August 2005 Archive:

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Swing State Project News

Posted by Bob Brigham

Thanks for making August a great month. Thanks for reading, helping and sending us tips. In terms of traffic, August was our best month since SSP launched in 2003. Swing State Project also received a great deal of press in August, including the Atlantic Monthly, CNN's Political Play of the Week, Daily Standard, MSNBC, The New Republic, Philadelphia Enquirer, and the Washington Post. Thanks everyone.

Posted at 11:59 PM in Democrats, Netroots, Site News | Technorati

OH-SoS: Jennifer Brunner to Announce Tomorrow

Posted by Tim Tagaris

To no ones surprise, Jennifer Brunner is officially running for Ohio's Secretary of State.  The announcement will kick off a string of engagements over a six day span across Ohio.  You can check out her campaign website here.

This election is intersting for a number of reasons:

1.) We all remember 2004 and Ken Blackwell.

2.) The people of Ohio will have a number of amendments on the ballot this Novemeber. Issues 2-4, better known as "Reform Ohio Now" seeks to remove much of the Secretary of State's power by setting up a bi-parisan commission to oversee elections in the state. If the initiatives pass (and I hope it does, as do most Democrats in the state), the teeth will be largely pulled from the Secretary of State position in Ohio.

Potential Republican challengers include Hamilton County (Cincinnati area) Clerk of Courts Greg Hartmann and State Representative Jim Trakas.

Posted at 11:54 PM in Ohio | Comments (3) | Technorati

Netroots: Kos Changes

Posted by Bob Brigham

This made my day. Earlier I looked at the contrast been John Morrison and Jon Tester in Montana. You'll recall, each sent an email asking for money yesterday: Tester asked for Red Cross donations and Morrison asked for $2,100 campaign checks.

This afternoon, that theme was picked up to show the contrast between Us and Them. You see, Dean was also using the Democratic online infrastucture to help out the Katrina victims, while it was business as usual for Bush's GOP. So Kos ripped on Within an hour and a half it was changed...


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Go help out:, even Bush is starting to pay attention.

More here.

UPDATE: (Bob) Speaking of the difference between Us and Them, I decided I'd check out the DLC website.

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And alas, nothing from the Bull Moose either. The Democratic way is to help your neighbors. The Republican way is to help out when people notice you aren't doing anything. The third way, seems to be to do things the GOP way, only slower.

Posted at 07:46 PM in Netroots | Comments (1) | Technorati

NJ-Gov: Forrester's Self-Donations Looking Pretty Illegal

Posted by DavidNYC

Check out this statement from the Corzine campaign about Republican gubernatorial candidate Doug Forrester's campaign donation scandal. Looks like another nail in Forrester's coffin.

For those new to this story, insurance companies which do business in NJ (and their majority shareholders) aren't allowed to donate to political campaigns in NJ. Forrester happens to own 51% of an insurance company, and has given his own campaign scads of cash. Now, the state's insurance department has written a formal letter confirming that Forrester has a major problem - and Corzine has asked the state attorney general to investigate the matter.

Oops, to say the least.

(From the Corzine Connection blog, via Atrios.)

Posted at 06:16 PM in New Jersey | Technorati

MT-Sen: Tester Values Community; Morrison Values Cash

Posted by Bob Brigham

Wow, the contrast could not be clearer. Yesterday, the two Democrats running against Conrad Burns sent an email to their supporters -- asking for contributions.

Jon Tester's Email:

So why is a U.S. Senate candidate from Montana asking you to help out?

Because it’s the right thing to do. Because this campaign isn’t just about politics—it’s about all of us pulling together to bring Montana values to Washington, D.C. and to the rest of the nation.

And in Montana, we help a neighbor in need. And sometimes that neighbor is very far away.

So please do what you can by supporting the efforts of the American Red Cross to help those affected by this disaster:

John Morrison's Email:

I must gather the resources necessary to wage a tough, modern, winning campaign -- and, therefore, I am writing to ask for your generous help.

*Please take a moment right now to make a contribution today of $2,100, $1,000, $500, $250, $100, $50, $25 or whatever you can afford to give.* Mail your contribution to Morrison for Montana, Box 99, Helena MT 59624, or give using a major credit card by visiting on the Internet.

Both emails also had a post-script:


P.S. Please forward this on to your families and friends. Lives really are at stake, and your efforts can make a difference.


P.S. We have 32 days until the end of our second fundraising quarter. I would appreciate it if you could forward this message to your friends and neighbors. Forward this to your friends!

I think it is clear what each candidate values. Tester wants to help people for the same reasons he wants to take Montana values to Washington. Morrison wants those $2,100 checks.

Tester is focused on doing the right thing every day. He should be applauded.

Posted at 12:52 PM in Montana | Comments (24) | Technorati

VA-Sen: Candidate TBD

Posted by Bob Brigham

IMHO, Virginia's 2006 senate race is more important than this year's gubernatorial race. Next year is shaping up to be a great year for Democratic challengers, but we can only take advantage of the backlash if we have good Democrats running. That is why I was glad to see this mention from the AP:

RICHMOND, Va. - Gov. Mark R. Warner pledged Tuesday to find a strong Democrat to oppose Republican Sen. George Allen next year after removing the most formidable Democratic challenger — himself — from consideration.

Every district in 2006, especially Virginia.

Posted at 11:32 AM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Virginia | Comments (1) | Technorati

FL-Sen: Blowout

Posted by Tim Tagaris

This is one we thought we were going to have to worry about a lot more than it looks like we do today. No wonder the GOP is trying so hard to replace Katherine Harris. The rout is on:

"If the election for United States Senator were being held today, and the candidates were Bill Nelson the Democrat and Katherine Harris the Republican for whom would you vote? (MoE +/- 2.8%)

Bill Nelson: 57% (50)
Katherine Harris: 33% (38)
No Answer/Don't Know: 9%
Wouldn't Vote: 1%

"Is your opinion of Bill Nelson favorable, unfavorable, mixed, or haven't you heard enough about him?"

Favorable: 35%
Unfavorable: 8%
Mixed: 24%
Haven't Heard Enough: 31%

Many fun internal numbers in the poll as well. Among those that know Nelson well enough to form an opinion, he is thought of as an honest leader who actually works for Floridians.

Posted at 11:22 AM in Florida | Technorati

News From Lake New Orleans

Posted by Bob Brigham

Gotta love this update:

8:04 P.M. - Mayor Nagin: Unhappy that the helicopters slated to drop 3,000-pound bags into the levee never showed up to stop the flow of water.

Bush can't handle an unexpected event. After 9/11, he kept reading My Pet Goat and then hid on Air Force 1. After the Tsunami, he did almost nothing until the entire world community's outrage forced him to act. After the worst distaster ever, Bush took a break from his vacation to try and swindle seniors -- but not to help victims. Bush has the reflexes of a coward. Bush isn't just a chicken-hawk, yet another disaster proves he's chicken-shit -- instead of dealing with the problem Bush let's it get worse.

Posted at 12:36 AM in Republicans | Comments (3) | Technorati

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

MT-Sen: Tester's Email Fundraising

Posted by Tim Tagaris

I got another one today. An email from a candidate asking for money. It's common knowledge that the more a campaign uses its email list to ask for money, people will open less of their emails down the road, and their list will become burned.

But the email I received today was different, and frankly I have never seen it before. I sign up for all kinds of campaign emails, and I am not sure I can remember a time a candidate, in the middle of a campaign, asked people to give their money to something else. Something of a more immediate concern. Something more important than one campaign.

As I write this, waters continue to rise in New Orleans, where entire neighborhoods have been flooded. Biloxi, Mississippi has been hit hard. More than 37,000 Americans are already seeking shelter in American Red Cross centers all along the Gulf Coast. And the director of FEMA says tens of thousands more will likely require shelter for weeks, if not months.

So why is a U.S. Senate candidate from Montana asking you to help out?

Because it’s the right thing to do. Because this campaign isn’t just about politics—it’s about all of us pulling together to bring Montana values to Washington, D.C. and to the rest of the nation.

And in Montana, we help a neighbor in need. And sometimes that neighbor is very far away.

So please do what you can by supporting the efforts of the American Red Cross to help those affected by this disaster:

Thank you for helping out.

Jon Tester
Montanans for Tester

P.S. Please forward this on to your families and friends. Lives really are at stake, and your efforts can make a difference.

What really amazes me with this appeal is that for many, this is the first email they received from Jon Tester. Given his recently online publicity on the front page of Kos and MyDD, he made decision to make his first contact with many an attempt solicit contributions for a greater good than his campaign.

It makes me even more proud that my second ever contribution to a political campaign was John Testers, and it speaks volumes about the man.

UPDATE: (Bob) I was blown away when I opened the Tester email -- Tester is the real deal. I also got an email from Jon Corzine asking for help. As we come together online, our networks have value far beyond any election. Together, we can make a difference regardless of the challenge. The internet allows us all to act neighborly.

UPDATE: (Bob) I just received an email from a source close to the Chris Bell gubernatorial campaign in Texas. It appears that Bell's campaign was in the middle of an online fundraising drive to mark the launch of his campaign earlier this month. Bell suspended it earlier today and will be sending an email solicitation for the Red Cross tomorrow in place of the fundraising email that was scheduled. The website says:

I read the news today, oh boy. The Chris Bell for Governor campaign is calling off our online fundraising drive out of respect for the hurricane victims. Please do what you can for those who can't do for themselves. Please do as much as you can, and then please do more. We're taking down our fundraising thermometer and putting up the link to the Red Cross...

UPDATE: (Bob) And Howard Dean, full email after the jump...

This week millions of Americans fled Hurricane Katrina. Across the South families abandoned their homes and businesses, not knowing what would be there when they returned.

Many stayed behind and suffered devastating loss and injuries -- nearly a hundred have died that we know of, and hundreds of thousands need our help.

America is at its best when we realize that we are one community -- that we're all in this together. That means that each one of us has the responsibility to do what we can to help the relief effort.

The Red Cross is a great place to start:

They are already moving people and resources into the region to help. Donations will provide clean water, food, and shelter for disaster victims. The Red Cross web site also has important information for victims and their relatives across the country.

Many local Red Cross chapters are organizing volunteers to travel to affected areas -- doctors and nurses to provide medical care, workers to build shelters, first responders to assist in rescue operations.

You can find your local chapter here to learn what you can do:

We are still learning the full story of the devastation, but there is no time to wait. Please do something now.

Thank you.
Governor Howard Dean, M.D.

Posted at 07:00 PM in 2005 Elections, 2006 Elections - Senate, 2006 Elections - State, Activism, Montana, Netroots, New Jersey, Texas | Comments (2) | Technorati

New Poll: Majority Say DLC Sucks Ass

Posted by Bob Brigham

From ABC News:

Separately, in a result that could embolden Bush's critics, a majority of Americans — including more than three-quarters of Democrats and nearly six in 10 independents — say the Democrats in Congress have not gone far enough in opposing the war, or, for that matter, in opposing Bush's policies more generally.

More and more Americans are realizing that the DC Losers Club has fucked up the Democratic Party.

Posted at 06:30 PM in Democrats | Comments (9) | Technorati

MD-Sen: Lise Van Susteren Also Running

Posted by Bob Brigham

From the AP:

ANNAPOLIS, Md. - Lise Van Susteren, a psychiatrist and sister of Fox Television's Greta Van Susteren, plans to announce Thursday that she's seeking the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate.

Two well-known Democrats — former Rep. Kweisi Mfume and Rep. Benjamin Cardin — have already entered the race. On the Republican side, Lt. Gov. Michael Steele is considering running for the seat that will open up with the retirement of Democrat Paul S. Sarbanes.

A news release issued Monday said Van Susteren will open her campaign with events in Baltimore and Bethesda. She will discuss the need to improve public schools and the health care system, and will challenge the Bush administration on the conduct of the war in Iraq, the release said.

Democrats are coming out of the woodwork to run in 2006. The backlash is coming, everyone wants to be a Democratic nominee in 2006.

Posted at 06:17 PM in Maryland | Comments (3) | Technorati

Kentucky: Ernie Fletcher Takes 5th Amendment

Posted by Bob Brigham

Lexington Herald-Leader:

Gov. Ernie Fletcher kissed his wife, Glenna, before heading into a grand jury room this morning.

Fletcher stayed in the room for 2 minutes and 18 seconds, then proceeded with his attorneys to the office of Franklin Circuit Judge William Graham.

At a news conference later at the Capitol, Fletcher said he gave the grand jury his name, address and occupation but did not answer any other questions.

He said he did invoke his 5th Amendment right against self incrimination.

Name, rank, and serial number? Lots more at Bluegrass Report.

Posted at 06:10 PM in Culture of Corruption, Kentucky, Republicans, Scandals | Technorati

IN-02: Donnelly Running Again

Posted by Tim Tagaris

Every seat counts, and this is good news. Joe Donnelly has officially decided to take on Republican incumbent Chris "Count" Chocola in 2006. Last year, Donnelly received 45% of the vote to 55% for Chocola despite being outspent more than 2 to 1.

Some things have changed. And Donnelly is in the sequel because of belief that voter opinions this time will favor him on issues of Iraq, Social Security, trade and where president Bush is leading the country. Those also were issues in the last race.

"I am going to run," Donnelly says. "It's just a matter of formalizing it."

He already is traveling throughout the 100-mile-long district stretching from the Michigan line to Kokomo. He has endorsements from Democratic chairmen at the district and county levels and from key labor unions. And he is raising funds.

Fundraising was the big issue for Donnelly in 2004. He was unable to raise the kind of money necessary to keep pace with Chocola was eventually left to fend for himself by the national party. Donnelly is a pretty conservative Democrat and according the National Review's Almanac of American Politics, likens himself to Tim Roemer (a bit disturbing to me). In the wake of the 2004 race, some tried to convince County Prosecutor Michael Dvorak to give it a run, but it doesn't look like that is going to happen any longer. A Libertarian candidate has siphoned votes away from Chocola the last two cycles, including 4% in 2000.

Posted at 05:46 PM in Indiana | Technorati

Bush Flip-Flops on Vacationing During Disaster

Posted by Bob Brigham


President Bush will cut short his vacation to return to Washington on Wednesday, two days earlier than planned, to help monitor federal efforts to assist victims of Hurricane Katrina, the White House said Tuesday.

''We have got a lot of work to do,'' Bush said, referring to the damage wrought by the hurricane along Gulf Coast areas.

The president had been scheduled to return to the nation's capital on Friday, after spending more than four weeks operating from his ranch in Central Texas. But after receiving a briefing early Tuesday on the devastation Katrina unleashed, the president decided that he needed to be in Washington to personally oversee the federal effort, White House spokesman Scott McClellan said.

AmericaBlog asks:

Either you can manage hurricane relief sufficiently while on vacation, and in that case there's no need for you to return to DC tomorrow, or you can't, and in that case where the hell have you been the past 5 days?

So which one is it, Mr. President?

Where the hell has Bush been? Here are the pics.

Posted at 05:27 PM in Louisiana, Republicans, Scandals | Technorati

Hurricane Katrina Relief Effort Donations

Posted by DavidNYC

I just gave $50 to the United Jewish Communities' Hurricane Katrina relief efforts. If you can help, please do so. For a list of other charitable groups helping with relief efforts, check this DKos diary.

Posted at 04:07 PM in General | Technorati

CA-48: Steve Young Launches Campaign Website

Posted by Bob Brigham

From a press release:

Campaign website features groundbreaking video technology that allows candidate to speak directly to site visitor from page; Will play important role in voter outreach

Steve Young, candidate for Congress from California’s 48th district, launched his new campaign website this morning. The website,, outlines Young’s positions on the major issues affecting the 48th district as well as his detailed plan for reenergizing working families and small businesses.

Young’s website features Rovion’s proprietary BlueStream™, cutting-edge video technology that actually allows a lifelike video overlay of the candidate to automatically open and speak at the bottom of most pages. These videos can also be sent via webmail and will be used to contact voters throughout the campaign. Young’s campaign marks the most extensive use of this technology in a political campaign in the United States. Young’s campaign will explore new ways in which BlueStream™ can energize and motivate voters online.

“I am so excited about the new technology we are using on the site and I can’t wait to get feedback from the website’s visitors,” Young said.

I signed up at the Blogger's Corner. The calendar lists the Kickoff on Friday.

Posted at 03:31 PM in California, California, Democrats, General, Netroots, Open Seats, Special Elections | Technorati

MT-Sen: Young Voters and Jon Tester

Posted by Bob Brigham

From The Missoulian:

They came from eastern Montana and Washington and Arizona. Some wore their political inclinations on their sleeves, or on their chests, their shirts proclaiming everything from the derogatory - "Bush Sucks!" - to the hopeful: "Tester For Senate." There were preteen kids in backward baseball caps, graying men in business suits, and even a few avowed Republicans. [...]

"The fact that (Pearl Jam bassist and Missoula resident) Jeff Ament is supporting (Tester) says a lot," asserted Green. "To see Jeff putting himself out there for this guy means something."

That sentiment - that Jon Tester must be cool, because Jeff Ament is cool - seemed to rule the night at the concert, which drew a near-capacity crowd to the arena on the University of Montana campus.

"I read about (Tester) in the paper," said Jenaveve Bell, a 22-year old University of Montana student. "He sounded like a good guy, and he's friends with Jeff Ament, so I'd like to know more about him."

Young people getting interested in a senate race more than a year out?

"Whether we raise a nickel, if we can get the young people of Montana fired up about this campaign, we've succeeded," said Tester, standing outside the arena greeting concertgoers before the event.

Tester is winning every day. Especially online.

Posted at 01:29 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Montana | Technorati

AmericaBlog: Mr. President, Come Home

Posted by Bob Brigham

A letter to President George Bush from John Aravosis:

Mr. President,

Hurricane Katrina is now being called one of the worst, if not the worst, disaster in US history. Instead of focusing on this growing tragedy in the southeast, you are at this moment giving a speech in California about World War II and Iraq. Yes, you devoted one minute of that speech to the hurricane, but now it's been 20 minutes and you are still talking about WWII and Iraq.

Mr. President, the entire nation is focused on one issue today, and it is not WWII. We are fixated by the images we're seeing on TV. The images of uncontrollable fires blazing across New Orleans. The images of people stranded on their rooftops waving white t-shirts for help. And as I write this, the water levels are still rising in New Orleans and the situation is getting desperate.

In the face of this tragedy, rather than call off your vacation and head back home to coordinate the relief, but even more importantly, to show the American people that you care and are in charge, you did not fly east to Washington. You flow west to Arizona and to California. While New Orleans and the south was in the process of being destroyed yesterday, you flew west and devoted the day to Medicare. While the death toll for the hurricane increases by the hour, and even FOX News has just now cut away from your live WWII speech in order to return their coverage to New Orleans, you continue to babble on about WWII and Iraq.

Mr. President, you should consider yourself lucky. By ignoring this hurricane and remaining on vacation all weekend, and by continuing to ignore this hurricane and travel out west doing stump speeches instead of focusing on the growing tragedy, you handed the Democrats in Congress a golden opportunity to paint you as out of touch, uncaring, and embattled. The Democrats chose to ignore this opportunity and have remained silent about your complacency in the face of disaster. That is unfortunately what Democrats do, they miss opportunities and sit back quietly while Republicans stumble over themselves with their incompetence.

But we're not your typical Democrats, and we see that you're hiding from the hurricane, and we can't understand why. Canceling your vacation this weekend, canceling your trips to Arizona and California the past two days, were not only the right thing to do, they were the politically smart thing to do. Your approval ratings are at 40% and falling. Mourning mom Cindy Sheehan's ongoing protest at your ranch has made you look a fool. You need whatever you can to get the media and public attention off of the disaster in Iraq. The hurricane was that opportunity. So what did you do when faced with this impending doom? You called off your vacation and went to California to talk about Iraq.

Mr. President, go to Washington and show the country you're in charge. Go to New Orleans and show the country that you care. While you ramble on in California about Iraq, FOX News anchor Shepard Smith is flying over New Orleans in a helicopter to survey the damage and report to the nation. Have things gotten that bad in our nation that a reporter for a biased news outlet is acting more presidential than the president himself?

Mr. President, you should have canceled your vacation and your political stump speeches days ago. Cancel your galavanting now and come home to Washington today.




Posted at 01:05 PM in Netroots | Technorati

Bush Fails Katrina Victims - Worst President Ever

Posted by Bob Brigham

Today's headlines:

CBS: Flood Waters Rise; Toll Mounts
cnn: 'Significant' death toll in New Orleans
Washington Post: Katrina Leaves Massive Devastation

So where is Bush? Creating his own headlines:

RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif., Aug 29 (Reuters) - President George W. Bush was greeted by Iraq war supporters and protesters on Monday as he interrupted his Texas vacation to promote a new Medicare prescription drug program.

Hundreds of demonstrators for and against the Iraq war staged protests near Rancho Cucamonga, California, where Bush wove comments on Iraq into a Medicare speech to a group of senior citizens.

Bush said progress was being made in Iraq despite the ongoing attacks on U.S. and Iraqi security forces and Sunni opposition to the draft constitution.

Tomorrow's news:

RANCHO CUCAMONGA, California Five years after delivering a major campaign address here about the need to revamp Social Security, President George W. Bush returned Monday with a similar message, urging an overhaul of the retirement system as he celebrated changes to Medicare that will take effect at the beginning of next year.

In a speech at the James L. Brulte Senior Center here, Bush began laying the groundwork for a return to domestic issues when Congress reconvenes next week.

"I haven't changed my mind since I came here to talk about Social Security," Bush said. In a nod to the political hurdles that have stalled his proposed changes to Social Security and to predictions that he may have to jettison his plans for individual retirement accounts altogether, Bush added, "I'm going to keep working this issue."

Louisiana is in awful shape and their National Guard is in Iraq.

Bush interrupted his vacation to try and swindle seniors out of their economic security, that tells you a lot about his values. Instead of helping every last victim, Bush places a higher value on looting the Social Security Trust Fund. Disgusting.

Posted at 12:10 PM in Scandals | Comments (4) | Technorati

Kentucky: Ernie Fletcher Pardons

Posted by Bob Brigham


Gov. Ernie Fletcher said it would be "inappropriate" right now to consider executive pardons for members of his administration who have been criminally charged in the attorney general's personnel investigation.


On the eve of an appearance before a grand jury investigating his administration's hiring practices, Gov. Ernie Fletcher granted a blanket pardon on Monday night to current and former aides charged in the inquiry.

Mr. Fletcher also said that although he would appear before the grand jury, he would not testify.

It was "inappropriate" five weeks ago and it stinks on the eve of Governor Fletcher's Grand Jury questioning. Kentucky Governor Ernie Fletcher should resign in shame. If he does not, he should be impeached and thrown out of office.

Posted at 12:35 AM in Culture of Corruption, Kentucky, Scandals | Comments (1) | Technorati

Monday, August 29, 2005

Kentucky: Impeach Governor Ernie Fletcher

Posted by Bob Brigham

I was shocked to hear this was happening, but Governor Ernie Fletcher has abused his position by seeking to cover-up a corruption scandal before he testifies tomorrow. It is unknown whether Governor Fletcher will take the 5th, but it is certain that he has created a gigantic political scandal. Bluegrass Report has been the source on this and Bluegrass Report has a legal source who understands Section 77 of the Kentucky Constitution:

Section 77 relates to retrospective acts only -- the Governor is empowered to nullfy punishment. This was the ruling (dicta) of the Kentucky Supreme Court in Anderson v. Commonwealth, 107 S.W.3d 193 (Ky. 2003) -- opinion by Johnstone -- all concur! In the opinion (p. 196) the Court looked to the US Supreme Court's decision in Schick v. Reed, 419 U.S. 256 (1974) for guidance from the English common law in construing a President's power to pardon under Article II. The Schick Court observed that the Constitution gives "plenary authority to the President to "forgive" the convicted person in part or entirely." Id. at 266. The Governor just has no authority to pardon indicted persons because there is no fine to remit, no sentence to commute and no punishment imposed from which to grant a pardon or reprieve. There sure as hell is no authority to pardon persons who "might" be indicted!

No wonder serious legislators are talking about impeachment. And now, the suspects -- who were potentially illegally pardoned -- will be compelled to testify and can no longer take the fifth.

Posted at 09:23 PM in Activism, Culture of Corruption, Kentucky, Republicans, Scandals | Comments (2) | Technorati

Handheld News

Posted by Bob Brigham

So there I am, walking home. The only question on my mind was why there were three helicopters circling over my neighborhood. So I pulled out my handheld and checked the local news:

(CBS 5) San Francisco police said they were in a standoff with robbery suspects in the Centerfold's strip club Monday.

Officers had the area surrounded, and a nearby school -- John Yehall Chin Elementary -- was in lockdown. Broadway was shut down between Sansome and Kearny, and police were advising everyone in the area near Broadway and Montgomery to stay indoors and stay away from windows.

Investigators said the incident started with a report of a robbery around noon at Centerfolds. The standoff was still ongoing at 3pm, with police estimating between two and four armed men inside.

The problem is, they weren't inside:

San Francisco police, including a bomb squad and a SWAT team, converged on a Broadway strip club today on reports that four armed men had tried to rob the establishment.

Officers surrounded the Centerfolds club for four hours and made several unsuccessful attempts to contact anyone inside. When they finally went through the club just before 3:30 p.m. they found no one, police said.

And so, we have a giant manhunt in my neighborhood. I'm going to go shoot some video...

UPDATE: (Bob) And just like that, it is over. The mobile police command RV has rolled on along, same with the all of the cop cars. The helicopters are gone. And so are the 4 armed men -- gone. At the corner store, the guy thinks they may have made it out via the sewer system. My gut tells me this story is going to take a turn for the wacky in the next couple of news cycles.

Posted at 08:15 PM in General | Comments (1) | Technorati

Culture of Corruption -- Kentucky Style

Posted by Bob Brigham

From Bluegrass Report (source to follow on this):

Governor Ernie Fletcher has called a news conference for a major announcement regarding the merit hiring investigation. The conference is scheduled for 6 p.m. (EDT) tonight.

Reports from the media are inconsistent, but there is a consensus emerging that Fletcher is issuing pardons -- some say nine of them. Mark Hebert (WHAS-11 Louisville) and Bill Bryant (WKYT-27 Lexington) are both reporting online. Sources inside the investigation have told that they expect Fletcher will pardon himself as well.

Stay tuned as will be reporting on this development all evening if pardons are issued.

I hope some lawyers in bluegrass country are looking into impeachment, looking into recall. This is an obscene abuse of power. And the timing is disgusting, not just for trying to get it buried in the Katrina coverage, but because of what happens tomorrow:

Gov. Ernie Fletcher will appear Tuesday before a special grand jury investigating personnel actions in his administration.

At a court hearing today, Fletcher’s attorney, James Neal of Nashville, told Franklin Circuit Judge William L. Graham that he and Assistant Attorney General Scott Crawford-Sutherland had agreed that Fletcher would appear Tuesday. The deal also calls for the prosecutor to issue a new subpoena for records from the governor’s office, giving Fletcher and his attorney more time to respond.

Neal had filed a motion earlier in the day asking the judge to delay Fletcher’s grand jury appearance for a few days. Neal said he requested the delay because he had a medical appointment.

The judge accepted the agreement between Neal and Sutherland. Neal declined afterwards to say if Fletcher would answer the jury’s questions Tuesday or invoke his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.

stay tuned...

Posted at 06:38 PM in Culture of Corruption, Kentucky, Republicans, Scandals | Comments (1) | Technorati

Giving it 110% or 110 MPH

Posted by Bob Brigham


WAXAHACHIE, Texas (AP) _ A driver for the Rev. Al Sharpton led Ellis County Sheriff's deputies on a nine-mile chase at speeds up to 110 mph before state troopers stopped the car, authorities said.

The driver was rushing Sharpton to the airport after Sharpton had met with anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan on Sunday at her camp outside President Bush's ranch in Crawford. The car carrying Sharpton and two other passengers was clocked doing 110 mph in a 65 mph zone on Interstate 35 in Ellis County in North Texas, said Lt. Danny Williams. [...]

Deputies arrested Jarrett Barton Maupin, 43, of Phoenix. Maupin told the officers he was hurrying to get Sharpton to the airport, Williams said. Deputies impounded the rented 2005 Lincoln.

Depending upon the wheels, the speed limiter could have actually kicked in.

Posted at 05:18 PM in 2008 President - Democrats | Technorati

CA-Gov: Bill Clinton to Run in California?

Posted by Bob Brigham

From the San Francisco Examiner's PJ Corkery:

Forget Robin Williams, forget Rob Reiner … the superstar that big money Los Angeles Democrats want to run for governor of California is … Bill Clinton. Yep. Some of the Southland's deepest Democratic pockets are busily trying to persuade — some would say "hire" — Clinton to move to the Golden State and take on Schwarzenegger. They figure that Bubba can beat the faltering Terminator here in 2006 in a New York minute.

I would still vote for Phil Angelides in the primary.

Posted at 03:07 PM in California | Comments (2) | Technorati

MT-Sen: It's Tester Time

Posted by Bob Brigham

John Tester has a new blog: Tester Time!

UPDATE: (Bob) Big day for Tester online. Markos and Jerome Armstrong are in Montana and Tester just had his first dailykos post. Pearl Jam is tonight. Momentum! You can join Swing State Project in supporting Jon Tester.

Posted at 12:29 PM in Montana | Comments (3) | Technorati

CA-48: Special Election Turns Negative

Posted by Bob Brigham

CA-48 has Club For Growth's new negative ad:




These wounds won't heal by the runoff election. A fractured GOP, a third party nut, and Democratic West Coast Offense could all come together to give Democrats a shot in Orange County.

Posted at 12:12 PM in 2005 Elections, California, Open Seats, Republicans, Special Elections | Technorati

National Guard Belongs in the Nation

Posted by Bob Brigham

Maybe Katrina will kickstart the debate on how Bush is destroying the National Guard. Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer has been trying to get the conversation started for some time. From Roll Call:

It’s forest fire season in the Mountain West.

But if disaster were to strike in drought-stricken Montana, many of the people who would be expected to fight the fires are half a world away.

Fully half of Montana’s National Guard — and most of its helicopters — are deployed in Iraq. And Gov. Brian Schweitzer (D) is fired up about it.

Schweitzer wants to start a dialogue about the way the military has changed its ratio of active-duty to Reserve and Guard forces — a policy in place long before the war in Iraq but one whose full impact is only now being felt.

“One of the things they didn’t consider in this policy,” said Schweitzer, “is that there are governors who are commanders-in-chief of the Guard and they have important missions for them at home.”

We should never have to see quotes like this:

JACKSON BARRACKS -- When members of the Louisiana National Guard left for Iraq in October, they took a lot equipment with them. Dozens of high water vehicles, humvees, refuelers and generators are now abroad, and in the event of a major natural disaster that, could be a problem.

"The National Guard needs that equipment back home to support the homeland security mission," said Lt. Colonel Pete Schneider with the LA National Guard.

I wrote about this yesterday because we need to have the debate about why the Louisiana National Guard is in Iraq instead of defending their state. Why?

Posted at 11:16 AM in International, Republicans, Scandals | Comments (1) | Technorati

Chicago: Mayor Daley Talks to the Feds

Posted by Bob Brigham

Chicago Mayor Richard Daley is in serious trouble and the netroots won't be there to help. Jesse Jackson, Jr. is on track to be Chicago's next mayor, but Daley has bigger problems to worry about.

Daley was interviewed by federal investigators fighting corruption. From the Chicago Tribune:

Federal corruption probe reaches Daley
For the first time in their probe of alleged corruption in Chicago city government, federal investigators today questioned Mayor Richard Daley.

Mayor Daley brought a lawyer...

"What I can say is I answered their questions fully and openly," Daley said. "I cannot comment on the substance of their questions."

Representatives of the U.S. attorney's office in Chicago spoke with the mayor for two hours, city officials said. [...]

Two city officials were charged last month with rigging the city's hiring system to flout a court order, the Shakman Decree, that bars City Hall from considering politics when filling most city jobs. The jobs in question allegedly went to political favorites of the Daley administration.

Daley said federal investigators requested the meeting some weeks ago, and his staff worked out a time. He did not know if the investigators would seek additional meetings.

"It was about a number of issues and an ongoing investigation," Daley said. "I fully cooperated with the U.S. attorney's office."

The Political Wire has a source in Chicago. I thought the wording was interesting:

"Daley's been talking to the feds... The whole City Hall/County Building has been abuzz since this morning."

Stick a fork in him.

Posted at 09:45 AM in Culture of Corruption | Technorati

OH-Gov: New Poll on Governor Bob Taft

Posted by Bob Brigham

A new poll on embattled Ohio Governor Bob Taft suggests he is a few pitchforks and torches shy of getting run out of town. From the Cleveland Plain Dealer:

Forty-six percent of Ohio voters surveyed say the governor should quit, while 44 percent say he should not. Ten percent of voters say they are undecided.

Taft was convicted on Aug. 18 of four misdemeanor crimes for failing to report $3,500 worth of gifts and golf outings from business and political leaders. [...]

"I feel he should resign," said survey participant and Republican Jan Moorehead of Cable, a rural town in the largely Republican Champaign County. "It wasn't so much the oversight that he has not reported stuff, but quite honestly, I think he is spending too much time with lobbyists. I think 52 golf outings with lobbyists and others -- that's a lot of golf."

You know you're in trouble when even Republicans think you're spending too much time playing golf. The midterm election will be a great time be running as a Reform Democrat in Ohio.

Posted at 09:21 AM in 2006 Elections, Culture of Corruption, Ohio, Polls | Technorati

A Hatred That Knows No Limits

Posted by Tim Tagaris

No, it's not election news and has nothing to do with the hurricane, but I came across this story a few minutes ago and it made me wretch with anger.

Members of a church say God is punishing American soldiers for defending a country that harbors gays, and they brought their anti-gay message to the funerals Saturday of two Tennessee soldiers killed in Iraq. [...]

The Rev. Fred Phelps, founder of Westboro Baptist in Kansas, contends that American soldiers are being killed in Iraq as vengeance from God for protecting a country that harbors gays. The church, which is not affiliated with a larger denomination, is made up mostly of Phelps' children, grandchildren and in-laws.

The church members carried signs and shouted things such as "God hates fags" and "God hates you."

It's only a matter of time before the "party atmosphere" or a "Godless environment" in the French Quarter and on Bourbon Street is blamed for whatever destruction is caused by Hurricane Katrina. Just like when Republican spokesman Jerry Falwell blamed 9/11 on feminists, gays, and People for the American Way--it will happen here too.

Posted at 08:14 AM in Tennessee | Comments (3) | Technorati

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Be Safe, Neighbors Come Together

Posted by Bob Brigham

Visit the Red Cross or call 1-800-HELP-NOW.

Now, more than ever, it is time to act neighborly.

Posted at 11:26 PM in | Technorati

Katrina Proves Bush is a Failure

Posted by Bob Brigham

Three reasons why George Bush has failed the entire gulf coast -- especially New Orleans -- and should be held accountable for the result of Katrina:

3. The Louisiana National Guard is in Iraq

2. The energy of the storm is compounded by the higher sea tempurature that is forced upon a hurricane by Global Warming

1. Bush received warnings that this was one of the "three likeliest, most castastrophic disasters" and did nothing but stay on vacation and cut funding

Posted at 09:09 PM in Culture of Corruption, International, Republicans, Scandals | Comments (5) | Technorati

Katrina Proves Bush Failed New Orleans

Posted by Bob Brigham

UPDATE (Bob) Here is the full recap

So far today, I've looked at Global Warming and Katrina and the crisis resulting from Lousiana's National Guard being in Iraq instead of defending their state.

Will Bush stay on vacation? At this point, it doesn't really matter. Because Bush has been asleep at the wheel for four years. From the Houston Chronicle in 2001:

New Orleans is sinking.

And its main buffer from a hurricane, the protective Mississippi River delta, is quickly eroding away, leaving the historic city perilously close to disaster.

So vulnerable, in fact, that earlier this year the Federal Emergency Management Agency ranked the potential damage to New Orleans as among the three likeliest, most castastrophic disasters facing this country.

The other two? A massive earthquake in San Francisco, and, almost prophetically, a terrorist attack on New York City.

The New Orleans hurricane scenario may be the deadliest of all.

FEMA said this was the "three likeliest, most castastrophic disasters". Bush's response? Cut preparedness:

(UPDATE -- Tim:) I wanted to take a moment to spell it out for the visiting freepi fawning over the head start the Superdome is giving you supporters of minority internment. Of course we don't believe Bush caused the hurricane, although I think many of us wish he would have asked Pat Robertson to pray for a re-direction.

And most of you failed to read the article Bob linked, no surprise there. But inbetween vacations, the preznit got massive tax-cuts passed at the expense of important projects. Among them, preparedness for natural disasters--some of which happen to be in New Orleans.

In general, funding for construction has been on a downward trend for the past several years, said Marcia Demma, chief of the New Orleans Corps' programs management branch.

In 2001, the New Orleans district spent $147 million on construction projects. When fiscal year 2005 wraps up Sept. 30, the Corps expects to have spent $82 million, a 44.2 percent reduction from 2001 expenditures. [...]

Unfunded projects include widening drainage canals, flood- proofing bridges and building pumping stations in Orleans and Jefferson parishes. The Corps also wants to build levees in unprotected areas on the West Bank.

Irresponsible distribution of resources has, yet again, put American lives in peril. If the freepi were able to see past 9/11 and recognize the difference between real life, health, and safety risks (ie. environment & port protection among others) and not get distracted by contrived security risks (ie. Iraq), things might not look so grim tonight.

In fiscal year 2006, the New Orleans district of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is bracing for a record $71.2 million reduction in federal funding.

It would be the largest single-year funding loss ever for the New Orleans district, Corps officials said.

I've been here over 30 years and I've never seen this level of reduction, said Al Naomi, project manager for the New Orleans district. I think part of the problem is it's not so much the reduction, it's the drastic reduction in one fiscal year. It's the immediacy of the reduction that I think is the hardest thing to adapt to.

There is an economic ripple effect, too. The cuts mean major hurricane and flood protection projects will not be awarded to local engineering firms. Also, a study to determine ways to protect the region from a Category 5 hurricane has been shelved for now.

Remember, this was a top-three "likeliest catastrophic disasters" and Bush shelved the study of how to protect against Category 5 hurricanes like Katrina? For most of Bush's time as President, FEMA has been saying this could be the deadliest scenario facing America. And Bush cut the preparedness funding, sent our strategic reserve National Guard troops to fight an unnecessary war and then went on vacation. Not only is Bush the worst President ever, but he is also a total asshole for fucking over New Orleans.

Hat tip to Ms Librarian and commentors.

UPDATE: (Bob) Here is some more...


Katrina could be the worst natural disaster in the history of the United States. But it was not a surprise. Experts have been warning for years of the potential catastrophic devastation that a category 4 or 5 hurricane could have on the Gulf Coast. And in Louisiana, local officials have fought for federal funding to implement hurricane defense plans that could have avoided the widespread flooding of New Orleans. But under the Bush Administration, funding for those projects has been continuously slashed, leaving the Gulf Coast unprepared for such a disaster.


Federal Government Has Neglected Disaster Preparedness, Left Enormous Vulnerabilities. Disaster and emergency experts have warned for years that governments, especially the federal government, have put so much stress on disaster response that they have neglected policies to minimize a disaster's impact in advance. Robert Hartwig, chief economist for the Insurance Information Institute, said “It's going to be very evident that there were an enormous number of vulnerabilities that weren't addressed. There's going to be a lot of finger-pointing.” [Newhouse News Service, 8/31/05]

Disaster Mitigation Programs Slashed Since 2001. Since 2001, key federal disaster mitigation programs, developed over many years, have been slashed and tossed aside. FEMA’s Project Impact, a model mitigation program created by the Clinton administration, has been canceled outright. Federal funding of post-disaster mitigation efforts designed to protect people and property from the next disaster has been cut in half, and now communities across the country must compete for pre-disaster mitigation dollars. [Baltimore City Paper, 9/29/04]

In 2003 White House Slashed Mitigation Programs In Half. In 2003, Congress approved a White House proposal to cut FEMA's Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) in half. Previously, the federal government was committed to invest 15 percent of the recovery costs of a given disaster in mitigating future problems. Under the Bush formula, the feds now cough up only 7.5 percent. Such post-disaster mitigation efforts, specialists say, are a crucial way of minimizing future losses. [Gambit Weekly, 9/28/04]

Bush Continuing To Propose Cuts To Army Corps of Engineers. The Army Corps of Engineers will be cut in 2006. Bush’s 2005 budget proposal called for a 13 percent reduction in the Army Corps of Engineers’ budget, down to $4 billion from $4.6 billion in fiscal 2004. [Associated Press, 2/6/05; Congressional Quarterly Online, 2/3/04]

Under Bush, FEMA Reverted To Pre-Clinton Status As One Of The Worst Agencies. Former President Clinton appointed James L. Witt to take over FEMA after its poor response to Hurricane Andrew. Witt adopted recommendations and FEMA was described as an agency reborn: “transformed itself from what many considered to be the worst federal agency to among the best.” But FEMA under the Bush administration has destroyed carefully constructed efforts. After the 9/11 attacks the agency’s inspector general in 2003 criticized portions of FEMA’s response, citing “difficulties in delivering timely and effective” mortgage and rental assistance to those in need. [USA Today, 6/1/2005]


States Expected To Shoulder More Of The Burden In Emergency Management With Fewer Funds. “The federal focus on terrorism preparedness has left states with an increased responsibility to provide support for natural disasters and emergencies,” noted a report released by the National Emergency Management Association (NEMA) this summer. “State budget shortfalls have given emergency management programs less to work with, at a time when more is expected of them. In fiscal year 2004, the average budget for a state emergency management agency was $40.8 million, a 23 percent reduction from fiscal year 2003.” [Gambit Weekly, 9/28/04]

Bush Tried to Cut Federal Percentage of Large-Scale Natural Disaster Preparedness. The administration made a failed attempt to cut the federal percentage of large-scale natural disaster preparedness expenditures. Since the 1990s, the federal government has paid 75 percent of such costs, with states and municipalities funding the other 25 percent. The White House's attempt to reduce the federal contribution to 50 percent was defeated in Congress. [Gambit Weekly, 9/28/04]


Bush Opposed Necessary Funding For Hurricane Preparedness In Louisiana. The Louisiana congressional delegation urged Congress earlier this year to dedicate a stream of federal money to Louisiana's coast, only to be opposed by the White House. Ultimately a deal was struck to steer $540 million to the state over four years. The total coast of coastal repair work is estimated to be $14 billion. In its budget, the Bush administration also had proposed a significant reduction in funding for southeast Louisiana's chief hurricane protection project. Bush proposed $10.4 million, a sixth of what local officials say they need. [Newhouse News Service, 8/31/05]

Republican Budget Cut New Orleans’ Army Corps Of Engineers Funding By A Record $71.2 Million. In fiscal year 2006, the New Orleans district of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is bracing for a record $71.2 million reduction in federal funding. It would be the largest single-year funding loss ever for the New Orleans district, Corps officials said. “I've been here over 30 years and I've never seen this level of reduction,” said Al Naomi, project manager for the New Orleans district. The cuts mean major hurricane and flood protection projects will not be awarded to local engineering firms. Money is so tight the New Orleans district instituted a hiring freeze. The freeze is the first of its kind in about 10 years, said Marcia Demma, chief of the Corps' Programs Management Branch. [New Orleans City Business, 6/6/05]

Landrieu Called Bush’s Funding Priorities Shortsided. Landrieu said the Bush Administration is not making Corps of Engineers funding a priority. “I think it's extremely shortsighted,” Landrieu said. “When the Corps of Engineers' budget is cut, Louisiana bleeds. These projects are literally life-and-death projects to the people of south Louisiana and they are (of) vital economic interest to the entire nation.” [New Orleans City Business, 6/6/05]

Emergency Preparedness Director Furious With Project Cuts. A study to determine ways to protect the region from a Category 5 hurricane has been shelved for now. Terry Tullier, the New Orleans emergency preparedness director, said he was furious but not surprised to hear that study had been cut from the Bush budget. “I’m all for the war effort, but every time I think about the $87 billion being spent on rebuilding Iraq, I ask: What about us?” he said. “Somehow we need to make a stronger case that this is not Des Moines, Iowa, that we are so critical that if it hits the fan in New Orleans, everything this side of the Rockies will feel the economic shock waves.” [Times-Picayune, 9/22/04; New Orleans City Business, 6/6/05]

Flood Protection Projects Put On Hold Because Of Republican’s 2006 Budget. One of the hardest-hit areas of the New Orleans district's budget is the Southeast Louisiana Urban Flood Control Project. SELA's budget is being drained from $36.5 million awarded in 2005 to $10.4 million suggested for 2006 by the House of Representatives and the president. The Army Corps of Engineers in New Orleans has identified $35 million in projects to build and improve levees, floodwalls and pumping stations in St. Bernard, Orleans, Jefferson and St. Charles parishes. Those projects in a line item where funding is scheduled to be cut from $5.7 million this year to $2.9 million in 2006. “We don't have the money to put the work in the field, and that's the problem,” Naomi said. [New Orleans City Business, 6/6/05]

Senator Landrieu Urged Action After SELA Budget Slashed. Louisiana’s congressional delegation assured local officials they would seek significant increases for SELA. “We could have lost 100,000 lives had Hurricane Ivan hit the mouth of the (Mississippi) River before it turned,” said Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., alluding to last year’s storm that largely spared Louisiana but devastated parts of Alabama and Florida. “God has been good, but one of these days a hurricane is going to come and, if we don’t get projects . . . finished, we’re sitting ducks,” she said. [Times-Picayune, 3/11/05]



Louisiana National Guard Said Before Katrina That It Needed Equipment Back From Iraq If It Is To Respond To A Natural Disaster. “The National Guard needs that equipment back home to support the homeland security mission,” said Lt. Colonel Pete Schneider with the LA National Guard. “You've got combatant commanders over there who need it they say they need it, they don't want to lose what they h ave, and we certainly understand that it's a matter of us educating that combatant commander, we need it back here as well,” Col. Schneider said. [ABC 26 WGNO, 8/1/05]


Iraq Has Left National Guard Units At Home Short Of Equipment. Already suffering from manpower shortages, the National Guard’s overstretched forces are being confronted with another problem: not enough equipment to supply Guard troops at home. “To fully equip troops in Iraq, the Pentagon has stripped local Guard units of about 24,000 pieces of equipment. That has left Guard units at home, already seriously short of gear.” [Detroit Free Press, 6/13/05]

Gen. McCaffrey Said We Could Permanently Damage The Guard And Reserve. Gen. McCaffrey warned against overstretching Guard and Reserve. “[W]e're going to damage fatally the National Guard if we try and continue using Reserve components at this rate. Forty percent of that force in Iraq right now is Reserve component. We have shot the bull. We've got to back off and build an Army and Marine Corps capable of sustaining these operations.” [Meet the Press, 8/28/05]

Governors Say Long Deployments Leaving Their States Vulnerable. “[S]tate officials think continued deployments will have an effect on people who sign up for or remain in the Minnesota National Guard. At a National Governor's Association meeting…some governors criticized the burden of repeated deployment, saying that the troops' absence leaves their states unprotected against things like natural disasters. Officials in Idaho and Montana have said they are unprepared if forest fires hit their states this summer.” [AP, 8/10/05]


Coast Guard Gave Congress List of $919 Million in Unfunded Priorities. The Coast Guard has given Congress a $919 million wish list of programs and hardware not funded in the Bush Administration's fiscal 2006 budget request. For the first time, the Coast Guard has sent Congressional representatives an unfunded priorities list - a tally of needed items not included in the fiscal 2006 request. The list includes an additional $637 million for the service's Deepwater recapitalization program; $11.6 million for helicopter repairs; $4 million to increase aviation maritime patrol hours, and $59 million to renovate shore stations. [Journal of Commerce Online, 5/11/05]

Coast Guard Faced With Helicopter Problems. The head of the US Coast Guard told Congress his equipment is failing at unacceptable rates. Despite increases in spending on maintenance, the agency's older large craft -- called cutters -- experience equipment failures capable of ruining a mission almost 50 percent of the time, according to Coast Guard officials. Further, the agency's HH-65 helicopters suffered a rate of 329 mishaps per 100,000 flight hours in 2004, way over the Federal Aviation Administration's acceptable standard of 1 mishap per 100,000 hours. [UPI, 6/10/05; USA Today, 7/6/05]

Commandant Says Coast Guard Short On Resources. Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Thomas H. Collins said, “Do we have more business than we have resources? Yes.” The Coast Guard has put the cost of implementing safety regulations laid out by Congress at $7.3 billion over the next ten years. The Bush administration only asked for $46 million for aid to the ports in the 2005 budget. [Budget of the United States,; House Approps Cmte Transcript, 3/31/04; Washington Post, 4/2/03; Boston Globe, 6/30/04]

Posted at 06:27 PM in 2006 Elections, Culture of Corruption, Economy, General, Louisiana, Republicans, Scandals | Comments (57) | Technorati

PA-18: Hafer's Out

Posted by Tim Tagaris

Backing out of races is bit of an emerging pattern with Barbara Hafer, but the latest news is that she will soon decline to run for Congress in Pennsylvania 18th Congressional District. Earlier this year, former Republican turned Democrat Barbara Hafer started a bid for U.S. Senate in the Democratic Primary. For several days before the Bob Casey announcement, Hafer played hard ball with the Casey campaign, releasing polling that showed her with a good chance to beat Santorum and declaring she was in the race to stay. Hours after Casey announced, she dropped out.

Speculation started in the weeks following that she might make a congressional bid. Then she started up a committee that allowed her to take contributions and most thought she was officially in.

The Pittsburgh Tribune reported last week that Hafer was wishy-washy on the race.

Could Barbara Hafer be having second thoughts about a congressional bid? The former state treasurer and one-time Allegheny County commissioner last month all but declared she would challenge Republican U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy of Upper St. Clair. Hafer even has formed a congressional campaign finance committee, which allows her to accept contributions for the race next year.

But political insiders suggested last week that Hafer, a former Republican turned Democrat, might be reconsidering a challenge to Murphy because of family reasons.

PoliticsPA declared it all but official this afternoon.
Republican-turned-Democrat former Treasurer Barbara Hafer has decided against running for Congress in the 18th District. She will likely soon issue a statement about her decision, claiming that the health of her husband and her business weighed heavily against this run, or another run for Lt. Governor or any other office.
I hope her husband makes a speedy recovery from whatever ails him, but I personally say good riddance. Sure, she is pro-choice--for many Democrats that was the sole reason they wanted her to run against Bob Casey. But Barbara Hafer is a bit of an opportunist. She was a Democrat, then turned Republican (making a career as a GOP hatchet-woman), and after she failed to get Republican establishment backing in a potential 2002 gubernatorial bid against Ed Rendell, she switched her political party out of spite. She was barely a Democrat for a few weeks before speculation began that she did so to take on Rick Santorum--and she wanted to, only to be pushed out at the 11th hour.

Posted at 05:01 PM in Pennsylvania | Comments (2) | Technorati

Katrina and the Louisana National Guard

Posted by Bob Brigham

Lot of great links in the discussion over Patricia Taylor's Daily Kos diary. Such as ABC News:

JACKSON BARRACKS -- When members of the Louisiana National Guard left for Iraq in October, they took a lot equipment with them. Dozens of high water vehicles, humvees, refuelers and generators are now abroad, and in the event of a major natural disaster that, could be a problem.

"The National Guard needs that equipment back home to support the homeland security mission," said Lt. Colonel Pete Schneider with the LA National Guard.

And the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

In no state have those deaths registered more than in Louisiana. Louisiana, along with New York, has lost more guardsmen and reservists - 23 as of July 24 - than any state in the nation, and all but one of those deaths have come in the last eight months.

Patricia Taylor says:

Unfortunately, the citizens of the state of Louisiana are about to face the full force of Katrina without the benefit of their National Guard troops to protect them.

This is a direct consequence of President Bush's bad decision to invade Iraq.

This week we're going to see the results of Bush's choice to gamble without having our strategic reserve National Guard troops in their states where they belong.

UPDATE: (Bob) More...National Guard Belongs in the Nation.

Posted at 04:18 PM in Louisiana | Technorati

Katrina and Global Warming

Posted by Bob Brigham

From WWLTV's great coverage:

Katrina could be strongest storm in recorded history
Mayor Ray Nagin ordered an immediate mandatory evacuation Sunday for all of New Orleans, a city sitting below sea level with 485,000 inhabitants, as Hurricane Katrina bore down with wind revved up to nearly 175 mph and a threat of a massive storm surge.

The storm had the potential for storm surge flooding of up to 25 feet, topped with even higher waves, as much as 15 inches of rain, and tornadoes, the National Hurricane Center said.

Only three Category 5 hurricanes - the highest on the Saffir-Simpson scale - have hit the United States since record-keeping began. The last was 1992's Hurricane Andrew, which leveled parts of South Florida, killed 43 people and caused $31 billion in damage. The other two were the 1935 Labor Day hurricane that hit the Florida Keys and killed 600 people and Hurricane Camille, which devastated the Mississippi coast in 1969, killing 256.

Category 5's are rare, but for how long?

The strongest hurricanes in the present climate may be upstaged by even more intense hurricanes over the next century as the earth's climate is warmed by increasing levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Although we cannot say at present whether more or fewer hurricane will occur in the future with global warming, the hurricanes that do occur near the end of the 21st century are expected to be stronger and have significantly more intense rainfall than under present day climate conditions. This expectation is based on an anticipated enhancement of energy available to the storms due to higher tropical sea surface temperatures.

When you hear "global warming" think "George Bush". Global warming is now a national security crisis. Bush's oil buddies have endanged American soil with their corrupt refusal to deal with the consequences of their greed. Bush doesn't get it.

Posted at 01:37 PM in Culture of Corruption, International, Republicans, Scandals | Comments (2) | Technorati

Saturday, August 27, 2005

MT-Sen: National Bloggers Trek to MT for Jon Tester

Posted by Bob Brigham

Following up on the netroots success in OH-02, national bloggers are descending upon Missoula, MT to support Jon Tester.

Both Jerome Armstrong and Markos are in Montana right now. Markos has the most widely read political blog and Jerome is affectionately known as The Blogfather. As Markos notes, they are following the lead of Montana bloggers:

You know, I expect to take the lead of the local bloggers on most of these Senate races. It's why I've learned so much about Tester and this race. Local progressive bloggers, who know the two (serious) primary candidates best, have cast their lot with Tester.

Tester is loved by Montana Democrats, has real time political capability, and the national support of top bloggers will help provide the support he needs to beat Conrad Burns.

At this point, anyone who contributes to the DLC's John Morrison (who is running against Tester) is wasting their money. It will be interesting to read (and blog on) the campaign finance reports to see who is too dumb to read the writing on the wall.

Posted at 01:37 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Montana, Netroots | Technorati

OH-Sen: AP on Paul Hackett

Posted by Bob Brigham

Until I hear otherwise, I'm going to be using "OH-Sen" in the title of any post on Paul Hackett. He had a big story today, from the AP:

Like Rocky in the movies, Paul Hackett has gotten a big boost from almost beating a heavily favored opponent. [...]

"At a certain point, you have to accept reality, and it's an impressive reality," said Larry Sabato, director of the Center for Politics at University of Virginia. "It should have been a blow-away. It wasn't just any congressional race - it was a race during Bush's summer of sorrow and it came in a state that was ground zero for '04 and possibly will be for '08."

If Hackett can beat the spread in every precinct statewide like he did in OH-02, he could get 60% of the vote. His results were very impressive. People should realize which way the wind is blowing in 2006 and follow Hackett:

Tim Burke, chairman of the Hamilton County Democratic Party, said Hackett's showing has encouraged more Democrats, downtrodden for decades in Southwest Ohio, to consider running for office.

On Iraq (from a guy who has been there):

For national audiences, Hackett's experience as a Marine reservist who served seven months in Iraq has been called upon as a counterpoint to the president, who has been trying to shore up support for the mission in appearances this week.

While he opposed the invasion of Iraq and bluntly called Bush "a chicken hawk," Hackett said during his campaign that the United States should increase training of Iraqi security forces. In an interview this week, he said it's time to plan a withdrawal, because it's unlikely that U.S. forces in Iraq would be significantly increased.

"It's going to get worse before it gets better," Hackett said.

If George Bush were to call, what would he say?

If he were advising Bush, Hackett said, he would tell him: "You've freed the Iraqi people from a brutal dictator, you gave them democracy, you've assisted them with a constitution. Now it's time to say 'mission accomplished,' and go home. What they do with it is up to them."

Run, Paul, Run!

Hat tip to Real Values.

Posted at 12:15 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Ohio | Comments (1) | Technorati

Attention College Students

Posted by Bob Brigham

Judging by our traffic logs, we have people from universities across the country who stop by Swing State Project for their political fix. Thanks for reading, now it is time to mobilize. I just received an urgent communique from General J.C. Christrian that included my orders. If you are a college student, your mission can be found here. Godspeed.

Posted at 11:58 AM in Activism, Netroots | Technorati

Friday, August 26, 2005

MT-Sen: John Morrison Can't Win Primary or General Election

Posted by Bob Brigham

Ouch. Membership in the DLC will be the kiss of death for anyone in a Democratic primary. From Kos:

[Jon Tester is] an awesome guy, awesome candidate, the Montana netroots loves him, and he'll win his primary and take out Conrad Burns.

His primary challenger, John Morrison, is, ahem, a DLC rising star. The big knock against Tester? He's a farmer from nowhere in eastern Montana and won't be able to raise the kind of money the slick, polished, Morrison can muster. It's the classic well-connected attorney politician type versus the "real" and "genuine" candidate.

There is no way a DLC lawyer like John Morrison can beat Conrad Burns. There is too much history. Montanans will choose a fake cowboy over a real lawyer any day of the week and twice on Tuesdays.

Posted at 05:45 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Montana, Scandals | Comments (10) | Technorati

OH-Sen: Decision Coming Soon

Posted by Tim Tagaris

All eyes are on Marine Corps Major Paul Hackett. Will he run against Senator Mike DeWine, or will he sit it out? I don't think I am talking out of school when I report that I have had a few discussions with two individuals who remain close to the candidate since the run, and they both say we can expect a decision in the near future. And is it any wonder he might consider running? Click on the picture below to get a glance at the breadth of nationwide support Hackett received in his bid for the House. That's what 8,716 individual contributors giving $442,248 in the month of July alone looks like up-close.

Were this Final Jeopardy and I was forced make a guess right now, I think we have our candidate for U.S. Senate. The traditional wisdom is that candidates stepping aside do so before Labor Day. And although Hackett has never operated by conventional wisdom, there are no plans to make an announcement (either way) by that time. Of course, various conversations I have had with people around the state and another uptick in the Hackett media wave fuels my speculation as well. Couple that with a tremendous decrease in Tim Ryan rumors around the state and a potential Democratic candidate for Ryan's seat about to pack in a potential run should Ryan have challenged DeWine put the icing on the cake for me.

The country needs Paul Hackett. I have a good feeling the Marine will rise to the challenge. (Hat-tip to Kombiz for creating the map)

Posted at 01:37 PM in Ohio | Comments (9) | Technorati

Thursday, August 25, 2005

PA-Sen: The Politics of Blurring

Posted by Tim Tagaris

This morning, the Philadelphia Inquirer ran a piece on Casey v. Santorum (v. Pennacchio) and the issue of the Iraq conflict. I bit my tongue all day until I read one of Casey's chief online supporters, David Siorta, take the leading Democrat to task.

I have given proper applause to Pennsylvania Senate candidate Bob Casey (D) for raising questions about the Iraq War in his 2006 race for the U.S. Senate against Rick Santorum. But I must say, I was disturbed when I read today about his Kerry-2004-style position on the Iraq War vote itself.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that "on the major Iraq votes - authorizing force and funding the operation - Casey said he would have supported those measures, just as Santorum did.

Having helped Chuck Pennacchio get his Internet outreach off-the-ground, I have felt caught between a rock and a hard place since leaving. On the one hand, people seem to get real pissed off when I speak evil of the "golden boy," Bob Casey Jr. But in my mind, Bob Casey is a disaster--the worst possible candidate we could ask for in highest profile race of 2006.

If you thought people across the country were confused about what Democrats stood for, just wait until $100 million plus is poured into the race that will serve as national barometer in the one of the country's largest "swing states." Take a look at some of these newspaper quotes on the race.

War in Iraq Casey faces his own challenges, among them finding a position that portrays him as neither an antiwar defeatist nor a passive war supporter. On the major Iraq votes - authorizing force and funding the operation - Casey said he would have supported those measures, just as Santorum did. (Philadelphia Inquirer)
Terry Schiavo "I think you should err on the side of life. I think some kind of congressional review was appropriate." (Philadelphia Inquirer)
Embryonic stem-cell research Casey: Supports the 2001 action, but not an expansion of it. (Philadelphia Inquirer April 18, 2005)
Ten Commandments Display "I don't oppose [such displays]. I do think politicians spend a lot more time talking about that question than trying to live the 10 Comandments. No matter what your religious beliefs, there are some universal truths in those commandments that we all ought to live by."
After getting his for his MoveOn Endorsement "They (Move On) endorsed him… He didn’t endorse them." -- Bob Casey's Campaign Manager
Nuclear Option The campaign manager for Pennsylvania Treasurer Robert P. Casey Jr., who is running against Santorum in next year's Senate contest, said Casey welcomed the deal. "Bob Casey is relieved that reasonable people in the Senate were able to find a bipartisan solution," Jay Reiff said.

You know why Casey is forced to take this ridiculous position on the war today? It's because when it started in March of 2003, he did the same song and dance as John Kerry and Joe Hoeffel. When the war started, most of these candidates had to know it was wrong, but their positions, their votes, and their public statements were couched in fear of public that appeared to overwhelmingly support the effort. Now when it comes to Iraq, it's our party that finds itself in the quagmire--specifically for failing to stand on principle from day 1.

And that is what we get from Bob Casey, a candidate who is playing the four corners offense with 15 months to go--A candidate just trying desperately to stay out of trouble, attempting walk the fine line between blurring the differences between him and his opponent, while at the same time attacking him on nuance like the issue of "challenging the president" on the war.

If he beats Rick Santorum, this will become part of the national template for 2008--the blur. And it's not that I don't want Bob Casey Jr. win should the two square off--cause I do. I just hope by that point, the damange isn't already done.

Posted at 06:56 PM in Pennsylvania | Comments (10) | Technorati

We All Have a Stake in Midterm Elections

Posted by Bob Brigham

From the DCCC's Stakeholder:

This post is actually the kick-off for a string of guest posts from regional bloggers on opportunities in their geographical areas of expertise.

The guest poster who kicked things of was Stirling Newberry. Stirling seems to write everywhere, but he is the type of guy you must read whenever you come across him. While Stirling is a tough act to follow, I look forward to reading the other authors who contribute in this series.

While The Stakeholder can't afford to give Jesse Lee a staff member in every state, there are strong bloggers in every state willing to step up and do whatever Lee needs. This is a scalable model. Props to the Stakeholder, now go read Mr. Newberry.

Posted at 06:55 PM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - House, Netroots | Comments (1) | Technorati

MO-Sen: McCaskill Running?

Posted by Bob Brigham

From Arch City Chronicle:

As official as it's going to get before it's official.

McCaskill is telling her statewide colleagues that she is running for U.S. Senate. Announcement around Labor Day.

If this happens, this is great news for the Democratic Party. Here's hoping she runs, runs strong, and makes us all proud!

Hat tip to Chris Bowers.

Posted at 06:48 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Missouri | Comments (1) | Technorati

CA-48: Ballot Order

Posted by Bob Brigham

Here is the ballot order for the CA-48 Special Election:

1) John Kelly, Republican
2) John Campbell, Republican
3) David Crouch, Republican
4) Bruce Cohen, Libertarian
5) Steve Young, Democrat
6) Don Udall, Republican
7) Bea Foster, Democrat
8) Scott Maccabe, Republican
9) Guy Mailly, Republican
10) Marsha Morris, Republican
11) Marilyn Brewer, Republican
12) Marshall Sanders, Republican
13) Edward Suppe, Republican
14) Tom Pallow, Democrat
15) Bea Tiritilli, Green
16) John Graham, Democrat
17) Jim Gilchrist, American Idependent

It was priceless having OH-02 during the last special election. Now we have CA-48. It is my view that we need at least one of these for every district.

Posted at 05:42 PM in 2005 Elections, California, Open Seats, Special Elections | Comments (2) | Technorati

Supporting Bloggers

Posted by DavidNYC

You might notice a new ad to the left from Markos of DailyKos, asking readers to support their favorite bloggers. It's a very generous gesture and definitely an unusual sort of blogad. We very much appreciate it.

Yet despite my close working relationship with Markos (most of you probably know that I'm a front page contributing editor at DailyKos), the ad comes totally unsolicited - and proof of that is the fact that the SSP doesn't ask for or take donations. We're fortunate enough that we don't have to. (Though hey, we may one day need to put out a tip jar, so we reserve all rights to come a-beggin' at some point in the future.)

But if you would like to support us financially, the best way to do so is to take out a blogad. That way, we get some cash, Blogads (the company) gets some support, and you get to promote a worthy site, product or cause. It's win-win-win.

And as always, thank you to our readers.

UPDATE (Bob): Markos deserves a great deal of credit for all he has done and is doing to support individual bloggers. And thanks to all of the readers and activists who make what we do possible. One other thing you can do to support the blogs is to encourage your friends to read your favorite blogs. Our power is not just in our writing, but in our numbers. For those of you who haven't yet started a blog to focus on politics in your area, the time to do so is now. Thanks again to Markos and everyone reading this.

Posted at 04:39 PM in Netroots, Site News | Technorati

CA-48: Silly DCCC

Posted by Bob Brigham

In the OH-02 Special Election, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee was rightly criticized for extreme tardiness. You would think that the DCCC would have learned their lesson as we head into the Special Election in Orange County. You would be wrong:

A spokeswoman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee did not return a call for comment on the race.

Luckily, Allan Hoffenblum, Republican political analyst and publisher of the California Target Book, returns press calls. He nails the race dynamics:

Although the congressional district is considered conservative, a Democrat or moderate Republican could win because of the state's unusual "open" primary rules in special elections.

All candidates are on the same ballot, regardless of party, and a candidate must receive more than 50 percent of the vote to win -- an unlikely event with nearly 20 candidates in the race.

If nobody wins, the top vote-getters of each party would face off in a Dec. 6 general election, and as the lone independent, Mr. Gilchrist is assured a spot.

A split among conservatives voting for Mr. Gilchrist and state Sen. John Campbell, reportedly backed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, could swing the vote to a Democratic candidate, Mr. Hoffenblum said. (emphasis mine)


Hat tip to CA-48.

Posted at 02:00 PM in 2005 Elections, California, Democrats, Open Seats, Special Elections | Comments (1) | Technorati

San Francisco: Michela Alioto-Pier vs. Jonny Moseley

Posted by Bob Brigham

As a civic minded blogger, from time-to-time I feel it necessary to intervene in local affairs. Today's announcement that San Francisco Supervisor Michela Alioto-Pier was successful in her bid to hold-up Jonny Moseley's 30th birthday gift to The City provides an opportunity for me to adjudicate a compromise.


Olympic Gold Medalist Jonny Moseley has spent more than a year organizing "Icer Air 2005" as a birthday gift to San Francisco on the day Moseley turns 30. Moseley envisioned using his name to draw dozens of world class names to San Francisco for a televised event featuring trucked-in snow creating a ski jump on one of San Francisco's legendary hills.

As is often the case in San Francisco, an opportunistic, third-rate politician stepped in at the very last minute to...cancel Jonny Mosely's birthday. From the San Francisco Examiner:

Entertainment Commissioner Terrance Allan was disappointed, saying these type of quirky events give San Francisco its reputation and draw tourists and visitors. He also said it was unfair to cancel the contest after organizers had spent more than a year applying for three separate event permits.

"Every neighborhood contributes to the vitality of the international persona by hosting street fairs like the Castro Fair or the Folsom Street Fair," Allan said. "All of that contributes to the mystique and allure that draws visitors to San Francisco. I find it disingenuous that one neighborhood would feel aloof and detached from making our city great."

That neighborhood is represented by Sup. Michela Alioto-Pier. The San Francisco Chronicle asked her about her push to cancel Jonny Moseley's birthday:

Supervisor Michela Alioto-Pier, who represents Pacific Heights, was also pleased that the competition had been called off.

"This is the only responsible thing to do,'' she said.

That Michela would pull a hold-up maneuver is not surprising in the least bit, she is known as the champion of fluff issues. There seems to be no bounds to the lengths Alitio-Pier will go to in her quest to score cheap political points, which makes sense considering she lost and kept losing as a candidate until she was appointed to her seat on the Board of Supervisors.

Michela Alioto-Pier is best known for her opposition to smoking outdoors and her tear-drenched tantrums that result whenever somebody says a bad word that is overheard by her socialite ears.

While Alioto-Pier lacks the ability to get anything done on the real issues, she excels at making a big deal out of fluff-issues. And she was successful in her battle against Jonny Moseley. But Michela only won the first round. Which wasn't exactly a win when you consider the extreme financial backlash that could result from Michela's hold-up job.


If Jonny Moseley isn't sick of politicians like Michela Pier-Alioto, he should be given all available help to reschedule the event at the earliest possible date. In return, there should be no swearing or smoking by any of the fans or participants. If, for example, an athlete were to crash after flying 70 feet in the air and accidentally mutter the word "crap" – the perpetrator would need to immediately recite 5 Hail Marys. Ten for the word 'shit' and the f-bomb should result in 20 Hail Marys. Unless the F-bomb precedes "Michela Alioto-Pier" –- in that case it is justified.

Posted at 12:44 PM in Activism, California, Culture of Corruption, Economy, General, Netroots, Scandals | Comments (1) | Technorati

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

RI-Sen: Matt Brown Demands Timetable and Plan for Iraq

Posted by Bob Brigham

From Matt Brown, Democrat for US Senate in Rhode Island:

Today I am calling on President Bush to set a timetable to start bringing American troops home from Iraq in six months. I’m asking all of my supporters to sign my petition to President Bush and to send it to their friends and families to sign it. The brave men and women of our Armed Forces have risked everything and done their job with courage and distinction. The President owes it to the American people to get this job done and bring our men and women home to their families.

Full petition after the jump:

“Mr. President, the American people are looking for leadership and strength in this difficult time. Like all Rhode Islanders and all Americans, I’m proud of our troops. They are the finest citizen soldiers in the world. They have left their homes and families, risked everything and done their job with courage and distinction.

“Last week you said withdrawing our troops from Iraq would be “a terrible signal to the enemy” and you again refused to set a timetable for withdrawal. That’s wrong. Continuing in Iraq without a plan, without a timetable for withdrawal is a terrible signal to Americans and our troops. It’s a failure of leadership.

“Mr. President, the United States of America – the strongest country in the world – should not let our decision about when to bring our men and women home be dictated by a group of foreign insurgents. We have set timetables for the Iraqis to establish a new government, draft a constitution and conduct free elections – and now we need to set a timetable to bring our troops home.

“We should start the withdrawal in six months, soon after the Iraqi National Assembly Elections scheduled for December 15. By early next year, our troops will have made it possible for the Iraqis to establish their own government and constitution and to hold free elections. Our troops will have done their job and it will be time to bring them home.

“Let me be clear – withdrawing our troops will not mean abandoning Iraq. Our troops should continue training Iraqi security forces for the next six months and during the gradual withdrawal process. Following the withdrawal, United States military trainers and advisors should provide continued training and technical assistance to Iraqi security forces and the new Iraqi government, as we do in many nations around the world.

“Mr. President, in just the last week, different officials in your administration have suggested very different timelines for withdrawal. The President is the Commander-in-Chief. You need to set the timetable and plan. You owe it to the American people to get this job done and bring our men and women home."

I signed here.

Posted at 01:57 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, International, Rhode Island | Comments (2) | Technorati

Supreme Court: Netroots Watching Democratic Senators

Posted by Bob Brigham

From Armando:

The Democratic Senators on the Judiciary Committee must compel answers from Roberts and the White House. Senators Leahy, Kennedy, Schumer, Feingold, Feinstein, Biden, Kohl and Durbin - we will be watching. Please do your duty as we all know you can and as you have in the past.


Posted at 01:44 PM in Democrats, Netroots, Supreme Court | Technorati

Karl Rove "Official Investigation" Drinking Game

Posted by Bob Brigham

From Amanda Congdon's rocketboom. Must see.

Posted at 01:17 PM in Netroots, Plamegate | Technorati

NE-03: Scott Kleeb Announces Congressional Bid

Posted by Bob Brigham

Via Hotline and the Nebraska Democrats, meet Scott Kleeb, running for NE-03. This is Tom Osborne's seat, he's running for Governor. In 2000, the D landed 16%; in 2002 there was no Democrat; in 2004 the Democrat won 11%. The district is everything west of Columbus and accounts for 80% of Nebraska's acreage.

The Omaha World Herald reports:

Scott Kleeb, 30, a Yale graduate who works on a Dunning ranch, said Tuesday that he will seek the Democratic nomination to succeed Republican Rep. Tom Osborne.

Kleeb is the first Democrat to enter the race for the 3rd District, long considered a GOP stronghold.

Six Republicans already are dueling for their party's nomination.

My favorite quote:

I know what it's like to deliver a calf and get it breathing at 3 a.m. ," Kleeb said.

Who is he?

"We need young people coming back to our state. Folks who get their education and come back to the communities that they're from. That's exactly what I'm doing," he said.

Born in Turkey, Kleeb spent the first 19 years of his life in Italy, where his father, a native Nebraskan, taught high school on an Army base.

He attended the University of Colorado for four years, earning bachelor's degrees in history and political science in 1998.

He worked for a year on a ranch near Dunning, the McGinn Cattle Co., which is partly owned by a cousin.

In the fall of 1999, he enrolled in graduate school at Yale University, where he earned master's degrees in international relations and history.

He finished his doctoral thesis this summer - on the history of cattle ranching - and expects to earn his doctorate in history later this year.

Could be fun to watch.

Posted at 11:17 AM in Nebraska | Comments (1) | Technorati

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

KY-02: Moyer for Congress!

Posted by DavidNYC

Kentucky's second district is awfully red - it's an OH-02-like district (indeed, the two regions are separated by only around 100 miles). Of course, it's represented by a Republican (some nobody named Ron Lewis). But given Paul Hackett's success in OH-02, I think we seriously need to nominate this guy to run in KY-02:

The caption reads:

Bill Moyer, 73, wears a "Bullshit Protector" flap over his ear while President George W. Bush addresses the Veterans of Foreign Wars. (AP Photo/Douglas C. Pizac)

Based on the stitching on Mr. Moyer's cap, it looks like he hails from Vine Grove, KY (that's where VFW Post 10281 is based), which is in Hardin County, which is in, of course, KY-02. Another undoubtedly straight-talking war veteran. Perfect!

Posted at 07:00 PM in Kentucky | Comments (2) | Technorati

PA-19: Joe Otterbein's Community-Based Strategy

Posted by Tim Tagaris

In 2004, there wasn't even a Democratic primary to determine the challenger to Republican Congressman Todd Platts. This year, Joe Otterbein is the first to throw his hat into the ring for Democrats. Not only is he the first to announce his desire to challenge Platts, his campaign is calling for more Democrats to step up and fill up the primary field. Then Otterbein and fellow Democratic challengers will go into the field to beef up and mobilize their volunteer base by preforming community service acts in the district. The idea was conceived by Good Works PAC, and Otterbein is the first Democrat running for Congress to give it a go. (From a press release I received today):

Instead of hoping to keep other candidates out of what many consider a long-shot attempt to defeat the three term incumbent, Otterbein is asking other Democrats to challenge him.

Otterbein told supporters at the York County Judicial Center that, "Politics should be about people getting together and solving problems. As competitors we can work together to find solutions to the real problems in our communities. Rather than bluster and preaching to the choir, we Democrats need to get off our stumps and into our communities to work side by side with our neighbors. We need to earn their trust with our sweat."

The strategy paid off for Swing State Project visitor and candidate for New York City Council candidate Gur Tsabar who was endorsed by the New York Times, in part because of his willingness to get out into the community and preform "good works." The PAC plans on pushing the idea primarily in "red" areas during the 2006 election cycle; those candidates don't have much to lose. But if and when it is successful, I think we might see more of the idea in 2008, much like we see with Dean Corps today.

Posted at 06:05 PM in Pennsylvania | Technorati

July 19 - Blogosphere Day

Posted by Bob Brigham

Blogosphere Day 2005 was such an overwhelming success that the press has taken notice. From the Washington Examiner:

Don't tell the folks in Iowa and New Hampshire, but the first primary in the 2008 presidential nomination race might occur on July 19, 2007.

Call it the Netroots Primary.

July 19 has become "Blogosphere Day" for progressive online activists. In 2004, these partisans turned their attention to unknown Democratic congressional candidate Virginia "Ginny" Schrader, who was running in an impossibly Republican district. Two days later her campaign was $30,000 richer. (She lost.)

This year, Paul Hackett, the underdog Democrat in an Ohio special election, benefited to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars. (He lost.)

If the netroots can flex like that in an off-off-year losing House race, what'll they do for the big race?

"It'll be interesting to see Blogosphere Day in 2007," said Chris Bowers, a co-founder of "It'll be interesting to see who gets the most."

He added: "The candidate that will raise the most is the one that doesn't look at the blogosphere and the netroots as just another ATM machine."

Candidate can read more on that here and here. Back to the story...

Which brings us back to Blogosphere Day. We used to talk about the "money primary" as the first test of political credibility. But that was when fundraising was a slog to amass enough cash to endure the primaries. Now ephemeral momentum can quickly produce cash (and vice versa). Whichever Democrat gets the biggest funding bump on July 19, 2007, will have passed the new first test and be the frontrunner.

The backstory behind Blogosphere Day is a funny tale that I'll feed to some lucky reporter next July. As for Blogosphere Day 2006, the focus will be on individual bloggers' Act Blue pages. So go set yourself up a page with your slate of candidates (avoid anyone on the list of shame) and start raising money now. My gut tells me that most pages will be able to double their totals in one day if we do it right. Actblue is a critical part of the new progressive infrastructure and everyone should be using it. Remember, you can't raise money if you don't ask. On that note, go support the Swing State Project Official Candidate List.

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

Monday, August 22, 2005

Deus ex Machina

Posted by Bob Brigham

Senator Russ Feingold descends upon center stage:

[Democrats] could have won that election in 2002. We were way ahead on domestic issues, but the Democratic Party and Democratic leaders decided to take a pass on the Iraq war. They decided to defer to the President, and I have to tell you many Democratic leaders knew better. This was a bad idea, but they allowed the Bush administration to brilliantly intimidate them into not standing up and saying this doesn't fit in with the fight against Al Qaeda and the terrorists that attacked this country on 9/11. Of course, I didn't buy into this and I voted no, but I was even in the minority among Democrats in the Senate. And now were making the same mistake, now that it's clear that the administration took us into Iraq under false premises. We have a situation where they are doing a terrible job managing this war. They are doing a terrible job of having a plan to win the war and win the peace. Yet, Democrats are allowing the President to set the terms of the debate. If somebody says "what about a plan to bring the troops home", the President labels it cut and run. Democrats have become silent, so I do think perhaps that we have allowed this to become a taboo. My purpose this week is to break that taboo, let other Democrats know it's safe to go in the water. It's safe to talk about how we can succeed and bring our troops home. Why shouldn't we Democrats be talking about that?

The DLC forget to tell the good Senator that he can't talk about success.

I believe we lost in 2000, 2002, 2004 because we are not taking a progressive approach. Were trying to be Republican lite and so I think a strong, progressive message that gives the country a real alternative is the way to go. But, it shouldn't be a rigid one, for example John McCain and I came together on McCain-Feingold. He is a conservative, I am a progressive, but we agreed that the unlimited contributions to the process were a corrupting influence. So, you can label that whatever kind of idea you want, it's just a good idea. Progressives should be open to those kinds of ideas and what I am concerned about is the tendency of some in the party to think that by being a little less conservative than the Republicans that they can get elected. Harry Truman said they will just vote for the real thing.

We need to give people a real choice in 2006. In every precinct in every district in every state.

I decided that we have to have a 50 state strategy for Democrats. I have already been to several red states, Alabama, Florida, and Tennessee in order to try and connect with progressives and Democrats who really are there and are already at work. They just were so grateful that somebody, who seems to be part of the national Democratic Party, would care enough to come and see them. You know, when I came to United States Senate there were two Senators from Alabama and two from Tennessee, and now there are none. These are states which are perfectly capable of electing Democrats, but we need to get out there and help.


Posted at 07:59 PM in Democrats | Comments (3) | Technorati

2006: Throw the Bums Out

Posted by Bob Brigham

From the Washington Post:

Democrats say a long-standing rift in the party over the Iraq war has grown increasingly raw in recent days, as stay-the-course elected leaders who voted for the war three years ago confront rising impatience from activists and strategists who want to challenge President Bush aggressively to withdraw troops.

Amid rising casualties and falling public support for the war, Democrats of all stripes have grown more vocal this summer in criticizing Bush's handling of the war. A growing chorus of Democrats, however, has said this criticism should be harnessed to a consistent message and alternative policy -- something most Democratic lawmakers have refused to offer.

A couple of paragraphs later...

Although Bush's approval ratings have sunk, the Democrats have gained no ground at his expense. In a Washington Post-ABC News poll in June, just 42 percent of Americans approved of congressional Democrats, a figure even lower than Bush's.

Everyone seems to agree that Americans are disgusted by DC. The problem for the Democratic Losers who are scared of contrast with Bush is that their cowardice means that they could go down too.

There is already a good deal of talk about primary campaigns and many congressional Democrats should be worried about losing in the general election too (even with a huge disgust at the GOP). Congressional Democrats have fucked up and sided with the Republicans too many times.

It is time for some clear contrast and that should begin with the Iraq war. We can't keep pretending there isn't a war going on. All of the consultants telling Democrats to support Bush in Iraq should be publically fired for gross political malpractice.

It is not too late for contrast, but it the congressional "leaders" who haven't been leading need to start following the American people and and realize that Bush lost the war.

If not, then I say primary their asses. I say torpedo their presidential bids. I say fuck them.

These cowards are dragging down the Democratic brand. We need an exit strategy. People are dying, this is no time for wimpy positions.

Posted at 11:16 AM in 2006 Elections, Democrats | Comments (2) | Technorati

Democrats Take Back Our Party

Posted by Bob Brigham

From Kos:

Ultimately, this is the modern DLC -- an aider and abettor of Right-wing smear attacks against Democrats. They make the same arguments, use the same language, and revel in their attacks on those elements of the Democratic Party that seem to cause them no small embarrassment.

Two more weeks, folks, before we take them on, head on.

No calls for a truce will be brooked. The DLC has used those pauses in the past to bide their time between offensives. Appeals to party unity will fall on deaf ears (it's summer of a non-election year, the perfect time to sort out internal disagreements).

We need to make the DLC radioactive. And we will. With everyone's help, we really can. Stay tuned.

Sounds like it is time to save our Party from the DC Losers Club...'bout damn time.

Posted at 10:16 AM in Democrats | Comments (1) | Technorati

Sunday, August 21, 2005

NYT on the Future of the Democratic Party

Posted by Bob Brigham

From Matt Bai in today's NYT Magazine:

In this way, ACT helped to usher us into the post-party world. We are now confronting a period in which the power and the innovation in American politics will reside not in some party headquarters on Capitol Hill but in a decentralized network of grass-roots groups, donors and Internet impresarios, all of whom seem to be increasingly entwined with one another. There's peril in this trend -- it would seem to favor millionaires over workers, and ideologues over pragmatists -- but it was probably inevitable. Everywhere else in American life, after all, we see evidence of what the Democratic speechwriter Andrei Cherny, in his 2000 book, ''The Next Deal,'' presciently identified as ''the Choice Generation.'' We surf hundreds of cable channels and endless Web sites, assemble customized computers with the click of a mouse and choose from every imaginable permutation of mortgage and credit card. Was it really reasonable, then, to expect the same top-down system that has governed American politics since the time of Martin Van Buren to somehow survive the revolution intact? In the end, ACT's contribution was to act as a bridge from the last political moment to the next, hastening the chaotic process of democratization -- even without the capital ''D'' that its founders would have preferred.

Surprise, surprise...I have some thoughts on this.

I think Bai gets the dynamic, but I don't know if he gets the result. I would recommend the political Cluetrain.

There is no peril in this method because it follows the best idea. Sure I'm hot today, but I'm nothing if I can't keep it up tomorrow. The feast of ideas is a potluck and the guy at the door is checking to see what each brings to the table -- every day.

No longer can anyone rest on past achievements. "What have you done for me lately?" is a daily affair in the 24/7 cycles of news. Every day is a battle and many of these battles are being won by people who don't work for the Party.

IMHO, the Party structures only have the relevance they choose to fight for. Dean is relevant because he is fighting in 50 states, but the DCCC could double their relevance by doubling their aim. Regardless, it doesn't matter, because people realize they can step up and become the next Paul Hackett.

Are we winning today? That is the mother-fuckin' question. We need to stop compromising and start winning every day. The CA-48 is the next election, but no election is so important that we should compromise our values. I'm focused on winning in 10 years and this mindset could be the secret to winning next year.

Fuck the DC Losers Club, we deserve to run campaings that want to win instead of trying not to lose. From the ground up, let's get it on!

Posted at 11:44 PM in Democrats | Technorati

Democrats 2006: SSP in the News

Posted by Bob Brigham

The Swing State Project in the Philadelphia Inquirer:

Bob Brigham, who runs, said: "We as a party can't run from this issue any longer. Some people need to admit being wrong about the war. And we all need to show some political courage. That's what voters respect. If you have core convictions, and aggressively demonstrate that, voters will respect you, regardless of whether they agree with you on individual issues."

Brigham and Sirota, among others, cite the results of an Ohio congressional race on Aug. 2. In a die-hard Republican district where Democrats routinely lose by 40 points, Democrat Paul Hackett, an Iraq veteran who contended that Bush has been "incredibly stupid" on the war, lost by only two. Yet the Washington Democrats seemed not to notice; when the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee analyzed Hackett's strong showing in a memo, it never cited the war as a factor.

Bill Burton, the campaign committee's spokesman, was asked about this the other day. He said that although the war will be important in the 2006 elections, he didn't foresee "one set of talking points" for everybody, because while "inflammatory language" against the war might work in one district, it might be preferable somewhere else to talk about "waging the best possible fight that we can for our troops and our soldiers and our interests."

A Democratic strategist working with 2006 Senate candidates argued privately that an openly antiwar stance is too risky: "The theme should be, 'We're in Iraq, so we gotta win.' Let's not refight the origins of the war, who was right or wrong. That discussion has run its course. Let's talk about how we can strengthen the troops, accelerate the Iraqi training, and let's keep hitting Bush when he's not being straight with the people."

Ed Kilgore, policy maven at the centrist Democratic Leadership Council (which recently accused war critics of "anti-American bias"), urged caution: "At this sensitive moment in Iraq, there's no position unifying Democrats about what to do next. We need to give it a little bit more time. Troop withdrawal doesn't represent the full range of our party. It doesn't make any political sense."

The headline was, A split over war, the wimp thing, and how to win. I was shocked -- SHOCKED -- to see Kilgore's name under a headline with the word 'wimp'. While the DCCC has no clue and Kilgore waits, our soldiers and marines and airmen and seamen are dying.

Listening to these DC Losers is what got us in this mess in the first place. In 2002, they said to hide from the war and Democrats lost. In 2004, they told us to hide from the war and Democrats lost. In 2006, tell them to STFU. They were wrong then, they are wrong now and even the press realizes they are wimps. Enough talk about talking tougher. It is time to act tough and lead!

But prominent liberal activists such as David Sirota aren't going to knock it off. Sirota looks at the latest Gallup poll and finds that 33 percent of Americans now favor full withdrawal from Iraq - which beats partial withdrawal (23 percent), status quo (28 percent), and sending more troops (13 percent). And he notes that a majority now believes the war has made Americans less safe at home.

"This sentiment gives Democrats an opening," he said recently. "We can now make the case that an exit strategy from Iraq will actually strengthen our national security. We have to stand up for our principles. There is strength in national-security prudence. There is weakness in national-security impulsiveness, as Bush has demonstrated. People will believe us. They have the evidence in front of their eyes every night on the evening news."

I don't know if the DC losers are illiterate or blind, but they can't seem to read the writing on the fucking wall.

Posted at 12:46 PM in 2006 Elections, Democrats, Netroots, Site News | Technorati

NYT: We endorse Gur Tsabar

Posted by Bob Brigham

On Christmas Eve, Gur Tsabar, a candidate for New York City Council joined the Swing State Project conversation. At the time, I remember thinking that it was a sign of some serious enthusiasm on the part of the candidate. Since then, his enthusiasm has been noticed and it even helped land him the New York Times endorsement:

No fewer than seven Democrats are promising to find solutions to this diverse district's problems, from the proliferation of noisy bars to the lack of affordable housing. Strong contenders include Rosie Mendez, the smart and personable party district leader and former chief of staff to Margarita Lopez, the departing councilwoman. Brian Kavanagh, who worked for Gail Brewer, a councilwoman from the Upper West Side, was the first to advocate lobbying Albany to gain local control over liquor licensing, which could help to manage the loud bars.

But Gur Tsabar, a former member of the staff of Council Speaker Gifford Miller, has distinguished himself with a campaign run on ideas and action fueled by a contagious enthusiasm. He has combined the nuts-and-bolts activities like gathering petition signatures with efforts to help the community, including a clothing drive and collecting used cellphones for distribution among the elderly. In a unilateral rejection of so-called "pay to play" money, he gave to community organizations about $3,000 in donations that came from people who do business with the city. Mr. Tsabar has made a point of campaigning in all corners of the district and pledges to hold meetings regularly with constituents where they live. Combined with his experience with the inner workings of the Council, he is exactly the kind of representative the district needs. We endorse Gur Tsabar.

Go Gur!

Posted at 12:21 PM in New York | Technorati

FL-Sen: Joe Scarborough Out; Katherine Harris to Lose

Posted by Bob Brigham

Don't take my word for it, ask NRSC Chair Elizabeth Dole who has been working for weeks to get Joe Scarborough to run. But Scarborough decided to chicken out (probably didn't want to revisit the tale of his how his right to life platform might have conflicted with what happened to his intern). This is now a safe seat. The only question is how thoroughly Katherine Harris is trashed during the campaign (paybacks are a bitch).

Posted at 12:08 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Florida | Technorati

Saturday, August 20, 2005

PA-Sen: There is Finally Contrast in the Senate Race

Posted by Bob Brigham

Chalk this up as one of political history's greatest, "if you can't make it, fake it" moments. Since both Santorum and Casey are Theocons, there has been a noticable lack of contrast in the race. However, Casey has consultants earning every extra zero and has now come up with his plan: focus on contrast between Santorum and Santorum. has the story.

Posted at 05:26 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Pennsylvania | Comments (10) | Technorati

NV-Sen: Recruitment Time

Posted by Bob Brigham

Bowers has the plan.

Posted at 05:21 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Netroots, Nevada | Technorati

Friday, August 19, 2005

MT-Sen: Burns / Abramoff Link Charged with Poaching

Posted by Bob Brigham

Helena Independent Record:

HELENA — Shawn Vasell, a one-time aide to U.S. Sen. Conrad Burns, R-Mont., and a former associate of indicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff, has been charged in Stillwater County with poaching.

Vasell, 32, of Arlington, Va., was charged in June with four counts of breaking state big game laws: illegally possessing big game, hunting on private property without permission, hunting with someone else's license and hunting without a license, better known as poaching. [...]

Vasell pleaded not guilty to all four crimes on June 18 in Stillwater County Justice Court. A Sept. 20 trial is scheduled. [...]

The crimes carry a variety of punishments, including fines up to $1,000, restitution of up to $8,000, six months in jail and a lifetime ban from hunting in Montana.

The missing link.

Vasell was Burns' state director for most of 2002. He quit in December of that year and ended up joining the lobbying firm of Greenberg Traurig, where he worked with Jack Abramoff, the embattled D.C. lobbyist.

Abramoff was arrested and charged with federal fraud and conspiracy charges earlier this month for allegedly duping investors into financing a $147 million fleet of gambling ships in Florida.

Abramoff's alleged mishandling of millions of dollars in lobbying fees charged to American Indian tribal clients was the subject a Senate Indian Affairs investigative hearing in June. Vasell was tapped to testify at the hearing, but cited his right not to incriminate himself and refused to answer any questions.

Abramoff lobbyists and his tribal clients gave $137,000 to Burns and his political action committee between 2001 and 2004, more than any other lawmaker, Bloomberg News reported this spring.

News reports on Abramoff's lobbying scandal have referred to Vasell as the link between the embattled former lobbyist and Burns. (emphasis mine)

Throw the book at him. This is the guy pleading the fifth in the corruption investigation. More here, here.

Hat-tip to Left in the West.

Posted at 05:49 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Culture of Corruption, Montana, Scandals | Technorati

OH-18: DeLay's "Mini-Me" Gets Challege

Posted by Tim Tagaris

Bob Ney, often refered to as "mini-me" to Tom DeLay for his connections in the emerging Jack Abramoff scandals, officially has a second challenger--one widely considered to be more formidable than the current announced candidate Josh Wolf.

At a press conference Wednesday, Chillicothe Mayor Joe Sulzer confirmed the rumor that had been circulating for weeks -He is a candidate for Ohio's 18th Congressional District. Sulzer will run against Republican incumbent Rep. Bob Ney, R-Heath, who has held the seat for a decade, and was re-elected in November with 66 percent of the vote. [...]

The three main themes of Sulzer's announcement were fiscal responsibility, getting U.S. troops out of Iraq and ethics in Congress.

He cited his service in Vietnam and said he was concerned the country was repeating the mistakes of the past. "As a Vietnam vet, I am very concerned about the war in Iraq," he said. "We need to start planning for withdrawal now."

I don't necessarily know that Sulzer is more formidable than Wolf, but that is the accepted wisdom around these parts in Ohio--rumors are the Wolf (an organizer for the Ohio Democratic Party in SE Ohio) will be dropping out. Wolf was seems like a good guy to me, and he posts on Grow Ohio. If that actually is what happens, I hope that he can play a large role in organizing in the area with his already well established connections.

That said, we have another Democrat with service running for U.S. Congress, and another candidate prepared to bring up the on-going ethics scandals as a constant campaign refrain.

Visit Suzler's campaign website.

Posted at 01:40 PM in Ohio | Comments (1) | Technorati

Winning Without an Ad Buyer

Posted by Bob Brigham

Chris Bowers:

For at least three decades, on a federal and statewide level American politic campaigns have been defined by television ads. As a result, a profession, even a culture, has built up around televised political ads. Now, almost every campaign has what they call a "number mover" ad: the sort of ad that it hopes will shake up static public opinion. Of course, as New Politics Institute keeps reminding us, in three years half of the homes in America will have some form of replay television, and won't be watching nearly as many, if any, commercials. In this developing environment, how does one go about moving numbers?

Russ Feingold found the answer among the Presidential candidates (go read Bowers whole piece as you should with anything he writes). But what if your goal isn't to win the 2008 democratic presidential primary? What if you want to win locally and be able to win in the future?

To some degree, use the same play. I'm reminded of the Cluetrain classic: It is the content not the container.

Straight talk goes a long way, but you also need bold action. Our distributed content delivery systems mean that it takes something powerful to break through all of the junk that ad buyers spit at consumers.

Paul Hackett did this in Ohio, and almost won. Last year, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom catapulted himself to the front of the civil rights march. In 2000, Brian Schweitzer's over-the-border senior drug runs were legendary, and he almost won. In fact, Schweitzer is now Commander in Chief of Montana. And Hackett is very well positioned for membership in the US Senate.

The interesting thing about Hackett, Newsom and Schweitzer is that many in DC said their experimentation with bold action was a failure. I'm sure the DC Losers club is thinking the same thing about Feingold. That is the problem with people who are playing checkers instead of chess.

Because all four of these leaders have proved they "get it" when it comes to communicating without relying upon an ad. They are ready for the future. They are the future.

So smart candidates should follow their lead -- by leading themselves. Big bold action. Rely upon the quality of ideas instead of the size of the campaign account. Drive the debate instead of following the polls. Take risks, people will vote for people they respect even if they disagree on some issues. And most importantly, inspire people.

There are no roadblocks.

Posted at 10:50 AM in Democrats | Comments (2) | Technorati

NY-Gov: Weld to Challenge Spitzer

Posted by DavidNYC

I'm unimpressed with him as a foe for Spitzer, but what the hey, Bill Weld ignored my advice and tossed his hat into the ring anyway.

P.S. Fuck Bill Weld:

[Weld] also retained Mr. Rove's direct-mail firm in his races for governor, and said yesterday that Mr. Rove "is a friend and someone who knows me well."

What a wimpy, scaredy-cat piece of shit Weld is. If he were to have any chance in NY, it would be to run as an old-style liberal Republican (ie, the otherwise extinct variety) and demonstrate that the national party holds no sway over him. But instead he calls that scum Rove a "friend" - Rove, who denigrated all New Yorkers by coming to NYC and attempting to slander "liberals."

This ad, as they say, just writes itself. I had no idea this race would be this easy for Eliot. Just hang Rove around Weld's sorry-ass neck.

(Oh, and wanna bet that Bill Weld is afraid of the dirt Rove has on him - and the whisper campaigns which Rove is so excellent at starting? Nah - don't take that bet. It's a sucker's play. Of course Weld is scared of Rove.)

Posted at 12:46 AM in New York | Comments (1) | Technorati

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Dems 2008: Governor Brian Schweitzer

Posted by Bob Brigham

As Bowers noted, I showed Governor Schweitzer the MyDD straw poll on Tuesday. He said people who voted for him were "smoking pinecones."

Yet in the first 1,000 votes, Schweitzer did better than Biden, Bayh, and Vilsack -- combined.

This talk had better come to an abrupt end before we run out of pinecones.

Posted at 04:54 PM in 2008 Election - President, 2008 President - Democrats, Montana | Comments (3) | Technorati

Today's New York Times

Posted by Bob Brigham

Headline: Roadside Blast Kills Four U.S. Soldiers
Headline: Bombings Kill 43 at Key Terminal for Buses in Iraq:

BAGHDAD, Iraq, Aug. 17 - Three car bombs exploded Wednesday in quick succession in and around a crowded bus station in Baghdad, killing at least 43 people, injuring 88 and paralyzing one of Iraq's most important transportation networks.

Headline: Turning Out to Support a Mother's Protest:

CRAWFORD, Tex., Aug. 17 - Supporters of Cindy Sheehan held more than 1,500 candlelight vigils across the country on Wednesday night in solidarity with this mother of a soldier killed in Iraq, who has set up a protest encampment down the road from President Bush's ranch here.

Headline: Bad Iraq News Worries Some in G.O.P. on '06

WASHINGTON, Aug. 17 - A stream of bad news out of Iraq, echoed at home by polls that show growing impatience with the war and rising disapproval of President Bush's Iraq policies, is stirring political concern in Republican circles, party officials said Wednesday.

Some said that the perception that the war was faltering was providing a rallying point for dispirited Democrats and could pose problems for Republicans in the Congressional elections next year.

Republicans said a convergence of events - including the protests inspired by the mother of a slain American soldier outside Mr. Bush's ranch in Texas, the missed deadline to draft an Iraqi Constitution and the spike in casualties among reservists - was creating what they said could be a significant and lasting shift in public attitude against the war.

The Republicans described that shift as particularly worrisome, occurring 14 months before the midterm elections. As further evidence, they pointed to a special election in Ohio two weeks ago, where a Democratic marine veteran from Iraq who criticized the invasion decision came close to winning in a district that should have easily produced a Republican victory.

Time to fight in every precinct in every district in every state -- every day.

Posted at 04:06 PM in 2006 Elections, International | Comments (1) | Technorati

GOP Culture of Corruption

Posted by Bob Brigham

I think this post is the ideal way to kick off our new Culture of Corruption category. From Grow Ohio:

11:15 A.M. - Taft plead no contest and waived his right to a jury trial.  He was spared jail time (of course), but is forced to pay the maximum fines and court fees allowable ($1,000 x 4).  Embarassingly, Taft has to send an email to every Ohio media outlet and stateworker outlining an apology for his ethical violations.[...]

11:30 A.M. - Governor Taft steps to the podium to make a statement after the hearing. "I am here today to publicly apologize to the people of Ohio." The Republican Governor just called the events "social" -- He later called them "recreational events with friends." It will be interesting to see what State Senator Marc Dann and the press can uncover about who the outings were with and what state contracts/other benefits were potentially on-the-table with those individuals.

Ah, "recreational" corruption...

Posted at 02:42 PM in Culture of Corruption, Ohio, Republicans, Scandals | Comments (4) | Technorati

Dems 2008: Feingold Heads West

Posted by Bob Brigham

The Progressive Patriots Fund just sent me an advisory:

Milwaukee- US Senator Russ Feingold's Progressive Patriots Fund announced details of a major foreign policy speech he will deliver in Los Angeles on August 23 outlining the administration's failure to develop a comprehensive national security strategy in the fight against terrorism and proposing a target date for withdrawal of US troops from Iraq of December 31, 2006.

Feingold will address the Town Hall Los Angeles Association on Tuesday, August 23. Town Hall Los Angeles is a nonprofit, nonpartisan membership organization dedicated to promoting civic participation by offering members direct access to and insight from the most influential business and political leaders. Feingold will also speak at the University of California-Los Angeles School of Law on Monday, August 22.

In June, Feingold became the first senator to propose legislation calling on the President to issue a realistic set of goals for success in Iraq, along with a reasonable timeframe under which to achieve those goals and the subsequent withdrawal of US troops. Because of the conflicting signals from the administration about the scope and duration of the military mission in Iraq, Senator Feingold said he now feels obligated to propose a target completion date.

“It’s time for Congress to have a serious debate about the situation in Iraq and how it fits into the campaign against terrorism. For too long our brave service men and women have risked their lives without the benefit of a clear plan for success in Iraq,” Feingold said.

Feingold recently formed the Progressive Patriots Fund to promote a progressive reform agenda and support candidates across the country. The organization has launched an effort for citizen co-sponsors of Feingold’s proposal for a target time for the drawdown of US military presence in Iraq.

What: Major National Security Speech by Senator Russ Feingold
Where: Town Hall Los Angeles, Millennium Biltmore Hotel, 506 S Grand Ave
When: Tuesday, August 23
11:30 am – 1:30 pm

Feingold will also speak at the University of California - Los Angeles School of Law on Monday, August 22. This event is also open to the public:

What: Speech by Senator Russ Feingold Sponsored by the Public Interest
Law and Policy Program and the American Constitution Society
Where: UCLA Law School
When: Monday, August 22
4:30 pm – 5:30 pm

Posted at 12:46 PM in 2008 President - Democrats | Technorati

Democrats: Time to Fight

Posted by Bob Brigham

Chris Bowers has a great map of the new SUSA 50 state numbers. Bowers seems to think it is time to fight:

There isn't a single corner of this nation where Democrats are not more in line with Independents than Republicans. That's a fact. That's fifty-state potential. That's a tidal wave.

But we can't win if we don't have a candidate on the ballot. The DC crowd needs to realize this year could be tidal, but only if Democrats are ready to fight with leadership. Sirota says:

Finally, one of the top 2008 Democratic presidential contenders has the guts to take a major stand on the Iraq War. According to the Associated Press, Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) is announcing his support for the United States to set a firm timetable for withdrawal of American troops from Iraq. Though that is a position that polls show a majority of Americans support, high profile Democrats have been unwilling to come out and make that stand. In fact, just a few weeks ago, the Democratic campaign committee in Washington is actually trying to pretend the Iraq War doesn't exist. [...]

Democrats would be wise to follow Feingold's lead, instead of either parroting right-wing lies themselves like Sen. Evan Bayh (D), or cowering in a corner on Iraq because they believe any support for withdrawal will mean they will look weak on national security. That just isn't the case. Polls show Americans believe the Iraq War has made this country less safe. That means trying to end the war and get out of the situation as Feingold is calling for is a credible pro-national security position in the eyes of the public.

Big bold move by Feingold. Speaking of big bold moves, Moveon really stepped up last night.

On Wednesday, August 17, tens of thousands of supporters gathered at 1,625 vigils to acknowledge the sacrifices made by Cindy Sheehan, her son, Casey and the more than 1,800 brave American men and women who have given their lives in Iraq—and their moms and families.

I don't know what the DCCC was doing last night, but I was at my neighborhood's Moveon vigil. Some Democrats get it, not suprising where you find them. From Montana's Bozeman Daily Chronicle:

Dozens of people gathered in front of the Gallatin County Courthouse Wednesday to silently protest the war in Iraq during a candlelight vigil co-sponsored by the Gallatin County Democrats. [...]

Local Democrats sponsored the vigil along with, a liberal organization that opposed Bush's re-election. But the party invited anyone to participate, regardless their political affiliation. [...]

The vigil was mostly a silent affair with protesters holding lighted candles during a moment of silence that stretched several minutes. The names of soldiers who died in Iraq were projected onto a white screen set up below the giant yellow ribbon that has become a permanent display at the courthouse.

Tracy Velázquez, vice-chair of the Montana Democratic Party, provided protesters stickers with the names of fallen troops. When asked, she said she wasn't worried the vigil would be used by the party's opponents to portray it as against the soldiers.

Some Democrats aren't scared. Progress is coming from the ground up, people are tired of relying upon DC. Distributed models allow scale that is just beginning. The Gallatin Democrats' website is updated every morning. We need to fight, in every precinct in every district in every state. Tidal.

Posted at 11:40 AM in 2006 Elections, 2008 President - Democrats, Activism, Democrats, Montana | Comments (5) | Technorati

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Camp Casey Candles

Posted by Bob Brigham

Well over 100 people at the candle light event in my neighborhood.

Posted at 10:46 PM in | Technorati

Let there be light

Posted by Bob Brigham

From MoveOn:

Vigil for Cindy Sheehan

Tonight, August 17, 2005 7:30PM

Cindy Sheehan, mother of Army Specialist Casey Sheehan who was killed in Iraq, continues her vigil outside President Bush's ranch in Crawford, Texas. She was recently joined by more moms who lost a child in Iraq and other military families. Meanwhile President Bush continues his five-week vacation and pledged Thursday to keep U.S. troops in Iraq -- meaning more moms will lose a child.

Cindy has asked supporters to start candlelight vigils in their communities to support her and call for an end to the war. So, MoveOn is teaming up with True Majority and Democracy for America to host Vigils for Cindy Sheehan tonight, August 17th, to show our solidarity with Cindy.

Our vigils will be simple and dignified. Together, we'll acknowledge the sacrifices made by Cindy Sheehan, her son, Casey and the more than 1,800 brave American men and women who have given their lives in Iraq and their moms and families.

When you attend, try to bring a friend.

Posted at 06:43 PM in Democrats | Technorati

OH-Gov: Taft to Face Four Criminal Charges

Posted by Tim Tagaris

Ohio's Gov. Bob Taft is minutes away from becoming the first Governor of the state to face criminal charges in relation to undisclosed gifts. It's going to be four misdemeanors as reported by the Ohio News Network and Columbus Dispatch. There is a press conference originally scheduled for 2:45 that looks like it will actually take place closer to 3:15 P.M.

Hypothetically Speaking and Grow Ohio will have updates throughout the day.

Posted at 02:26 PM in Ohio | Comments (1) | Technorati

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

PLAN: Bob On-The-Ground in Seattle

Posted by Tim Tagaris

Bob just shot me a phone call and asked me to drop a tease on Swing State Project readers about the Progressive Legislative Action Network kickoff event that took place tonight in Seattle.

He said it was one of the most amazing experiences of his life, and he would blog about it right now but he is out to dinner with Governor Brian Schweitzer and Jon Podesta (he loves name-dropping). He will have all kinds of information and answers to people's questions tomorrow morning.

Posted at 11:20 PM in Netroots | Comments (1) | Technorati

OH-15: Mark Losey Launches New Blog

Posted by Tim Tagaris

Check it out, "I Love Losey" -- The name is kind of growing on me.

Posted at 03:03 PM in Ohio | Technorati

Monday, August 15, 2005

OH-02/AG/SoS/Senate: Hackett Heading To Crawford?

Posted by Tim Tagaris

I heard it was a possibility earlier today, and I read it on Who-Dey Hotel, a Southwest Ohio blog, about 30 minutes ago. I'll make the phone call tomorrow and attempt to verify the information.

(UPDATE TIM:) I just got off the phone with a member of Team Hackett that has remained behind to help out with whatever transition takes place, if any, and they confirmed that Paul is NOT traveling to Crawford, Texas. And with that, goodnight.

Posted at 11:00 PM in Ohio | Technorati

CA-48: Election Date Set

Posted by Tim Tagaris

Our pal Stuart at the Political Dog Fight has the scoop on the special election dates set earlier today:

Election Dates proclaimed by Governor Muscles this morning. The General Special Election for the CA-48th will be December 6th, 2005. The Secretary of State's office determined the Primary Election shall be October 4, 2005. This has been confirmed by conversation with the Secretary of State's office and the Election Analysts.
Hopefully we can stave off a general election and win this one in the primary. With several Republicans intent on running and wingnut extraordinaire James Gilchrist of Minuteman fame weighing a run, it might be worth looking at one Democratic candidate and turning out the base like never before. But if we have more than one candidate, we might as well get eight in there to take our chances in a general election in December (not a bad time to be visiting The OC).

Posted at 06:15 PM in 2005 Elections, California, Open Seats | Comments (4) | Technorati

Sirota has the PLAN

Posted by Bob Brigham

Sorry for the light posting this morning, I flew to Seattle for tomorrow's kickoff of the Progressive Legislative Action Network.

Sirota has more and The Nation just did an important piece. As you would expect, there are a bunch of bloggers involved, so I'm sure that will be much to read in the coming days.

Posted at 03:37 PM in Democrats | Comments (1) | Technorati

Posted by Tim Tagaris

A few days ago I got an email about a new site,, that "scans over 600 local progressive blogs and looks for new stuff. Then, on the website, it indexes it all - state by state." I had been meaning to write about it, and unfortunately put it off until today.

With the importance of localization online increasing, this site has the potential to be a very valuable resource. To read more, check out Kari's diary on MyDD.

Most importantly, visit Exciting stuff.

Posted at 02:00 PM in Netroots | Comments (3) | Technorati

Sunday, August 14, 2005

NV-Sen: Reid Handling Ensign with Kid Gloves

Posted by DavidNYC

Hugh at the Los Vegas Gleaner points out this frustrating AP story. Yargh... stuff like this drives me nuts:

The home state of the Senate Democratic leader might not seem like the best place to be a first-term Republican senator up for re-election. But Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev., is finding he could hardly ask for a safer haven.

Once bitter opponents, Ensign and now-Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid emerged from a hard-fought 1998 campaign, which Ensign lost by 428 votes, to forge a close relationship.

Now Reid, in charge of growing the Democratic minority in the Senate, is signaling that Ensign is one Republican who won’t be in his cross-hairs.

“We’ve got other places where we’re going to focus our attention,” Reid said.

Yeesh... Nevada is a true swing state - John Kerry lost the state by less than 3 points, and Bush's approval rating is at an extraordinarily bad 38-57. In fact, Nevadans gave George Bush the lowest marks of any red state in Survey USA's early June fifty-state poll. In fact, NV ranked him worse than even Massachusetts did!

What's more, Ensign himself has only a 49-34 rating. Doesn't sound too bad, I know - but it's only good enough for 82nd-best out of 100 senators. To put things in perspective, that's worse than the highly vulnerable Lincoln Chaffee (R-RI) and the odious Conrad Burns (R-MT).

So it's pretty clear to me that Ensign is among the weakest sitting GOP senators up for re-election in 2006. Why, then, is Reid being so kind to him?

I think there's no way any GOPer in Reid's position would show him the same sort of courtesy. I feel like we've been exposed to this lesson countless time over the past 5 years, so why haven't we learned it? Mary Landrieu, Max Cleland, etc., etc. Moreover, at most, the GOP will go easy on Reid and Reid alone when he's up for re-election.

Look, I like the job Reid has been doing - I think he's held the caucus together pretty well, and he's certainly been a damn sight better than Tom Daschle. But if he's looking to save his hide at the expense of giving up a chance to knock off a vulnerable Republican, then I can't tolerate that.

Posted at 11:38 AM in Nevada | Comments (5) | Technorati

2006 Congressional Races

Posted by Bob Brigham

After reading the shitty-ass Weekly Standard piece, I think I should clarify my stance on how I believe that the best case scenario for Democrats in 2006 congressional races will happen independent of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

For the record, I don't hate the DCCC. But I'm going to operate upon the assumption that they will only come through with last-minute, major ad buys in certain districts. That is not what Democrats need in 2006. But if the DCCC can't handle more than 50 challenger races, then I don't want to force it upon them. I believe Democrats need to fight in every district, that can't happen from the current culture in DC. The only way that works is if Democrats in every district decide they need to fight. That is who I hope to convince, not some incumbent protection slush fund in DC.

Yes I am a blogger and yes I do my best to coordinate bloggers on certain issues. But what I am about to say is from my keyboard to your screen – my voice only…

This debate has received a lot of attention: the Washington Post, the New Republic, CNN (Play of the Week), the L.A. Times, the Hotline, and now the Standard.

And I have written about it a good deal: here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.

So let me write about it a little more, in reference to the Standard story:

CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR BILL SCHNEIDER is many things, but a dispenser of new and original insights he is not. So when even the avuncular cable analyst noticed the rise of the left-wing political blogs last week, it suggested that the ascendancy of the liberal blogosphere has gone from conventional wisdom to cliché.

I'm hoping somebody from the Weekly Standard can post a link in the comments to the story that showed they "got it" because I seem to have missed it.

Hackett also turned out to be an unlikely hero for the left-wing blogs. In spite of being adamantly for gun owner's rights, unequivocally against pulling out of Iraq until victory is achieved ("We need to get it right, and we need to do it now," he said), and repeatedly disparaging his opponent for supporting Ohio's tax-raising governor, the left-wing blogs who typically loath centrist Democrats adored Hackett.

One paragraph, so much misinformation. Hackett was the perfect hero for the left-wing blogs because he understood the importance of straight talk and bold action and standing proud for his beliefs. Yes, Hackett believed in the 2nd Amendment, which jives well with most bloggers' view of supporting rights. How can we support all rights if we don't support those in the Constitution? The Standard conveniently leaves out the FACT that Hackett was opposed to the needless "war" in Iraq. And of course the blogs cheered Hackett for tying his opponent to the Ohio's most corrupt Republican. The blogs hate the DLC and Hackett was the most anti-DLC candidate I have ever seen. He stood proud for the people and the netroots rewarded him.

So profound was their affection for Hackett that a "blog swarm" developed on his behalf. It would not be overstating matters to say that the blogs, led by Bob Brigham of Swing State Project, put Hackett and the 2nd District race on the metaphorical political map. While the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) ignored the race, Brigham and other bloggers indefatigably raised funds, volunteered time, and spewed rhetoric on Hackett's behalf. Their efforts put the seat in play, and shortly before the election, the DCCC finally entered the fray on Hackett's behalf.

It actually would be overstating matters to say I lead the blogs. Tim Tagaris was doing all of the nationalization that needed to be done and OH-02 blog had been doing all of the localization.. In fact, I only went into the district to relieve Tim when he needed to go to a wedding.

In the aftermath of a shocking election night, one that was widely described by left-wing bloggers as "colossal" and "tidal," Bill Schneider bestowed his "Play of the Week" award on Brigham and his peers. The only downside from the Democrat party's perspective is the inconvenient fact that Hackett lost.

No, we won. It was a 70-30 district, we beat the spread by a healthy margin. Democrats need to stop judging success on Election Day, we need to judge success every day.

FOR THOSE WHO VIEW POLITICS THROUGH a Manichaean worldview where winning and losing is paramount, the fact that the Democratic party lost the election would be proof positive that the entire episode fell somewhere short of perfection for the left. Indeed, no less an authority than James Carville (who raised $100,000 for Hackett with a single appearance) suggested in an interview that the celebrations might best be deferred until there's an actual victory to commemorate.

Carville can kiss my ass – Hackett won every day I was on the ground. Democrats need to stop listening to the pundits and focus on winning every precinct, every district, every state – every single day. Every time Democrats compromise to try to win an election, we lose in the long run.

But bloggers and other analysts have been eager to extrapolate the results of Ohio 2nd District (Hackett lost by about 4 percent) out to the 2006 midterm elections--and beyond. Whether or not such inferences are warranted is an open debate, but not a particularly interesting one.

Actually, it is a very fucking interesting point, which is why Dean Barnett wrote this story (but his view helps explain why he never even bothered to call me prior to filing).

But even if the race was a one-off outlier, it still heralded the arrival of two important issues that are likely to be with the Democratic party for the foreseeable future. The first is whether mainstream party outlets like the DCCC can maintain relevance given the competition they receive from the blogs. The second is whether, given the blogs' growing influence, Democratic candidates will be likely to practice the brand of politics that appeals to the bloggers and their readers.

This might be the best paragraph in the story. But it isn't about competition with the blogs because there is not a zero-sum game. The DCCC has the relevance they choose and they have decided that they can only handle 50 serious challenger campaigns. That leaves 180 seats that can provide relevance to individuals willing to fight.

THE INTRAMURAL SCUFFLE BETWEEN the blogs and the DCCC would be hilarious if it did not hold such potentially dire consequences for the Democratic party. In the Hackett race, the bloggers who got involved proved themselves to be much savvier readers of the political landscape than the pros at the DCCC. While the DCCC was still considering the race hopeless, blogger Bob Brigham accurately perceived the effect the Hackett/Schmidt dichotomy would have on the race's dynamics and knew the battle was winnable.
We weren't savvier because we fought, just more relevant. The savvy points were awarded because bloggers didn't rely upon 30 second ads…but could cover the cost of Hackett have 25% more gross points of ads on the air.
So while Brigham got involved and ultimately blazed a trail that would soon be followed by other, more prominent, left-wing blogs like the and Daily Kos, the DCCC remained on the sidelines. When Hackett went on to lose the race by fewer than four points, the blogosphere's rage against the DCCC for staying out of the action until the final few days was palpable.

Again, Bob Brigham led the charge, rather colorfully expressing his anger.

I call it like I see it and the DCCC fucked up.

The DCCC responded to Brigham's tirade on their website, where Jesselee offered an irrelevant, ad hominem attack on Brigham in which she accused him of lying on national television. Subsequently, Jesselee made a rather pathetic effort to assure the hip blogging community that the DCCC is as cool as the other side of the pillow, exclaiming that, "The DCCC is rocking right now like no other." For his part, Brigham has responded by repeatedly demanding that DCCC chair Rahm Emmanuel resign.

The last line is a total fucking lie that my lawyers will be looking at on Monday.

CLEARLY THE DCCC AND THE BLOGOSPHERE are going in different directions. The DCCC is a typical establishment political outfit that, while it supports liberal politicians, operates in a fundamentally conservative manner. As Donna Brazille observes, "The DCCC is understandably cautious in where it spends its limited money and time." Of course, caution is hardly the blogosphere's calling card. But the results of the Hackett race will doubtlessly serve to elevate the blogosphere and diminish the DCCC's prestige. The race would never have been competitive if Hackett had not entered the good graces of the blogosphere and received the hundreds of thousands of dollars it raised for him.

Pretty much.

What's more, at least in this race, bloggers such as Brigham were more insightful than the pros at the DCCC. If Brigham's influence does expand, he'll deserve it. He understood the situation before anyone else did: If the DCCC had listened to him and poured resources into the race before the 11th hour, it's quite possible that Hackett would have won. It would not be surprising if Democratic candidates queuing up for the 2006 elections were paying attention to who the Democratic king-makers (or near-king-makers) really were.

This is the type of bullshit that happens when a reporter never picks up the phone. My whole point is that we need to fight everywhere, how can I be a king-maker if I'm saying everyone can make themselves king??? Anyway, you'll see much more on this in the near future, we need to Leave No District Behind.

WITH AN INCREASING LIKELIHOOD that Democratic politicians might play to the blogs, it makes sense to ask what kind of politician and what kind of politics will appeal to the liberal virtual masses. On this score, Paul Hackett provides an invaluable case study. Hackett was definitely a moderate. He never promised an end to the war in Iraq and never adopted any truly "progressive" causes. While he didn't say, "Read my lips--no new taxes," he did repeatedly belittle his opponent's tax-hiking ways. One would have to scan his website rather aggressively to find any mention of the fact that he is Democrat. Yet the left-wing bloggers loved him. Why? While Hackett shared little with the liberal blogosphere in terms of substantive positions, they did have one thing in common--a mutual fondness for bilious and spiteful rhetoric. While some may cherish Hackett's bluntness, the attorney's choice of words at times made him sound as though he was channeling Michael Moore. During the campaign, Hackett referred to President Bush as a "chicken-hawk son of a bitch." Later, Hackett posited that the president posed a greater danger to the United States than any other threat.

I never found a position I disagreed with. Again, some crappy reporting fails to mention that Hackett opposed the war (yet re-uped). And while Hackett called Bush a "chicken-hawk" (he is), it didn't end up in the same quote as his I'll die for the SOB line

While just a few weeks ago it seemed that liberal bloggers wanted Democratic politicians to mirror not just their rhetoric, but their substantive politics as well, the Hackett campaign suggests something else entirely: In spite of being a moderate, bloggers fell in love with Hackett based on little more than a shared fondness for juvenile insults and a mutual loathing of George W. Bush.

Kiss my ass you lazy fucking reporter, next time pick up the fucking phone before you make a complete ass out of yourself.

The irony of the blog litmus test is that Hackett clearly fails it. A Google search of his website shows that nowhere on the site did his campaign use the word "Democrat." (The only mention of the term on the site is within 19 previously published articles that were laudatory of the candidate that the campaign chose to republish.) As a matter of fact, his campaign's chosen slogan was "Not just for the Red. Not just for the Blue. But for the Red, White and Blue." That sounds an awful lot like the kind of triangulation that would win an approving nod from Dick Morris. What's more, his televised commercials also conspicuously omitted any reference to his party affiliation--which further suggests that Hackett was less than fully "proud to be a Democrat."

Of course, a real reporter would have seen the Hackett effect coming before the election and headed to Ohio. Once there, a real reporter would have seen every single interview include a question about Hackett's Party being a liability and every single answer was not a pivot to better ground, but a long-winded explanation of how proud Hackett was to be a Democrat. This is bullshit reporting from a lazy reporter.

Whatever their faults, organizations such as the DCCC owe their existence to an ideology. It may be a rickety, tottering ideology--but it's something. The shift from the DCCC to the blogs may signal that the Democratic party will no longer even pretend to be a party of ideas, but will instead become a party of oppositionism somewhat akin to Great Britain's current sad sack of Tories.

The DCCC is about ideology? Everyone reading this who has ever encountered the DCCC is laughing right now. There are great ideas, and you can find them on the blogs. In fact, a great idea that doesn't end up online is nothing.

Posted at 12:52 AM in 2006 Elections - House | Comments (6) | Technorati

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Weekly Standard

Posted by Bob Brigham

A couple of quick points on this.

If I was leading, I was doing so by following Tagaris to Ohio.

I have NOT demanded Rahm Emanuel resign. Not once, but especially not repeatedly.

And the conclusion is total B.S. If I were a reporter and I were writing a story on "near-king-makers" I would probably pick up the phone and give them a call.

UPDATE: (Bob): Sorry I didn't have time to get into this in more depth, but I was running around town because I'm heading to the kickoff of the first think tank lead by a blogger. And for the conclusion, the idea of the DCCC as an ideological organization makes me laugh -- it is an organization designed to hold on to existing power. The good ideas are found online.

And we are not, "savvier readers of the political landscape than the pros at the DCCC" because we fought, we have more game because of how we fought. We didn't need a media buyer for relevance, the quality of our ideas broke through on merit. Sooner or later, the DCCC will start fighting early and not rely upon paid ads to do so. I'd prefer sooner, but I am far past ever relying upon the DCCC to get it. If the lesson is that individuals can make a difference without paid ads, then we need to inspire individuals to fight everywhere. I don't care if Emanuel gets it, we need an army of individuals who get it.

Posted at 03:57 PM in Democrats | Comments (2) | Technorati

Friday, August 12, 2005

MT-Sen: Tester on Burns Abramoff Scandal

Posted by Bob Brigham

From a Jon Tester email:

Tester: "Where There’s Smoke, There’s Burns"

Jon Tester today spoke up about Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who was indicted along with a business partner yesterday on five counts of wire fraud and one count of conspiracy.

As Jon Tester said in a statement, “Jack Abramoff is now under federal indictment for wire fraud and conspiracy. The larger scandal involves alleged falsified financial documents and a mob-style hit on a businessman. Unfortunately, it also includes Conrad Burns’ former chief of staff, former appropriations staffer, and former state director.

“This is the sort of story I’d read about in a John Grisham novel. I don’t like reading about it in the press in connection with my state’s junior Senator. It raises the question that keeps coming up: Why is it that where there’s smoke, there’s Burns?”

It would be nice if the local press would ask and get an answer to that question.

Posted at 06:50 PM in Montana | Technorati

OH-2: Jean Schmidt To Lash Out At Bloggers

Posted by Tim Tagaris

Ohio-2 blog reports that Mean Jean Schmidt's first piece of legislation in Congress will be to make web-hosts criminally responsible for "lies" published on blogs.


P.S. I have gotten a lot of emails today and yesterday, but am out of town for the weekend--I'll respond Sunday night/Monday.

UPDATE: (Bob) Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha. Somebody should ask Mean Jean to read the Constitution before she takes an oath to uphold it. 100% Batshit Crazy.

UPDATE: (Bob) The amazing speed of the self-correcting internets. Krempasky debunks.

Posted at 02:31 PM in Ohio | Comments (6) | Technorati

Huffington Post

Posted by Bob Brigham

Thanks you everyone at the Huffington Post for going all Cindy Sheehan.

Posted at 12:49 PM in Netroots | Technorati

Nebraska's 93 County Strategy

Posted by Bob Brigham

The Nebraska Democratic Party gets it:

Our red-state strategy, the "93 County Strategy", kicked-off this week with two local Meetups and grassroots training in Hershey, Nebraska on Saturday. And we just had a fantastic article written about our progress. [...]

Remember the blogswarm to support Howard Dean and change the Democratic National Committee's approach to politics? Well, here's the beef: Nebraska is one of the first states in the "50 State Strategy" to get organizers on the ground.

Now that we've got the people -- and more and more Nebraskans are coming on board every day -- it's time to reach out to everyone inside and outside of the state so they can participate.

Thats why we've put a post up to catch your ideas about what needs to happen here in our State

I noticed an interesting comment over at Daily Kos:

Hanging On My Wall... a copy of Tim's first post "My ATM Pin Number" to serve as a "must read" to everyone who comes into my office and wants to talk about online fundraising.

Nice. People need to read Part I and Part II.

Props to the Nebraska Democratic Party for "getting it" enough to go after all 93 counties. Way to grow the base.

Posted at 11:42 AM in Activism, Democrats, Nebraska | Comments (1) | Technorati

Rock On 2006

Posted by Bob Brigham

I normally leave music to our buddies at MFA, but I've been thinking a lot about music. One of the highlights of election night was learning that Paul Hackett burned a CD with the soundtrack for his concession speech.

The Rolling Stones sing that the neocons are full of shit. And now Green Day steps up and the DCCC should pay attention.

I admit I didn't click through when I saw it on Eschaton, but when it ended up on Crooks & Liars I had no choice but to watch.

This is a story that needs to be told. Green Day told it with both music and video, at the record store and on Crooks and Liars. That is how you do it.

In the 2006 mid-terms, we are going to see communication localization collide with the online video revolution in every district. Which is good, because we need to have a discussion at every dinner table. Did you see the look on the face of the young woman in the video? I want that same response from all young women if they find out their guy is even thinking about voting Republican.

Young people traditionally lower our share of the vote in midterm elections. This means we have a lot of room for improvement in 2006. We were Democrats' best demographic in 2004, but young people don't just live in swing districts. And last year we went to the polls because we needed to vote against Bush.

Young people need a reason to vote for Democrats this time. I think everyone would agree that Green Day is doing a better job than the DCCC when comes to message distribution. Democrats need to follow this trend and learn from our past mistakes. Think how many people didn't go to class after Kent State but voted for Reagan a decade later. Think how many more voted to re-elect Reagan.

The rule of three says that if you can get somebody to vote with you for 3 elections in a row, then you have them for life. So let's give every young person the ability to vote for a Democratic congressional nominee in 2006. This is how we lock in the youth vote in the districts the DCCC focuses upon, by making it about something bigger than any individual race.

We need to be thinking about congressional races on a cultural level.

Wake Me Up When September Ends

Posted at 10:14 AM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - House, Democrats, Netroots | Technorati

Thursday, August 11, 2005

MT-Sen: Great Falls Tribune Sucks Ass

Posted by Bob Brigham

Earlier today, I wrote about the courage of the Billings Gazette. Now the question is, why does the Great Falls Tribune suck ass?

The Great Falls Tribune needs to stop kissing ass and starting focusing upon the FACT that one of Montana's U.S. Senators has become everything he campaigned against (before he was corrupted by D.C.). The Tribune needs to realize that Robert Redford doesn't play you in the movie because you kissed up to power. It is time for some reporting, especially now that Abramoff will do the perp walk. DC Corruption is the reason Burns said he would only serve two terms -- he lied to the press and the voters. And if the Trib lets him get away with it then they deserve the reputation they are earning.

Posted at 11:52 PM in | Technorati

TX-22: Momentum vs. the Perp Walk

Posted by Bob Brigham

Regular readers of The Swing State Project know that I have an eerie knack when it comes to timing. So where else would I be on the night that Abramoff is indicted, but with Nick Lampson

Sometimes, in this business, there is an urge to get down in the mud. Not for former Congressman Lampson in his quest against Tom DeLay. Lampson provides the perfect contrast because he is a true gentleman. No offense to certain readers (who were my teachers), but I wish I had Mr. Lampson as a teacher because I know he must have been wonderful.

Tom DeLay is the master of politics corrupted by money and will spend whatever it takes to hold on to the power he loves to abuse. But there is only so much you can spend and I want to give Lampson the tools to compete. I'm kinda broke after my cannonball run to Ohio, but Lampson is going to get some money out of me. My thinking is that Tom DeLay deserves a fine and the closest I can get to issuing a ticket is a contribution to Lampson. So I will do my part.

There are two types of politicos: those who should run and those who should serve. Nick Lampson belongs back in congress.

Posted at 11:09 PM in Texas | Technorati

A Critical Look at News Photos

Posted by DavidNYC

Speaking of advertisers, a terrifically interesting and unusual blog has taken an ad in our main strip just to the left - BAGnewsNotes. There are, of course, any number of blogs devoted to analyzing news stories - BNN is devoted to analyzing news photographs. Most of us in the blogging community spend our time with our heads buried deep in text (our friends at Crooks & Liars nonwithstanding), so it's easy to forget just how visual much of modern media is. BNN makes sure to remind us of that fact, and to help explain what exactly it is we're seeing.

So go have a look around.

Posted at 06:28 PM in Site News | Technorati

TX-22: Culture of Corruption

Posted by Bob Brigham


WASHINGTON - A federal audit of a political fundraising committee founded by House Majority Leader Tom DeLay found that it failed to report more than $300,000 in debts owed to vendors and incorrectly paid for some committee activities with money from another DeLay-connected political committee.

The Federal Election Commission's report didn't indicate whether it would pursue enforcement action against Americans for a Republican Majority Political Action Committee.

ARMPAC's executive director, Jim Ellis, was indicted in Texas in connection with a separate DeLay-connected committee, Texans for a Republican Majority. In that case, Ellis is charged with money laundering and accepting illegal political contributions for state legislative campaigns. DeLay has not been accused of any wrongdoing in the case.

DeLay also has been mired in controversy over his connection to lobbyist Jack Abramoff, whose work for several Indian tribes is under federal investigation.

The Culture of Corruption doesn't just happen in swing districts. We need to fight everywhere, even TX-22. Leave no district behind.

Posted at 11:46 AM in Texas | Technorati

MT-Sen: Conrad Burns in Serious Trouble

Posted by Bob Brigham

You don't have to believe me about Montana Senator Conrad Burns vulnerability, ask the Republicans. Karl Rove brought his culture of corruption to Big Sky during a bagman vacation. But Turd Blossum wasn't enough, now they need the Dick Cheney flying to Billings?

Let's talk about Billings and Burns for a minute. Yellowstone County is a traditional Republican stronghold that can be make-or-break for Democrats. I think the turning point in the campaign came a few months ago when the Billings Gazette called bullshit.

Here's how it went down, Burns tried to force op-ed columns full of disinformation on the fact he is a key figure in multiple federal corruption investigations. The Gazette said OK, we'll print your bullshit, but we're going to do our own take on the subject and print it directly above you. A few hours later, "B.S." was how Burns defense was described on a Gazette blog.

Reporters need to go read Josh Marshall and keep calling bullshit.

Posted at 10:49 AM in Montana | Technorati

OH-16: DCCC Conference Call

Posted by Tim Tagaris

There was a lot of discussion on last night's conference call with the DCCC about a CD I am intimately familiar with, OH-16. Congressman Ralph Regula is in his 17th term and will attempt to hand the ball off to his son, Richard, in 2008. He'd bow out sooner, but Richard is up for re-election as Stark County Commissioner in 2006 and if he lost the race for his father's seat, he'd be out of a job. So, the Regula family will wait until 2008, and if Richard Regula loses in either a primary or general, he'll still have a job.

In short, Ralph Regula doesn't want to be in office any longer, that is clear. He was passed up in his bid for Appropriations Committee Chair and has little reason to hang on after 34 years in the House. That being the case, we will fight now where Democrats will be running against name ID alone as opposed to potentially losing the seat for another 32 years should the younger Regula prevail in 2008.

I currently live in that CD, and I know, very very well, all of the names bandied about as Democratic challengers. I wanted to take a moment to say that there are good candidates and terrible candidates being mentioned.

Posted at 10:45 AM in Ohio | Technorati

Good Works PAC

Posted by Tim Tagaris

Swing State Project visitors may have noticed a new ad on the left purchased by Good Works PAC. I wanted to take a second and urge you to click on the ad to see what they have to offer--especially those of you in the "reddest" of Congressional Districts (if you are too lazy to scroll and click, here is the link).

I had the opportunity to meet with the PAC Director, Eric Loeb, while I worked to get Chuck Pennacchio's Internet campaign off the ground several months ago. Truth be told, I was very skeptical at first, and frankly a bit turned off. But the more I see, the more I like. Eric has really gone out of his way to reach out to the blogosphere, and done so locally.

Eric's first taker was Swing State Project commentor and New York City Council candidate Gur Tsabar. Again, I urge you to click on the ad to the left and find out more. In short, Good Works PAC seeks to mobilize volunteers and build organizations through good works and community service. I kind of view it as DeanCorps on steroids (hopefully). Check it out.

Posted at 12:44 AM in Site News | Comments (1) | Technorati

Hackett Everywhere: Holding Out for a Hero

Posted by Bob Brigham

I've been on some conference calls with bloggers yet have never left so uninspired than following tonight's conference call with DCCC Chair Rahm Emanuel.

First, the DCCC screwed up the format of the call so that it was one directional. The blogosphere by nature is a fan of communicating-with instead of talking-at. Then Congressman Emanuel actually went out of his way to blab about the one-directional nature being a good thing and then talked about wanting more of it.

Due to technologically muted groans, Emanuel was positioned to go off without having any response from his audience. My favorite was when he talked about OH-02 and he mentioned his first conference call with Hackett: July 15th. I knew everyone was doing the math on the percentage of relevance that makes when Hackett won the nomination on June 14th and the election was held on August 2nd (they call them 'special' for a reason). Good thing the call was of the talking-at-you variety.

Here's what was missing. Had the DCCC had a call with bloggers two years ago, the exact same conversation would have occurred. "The same, just better" is not a valid slogan.

I'm holding out hope for Emanuel. I'm waiting to be inspired. But nothing leads me to believe that the DCCC realizes the importance of investing early and running full campaigns. Everything still seems based on the last two weeks and 30 second ads.

But that isn't what Democrats need as a Party, especially in congressional races. We need to talk to everyone. Voters deserve a choice. Let's involve all of America when we reform the Culture of Corruption. Technology has circumvented geographic distance, people have free cell phone evenings and IM and email. People talk and we need them talking about the Culture of Corruption – everywhere.

Corrupt Congressmen have been known to live outside of swing districts. Let's put everyone on notice, it is time to do the possible instead of just better than before.

Posted at 12:19 AM in Democrats | Comments (2) | Technorati

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

ATM PIN Number II: Post-Hackett Revalations

Posted by Tim Tagaris

I'll be honest, since the end of the Hackett campaign I too (and Bob as well) have received a number of emails from candidates asking me to help them raise money and detailing why their race is the most important out there.  I can't remember which post Markos said it in, but I think the worst thing about OH-2 is that it immediately makes campaigns re-focus their efforts on fundraising when it comes to online outreach.

That is such a shame. As a community (or multiple communities), we accomplished so much more than just dropping some dollars in a bucket.  Sure, that was huge, but what we accomplished "under the radar" was probably of equal, if not more, importance.

Rapid Response/Research

You all remember the morning that Jean Schmidt had a press conference at 9:30 AM where she claimed she had no idea what Tom Noe (think coingate) looked like and had never met him?  Well within three hours Paul Hackett was on the courthouse steps holding a press conference of his own.  He waved documents in the air for all reporters to see, detailing an existing relationship between Jean Schmidt and Tom Noe.

Schmidt's assertion probably would have gone unchallenged in the waning days of the election were it not for that research.  She got called on it, and was embarassed even further.

And you know where that research came from?  The netroots.

Promoting Memes Into the Mainstream Media

By the end of the campaign, the swift-boating of Paul Hackett was operating at full throttle.  But do you remember where that all started?  It started online with an inocuous blog posting by some idiot who ran against Jean Schmidt in the primary and claimed to advise her on some message board on matters pertaining to Iraq.

OH-2 blog picked it up, and it was still probably destined to remain in the bowels of the blogosphere until it found its way into this community.  Atrios picked it up from there, MyDD, Swing State Project (where I cross-posted it) and the rest is history.

The next night Jean Schmidt was on the 5 PM news obligated to distance herself from the allegations.  

What might even be more impressive is that multiple Republican outlets (including Rush) took the bait we laid out for them and started to question Paul Hackett's service.  Now I was in OH-2, and there was nightly discussion about Hackett's service with valor.  I can also tell you from the call-in shows I heard, it really shined a poor light on the Republican party for attacking his service.  The media saw it again, and are beginning to learn that attacking service is par for the course in the Republican Party--and that bodes very well for us in the future.


When Bob and I started putting out the call for volunteers, the email boxes and phone lines at the Hackett campaign was basically too much for them to handle.  It got so crazy that I am certain the staff wasn't large enough for people to handle the requests and didn't have the experience they probably should have when in Ohio.  I don't think that says so much about the campaign, as it does our ability to mobilize in large numbers on the turn of a dime.  Online success translating into offline results.

Getting It

I want to share this story in conclusion.  The whole time I was in OH-2 working hard online to build a narrative and support for the campaign, I was very very very detached from the "senior level" effort.  I sat in the corner and blogged, wrote from the bar down the street, or stayed in my hotel room scribbling away for much of the day.

As time went by, the staff started to come around and recognize that something unbelievable was happening here.  I had to go home the weekend before the election for some family stuff, and Bob Brigham flew out to pick up the ball.  I implored the staff to give Bob a seat at the table.  Next thing you know he was blogging from Paul Hackett's home.

But the real moment of recognition came on election night.  While Bob, Matt (from actblue), and I set up shop in our own little Internet "war room" down the road from the senior staff war room, we wondered why none of us were asked to join--had we not shown enough?  We all believed there was a role for net, especially in a close election.

Then the results started coming in and the phone call came.  Bob and I were asked to join the senior staff along with DCCC and DNC representatives in the war room.  There was a stark recognition that if there was a recount, or the election was too close to call for any reason, they wanted to rapid response capabilities on their side.

In the blogs, you might have seen calls for research about Clermont County voting machines and irregularities go out online--they were responded to with great information in a matter of minutes.  That was all based on coordination between Bob and I with bloggers across the country putting out the word.  When the chips started getting down, the people in that room counted on the bloggers to pick them up if necessary/possible.

As it stands, the election was over and Paul lost, but had he not, the first media cycle would have been owned by the blogosphere.  I can promise you that.


A few months ago I wrote a piece called, "My ATM Pin Number or On-Line Fundraising."  After working Jeff Seemann's (OH-16) communications shop last cycle, I thought it was a fun piece to write about Internet fundraising.  Specifically, campaigns I had spoken with after the election that only wanted to know how to raise money but really didn't want to listen to the importance of becoming active participants in communities like Kos.  I cringe everytime I see a candidate come on here, and in their first posts, keep asking for money (sorry Nick Lampson).  I don't know about anyone else, but it is a complete turn-off for me.  

This community deserves nothing less than candidates and causes that are willing to engage us.  And if they don't, so be it.  But I know that I personally cannot wait for candidates to come here and watch their diaries fall into obscurity because they are using the space like it's a billboard, instead of an opportunity to open up a dialogue.

I hope and pray that we are all able to sort out the candidates who are really willing to engage us vs. use us for the $20 contributions in the future.  But that is one of the greatest things about this community, or ability to filter out the junk from the good stuff (I think).

If I were to make one final point, it would be that we shouldn't necessarily jump up and down for joy because some junior staffer posts something on Kos or MyDD in the name of their boss.  We deserve more than half-assed outreach, and with a few notable exceptions, we have already seen too much of it.

Posted at 08:59 PM in Netroots | Comments (4) | Technorati

Dobson's Tips On Curing Gayness

Posted by Tim Tagaris

Not even kidding.

He can even take his son with him into the shower, where the boy cannot help but notice that Dad has a penis, just like his, only bigger.

The entry I found this from, here.

Posted at 05:13 PM in General | Comments (2) | Technorati

Report: "The Emergence of the Progressive Blogosphere"

Posted by DavidNYC

Two guys well-known in the blogging world, Chris Bowers and Matt Stoller, have authored a report for the New Politics Insitute about the progressive blogosphere - sort of like a primer for establishment-types not wholly familiar with the warp and woof of blogistan, but also packed with a lot of information that even experienced bloggers will find interesting.

One part I liked a lot is the first appendix, which offers advice to local campaigns seeking to engage bloggers and the netroots in general:

• Hire a "Netroots Coordinator" and be prepared to work with him or her on money, messaging and organizing. Most organizations hire one and relegate them to a position where they are asked simply to raise money. If you follow this model it is not worth engaging the blogs. A good Netroots Coordinator can deliver messaging, media, and money.

• Put up a link on your web site that says "Got a blog?" Ask for bloggers to give you their name, email, IM, and blog address. This list is valuable – it is the list of bloggers who are interested in your issue.

• Take your list of bloggers and add them to your press release list. Call through to introduce yourself, and invite them to cover events, and if possible give them press passes and access.

• Read the blogs who sign up. If you use an "aggregator" such as, you can read many more blogs much more quickly. Get a sense of who is on your side and who is not. Go into the comment section of various blogs and add comments when relevant.

• Hold conference calls with your strategists/candidate. Treat bloggers like friends and allies, but also realize you are on the record.

• Periodically do a "blog round-up" where you email interesting blog posts on your issue to all the bloggers as well as internally.
Link to interesting blog posts from your web site/blog; make sure you link to a few posts that disagree with you. This will lend your online presence more credibility.

• Listen and respond to criticism. These are your friends and often not that experienced in politics – treat them like they are here to learn, not like they are cynical, hard-boiled reporters.

Good suggestions, all of them.

Posted at 04:59 PM in Netroots | Comments (4) | Technorati

NY-Sen: The Thirty-Two Second Gap

Posted by DavidNYC

Jeanine Pirro kicked off her campaign today, and it was filled with not a few inauspicious moments:

Ms. Pirro appeared poised during her first interaction with reporters today, even during a 32-second pause, mid-speech, as she searched for a page of text. "Could I have Page 10?" she asked an aide, Michael McKeon, who provided the text and said later that she had been writing until the last minute and left that page in another room.

Not unexpectedly, New York Democratic Party officials, who sent an aide to monitor Ms. Pirro's speech, seized upon that long pause as an excuse to tweak the Republican as minor league.

"Today's announcement speech of Jeanine Pirro shows she may not be able to take on her primary opponent, let alone Senator Hillary Clinton," Denny Farrell, chairman of the state Democratic Party, said in a statement. "The speech was long on attacks and literally silent on specifics for New Yorkers - 32 seconds of silence that spoke volumes."

Why am I highlighting this particular bit of coverage? Well, even though the reporter (Patrick Healy) claims Pirro was "cool," think about this: Healy had her clocked on a stopwatch. He didn't just say, "paused for half a minute" - he knew the exact amount of time she floundered. Perhaps Healy himself wasn't timing it and learned the length of the pause later, but still, that suggests to me that we can expect pretty brutal coverage of Pirro. I mean, timing her down to the very second? Yikes.

Of course, I could have just started with the first two paragraphs of Healy's entry to prove that point - but the image of Pirro and her aides nervously sweating during what must have seemed like an interminable wait was just too delicious to pass up. In any event:

Decrying Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton's "empty promises," Jeanine F. Pirro got her 2006 Senate campaign off to a fiery but rocky start today, broadly attacking Mrs. Clinton in a speech but struggling with questions about abortion, taxes, Iraq and her husband.

Ms. Pirro, the Westchester County district attorney and the top political prospect of 2006 for many Republicans, began a three-day statewide tour at the Waldorf Astoria in Manhattan this morning with a dozen friends and family members. Conspicuous in his absence was her husband, Albert, whose personal and legal problems have proved a liability in Ms. Pirro's career, and whose role in this campaign was left unclear by Ms. Pirro today.

Turnabout, as they say, is fair play. Rocky start, struggling with questions, Al Pirro's run-ins with the law - all well above the fold. It's nice to see a Republican get put through the same wringer that Dems get squeezed through by the corporate media every day. Jeanine Pirro now has a glaring spotlight cast upon her, and I can only bet that the media's coverage of her campaign is going to get more intense as the campaign goes on.

Memo to Ed Cox: Hang in there!

Posted at 03:29 PM in | Technorati

NY-Sen: Pirro Campaign is Just Pretty Pictures, and Monkeys

Posted by DavidNYC

This is from "even the conservative" New York Post (free registration required - just use BugMeNot):

From the looks of this, Jeanine Pirro would rather show off her monkey love than be seen with her ex-con husband, Albert.

Pirro's new campaign Web site — which has 103 pictures of the Westchester DA — features not a single one of her husband of 30 years. And there's no mention of the two-timing tax cheat in her online bio.

The Web photo gallery is extensive.

There's Pirro with singer Tony Bennett and the late actor Ossie Davis; with Republican Govs. Pataki and Arnold Schwarzenegger of California; with Democrats, including Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Al Sharpton; with her mother and her kindergarten teacher.

And Pirro with that monkey, whose "identity" was not disclosed. It's meant to show her commitment to animal welfare as district attorney.

I guess when your best-known accomplishment is making it on to People Magazine's "50 Most Beautiful People" list, this campaign strategy makes sense. Oh, and here's the monkey. Cute little feller.

And hey, I didn't know about this:

A paralegal came forward and claimed that she had had an affair with [Al Pirro, Jeanine's husband] and that he had fathered her child. After years of denials, he 'fessed up when a DNA test supported the woman's claims.

So the Pirro camp has been trying to claim that Hillary's well-known past issues with Bill will somehow "cancel out" the fact that Al Pirro served an eleven-month sentence for cheating on his taxes. But he also cheated on his wife (and fathered a baby!). So, like an algebra equation, even if the various martial infidelities did cancel each other out, that still leave's Al Pirro's tax fraud on the table. Why am I not surprised that Republicans are only capable of fuzzy math.

Posted at 11:19 AM in New York | Comments (1) | Technorati

Culture of Corruption and the 2006 Midterms

Posted by Bob Brigham

Yesterday I explained how investing now in campaigning everywhere will actually provide more money for TV next fall. The economics of targeting are brutal in a post-broadcast era. The assumptions behind targeting are based upon a reliance on TV and the opportunity costs are enormous. Compromising in this manner hurts Democrats in both the short and long run. But it is good business for Republicans. From Ron Brownstein's LA Times piece on the discussion between doing the possible and doing a lot more of the same in 2006 congressional races.

Walter Ludwig, a former aide in Howard Dean's presidential campaign, has calculated that Democrats failed to mount serious challenges to about 120 House Republicans in each of the last three elections — and that those Republicans contributed $63 million to colleagues in closer races.

That is how it worked when the DCCC wrote off OH-02 last year. Incumbent Rob Portman's opponent only had $16K so Portman was free to travel the country and raise mad cash for his cohorts (NOTE: Portman raised so much money he now rolls with diplomatic license plates.)

Here's the other great thing about 2006: The Culture of Corruption. Take CA-50, it is a bright red district that would never end up on a targeted list. But it is now 100% in play because of the Culture of Corruption. Here's the DCCC line:

[Rahm Emanuel] said he had rejected the traditional milepost of only contesting seats where the GOP incumbent polled 55% of the vote or less. He said the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee would try to recruit and fund challengers in "every open seat, every seat where an individual Republican incumbent has an [ethics] issue," and in districts where Bush's performance fell short of expectations in 2004.

I've reached the same conclusion, only I think every single Republican incumbent has an ethics issue. And I want Democrats organized on the ground before the next major corruption scandal erupts. We can't follow the Culture of Corruption district-by-district, we need to drive it everywhere.

Before the Democratic Party can convince people we are agents of reform in congress, the DCCC needs to prove it can reform the way we run elections. We need every American to know about the Culture of Corruption, our message needs to reverberate through the entire country.

Back to the LA Times:

An array of liberal Internet activists is urging Democrats to vastly expand the 2006 congressional battlefield by recruiting and funding challengers in dozens of districts that have been virtually conceded to the GOP, like the one represented by Pitts.

Those calls are drawing new energy from Democrat Paul Hackett's narrow defeat this month in a special election in an Ohio district where Republicans usually romp. Hackett's showing "proved that you could build the party if you pay attention to every race," said Markos Moulitsas Zuniga, founder of the popular liberal website the Daily Kos. […]

Internet activists see Hackett's 52% to 48% loss to Republican Jean Schmidt in Ohio's 2nd District as proof that Democrats can compete in districts outside those guidelines. President Bush twice won more than 60% of the vote in the Ohio district.

In an article last week, Jerome Armstrong, co-founder of the popular liberal website, called on Democrats to run "Hackett-like operations" against every Republican House member.


Posted at 10:37 AM in Democrats | Comments (2) | Technorati

NY-06: CAFTA 15 Feeling the Heat

Posted by Tim Tagaris

Seems Representative Meeks' Senior Policy Advisor is feeling the heat after the congressman sold out the working men and women of America with his CAFTA vote.

By the way, since your last email cited Crain's NY, I hope you saw their editorial today regarding Cafta, along with the many others. So keep up your racist campaign. But just a warning to you, when we respond back, you better be prepared. Because we will fight back your racist campaign of misinformation. And it will be just as ugly and nasty as you and your fellow Nadar klansmen. Put that in your elitist pipe and choke on it!"
I kind of hope they wage war against the blogs on this vote. In a district that has failed to field a Republican challenger in two cycles, it would be a shame if Meeks met the same fate as Henry Cuellar in TX-28. In addition to the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, apparently the NAACP is a bunch of racists as well.

Posted at 12:30 AM in New York | Comments (1) | Technorati

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

The Alamo is Burning

Posted by Tim Tagaris

No real election news here, save the fact that one of the most predictable Republican positions of desperation is going up in smoke.

Pew Research Center/Pew Forum on Religion: July 13-17, 2005. N=1,502 adults nationwide. MoE ± 3.

"Do you strongly favor, favor, oppose, or strongly oppose allowing gay and lesbian couples to enter into legal agreements with each other that would give them many of the same rights as married couples?"

Favor: 53% (48)
Oppose: 40% (45)
Unsure: 7% (7)
For the first time in the tracking of this data by Pew, the side of sanity and common sense has taken a double digit lead. I am sure I speak for many when I talk about the viceral reaction I get watching Republicans outclassed and outissued retreat with haste to hate and fear mongering based on sexual orientation. When I saw Jean Schmidt debate Paul Hackett live, I watched with disdain as she emphasized the fact that "SHE IS AGAINST GAY MARRIAGE."

And that's great, cause that position is losing traction as well:

"Do you strongly favor, favor, oppose, or strongly oppose allowing gays and lesbians to marry legally?"

Favor: 36% (32)
Oppose: 53% (61)
Unsure: 11% (7)

Without the cultural wedge issues, they will have nothing to run on in 2008 when people are forced to ask themselves to the tired question, "Are we/you better off now than eight years ago?"

Posted at 11:59 PM in General | Comments (1) | Technorati

Hackett: Limbaugh's a "Fatass Drug Addict"

Posted by DavidNYC

Ah, this one was just too good to pass up. Paul Hackett was on Air America the Ed Schultz Show yesterday, and in his typical blunt, truthful style, had this to say:

That's typical for that fatass drug addict to come up with something like that. There's a guy ... I didn't hear this, but actually when I was on drill this weekend, I've got to tell you, he lost a lot of Republican supporters with his comments. Because they were coming up to me, telling me, "I can't believe he said that! Besides that, he called you a soldier. He doesn't know the difference between a soldier and a marine!"


First off, I'm glad that Hackett isn't afraid to spit at Rush Limbaugh (not that I had any doubts). The nice thing about calling Rush names is that they're 100% true! Secondly, I'm also pleased to see that Rush has begun to badly hurt his own standing among members of our military. Gonna be a little bit harder for Rush to pretend he supports the troops when angry soldiers, sailors and marines know that he thinks most of `em are "staff pukes."

It's always nice when chicken(hawk)s come home to roost.

(Via BobcatJH.)

Posted at 06:49 PM in Democrats | Comments (11) | Technorati

Improved Archive Accessibility

Posted by DavidNYC

Just a quick note: When you reach the bottom of the Swing State Project home page, you can now reach our archives more easily. The same pull-down menus you see in the top banner are available at the very bottom of the page (scroll down and you'll see). If you just want to march back through our recent posts chronologically (the front page only displays the ten newest), pull down the current month and you're set.

P.S. We also modified the blockquotes to make them stand apart from regular text more clearly. You can use these blockquotes in comments as well, just by using the standard blockquote tag enclosed in angle brackets.

Posted at 06:34 PM in Site News | Technorati

DCCC: Leave No District Behind

Posted by Tim Tagaris

In light of the recent "bubble-up" between the DCCC vs. the netroots and supporters of the 50 state strategy, I thought this piece leading off today's House Race Hotline was interesting (Nat'l Journal Subs Only):

Too bad there's no strong Dem candidate in the CA 48 special -- then we could really see if those charges of being a "rubberstamp" for Bush that were lobbed at GOPer Jean Schmidt in OH 02, will resonate on a nat'l level. Of course, after their heavy involvement in the OH 02 race, it's a worthy question to ask -- who could recruit a candidate first in CA 48, the DCCC or the liberal blogosphere?
Ready. Set. Go!

Posted at 03:04 PM in 2005 Elections, California, Democrats, Open Seats, Special Elections | Comments (4) | Technorati

Charlie Cook Waits by his TV for The Revolution

Posted by Bob Brigham

Charlie Cook looks at the OH-02 discussion at the (subscription only) National Journal. Mr. Cook ignores both the force of scale and the reality of post-broadcast politics.

Democrats would be wise to keep their own counsel in examining the implications because Cook's way we will lose one Tivo set at a time.

Democrats need to stop judging success on Election Day. We need to start judging success each and every day. This simple mindset change is critical in a post-broadcast environment. Out west, one question you hear in HQ is, "We winning?" Democrats need some West Coast Offense because the right investments now can catapult a tidal cycle. We need to stop The Fear from influencing decision making and start focusing on winning every single day in every district in every state. If we can make this simple mindset change before it is forced upon us, then we will win more elections. Stop compromising, play hard and start winning.

We need scalable message and finance structures. This will be the end of War Chest campaigning. If you have a scalable model, money sitting in the bank is money wasted. Cash flow campaigning, investment in the model. The force of scale will actually grow the TV budget and it will be up earlier.

Voters have free evening cell phone minutes, email, IM. Geographical barriers have been circumvented by technology. I don't want people to vote Democratic because of a 30 second ad, I want them to because somebody they respect talked with them. If we don't talk to everyone, how can we be sure we are connecting?

Here's what Cook says:

It's one thing for liberals and Democrats to tout a '50-state strategy' and aim to field candidates in every Republican-held district, but to expend limited resources on long-shot candidates only means that more-competitive candidates get less. Resources are finite and choices have to be made.

Cook's entire premise is based on outdated fundraising systems. Candidate call time is a not a scalable model. When the DCCC tells new candidates to go raise $100K if they want to talk, they are breeding fundraisers, not political leaders. We need candidates who are willing to get out of the call room and move every day with bold action and straight talk. We need candidates will who let their story be told and are focused on winning every day.

If you are the Democratic nominee for the United States Congress, you deserve to have a campaign. It isn't about buying TV in every race, it is about leaving no district behind. If you are the Democratic nominee, I think you should have a Campaign Manager. If you are the Democratic nominee, I think you need a Finance Director who can build a scalable fundraising movement. If you are the Democratic nominee, I think you need a Communications Director who can earn media and use technology to force message everywhere. If you are the Democratic nominee, I think you need a Field Director skilled in micro-targeting. If you are the Democratic Nominee, I think you need a Scheduler who will aggressively manage the most valuable resource in the campaign. Straight talk, bold action, fight every day and leave no district behind.

Cook goes on:

While many liberal bloggers have been critical of this DCCC regime as well as the House Committee under previous chairmen, the reality is that, had the DCCC gone on the air with advertising a week or two earlier, the NRCC would have double or tripled that spending and more importantly, kicked the Schmidt campaign into gear. Democrats' only hope was to come onto the radar screen late, and hope to sneak by. A full frontal attack would not have done nearly as well. Plus, Democrats, and Hackett, have certainly gotten themselves a great deal of positive press attention given that they came up short.

Again, Cook assumes that it is all about the 30 second ad, Cook assumes that is the only arrow in the DCCC's quiver. If we focus on winning every day, then we will never have to worry about coming in late. If we stop worrying about the 30 second ad, we can build scalable models that will result in more ads. If we build a nationwide, post-broadcast congressional communications network, then we can do more than talk at people on TV, we could connect.

We are going to need to do this sooner or later, I would prefer sooner.

Posted at 11:46 AM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - House, Democrats, Netroots | Comments (3) | Technorati

NJ-Gov: Stoller Takes Down Forrester

Posted by Tim Tagaris

Actually, Forrester takes down Forrester might be a more fitting title for this entry:

# Despite a fourteen year political career, Forrester calls himself an outsider to Trenton, denouncing pay-to-play and no-bid public sector contracts. It's then revealed that 80% of his company's contracts are no-bid public sector contracts.

# Forrester lauds Monmouth County as an example of good government during a Republican fundraiser. Monmouth County insider Anthony Palughi is indicted that same day for bribery.

# Aside from no-bid public sector contracts, it turns out that Doug Forrester also owns an insurance company called Heartland Fidelity that he started in 2003. Owners of insurance companies that do business in New Jersey are not allowed to give money to political candidates. Every single one of Forrester's campaign contributions - including those to his self-financed campaign - is possibly illegal and may need to be returned.

Scott Shields finishes the one-two over at MyDD.

Posted at 11:08 AM in New Jersey | Technorati

Blogging in Pajamas! Hahahahaha!

Posted by Tim Tagaris

I have read a lot of bad articles/editorials about the blogosphere in the past two years or so, but this has got to be one of the worst attempts to "explain" the medium while trying to be funny, all wrapped in attempt to paint the war waged against Karl Rove as being led by a bunch of self-important pajama clad bloggers.

Posted at 10:38 AM in Netroots | Technorati

Monday, August 08, 2005

DCCC: How Slow Can You Go

Posted by Bob Brigham

One criticism of the DCCC is that they move waaaaaaaaaaay tooooooo sloooooow. We're seeing this play out in the current movement to turn the DCCC into a committee that can compete in a post-broadcast environment. When Jerome and Markos brought up a very good point about the DCCC website, the response was that the changes would be made by the end of the year (instead of the proper response that it would happen by the end of the week).

Saturday, I reminded DCCC Rahm Emanuel that he needs to quit the DLC. This is the perfect way for the DCCC to prove that they can move at a speed other than geological. Everyone who read Ron Brownstein's Hotline piece knows that the correct decision is for Emanuel to stop carrying Al From's baggage. At this point, the question is whether he gets with the program now, or waits. This is a perfect situation to see how the DCCC can react to changing circumstances.

Posted at 09:41 PM in Democrats | Comments (7) | Technorati

MoveOn: Loose Lips, Pink Slips -- FIRE KARL ROVE

Posted by Bob Brigham

Karl Rove Personally, I'm a big fan of Open Source message creation. If we care more about the content than the source, then collectively we can usually find a better message than a handful of political consultants. If not, Open Source will allow the political consultants' message to prove it is the best by rising to the top.

At Swing State Project, we often write about onling campaigning in the post-broadcast era and open source message creation is a big part of the puzzle. Take the Ohio 2 race for example. Tim Tagaris nailed the message in a blog post. It turned into a viral video ad and then ended up in an email from the DNC to 4 million Democrats (see paragraph 4). Political message has turned into a discussion and the days of talking at people are over.

Democracy for America Open Sourced Tom DeLay a few months ago for a successful billboard campaign.

Now, MoveOn has done it to Karl Rove. Bonus points for the pic component. Full email after the break...

Dear MoveOn member,

It has been a busy week in the Karl Rove CIA Leak scandal. Columnist Robert Novak was suspended by CNN after he swore profanely and then walked out of the CNN studio rather than answer questions about his role in the CIA leak.1 The American Prospect reports that jailed New York Times reporter Judith Miller met with Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, Scooter Libby, and discussed Valerie Plame six days before Plame's undercover status with the CIA was revealed.2

Finally, after a week and 17,740 entries from MoveOn members we have a winner in the Fire Karl Rove Slogan Contest. And the winner is...

"Loose Lips Deserve Pink Slips. Fire Karl Rove."

Now that we have the slogan we need to get it out there. We've designed a downloadable poster from the winning slogan. You can print it easily on a desktop printer and it's perfect to place in your window, hang on your refrigerator, and tack on a bulletin board at home, work or in your community, in a gym locker or anywhere else that makes sense. Take a minute right now to click on the link below to download and print the poster (you'll need Adobe Acrobat Reader).

After you've prominently hung up your photo send us a digital photo of where you've displayed it or a photo of you or your friends holding the poster. Just e-mail it as an attachment to:

Use the subject line to give your photo a title, and the body of the email to give it a description. Please include the location (venue, city, state) in the description.

The author of the winning slogan is Mary Thornquist, a MoveOn member from Catonsville, Maryland. Mary has been a MoveOn member since 1998. We asked her to write about the slogan and the Karl Rove CIA Leak scandal. Here is what she wrote.


Thanks for letting me know my slogan was chosen. As I said, I was really impressed with many of the entries. It's clear that a lot people are disappointed with the current administration's lack of integrity on this and other issues.

My entry, obviously, derives from the World War II slogan, "Loose Lips Sink Ships". The patriotic message then was clear: divulging information, intentionally or not, aided the enemy and put our armed forces at risk. The President's promise to fire anyone in his administration found to be involved in leaking the identity of Valerie Plame was consistent with the spirit of this message. Now we see this was mere patriotic posturing.

The Right's real message about patriotism keeps re-emerging: that disagreeing with the administration's policies, actions, and decisions—especially decisions to go to war regardless of the evidence—is what is unpatriotic and what harms our troops and our nation. No matter that one of the closest advisers to the President divulged the identity of an undercover CIA operative to the press, likely putting American lives at risk and undoing years of intelligence gathering. No matter that he did so with the ugly purposes of retaliation and to undermine the operative's husband, who had the audacity to publicly question the President's weak justification for war.

What Karl Rove did was wrong, dangerous, and tantamount to treason. It was unpatriotic. Calling on the president to fulfill his promise to do something about it is not. The special prosecutor's ultimate findings about whether Mr. Rove's behavior was intentional or criminal are irrelevant. The American people deserve more than the President "flip-flopping" over whether or not he will hold his people accountable. They deserve to know that consequences follow when mistakes are made. They deserve to see this country be secure, peaceful, and well respected once again.

Mary Thornquist
Catonsville, Maryland
MoveOn member since 1998

Thank you Mary and thanks to everybody who participated. The winning slogan won 16,826 votes. The next favorite earned 14,135 votes.

The Top Five Slogans from the contest were:

Loose Lips Deserve Pink Slips. Fire Karl Rove (Our winner!)
Karl Rove: The Voice of Treason
Treason is Not a Family Value
Support Homeland Security—Fire Karl Rove
Firing Rove: A REAL Patriot Act

Some other top slogans we thought were good include:

It's not Left or Right—it's WRONG. Fire Karl Rove
Bush Knew: Fire Him Too
Keep Your Promise—Fire Rove!
Fire Rove. It's not just a good idea, it's the law.

And one favorite plays off of Karl Rove's defense that he didn't use Valerie Plame's name—he only called her "Joe Wilson's wife." That slogan is: "Fire Mrs. Rove's Husband." That one made folks laugh.

There were some great slogan suggestions from MoveOn members. One theme that ran through a lot of them was America's security. Clearly millions of Americans don't see this as just another Washington scandal but as a serious issue about accountability, lies and real security for our families and our country. Thanks to everybody who participated as a slogan author or voter. Don't forget to download your poster.

Thanks for all you do.

–Tom, Eli, Justin, Carrie and the Political Action Team
Monday, August 8th, 2005


1. CNN suspends Robert Novak for on-air outburst, Reuters August, 5, 2005

2. The Meeting, The American Prospect online. August, 6, 2005

Good stuff, thanks Moveon!

Posted at 02:31 PM in Activism, Democrats, Netroots, Plamegate, Plamegate | Comments (1) | Technorati

NY-Sen: Pirro to Challenge Clinton

Posted by DavidNYC

It's official: Jeanine Pirro, former Westchester District Attorney will challenge Sen. Hillary Clinton next year.

Pirro will actually faced a contested primary (or so it would seem) against Dick Nixon's son-in-law Ed Cox. (I'll remind everyone that today is the 41st anniversary of Nixon's resignation announcement.) Contested primaries are a real hassle in New York State - the primary date is so late (in September) that the victor has less than two months to raise money and do battle with his or her opponent. If Cox stays in this fight, then whoever wins the GOP primary won't even have time to take a breath before the giant Hillary machine swamps 'em in the fall.

Pirro is also burdened by the fact that her husband is a convicted tax cheat (whose crimes she partially benefitted from). Amusingly, the GOP is saying that the sins of the husband should not be imputed to the wife - while at the same time claiming that Hillary's ancient marital issues will "cancel out" Pirro's problems. Not the first time the GOP has talked out of both sides of its mouth.

Pirro is allegedly the GOP's dream candidate for this race - but I ain't buyin' it. There's no chance she'll beat Clinton. At best, she might raise her profile because Hillary is a national figure, but even that's open to question, since this Senate race won't be one of the top-tier contested fights.

Posted at 01:45 PM in New York | Comments (2) | Technorati

MT-Sen: Big News from Big Sky Country

Posted by Bob Brigham

Get your tickets now, Montana is hosting the #1 U.S. Senate race in the nation. As regular Swing State Project readers know, I'm a Montanan (I happen to live else-where, but that doesn't really matter). I have very strong feelings on Conrad Burns.

His re-election is the #1 race right now. A couple of major developments:

1. Tester's Catapult As the internet favorite, Jon Tester had a first round draft pick he used on Matt Singer. Old timers remember Singer at Not Geniuses during the last cycle. After the election, he started Left in the West and he also writes for Campus Progress when he's not filling in for Sirota. Matt Singer can pay his own way and he is amazing at rapid response. Tester's campaign now has a real-time political capability. Add to that a notice from Kos:

Heads up -- while there's a contested primary for this Senate race on the Democratic side, the Montana progressive blogosphere has lined up behind Jon Tester. I've already spoken well of Tester, currently the president of the Montana Senate and a working organic farmer, and will start laying out the case for helping his candidacy in the week's ahead.

2. Party Passion The Montana Democratic Party is fired up. Democrats nationwide use the term, "Montana Miracle" to describe last year's sweep of both chambers and the Governor's mansion. In a ground came spread out over almost 150,000 square miles, passion is worth a couple of points. The MDP has just launched the air war and is ready to keep the streak alive.

3. Party Politics The final update is that I just bought a Pearl Jam ticket. As always, if you can't make it in person, Swing State Project will try to keep you in the loop.

Posted at 12:01 PM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - Senate, Montana, Netroots | Technorati

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Politics PA Exposed

Posted by Tim Tagaris

One of the best kept secrets in Pennsylvania's online community is who is "Sy Snyder" of PoliticsPA fame, and is he/she a Republican or Democrat? "Synder's" site is one of the more respected sources for commentary in the Pennsylvania political scene, and goes out of its way to purport "balanced" coverage of PA politics.

Although I cannot find the links right now, Synder has used the front-page of his highly popular site to mock at least one Philadelphia blogger (Dragonball Yee) who assumed Snyder was a Republican. He/she has also put up polls on the site asking readers to guess what his/her political affiliation is. I have also suspected PoliticsPA of being run by a Republican using the cover of balance to subtely push a Republican message and candidates. I first brought this up on a conference call I had with Philadelphia area online activists in a February conference call.

To be fair, while working for Chuck Pennacchio, I never had a problem with "Snyder." If I ever sent a press release, it was posted within minutes. However, Chris Bowers and one of his intrepid readers over at MyDD appear to have exposed PoliticsPA as funded by the Right Wing Noise Machine. I also know that a number of PA reporters used to check in at Swing State Project while I worked for Chuck (including the Philly Inquirer). If you are still checking Swing State Project, please take note of these developments. PoliticsPA has certainly helped push stories into the mainstream media before, and I hope jounralists act with pause and consider the source in the future.

Posted at 02:36 PM in Pennsylvania | Comments (1) | Technorati

TX-28: Let It Begin With Cuellar

Posted by Tim Tagaris

It wasn't the "Gang of Fourteen" that sold out the working men and women of America in the early morning hours of July 28th, it was the "Gang of Fifteen Democrats" who voted for CAFTA that did the dirty work. Chief among the back-stabbers was Democrat Henry Cullar of Texas.

Rangel recalled a conversation he had had with Cuellar when both attended a meeting at the White House several weeks ago. “He gave me his personal assurances that if I helped this president [on CAFTA], that this president would be there for me,” Rangel recalled. “He said he knew this from personal experience.”
And Cuellar does have a good amount of personal experience with the President and other Texas Republicans.
As a state House member in 2000, he [Cuellar] stumped for George W. Bush's presidential effort. Afterward, he agreed to serve the new GOP governor, Rick Perry, as secretary of state.
Not only did he vote for CAFTA, but Cuellar took his actions a step further, attempting to lobby other Democratic representatives to support the bill. Fittingly, Cuellar will get primaried in 2006 by Ciro Rodriguez, former Chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus in the House of Representatives. I read with glee that labor leaders are already rallying against Cuellar and the DCCC will likely turn its back on any attempt defend the traitorous representative.
That outraged unions. Chuck Rocha, national political director at United Steelworkers, called Mr. Cuellar his No. 1 target and said he's mobilizing the district's 20,000 members and retirees. [...]

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee generally backs incumbents but probably won't give much help in this sort of contested primary.

This comes on the heels of Majority Leader Pelosi reportedly contemplating formal action against several of the Members who strayed from the caucus on this important vote. Maybe Greg Meeks (NY-6) will be next. Meeks supported CAFTA despite being unchallenged by a Republican in both 2002 and 2004. I say let the formal action begin, and let it begin with Cuellar.

In 2004, Cuellar defeated Rodriguez by 55 votes. He went on to defeat Republican Jim Hobson 59% to 39%. And although George Bush won by a narrow margin over John Kerry in 2004 in the district, Al Gore defeated Bush in 2000. We should retain this seat no matter what happens in the primary. In Texas-28, it's time to fight it out in the primary.

I know there is a lot of dissatisfaction with the D-Trip lately, but this made me happy. I know the official line is that they don't get involved in contested primaries anyway, but we all know that can be a load of mularkey at times (see Jeff Smith). I hope we can start using potential primary challenges more often as a stick for those who feel it convenient to stray from the caucus on important votes like CAFTA. For a Democrat who won by 20% in 2004, there was no excuse to vote "aye" and then attempt to lobby other Democrats to join the dark side on this one.

Posted at 02:27 AM in Texas | Comments (7) | Technorati

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Credit Where Credit is Due

Posted by Tim Tagaris

There's been a lot of talk in the past few days about who gets the credit and who wears the collar for what happened in Ohio-2. The bottom line is that everybody that participated helped to earn each and every one-tenth of one percent on election day. I'll be the first to admit, it feels good to see your name in the paper and listen to people talk about how you contributed. But if you really want to take a look at how and where this really started, both online and offline, if you don't mention the people of Southwest Ohio, you missed the story completely.

Jerome hit on it today, and I want to expand on it. Without Chris Baker at OH-02, I don't think any of what happened online actually happens. Without the Cincinnati Blog or Drinking Liberally in Cincinnati, I don't think the DFA Email happens. And let's be honest, the DFA Email was HUGE and lent a ton of credibility to the effort. Without the efforts of Ann Driscoll reporting on the race, again, none of this happens. I would be remiss not to mention Kevin Kefgen's grassroots produced commercial as well.

With all due respect to Markos and today's piece by Elanor Clift, it's real easy to point to the largest blog out there and say, all credit goes there (note: Markos was the first person to re-direct the praise). I have come to realize that when it comes to success online, the truth is often a lot harder to uncover, and most often starts somewhere in the bowels of the blgosopehere. Just like Dean Nation and Jerome's work contributed mightily to the emergence of Howard Dean--they contributing before most of us even knew who the Governor was.

If you want more detail about what went down in SW Ohio before most of us even knew who Paul Hackett was, I wrote a piece over at Grow Ohio, the day after blogosphere day, that talks about the roots of Ohio's netroots and how they really got this thing off the ground. You can read that here.

Posted at 03:13 PM in Ohio | Comments (4) | Technorati


Posted by Bob Brigham

I'm unplugging for the rest of the weekend. Use this as an open thread for ideas you might have for CA-48.

Posted at 12:14 PM in Site News | Comments (1) | Technorati

DCCC: Fight with the 'Roots or Lose with the DLC???

Posted by Bob Brigham

One thing that has been missing from the discussion of Paul Hackett's success is the fact that he earned the respect of voters who disagreed with his stances. Hackett never compromised his message to try and align his stances with his district. Hackett stood proud and won the prima facia battle for respect. Straight talk and bold action. The exact opposite of the DLC (who did nothing for Hackett).

Kos said:

Every time you hear a Democrat talk about how Democrats don't stand for anything? That's the DLC, as they urge Democrats to chase after a "center" that gets constantly redefined rightward by an ideologically principled Republican party.

As we strive to find our core convictions, and define who we are and what we stand for as a party, the DLC is one of the roadblocks -- a divisive, fundamentalist organization willing to sell any and all progressive ideals to the altar of big business. And anything that threatens their dominance has met with their ire -- be it Howard Dean, the netroots, or regular people suddenly interested in transforming and reforming the Democratic Party.

Democrats have a choice to make -- stand with the DLC, or stand with the grassroots and netroots of the party. It's interesting that Democrats with a strong sense of self -- those who truly know what they stand for and are unafraid to say so -- are those least interested in the DLC's snake oil. Obama twice had to demand the DLC take him off their list. California's Phil Angelides -- the next governor of the Golden State given Ahnold's spectacular collapse -- also demanded to be taken off their list. Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan, who's anti-war floor speech made the internet rounds last year, also demanded to be taken off their list. (emphasis mine)

DCCC Chair Rahm Emanuel is still on the list of shame.

Congressman Emanuel has a choice to make...

Posted at 11:49 AM in 2006 Elections - House, Democrats | Comments (4) | Technorati

Friday, August 05, 2005

Netroots Win Political Play of the Week

Posted by Bob Brigham

Image hosted by Photobucket.comCNN:

Netroots activism. Ever hear of it?

You will. Because this week marks its arrival as a force in American politics. [...]

Like Bob Brigham. He and his partner Tim Tagaris run a Democratic blog called Brigham is in San Francisco. Tagaris is in Ohio.

They never met until this year when they discovered a cause, or more precisely, a candidate -- Democrat Paul Hackett, running in a special election for an Ohio congressional seat that most national Democrats wrote off as hopeless.

But Hackett, a Marine who served in Iraq, showed fight.

"We have to say it loud that we are proud to fight for what this great country stands for," he said.

Damn straight. Voters respect straight talk and bold action.

The liberal blogs got organized.

"A hundred to 150 bloggers helped raise money, turned out volunteers, got people down to the district and emailed their friends in Ohio," said Bob Brigham of

Ever hear of a blogswarm?

According to CNN blog reporter Jacki Schechner, "This was a pretty decent example of a lot of people getting behind one thing at exactly the same time." A blogswarm.

There is a slight typo in the transcript. There should be a space between 'blog' and 'swarm' when referring to the action. As a single word, it refers to an individual. But back to the award:

On the final day of the campaign they needed $30,000. "So Bob from Swing State sent out an email, made phone calls, said, 'Here is what we need, we need $30,000 in a very short period of time.'" Schechner said. "And the next day, ActBlue delivered a check for $60,000."

ActBlue is a Web site that raises money for Democrats.

ActBlue rocks on every day, use it.

"This was a success," Hackett said in his concession speech. "We should all be proud, so let's rock on."

People often compare the Internet to the Wild West. Here's an update.

"The lone gunslingers of the blogosphere could work as a posse, and that's what let us raise an army," Brigham said. And carry off the political Play of the Week.

The bloggers made their point -- on their Web site, of course: "The Republican Party is on notice. For that matter, the Democratic Party establishment is on notice; get with the program or we will leave you behind.''


Posted at 08:45 PM in Activism, Netroots, Ohio, Site News | Comments (7) | Technorati

MT-Sen: Jon Tester Stands Up for Fair Trade

Posted by Bob Brigham

As regular readers know, Montana state Senate President Jon Tester was the first candidate to make the 2006 Swing State Project Official Candidate List.

We endorsed Tester because he is the type of Democrat who will make us all proud in the U.S. Senate. I just received an email from the campaign, Tester is standing up for workers, full email in the extended.

Last week, Republicans in Washington, DC, pushed through the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) — an act that Jon Tester knows is bad for Montana agriculture.
Jon’s farm has been in his family since his grandfather homesteaded near Big Sandy in 1916. Jon and his wife Sharla raise wheat, barley, lentils, buckwheat, millet, peas, alfalfa and hay.

Jon knows that CAFTA will hurt the viability and profitability of family farm and ranch operations across Montana by handing trade advantages to foreign interests. CAFTA also will harm Montana’s domestic cattle industry and Montana sugar beet growers.

That’s why Jon Tester opposed CAFTA, and that’s why he met last week with leaders of R-CALF USA, a group of Montana and American stockgrowers who helped lead the fight against the bill.

He’s committed to standing against unfair trade agreements like CAFTA that hurt our communities and our way of life.

That’s the kind of leadership we’ll get when Jon Tester is in the U.S. Senate. But we need your help to get him there.

In the coming weeks, we’ll be kicking this campaign into high gear. We’ll be updating you more frequently about Jon’s efforts on behalf of working Montanans, and about what you can do to help.

But today, you can take one simple action to help build the campaign that will bring Montana values to Washington, D.C.:

Forward this email on to your friends and family. You’ve taken the first step by joining the campaign — now ask others to join you. They can join the campaign by clicking here:

Jon also has two important fundraising events next week in Helena and Missoula. Click here for information on how you can attend and meet Jon:

And finally, you can still buy tickets for the Pearl Jam benefit concert in Missoula on August 29th. Click here for information:

Be sure to send this email on to your family and friends. It’s time for us to work together for Montana.

Bill Lombardi
Montanans for Tester

Posted at 04:07 PM in Montana | Comments (1) | Technorati

OH-2: Election Night in the War Room (Photos/Video)

Posted by Tim Tagaris

(I know people like the behind-the-scenes, so here it is. I have one more piece about the election, and then it's back to our regularly scheduled programming for me -- Tim)

At around 6:30 P.M. Bob Brigham, Matt Debergalis, a blogger who shall remain nameless, and I arrived at Cincinnati's Millenium Hotel and checked into our two rooms. We quickly moved into Bob's room and set up shop. Amazingly, there was no wireless connection in the hotel; only the fact that Matt happened to have an ethernet cable allowed us to create a network from his computer. And so began what ended up being one of the most exciting evenings in my life.

For the days leading up to the election, we set up shop at the Goldminer Tavern down the street from Hackett HQ in what would serve as our makeshift war room--a war room that conveniently served the biggest, tastiest jumbo bacon burger I have ever seen, had a full bar, and allowed me to smoke cigarettes without leaving the office. In between blogging about Paul Hackett, discussing strategy that had nothing to do about with the campaign, and just kicking back and BSing, we decided that we needed a "war room" of our own on election night. We would have two goals in the room: 1.) Give everyone that on-the-ground perspective that was so popular during the campaign. 2.) Prepare for the possibility of an election that went into "extra innings." At that point, who knew we would be so close...

As you all know by now, as the early results poured in, many (including a blogger in the room who shall remain nameless) were skeptical they would hold up throughout the evening. Absentee ballots came in and Jean Schmidt had a lead smaller than expected. We all talked about how that a snapshot of days/weeks ago, and that numbers should have improved on Election Day because of all the positive press Paul Hackett had received and commercials the grassroots allowed him to afford.

At this point, Bob picked up his lap-top and declared he was heading down the victory party. He knew that people wanted on-site reporting and we agreed I would just feed him results for Swing State Project as they came in. That's when the night started getting interesting.

Chris Bowers reported on the first set of results:

56 of 753 precints reporting. Hackett 51-49 Schimdt. Hackett 6562-6276 Schimdt. Here we go rock and roll. Yesss!!!!

Then he gave us the second, third and fourth block of returns:

175 of 753 precints, Hackett 51-49 Schimdt. Hackett 13,513-12,802. Its holding.

195 out of 753 precincts. Hackett 52-48 Schimdt. Hackett 14,600--13,549 Schimdt.

250 of 753. Hackett 51.99-48.01 Schimdt. Hackett 18,476--17,046. The force will be with Hackett, always. It is getting close to total freak-out time.

259 of 753. Hackett increases lead. 52.18--47.81. Hackett 19053--Schimdt 17457. Watch out for the karma police.

This was by far the high point of the evening. At this point, I was calling DavidNYC, Chris Bowers, and anyone who was following this race in the slightest with more excitement than I have ever felt since I started following politics. There's something about the underdog, isn't there?

Then we got the next set that showed Jean Schmidt close that gap with more than half of the precincts reporting. At that point, my phone rang. That's when my personal excitement ratcheted up a notch.

In the Hackett Campaign "War Room," they were well aware we were making plans to control the first few hours of the debate should the race head into overtime. The person on the other end of the phone was Meghan, Paul's Finance Director. While most people there understood there was really something special going on in the blogosphere, as the finance director, she really "got it." Her message was simple, "We need you down here now! I will meet you outside." She told me the location and I packed my gear and sprinted toward the elevator.

I hopped in a cab to take me three blocks down the street. When the driver looked at me quizically, I told him, "every second counts right now." When I arrived, Meghan was waiting outside and gave me the brief run-down of what was going on. We headed up the escalator to the room, and walked in.

I plugged in my lap-top and searched for a wireless signal. Lucky for me, the hotel picked up T-Mobile and I have a wireless account with them. It was at that moment hearts began to break across the country. Jean Schmidt had captured the lead and began to pull away to a four point margin. Sighs filled the room and eyes began to well up in tears. The team had approached the rainbow's edge, but the pot of gold that was once within arms reach seemed a mile away.

The next update we received was the infamous 50% to 50% with 91 precints remaining. It was at that point the evening stood still.

Bob Brigham had arrived in the "war room" about 15 minutes before this and was all fired up and ready to go. I had been talking to Chris Bowers on and off throughout the evening, and Matt DeBergalis had long since been dispatched to Clermont County along with other campaign workers to oversee the vote count.

I put out the call to Chris and other bloggers to start looking into Clermont County. There were delays that no one had an explanation for at that point. To be sure, things were not looking good, but it was so close that we really wanted all of our bases covered. We found out the type of vote counting machines used in Clermont, and Bowers commented on MyDD that we needed all the information we could get about the county. It turned out that in the primary a number of votes were "found" for Jean Schmidt in Clermont, which happens to be her home town.

The mood began to sour in the room, and there were tears. The county had already gone for Schmidt she would probably end up distancing herself even further by the time the last 91 precincts came in. People started calculating how many votes were probably left based on voting patterns and what we would need to win or get within the 1/2 of 1% margin to trigger the automatic recount.

At the same time, bloggers were flooding my inbox with information on Clermont County. Atrios called and asked what was going on--he was very realistic, but pleased at what we had accomplished. I still held out hope.

We started talking about the amount of money needed for a recount and compared it to what the campaign had left over in the bank. I don't know why it took anyone longer than 30 seconds to figure it out, but by the end of the discussion, they knew the blogosphere would be there for the campaign.

As the research came in, people started bandying about the "f" word on the blogs--the stage was being set for something entirely too close to call. In a land far far away, another blogger was preparing a one page report based on the DNC's study of voting irregularities in Ohio's 2004 election--specifically in Clermont County. The stage was being set for us to own the first few hours.

The discussion among others in the room at the time centered around what the number was that we should demand a recount and if the candidate should make a statement; he was getting phone calls from the press at the time.

It was from the television news we found out the problem. Ballots had "stuck together" because of the humidity, and the machines were having a hard time reading them. No one knew how much longer this would take.

A reporter from "The Hill" had apparently called Paul and said they had results showing him losing 53-47 with all the precincts in. We searched online for anything that would illustrated where they got that information from, but there was nothing.

Then it all came crashing down...

One of the staffers in the room picked up his cell phone and got the final results from Clermont. It was over, Jean Schmidt had won by some 3000 votes. The phone call to Paul was made, who was waiting at home, informing him of the results--the candidate said he was making his way down to the celebration to concede.

The war room cleared out pretty quickly, the only people left behind was Bob, the nameless blogger, and myself. We talked about everything the grassroots had accomplished in this race and began to pack up our things. At that time, Jean Schmidt appeared on television to accept victory, before she even received the call from Paul. We thought it fitting that we were the last three left in the war room, considering it was the grassroots that was the first to really step up and make this race everything it turned out to be. So we posed infront of the television screen with Schmidt on in the background--you know, one of those photos where the person in the front gets their arms out far ahead and takes the photo themself.

We left the room and started the long walk over to the celebration with a number of the staff members that occupied the "war room the entire evening." The mood inside was jubilant. The most tense moment of the evening came when someone approached the representative of WLW 700 AM and told him "F*CK YOU FOR CALLING PAUL HACKETT A BABY KILLER!" He repeated it several times, calling out the radio station that served as a communications wing of the Schmidt campaign in the days leading up the election. THe guy was right. The representative looked scared sh!tless--he was undoubtedly in enemy territory.

The rest is history. Paul Hackett took the stage and the place went crazy. I'll close with some video clips from the event.

Video - Paul Hackett Takes The Stage
Video - Paul Hackett Shares a Story About Chicken(hawks)
Video - Paul Hackett Thanks His Supporters: "Rock On!"

I hope you all enjoyed the ride as much as I did, but I get the feeling that is pretty obvious.

Thanks for reading,




1.) Goldminders in Batavia Ohio - Tim (ttagaris) in hat, Bob Brigham on right, Matt DeBergelis get photographed by a reporter from Mother Jones on Election day Empty computer is the blogger who shall remain nameless.

2.) A tense war room as everyone waits for last 91 precints to arrive.

3.) The tote board in the war room that outlines county by county totals.

4.) Sadness envelopes the room as we find out it's over.

5.) Bob Brigham and Tim Tagaris (hat) with Paul Hackett at election night celebration

Posted at 02:08 AM in Ohio | Comments (8) | Technorati

Thursday, August 04, 2005

CA-48: Open Thread Question

Posted by Bob Brigham

If we can get 48% of the vote in the OH-02, can anyone give me a single reason why we can't get 50% +1 in Orange County?

Posted at 10:52 PM in Special Elections | Comments (8) | Technorati

When Close is Close Enough

Posted by DavidNYC

This post from Hesiod is so on-target, I'm reproducing it in its entirety:

Today, the Republicans are desperately spinning the astounding narrow defeat of Paul Hackett in Tuesday’s Special election for the 2nd Congressional District of Ohio.

In November, 2004 — George W. Bush received 64% of the vote in this district. Defeating John kerry by a 28% margin!

Still, they say it’s still a loss and doesn’t mean anything.

But, if you want concrete ammunition to demonstrate how a close defeat in a major uphill race can be a harbinger of bigger and better things, take a look at this:




Clinton attempted to launch his political career when he was 28 years old by challenging an entrenched Republican incumbent Rep. John Paul Hammerschmidt in 1974. Hammerschmidt was first elected to Congress in 1966 to serve Arkansas’ Third district, which is in the northwestern part of the state, and a Republican stronghold. Hammerschmidt had received 77 percent of the vote in the 1972 election. Clinton came close, losing by only 5000 votes out of 170,000 votes cast.

Helping to defeat Clinton were Republican claims that he was an anti-war protester while in college. Although Clinton was narrowly defeated, the race drew statewide attention.

And the rest, as they say, is history.

1976: Attorney General of Arkansas
1978: Governor of Arkansas
1992: President of the United States

If only Paul Hackett should do that poorly.

Posted at 08:34 PM in General | Comments (2) | Technorati

OH-Gov: Petro on Display

Posted by Tim Tagaris

On my way back from Southwest Ohio I stopped for a day at the Ohio State Fair in Columbus. As I was walking around and checking out the different booths inside while taking a respite from the heat outside, I stumbled upon Ohio Attorney General Jim Petro's booth. While most organizations/companies/individuals handed out free fans, gave diabeties tests (I passed), and other gadgets--Jim Petro's booth had a computer that let you look up the sex offenders in your neighborhood. He also provided an opportunity for parents to fingerprint get their kids fingerprinted. I found the whole thing kind of humorous.

In what was probably the most disturbing booth at the fair, Ohio Right to Life had a basket of "free fetuses." The lady manning the operation handed them out to children for their enjoyment. I had trouble uploading that photo. Please refrain from Rick Santorum comments.

Posted at 07:47 PM in Ohio | Technorati

DCCC: The Irrelevance of Rahm Emanuel

Posted by Bob Brigham

Since I've been getting some ink today, I thought I would expand upon the soundbites so people know where I'm coming from when I say that the DCCC is currently irrelevant.

In this morning's Washington Post, Dan Balz and Thomas B. Edsall quote me as saying:

[Hackett's] words against Bush and the war produced strong grass-roots support, and yesterday liberal bloggers said they helped raise $500,000 for Hackett, the bulk of his $750,000 campaign funds.

"We raised a ton of money for Hackett," said Bob Brigham of the Swing State Project site ( ), who served as "coordinator of the liberal blogosphere" for the Hackett campaign.

Brigham criticized the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) for not giving Hackett early financial support. "They came in late, and it makes them look irrelevant in everyone's eyes," he said.

DCCC Executive Director John Lapp issued a statement defending the committee. Saying the DCCC would like to fund every House race, he said: "Resources are not infinite. That is why MyDD, the Daily Kos, and the larger blogosphere are so important. You are critical in the effort to expand the playing field well above and beyond the 30 or 40 districts typically in play."

First of all, I was misquoted and I'd like a correction. What I actually said was, "we raised a fuckton of money for Hackett" -- and we did (I'll be checking to see if this is corrected). Second, Tim Tagaris was the first on the ground and did as much if not more than me. Third, MyDD and the Daily Kos and the larger blogosphere are so important because we get post-broadcast politics – which the DCCC certainly does not.

Next up, The New Republic where Michael Crowley says:

This sort of thing made Hackett a rock star in the world of liberal blogs--a figure who combined the defiant rhetoric of Howard Dean with the military credentials of Max Cleland. Schmidt's campaign sniffed at Hackett's Web following. ("The second congressional district doesn't fully involve themselves in the blogosphere," a spokeswoman told me at Schmidt headquarters, as Rush Limbaugh trashed Hackett on a radio playing in the background.) But one need only look at the astounding numbers. Whereas the dccc spent $200,000 on ads for Hackett, the campaign raised more than twice that much from online contributions. Most of that was thanks to the intense advocacy of a handful of liberal bloggers, several of whom traveled to southern Ohio from around the country and became a sort of informal arm of the campaign.

On Election Day, the bloggers' "war room" consisted of a dark corner of the Goldminers Inn, a dank dive bar in Batavia, Ohio, where four twentysomethings quaffed cans of Miller Lite and ruminated about their growing role in Democratic politics. The leader of the group was Bob Brigham, who blogs for a site called Swing State Project. After raising a six-figure sum for Hackett, Brigham had flown in from San Fancisco and "embedded" himself in the campaign, riding in Hackett's small convoy from event to event in baggy blue jeans and faded red canvas sneakers. "We're three times as relevant as the dccc. And you can quote that!" he told me between sips of beer. "It's a sea change in Democratic politics. I see Al From and I see a hearse. This is the future. We're way ahead of the curve." Brigham proceeded to tell a strange tale, wherein Donnie Fowler, a onetime candidate for chairman of the Democratic National Committee, allegedly threw a punch at him. Did it land? "Hell, no! I'm virtual!" The spirit of the Dean campaign was alive and well.

Again, Tim and I are a team. Crowley conludes:

At his after-party on Tuesday night, Hackett's supporters were already looking ahead to next year, when Schmidt's new seat will be up again, and chanting, "'06! '06!" Hackett sounded open to it. And, if he runs, he may prevail. But that doesn't mean the Democrats will.

Spot on. I never thought I'd say this, but I agree 100% with The New Republic on this one. Because the spirit of the Dean campaign is not alive and well in the DCCC. Last year the DCCC did the Ohio second congressional district their way, the Democratic nominee had $16,000 for the entire race, so the incumbent was able to spend all year traveling the country and raising money for embattled Republicans. This year, we did OH-02 the Howard Dean 50 State Strategy way of fighting in every precinct, in every district, in every state -- every single day. It forced a lot of Republican money from Washington to be wasted and we did 40 percentage points better.

Democrats need to stop judging success on Election Day. We need to start evaluating ourselves every day. Did we win today? Thats what needs to be asked in every race, every day. If we can make this simple mindset change, we'll win more races in the long run and stop compromising.

Yesterday, DCCC Chair Rahm Emanuel said:

Every Republican in Congress should consider himself put on notice."

That is total bullshit and the vast majority of Republicans in Congress know that the DCCC is going to give them the same treatment in 2006 that they gave OH-02 in 2004.

Why? Because the DCCC acts cowardly by targeting and it is clear they still don't get it. Look at the discussion on MyDD yesterday. DCCC Executive Director John Lapp uses the word "competitive" in reference to districts twice. If Emanuel were serious about gaining relevance, he'd dedicate a staffer to walking around the DCCC and slapping backside the head anyone who uses that term.

Right now, Emanuel is trying to use the same playbook, just do it better. Emanuel's DCCC is trying to be the fastest pony express rider, but the post-broadcast train is leaving the station and the DCCC will be left in the dust if Emanuel doesn't get on board.

It isn't tough, blogfather Jerome Armstrong lays out how to do it here and here. If Emanuel wants to be relevant, he can join the netroots in fighting everywhere, everyday. If not, who cares, we'll do it ourselves.

UPDATE: (Bob) Tom Edsall checked his notes and said I didn't use the word fuckton. He does this sort of thing all day everyday, so I'll trust his notes. But if I didn't use it, I should have.

Posted at 01:18 PM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - House, Activism, Democrats, General, Netroots, Site News | Comments (8) | Technorati

Conspicuously Missing

Posted by Tim Tagaris

Amidst all the post-mortems on the Special Election in Ohio's second district, what's missing is references to the teacher in Clermont County that contributed $20 to the Hackett campaign, the student at Xavier who gave $50 dollars, and the hundreds that battled stifling heat, often in the nineties, for numerous days to walk the streets of Southwest Ohio in support of a candidate they believed in.

In the mad dash to gather up all the credit every individual organization can for the success in Ohio-2, most references to the role of the grassroots have missed the mark completely. As the Republicans attempt to paint a broad picture of a "lefty-fringe" blogosphere, it's important to note where the real power behind the effort comes from--it came from over 10,000 regular people willing to contribute their time and money to change in America, and in an oft forgotten, destined to be ignored corner of Southwest Ohio.

Posted at 11:31 AM in Ohio | Comments (3) | Technorati

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

OH-2: Election Night Video & Photos

Posted by Tim Tagaris

I thought people would like to know that I just posted video and photos from election night in Ohio's 2nd over at Grow Ohio. I urge you to read the entire entry, but if you must, scroll down a bit for video links. Until we have more tomorrow on how this all went down, here is a picture of Bob and I with Marine Corps Major Paul Hackett (I'm wearing the hat).

Image hosted by

Posted at 10:12 PM in Ohio | Comments (3) | Technorati

75 House Races

Posted by DavidNYC

Superribbie has an awesome, comprehensive look at 75 Republican-held House seats which should form the basis of a broad-based Democratic assault in 2006, ala Gingrich in 1994. Tons of people have dropped by to comment as well.

Also, check here for his (her?) list of the top 25 most Democratic GOP-held districts.

Posted at 08:12 PM in 2006 Elections - House | Comments (2) | Technorati

Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee

Posted by Bob Brigham

The DCCC posted on MyDD, here's my response. I am totally fucking serious, not a single dime to the DCCC until they stop acting so cowardly.

Posted at 03:12 PM in Democrats | Comments (3) | Technorati

OH-2: Thank You

Posted by Tim Tagaris

What a ride.

For the past two weeks, living in Batavia, Ohio and following the Hackett campaign has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my "political life." I remember the phone call Bob and I had before, "What a Difference a Day Makes" and then deciding we were going parlay that momentum and take this thing all the way on "Blogosphere Day."

Sitting in the "boiler room" with Bob Brigham and Hackett's campaign staff last night was something I have never experienced before. I can tell you that as the evening progressed, most of the Hackett staff was looking to the Netroots to carry them through in the eventuality that the count would extend into the days ahead.

I know that I speak for Bob as well when I say the future of the Democratic Party is a bright one. The future stepped up in OH-2 -- the grass/netroots and Howard Dean's 50 State Strategy should have us all excited today about 2006, 2008, and beyond. We will have more in the coming days on our take about how this all happened. I'll have photos and video in the coming hours/days on Grow Ohio.

Posted at 02:16 PM in Ohio | Comments (1) | Technorati

Swing State Project Candidate

Posted by Bob Brigham

A lot of people have commented that we need more great candidates like Paul Hackett. Indeed.

Swing State Project has already added one candidate to our actblue page. His name is Jon Tester. I first met him in 1998, I was doing legislative races for the Party in Montana. Tester decided to run in a district the size of a New England state -- red as can be and rural as you can find. He took on an incumbent and he won.

In 2004, Tester lead the Democratic sweep of both state houses and became state Senate President.

He gets post-broadcast politics and he's going to win. Instead of wasting his time making fundraising calls, Tester rented one of the biggest venues in the state and is going to fill it at $50 a head, raising a little money from a whole lot of people and having a great night with Pearl Jam.

I gave Tester $50. Watch this race, it is going to rock.

Please use the comments to recommend which candidates are kick ass enough to join Jon Tester on the Swing State Project Official Candidate List.

Posted at 12:15 PM in Netroots | Comments (17) | Technorati

OH-02: C-E-L-E-B-R-A-T-I-0-N

Posted by Bob Brigham

As Paul Hackett would say, "ROCK ON!"

Raise your glass to fighting in every district, in every state, every day. When the assholes in D.C. (cc) write off a district a district, my answer is FUCK THEM. Because Democrats want to fight and we'll do it ourselves. There are no roadblocks -- let's get some shit done. People are going crazy celebrating tonight, the 2006 backlash will be huge.

(From Tim Tagaris:) We are sitting in the bar right now, literally blogging this together. The mood is jubilant as we look forward to 2006. When Howard Dean was elected as DNC Chair, he made a promise to fight in every precinct, in every district, and in every state. For the past several weeks the future of the party, the grassroots, came together and fought a fight that the pundit political class said wasn't worth fighting. Consider this the opening salvo of the 2006 election cycle. I sat five feet away from Paul Hackett tonight as he talked to Jean Schmidt--he congratulated her and told him to say hello to the president for him ("the S.O.B")--This is take no prisoners now. The Republican Party is on notice. For that matter, the Democratic Party establishment is on notice; get with the program or we will leave you behind. We have a country to take back.

Posted at 01:29 AM in Ohio | Comments (18) | Technorati

Tuesday, August 02, 2005


Posted by DavidNYC

There is no doubt about it - tonight's results represent a tidal wave in Ohio (and perhaps national) politics. In 2004, the Democrat running in OH-02 lost by 44 points. Tonight, the Democrat, Paul Hackett, lost by a mere 4 points - just 4,000 votes out of over 114,000 cast. That's one-eleventh the prior margin, and that's fighting against one of the most corrupt state Republican parties in the land.

Tonight's results exceeded my wildest expectations. Don't get me wrong - I would have been overjoyed had Hackett won. But I am still thrilled, and his tremendous showing in an incredibly red district should buoy the hopes of Democrats everywhere. Tomorrow, we can begin the important task of dissecting the Hackett campaign's operations in fine detail, to figure out what contributed most to its success - to see what results this extraordinary lab experiment yielded.

But tonight, we should celebrate an amazing, against-all-odds showing by a strong, fearless Democrat. We all owe our thanks to Paul Hackett and to all the people who joined in this effort.

So, with that I say: Thank you, Maj. Hackett, and everyone who helped you reach this day.

Posted at 11:55 PM in 2005 Elections | Comments (2) | Technorati

OH-02: Hackett Speech

Posted by Bob Brigham

People are fired up! In 2006 Democrats are going to kick ass everywhere.

"Democracy was successful this evening"

"We raised over 400,000 online"

"We Americans have a choice, democracy is the benefactor and we gave that to them"

He sounds like a candidate who is kicking off a campaign, not ending one.

The Good the Ugly and the Bad is playing in the background.

"freedom is worth fighting for…and that's what we did over the course of the last four months, where else except for America could we put a plan together this quickly and have this much success"

"we need to stay focused and we need to stay proud and we need to say it loud"

"Realize we can take this to other regions of the country…"


UPDATE (Bob) This will be the last post of the night, Tim and I are going to do some celebrating!!!!!

Swing State Project will soon return to the regularly schedule program of following all of the races across America. Thank you Paul Hackett!

Posted at 11:27 PM in Ohio | Comments (8) | Technorati

OH-2: It's Gonna Be a Long Night

Posted by Tim Tagaris

It's gonna be a long night. 91 precincts remaining out of 191 in Clermont County is all that's left. Paul is down 800 votes.

UPDATE (Tim): It's over. Paul lost by about 4000 votes--he got 48.2% of the vote at the end of the night. We didn't take the seat, but holy shit was this a win for the 50 state strategy, the netroots, and the future of the country--the grassroots of the Democratic Party.

We have sent a powerful message for 2006 tonight, and over the past several weeks. Close the book on round one, an overwhelming victory of us.

Posted at 10:25 PM in Ohio | Comments (31) | Technorati

OH-02: Election Results

Posted by Bob Brigham

RESULTS Hackett Schmidt
Absentees 1,629 1,964

UPDATE: (Bob) I'm at the Party, I'm getting results on IM.

56 precincts of 753 reporting
PAUL HACKETT 6,562 51%
JEAN SCHMIDT 6,276 49%

UPDATE (Bob) 8:40 There are about 100 volunteers and a fuckton of press at the Hackett Election Night event. The volunteers are hot and sweaty, but everyone seems really happy -- not anxious. I'm the only one in the room with results, but nobody is rushing up to ask me. People seem really satisfied with putting up a good fight, they know they did a helluva a great job.

UPDATE (Bob) 8:47 OK, now people are coming up and saying hi, but not asking for numbers. A Kossack and a great guy who was reading SSP even though he was taking the bar. Speaking of which, I'm at a table next to the bar so if you're part of netroots, come by and say hi when you get here. People seem really content after a job well done.

UPDATE (Bob) 8:51 Tim can't post, so I'm going to start posting his IMs as updates. MyDD has the county-by-county.
TIM: 175 of 753 precints, Hackett 51-49 Schimdt. Hackett 13,513-12,802

UPDATE (Bob) 9:02 Mother Jones is going to have an in-depth piece on this race next month -- keep your eyes open because they've been with us for days.

UPDATE (Bob) 9:06 from Tim
259 precincts reporting of 753 -- Paul Hackett 52.18% to 47.81%

UPDATE (Bob) 9:09 The DJ has arrived, now we're rocking down here. Tagaris is up on the 19th floor staffing the Swing State Project National Affairs desk with our rapid response team.

UPDATE (Tim) 9:13 305 precincts of 753 - 23,957 to 22,846 Hackett leads 51-49

UPDATE (Bob) 9:28 John Loyd from Philly and his buddy from the district, Mark Berghausen (whose two GOP parents voted for Hackett), say hi to ya'll. Lots of people coming by to say hi, people have come from all over. Hackett's no bullshit approach inspires.

UPDATE (Bob) 9:44 Things are turning against Hackett in the numbers, but nobody here seems to care.

UPDATE (Bob) 10:03 Great night to be Howard Dean -- the 50 state strategy is gold: fight in every district, in every state, in every state and things move. People are chanting, LET'S GO PAUL

UPDATE (Bob) 10:35 I'm hearing the "F" word from a whole lot of people. Lots of rumors of potential fraud, lots of sketchy stuff....

UPDATE (Bob) 10:46 I'm hearing all kinds of totally sketchy shit -- I need everyone who reads this to start researching, googling, posting....more to come.

UPDATE (Bob) 10:50




UPDATE (Bob) 10:56 Damn, if we can do this well here we're going to open up a can of whoop ass in 2006. The backlash is brewing, fight everywhere, everyday. Be proud to be a Democrat. And fight every single day. Good job Paul, you showed the Democratic Party the way!

Posted at 07:47 PM in Ohio | Comments (185) | Technorati

OH-02: Watching the Results

Posted by Bob Brigham

To get perspective on the numbers as they come in, check out our primary election night post.

Posted at 07:34 PM in Ohio | Comments (2) | Technorati

OH-02: Swing State Project

Posted by Bob Brigham

Tim Tagaris is driving, I'm riding shotgun -- full on Swing State Project mobile. We're setting up our Election Protection War Room. With all of the bullshit the Jean Schmidt campaign has been doing, you can never be too careful.

Tagaris is talking with the blogfather as we speak, laughing about Charlie Cook. Tonight should be quite a night, we'll keep you posted...

UPDATE: (Bob) Tagaris called the chase car and told them to flash their headlights if they get uncomfortable with our speed -- we're flying. The turnout in African American precincts is looking really good.

UPDATE: (Bob) The Swing State Project National Affairs desk has been set up on the 19th floor. Tonight, we'll have both live coverage as things come in along with information from Hackett and staff.

Jerome Armstrong has the handicap.

Polls close at 7:30, you can get results here.

Posted at 05:48 PM in Ohio | Comments (23) | Technorati

OH-02: Rush Limbaugh Slanders Paul Hackett

Posted by DavidNYC

Rush Limbaugh, on air, called Paul Hackett a "staff puke." Repeatedly.

Paul Hackett served as a civil affairs officer in Iraq. Eleven civil affairs soldiers and marines have died in the Iraqi theater. What's more, Paul Hackett led marines in combat while in Iraq. And, it goes without saying, he faced deadly violence every day he was in the country.

Rush Limbaugh avoided military service thanks to a pilonidal cyst. Paul Hackett volunteered to serve, even though no one had asked him to.

Rush Limbaugh (to no one's surprise) joins the long list of Republicans who, rather than respect those who have honorably served in our nation's military (as should be expected), instead disgracefully spit upon them. How disgusting. What is wrong with these people?

Posted at 05:08 PM in Ohio | Comments (9) | Technorati

OH-02: Volunteer Tonight

Posted by Bob Brigham

From Hackett for Congress:

Canvass or make phone calls for Paul Hackett on Election Day!

Canvass Locations:

Adams County – Tues. 7am to 8pm
1 Courthouse Square at Roy Gabbert’s Law Office

Brown County – Tues. 7am to 8pm
707 Mt. Orab Pike, Bail Bonds Office
(Cut-N-Up Barber Shop)

Clermont County – Tues. 7am to 8pm
Clermont County Democratic Party North 2nd Street, Batavia OH
(next to Hackett’s HQ)

Hamilton County – Tues. 7am to 8pm
Old Kerry Headquarters Parking Lot, 1523 Madison Rd., 45206

Pike County – Tues. 7am to 8pm
Boilermakers Hall on US 23 in Piketon, OH and parking lot of Waverly Police Dept., 202 S. Market St.

Scioto County – Tues. 7am to 8pm
New Boston Community Center, 3980 Rhodes Ave., New Boston 45662

Warren County – Tues. 7am to 8pm
6775 Park Lake Dr, Mason 45040, in Village Lakes subdivision AND 228 S. Mechanic St, Lebanon 45036

Phone Bank Locations:
• Hamilton County Democratic Party HQ, 615 Main St., Downtown Cincinnati, Tues. 9 – 7
• Hackett HQ, 27 N. Second St., Batavia, Tues 9 – 7
• Crowley HQ, 1523 Madison Rd., East Walnut Hills, Tues 9 – 7
• Warren County Democratic Party HQ. 8 East 5th St., Franklin, Tues 9 – 7
• Zimmeran CPA, 1080 Nimitzview Dr., Suite 400, Anderson, Tues 9 – 7

Posted at 04:54 PM in Ohio | Comments (1) | Technorati

OH-02: View from the Right

Posted by Bob Brigham

From our buddy Mike Krempasky at Red State:

The only really significant things about this race are 1) online donations for Hackett have been extraordinary - somewhere north of 400K in short order, and 2) the absolute "bleh" that Schmidt inspires in her voters.


Posted at 04:33 PM in Ohio | Comments (1) | Technorati

OH-2: Polls Close at 7:30 -- We Keep Working

Posted by Tim Tagaris

Just a reminder to everyone...

We have learned our lesson in recent elections, and when the polls close at 7:30, we can all kick back slightly for an hour or two and watch the results come in, but our work continues.

If this thing is close, we know not to put anything past the Republican Party in Ohio. Our work will continue and our armies must remain at the ready for the first 24 hours after the votes are tallied (two news cycles at least). So stand by and keep an eye on Swing State Project for updates.

Posted at 02:17 PM in Ohio | Comments (3) | Technorati

OH-02: DailyKos on the Race

Posted by Bob Brigham

Kos (which averages more than 500,000 users a day) says that the Schmidt smear is backfiring. He links to a post asking people to call the Schmidt headquarters. Since it is on DailyKos, 50,000 people will read it an hour...

Posted at 02:09 PM in Ohio | Technorati

OH-02: Jean Schmidt Campaign Manager Joe Braun

Posted by Bob Brigham

Annatopia says:

oh man, apparently someone is too busy covering their ass to run a campaign today...

If you want to know why she said that, it is because she has sources...

UPDATE: (Bob) Atrios says:

Schmidt Campaign Imploding?

Word is that Spankin' Joe Braun is too obsessed with what's being said about him on the internets to actually actively manage the campaign...

Wow. Must suck to be Joe Braun. Remember Friday's Hotline? The Washington Republicans didn't write the big checks because Joe Braun was doing a good job.

Posted at 01:21 PM in 2005 Elections, Ohio, Open Seats, Republicans, Scandals, Special Elections | Comments (1) | Technorati

OH-2: Cook Political Report Lowers the Bar

Posted by Tim Tagaris

From the Cook Political Report:

If Schmidt's victory margin is in double digits, this tells us that there is not much of an anti-GOP wind in Ohio right now. If the margin is say six to nine points for Schmidt, then there is a wind, but certainly no hurricane. A Schmidt win of less than five points should be a very serious warning sign for Ohio Republicans that something is very, very wrong, while a Hackett victory would be a devastating blow to the Ohio GOP.
Talk about lowering the bar for Ohio's Republican Party. To say that a 6 to 9 point spread is indicative of "wind but no hurricane" is ridiculous. Anything within 10, in a district that has gone recently gone Republican by more than fifty percentage points, shows the ship has already sunk for the Ohio Republican Party--they have until Nov. 2006 to salvage whateer wreckage they can.

OH-2 Past Election Results:
2004: 72% to 28%
2002: 74% to 26%
2000: 74% to 23%
1998: 76% to 24%

Whatever happens here, the big story is how the grassroots of the Democratic Party competed, outraised, and outmanned the NRCC. We forced them to blow a ton of money in a district that should have gone red by 50 points. This race is a complete validation of Howard Dean's 50 state strategy and our ability to compete in any race, at any level, in any location across the country.

The mere fact that the GOP D.C. re-enforcements have been called in at such a high level has got to be a major dissapointment to all "yellow elephants" across the country. This race should put all Democrats and Republicans statewide on notice. Bob Ney, we are coming for you. Ralph Regula, your seat is no longer safe. Steve LaTourette, we will remember your CAFTA flip-flop. It's a brand new ball-game, and it all started in OH-2--the last place anyone thought it would.

Posted at 11:12 AM in Ohio | Comments (15) | Technorati

OH-2: We Have Questions

Posted by Tim Tagaris

Following up on the action-item Atrios posted earlier today, "blogswarm" has tips over at Daily Kos on how to ask Jean Schmidt's staff members to explain their latest, campaign sponsored, attack on Paul Hackett's military service.

Posted at 10:33 AM in Ohio | Comments (1) | Technorati

OH:02: Farking, Eh?

Posted by Bob Brigham

We're going to be calling audibles today, so be ready to roll with it. Remember, our strength is in our numbers.

Atrios calls the first play.

Posted at 08:49 AM in Ohio | Comments (1) | Technorati

OH-2: Google Me This, Mean Jean Schmidt

Posted by Tim Tagaris


This is what everyone sees when they do a Google search of "Jean Schmidt." More to the point, this is what dozens of voters in the second congressional district have seen for days when Googling her in search of information for tomorrow's special election. It's a true testament to the teamwork of the progressive blogosphere in this race.

My favorite is, "The Left Coaster: Jean Schmidt Is A Liar"

This allows me to pivot back to Jean Schmidt's campaign manager, Joe Braun, who after getting completely blindsided by the Democratic netroots ability to mobilize, still doesn't get it.

As I told the reporter, there is no question the Internet has given Hackett a huge boost when it comes to his ability to raise funds quickly from around the nation. We all know that money is needed to get your message out.
This is why Joe Braun will probably never manage another congressional campaign again--it's akin to a pro-football coach preparing for a game and completely neglecting to cover "special teams." The NRCC has already spent his next salary ten times over, and after the ballots are cast tomorrow, he will have taken a 30 point lead and snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. You would think that getting completely blown out of the water in online fundraising by Paul Hackett, he would understand there are other implications. But future employers will be able to quickly uncover his ineptitude, by simply Googling Joe Braun.

Posted at 12:51 AM in Ohio | Comments (1) | Technorati

Monday, August 01, 2005

OH-2: "The Ball" and Mean Jean Schmidt

Posted by Tim Tagaris

Atrios sums it up in three pictures, but it's always good to know that Jean Schmidt is keeping her "eye on the ball, before the ball comes back"

Posted at 09:43 PM in Ohio | Comments (1) | Technorati

OH-2: Online War Room

Posted by Tim Tagaris

As I type this, I am sitting in what will serve as the Internet "war room" through the vote counting tomorrow evening. It's quite a compilation of individuals assembled here right now. I am honored to be sitting with Matt DeBergalis of ActBlue, DNC Internet Director Joe Rospars, and Bob Brigham of Swing State Project fame. We are sharing a meal, a few drinks, and talking about strategy for the next 32 hours and through the next days if need be.

As I watched this race unfold from home over the last few days, I was awestruck at the scope of what has gone down in this race over the past several weeks. Jerome talked about it earlier, but this is a prime example of the Howard Dean strategy of competing in all fifty states. At the same time, the future of the party, the grassroots (Netroots & DFA) have stepped up and sent the GOP backpedaling in a race most thought over the moment Rob Portman accepted his cushy job undermining workers rights while serving at the feet of corporate interests.

If we can win here, we can win anywhere.

Posted at 08:46 PM in Ohio | Comments (5) | Technorati

OH-02: Netroots Dominate Special Election

Posted by Bob Brigham

Earlier I said we needed to raise $30K today. We raised over $50K.

That puts the total netroots at over a half a million. The netroots outspent the NRCC.

There are a half a million new sheriffs in town...

Tim and I have a meeting, more in a little bit. Please go email all your friends.

Posted at 06:29 PM in Ohio | Comments (2) | Technorati

OH-02: Labor Stands with Paul Hackett

Posted by Bob Brigham

Back on the road...just left a factory gate hand shaking event at a GM plant. Paul Hackett has earned the respect of the members and they're with him. Standing on the blacktop outside the event was almost unbearable hot. The candidate was covered in sweat, but the response from the workers made good footage for the three news stations and four still cameras at the event. Good stuff.

And I just checked the ActBlue page -- everyone got the job done. THANKS!

Posted at 03:45 PM in Ohio | Comments (4) | Technorati

OH-2: Back in the Saddle

Posted by Tim Tagaris

Just arrived back in Ohio-2 from my weekend home with family in Chicago (first time since 2004). Awkward time to leave, but who knew everything was going to unfold the way it did when I made arrangements to go home last weekend.

But goodness, reading Bob's updates on Swing State Project made me feel like I never left Ohio for even a second. It's last call, and with Bob and I both on the ground, SSP is certainly the place to be for up-to-the-second reporting on the race.

Posted at 02:29 PM in Ohio | Comments (1) | Technorati

OH-02: Riding Shotgun with Major Hackett

Posted by Bob Brigham

Crazy day on Election Eve. I'm riding shotgun with the candidate, he's doing a radio show on his cell phone and I'm posting via cell card. He sounds great, he has a voice like John Wayne and his straight-talk attitude makes for great radio. He's giving a geography lesson the the district as we fly across it.

I'll have more from his next event, but check out his first blog post.

Posted at 01:42 PM in Ohio | Comments (3) | Technorati

OH-02: Once More Unto the Breach

Posted by Bob Brigham

Here's the situation, the Paul Hackett decided to shoot the moon. Ohio's second congressional district favors Republicans by 30 pts. Running a safe campaign would result in failure.

Paul Hackett is a Fighting Democrat and he's gambling, pushing, pull out all of the stops and running like his life depends upon it (if he loses, he'll probably be sent back in Iraq).

To Get Out the Vote, we need to raise $30,000 today. Here's why.

Last week, the netroots stepped up and delivered around $40K a day. The campaign gambled and put all of that on TV (the ads are great and a Democrat is leading the Republicans in gross points in every market in every medium!!!).

It worked, and now Independents are breaking rapidly our way. And Democrats in the district are so fired up that the far more than expected are signing up for GOTV.

This has drastically increased the cost of the GOTV mobilization. The enthusiasm over the weekend was more than expected and more was spend during the huge door-to-door effort. Now the campaign needs money for tomorrow to finish the job.

The cost breaks down to around $50 a precinct with 600 precincts. The netroots best friend, Matt from ActBlue, is flying in right now to coordinate moving the money.

But we need enough to finish the job.

Your investments have made Hackett a contender. Please give one more time so we can win this in the field.

Posted at 10:27 AM in Ohio | Comments (7) | Technorati

OH-02: Weekend Update

Posted by Bob Brigham

It is a beautiful morning in the Village of Batavia in Ohio's 2nd Congressional District where I am embedded with the Paul Hackett campaign. For those of you who unplugged over the weekend, here's a quick recap to get you up to speed on what has been going on to prepare for Tuesday's vote.

Yesterday, the big story was the Noe Schmidt Scandal that blew wide open. A front page story in the Cincinnati Enquirer says:

A few hours later, Hackett was standing in front of TV cameras at the Hamilton County Courthouse downtown, refuting Schmidt's statement on Channel 12's "Newsmakers" program that she had "never met" and "wouldn't recognize" Thomas Noe, the Republican campaign contributor at the heart of the state GOP's Coingate' scandal.

Hackett produced minutes of a March 2002 Ohio Board of Regents meeting that indicates that then-state representative Schmidt had met with the regents, whose membership at the time included Noe.

"She seems to have a very selective memory," Hackett said.

When the scandal lead the evening news, Hackett was quoted as referring to Jean Schmidt as the Poster Child for the Culture of Corruption. The story was all over the blogs with around a quarter of a million people reading about it by sundown.

As the sun set, the blogosphere turned to an Editor and Publisher story:

The Blade of Toledo, Ohio, is on top of the news- paper world, thanks to its "Coingate" reports (see p. 34). But while the paper is rightly thumping its chest with each new revelation, it's also coming under some scrutiny — not for what it has printed, but for what it may not have. Rumors swirl around a veteran Blade scribe, former political reporter Fritz Wenzel. Nothing at all is proven, but it's worth recalling the dangers — even if it's just in public perception — of jumping from political campaigning to political reporting and back again.

Wenzel, a longtime GOP campaign worker in Oregon, spent 10 years on the Blade politics beat before returning to the world of political consulting in May, virtually the day after he left the paper. One of the key contacts he made along the way was the man now at the center of the Coingate accusations, Tom Noe, a major Republican fund-raiser who attended the wedding of Wenzel's son, P.J., a state GOP employee. Noe's wife, Bernadette, even praised Wenzel during a GOP Lincoln Day Dinner this spring. "It was obvious that [Wenzel] was a Republican, he never hid the fact," Dennis Lang, interim chair of the Lucas County Republican Central Committee, told me last month. "But his work stayed in neutral ground."

Not according to the Lucas County Democratic Party, which devoted a page on its Web site to blasting Wenzel for alleged inaccuracy and bias. Suspicions about partisan leanings were further fueled when Wenzel signed on as media strategist for Jean Schmidt, the GOP nominee for an open Cincinnati-area congressional seat that voters will fill in a special August election (she won a primary on June 14). Disclosure records show Wenzel received $30,000 from Schmidt's campaign on May 16, the day his last column for the paper appeared, and three days after he left the Blade. He got another $30,000 from those coffers a week later, according to records. Part of the money went to media buys.

Wenzel's career change also renewed rumors, so far unsubstantiated, that his ties to Noe and the GOP may help explain why he not only failed to uncover Coingate but also a related Noe scandal involving alleged illegal funneling of contributions to President Bush's 2004 campaign. Several Blade editors told me they'd heard rumors that Wenzel learned as early as January 2004 about a federal investigation into Noe's alleged illegal donations, none of which emerged in the press until this past spring.

The big news on Saturday was the giant Hackett mobilization which I liveblogged. Grow Ohio had much, much more. This followed the a field guy blogs post that was all over the blogs Friday afternoon.

The energy here is amazing, head over to Grow Ohio for pics.

The blogs are all over this race and the netroots fundraising is amazing.

Tim Tagaris will be arriving later in the day and we'll have all kinds of stuff going up -- so stay tuned. Or better yet, do whatever it takes to get down here and help!

Posted at 08:53 AM in Ohio | Technorati

OH-02: Big Day, Early to Bed

Posted by Bob Brigham

The Paul Hackett campaign locked up at 1:30 tonight, which is by a long stretch the earliest since I've arrived. When I got off the red-eye at 6AM on Friday, it was clear that the HQ had been open later than the bars for some time.

This is a good thing, the Sunday night before the election is the last chance for a sound night's sleep until at least election night -- possibly longer if there is any attempts at corrupting the vote.

People will sleep well tonight, it was a great day.

The field team had a great day. The numbers were really strong and the independents are breaking against Schmidt. At this point, there is no need to do anything other than execute the plan and each member of the team is ready to focus on getting shit done.

I'm going to have a lot more on the field tomorrow, and some new stuff is going to roll out online. It is possible the magic number could be as low as 20,000 votes, meaning the August timing and lack of enthusiasm for Mean Jean could provide the rare campaign with a general election turnout lower than the primary. But I'm not making any predictions and neither should you, this is a crazy campaign under forced circumstances and anyone who says they can create a viable voter model is full of it.

Media was wonderful today. Schmidt/Noe/Taft -- every channel. Voters here have a profound sense of betrayal over the Republican culture of corruption. During the Gray Davis recall, I was proud to vote to throw the bum out of office, but the voters weren't nearly as livid as they are in Ohio.

Since the coingate scandal broke less than four months ago, each week has brought new tales of how Republican in Ohio operate. The extent of the corruption is absurd and a lot of Republicans would rather vote for a Marine than somebody at the center of the scandal.

Tomorrow's going to be a big day. Swing State Project will be in overdrive. Tim Tagaris will be back in district in the afternoon. This may surprise many regular readers, but Tim and I have actually never met. Last fall, when we were really the only two people telling the story of a congressional race on the blogs, we started talking and have had a number of coups, but never met. With both of us in the same room, we'll be posting with a fury.

While we'll have an on-the-ground perspective, look to the other blogs to keep you up-to-date on what's moving online. In case you haven't noticed, the entire left-wing of the blogosphere has been inspired by Paul Hackett.

I'm going to get some sleep...

Posted at 02:02 AM in Ohio | Comments (3) | Technorati

August 2005 Archive: