic issues unless you address the employment issues on reservations," he said.

He added that the state needs to start working with tribes on a government-to-government level.

And who was with him in Missoula?

Pearl Jam bassist and youth vote proponent Jeff Ament was at Wednesday afternoon's stopover in Missoula, and said he agrees with most of Tester's political agenda.

Ament, who grew up in Big Sandy with Tester, said preserving rural Montana is key to gaining young votes.

"Keeping rural Montana alive has so much to do with the youth of Montana," Ament said. "You see these small, rural communities dying and it's killing the hope for the youth. If he becomes a part of the federal Senate, he could make a big difference."

More on Pearl Jam and the concert rumors in a minute. Now to the Lee Newspapers state bureau:

Tester, 48, said in a cell phone interview from his truck that he is seeking the U.S. Senate seat because he believes many Montanans have been overlooked by the federal government.

"I just feel small business, family farmers, agriculture, working people have been kind of under attack for the last 15-20 years," Tester said. "I think the federal government needs to make these people a priority. The middle class has built this country, and we need to make them whole."

Other top issues, he said, are opposing President Bush's Social Security plan to let some people put some of their Social Security money instead in private investment accounts, and the soaring federal deficit, which threatens Medicaid and highway funding.

"More than half of our (state budget) money is federal," he said. We've got to work to protect them."

This article has more on the issues:

Tester said he decided to jump into the Senate race because of the strong support he received from fellow Democratic legislators, constituents and folks around the state.

He cited his track record as a senator helping Main Street Montanans with some of this legislation:

  • A law passed this year to create a comprehensive prescription drug benefit program for Montana's seniors, disabled and uninsured.
  • A 2005 law to create jobs and strengthen the state's economy by reinstating the "Made in Montana" promotion program the Martz administration had ended.
  • A law this year to encourage renewable energy development across the state and to help bring jobs to rural Montana and lower energy rates for consumers.
  • His efforts to guide passage of a bill that led to a historic increase in public school funding.

Here's why he needs your help:

Tester said he will try to raise the $600,000 to $800,000 that people have told him he will need for the primary election. Defeating Burns in the general election will take at least $6 million, he said.

"We'll handle the money as frugally as we can," Tester said. "We'll do the best we can with what we have to work with. I'm used to working with budgets that are pretty close to the table."

Contribution amount: $

Now back to the Pearl Jam rumor, from Courtney Lowry at New West:

When you find things you thought were no longer possible, it's hard not to get excited. Wednesday afternoon, I came across two such things -- a political candidate I actually like and the possibility of hearing actual music in Montana.

It seems we're lacking both these days, so to see Jon Tester and Pearl Jam bassist Jeff Ament standing together in the mid-afternoon Missoula sun with a tractor-trailer in the background was enough to give a person hope. [...]

Ament was there to support him sporting a white T-shirt with "Tester 2006" written in black marker across the chest.

The connection here is that both of them are from Big Sandy (a small farming community on the hi-line) both have watched the fabric of Montana change as the agriculture economy dropped and small businesses struggled, both want to get Conrad Burns out of the U.S. Senate and both think Jon Tester is the man for the job.

I'm guessing that is the first campaign shirt of the season, a rock star wearing a hand made t-shirt.

I've said this before, but I always use my old farmer Dad as a litmus test for how a Democrat is going to fare in Montana. My Dad is the old guard of the real family farmer and if you want to be a Democrat and win in Montana, you've got to appeal to the Clyde Lowerys of the world. My Dad and Jon Tester would be friends. They would spot each other in a room and talk for hours about the weather. My Dad wouldn't know what to do in a room with John Morrison.

But I digress. The real news here for Missoulians is that Ament has thrown his superstar weight behind Tester and that, my friends, could mean a lot for Jon Tester (and even possibly a benefit concert from Pearl Jam.) Arment said there's a lot of things to be worked out (like campaign donation laws and whatnot) but he and the boys are going to help out in anyway they can, "I want to do it and the band is totally behind it," he said. The band is going on tour in Canada this fall and their working on finishing an album, so there's a lot to be ironed out still.

Pearl Jam is famous for their philanthropy and one of Ament's pet issues is aid to family farmers. He said the band has contemplated doing Farm Aid shows in the past, but it never quite fit. By supporting Tester, Ament says he feels like he's still supporting family farmers.

"The thing that gets me most excited about Jon being involved on a federal level is that I think he could turn the farm program around," he told the small crowd. He later told me that "we have to keep rural Montana alive." Tester, he said, is the best chance.

This is going to be a helluva a race to watch. Let's give Tester the tools he needs to win!

Contribution amount: $

Posted at 01:18 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Activism, Montana | Comments (2) | Technorati

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

The Swing State Project's Official Candidate List

Posted by Bob Brigham

Swing State Project writes on the most important races in the country. Following all of the races lets SSP identify the best candidates in races where your support can make a crucial difference.

Our first candidate is Jon Tester, who is running for Senate in Montana. This is THE BEST pick-up opportunity for Democrats—anywhere in the country.

Last year, the revitalized Montana Democrats sweep the Governor’s mansion and both chambers of the legislature. This year, they are going to send their best and brightest to Washington.

Since this is Montana, your contribution practically doubles in value as soon as it crosses the stateline.

Montana -- the Last Best Place -- has this year’s best Senate candidate. Join us in supporting Jon Tester, he’ll make us proud.

Contribution amount: $

The U.S. Senate needs Jon Tester, send him $25 dollars today to help get his campaign up and running. When you send an email to your friends asking them to join you in helping to win this race, include a link to:

UPDATE (David): I'm incredibly excited that we've launched our new candidate list. Longtime readers will remember the tremendous success we had in supporting Ginny Schrader, who ran for Congress in Pennsylvania's 8th congressional district. We wound up raising nearly $7,000 for her, far exceeding our initial goal of $1,000. Based on our past success, I know we can do a bang-up job for Tester. Let's get to it!

Posted at 10:45 PM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - Senate, Activism, Montana, Netroots, Site News | Technorati

Voinovich's Tearful Plea Against Bolton

Posted by Tim Tagaris

Amazing video. DemBloggers has the piece, and I have already watched it four times. A tearful pleas from the well of the Senate by George Voinovich (R-OH), begging his colleagues to vote down the Bolton nomination tomorrow.

"At a strategic time, when we need friends all over the world, we need somebody up there that's gonna be able get the job done. And I know some of my friends say, 'let it go george it's gonna work out.' I don't wanna take the risk. I ran for a second term, because I'm worried about my kids, and my grandchildren."
I was touched, truly, for all of about 5 seconds. And then I remembered, Senator Voinovich, your kids, your grandchildren, and the people of America needed your vote a few weeks ago when you let Bolton out of committee.

Now unless you can convince a handful of your "friends" why you were wrong, your tears are for nothing; we're gonna have this asshole as Ambassador to the U.N. These bums are lucky only a small handful of people are paying attention to this stuff out here in the real world. It's just too ridiculous to be true.

Posted at 10:22 PM in General | Technorati

Oregon: House Democrats Get to Blogging

Posted by Tim Tagaris

This is nice:

In today’s hot political climate, information is everything. But it’s not enough simply to read newspapers, magazines and websites, or to watch cable news. Legislators need a way to participate in a no-holds-barred exchange of ideas, opinions and views on a 24/7 basis. And the people need a way to make their voices heard. That’s what this blog provides, and it’s open to everyone who has a view to express.
Three posts so far, all informational, and I didn't even see anyone asking for money. Imagine that. If you are in Oregon, consider yourself lucky. If you aren't, maybe it's time to contact your state party and let them know what's going on in Oregon.

Posted at 12:38 PM in Netroots | Technorati

Bill Frist Flops in New Hampshire

Posted by Bob Brigham

Last week, Senator Bill Frist was a frontrunner for the Republican Presidential Nomination in 2008. Now, he is just another could-have-been who overplayed his hand, went all in, and lost.

In New Hampshire, it was noticed. From a Manchester Union Leader Editorial:

Frist has again showed that he is no match for Senate Democrats. If he cannot effectively lead 55 Republican senators, how can he be trusted to lead the party and the country three years from now?

This is when the words, "GAME OVER" flash across the screen.

Posted at 11:49 AM in 2008 President - Republicans | Comments (1) | Technorati

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

MT-Sen: Jon Tester to Beat Burns

Posted by Bob Brigham

UPDATE: (Bob - Tester is the first SSP candidate in 2006.

UPDATE: (Bob) - Get to know the best Democratic Senate candidate in 2006, check out the video (click on video link). Also, pics of Tester here.

UPDATE: (Bob) - Kos calls Tester, The next senator from the great state of Montana.

First of all, let's review why you need to pay attention to Senator Conrad Burns re-election in Montana:

In 2000, Burns barely won (against an unknown opponent)

Burns re-elect number is 36%

Burns is having trouble raising money

Burns is a key figure in multiple corruption investigations

Burns lies to Montanans

Over the weekend, I posted on Jon Tester. His campaign is now official, according to the Havre Daily News:

Senate President Jon Tester, D-Big Sandy, began his first official day of campaigning for the U.S. Senate close to home today.

He planned to greet a few of his local supporters in Big Sandy before heading to Havre in a tractor-trailer decorated with lettering advertising his bid for the seat now held by Republican Conrad Burns.

Jon Tester is the real deal and as the best Democrat pick-up opportunity, this is a race Swing State Project will follow closely.

Tester needed to talk about it with his family first, he said. One consideration was the operation of his family farm, which his grandfather homesteaded. "It's not like it's a disposable piece of property," he said.

The other was the move to Washington, D.C. Tester said his family was in full support of the decision to run.

"You've got common sense and leadership abilities," he said he was told by constituents, who have also urged him to run.

Tester isn't a politician, he's a leader. I think that is why the people in Montana I've talked to are so excited by his effort. This won't be another typical campaign between two politicians, this will be a man of the people bringing people together to ensure that the people have a voice in D.C.

Tester is finishing his fourth term in the state Senate, his last due to term limits. In the Legislature he has focused on health care, education and jobs.

"The experience I got in the Montana Legislature, particularly as the leader of the Senate, has prepared me to represent the people of Montana well in Washington, D.C.," he said today.

Tester said he thinks one of his biggest assets as a candidate besides his experience in legislative leadership is his background.

"I think I can take that small business perspective and do some good things for the state of Montana," he said.

On national issues:

Among national issues, Social Security and Medicare are Tester's biggest concerns.

"I think the issue of privatization of (Social Security) and the risk of losing that program is not healthy," he said.

As for Montana's relationship with the federal government, "The federal government plays a huge role in the state's budget, particularly in the Medicaid account," he said. "It helps our elderly and disabled. That's a critical component from the D.C. level."

Not only can he win, but I fully expect him to:

Tester said he thinks he can defeat Burns in an election. "It's going to be very difficult," he said. "It's going to take a lot of work. He's an incumbent and he's been in there a lot of years."

But Tester said his background gives him an advantage: "The fact that I've lived in this environment my entire life and made a living here and understand the challenges that Montanans have. [...]

"He's got a quicker start but this isn't a sprint, it's a marathon," Tester said. "It's a lot of work. He who gets out there and hustles usually wins these things."

Two weeks ago, Tester traveled to Washington, D.C., to test the waters among party leadership. "We were treated very well," he said. "Everybody was very supportive of me running. They thought I had the right profile to win."

Damn straight.

Contribution amount: $

UPDATE: (Bob) Here's Tester's travel schedule for Wednesday:

Big Sandy Farmer Drives Tractor-Trailer Rig Across State to Listen to Montanans

Montana Senate President Jon Tester, a third-generation family farmer from Big Sandy, is announcing his candidacy for the United States Senate Wednesday in Bozeman, Butte and Missoula.

Driving his tractor-trailer rig, Tester started his statewide tour from his Big Sandy home and farm on Tuesday.

Today, Wednesday, May 25, Tester will be in his truck in Bozeman, Butte and Missoula at these times and locations:

Bozeman 9:30 a.m. Conoco gas station, off North Seventh Avenue and Baxter Lane near I-90

Butte 12 noon Red Lion Hotel, 2100 Cornell (Agri-Business Days)

Missoula 3:30 p.m. College of Technology, East Campus, 909 South Avenue West

“I’ll roll up my sleeves and work hard for Montana’s working families, just like my parents and grandparents taught me,” Tester said. “Montanans want leaders who work together and use common sense. And Montana families are stronger when they have good-paying jobs, quality public schools, and more affordable, accessible health care.”

Tester said that as a farmer and businessman from small-town Montana he understands the importance of working together -- neighbor to neighbor -- to get the job done.

“I’m working for the working people of Montana, for Main Street Montana, for those families who work hard and want their kids and grandkids to live, work and raise their families here,” Tester said. “My track record as a citizen-legislator demonstrates my deep commitment to moving Montana forward.”

“Jon Tester’s the real deal, and he gets the job done for Montana,” said state Representative Monica Lindeen of Huntley. “Montanans have a great opportunity to send a family farmer and proven leader to the U.S. Senate.”

Tester will drive his truck around the state this week to listen to Montanans. Tester is stopping in Havre, Billings, Bozeman, Butte, Helena, Missoula, Great Falls and Montana towns in between.

Contribution amount: $

Posted at 08:19 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Activism, Montana | Technorati

PA-06: Lois Murphy to Challenge Gerlach Again

Posted by Tim Tagaris

This was one of the closest races of the 2004 election cycle. Lois Murphy (D), came up just short of upending incumbent Jim Gerlach, approx. 7,000 votes short. If there is a Demcratic groundswell in 2006, Murphy might be just the kind of candidate that gets swept into office along with the tide--but then again, she has the chance to beat him outright even if that doesn't happen. From PoliticsPA.

PoliticsPA has confirmed that Democrat Lois Murphy will again challenge Jim Gerlach in the 6th Congressional District. Murphy will likely this week will hold a press conference announcing her candidacy. [...]

From a senior Democratic source in Washington: "When Lois Murphy announces, she will emerge as one of the strongest Democratic
challengers in the country.

Posted at 06:30 PM in Pennsylvania | Comments (1) | Technorati

Schweitzer on Lou Dobbs Tonight

Posted by Bob Brigham

From an email:

Governor Schweitzer Live on CNN's Lou Dobbs Nightly News Show Tonight

Governor Brian Schweitzer will give a live interview tonight on CNN's Lou Dobbs Show about the polarization of politics in Washington D.C., what it is like to be a democrat in the west and the great state of Montana. The nightly news show airs from 4:00-5:00PM MST on CNN. The Governor's appearance will be during the interview section of the show which is scheduled to start at 4:34 MST

Posted at 04:21 PM in Montana | Technorati

Numbers in Iraq

Posted by Bob Brigham


Nine American troops killed in Iraq

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Insurgent attacks during the past 24 hours have killed nine U.S. troops in Iraq, the military said Tuesday.

Three soldiers died in a car bombing in central Baghdad on Tuesday and a fourth -- who was manning an observation post -- was killed by a drive-by gunman, Task Force Baghdad spokesman, Maj. Darryl Wright said.

Four other American soldiers were killed by a bomb on Monday, the military said. They were assigned to the 155th Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force.

The explosive "detonated near their vehicle" in fighting in Haswa, south of Baghdad.

A ninth American -- a Marine -- died Monday after an "indirect fire attack" on Camp Blue Diamond in Ramadi, the Marines said.

The deaths bring the number of U.S. troops killed in the Iraq war to 1,643, according to U.S. military reports.

As more and more service members die for Bush's unnecessary war, it is easy to get lost in the numbers. Lots of numbers, but each of these numbers is a story, a son or daughter, a brother or sister. There is a great number of families and communities that are hurting -- for no reason. Each number has a story, and in addition to the wounded and the mentally scarred, the soldiers who won't be coming home now number 1,643:

# # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # #

Posted at 04:07 PM in International | Technorati

New Spectator Sport: Watching Zealot Mental Breakdowns

Posted by Bob Brigham

All across America, people are beginning to understand that the zealots who lead the Republican Party will stop at nothing to ensure a one party political system. Senator Bill Frist and Congressman Tom DeLay have no respect for the rules, no respect for cooperation, no respect for debate. All they care about is forcing their extremist views upon America.

With great pleasure I've been watching the GOP response to the compromise that saved the institution of the Senate. This has been covered all over the blogosphere, but I found the following email of particular interest:


Radical Republicans and right-wing activists have repeatedly stressed their all-or-nothing position on the nuclear option. They find compromise unacceptable. After the defection of seven moderate Republican Senators from the pro-nuclear position of Senate Republican leadership, radical activists express their disappointment over failing to take the Senate nuclear.

Conservatives unhappy with the moderates’ deal because it is the same one offered by Senator Harry Reid, rejected by Senator Frist. Writing in the conservative National Review, Andrew McCarthy assessed the moderates’ deal: “Let’s say, instead, that they simply gave us the bottom line: (a) three of the president’s nominees get an up-or-down vote (i.e., exactly three of the pending seven left standing after the Democrats — in that spirit of compromise — whittled down from the original ten); (b) the Democrats remain free to filibuster (but only on the strict condition that, uh, well, that the Democrats feel like filibustering); and (c) the Republicans, on the brink of breaking four years of obstruction, decide instead to punt (and on the eve of a likely battle over a Supreme Court vacancy, no less). Sound familiar? Yes it does: It’s the deal that Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid offered a week ago — and that was flatly rejected as paltry and unprincipled.” [National Review, 5/24/05]

Focus on the Family Chairman James Dobson calls compromise a “complete bailout and betrayal by a cabal of Republicans, great victory for Senate Democrats. "This Senate agreement represents a complete bailout and betrayal by a cabal of Republicans and a great victory for united Democrats. Only three of President Bush's nominees will be given the courtesy of an up-or-down vote, and it's business as usual for all the rest. The rules that blocked conservative nominees remain in effect, and nothing of significance has changed. Justice Clarence Thomas, Justice Antonin Scalia, and Chief Justice William Rehnquist would never have served on the U. S. Supreme Court if this agreement had been in place during their confirmations. The unconstitutional filibuster survives in the arsenal of Senate liberals. [U.S. Newswire, 5/23/05]

Disappointment, outrage and sense of abandonment: Dobson goes on: "We are grateful to Majority Leader Frist for courageously fighting to defend the vital principle of basic fairness. That principle has now gone down to defeat. We share the disappointment, outrage and sense of abandonment felt by millions of conservative Americans who helped put Republicans in power last November. I am certain that these voters will remember both Democrats and Republicans who betrayed their trust." [U.S. Newswire, 5/23/05]

Former Republican presidential candidate, Gary Bauer, calls compromise a “travesty.” "Under this agreement it is now more likely that radical social change will continue to be forced on the American people by liberal courts committed to same sex marriage, abortion on demand and hostility to religious expression. The Republicans who lent their names to this travesty have undercut their President as well as millions of their most loyal voters. Shame on them all." [U.S. Newswire, 5/23/05]

Moderate Republicans have thrown victory overboard. Paul Weyrich, veteran conservative organizer, says of the compromise," Once again, moderate Republicans have taken the victory and thrown it overboard." [New York Times, 5/24/05]

A big defeat for the Republicans, Democrats win even though they put a few judges up for confirmation. “Conservatives are going to be outraged over it," said Paul Weyrich, a veteran social conservative organizer and founder of the Free Congress Foundation. "And what do they get for it? This is about the Supreme Court, and the filibuster is still intact for the Supreme Court. This is a big defeat for the Republicans. The Democrats win even though they have got to put a few judges up for confirmation." [New York Times, 5/24/05]

Moderate Republicans didn’t have the backbone and the fortitude to stand up for the fact that we are the majority. The Rev. Louis P. Sheldon, chairman and founder of the Traditional Values Coalition: said he was sitting with several conservative senators and a dozen Republican House members at the Capitol Hill Club when they learned of the agreement. "I tell you, you would have thought that the World Series had been forfeited for some dumb reason," Sheldon said. "They slapped their hands against their heads and cried out. They couldn't believe that this was the agreement." . . . . . Of the seven Republicans who signed the compromise agreement, Sheldon said: "They didn't have the backbone and the fortitude to stand up for the fact that we are the majority." [L.A. Times 5/24/05,0,69327.story?coll=la-home-headlines]

Tony Perkins, President of the Family Research Council, says it’s not over. "I think we are going to be back here down the road," he said. [New York Times, 5/24/04]

Iowa Right to Life Committee president, Kim Lehman calls compromise “absurd,” an “abandonment.” In an interview, Lehman called the proposed compromise "absolutely absurd" and said it amounted to "abandonment" of the GOP. "The grassroots worked very hard to elect this Republican Senate. It's not an accident that we have the majority, and they've squandered it," she said. "When on earth did they decide to compromise the Constitution?" [CNN, Morning Grind 5/24/05]

Washington Times announces: “7 Republicans abandon GOP on filibuster. “The deal didn't satisfy Majority Leader Bill Frist, who has maintained that the Constitution requires up-or-down votes on all judicial nominees. ‘The agreement announced tonight falls short of that principle,’ the Tennessee Republican said on the Senate floor. ‘It falls short. It has some good news, and it has some disappointing news.’ “ [Washington Times, 5/24/05]

Right-wing activists warn compromisers about their chances in the Iowa caucuses. President of Iowa Christian Coalition Steve Scheffler, president of the Christian Coalition of Iowa, said '08 caucus-goers have a long memory and little patience for "Republicans who oppose George Bush's judges." "We'll educate people in the caucuses, and this is not going to do them a lot of good in terms of their presidential aspirations," Scheffler told the Grind. "If they think people who attend caucus are going to forget about this, they're sadly mistaken." [CNN, Morning Grind, 5/24/05]

Nothing else comes close short of nuclear war – activists vow to fight on. The Iowa Family Policy Center President Chuck Hurley said the issue won't go away. "It's the biggest battle, nothing else comes close, short of nuclear war," he told the Grind. "It's the biggest job the president has, and it's the biggest test a candidate faces." [CNN, Morning Grind, 5/24/05]


Senator Frist compared Democratic efforts to prevent the nomination of out of the mainstream judges to an assassination. Frist: “Mr. President, The – In response, the Paez nomination – we’ll come back and discuss it further, and actually I’d like to come back to the floor and discuss it, and it really brings to I believe a point what is – the issue. And the issue is that we have leadership-led partisan filibusters that have obstructed not one nominee but two, three, four five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten in a routine way. The issue is not cloture votes per se. It’s the partisan leadership-led use of cloture vote to kill, to defeat, to assassinate these nominees.” [Senate Floor, 5/18/05]

Senator Frist says it’s the Constitution or the filibuster: “My goal is to have up or down votes, fair up or down votes, and it's based on principle, it's based on the Constitution," Frist said in a rare news conference Tuesday on the Senate floor. "One, at the end of the day, will be left standing. Either the Constitution... or the filibuster." [Gannett News Service, 4/27/05]

Frist says votes must go forward without the procedural gimmick of the filibuster. “Republicans believe in the regular order of fair up-and-down votes and letting the Senate decide yes or no on judicial confirmations free from procedural gimmicks like the filibuster,”

Frist: “It’s hard to compromise to the extent that people don’t get an up-or-down vote.” [Roll Call 5/11/05 Subscription Required]

Senator McConnell says compromise on judges is equivalent to a “random slaying.” McConnell: “any suggested agreement by the other side involves a kind of random slaying of good people.” [New York Times, 5/11/05]

McConnell says Republicans have the votes to go nuclear. “It has been my prediction that we will have the votes if this step is taken,” McConnell said. [Roll Call 5/11/05 Subscription Required]

Senator George Allen urges action: "I've been advocating for months that we should move on this." [LA Times 5/11/05]

Senator Hutchinson is ready to exercise the nuclear option. Kay Bailey Hutchison, supports going nuclear in the Senate by saying, “We need to move on with the confirmations.” [CQ Today, 5/3/05 Subscription Required]

Senator Santorum says the time has come: “The time has come for the Senate to reestablish that tradition, to end these destructive judicial filibusters and to give all judicial nominees the up-or-down vote they deserve.” [Washington Post, 4/17/05]

Santorum: "My motivation is to affirm the constitutional duty of all Senators to give advice and consent on the President's judicial nominations. That includes a vigorous...up or down vote" [Philadelphia Inquirer, 4/22]

Senator John Cornyn says the filibuster must end: “Fundamentally, what we have is a partisan minority blocking a bipartisan majority from being able to act on the Senate floor. And this is something that we think needs to come to an end.” [CNN, 5/9/05]

Cornyn Said Frist Is Going Ahead With Nuclear Option. “Senator John Cornyn, a Republican member of the Judiciary Committee, tells us his party has the 51 votes necessary to implement the rule change and that Mr. Frist is getting ready to do just that.” [Wall Street Journal, Editorial, 2/1/05]

Senator Cornyn’s narrow parameters for a no-compromise compromise: won’t accept any proposal where some nominees get votes, others do not. “Well, I certainly couldn't support any proposal which suggests that some of the president's nominees get an up-or-down vote and others be thrown overboard, and with no promise of how a prospective Supreme Court nominee might be treated, whether they would be filibustered or not. We need a permanent solution to this problem, and I believe it should be along the lines that I've suggested: that all presidents' -- each president's nominees would be treated exactly the same and not dependent on who happens to take up the decision to block, in a partisan fashion, a bipartisan majority from being able to cast an up-or-down vote.”
[News Conference, 5/9/05]


Conservative pundit Bob Novak says compromise on judges is, “like going to a concentration camp and picking out which people go to the death chamber.”
In response to a question from Al Hunt: “Bob, why would Senator Frist refuse an offer [by Reid] to break the deadlock?”

Novak responded: “Because the whole system is that you're not going to have -- like going to a concentration camp and picking out which people go to the death chamber. You're not going to let the Democrats do that, say we're going to -- we're going to confirm this person, we're not going to confirm the other person. They're going to -- they're going to say that this is not the way we're going to do it. They've had all kinds of different offers of that kind.” [CNN's The Capital Gang, 5/14/05]

Dr. Dobson says compromise would be an end run, and a betrayal. "If this is true," Dr. Dobson said in an interview Tuesday, "it will represent an end run around the majority leader and will quite frankly be seen as a betrayal of the millions of people who put George Bush and the Republicans in office." [New York Times 5/11/05]

Frist goaded into action by disgraced former staffer who says delay would be “intolerable.” Manuel Miranda, a former nominations counsel for Senator Frist who was forced to resign from the majority leader's office after leaking strategy memos from activist groups to Senate Democrats on which nominations to filibuster. Winning the fight over judges is "vitally important for his political future," says Miranda. "But even if he were not to run for president it's important for his legacy. He knows he will not be remembered for the class‑action bill or the healthy forest initiative." [Christian Science Monitor 5/11/05]

“It must happen next week,” Manuel Miranda, chairman of the National Coalition to End the Judicial Filibuster, said during last week’s recess. “It would be considered intolerable to delay any further than next week. … Were it to be delayed beyond the next week, the Senate GOP should expect tens of thousands of angry phone calls and faxes to tie up their lines.” [Roll Call 5/12/05 Subscription Required]

Right-wing groups think it’s time to cash in, warning Republicans to vote for the nuclear option. On one side are conservative leaders who, after helping Republicans gain control of the White House and Congress, want results. If the Senate GOP leadership accepts anything less than a vote on each of Bush's nominees, ''I think people will be extremely upset,'' said Wendy Long of the Judicial Confirmation Network. [AP, 5/17/05]

GOP won’t let any nominations fail. On the notion that GOP leaders might allow some nominations to fail without a vote, she said flatly, ''They won't.'' [AP, 5/17/05]

Posted at 03:28 PM in Nuclear Option | Technorati

PA-08: Something's Fishy in Bucks Co.

Posted by Tim Tagaris

Last election cycle, Swing State Project went to bat for Ginny Schrader (Dem. PA-08). On one fateful day, the blogosphere took a candidate destined for anonymity and propelled her race into the national spotlight. So effective was the blogswarm that the DCCC was "forced" to stick with Schrader in an open-seat showdown against Mike Fitzpatrick. She became one of us, as Bob put it, it was Ginny Schrader (D-Blogosphere).

While Ginny got much love from the roots, on the ground among the Bucks County, Pennsylvania establishment, there was a different story playing out. There are a lot of questions about the level of commitment the county party had in electing Ginny. And trust me, living in Bucks County right now, I am exploring many of them.

But for now, some of my earliest suspiscions have been confirmed. Even during the 2004 election, despite the national support, despite the local enthusiasm in the grassroots, people were already looking towards 2006. Working towads 2006. And they had their candidate already picked out.

Well, he announced yesterday, Patrick Murphy is running for the House of Representatives in Pennsylvania's 8th Congressional District.

Posted at 01:13 PM in Pennsylvania | Comments (5) | Technorati

The Revitalized Democratic Party

Posted by Bob Brigham

For the last two weeks, I've been blessed with a front-row seat to the filibuster fight. It has been a remarkable experience and as Swing State Project pivots back to focusing on 2006 races, I will miss the urgency of the battle. Make no mistake, this was a battle royale and I believe it will be remembered as a turning point in the transformation of the Democratic Party.

My first observation is that the Democrats didn't roll over and die. The Democratic Leadership Council has so thoroughly wrecked the Democratic Party that I believe it is important to emphasize this. On too many battles since the DLC bought the party, Democrats have feared to engage in political battle. Much to my surprise, under Senator Harry Reid's leadership, Democrats are willing to stand up fight.

The Democratic Party still has a long way to go in the quest to remedy the harm of the DLC. The most important part of the battle to retake our party is giving Senator Joe Lieberman a giant shitburger of a primary challenge. As far as I'm concerned, the junior Senator from Connecticut is a complete piece of crap that is only allowed in the Democratic caucus because Harry Reid is a gentleman. To be perfectly honest, I don't even care if we win. But we need to send a powerful signal that the appeasement days are over. Blanketing Connecticut with the nastiest ads ever created will go a long way towards forging a respect for solidarity in the Democratic Party.

Looking back over the battle for the filibuster, I think Democrats biggest blow came on March 15 when Harry Reid held a capitol steps rally to demonstrate unity -- Lieberman's absence was "conspicuous" (as the press noted). That is the great thing about brinkmanship, it clearly defines who is on which team. Lieberman hurt Democrats through the entire battle and the Democratic Leadership Council was worthless in the fight.

Those of you who think Democrats could have done better are 100% justified in blaming Joe Lieberman. Lieberman's refusal to work with Democrats cost us from the start, it hurt our posture, it compromised our negotiating position, and it personally pissed me off.

I don't buy in to unilateral disarmament and I certainly don't buy in to the notion that you don't go negative in primary elections. The primaries are where we set our Democratic Party's course and if a credible candidate runs against Joe Lieberman, I am confident that the netroots will unleash a wrath of epic proportions. Sure Lieberman will probably win, but he needs to be shunned by Democrats. When he goes home to Connecticut, I want people to lower their eyes as he walks down the street...too embarrassed to make eye contact.

The act of shunning has a proud tradition in political action and needs to be utilized against Lieberman. For Democratic political operatives, there is no honor in working for Lieberman or the DLC. While people have ended up in the employment of both for a variety of reasons, now is the time to leave. Twenty years down the road, if a resume crosses my desk from somebody who worked for Lieberman after today, that person will be rejected without any further consideration. If you want to work in Democratic politics, you do not want Lieberman or the DLC on your resume.

I am one-hundred fucking percent serious about this. From now on, there are no excuses.

But back to the good stuff. In spite of Joe Lieberman, the Democratic Party showed a new spirit these last couple of weeks. Some of it was the momentum from a united caucus blocking Social Security privatization, but there was something else that I noticed in this fight: teamwork.

Except for the Lieberman and the dipshits at the DLC, the left worked together to save the filibuster. Bill Frist's abuse of power forced institutional and structural changes in Democrats' coordination, command and control, messsage, and distribution that were fast-tracked to deal with Dobson's threat against the senate.

Comparing my experiences early in the year fighting for Social Security with the last two weeks, I noticed a dramatic escalation in modernized campaigning by Democrats.

Yes, there is a long way to go, but the filibuster fight was a great fire-drill for Democrats. We learned a great deal at an accelerated rate, knowledge that will be priceless in future policy and election battles.

In short, Reid kicks ass, Lieberman sucks ass, and the revitalized donkey is one ass we can be proud of.

UPDATE: (Bob) - You can find more out more about a potential primary campaign against Lieberman here and here.

Posted at 11:36 AM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Activism, Connecticut, Democrats, Nuclear Option | Technorati

NY: Pirro Being Shoved into a Race, but Which One?

Posted by DavidNYC

The New York Times today makes it sound like Westchester District Attorney Jeanine Pirro is being goaded into running for statewide office, so desperate are the Republicans for what the NYT embarrassingly calls a "high-profile" name. Talk about defining high-profile down. Pirro is a local county DA - quick, can you even name your own DA, let alone one from another part of the state?

More importantly, Pirro's husband was convicted of tax fraud just a few years ago and served a year in the clink. That's one hell of an albatross, especially when you're a freakin' law enforcement official. The GOP is pretending like this problem can be swept under the rug - whatever.

And finally, Pirro has said she'll run for a statewide race, but hasn't even said which one. Pretty bizarro. It could be Attorney General, Governor or Senator. She'd obviously get creamed in either of the last two, but the state GOP fantasizes that her profile will get raised even in a losing effort. Yeah, this kind of thing does happen sometimes - Brian Schweitzer in Montana and Mark Warner both lost before they won. But I think you've got to make it close in order to be considered viable the next time out, and I can't see Pirro's margin even being as small as Dan Quayle's IQ.

The only campaign she might not get Alan Keyed in is the AG race (I'm not so impressed with the current crop of Dems running for the seat). But man, if Stephen Minarik's rising star is someone who, in 2008 or 2010, will be able to say, "I lost the Attorney General's race to Mark Green," then the NY GOP must really enjoy kissing its sister.

Posted at 08:38 AM in New York | Comments (5) | Technorati

Nuclear Fallout: More From the Field

Posted by Tim Tagaris

Working for Change: (David Sirota) Good news on the filibuster issue being resolved, at least for now. Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) and the Democratic Caucus really managed to make the Republican leadership look like the extremist thugs they are.

Working for Change: (David Sirota Part II) First and foremost - the radical right is freaking out. That means that, policy-wise, we've not only done something right by defeating the "nuclear" option, but we've opened up a divide between the lunatic fringe wing of the GOP, and the (albeit dying and tiny) mainstream wing.

Senator Russ Feingold: This is not a good deal for the U.S. Senate or for the American people. Democrats should have stood together firmly against the bullying tactics of the Republican leadership abusing their power as they control both houses of Congress and the White House.

MyDD: (Chris Bowers Part II) The Nuclear Option debacle is over, and I for one am glad. As much as it helped shed sunlight on the extremist, theocon wing of the Republican Party, it also dragged on for two months and sucked as much air out of the news and the blogosphere as I have seen any issue accomplish since the election.

Posted at 12:21 AM in Nuclear Option | Comments (1) | Technorati

Monday, May 23, 2005

Driving the Wedge

Posted by DavidNYC

Regardless of what you think of the filibuster deal we cut tonight - and I can't say I'm a big fan of it - the outrage in wingnuttia is truly berserk. Our friends at Crooks & Liars have compiled an awesome assemblage of conservative froth and venom. The fact is, no matter how grumpy some of us on the left might be right now, Bill Frist drove an enormous wedge between the Republican leadership in Washington and the right-wing base tonight. It's our job to hammer that wedge even further.

Even Darth Dobson is spluttering with rage and already making threats:

This Senate agreement represents a complete bailout and betrayal by a cabal of Republicans and a great victory for united Democrats.


We share the disappointment, outrage and sense of abandonment felt by millions of conservative Americans who helped put Republicans in power last November. I am certain that these voters will remember both Democrats and Republicans who betrayed their trust.

Go follow that Crooks & Liars link for more winger vein-popping. Keep reminding the right of how their leadership "betrayed" them today and their blood will keep boiling. As I say, this is going to be a good wedge issue for the foreseeable future, especially if the Dems do find a way to filibuster any future nominees.

Posted at 11:07 PM in Nuclear Option | Comments (2) | Technorati

Nuclear Fallout: Keeping Score at Home

Posted by Tim Tagaris

Kos: Remember, Republicans have a 10-seat majority in the Senate. Given the alternative -- a Dobson controlled Supreme Court nominee -- this is a huge victory.

Atrios: (Avendon) I don't know about you, but I don't like it.

MyDD: (Chris Bowers) My first reaction is that this is a defeat, since we would only accept a deal unless we didn't have the votes. Then again, the filibuster is saved and Frist might be finished, so it is also a victory

BOP News: (Stirling Newberry) They got it. Make no mistake, this deal is an unmitigated disaster for Democracy, for the Democratic Senate caucus, for ordinary Democrats, for all Americans.

Talk Left: - We don't have a "Republic" tonight. We have a total Republican regime. Welcome to the Theocracy.

AmericaBlog: (From Joe) - But, in the long run, this forces the White House to think differently about the Supreme Court. That seemed to be the message from the gang of 14, most notably Lindsay Graham who said as much during the press conference. Still processing...but those are initial thoughts.

Steve Gillard: This is a major defeat for the theocrats. This is what happens when amateurs play at politics. Dobson was under the delusion that he could control the Senate with his money and Bill Frist's dick in his pocket. This didn't work.

Swing State Project: (Tim) We just spent the last several months repeating that Priscilla Owen and Janice Rogers Brown were so far out of the mainstream that we were willing to walk up to the edge of nuclear catastrophe in the Senate. If these two do not fall into the "extraordinary circumstances" category, how can we convince the American people that any nominee to the Supreme Court is so beyond the pale that we are forced to filibuster?

Swing State Project: (David) Sounds like we made a deal to preserve a filibuster we'll never be able to use.

The Next Hurrah: (DHinMI) The presser is still going on, and people on both ends of the political spectrum are calling this a defeat. But only one side of the political spectrum calling this a defeat is wrong: the left side is wrong. This is a victory for Harry Reid and the Democratic caucus in the Senate, and it's a big loss for the Republicans, the White House, and especially Bill Frist.

The Next Hurrah: (Emptywheel) I don't know--and I don't think anyone knows--whether this compromise is a good or bad thing. Hell, we don't even know what the result of Owen's and Brown's votes will be; if some Republicans have been convinced to oppose them, then it will feel more like a win than it does today. But I think this compromise can be turned into a win, by pushing the moderate 14 to oppose Bolton's nomination on the terms it is being advanced perhaps as early as Wednesday.

Crooks & Liars: No nuclear option. Dobson, Robertson, Frist and the Religious Right have lost.

If you see any more I should add, from the left, or if you have a blog and want yours added, let me know.

Posted at 09:48 PM in Nuclear Option | Comments (3) | Technorati

Nuclear Fallout: Harry Reid Video

Posted by Tim Tagaris

Link from DemBloggers.

Use this as a temporary open thread. Sign up for an account to comment on Swing State Project here.

Posted at 09:18 PM in Nuclear Option | Technorati

Reid Claims Victory!

Posted by Bob Brigham

Reid's Statement:

There is good news for every American in this agreement. The so-called "nuclear option" is off the table. This is a significant victory for our country, for democracy, and for all Americans. Checks and balances in our government have been preserved.

The integrity of future Supreme Courts has been protected from the undue influences of a vocal, radical faction of the right that is completely out of step with mainstream America. That was the intent of the Republican "nuclear option" from the beginning. Tonight, the Senate has worked its will on behalf of reason, responsibility and the greater good.

We have sent President George Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and the radical arm of the Republican base an undeniable message: Abuse of power will not be tolerated, and attempts to trample the Constitution and grab absolute control are over. We are a separate and equal branch of government. That is our founding fathers¹ vision, and one we hold dear.

I offered Senator Frist several options similar to this compromise, and while he was not able to agree, I am pleased that some responsible Republicans and my colleagues were able to put aside there differences and work from the center. I do not support several of the judges that have been agreed to because their views and records display judicial activism that jeopardize individual rights and freedoms. But other troublesome nominees have been turned down. And, most importantly, the U.S. Senate retains the checks and balances to ensure all voices are heard in our democracy and the Supreme Court make-up cannot be decided by a simple majority.

I am grateful to my colleagues who brokered this deal. Now, we can move beyond this time-consuming process that has deteriorated the comity of this great institution. I am hopeful that we can quickly turn to work on the people's business. We need to ensure our troops have the resources they need to fight in Iraq and that Americans are free from terrorism. We need to protect retiree's pensions and long-term security. We need to expand health care opportunities for all families. We need to address rising gasoline prices and energy independence. And we need to restore fiscal responsibility and rebuild our economy so that it lifts all American workers. That is our reform agenda, the people's reform agenda. Together, we can get the job done.

Good news for America, even Senate Republicans admitted the GOP leadership under Frist and DeLay is nuts. With Senate Republicans leading the charge, the 2006 backlash begins today!


Posted at 08:31 PM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - House, 2006 Elections - Senate, Nuclear Option | Technorati

Nuclear Fallout: Who's In - Who's Out?

Posted by Tim Tagaris

Priscilla Owen - Gets in

William Pryor - Get in

Janice Rogers Brown - Gets in

Michigan Judges - 2 of 3 get in (Henry Saad does not)

Willian Myers - Does not get in

This according to Bill Frist on the floor of the Senate at approx. 8 P.M.

Posted at 08:13 PM in | Technorati

Nuclear Option: CNN Reports Deal Reached

Posted by Tim Tagaris

From CNN's breaking news alert on the top of it's webstite.

A bipartisan group of senators has reached a deal to avert a showdown over President Bush's judicial nominees, congressional sources tell CNN. Details soon.
UPDATE 1 - 7:37 P.M. (Tim) - Drudge Reports (Take it for what it's worth):
"We've got a deal," Nebraska Democratic Sen. Ben Nelson told reporters. Senators plan to announce details at a news conference shortly...

UPDATE - 2 7:46 P.M. (Bob): From MSNBC:

Under the agreement, Democrats would pledge not to filibuster any of Bush’s future appeals court or Supreme Court nominees except in “extraordinary circumstances.”

For their part, Republicans agreed not to support an attempt to strip Democrats of their right to block votes.

If these are the terms, then Democrats won everything. Democrats have approved 95% of Bush's nominees, only using the filibuster for "extraordinary circumstances" with the most extremist picks. With the GOP tanking in the polls, it looks like they were the first to blink. If this is true, then the Democrats won, Democrats saved the Senate!

UPDATE 3 (Tim) - CSPAN3 is carrying the conference, I just tuned in. You can watch at

UPDATE 4 (Bob): The few remaining moderates in the Republican Party have just admitted that Bush and Frist and DeLay are batshit crazy. People who vote for Republicans in 2006 are voting to continue the reign of those who pushed this outrageous abuse of power.

UPDATE 5 (Bob): Kos;

It's not a good day to be Bill Frist. He looks weak, unable to control his own caucus. His winger friends go ballistic. They get some judges, sure, but ultimately, we can filibuster Bush's next Supreme Court nominee unless he picks a moderate.

The Dobson power grab may have failed a day early.

UPDATE 6 (Bob): Reid claims victory: "Checks and Balances have been protected."

UPDATE 7 (Bob): Crooks and Liars:

No nuclear option. Dobson, Robertson, Frist and the Religious Right have lost.

UPDATE 8 (Bob): While Democrats won, there is talk that we would could have done better if Reid wouldn't have been undermined by the chickenshit DLCers.

UPDATE 9 (Bob): More from Kos:

On top of everything, Frist looks weak. He's failed his crazies. He's finished.

Posted at 07:33 PM in Nuclear Option | Comments (2) | Technorati

Reid to Republicans: Stand Down

Posted by Bob Brigham

Roll Call (via Political Wire):

In an unusual move, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) will appear tonight in a 90-second television ad calling on Republicans to stand down on their threat to eliminate the filibuster for judicial nominees.

Reid will address the nation in a half an hour. For the sake of the Senate, let's hope Reid is successful in convincing the Republicans to stop this abuse of power.

Posted at 07:25 PM in Nuclear Option | Technorati

Dr. Action on GOP Abuse of Power

Posted by Bob Brigham

According to Chris Bowers, Swing State Project's DavidNYC is Dr. Action.

Join Dr. Action and tell everyone you know about the Republican's Abuse of Power.

UPDATE: (Bob): Dr. Action's All Hands on Deck post made MSNBC today -- check out Crooks and Liars for the video. Way to go, David Dr. Action!

Posted at 06:38 PM in Activism, Nuclear Option, Site News | Technorati

Nuclear Option: Showdown at High Noon Tomorrow

Posted by Tim Tagaris

Bill Frist just had the Sargeant at Arms instruct all Senators to the floor to make one simple announcement. He will call for a cloture vote on Priscilla Owen tomorrow at high noon in the well of the United States Senate.

He couldn't have picked a better time.

Posted at 06:05 PM in Nuclear Option | Technorati

Nuclear Option: Biden Floor Speech

Posted by Tim Tagaris

As you know, Swing State Project will be following the nuclear option around the clock leading up to, and continuing through, the nuclear fallout resulting from the GOP abuse of power. As a service to SSP readers, we are getting in touch with Senate staffs in order to post their remarks in full. If you are a Senate staffer, please send along full-text transcripts of prepared remarks so we can post them in full here. Email addresses can be found on the right side of this page.

Senator Joe Biden's office was the first to respond, and they deserve praise for reaching out in this manner. Snip from his remarks:

Watch what happens, watch what happens when the Majority Leader stands up and says to the Vice President, if we go forward with this, and he calls the question. And one of us, I expect our leader on the Democratic side, will stand up and say, "parliamentary inquiry, Mr. President. Is this parliamentary appropriate -- parliamentarily appropriate?" and in every other case that I've been here in 32 years, the presiding officer leans down to the parliamentarian and says, "what's the rule, Mr. Parliamentarian?" the parliamentarian turns and tells him. Hold your breath, parliamentarian.

He's not going to look to you because he knows what you would say. He would say, this is not parliamentarily appropriate. You cannot change the Senate rules by a pure majority vote.

If any of you think I'm exaggerating, watch on television. Watch when this happens. And watch the vice president ignore -- he's not required to look to an unelected officer. But that has been the practice for 218 years. He will not look down and say, "what is the ruling?"

Full-text of remarks in the extended entry.

Biden Floor Statement on the "Nuclear Option"

May 23, 2005

Mr. BIDEN: Mr. President, my friends and colleagues, I've not been here as long as Senator Byrd, and no one fully understands the Senate as well as Senator Byrd, but I've been here for over three decades.

I think this is the single-most significant vote any one of us will cast in my 32 years in the Senate, and I suspect the senator would agree with that.

And we should make no mistake. This nuclear option is ultimately an example of the arrogance of power. It is a fundamental power grab by the majority party propelled by its extreme right and designed to change the reading of the Constitution, particularly as it relates to individual rights and property rights. It's nothing more or nothing less.

And let me take a few minutes to explain that. Folks who want to see this change want to eliminate one of the procedural mechanisms designed for the express purpose of guaranteeing individual rights and they also, as a consequence, would undermine the protections of the minority point of view in the heat of majority excess.

We've been through these periods before in American history, but never to the best of my knowledge has any party been so bold as to fundamentally attempt to change the structure of this body.

Why else would the majority party attempt one of the most fundamental changes in the 216-year history of this Senate on the grounds that they are being denied seven of 218 federal judges, three of whom have stepped down?

What shortsightedness and what a price history will exact on those who support this radical move. Mr. President, I think it's important we state frankly, if for no other reason than the historical record, why this is being done.

The extreme right of the Republican party is attempting to hijack the federal courts by emasculating the court's independence and changing one of the unique foundations of the united states senate. That is, the requirement that the protection of the right of individual senators to guarantee the independence of the federal judiciary. This is being done in the name of fairness?

But, quite frankly, it's the ultimate act of unfairness to alter the unique responsibility of the United States Senate and to do so by breaking the very rules of the united states senate. Mark my words, what's at stake here is not the politics of 2005 but the federal judiciary and the united states senate of the year 2025.

This is the single-most significant vote, as I said earlier, that I will have cast in my 32 years in the senate. The extreme Republican right has made Justice Ginsburg's "Constitution in Exile," the name of a work he wrote, the framework of that "Constitution in Exile" their top priority.

It is their purpose to reshape the federal courts so as to guarantee a reading of the Constitution consistent with Judge Ginsburg's radical views of the 5th Amendment's taking clause, the Non-delegation Doe Doctrine, the 11th amendment and the 10th amendment.

I suspect some listening to me and some in the press will think I'm exaggerating. I would respectfully suggest they read Justice Ginsburg's work, "Constitution in Exile." Read it. Read it and understand what is at work here.

As I said, if you doubt what I'm saying, then I suggest you ask yourself the rhetorical question, "why for the first time since 1789 is the Republican-controlled Senate attempting to change the rule of unlimited debate, as it relates to federal----eliminate it as it relates to federal judges for the circuit court or supreme court?"

If you doubt what I say, please read what Justice Ginsburg has written.
Greve says "what is really needed here is a fundamental, intellectual assault on the entire new deal edifice. We want to withdraw judicial support for the entire modern welfare state." End of quote.

Read: social security, workmans comp. National labor root relations board. Read. F.D.A., read what all the byproduct of that shift in Constitutional authority meant.

If you want to hear more of what I'm -- I characterize as radical view -- and maybe it is unfair to say "radical." A fundamental view and what at least must be characterized as a stark departure from current Constitutional jurisprudence, then click onto American Enterprise Institute's web site. Read what they say.

Read what the purpose is. It's not about seeking a conservative court or placing conservative justices on the bench. The courts are already conservative. Seven of the nine Supreme Court Justices appointed by republican presidents Nixon, Ford, Reagan, Bush I and Bush II -- seven of nine. 10 of 13 federal circuit court of appeals dominated by Republican appointees appointed by presidents Nixon, Ford, Reagan, Bush I and Bush II. 58% of the circuit court judges appointed by either presidents Nixon, Ford, Reagan, Bush I and Bush II.

No, my friends and colleagues, this is not about building a conservative court. We already have a conservative court. This is about guaranteeing a Supreme Court made up of men and women like those who sat on the court in 1910 and 1920.

Those who believe shall as Justice Rogers does of California, that the Constitution has been in exile, has been in exile since the New Deal.

My friends and colleagues, the nuclear option is not an isolated instance. It is part of a broader plan to pack the court with fundamentalist judges and to cower existing conservative judges to tow the extreme party line. You all heard what Tom DeLay said after the federal courts refused to bend to the whip of the radical right in the Schiavo case.

DeLay declared, and I quote, "the time will come for men responsible for this to answer for their behavior" -- end of quote.

Even current conservative Supreme Court justices are looking over their shoulder with one extremist recalling the despicable slogan of Josef Stalin -- and I am not making this up -- in reference to a Republican appointee, Reagan Republican appointee, Justice Kennedy, when he said, "no man, no problem. Absent his presence, we have no problem."

Let me remind you, as I said, Justice Kennedy was appointed by president Reagan. Have they never heard of the independence of the judiciary?

As a fundamental part of our Constitutional system of checks and balances, as there is today literally the envy of the world, the envy of the entire world, and the fear of the extremist part of the world, an independent judiciary is their greatest fear.

Why are radicals focusing on the court? Well, first of all, it's their time to be in absolute political control because it's there. It's like why did Willie Sutton rob banks? He said because that's where the money is. Why try it now, for the first time in history, to eliminate extended debate?

Well, because they control every lever of the federal government. That's the very reason why we have the rule. So when one party, when one interest controls all levers of government, one man or one woman can stand on the floor of the Senate and resist, if need be, the passions of the moment.

But there's a second reason why they're focusing on the courts and that is because they've been unable to get their agenda passed through the legislative body. Think about it. All the talk about how they represent -- represent the majority of the American people. None of their agenda has passed as is it relates to the 5th Amendment, as it relates to zoning laws, as it relates to the ability of federal agencies like the food and drug administration, the E.P.A. to do their job.

Read what they write when they write about the nondelegation doctrine. That simply means we in the Congress, as they read the Constitution, cannot delegate to the E.P.A. the authority to set limits on how many carcinogens, how much of a percentage of carcinogens can be admitted into the air or admitted into the water.

They'd insist that we, the Senate, have to vote on every one of those rules, that we, the Senate and the House, with the ability of the president to veto works have to vote on any and all drugs that are approved or not approved.

You think I'm exaggerating this. Look at these web sites. These aren’t a bunch of wackos. These are a bunch of very bright, very smart, very well-educated intellectuals who see these federal restraints as a restraint upon competition, a restraint upon growth, a restraint upon the powerful.

The American people see what's going on. They're too smart and they're too practical. They may not know the meaning of the nondelegation doctrine. They may not know the clause of the 5th Amendment relating to property. They may not know the meaning of the 10th and 11th Amendment as interpreted by Mr. Ginsburg and others. But they know that the strength of our country lies in the common sense and our common pragmatism which is antithetical to the poisons of the extremes on either side.

The American people will soon learn that Justice Janice Rogers Brown, one of the nominees that we are not allowing to be passed, one of the ostensible reasons for this nuclear option being employed has decried the supreme court's -- quote -- "socialist revolution of 1930."

Read what they say. Read what they mean. The very year that a 5-4 court upheld the Constitutional -- the Constitutionality of Social Security against a strong challenge. 1937, Social Security almost failed by one vote. It was challenged in the supreme court as being confiscatory.

People argued then that a government has no right to demand that everyone pay into the system, no right to demand that every employer pay into the system. Some of you may agree with that. It's a legitimate argument. But one rejected by the supreme court in 1937 that Janice Rogers Brown refers to as the "socialist revolution" of 1937.

If it hadn't been for some of the things they've already done, no one would believe anything I'm saying here. These guys mean what they say. And the American people are going to soon learn that one of the leaders of the "Constitution in Exile" school, the group that wants to reinstate the Constitution as it existed in 1920, said that another -- said of another filibustered judge, William Pryor, that -- quote -- "Pryor is the key to this puzzle. There's nobody like him. I think he's sensational. He gets almost all of it." That's the reason why I oppose him. He gets all of it.

And you're about to get all of it if they prevail. We'll not have to debate about Social Security on this floor. So the radical right makes its power play now and they control all centers of political power, however temporary. The radicals push through the nuclear option and then pack the courts with unimpeded judges who by -- unimpeded judges who by current estimations will serve an average of 25 years.

The right focused on packing the courts because their agenda is so radical that they're unwilling to come directly to you, the American people, and tell you what they intend. Without the filibuster, President Bush will send over more and more judges of this nature but perhaps three or four supreme court nominations then there will be nothing, nothing that any moderate Republican friends and I will be able to do about it.

Judges who will influence the rights of average Americans, the ability to sue your H.M.O. that denies you your rights, the ability to keep strip clubs out of your neighborhood because they un -- make zoning laws unconstitutional without you paying to keep the person from not building. The ability to protect the land your kids play on, the water they drink, the air they breathe, and the privacy of your family in your own home.

Remember, many of my colleagues here say there is no such thing as a right to privacy in any iteration under the Constitution of the United States of America. Fortunately, we've had a majority of judges who's disagreed with that over the past 70 years. But hang on, folks.

The fight over judges at bottom is not about abortion and a God. It's about giving greater power to the already powerful. The fight is about maintaining our civil rights protections, about workplace safety and worker protections, about effective oversight of financial markets and protecting against insider trading. It's about Social Security.

What is really at stake in this debate point blank is the shape of our Constitutional system for the next generation. And the nuclear option is a two-fer.

It excises independence from our courts into the -- and at the same time emasculates the Senate. Put simple, the nuclear option would transform the senate from the so-called "cooling saucer" our Founding Fathers talked about to cool the passions of the day to a pure majoritarian body, like a parliament.

We've heard a lot in recent weeks about the rights of the majority and of obstructionism. But the Senate is not meant to be a place of pure majoritarianism. Is majority rule really what you want?

Do my Republican colleagues really want majority rule in this Senate?
Well, let me remind you, 44 of us Democrats represent 161 million people. 161 million Americans voted for these 44 Democrats. Do you know how many Americans voted for the 55 of you? 131 million. If this were about pure majorities, my party represents more people in America than the Republican party does.

But that's not what it's about. Wyoming, the home state of the Vice President of this body, gets one senator for every 246,000 citizens. California gets one senator, one senator for 17 million Americans.

More Americans voted for Vice President Gore than they did Bush by majoritarian logic, Gore won the election. The Republicans control the Senate and they've decided that they're going to change the rule. At its core, it is filibuster's not -- the filibuster's not about stopping a nominee or a bill.

It's about compromise and moderation. That's why the Founders put unlimited debate in. When you have to -- and I have never conducted a filibuster. But if I did, the purpose would be you have to deal with me as one senator. It doesn't mean I get my way. It means you may have to compromise. You may have to see my side of the argument. That's what it's about.

Engendering compromise and moderation. Ladies and gentlemen, the nuclear option extinguishes the power of independence and moderates in this senate. That's it. They're done. Moderates are important only if you need to get 60 votes to satisfy cloture. They are much less important if you need only 50 votes. I understand the frustration of my Republican colleagues. I've been here 32 years. Most of the time in the majority.

And whenever you're in the majority, it's frustrating to see the other side block a bill or a nominee you support. I've walked in your shoes. And I get it. I get it so much that what brought me to the United States Senate was the fight for civil rights.

My state, to its great shame, was segregated by law, was a slave state. I came here to fight it. But even I understood, with all the passion I felt as a 29-year-old kid running for the senate, the purpose -- the purpose -- of extended debate, getting rid of the filibuster has long-term consequences.

There's one thing I've learned in my years here, once you change the rules and surrender the senate's institutional power, you never get it back. And we're about to break the rules to change the rules. I don't want to hear about fair play from my friends. Under our rules, you're required to get a two-thirds vote -- I mean, excuse me, 60 votes to change the rules.

Watch what happens, watch what happens when the Majority Leader stands up and says to the Vice President, if we go forward with this, and he calls the question. And one of us, I expect our leader on the Democratic side, will stand up and say, "parliamentary inquiry, Mr. President. Is this parliamentary appropriate -- parliamentarily appropriate?" and in every other case that I've been here in 32 years, the presiding officer leans down to the parliamentarian and says, "what's the rule, Mr. Parliamentarian?" the parliamentarian turns and tells him. Hold your breath, parliamentarian.

He's not going to look to you because he knows what you would say. He would say, this is not parliamentarily appropriate. You cannot change the Senate rules by a pure majority vote.

If any of you think I'm exaggerating, watch on television. Watch when this happens. And watch the vice president ignore -- he's not required to look to an unelected officer. But that has been the practice for 218 years. He will not look down and say, "what is the ruling?"

He will make the ruling, which is a lie. A lie about the rule. Isn't what really going on here, the majority doesn't want to hear what others have to say, even if it's the truth?

Senator Moynihan, my good friend who I served with for years, said "you're entitled to your own opinion but not your own facts."

The nuclear option abandons America's sense of fair play. It's the one thing this country stands for. Not tilting the playing field on the side of those who control and own the field. I say to my friends on the Republican side, you may own the field right now but you won't own it forever. And I pray god when the Democrats take back control, we don't make the kind of naked power grab you are doing

But I'm afraid you will teach my new colleagues the wrong lessons. We're only temporary custodians of the Senate. But the Senate will go on. And I can see my time is up. Let me conclude by saying again, mark my words. History will judge this Republican majority harshly if it makes this catastrophic move.

I yield the floor.

Posted at 06:03 PM in Nuclear Option | Technorati

Voter Backlash Against GOP Abuse of Power

Posted by Bob Brigham

Yet another new poll and yet further evidence that voters are pissed off at the Republican abuse of power. This is going to have serious ramifications in 2006.

Posted at 05:37 PM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - Senate, Nuclear Option, Republicans | Technorati

DSCC Email: Time is Running Out

Posted by Bob Brigham

I just received the following email from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee on the GOP Abuse of Power:

Time is running out. At any moment, Bill Frist could trigger the "nuclear option" and end the filibuster as we know it. This abuse of power is nothing less than a brazen attempt to change the rules so the Republicans can pack our federal courts with extremist right wing judges.

There is only one way to stop this partisan power grab. We have to show Bill Frist and the Senate Republicans that the American people oppose them now and that we will remember these events on Election Day. That's why I'm asking you to join the DSCC in opposition to the nuclear option by signing our new petition today.

Click here to oppose the nuclear option!

This is the absolute last minute. At any moment, Bill Frist could put an end to 200 years of Senate tradition by asking Dick Cheney to make an unprecedented ruling that judicial filibusters are out of order.

The only way to stop this is to show Senate Republicans that when they abuse their power and change the rules, they do so despite having an overwhelming majority of Americans opposed to their actions. Make sure your voice is heard by joining the DSCC today.

Click here to oppose the nuclear option!

Acting immediately is even more important if you live in Maine, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, or Virginia or if you know someone who does. Senators from those states will prove to be the critical swing votes we will need to win this fight.

To save the filibuster and prevent a right wing takeover of our federal courts, we must act today. Please sign the DSCC's new petition before time runs out.


Anne Lewis

I signed.

Posted at 05:15 PM in Nuclear Option | Technorati

Blogosphere Slumber Party Tonight

Posted by Bob Brigham

OK everyone, here's the story: We're going all night tonight. If you live on the West Coast, your duty lasts until 3 AM. If you live on the East Coast, your shift begins at 5 AM (all times local).


WASHINGTON - Cots were brought into the Capitol Monday as Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist scheduled an all-night session stretching into Tuesday to dramatize the debate over President Bush’s judicial nominees and the filibusters that Democrats have used to block votes on 10 of them.

UPDATE: Key links:
All Hands On Deck - Action Items
"Nuclear Option" Survival Guide - Netroots Tips
"Nuclear Option" Resource Center - (The Next Hurrah)

UPDATE: Tonight is the night, stop the Republican ABUSE OF POWER.

Swing State Project have have round-the-clock coverage.

Posted at 04:02 PM in Activism, Netroots, Nuclear Option | Technorati

"Nuclear Option" Citizen Filibusters

Posted by Bob Brigham

Moveon PAC's Citizen Filibusters made DavidNYC's All Hands On Deck action post. I just finished registering for mine:

City Hall
1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place
San Francisco, CA 94103
Tuesday, 24 May 2005, 12:00 PM

See you there, if you aren't there, I expect to see photos of the Citizen Filibuster in your area.

Posted at 03:36 PM in Activism, California, Nuclear Option | Technorati

Nuclear Option: NE, PA, OH, VI Calls

Posted by Bob Brigham

If you live in Nebraska, Pennsylvania, Ohio, or Virginia -- pick up your phone right now and help save the Senate. Details after the jump...

From NHC1978 on Daily Kos:

Arlen Specter: (Pennsylvania)
DC Office:

Philadelphia Office:

Pittsburgh Office:

John Warner: (Virginia)
DC Office:
(202) 224-2023

Richmond Office:
(804) 739-0247

Norfolk Office:
(757) 441-3079

Mike Dewine: (Ohio)
DC Office:
(202) 224-2315

Cleveland office:
(216) 522-7272

Columbus office:
(614) 469-5186

Chuck Hagel: (Nebraska)
DC Office:
(202) 224-4224

Omaha Office:
(402) 758-8981

Posted at 03:25 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Nebraska, Nuclear Option, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia | Technorati

Nuclear Option: Harry Reid Addresses the Nation

Posted by Bob Brigham

From Kos:

Reid has bought a 90-second ad this evening to present the Democratic position to the American people. It will air tonight as follows:

WRC (DC) 7:58 P.M.
WJLA (DC) 7:57 P.M.
WTTG (C) 7:57 P.M.
CNN 8:00 P.M.
CNNHN 8:00 P.M.
FoxNews 7:50-7:55 P.M.

Part of his message in the ad:

Unfortunately, some Senate Republicans are trying to give President Bush power no president has ever had -- the ability to personally hand out lifetime jobs to judges -- including the Supreme Court, without consensus from the other party. This abuse of power is not what our founders intended. It's wrong for one political party -- be it Republicans today or Democrats tomorrow -- to have total control over who sits on our high courts and rules on our most basic rights.


Posted at 03:22 PM in Nuclear Option | Technorati

Nuclear Option: Will Blog for Coffee

Posted by Tim Tagaris

Close to home for me--coffee shop offering free wireless and bottomless coffee for Chicago-area bloggers writing about the nuclear option tomorrow.

Posted at 02:54 PM in Activism | Comments (1) | Technorati

All Hands on Deck!

Posted by DavidNYC

The battle to preserve the rights of minority political factions - and the public interests those factions represent - is about to be fully joined. Here are the simple steps you need to take to gear up for the fight to save the filibuster:

1) Sign up for text message alerts on your cell phone with People for the American Way. This way, you'll know instantly when we need to take action and what you need to do.

2) Regionalization is becoming increasingly important - elected officials always respond more eagerly to their constituents, and good local media coverage is key. BlogPAC is helping to organize state-by-state efforts, so if you haven't yet signed up there, do so by clicking here. If you have a blog of your own, be sure to input that in the appropriate field. (Non-bloggers should sign up as well.)

3) MoveOn PAC is organizing citizen filibusters - along the lines of the tremendously successful Princeton filibuster - tomorrow at noon. Click on over to their site to find a location near you. If you go, be sure to take a digital camera or a camcorder and post pics or videos online when you get home. Thanks to inflation, pictures are worth even more than 1,000 words these days.

4) When things really, finally go down, everyone needs to be able to contact as many people as fast as possible. We need people to hear our unfiltered message from friends and family and co-workers and neighbors before they hear the sterile and misleading he-said/she-said version on the news. So people need to pull together email addresses for everyone they know before it happens so that our message can immediately spread virally.

We don't know exactly when Frist will try to go nuclear, but people need to plan to drop everything and get in front of a computer. The process of breaking the rules to end the filibuster won't take that much time. We need instant mobilization and widespread distribution. With everyone's help, we can win this in the Senate - and on the local level.

All hands on deck!

Posted at 02:44 PM in Nuclear Option | Technorati

PA-Sen: Sirota Rips NYT for Santorum Advertisment

Posted by Bob Brigham

Ricky Santorum, Pennsylvania's wack-job Junior Senator, compares the New York Times to Nazis and the Times (happy for a reach-around), gives the Senator a glowing profile in the Sunday Magazine.

However, David Sirota isn't afraid to speak truth to power and you know it is a must-read when Sirota headlines, "All the Kneeling to Power That's Fit to Print."

Posted at 02:29 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Pennsylvania | Comments (2) | Technorati

Nuclear Option Resource Center

Posted by Bob Brigham

Our friends at The Next Hurrah have the "Nuclear Option" Resource Center. In covering the Senate Scandal, blogs have breadth and depth!

Posted at 01:40 PM in Nuclear Option | Technorati

Nuclear Option: Houston Bar Grades Owen "Poor"

Posted by Tim Tagaris

Hat tip to Suburban Guerilla.

Priscilla Owens was just rated “poor” by the Houston Bar Association by almost half of the respondents. She had the lowest rating on the Texas Supreme Court of any justice.

To be exact, 39.5% rated her "outstanding," 15.2% rated her "acceptable," and 45.3 rated her "poor."

The "guts" of the poll show an equally "poor" perception of Owen. Fourty-eight percent of respondents rate Owen as "poor" when it comes to being "impartial and open-minded with respect to determining the legal issues." Her rating among Texas Supreme Courts colleagues was the lowest among all justices on, being "attentive to the oral argument," "interact[ing] constructively with counsel during oral arguments," and her opinions "demonstrat[ing] a well-reasoned, clearly written disposition of the case based on proper of the law to the record."

Posted at 01:37 PM in Nuclear Option | Comments (1) | Technorati

Nuclear Option: DeWine Getting a Free Pass

Posted by Tim Tagaris

It's too late now, but imagine how much more pressure we could be putting on Ohio Senator Mike DeWine had the Democratic Party already recruited a candidate to run against him in 2006. Ted Strickland is running for Governor, Michael Coleman the same, and Sherrod Brown looks like he is going to simply retain his seat in the House. That leaves Jerry Springer, who could make the race interesting and can self-finance, and then there is potential placeholder Lee Fisher.

DeWine knows the nuclear option would be a disaster for the insitution of the U.S. Senate, but there is no challenger to hold him to account:

"It is in the best interest of the country and the Senate, as an institution, if we can avoid this confrontation," DeWine said. "It would poison the relations between the senators if it comes to a vote."
Amazingly, DeWine is getting some pressure, unfortunately, it's the Republican interest groups that are promising him a challenge should he side with the Democrats on the nuclear option.
Phil Burress, president of the Cincinnati-based Citizens for Community Values, which is affiliated with Focus on the Family, said DeWine shouldn't even consider a compromise on the issue. [...]

"If Mike DeWine goes the wrong way on this vote, I promise that he will have strong opposition in 2006," added Burress, who was in Washington last week to lobby the senator.

And it's probably a threat that DeWine should take quite seriously. All one needs to do is rewind to last year when the Club for Growth "primaried" Arlen Specter and pushed him to the absolute brink with Pat Toomey.

Posted at 01:04 PM in Nuclear Option | Comments (1) | Technorati

Ruthless, Relentless, and Right

Posted by Bob Brigham

Note to Christopher Chantrill, the relevant fact isn't the that "Kos and his chums" are ruthless, it is the fact we are right. Anyone who has passed a high school civics class knows that the Senate wasn't meant to be another House and that the GOP breaking the Senate rules to end the filibuster undermines the institution of the Senate. Yes, bloggers are going to be ruthless over the next 36 hours, but we are going to be relentless in explaining the larger story of the GOP power-grab -- up until Election Day. And judging by the polls, Senators who vote against the institution of the Senate are going to have a tough time explaining to voters why they broke the rules to end the rules.

Posted at 12:50 PM in Netroots | Technorati

Sending Rule Breakers Back to the Senate

Posted by Bob Brigham

As everyone knows, the only way the GOP can end the filibuster without the 67 votes needed to change senate rules, is to break the rules. Will voters re-elect Senators who break the rules? Will voters re-elect Senators who are going nuclear against the institution of the senate? I'm sure it is on the minds of:

• 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."

Posted at 10:33 AM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - Senate, Nuclear Option, Republicans | Technorati

Nuclear Option: Bloggers' Survival Guide

Posted by Bob Brigham

NOTE: Swing State Project already has 11 pages of archives on the "Nuclear Option". We'll double that.

With the Republican Party about to launch a nuclear war upon the institution of the senate, it is important to know what bloggers must do to prepare for and respond to a political nuclear attack.

Keep this guide in a safe place so that you can refer to it rapidly should the GOP launch a nuclear attack against the Senate.

Cigarettes: Be ready for long hours by down-grading your cigarettes. If you smoke regulars, get lights; if you smoke lights, get extra your voice. Inversely, if you are trying to not smoke, consider upgrading your nicorette intake (I'm a blogger not a doctor).

Batteries: If you are going down to buy a carton of lighter cigarettes, bring your laptop, your cell phone, and all of your chargers. This sprint will be a battle against batteries, ensure you have access to more juice.

Links: Be generous with links. Help everyone find the best and don't hesitate to pile on.

Duty: When this goes 24 hours, we need 24 hour blogging. If you live on the west-coast, plan on blogging until 3AM local time. If you live on the east-coast, plan on waking up at 5AM local time. If your time zone isn't at either end, maximize your blogging according to the most natural schedule.

Browsers: While I admit I use Internet Explorer as part of a multi-browser array, IE is not suited for surviving the explosion in information. Organizing the information requires Tabs, I recommend Firefox.

Offline: Work as a team with bloggers in your area to focus on the people your area sent to D.C. Use email and free conference calls to call plays, move action, and create the personal relationships that will serve us well in future battles.

Multi-Media: The video of senators is ending up online within minutes. Download, edit, and post your own ads. Get creative with photoshop and flash and MP3.

Shelter: When the hours get long, having a satellite office will help keep you sharp. I recommend a park or a coffee shop...someplace with wi-fi that isn't the place you're used to. Bring your headphones, a cup of coffee, and enjoy standing up to save senate rules.

Lead Locally: Let Reid worry about whether we are winning nationally while you worry about winning locally. Ensure people are sending letters to the editor, let local political reporters know your blog is covering the story from a local angle, and keep the local press honest in their coverage. Follow other progressive bloggers in your state at BlogPAC.

Focus on the Story: This isn't a single event, this is part of a pattern. Help build the storyline for the 2006 cycle by putting this week's extremism in context.

Working together, it is possible to survive. This is the perfect event for bloggers to cover and traffic suggests a helluva lot of people appreciate this fact. So kick ass.

Posted at 09:24 AM in Nuclear Option | Technorati

DLC Worthless in Nuclear Fight

Posted by Bob Brigham

A member of the Democratic Leadership Forum is the last person I would ever want in my fox hole. When the going gets tough, you know they're going to stop shooting at the enemy, start shooting at you, and say it is necessary for the Third Way.

For those unfamiliar with the DLC's Third Way, it is the Republican way, but hidden behind the word 'Democrat' to ensure the attacks against Democrats have more sting.

With the Republicans declaring "nuclear war" upon the institution of the senate, you would think this is one time DLC could pull together with Democratic Party. But instead the DLC chose to stand against Harry Reid and join the Republican Party in blaming the Democrats for why the GOP doesn't have total control.

From the DLC:

A clear Democratic willingness to be reasonable on judges will not only defuse this contrived crisis, but will also force Republicans to either live up to their responsibilities as a governing party or expose the power of extremists in their ranks.

Democrats have been reasonable and this is far from a "contrived" crisis. Democrats have been very reasonable, yet the GOP is starting this crisis because the Democratic Party hasn't joined the DLC in rolling over every single time. Democrats have approved 95% of judges, Bush and Frist want 100%, and the DLC blames the Democrats?

The nice thing about this battle is the whole world gets to see who is lining up on whose side. If the DLC won't stand with the Democratic Party during a GOP nuclear attack, then why the fuck would we ever let them near our party during good times?

Posted at 08:41 AM in Nuclear Option | Technorati

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Under the Cover of Darkness

Posted by Tim Tagaris

Over the past few days, I have done quite a bit of reading about Democratic Congressman Sherrod Brown from Ohio's 13th District. I remember the first time I ever heard him speak live; he shared a stranger than fiction story about the passage of the Medicare privatization bill that passed at 5:55 A.M. on a Friday night in 2003. It was after hearing him speak that I came to realize he is truly a Democrat fighting for us in Congress.

So, in my readings over the past few days, I stumbled upon a full account of what happened on the floor of the House that night, written by Congressman Sherrod Brown. This will make for some great late night, very quick reading.

By 4 a.m., the bill had been defeated 216-218, with only one member, Democrat David Wu, not voting. Still, the speaker refused to gavel the vote closed. Then the assault began.

Hastert, DeLay, Republican Whip Roy Blount, Ways and Means Chairman Bill Thomas, Energy and Commerce Chairman Billy Tauzin—all searched the floor for stray Republicans to bully.

I watched them surround Cincinnati's Steve Chabot, trying first a carrot, then a stick; but he remained defiant. Next, they aimed at retiring Michigan congressman Nick Smith, whose son is running to succeed him. They promised support if he changed his vote to yes and threatened his son's future if he refused. He stood his ground. Many of the two dozen Republicans who voted against the bill had fled the floor. One Republican hid in the Democratic cloakroom.

The piece can be read in full HERE.

Posted at 11:57 PM in Ohio | Technorati

Saturday, May 21, 2005

MT-Sen: Jon Tester: "Pretty Damn Serious"

Posted by Bob Brigham

UPDATE: (Bob) - Join Swing State Project by supporting Jon Tester:

Contribution amount: $

I found this via Left in the West, but I'll be setting up Google News Alerts on this one. From the Billings Gazette:

Although the primary election is more than a year away, state Sen. Jon Tester, D-Big Sandy, is setting up a contest for a chance to unseat U.S. Sen. Conrad Burns, R-Mont., in 2006.

Tester, fresh from visiting with Democratic Party leaders in Washington, D.C. last week, said Friday in Billings he is putting together a statewide announcement tour for next week. It could begin as early as Tuesday.

"We're pretty damn serious," he said while visiting with labor leaders at the Northern Hotel at the AFL-CIO state convention.

I'm glad he's serious, because Conrad Burns is the single most vulnerable U.S. Senator in 2006.

Tester, 48, an organic farmer, is president of the Montana Senate. He is barred by term limits from running again for the Senate, where he has served since 1999.

He said it will be tough to raise money in Montana and that a lengthy campaign is "brutal" - but that is necessary nowadays.

Raising money in Montana is tough, the GOP ran the economy into the ground. That is why Burns raises most of his money from out-of-staters and lobbyists. But Tester could beat Burns with a third as much money, because he is the real deal. I know people say that often about candidates, but few measure up to Big Sandy's Jon Tester.

I remember watching the crowd in the Montana Secretary of State's office on the day of the filing deadline to run for the legislature in 1998. Everyone had heard of this Tester-guy who was running for a very Republican state senate seat up on the Hi-Line. People seemed in awe when they finally saw him, he owned the room. Imagine a high school basketball team showing up on game-night with a seven foot center, that is how people looked at him. And since then, his stature has only grown as people have watched him excel as a legislator. He is the real deal, he's ready for prime-time, and his populism will make this a race to watch.

If Tester does enter the race next week, I will do two things:

1. Send him some money

2. Change the status on this race from Leaning Republican to Leaning Democrat

Last year, Tester's campaigning helped Democrats win both chambers of the legislature for the first time in a long time. He already has a statewide infrastructure and is respected by many Montanans who don't consider Democrats who act like lawyers. He is the type of western populist that can restore a sense of pride for western Democrats.

Tester is a straight-talker, so when he says he is taking this "pretty damn serious" -- pay attention. But notice the quote, it wasn't about him. He said, "We're pretty damn serious." I think the "we" refers to almost everyone he's ever met or will meet before election day. Count me in.

UPDATE: (Bob) Montana-blog The Last Best Place:

Tester's In
Since I wasn't all that excited about John Morrison's campaign to unseat incumbent $enator, Conrad Burns, I welcomed the story in today's Billings Gazette which indicates Jon Tester, a fellow wheat farmer, will be making an anncouncement this coming week. [...]

Now, this is a campaign that I can not only get excited about, but also donate heavily to. Way to go Jon!

Posted at 02:09 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Activism, Montana | Comments (2) | Technorati

Netroots: Philly-DA Semi Wrap-Up

Posted by Tim Tagaris

Readers of Swing State Project are well aware of Seth Williams and his race to unseat incumbent Lynn Abraham in Philadelphia's Democratic Primary for District Attorney. The race was important because around 15 Philadelphia bloggers, from large to small, united around Williams message of reform. I'll have a bit of a wrap-up as well, but until then, Daniel at Young Philly Politics is a great place to start.

Of course, the [first] day [of action] ended. That is when things got a lot more interesting. There were no real plans for anything in the future, and no real idea how to turn that day into something more. So, as a few people asked whether we had any planned in the future, we decided the best case was to simply strike again. This time, a coordinated day with a set goal for attracting volunteers, but, once again, to keep shouting at the windmills that in Seth, we had a candidate that Democrats had to pay attention to.
If you followed the Williams race at all, read the rest.

Posted at 01:49 PM in Netroots | Technorati

The Brad Show

Posted by Bob Brigham

Last week was a big week for The Raw Story. And now: Raw Radio!

Check out the The Brad Show, with Brad of The Brad Blog -- here's tonight's show. LIVE! Saturday Night 7p - 11p ET (4p - 8p PT)

Posted at 01:47 PM in Netroots | Technorati

San Diego Special Election for Mayor

Posted by Bob Brigham

On July 26th, San Diego will have a general Special Election to replace Dick Murphy who resigned from the office under scandal. As I'm sure you can appreciate, that is quite a sprint of a race that should be interesting to watch because of the candidates. From the AP:

SAN DIEGO - A wealthy Republican businessman on Thursday entered the race for mayor of scandal-plagued San Diego, joining a field that includes a maverick councilwoman and a former police chief. [...]

Steve Francis announced his candidacy by saying he was "ashamed, embarrassed and angry" at the city's leaders. "If you ran a business this way, you would be in jail," he said.

The 50-year-old Francis, executive chairman of a hospital staffing company, has already contributed $500,000 to his campaign, according to an e-mail sent to his supporters.

Francis served in the Nevada Assembly in the 1980s but is new to San Diego politics. His main opponents to date are former Police Chief Jerry Sanders, a Republican, and Councilwoman Donna Frye, a Democrat who nearly won a write-in bid in November.

Rich boy will have some dough, but Frye has the potential to captivate the narrative. Her candidacy is perfect for an agressive internet campaign, stay tuned to see if she takes advantage of the potential.

Posted at 01:25 PM in 2005 Elections, California, Special Elections | Technorati

OH-2: Special Election & The Netroots

Posted by Tim Tagaris

Here on Swing State Project we have done quite a bit of talking about the testing of new ideas in the upcoming special election. David kicked off the discussion and Bob and I have followed up, including a few offline discussions with people who live in and around the 2nd Congressional District.

Completely independent of anything we have discussed, the first OH-2 blog popped up just the other day and has a great review of the Democratic candidates who have officially tossed their hat in the ring and met the petition requirements for the special election. Take a look at the site, cause we are going to be doing a lot of talking/work with the race in the upcoming weeks and months.

Finally, if you are from the 2nd CD and want to get involved, please email any one of us with the addresses provided in the upper right-hand column.

Posted at 01:22 PM in Ohio | Technorati

MT-AL: Monica Lindeen for U.S. Congress

Posted by Bob Brigham

From the Billings Gazette:

HELENA - State Rep. Monica Lindeen, D-Huntley, said Wednesday she is considering running in the 2006 election for the U.S. House seat held by three-term Republican Denny Rehberg. [...]

She said she's "road-tested," having put on 30,000 miles in 2003 and 2004 driving around the state with Senate President Jon Tester, D-Big Sandy, and House Democratic Leader Dave Wanzenried of Missoula to listen to what issues concern Montanans.

So far, no Democrats have expressed interest publicly about running against Rehberg, who won a hotly contested 51 to 46 percent victory for an open House seat over Nancy Keenan in 2000, with a third-party candidate getting the rest of the votes.

Keeping the streak alive?

Posted at 12:28 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Montana | Technorati

TX-22: Protecting Society from Tom DeLay

Posted by Bob Brigham


"Tom DeLay is corrupt. No question about it," Dean said Friday. "This is a guy who shouldn't be in Congress and maybe ought to be serving in jail."

The House ethics committee is investigating whether DeLay violated congressional rules by taking foreign trips paid for by lobbyists. The Texas Republican has not been charged with a crime, but Dean said he would not apologize for saying earlier this month that DeLay "ought to go back to Houston where he can serve his jail sentence."

If justice is served and DeLay is locked up, I'm going to drop a fuckton of mail to other inmates in the prison -- mail that discusses certain Tom DeLay quotes and votes that the inmates might find of interest.

Posted at 12:19 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Scandals, Texas | Technorati

Nuclear Option, GOP Firing Blanks

Posted by Bob Brigham

It doesn't matter who you have on the team roster, what matters is who you put in the game. While the GOP has the White House and both chambers, in the battle for the constitution they aren't fielding their best team. I'm not just talking about Manny Miranda's screw-ups, I'm talking about the ad I just saw on Drudge:


Fill in the Blank

OK, if they want me to fill in the blank, how about I fill in the blank about that Social Security card linked to Bush. How about I fill in the blank with Bush's poll numbers on the Social Security issue the up or down vote people brought into the debate (and tied to Bush).

Time Poll conducted by Schulman, Ronca & Bucuvalas (SRBI) Public Affairs. May 10-12, 2005. N=1,011 adults nationwide. MoE ± 3); compared to same from 1/12-13/05:

"Do you approve or disapprove of the job President Bush is doing in each of these areas? Handling of Social Security issues."

Approve: 31% (40%)
Disapprove: 59% (49%)

That is a helluva shift so far this year, the public has soundly rejected Bush's Social Security privatization.

But now the "nuclear option" crowd is dragging Social Security into the fight against the institution of the Senate. People need to realize that this lust for absolute power has serious implications when it comes to whether the GOP will break the rules (to change the rules) to end Social Security like they are trying to do with the filibuster. It is the "nuclear option" lobby who is linking Social Security to the quest for total GOP domination -- be worried, they will stop at nothing, least of not the rules.

Posted at 12:29 AM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Nuclear Option, Republicans | Comments (2) | Technorati

Friday, May 20, 2005

PA-Sen: Under the Radar Wingnuttery From Santorum

Posted by Tim Tagaris

In the midst of running around and comparing people he disagrees with with to Nazis (See the Democratic Party & the New York Times), it's easy for a quote like this to get lost in the shuffle:

"Now we are forced to do something that societies often do when people can't control their desires. We have to pass laws to stop their desires."
That's Senator Rick Santorum on the Democratic attempts to save the filibuster. And if you ponder it for any longer than a second, it sheds some light on his line of thought on a number of topics, most notably equal rights for the GLBT community.

Posted at 09:05 PM in Pennsylvania | Comments (2) | Technorati

CNN on Santorum Scandal and Swing State Project

Posted by Bob Brigham

Inside_Politics_Santorum 006_0001.jpg

CNN's Inside the Blogs mentioned Swing State Project for our post on the Santorum Scandal. Of course, Crooks and Liars has the video.

The scandal is still breaking, I'm sure we'll have more on the Ricky Santorum Scandal, the GOP's Nuclear Option, and information on what is moving with the campaigns in the states.

Posted at 06:28 PM in Site News | Comments (1) | Technorati

PA-Sen: Update on Santorum Scandal

Posted by Bob Brigham

Two major updates on the Santorum Scandal.

Chuck Pennacchio, Democrat challenging Santorum in 2006, has posted a startling video on his blog of Santorum using a Nazi slander against the New York Times.

The Anti-Defamation League is outraged

Dear Senator Santorum:

We write to object in the strongest terms to your reference to Adolf Hitler in the context of a political debate on judicial nominations on the floor of the Senate today.

Whatever your views on the Senate rules relating to the use of the filibuster and judicial nominations, it is utterly inappropriate and insensitive to suggest that Democratic Party tactics in any way resemble actions taken by Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party. Suggesting some kind of "equivalence" between these tactics and statements and actions of Adolf Hitler demonstrates a profound lack of understanding as to who Hitler was and what he and his regime represented.

We urge you to repudiate your remarks and apologize to the American people for distorting an important issue with such an inappropriate comparison to Hitler and the Holocaust.

Ricky Santorum should step down from his leadership position to avoid being censured by the full Senate.

Posted at 04:50 PM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - Senate, Netroots, Nuclear Option, Pennsylvania, Scandals | Comments (1) | Technorati

PA-Sen: Spectacular Hypocrisy of the GOP

Posted by Tim Tagaris

Yesterday, Atrios mentioned the MoveON standard in reference to Santorum's ridiculous comments on the floor of the Senate. In a bit of an ironic twist--From a GOP release yesterday, attacking the Democratic position of saving the filibuster:


Two Ads Comparing President Bush To Hitler Appeared On’s Voter Fund Website. “One ad begins with Adolf Hitler making speeches, until a picture of President Bush appears. Another also uses Nazi and Bush images, with the tag line: ‘What were war crimes in 1945 is foreign policy in 2003.’ The videos appeared on the Web site of’s Voter Fund as part of a nationwide contest for an anti-Bush television ad on which the liberal group plans to spend a considerable sum.” (Howard Kurtz, “Anti-Bush Ad Contest Includes Hitler Images,” The Washington Post, January 6, 2004)

Rick Santorum on the floor of the Senate yesterday:

"It's the equivalent of Adolf Hitler in 1942 saying, 'I'm in Paris. How dare you invade me? How dare you bomb my city? It's mine,'" Santorum said during a 30-minute statement on the Senate floor.

A few hours later, Santorum issued a statement calling his remarks "a mistake."

Just a bit of an FYI--quite ironic that the GOP release came out just shortly before Senator Santorum unacceptably compared Senate Democrats to Hitler.

Posted at 12:00 PM in Pennsylvania | Comments (1) | Technorati

GOP Blocked Judicial Nominees While in Minority

Posted by DavidNYC

One claim the GOP likes to make is that they were justified in blocking many of Clinton's judicial nominees in the 90s because they were in the majority in Congress. Dems should now be supine, they say, because the right comparison to make is with the Senate Republicans in the first two years of Clinton's first term, when they were in the minority - and as docile as can be.

Only problem is, that story isn't true. Even when the Democrats held a 56-44 advantage in the Senate in 1993 & 1994, the Republicans still tried to stop nominees they didn't like. Here's a tale about one of them.

In 1993, Larry LaRocco, then a Democratic Congressman from Idaho, suggested to Bill Clinton that attorney John Tait be nominated to fill a vacant federal district judgeship in the state. The following year, Clinton went ahead and put Tait's name forward.

But GOP Sen. Larry Craig (and his former Idaho colleague Dirk Kempthorne) were irked about being left out of the process - usually senators get to advise presidents about judicial nominees, but because they were Republicans, they got passed over in favor of LaRocco. Primarily, of course, they were pissed about a Democrat (Tait) getting the nod.

So what did the aggrieved Idaho senators do? Did they just take their lumps and quietly lie down? Hardly:

Two months ago, U.S. Sens. Larry Craig and Dirk Kempthorne successfully blocked Tait's confirmation hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Lewiston Morning Tribue, 12/14/1994

Orrin Hatch, then the ranking member of the judiciary committee, prevented Tait from getting a vote at Craig & Kempthorne's request. When the GOP took over Congress in November of that year, Tait's nomination was permanently dead. Tait, by the way, was rated as qualified by the American Bar Association.

I'm sorry for the lack of links - this story is just a bit too old to have made it on to the web. (Though if you have access to Lexis, you can easily confirm all the details.) But in fact, this is something the Republicans are relying on - they're trying to rewrite a period of history (as they often do) that's just a little bit beyond the edges of recent memory. Of course, we won't let them - and we'll remind them that while the GOP thwarted nominees for crass partisan reasons even when they were in the minority, we are currently only exercising our perogative in order to block a tiny handful of the very worst candidates.

Posted at 04:58 AM in Nuclear Option | Technorati

Bloggers' Parlimentarian

Posted by Bob Brigham

Yes, the bloggers have a Parlimentarian. His name is Kagro X. When he writes at The Next Hurrah, you should read:

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
Notes on the Nuclear Option -- Part XV
Notes on the Nuclear Option -- Part XVI
Notes on the Nuclear Option -- Part XVII

Footnotes on the Nuclear Option
Footnotes on the Nuclear Option -- Part II
Footnotes on the Nuclear Option -- Part III
Footnotes on the Nuclear Option -- Part IV
Footnotes on the Nuclear Option -- Part V
Footnotes on the Nuclear Option -- Part VI
Footnotes on the Nuclear Option -- Part VII
Footnotes on the Nuclear Option -- Part VIII
Footnotes on the Nuclear Option -- Part IX

Posted at 02:07 AM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Netroots, Nuclear Option | Technorati

Thursday, May 19, 2005

PA-Sen: Senator Rick Santorum Out of Line

Posted by Bob Brigham

This post made CNN.

NOTE: This is a long post with lots of links that should be explored. This is completely outrageous, Santorum should step down from his leadership position.

Another Raw Story Exclusive:

Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) compared Democrats' attempts to keep the filibuster to Hitler's moves in 1942 in a floor speech in the Senate Thursday afternoon, RAW STORY has learned.

Atrios asks:

The "Move On" Standard

Once upon a time an organziation called Move On (or probably Move On Pac, forget which) ran a little ad creation contest. The initial submissions, of which there were many, weren't really screened by the organization, and a couple of them admittedly crossed the line by making Bush/Nazi comparisons. Those ads were yanked immediately by the organization, but are nonetheless used to this day by the liberal media to smear Move On as an irresponsible "extremist" organization.

Now we have the junior Senator from Pennsylvania comparing the entire Senate Dem caucus to Adolf Hitler. Will the "Move On" standard of the liberal media still apply?

Good question. My guess is that the blogosphere will be making a list of every reporter who wrote about the MoveOn non-story. If reporters will enable right-wing attacks by repeating non-stories about something posted online, but won't give more attention to a real story about this happening on the Senate floor, then I believe that these reporters deserve the wrath of the blogosphere.

We're watching, if you're a reporter, you had better be filing.


UPDATE: : Sean-Paul Kelley piles on at The Agonist. And Atrios busts Santorum for flip-flopping.
UPDATE: Dave Johnson piles on at Seeing the Forest.
UPDATE: David piles on at The Supreme Irony of Life (how fitting).
UPDATE: David Sirota piles on and escalates -- great stuff!
UPDATE: Oliver Willis has audio.
UPDATE: Crooks and Liars has video.
UPDATE: Jeffrey Dubner at American Prospect tells Santorum to go to hell
UPDATE: In Santorum's home state Pennsylvania, Jeff's Little Blog Blue piles on.
UPDATE: Think Progress throws down.
UPDATE: Talking Points Memo seemed to be in a state of disbelief
UPDATE: The blogswarm is turning into a shitstorm, Armando has it on the front page of Daily Kos.
UPDATE: DC Media Girl asks readers to call Santorum's office at 202-224-6324
UPDATE: Balloon Juice is in favor of bitch-slapping
UPDATE: ArchPundit calls Senator Santorum a jackass.
UPDATE: Chris Bowers of MyDD piles on
UPDATE: The Carpetbagger joins
UPDATE: Spin Dry suggests a spanking may be in order
UPDATE: The "view from above" is at the Rooftop Report
UPDATE: 2 Political Junkies: "Un-fucking-believable"
UPDATE: Left in the West call's Rick Santorum an asshole and has more here
UPDATE: And Random Ravings

UPDATE: This is now an issue in Pennyslvania's 2006 Senate race, Chuck Pennacchio's statement (also on Politics PA):

“As an historian of Holocaust-era Germany, I find Rick Santorum’s comment to be offensive, divisive, and destructive. Rick Santorum should immediately issue a public apology, and then retreat with conscience to consider the lasting damage he has done to the United States Senate and to the memory of 12 million Holocaust victims.”

“How ironic is it that he would make such an extremist comment, comparing Senate Democrats to Adolph Hitler, while his own political party seeks to consolidate all governmental party in its own hands?”

Pennacchio continued, “This is embarrassing to all Pennsylvanians. Unfortunately, Rick Santorum’s hate-filled and heated rhetoric is completely consistent with the junior Senator’s past behavior.”

UPDATE: Damn Liberals piles on
UPDATE: Talk Left piles on.
UPDATE: Rob at Laughing at the Pieces: Holy Fucking Shit
UPDATE: Political Strategy: Scum of the Earth (and at Semidi
UPDATE: Yudel Line piles on
UPDATE: Charging Rino: the nuclear option's "Major Kong."
UPDATE: In Pennsylvania, Young Philly Politics piles on
UPDATE: The scandal made "BUZZ" on Salon's Dauo Report
UPDATE: Think Progress has the rebuttal from Senator Max Baucus: “This is the Way Democracy Ends”
UPDATE: David Sirota has his second post
UPDATE: Steve Gilliard of News Blog: this is like shitting on the WWII memorial
UPDATE: Stirlying Newberry of Blogging of the President calls for CENSURE
UPDATE: Brad of Brad Blog: Fillibuster Blitzkreig!
UPDATE: AmericaBlog piles on and on.
UPDATE: With way too much time to prepare before morning drive time, here comes Eric Hananoki with the Air America Al Franken Show Blog
UPDATE Over at Hullabaloo Digby writes: Santorum is full of shit and everybody but the theocrats and the press knows it. Even Ricky.
UPDATE Steve Soto at The Left Coaster: In fact, a good old liberal lynching of Frist and Santorum is just what this country needs right about now, if you ask me.
UPDATE DNC's Kicking Ass: truly sickening


Washington, D.C. Office:
511 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Main: 202-224-6324
Allentown Office:
Counties: Monroe, Carbon, Schuylkill, Northampton, Lehigh, Berks
3802 Federal Office Building
504 West Hamilton Street
Allentown, PA 18101
Main: 610-770-0142
Fax: 610-770-0911
Altoona Office:
Counties: Bedford, Blair, Cambria, Clearfield, Fulton, Huntingdon, Somerset
Route 220 North
Regency Square, Suite 220
Altoona, PA 16601
Main: 814-946-7023
Fax: 814-946-7025
Coudersport Office:
Counties: Cameron, Elk, Forest, Jefferson, McKean, Potter, Tioga
1705 West 26th Street
Erie, PA 16508
Main: 814-454-7114
Fax: 814-459-2096
Erie Office:
Counties: Clarion, Crawford, Erie, Lawrence, Mercer, Venango, Warren
1705 West 26th Street
Erie, PA 16508
Main: 814-454-7114
Fax: 814-459-2096
Harrisburg Office:
Counties: Adams, Centre, Clinton, Cumberland, Dauphin, Franklin, Juniata, Lancaster, Lebanon, Lycoming, Mifflin, Northumberland, Perry, Union Snyder, York
555 Walnut Street
Harrisburg, PA 17101
Main: 717-231-7540
Fax: 717-231-7542
Philadelphia Office:
Counties: Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, Philadelphia
1 South Penn Square
Widener Building, Suite 960
Philadelphia, PA 19107
Main: 215-864-6900
Fax: 215-864-6910
Pittsburgh Office:
Counties: Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Fayette, Greene, Indiana, Westmoreland, Washington
100 West Station Square Drive
Landmarks Building, Suite 250
Pittsburgh, PA 15219
Main: 412-562-0533
Fax: 412-562-4313
Scranton Office:
Counties: Bradford, Columbia, Lackawanna, Luzerne, Montour, Pike, Sullivan, Susquehanna, Wayne, Wyoming
527 Linden Street
Scranton, PA 18503
Main: 570-344-8799
Fax: 570-344-8906

Posted at 05:45 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Activism, Netroots, Nuclear Option, Pennsylvania, Scandals | Comments (3) | Technorati

Nuclear Recap

Posted by Bob Brigham

[Bumped up to the top. - David]

So far, Swing State Project has done more posts on today's power grab than there is room on the front page. So here's our recap:

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18.

UPDATE: Wednesday, 9:49 P.M. (Bob): Looking back over Day 1, it is clear that the GOP is over-playing on the over-reach. But what strikes me as one of the most important developments is not the GOP screwing up, but the Democrats not screwing up. Moreover, I think it is an honest assessment that the Democrats are kicking ass -- for the first time in a long time.

The abrasiveness of the GOP powergrab seems to have been the shock that some Democrats needed to finally understand that we aren't a governing party. Democrats brought their A-Game and it matches up very well against team the GOP fielded (i.e. Mammy Miranda). The team-work and drive of revitalized Democrats is achieving results and winning hearts. Today, the Democratic Party was a party worthy of respect.

More to come...

Posted at 05:14 PM in Nuclear Option, Site News | Technorati

MT-Sen: Senator Conrad Burns Lies

Posted by Bob Brigham

When Conrad Burns first ran for the U.S. Senate, he said he'd only serve 2 terms. When he ran for re-election, he renewed his promise to the people of Montana that he would only serve 2 terms so that he wouldn't become corrupted by DC. But he lied, and as he gears up to run for his 4th term, he's lying about the "nuclear option" -- from the Billings Gazette:

"The use of the filibuster to logjam judicial nominations in this Congress and the last is unprecedented," Burns said in a prepared statement Wednesday.

This isn't an off-the-cuff remark, this is a prepared lie that Burns distributed to the media.

From Media Matters:

Falsehood #1: Democrats' filibuster of Bush nominees is "unprecedented"
The most prevalent talking point put forth by advocates of the "nuclear option" is that Democratic filibusters of 10 of President Bush's judicial nominees are "unprecedented" in American history.

But Republicans initiated a filibuster against a judicial nominee in 1968, forcing Democratic president Lyndon Johnson to withdraw the nomination of Associate Supreme Court Justice Abe Fortas to be chief justice. Then-Sen. Robert Griffin (R-MI) recognized at the time that denying nominees a vote was already an established practice. "It is important to realize that it has not been unusual for the Senate to indicate its lack of approval for a nomination by just making sure that it never came to a vote on the merits. As I said, 21 nominations to the court have failed to win Senate approval. But only nine of that number were rejected on a direct, up-and-down vote," Griffin said, according to a May 10 New York Times op-ed by former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell (D-ME).

Cloture votes were also necessary to obtain floor votes on Clinton judicial nominees Richard A. Paez and Marsha L. Berzon in 2000, and Republicans attempted to filibuster the nomination of U.S. District Judge H. Lee Sarokin to the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in 1994. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN), who is leading the Republican opposition to Democratic filibusters, voted against cloture for the Paez nomination.
And these are merely instances when Republicans filibustered Democratic presidents' judicial nominees. The Republican-controlled Senate blocked approximately 60 Clinton nominees through other means. This included strict enforcement under Clinton of the "blue slip" policy, which at the time allowed a senator from a nominee's home state to block a nominee simply by failing to turn in the blue-colored approval papers required for the nomination process. While Judiciary Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT) strictly adhered to the "blue slip" policy to allow Republicans to block Clinton nominees, he relaxed the policy nearly to the point of elimination in his efforts to push through Bush's nominees.

For example, Hatch held committee votes on the nominations of 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals nominee Carolyn B. Kuhl over the objections of Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), as well as four 6th Circuit nominees over their home state senators' objections.

Because of these numerous responses to Falsehood #1, proponents have honed their message in order to continue arguing that the present Democratic effort is "unprecedented." The argument has now been reduced to: It is unprecedented for a nominee to be blocked who 1) has clear majority support in the Senate; 2) has actually reached the Senate floor for an up-or-down vote; and 3) did not ultimately get confirmed after being filibustered.

The "clear majority" qualifier is designed to discount Fortas, even though "[i]t is impossible to gauge the exact support for Fortas because 12 senators were absent for the 'cloture' or 'closure' vote, which failed to halt the filibuster," as the Washington Post noted on March 18. The qualifier that a nominee reach the Senate floor disregards the approximately 60 Clinton nominees whom the Republican-led Senate blocked in committee. The qualifier that the filibuster be ultimately successful gets around Republican efforts to filibuster Paez and Berzon, who eventually won Senate confirmation.

Burns wants to talk about precedent? From People for the American Way:

Senate Rules and Precedents That Would be Broken Through Exercise of the Nuclear Option

Violation # 1. Rule V: The Senate must follow its Rules to amend its Rules
Paragraph 2 of Rule V states expressly that “Rules of the Senate shall continue from one Congress to the next Congress unless they are changed as provided in these Rules.” (emphasis added). The proposed nuclear option is a deliberate end-run around the Senate’s regular process (discussed below) for amending its own Rules because Senator Frist does not have the strong bipartisan support he needs in the current Senate to follow the regular order.

Violation # 2. Rule V: Suspending the Rules without amending them.
The Senate Rules provide expressly for the sole mechanism to suspend the Rules without amending them. Under Rule V, paragraph 1, the Senate may only suspend its Rules either by unanimous consent or by adopting a motion to suspend the Rules. Adoption of such a motion requires a 2/3 vote of Senators present.3 The nuclear option, by relying on a simple majority vote to change the Rules without changing the text (arguably a kind of suspension), clearly violates the 2/3 vote requirement.

Violation # 3. Rule XXII: Violating the process for changing the Senate’s Rules.
Paragraph 2 of Rule XXII establishes the requirements for ending debate on a proposed change to the Senate’s Rules. Under Rule XXII, a cloture petition signed by sixteen Senators must first be submitted to the Senate. The vote to invoke cloture (end debate) on amendment to the Rules cannot be held until 2 days after the cloture petition is filed, and the rule provides that 2/3 of Senators present and voting must consent to end debate.

Violation #4. Failing to submit a constitutional Point of order to the Senate.
Proponents of the nuclear option purport to justify their unprecedented approach by invoking the U.S. Constitution – to the point of trying to rename the nuclear option the “constitutional option.”4 Some have even argued that the filibuster of judicial nominations is unconstitutional, and that the Senate can therefore ignore its process for amending the Rules to eliminate it.5 Under long-established precedents of the Senate, when a point of order with an asserted constitutional basis is raised, the Chair does not rule on the point of order but instead submits it directly to the full Senate.6 However, such a point of order is debatable and it would take 60 votes to end debate on the constitutional point of order and bring it to a vote. Because it is not clear that Senator Frist has 51 votes for the nuclear option – much less 60 – it is likely that Vice President Cheney will rule directly on Frist’s “constitutional” point of order, violating Senate precedent.

Violation # 5. Rule XXII: Ending debate on a nomination.
The text of Paragraph 2 of Rule XXII expressly requires 60 Senators (3/5s of Senators duly chosen and sworn) to vote to end debate on “any measure, motion, other matter pending before the Senate,” including a judicial nomination. If the nuclear option is successful, and for the first time in our history Senators’ right to debate is ended by simple majority vote, this will constitute an express violation of Rule XXII’s 60 vote requirement. In essence, Rule XXII would be changed, but not in a manner provided by the Rules of the Senate.

Violation # 6. Overriding the Senate’s Parliamentarian
The Senate Parliamentarian is the officer charged with keeping the precedents of the Senate and advising the presiding officer of the Rules and precedents of the Senate if a point of order is raised from the floor. The current Parliamentarian, Alan Frumin, has worked for that office as either Parliamentarian or assistant Parliamentarian since 1977 under both Democratic and Republican majorities. It has been widely reported that the Senate Parliamentarian will advise the chair that any point of order to force a simple majority vote to end debate on a nominee would violate the Rules and precedents of the Senate. Therefore, for the nuclear option to succeed, the presiding officer, most likely Vice President Cheney in his role as President of the Senate, would have to ignore the advice of the Parliamentarian in ruling on a point of order. According to the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service, such an action would “constitute an extraordinary proceeding involving peremptory departure from the established system of Senate procedure.”7

Vice President Cheney will need to ignore the Parliamentarian to invoke the nuclear option because Republicans must engineer a scenario where, as stated above, nuclear option opponents appeal a ruling of the chair endorsing the nuclear option. Frist must ensure that opponents appeal because the appeal itself is debatable, while a motion to table (kill) the appeal is not debatable. If Republican leaders try to overturn an adverse ruling by the chair through their own appeal (which would occur if the chair follows the parliamentarian), opponents could simple filibuster the appeal and a motion to table the appeal would set the opposite precedent than Frist wishes to achieve.

Filibusters of judicial nominations are clearly authorized by long-established Rules and precedents of the Senate. Should Senators wish to change the Rules and eliminate the filibuster, they should do so under the established process for amending the Rules. Basic notions of the rule of law, fairness, and commonsense dictate that the Senate should obey its rules in confronting and addressing filibusters as it has done for over 200 years.8 Senate Republican leaders have avoided this approach, because they do not have the 67 votes required to amend the Rules under the process specified by the Rules. Instead, in an abuse of power unprecedented in Senate history, they plan to break the Rules in an attempt to change them for momentary partisan advantage. As many Senate veterans of both parties have warned, such a precedent starts the Senate down the road of eliminating all filibusters through future “nuclear options,” completing the institutional destruction begun by the current nuclear option.

1. Charles McC. Mathias, A Bad Option to Take, The Washington Post, May 12, 2005, A21.
2. Statement From the Office of the Majority Leader, May 13, 2005.
3. Alan S. Fruman Ed., Riddicks’s Senate Procedure, United States Senate 1992 p.1266 (Hereinafter Riddick’s).
4. See e.g., Martin B. Gold, Dimple Gupta, The Constitutional Option to Change Senate Rules and Procedures: A Majoritarian Means to Over Come the Filibuster, Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy, Volume 28, Issue 1 (2004).
5. In fact, there is no basis in the Constitution for sustaining a point of order that extended debate on judicial nominations is unconstitutional. The Constitution expressly gives the Senate the power to create its own Rules for determining whether to grant or withhold consent to a President’s nominees. For 200 years, the Senate has not required an “up or down” vote on each of the President’s nominees; to the contrary, the Senate has long had Committees to which nominations are referred for review, and these committees have frequently “killed” nominations without an up or down vote by the Senate. Other nominations, including to the Supreme Court, have been brought to the Senate floor, debated and postponed without an up or down vote, denying confirmation.
6. Riddick’s p. 989.
7. Richard S. Beth, CRS Report for Congress, “Entrenchment” of Senate Procedure and the “Nuclear Option” for Change: Possible Proceedings and Their Implications, March 28, 2005 (emphasis added).
8. PFAWF Report: No Defense for the Nuclear Option; A Response to the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy Article, March 16, 2005.

Any questions?

Posted at 03:07 PM in Montana | Technorati

Hip Hop Rally Broadens Coalition Against Nuclear Option

Posted by Bob Brigham

From People for the American Way:

The Hip Hop Caucus joined members of the Congressional Black Caucus and People For the American Way at the U.S. Capitol today to call on the Senate to preserve checks and balances in our system, and protect the 200-year-old tradition of the filibuster for judicial nominees. The group is launching an eye-catching postcard campaign to let Senators know where young constituents stand.

“Hip-Hop was created out of the need to provide a voice to the voiceless. It is in that vein that we recognize the duty of every concerned American citizen to speak up and speak out, to make their voices heard,” said Jeff Johnson, Director of African-American Outreach for People for the American Way and the Host & Producer of BET’s Cousin Jeff Chronicles. [...]

The Hip Hop Caucus is organizing youth leaders to ensure that young people understand the stakes for their generation in the battle over the filibuster and judicial nominations. Among the organizations that signed the letter to the Senate leaders were: Rock the Vote, Youth Vote Coalition, Black Youth Vote, Hip-Hop Voices, Hip-Hop Convention, The League of Young Voters, Citizen Change, and Hip Hop Congress.

Preserving the institution of the Senate is supported by damn near everyone.

Posted at 03:02 PM in Nuclear Option | Technorati

Lautenberg To Invoke Star Wars on Floor at 2:30?

Posted by Tim Tagaris

UPDATE 2:47 (Bob) - Senator Kennedy just mentioned bloggers. He sounds good in the elder-statesman, post-presidential role. I hope he realizes that is where we need him, not gearing up for 2008.

UPDATE 2:31 (Tim) - Senator Byrd is still speaking, and it looks like Lautenberg's speechifying has been moved back.

I have always wondered about the merging of mainstream culture and politics, if and when they would fuse completely, and what the impact on our democracy would be. Will it be entertaining? Sure. Will it help to educate voters that otherwise might not pay attention to the political process? Probably, just like Jay Leno & David Letterman do when they include political content in their monologues. Will it help us defuse the nuclear option? I guess we'll find out.

Last night, Revenge of the Sith came out in theaters across the country, and the connection to the current state of our country and the nuclear option has been debated in and out of the "mainstream media." In the movie, Senator Palpatine changes the rules to consolidate power.

MoveOn is running a television spot that draws the connection. They are distributing literature at movie theaters across the country. And at 2:30 P.M. rumor has it that Senator Frank Lautenberg is going to "go Star Wars" on Bill Frist and use photos that compare his over-reaching power-grab with that of Senator Palaptine of Star Wars fame. We'll see how it goes.

You can watch it HERE.

UPDATE 2:26 PM (Tim) - Last time Lautenberg brought a picture to the floor, it was his now famous image that defined the word, "chickenhawk." Photo in the extended entry.


Posted at 02:13 PM in Nuclear Option | Comments (1) | Technorati

Save the Republic

Posted by Bob Brigham

MoveOn PAC Press Release:

Washington, DC – As “Revenge of the Sith” opens in theaters, the 3 million member grassroots organization will begin its own “Save the Republic” campaign, including a political ad and grassroots campaign that parodies themes and ideas from the new Star Wars sequel.

To view the ad, which depicts Senator Frist as a hooded villain who seeks absolute power over our courts, visit

Members will also hand out “Save the Republic” themed flyers outside theaters across the country to generate phone calls to U.S. Senators asking them to stop the “nuclear option.” The flyer describes Senator Frist’s efforts to end the filibuster and seize total control over our courts.

“The Star Wars story is a timely illustration of the very real danger to democracy when one person or party seeks absolute power,” said Ben Brandzel, Advocacy Director of MoveOn Pac.

“For 200 years we’ve had checks and balances to ensure that no one party has complete control over our government,” Brandzel, continued. “Radical Republicans want to break the rules to pander to their corporate donors and radical right religious fundamentalists by ramming through extreme judges who will threaten basic protections, like clean water, the minimum wage, even the 40-hour work week, and intrude on life and death family decisions.”

MoveOn Pac members will take part in emergency 24-hour citizen filibusters outside Senate offices, and courthouses when the nuclear trigger is pulled.

I like the idea of "emergency 24-hour citizen filibusters outside Senate offices, and courthouses" -- sign up and unite.

Posted at 01:49 PM in Nuclear Option | Technorati

Nuclear Option Polling

Posted by Bob Brigham

I took a look at the new NBC/WSJ poll yesterday. This is the one showing Congress has dropped to a 33% approval rating, down 8% for the year. And there is room to trend further south as we'll be seeing in the polls that capture the post-nuclear opinion. In the analysis of his poll, GOP pollster Bill says:

Congress has wrong priorities
McInturff, the GOP pollster, points out that Americans are upset with Congress focusing on the battle over judges, Social Security, trying to restore Terri Schiavo’s feeding tube and the ethical troubles surrounding their members, including Rep. Tom DeLay, R-Texas, instead of focusing on the economy, gas prices and health care.

The storyline of the an out-of-touch, corrupt, GOP recklessly over-reaching is developing. And Democrats' defense of the institution of the U.S. Senate is respected by Americans who passed high school civics. Republicans know that their party has been taken over by bat-shit crazies who are hell-bent on total control.

The 2006 political ramifications will be severe. Democratic pollster Peter D. Hart says:

“The public is exceptionally displeased with the Congress,” Hart said. “It is [its] lowest set of numbers since May of 1994,” the year when congressional Republicans defeated their Democratic counterparts in the midterm elections to take control of both the House and Senate. According to this poll, by 47 percent to 40 percent the public says it would prefer Democrats controlling Congress after the 2006 elections. [...]

Regarding the contentious debate over Bush’s judicial nominees, just 34 percent say the Senate should generally confirm the president’s judicial picks as long as they are honest and competent, while 56 percent argue that the Senate should make its own decision about the fitness of each nominee to serve.

Overall, according to the NBC/Journal poll, 52 percent believe the nation is headed in the wrong direction, while 35 percent think it’s on the right track.

All of these findings, Hart says, are signs of an angry electorate. “If you are a member of Congress and you got the poll back, you better be looking over your shoulder,” he said. “The masses are not happy.”


Posted at 12:31 PM in 2006 Elections - House, 2006 Elections - Senate, Nuclear Option | Technorati

Media Coverage of "Nuclear Option"

Posted by Bob Brigham

I was SHOCKED to see this screen-capture from Fox News. Keep an eye on the press during this constitutional crisis at Media Matters' Judicial Nomination page. They have already publically pointed out shoddy reporting at the A.P., NPR, and CNN.

He said/she said coverage is not journalism when one side is lying. This is a power-grab with the GOP seeking full consolidation of total control -- and they are lying to perpetuate this fraud.

When reporters repeat filibuster falsehoods they become active participants in partisan politics.

Posted at 11:34 AM in Nuclear Option, Scandals | Technorati

Nuclear Option: One Simple Question

Posted by Tim Tagaris

Update 1: 10:00 A.M. - Ping Pong: Reid and Schumer just got done going back and forth on the floor in regards to the "one simple question" posed to Bill Frist moments after he pushed the nuclear button yesterday morning. A question that Senator Frist will obviously have to answer:

Chuck Schumer: "Isn’t it correct that on March 8, 2000, my colleague [Sen. Frist] voted to uphold the filibuster of Judge Richard Paez?"

The answer, yes. Frist said yesterday that he would come back and answer the question. Well, he had another shot this morning, and failed. It's one simple question. Why was the filibuster of Richard Paez a "constitutional option" on March 8, 2001 at 5:51 PM?

Here's the roll call vote of Frist voting to extend the filibuster.

UPDATE: Wednesday 11:46 A.M. (Bob): Dem Bloggers has the video, Reid's prepared remarks after the jump...


Remarks as prepared for delivery:

Mr. President, I’ve addressed the Senate on several recent occasions to set the record straight about Senate history and the rules of this Chamber. I’d much rather address ways to cut health care costs or bring down gas prices. But the Majority Leader has decided that we will spend this week debating radical judges instead. I’m happy to engage in that debate, but I want it to be accurate.

For example, the Majority Leader issued a statement last Friday in which he called the filibuster a “procedural gimmick.” I took some time yesterday to correct that assertion. The filibuster is not a gimmick. It has been part of our nation’s history for two centuries. It is one of the vital checks and balances established by our Founding Fathers. It is not a gimmick.

Also, Republicans have not been accurate in describing the use of the filibuster. They say the defeat of a handful of President Bush’s judicial nominees is unprecedented. In fact, hundreds of judicial nominees in American history have been rejected by the Senate, many by filibuster. Most notably, the nomination of Abe Fortas to be Chief Justice of the United States was successfully filibustered in 1968. And during the Clinton Administration, over 60 judicial nominees were bottled up in the Judiciary Committee and never received floor votes.

In addition, Republicans engaged in explicit filibusters on the floor against a number of Clinton judges, and defeated a number of President Clinton’s executive branch nominees by filibuster. It’s the same Advice and Consent Clause – why was a Republican filibuster of Surgeon General nominee Henry Foster constitutional, but a Democratic filibuster of Fifth Circuit nominee Priscilla Owen unconstitutional? The Republican argument doesn’t add up.

And now, the President of the United States has joined the fray and become the latest to rewrite the Constitution and reinvent reality. Speaking to fellow Republicans on Tuesday night, he said that the Senate “has a duty to promptly consider each…nominee on the Senate floor, discuss and debate their qualifications, and then give them the up or down vote they deserve.”

Duty to whom? The radical right wing of the Republican Party who see within their reach the destruction of America's mainstream values?

It's certainly not duty to the tenets of our Constitution or to the American people who are waiting for progress and promise, not partisanship and petty debates.

The duties of the United States Senate are set forth in the Constitution of the United States. Nowhere in that document does it say the Senate has a duty to give presidential nominees “an up or down vote.” It says appointments shall be made with the Advice and Consent of the Senate. That is very different than saying that every nominee receives a vote.

This fact was even acknowledged by the Majority Leader on this floor last week. Senator Byrd asked the Majority leader if the Constitution accorded “to each nominee an up or down vote on the Senate floor?”

Senator Frist’s answer? “No, the language is not there.”

Senator Frist is correct. And the President should read the same copy of the Constitution that Senator Frist was referring to.

It is clear that the President misunderstands the meaning of the Advice and Consent Clause. The word “Advice” means “Advice.” President Clinton, consulted extensively with then-Judiciary Committee Chairman Hatch. Senator Hatch boasts in his autobiography that he personally convinced President Clinton to nominate Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer to the Supreme Court instead of more controversial choices.

In contrast, this President has never ever sought or heeded the advice of the Senate. But now he demands our consent.

That’s not how America works. The Senate is not a rubber stamp for the Executive branch. Rather, we’re the one institution where the Minority has a voice and the ability to check the power of the Majority. Today, in the face of President Bush's power grab, that's more important than ever. Republicans want one-party rule. The Senate is the last place where the President and his Republican colleagues can't have it all. And, now President Bush wants to destroy our checks and balances to ensure that he does get it all.

That check on his power is the right to extended debate. Every Senator can stand up on behalf of the people who have sent them here and say their piece. In the Senate’s 200 plus years of history, this has been done hundreds and hundreds of times…to stand up to popular presidents arrogant with power…to block legislation harmful to America’s workers…and yes – even to reject the President's judicial nominations.

Who are the nominees now before the Senate?

Priscilla Owen is a Texas Supreme Court Justice nominated to the Fifth Circuit. Justice Owen sides with big business and corporate interests against workers and consumers in case after case, regardless of the law. Her colleagues on the conservative Texas court have written that she legislates from the bench. Her own colleagues have called her opinions "nothing more than inflammatory rhetoric," her interpretation of the law to be "misconceptions," and even rebuked her for second guessing the legislature on vital pieces of legislation. If she wanted to legislate, she should run for Congress. If she wants to interpret and uphold the law, she should be a judge. She can't do both.

In case after case, Justice Owen’s record marks her as a judge willing to make law from the bench rather than follow the language and intent of the legislature or judicial precedent. She has demonstrated this tendency most clearly in a series of dissents involving a Texas law providing for a judicial bypass of parental notification requirements for minors seeking abortions. She sought to erect barriers that did not exist in law, such as requiring religious counseling for minors facing a tough choice.

Janice Rogers Brown, a California Supreme Court justice nominated to the D.C. Circuit, is using her seat on the bench to wage an ideological war against America’s social safety net. She wants to take America back to the 19th Century and undo the New Deal, which includes Social Security and vital protections for working Americans like the minimum wage. Every Senator in this body should tell the more than 10 million working Americans already living in poverty on minimum wage why someone who wants to make their life harder and destroy their hopes and dreams should be elevated to a lifetime to one of the most powerful courts in the country.

Justice Brown has been nominated to the court that oversees the actions of federal agencies responsible for worker protections, environmental laws, and civil rights and consumer protections. She has made no secret of her disdain for government. According to Justice Brown, government destroys families, takes property, is the cause of a “debased, debauched culture,” and threatens civilization.

Moreover, Justice Brown received a “not qualified” rating from the California Judicial Commission when she was nominated for the California Supreme Court in 1996 because of her “tendency to interject her political and philosophical views into her opinions” and complaints that she was insensitive to established legal precedent.

Speaking recently at a church on "Justice Sunday," Brown proclaimed a "war" between religious people and the rest of America. Is this someone we want protecting the constitutional doctrine of separation of church and state, or freedom for all Americans to practice religion?

She has expanded the rights of corporations at the expense of individuals -- arguing to give corporations more leeway against attempts to prevent consumer fraud, to stop the sale of cigarettes to minors, and to prevent discrimination against women and individuals.

Janice Rogers Brown may be the daughter of a sharecropper, but she's never looked back to ensure the legal rights of millions of Americans still fighting to build better lives for their children and children's children.

These are the nominees over which the Republican leadership is waging this fight. And they are prepared to destroy the Senate that has existed for over 200 years to do it.

The Senate is a body of moderation. While the White House is the voice of a single man, and the House of Representatives is the voice of the Majority, the Senate is a forum of the states. It is the saucer that cools the coffee. It is the world’s greatest deliberative body.

How will we call this the world’s greatest deliberative body after the majority breaks the rules to silence the minority?

This vision of our government – the vision of our Founding Fathers - no longer suits President Bush and the Republicans in the Senate. They don’t want consensus or compromise. They don’t want advice and consent.

They want absolute power. And to get it, the President and the Majority Leader will do all they can to silence the Minority in the Senate and remove the last check on Republican power in Washington.

The White House is trying to grab power over two separate branches of government – Congress and the Judiciary – and they’re enlisting the help of the Republican Senate leadership to do it.

Republicans are demanding a power no president has ever had, and they’re willing to break the rules to do it.

And make no mistake Mr. President. This is about more than breaking the rules of the Senate or the future of seven radical judges.

At the end of the day, this about the rights and freedoms of millions of Americans.

The attempt to do away with the filibuster is nothing short of clearing the trees for the confirmation of an unacceptable nominee on the Supreme Court. If the Majority gets its way, George Bush and the far right will have the sole power to put whoever they want on the Supreme Court -- from Pat Robertson to Phylis Schlafley. They don't want someone who represents the values of all Americans, someone who can win bipartisan consensus. They want someone who can skate through with only a bare partisan majority, someone whose beliefs lay in the fringes of our society.

Nobody will be able to stop them from placing these people on the highest court in the land – extremist judges who won’t protect our rights and who hold values far outside the mainstream of America.

Here's what's really at stake here:

The civil rights of millions of Americans.

The voting rights of millions of Americans.

The right to clean water to drink and safe air to breathe for millions of Americans.

The right to free speech and religious beliefs.

The right to equality, opportunity and justice.

And, nothing less than the individual rights and liberties of all Americans.

It is up to us in this Chamber to say no to this abuse of power. To stand up for the Constitution and let George Bush and the Republican Party know that the Supreme Court is not theirs to claim.

This debate all comes down to this: will we let George Bush turn the Senate into a rubber stamp to fill the Supreme Court with people from the extreme right's wish list?

Or will we uphold the Constitution and use of advice and consent powers to force the President to look to the mainstream?

Mr. President, I hope it's the latter. I know that is what my fellow Democrats and I will fight for, and I hope the responsible Republicans we've heard from will have the courage to join us.

Let's see who has the courage in them.

Posted at 10:04 AM in Nuclear Option | Technorati

Nuclear Option: Manny Miranda

Posted by Bob Brigham

Manny Miranda did a high-tech Watergate and we're now finding out that some of the information stolen from the Democrats is driving the GOP assualt on the Senate.

This entire powergrab is the work of one unethical thief who stole files and is now trying to force Republicans to join him in breaking the rules.

I know Swing State Project is read by many Republicans and polling suggests a good percentage may be unhappy that one thief has forced this upon the GOP. So send him an email and maybe he'll demonstrate why he's in charge with an intelligent reply.

Posted at 09:12 AM in Nuclear Option | Technorati

Frist's New Problem

Posted by Bob Brigham

The thing about postmodern politics is that you need to be just as worried about certain people as you are about many of the organizations. John Aravosis for instance...

He – personally – is the biggest argument against the military's anti-gay discrimination. Aravosis is an Army of One. The guy fought Microsoft...and won. He is the embodiment of postmodern politics, and he wins more times than you do, so pay attention.

I know this must drive the Republicans crazy, but when John calls you out, you're going to getting a beating. So when he calls on Frist to resign, pay attention. From

Frist is a pig. The GOP is out of control. He should step down and the voters should slap that party hard. Their over-the-top comments and reactions and whines and complaints and outright lies have gone on long enough. Shut up and leave the country if you're so unhappy living in America the way the Framers set things up. Just spare us the blatant lies and the downright dangerous language.

Frist's words are particularly ironic when its GOP senators who have condoned the murder of judges and when it's their radical right hate group allies who have used language that could easily inspire violence against judges, or so says Sandra Day O'Connor and Judge Lefkow (the judge whose mother and husband were recently murdered in Chicago). The GOP has become the party of un-American, anti-American, far-right nutjobs who have no respect for the truth, the Constitution, the separation of powers, or the rule of law. They are beholdened to absolute power and their bigoted pseudo-religious patrons.

Aravosis doesn't just write a post, he runs campaigns that begin with a post. This is the call-out, next comes the fury, followed by the takedown. Republicans can only hope to survive a battle with Aravosis, there is no way to win. That's why I am so proud he's a General in our army.

Posted at 12:23 AM in Netroots, Nuclear Option | Comments (2) | Technorati

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

2006 Elections: Over Reach = Backlash

Posted by Bob Brigham

Big Lebowski:

The Dude: Walter, what is the point? Look, we all know who is at fault here, what the fuck are you talking about?
Walter Sobchak: Huh? No, what the fuck are you... I'm not... We're talking about unchecked aggression here, dude.

I couldn't help but think of this when I saw the latest poll numbers:

Voters dissatisfied with Bush, Congress
NBC/WSJ poll reveals 'angry electorate'

WASHINGTON - As the Senate marches closer toward a nuclear showdown over President Bush’s judicial nominees, the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll finds that the American public is dissatisfied — with Congress and its priorities, with Bush’s plan to overhaul Social Security and with the nation’s economy and general direction. Moreover, a majority believes that the Senate should make its own decision about the president’s judicial nominees, rather than just generally confirming them. [...]

Perhaps the most revealing finding in the poll is the attitude toward Congress. Just 33 percent of the respondents approve of Congress’ job. That’s down 6 points since a poll in April and 8 points since January.

“The public is exceptionally displeased with the Congress,” Hart said. “It is [its] lowest set of numbers since May of 1994,” the year when congressional Republicans defeated their Democratic counterparts in the midterm elections to take control of both the House and Senate. According to this poll, by 47 percent to 40 percent the public says it would prefer Democrats controlling Congress after the 2006 elections.

This isn't Abu Ghraib, this is our government. There are rules.

Posted at 07:38 PM in 2006 Elections, Nuclear Option | Technorati

No Shame, No Honor: Bill Frist

Posted by Bob Brigham

A Raw Story exclusive:

On the same day that a federal judge whose family was assassinated testified to the Senate Judiciary Committee about courthouse safety, Sen. Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) described Democratic efforts opposing some of President Bush’s judicial nominees as “leadership-led use of Cloture vote to kill, to defeat, to assassinate these nominees.”

Federal Judge Joan Lefkow was a target for assassination, and her husband and mother were murdered in February of this year. Democratic Whip Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) hammered Frist's comments and asked they be struck from the Senate record.

Durbin remarked, "When words are expressed during the court of the debate that those of us who oppose these nominees are setting out to 'kill, to defeat or to assassinate these nominees, those words should be taken from this record. Those words go too far."

I agree those words go too far, but they should remain on the record as none among us should every forget today's GOP.

Posted at 07:17 PM in Nuclear Option | Technorati

Nuclear Option: 2703 to 1

Posted by Tim Tagaris

2703 - 1.

That's the vote tally of Republicans in the U.S. Senate for the 39 Court of Appeals nominees sent by President Bush. Two thousand and three individual votes cast in the affirmative for the nominees, one single vote against. So much for calling for a "deliberative body," "independent thinking," and allowing each member to "vote their conscience."

via Senator Schumer on the floor, right now.

Posted at 07:03 PM in Nuclear Option | Comments (1) | Technorati

Nuclear Option: SCLM

Posted by Tim Tagaris

New York Times headline: Church Teacher at Center of Senate Fight

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) -- A Sunday school teacher who graduated among the top of her law school class but angered abortion rights advocates by wanting to make it harder for minors to terminate a pregnancy is at the center of the historic storm in the U.S. Senate over the future of the federal judiciary.

A filibuster against people of faith, indeed. Not sure there is much more to be said about this piece. Kind of pathetic that it is linked front page at the top of the NYT website.

Posted at 06:47 PM in Nuclear Option | Technorati

Email Manny Miranda

Posted by Bob Brigham

From Kos:

The email address he's using to rally his troops and wage this battle:

Spread the word.

UPDATE 6:00 P.M. (Tim): If you needed reminding, Miranda is the source of Charles Hurt's infamous Gannon-like article attempting to smear Harry Reid last week. He's the guy that "jacked" Senate computers of data that prompted his resignation while working for Senator Bill Frist--same guy Orrin Hatch called improper, unethical and simply unacceptable. And he's the guy who is coordinating efforts behind the scenes to blow up the Senate via the nuclear option.

Posted at 05:47 PM in Activism, Nuclear Option | Technorati

Nuclear Option Video

Posted by Bob Brigham

C-SPAN2 is streaming the live video, Dem Bloggers and Crooks and Liars have recaps.

Posted at 05:39 PM in Nuclear Option | Technorati

Nuclear Option: GOP Lie to Perpetuate a Fraud

Posted by Bob Brigham

Everyone knows that the entire premise behind the "nuclear option" is a lie. A bold-faced lie. But the most dangerous implication of the GOP lying to push their power grab is that this is a lie designed to perpetuate a fraud.

Steve Soto, Josh Marshall, and Hunter have more.

Posted at 04:40 PM in Nuclear Option | Technorati

GOP Thuggery Behind Power Grab

Posted by Bob Brigham

It is a shame that the MSM refuses to touch this story. From Raw Story:

Chairman of coalition aimed at killing filibuster pirated Dem, GOP memos on judicial nominees

The chairman of a massive coalition of groups working to kill the filibuster was forced to resign from the Senate Judiciary Committee last year after admitting to raiding thousands of private Democratic and GOP strategy memos relating to judicial nominees without permission—a fact that continues to go unnoticed in media reports, RAW STORY has found.

Chairman of the National Coalition to End Judicial Filibusters Manuel Miranda admitted to accessing thousands of private Democratic and Republican memos without permission in 2004, which he likened to “to finding documents left on his desk.”

He was a formerly counsel to Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) on judicial nominations.

A probe in early 2004 concluded “that more than 4,500 files of committee Democrats were accessed by former Hatch aides Manuel Miranda and Jason Lundell.” His tapping of strategy memos on judicial nominees went on for months; their contents appeared in the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Times.

These thugs have no respect, no honor -- only a lust for absolute power.

Posted at 04:19 PM in Nuclear Option | Technorati

Democrats Winning Star Wars Metaphors

Posted by Bob Brigham

From a Press Release:

DAGOBAH (AP) - At an impromptu news conference held in front of his hut, Yoda, the famed Jedi Master, formally announced he would seek the Democratic nomination for the Presidency in 2008.

"Disbanded the Jedi Council young Skywalker has. Find new work I must," joked Master Yoda.

Master Yoda has hundreds of years of experience as a Jedi Master. Already, Master Yoda has received key endorsements from Senators Bail Organa (D-Alderaan) and Mon Mothma (D-Chandrila), who compared tactics the current Bush administration uses to undermine civil liberties to those of Emperor Palpatine.

Posted at 04:14 PM in 2008 Election - President, Nuclear Option | Technorati

Dem Unity Event: Harry Reid Statements

Posted by Bob Brigham

I have never before seen the Democrats as united, coordinated, and strong as today. Democrats just finished a Unity Event on the Capitol Steps. Reid's remarks after the fold:


Remarks as prepared for delivery:

The hour of decision has come for our nation’s Senate. In the debate that has begun, the Republican majority that holds the reins of power will have to make a choice.

They will have to choose between their partisan interests or the people’s interests.

Between upholding our liberties and rights or overturning 200 year old protections.

Between continuing to abuse the power the American people have lent them or using that power on behalf of everyday Americans who are looking for a fair break.

When Americans think of a scary person in a black robe, they should be thinking of Darth Vader, not Republican choices for judges. But what the Republican leadership is attempting to do is to pack the courts with judges far out of the mainstream of American values.

To do so they want to scrap rules that have been in place since our nation’s beginning that give every Senator the right to speak their mind and say their piece. They are demanding a power no president has ever had: the ability to all-but personally hand out lifetime jobs to judges without giving the other party any say.

That’s too much power for one person. That’s too much power for one President. That’s too much power for one political party.

Our Constitution says the Senate should give “advice and consent.” Not advice as long as we agree with everything President Bush wants. Not consent as long as we rubber-stamp the most extreme elements of the Republican agenda.

These checks and balances were put in place by our founding fathers. And they are there for a reason: to prevent any political party from abusing its power.

Look at the facts: more than 60 of President Clinton's nominees to be judges never were allowed an up-or-down vote. In contrast, we have approved 208 out of President Bush’s 218 nominees. That’s the best record any president has had in a quarter of a century. But its not enough for George Bush and the Republican leaders.

We’ve approved 95 percent of their picks. But that’s not enough for them. They want 100 percent. They want it all. All the say. All the control. All the power. It’s their way or the highway. But that’s not the American way.

The Washington Republicans are on a quest for absolute power…and we all know what that brings. Their corruption and abuse of power is already here for all Americans to see. House Republican leader Tom Delay is a walking symbol of what’s wrong with Washington DC.

At a time when gas prices are going through the roof and families are cutting back on summer vacations, George Bush and Dick Cheney are trying to line the pockets of big oil and walking hand-in-hand with the Saudi princes.

And while health care costs are rising, pensions are sinking, and our economy is stuck in place, Washington Republicans are wasting our time by trying to pay off the far right.

We are a nation at war. And the American people want their leaders to be focused on achieving progress, not playing partisan games.

Fifty years ago this Spring, a US Senator in the majority party wrote that “Fanatics and extremists are always disappointed at the failure of their government to rush to implement all their principles.” But that the job of leaders is to follow the “course of their conscience.”

Those were the words of John F. Kennedy in “Profiles in Courage.” Now comes a time of testing for our own time. In the coming days, we will see who our nation’s leaders of courage are today. I ask Republicans who believe in liberty and limited government to join us in taking a stand against this abuse of power.

Its time that the Republican leaders in Congress stopped silencing people’s voices and began hearing the voices of Americans who are calling on us to live up to our nation’s promise.


Give 'em hell Harry!

If you want a wealth of information, visit Reid's website.

Posted at 04:05 PM in Democrats, Nuclear Option | Technorati

Media Matters: Top 10 Filibuster Falsehoods

Posted by Bob Brigham

This is a must read. Via Atrios.

This is moving at the speed of light. Check back for more, Swing State Project will have constant posting.

Posted at 03:57 PM in Nuclear Option | Technorati

PFAW Email: Getting the Word Out On The 'Nuclear Option'

Posted by Bob Brigham

People for the American Way has blasted their first email. Full text after the fold.

We told you Sen. Frist would begin his nuclear countdown this week, and as you read this he is using one extreme judicial nominee, with more to follow, to launch the rule-breaking plan.You may have also heard in media reports that some senators have been discussing ways to avoid a nuclear showdown. Our position remains simple: the filibuster must be protected to prevent our courts from being packed with right wing judges who would turn back the clock on decades of social justice progress.

The filibuster is a critical part of our system of checks and balances, a tool for the minority to prevent out-of-the-mainstream judges from taking lifetime positions on the federal bench. The nominee being debated - Priscilla Owen - has a record of pushing a right-wing agenda hostile to individual rights and Senate Democrats are right to filibuster her nomination.

Furthermore, People For the American Way Foundation continues to provide research that describes how the "Nuclear Option" could break at least six senate rules and precedents, concluding that the senate Republican leaders plan to break the Rules in an attempt to change them for momentary partisan advantage."

Since Sen. Frist is steering the Senate into dangerous and uncharted territory, the timing is unclear. Debate on the Nuclear Option may continue into next week please watch for upcoming alerts as the vote may occur quickly. Meanwhile, the senate must hear from us!


We've been spending millions on print and television advertisements, but nothing is more powerful than an army of grassroots activists. Download our eye-catching flyer, gather some friends, and post copies around your city, town, or workplace. Hand out flyers at local markets, grocery stores, and movie theaters, and make sure all Americans know what's at stake. Be sure to follow any local regulations, be considerate of your neighbors and communities, and post and distribute the flyers where they'll be seen.

Click here to download the flyer (PDF)


Support our campaign:

Participate in our Massive Immediate Response:

Sign our petition to Save the Filibuster:

Forward this e-mail:

I signed up for the text alert some time ago, this is cutting edge activism.

Posted at 03:42 PM in Activism, Nuclear Option | Technorati

Nuclear Option: Senator Ted Kennedy

Posted by Bob Brigham

Senator Kennedy rocks, check out STOP IT NOW:

Senator Frist and the Republican Party believe they have absolute power to change our system of checks and balances and challenge our independent judiciary.

Their drastic and destructive path has only one destination: the Supreme Court.

Tell Senator Frist to stop it now before it reaches the pinacle of our independent judiciary:

I signed. Crystal Patterson, the Senator's Online Director, has an important diary on Daily Kos: ALERT: Senator Kennedy To Speak on the Floor at 2:45.

Posted at 03:22 PM in Activism, Massachusetts, Nuclear Option | Comments (1) | Technorati

Nuclear Option: Frist Hearts the Filibuster

Posted by Tim Tagaris

Question: On the Cloture Motion (Cloture Motion RE: Nom. of Richard Paez to be U.S. Circuit Judge) -- Roll Call Vote

Senator Dorgan said that he didn't want to embarrass his colleagues on the floor of the Senate by calling out those who have voted against cloture during an attempted filibuster of Clinton appointees. Well, he is a better man than I. Here's a hint -- Bill Frist & Sam Brownback -- on the list. Remember, just cause you failed in a filibuster attempt, doesn't mean you didn't see it as a "constitutional option."

Then there was 1995.

Question: On the Cloture Motion (Motion to invoke cloture Re: Henry W. Foster, Jr. nomination) -- Roll Call Vote

The full list is in the extended entry. Here's another hint; Santorum, Hatch, McConnel -- you guessed it, on the list.

Abraham (R-MI)
Ashcroft (R-MO)
Bennett (R-UT)
Bond (R-MO)
Brown (R-CO)
Burns (R-MT)
Coats (R-IN)
Cochran (R-MS)
Coverdell (R-GA)
Craig (R-ID)
D'Amato (R-NY)
DeWine (R-OH)
Dole (R-KS)
Domenici (R-NM)
Faircloth (R-NC)
Gramm (R-TX)
Grams (R-MN)
Grassley (R-IA)
Gregg (R-NH)
Hatch (R-UT)
Hatfield (R-OR)
Helms (R-NC)
Hutchison (R-TX)
Inhofe (R-OK)
Kempthorne (R-ID)
Kyl (R-AZ)
Lott (R-MS)
Lugar (R-IN)
Mack (R-FL)
McCain (R-AZ)
McConnell (R-KY)
Murkowski (R-AK)
Nickles (R-OK)
Pressler (R-SD)
Roth (R-DE)
Santorum (R-PA)
Shelby (R-AL)
Smith (R-NH)
Stevens (R-AK)
Thomas (R-WY)
Thompson (R-TN)
Thurmond (R-SC)
Warner (R-VA)

Posted at 03:09 PM in Nuclear Option | Technorati

Nuclear Option

Posted by Bob Brigham

In the opening salvo, Schumer bested Frist

UPDATE 1 - Wednesday 1:54 PM (Bob): Dave Johnson reports, Schumer: "It's like a Banana Republic." Ellen Dana Nagler has the negotiation watch.

UPDATE 2 - Wednesday 2:29 PM (Tim): A wingnut batton pass. From Senator Sessions to Sam Brownback who wastes no time sprinting down the path to regress by taking up the case against gay marriage. This is going to be a long half-hour.

UPDATE 3 - Wednesday 2:38 PM (Bob): In addition to email, phone, and fax, send a telegram. The Manny Miranda email I mentioned earlier also said that the zealots were going to "use all the technology" at their disposal, so let's escalate with some old school technology.

UPDATE 4 - Wednesday 2:54 PM (Bob): ACTION WATCH:

PFAW Filibuster Action Center
DSCC: Senate Republicans Out of Control and an ask:

Call these Senators today and urge them to hold the line and support the right to a filibuster.

Senator Susan Collins (ME)
Phone: (202) 224-2523

Senator Olympia Snowe (ME)
Phone: (202) 224-5344

Senator Chuck Hagel (NE)
Phone: (202) 224-4224

Senator Arlen Specter (PA)
Phone: (202) 224-4254

Senator John W. Warner (VA)
Phone: (202) 224-2023

UPDATE 5: Wednesday 3:10 PM (Bob): The DNC has audio of the conference call with Reid

UPDATE 6: Wednesday 3:25 PM (Bob): Lastest news posted here.

Posted at 01:49 PM in Nuclear Option | Technorati

Send a Telegram

Posted by Bob Brigham

Harkening back to Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, send a telegram. You can do it online, using the internet to pile-on with the oldest form of wired lobbying. Go to Western Union, click on Send Now -> Telegram, and send one, especially if you are represented by a Republican Senator. In addition to email, phone and fax, invest $15 in sending a telegram. Here's a sample to Leader Harry Reid:


Time to escalate, time to go old school.

Posted at 01:10 PM in Activism, Netroots, Nuclear Option | Technorati

Filibuster and Nuclear Option Coverage

Posted by Bob Brigham

Swing State Project will have round-the-clock coverage of the filibuster festivities (this post will remain at the top of the page). You can watch on CSPAN2.

Update 1 - Wednesday 9:50 A.M. (Tim): It's on. Bill Frist has brought the nomination of Priscilla Owen and Janice Rogers Brown to the floor and the debate about the filibuster is on. No turning back now.

Update 2 - Wednesday 10:33 A.M. (Bob): Joining the battle...after five days on the road I'm back in The City, sitting at the best coffee shop and watching C-SPAN 2 online.

Update 3 - Wednesday 10:48 A.M. (Bob & Tim: I am including contact links): From an email, Manny Miranda is targeting, "GOP Leaders, and to McCain, Snowe (email below), Collins, Hagel, Sununu, Chafee, and Red State Democrats Byrd, Conrad, Ben Nelson, Bill Nelson, and Bingaman (email below)."

Comma separated email addresses (looking for rest to make it easy):,

Update 4 - Wednesday 12:08 P.M. (Bob): Memo to Senator Ken Salazar. You can't win if negotiate with terrorists.

Update 5 - Wednesday 12:52 P.M. (Bob): Since the last update, I've been on conference calls with Reid and Schumer. Democrats are as coordinated as I've ever seen.

Posted at 01:04 PM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - Senate, Nuclear Option | Technorati

Political Respect - Nuclear Option

Posted by Bob Brigham

Respect is something the polls need to do a better job of trying to understand. While polls try to follow by examining sentiment by testing approval, they need to also look at respect because we know that people will vote against interests, against their beliefs.

I don't care where people stand on the issue of the nuclear option, it is just that I'm far more interested in the degree voters respect the role a politician is playing in the filibuster theatre.

I thought this deserved some disussion after reading this in the Las Vegas Journal Review:

Reid's performance gets thumbs up from most

WASHINGTON -- Days before an anticipated Senate filibuster showdown, a slight majority of Nevadans disapprove of Sen. Harry Reid blocking some of President Bush's judicial picks, according to a new poll.

But despite splitting from him on federal judges, a majority of Nevadans believe Reid, D-Nev., is doing a good job representing them in the Senate, the poll showed.

For many voters, respect is a primia facia hurdle, only after that will they listen to the issues. So the question for the nuclear war is will voters respect the Republicans after this power grab:

Despite his leading role in partisan fighting over judges and Social Security reform, Reid drew some support from Nevada Republicans, with 29 percent of GOP respondents rating him "good" or "excellent."

Time for bold action. Time to earn some respect. The Democrat comeback begins today.

Posted at 10:03 AM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - Senate, Democrats, Nevada, Nuclear Option | Comments (1) | Technorati

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

LA-Mayor: Villaraigosa v. Hahn

Posted by Tim Tagaris

Regular updates can be found HERE. I will continue to update this race, and Seth Williams, at Swing State Project.

Update 1: Reporting 8%: Villaraigosa 51% (61,435) - Hahn 48% (58,045)
Update 2: Reporting 9%: Villaraigosa 53% (71,621) - Hahn 47% (62,610)
Update 3: Reporting 11%: Villaraigosa 56% (90,660) - Hahn 44% (72,024)
Update 4: Reporting 14%: Villaraigosa 58% (119,044) - Hahn 42% (86,150)
Update 5: Reporting 16%: Villaraigosa 58% (139,773) - Hahn 41% (98,486)

FINAL: Quick correction, the above percent reporting numbers are the numbers for voters, not precincts. The count stands at Villaraigosa 58.66% (260,721) - Hahn 41.34% (183,749).

Hahn was stomped. Changing the Democratic Party is best done in races where we get to choose which Democrat we prefer.

Posted at 11:46 PM in 2005 Elections, California | Technorati

Philly-DA: Results

Posted by Tim Tagaris

First and foremost, let me bark about Philadelphia County's election results reporting. You can't follow it in real-time unless you pay a news subscription fee. Long live democracy.

Philly DA: Seth Williams (The Philly Phenomenon) vs. Lynne Abraham.

Update 1: Reporting 5% - Abraham 70% - Williams 30%
Update 2: Reporting 21% - Abraham 59% (13,143) - Williams 41% (9,212)
Update 3: Reporting 70% - Abraham 59% - Williams 41% (KYW Reporting)
Update 4: Reporting 74% - Abraham 58% (50,354)- Williams 42% (36,016)
Update 5: Reporting 90% - Abraham 57% - Williams 43% (KYW)
Update 6: Abraham gives acceptance speech. I Still wonder how well Seth did and will keep you updated as well.
Update 7: Reporting 94% - Abraham 56% (59,542)- Williams 44% (47,218)

Growing Greener: $625 million bond issue to finance a number of environmentally-related projects.

Update 1: Reporting 3% - Yes 65% (7,924)- No 35% (4,339)
Update 2: Reporting 12% - Yes 67%(46,638) - No % 33%(22,566)
Update 3: Reporting 40% - Yes 61%(224,782) - No % 39%(142,170)
Update 4: Reporting 64% - Yes 61%(385,288) - No % 39%(245,066)

Another Update: Returns should start coming in from the L.A. Mayor race. Bob will be following that when he returns.

Posted at 09:27 PM in Pennsylvania | Technorati

Senator Reid, We've Got Your Back

Posted by Bob Brigham

Every day, Nevada Senator Harry Reid looks out for us. On the brink of the GOP attacking the institution of the United States Senate with the "Nuclear Option", he needs us. Senator, I got your back. But he could use you too.

I've signed up at, so I get email briefings from the Minority Leaders "war room" keeping me in the loop on what is going on in the upper chamber. If you care about politics, you should probably go sign up.

In one of the most amazing uses of the internet for participatory democracy, Senator Reid wants our statements on the nuclear debate -- so he can use them on the floor. I am overwhelmed by how much Senator Reid "gets it" when it comes to the internet. He wants to use the internet to involve people, instead of just talking at them and asking for contribution. He wants more debate, more participation, more voices, and more people involved in politics.

There is very stark contrast between Reid's involvement in trying to save the filibuster and Frist's attempts to shut down debate. In know Swing State Project is read by some brilliant people. So throw an idea, send him your words so he has the ammunition necessary to win the nuclear war the GOP is hell-bent on launching. Here is his email:

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist has informed me that tomorrow he will bring the nominations of Priscilla Owen and Janice Rogers Brown to the floor of the United States Senate. The Senate has already rejected both of these judges and now Bill Frist is threatening to impose the “Nuclear Option”, effectively ending free speech in the Senate, breaking the rules to end Democrats right to filibuster, in order to pass these extreme nominees.

Next week I need all of you on the email list to stand with us. I want to use your voice as part of this debate. Tell me and in fact the American people why this debate is important to you and I will use some of your statements on the floor.

George Bush has gotten more than 95% of his judicial nominations confirmed – but it isn’t enough. The “Nuclear Option” is just another example of Republicans striving for absolute power in Washington, DC. They don’t have the votes to pass these nominees so they abuse power and break the rules to get their way. If they win, it spells the end of the checks and balances the founding fathers envisioned in our constitution.

And if that wasn’t enough, the judges George Bush has chosen to serve on the federal courts are simply unacceptable because of their actions and judicial temperaments. Janice Rogers Brown has called Social Security a form of “cannibalism” and has consistently used her position to advocate for an extreme ideological agenda. In one opinion she argued that racial slurs are protected by the first amendment, even when they rise to the level of illegal race discrimination.

Priscilla Owen is no better. Former Texas Supreme Court Justice Alberto Gonzales - who is now Attorney General– served with Owen and has called her opinions “an unconscionable act of judicial activism." She has even sought to twist the meaning of an important state civil rights law making it much harder for employees to prove that their rights were violated.

This is the most important fight of my political life but working together we can defeat the forces that wish abuse power to destroy freedom of speech in the United States Senate

Lend your voice and stand with me on the floor this week. There has never been a more important time.

Thank you,

Senator Harry Reid

Give him your thoughts.

Posted at 03:49 PM in Nuclear Option | Technorati

Philly-DA: VOTE!

Posted by Tim Tagaris

That's it. The time for talking is done. Campaign staffers and volunteers for Seth Williams are manning phone banks, walking blocks, and working GOTV in a race that should be important to all of us bloggers across the country.

And while traditional campaign staffers are burning the shoe-leather, Williams' "band of bloggers" are opening their lap-tops, logging on to their PCs and MACs, and attempting to virtually GOTV. To the best of my knowledge, this has never been done before in such a local race. The scope of what these bloggers have accomplished has been tremendous, and we'll have a full run-down as soon as the ballots are cast. But for now, the time to talk is done, it's time to GOTV.

If you know anyone in Philadelphia, get them to the polls. If you blog, write about Seth's race. If you have time, log on to Seth's website and get involved in their nationwide phone bank. When Seth Williams preforms better than any expected, this will be our victory as well.

For more information on why the "Philadelphia Phenomenon" is so important, CLICK HERE. Polling Place Locator HERE.

UPDATE: From Bob

I know that people will read this who know people in Philly. Drop them an email, tell them about Seth Williams, and remind them of the importance of voting in the primary today. Take a quick moment RIGHT NOW and see if you can move a couple of votes. Others will join you. Thanks everyone!

Posted at 09:09 AM in Netroots | Comments (1) | Technorati

Monday, May 16, 2005

Brigham on CNN's Inside Politics

Posted by Tim Tagaris

I don't know how many of you saw it earlier today, but Swing State Project's own, Bob Brigham, was on Inside Politics. He spoke about Seth Williams and as stellar examples of a "localization" trend in the blogosphere. He was asked several other questions, but I will leave it for you to watch.

The full video can be found HERE. Nice job, Bob!

Posted at 08:40 PM in Site News | Technorati

Philly-DA: "Philly Phenomenon" at it Again

Posted by Tim Tagaris

With one day to go before Philadelphians cast their primary ballots for District Attorney, the Philly bloggers are at it again in support of Seth Williams--this time asking a growing grassroots network to help GOTV. The regionalized effort, led by Daniel Urevick-Ackelsberg of Young Philly Politics, is providing a template for bloggers across the country on how to organize locally, online, and have an impact on "down ballot" races.

So far, they have raised money, recruited volunteers, tallied vote pledges, and earned a bunch of free media, including a piece in the Philadelphia Inquirer just last week. Today, they are asking people across the country to make phone calls, tonight, for Seth. You can find out more information on how to get involved HERE.


Disclaimer: I am helping with the online organizing for U.S. Senate candidate in Pennsylvania, Chuck Pennacchio.

Posted at 02:43 PM in Netroots | Comments (2) | Technorati

VA-Gov: Jerry Kilgore an Idiot

Posted by Bob Brigham

This is kinda funny. I'm sitting here at the personal democracy conference, listening to lots of big ideas about the internet and democracy (lower case 'd'). Which is why I was so shocked to come across this article in the Richmond Times Dispatch:

Jerry W. Kilgore, the likely Republican nominee for governor, fires back next week in the television-advertising battle, rolling out his first commercials of the increasingly bitter campaign.

People willing to donate $50 or more could preview one TV ad yesterday on a special Web site.

Fifty bucks to see a campaign ad a day early? This has got to be one of the dumbest ideas I have ever heard of. I know there are plenty of people stupid enough to support Kilgore, but I'd be shocked to learn that there is anyone, anywhere in the world, dumb enough to pay $50 to watch a TV ad.

Kilgore is an idiot, raising taxes on democracy with his pay-to-play campaign.

Posted at 09:39 AM in 2005 Elections | Technorati

Public Warms to Gay Marriage/Civil Unions

Posted by Tim Tagaris

Today's Boston Globe reports that the public seems to be coming around to civil unions, if not even gay marriage as well. The piece lends credence to San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom's strategy memo circulated several months ago that calls for leadership, not ducking and running away, on divisive political issues that Democrats are on the correct side of. From the article:

Forty-six percent of respondents backed civil unions that would give gay couples ''some, but not all, of the legal rights of married couples" while 41 percent said they were opposed. [...]

Seventy-six percent of those surveyed predicted that all or some states will eventually join Massachusetts in legalizing gay marriage. Forty-one percent said sex between people of the same gender is ''always wrong," but that figure is down from 58 percent in a 1998 survey by the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago. And 79 percent of respondents said gays should be allowed to serve openly in the military, up from 57 percent in a 2000 Opinion Dynamics Poll.

I don't think this will surprise anyone, but the article indicates that people of younger generations are much more accepting of gay marriage and civil unions. And while 50% of Americans surveyed disapprove of gay marriage, a whopping 48% either approve (37%) or are neutral (11%) on the subject. MoE on the survey is 3.6%

Posted at 09:22 AM in Democrats | Technorati

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Brigham on the Road at PDF Conference

Posted by Tim Tagaris

Bob just called me from New York City where he will be attending the Personal Democracy Conference all day tomorrow. While I wish I could be there, many of us will have to settle for Bob's reporting when he gets back to California on Tuesday.

He just got done telling me about how insightful it was sitting at the bar listening to a conversation between Arianna Huffington and Mike Krempasky, who he described as a genuinely good guy. Many big names, a lot to be learned, and apparently a bit of bi-partisan bar hopping going on the night before the conference. Earlier today, he attended a "less formal" gathering of committed Democratic netroots activists in Washington, D.C. before hopping a train to NYC.

I am sure he will have more when he gets back, and possibly during the day tomorrow.

Posted at 09:20 PM in Netroots | Technorati

Time Poll Not Good News for W.

Posted by Tim Tagaris

Polling Report has the details, not much of which is good news for President Bush (MoE +/- 3%):

Job Approval
Approve: 46%
Disapprove: 47%
Unsure: 7%

President's Handling of Iraq
Approve: 41%
Disapprove: 55%
Unsure: 4%

President's Handling of Social Security
Approve: 31%
Disapprove: 59%
Unsure: 10%

Should Republicans be able to end the filibuster?
Should: 28%
Should Not: 59%
Unsure: 14%

Not good news at all for George Bush and those in the legislative branch that insist on following the president down the path consistently contrary to the will of the American people. The stage is set for a dramatic swing in the 2006 Midterm Elections.

Posted at 04:23 PM in General | Technorati

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Bush Justice Department Smears Reid

Posted by Bob Brigham

The GOP political assassination push leading up to the filibuster is now being financed by your tax dollars. From the AP:

The Justice Department is edging into the Senate controversy over judicial nominees, writing key lawmakers after Democratic Leader Harry Reid publicly referred to an FBI file on one of President Bush's controversial appointees.

"The letter expressed concern about recent remarks on the floor of the Senate which alluded to an FBI background investigation file provided by the Department of Justice to the Senate Judiciary Committee on a confidential basis in connection with a judicial nomination," a department official said Friday night.

The official, who spoke only on condition of anonymity, said the letter did not refer specifically to Reid, or to 6th Circuit Court nominee Henry Saad.

1. For years, everyone has known about this (public knowledge in the public domain).

2. This is a politically motivated "leak" by a Justice Department "anonymous source" -- total partisan politics.

3. No where does the letter mention Reid, but the "leak" brings Reid into the story, not Orin Hatch who has also spoke on this.

This is disgusting.

UPDATE: Matt Singer has more...Bush Admin Still Trying to Push Story, Going Into Violate Separation of Powers Mode:

Where was this concern a year ago, when Carl Levin, Debbie Stabenow, and Charles Hurt all referred to these materials? It was nowhere. This isn’t concern about what’s going on. It’s the Bush Administration trying to hijack democracy by meddling in the legislative process, inferring that the legislative branch must defer to the executive, and generally ransacking the principles of our Constitution.

Posted at 12:10 PM in Nuclear Option, Republicans | Comments (3) | Technorati

Larry Flint Sets Sights on John Bolton

Posted by Bob Brigham

The John Bolton mess has been causing quite a rift in the Republican Party.

But I'm more interested in Raw Story's exclusive on Larry Flint joining the battle. During the impeachment fiasco, you might remember that Flint placed a bounty on the heads of GOP members with hypocrisy liability when it came to infidelity. Flint took down Speaker Livingston and exposed many a secret that the Republicans were hoping to keep between God and their mistresses. Now Flynt is striking again.

The controversial Hustler Magazine publisher Larry Flynt has waded into the conflict surrounding the nomination of Bush hawk John Bolton to a UN post by revealing Bolton's divorce records and unanswered questions about his sexual past, RAW STORY has learned.

The following release was issued early this afternoon. RAW STORY will provide more details as they become available.

The records show that Bolton's wife left him during a trip to Vienna in two weeks in 1982 and never returned.

From the release:

Corroborated allegations that Mr. Bolton’s first wife, Christina Bolton, was forced to engage in group sex have not been refuted by the State Department despite inquires posed by Hustler magazine publisher Larry Flynt concerning the allegations. Mr. Flynt has obtained information from numerous sources that Mr. Bolton participated in paid visits to Plato’s Retreat, the popular swingers club that operated in New York City in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

“The first Mrs. Bolton’s conduct raises the presumption that she fled out of fear for her safety or, at a minimum, it demonstrates that Mr. Bolton’s established inability to communicate or work respectfully with others extended to his intimate family relations,” said Mr. Flynt. “The court records alone provide sufficient basis for further investigation of nominee Bolton by the Senate.” These court records are enclosed here as an attachment. Mr. Flynt continued, “The U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations must be free of any potential source of disrepute or blackmail.”

The blackmail potential is something that should be considered by the Senate as they advise and do not consent.

As happened in the 90's, once Flynt gets the ball rolling, it empowers people to step forward:

Mr. Flynt has personal knowledge about sources corroborating the allegations of nominee Bolton’s misconduct, and he has called upon these persons to publicly come forward with their information.

“First wife Christina Bolton has understandably remained silent on what led her to flee her husband of 10 years and to take the family belonging with hers. A full inquiry would necessarily involve meetings with Mrs. Bolton to uncover the circumstances of her flight and the Committee should subpoena her in private session,” Mr. Flynt said.

I'm sure Raw Story will have more.

Posted at 10:36 AM in Republicans | Technorati

Iowa to Hold Pole Position in Primaries

Posted by Bob Brigham

From the Des Moines Register:

Despite the clamor from some national Democrats to dump Iowa from its leading role in the presidential nominating race, only one alternative to the traditional Iowa-New Hampshire kickoff will be offered when national party leaders meet this weekend.

Of the three proposals to be presented to a Democratic National Committee commission in Chicago on Saturday, only Michigan's delegation is expected to challenge the traditional first-in-the-nation status of the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire pri- mary.

Observers say, as some commission members do privately, that it's unlikely Iowa and New Hampshire will lose their coveted positions as the first major nominating contests in 2008.

With Mark Brewer leading the Michigan delegation, their influence is tiny (ask Donnie Fowler). It will be interesting to see what comes out of the Chicago meetings.

Posted at 10:02 AM in 2008 President - Democrats | Technorati

"Nuclear Option"

Posted by Bob Brigham

Last night, I took the red-eye to Dulles. Let's get it on.

Posted at 09:40 AM in Nuclear Option | Technorati

Friday, May 13, 2005

Online Union Organizing

Posted by Bob Brigham

Union bloggers are organizing and proudly displaying union bugs:

Union Label is a group whose purpose is to promote trade unionism by displaying a union label on its members' weblogs.

Via Dave Johnson.

Posted at 02:26 PM in Netroots | Technorati

Rapid Response: The Hurt

Posted by Bob Brigham

I just want to clarify a few things so that everyone is on the same page. The year is 2005 and Tom Daschle is not leading Democrats in the Senate. The days of walking all over Democrats are over. People who do not appreciate these facts will feel The Hurt.

Today's total bullshit that Charlie Hurt let Manuel Miranda run in the Washington Times should serve as a wake-up call to the out-of-control conservatives who think they can do whatever they want, whenever they want. The year is 2005 and Harry Reid is the Senate Leader.

While the Gang of 500 was sleeping, the blogosphere gave a late-night wake up call to everyone that the year is 2005. Bloggers have a nationwide post-modern message system. And netroots activists are ready for rapid response to bullshit. If the GOP is foolish enough to "go nuclear" they will find a backlash so thorough, so fast, and so widespread that it will make last night look quaint.

In preperation for the GOP's nuclear attack on the Senate, netroots activists are signing up to get a text-message alert on their cell phones. Immediately, an army of Democrats will be rushing to computers to wage politics online. The backlash will be the largest rapid response ever. Bloggers and those with email lists will lead as Generals on the post-modern battlefield as our message spreads every state. Before Americans see what happens on the news, they are going to learn about it from their family and friends and neighbors. Unfiltered message real-time.


It was fun flexing our muscles last night.

Once upon a time, Republicans could run their smear campaigns with impugnity. Now, we will go after those who plan those smears, those who abet them, and those who disseminate them.

We will be quick, ruthless, and diligent. We won't show mercy, because we haven't gotten any. We will play their game, and play it better. And we will prevail.


UPDATE Chris Bowers has much, much more...must read.

Posted at 12:18 PM in Netroots, Nuclear Option | Technorati

Maybe Reid Learned About Saad's FBI File from... Charlie Hurt

Posted by DavidNYC

Washington Times, June 4, 2004:

From the moment Mr. Hatch began the meeting, he struggled to get the quorum required to vote on a nominee. As soon as a quorum gathered, Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, Vermont Democrat, requested a private meeting to discuss accusations stemming from Judge Saad's FBI background check.

Though several Republicans noted privately that the routine check had been completed more than six months ago and that no questions had arisen, Mr. Hatch acquiesced and removed the public and reporters to hold a meeting. During that meeting, Judge Saad's hopes of getting out of committee faded.

Although the closed-door meeting succeeded in delaying Judge Saad's nomination one more week, it failed to remain secret. The hearing was broadcast over the Internet because of apparent inadvertence on the part of Republican staffers. (Emphasis added.)

The byline: Charles Hurt. Oops.

Posted at 03:40 AM in Nuclear Option | Technorati

Charlie Hurt, a Hack, Hacks & Misses

Posted by Tim Tagaris

Charlie Hurt is about a year late in trying to manufacture this "scandal."

With Senator Harry Reid outplaying Bill Frist at every turn in the debate over the nuclear option, the GOP turned to Moonie Times hatchet man Charles Hurt in a piece that probably would have been rejected by the editor(s?) at Jeff Gannon's Talon News.

The public already knows a great deal about Michigan Appeals Court Judge Henry Saad, one of President Bush's judicial nominees right in the middle of the nuclear option debate:

Last June, Michigan's Senators Stabenow and Levin, from Saad's home state, said there was "information from Saad's FBI background check that raised doubts about his ability to serve."

• The public knows even more about Saad because the Senate Judiciary left the live web audio feed on while Senators were "raising and answering questions about the contents of Saad's FBI background check when the alarming call came that the entire private session was being streamed live on C-SPAN's audio Web site." (Roll Call June 7, 2004)

• We also know that Saad's wife was a contributed $10,000 to the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth and a whopping $25,000 to the Republican National Committee.

And we also know that Harry Reid is ready to vote on the nuclear option, and the Republicans do not have the votes for passage. Quite an embarassment for the "Justice Sunday" crowd.

Enter Charles Hurt of the Washington Times and the GOP's latest "Hail Mary."

The Washington Times Moonie Times ran a piece today, linked above, that attempts to create scandal out of nothing - setting their sights on Harry Reid. The charge? Well, on the floor of the Senate today, Senator Reid said that Saad would be filibustered because of questions raised in his FBI background check. The GOP's latest lead trial balloon talking point merrily parroted by Hurt is that Reid should face expulsion from the Senate because of this.

This story will go nowhere, and fast.

First of all, this is old news, public news, that we became aware of because of discussion inside the U.S. Senate almost an entire year ago. Second of all, the details of that report were broadcast for the world to listen to - again, nearly a year ago. And third, Charles Hurt is a hack with zero journalistic credibility. The only thing separating Jeff Gannon from Charles Hurt is that Hurt still writes for a ficticious, fringe "news organization."

Here are some of Hurt's greatests hits, just to give you an example of his "brand of journalism:"

Edwards' malpractice suits leave bitter taste

The American Medical Association lists North Carolina's current health care situation as a "crisis" and blames it on medical-malpractice lawsuits such as the ones that made Democratic vice-presidential candidate Sen. John Edwards a millionaire many times over. One of the most successful personal-injury lawyers in North Carolina history, Mr. Edwards won dozens of lawsuits against doctors and hospitals across the state that he now represents in the Senate.
Kerry flip-flops on terrorism
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry spent the past week hawking a tough national-security image to convince voters that he can be trusted to aggressively fight the war on terrorism, calling it the "greatest threat" facing America today. But less than six months ago, the Massachusetts senator said in a televised debate that the Bush administration had exaggerated the threat posed by terrorism.
For a much more comprehensive list of Charlie's "journalistic" practices, check out Matt Singer's post (Left in the West) on some of Hurt's past articles.

Meanwhile, no word on whether the terror alert might be raised as we get closer to the "nuclear moment" on the Senate floor.

Posted at 01:23 AM in Nuclear Option | Technorati

Thursday, May 12, 2005

"Nuclear Option" Mass Immediate Response

Posted by Bob Brigham

People for the American Way:

By giving us your cell phone number, we will text message you as soon as Senate Republicans trigger the "nuclear option." Embedded in that text message will be a link to the Senate switchboard. With the push of a couple buttons, your call – along with thousands of others – goes right through to the corridors of power demanding preservation of the filibuster.

This is a brand new technology, and this is the first time it is being used on a large scale.

I was proud to sign up, this is great. And when GOP goes Nuclear, stop by the blogs, we have some tricks of our own...

Posted at 05:59 PM in Nuclear Option | Technorati

Senate 2006: Bill Frist and Tom DeLay

Posted by Bob Brigham

The nationalization of the 2006 cycle is escalating. From the DSCC Media Response Project:

Bill Frist and Tom DeLay are out of control. When they don't get what they want, they abuse their power and change the rules. It's time to fight back.

A bitter Senate showdown over the so-called "nuclear option" looms just around the corner.

That's why the DSCC Media Response Project has produced this bold and powerful new ad to show America that we won't stand idle. We won't let Senate Republicans abuse their power to satisfy their extremist right wing base.

Click here to see the Ad

While Frist's senate career is ending and DeLay will likely lose his re-election (even if he isn't in jail), it looks like the out of control actions of Republican Party will cost other GOPers come election day 2006.

Posted at 02:41 PM in 2006 Elections - House, 2006 Elections - Senate | Comments (1) | Technorati

Democratic Loser's Club (DLC)

Posted by Bob Brigham

While Swing State Project focuses on races in the states, the dynamics surrounding individual races are influenced externally to such a large degree that it is difficult to understand what is going on locally without examining the national situation. In Georgia's Lt. Governor campaign, the DLC relationship with the far right has given political junkies a front row seat to witness the destructive nature of how the "Third Way" is more comfortable doing things the GOP way.

In a mockery of reality, the DLC's New Donkey pretends to be shocked that DLC Democrat Zell Miller is raising money for Lt. Governor candidate Ralph Reed:

With the retirement of my old boss Zell Miller, I thought perhaps his outrageous political behavior of the last couple of years would come to an end. I mean, what's the point of insulting your party when nobody really cares any more? Ah, but it now appears the fires of Zell's odd rage still burn: along with Sean Hannity, he will be the featured speaker at a fundraiser for none other than Ralph Reed, candidate for Lieutenant Governor of Georgia, and the past master of hypocritical political sleaze.

There is, of course, a peculiar historical echo here: Ralph's very first campaign, before he got religion, and before his notorious stint as deputy to Jack Abramoff in the College Republicans, was with Zell Miller's unsuccessful 1980 race for the U.S. Senate.

Ed Kilgore, who went on to become the DLC's New Donkey blogger after working for Zell "prototypical southern New Democrat" Miller should know better. In fact, the other DLC blog, Bull Moose, is written by none other than Marshall Wittman, who was Legislative Director for Ralph Reed's Christian Coalition.

In reality, it was not, "outrageous political behavior" that Zell Miller has displayed, rather it was just the DLC's Third Way (triangulation) strategy.

The Triangulation tactic is a simple one: tear down others in your party to try to make yourself look important to those in the other party. It is a self defeating strategy unless you are rooting for the other team. Ralph Reed must be delighted.

Posted at 01:32 PM in Democrats | Technorati

CO-7: Beauprez Takes Booby Prize

Posted by Tim Tagaris

If the Democratic Party is going to make the 2006 midterm elections a discussion of ethics, tying Tom DeLay around the neck of Republicans across the country, Bob Beauprez (CO-7) might be wearing the biggest weight of any seriously contested candidate.

The Public Campaign Action Fund released "The DeLay Rankings," and asks the question, "How close is your Representative to scandal-plagued Tom DeLay?" The Results? Republican Tom Feeney of Florida's 24th CD came in first. Unfortunately, Democrats fielded no challenge to Feeney in 2004. The booby prize, second place, went to Bob Beauprez of Colorado's 7th CD.

In 2004, Beauprez earned an uninspiring 55% of the vote in his race against Democrat Dave Thomas. Beauprez also spent nearly $3 million dollars on the race, three times as much as Thomas.

The Action Fund's rankings provide a composite score after accumulating data from several categories: How much did the Representative contribute to DeLay's legal fund, receive from DeLay's PAC, and closeness with DeLay's voting record.

Rounding out the top five: 3.) Jim Ryun (KS-3) 4.) Dave Weldon (FL-15) 5.) Jim Gerlach (PA-6). For the rest of the rankings, click here.

Posted at 11:05 AM in 2006 Elections - Senate | Technorati

Oh-02: Open Seat Special Election

Posted by Bob Brigham

Ohio Second Congressional District special elecion breakdown, from a Cincinnati Enquirer acticle:

Special Primary Election: June 14
Special General Election: August 2

12 Republicans
7 Democrats
(Independents have until June 13 to submit 1,921 valid signatures)

Posted at 10:00 AM in 2005 Elections, Ohio, Open Seats, Special Elections | Comments (1) | Technorati

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Easy New Way to Advertise on Liberal Blogs

Posted by Bob Brigham

Liberal Blog Advertising Network
By bringing together more than forty of the most highly trafficked, regularly updated and politically focused liberal and progressive blogs, the Liberal Blog Advertising Network now makes it possible for advertisers to reach virtually the entire liberal and progressive political blogosphere at once. Simply put, no other advertising opportunity can offer an audience so dedicated to liberal and progressive causes. Advertise here, and reach the people who manufacture the liberal and progressive zeitgeist.

Combined, these blogs receive more than one million page views per day from highly informed, dedicated, and influential liberals and progressives. Over 75% of the audience of these blogs either donated to or volunteered for a campaign in 2004. With a median income of $75K, and a median age of 40, readers of these blogs tend to be affluent and young. Click-thru rates also tend to be twice the typical online average.

Posted at 08:29 PM in Site News | Technorati

Inq on "Philadelphia Phenomenon" - Seth Williams

Posted by Bob Brigham

Philadelphia Inquirer:

While blog power has been well-celebrated in national politics - consider bloggers' role in former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean's brief reign as a front-running Democratic presidential candidate last year - the Williams effort is considered one of the few attempts ever to unite electronic activists around a candidate for local office. [...]

Though it seems modest, a national Democratic political consultant who specializes in Internet organizing sees the Philadelphia effort as a beginning. Bloggers in Pittsburgh have been talking up a candidate in the mayoral primary there.

"A lot of national campaigns see the Internet as a glorified ATM machine," said Tim Tagaris, the consultant working to set up Chuck Pennacchio's 2006 U.S. Senate campaign in Pennsylvania. "Regionalization is going to be the next wave," Tagaris said.

He also has written extensively about the Philadelphia phenomenon on his national blog, Swing State Project. Tagaris said that local blogs, with their small audiences, have the same organizing potential in cyberspace as the neighborhood networks that President Bush's reelection campaign put together to win support in small towns and rural areas.

"It's that same peer-to-peer strategy, but online," Tagaris said. "Millions of people have blogs, but they are read for the most part by neighbors, friends, coworkers and family. You are able to influence a few people at a time." (emphasis mine)

Tim had an important post on Philly's localization yesterday, and right now I have front-paged diaries on Daily Kos and MyDD about regionalization.

More from the Inq:

Williams strategists say they believe the bloggers provide at least a modest counterweight to District Attorney Lynne M. Abraham's power. She is a 14-year veteran who has plenty of campaign cash - but so far no bloggers - and the support of Democratic Party ward leaders.

"The bloggers tend to be leaders," said Ray Murphy, who runs Williams' Internet operation. "I think of them as carrier pigeons spreading the word." [...]

Blogs can have more power locally because those who write them tend to be influential, active and have extensive social networks in their communities, said Julie Barko Germany, deputy director of the Institute for Politics, Democracy & the Internet at George Washington University. "People are just starting to discover the possibilities," Barko Germany said. [...]

In coming days, the Williams campaign plans to include canvassing lists on its Web site for supporters to download, Murphy said. Campaign literature and window signs already are available there.

"We want to get Seth's name and ideas out to as many households as possible," Murphy said.

For more on Seth William, check out Swing State Project on April 21, April 28, May 2, and May 9.

If you live within driving distance of Philly, join them next Tuesday for GOTV.

Posted at 09:51 AM in Netroots, Pennsylvania, Site News | Technorati

NY-Sen: Republicans Still Looking for Hilary Challenger

Posted by Bob Brigham


A suburban New York City prosecutor said she's "flattered" to hear she's been mentioned by the White House as a possible candidate to run against Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton — but refused Monday to say if she'll run.

The New York Times reported Monday that a delegation from the White House Office of Political Affairs had met with state Republican leaders to discuss the possibility of Westchester County District Attorney Jeanine Pirro challenging Clinton in 2006.


A son-in-law of the late President Richard Nixon, Edward Cox, plans to run for the U.S. Senate seat held by Hillary Clinton, Newsweek reported in its Web edition on Tuesday.

Considering Clinton's poll numbers, winning the GOP nomination is a total booby prize.

Posted at 09:42 AM in New York | Comments (2) | Technorati

Republican Zealots Plan to "Go Nuclear" Next Week

Posted by Bob Brigham

Political Wire has the recap on the "Nuclear Option" to end the filibuster. They report:

1. It will happen next week

2. It will start with Judge Priscilla Owen's nomination

Posted at 09:39 AM in Nuclear Option | Comments (2) | Technorati

Out With the Old

Posted by Tim Tagaris

Interesting article this morning about some of the heavyweights from outside the grassroots, combined with people like Kos from within the netroots, teaming up on a "think tank" type project aimed at "politics, not policy."

Silicon Valley progressives, a major labor union and a centrist Democratic organization have joined forces to fund a startup think tank that focuses on politics, not policy.

The New Politics Institute (NPI), unlike conventional think tanks that churn out white papers and policy briefs, will work to counter “[White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl] Rove and [RNC Chairman Ken] Mehlman on the other side,” said Simon Rosenberg, president of NDN, formerly the New Democrat Network but now known just by its initials. [...]

Rosenberg said NPI would focus on three specific themes: the ascendancy of the conservative movement, demographic trends and the demise of the traditional broadcast media.

Good stuff. Simon Rosenberg, Joe Trippi, Markos, SEIU, and Deborah Rappaport--that's a starting five I would put on the floor any day of the week.

Posted at 09:20 AM in Netroots | Technorati

California 2005 Special Election

Posted by Bob Brigham

From the LA Times:

The possibility of a special election has hung over California since January, when the governor outlined his proposals for overhauling state government this year. He said that if lawmakers balked at his ideas, he would take them to voters.

So far, legislative leaders have reached no agreement with the governor on his agenda, and many Democrats are not inclined to compromise with him, saying that his proposals have not generated popular support.

Schwarzenegger's poll numbers have slid precipitously as he has pushed his plans. "If the governor prevails on most, if not all, of his proposals, this will give him a resurgence of momentum and likely break the back of the Democratic opposition," said Larry Gerston, a political science professor at San Jose State University. "If he loses, after putting all of his prestige on the line, this will cut the legs out from under him. We're really looking at a crossroads here."

We are looking at as many as 8 ballot initiatives. So what is each side bringing to the table?

From the Republicans:

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has yet to call the election he has been considering all year. But his allies said they have submitted petitions to place on the ballot three measures he favors. They would curb state spending, strip legislators of the power to decide the boundaries of their districts and delay tenure for public school teachers.

Along with an initiative that challenges unions' political might, on which Schwarzenegger has not taken a public position, the measures would chip at the clout and financing of the Democratic Party and the authority of the Legislature — the one branch of government Democrats have controlled for the last decade.

From the Democrats:

Groups aligned with Democratic lawmakers announced that they had submitted petitions for an initiative that would lower prescription drug prices and for another to re-regulate the state's energy market.

Passage of either would be a rebuke to Schwarzenegger, who vetoed legislative versions of the measures last year.

I don't see how Arnold can chicken-out on the Special Election. But, don't see how he could end in any better position since this would serve as yet another excuse for the growing number of Governorator critics to spend a pile of money bashing Arnold. Then again, this is California so it really doesn't matter what one does (as long as it is done colorfully).

Posted at 09:03 AM in 2005 Elections, California | Comments (1) | Technorati

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

BlogPAC: Regionalization Project Begins

Posted by Tim Tagaris

Taking it to the next level. Bloggers talking to bloggers. A coordinated effort acting as a "force multiplier" within individual states. After much anticipation, BlogPAC has officially taken their national success and started the process of drilling down to the statewide level. So, before you read another word, sign your blog up right now in the appropriate state, familiarize yourself with other bloggers from your area, and start getting excited about the future.

(Back from signing up your blog, and seeing who is writing from your area?)

Then there is the group of bloggers in Philadelphia (and now Pittsburgh--more later) who are taking the concept of regionalization to the next level in local races. It's been a big week for Seth Williams, and he certainly has the Big Mo' heading into next weeks primary. The regionalization efforts of a handful of Philly bloggers have resulted in several press pieces for Seth Williams; that's priceless publicity with ballots being cast one week from today.

Now Seth has the endorsement of the Fraternal Order of Police and Pennsylvania's largest newspaper, the Philadelphia Inquirer. Despite being outspent 26 to 1 by incumbent Lynne Abraham, CBS in Philadelphia is now saying, "one of the most high-profile contests [in next weeks primary] is the Democratic nomination for Philadelphia District Attorney." And tomorrow, Seth has another article slated for the Inquirer about the bloggers who are helping carry Seth's campaign to victory.

Not to be outdone, a band of Pittsburgh bloggers have rallied behind underdog Mayoral candidate, Bill Peduto. More on this later. But is it any wonder that Pennsylvania's page on BlogPAC is already chuck full o' bloggers?

Posted at 08:18 PM in Netroots | Technorati

Filibuster Frist Road Trip

Posted by Bob Brigham

From the good people at, check out Filibuster Frist Goes to Washington:

Students Bring Two Week Long Frist Filibuster to Capitol to Protest Nuclear Option on Judges

Washington, DC – Scores of college students will converge on the Capitol Reflecting Pool on Wednesday to stage a 24 hour filibuster in protest of the “Nuclear Option” being considered by Senate Republicans to end filibusters on controversial judicial nominees.

The mock filibuster, initiated two weeks ago by a group of Princeton University students outside the Frist Campus Center, a building financed by a $25 million gift from the Senate majority leader’s family, has been running round-the-clock for over 300 hours and has attracted wide spread media attention.

With action on the nuclear option expected within days, Princeton students will travel by bus to Washington, D.C. on Wednesday morning, joining area college students and congressional leaders to continue their filibuster at the Capitol Reflecting Pool within sight of Senator Frist’s Capitol office.

If you are in the Washington, DC area, join in!

“This student-powered filibuster shows that progressive activism on college campuses is strong and building. It also demonstrates the overwhelming support for the 200 year-old institution of the Senate filibuster,” said Asheesh Siddique, editor of the Princeton Progressive Review, one of the filibuster’s sponsors. “Buoyed by the dedication of hundreds of Princeton University students and other students across the nation, we are now bringing the fight for a fair and independent judiciary directly to Senator Frist,” said Siddique. The Princeton Progressive Review is one of fourteen of progressive college papers across the country supported by Campus Progress, a new project of the Center for American Progress.

The Washington mock filibuster will be a continuation of the original Princeton protest, with students reading from texts that range from the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, to Shakespeare and physics texts. Students from Howard University, Georgetown University, Trinity College, George Washington University and American University will also take turns speaking over the 24 hour filibuster.

The protest and its organizers have received coverage from CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, ABC News, New York Times, Washington Post, UK Guardian, the popular blog Talking Points Memo, and Air America Radio. A live Webcam, daily blog, and schedule of special guests are available at

The student filibuster will begin at 10 a.m. on Wednesday and will continue throughout the night, ending at 11 a.m. Thursday with press conference and rally with members of the House and Senate.

The event is also being supported by Campus Progress and Young People For, a project of People for The American Way.

Event Highlights:

Wednesday, May 11
9:00 a.m. (approximately) – Princeton students arrive via bus at the Capitol Reflecting Pool (3rd St SW & Maryland Ave SW)

Thursday, May 12
11:00 a.m. – Rally and Press Conference with Members of Congress

They've raised $5492.26 of the $7,500 needed. Help them out.

Posted at 08:15 PM in Nuclear Option | Technorati

OH-18: Justice Department Investigating Bob Ney Scandal

Posted by Bob Brigham

Congressman Bob Ney (R) is in serios trouble. Via The Stakeholder, The American Prospect's Art Levine has the scoop:

Take pity on poor Bob Ney, who insists he's just another victim of lobbyist Jack Abramoff and public-relations consultant Michael Scanlon. Unlike the half-dozen Indian tribes that paid about $82 million to that scamming duo, however, the U.S. representative at least got campaign donations and a lavish trip to Scotland's legendary St. Andrew's golf course out of them. Whether he got more than that is now a matter of interest to Justice Department investigators, according to a knowledgeable source who says that the probers are seeking to discover whether Ney received any illegal donations from Abramoff.

An affable, 50-year-old conservative Republican from Ohio, Ney now portrays himself as a "dupe" of Abramoff and Scanlon, the pair of rapscallions targeted by the Senate Indian Affairs Committee and the Justice Department for their alleged defrauding of tribes seeking increased clout.

Both Abramoff and a lawyer for Scanlon have repeatedly denied any wrongdoing. Yet the lobbyists' operation looks like such a breathtaking scam that it stuns even veteran observers of Washington scandals. [...]

A source familiar with the Justice Department probe says that federal authorities are investigating Ney's role in the scheme and asking whether Abramoff arranged payment of any illegal contributions or gratuities to him. This confirms previously published reports by Newsweek and The New York Times, which indicated that the Justice Department is seeking to determine whether Abramoff "improperly" provided contributions and gratuities to lawmakers and staffers "in exchange for legislative favors."

Posted at 11:43 AM in 2006 Elections - House, Ohio, Scandals | Technorati

VT-Sen: Sanders Crushing Tarrant and Dubie

Posted by Bob Brigham

From Political Wire:

A new Research 2000 poll shows Rep. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) defeating all possible challengers in the 2006 Vermont Senate race. Sanders leads businessman Richard Tarrant (62% to 18%), Lt. Gov. Brian Dubie (59% to 23%) and Major General Martha Rainville (61% to 18%).

Get used to seeing Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT)

Posted at 11:33 AM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Vermont | Technorati

Governor's Races

Posted by Bob Brigham

This year's off-cycle gubernatorial races are likely to split, with Jon Corzine (D) winning in New Jersey and Jerry Kilgore (R) winning in Virginia. This will set up quite a showdown in 2006. Kos takes an early look at 11 of the 36 races. It is very early, but good stuff.

Posted at 11:10 AM in 2006 Elections - State | Technorati

Gender Gap: Democrats and Women

Posted by Bob Brigham

"Women, if left to their own devices, are going to tend and trend Democratic. That is absolutely the case. Women are still congenitally Democratic -- and I'm the Republican pollster saying that."

- Kellyanne Conway

Yes, "congenitally Democratic" is one great line from an important story on the gender gap in today's Washington Post. It appears women are coming home to the Democratic Party.

A Democratic polling memo released yesterday found that women, who voted for President Bush last year in large numbers, have begun migrating back to their traditional home in the Democratic Party as the public's agenda has shifted from homeland security and terrorism to domestic concerns such as jobs and the economy.

There has long been a gender gap between the parties, with women tending to vote Democratic in disproportionate numbers. Bush all but closed that gap last year, losing the female vote to Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) by three percentage points. But the memo pointed to a March survey that found women favoring Democrats when asked which party's candidates they would support if congressional elections were held today.

The memo, released by Lake Snell Perry Mermin & Associates Inc., found women picked unnamed Democratic congressional candidates over Republicans by a 13-point margin. It also found that several key groups of women who voted Republican last year are now evenly or almost evenly split between the parties. Married women are now evenly split, while white women favor Democrats by three percentage points. Kerry lost both groups by 11 points.

"Homeland security and terrorism dominated the public's security agenda for several years following September 11th," the memo said. "However, the current focus appears to have shifted from safeguarding against terrorism to a stronger emphasis on issues that hit home financially. In dozens of recent focus groups among many different cohorts of women, concerns like retirement, health care and economic security are trumping the sorts of homeland security concerns that dominated women's issue agenda before the last election."

Personally, I never really bought into all that security mom crap. I tend to think that the security issues only amplified the structual issue of having a weak candidate who wouldn't stand up for anything.

I'd love to get my hands on some cross-tabs, but my gut tells me the women who are coming back to the Party are doing it because we are offering a position of strength, especially with our no compromise posture on Social Security:

The memo, which comes on what experts said is the 25th anniversary of the discovery of the gender gap, found that women are now mostly concerned with economic security (28 percent said it was their number one issue), health care (22 percent), homeland security and terrorism (21 percent), retirement security (15 percent) and crime (6 percent).

"You can't target women three days out from the election," Lake said, referring to the 2006 elections. "Both sides are asking: 'Where are they now?' "

Posted at 11:08 AM in Democrats | Technorati

Monday, May 09, 2005

MT-Sen: Frontier PAC Opens a Can of Open-Source on Burns

Posted by Bob Brigham

From Frontier PAC:

Repeatedly during the 2004 election cycle, we saw a great idea bubble up from the grassroots only to get incorporated in a half-hearted way by people who didn't fully get it. Frontier PAC is launching the Open-Source Campaign -- an effort to put corrupt GOP incumbents on the defensive early -- in order to avoid those same pitfalls in delivering a reform message for 2006.

This campaign doesn't speak for the netroots, it is the netroots: no consultants, no focus groups, and no conventional wisdom. Just an earnest and aggressive values-based showdown with Republicans.

How are we getting started?
By going after Conrad Burns in Montana. Burns is far more in touch with the values of Jack Abramoff and Tom DeLay than with the values of the people of Montana -- and Frontier PAC is going to make that case to the voters. Conrad Burns has been bought, and we're not afraid to say that out loud. That's why we're running hard-hitting radio ads all over the states -- targeting sportsmen, small business owners, and all the other constituencies Burns puts on the line for his corporate patrons.

If you care about the U.S. Senate, your money has more value in Montana than any other race.

Here is the script for their radio ad:

Does Conrad Burns share your values? Since he took office in 1988, he's put the interests of multinational corporations above the interests of Montana families. Is Burns corrupt? His office rewrites legislation to benefit his donors and lobbyists. Is Burns cowardly? He has failed to stand up to runaway deficits and budget waste. Is Burns clueless? He told the newspaper Roll Call that he didn't even know his own Chief of Staff was taking cruises with lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

Corrupt, Cowardly, Clueless. Conrad Burns: he's more in touch with Washington, DC than with Montana. We need a Senator who stands up for us. Read more at*.

Paid for by Frontier PAC. This message not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee.


Yes. This campaign is only going to be as successful as you make it. We need ideas, research and input, but we also need to pay for the air time. Frontier PAC has no support from the national party, and we can?t count on the kind of corporate-PAC money and high-dollar contributions that fund many Republican and Democratic groups alike. That's why you can rest assured that we'll stick to our economic populist principles?but it?s also why we need your help.

We'll need to raise several thousand dollars for the Burns ads alone, and we can do it if we get the right input and support from the netroots. Please contribute what you can to Frontier PAC--we need the resources NOW to put the GOP on the defensive for 2006. Whether you can afford $15 or $1000, every dollar is important.

Over at MyDD, Gary Boatwright says:

That's exactly what I'm talking about!

Christ on a crutch, it's about time somebody ran an ad like that. I'm sending Frontier Pac my $50 contribution for May as soon as I get home from work.

Everybody else is going to have to wait until June. My entire monthly allotment for political contributions has just been used up.

Absolutely fantastic!


Posted at 03:47 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Montana | Comments (1) | Technorati

OH-Gov: Tom Noe Scandal -- Plot Thickens

Posted by Bob Brigham

From the Toledo Blade:

EVERGREEN, Colo. - In the year since Tom Noe learned that 121 rare coins bought with Ohio money were missing and possibly stolen in Colorado, he has done several things.

  • He fired the manager suspected of the theft.
  • He asked a professional coin group to sanction the manager, which it did.
  • He dispatched a partner to Colorado to seize other coins.
  • He hired a forensic accountant to figure out how many coins were missing.

But there's one thing he hasn't done: Contacted law enforcement authorities.

And they're wondering why.

This gets sketchier every day:

"What's frustrating to me is I'm getting information from so many other people, but no legitimate victim … has ever called me with further information or further concerns," said Jennifer Gilmore, an investigator for the Jefferson County, Colo., sheriff's office.

"I get information from [The Blade] that there's 119 additional coins missing, but no one has ever called us to make a report of it or to add this to it. We would be more than happy to look into that for them."

An official at the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation - the agency that gave Mr. Noe $50 million to buy rare coins as investments for the state - said Friday the bureau also is concerned. A bureau spokesman said Mr. Noe took almost a year before informing them - in an audit report - of the loss of 119 of the coins.

Remember, these aren't the type of coins you have between your sofa cushions:

And, the spokesman said, the state didn't learn until being informed by Blade reporters in March that two additional gold coins also were missing, two of the most valuable rare coins purchased for the state by an employee of Mr. Noe's at a cost of $250,000. [...]

Little is known about Ohio's121 rare coins missing in Colorado, except for the two gold pieces. One is a $3 gold coin minted in 1855 that was purchased for $150,000. The other is a $10 gold coin minted in 1845 that was purchased for $100,000.

Before their disappearance they were two of the rarest and most valuable U.S. coins on the rare-coin market. The $3 gold piece is one of only two known to exist. The $10 gold piece was purchased as part of a rare three-coin proof set including the $10 coin, a $5 gold coin, and a $2 1/2 quarter-eagle gold coin, all minted in 1845.

Swing State Project has examined this scandal and the connection of Governor Bob Taft here, here, and here. For some reason, my gut tells me there will be more to come.

Posted at 02:23 PM in Ohio | Technorati

Political Blog Consultants: Blogmaster Update

Posted by Bob Brigham

In 2006, it will be hard to be relevant if you don't have a Netroots Organizer. To-date, some of the best talent has already been scooped up. But since my last post on the industry, a number of signings have been announced by those hiring from within the blogosphere.

David Sirota has launched a Working for Change blog and Mical Shifry mentions another big hire:

And now I see that Aldon Hynes, one of the hardest working veterans of the Dean grassroots, who blogs at Orient Lodge and Greater Democracy, has been hired as Blogmaster for Mayor John DeStefano of New Haven who is running for Governor of Connecticut. It's a trend!

Aldon has an interesting post on his personal blog describing how he came to take his new job.

And Talk Left notices that Air America has announced a great score:

Liberal bloggers all know The Hamster. Eric Hananoki started the Hamster as a freshman at George Washington. We were early linkers to each other and got to know each other through e-mails. Now, Eric is graduating (already!) from GW and moving Air America Radio and Al Franken's blog.

If you are a blogger who was hired because of your blogging portfolio, drop me a note.

Posted at 02:13 PM in Netroots | Technorati

MA-Gov: Open Seat of Governor in 2006

Posted by Bob Brigham

Via Kos, when Novak gets the leak, I pay attention:

Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney in a recent secret Washington meeting with national political operatives signaled he probably will forgo seeking re-election in 2006 in order to pursue the 2008 Republican presidential nomination.

Open seat in 2006?

Romney did not flatly reveal his future intentions, according to sources who were present. But he did say a presidential race would be difficult if he were concentrating on a 2006 campaign for governor and were still in that office in 2007-08.

The early evening meeting was held at the Caucus Room, a Washington restaurant popular with politicians and lobbyists. It was put together by Ron Kaufman, longtime Massachusetts member of the Republican National Committee and an intimate adviser of the senior George Bush.

Kos says:

This would be ideal. An open governor's race that Democrats should finally be able to take, and a primary bid doomed from the outset. As if Republicans will nominate a governor of Massachusetts.

Indeed. Demcratic candidates for Governor include Ex-U.S. Attorney Deval Patrick, Attorney General Thomas F. Reilly, and 2002 candidate/ex-state Senator Warren Tolman.

Posted at 12:41 PM in 2006 Elections - State, Massachusetts, Open Seats | Comments (1) | Technorati

Princeton Filibuster Phase Two

Posted by Bob Brigham

Via Talking Points Memo, I see that the minds behind Filibuster Bill Frist are raising money for a Phase II. They need to raise $5,000 (by tomorrow) and are at $3,719.16 right now. If a lot of people help a little... donate

UPDATE: They are now at:


Posted at 11:02 AM in Activism | Technorati

The Huffington Post

Posted by Bob Brigham

Check it out:

Posted at 09:13 AM in Netroots | Technorati

Philly-DA: Big Mo' for Seth Williams

Posted by Tim Tagaris

Over the past two weeks, Philadelphia bloggers have alerted me to big news brewing in the "City of Brotherly Love." They have rallied behind Democratic District Attorney candidate Seth Williams in a contested primary against incumbent Lynn Abraham. The reasons they find this specific primary race so important are best elucidated by Daniel of Young Philly Politics.

Just the other day, a reporter from the Philadelphia Inquirer called me to talk about why a bunch of local bloggers rallying around Seth Williams is relevant. We talked for about 45 minutes and he is apparently set to run an article tomorrow about the Netroots support for Williams. We talked about what I have written about HERE and HERE. But most importantly, Williams now has the Big Mo', despite being outspent 26-1 in the race. Just yesterday, the eighth largest paper in the country, The Philadelphia Inquirer endorsed Seth Williams.

But Philadelphians don't have to wait for Abraham to wake up one day and realize she has stayed "too long." They have a chance now to choose a worthy successor to Abraham with fresher, better ideas to fight crime in their city. His name is SETH WILLIAMS, and The Inquirer recommends him to Democratic voters in their party's May 17 primary.
That's right, the primary is May 17th. If you are in the Philadelphia area, consider volunteering for Seth Williams.

Posted at 09:11 AM in Pennsylvania | Comments (1) | Technorati

Evan Bayh Presidential Ambitions

Posted by Bob Brigham

I was reading the new Fort Wayne Journal Gazette article on Senator Evan Bayh's potential presidential bid, when I was struck by the fact that the Democratic Leadership Council ended up in the story. While using the DLC to raise a campaign profile was a smart move 15 years ago, does it really benefit a candidate in 2008 to be seen as the DLC candidate?

The fundraising potential of the DLC is waning and far less critical than a successful online strategy. But it is the liability of being seen as the DLC candidate that interests me.

In the 2004, the DLC ruthlessly cut down Governor Howard Dean in the primaries. In our recent DNC Chair election, bloggers had their first taste of payback by quickly destroying any potential the DLC's Tim Roemer might have enjoyed.

But DNC Chair isn't nearly as important to Party direction as choosing the 2008 Presidential nominee and I have to think that being seen as the DLC choice would be the kiss of death for a candidate. In 2004, everyone but the DLC took the high road and next time I think many forces will quickly go negative on anyone seen as the DLC candidate. Much like Al From was too radioactive to even make an endorsement for DLC Chair, how long will it be until Presidential candidates distance themselves from the DLC for the sake of their campaign?

Anyway, back to the article:

Bayh is offering all the clues of someone who wants to ensure he has those resources if he wants to call upon them. He’s making prudent, campaign-building steps:

•Since entering the Senate, Bayh has been raising money with far more aggression than his Indiana races warrant and now has $6.8 million in his campaign account.

•He has worked on raising his national profile, using his role in the Democratic Leadership Council to travel all over the country. Of the $206,000 he’s raised in checks of $200 or more from individuals since the beginning of the year, just $1,000 is from Indiana.

•He created a campaign fund that allows him to make donations to other candidates, always a friend-making gesture. In the 2004 election, he made $209,000 in donations to other candidates from this political action committee.

•He’s been making speeches to Democratic audiences outside Indiana. This gives him practice with non-Hoosier crowds, introduces him to Democratic audiences around the country, and puts his name in local newspapers. In March, he was the keynoter at Colorado’s Jefferson-Jackson dinner. Last week he addressed a Butler County, Ohio, Truman Kennedy Holcomb Dinner. (This was the county Karl Rove made a speech in, the county that gave President Bush a 53,000-vote plurality, his largest in the state.)

•He has been courting the national media for years, and he has hired staff members with skills a presidential contender needs.

Posted at 08:54 AM in 2008 President - Democrats, Democrats | Comments (1) | Technorati

Democrats Crybaby Caucus

Posted by Bob Brigham

From David Sirota:

But enough is enough: this selfish, petty war these "moderates" are waging against the Democratic leadership is truly irresponsible and has become completely destructive. [...]

Pelosi is right to let her colleagues know that when they undermine the majority of Democrats who are courageously defending ordinary Americans, there will be no "understanding" or "respect." There will be exactly the opposite - that's the kind of tough discipline the Republicans used to build their majority, and that's how Democrats will ultimately build theirs. Pelosi and the Democratic leadership should ignore these sad crybabies who are undermining so many good Democratic foot soldiers in Congress, stay focused on the real problem (aka. the GOP), and press on the way they have been over the last few months.


Posted at 02:34 AM in Democrats | Technorati

TX-22: DeLay on the Run

Posted by Bob Brigham

Sorry to get your hopes up with the headline, Majority Leader Tom DeLay hasn't tried to skip town yet, but he is retreating, from the Washington Post:

In the euphemism favored on Capitol Hill, House Majority Leader Tom DeLay is "not staff driven." Translation: He is used to doing what he wants. [...]

Suddenly, the old Texas brio that carried him through years of smaller controversies is on the wane. The leader recognizes -- belatedly, some GOP colleagues say -- that the latest questions about his relationships with lobbyists are a problem threatening his career and the GOP majority he helped to build and sustain since coming to the House 20 years ago. Everywhere there are signs of a politician in retreat.

DeLay's prowess in fundraising, for instance, was always a pillar of his power in the House. Lining up a corporate aircraft to ferry him to an event was usually arranged with a single phone call. These days, Republican officials report that they are having trouble finding available aircraft -- as businesses fret that DeLay may be radioactive.

DeLay, likewise, usually no longer attends joint news conferences of the GOP leadership. His presence, Republicans say, would distract from the party's message about gas prices or other topics of the day.

Now comes the excruciating period of waiting for the final blow.

Posted at 12:59 AM in 2006 Elections - House, Republicans, Texas | Technorati

VA-Gov: Kaine Supporters' Misguided Agenda

Posted by Bob Brigham

I was reading a misguided praise for the DLC because Blair didn't do that much worse than expected, when I stumbled across something that told me my gut was right in rejecting Tim Kaine. Don't get me wrong, I understand you campaign for the state you're running in, but there is an important difference between that and running a triangulation campaign against Democrats as part of a scheme to let the extreme right-wing take over the Democratic Party as they have the GOP. From Raising Kaine:

First we create a New Centrist Democrat success model in Virginia, then we extend it to the rest of America in 2008.

Now I don't feel bad at all about checking Kaine when he's been out of line. Like here, here, and here. Who says blogs don't influence who people support in elections, this blog post has convinced me that the Kaine supporters are more concerned about the long-term message implications of running a rightwinger for the Democrats -- so I shall be equally concerned.

Posted at 12:40 AM in 2005 Elections, 2008 Election - President, Democrats, Netroots, Virginia | Technorati

FL-Gov: Attorney General Charlie Crist to Announce

Posted by Bob Brigham

From the AP:

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - The state attorney general plans to file paperwork this week to seek the Republican nomination for Florida governor, sources close to the attorney general said Sunday.

Charlie Crist, 48, would become the first Republican to announce formally his intention to replace Gov. Jeb Bush, who is limited to two terms.

Three sources close to Crist confirmed the decision on condition of anonymity. They said Crist planned to make a public announcement by midweek. [...]

Crist, a former state senator, unsuccessfully challenged incumbent Democrat Bob Graham for the U.S. Senate in 1998. He followed Gallagher as education commissioner in 2000 before winning the attorney general's race in 2002 when Gallagher became chief financial officer.

2006 Florida Gubernatorial Race Cattle Call:


Congressman Jim Davis
Democratic Party Chairman Scott Maddox
State Senator Rod Smith


Attorney General Charlie Crist
Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher
Lt. Governor Toni Jennings

Posted at 12:09 AM in Florida | Technorati

Sunday, May 08, 2005

On Mother's Day: Mainstreet Moms

Posted by Bob Brigham

Happy Mother's Day, Mom!

From Megan Matson's MyDD Diary:

This summer: Leave My Child Alone!

We're just launching (the HTML's still wet) a partnership with Working Assets I am completely excited about. Leave My Child Alone takes on a sneaky ingredient of the "No Child Left Behind" Act that strong-arms local high schools into turning over student information to military recruiters. Many parents have no idea this is even happening.

I hope you'll decide to add this action to your Meetups on June 1st. Just email Eden James, a DFA Meetup Organizer extraordinaire, for full info. We're developing a database of 12,000 School Superintendents, Opt Out forms, and backgrounders.

Other actions at The MMOB include our California creation titled Moms-to-Maria. We're urging Maria Shriver to "pillow talk" her husband out of his Special Election schemings.

Next up is Register-Don't-Recruit, a mom-created campaign that handholds you through registering kids on your local high school campus. And as soon as THAT dust settles and we catch up on the laundry (which could take a while), it's onto Election Reform, and an Energy action called Mercury-Free Schools. So join us, if you can, and please add your idears to our Yahoo! discussion group.

Thank you DFA, thanks to every blessed one of you still going, and going, and going, and happy, happy Mother's Day.

Posted at 10:33 PM in Activism | Technorati

FU-NYT: Adam Cohen Fact Checked

Posted by Bob Brigham

I wrote about Adam Cohen earlier today. Big day for Adam, seldom is one person discredited by so many people so thoroughly. Here is my letter to the editor:

Dear Editor,

Does the New York Times keep Adam Cohen on staff for the sole purpose of ensuring that Judith Miller isn't the most discredited journalist?

While the left and the right often take far different approaches to blogging, it appears everyone agrees that Adam Cohen is a complete dipshit.

Yours Always (just not when it comes to actually subscribing),

-Bob Brigham

You can read more on Cohen's column by going here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.

Posted at 06:04 PM in Netroots | Technorati

TX-City Races 2005

Posted by Bob Brigham


In Dallas, Monica Barros-Greene, the transsexual owner of a popular Mexican restaurant, will face Pauline Medrano in a runoff for city council. Medrano pulled 45 percent of votes, compared with Barros-Greene's 38 percent.

And there might be even more interesting of a race in San Antonio.

A 30-year-old San Antonio city councilman says his lead in the mayoral election should erase doubts that he's too young to lead the nation's eighth-largest city, but his 70-year-old opponent isn't so sure.

Councilman Julian Castro will face retired Texas appeals court judge Phil Hardberger in a June runoff for mayor because neither received more than 50 percent of the vote on Saturday.

Castro led with about 42 percent, or 47,893 votes, after three-fourths of precincts were counted. Hardberger received 30 percent of the vote, or 34,280 votes.

"The lion's share of voters in San Antonio believe I can effectively lead," said Castro, who was the subject of jokes during his campaign because of his age and youthful appearance.

Castro faced a double-scandal (literally) when he was busted extending his campaign schedule in an innovative way:

The election gained attention last month when Castro's twin brother, Joaquin Castro, stood in for him on a city council parade float. Hardberger accused the brothers of trying to deceive the public.

The brothers responded by joking about the so-called "Twingate" affair, with Julian wearing an "I'm Julian" T-shirt and his brother wearing one that said "I'm Not Julian."

Posted at 03:20 PM in 2005 Elections, Texas | Technorati

SC-Gov: Tommy Moore Running for Governor

Posted by Bob Brigham

Lee Bandy in The State:

State Sen. Tommy Moore is the “right kind” of Democrat to beat Republican Gov. Mark Sanford next year if he gets the money, experts say.

Moore certainly has the credentials — 26 years of state legislative experience, an understanding of state government and a moderate to conservative voting record.

“He is the type who can get elected statewide,” says Danielle Vinson, a political scientist at Furman University.

There are some powerful dynamics at work that could make this quite a race. For one thing, Governor Sanford is in such sorry shape that there could be a crowded Democratic primary:

Other Democrats considering a run are Florence Mayor Frank Willis and lobbyist Michael Hollings, son of former U.S. Sen. Fritz Hollings.

The dynamics make it a great target for Democrats:

“This is a state election, straight out,” notes Francis Marion University analyst Neal Thigpen, a GOP activist.

Democrats tend to fare better in such elections.

“Republicans can’t tie the national party label around their neck. It won’t stick,” says College of Charleston professor Bill Moore.

Republicans are much more open to voting Democratic in state elections.

And Sanford is hurting with his base and may be unable to create enough excitement to win:

As governor, he has rubbed many the wrong way with his antics and behavior. He has failed as a negotiator.

“Obviously, there is a disconnect between the members of the General Assembly and the governor,” says professor Moore.

Sanford also is not a good stump campaigner. He doesn’t excite. [...]

But some Republicans may quietly spread the word among constituents that they could live with Moore as governor.

This could be interesting, consider it on the rader.

Posted at 03:01 PM in South Carolina | Technorati

Blog Ethics?

Posted by Bob Brigham

Adam Cohen wants bloggers to pursue ethics? In the NYT:

But more bloggers, and blog readers, are starting to ask whether at least the most prominent blogs with the highest traffic shouldn't hold themselves to the same high standards to which they hold other media.

I spend all day talking to bloggers, reading blogs, following the medium and somehow this escaped me. Maybe because it is a total fucking lie. Some journalists are trying to impose ethics on bloggers, but this is not coming from the blogosphere. I spend hours a day in off-line conversations with bloggers and never once has anyone talked about ethics other than to make fun of journalists who try to impose journalistic standards on a field that is not journalism.

Every mainstream news organization has its own sets of ethics rules, but all of them agree broadly on what constitutes ethical journalism. Information should be verified before it is printed, and people who are involved in a story should be given a chance to air their viewpoints, especially if they are under attack. Reporters should avoid conflicts of interest, even significant appearances of conflicts, and disclose any significant ones. Often, a conflict means being disqualified to cover a story or a subject. When errors are discovered or pointed out by internal or external sources, they must be corrected. And there should be a clear wall between editorial content and advertising.

That is the type of ethical list that would only come from a ink-on-dead-tree writer. Every single point is totally irrelevant to the blogosphere. And it doesn't mention any of the ethical points that are discussed online, such as linking, quoting, traffic disclosure, etc.

Let's look at Cohen's list point by point:

Information should be verified before it is printed

That is an important thing for the PRINTED PRESS. The reason it is an ethical rule for newspapers is that you can't undo something once the press starts running. That is not true online, with instant corrections and no stranded newspapers, there is really no reason why this rule needs to exist.

people who are involved in a story should be given a chance to air their viewpoints, especially if they are under attack

Yes, people under attack should be able to air their viewpoint -- on their own fucking blog. That is why link ethics would have been something that should have been discussed. If I say Adam Cohen is a hopeless hack struggling for a relevance beyond what his writing bestoys, then Adam should be able to respond on his blog and send a track-back or post in the comments or link to me for the Technorati so that he can air his views in a way that is part of the conversation. But trying to get bloggers to give equal time to their prey has got to be one of the dumbest suggestions I have ever heard.

Reporters should avoid conflicts of interest, even significant appearances of conflicts, and disclose any significant ones. Often, a conflict means being disqualified to cover a story or a subject. When errors are discovered or pointed out by internal or external sources, they must be corrected.

I agree. BUT BLOGGERS AREN'T REPORTERS! Bloggers can be reporters, but the only thing they are by definition is a blogger. I think people should be disqualified to cover a story only if they know abso-fucking-lutely nothing about it (as we a discovering with Adam Cohen and blogs). I think that should be disclosed. I think Cohen's editor should have used big letters at the top of the column to disclose: Adam Cohen has no idea what he is talking about when it comes to blogger ethics, so he wrote a column talking about imposing journalistic ethics (even though bloggers aren't journalists).

And there should be a clear wall between editorial content and advertising.

The vast majority of bloggers are one person shops. If Cohen had done any research before writing this he could have quickly learned this. Firewall? With one person? Is Cohen trying to make himself look like an idiot?

In the future, if reporters want to write on this without making themselves look like an idiot, here is a handy reference:


  • Trying to apply journalism ethics to blogging is like trying to use football rules for a baseball game. Any reporter who does this is going to suffer the same response as one would receive for yelling that a baserunner stealing second should be penalized for a false start and the battle should move back five yards.
  • If you are going to write about imposing ethics from another field upon blogging, I suggest you turn to the legal profession. Instead of asking bloggers to disclose income, bloggers should be expected not to disclose unless it is in the best interests of the client. Since most blogging has more to do with advocacy than with journalism, this would be a far more realistic expectation.
  • If you want to talk about obeying journalist ethics, why don't you focus on journalists first. I'd like to see a column asking why Judith Miller hasn't been fired and black-listed for life. I'd like to see some columns on Fox News, on the Administration's fake news, on publicist interaction with journalists, on media adoption of Frank Luntz talking points.
  • Trying to impose rules on bloggers that don't exist for other medium's will make any reporter look like an idiot.

One final point, feel free to quote bloggers for a story on blogging. I don't know if Cohen talked to any bloggers for this, but if he did it is clear that they were not quoted because it would have undermined the narrow agenda Adam Cohen was pushing. Not surprising to see this from one of Judith Miller's co-workers.

Posted at 01:53 PM in Netroots | Technorati

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Reid: Bush is a Loser

Posted by Bob Brigham

Oh, whoops, how did that slip out? From the AP:

Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid called President Bush "a loser" during a civics discussion with a group of teenagers at a high school on Friday.

"The man's father is a wonderful human being," Reid, D-Nev., told students at Del Sol High School when asked about the president's policies. "I think this guy is a loser."

Shortly after the event Reid called the White House to apologize, his spokeswoman Tessa Hafen said. Reid spoke with Bush adviser Karl Rove, asking him to convey the apology to Bush, who was traveling in Europe.

My guess is that Rove said he understood how somebody could confuse Bush with a loser. Apologizing to the White House for calling Bush a loser is like apologizing to the lifeguards for sand at the beach.

Posted at 11:07 PM in Democrats | Technorati

Dems: Stem Cell Matrix

Posted by Bob Brigham

San Francisco's new Stem-Cell research headquarters will allow an agressive young mayor to nationalize a cultural wedge issue that cuts through the heart of the GOP base. Democrats can make an investment in nationalizing this issue as tactically perfect in the short term and paying long term dividends as the research progresses.

From the San Francisco Chronicle:

San Francisco was chosen as the headquarters city Friday for California's $3 billion stem cell program, overcoming a strong challenge from San Diego and Sacramento in a battle that was decided mainly on regional loyalties.

Mayor Gavin Newsom called it a historic achievement for a city and region struggling to find its economic footing after suffering through the collapse of the dot-com bubble.

"This secures our future as a point of destination for discovery," Newsom said. [...]

[Newsom] said the "fundamental" factor was San Francisco's global status as a trend-setting place where experimentation is part of the daily fabric of life.

While Newsom has only been mayor for 16 months, he already found success at leading the Democratic Party through bold action that nationalizes our values.

Newsom was vindicated for the Winter of Love, he is now pushing forward on all fronts.

San Francisco Examiner columnist P.J. Corkerly:

On Gavin Newsom's desk in City Hall, near his iPod with its 2,198 tunes, sits a black binder called "The Matrix." It's not the wine list from Matrix/Fillmore, the sleek urban bar in Cow Hollow that he founded and to which he still retreats (the second-story office of Matrix/Fillmore is a kind of unofficial second mayoral office). … Rather, the black binder is one of five or six such binders — and one tattered magazine from May 24, 1968, with an Andy Warhol pop-art cover — that he refers to often in the course of the day.

The Matrix book itself is something new in U.S. politics: a constantly updated (via PDAs and pencils) database, possible only in this era, and probably manageable only by a mayor interested in weaving his knowledge of the dynamics of day-to-day politics with the data-weaving possibilities of the tech he also loves so well.

What is the Matrix?

The Matrix is a written record of every promise he has made as a candidate and as mayor, and of every idea he has uttered or promised to look into. The Matrix also records every action taken, or not taken, on these promises and ideas — and why. ... Ed Koch, the former mayor of New York, used to get in citizens' faces and sputter, "How'm I doin'?" He would have loved The Matrix.

It's candid. Of his own proposal to station fire trucks and firefighters on street corners as a crime deterrent, Newsom's Matrix says, "Terrible idea."

"You succeed by failing," says Newsom. "I hope to keep embarrassing myself. It's only by throwing out the ideas that prove to be bad as well as those that are obviously good that you make any progress.

"But you need accountability. That's why I have The Matrix. The day gets so busy you can't otherwise keep track of everything. It's good politics, too. People are always happy to meet the mayor; they have ideas and problems. But if you don't follow up, then at the end of the term, yeah, you've met a lot of people. Disappointed people.

Keeping track of the push for stem-cells will keep the issue in the limelight politically as Newsom does everything possible to foster the science.

While 2004 presidential candidates were running from the issue of Gay Marriage, Newsom was establishing himself as a civil rights leader. While everyone running in 2008 is seeking to be known nationally, Newsom is finding success at global recognition.

It is one thing when a politican can bring together the money and wherewithal to fix a pothole. But it is on an entirely different level when the potential returns are in the range that stem-cells offer.

And it is a great issue for Democrats and disaster for Republicans. First, the GOP needs to worry about the red state brain drain that will result from Newsom's capitolization of San Francisco as the bio-tech leader. Second, the GOP distance from most Americans on the issue has significant backlash potential.

Newsom deserves much credit to-date, but now the real work begins, as a Chronicle editorial noted:

But city officials, led by Mayor Gavin Newsom, also made a sterling case to be the home of the $3 billion California Institute for Regenerative Medicine. Against a tight deadline, they put together a package that will provide the stem-cell center with an incentive package estimated to be worth $17 million, including 10 years of free rent, nearly $1 million worth of hotel accommodations and free use of laboratory facilities.

But now the hard work begins. California voters decided to invest billions on the promise of pioneering research, even though there is no guarantee of success. But the Golden State was built on such visionary risks, and now San Francisco must show it is the proper place to lead this breakthrough medical and technological effort.


Posted at 04:53 PM in 2008 President - Democrats, California | Technorati

Friday, May 06, 2005

MT-Sen: Jon Tester Explores U.S. Senate Bid

Posted by Bob Brigham

UPDATE: (Bob) - Join Swing State Project by supporting Jon Tester:

Contribution amount: $

From the Great Falls Tribune:

HELENA — State Senate President Jon Tester, a Big Sandy farmer, is traveling to Washington, D.C., next week to talk to Democratic Party officials and fund-raisers about challenging U.S. Sen. Conrad Burns in 2006.

"We'll kind of take a look around and see if this is something we want to do," he said this week. [...]

Tester is barred by term limits from running next year for re-election to the state Senate, where he's served since 1999. An organic grain farmer, Tester last year helped Democrats win their first majority in the state Senate in 10 years.

Lots of excitement around this, especially on the blogs out west...

From Western Democrat:

Although the Beltway pundits like to talk about Chafee, Santorum and Nelson (of Nebraska) as the most endangered incumbents in 2006, these talking heads once again forget to look west. Burns was nearly knocked off in 2000, a year when he was directly below George W. Bush on the ballot. Without the President's coattails this time around, Burns -- who could face ethical investigations for Abramoff ties -- will be hard pressed to eke out a victory. With a strong Democratic candidate like Tester, who engineered the Democrats' takeover of the state Senate in the fall, Burns might just find himself holding a one-way ticket to K Street.

And Left in the West:

This is great news, not just because Jon Tester is a strong candidate. The field currently has one strong candidate and has other potential ones feeling out decisions. This is great news because Jon Tester has the potential to be a great US Senator. [...]

We certainly have not had much assistance from national leadership of late. One reason I believe in a Tester campaign is that the man is deeply respected on both sides of the aisle, which is something that used to be true of virtually every member of the Upper House in DC. He is a man more comfortable talking to farmers than to donors. I think that’s a good thing. He is also someone who doesn’t have a 100% from any interest group. He votes his constituents and his conscience and he doesn’t forget what those are. [...]

I write this post to speak highly of a man who could, I think, help restore some honor to the US Senate. I hope he makes the right decision.

Indeed. Tester needs to get into the race.

Which is why I was troubled to see this in the Tribune:

Tester said he'll also find out what commitments might have been made to Morrison or other candidates considering a run against Burns.

Hopefully, none. I don't see how anyone would commit to another candidate before waiting to see whether Tester runs.

Posted at 07:05 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Montana | Technorati

Netroots: AmericaBlog Beats Microsoft

Posted by Bob Brigham

John Aravosis of AmericaBlog has now cemented his reputation as the nation's most effective gay-rights activist. For two weeks, AmericaBlog has been waging online politics against Microsoft:

Microsoft Abandons Gays (or Gates-gate)

- Microsoft abandons gays (4/20)
- The Stranger article that broke the story (4/20)
- Microsoft messed with the wrong faggots (4/21)
- Gay rights bill loses by one vote - Where was Microsoft? (4/21)
- Microsoft caught lying to NYT (4/22)
- HRC blasts Microsoft (4/22)
- LA Gay Center asks for its award back (4/22)
- Microsoft lies to MSNBC (4/22)
- CEO email confirms Microsoft is abandoning gays because of religious right (4/23)
- Micro-too-soft (commentary) 4/25)
- Microsoft's own employees fight back (4/25)
- Microsoft paying Ralph Reed $20k/month retainer (4/26)

And now, from the AP:

In a turnaround Friday, Microsoft Corp. chief executive Steve Ballmer said the company will support gay rights legislation.

Ballmer made the announcement in an e-mail to employees two weeks after gay rights activists accused the company of withdrawing its support for an anti-discrimination bill in its home state after an evangelical pastor threatened to launch a national boycott.

It only took John two weeks? Goliath just found out what happens when David upgrades his slingshot to a blog. Huge props to John!

UPDATE From Chris Bowers:

John's one-man crusade against Microsoft seems to have worked [...]

Although the article goes on to interview someone from Human Rights Campaign, I'm not really sure what they did besides send Microsoft a letter. As far as I'm concerned, it's Aravosis that deserves the bulk of credit.


UPDATE: Scobleizer has a has a copy of the email and says;

We're also reaching out to the various blogs and news sites that were disappointed with how we handled this.

From my position, I'm elated.

I hope that this lets us all move forward and heal some pretty deep rifts that were exposed.

First of all, people weren't "disappointed" -- they were pissed. It wasn't about how Microsoft "handled this" -- it was about Microsoft fucking up. I think it will take years to undo the damage, but none of the healing should begin until a bill is signed into law. Microsoft sank the last bill, now they need to pass a bill before anyone should consider thinking of them in a new light. Moving forward begins with Microsoft righting their wrong and it shouldn't begin until a bill is signed.

UPDATE: More praise for John, from Talk Left:

A major share of the credit is due John Aravosis of AmericaBlog who waged massive two week action campaign against Microsoft.

UPDATE: And more, from Atrios:

John 1: Microsoft Bigots: 0


No one knows how to stir up shit and get stuff to happen better than John Aravosis. Organizations interested in actually accomplishing anything instead of just comfortably maintaining the status quo should keep this in mind.

UPDATE: And, Steve Gilliard:

And a round of applause to John Aravois, who stirred up a hornet's nest with this.

God, could Microsoft be so fucking dumb. Now, I've always respected Ballmer, because he's a genuinely smart guy without the geekiness of Gates. You look at Gates and figure he's smart, but Ballmer, he gets less credit than he deserves.

Needless to say this was an executive level decision. Gates and Ballmer looked at each other and realized how stupid they looked bowing down to ONE wingnut preacher, one.

Microsoft cannot afford to alienate gays any more than any other minority group. For some reason, after years of being aggressively tolerant in the work place, they thought they could just slide this by. I would bet that after a suitable interval, Brad Smith, Microsoft's general counsel, will be persuing opportunities in other areas.

And Joe in DC:

This episode shows once again the power of the blogs...the progressive blogs...YOU....

And, it shows once again the political skill of John Aravosis. (and I am not just saying that because he is my good friend and gives me the great privilege of writing on Americablog.) John got this immediately. He understood what it meant and, with your help, he kept it alive....and, helped push it in to the mainstream media.

Think about it. Microsoft, the corporate behemoth that doesn't take any crap from anyone, just had to publicly admit they screwed up. That doesn't happen every day.

UPDATE Tracked down in Morocco, John Aravosis remarks on the victory:

And I can say is, holy shit. A few responses.

1. You guys did it. I told you that if we stood up, raising enough hell, worked with all the other great groups and blogs and everyone else speaking out, we could win, and we did.

2. Thank you so much to The Stranger that broke all the great Microsoft stories that were the basis of our calls to action, thanks to the Gay and Lesbian Center for all their work, Equal Rights Washington, and to all of you who responded to our calls to action, and finally, to Microsoft´s own employees, gay and straight, who stood up and fought against this outrage both privately and publicly.

3. And finally, thank you to Microsoft itself. I know we have you a hard time, but sometimes you have to hurt the one you love. I know I may get some flack for saying this, but I admire Bill Gates. Very few of us could take a hundred thousand bucks and turn into the richest man in the world. That´s part of the reason it was so important for him and his company to do the right thing in this case, and they did. They didn´t have to, but they did. And for that, they deserve and get our thanks and our support.

So, I´m going back to my bottle of Morrocan Chardonnay, and hope you´ll all take a second to sit back and relish a hard-earned victory. We´ve had so few of late, it´s nice to know that they still exist, so long as we all work together and act.



Posted at 04:26 PM in Netroots | Technorati

LA-Mayor: Fundraising Blowout

Posted by Bob Brigham

From the LA Times:

Councilman Antonio Villaraigosa, who is aggressively raising money to finance his second bid for the city's highest office, had raised almost $1.7 million more than incumbent James K. Hahn as the Los Angeles mayoral race entered its final stage.

Campaign finance reports filed Thursday showed that Villaraigosa had collected more than $2.8 million for the runoff campaign through the end of last month compared with less than $1.2 million for Hahn.

Ouch. Villariagosa's huge lead in the polls appears to have short-circuited Hahn's fundraising.

But the slower pace of Hahn's fundraising adds to the impression of a mayor "floundering" in his reelection quest, said Sherry Bebitch Jeffe, a USC political science professor.

"It appears as though the mayor has totally stalled, and that the money is on Villaraigosa," she said. "That's the perception, and in politics, perception is reality."

Consistently low poll ratings have made it hard for Hahn to draw support from donors who normally would lavish contributions on a sitting mayor with leverage over business interests at City Hall.

Villaraigosa's campaign manager, Ace Smith, said Hahn's latest fundraising report showed that the mayor is "in deep trouble."

"An incumbent mayor being out-raised by a challenger is a sign of a critically ill campaign," Smith said.

Posted at 01:23 PM in 2005 Elections, California | Technorati

MT-Sen: Vasell Scandal Began in 2000?

Posted by Bob Brigham

Via Left in the West, we have the New West Network story on Shawn Vasell:

John Byrne of Raw Story is now reporting that Vasell was one of four former Jack Abramoff associates who played a role in the Florida recount -- activities that their law firm, Greenberg Traurig, was apparently not compensated for. Byrne also reports that these four lobbyists, including Vasell, have now left Greenberg Traurig, following federal investigations into Abramoff's actions. In fact, Greenberg Traurig's website no longer shows any sign of a Shawn Vasell.

Vasell was Burns' State Director. Vasell was so critical to Burns that former Montana House Majority Leader Larry Grinde couldn't even replace him.

Posted at 10:37 AM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Montana | Technorati

Thursday, May 05, 2005

OH-Gov: Strickland is Running

Posted by Bob Brigham


COLUMBUS, Ohio - U.S. Rep. Ted Strickland will run for governor after saying in January he would not seek the Democratic nomination, two sources told The Associated Press today.

Strickland, 63, will make an announcement early next week, Democratic sources in Ohio and Washington who are familiar with his plans said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The six-term congressman would not confirm or deny a run for governor, a job held by Republicans since 1991.

"I have decided what to do in regard to my future plans," Strickland said in a brief interview in the Capitol. He said it was "highly unlikely I will run for the Senate."

Strickland's entry into the governor's race would be a blow to U.S. Senate Democrats, who have tried to recruit him to run next year against two-term Republican Sen. Mike DeWine.

Strickland would become the second Democrat in the race for governor, joining Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman.

So who will be the Senate candidate?

Posted at 05:39 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, 2006 Elections - State, Ohio | Technorati

GOP Too Extreme

Posted by Bob Brigham

The Quadrangle:

"I think the Republicans are more polarized than they ever have been." No, it wasn't a liberal Democratic member of Congress who said this to NBC News on April 27; it was Rep. Charlie Bass, Republican from New Hampshire. There are many moderate Republican politicians and citizens who feel left out of the modern-day extremist Republican Party. The leaders of the party, Bush, Cheney, Frist, DeLay, Hastert, etc, are clearly out of the mainstream. Moderate Republicans like Rep. Bass, Rep. Christopher Shays of Connecticut, Sen. Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island, and Christine Todd Whitman, the former Governor of New Jersey and former Environmental Protection Agency chief, have all spoken out on this issue.

As the extremist domination continues, the wedge is driven further with each action.

Tom DeLay, who could be considered the most corrupt politician in Washington today, is the Republican House Leader. Bill Frist, who is now attempting to change long standing judicial laws, is the Republican Senate Majority leader. George W. Bush's nominee to be U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton, once said, "There is no such thing as the United Nations. There is an international community that may perhaps occasionally be guided by the sole real power left in the world, that is, the United States - when that suits our interests and when we can bring others to follow us." No wonder moderates are angry. The Republican leadership is drunk with power.


Posted at 10:58 AM in Republicans | Comments (1) | Technorati

NM-2: Googler Busts Pearce, Flack Resigns in Disgrace

Posted by Bob Brigham


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - The press secretary for Republican Rep. Steve Pearce resigned after admitting he plagiarized material in a newspaper column published under the congressman's name.

Jim Burns said he copied large parts of a column that ran in the El Defensor Chieftain of Socorro last month from the Web site of the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank based in Washington. The column was about energy policy. [...]

El Defensor Editor Dana Bowley said the newspaper went to the foundation's Web site and found the column copied almost word-for-word from a column by a senior policy analyst for the foundation. The paper criticized the column in an editorial.

While true, that doesn't really capture the whole story. El Defensor Chieftain didn't bust Congessman Pearce, a reader did.

With google, anyone can fact-check their congressman. And that is what happened here, from the El Defensor Chieftain:

A letter to the editor in Wednesday's El Defensor Chieftain contends that portions of a recent column we ran from U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce contained passages that were similar to a column by Charli Coon on the Heritage Foundation Web site.

We went to the Web site to check it out and found that our letter writer was being generous. The congressman's column was almost a word-for-word repeat of Coon's column.

Bonus points for the name of the column:

We are a small paper with a limited staff, so we're limited in our ability to cover congressional issues. We run Rep. Pearce's column, which ironically is called "Straight Talk," to allow the congressman to put his message — unfiltered — before the public.

But we expect it to be his message, not unattributed, copyrighted material reprinted without no acknowledgement of permission.

In all fairness, we have no way of knowing if Pearce was aware of the source of the material. And we don't know if this has happened before, but we can't rule it out. As a result, we have informed Rep. Pearce's press secretary by e-mail of our concerns and that we will not run the congressman's columns any longer without assurance that they are original work. As of yet, we have not received a reply.

To some, this may not seem important, but there are significant legal and ethical questions involved. Equally important, however, we believe his constituents expect the congressman to voice his own thoughts, not parrot someone else's.

El Defensor Chieftain is a politically neutral newspaper. Our goal is to present all views, but we have no desire to become an extension of the Heritage Foundation or any group — liberal, conservative or in-between — advancing its political agenda under the guise of a congressman's commentary.


Posted at 09:22 AM in 2006 Elections - House, New Mexico | Technorati

NY-Sen: Clinton "Buries All Challengers 2 -1 Or More"

Posted by Bob Brigham

New Quinnipiac Poll (April 28 - May 2, 1,191, ± 2.8 percentage points):

Sen. Clinton had an all-time high 65 - 27 percent approval rating in a February 9 poll by the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University.

Clinton easily defeats a number of possible Republican challengers:

* 60 - 32 percent over Gov. George Pataki;
* 62 - 27 percent over Westchester District Attorney Jeanine Pirro;
* 63 - 26 percent over former Massachusetts Gov. William Weld;
* 63 - 25 percent over Edward Cox, son-in-law of the late President Richard Nixon.

New York State voters say 67 - 27 percent that Sen. Clinton deserves to be reelected.

With a re-elect number of 67%, Clinton is in good shape for re-election. But what does this poll tell us about her 2008 plans?

Voters also say 60 - 30 percent that if she runs for reelection in 2006, she should promise to serve another full six-year Senate term. In another question, voters say 51 - 41 percent that they do not want Clinton to run for president in 2008. [...]

"But if the Clinton-for-President talk stays strong, she has problems. More New Yorkers don't want her to run for President. And, 2 -1, they think that if she runs for re- election as Senator, she should promise to serve the full six years," [director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, Maurice] Carroll added.

Interesting to see New Yorkers' positions begin to set this far out.

Posted at 08:57 AM in New York | Comments (3) | Technorati

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

NY-Gov: Bill Weld, Go Home (wherever that may be)

Posted by DavidNYC

Very, very erstwhile New Yorker and former bored Governor of Massachusetts Bill Weld has been touted as the GOP savior candidate to take on Eliot Spitzer. Some folks said they thought Weld would make a strong candidate. I was pretty skeptical of those claims - and I have to admit, I had a good chuckle when I saw this new poll today from Quinnipiac (registered voters, no trendlines):

Spitzer: 60
Weld: 16
Undecided: 22
(MoE: ±2.8%)

Sixty-to-sixteen is Alan Keyes territory, another oft-mentioned (and I'm not even sure it's a joke anymore) potential challenger to Spitzer. Yeah, I know it's early, and Weld's name reco is low - but come on: He's not bringing anything to the game if he's starting out at 16%. Even Republicans only support him 40-31.

Meanwhile, Eliot still smashes Pataki 53-32. The latter's approval rating stands at an abysmal 36-47, despite the first on-time budget in decades. Nothing can rescue him now.

Posted at 07:50 PM in New York | Comments (1) | Technorati

MD-5: Update on Push for Hoyer to Step Down as Whip

Posted by Bob Brigham

Last week, Swing State Project took a look at the blog-based movement pushing for Congressman Steny Hoyer to resign as Democratic Whip. It now appears that there is a clear tipping point materializing around CAFTA that could be the end of Hoyer's leadership reign or help him hold his job. Right now, it looks like it could break either way.

From David Sirota:

THE BAD NEWS: The newsletter also reports that "House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D) said Tuesday in a news conference that no decision had been made as to whether the Democratic leadership would whip against" CAFTA, even though he admitted most Democrats were against the deal. Hoyer, you may remember, refused to whip Democratic opposition to the Bankruptcy Bill, and supported the Australian Free Trade Agreement, even though that supposedly "free" trade pact included drug industry-written provisions preventing Americans from importing cheaper medicines from abroad. Some folks have lately been calling for Hoyer's resignation from his leadership position (I'm not sure if that's warranted, as Hoyer has been a solid lawmaker for years). And his unwillingness to take a stand even at this late hour is disheartening. If he ultimately doesn't whip on this bill, that will only fuel those calls for his resignation. Let's hope he gets in line and starts doing what he was elected to do: lead.

Democrats are doing well nationally because of the great job Senate Democrats are doing by standing together. We need to do better in the House. If Hoyer isn't interested in whipping votes on major issues, then he needs to step down for the good of the Party.

CAFTA is a chance for Hoyer to redeem himself. Hoyer will be graded on the unity of the Party on the vote -- whether he intends to whip or not. Democrats expect him to whip and if he fails, not trying will not be an excuse.

Posted at 03:02 PM in Maryland | Technorati

David Sirota and Working for Change

Posted by Tim Tagaris

Consider this a public service announcement.

One of my daily reads over the past few months has been David Sirota's, "Sirotablog." Today, David began a blogging partnership with a formidable ally, Working for Change. This should increase his readership by the thousands, and that is great news. Check out the new digs.

Posted at 11:22 AM in Netroots | Technorati

LA-Mayor: Villaraigosa Stomping Hahn

Posted by Bob Brigham

Over at the Villaraigosa Blog, they have released the latest tracking numbers (Survey USA):

Channel 7 released a new mayoral poll by Survey USA today. The results:

Villaraigosa: 62%
Hahn: 3%
Undecided: 5%

The reaction?

Jerome Armstrong:

LA's had enough of Hahn. The only demographic that Hahn beats Villaraigosa on is among Republicans (62-37) and Conservatives (53-45). Among everyone else, Villaraigosa leads; and in the Valley Antonio holds a 20% lead over Hahn.


Not only does it appears that Villaraigosa is set to demolish Hahn, but it also looks like he has the support of just about every prominent politician. I assume some of that is just the bandwagon effect, but doesn't Hahn have any friends?

The last numbers Swing State Project has looked at were Villaraigosa - 53%, Hahn - 35%.

For Hahn, things have gone from bad to worse. I'm sure the race will tighten in the final days, but not enough for Hahn to finish respectably.

Posted at 10:45 AM in 2005 Elections, California | Technorati

TX-22: Tom DeLay 2006 Election Competition

Posted by Bob Brigham

Washington Post:

Last November, four-term Rep. Nick Lampson (D-Tex.) lost his job after a controversial redrawing of the state's congressional seats -- engineered by House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) -- left Lampson in a district that was more than half new to him and much more heavily Republican than before.

Now, with DeLay facing a barrage of questions about lavish overseas trips and close dealings with lobbyists, Lampson wants to settle the score for the redistricting, which cost four veteran Texas congressmen their seats and is known by local Democrats as "Tommymandering."

In addition to Frontier PAC, we here at Swing State Project are also very interested in Majority Leader Tom DeLay's re-election campaign.

Mike Allen in the Post continues:

Lampson, a moderate Democrat and one-time public school teacher from Beaumont, plans to formally file papers as a candidate today and then to move into DeLay's suburban Houston district. He said he will spend $4 million or more to try to defeat the majority leader, using ethics as a major issue.

Two recent polls by local news organizations contained troubling news for DeLay, and Democrats contend that his problems are distracting him from his job and provide them with an unusual opportunity to knock off a GOP leader. DeLay was admonished by the House ethics committee three times last year. When the panel is formally reconstituted this week after a four-month hiatus, it will consider whether to launch a formal investigation of DeLay's travel and dealings with lobbyists.

Give, give more, and tell others to give...

With Democrats in Washington vowing to pour as much money as necessary into the Texas district if they determine that Lampson has a chance, the race for the 22nd District seat could wind up as one of the marquee contests of the 2006 midterm elections. DeLay's strategists have expressed concern that the absence of a presidential race next year could make his district a magnet for huge spending by liberal interest groups and labor-backed political organizations, although business interests could be expected to answer overwhelmingly if DeLay needs them. [...]

A close race could also force DeLay to spend more time at home and less time raising money for the party's candidates elsewhere.

Swing State Project has been joined by the Post in realizing DeLay is vulnerable:

DeLay found himself in a tighter race than he expected last November against a relatively unknown Democrat. He won 55 percent of the vote and ran well behind President Bush. DeLay spent $3 million on his reelection. Republican sources said he plans to raise more than $5 million this time.

Bush taped a telephone message to help turn out DeLay's voters in November. White House officials were surprised that the majority leader needed that kind of help.

Look at the latest poll on Ton DeLay and you'll see that this is for real.

Nick Lampson says:

After much thought, prayer and counsel with my family, I have decided to run for the 22nd Congressional District of Texas.

My family has deep roots in Fort Bend County. My parents grew up there, were married there, and my siblings and I spent a great deal of time growing up on our grandparents' farms in Stafford. Much of my family is still there, and it is for them and all the people of District 22 that I am running for Congress.

In the coming days, I will begin sharing my ideas for a stronger, more prosperous America. In the meantime, thanks for visiting my Web site, and please check back for updates on our campaign for District 22.

Thank you for your friendship and support.

Posted at 12:45 AM in 2006 Elections - House, Texas | Comments (1) | Technorati

TX-22: Tom DeLay Corruption: Mariana Islands Scandal

Posted by Bob Brigham

New York Times:

WASHINGTON, May 3 - Newly disclosed documents from an American territory in the Pacific show that the powerful Washington lobbyist at the center of federal corruption investigations here paid directly for travel to the islands by several members of Congress, Democrat and Republican, as well as two senior aides to Tom DeLay, the House majority leader, despite House rules that bar such payments.

The lobbyist, Jack Abramoff, submitted bills to his law firm for more than $350,000 in expenses for several trips to the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands in 1996 and 1997 on behalf of the congressmen, as well as several others including Edwin Buckham, Mr. DeLay's former chief of staff, and Tony Rudy, his former deputy chief of staff. [...]

In letters and e-mail messages to the Marianas, Mr. Abramoff acknowledged that he had paid for the trips and asked the island government, which had hired him to lobby against proposed labor measures that would have affected the islands, to send him checks.

House travel rules bar lobbyists from paying for Congressional travel, even if the lobbyist is reimbursed by a group or government agency that is allowed to pay for travel. [...]

In a statement, the firm, Preston Gates & Ellis, said: "If Jack Abramoff charged Congressional travel to his personal credit card for subsequent reimbursement - even from an entity that could have paid for the travel to begin with - that would have been contrary to firm policy that firm lobbyists were responsible for seeing that any Congressional travel in connection with a representation should be in accordance with Congressional ethics rules."

The firm said that Mr. Abramoff had been advised of the rules when he started working there but that any violations were not caught at the time because his records were not reviewed.

Abramoff knew the rules and he broke the rules. More from the Washington Post.

Posted at 12:37 AM in 2006 Elections - House, Texas | Technorati

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

PA-Sen: Chuck Pennacchio Joins Princeton Filibuster

Posted by Bob Brigham

Regular Swing State Project readers know that when Tim isn't posting here, he is directing communications for Chuck Pennacchio, who is running against Rick Santorum in Pennsylvania.

Today they are in New Jersey, joining the Princeton Filibuster: (see here, here, here, and here).

I just got off the phone with Tim...

Professor Pennacchio begins speaking at 3PM local time, with Chris Matthews doing a Harball interview beginning at 4PM.

Because of the media attention, there are rumors of a College Republican protest, but it is unknown what size of crowd they would be able to turn out.

They are closing in on Hour 173 with no end in sight. Right now, there are around 25 students at the event and the MSNBC crew is setting up.

The mood is festive, with refreshments and people seem to be having fun.

Tim is decked out with the postmodern politics toolkit: laptop, cell phone, mic, video and still digitals. You can watch the event on the webcam at

More to come...

Posted at 02:41 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Nuclear Option, Pennsylvania | Comments (2) | Technorati

MT-Sen: Jon Tester on Legislature: "Accomplishments Abound"

Posted by Bob Brigham

Montana Senate President Jon Tester is widely expected to challenge embattled U.S. Senator Conrad Burns. Here is his hometown paper (actually, Tester lives on a farm outside the next town over, but this is the closest paper), the Havre Daily News:

As far as Senate President Jon Tester, D-Big Sandy, is concerned, accomplishments abound.

"It seemed like people tended to want to work together in this session than they had in the past and that was a surprise with some change over" to Democratic control, Tester said. "People took it in stride."

He is finishing out his fourth and final term as a state senator due to term limits.

As for those accomplishments, he did some good work.

Prescription Drugs:

Tester said helping Montanans get affordable health care was a goal he felt he accomplished this year. He sponsored one bill that would help make prescription drugs more affordable, and another that would help the state regulate prescription drug discount cards to protect people from scams.

The prescription drug benefit bill, SB 324, was the bill Tester said he was most proud of.

Guiding education legislation through the Senate, he said, was a major task as Senate president.


Guiding education legislation through the Senate, he said, was a major task as Senate president.

"We defined a quality education and that's something most people didn't think we could do" in one session, he said. "We pumped in a historic amount of money" as well.

Tester said more work remains, some of which will be completed by an interim committee that has until October to come up with a new funding formula for schools. Tester is on the committee, and Havre Public Schools Superintendent Kirk Miller is an ex officio member.

"We've got two legs of the stool firmly on the floor," he said. "We've got one more to get down."


Tester also worked on encouraging the use of renewable resources, with a bill that would make sure wind energy producers are taxed fairly. He also sponsored a funding measure that provides money toward rehabilitating the St. Mary Diversion.

What a difference a Democratic majority makes.

Posted at 01:13 PM in Montana | Technorati

MT-Sen: Officials Investigate Shawn Vasell

Posted by Bob Brigham

After Courtney Lowery broke, The D.C. Lobbyist & the Thanksgiving Deer story, Billings Gazette writer Ed Kemmick blogged:

It sounds like Shawn Vasell, a former staffer for Sen. Conrad Burns, has some explaining to do, as do his friends here in Billings.

It now looks like Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks agrees. From Lowery's latest:

The Montana Fish Wildlife & Parks Department has launched an investigation into the case of the D.C. Lobbyist and the Thanksgiving deer.

District 5 Warden Jeff Scott tells New West that an initial investigation shows that "there certainly seems to be some authenticity to this thing," referring to a story New West reported on last week. The story, which we found on now stripped Web site of J.R. Reger of Billings, detailed a seemingly illegal hunting trip Reger took with his brother and Shawn Vasell. Vasell, a former aide to U.S. Sen. Conrad Burns, had been named as one of the personnel links between the Montana Senator and the controversial Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

It seems they have the same respect for the Hunt as they do for Ethics. Here is some more on the Vasell Scandal.

Posted at 11:15 AM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Montana | Technorati

TX-22: New DeLay Poll Worse Than Last Poll

Posted by Bob Brigham

The last poll on Tom DeLay showed that the voters in Texas' 22nd congressional district weren't looking to re-elect the Majority Leader.

Now, we have a poll that suggests they don't even want to keep him around any longer than it will take to clean out his desk. From, Channel 2 in Houston (548 registered voters, ±4.3%):

In general, do you approve or disapprove of the job Tom DeLay is doing as Congressman?
51 percent disapproved
42 percent approved
7 percent were not sure

Based on what you know right now, do you think Tom DeLay should remain in his position as House Majority Leader, he should resign as House Majority Leader but remain a member of Congress, or do you think he should completely resign from Congress?
39 percent: Remain House Majority Leader
21 percent: Resign Leadership
36 percent: Resign From Congress
4 percent: Not Sure

Goes around, comes around. One day the exterminator, next day...

Posted at 11:10 AM in 2006 Elections - House, Texas | Technorati

Monday, May 02, 2005

WA-Gov: Judge Allows Proportional Analysis

Posted by Bob Brigham


WENATCHEE, Wash. - The Republicans won an important victory Monday in their legal challenge to the election of Gov. Christine Gregoire when a judge allowed them to use a type of statistical analysis to try to prove illegal votes swayed the race.

Republican Dino Rossi is trying to have the election results from November declared invalid. Rossi won the first count and a machine recount, but his Democratic opponent won by 129 votes in a hand recount of 2.9 million ballots. [...]

Superior Court Judge John Bridges gave the GOP the go-ahead to apply "proportional analysis" to the illegal votes.

Using proportional analysis, they want the court to subtract illegal votes from both candidates' totals according to precinct voting patterns. For example, if 10 illegal votes came from a precinct that voted 60 percent for Gregoire and 40 percent for Rossi, six votes would be deducted from Gregoire's total and four from Rossi's.

Democrats said the method amounts to statistical guessing. At the same time, they have been collecting evidence of illegal votes in GOP-leaning counties, and plan to use the same proportional analysis in court.

The trial is scheduled to begin in three weeks and is certain to be followed by appeals.

It seems the GOP is in favor of Activist Judges if the decisions help further right-wing power grabs. Washington has a governor, but the GOP desire for absolute power means that a democratically elected Democrats should be dumped by an Activist Judge so the GOP can get a do-over for a race they lost.

Posted at 04:05 PM in Washington | Comments (1) | Technorati

VT-Sen: Bernie Sanders Takes Control

Posted by Bob Brigham

While Congressman Bernie Sanders has yet to announce he's running for Vermont's open seat in the U.S. Senate, the ad to your left suggests that the campaign isn't wasting any time taking the early lead. Indeed, from The Vermont Guadian:

Sanders issued a statement less than an hour after Gov. Jim Douglas announced April 30 that he would not seek the Republican nomination to replace Jeffords. As the top GOP official in Vermont, Douglas had been courted by the White House, and key Senate Republicans, to run.

In his statement, Sanders said any GOP candidate will have to square with Vermonters why they support Pres. George Bush's domestic and foreign initiatives.

"At this point, of course we have no idea as to who the Republican candidate will be. We do know however, that whoever it will be will have to explain to Vermonters why he/she supports a Republican Leadership which gives huge tax breaks to billionaires, but cuts programs in health care, education, veteran‚s needs, and for our environment,” Sanders said. “That Republican candidate, whoever he/she may be, is going to have to explain why they support a Bush Administration which allows corporate America to send good paying jobs to China and, at the same time slashes benefits for Social Security beneficiaries as they attempt to privatize Social Security. We look forward to that debate."

Having the lead and driving the message is a powerful combination, no wonder Sanders is looking forward to the debate.

Posted at 03:56 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Open Seats, Vermont | Technorati

Princeton Filibuster: 146 Hours and Counting

Posted by Bob Brigham has crossed the 146 hour mark and is on pace to clear 150 hours at 5 PM eastern today.

Yesterday, Congressman Frank Pallone joined Congressman Rush Holt by filibustering with the Princeton students. A Corzine staffer will be speaking in an hour and Chuck Pennacchio is on the schedule tomorrow.

Other sparklies include: North Plainfield Councilman Nathan Rudy, 4/29; Nobel Prize Winner Frank Wilczek, 4/29; Physics Professor Chiara Nappi, 4/28; String Physicist Edward Witten, 4/28; and NJ State Assemblyman Reed Gusciora, 4/28.

Posted at 12:59 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate | Comments (1) | Technorati

Philly-DA: Bloggers for Williams Go Mainstream

Posted by Tim Tagaris

I have written, two times (Here & Here), about Philadelphia bloggers banding together in support of Seth Williams, a candidate for Distirct Attorney in Philly. Who cares about the race for Philadelphia DA? We all should.

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.
They have raised awareness, volunteers, contributions, and today, their efforts made it into the Philadelphia Daily News. And it was a great little piece as well.
"I can't compete with her [Lynne Abraham's] money," Williams said. "So if I'm going to run a sort of 'Continental Army against the Redcoats' campaign, it's great to get these spirited followers who'll use technology to get donations and share the message."
To learn more about Seth, click here.

Posted at 11:30 AM in Netroots | Technorati

MT-Sen: New Law to Stop Burns' Slaughter

Posted by Bob Brigham

Regular readers of Swing State Project might see the word "slaughter" in a headline about embattled Montana Senator Conrad Burns and assume that the post was about Burns' General Custeresque march into re-election (Burns' re-elect number is 36%). But no, this isn't a metaphoric slaughter, this is an actual blood and guts slaughter. And the politics are so overwhelming against Senator Burns that Congress is now considering a new law -- bipartisan legislation with 50 co-sponsors -- to undo the Burns Slaughter.

From Indian Country:

WASHINGTON - The Interior Department has abruptly halted the delivery of mustangs to buyers to investigate whether the slaughter of 41 wild horses in April violated a federal contract requiring them to be treated humanely.

Interior's Bureau of Land Management is charged with the liquidation of some 90,000 wild horses. [...]

Congress in December replaced the 34-year-old ban on slaughtering mustangs with a law permitting older and unwanted horses to be sold. Wild horse advocates warned that would allow the animals to be killed and sold for horse meat, as dog food or for human consumption overseas.

Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., urged Congress in April to immediately repeal the change in law that Sen. Conrad Burns, R-Mont., sponsored last year. Rahall and Rep. Ed Whitfield, R-Ky., so far have 50 co-sponsors for such legislation in the 435-member House.

There is quite a coalition coming together to stop the Burns Slaughter, from the Tribune News Service:

WASHINGTON - A coalition of celebrities, race track leaders and others have called in from across the country hoping to push forward legislation that would end or limit the slaughter of wild horses. [...]

"When you've got a coalition ranging from Willie Nelson to Nicollette Sheridan, we've got something for everyone," said Nancy Perry, the Humane Society of the United States' vice president of government affairs. [...]

Horse advocates have solicited comments from actors - including Richard Gere and Mary Tyler Moore - and have drawn support from horse racing leaders and others.

Churchill Downs Inc., parent company of the legendary Kentucky race track, supports the end of horse slaughter. Ford Motor Co., maker of the Mustang sports car, this week offered financial support to save the lives of 52 mustangs. And "Weekly Reader," an educational publication geared to elementary and middle school students, included an article on the issue.

Seeking star power to jazz up an issue isn't a new tactic. Last year, for example, actress and horse owner Bo Derek traipsed through the Capitol to gather support for a similar bill.

About that bill, from the Courier Journal:

Whitfield, Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., and nearly 50 co-sponsors have introduced H.R. 297 to outlaw the sales of the mustangs. Sen. Robert Byrd, D-W.Va., has introduced a separate measure, S. 576. [...]

"Those involved in the slaughter of wild horses and burros have blood on their hands," Rahall said during a Capitol Hill news conference.

Whitfield, R-1st District, said no horses should be slaughtered for food, particularly those under Bureau of Land Management protection.

Senator Conrad Burns is now facing a bi-partisan legislation condemning him while he's being called out as having blood on his hands. His response?

Grant Toomey, deputy press secretary to Burns, said the slaughter of the 41 horses was "awful and had nothing to do with the senator's intentions."

"This can't be allowed to happen," Toomey said, adding that Burns plans to meet with bureau officials to discuss the situation.

Is this a flip-flop or just incompetence?

Saying it can't happen would make it appear the Senator is now opposed to the slaughter. I hope this is a reversal rather than Burns trying to say he didn't know that lifting a ban on slaughtering would cause horses to become dogfood.

Burns screwed up big-time on this one.

Posted at 11:10 AM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Montana | Technorati

PA-Sen: Abortion Hurting Casey Fundraising

Posted by Bob Brigham

You might remember Barbara Hafer, the pro-choice Democrat that was forced out of the Pennsylvania Senate race to support Bob Casey, Jr. Casey's last period fundraising report was disgraceful, with the candidate only raising $90,000. Could his anti-rights stance on abortion be the reason why? From USA Today:

After meeting with Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, a former Democratic national chairman, Hafer agreed to step aside. But she doesn't sound happy about it.

"I've heard from many, many, many women and men who are not just pro-choice but are very concerned about the shift of emphasis in the party," Hafer says.

"I think it hurts fundraising. It certainly hurts the base of the party." She says she felt compelled to do what Rendell felt was best for Democrats.

"If that's accurate or not," she adds, "only time will tell."

Hafer's views became irrelevant when she let herself get steamrolled. As for whether the women's groups will have relevance in deciding how Democrats talk about abortion, only the primary will tell.

Posted at 09:19 AM in Pennsylvania | Comments (5) | Technorati

Jack Abromoff and the Mob?

Posted by Bob Brigham

Washington Post:

Abramoff is best known as a target of a federal investigation in Washington into the tens of millions in fees he and a partner collected from casino-owning Indian tribes. But the wreckage from his brief and tumultuous time as owner of the gambling fleet threatens to overtake his Washington legal troubles.

Well, it isn't like we're talking about Mob-style hits or anything.

What's that? Oh whoops, I guess that is what we're talking about...

It was a gangland-style hit straight out of "Goodfellas."

A man in a BMW was driving down a quiet side street after an evening meeting at his Fort Lauderdale office when a car slowed to a stop in front of him. A second car boxed the BMW in from behind, then a dark Mustang appeared from the opposite direction. The Mustang's driver pulled alongside and pumped three hollow-point bullets into the BMW driver's chest.

The dead man was Konstantinos "Gus" Boulis, a volatile 51-year-old self-made millionaire, a Greek immigrant who had started as a dishwasher in Canada and ended up in Florida, where he built an empire of restaurants, hotels and cruise ships used for offshore casino gambling. Boulis's slaying, still unsolved four years later, reverberated all the way to Washington. Months earlier he had sold his fleet of casino ships to a partnership that included Republican superlobbyist Jack Abramoff. [...]

Not long after Abramoff and his partners bought SunCruz Casinos in September 2000, the venture ran aground after a fistfight between two of the owners, allegations of mob influence, dueling lawsuits and, finally, Boulis's death on Feb. 6, 2001. Now, Abramoff is the target of a federal investigation into whether the casino ship deal involved bank fraud. According to court records, the SunCruz purchase hinged on a fake wire transfer for $23 million intended to persuade lenders to provide financing to Abramoff's group.

Although the outlines of the tale have become part of South Florida lore, what has not been disclosed are the full details of the alleged fraud at the heart of the transaction and the extent of Abramoff's role -- including his use of contacts with Republican Reps. Tom DeLay (Tex.) and Robert W. Ney (Ohio) and members of their staffs as he worked to land the deal.

OK, we know Abramoff is most likely heading jail. At this point the only question is which members of the Republican caucus will be joining him.

Posted at 05:26 AM in 2006 Elections | Technorati

May 2005 Archive: