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Monday, June 26, 2006

NH-02: Paul Hodes, Netroots Candidate

Posted by DavidNYC

I'm very pleased to announce that Paul Hodes, running for Congress in New Hampshire's second Congressional District, is one of four new netroots candidates. As you may recall, MyDD, DailyKos and the Swing State Project all solicited nominations for the netroots page. Today, Markos, Chris Bowers, Matt Stoller and I are each introducing one of the candidates. Chris has already written on Jerry McNerny (CA-11), and Markos has covered Jim Webb (VA-Sen). Matt will soon introduce Linda Stender (NJ-07).

Of course, Paul Hodes needs little introduction to many readers of this site, but I always enjoy taking the opportunity to discuss the candidacies of people I support. If you look back at the criteria we outlined for ideal netroots candidates, you'll see that the Hodes campaign fits perfectly into two key areas: NH-02 is a Dem-leaning district and the seat is a key part of the "Northeast Strategy."

On that first point: In 2000, Al Gore carried the district by a razor-thin margin, 48-47. Four years later, however, Bush remained flat while John Kerry racked up a 52-47 win. Meanwhile, the state as a whole has also gotten bluer: It was the only state to go for Bush in 2000 that switched to Kerry in 2004. It was one of only 18 states (including DC) where the Dem margin increased in 2004, and NH's 3% improvement makes it the eighth-best improvement overall. Among swing states, only Colorado and Oregon showed bigger trends in favor of the Democratic Party.

And speaking of trends, the writing has been on the wall for quite some time in the Northeast. In 1994, as you know, Dems lost a lot of seats in the South - seats where locals had been splitting their vote since Richard Nixon's heyday. Newt Gingrich came along and started convincing folks they should instead vote a straight ticket. The GOP was successful in turning a lot of Dixiecrats out of office, but now it's our turn to make a dying breed of Republicans extinct: the Northeastern "moderates."

I put that word "moderate" in quotes, as I often do, because these alleged centrist Republicans talk a moderate game at home, but go back to Washington, DC and vote for Tom DeLay and Bill Frist to run the show. And while they might occasionally buck the establishment when given permission (a practice known as "catch-and-release"), they vote for George Bush's radical agenda almost every time. These Republicans enable the far right, and it's well past time to stop their bamboozlement.

Fortunately for us, the GOP has given us a number of juicy targets this year. We have competitive races in Dem-leaning, but GOP-held, seats in PA, NJ, NY, CT, and, of course, NH. Charlie Bass, the incumbent in NH-02, is increasingly out-of-step with his district. Appropriately enough for a guy named Bass, he survives thanks largely to the occasional "catch-and-release" reprieves that party elders grant him. But it's up to us to make sure that voters in New Hampshire learn about the real Charlie Bass. Once they do, he won't last long.

And Bass is someone we can definitely get to. He's a lazy fundraiser, and his poll numbers are barely treading water. Paul Hodes, meanwhile, has the energy and the experience to expose Bass and to beat him. But Paul's not there yet - he needs our help.

One of the suggested netroots criteria was that a race not yet be considered "top-tier." A compilation of House race rankings by pro prognosticators puts NH-02 at thirty-third overall among GOP-held seats, just on the periphery of the most-watched races. Hodes has attracted notice from the DCCC, but he hasn't yet been placed on their "Red to Blue" list. We can help make that happen by ensuring that Hodes finishes out the fundraising quarter strong.

The second quarter ends this Friday, June 30th. If Hodes shows good numbers and a sizable warchest, big players who are currently sitting on the sidelines will change their minds. We in the netroots, of course, love a challenge, and it's in our nature to be "early adopters" of up-and-coming candidates. We may not be able to raise the same kind of money the big boys can, but we can definitely get the ball rolling. So, with the deadline approaching, please consider giving to Paul Hodes and the other netroots candidates. We can make a big difference here.

Posted at 08:08 PM in 2006 Elections - House, New Hampshire | Technorati

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Good stuff. Hodes is everything we could want in a netroots candidate.

Posted by: Trapper John [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 26, 2006 09:34 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

I was interested in Bass - the affirmative case had been made for Hodes, but I still kind of wanted to know more on Bass. So I did some googling for scorecards from different progressive groups. They’re rough measures, of course, and I sure didn’t read up on every bill scores were based on, and I trust these groups to differing extents. But they convey something useful.

The ACLU gives Bass a lifetime score of 25%. Eek.

US PIRG gives him a lifetime score of 34%, but in 2004 his score was only 19% (warning, it’s a longish PDF with the scorecard buried in the middle). http://uspirg.org/reports/scorecards2004/fullreportscorecard2004.pdf

League of Conservation Voters gives him 47% for the 106th Congress; 45% for the 107th Congress; 39% for the 108th Congress; 33% for 2005. In other words, the guy seems to get steadily worse as time goes on. http://www.capwiz.com/lcv/dbq/vote_info/

Human Rights Campaign gives him a score of 44 for the 108th Congress; they don’t seem to have done a mid-session assessment. http://www.hrc.org/Template.cfm?Section=Press_Room&Template=/ContentManagement/ContentDisplay.cfm&ContentID=31664

Planned Parenthood gives him a “mixed” review. Eh, ok. http://www.ppaction.org/ppvotes/person-vote.html?person_id=1238

AFL-CIO gives him a lifetime ranking of 8% (though he scored a whopping 13% in 2005). http://www.aflcio.org/issues/legislativealert/votes/member.cfm?state=NH&pg=1

The UE (United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America) doesn’t think much of him, either. http://www.ranknfile-ue.org/polscorecrd.shtml?ST10=NH&C1=03&C2=02&B3=View+Scorecard

So. On choice and on gay rights he's not a total nightmare. He won’t be crusading for the right to send one of those forensive vagina specialists after me, at least, though it’s not like he’s a beacon of fabulousness in those areas.

But he seems to downright suck on issues of concern to working people and unions. His environmental record now, as opposed to a few years ago, is bad – and you have to wonder what’s making it get worse, and where his floor is. And his record on civil liberties – such a crucial issue under this president – is bad. Also, according to Elwood Dowd in comments at Daily Kos, Bass supports privatizing Social Security.

Not that I needed any further convincing, but it's still interesting to know.

Posted by: MissLaura [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 26, 2006 09:42 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Wow. Thanks for all the dope, Laura. Yeah, he may not be a total nightmare in certain areas, as you say, but his mere presence in DC lets the GOP control the agenda.

I think people outside of the establishment and the nerd-wonk-hack class in the blogosphere really have no sense of how little power House members in the minority party have. It's almost zero.

Also, here's another good scorecard, one which I like a lot: DMI's Middle Class voting record. Charlie Bass gets a whopping ZERO PERCENT! (Scroll down.) This cross-issue tally includes things like the odious bankruptcy bill (oh man, that one really gets my goat), estate tax repeal, and CAFTA. Needless to say, Bass voted the wrong way on ALL of these. Some "moderate."

Posted by: DavidNYC [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 26, 2006 09:49 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

David et al, thanks a million. Paul is on the road coming back from the west side of the state, but we'll try to get him to comment tomorrow. This is a great honor, and we're pleased that you appear to have led the way in ratcheting up the attention to what we think is a great campaign for a great candidate with a great chance of winning a Republican-held seat.

On Charlie Bass, MissLaura and David have things right. Charlie Bass pretends to be a moderate, but whenever the Republican leadership needs his vote, he meekly complies and lays down his vote for some truly odious bills. And the longer he's been in Congress, the weaker his backbone has become. Now he's a reliable wingnut vote on almost every issue, although occassionally when the Republicans have enough votes to pass something without him (like drilling in ANWAR) they'll let him take a walk and cast a cheap vote that really means nothing. But when he's needed to screw workers, stick it to all but the wealthiest taxpayers, back Bush's failed war in Iraq or cover up Republican corruption, he continues to belong to the likes of Tom DeLay, Joe Barton, John Boehner and Dennis Hastert.

Bass has made a big deal about calling for Tom DeLay to step down after he was indicted. So what? If Charlie Bass were serious about corruption, he would have returned all the tainted money he's recieved over the years from Tom DeLay.

Ultimately, this race is Paul Hodes and how he would be a good Congressman to represent the people of New Hampshire. It's about things like his belief that the United States should be leading the world in innovation in conservation, energy efficiency and the use of a wide range of alternative and renewable energy sources. But it's also time to get rid of Charlie Bass. Everyone says Charlie Bass is a nice guy, but he's weak. Paul often describes Bass as little more than a cog in a broken machine, and that's apt. He plays a moderate on TV, but in the end, he's nothing more than a rubber stamp for Dennis Hastert, Dick Cheney and George W. Bush.

Posted by: staffathodesforcongress [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 26, 2006 10:10 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

BTW, Paul posted a diary at Daily Kos a few weeks ago.

Posted by: staffathodesforcongress [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 26, 2006 10:12 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

As Paul Krugman said in regard to the new Treasury Secretary nominee:

But if you play the game your new bosses want you to play, your credibility with the public will evaporate in no time at all. And when you're no longer useful to your new friends, you'll be tossed aside.

In other words, the moment you cave to the party line and stop being an independent, you are theirs forever. That happened to Charlie Bass a long time ago. Now let's just get out there and start telling everybody.

Posted by: DavidNYC [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 26, 2006 10:16 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

David, most of the Republicans who voted against CAFTA were paleoconservatives (like Garrett, Paul, and Tancredo), or are in areas that are getting especially screwed over by CAFTA

Posted by: DemocraticLuntz [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 26, 2006 10:20 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

David, thanks for the DMI scorecard. It seems like a great one to know about.

Posted by: MissLaura [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 26, 2006 11:42 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Bass has received a lot of false credit for calling on DeLay to step aside. He only became vocal when it was clear DeLay was on the way out and there was no risk to speak publicly. In the 2004 campaign is was a different story. I don't remember which debate (I don't have a tape of the WMUR debate with me in Dubai at the moment), but either the WMUR debate or the Jewish Men's Club debate in Nashua, Paul challenged Bass to state that he would not vote for DeLay for majority leader if he were reelected to Congress. The point was that DeLay was getting hit with ethics violations and all kinds of accusations/allegations back in the fall of '04, and we were calling on Charlie to stand up and say that he would not support DeLay for majority leader. He waffled and dodged. He would not call on DeLay to step down, and he would not promise not to support an obviously corrupt candidate for majority leader. But, as soon as it was clear DeLay was done, Bass was leading the charge.

Look into those debates, it would be worth getting Charlie's response to the call to stand up to DeLay. It's also a perfect example of the way Bass operates. He has plenty of courage when there is no risk, but when it's a tough call, he's spineless. Don't let him get away with that. He will try to campaign on how he stood up and called for DeLay to surrender his post, but there's a paper trail, so to speak, and he was gutless when it counted.

Posted by: carpedonut [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 27, 2006 03:55 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

serious kudos to MissLaura for accumulating all that information and presenting it so handily!

Hodes looks like a great prospect.
Wouldn't it be wonderful to see us reel in this district,
at least two of the CT districts in contention,
and a couple of New York seats, in the 2006 cycle?

I'd rather be Blue,
voting for you,
I'd rather be Blue, over you,
Than be Republican, with somebody else!

Posted by: Christopher Walker [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 27, 2006 01:29 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Paul Hodes is a terrific candidate but he is not in my district. Please don’t overlook CAROL SHEA-PORTER, the only grassroots progressive candidate, who is running for Congress in NH District 1, my district. She is has won 2 on-line polls and is more than holding her own in spite of interference by the DCCC. The DCCC has endorsed, thrown money and held a national press conference to tell people “we’re not taking chances leaving it to Sept 12 to find out who our nominee is.” NH voters and newspapers (conservative, moderate and liberal) are universally offended.
The DCCC is once again interfering in the electoral process as they have done all over the country. I think she has picked up even more support because of the DCCC’s interference . Please check out her website…www.carolforcongress.com and consider supporting her. If you want a laugh, go to http://editorialcartoonists.com/cartoon/display.cfm/19485/
entitled PRIMARIES FOR DEMMIES by cartoonist Mike Marland

Posted by: beatrice [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 27, 2006 03:00 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Hodes is also supposedly going to benefit from a contingent of volunteer help provided by SNAP PAC:


which looks like an intiguing organization.
I'll be curious to find out at the end of the cycle if staffers in the campaigns they assist with
feel that the program's assistance was significantly helpful.

Posted by: Christopher Walker [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 27, 2006 10:14 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Paul's a great candidate and he'll make a wonderful congressman. He's not just far better than the rubber stamp jackass he's running against, he's just the kind of entrepreneurial spririt the Congress needs more of to balance the propensity of these Big Business Republicans to think that America is Corporate America. Paul started his own indie record label (like I did) and he understands what the real business of America is all about far better than any multimillionaire Republican ever will.

Posted by: DownWithTyranny [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 27, 2006 10:17 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

The Hodes campaign might want to make some hay out of the fact that by running for office again, Bass is breaking the "Contract With America" that he rode in on with the lizard Newt.

Find more by clicking on my username at my new slip o' a blog, The Yankee Doodler

Posted by: yankeedoodler [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 28, 2006 06:33 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment