Democrats Archive:

Monday, October 23, 2006

Action Alert: Use It or Lose It

Posted by DavidNYC

Just go here and do what Chris Bowers says: Call these ultra-safe Democrats and (politely) ask them to give 30% of their cash-on-hand to competitive races or party committees. Thanks to a campaign finance loophole, these guys are are the best-situated to drive large sums where they are needed most in the final two weeks of the election season.

I think the best talking point you can use is that any Dems who really give a lot now will be remembered glowingly by the grassroots in the future. Call `em now.

Posted at 10:35 PM in 2006 Elections, Democrats, Fundraising | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Monday, August 28, 2006

EchoDitto Says Nicco Mele Taking "Leave of Absence"

Posted by DavidNYC

From EchoDitto's blog:

Nicco's recent post about his support for Senator John McCain has caused quite a lot of ruckus. We at EchoDitto disagree with his decision. While Nicco does not work for Senator McCain, his support for a possible McCain candidacy runs contrary to many of our core beliefs at EchoDitto.

As a firm, EchoDitto is committed to progressive campaigns and organizations. We started in the political space and have been privileged to work with a lot of progressive candidates and campaigns as well as clients in the non-profit and corporate spaces. We're proud of the work we've done over the past three years with our partners, and we look forward to all the great work ahead.

Everyone in this world has to follow their own heart. Nicco has agreed to, effective immediately, take a leave of absence from our company. We hope he takes some time to re-consider his position. I am assuming Nicco's responsibilities for the duration of his leave of absence.

I previously suggested that a solution to this embroglio would be for Mele to leave the firm. In the line of business I'm going into - lawyering - a leave of absence like this almost certainly wouldn't pass muster with the rules of professional responsibility. Indeed, even outright quitting wouldn't be good enough - you can't work for one side, then bail and go work for the other. That's because you've already learned confidential information from your first clients. It's considered the classic conflict of interest, so basic they don't even test you on it.

I recognize that political consulting isn't bound by the same rules of professional responsibility, though perhaps it ought to be. So does this leave of absence satisfy me? I can't say that it does, in part because we haven't been told what it means. Does Nicco still have access to firm resources? To client information? Is he still drawing a salary or otherwise receiving money from the firm?

If Nicco straight-out left the firm, these questions wouldn't exist. But even if EchoDitto answered them, I'd still be unsatisfied. How long will this leave last? Until Nicco changes his mind and admits his grave mistake? Until the end of the presidential election? Hell, what if - heaven forbid - McCain wins? Do we give Nicco a four-year or eight-year extension? And what if Nicco does come back - and then says he wants to support another Republican? What do we do then?

That's why, as I said in my original post, Nicco needs to leave the firm - a mere leave of absence just doesn't cut it. If Nicco won't leave free-and-clear, then his partners need to buy him out, or, failing that, depart en masse and re-create the firm without him. Any alternative which leaves open the possibility that Nicco may either now or some day have access to the firm's proprietary information is not acceptable.

The bottom line is that in this business, you get to choose one side: Republican or Democrat. You can't do both, and you can't go back and forth between them. There's no middle-ground and no possibility of wiggle room. The problem is that this leave of absence is an attempt to have it both ways, and that just won't work. Nicco - and EchoDitto - need to make very clear which side they are on. So far, they haven't.

Posted at 05:51 PM in Democrats | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Do Not Use EchoDitto (or, Nicco Mele Must Go)

Posted by DavidNYC

EchoDitto is a technology vendor for political groups. Until just a day ago, they exclusively served Democratic/liberal/progressive organizations. However, EchoDitto's CEO Nicco Mele has now said that he plans to support John McCain's presidential campaign. Needless to say, this is completely unacceptable.

In the real world of politics, there are Democratic polling firms and Republican polling firms; Democratic consultancies and Republican consultancies; Democratic tech vendors and Republican tech vendors; and on and on and on. No one can or does legitimately work both sides. The reason for this is simple: Knowledge is power. If you had both Dem and GOP clients, what you learned from one side would necessarily affect the advice you gave to the other. No one can put up a Chinese wall inside his own head.

Therefore, if you are a current or prospective client of EchoDitto, you must understand that any and all confidential information you provide to the firm can and will make its way into Republican hands, via CEO Nicco Mele. You will be giving the GOP a totally undeserved advantage, and of course, you'll be hurting yourselves. For your own sake and for the sake of the entire Dem-lib-prog movement, please find a different technology provider.

And there are indeed many other excellent technology vendors out there. I personally always recommend Media Mezcla, makers of Campaign Engine. (Ben Schaffer, the president of MM, is a friend and colleague of mine, and his company also hosts Swing State Project.) As you can see from Campaign Engine's ad in the top-right corner of this site, they are committed to serving Democrats only. But like I say, there are many good fish in the sea. No one needs to stick with EchoDitto, nor should they.

UPDATE: Let me add the obvious point: The best solution for almost everyone (well, except for other tech vendors) at this point would be for Nicco Mele to leave EchoDitto. That way, the hard-working folks at that firm can retain their jobs, and the company's clients don't need to go through any tech upheaval.

Posted at 08:20 PM in Democrats | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Monday, August 07, 2006

CO, CT, GA, MI, MO: Tuesday Primary Election Preview

Posted by RBH

Here's the rundown of the elections which will likely produce news tomorrow.

Starting off first in Colorado where the biggest races are the Republican Primary in the 5th District and the Democratic Primary in the 7th District.

In the 5th district race, the winning Republican will likely face Jay Fawcett (who is the frontrunner in his primary). From a short combing though Google News, we find that Doug Lamborn has the Club for Growth supporters with him, Hefley supporters are apparently supporting Crank. Basically the entire primary could end with the winner recieving a very low percentage of the vote, under 40%, maybe under 35%. But right now, the winner is anybody's guess. I should note that Anderson (who is running as pro-choice, which means "pro-choice compared to other Republicans), Bremer (Paul Bremer's brother), and Rayburn (retired Air Force General) are all wildcards and they could get a surprising number of votes.

In the 7th district, the favorite to face Rick O'Donnell appears to be Ed Perlmutter. Ed has had a pretty solid lead in SurveyUSA polls over Peggy Lamm. But then again in an election like this, surprises will occur.

Moving on to Connecticut.

The big race is between Joe Lieberman and Ned Lamont. It appears to be a pretty big deal. Basically the results could go either way, although Lamont is going into the election with a 6 point lead in the latest Quinnipac poll. I'm pretty sure that this race will be the top attraction, and also the one race which does not require a long explanation.

In Georgia, the big election is between Cynthia McKinney and Hank Johnson in the 4th district. McKinney had a plurality last time, but for this election, it could go either way.

In Michigan, the biggest race will be in MI-07 between Congressman Joe Schwarz and Tim Walberg. Schwarz is under fire from the right in this campaign and could be on the way out of Congress. The likely Democratic nominee is Sharon Renier. In other races, I'm expecting Keith Mike Bouchard to win the Republican Senate primary and I wouldn't be stunned if Patricia Godchaux got around 1/3rd of the vote in her primary against Congressman Joe Knollenberg.

In Missouri, no major races will occur in the primaries. The closest primary race will probably be in MO-02 between Akin and Sherman Parker, and that's probably not due to be close at all. Claire McCaskill and Jim Talent are expected to cruise over their unknown opponents.

So, on this election day, there's one more question: What Races Are You Interested In?

Posted at 11:48 PM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - House, 2006 Elections - Senate, Colorado, Connecticut, Democrats, Georgia, Michigan, Missouri, Netroots, Republicans | Comments (6) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Dem Convention Poll

Posted by DavidNYC

Markos is running a poll to see which city people prefer for the 2008 Dem convention. Go vote here. Also, keep up with convention-related news at Democratic Convention Watch.

UPDATE: You can check out the results here. Denver (my choice) and New Orleans are pretty much tied at about 30% apiece. No other city even breaks out of single digits. (At the moment, Minneapolis is in third at 8%.) I get the sense that Dean likes the whole "western strategy" idea and might favor Denver. Of course, we won't know until the end of the year at the earliest.

Posted at 01:43 PM in 2008 President - Democrats, Democrats | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

The Democratic Farm Team

Posted by DavidNYC

Over at MyDD, Big Dog has an important diary about building our Democratic "farm team." If we want to win at the federal level, we've got to start by building up a good crop of candidates at the truly local level. That doesn't mean Congress, or even state legislatures. That means starting off small: school boards, county offices, city councils. Obviously, this approach takes patience. But it's what creates good candidates - candidates who know how to organize, run a campaign, raise money, pass laws, work with legislative bodies, etc.

I know I've put a lot of emphasis on seeing every Congressional race filled. And I grant that we aren't going to see established politicians running for every seat in the land - there will always be a need for some newcomers to run at the Congressional level (and in some states, even at the Senatorial level). But this mission fills a different goal - expanding the playing field is different from (and in many respect, non-overlapping with) trying to win races.

And if we want to win races to the US House, we've gotta win races to District Water Board #3. As of 1992, over 50% of House members (PDF) previously held state lege seats (up from just 30% half a century earlier). I wouldn't be surprised if the proportion today is even higher - and I'd also be willing to bet that many of these state legislators-cum-congressmen also held a lower office before getting to the state capital.

Let's call it the Branch Rickey approach: If you're thinking about taking the plunge into elective office, definitely think local.

Posted at 12:15 AM in Activism, Democrats | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Monday, February 20, 2006

Dem Convention Watch: Initial City List Set

Posted by DavidNYC

Via Democratic Convention Watch, we now have the list of cities which have been formally invited to bid on hosting the convention by the DNC:

Las Vegas
New Orleans
New York City
San Antonio

It's also possible that Pittsburgh may be a late entrant.

These cities have not actually submitted bids yet - those aren't due until late May (Roll Call, sub. only). They've just been asked to submit bids, which means it's possible that one or more of these cities won't actually follow through. A final decision won't be announced until after the elections this fall, but I'm not sure if there will be any earlier decision-making "rounds" (eg, semi-finalists, etc.).

I personally think it might not be bad to do it that way, Olympics-style. Build up a little buzz and hype. Sure, it's all "meaningless," but a little extra positive attention never hurt. And I actually think that the conventions themselves are important - we get to spend four days, with lots of free media coverage, showcasing exactly what we want America to see of our party. Conventions may have little to do with nominations any more, but they are an important "sales" tool.

Anyhow, back to the issue at hand. DCW has some handicapping of the various cities. Despite my hometown connection, as you know, I'm a big supporter of Denver. Like Boston two years ago, I think New York as host offers no positives and if anything is a net negative. (You will not often hear me say bad things about NYC.) Denver, on the other hand, is in a slightly reddish state that has been trending blue recently. Plus, as I never get tired of mentioning, the summer weather is about a million times better.

Posted at 02:20 PM in 2008 President - Democrats, Democrats | Comments (9) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

House Dems: Pay Your DCCC Dues!

Posted by DavidNYC

This, my friends, is unacceptable:

Democratic House Members anted up more than $11 million in dues to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in 2005, but there remain 21 Caucus members who have not contributed a dime in the 2006 cycle and 13 others who have given less than 10 percent of what the DCCC is seeking from them.

While the numbers suggest that Democrats are making progress toward compliance, they are still $20 million short of the $32.1 million they would reap if every member meets his or her obligations.


In addition to Rep. Rahm Emanuel (Ill.), the DCCC’s chairman, just four of the 201 Democrats have paid in full: Reps. Nita Lowey (N.Y.), Steve Israel (N.Y.), Bill Delahunt (Mass.) and Tom Udall (N.M.). (Emphasis added.)

This is, as I say, just a totally unacceptable state of affairs. We need the DCCC to be flush if we want to compete - and yet House Dems have only contributed one-third of the total they are obligated to pay in. It's rarely my style to go after fellow Dems, but come ON, people! We need to be team players on this one. So I'm going to call out the deadbeats, as listed by Roll Call:

Rep. District $ Given $ Due Committee Warchest
Jesse Jackson, Jr. IL-02 $0 $150K Appropriations $1.1M
José Serrano NY-16 $0 $150K Appropriations $46K
Sherrod Brown OH-13 $64K $250K Commerce $2M
Jim Davis FL-11 $0 $150K Commerce $27K
Ted Strickland OH-06 $0 $150K Commerce $498K
Edolphus Towns NY-10 $0 $150K Commerce $221K
Julia Carson IN-07 $0 $150K Financial Services $271K
Emanuel Cleaver MO-05 <10% $150K Financial Services $194K
Harold Ford TN-09 $0 $150K Financial Services $1.7M
Darlene Hooley OR-05 $0 $150K Financial Services $548K
Gregory Meeks NY-06 <10% $150K Financial Services $146K
Brad Miller NC-13 $0 $150K Financial Services $210K
Ben Cardin MD-03 $0 $150K Ways & Means $299K*
Pete Stark CA-13 $1K $150K Ways & Means $400K
Robert Brady PA-01 $0 $100K $841K
Tim Holden PA-17 $0 $100K $329K
Jim Marshall GA-03 $0 $100K $626K
Ike Skelton MO-04 $5K $100K $600K

Now, a few things: First, I'm sure these aren't the only Dem reps who are short on their dues - they're simply the ones listed by Roll Call. If you come across any reputable sources which indicate that there are other Dems who are in arrears, let me know, and I'll add them to this list. Also I'm not saying that any of these guys are bad people - they just need to fulfill their obligations.

So, to that end, if you live in any of these districts, call & e-mail your reps and politely ask them to pay what they owe the DCCC. Take a look at those warchests - for many, this is couch change, so there are no excuses. That a well-funded D-Trip benefits us all is so obvious as to be not even worth mentioning.

(A couple of notes about the table: 1) Members on five select committees - the four listed here plus the Rules Committee - are required to pay extra. 2) Warchests reflect cash-on-hand as of 9/30/05, except for Jesse Jackson, Jr., whose cash-on-hand figures are current as of 12/31/05. 3) Ben Cardin's total cash-on-hand is unclear, as his House and Senate campaign committees reflect different totals. His Senate committee shows a cash-on-hand of $1.5M. 4) The "amount due" that I list for each member is based either on specific Roll Call figures or on general DCCC dues rules. Where I have employed the latter, some of my numbers may be off, probably to the low side.)

P.S. Dennis Kucinich was also mentioned by Roll Call, but from the article's language, it wasn't clear how much he had already given, so I did not include him in the table.

Posted at 10:34 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Activism, Democrats | Comments (10) | TrackBack (1) | Technorati

Friday, January 20, 2006

Murtha's Band of Brothers Falls In

Posted by DavidNYC

I've said this before, and I'll say it again: There's nothing like strength in numbers. Republican cowards are attempting to swiftboat Rep. John Murtha. We won't let it happen. Col. Murtha's fellow veterans are justly incensed - they know that if you attack one servicemember, you attack them all. And so, Murtha's Band of Brothers is making a tremendous show of force on his behalf. The message to would-be swiftboaters: If you falsely come after one of our number, you're gonna have to deal with an entire platoon of us:

Questioning the honor of a decorated American veteran like Congressman Murtha shows a lack of respect for the sacrifices made by all those who serve.

It is easy for cowards to attack the honorable service of veterans. All they need is a typewriter and a few leisurely hours. But, happily, the shrill attacks of partisan hacks are nothing to people like Jack Murtha.

It is not easy to toe the line, defending the American freedom for which so many have given what Lincoln called “the last full measure of devotion.”

I condemn anyone or any group that challenges the sacred honor and sacrifice of my fellow veterans, whether they are Republican or Democrat, man or woman. The people of my district know that the sacrifice of our men and women in uniform is sacred.

Chris Carney
Candidate for U.S. House of Representatives (PA-10)

I will stand beside John Murtha, in front of him, and behind him whenever some Member of Congress, who has never worn the uniform of her country, calls him a coward.

As long as the Radical Right-highjacked Republican Party of Tom DeLay and Jack Abramoff insists that the only way to discuss our nation’s involvement in Iraq is to call decorated Marines cowards, they demonstrate clearly that they have lost the legitimacy needed to govern.

A twice-awarded Purple Heart recipient need not prove to anyone — let alone someone who could not tell a Marine Colonel from Colonel Sanders — anything other than the ability to hold Patriotism above Partisanship.

Eric Massa
Candidate for U.S. House of Representatives (NY-29)

The partisan attacks on John Murtha by the chickenhawks of the radical right aptly demonstrates the hypocrisy of their failed leadership. Hiding behind the “support our troops” slogan, to send our sons and daughters to fight unnecessary wars, they attack real heroes who have served their country honorably and have been willing to sacrifice their own lives in the service of the United States of America. Demeaning John Murtha’s service is an affront to all American soldiers who have served in combat and especially to those who have been wounded and awarded the Purple Heart.

As an Airborne Ranger with two tours of combat service in Vietnam, I am offended beyond words. The actions of these political weasels are not only despicable, they are un-American.

Terry F. Stulce
Candidate for U.S. House of Representatives (TN-03)

Read on for more. Over a dozen veterans have already spoken out on Murtha's behalf, and more are doing so every day. To add your voice to theirs, please consider signing our petition.

The bottom line is that John Murtha volunteered to serve in Vietnam — enough said!

Rick Penberthy
Candidate for U.S. House of Representatives (FL-05)

When they stoop to this level of slander, they only show how desperate they’ve become. They know they’ve made serious mistakes in Iraq but to cover up their own incompetence, they send out their proxies with outrageous lies about Congressman Murtha’s heroic military record.

However, the American people are fed up with gutter politics. They want the Bush Administration to show that they know what they’re doing in Iraq, that they know what’s going on in Iraq and that they have a realistic exit strategy instead of meaningless platitudes such as “We’ll stay until the job is done.”

Rich Sexton
Candidate for U.S. House of Representatives (NJ-03)

It is unfortunate that the Bush Administration and Republican Party leadership have decided to continue their war AGAINST the troops and veterans with their dishonorable attacks on John Murtha. From Lew Puller in the late ’70s, through John McCain and Al Gore in 2000, Max Cleland in 2002, John Kerry in 2004, and now John Murtha, the Republican Party has attacked the military record of its opponents without regard for their valiant service to their country.

A President who actively avoided serving in Vietnam now sees fit to attack a man who served heroically in several wars. Perhaps the saddest part of this is knowing that somewhere in Iraq right now there is a person serving their country with honor and distinction, and some day that service will be turned against them by the Republican Party if they should choose to be a Democrat. I call on Republican leaders to stop this Republican war on America’s veterans and instead to honor those who choose to serve their country!

Bill Winter
Candidate for U.S. House of Representatives (CO-06)

“Service is the rent we pay for room on this earth.” — Rep. Shirley Chisholm

John Murtha has served this country proudly in times of war and peace. Following the logic of the late Rep. Shirley Chisholm, John Murtha has paid enough rent for himself and a few more people. This recent attack reflects poorly on the respect we have today for service because it illuminates the amount of energy spent tearing down the character of a person who served rather than honoring courageous effort.

It’s time for an attitude adjustment in this country. We can no longer say we support the troops when they fight for this country on foreign soil but treat them like the enemy when they fight for this country at home.

Mishonda Baldwin
Candidate for U.S. House of Representatives (MD-03)

I agree with Congressman Jack Murtha of Pennsylvania, who believes that we should remove our troops from Iraq as soon as possible. They are exhausted and demoralized. Rather than preventing violence, we have become a cause of the violence. If we withdraw, the insurgency will eventually quell, and the Iraqis will be free to manage and rule their own country. I advocate an immediate withdrawal of our troops from Iraq, not only to prevent further loss of life but to stop the further depletion of our national resources and treasure and to restore America’s honor and prestige throughout the world.

John Wolfe
Candidate for U.S. House of Representatives (OH-13)

The attacks on the valor and sacrifice of John Murtha are an affront to every man and woman who has ever served this country. Like thousands of other veterans, I take the insults to John Murtha personally, and I am deeply angered.

Rick Cornstuble
Candidate for U.S. House of Representatives (IN-04)

Attacking the military record of an American soldier, by groups too cowardly to use their own voices in the attack, is a travesty. How anyone could ever deign to speak ill of another American’s sacrifice for their nation is beyond me, particular a soldier with the extensive military and bipartisan political record of John Murtha.

Anyone who does not immediately disavow support for such people and such heinous slurs is guilty of an obvious, despicable and disgusting lack of support for our troops and our veterans.

Dave Bruderly
Candidate for U.S. House of Representatives (FL-06)

Partisan and personal attacks by supporters of the war in Iraq against Jack Murtha should be viewed as validating his points. When people attack the messenger it is clear they have no ability to respond to the truth he is telling.

Rep. Murtha is a Marine and these attacks will be but pin-pricks for him. Still, the assault on a man’s combat record in service to policies created by those who avoided combat is the work of pygmies.

Anyone who served in Viet Nam knows that enlisted Marines earned every damn medal they got, and many they never received. If you have not stood up to the test you cannot judge others who have.

When we talk of “cowardice” we ought perhaps to consider the behavior of the Commander-in-Chief. President Bush, who has sent men and women into harm’s way, often underequipped, and asked them to sacrifice for our country has not, since 2003 even had the guts to speak before a hostile audience. I always believed that leaders lead by example.

Al Weed
Candidate for U.S. House of Representatives (VA-05)

Here we go again, armchair warriors launching obscene attacks on the heroism of people who have placed themselves in harm’s way. This time it’s the courage of Congressman John Murtha — one tough Marine.

This obscene attack sends a terrible message to all our service men and women, but especially those who are dying and being wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan this very day.

It is time for all Americans to denounce those who sully the Purple Heart and those who have earned it.

These so-called patriots so cavalierly send other people’s children into harm’s way without proper equipment or planning. And then they have the nerve to denigrate their wounds. How dare they demean such courage and sacrifice!

Phil Avillo
Candidate for U.S. House of Representatives (PA-19)

Remember the disgraceful “Swift Boat” attacks on John Kerry’s wartime service? Well, this time it’s Rep. Jack Murtha who is the target of the sleazy attacks.

This is sick and sad.

I don’t completely agree with Jack Murtha’s approach on Iraq, but I understand where his frustration is coming from, and I have nothing but admiriation for his service both as a Marine and as a member of the Armed Services Committee. A man with Jack Murtha’s background deserves better than to be smeared by a group of Beltway apparatchiks who never wore a uniform once they got past Webelos or Brownies.

Peter Sullivan
Candidate for U.S. House of Representatives (NH-01)

The attempt to tarnish the military record of Jack Murtha and other Democratic veterans cheapens the long term value of military service for short the term partisan gain of Republican party hacks.

Military service is the highest calling of citizenship. Those who denigrate the heroic sacrifice of men like Max Cleland and others denigrate the service of all veterans past and present.

The great and lasting attraction of military service has always been the universal, apolitical affection and respect Americans have for those who serve.

Shame on those who politicize service and patriotism at a time when both Republicans and Democrats are dying on the field of battle.

Bryan Lentz
Candidate for U.S. House of Representatives (PA-07)

Posted at 07:08 PM in Band of Brothers, Democrats | TrackBack (1) | Technorati

Thursday, January 19, 2006

VA-Gov: Tim Kaine to Deliver SOTU Response

Posted by DavidNYC

According to Roll Call (sub. req.), the Dems will ask newly elected Virginia Governor Tim Kaine to deliver our party's response to the State of the Union address. Hamsher of FireDogLake thinks we should be tapping John Murtha, and I'm inclined to agree. I like Tim Kaine, and I think he's certainly a good choice. But I think Murtha is the better choice, because he's associated with an issue we really need to lead with, and because we need to strike while the iron is hot - Murtha was making waves not long ago. It might also give him a chance to (obliquely) hammer the newest round of Swift Boaters. But I'm guessing the decision has been made, and Kaine it will be.

Posted at 12:15 PM in Democrats, Virginia | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Democratic Convention Watch

Posted by DavidNYC

I've been a big proponent of single-district blogs, but this endeavour takes specialization to a whole new level. And I gotta say, I love it. Take a look at 2008 Democratic Convention Watch, a site devoted purely to news about the next Dem convention - a political junkie's delight. (And I found it randomly by Googling!) A few things worth noting:

• Some 35 cities have been invited to bid to host the convention.

• The deadline for bids is Jan. 13th, so we'll know which cities are in contention at that point.

• The host city won't be announced until after the 2006 midterm elections.

I've gone on record as a strong supporter of Denver, which is probably a leading contender at this point. Its Western location is ideal politically, and the mountain weather ought to be more pleasant than that in most cities during the summer. Colorado Luis notes that Denver might have a labor issue - there's only one unionized hotel in downtown Denver. On the flipside, unfortunately, most cities these days have the same kind of problem. I like Luis' suggestion that Denver be given the convention in exchange for permitting union organizing activities in conjunction with it.

The official Denver Dem Party website has a recent update here on their efforts to lobby the DNC, and a possibly freeped poll at DailyKos shows Denver with a sizable lead. I'm curious to know what drawbacks, if any, people think Denver presents.

Posted at 03:09 AM in 2008 President - Democrats, Democrats | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

St. Paul-Mayor: Democratic Traitor Stomped in Re-Election Bid

Posted by Bob Brigham

Star Tribune:

St. Paul voters punished Mayor Randy Kelly on Tuesday for standing with President Bush a year ago, denying the Democrat a second term in Minnesota's capital city.

Former City Council member Chris Coleman, also a Democrat, routed Kelly by a more than 2-to-1 margin in unofficial returns with most precincts reporting. Ahead of the election, independent polls showed voters were primed to fire Kelly, and most cited his 2004 endorsement of the Republican president as the reason.

No sitting St. Paul mayor had lost a campaign since 1974. Kelly had a personal election streak that spanned just as long, covering his quarter-century in the Legislature and first term as mayor.

"It may sound silly, but Kelly was for Bush and I'm not,'' said retiree Audrey Guith after casting her vote for Coleman.

Not silly, but exactly what Democrats should expect for standing with Bush.

Hat tip to Atrios.

Posted at 09:50 PM in 2005 Elections, Democrats, Minnesota | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Monday, November 07, 2005

Dems to Move Back 2008 Convention Date

Posted by DavidNYC

From Roll Call (sub. req.):

Democratic Members are lauding their party’s unexpected decision to hold the 2008 Democratic National Convention in late August, saying that the later date should help the party level the playing field against the GOP.

In an unusually early announcement, the Democratic National Committee said Friday that the four-day presidential nominating event would be held Monday, Aug. 25 through Thursday, Aug. 28 — a full month later than the 2004 convention, which began in late July.

DNC officials said the timing allows the party to avoid competition with the 2008 Summer Olympics, while also providing the prospective Democratic nominee a not-too-lengthy period to sustain the traditional post-convention “bounce” in popularity. After the convention closes down, it will be only 68 days until Election Day.

I think this is a wise move, but the article leaves out an added crucial reason why this is a smart change. Though both Bush and Kerry turned down federal matching money during the "primary" campaign, both accepted federal money for the "general election." I put those terms in quotes because they mean very little - the primaries were over long before the technical FEC start of the general election season.

And that start date is kind of screwed up, because the clock begins ticking as soon as your party's convention is over - meaning that John Kerry was stuck with his final cash pool (I think it was $45 mil) for three months, while Bush had to make do with that sum for just two months. This change eliminates that problem.

As to the location, I'm still a supporter of Denver. The Roll Call story mentions that some Dems want to do it in New Orleans, as expected. I think it's a kind gesture, but it goes without saying that Colorado (and its western brethren) represent a good share of our political future as a party, while Louisiana does not. I'd rather see the Dems take back power in 2006 and pressure Bush to spend some serious money to really rebuild N.O. and the rest of the Gulf Coast.

Posted at 02:48 PM in 2008 President - Democrats, Democrats | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Harry Reid Provides Reasons to Respect Democrats

Posted by Bob Brigham

Chris Bowers posted his 2006 Senate Forecast one media cycle too soon, because the dynamics for 2006 shifted drastically yesterday. With bold action and straight talk, Senator Harry Reid and a united Democratic caucus showed America that Democrats deserve respect, they proved that Democrats are ready to fight, and people trust Reid's motives unlike some GOP stunts like Gingrich shutting down the government and Terry Schiavo.

Senator Harry Reid is an authentic leader with strong convictions and a voice that will be heard.

Hunter breaks it down:

In a move worthy of a Wild West gunfight, Minority Leader Harry Reid changed the political landscape on a dime, and cleaved the Republican talking point brigades into shards and splinters. This move was political brilliance on more fronts than I can count.

  • First, obviously, it forced the Senate to agree to finally investigate the massaged and/or bogus Iraq War intelligence, after stonewalling the investigation for over two years.
  • Second, it shows the American people that the Democrats are serious about the Republicans' ongoing dismissal of critical national security matters, even if Republicans like Frist and Roberts have proven over the last two years they aren't trustworthy or responsible about pursuing them. And that Democrats are also dead serious about the Iraq War, and investigating any frauds or manipulations used to send us into the quagmire.

  • It absolutely nails the Republicans to the wall on Plamegate. President Bush, the Senate, and now the entire nation knows that senior administration official Scooter Libby, chief of staff to the Vice President, was the first administration official to leak the name of a covert CIA agent to the press, in retaliation for her husband's political stance. And we now know that Rove was the second, and that the two had some conversations as to Plame's status and what they were telling reporters about it.

    And yet Bush didn't fire either one of them. He allowed Libby to resign after being indicted for obstructing the further investigation into the White House leaks. And Rove remains by his side today, while the investigation continues.

    Today, by demanding a response to Senate obstruction efforts, Reid squarely brought the national discourse back to the ongoing now-criminal obstruction efforts in the White House -- a criminal obstruction that had in the last days been made into a talking point praised by Republicans as a Republican victory over the investigation. And it masterfully highlights the fundamental dishonesty of a Republican Senate with no intentions of getting to the bottom of either of them. Frist squealed like a stuck pig at even the mere thought of having to discuss either matter.

  • It completely disrupted and short-circuited the nasty, Swift Boat hackery of the Republicans attempting to defend the far-right Judge Sam Alito. The Republican spin machine isn't the only group capable of setting the parameters of the national debate.

  • Perhaps most importantly, it fires a huge warning shot into the Republican efforts to break Senate rules to disallow filibusters. Remember, Reid did similar parliamentary moves during the last discussion of Senate-busting "nuclear" rule changes by Republicans. So this is just a little punch to say "You want to mess with the rules? We can make your legislative lives into an unworkable living hell, if you're not willing to play by the rules. Think about whether you want to fire those shots."

    That is, in fact, why it was called the Nuclear Option by the original Republicans to propose it... because the Senate revolves around the basic comity of allowing the majority party to set the debate. But that's not because of the rules -- it's because of the gentlemen's agreement of the minority party. If the Senate goes nuclear, bye-bye gentlemen's agreement. Bye-bye to the ability of the Republicans to set the terms of legislation.

  • And finally, it made Bill Frist look like an utter amateur. Whining like a stuck pig, Frist made it perfectly clear that he isn't nearly the political tactician his lockstep demands for party loyalty require him to be. Today, Reid made Frist look like a complete fool -- actually, Frist mainly did it all by himself. This further weakens him and his own hold on his party.

Frist actually said, today:

"Never have I been slapped in the face with such an affront to the leadership of this grand institution."

Oh my. Lookie who started the gunfight, and now wants a timeout? Better start wearing a hockey mask, Frist, because I think Reid just made it perfectly clear that this isn't the only face-slap you're going to get.

Let's hear it for Reid. Simply masterful, as a parliamentarian and as a leader.

If Democrats stay united and fight with bold action, this could put races like Mississippi, Nevada and Virginia into play, meaning Democrats could be on offense in 10 races.

Judging by the reaction to the photo of Harry Reid, Chuck Schumer, and Dick Durbin, I think the caucus has finally come around to the idea of standing proud and fighting.

harry reid senate showdown

Posted at 11:59 AM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Democrats | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Friday, October 28, 2005

Official Statements on the Indictment of Lewis "Scooter" Libby

Posted by Bob Brigham

The old thread was getting crowded, here is an updated, alphebetical list of official statements on the indictment of Assistant to the President and Chief of Staff to the Vice President Scooter Libby.

Rob Andrews:

Rep. Rob Andrews (D-NJ) Statement on the Indictment of I. Lewis Libby

Today's indictment of Vice President Cheney's Chief of Staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, demonstrates yet another significant failure for this Administration in their attempt to earn the respect and trust of the American people. Mr. Libby was one of the senior most aides to this Administration and these charges, as well as the continuing investigation into other members of this Administration provide more questions then they do answers.

This President has repeatedly asked Americans to trust him. Trust him that he has a plan to repair our Nation's economy. Trust him that we are doing the things needed to be done in Iraq to protect our soldiers and win the peace. Trust him that help is on the way to victims in the Gulf. Trust him that his appointees will prove to be both ethical and effective in performing the duties of their post.

The time for political maneuvering and spin is over. The Administration owes the citizens of this Nation a clear and thorough explanation of its answer to the charges against it.

PA-10 Candidate Chris Carney (D)


Dimock, Pa.-Chris Carney, Democratic candidate for U.S. Congress, has released the following statement after the announcement of the indictment of Vice-President Cheney's Chief of Staff, Scooter Libby.

"While we cannot presume guilt at this point, today’s indictment seems to begin another gloomy chapter in an already sad story. We must let the justice system do its work. But, anyone in our government that endangered the life of an American covert agent for any reason--political or otherwise--is a coward and without honor."

"As the former Director of Intelligence Support for the War on Terrorism, I can testify that the leak of a covert operative's identity does grave damage to our overall national security and to our efforts in the war on terror."

"We all know the name of Valerie Plame now and we all know her work. Her cover has been revealed, her work endangered, and her contacts put at risk. Possibly worse, anyone that considers working for America in a covert capacity must consider that they may not be protected."

"Perhaps more than in any other American conflict, the war on terror relies upon covert agents and human intelligence assets. To risk compromising these scarce assets is to risk another 9/11—or worse."

"We need new leadership in Washington--new leadership that understands that national security is not a political game, new leadership that will always put the security of the American people first."

Dick Cheney:

"Mr. Libby has informed me that he is resigning to fight the charges brought against him. I have accepted his decision with deep regret."

"Scooter Libby is one of the most capable and talented individuals I have ever known. He has given many years of his life to public service and has served our nation tirelessly and with great distinction."

John Conyers:

"The prosecutor has performed his job in pursuing this case vigorously and fairly. However, the charges really beg the larger question - what did the president and vice president know about these and related matters, and when did they know it?"

Democracy for America:

Stop the Spin

The culture of corruption in Washington is toxic. Already, the White House has started its spin machine, throwing out bogus talking points about "an overzealous prosecutor1" and "the criminalization of politics2." You know what? We need to quit playing that game.

On Wednesday, November 2, join DNC Chair Howard Dean and DFA Chair Jim Dean on a conference call to discuss how to change the culture of corruption in Washington. Sign up on DFA-Link for a conference call event in your area:

It grows clearer by the day that the President's advisors were willing to do anything to quiet opposition to the war -- even if it meant breaking laws designed to protect our national security. And it leaves us questioning: what other deceptions and mistruths did they tell to lead us into war? If we want the truth, we need to demand answers.

Join the conference call with Governor Dean and Jim Dean next week. If you can't find an event in your area, invite some friends over and join the conference call from home:

It's time for the truth. It's time to take our country back: neighbor to neighbor, friend to friend, from the ground up.

RSVP for the conference call with DNC Chair Howard Dean and DFA Chair Jim Dean today:

Tom Hughes
Democracy for America
1: Republicans Testing Ways to Blunt Leak Charges
2: Bill Frist's Interview With Sean and Alan

Howard Dean:

Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald today indicted Vice President Cheney's chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, on two counts of perjury, two counts of making false statements and one count of obstruction of justice. Libby was known to have been part of a group of White House officials that included Deputy White House Chief of Staff Karl Rove, Deputy National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley, White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card, and Press Secretary Scott McClellan who were charged with selling the Bush Administration's rationale for the Iraq war to the American people.

Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean today issued the following statement:

"This is a sad day for America.

"Beyond the evidence that the White House manipulated the intelligence used to justify the war in Iraq, a group of senior White House officials not only orchestrated efforts to smear a critic of the war, but worked to cover up this smear campaign. In so doing, they ignored the rule of law, endangering our national security and the brave men and women who dedicate their lives to protecting our nation's security. I. Lewis Libby was a part of this internal White House group.

"This is not only an abuse of power, it is an un-American abuse of the public trust. As Americans, we must hold ourselves and our leaders to a higher standard. We cannot fear dissent. We cannot fear the truth. And we cannot tolerate those who do.

"More importantly, we can't ignore the glaring questions this case has raised about the rationale the Bush Administration used to send us to war in Iraq, a war that continues. American soldiers are still in harms way. Over 2,000 brave Americans have lost their lives, thousands of American soldiers have been wounded, and thousands of American families have made the ultimate sacrifice. Still, the President has no plan and no exit strategy. And still he hasn't answered the question, what are we doing in Iraq and when can our troops come home?

"President Bush faces a serious test of leadership; will he keep his pledge to hold his Administration to high ethical standards and give the American people what they deserve, and will he answer to the American people for these serious missteps?"

Diana DeGette

Democratic Chief Deputy Whip Diana DeGette (CO-01) released the following statement regarding the five-count indictment against Vice President Dick Cheney's Chief of Staff, Lewis "Scooter" Libby:

"Today, Lewis "Scooter" Libby, the Chief of Staff to Vice President Dick Cheney, was indicted by Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald on charges of obstruction of justice, false statements and perjury. Allegations that a senior government official tried to subvert the criminal justice process by lying to a grand jury are very serious. This is made even more serious by the fact that the investigation is focused on whether classified national security information was compromised during a time of war. The outcome is now in the hands of our independent judicial system."

Chris Dodd:

Statement of Senator Chris Dodd on the Indictment of I. Lewis Libby

“These are very serious charges that if found to be true, show an extreme arrogance on behalf of this White House. Leaking a CIA agent’s identity is extremely dangerous, reckless and wrong. But doing so for the larger purpose of discrediting someone who did not believe the Administration’s untruths about Iraq and misleading the country into war is reprehensible and damaging to our country’s interests. These events are clearly distracting this White House which is reeling from ineptitude and mismanagement on a variety of fronts – most importantly the war, but also our economy, Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, spiraling gas prices. The list goes on and on. The American people demand better.”

Tom Harkin:

Statement of Senator Tom Harkin

October 28, 2005

“Today, a top White House official was indicted for lying to cover his tracks in outing a CIA official. Sadly, this is not limited to this circumstance or this one individual. It sheds light on just how far this White House is willing to go to obstruct the truth and justify a war otherwise based on faulty intelligence, misrepresentation and distortion.

“When a President takes the American people to war, it is an act of utmost gravity and consequence. Two thousand Americans and tens of thousands of Iraqis have perished because of President Bush’s decision.

“There are still questions about who in this Administration—all the way up to Vice President Cheney—sought retribution against those who questioned the war and the justification for it. It is time to come clean. It is time for President to show leadership and answer these very serious questions.”

Ted Kennedy:

”Today is an ominous day for the country, signifying a new low since Watergate in terms of openness and honesty in our government. This is far more than an indictment of an individual. In effect it’s an indictment of the vicious and devious tactics used by the Administration to justify a war we never should have fought. It’s an indictment of the lengths Administration officials were willing to go to cover up their failed intelligence, their distortion on Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction, and their serious blunders on the war. It is an indictment of their vindictive efforts to discredit anyone who challenge their misrepresentations.

The American people know the high cost of this misguided war – 2,000 U.S. soldiers dead, more than 15,000 wounded, hundreds of billions of dollars spent with no end in sight, and a continuing shameful effort by the White House to silence those who try to tell the truth about the war. Dissent is the ultimate form of patriotism, and it’s time we return to having an honest discourse in this country about changing direction and paying attention to the needs of the American people.

The President should take this opportunity to do everything he can to heal the country by not interfering with the prosecution of this case or the continuing investigation, and by cleaning house at the White House to immunize the country against any further corruption and dishonesty. As the President promised, anyone still in the White House who had anything to do with this scandalous plot or the cover-up should be dismissed immediately, whether or not they have been indicted. Something has to give — America can’t stand three more years of this failed Bush presidency. “

Robert Menendez

U.S. Representative Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, issued the following statement today on the indictment of White House official I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby:

"It is a sad day for America when one of the senior most officials in the White House is indicted on felony charges. I. Lewis Libby is one of the top advisors to the president, one of the chief architects of his foreign policy, and one of the masterminds behind the way the administration sold to the public the war in Iraq.

"Of all the things we have learned over the course of this investigation, two facts stand out: President Bush stood before Congress and spoke of attempts by Saddam Hussein to acquire uranium from Africa, a charge that the administration knew was not true. And Valerie Plame's name was released to the public because Joseph Wilson dared to point out that the claim was not true.

"As the investigation into this leak has unfolded, we have also learned that the White House engaged in a coordinated campaign of unprecedented intensity to discredit its critics. In the course of that campaign, they blew the cover of one CIA operative and thereby jeopardized the lives of other CIA agents.

"Last year, the president said he would fire anyone found leaking information in this case, and we now know the official who was indicted today was not the only one who leaked information. If the president hopes to undo the damage he has done to this country and restore what is left of his credibility, he needs to follow through on his pledge. He cannot hide behind legalistic denials, or pretend that the resignation of one official removes the stain that has been left on his White House.

"Today's indictments came because this administration misled the country over the most important issue any president faces, the decision on whether to take the country to war, and then tried to cover up that fact by silencing its critics and, it appears in at least one case, lying to a grand jury.

"The president now has a rare chance to come clean. I hope he takes it."


White House Indictment Was About Cover-Up Of Iraq Lies

Today, Vice President Cheney’s Chief of Staff was indicted for obstructing an investigation into the White House cover-up of the lies that led our nation to war in Iraq.
The Bush administration outted CIA operative Valerie Plame as punishment for her husband's revelations about the Administration's Iraq lies. Today, a top White House official was indicted for obstructing the investigation into that cover-up. The White House will try to pretend that this is not a big deal. With a strong letter to the editor campaign, we can defeat the Republican spin machine and let the American people know the truth: that today's indictment was about the cover-up of Bush's Iraq lies and we demand that Bush clean house of all the liars.

Bill Pascrell, Jr.:

U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-8) expressed concern after learning that Vice President Dick Cheney's Chief of Staff, Lewis "Scooter" Libby, threatened national security, obstructed justice, and perjured himself to a federal grand jury, in order to stifle opposition to the case President Bush made for going to war in Iraq.

"Five years ago, President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney pledged to "restore honor and dignity to the White House," stated Pascrell, a member of the House Committee on Homeland Security. "It is clear today that this insincere pledge has been utterly decimated. Exposing national security information to reap political revenge, and then obstructing a federal investigation, is not "honorable or dignified" -- it is corrupt, shameful, immoral and a reason for national concern. With three years to go, this Administration has officially lost any remaining credibility.

At the heart of this issue is an Administration that will stop at nothing to hide the truth from the American people. The indictment reveals that a top official in the United States government placed politics over national security. The President invaded Iraq under false pretenses; today we have learned that Mr. Libby perjured himself to defend those false pretenses that enabled the President to invade Iraq. This isn't a Republican or Democrat issue, this Administration has dishonored all Americans.

President Bush is struggling with the economy at home and with war overseas. Now he will begin struggling to relieve himself of the burden he created within his own ranks."

Nancy Pelosi:

“The criminal indictments of a top White House official mark a sad day for America and another chapter in the Republicans’ culture of corruption. At the heart of these indictments was the effort by the Bush Administration to discredit critics of its Iraq policy with reckless disregard for national security and the public trust.”

John Podesta:

Statement of John Podesta on the Fitzgerald Indictments

Its time to get out the broom at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and clean house.

We now know that Special Prosecutor Fitzgerald believes that crimes were committed in an effort to cover up the White House's involvement in the outing of an undercover CIA officer.

At its core, this case is about the Administration's manipulation of intelligence to sell the war in Iraq. Special Prosecutor Fitzgerald's continuing investigation may reveal more about the White House's efforts to cover up its missteps in the lead up to the war.

But we should not have to wait for Fitzgerald's findings for the President to take responsibility for what went on in his White House. We know Karl Rove was a source of the leak. We know Karl Rove lied to the President, the White House Press Secretary and the public. We also know that Vice President Cheney was Lewis Libby's source for the CIA officer's identity. He must come forward and explain his role.

There is no question this is a Presidency in crisis. Bush has a chance to salvage his credibility and last three years of his Presidency - but only if he stands by his word to fire anyone involved in the leak starting with the immediate resignation of Lewis Libby and Karl Rove.

In addition to Rove and Libby, we know that senior Presidential aides National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley and White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan were either complicit in the leak and the cover up, or grossly negligent in their duties. The Press Secretary's credibility is in tatters. It is clear he can no longer be an effective spokesperson for the President. Finally, as Chief of Staff, Andrew Card has presided over a White House staff that is guilty of a disservice to the President and the country. Each of these aides should resign.


National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley
Stephen Hadley knew for more than two years that Karl Rove was lying about his role in the leak. In July of 2003, Rove sent then-Deputy National Security Advisor Hadley an email relaying a conversation Rove had with a reporter about Ambassador Wilson.

The CIA alerted Hadley three times between October 2002 to January 2003 that the uranium intelligence was unreliable. The State Department told Hadley and Rice in the National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq's WMD capability that they found the uranium intelligence "highly dubious." Hadley d [approved?] the use of the erroneous claim in the State of the Union anyway.

White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card
Andrew Card has presided over a White House staff that has actively misled the public on its role in the leak, and allowed the President to present faulty intelligence to the American people. Mr. Card has either been lied to about the White House staff's role in the leak or he has been complicit in it.

White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan
The White House Press Secretary is not just the President's spokesperson; he or she speaks for the United States government. Beginning in the summer of 2003, Scott McClellan has made categorical statements denying any White House involvement in the CIA leak case. Whether McClellan was lying or was lied to by other staff, he no longer has the credibility to speak for the President or the United States government and should resign.

Harry Reid:

“These are very serious charges. They suggest that a senior White House aide put politics ahead of our national security and the rule of law.

“This case is bigger than the leak of highly classified information. It is about how the Bush White House manufactured and manipulated intelligence in order to bolster its case for the war in Iraq and to discredit anyone who dared to challenge the president.

“It's now time for President Bush to lead and answer the very serious questions raised by this investigation. The American people have already paid too steep a price as a result of misconduct at the White House, and they deserve better.”

Tim Ryan:

Congressman Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) issued the following statement today following the indictment and resignation of Vice President Cheney's Chief Of Staff, I. Lewis Libby:

"This is a very sad day for the United States of America. Today, the Chief of Staff of Vice President Cheney was indicted on five counts of making false statements, perjury and obstruction of justice during an investigation into the illegal outing of an undercover CIA agent. In the course of serving her country, that agent was compromised and placed at grave risk by her own government. The deliberate and reckless disclosure placed her life and the lives of her colleagues in significant danger, not to mention irrevocably harming their professional public service careers. And why? It was done merely because her husband had the courage to take a stand and challenge the lies the Bush Administration was telling the American public.

"The allegations contained in the indictments are not just unlawful -- they are an egregious violation of the public trust, and they devalue the presidency of the most powerful nation in the world."

Henry Waxman

Rep. Waxman Renews Call for Hearings on CIA Leak Case
Libby Indictment Underscores Need for Congressional Inquiry

October 28, 2005 -- Today, in light of the indictment of Lewis (Scooter) Libby by Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald, Rep. Waxman has renewed a request to Chairman Davis that the Government Reform Committee, the principal investigative committee in the House, hold hearings into the leak of the identity of covert CIA agent Valerie Plame Wilson. Rep. Waxman has previously requested such hearings on September 29, 2003, October 8, 2003, December 11, 2003, and July 11, 2005.

Today’s press conference by Special Counsel Fitzgerald makes clear that such hearings are necessary because the leak of Ms. Wilson’s identity raises broad questions of national interest which the Justice Department’s criminal investigation will not address. Mr. Fitzgerald today repeatedly underscored the narrow, legal focus of his investigation and the extensive limits placed on his ability to reveal what he learned by the rules of grand jury secrecy.

Rep. Waxman details the three areas that the Committee’s inquiry should address: (1) what caused this breach of national security and who should be held accountable; (2) why the White House failed to meet its obligations to investigate the leak; and (3) how the leak of Ms. Wilson’s identity relates to the broader issue of whether the President and his top advisors used misleading intelligence to initiate war in Iraq.

Joe Wilson:

(To be read by his attorney Christopher Wolf at 3:00 p.m. - 10/28/05)
The five count indictment issued by the Grand Jury today is an important step in the criminal justice process that began more than two years ago. I commend Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald for his professionalism, for his diligence, and for his courage.
There will be many opportunities in the future to comment on the events that led to today's indictment. And, it appears that there will be further developments before the grand jury. Whatever the final outcome of the investigation and the prosecution, I continue to believe that revealing my wife Valerie's secret CIA identity was very wrong and harmful to our nation, and I feel that my family was attacked for my speaking the truth about the events that led our country to war. I look forward to exercising my rights as a citizen to speak about these matters in the future.
Today, however, is not the time to analyze or to debate. And it is certainly not a day to celebrate. Today is a sad day for America. When an indictment is delivered at the front door of the White House, the Office of the President is defiled. No citizen can take pleasure from that.
As this case proceeds, Valerie and I are confident that justice will be done. In the meantime, I have a request. While I may engage in public discourse, my wife and my family are private people. They did not choose to be brought into the public square, and they do not wish to be under the glare of camera. They are entitled to their privacy. This case is not about me or my family, no matter how others might try to make it so.
This case is about serious criminal charges that go to the heart of our democracy.
We, like all citizens, await the judgment of the jury in a court of law.

Posted at 05:46 PM in 2006 Elections, Culture of Corruption, Democrats, Republicans | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Washington Democrats and Iraq

Posted by Bob Brigham

David Sirota has been leading a charge against Washington DC Democrats who refuse to acknowledge Iraq as an issue. Now the Democrats' most credible and trustworthy voice on Iraq is stepping-up to lead the charge. From Blog for America:

Every day, more American soldiers are killed and wounded in Iraq. The violence and attacks on innocent Iraqi citizens continues to go unchecked. Billions of dollars have been spent, yet, we have no coherent exit plan.

As a Marine, I witnessed first-hand the devastation and destruction of this war. The mistruths and deception of the Bush administration have created a quagmire. That's why I signed the pledge to only send responsible leaders to Washington. And I'm asking you to do the same.
I pledge to only support candidates who:

1. Acknowledge that the U.S. was misled into the war in Iraq
2. Advocate for a responsible exit plan with a timeline
3. Support our troops both at home and abroad

It's time for leaders to step up to the plate and face the Iraq mess head-on because the situation only keeps getting worse. But, before we can fix it, Washington must first acknowledge the crisis we are in. You can help. Take a stand and sign the pledge to hold candidates accountable on the Iraq war.

I served my country on the front lines in Iraq and saw the consequences of failed leadership up close. We need new leadership in Washington that will face this crisis with courage.

Join me and tens of thousands of Americans by standing up and telling Washington to start planning our exit now. Sign the pledge today:

Thank you,

Paul Hackett

P.S. When you view the pledge map, you can learn about other patriotic Americans who've signed the pledge in every corner of the country. Take a look, and then sign the pledge:

It will be interesting to watch the dots fill up on the pledge map. I'm guessing it won't take long for there to be even more dots than the overwhelming number of dots on the Hackett Donor Map.

Posted at 12:58 PM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - House, 2006 Elections - Senate, Activism, Democrats, Netroots | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Friday, October 14, 2005

Denver is the Perfect Spot for the Dem Convention

Posted by DavidNYC

The other day, Bob wrote about the idea of a "Western Primary," to give this fast-growing region a bigger voice in choosing our party's presidential candidate. I think it's a great idea, and one way to capitalize on it would be to have our convention out west. Fortunately, some folks out in Colorado are trying to make this happen.

Denver came very close to hosting the convention in 2000 - hopefully it can be our site in 2008. If nothing else, I have to imagine the summer weather in Denver's mountain air is about a million times more pleasant than the sultry heat you'll find in the northeast.

Posted at 11:53 AM in 2008 Election - President, Colorado, Democrats | Comments (19) | TrackBack (1) | Technorati

Friday, October 07, 2005

OH-Sen: Democrats Need to Support Major Paul Hackett

Posted by Bob Brigham

Paul Hackett The Democratic Party has a major problem on the issue of Iraq. The voters have decidedly turned against the war, but Democrats have been unable to capitalize upon the movement because Democrats have lacked a clear message and support for the war by Washington Establishment Democrats has created a situtation where Democrats don't have credibility on the issue.

It doesn't have to be that way. The Democratic Party has a unique opportunity in Ohio to finally have both credibility and a message on Iraq. Major Paul Hackett can single-handedly change the national dynamics around the war. But, instead of embracing this opportunity, Washington Insiders decided to frag Major Hackett. From the Cleveland Plain Dealer:

But before [Sherrod] Brown, 52, can talk about his own work on health care, trade, Social Security and the environment, he'll have to deal with a clumsy situation that his entrance created Thursday.

Brown announced his intentions just three days after another Democrat, Paul Hackett of suburban Cincinnati, got into the Senate race. Hackett decided to run after Brown announced in August that he would stay in the U.S. House - a decision that, Brown said two weeks ago, he didn't regret.

The Hackett camp says it feels betrayed, since Brown, of Avon, assured Hackett face-to-face that he was not running.

"Sherrod Brown told the candidate three weeks ago that he was not entering the race, so the campaign was surprised at Sherrod's indecisiveness and change of heart," said Michael Brautigam, an adviser to Hackett. "Sherrod's entry into the race is not only dishonorable, it's disloyal to the Democratic Party and to democratic ideals."

While Congressman Sherrod Brown is attempting to clean up the mess from him breaking his word, Major Hackett is drilling with his Marines. The contrast between another untrustworthy Washington politician and a true leader couldn't be clearer.

Posted at 01:21 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Democrats, Ohio, Scandals | Comments (42) | TrackBack (2) | Technorati

Thursday, October 06, 2005

OH-Sen: The Story So Far

Posted by DavidNYC

Way, way back at the start of the year, President Bush followed all second-term presidents in performing a time-honored rite: the cabinet reshuffle. We saw some dear old friends depart, like John Ashcroft and Colin Powell. We were introduced to some wonderful new faces, like Alberto Gonzalez. And some of our long-time buddies just couldn't bear to leave, like Condi Rice and Donald Rumsfeld.

Almost lost in this misty-eyed pastoral is the tremendously important post of US Trade Representative. Whoever holds this job is responsible for travelling around the world on the government's tab to convince foreign countries to buy our goods. What an awesome job. The lucky fellow who held this job in Bush's first term was one Robert Zoellick, who became a Deputy Secretary of State at the start of Bush's second term. Ah, Bob, we hardly knew ye.

To fill this crucial gap in our nation's governing apparatus, George Bush tapped Robert Portman to fill Zoellick's big shoes. Portman, you see, was a Congressman from southwest Ohio, roughly in the neighborhood of Cincinnati. His district - Ohio's second - was one of the most conservative in Ohio, if not the nation. It had reliably sent a Republican to Congress for decades, and Democrats hadn't poked their heads above a feeble 30% or so for a long, long time.

Smart play by Mr. Bush: Tap a solid insider for your cabinet, and ensure that you don't lose any ground in the House. And the plan worked, too - but you couldn't ask for a better illustration of "be careful what you wish for." So what happened along the way?

A certain blogger - me, as it happens - noticed the Portman nomination and espied the inevitable open seat and special election that would of necessity ensue. So I wrote about it over at the seminal Democratic blog DailyKos. I didn't view the race as winnable (not at the time, at least), but I did think it would give our side a great opportunity to do some political R&D - to experiment, be bold, hold nothing back. When you've got nothing to lose, you can be as aggressive as you want.

Meanwhile, things began to unfold on the ground in Ohio. The fateful primary election took place on June 14th. The Dems emerged with a man that almost no one had heard of - but he did have an interesting resume. Major Paul Hackett had just returned from serving a tour of duty with the Marines in Iraq - a war, believe it or not, he opposed. Who could speak with more authority - both intellectual and moral - on such an important subject, than someone with a background like that?

It turns out that Paul Hackett was also the sort of blunt, plain-spoken non-politician that so many Democrats had craved for so long. He was Howard Dean in fatigues. To many, Hackett's individual positions weren't nearly as important as his willingness to speak his mind. He definitely didn't vote for anything before he voted against it.

The blogosphere began to take serious interest in the race at this point - and a huge reason was Tim Tagaris, one of the editors of this humble magazine. Tim, on the ground with Grow Ohio, served as a crucial conduit between the online world and OH-02. Reports flowed in fast and furious from southwest Ohio. The Swing State Project (along with the OH-02 Blog) quickly became a hub for anyone who wanted to know more about the race or get involved.

As online activists started tuning in, volunteers began to flood the district as well. Hackett started getting real media coverage. He also had a lot of things going for him: Distrust and anger toward Republicans in the state of Ohio had been mounting since the Coingate revelations; Bush's popularity amongst Buckeyes had been steadily dropping; and he drew an opponent, Jean Schmidt, who was as corrupt (she took piles of cash from the now-indicted Tom DeLay) as she was feckless (she was reduced to defensively declaring she wouldn't be a "rubber stamp" during debates).

In the middle of the hubbub, Tim's fellow SSP editor, Bob Brigham, also decamped for the battleground of OH-02. Traffic exploded here as Bob and Tim tag-teamed the final days of the race. Back home, I kept the front page of DailyKos updated as often as I could. A certain energy crackled and infused everything about the whole campaign.

And people began to realize that this was no long just an opportunity to do some R&D - something much more was happening here. Hackett got scads of scrilla from online donations. The GOP got spooked and poured in big money of its own - in a district that Portman had won by 40 points the last time out. The establishment Dems took notice and fired back with a further cash infusion. The race was getting seriously, seriously hot.

It looked like Hackett could conceivably, possibly, just maybe win. No one knew for sure, of course - no one had done any independent, verifiable polling. But even if Hackett didn't win, lots of people - on the ground, in the professional commentariat, across the blogosphere - realized that a strong performance would send a message.

And boy did Paul Hackett send a message. Yeah, he lost - but by a margin much narrower than anyone would have dreamed. Republicans enjoyed scoffing about Hackett's loss, but there was jubilation on the Democratic side. Hackett lost by four points. The prior Dem who ran for this seat lost by ten times that margin. Anyone who refused to believe this showing didn't mean something truly had their head in the proverbial sand.

But the race did more than just send a message. A new star was born - and it wasn't Jean Schmidt. While she limped into her seat in Congress, Paul Hackett became a new Democratic Party star. His fearlessness and ability to connect with normal people (ie, everyone in America who doesn't suffer from D.C. Beltway Brain-rot) ensured that he wouldn't soon be forgotten. Just about everyone agreed he had a bright future in politics.

It turns out that his future was now. The Ohio GOP was reeling. Incumbent Republican Senator Mike DeWine, suffering atrocious approval ratings, was up for re-election in 2006. The Dems were looking for someone to take him on. A lot of people thought Paul Hackett would be the perfect guy to do that.

After some months of convincing, it appeared that Paul Hackett finally thought so as well, and rumors of his candidacy spread like wildfire across the Internet during the month of September. The way was clear for Hackett: Ohio Congressmen Tim Ryan and Sherrod Brown both indicated that they weren't going to run against DeWine.

As October rolled around (and the third quarter ended), an official announcement from Hackett was widely expected. (No candidate for office was going to announce right in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, in any event.) Yet a funny thing happened on the way to the election: Sherrod Brown, previously thought to be uninterested in the Senate race, started making noises that he would, in fact, throw his hat into the ring.

At that point, almost instantly, battle lines were drawn. Now, brother is pit against brother, more or less. Alright, so I'm making it sound like a melodramatic Civil War miniseries, only with fewer guns. But the dynamics are pretty fascinating.

Jerome Armstrong, the liberal blogfather and creator of the ur-blog MyDD, jumped on board Brown's ship. (Jerome is, in fact, working for Brown.) Jerome's greatest protege, Markos Moulitsas of DailyKos, has sided with Hackett.

And over here at the Swing State Project, the situation is no less jumbled. Tim, as I mentioned above, works for Grow Ohio, which means, like Jerome, he works for Sherrod Brown. Bob, on the other hand, has just started volunteering for Hackett and, as you can see from his posts here, supports him vociferously.

Today, however, Markos seems to weigh in on Brown's side, though the bulk of his readers support Hackett. Meanwhile, Tim (rightfully) wants to focus on RON, not an internecine battle. The Hotline's Blogometer has already noted a "split" in left-blogistan, but as all this indicates, the fault lines are far from clear. Indeed, Chris Bowers, the lead author at MyDD and Jerome's fellow blogger-in-arms, hasn't yet decided whom to support.

So where does this leave me? I count myself in the Hackett camp. But I definitely don't want to see a real blogspheric civil war emerge. We just don't need another huge round of infighting, like we saw during the Democratic Presidential primaries throughout all of 2003. The tide this year is turning strongly against the Republicans. Their corruption is catching up with them. Many will lose next year - both at the ballot box and in the courtroom. It's more important than ever that we stay united to capitalize on this perfect storm.

And the Swing State Project remains committed to bringing you the best coverage possible of the race - and that means reporting on the strengths and foibles of both the guys we support and the guys we don't.

I'll be honest: I wish Brown had chosen a different course of action. But since he's apparently committed at this point, all I'm hoping for is a good clean fight. So let's do this thing!

Posted at 08:30 PM in 2005 Elections, 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - Senate, Democrats, Netroots, Ohio, Site News, Special Elections | Comments (33) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

OH-Sen: Sherrod Brown Runs Against Major Paul Hackett in Ohio Senate Primary

Posted by Bob Brigham

Unfortunately, Congressman Sherrod Brown has decided to challenge Paul Hackett for the Democratic nomination in 2006. If Sherrod Brown wanted to run for Senate, the nomination was his. We urged him to run. But he chickened out. So Paul Hackett did what he has done time and time again: stepped up when duty called. Ted Strickland wouldn't run against Senate Mike DeWine, Sherrod Brown wouldn't run against DeWine, Tim Ryan wouldn't run against DeWine -- so Major Hackett offered to serve his country once more, this time in the U.S. Senate.

And now, on the eve of Hackett's kickoff, Sherrod Brown goes back on his word and says he is going to run against Hackett? A flip-flop? WTF?

Congressman Brown is going to waste a great deal of Democratic resources, but I can't comprehend the math necessary for Brown to win the primary. It looks like the Democratic Party is going to lose one of our best leaders in congress for no reason.

But it doesn't matter, Paul Hackett will be the Democratic Party nominee. After all of the scandals in Ohio, the last thing the voters want is another politician who can't be trusted.

The Top 10 Reasons Why Paul Hackett Will Be the Democratic Party Nominee

10. Sherrod Brown is already being mocked by the press for his waffle (or Decision Consistency Agility as you glass is half full types would say)

9. Paul Hackett's straight talk is loved by the press

8. Congressman Tim Ryan encouraged Hackett to run

7. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee urged Hackett to run

6. Hackett positioned himself behind the other Democrats, but has a nation-wide base

5. The Democratic Blogosphere delivered for Hackett -- even winning the Political Play of the Week

4. Hackett has a 70% pt. lead in the netroots

3. Unlike Brown, Hackett has great timing

2. Hackett can win in rural Ohio

1. In a nation at war, a Marine Major outranks a Washington Politician -- Congress needs an Iraq War Veteran

Sherrod Brown is a waffle, Mike DeWine is toast, and Major Hackett is hungry.

Posted at 08:15 PM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - Senate, Activism, Democrats, Netroots, Ohio | Comments (12) | TrackBack (2) | Technorati

VA-Sen: Ben Affleck Should Challenge George Allen

Posted by Bob Brigham

As blogosphere junkies know, Swing State Project has a very special relationship with MyDD. We're all friends and see eye-to-eye on most issues. But, I have to disagree with Chris Bowers when it comes to the 2006 Virginia Senate Race.

When rumors first surfaced that Ben Affleck was considering mounting a challenge to Republican Senator George Allen, Chris Bowers wrote:

Someone like Affleck would be a horrible, media sucking distraction from the 2006 campaign. This would be the equivalent media circus of the 2003 California recall election. It would destroy the generic advantage Democrats are poised to hold in 2006, and from which they will reap huge benefits if Bush's approval rating stays low.

So, please God, no, don't let Affleck run.

While I appreciate where Bowers is coming from, I disagree and think Affleck should seriously consider running for a number of reasons...

First, the (subscription only) National Journal had a great column by Chuck Todd today, via Daily Kos:

Democrats could have nine or 10 races in their crosshairs instead of just seven (one over the bare minimum to win back control).

The reality is that if one were to handicap the current Senate battle race-by-race, a 0-2 Democratic pickup would be very realistic. But as Charlie Cook has pointed out, Senate races never break evenly for both parties.

The key for the party that's got that little breeze at the end is putting enough races in play to win all those toss-ups. In a neutral climate, the 0-2 Democratic pickup prediction would make sense. But it's hard to foresee a neutral 2006 environment.

The makings for a Democratic advantage are brewing. There's no difference between netting three Senate seats and netting six or seven. Once the Democrats are in a position to net a third, it probably means all those slightly-leaning GOP seats are going their way and the gain will be closer to six than to two.

The amount Affleck makes on a single movie is enough for a serious ante and his name recognition, good looks, wife, future baby, and access to political support would instantly make the race competitive. According to Todd's analysis, this race could then easily become a pick-up, helping Democrats win the Senate and ending George Allen's 2008 presidential ambitions.

As for Bowers concerns that Affleck would hurt the Democratic message, I think the following indicates Affleck understands the dynamics, but wants to participate in democracy:

"I seem lately to bring to with me, whether I want to or not, a certain amount of media attention," the 31-year-old actor told reporters Tuesday before a Democratic National Committee fund-raiser at a bar outside Fenway.

"But I think you have to be smart and you have to be judicious and you have to be tasteful and you have to be respectful and you have to know your place," he added later. "I am not an elected official. I am not a political expert. I perceive my capacity here mostly in terms of being somebody who grew up here and wanting to be an ambassador for this city."

When a television reporter suggested that being good-looking, articulate and famous would make him a natural candidate for office, Affleck responded: "Uh, you know, that's a nice idea and I'm very flattered that you say it, but it's a tough fight, you know? I mean, if I think that the entertainment press is tough on me now, I can't imagine what it would be like to have a political agenda, as well."

It's not as if this talk comes out of nowhere. In an interview for the May 2001 issue of GQ magazine, Affleck said: "My fantasy is that someday I'm independently wealthy enough that I'm not beholden to anybody, so I can run for Congress on the grounds that everyday people - be they singers or poets or bankers or lawyers or teachers - should be in government."

While Affleck received a great ton of ink for his work to help John Kerry during last year's senate race, Affleck also stumped hard for Al Gore:

In the final hectic weeks of Campaign 2000, Affleck spent his time passionately campaigning for the Democratic ticket, supporting Al Gore, repeatedly delivering a get-out-the-vote plea: "It's very important to vote. The president will appoint three or four Supreme Court justices."

During the final week of the race, Affleck stumped for Gore in California, Florida, and Pennsylvania. During a stop in Pittsburgh, the star--along with Helen Hunt, Martin Sheen, Rob Reiner and other actors--spent an hour at a phone bank calling registered Democrats. "People in my generation have a low voter turnout. One of the reasons that I'm here is to demonstrate that no matter who you are going to vote for... I think it's important to get involved and get out and vote," Affleck told reporters. "But I'm going to tell people to vote for Gore."

On October 28, 2000, Affleck flew with the First Lady (Hillary Clinton) to Ithaca, New York, where he introduced her at a Cornell University rally. Affleck told the college crowd that Clinton had been advocating for women and working families since "Rick Lazio was running around the frat house in his underwear." Lazio, then a Long Island congressman, was Clinton's Republican opponent.

On Monday, November 6, the final day of the campaign, Affleck was one of several A-list celebrities summoned to Miami Beach by Miramax Films boss Harvey Weinstein for a late-night Gore rally, just hours before polls opened nationwide. The Gore campaign's last event, a final effort to energize South Beach voters, didn't end until about 1 AM, but Affleck flew back to New York that morning and made a surprise live appearance on The Rosie O'Donnell Show. It was 10:15 when he made his final public pitch from a Rockefeller Center studio, noting that he was "a little bit tired...I've been out getting involved, doing stuff and trying to get people to vote. And that's why I came by here." Also, "Today is the get-out-the-vote day and...I think this is the time to get involved, especially the young folks who are here ... I'm about to go vote," Affleck then said, adding later, "I am personally gonna vote for Al Gore."

Affleck has some political experience, I healthy respect for democracy, strong Democratic beliefs, and the ability to instantly make the race competitive. While Virginia Governor Mark Warner was my first choice to challenge Senator Allen, I think it is important that we put the seat in play. If Ben Affleck is interested, I think he should file.

UPDATE: Bowers joins the bandwagon, meaning Affleck could have the makings of some blogosphere backing if he decides to run:

I now think Ben Affleck should run for Senate in Virginia. Here is why.

The Jack Carter announcement today increased the number of competitive Democratic challenges to Republican-held Senate seats to eight (Arizona, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Tennessee). Over the past week, with Hoeven bowing out in North Dakota and Capito bowing out in West Virginia, the number of potentially competitive Republican challenges to Democratic-held Senate seats has been reduced to seven (Florida, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Jersey and Washington). Thus, for the first time, in the 2005-2006 cycle, Democrats have actually pulled ahead in the number of potentially competitive seats they are challenging in the Senate. [...]

Apart from a decided monetary advantage, one key for Republicans in 2002 and 2004 in the Senate was to create more competitive challenges to Democratic-held seats than Democrats created to Republican held seats. In the final weeks of the campaign, this stretched Democratic resources very thin, and allowed Republicans to pick up almost all of the close Senate races in both years. For example, ion 2004, Missouri, Ohio and Pennsylvania never emerged as highly competitive Democratic challenges to Republican held seats, while Washington and Wisconsin become, if not truly competitive, a lot closer than most people expected. The DSCC was forced to help defend Murray and Feingold, while the NRSC wasn't forced to do much of anything to help Bond, Specter and Voinovich. Democrats managed to do this to Republicans in 2000 as well, when they scored a net gain of five seats.

This is a strategy that should have been obvious to me from day one, since it is exactly the sort of strategy I have been advocating in the House for quite some time. Challenge every seat, aim for the leadership, and reduce the number of minimal challenges as much as possible, thus draining Republican resources away from the swing seats during the campaign as much as possible. It makes sense for the Senate as well.

Thus, no matter how much of a media circus an Affleck candidacy might become, it seems to me that he would be an excellent bonus to Democratic chances in the Senate in 2006. He is already very well known, has good looks and good politics, is a strong speaker, and could easily self-finance his run against Allen, who pretty close the the under-50 incumbent tipping point. Thus, Affleck would instantly increase the number of competitive Democratic challenges to nine seats, further stretching the Democratic advantage in this area. If Lott retires, that could potentially make ten serious challenges to Republican-held seats. And who knows, maybe we will continue to experience good news in places like Maryland, Nebraska and New Jersey, pushing Democrats out to a huge edge in seats we are seriously challenging. [...]

Humble and tasteful, well-spoken and smart, liberal and instantly competitive--Affleck suddenly looks very good to me. With the way things are going, over the past three months 2006 has looked better than better for Democrats all the time. Let's keep that roll going. Run Ben, run.

MyDD also has a poll, go vote.

Posted at 03:11 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, 2008 President - Republicans, Democrats, Netroots, Virginia | Comments (4) | TrackBack (1) | Technorati

Hackett Effect: Six Veterans Running as Democrats

Posted by Bob Brigham

While the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is hiding from the Iraq issue, individuals are stepping up to fill the DC Establishment leadership void. In fact, there are already 6 veterans ready to serve again -- in Congress:

While fighting in Iraq, a private asked then-Capt. Patrick Murphy why U.S. forces were in the Persian Gulf nation and was told it didn't matter; there was a job to do and just try to return home safely.

"That wasn't the time to question our government," Murphy recalled.

Now, however, Murphy and five other veterans of the war are asking questions about President Bush's policies in Iraq as part of their broader Democratic campaigns to win congressional seats in next year's elections.

Given their experience in Iraq, the six Democrats in Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Maryland and Virginia say they are eminently qualified to pose the tough questions.

Unlike the DCCC, these six candidates are in line with the American people:

Their reservations mirror public opinion, with an increasing number of Americans expressing concern about the mission and favoring a timetable for withdrawal of U.S. troops.

The most recent Associated Press-Ipsos poll indicated only 37 percent of Americans approve of Bush's handling of Iraq, with 62 percent disapproving.

This summer, Democrat Paul Hackett, an Iraq war veteran, nearly defeated Republican Jean Schmidt in a special election in an Ohio district considered a GOP stronghold. Hackett focused on his wartime experience and his opposition to Bush's policies.

Unlike the DCCC, these six candidates are doing their duty:

"Some guys don't think it's time to question our government, but the fact is I love my country," said Murphy, 31, a lawyer who fought in the 82nd Airborne Division. "We need to have an exit strategy now."

Murphy is challenging first-term Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick, a Republican in the northern Philadelphia suburbs of the 8th District.

Another Iraq war veteran, Texas Republican Van Taylor, is also running for a House seat, but he backs President Bush.

It's too soon to measure the impact of the war on the 2006 elections, but the handful of veterans pursuing seats in the House of Representatives is an early indicator.

The press thinks this is a story, the veterans know first-hand how high the stakes are, and it is clear that individuals are stepping up to fill the leadership vacuum created by wimpy Washington Establishment Democrats.

Please use the comments to let us know what you know about this six Democrats.

Posted at 02:17 PM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - House, Democrats, Maryland, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia | Comments (8) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

DCCC Incumbent Protection Message on Iraq

Posted by Bob Brigham

Two months ago today, David Sirota rightly blasted the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee for a disconnect on Iraq:

On the issue of the Iraq War, the disconnect between the Washington, D.C. Democratic Party establishment and political reality in America is growing by the day. Case in point is the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee's attitude towards the tremendous special election run by Paul Hackett in the staunchly Republican Cincinnati suburbs.

Hackett, an Iraq War veteran, made headlines in the campaign for taking a strong position against the original decision to go to war in Iraq, even calling the President of the United States an SOB. And while it's true, Hackett didn't support full withdrawal from Iraq, few would deny that his position opposing the war was a key part of his campaign.

Ultimately, the anti-war position defined his candidacy, and was the clear reason he was able to do so well in such a Republican district. That should be no surprise: polls have been telling us for months that America agrees with Hackett in believing going to war in Iraq was a mistake. Meanwhile, Americans' view of President Bush's handling of Iraq is at its lowest level ever.

Incredibly, however, in a memo sent to all Democratic House Members about what Democrats should learn from the Hackett race, the DCCC makes not one mention of the Iraq War and its effect on the election. Not one. It is as if the party is going out of its way to deny the importance of Democrats taking a strong position against the war, or making the war a serious issue in their campaigns.

In the two months since the infamous DCCC Chair Rahm Emanuel sent this memo, more than 150 US troops have made the ultimate sacrifice and public opinion polls have moved another 5-10 points against Emanuel and Bush.

Any Democrat serious about challenging an incumbent Republican member of Congress is wise to make Iraq a defining issue in the race. Yet the DCCC has remained silent on Iraq because the message is quite different for incumbent Democrats who -- like Congressman Rahm Emanuel -- are on the wrong side of the issue. As long as the DCCC remains silent, it is clear that their message and priority is incumbent protection -- trying to minimize losses instead of winning seats.

Yesterday, Chris Bowers noted that Congressman Rahm Emanuel never mentioned "Iraq" when talking about the difference between Democrats and Republicans on Meet the Press:

This is despite the fact that recent polling has repeatedly shown that the number one difference between rank and file Democrats and rank and file Republicans is, in general, differing views on national security policy and the use of military force and, in particular, the decision to go to war in Iraq. This is despite the fact that back in May, during the first vote on withdrawal in the House, Republicans voted 98% against and over 60% of Democrats voted in favor. And that was in May.

So, it would appear that the DCCC wants to sweep the number one issue that separates Democrats from Republicans under the rug. This issue also happens to be the number one issue in the country. And oh yeah--it is an issue on which the majority Democratic position has overwhelming national support, including a near majority among Republicans.


But hey, let's not run on said issue. In fact, let's not even mention it. Let's take it off the table, because that worked really well in 2002. Let's brag, like Schumer did in 2002, that Bush was winking at us during his speech when he was stating his case for war--a war which DSCC head Schumer voted for--rather than arguing that said speech and said war was based upon lies. Let's not talk about Iraq, because we are Democrats, and we don't want to win, and we don't want to address the important issues of the day, and we don't have the guts to stand up and support what the vast majority of our caucus, our rank-and-file, and our entire nation supports.

If Iraq isn't on the Democratic agenda in 2006, we will lose. A party will never sweep to power if it holds the same minority position on the most important issue of the day as the current governing party. I am starting to wonder if Democrats in D.C. have the ability to grasp this, or if they even care.

That last line brings up an important question and the answer is the difference between Rahm Emanuel's DCCC being incompetent or just lacking an interest in anything other than protecting incumbent Democrats. Because I would hate to think it is the former, I'm going to assume it is the latter. Regardless, I think it is clear that the DCCC is not focused on winning additional seats in 2006.

A few hours later, Bower's post was linked on the most popular Democratic blog where Kos said:

The DCCC's top dog, Rep. Rahm Emmanuel, is putting together a pretty solid foundation for a "Democratic agenda". Yet he continues to avoid Iraq like the plague, ignoring the most pressing and important issue of the day.

A reminder to those blinder-wearing DC Dems -- support for the Iraq War is crashing.

Two months ago, Sirota smacked Emanuel upside the head and it played out in the papers:

"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."

Unfortunately, he argued, the top Democrats are boxed by their own past complicity: "They were proponents of this war... . They can't speak out now with any moral authority."

Some net-roots liberals are even demanding that the pro-war Democrats show some contrition. 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.

Congressman Emanuel needs to make a major adjustment in strategy. As long as the DCCC ignores Iraq, it is not an organization worth supporting unless your goal is to waste money on incompetence or fund an effort focused on Democrats minimizing losses.

Bloggers are calling bullshit on this strategy and something tells me we are close to another round of this playing out in the press. While I'm pulling together some choice quotes for reporters, I hope Congressman Emanuel begins dealing with a subject he has avoided for far too long.

The 2006 midterm elections could be tidal for Democrats, but we need some leadership on the most important issue of the day to pull it off. The current leadership vacuum will be filled, if not by the DCCC then from the ground up with a message they can't control.

While I would love to see 2006 be a Democratic year, the establishment Democrats lack of contrast with the Republicans means it could very well be a "throw the bums out" cycle. If Emanuel cares about keeping incumbent Democrats in congress, the quickest route is to join the American people on the most important issue and have some contrast with the GOP. This is also the quickest route to pick up seats, but I think we all realize that isn't the goal.

UPDATE: Sirota piles on.

UPDATE: Looking at the transcript, we see that Emanuel was asked about Iraq:

MR. RUSSERT: So, for example, should we withdraw troops from Iraq?

REP. EMANUEL: Well, I--let me--let's take what the general just said. Let's deal with that.

The correct answer is, "damn straight" but since Emanuel wants to sit on the fence and not offer a yes or no answer, he gets questioned again.

MR. RUSSERT: But what are the Democratic ideas?

REP. EMANUEL: I'm going to lay them out. I here to answer it. You know, what you guys have provided, Tom, is a set of old policies, even in this crisis we have with Katrina, that got us to this result, which is a failed set of policies, where, in fact, we've added up $3 trillion in the nation's debt, more people are losing health care, and poverty's going up. Democrats want to offer big ideas to change the direction of this country because we can do better.

On Iraq, we have a false choice between stay the course and get the same results and just pull up. I think Senator Levin laid out a very good agenda, which is we're going to have measurements. You can't say after two and a half years, like you asked the general before, two and a half years, nearly $400 billion, and we have one Iraqi battalion? We're going to set standards every way and measurements from the political process, economic process and also on the military and national security where Iraq has to stand up.

MR. RUSSERT: OK. So--so...

REP. EMANUEL: Let me go over--let's go...

MR. RUSSERT: No, no, wait. So if the Iraqis do not stand up, if there are not 10 battalions, 15 battalions in place, we withdraw?

REP. EMANUEL: See, Tim, that's the wrong question, in my view.

MR. RUSSERT: Well...

REP. EMANUEL: I'll tell you why, because when we...

MR. RUSSERT: But it's the question I asked.

REP. EMANUEL: But the Congress has an obligation to hold a standard. We have given the president a blank check. It's been a rubber-stamp Congress that sent troops in there without Kevlar vests, without Humvees. We have to have a standard in which Iraq and the administration measure up over the two years, and at that point we'll evaluate where we are.

There is an answer that fits nicely on a bumper sticker.

MR. RUSSERT: So was it a mistake for Democrats in the Senate and House to vote to authorize the war?

REP. EMANUEL: Given the information that we were given them, they made their decision. What has been a mistake is to let this type of administration basically run a policy of incompetence when it comes to Iraq.

The problem is that Bush is able to continue his "policy of incompetence" because of weak Democratic leaders who were on the wrong side of the vote, have been hiding from the issue, and won't give a simple answer that voters can digest.

Why Democrats don't have a message on Iraq as part of what is the difference between Democrats and Republicans is a major, major problem. Emanuel needs to get his act together.

Posted at 11:25 AM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - House, Culture of Corruption, Democrats, International, Ohio, Polls, Scandals | Comments (5) | TrackBack (1) | Technorati

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

OH-Sen: Hackett Crushing Brown in Straw Poll

Posted by Bob Brigham

There has been a great deal of discussion about yesterday's surprise hint of a decision change by Representative Sherrod Brown. As has been widely noted, Congressman Brown had near universal support for a potential senate bid, but decided not to run so as to clear the way for another candidate. Enter Paul Hackett, who has been working behind the scenes to put the pieces in place for a statewide run against Senator Mike DeWine (for example, yesterday Hackett was meeting with Senator Harry Reid). But also yesterday, Congressman Sherrod Brown decided to have his flack call the Hotline and hint he might flip and run after all.

We now have a DailyKos Straw Poll on the matter. While not scientific, I think there is more than enough participation to suggest where netroots support will be if there is a primary campaign between Brown and Hackett.

UPDATED: With 1328 1666 Total Votes

Congressman Sherrod Brown - 14% 13%
Major Paul Hackett - 85% 86%

A seventy point advantage?

Kos says:

And with all apologies to Brown, who is one of the greats in the House, but this isn't cool. He bows out, waits for Hackett to gear up, and then floats a trial balloon about getting back in? Brown must've known about Hackett's decision to run, hence this trial balloon is sabotage.

I'm not even sure who is the best candidate, the bullshit "who's most electable" question. That Zogby poll earlier today had Hackett kicking DeWine's ass. I assume Brown would do roughly as well. But in a primary, Brown has the instiutional state party apparatus (no matter how pathetic Ohio Dems might be). Hackett is an outsider.

Me, give me an Iraq vet over a career politician, even one with Brown's excellent pedigree.


Posted at 11:39 AM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Democrats, Netroots, Ohio | Comments (9) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Monday, October 03, 2005

OH-Sen: Paul Hackett is Running for U.S. Senate

Posted by Bob Brigham

Via a dailykos diary, we learn Paul Hackett is running:

WASHINGTON -- Paul Hackett, the Iraq War veteran from Cincinnati who was hailed by national Democrats for his narrow loss this summer in a heavily Republican House district, has quickly moved up in rank to challenge Mike DeWine for U.S. Senate in 2006.

"Paul Hackett is running for U.S. Senate," said spokesman David Woodruff, who served as Hackett's campaign manager in his special election campaign for the 2nd District House seat against Rep. Jean Schmidt.

"He is planning to announce his decision officially on Oct. 24," Woodruff said Monday, adding an event would be held that day in Cincinnati, from which Hackett would begin a statewide bus tour.

And he's already winning:

Hackett (D) 44
DeWine (R) 36

Senator Mike DeWine is doomed.

Posted at 09:08 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Democrats, General, Ohio | Comments (5) | TrackBack (2) | Technorati

Sunday, October 02, 2005

2008: HRC Missed Bridge to 21st Century

Posted by Bob Brigham

I've written about this before (here and here), but now that Matt Bai has a major story in the Sunday NYT Magazine, I think the issue of HRC's political positioning needs revisiting. The article is aptly titled, "Mrs. Triangulation"

You can hardly pry up a floorboard in the basement of Democratic politics without finding some sign of the Clinton operation churning underneath.

The chief benefit of this network is that it spans the ideological divide in the party, from far left to far center. The problem is that labels like "left" and "center" seem to have lost much of their meaning in the party, and the divisions in Democratic politics no longer seem to run along traditional lines. Gone are the days when Hubert Humphrey waged war against Strom Thurmond on civil rights, when George McGovern's protesters clashed with Scoop Jackson's hard-liners. In the era after Bill Clinton, the vast majority of Democrats, whether they once considered themselves liberals or centrists, mouth allegiance to the same set of often tepid principles on issues like trade, terrorism and gun control - positions that they will often cite as evidence of hard-won unity but which in truth represent the absence of the real intellectual discussion that once defined (and sometimes doomed) the party. As a result, aside from a few subtle disputes - whether troops should be withdrawn from Iraq now, for instance, or next year - the philosophical differences between liberals and centrists have never been more obscure. Nothing better illustrated the passing of the party's long ideological debate better than the explosive presidential campaign of Howard Dean (now the party's chairman), whose record as a pro-gun, pro-Democratic Leadership Council governor did nothing to prevent him from seamlessly assuming the role of chief spokesman for those liberal voters who had always embodied the so-called Democratic left.

What Dean's candidacy brought into the open, however, was another kind of growing and powerful tension in Democratic politics that had little to do with ideology. Activists often describe this divide as being between "insiders" and "outsiders," but the best description I've heard came from Simon Rosenberg, a Democratic operative who runs the advocacy group N.D.N. (formerly New Democrat Network), which sprang from Clintonian centrism of the early 1990's. As Rosenberg explained it, the party is currently riven between its "governing class" and its "activist class." The former includes the establishment types who populate Washington - politicians, interest groups, consultants and policy makers. The second comprises "Net roots" Democrats on the local level; that is, grass-roots Democrats, many of whom were inspired by Dean and who connect to politics primarily online, through blogs or Web-based activist groups like The argument between the camps isn't about policy so much as about tactics, and a lot of Democrats in Washington don't even seem to know it's happening.

The activist class believes, essentially, that Democrats in Washington have damaged the party by trying to negotiate and compromise with Republicans - in short, by trying to govern. The "Net roots" believe that an effective minority party should disengage from the governing process and eschew new proposals or big ideas. Instead, the party should dedicate itself to winning local elections and killing each new Republican proposal that comes down the track. To the activist class, trying to cut deals with Republicans is tantamount to appeasement. In fact, Rosenberg, an emerging champion of the activist class, told me, pointing to my notebook: "You have to use the word 'appease.' You have to use it. Because this is like Neville Chamberlain."

This is an ominous development for Hillary Clinton, because the activists' attack on the party hierarchy is a direct and long-simmering reaction to the Clintonism of the 90's and the "third way" instinct of the D.L.C.

My thoughts after the jump.

This article seems to back up those of us who have questioned Hillary's political instincts. As far as internal Democratic Party politics go, it appears Hillary is trying to bridge old divides that no longer exist and in the way she is going about doing so, has put herself on what will inevitably be the losing side of the current debate going on in the Democratic Party.

I firmly believe the new divide is between the establishment and the base; the bosses and the netroots; the past and the future.

Under these conditions, is the following helpful?

The pollster Mark Penn and the ad-maker Mandy Grunwald, both of whom worked for Bill Clinton and are among Hillary's closest advisers, have longstanding ties to the centrist, pro-business Democratic Leadership Council, while two other Clinton confidants, the operatives Ann Lewis and Harold Ickes, remain close to women's groups and Big Labor, respectively. The trusted aides Howard Wolfson and Patti Solis Doyle have been associated with the Glover Park Group, one of the most influential consulting firms among Democratic interest groups.

Hillary's attempt to staff up to bridge the old divides only cement her position on the side of the tired old Democratic establishment that is currently in a tug-of-war with the base.

By failing to understand the current realities in the Democratic Party, Hillary has embraced a misdiagnosis that has compromised her political standing and exposed the out-of-touch advice that she is receiving. The fact that HRC appears unable to grasp the current dynamics within the Democratic Party actually lends credibility to the activists in the netroots and grassroots who think that many Washington DC Democrats have lost touch.

Additionally, Clinton's ties to Al From's DLC could tether her presidential ambitions:

"I think people are looking for leadership from Hillary Clinton, and she's not showing any leadership on anything," says Markos Moulitsas of, one of the new movement's leading blogs. Even in Hollywood, where the Clintons have been royalty for more than a decade, patience for bipartisanship is running low. Last month in Beverly Hills, I talked about Clinton with Norman Lear, the television and film producer who founded the liberal organization People for the American Way. "I love her," he told me. "But as terrific as I think she is, my concern is that we need someone who will tell the truth as they see it all of the time. She, like all of them, is not somebody who does that."

That Clinton doesn't fully understand the depth of this resentment seemed painfully apparent in July, when, at the D.L.C.'s annual gathering in Columbus, she accepted the assignment of fashioning a new agenda for the group and publicly called for a truce between factions on the left and center. Her aides thought she was actually delivering a mild rebuke to the D.L.C. for criticizing Dean and the bloggers; what they didn't understand was that her presence at the D.L.C. event itself was enough to infuriate the "Net roots," and the suggestion that the two sides should work together made it only worse. The response from the blogosphere was swift and bilious. "It's truly disappointing" that this is the garbage "Hillary has signed on to," Moulitsas wrote on, provoking the blog's devotees to write hundreds of passionate and often profane diatribes in agreement. In a strikingly blunt appraisal, John Podesta told The Washington Post that Clinton had "walked into a cross-fire maybe she should have realized was out there." ("I didn't get any carnations for that one," Podesta told me later, laughing.)

In fact, Clinton's advisers disagreed about whether a bunch of 20-something bloggers really mattered. In a conversation last month, Mark Penn scoffed at my suggestion that there might be a strong backlash in the party against the ethos of Clintonism. "Strong backlash?" Penn said. "Former President Clinton is at a 70 percent approval rating, stronger than even during his presidency. More people would like to see him president than President Bush. In this environment, that is a notion I would have to laugh at." It's true that most Democratic voters are probably too busy working and raising kids to spend a lot of time debating political tactics online, and the importance of the "Net roots" can be overstated. And yet, the blogosphere is bound to be an important organizing force in 2008, and some other candidate will almost certainly rise to fill the space that Dean once occupied. If nothing else, this would make it harder for Hillary Clinton, the heir to her husband's legacy, to run the unity campaign her advisers envision.

After I spoke with Penn, I repeated his assessment of the backlash to Podesta, whose reach into all aspects of the progressive world - from bloggers to members of Congress - makes him as knowledgeable about the party's crosscurrents as anyone in Washington. "The D.L.C. incident is over, and it isn't particularly meaningful," Podesta told me. "But in the long run, if you believe what Mark believes, it will get you in trouble."

Clinton is chair of the DLC's "American Dream Initiative, which has already been marked DOA. If Clinton wanted her DLC membership to be good for more than negative articles in major newspapers, she would immediately call for Al From to be fired. But for that to happen, she would have to understand the where the Democratic Party is headed, which she doesn't. In part, because she hangs out in DC with the likes of Al From and the other dinosaurs who have failed to cross the bridge into the 21st century. In fact, every single move the DLC has made this millennium has been a disaster. Every single move.

The Clintons may have allowed us to go to where we are, but they didn't join us. And we aren't waiting for them to catch up, because we are too busy following their example and pushing on.

Posted at 02:01 PM in 2008 President - Democrats, Democrats, Netroots, Scandals | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Supreme Court: I Oppose John Roberts

Posted by Bob Brigham

The Feminist Bloggers have announced opposition to John Roberts and I posted in the comments my signature to their letter and urge you to also.

The political optics are very simple: when Roberts drives the court away from Americans, Democrats need to be able to have clear contrast.

This is especially true for Democratic presidential candidates. Roberts will have a couple of years to do his worst before the primary heats up. Any presidential candidate who votes for Roberts will be blamed for Roberts.

As for rank and file Democrats, the play is easy to see. If you are on the judiciary committee you damn well better vote with your team. If a senator is going to make a comment other than opposition, don't. STFU.

Democrats win when we play as a team (i.e. Social Security). We need that now more than ever. We're watching to make sure every Democratic senator plays off the Democratic playbook;

WASHINGTON - Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid has told associates he intends to oppose confirmation of John Roberts as chief justice, Senate sources said Tuesday as rank and file Democrats began staking out positions on the man named to succeed the late William H. Rehnquist. [...]

As party leader, Reid had urged fellow Democrats not to announce their positions until the conclusion of last week's confirmation hearings for Roberts.

By stating his own position first, Reid likely would set the stage for strong Democratic opposition to the 50-year-old appeals court judge and former Reagan administration lawyer.

We're watching.

UPDATE: And we're talking. From MSNBC:

Bob Brigham, a Democratic blogger who writes for said Democratic activists are following the Roberts battle more closely than they did the 1991 Clarence Thomas saga.

“With the decentralization of politics and the blogs, there are a lot more people paying attention. The Democratic base is following this very closely,” Brigham said.

If he is confirmed, Brigham predicted, “Roberts is going to have a chance to hand down some serious decisions before the 2008 presidential race heats up. And every bad decision he makes will be blamed on any Democratic senator who votes for him. Democratic senators will be held accountable individually for the bad decisions he makes between now and 2008.”

Democratic Senators need to do the right thing.

UPDATE: Full statement from Leader Harry Reid:

“One of the Senate’s most important constitutional responsibilities is to provide “advice and consent” with respect to a President’s nominations. The task is especially important when the nomination is of an individual to be the Chief Justice of the United States.

“No one doubts that John Roberts is an excellent lawyer and an affable person. But at the end of this process, I have too many unanswered questions about the nominee to justify a vote confirming him to this enormously important lifetime position.

“The stakes for the American people could not be higher. The retirement of Justice O’Connor and the death of Chief Justice Rehnquist have left the Supreme Court in a period of transition. On key issues affecting the rights and freedoms of Americans, the Court is closely divided. If confirmed, Judge Roberts, who is only 50 years old, will likely serve as Chief Justice and leader of the third branch of the federal government for decades to come.

“The legal authority that we will hand to Judge Roberts by this confirmation vote is awesome. In my view, we should only vote to confirm this nominee if we are absolutely positive that he is the right person to hold that authority. This is a very close question for me. But I must resolve my doubts in favor of the American people whose rights would be in jeopardy if John Roberts turns out to be the wrong person for the job.

“Some say that the President is entitled to deference from the Senate in nominating individuals to high office. I agree that such deference is appropriate in the case of executive branch nominees such as Cabinet officers. With some important exceptions, the President may generally choose his own advisors.

“In contrast, the President is not entitled to very much deference in staffing the third branch of government, the judiciary. The Constitution envisions that the President and the Senate will work together to appoint and confirm federal judges. This is a shared constitutional duty.

“The Senate’s role in screening judicial candidates is especially important in the case of Supreme Court nominees, because the Supreme Court has assumed such a large role in resolving fundamental disputes in our civic life. As I see it, any nominee for the Supreme Court bears the burden of persuading the Senate and the American people that he or she deserves confirmation to a lifetime seat on the Court.

“Let me start by observing that Judge Roberts has been a thoughtful, mainstream judge on the DC Circuit Court of Appeals. But he has only been a member of that court for two years and has not confronted many cutting-edge constitutional issues. As a result, we cannot rely on his current judicial service to determine what kind of Supreme Court justice he would be.

“I was very impressed with Judge Roberts when I first met him, soon after he was nominated. But several factors caused me to reassess my initial view.

“Most notably, I was disturbed by the memos that surfaced from Judge Roberts’s years of service in the Reagan Administration. These memos raise serious questions about the nominee’s approach to civil rights.

“It is now clear that as a young lawyer, John Roberts played a significant role in shaping and advancing the Republican agenda to roll back civil rights protections. He wrote memos opposing legislative and judicial efforts to remedy race and gender discrimination. He urged his superiors to oppose Senator Kennedy’s 1982 bill to strengthen the Voting Rights Act and worked against affirmative action programs. He derided the concept of comparable worth and questioned whether women actually suffer discrimination in the workplace.

“No one suggests that John Roberts was motivated by bigotry or animosity towards minorities or women. But these memos lead one to question whether he truly appreciated the history of the civil rights struggle. He wrote about discrimination as an abstract concept, not as a flesh and blood reality for countless of his fellow citizens. The memos raised a real question for me whether their author would breathe life into the Equal Protection Clause and the landmark civil rights statutes that come before the Supreme Court repeatedly.

“Nonetheless, I was prepared to look past these memos, and chalk them up to the folly of youth. I looked forward to the confirmation hearings in the expectation that Judge Roberts would repudiate those views in some fashion. Instead, the nominee adopted what I consider a disingenuous strategy of suggesting that the views expressed in those memos were not his views, even at the time the memos were written. He claimed that he was merely a “staff lawyer” reflecting the positions of his client, the Reagan Administration.

“Anyone who has read the memos can see that Roberts was expressing his own personal views on these important policy matters. In memo after memo, the text is clear. It is simply not plausible for the nominee to claim that he did not share the views that he expressed.

“For example, there is a memo in which he refers to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission as “un-American.” If Judge Roberts had testified that this was a twenty year old bad joke, I would have given the memo no weight. But instead, he provided a tortured reading of the memo that simply does not stand up under scrutiny.

“In another memo Judge Roberts spoke about a Hispanic group that President Reagan would soon address, and he suggested that the audience would be pleased to know that the Administration favored legal status for the “illegal amigos” of the audience members. The use of the Spanish word “amigos” in this memo is patronizing and offensive to a contemporary reader.

“I do not condemn Judge Roberts for using the word “amigos” twenty years ago in a non-public memo, but I was stunned when at his confirmation hearing he could not bring himself to express regret for using the term, or recognize that it might cause offense.

“My concerns about these Reagan-era memos were heightened by the fact that the White House rejected a reasonable request by Committee Democrats for documents written by Judge Roberts when he served in the first Bush Administration. After all, if memos written twenty years ago are to be dismissed as not reflecting the nominee’s mature thinking, it would be highly relevant to see memos he had written as an older man in an even more important policymaking job.

“The White House claim of attorney-client privilege to shield these documents is utterly unpersuasive. Senator Leahy asked Attorney General Gonzales for the courtesy of a meeting to discuss the matter and was turned down. This was simply a matter of stonewalling.

“The failure of the White House to produce relevant documents is reason enough for any Senator to oppose this nomination. The Administration cannot treat the Senate with such disrespect without some consequences.

“In the absence of these documents, it was especially important for the nominee to fully and forthrightly answer questions from Committee members at his hearing. He failed to do so adequately. I acknowledge the right – indeed, the duty – of a judicial nominee to decline to answer questions regarding specific cases that will come before the court to which the witness has been nominated. But Judge Roberts declined to answer many questions more remote than that, including questions seeking his views of long-settled precedents.

“Finally, I was very swayed by the testimony of civil rights and women’s rights leaders against confirmation. When a civil rights icon like John Lewis says that John Roberts was on the wrong side of history, Senators must take notice.

“I like Judge Roberts. I respect much of the work he has done in his career, such as his advocacy for environmentalists in the Lake Tahoe takings case several years ago. In the fullness of time, he may well prove to be a fine Supreme Court Justice. But I have reluctantly concluded that this nominee has not satisfied the high burden that would justify my voting for his confirmation based on the current record.

“Based on all of these factors, the balance shifts against Judge Roberts. The question is close, and the arguments against him do not warrant extraordinary procedural tactics to block the nomination. Nonetheless, I intend to cast my vote against this nominee when the Senate debates the matter next week.”

Posted at 02:45 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, 2008 President - Democrats, Activism, Democrats, Site News, Supreme Court | Comments (1) | Technorati

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

2006: Leave No District Behind

Posted by Bob Brigham

From the (subscription only) Hotline:

9/8-9 by Princeton Survey Research Associates Int'l; surveyed 1,009 adults; margin of error +/- 4%; party ID breakdown: 27%R, 36%D, 33%I (release, 9/10)

Generic Cong. Ballot
Dem 50%
GOP 38

Stop whatever you are doing and make a donation to Leave No District Behind.

Leave No District Behind $

I'm not the only one saying this. Just ask former DCCC Chair Martin Frost:

MEMO TO: Rep. Rahm Emanuel, Sen. Chuck Schumer, Howard Dean [...]

It's time to throw out the traditional playbook and be bold as you plan for the 2006 elections. There is a real possibility that next year's contest will be a landslide for Democrats and you need to be prepared to win.

Specifically, Emanuel and Schumer should file candidates for every single Congressional seat and ever single Senatorial seat in the country, even those that have traditionally been Republican. And the DNC should be encouraging state legislative leaders throughout the country to take similar action on the state house and senate levels.

Specifically, Emanuel is a fool if he doesn't field a candidate in every race and give every nominee a campaign staff. And the DCCC needs to stop wasting money by building a warchest, they need to invest now in building scalable organizations. Cash on hand is money that is being wasted by not being invested.

I've been saying this for a long time, but I'm glad that Frost is now stepping up and publically pointing out that the DCCC strategy for 2006 is a losing strategy. We need to focusing on winning every day, in every precinct in every district in every state.

Posted at 01:15 PM in Democrats | Technorati

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Democrats Need to Stand Up and Fight

Posted by Bob Brigham

Right now, Democrats are winning:

"It's a rule in American politics," said Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), "that whichever side denounces the other for politicizing the issue is losing the argument." Bingo.

Instead of listening to the DC Losers Club, Democrats need to do the right thing, stand proud, and not worry what the right (GOP and DLC) say:

Bush's critics aren't backing off, because they've been here before. Former Senate Democratic leader Tom Daschle, who cooperated with Bush in the days after Sept. 11 but lost his South Dakota seat after a long, White House-inspired campaign accusing him of being "obstructionist," speaks from experience.

"Democrats to this day remain outraged at the blatant efforts that Republicans, especially in the administration, made to undermine the perception of our patriotism and our motivations," Daschle said in an interview.

This time around, Democrats won't be waved off by right-wing commentators or by contrived and insincere appeals to national unity. "I don't think we should pay a whit of attention to administration criticisms," Daschle said. "Democrats need to ask the hard questions and ignore the political attacks that are destined to come when we ask them."

The sounds of contention you are hearing are the sounds of accountability in a free republic. The president may not like it, but it is a refreshing sound.

I'm glad to see Democrats finally coming around.

Posted at 11:44 AM in Democrats | Comments (1) | Technorati

Thursday, September 01, 2005

DLC Fuckup Endangers Evan Bayh's Presidential Bid

Posted by Bob Brigham

Former DLC Chair Evan Bayh is the man who spent four years acting cowardly by refusing to fire Al From even though From repeatedly harmed the Democratic Party by triangulating against mainstream Democrats. Under Bayh's DLC, they even enjoyed it. Now Senator Bayh wants to be President, yet for some unknown reason, he thinks the best way to make a name for himself is to make an ass of himself. From USA Today:

WASHINGTON — Supreme Court nominee John Roberts will be introduced to the Senate Judiciary Committee next week by a centrist Democrat and a veteran Republican, an important symbolic boost for his confirmation prospects.

Sen. Evan Bayh, a Democrat who represents Roberts' home state of Indiana, and Sen. John Warner, a Virginia Republican, have agreed to appear with him when confirmation hearings begin Tuesday. [...]

But the presence of Bayh, a potential 2008 presidential contender, will underscore differences in the Democratic Party over the Roberts nomination. Liberals such as Sens. Charles Schumer of New York and Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts have sharply criticized some of Roberts' positions.

Here's the thing, if Roberts is confirmed, he'll have two full years before the presidential race really heats up. Every bad decision John Roberts makes is going to be blamed on Evan Bayh. During that time, the blogosphere will double or triple in participation, so people will know about it. During that same period, the DLC will continue to lose relevance. Bayh's classic-DLC maneuver of providing bi-partisan cover for Bush does not inspire confidence in Bayh's decision making ability.

Posted at 11:01 AM in 2008 President - Democrats, Democrats, Supreme Court | Comments (6) | Technorati

CA-48: Democrats Unite for Steve Young

Posted by Bob Brigham

Big news, from a press release:

California Democratic Party Overwhelmingly Endorses Steve Young for Congress from California’s 48th District

IRVINE, Ca. – On Wednesday, August 31, 2005, Region 18 of the California Democratic Party voted overwhelmingly to support Steve Young for Congress from the 48th District. The Party voted to enthusiastically endorse Young over a field of three other candidates, including John Graham, who had earned the endorsement in the previous two races for the 48th district Congressional seat.

“Tonight marks the launch of a new Democratic unity and the establishment of a new Democratic family,” said Young.

“Everyone worked together in good spirit for democracy,” said Jim Moreno, Regional Director of Region 18 of the CDP. “The proceedings went very well.”

The 54-member Region 18 caucus consists of delegates to the California Democratic Party who live in the 48th Congressional district, which falls within region 18 of the state Party. The caucus convenes each time there are candidates on the Democratic ticket vying for a local, state or federal office from region 18.

The Democrats are united, the GOP is splintered (see here to here).

Go visit Steve Young's website (warning, sound).

Posted at 09:33 AM in 2005 Elections, California, California, Democrats, Open Seats, Special Elections | Technorati

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

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

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

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

Thursday, August 25, 2005

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

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

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

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

Friday, August 19, 2005

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

Thursday, August 18, 2005

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

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

Monday, August 15, 2005

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

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

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

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

Saturday, August 06, 2005

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

Thursday, August 04, 2005

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

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

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

Thursday, July 28, 2005

DLC Loses CAFTA Vote

Posted by Bob Brigham

CAFTA passed by one vote meaning that the following DLC members cast the deciding vote for Bush: Melissa Bean (IL), Greg Meeks (NY), Dennis Moore (KS), Jim Moran (VA), Vic Snyder (AR).

Part of me is glad the DLC isn't helping Paul Hackett. The DLC has been worthless in every battle this year. In fact, Hunter points out:

My grievances with the DLC wing of the Democratic party have little to do with policy (aside from their infuriatingly self-serving corporatist-lite preenings, of course), and more to do with the fundamental fact that everything they've touched, since the Chosen One from Arkansas, has turned to crap. They've gone through the last three election cycles dispensing advice that has been poisonous to those who accept it. [...]

What we see, in both the DLC and among other Democratic pundits and strategists, is a modern Democratic leadership so focused on triangulation and exposition, so obsessed with precise and intentionally puddle-shallow framing, that it is categorically unable to react to the changing circumstances of actual campaigns, much less of leadership. Whether it be the presidential bids of Kerry or Gore, the stream of scandals coming from the GOP, the Iraq War, the blistering legislative and polemical Republican attacks on the seventy percent of America that does not represent their hardcore base, or the seemingly unstoppable mudslide of corporatist giveaways and right-wing sops flowing in an unbroken stream down the steps of Capitol Hill, what is remarkable about "centrist" Democratic leadership in the last dozen years is that it is so precisely tuned not to offend, not to divide, and not to enlighten that it lacks any compelling message whatsoever. The goal of the DLC is nearly uniformly defensive, never offensive.

As has been clear to everyone, the Hackett campaign is all about offense. The blog support has been 100% offense. Billmon says:

The significant thing, though, isn't that the DLC house organ is firing disinformation at the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party, but Range's particular choice of targets: Left Blogostan.

Like the Rovians, the dinos attack what they fear. And while lefty activist bloggers like Kos aren't exactly ten feet tall, they are beginning to have an impact, inside as well as outside the Democratic Party. The corporate media is paying attention. Money is being raised -- not quite serious money, not yet, but also cash that doesn't come with booze stains or shreds of tobacco on it. Those furry little critters in the underbrush may not amount to much now, the DLC dinosaurs fret, but they're definitely multiplying. Where will it end?

That's why Range's little slam at the size of Left Blogostan's audience is so silly:

These musings in the left-wing blogosphere may be read regularly by only a few thousand people, but they seep into the intellectual bloodstream of the Democratic Party.

Seep into the intellectual bloodstream? The blogosphere now is the intellectual bloodstream of the Democratic Party -- unless Range is talking about the fatty, cholesterol-clogged arteries of the D.C. lobbyist culture. These once fed oxygen (the long green variety) to the DLC's brand of corporate centrism. But those veins have nearly all been ripped out and reattached to Tom DeLay's mechanical heart.

Steve says it is, "Like using the Vince Lombardi playbook in the Bill Walsh era"

The blogs are throwing the ball, we are the West Coast Offense.

And the thing the DLC presidential candidates don't realize is that they don't want the DLC support. With the internet, a campaign can build it's own top-knotch organization instead of renting the DLC's third-rate apparatus.

It isn't left vs. right, it is about moving forward or clinging to the past.

Online, we're fighting ever day in every district. Even OH-02.

Posted at 11:45 AM in Democrats | Technorati

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Dems 2008: DLC Scandal Dogs HRC in WaPo

Posted by Bob Brigham

Hillary clinton al from dlc democratic leadership council Right now, there is amazing organizing going on in OH-02, preparation for Tuesday's Special Election. But the Democratic Leadership Council has been suspiciously absent. They met just 2 hours away and people asked and asked for DLC'ers to come and help -- but they were to busy with their cocktail coronations.

This is an important lesson for politicians. The DLC is fundamentally unable to deliver in a post McCain-Feingold world -- they are too lazy to walk and too few create a scalable fundraising system. Yet look what you can do by staying true and raising money $50 a head online. And choosing the DLC over the netroots comes with a price, like this Washington Post story:

The most pointed critique of Clinton came in one of the most influential blogs on the left, Daily Kos out of Berkeley, Calif., which called Clinton's speech "truly disappointing" and said she should not provide cover for an organization that often has instigated conflict within the party.

"If she wanted to give a speech to a centrist organization truly interested in bringing the various factions of the party together, she could've worked with NDN," the blog said in a reference to the New Democrat Network, with which Daily Kos's Markos Moulitsas is associated. "Instead, she plans on working with the DLC to come up with some common party message yadda yadda yadda. Well, that effort is dead on arrival. The DLC is not a credible vehicle for such an effort. Period."

Anyone who supports the DLC is fair game, even Hillary. And Hillary fucked up big time with Democrats:

Roger Hickey, co-director of the liberal Campaign for America's Future, said Clinton had badly miscalculated the current politics inside the Democratic Party and argued that she could pay a price for her DLC association if she runs for president in 2008.

"There has been an activist resurgence in the Democratic Party in recent years, and Hillary risks ensuring that there's a candidate to her left appealing to those activists who don't much like the DLC," he said.

Not only is Hillary losing netroots and grassroots support by aligning herself with Al From and the DLC, but she is failing to change the dynamics.

If there were a text-book, Hillary Clinton would be breaking every rule.

Oh wait, there is a text-book. By cognitive scientist George Lakoff, and yes, Hillary is doing everything wrong. Total FUBAR.

Don't think of Al From:

Fallacy: Progressives can gain more voters by moving to the Right.

There is a myth that voters are lined up in a left-to-right line, and that to gain the support of swing voters, you must move to the center. When progressives move to the right, they lose in two ways, setting up a self-defeating double-whammy:

1. Moving to the right alienates your progressive base.

2. It actually helps conservatives because it activates their model in swing voters.

Notice that conservatives do not gain more voters by moving to the Left. What they do is stick to their strict ideology to activate their model in swing voters by being clear and consistent in policies and messages framed in terms of conservative values.

Moral: Voters are not on a left-to-right line. Stick with your ideals, frame what you believe effectively, and say what you believe. Say it well, strongly, and with moral conviction.

Did you get that, the DLC model is what cognitive scientists call a fallacy.

Clinton is getting really bad advice from Al From and her handlers. One week ago she was a Senator and the beloved former First Lady. Now she is just another member of the Democratic Losers Club trying desperately not to offend anyone on the right.

Clinton's DLC membership is sinking her potential. It is sad to watch.

Steve Gilliard has more on the Hillary's political insticts failing her.

Posted at 10:57 AM in 2008 Election - President, 2008 President - Democrats, 2008 President - Democrats, Democrats, Netroots | Comments (1) | Technorati

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

OH-2: Hackett Earns Cincinnati Post Endorsement

Posted by Tim Tagaris

The beat goes on. From the Cincinnati Post ENDORSEMENT of Paul Hackett:

If elected, he notes, he would be the only member of Congress with direct military experience in Iraq - which, he says, is a fight we should end as soon as possible. He wants to finish the job and get out, and he wants the United States to stop holding hands with Pakistan and to get serious about tracking down those responsible for the 9-11 attacks.

We like Hackett's candor. We're impressed with the freshness of his ideas. We believe his experience shows him to be someone who is action-oriented.

We endorse Hackett for the 2nd District seat.

Big Mo'

UPDATE (Bob) 12:33 PM Exactly 24 hours ago I reported Paul Hackett's ActBlue page stood at $147,350.59 from 2960 people. Since then, Markos chipped in $100 and he was not alone.

The current total: $175,669.59 from 3,525 members of the netroots. And Eschaton's ActBlue is at $9,244.39 from 230 members of the netroots. And Hackett's on Majority Report's ActBlue page. And the beat goes on...

UPDATE: (Bob) Tim is live-blogging with Hackett RIGHT NOW!

UPDATE (Tim): I got video of Paul Hackett thanking the netroots for "blogosphere day."

Posted at 12:05 PM in 2005 Elections, Activism, Democrats, Netroots, Ohio, Open Seats, Special Elections | Technorati

Friday, July 22, 2005

PA-06: Atrios Endorses Lois Murphy

Posted by Bob Brigham

NOTE: Swing State Project will report on bloggers' ActBlue lists. Here is the Swing State Project Candidate List


It feels like November 2006 is a long time from now, but it's amazing how time flies. I'm certainly not going to do the hard sell on fundraising for candidates any time soon (the Paul Hackett special election on August 2 was of course an exception). And, my default position is to stay out of any seriously contested primaries, though that isn't necessarily an unbreakable rule. On the other hand helping to finance candidates early gives them more free time to press the flesh and as they have to spend less time in the coldcall fundraising dungeon.

I've added Lois Murphy to my list of candidates, which you can find in the link to the left. Murphy's running in PA 6 against the odious Jim Gerlach. Gerlach just had a fundraiser with Karl Rove so you know he puts his personal political concerns over the national security of this country. Murphy only lost by about 7,000 votes in '04, with at least one local network affiliate calling the race (incorrectly) for her.

Last year, Atrios moved so much coin people called him Mr. Noe. This is good news for Murphy. Since we love SEPA and competitive races, Swing State Project will be closely following the race.

Posted at 06:35 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Activism, Democrats, Netroots, Pennsylvania | Technorati

DLC and the Political 11th Commandment

Posted by Bob Brigham

Ronald Reagan's 11th Commandment was, "Thou shalt not speak ill of a fellow Republican." Reagan understood that it was counter-productive to triangulate against members of one's own Party.

This cap is lifted when a Democrat triangulates against fellow Democrats. Associating with the DLC, lifts the cap. The DLC is only relevant to the extent they attack Democrats, water-down message, and break solidarity. Smart politicians are fleeing the DLC but those who remain are fair game.

Kos says:

Three presidential contenders are trekking to the DLC's annual conference in Ohio, giving the organization a boost of legitimacy at a time when it faces increasing irrelevance in the political scene.

Evan Bayh, Hillary Clinton, and Tom Vilsack are all dutifully trecking to Ohio to worship at the altar of the "vital center" -- that elusive moving target that has conspired to rob Democrats of all conviction. 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.
(emphasis mine)

Remember what wrote last month...

The DLC is in debt for the hatchet job against (now DNC Chairman) Howard Dean and in 2007 the bill will come due. Under the turnabout is fair play rule this is certainly valid and the score will not only be settled, but settled with interest. Bayh, Vilsack, doesn't really matter who, for the result is the same when one lies down with dogs.

As Kos continues:

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. Western Democrats in Montana -- blood red territory -- have shown no interest in cozying up with the DLC.

The choice seems clear.

Posted at 01:48 PM in 2008 Election - President, 2008 President - Democrats, Democrats, Netroots | Comments (3) | Technorati

NDN: A Commitment to Hope and Progress

Posted by Bob Brigham

Via the NDN Blog, the re-release of the NDN Agenda: A Commitment to Hope and Progress. Full copy in extended.

A Commitment to Hope and Progress
NDN's Agenda for the First Decade of the 21st Century

1. Meet the Challenges of the 21st Century Global Economy: Enact a 21st century economic strategy that will help all Americans succeed in the global economy and create broad-based prosperity and opportunity; restore fiscal responsibility and genuine progressivity in the tax code; champion free and fair trade; ensure the integrity and vitality of America’s capital markets and the U.S. dollar; promote entrepreneurship, innovation and broad access to capital; update national telecommunications policy to foster universal broadband; enact a new national energy strategy that will encourage energy independence in part by increasing production here at home; and protect and promote the retirement security of all Americans.

2. Assert Responsible Global Leadership: Win the war on terrorism and end international conflicts that threaten our interests and values; foster security and democracy in Iraq and Afghanistan; ensure that America's military is the strongest, most agile, and best equipped in the world and our nation honors the service of our veterans; combat AIDS and other pandemics that threaten global stability; and work together with our allies and international organizations to advance democracy, human rights, liberty, free markets, opportunities for women, and rising standards of living across the world.

3. Protect the Homeland: Implement a comprehensive homeland security strategy; improve our nation's counter terrorism intelligence capabilities and performance; ensure that those on the frontlines have the very best tools, training and support to protect our communities; secure our nation's borders and ports without impeding the free flow of goods and people; and fight to protect the civil liberties for all Americans that have long been the envy of the world.

4. Strengthen Families and Communities: Put families, children and communities at the very center of our agenda by improving the nation's schools through higher standards, greater accountability, more choices for parents, quality teachers, and promised additional resources; fostering family friendly policies that help parents succeed at work and at home; expanding college opportunities; promoting safe neighborhoods, home ownership, and personal responsibility; keeping abortion safe, legal, and rare; embracing immigrants seeking a better life in America; and striving towards equal opportunity for all.

5. Modernize Our Health Care System: Increase access to quality and affordable healthcare; address the rapid rise of healthcare costs; ensure the solvency and effectiveness of Medicare and Medicaid; and invest in and encourage the extraordinary promise of the knowledge revolution in science and medical care.

6. Respect Our Natural Heritage and Move Towards Energy Independence: Fight for clean air, land, and water; combat global warming; strive for energy independence through improved efficiency, greater production here at home, and investment in renewable energy sources; and preserve our national resources so that they are available not only for the recreational uses so important to our quality of life, but also for those future generations of Americans to whom we owe our greatest responsibility.

7. Encourage Civic Participation: Foster engagement in our democracy and civic life by making it easier to register and vote, ensuring all can have a voice in the national debate, and promoting civic education along with an ethic of political participation and national service.

Posted at 12:39 PM in Democrats | Technorati

Sen. Democratic Policy Committee and House Gov. Reform Committee Hearing on Leak

Posted by Bob Brigham

Watch live on C-SPAN 3. I'll use this thread for updates. Here is the background on today's committee investigation

UPDATE: (Bob) Check out the c-span live blog at Mahablog and Republic of T.

UPDATE: (Bob) DC Media Girl has Larry Johnson's prepared opening testimony (full remarks posted in extended entry)

UPDATE: (Bob) Good Americans are talking about the hearings over at AmericaBlog.

UPDATE: (Bob) Great moments in mainstream media asking great questions and getting proportional responses:

Carl, and then I'll go to Bob.

Q Scott, the Senate Democratic Policy Committee, lead by Byron Dorgan, along with the Democrats of the House Government Reform Committee, are going to hold a hearing tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. on the leaking of classified information and the damage that it could cause. Do you think that that investigation that they're conducting on -- just Democrats is helpful?

MR. McCLELLAN: I think that it's helpful for all of us to make sure we're doing our part to allow the people overseeing the investigation to do their job. And that's what we've been doing from this White House. And I really don't have anything to add beyond that.

UPDATE: (Bob) Building is NOT being evacuated.

UPDATE: (Bob) Daily Kos has Live Open Thread.

UPDATE: (Bob) If you have surround sound, put your settings to "Hall" (or equivalent)...if you're looking for something to read, browse our backfiles on the Karl Rove Scandal.

Via DC Media Girl, Larry Johnson's prepared opening testimony:

Copy of my testimony to be presented on Friday, 22 July 2005 before a joint session of Congressional Democrats.


by Larry C. Johnson I submit this statement to the Congress in an effort to correct a malicious and disingenuous smear campaign that has been executed against a friend and former colleague, Valerie (Plame) Wilson. Neither Valerie, nor her husband, Ambassador Joseph Wilson has asked me to do anything on their behalf. I am speaking up because I was raised to stop bullies. In the case of Valerie Plame she is facing a gang of bullies that is being directed by the Republican National Committee.

I entered on duty at the CIA in September 1985 as a member of the Career Trainee Program. Senator Orin Hatch had written a letter of recommendation on my behalf and I believe that helped open the doors to me at the CIA. From the first day all members of my training class were undercover. In other words, we had to lie to our family and friends about where we worked. We could only tell those who had an absolute need to know where we worked. In my case, I told my wife. Most of us were given official cover, which means that on paper we worked for some other U.S. Government Agency. People with official cover enjoy the benefits of an official passport, usually a black passport--i.e., a diplomatic passport. If we were caught overseas engaged in espionage activity the black passport was a get out of jail free card. It accords the bearer the protections of the Geneva Convention.

Valerie Plame was a classmate of mine from the day she started with the CIA. At the time I only knew her as Valerie P. Even though all of us in the training class held Top Secret Clearances, we were asked to limit our knowledge of our other classmates to the first initial of their last name. So, Larry J. knew Val P. rather than Valerie Plame. Her name did not become a part of my consciousness until her cover was betrayed by the Government officials who gave columnist Robert Novak her true name.

Although Val started off with official cover, she later joined a select group of intelligence officers a few years later when she became a NOC, i.e. a Non-Official Cover officer. That meant she agreed to operate overseas without the protection of a diplomatic passport. She was using cover, which we now know because of the leak to Robert Novak, of the consulting firm Brewster-Jennings. When she traveled overseas she did not use or have an official passport. If she had been caught engaged in espionage activities while traveling overseas without the black passport she could have been executed.

We must put to bed the lie that she was not undercover. For starters, if she had not been undercover then the CIA would not have referred the matter to the Justice Department. Some reports, such as one in the Washington Times that Valerie Plame’s supervisor at the CIA, Fred Rustman, said she told friends and family she worked at the CIA and that her cover was light. These claims are not true. Rustman, who supervised Val in one of her earliest assignments, left the CIA in 1990 and did not stay in social contact with Valerie. His knowledge of Val’s cover is dated. He does not know what she has done during the past 15 years.

Val only told those with a need to know about her status in order to safeguard her cover, not compromise it. Val has never been a flamboyant, insecure person who felt the need to tell people what her “real” job was. She was content with being known as an energy consultant married to Joe Wilson and the mother of twins. Despite the repeated claims of representatives for the Republican National Committee, the Wilson’s neighbors did not know where Valerie really worked until Novak’s op-ed appeared.

I would note that not a single member of our training class has come forward to denounce Valerie or question her bona fides. To the contrary, those we have talked to have endorsed what those of us who have left the CIA are doing to defend her reputation and honor.

As noted in the joint letter submitted to Congressional leaders earlier this week, the RNC is repeating the lie that Valerie was nothing more than a glorified desk jockey and could not possibly have any cover worth protecting. To those such as Victoria Toensing, Representative Peter King, P. J. O’Rourke, and Representative Roy Blunt I can only say one thing—you are wrong. I am stunned that some political leaders have such ignorance about a matter so basic to the national security structure of this nation.

Robert Novak’s compromise of Valerie caused even more damage. It subsequently led to scrutiny of her cover company. This not only compromised her “cover” company but potentially every individual overseas who had been in contact with that company or with her.

Another false claim is that Valerie sent her husband on the mission to Niger. According to the Senate Intelligence Committee Report issued in July 2004, it is clear that the Vice President himself requested that the CIA provide its views on a Defense Intelligence Agency report that Iraq was trying to acquire uranium from Niger. The Vice President’s request was relayed through the CIA bureaucracy to the Director of the Counter Proliferation Division at the CIA. Valerie worked for a branch in that Division.

The Senate Intelligence Report is frequently cited by Republican partisans as “proof” that Valerie sent her husband to Niger because she sent a memo describing her husband’s qualifications to the Deputy Division Chief. Several news personalities, such as Chris Matthews and Bill O’Reilly continue to repeat this nonsense as proof. What the Senate Intelligence Committee does not include in the report is the fact that Valerie’s boss had asked her to write a memo outlining her husband’s qualifications for the job. She did what any good employee does; she gave her boss what he asked for.

The decision to send Joe Wilson on the mission to Niger was made by Valerie’s bosses. She did not have the authority to sign travel vouchers, issue travel orders, or expend one dime of U.S. taxpayer dollars on her own. Yet, she has been singled out by the Republican National Committee and its partisans as a legitimate target of attack. It was Karl Rove who told Chris Matthews, “Wilson’s wife is fair game”.

What makes the unjustified and inappropriate attacks on Valerie Plame and her reputation so unfair is that there was no Administration policy position stipulating that Iraq was trying to acquire uranium in February 2002. That issue was still up in the air and, as noted by SSCI, Vice President Cheney himself asked for more information.

At the end of the day we are left with these facts. We went to war in Iraq on the premise that Saddam was reacquiring weapons of mass destruction. Joe Wilson was sent on a mission to Niger in response to a request initiated by the Vice President. Joe Wilson supplied information to the CIA that supported other reports debunking the claim that Saddam was trying to buy yellow cake uranium from Niger. When Joe went public with his information, which had been corroborated by the CIA in April 2003, the response from the White House was to call him a liar and spread the name of his wife around.

We sit here more than two years later and the storm of invective and smear against Ambassador Wilson and his wife, Valerie, continues. I voted for George Bush in November of 2000 because I wanted a President who knew what the meaning of “is” was. I was tired of political operatives who spent endless hours on cable news channels parsing words. I was promised a President who would bring a new tone and new ethical standards to Washington.

So where are we? The President has flip flopped and backed away from his promise to fire anyone at the White House implicated in a leak. We now know from press reports that at least Karl Rove and Scooter Libby are implicated in these leaks. Instead of a President concerned first and foremost with protecting this country and the intelligence officers who serve it, we are confronted with a President who is willing to sit by while political operatives savage the reputations of good Americans like Valerie and Joe Wilson. This is wrong.

Without firm action by President Bush to return to those principles he promised to follow when he came to Washington, I fear our political debate in this country will degenerate into an argument about what the meaning of “leak” is. We deserve people who work in the White House who are committed to protecting classified information, telling the truth to the American people, and living by example the idea that a country at war with Islamic extremists cannot expend its efforts attacking other American citizens who simply tried to tell the truth.

You can find more in our backfiles on the Karl Rove Scandal.

Posted at 10:00 AM in 2006 Elections - House, 2006 Elections - Senate, Activism, Democrats, Netroots, Plamegate, Republicans, Scandals | Technorati

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Fuck Al From

Posted by Bob Brigham

Do you want some solid strategic advice? Ask Al From what Democrats should do and then do the exact opposite. When Al From says not to fight, fight harder. When Al From tells Democrats to compromise, stand firmer in resolve. When Al From tells Democrats to sell out, be true.

You see, in addition to be a total fucking waste of a human being, Al From is also the tool of big business. We've had a number of very important battles this year -- and every single time the DLC has been worthless at best and often counterproductive. Now that the DLC wants Democrats to let Rove off easy.

With that, back to Karl Rove, one of the few people who does more for the radical right than Al Fuckin' From.

Posted at 06:19 PM in Democrats | Technorati

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Howard Dean: American People "Deserve Answers"

Posted by Bob Brigham

The DNC issued a great press release on the abuse of power scandal. I've included the whole thing postjump.


"Despite his best efforts to cloud the facts, not even Ken Mehlman and the Republican spin machine can change the fact that the Bush Administration's credibility problem is only getting worse. The list of unanswered questions surrounding the Rove scandal and its impact on our national security continue to grow," said DNC Chairman Howard Dean. "The American people deserve answers to these questions. And they deserve to know whether the President is a man of his word. Mr. President, keep your word."

See below for a new document from DNC Research:


Until recently, Karl Rove had denied even knowing Valerie Plame’s name. Then, after the release of emails from Time magazine reporter Matt Cooper revealing the name of the White House source, Rove’s lawyer confirmed that Rove did speak with reporters about the case. Now, previously secret Time emails demonstrate that Rove did indeed leak to Cooper information about “Wilson’s wife” -- Valerie Plame, and lawyers revealed that Rove confirmed Valerie Plame’s identity for Bob Novak. That means that Karl Rove spoke with both of the journalists who published original accounts about Plame, and places him squarely in the center of this scandal.

“If left unpunished, this cowardly act will not only hinder our efforts to recruit qualified individuals into the clandestine service, but it will have a far-reaching, deleterious effect on our ability to recruit foreign intelligence assets overseas.”

— Larry Johnson, former CIA Analyst [Senate Democratic Policy Committee Hearing, 10/24/03]


McClellan Said Rove Never Told Reporters that Plame Worked for CIA. White House Press Secretary Scott McCllelan was asked whether Karl Rove, Elliot Abrams or Lewis Libby told any reporter that Valerie Plame worked for the CIA?” McClellan responded by denying that Rove or the others had leaked any classified information. “Those individuals — I talked — I spoke with those individuals, as I pointed out, and those individuals assured me they were not involved in this. And that’s where it stands.” [WH Briefing, 10/10/03]


We know Rove’s initial public statements and his statements to Scott McClellan were false. And we know that after testifying once in front of the grand jury, they called him back. Did he knowingly lie to Scott McClellan? Did McClellan knowingly mislead the press? Did Rove change his answers to the grand jury? Did Rove commit perjury in front of the grand jury? Regardless of where Rove heard about Plame, wasn’t it a violation of national security policy for him to confirm her identity to Novak?


Rove Told Cooper That It Was “Wilson’s Wife” Who Worked on WMDs for the CIA. Rove had a conversation with Time magazine reporter Matthew Cooper on July 11, 2003. Cooper wrote an email about the conversation to his Time bureau chief, describing how Rove gave him a “big warning” that Wilson’s assertions might not be entirely accurate and that it was not the director of the CIA or the vice president who sent Wilson on his trip. Rather, “it was, KR said, wilson’s wife, who apparently works at the agency on wmd who authorized the trip.” Wilson’s wife is Valerie Plame, then an undercover agent working as an analyst in the CIA’s Directorate of Operations counterproliferation division. [Washington Post, 7/11/05; Newsweek, 7/18/05]

Rove Confirmed Plame’s Identity for Bob Novak. Rove indirectly confirmed the CIA affiliation of Joe Wilson’s wife for Robert Novak the week before he named her and revealed her position. “Novak said he had learned that Wilson's wife worked for the CIA…"I heard that, too," Rove replied.” [Washington Post, 7/15/05]


Now that we know that Rove told Cooper about “Wilson’s wife,” who told Rove? Who was Bob Novak’s original source? If Rove really didn’t have first-hand knowledge of Plame’s work as an operative, why did he lead Matt Cooper to believe he did? Why did Novak use the name Valerie Plame when Cooper used the name Valerie Wilson?


Rove Gave Cooper Permission to Testify—Allowing Cooper to Avoid Jail Time—But Miller Chose to Go to Jail. Rove’s lawyer confirmed that Rove was the secret source who, at the request of both Cooper’s lawyer and the prosecutor, gave Cooper permission to testify. Cooper avoided jail time last week by agreeing to testify before the grand jury about conversations with his sources, while New York Times reporter Judith Miller was jailed for refusing to discuss her confidential sources. [Washington Post, 7/11/05; Newsweek, 7/18/05]


Rove has “released” Cooper from confidentiality. If Rove were Miller’s source, wouldn’t he do the same for her? So who was Miller talking to? If everyone is cooperating with this investigation, why hasn’t Miller’s source released her from her promise of confidentiality? If everyone is cooperating with investigators, why hasn’t Bush fired those that have refused to sign waivers of confidentiality?


Rove Had Previously Denied Any Involvement: In August 2004, Rove Claimed He Did Not Know Who Plame Was. In August of 2004, facing questions of his role in the Plame leak scandal, Rove denied his involvement, saying that he did not even know who Plame was at the time of the leak. “I didn’t know her name and didn’t leak her name.” [CNN, 7/4/05]

Rove Spoke With Novak Five Days Before Plame’s Name Became Public. Novak telephoned Rove in the week before the publication of the July 2003 column. Rove confirmed Plame’s identity for Novak, saying that he too had heard that she was a CIA operative. [Washington Post, 7/15/05]

Rove Spoke to Cooper Three Days Before Plame’s Name Became Public. To be considered a violation of the law, a disclosure by a government official must have been deliberate, the discloser must have known that the CIA officer was a covert agent, and he or she must have known that the government was actively concealing the covert agent’s identity. Although Cooper’s email does not prove that Rove knew Plame was a covert operative, “… it is significant that Rove was speaking to Cooper before Novak’s column appeared; in other words, [three days] before Plame’s identity had been published.” [Washington Post, 7/11/05; Newsweek, 7/18/05]

In Rove’s Defense, His Lawyer Claims that Rove Did Not Identify Plame by Name—But Who Else Could “Wilson’s Wife” Be? According to the Washington Post, “Rove’s lawyer said yesterday that his client did not identify her by name.” Yet, the substance of the email from Cooper to Time editors states that it was “Wilson’s wife.” Since there is as yet no evidence that Wilson was a bigamist, just who else “Wilson’s wife” could be besides Plame is unclear. [Washington Post, 7/11/05]


If Rove is innocent, then why would he claim that he didn’t know who Plame was? Why was he so careful, saying that “I didn’t know her name and didn’t leak her name”? Even though Cooper’s email does not indicate that Rove knew what Plame’s job was, couldn’t this fact simply mean that Rove did not reveal any more than he needed to Cooper?

Get the latest scandal news.

Posted at 07:35 PM in DNC Chair, Democrats, General, Plamegate, Republicans, Scandals | Technorati

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

The Progressive Frontier

Posted by Bob Brigham

Our friend Matt Singer of Left in the West has the In These Times cover story. It is an important piece -- go read it.

Posted at 04:31 PM in Democrats | Technorati

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

OH-Sen: Sherrod Brown Goes Statewide

Posted by Bob Brigham

Don't let the headline mislead you, Congressman Sherrod Brown has not (yet) announced that he'll be challenging Mike DeWine for Ohio's U.S. Senate seat. But, he has announced a new statewide effort:

The website looks great and has amazing localization tools. And Swing State Project's Tim Tagaris is involved, which means Congressman Brown can nationalize online as well as localize. Together, this dynamic could prove impressive if Sherrod Brown were to run for U.S. Senate in 2006.

When it comes to the obvious question, here's what Tim is saying:

"Does this mean that Congressman Brown is going to run for U.S. Senate? The answer I’ll be giving all day is that the site was built to help build infrastructure, both online and offline, and elect Ohio Democrats in 2005 and 2006. Everyone will just have to stay tuned when it comes to talk of the U.S. Senate run."

Pretty coy Damn professional quote.

Whatever happens with the Senate campaign, it is clear the Rep. Sherrod Brown is putting the pieces in place to lead statewide. Even his re-election website, seems focused beyond the borders of Ohio's 13th Congressional District.

So go check it out: Grow Ohio.

Posted at 12:02 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Activism, Democrats, General, Ohio | Technorati

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

DLC Worthless in Supreme Court Fight

Posted by Bob Brigham

As Democrats attempt to preserve independent courts, it appears the DLC is again worthless as an ally, from Bull Moose:

A polarizing fight on the Court will likely accelerate the separation between Washington and the rest of the country. As activist groups fight one another, most Americans will feel divorced from the fracas. Their concerns about health care, jobs, gas prices will go ignored as the two armies bloody themselves on the cultural war battlefield.

Note the phrasing, the DLC is not on Democrats' side.

What has the DLC done so far in 2005?

* When Joe Leiberman looked like he might sell out on Social Security, the DLC provided cover

* When the Radical Right tried to get rid of the filibuster with their Nuclear Option, Democratic posture and positioning was hurt by the DLC. During this "nuclear" showdown, the DLC was worthless at best and probably counter-productive.

Now the DLC is hitting the trifecta, the third battle major battle of the year and again the DLC is of zero help. With friends like these...

Posted at 01:40 PM in Democrats, Supreme Court | Comments (3) | Technorati

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Democrats vs. Republicans -- See the Difference

Posted by Bob Brigham

In response to the outrageous statements by Bush Political Chief Karl Rove (which resulted in the Fire Karl Rove Movement), the DNC blog Kicking Ass reminded us of the true differences between the two parties:

Believe capturing the person primarily responsible for the attack should be a top priority.

It's been four years, and Osama bin Laden is still free, even though Bush's CIA chief says he knows where he is.

Investigate the intelligence failures that led to 9/11.

Do everything in their power to block the 9/11 Commission from doing its work.

Propose creating the Department of Homeland Security.

Push tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans.

Believe we should have stayed the course in Afghanistan, not allowing the Taliban to resurge, the warlords to take power, and the opium trade to skyrocket.

Ignore Afghanistan as the situation worsens.

Believe that we should be honest with our troops about the reasons we go to war, give them everything they need to be safe, and make sure we go in with an exit plan.

Manipulate intelligence to trump up reasons to go to war, don't give our troops the support they need, constantly mislead the public about the direction the war is going, and fail to make an exit plan. And turn Iraq into the ultimate terrorist training ground.

Differences indeed.

Posted at 06:19 PM in Democrats, Republicans | Comments (2) | Technorati

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Senator Ted Kennedy on Downing Street Memo

Posted by Bob Brigham

Senator Ted Kennedy is up for re-election this cycle, but he hasn't been using his website -- -- for normal campaign organizing.

Instead, the Senator is beginning to lead with an online voice as powerful as his broadcast voice.

The Senator is a Kos diarist -- people were complaining about the Downing Street Memo not receiving enough attention so the Senator stepped-up big time to push the message every way possible.

Posted at 10:33 AM in Democrats, Netroots | Technorati

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Brigham Walks Into a Flaming Bag of Dog Poop

Posted by Tim Tagaris

UPDATE 10:32 P.M: (Tim): Bob just called me to say Donnie Fowler Jr. just threw a punch at him--and missed. I'm sure he'll have more when he returns.
Long-time Swing State Project readers and bloggers at Kos & MyDD remember the contentious race for DNC chair that took place online. Of course, Howard Dean had his legion of supporters evetually propelling the Governor to Chairmanship. Simon Rosenberg put up a great fight with the help of people like Matt Stoller. Tim Roemer's chances went up in smoke after Chris Bowers laid the smack-down on the ultra-conservative Democrat from Indiana. And then there was Donnie Fowler "reaching out" directly to the blogosphere on places like Kos & MyDD.

Unfortunately for Donnie, he ran into a buzzsaw with the last name of Brigham, first name Bob, co-author at Swing State Project that had his own favorite candidate in the race for chair. Donnie failed to gain any serious traction in the netroots because he had to spend much of his time deflecting criticism for posting and running without sticking around to read or comment. A phrase was coined -- "The flaming bag of dog poop."

For the first time since the race, Brigham ran into Fowler Jr. at a Democratic event in San Francisco earlier this evening. I just got off the phone with Bob, who told me he walked up to Jr. to extend a hand of "no hard feelings," and to say that "we were all pros"--that he was just working in the primaries for his choice. When Jr. asked Brigham what his handle was, the dog poop hit the fan. Bob responded, and after that, Fowler used the word "asshole" a minimum of 6 times during the brief exchange.

What's amazing to me is, here is a guy that headed up the Michigan field operation for Kerry in 2004, boasts of himself as a lifelong organizer, ran for DNC Chair, and still doesn't recognize the necessity of talking with people, not at them. He used the blogs as a billboard for his brouchereware, got called on it, and has the audacity to get pissed.

UPDATE 10:44 P.M.: (Bob): Yup, Fowler threw a punch at me. Of course, he missed...and looked like a complete ass (keynote speaker throwing punches at members of the audience). Thank God we have a democracy instead of a monarchy.

UPDATE 10:12 A.M.: (Bob): This probably won't come as a surprise, but if you fashion yourself a "Democratic Strategist" and then come unhinged and try to hit a blogger, other bloggers will link to it. Like Atrios, Talk Left, Crooks & Liars, The Agonist, Matt Stoller, DC Media Girl, Political Dog Fight, Ezra Klein. And Steve Gilliard wrote an piece that I begs a response:

Ok, here's the deal: Donnie Fowler is a coward and an asshole. To throw a punch at Bob Brigham because he got nailed is a chickenshit move at best and now he's gonna look like a total asshole for it. Lucky this wasn't in New York, because his ass would have been in the Tombs recovering from the bottle lodged up his ass.

I know I might receive a hard time for not giving Junior what he was asking for, but to be perfectly honest, I was too busy laughing...

Maybe he was just a brawling drunk, maybe not, but if it was me, the cops would have dragged him out of there. In my earlier days, I would have just hit his ass with a chair, a bottle, whatever was handy according to NY street rules, but as an adult, I think anyone using violence should have to deal with the police.

Hitting Donnie with a bottle wasn't necessary, Don's kid is perfectly harmless.

And this little punk wanted to run the DNC?

I think we can say that's never gonna happen.

Thank God we live in a democracy instead of a monarchy.

Let's make this clear: there are no free shots. Like that idiot lawyer lying about Kos for spite, Fowler throwing a punch at Brigham is gonna be one costly fucking mistake. See, when people toss shots at my nominal employees, I take offense. I think other people will too. Fowler think he had problems? Now he's made a bunch of enemies he didn't have to make. Anyone stupid enought to hire him for a campaign is gonna have one rough fucking time.

Hiring Donnie Fowler would not be a wise move.

If Donnie Fowler is a man, he'd offer a full written apology to Bob. Because he had no cause to act like a drunken fratboy. And he was wrong. But if wants to act like nothing happened, I can promise this: any campaign which hires this guy won't get a dime from me, and that won't be a passive act, either. I'll say openly: do not give money to these people until they fire Donnie Fowler or he offers up an apology.

Lets say you happen to employ somebody mentally unstable, maybe you shouldn't. If you freak out on people because you are mentally unstable, maybe you should apologize.

There was no reason for him acting so stupidly

No shit.

One final update: From the comments at BOPNews (Tinheart):

This is just another of Donnie Fowler's failed attempts to connect with other Democrats.

Posted at 09:42 PM in DNC Chair, Democrats, Netroots | Comments (6) | Technorati

Dean: Our Values are More Consistent with Montana Values

Posted by Bob Brigham

Big weekend for discussions about Democrats' western strategy. From the A.P.:

The Rocky Mountain West, long a Republican stronghold, is fertile ground for Democrats hoping to take back Congress and the White House in coming years, Democratic National Chairman Howard Dean told supporters here Saturday.

Democrats have more in common with Westerners than the GOP, the former Vermont governor said.

They appreciate the free-spirited, independent thinking that dominate states like Montana, and understand the wish for a balanced budget and a strong military, as well as treating soldiers well when they get home, something Dean said the Bush administration has neglected.

"I think we're going to have a very appealing message in the Rocky Mountain West," he said. "We want to be everywhere. We don't think just because George Bush won this state by a lot of votes means that Montana is going to be Republican state forever.

"I think our values are more consistent with Montana values than Republican values are."

A true national party needs a winning strategy everywhere. Expanding infrastructure often yields only modest returns if you are scoring by wins and loses. But we need to get away from milestone evaluations. By moving away from wins and loses, Democrats can focus on a winning strategy every day.

Dean, speaking to about 100 people at a meeting of the DNC's Western States Caucus, continued his call for unity and consistency among Democrats, calling on local and state leaders to rally voters on key issues and no longer allow Republicans to "define our party."

"The Democratic party for too long has been a group of constituencies instead of a party. ... We're going to define our party. I'm not going to let them do it anymore," he said.

Dean's comments drew heavy applause from Democratic leaders representing more than a dozen Western states, as well as several key Montana officials. The audience included state Superintendent of Public Education Linda McCulloch, a handful of state lawmakers, and Senate President Jon Tester, a leading Democratic candidate to unseat U.S. Senate Conrad Burns, R-Mont.

None of us know whether Montana will be a swing state in the 2008 presidential race. But it will be a swing state in the 2006 battle for the senate.

Montana is one of the most cost-effective states when it comes to outside political investment. That is why everyone in D.C. is planning to get involved -- it is cheap, Democrats have the momentum, Jon Tester is a dream candidate, and we need to do better out west.

The 2006 backlash narrative is brewing and it could be a very powerful force during the mid-terms. I'm glad to see the DNC realizing the importance of a western strategy (Governor Dean will be back in Montana on July 16 for the State Party convention in Great Falls).

Win the west. Contribute to Jon Tester:

Contribution amount: $

Posted at 12:47 PM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - Senate, DNC Chair, Democrats, Montana | Technorati

Friday, June 03, 2005

DNC E.D. Reaches Out at DailyKos

Posted by Bob Brigham

New Kos diarist Tom McMahon...

Posted at 07:17 PM in Democrats, Netroots | Technorati

Democrats: Accountability and Forward Action on Iraq

Posted by Bob Brigham

From David Sirota:

Maybe it's just the mountain air out here in Montana...but I just can't get over how insulated D.C. pundits can spout off and claim that a handful of Beltway elites should be viewed with the same significance as the millions of people out in the American heartland who constitute the "grassroots." Beyond even the national party's lack of a position on the war issue, this is a classic symbol for what's wrong with many Washington, D.C. insiders who claim to speak for progressives: they look at ordinary people with disdain, while self-importantly pumping up the significance of the elites that they are surrounded with. It is exactly the opposite of what the Republicans do. It is arrogant, it is pathetic, and it is, well, elitist - and it's one of the big reasons national Democrats keep losing elections.

And from Atrios:

At some point the "hawks" are going to have to admit they fucked up. The only credibility they'll lose is with the kool kids klub, but they need to stop caring what they think anyway.

Jerome says:

It really sucks that many of the Democrats in DC are back to their 2002 position of ignoring that Iraq exists. They talk as though it isn't happening, that deaths are not occurring, that treasury is not being depleted. Democrats in DC envision Iraq completely off of the table by '08, and that Clinton, Kerry, Edwards, et. al. will be able to run unencumbered from having to discuss Iraq, or face the unpleasentness of having a solution to the occupation-- that there's no need to face their defacto or clearcut support for the occupation.

I don't buy it. Unless the Democrats face the problem with a solution, they have no credibility on the issue. And perhaps worse, for the Democratic Party, the centrists continued denial places liberals and progressives into a position of compromising authenticity to go along with the duplicity. I guess they don't recall Eugene McCarthy or George McGovern anymore. It's because of the Centrist Democrats in the Senate that we are in Iraq. Without their support, we wouldn't be in Iraq right now. They owe it to the Democratic Party to demand of Bush a correction of their error.

The sooner some Democrats admit they fucked up on Iraq, the sooner we can move forward. Bush wasn't the only one to receive bad intelligence, many Democrats fell for faulty political intelligence from certain dipshits in the hawk wing who kept explaining that Democrats would look bad unless they cowardly followed Bush. These assholes are guilty of political malpractice and need to be held accountable.

Atrios is right, they are going to lose some credibility with the Kool Kids Klub, but the rest of the country already knows that they fucked up -- that should worry them more.

Posted at 03:55 PM in Democrats | Technorati

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Democrats: Moving On

Posted by Bob Brigham

Sooner or later, the Democratic Party will start winning again. I'd prefer the former, actually, I'd prefer tomorrow. We can speed along the modernization process by dropping dead weight, which will happen sooner or later -- again, I'd prefer sooner. In a look at the new TPM Cafe, the most relevant review has been written by Steve Gilliard:

I like Josh, but the place reeks of the odor of Vichy water. You know, it's nice to have John Edwards blog, and I like Big Media Matt, but fuck Ed Kilgore and Marshall Wittman. They are fucking parasites who cause more harm than good to the debate among liberals. It's not my fault that Kilgore's boss doesn't have the balls to change his party enrollment and Wittman is turned off by the fundies, but both of them need to go fuck themselves hard and long.

I do not care about their useless ideas. I can't say that I hold them in the contempt I hold Peter"PNAC Bitch" Beinart, but I have to say, they're the past. The failed past and their ideas reflect the failed past. To listen to them is to take a course in buggy whip construction in 1905. To take their ideas seriously is to embrace failure in all it's glory.

I've always found it ironic that "Democrats" who favor the most agressive foreign policy are usually the most cowardly politically. So far this year, Democrats have gained serious political ground by refusing to compromise -- try as the DLC might to compromise even after we had the upper hand. As the minority party, Democrats need offense, not defense. Democrats do not have the luxury of letting our posture be compromised.

Josh Marshall is a great voice in the Democratic Party and his leadership for Social Security did wonders to bring the party together -- in spite of the DLC. The DLC's mouthpieces may have now have the word "Democrat" next to their names on the voter rolls, but as people read their thoughts on what Democrats should do, people need to remember why they are being paid to write such nonsense.

Posted at 05:31 PM in Democrats | Technorati

Democrats: Harry Reid in Rolling Stone

Posted by Bob Brigham

I mentioned this yesterday, Democratic Leader Harry Reid is agressively reaching out to young people via Rolling Stone. The full interview shows a refreshing candor -- the type that people respect. Headline, The Gunslinger:

In his first five months as minority leader, Sen. Harry Reid has come out swinging. The soft-spoken Nevadan has called George Bush a "loser," Clarence Thomas an "embarrassment" and Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan a "political hack." He has held the Democrats together to oppose Bush's plan to privatize Social Security. And he stood up to Majority Leader Bill Frist and other radical Republicans who tried to deploy the "nuclear option" to overturn the Senate tradition of judicial filibusters. In the end, the Republicans blinked first, as seven moderates abandoned Frist to cut a deal with the Democrats on May 23rd. The following day, beneath the portrait of Mark Twain that hangs in his office in the Capitol building, Reid sat down to talk with ROLLING STONE.

Reid takes a look at the 2006 mid-term elections:

What kinds of gains will Democrats make in 2006?

Well, history's on our side. Presidents who have been in Bush's situation have lost from one to thirteen senators. We are going to be competitive in races in Pennsylvania, Montana, Ohio, Rhode Island and Missouri.

Why did Kerry lose, and what do Democrats have to learn from that?

Everybody says it was about values, but I don't buy that. Senator Kerry lost because he ignored rural America. Take Nevada as an example. Ninety-one percent of the registered voters are in Reno and Las Vegas. So you would think that someone who carries those two counties by a nice margin would be the winner. Wrong. Kerry carried those counties -- but he got slaughtered in the other nine percent, where the turnout was huge. The rural vote went five-to-one against Kerry, and he lost the state by two percent. Democrats can no longer win elections in big cities. We have to go to places like Elko and Carson City and Ely and let people know who we are. Until we do that, we're going to continue to lose.

Straight talk goes a long way in rural America. Let's get the people to respect the Democratic Party, then we can worry about asking for their votes.

Posted at 12:01 PM in Democrats | Technorati

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Democrat Leader Harry Reid on George Bush

Posted by Bob Brigham

From Raw Story about an upcoming Rolling Stone interview:

Reid attributes his style (which Rolling Stone refers to as "gunslinger,") in part to his days on the Nevada Gaming Commission. "It allows you to put things in perspective when there aren't bombs in your car, when your kids aren't being taken to school with armed guards, when you don't have to carry a gun every place you go. Those were some very frightening times in my life. In the Senate, I'm not worried about physical pain—just legislative pain."

Reid also sings the praises of some on the other side of the aisle: "The Republicans who signed that [filibuster] agreement, we should put up a statue to them someplace."

Most likely to cause a stir, however, is an exchange that concludes the interview:

RS: You've called Bush a loser.

HR: And a liar.

RS: You apologized for the loser comment.

HR: But never for the liar, have I?

Damn straight. Bush Lied, Soldiers Died.

Posted at 06:39 PM in Democrats | Technorati

Monday, May 30, 2005

MT-Sen: Populism Needed in Red States

Posted by Bob Brigham

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here are the 1994 and 2000 results (PDFs):

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Join us with a contribution:

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

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

The Revitalized Democratic Party

Posted by Bob Brigham

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Dem Unity Event: Harry Reid Statements

Posted by Bob Brigham

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


Remarks as prepared for delivery:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Give 'em hell Harry!

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

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

Political Respect - Nuclear Option

Posted by Bob Brigham

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

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

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

Reid's performance gets thumbs up from most

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, May 16, 2005

Public Warms to Gay Marriage/Civil Unions

Posted by Tim Tagaris

Today's Boston Globe reports that the public seems to be coming around to civil unions, if not even gay marriage as well. The piece lends credence to San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom's strategy memo circulated several months ago that calls for leadership, not ducking and running away, on divisive political issues that Democrats are on the correct side of. From the article:

Forty-six percent of respondents backed civil unions that would give gay couples ''some, but not all, of the legal rights of married couples" while 41 percent said they were opposed. [...]

Seventy-six percent of those surveyed predicted that all or some states will eventually join Massachusetts in legalizing gay marriage. Forty-one percent said sex between people of the same gender is ''always wrong," but that figure is down from 58 percent in a 1998 survey by the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago. And 79 percent of respondents said gays should be allowed to serve openly in the military, up from 57 percent in a 2000 Opinion Dynamics Poll.

I don't think this will surprise anyone, but the article indicates that people of younger generations are much more accepting of gay marriage and civil unions. And while 50% of Americans surveyed disapprove of gay marriage, a whopping 48% either approve (37%) or are neutral (11%) on the subject. MoE on the survey is 3.6%

Posted at 09:22 AM in Democrats | Technorati

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Democratic Loser's Club (DLC)

Posted by Bob Brigham

While Swing State Project focuses on races in the states, the dynamics surrounding individual races are influenced externally to such a large degree that it is difficult to understand what is going on locally without examining the national situation. In Georgia's Lt. Governor campaign, the DLC relationship with the far right has given political junkies a front row seat to witness the destructive nature of how the "Third Way" is more comfortable doing things the GOP way.

In a mockery of reality, the DLC's New Donkey pretends to be shocked that DLC Democrat Zell Miller is raising money for Lt. Governor candidate Ralph Reed:

With the retirement of my old boss Zell Miller, I thought perhaps his outrageous political behavior of the last couple of years would come to an end. I mean, what's the point of insulting your party when nobody really cares any more? Ah, but it now appears the fires of Zell's odd rage still burn: along with Sean Hannity, he will be the featured speaker at a fundraiser for none other than Ralph Reed, candidate for Lieutenant Governor of Georgia, and the past master of hypocritical political sleaze.

There is, of course, a peculiar historical echo here: Ralph's very first campaign, before he got religion, and before his notorious stint as deputy to Jack Abramoff in the College Republicans, was with Zell Miller's unsuccessful 1980 race for the U.S. Senate.

Ed Kilgore, who went on to become the DLC's New Donkey blogger after working for Zell "prototypical southern New Democrat" Miller should know better. In fact, the other DLC blog, Bull Moose, is written by none other than Marshall Wittman, who was Legislative Director for Ralph Reed's Christian Coalition.

In reality, it was not, "outrageous political behavior" that Zell Miller has displayed, rather it was just the DLC's Third Way (triangulation) strategy.

The Triangulation tactic is a simple one: tear down others in your party to try to make yourself look important to those in the other party. It is a self defeating strategy unless you are rooting for the other team. Ralph Reed must be delighted.

Posted at 01:32 PM in Democrats | Technorati

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Gender Gap: Democrats and Women

Posted by Bob Brigham

"Women, if left to their own devices, are going to tend and trend Democratic. That is absolutely the case. Women are still congenitally Democratic -- and I'm the Republican pollster saying that."

- Kellyanne Conway

Yes, "congenitally Democratic" is one great line from an important story on the gender gap in today's Washington Post. It appears women are coming home to the Democratic Party.

A Democratic polling memo released yesterday found that women, who voted for President Bush last year in large numbers, have begun migrating back to their traditional home in the Democratic Party as the public's agenda has shifted from homeland security and terrorism to domestic concerns such as jobs and the economy.

There has long been a gender gap between the parties, with women tending to vote Democratic in disproportionate numbers. Bush all but closed that gap last year, losing the female vote to Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) by three percentage points. But the memo pointed to a March survey that found women favoring Democrats when asked which party's candidates they would support if congressional elections were held today.

The memo, released by Lake Snell Perry Mermin & Associates Inc., found women picked unnamed Democratic congressional candidates over Republicans by a 13-point margin. It also found that several key groups of women who voted Republican last year are now evenly or almost evenly split between the parties. Married women are now evenly split, while white women favor Democrats by three percentage points. Kerry lost both groups by 11 points.

"Homeland security and terrorism dominated the public's security agenda for several years following September 11th," the memo said. "However, the current focus appears to have shifted from safeguarding against terrorism to a stronger emphasis on issues that hit home financially. In dozens of recent focus groups among many different cohorts of women, concerns like retirement, health care and economic security are trumping the sorts of homeland security concerns that dominated women's issue agenda before the last election."

Personally, I never really bought into all that security mom crap. I tend to think that the security issues only amplified the structual issue of having a weak candidate who wouldn't stand up for anything.

I'd love to get my hands on some cross-tabs, but my gut tells me the women who are coming back to the Party are doing it because we are offering a position of strength, especially with our no compromise posture on Social Security:

The memo, which comes on what experts said is the 25th anniversary of the discovery of the gender gap, found that women are now mostly concerned with economic security (28 percent said it was their number one issue), health care (22 percent), homeland security and terrorism (21 percent), retirement security (15 percent) and crime (6 percent).

"You can't target women three days out from the election," Lake said, referring to the 2006 elections. "Both sides are asking: 'Where are they now?' "

Posted at 11:08 AM in Democrats | Technorati

Monday, May 09, 2005

Evan Bayh Presidential Ambitions

Posted by Bob Brigham

I was reading the new Fort Wayne Journal Gazette article on Senator Evan Bayh's potential presidential bid, when I was struck by the fact that the Democratic Leadership Council ended up in the story. While using the DLC to raise a campaign profile was a smart move 15 years ago, does it really benefit a candidate in 2008 to be seen as the DLC candidate?

The fundraising potential of the DLC is waning and far less critical than a successful online strategy. But it is the liability of being seen as the DLC candidate that interests me.

In the 2004, the DLC ruthlessly cut down Governor Howard Dean in the primaries. In our recent DNC Chair election, bloggers had their first taste of payback by quickly destroying any potential the DLC's Tim Roemer might have enjoyed.

But DNC Chair isn't nearly as important to Party direction as choosing the 2008 Presidential nominee and I have to think that being seen as the DLC choice would be the kiss of death for a candidate. In 2004, everyone but the DLC took the high road and next time I think many forces will quickly go negative on anyone seen as the DLC candidate. Much like Al From was too radioactive to even make an endorsement for DLC Chair, how long will it be until Presidential candidates distance themselves from the DLC for the sake of their campaign?

Anyway, back to the article:

Bayh is offering all the clues of someone who wants to ensure he has those resources if he wants to call upon them. He’s making prudent, campaign-building steps:

•Since entering the Senate, Bayh has been raising money with far more aggression than his Indiana races warrant and now has $6.8 million in his campaign account.

•He has worked on raising his national profile, using his role in the Democratic Leadership Council to travel all over the country. Of the $206,000 he’s raised in checks of $200 or more from individuals since the beginning of the year, just $1,000 is from Indiana.

•He created a campaign fund that allows him to make donations to other candidates, always a friend-making gesture. In the 2004 election, he made $209,000 in donations to other candidates from this political action committee.

•He’s been making speeches to Democratic audiences outside Indiana. This gives him practice with non-Hoosier crowds, introduces him to Democratic audiences around the country, and puts his name in local newspapers. In March, he was the keynoter at Colorado’s Jefferson-Jackson dinner. Last week he addressed a Butler County, Ohio, Truman Kennedy Holcomb Dinner. (This was the county Karl Rove made a speech in, the county that gave President Bush a 53,000-vote plurality, his largest in the state.)

•He has been courting the national media for years, and he has hired staff members with skills a presidential contender needs.

Posted at 08:54 AM in 2008 President - Democrats, Democrats | Comments (1) | Technorati

Democrats Crybaby Caucus

Posted by Bob Brigham

From David Sirota:

But enough is enough: this selfish, petty war these "moderates" are waging against the Democratic leadership is truly irresponsible and has become completely destructive. [...]

Pelosi is right to let her colleagues know that when they undermine the majority of Democrats who are courageously defending ordinary Americans, there will be no "understanding" or "respect." There will be exactly the opposite - that's the kind of tough discipline the Republicans used to build their majority, and that's how Democrats will ultimately build theirs. Pelosi and the Democratic leadership should ignore these sad crybabies who are undermining so many good Democratic foot soldiers in Congress, stay focused on the real problem (aka. the GOP), and press on the way they have been over the last few months.


Posted at 02:34 AM in Democrats | Technorati

VA-Gov: Kaine Supporters' Misguided Agenda

Posted by Bob Brigham

I was reading a misguided praise for the DLC because Blair didn't do that much worse than expected, when I stumbled across something that told me my gut was right in rejecting Tim Kaine. Don't get me wrong, I understand you campaign for the state you're running in, but there is an important difference between that and running a triangulation campaign against Democrats as part of a scheme to let the extreme right-wing take over the Democratic Party as they have the GOP. From Raising Kaine:

First we create a New Centrist Democrat success model in Virginia, then we extend it to the rest of America in 2008.

Now I don't feel bad at all about checking Kaine when he's been out of line. Like here, here, and here. Who says blogs don't influence who people support in elections, this blog post has convinced me that the Kaine supporters are more concerned about the long-term message implications of running a rightwinger for the Democrats -- so I shall be equally concerned.

Posted at 12:40 AM in 2005 Elections, 2008 Election - President, Democrats, Netroots, Virginia | Technorati

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Reid: Bush is a Loser

Posted by Bob Brigham

Oh, whoops, how did that slip out? From the AP:

Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid called President Bush "a loser" during a civics discussion with a group of teenagers at a high school on Friday.

"The man's father is a wonderful human being," Reid, D-Nev., told students at Del Sol High School when asked about the president's policies. "I think this guy is a loser."

Shortly after the event Reid called the White House to apologize, his spokeswoman Tessa Hafen said. Reid spoke with Bush adviser Karl Rove, asking him to convey the apology to Bush, who was traveling in Europe.

My guess is that Rove said he understood how somebody could confuse Bush with a loser. Apologizing to the White House for calling Bush a loser is like apologizing to the lifeguards for sand at the beach.

Posted at 11:07 PM in Democrats | Technorati

Thursday, April 28, 2005

MD-5: Steny Hoyer Pressured to Resign as Whip

Posted by Bob Brigham

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, April 22, 2005

VT-Sen: Will MoveOn Back Bernie Sanders?

Posted by Bob Brigham

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

US Elections: New Pope a Campaigner

Posted by Bob Brigham

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

08-Dem: Governor Brian Schweitzer for Campaign Manager

Posted by Bob Brigham

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

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

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

Schweitzer on standing up:

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

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

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

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

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

It isn't about policy stances:

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

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

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

On consultants:

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

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

Talk is cheap...

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

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

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

That's right.

On electability:

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

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

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

Monday, April 18, 2005

Dems: Direction and Means

Posted by Bob Brigham

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

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

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

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

Here is one model people are looking at:

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

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

What message will go through the new structure?

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

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

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

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

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

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

PA-Sen: Choosing on Choice?

Posted by Bob Brigham

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So will choice become an issue in the primary?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

There has to be more choice than none.

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

I have two concerns at this point.

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

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

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

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

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

Casey said he will not make it a defining issue.

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

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

Democrats Winning the West

Posted by Bob Brigham

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

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

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

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

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

Want a Democrat to win in 2008?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted at 08:46 AM in Democrats | Technorati

Saturday, April 16, 2005

VA-Gov: Tim Kaine Supporting Theocracy

Posted by Bob Brigham

From Raising Kaine:

The GOP, under the leadership of the Far Right, is now attacking Democrats for lacking Christian Faith. This is deplorable politics, and quite frightening to see. These sorts of attacks should not surprise us though. The GOP has found that the best way for them to win has been to attack Democrat’s patriotism (as in the case of both Max Cleland and Tom Daschle), and now they are just upping the ante. If they are successful here in Virginia, this will only encourage them to escalate these attacks further.

Agreed. So what does Tim Kaine do? Does he blast the Theocrats like Sen. Majority Leader Reid or make theocracy a campaign issue like DNC Chair Howard Dean? No, he joins the religious war by trying to triangulate himself as being holy enough to be part of the theocracy.

Tim Kaine has gone a great distance to try to undermine the GOP’s strategy. He’s been ahead of the game, putting up radio ads all across Virginia, but most especially in the rural areas of the state, talking about how his religious faith has guided his life.

Instead of criticizing the theocrats for starting a Holy War, Tim Kaine is helping them by joining their Holy War. This selfishness is actually undermining Democrat's national effort to stop the Holy War.

Here are some more resources:

Tim Kaine: Virginia: Tim Kaine campaign rejects reason; rejected by voters

Tim Kaine: 2005 Virginia Governor, who is running Kaine's campaign?

MyDD Tim Kaine: More Self-Hating Democrats

Posted at 02:12 PM in 2005 Elections, Democrats, Virginia | Comments (11) | Technorati

Thursday, April 14, 2005

CA-Gov: Phil Angelides is Running for Governor

Posted by Bob Brigham


AN FRANCISCO - How could California's charisma-challenged state treasurer even dream of trying to unseat Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger? Phil Angelides cites the advice he gives his three daughters: "It never matters what the odds are. What matters are your beliefs, and what you do to pursue them."

The 51-year-old Angelides has become the first Democrat to officially announce he is running against Schwarzenegger, who is expected to seek re-election in 2006.

Despite some recent setbacks, Schwarzenegger remains popular in a state that has almost always elected its governors to second terms. But political observers warn that he should not underestimate Angelides, a man regarded as shrewd and aggressive by his friends, ruthless and mean-spirited by his enemies.

Schwarzenegger has been tanking in the polls and is far weaker in California than many out-of-state pundits assume.

Soon after Schwarzenegger got elected in a recall election in 2003, Angelides positioned himself as the "anti-Arnold," portraying the highly popular Republican as an out-of-touch plutocrat who failed to keep his campaign promises — a strategy that was seen as foolhardy until Schwarzenegger suffered some reversals of fortune.

Assailed by teachers, firefighters and other public employees, Schwarzenegger last week scrapped his effort to privatize state pensions, the latest in a series of retreats in the face of opposition from unions and other Democratic constituencies. Polls show his approval ratings dropping below 50 percent for the first time.

"Arnold was elected because he said he was going to do extraordinary things for people, but he's turned out to be an enormous disappointment," Angelides said. "The thing I find most mystifying is why someone who came in with such enormous political capital chose not to use it."

When conventional wisdom said Schwarzenegger would sail to re-election, Angelides was dogging the Governor. Now that the push against the Governor has paid off by lower his approval ratings, Angelides is being recognized as a smart Democrat willing to stand up to Schwarzenegger.

A Sacramento native of Greek descent, Angelides got his start in politics as a student at Harvard, protesting the Vietnam War and campaigning against President Nixon in 1972. Angelides went on to make a fortune as a real estate developer before returning to politics full-time. As state Democratic chairman in 1992, Angelides helped Bill Clinton win California.

But he also came under fire during that year's bruising Senate contest, in which Barbara Boxer narrowly beat GOP candidate Bruce Herschensohn after a last-minute leak from a Democratic operative that Herschensohn had visited strip clubs. Angelides denied involvement in the leak but later said the information was fair game.

"Angelides is a mean-minded, terrible partisan hack," said GOP strategist Ken Khachigian, who ran the Herschensohn campaign and previously worked for Nixon and President Reagan. "Arnold can expect a mean gut fighter who'll run a very hard-hitting, dirty campaign. He'll stoop to anything."

This is exactly the type of nominee the Democratic Party needs to win. And for all you east-coasters, how is this for a stamp of approval?

Angelides has also leveraged his role as an officer of CalPERS, the nation's largest state pension fund, to push for greater transparency in the financial markets.

"He's smart, he's aggressive, and he's creative," said New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, who claims he and his fellow Democrat are "joined at the hip" in their work crusading for corporate accountability.

Posted at 07:55 PM in 2006 Elections - State, California, Democrats | Technorati

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Don't Let "From the Roots" Die on the Vine

Posted by DavidNYC

I've long been fond of the blogs published by the official apparatus of the Democratic Party. While they provide good information, I like them better for the simple fact that at least some establishment types "get it" and want to engage in two-way communication with the netroots.

As I recall, the DNC was the first up to the plate, with the cleverly titled "Kicking Ass." The DSCC (the guys responsible for our Senate campaigns) upped the ante with the fancy Scoop-based "From the Roots." (The even-cleverer answer to "How do you remove a Bush?") The DCCC (Congress) is also in the mix with its blog, "The Stakeholder." (The Democratic Governors' Association has yet to get into the game, but their website promises an overhaul "soon." Hopefully that makeover will include a blog.)

The DNC and DCCC blogs all continue to update regularly, multiple times a day. But From the Roots appears to be withering. There hasn't been an update since January 7th. It's a shame, because it's a very polished blog, and the only one of the three which permits user diaries (like at DailyKos and MyDD). It seems to me that the DSCC just needs to hire a full-time blogger, or establish a solid volunteer corps. Either would be easy - there are tons of knowledgeable folks out there who are also good writers.

The bottom line is, if we're gonna put pressure on the state parties to create and maintain blogs of their own, I think it's incumbent upon our national organizations to show leadership on this issue. DSCC, whip out some Miracle-Gro and get that baby flourishin' again!

Posted at 05:13 PM in Democrats | Technorati

Monday, April 11, 2005

Joe Lieberman is a disgrace

Posted by Bob Brigham

While Reuters headlines, "Democrats Seek to Block Bolton as UN Ambassador" we have quite a different message coming from Senator Joe Lieberman.

Lieberman is being used alongside Oliver North to bash Democrats for blocking Bolton.

Over at DailyKos there is a comment that deserves to be printed out, framed, and mailed to Senator Lieberman. From IGrantius:

You know, here's the thing I think Joe never quite understood:

When you're just some senator or congressman, or governor or mayor, you're always free to criticize the party over anything. We need disparate voices, challenging voices, we're a big tent, all that.

BUT. The moment that you accept a presidential or vice presidential nomination, you also agree to represent the entire party, and the unspoken agreement is, you will do it for the rest of your life. It is no small thing for 40 some million Democrats to invest their hopes in you. In exchange for that support, we ask only one thing. Win or lose, you will spend the rest of your life staunchly defending the party, laboring to get Democrats elected wherever you can. You can leave the moralizing, the deal breaking, and what have you to the next generation of young Turks. You have just graduated to Senior Statesman.

That's why Democrats love Teddy Kennedy. It's how Bentsen wound up in the Clinton administration. It's how Dole survived Ford. None of those men ever shat on their friends. They danced with the girl who brung them.

Not Joe. Somehow he thinks that he can return to his cozy position as the Grand Poohbah of Centrist Scolding.

It doesn't work like that. We get one chance every four years to nominate two people. If you accept our invitation, you owe us your blood sweat and tears. Now and forever. If you can't life up to that, fuck you. You're gone.

I'll second that "fuck you" and add a friendly reminder to Stop Bolton.

Posted at 03:19 PM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - Senate, Activism, Connecticut, Democrats, International | Technorati

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Democratic Leadership Council obit

Posted by Bob Brigham

From v2aggie2 diary at MyDD:

One of the candidates was Joe Lieberman, our 2000 VP Candidate, and for all intents and purposes, the DLC candidate for 2004 (he was a former chair of the DLC). Now, I know a lot of folks around here don't like Lieberman, and the reasons have merit (though I must admit, I probably don't feel as some do on this topic), but I liked Joe in 2000, and thought he would run a strong campaign in 2004. Boy was I wrong! He ran a Republican-lite campaign, to say the least. At the various dinners shown on C-SPAN during the pre-primary season, you could hear a pin drop when he spoke. Needless to say, he generated no excitement. And his primary performance showed, as he was resoundingly defeated everywhere he went.

This was also, in the end, the proof of the ultimate fall of the DLC. Once a vibrant force in the party, it had become bland and stale. The DLC had now resorted to attacking Howard Dean at every turn. This was truly ironic, for the DLC was attacking a vibrant leader who had many "New Democrat" Ideas that had brought the DLC to prominence. During the primaries, I felt that Dean and John Edwards had both assumed the "New Democrat" mantle.

Well, here we are in 2005. George W. Bush is still president, and Howard Dean is DNC Chair. Where does the DLC go from here?

Well, in my view, the days of DLC being the dominant wing of the party are over. And in reality, was it really that dominant after 1992? It probably was the most influential wing by default due to Bill Clinton. But it never reached the vibrant potential that it could have, and, though many disagree, this is a shame. The petty attacks against other Democrats since the election have not the helped the DLC's cause.

The biggest problem facing the DLC is that it has become conventional wisdom that they do more harm than good. At the macro-level, their triangulation against Democrats has been disasterous for the Party. But it is also important to realize that at the candidate level they are equally counter-productive (ask Lieberman). In a post-campaign finance reform world, their big checks can't flow and being associated with the DLC is the surest way for a candidate to lose the support of the netroots. Our good ideas are coming from the Center for American Progress and the blogosphere and our campaign support is coming from people, not corporations. We don't need them, they only harm us, they are just dead weight. The sooner they are left behind the sooner we'll be winning again.

UPDATE: Go read this.

Posted at 03:20 PM in Democrats | Technorati

Friday, April 08, 2005

Democratic Leadership Council Exodus

Posted by Bob Brigham

Last month Kos had to step in to get the DLC to honor the wishes of Senator Barack Obama and remove him from their list:

Twice the DLC has tried to claim credit for Obama, slapping him up on their list of members, and for the second time, they've had to back down. [...]

They may love the guy, but Obama want's nothing to do with the DLC. Remember, Obama raised over $3 million from MoveOn members, the very organization the DLC wants purged from the party's ranks. We know where Obama's loyalties lie, and it's wiith the netroots. He's one of ours.

This little episode also highlights the DLC's interesting tactic of slapping up people on the list without asking for permission to do so, an attempt to take credit for peoples' success.

Kos asked: "Anyone else who seems out of place on the list? Anyone else we can peel off this list?"

I think we can all guess what happened next...

I started looking at the list and a few items jumped right out at me. For instance, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom was still listed as a county supervisor even though Al From claimed credit for his 2003 election. I noticed that Tim Ryan was listed as a state senator even though he is in his second term in congress. DavidNYC took some screen shots (HERE pdf), I expected to come back in a month or so to see the list cleaned up.

What I found was an exodus. Dozens of names have been scrubbed from the list.

Sure some politicians were term limited and many lost their seats (after taking DLC advice?). But many up and coming politicians have decided they want nothing to do with the DLC strategy of attacking Democrats through triangulation.

Congressman Ryan's name disappeared. California gubernatorial candidate Phil Angelides is no longer on the list. Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano has no need for the DLC. Hell, even Ken Salazar would rather stand with Obama than the DLC.

In fact, the DLC is no longer taking credit for:

Phil Angelides, State Treasurer, CA
Janice Bacon, Morgan County Commissioner, IN
Marshall Bennett, State Treasurer, MS
John Y. Brown, Secretary of State, KY
Chris Burris, Mayor, Stone Mountain, GA
Jo Carson, State Representative, AR
Nancy Chard, State Senator, VT
Ken Clark, State Representative, AZ
Patrick Colwell, State House Majority Leader, ME
Kathleen Connell, State Controller, CA
Lou Correa, State Assembly Member, CA
Dolores Coulter, Mayor, Barnegat Township, NJ
Chris Cummiskey, State Senate Assistant Leader, AZ
Preston Daniels, Mayor, Des Moines, IA
Nadia Davis, School Board Vice President, Santa Ana, CA
Peter Derby, Trustee, Irvington, NY
Jim D. Garner, State Representative, KS
Jeff Gombosky, State Representative, WA
Michael J. Hare, Council Member, Wilmington, DE
Leigh Herington, State Democratic Leader, OH
Bob Holden, Governor, MO
Robert Jackson, State Senator, KY
Steve B. Jones, State Representative, AR
Vera Katz, Mayor, Portland OR
Joseph E. Kernan, Governor, IN
Peter Larkin, State Representative, MA
David Lemoine, State Representative, ME
Gary Locke, Governor, WA
Charles Love, School Board Chairman, Hamilton Co., TN
Frana Araujo Mace, State Representative, CO
Scott C. Maddox, Mayor, Tallahassee, FL
Carl Miller, State Representative, CO
Mike Moore, Attorney General, MS
Ronnie Musgrove, Governor, MS
George Nakano, State Assembly Member, CA
Janet Napolitano, Governor, AZ
Alice Nichol, State Senator, CO
John O. Norquist, Mayor, Milwaukee, WI
Barack Obama, U.S. Senator, IL
Norman Oliver, City Councilman, Wilmington, DE
Ed Perimutter, State Senator, CO
Anthony Petrucci, County Commissioner, Dauphin Co., PA
Terry Phillips, State Senator, CO
Margaret Planton, Mayor, Chillicothe, OH
Ray Powell, Commissioner of Public Lands, NM
Eric Miller Reeves, State Senator, NC
Peggy Reeves, State Senator, CO
Elaine Richardson, State Senator, AZ
John Riggs IV, State Senator, AR
Joe Riley, Mayor, Charlston, SC
Stacy J. Ritter, State Representative, FL
Carroll G. Robinson, City Councilman, Houston, TX
Laura Ruderman, State Representative, WA
John Ryan, Council Member, Barnegat Township, NJ
Timothy J. Ryan, State Senator, OH
Ken Salazar, U.S. Senator, CO
M. Susan Savage, Mayor, Tulsa, OK
Dan Schooff, State Assembly Member, WI
Derrick Seaver, State Representative, OH
Tyrone Smith, Water Basin Municipal Water District Board Member, Carson CA
Gregory R. Stevens, State Representative, IA
Christopher Travis Swanson, Kern County School Board Member, Tehachapi, CA
Daryl Sweeney, Mayor, Carson, CA
Tracy Vance, Vice Chairman, Lee Co., IA
Val D. Vincent, State Representative, VT
Patrick D. Welch, State Senator, IL
J.D. Williams, State Controller, ID
Cathy Woolard, Council President, Atlanta, GA

Posted at 12:07 AM in Democrats | Comments (1) | Technorati

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