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PA-06: Still Waiting for That Apology, Doug

by: DavidNYC

Tue Mar 09, 2010 at 9:16 PM EST

I, for one, am glad that Manan Trivedi has rejected Doug Pike's self-serving proposal for the candidates to sign some sort of "positive campaign" pledge. There are many reasons why I think such an agreement would have been ridiculous, but this one takes the cake:

Former Philadelphia Inquirer editorialist Doug Pike on Monday suggested he and Trivedi sign an agreement that, among other things, would require the candidates call each other personally to apologize if they or their campaigns made any personal attacks. (Emphasis added.)

That just proves Pike's proposal wasn't worth the electrons it was printed on. Remember this?

Andrew Eldredge-Martin is the campaign manager for Doug Pike, a Democrat running in Pennsylvania's Sixth Congressional District. Drew, who has posted here as DrewEM, used sockpuppet accounts to post disparaging remarks about another Democrat running in the PA-06 primary. As it turns out, Drew also used a sockpuppet account at Daily Kos (where I am also an administrator) over the years to comment on two other races he managed, Bob Lord's campaign against John Shadegg in AZ-03 in 2008, and Chris Carney's campaign against Don Sherwood in PA-10 in 2006.

Needless to say, this kind of behavior is completely unacceptable. If campaign officials have something to say about the very race they're working on, then it is mandatory that they speak out in their own voice. Pretending to be a disinterested observer, especially for the purposes of spreading negative information about opponents, is a complete violation of our trust. For the most senior official, a campaign manager, to do so is especially unacceptable.

I offered Drew the chance to apologize, and told him I would include any apology in this post. Not only did I never hear back, but it appears Drew used the opportunity to edit the bio and signature line of his sockpuppet account at Daily Kos, in a belated attempt at transparency. This information was not present in the sockpuppet account when we first discovered Drew's malfeasance.

Because it is our policy to ban those who create sockpuppet accounts, we have done so here. But this should also be a lesson to anyone - and to any campaign - contemplating something similar. We will remain eternally vigilant in policing this site. We will not tolerate this kind of behavior. And we will do everything in our power to ensure that the trust which animates this site remains unbroken.

Almost half a year later and Drew still has not apologized for this abuse of trust. Doug Pike is well aware of exactly what his top staffer did, and he has neither disavowed Drew's actions nor apologized himself. That speaks volumes about the kind of campaign Pike actually wants to run, rendering bogus any pledges he might make to behave otherwise. Manan Trivedi knows all this, and he was wise to reject this entreaty.

DavidNYC :: PA-06: Still Waiting for That Apology, Doug
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A few points
First, besides the instances you mentioned on here and DailyKos, do we know how widespread Drew's chicanery was?

Secondly, at the risk of sounding naive, how do we know that Doug Pike is personally aware of what this guy was up to? Further, have you, David, in your capacity as site administrator when these activities were taking place, tried to get in touch with others at the Pike campaign (if not the candidate himself) and alert him/them that this sort of tactic is taking place?

Finally, while I totally and completely understand your feelings on this matter, and fully appreciate that the editorial content here at SSP is entirely your prerogative, I would humbly submit that I don't think its a great idea to be frontpaging posts that blatantly take sides in Dem primaries. Granted, given what went down, these may be extenuating circumstances, but as you and the other admins always go at great lengths to explain: this is, at the end of the day, a Democratic site. Sorry if its not my place to be saying so, but I'm just having horrible flashbacks of the civil warfare that raged over at DailyKos and MyDD during primary season in '08... I came to SSP to escape all that, and really hope this particular entry tonight doesn't set a precedent. Can't we just let it get hashed out in the comments and diaries?

Male, 23, DC-At Large

Candidates have to be held responsible for their campaign and staff
And whether Pike knows about it or not is beside the point.

It's also worth noting that this particular blog has taken positions on campaigns in the past (NM-Sen last year is a pretty good example of that), and I have no problem with that. If I'm in disagreement with their decisions I'll point it out, maybe get into a discussion with other members or the administrators themselves, and if I grow annoyed with it, I won't comment in that particular thread anymore.

Politics and Other Random Topics

24, Male, Democrat, NM-01, Chairman of the Atheist Caucus, and Majority Leader of the "Going to Hell" caucus!

[ Parent ]
I would not be surprised
If there was further chicanery at other sites. However, one can only speculate.

Doug Pike is aware of what transpired because, after I posted both here and on the front page of Daily Kos, the story was reported in the Philly local media. Trivedi also mentioned it in a press release.

Your point is well-taken, but I believe we will avoid, as you put it, civil warfare. We have taken sides in Democratic primaries before without severe fallout. We will, however, remain vigilant. And as you note, these are unusual circumstances.

[ Parent ]
Let me be the first to say
I had totally forgotten about this when I had made my posts earlier in the day about Trivedi's campaign manager.  Clearly, Pike had some ulterior motives here, as evidenced by his wily campaign manager's actions.  

23, Male, Democrat, OH-13

have noticed a lot of people that I'm pretty sure work for campaigns post spin on here lately. I've probably seen about 3-4 questionable posters in all. I could be wrong, but I doubt it.  

Proud member of the Indiana Democratic Party from IN-9.  

If you have concerns along these lines
You are welcome to bring them to us privately via email. However, we ask that people not engage in this kind of speculation on the site because few things cause more grief than accusations of shilling. Thank you for understanding.

[ Parent ]
I could care less about this kind of garbage.  Just give me the better Democrat with the best shot at winning.


Not that what he did was okay
But what disparaging remarks did he make? And on the story you linked to, he identified himself in the first comment he made, I don't think he was pretending to be anyone else. But I understand what your saying though, the SSP shouldn't be somewhere for people to advertise, especially during a primary.

No he did not
After we confronted Drew, Drew edited his signatures at both Daily Kos and SSP to include his real identity in his sockpuppet accounts.

[ Parent ]
Actually, let me amend that
Drew had at least three accounts on SSP -- "DrewEM", his official and real account, as well as two sockpuppet accounts, where he criticized Trivedi and praised Pike under the guise of being a disinterested observer: "ProgressiveSEPA" and "pa_watcher".

After we confronted Drew with concerns that someone in his campaign was behind those two accounts, he did not admit the truth to us -- and in fact attempted to deflect the situation by implying that someone else in his office was behind the accounts. Later, we found conclusive proof that Drew was the guy behind all these accounts. After we confronted him with this knowledge, he went totally silent and refused to apologize -- and this is a guy we've had a good relationship with for quite some time. It's all incredibly disappointing.

[ Parent ]
Ah okay
That's pretty bad with the multiple accounts and all, thanks for explaining that. Is that guy still working for his campaign?

[ Parent ]
campaign manager for Pike, NT

[ Parent ]
This is all kind of weird and out of place.
Old news it seems.

34, WM, Democrat, FL-11

FWIW, the person in question
his website -

focusing on the positives
Manan Trivedi is really a kickass candidate.  

I meet with candidates all the time now -- between my role in the netroots and my position at my law firm, and most of them want to know two things when we meet -- namely, "how do I raise money from" both those communities.

Trivedi and I, when we met for breakfast about four months ago, instead talked about health care policy and how to increase the number of primary care physicians.

He's bright, policy-focused, and a great campaigner.  We need him in Congress.

Incredible insight from my 9 year old daughter
My daughter is a chip off the ole blockhead...I try my best to keep her informed about my passion regarding politics (and she keeps me informed about her passion for horseback riding...ugh).  I was reading this post this morning to my wife, and my daughter says "Only a person of character and integrity will apologize".

I'm very proud of my daughter.  She knows that when she screws up (and trust me, she does and we all do), she admits to her mistakes, apologizes about it, learns from it, and then moves on.  

40, male, Democrat, NC-04

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