Activism Archive:

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Many Voter Registration Deadlines Looming

Posted by DavidNYC

Matt Stoller notes that voter registration deadlines in many states are very, very soon. If you haven't yet registered to vote, please do so! And if you aren't sure of your registration status (you've moved in recent years, etc.), please call your local board of elections to check. If you are already registered, then your mission should be to register at least one other person in time for election day. With web-based tools, it's easier than ever:

Pro-Net Neutrality Voter Registration Tool

Standard Voter Registration Tool

The first link takes you to a site which will tally up how many people register with the goal of supporting net neutrality. If for whatever reason that doesn't interest you (or your friends or relatives you're trying to sign up), follow the second link.

Posted at 11:03 PM in 2006 Elections, Activism | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Friday, April 21, 2006

DNC 50-State Canvas Is Next Weekend

Posted by DavidNYC

We here in the blogosphere spend a lot of time typing, talking, surfing, debating. But the real battles are won and lost when we get out of our chairs and pound the pavement. That's why next weekend's 50-state DNC canvas is so important.

There are over 900 events scheduled nationwide. If you haven't yet signed up, just click the link, type in your ZIP code, find an event and follow the sign-up instructions - super-easy. You will have fun, do good things and meet great people. This is what being an activist is all about.

Posted at 02:58 PM in Activism | Comments (1) | 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

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Kerry and Clark Coming TONIGHT!

Posted by DavidNYC

Today's Band of Brothers event on the mall was AMAZING. Sen. Cleland was absolutely inspiring. And it was just tremendous to see so many Fighting Dems arrayed together. I'll have some pictures later.

But I also wanted to tell you some very exciting news: Two more veterans are coming to tonight's fundraiser at the Frederick Douglass House. You may have heard of them: John Kerry and Wesley Clark. I'm tremendously excited. If you were wavering about coming, now you have no excuses! See you there!

UPDATE: Wow! What an exhilirating day. Tonight's event was great. Tim has an awesome post up at the DNC blog on the rally this morning, complete with pics and video.

Posted at 01:48 PM in Activism, Band of Brothers | Comments (2) | TrackBack (3) | Technorati

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Support Max Cleland & the Band of Brothers in DC Tomorrow

Posted by DavidNYC

For all you DC-area folks, a reminder:

Rally with Sen. Max Cleland & Forty Fighting Dem Candidates

When: 10am, Wednesday, February 8th
Where: 7th st. SW betw. Madison Dr. & Jefferson Dr., on the National Mall

As I've said before, if you're angry about the swiftboating of Rep. Murtha, the lack of body armor for our troops, cuts in veterans benefits, and the simple, undeniable fact that George Bush has made us less safe, this is your chance to help make a difference. Let's make this a major media event and make sure these issues stay on the table throughout the 2006 elections and beyond.

(P.S. Please note the location change. This rally will be held on the Mall, not at the Capitol.)

Posted at 04:28 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Activism, Band of Brothers | Comments (3) | TrackBack (1) | 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

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

The Politics of Billboards

Posted by DavidNYC

Back in November, GOP Rep. Jean Schmidt slandered war hero Rep. John Murtha on the floor of Congress. When we sought to take the fight straight to her back yard, Lamar Advertising refused to run the DNC's billboard, on the grounds that it constituted "negative advertising." (Nevermind this.) That really (once again) dogged my cats. Anyhow, this is what the Schmidt billboard looked like:

To kick off the new year, the Campaign for America's Future has launched a big-time ethics assault on the already-indicted Tom DeLay and the soon-to-be-indicted Bob Ney (OH-18). One feature of this campaign also includes a billboard, stating the simple truth about Bob Ney:

Clear, direct, to the point - and nothing hurts quite like good old Mr. Truth. CAF says that this billboard is already up, "located above the east bound lanes of Rte. I-70 at exit 126, one mile west of State Rte. 37 in Heath, Ohio where Rep. Bob Ney lives." So a pat on the back to CAF, but an obvious question remains: Why were they able to get their billboard up while the DNC was not? Oh CAF, share with us your secrets, so that organizations across the land may torment powerful kleptocrats for the entire election season!

Posted at 09:41 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Activism, Ohio | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Friday, December 02, 2005

CA-48: Call to Action - Final Weekend Push

Posted by DavidNYC

On Tuesday, California will hold another special election - this time, to fill the vacant House seat in CA's 48th CD. Our candidate is Steve Young. Here's how you can help him for the final weekend push:

Virtual phone banking. This can be done by anyone, anywhere. The campaign sends you a list of names and numbers of district residents, and you call them to help get out the vote. Fun and easy, and if you have a cell phone with free nights and weekends, it only costs you your time. To join in this effort, send an e-mail to

Volunteer. If you leave in or near the district, contact the campaign and help pound the pavement. You can sign up on this page, but your best bet at this point is to call the campaign directly at (949) 640-4400. You can also send an e-mail to with your availability. The district is in Orange County - the HQ is in Irvine. In other words, not too far for those of you in LA or San Diego to come up for a day. The weekend weather looks quite pleasant.

E-mail your California friends. Tell them about this race. Even if you aren't sure if they live in CA-48, they probably know someone who does. Word of mouth is key.

Keep an eye on BigDog04's diaries. He's our source for info straight from the campaign.

Let's do this thing!

Posted at 03:33 PM in 2005 Elections, Activism, California | TrackBack (1) | Technorati

Thursday, December 01, 2005

OH-02: Billboard Rejected

Posted by DavidNYC

Go read what Tim has to say about the DNC's Schmidt billboard. And be prepared to grit your teeth.

Posted at 09:22 PM in Activism, Ohio | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Raise a Ruckus: Bush Fundraising for Steele

Posted by DavidNYC

Sorry for the late notice, but tomorrow morning at 10am, Marylanders will protest Bush's fundraising appearance for Lt. Gov. Michael Steele. As I say below, it's important to make sure that the media and the public realize exactly who supports Steele - and whom he supports.

I like the idea some Arizonans had when Bush came to town for Jon Kyl just last night - they formed a human chain from Kyl's office to the location the fundraiser was held to demonstrate the "link" between the two men. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to find any photos of that bit of guerilla theater. So Marylanders, if you've got any tricks like that up your sleeve tomorrow, please take pictures. And raise a ruckus!

Follow this link for complete details. Thanks to Nick in comments for the info.

Posted at 09:51 PM in 2006 Elections - State, Activism, Maryland | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Volunteering on Election Day

Posted by DavidNYC

Tuesday is election day. If you are interested in volunteering, here are links to help you get involved with some of the top races:

New Jersey
New York

If you have volunteer links for other races throughout the country, please post `em in comments.

Posted at 02:53 PM in 2005 Elections, Activism | Comments (2) | 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

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

ActBlue Poll Results

Posted by DavidNYC

Last week, we wrote about ActBlue's poll to decide which states it should deploy in next. Ben Rahn of ActBlue explains the results - and the action plan:

Last week, Chris Bowers ran this poll to decide where ActBlue should go next, and the results are in! We're now focusing our fire on Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Florida, and Montana. (We had originally planned on just going with four states, but with a statistical tie between Texas and Montana for the #4 spot we're including them both.)

Check out the the full background, but in brief, when we've activated ActBlue in these states:

• Every Democratic candidate for every state legislative and executive office can immediately accept contributions online.
• Every supporter can immediately fundraise online for the Democratic candidates and party committees of their choice.

There's just one catch: we need the resources to do it. The most challenging part of bringing this huge strategic advantage to Democrats at the state level is the legal side - the staff time and lawyers, Lawyers, LAWYERS, required to do this right are going to cost on average $10,000 per state, at least for the first set of states we take on.

So we're asking: can you help make it happen?

This isn't like supporting a single candidate: funds invested now will be returned many times over to candidates in crucial races across the country. So this is about leverage. This is about building a lasting piece of infrastructure for online politics, and bringing lasting strategic advantage to Democrats where it matters most.

Please support these states today.

Go help `em out if you can.

Posted at 04:53 PM in Activism | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Help ActBlue Pick Its Next Four States

Posted by DavidNYC

As we've mentioned before, the indispensible ActBlue is moving into state races. ActBlue already covers all federal races, but that's comparatively easy - you're talking about one legal regime for all 535 House & Senate candidates. For the states, of course, you've got to deal with fifty different sets of campaign finance laws. It's a major hassle, and ActBlue expects, at least in the early going, that it will cost around $10,000 to set up each state.

What that means, though, is that every candidate for state office - Governor, Attorney General, state legislatures - will be able to raise money through ActBlue. One state has already been launched, Virginia, which holds all of its state races this year, so you can see why it was made a priority. ActBlue needs your help now to decide which four states it should expand into next.

To do that, they are conducting a poll, which you can find here.

IMPORTANT: Please do NOT simply vote for your home state! This is NOT a popularity contest. You should vote for the state or states where you think an improved fundraising infrastructure will make the most meaningful difference in the near term. Some possible factors to consider: Does the state have a legislative body or bodies which the Democrats have a reasonable shot at taking control of - or have a very tenuous hold on right now? And are there important, competitive statewide races - and not just Governor, but Attorney General (think Spitzer in NY) and, importantly, Secretary of State (think - ugh - Blackwell in Ohio)?

In New York, for example, Eliot Spitzer is going to win the governorship with or without an assist from ActBlue. But the Dems are very close to taking back the State Senate here, and candidates in close races could definitely benefit from the increased exposure (and, obviously, increased fundraising ability) that ActBlue would provide. So I think I might vote for NY. But if you've concluded your home state is hopeless, you can do a little research on other good states before casting your vote. Here's one site that can help you out a bit.

So go ahead, vote - and vote wisely. I'm told the balloting ends Friday, so we should know the results right then (though ActBlue may not consider them binding).

UPDATE: New York ain't even on the list. Oh well. Back to the drawing board!

Posted at 08:21 PM in Activism, Netroots | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Thursday, October 06, 2005

MO-07: Roy Blunt Exposed as Central Figure in GOP Culture of Corruption

Posted by Bob Brigham

In 1998, the Democrat challenging Republican Congressman Roy Blunt in Missouri's 7th District didn't raise or spend a dime. In 2000 and 2002, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee didn't even field a candidate against Blunt, allowing Blunt to focus on his "Battleground 2002" project which moved $5.6 million to Republican House candidates. In 2004, Democrats at least bothered to field a candidate, but Blunt had a 15:1 cash advantage and wasn't pinned down, allowing him to raise money for other Republicans to the point where he is now Republican Leader in Congress.

But, the rising profile for Congressman Blunt is a double-edged sword, because he just got busted by the AP for his role in laundering money with Tom DeLay (who is currently facing life in prison for illegally laundering money):

Tom DeLay deliberately raised more money than he needed to throw parties at the 2000 presidential convention, then diverted some of the excess to longtime ally Roy Blunt through a series of donations that benefited both men's causes.

When the financial carousel stopped, DeLay's private charity, the consulting firm that employed DeLay's wife and the Missouri campaign of Blunt's son all ended up with money, according to campaign documents reviewed by The Associated Press.

Jack Abramoff, a Washington lobbyist recently charged in an ongoing federal corruption and fraud investigation, and Jim Ellis, the DeLay fundraiser indicted with his boss last week in Texas, also came into the picture.

The complicated transactions are drawing scrutiny in legal and political circles after a grand jury indicted DeLay on charges of violating Texas law with a scheme to launder illegal corporate donations to state candidates.

Congressman Roy Blunt needs a strong Democratic challenger willing to expose Blunt's "Culture of Corruption" and pin him down in Missouri so he isn't raising money for candidates in targetted races.

Blunt's crooked transactions with DeLay deserve an investigation:

The government's former chief election enforcement lawyer said the Blunt and DeLay transactions are similar to the Texas case and raise questions that should be investigated regarding whether donors were deceived or the true destination of their money was concealed.

"These people clearly like using middlemen for their transactions," said Lawrence Noble. "It seems to be a pattern with DeLay funneling money to different groups, at least to obscure, if not cover, the original source," said Noble, who was the
Federal Election Commission's chief lawyer for 13 years, including in 2000 when the transactions occurred.

None of the hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations DeLay collected for the 2000 convention were ever disclosed to federal regulators because the type of group DeLay used wasn't governed by federal law at the time.

Check out Blunt's spin and tell me he isn't vulnerable.

Blunt and DeLay planned all along to raise more money than was needed for the convention parties and then route some of that to other causes, such as supporting state candidates, said longtime Blunt aide Gregg Hartley.

"We put together a budget for what we thought we would raise and spend on the convention and whatever was left over we were going to use to support candidates," said Hartley, Blunt's former chief of staff who answered AP's questions on behalf of Blunt.

Hartley said he saw no similarity to the Texas case. The fact that DeLay's charity, Christine DeLay's consulting firm and Blunt's son were beneficiaries was a coincidence, Hartley said.

Whoops, the fact that money ended up going to Blunt and DeLay family members was an accident...

Much of the money — including one donation to Blunt from an Abramoff client accused of running a "sweatshop" garment factory in the Northern Mariana Islands — changed hands in the spring of 2000, a period of keen interest to federal prosecutors.

During that same time, Abramoff arranged for DeLay to use a concert skybox for donors and to take a golfing trip to Scotland and England that was partly underwritten by some of the lobbyist's clients. Prosecutors are investigating whether the source of some of the money was disguised, and whether some of DeLay's expenses were originally put on the lobbyist's credit card in violation of House rules.

Both DeLay and Blunt and their aides also met with Abramoff's lobbying team several times in 2000 and 2001 on the Marianas issues, according to law firm billing records obtained by AP under an open records request. DeLay was instrumental in blocking legislation opposed by some of Abramoff's clients.

Noble said investigators should examine whether the pattern of disguising the original source of money might have been an effort to hide the leaders' simultaneous financial and legislative dealings with Abramoff and his clients.

"You see Abramoff involved and see the meetings that were held and one gets the sense Abramoff is helping this along in order to get access and push his clients' interest," he said. "And at the same time, you see Delay and Blunt trying to hide the root of their funding.

Blunt is just as crooked as DeLay:

Blunt and DeLay have long been political allies. The 2000 transactions occurred as
President Bush was marching toward his first election to the White House, DeLay was positioning himself to be House majority leader and Blunt was lining up to succeed DeLay as majority whip, the third-ranking position in the House.

The entities Blunt and DeLay formed allowed them to collect donations of any size and any U.S. source with little chance of federal scrutiny.

DeLay's convention fundraising arm, part of his Americans for a Republican Majority Political Action Committee (ARMPAC), collected large corporate donations to help wine and dine Republican VIPs during the presidential nominating convention in Philadelphia in late summer 2000. DeLay's group has declined to identify any of the donors.

Blunt's group, a nonfederal wing of his Rely on Your Beliefs Fund, eventually registered its activities in Missouri but paid a $3,000 fine for improperly concealing its fundraising in 1999 and spring 2000, according to Missouri Ethics Commission records.

Blunt claims he had no clue he was crooked:

Hartley said Blunt was unaware that Mrs. DeLay worked at the firm when he made the payments, and that she had nothing to do with Blunt's group. [...]

Hartley said Blunt always liked to help the state party and the fact that his son got party help after his donation was a coincidence. "They are unrelated activities," he said.

When Congressman Roy Blunt runs for re-election, he needs to be met with a full court press. The voters deserve a choice.

Posted at 12:29 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Activism, Culture of Corruption, Missouri, Republicans, Scandals | Comments (4) | 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

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

TX-21: John Courage is an All-Star

Posted by Bob Brigham

Having worked with two congressional campaigns endorsed by DFA, I realize that their support is like winning the lottery. So too will John Courage, who is the first "grassroots all-star" DFA candidate for 2006.

From Blog for America

We have the power to elect new leadership in this country.

We've proven over and over again that when we make a race competitive—no matter the district—we can win. But the only way to make every race and every district competitive is with your support.

Two weeks ago, we asked DFA supporters to help kick-off the campaign to take back Congress by voting in our Grassroots All-Star competition. Tens of thousands of DFA members voted for candidates in every corner of the country. After tallying the votes, we're excited to announce the DFA Grassroots All Star: John Courage, from San Antonio, Texas.

Courage says:

I am so proud to have won the support of DFA and the first Grassroots All-Star Endorsement for the 2006 Election Season. My campaign has very strong grassroots, and they were essential in winning this endorsement. This endorsement in TX-21 is sending a strong national message to the GOP congressional "leadership" that in 2006 they can run, but they can't hide - even in Texas.

All of us should be proud of the way the poll was run, the way the candidates were all presented and the way Democrats around the country were given the opportunity to let their voices be heard. It was great to know that 60 Congressional candidates applied for DFA's endorsement! It is through participation like this, that we will win back the House of Representatives.

This endorsement has special meaning for me because my wife and I have been DFA meetup hosts and activists for the past 2 years. I know that receiving the support of DFA is important because I've seen the grassroots strength first-hand.

There's been an overwhelming response in Central Texas to my call for reining in the budget deficit, developing an exit-strategy for Iraq, restoring ethics to Congress and supporting policies that meet the needs of mainstream working families, not just millionaires and Tom DeLay. The local excitement about a change in Congress helped produce a DFA victory this week and will carry me to victory next November.

Visit John Courage's website.

Posted at 05:20 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Activism, Netroots, Texas | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0) | Technorati

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

MT-Sen: Max Baucus Runs from Democratic Party

Posted by Bob Brigham

Montana Senator Max Baucus is a skittish senator known for bolting and running. In fact, Senator Baucus has quite a reputation for running. On November 22 of last year Baucus was running from something for 50 miles when he hit his head on a rock and needed urgent brain surgery. I'm no big city doctor, but I think Baucus lost his fucking mind:

WASHINGTON -- Montana Sen. Max Baucus, a Democrat, said Tuesday he will vote for Supreme Court nominee John Roberts. [...]

Baucus is breaking with his party's top senator in deciding to vote for the 50-year-old appeals court judge and former Reagan administration lawyer.

Why is Max Baucus running from the Democratic Party? Instead of running away, why can't Max Baucus play with the team? Call each number below and ask.

Washington D.C.(202) 224-2651
Billings (406) 657-6790
Bozeman (406) 586-6104
Butte (406) 782-8700
Great Falls (406) 761-1574
Helena (406) 449-5480
Kalispell (406) 756-1150
Missoula (406) 329-3123
Washington DC Fax (202) 224-0515

Thanks for taking 10 minutes to make those quick 8 calls. If you have 2 more minutes, use the email form.

I am totally fuckin' pissed at Baucus. Senator Reid is from a redder state, but he isn't running from what he cares about. Why is Baucus chicken?

Baucus isn't even up until 2008 and (hopefully) won't be running for re-election. Senator Baucus doesn't need to go around acting like a dipshit coward, but this isn't the first time. Matthew Yglesias explains (2.1.04):

As a result, literally none of the president's signature initiatives -- from tax cuts to the resolution authorizing war in Iraq to the Medicare bill -- garnered sufficient GOP support to pass without cooperation from some Democrats, cooperation that the White House has largely succeeded in obtaining.

Among the defectors, Sen. Zell Miller (D-Ga.) has tended to attract the lion's share of media attention for his florid denunciations of his ostensible party. But the practical effects of Miller's histrionics have been rather limited compared with the betrayals of his more low-key colleague Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.). As the ranking member (and, for a period, chairman) of the Finance Committee, arguably the Senate's most powerful, Baucus, who underwent successful brain surgery on Jan. 9, has not only voted for many pieces of Republican-backed legislation but actually taken the lead in authoring much of the president's domestic-policy agenda. During the 2001 tax-cut debate, Baucus cut a deal with committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and the White House to co-sponsor a slightly watered-down version of the president's proposal. In doing so, he not only gave the GOP his vote but, more importantly, his support for the tax cut effectively handed the White House the staff and other committee resources under his control.

Fellow Democrats were even more aggrieved, however, by Baucus' behavior during the Medicare battle with which Congress closed last year's session. The Senate initially passed a compromise bill with support from Republicans and some liberal Democrats like Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.), while the House put forward a much more partisan piece of legislation on a narrow vote. A conference committee composed of members of both chambers was convened, but the Republican leadership, in a sharp break from precedent, said that though Democrats could be officially appointed to the committee, none would be invited to the meetings where the substantive negotiations would take place and the actual bill be written. None, that is, except for Baucus and the similarly cooperative John Breaux of Louisiana, who will retire at the end of the year.

By lending this farce a veneer of bipartisan credibility, Baucus and Breaux essentially denied the Democrats what was not only their best chance of defeating the bill in question but the party's last hope of putting a stop to a long string of Republican provocations aimed at reducing the minority party to window-dressing status. (emphasis mine)

WTF? Call each phone number and let your rage be heard. This is totally fuckin' unacceptable and you can quote me on that.

Posted at 09:30 PM in Activism, Montana, Netroots, Scandals, Supreme Court | Comments (5) | Technorati

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

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Katrina: Live from Houston, TX

Posted by Bob Brigham

I'm at the Houston airport, waiting for a flight into Birmingham, then driving south.

During Paul Hackett's campaign, I think we proved that being on the ground is a great fulcrum. "Showing up maximizes" the leverage and we need it now, more than ever. Bush failed America, so now the burden falls to each American to help do what needs to be done.

Donate Housing :: Find ShelterMy specialty is using the internet, which is a perfect vehicle. From ABC News:

"When I put the listing on the Web site in the evening, I had five or six families respond by the morning," van Gelderen said while he was sending out e-mails to his friends challenging them to help. Van Gelderen had his entire staff mobilizing relief efforts, rather than focusing on business. "The private sector has to start doing just as much as the government."

Van Gelderen listed his available housing through, a liberal-leaning non-profit political organization.

MoveOn launched its hurricane housing site on Thursday afternoon, and within 25 hours received offers for 45,000 beds — 11,500 within driving distance of New Orleans, according to MoveOn president Eli Pariser.

"Basically we were just racking our brains trying to figure out how we could help our members provide some help for victims," said Pariser. "We have a direct line to 3 million people and there might be a lot who might be able to open up their homes."

At Swing State Project, I will continue to examine the electoral implications of the second disaster: the response. When Bush's poll numbers dropped below 40%, I didn't think they could go lower. I mean, he would always hold the Republicans, wouldn't he?

Apparently not...

The right wing realizes Bush's decision to continue his vacation kick-started a chain of events that will haunt the Republican Party for a long time. Geographically, Bush's incompetence has put the entire south in play. As the harvest forces tough conversations about transportation, the Midwest will also come into play. Not only is the Republican congress corrupt, but voting Republican gives another vote to the incompetent Republican Administration.

Bush fucked up. And even rabid right-wingers know it. The Washington Times knows it; Fox News knows it. Hell, even the Bull Moose is talking about impeachment. These organizations have propped Bush up for years and now they are cutting him loose, realizing that it is impossible to defend Bush's response – it is a credibility killer.

The hurricane was a disaster, but Bush's vacation-based reaction has been the real catastrophe.

So I'm going in. We're bringing in a SUV full of supplies, I also have my laptop and video camera.

Please sign up for Hurricane Housing.

Additionally requests will be coming.

Posted at 03:26 PM in 2006 Elections, Activism, Culture of Corruption, Republicans, Scandals, Site News, Texas | Comments (2) | Technorati

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

MT-Sen: Tester's Email Fundraising

Posted by Tim Tagaris

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you for helping out.

Jon Tester
Montanans for Tester

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Red Cross is a great place to start:

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

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

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

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

Thank you.
Governor Howard Dean, M.D.

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

Monday, August 29, 2005

Kentucky: Impeach Governor Ernie Fletcher

Posted by Bob Brigham

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

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

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

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

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Attention College Students

Posted by Bob Brigham

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

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

Thursday, August 25, 2005

San Francisco: Michela Alioto-Pier vs. Jonny Moseley

Posted by Bob Brigham

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Monday, August 08, 2005

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

Friday, August 05, 2005

Netroots Win Political Play of the Week

Posted by Bob Brigham

Image hosted by Photobucket.comCNN:

Netroots activism. Ever hear of it?

You will. Because this week marks its arrival as a force in American politics. [...]

Like Bob Brigham. He and his partner Tim Tagaris run a Democratic blog called Brigham is in San Francisco. Tagaris is in Ohio.

They never met until this year when they discovered a cause, or more precisely, a candidate -- Democrat Paul Hackett, running in a special election for an Ohio congressional seat that most national Democrats wrote off as hopeless.

But Hackett, a Marine who served in Iraq, showed fight.

"We have to say it loud that we are proud to fight for what this great country stands for," he said.

Damn straight. Voters respect straight talk and bold action.

The liberal blogs got organized.

"A hundred to 150 bloggers helped raise money, turned out volunteers, got people down to the district and emailed their friends in Ohio," said Bob Brigham of

Ever hear of a blogswarm?

According to CNN blog reporter Jacki Schechner, "This was a pretty decent example of a lot of people getting behind one thing at exactly the same time." A blogswarm.

There is a slight typo in the transcript. There should be a space between 'blog' and 'swarm' when referring to the action. As a single word, it refers to an individual. But back to the award:

On the final day of the campaign they needed $30,000. "So Bob from Swing State sent out an email, made phone calls, said, 'Here is what we need, we need $30,000 in a very short period of time.'" Schechner said. "And the next day, ActBlue delivered a check for $60,000."

ActBlue is a Web site that raises money for Democrats.

ActBlue rocks on every day, use it.

"This was a success," Hackett said in his concession speech. "We should all be proud, so let's rock on."

People often compare the Internet to the Wild West. Here's an update.

"The lone gunslingers of the blogosphere could work as a posse, and that's what let us raise an army," Brigham said. And carry off the political Play of the Week.

The bloggers made their point -- on their Web site, of course: "The Republican Party is on notice. For that matter, the Democratic Party establishment is on notice; get with the program or we will leave you behind.''


Posted at 08:45 PM in Activism, Netroots, Ohio, Site News | Comments (7) | Technorati

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

Sunday, July 31, 2005

OH-02: Come Clean Jean!

Posted by Bob Brigham

Image hosted by
Ohio is appalled that Jean doesn't know Schmidt about Noe

Official state documents prove candidate covered-up ties to corruption

Jean Schmidt is well known for never forgetting a face or a name. Conventional wisdom recognizes her renowned memory to the point where the Cincinnati Enquirer noted (July 31, 2005):

Schmidt knows the district very well, having almost a "file-card" memory to recall details about people, places and issues she's had experience with on the local level.

Yet on this morning's CBS 12 "Newsmakers" program, Jean Schmidt lied to the voters on – only two days before the election. In an effort to cover up Jean Schmidt's involvement in the scandalous culture of corruption, Schmidt said she didn't know Tom Noe. Schmidt said she'd never met Tom Noe. Schmidt said she had never even heard of Tom Noe. The woman with the "file-card memory" lied.

You see, Jean Schmidt was Vice Chair of the Higher Education Subcommittee of the House Finance and Appropriations Committee. During the same period, Tom Noe was a member of the Board of Regents.

In fact, on March 21, 2002, official state documents prove Jean Schmidt testified before Tom Noe's committee. Tom Noe seconded and approved the minutes for this meeting, which read:

There are a number of areas where we are totally lined up with [Jean Schmidt's] thinking. In any event, the conclusion is that we need more contact, more often.

And , additional official state documents establish that Tom Noe testified before Jean Schmidt's committee on March 18, 2003.

These official State of Ohio documents confirm ties between Jean Schmidt and Tom Noe.

And this isn't an isolated incident, there is a pattern of the woman with the "file-card memory" not recalling her ties to corruption.

When it came to lobbying Bob Taft for online casino gambling, she suddenly forgot everything. The Toledo Blade reported (July 29, 2005):

Jean Schmidt, a former Republican state representative from the Cincinnati area, also appealed to the governor's office on behalf of a Web-based lottery. [...]

In a November, 2001, e-mail, Jon Allison, a staff member for Governor Taft, complained that Ms. Schmidt "continues to bug me on Internet lottery."

One year later, her state representative re-election campaign garnered a $1,000 donation from Mr. Ach.

Ms. Schmidt said through a spokesman that she does not remember any conversations with the governor's office about an online lottery, although she does remember that this was a significant issue at the time.

The next day, the woman with the "file-card memory" was the focus of a Cincinnati Enquirer article headlined, Schmidt can't recall Ach favor.

It is time for Jean Schmidt to come clean about her relationship with Tom Noe, Bob Taft, Roger Ach and online gambling. The culture of corruption will continue until reporters demand that career politicians tell voters the truth.

Voters deserve straight talk, Come Clean Jean.

UPDATE: (Bob) Paul Hackett and former Senator Max Clelland are on the Courthouse Steps doing a press conference right now. The big three stations, channels 5, 9, and 12 are here. More to come...

UPDATE: (Bob) Paul Hackett just referred to Jean Schmidt as the, "Poster Child for the Culture of Corruption" as he held up the documents that busted her. During the press conference, it was clear why Hackett is such a successful attorney, he did a great job of telling the story.

UPDATE: (Bob) Max Clelland remarked, "The odor of corruption not only comes out of Tom DeLay's office, it also comes out of Columbus."

UPDATE: (Bob) Channel 19 was also there, along with the Cincinnati Enquirer. There is no way that the press can ignore this, you can't let politicians lie about their involvement in corruption.

UPDATE: (Bob) It is not too late to donate to Paul Hackett, help him FINISH THE JOB!

Posted at 12:59 PM in 2005 Elections, Activism, General, Netroots, Ohio, Open Seats, Scandals, Site News, Special Elections | Comments (7) | Technorati

Thursday, July 28, 2005

OH-02: John Glenn Calls for Hackett Volunteers to Report for Duty

Posted by Bob Brigham

From OH-02 Blog:

Decades ago, you gave me the chance, as a veteran and an astronaut, to become a citizen soldier again serving our state. I look at Paul and I see someone who wants to serve our state with every fiber of his character. I hope you’ll help give him the chance you gave me- but it won’t be easy.

In this tightly-contested special election, the Hackett campaign is relying on an all-volunteer get-out-the-vote operation to pull this extraordinary American through to victory.

We’re still short of the number of volunteers we need to fully deploy the Hackett campaign’s field organization. You can fill the gap by volunteering now.

Volunteer for Paul Hackett in the next 5 days

Please volunteer a few moments of your time to help the Hackett for Congress campaign step up its vital voter turnout efforts in these critical closing days. We don’t have a moment to lose.

I'll be there in the morning. Anyone with me?

Posted at 01:15 PM in Activism, Ohio, Special Elections | 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

MD-Sen: Michael Steele and Karl Rove

Posted by Bob Brigham

michael steele - karl rove - corruption While Karl Rove's schedule is jammed back with political retribution and lessons on walking in shackles with a coat over his head, he is also busy playing bagman for politicians willing to continue the Republicans' Carnival of Corruption in Washington. Karl Rove's man in Maryland, Lt. Governor Michael Steele, has shown incredibly poor judgement by not cancelling a fundraiser with somebody who betrayed a CIA agent.


Join Rove and his man in Maryland tonight from 5:30 - 7:30 at the Ronald Reagan Center, 425 2nd Street NE.

Posted at 10:40 AM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Activism, Maryland, Plamegate | Technorati

Monday, July 25, 2005

MT-Sen: Jeff Ament on Air America on Jon Tester

Posted by Bob Brigham

Let's face it, backing Jon Tester's senate bid in Montana is the cool thing to do. Pearl Jam's Jeff Ament is on Majority Report. He's talking about The Concert and Jon Tester.

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

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

Thursday, July 21, 2005

OH-02: Iraq War Vet Runs for Congress

Posted by Bob Brigham

My inbox has had a solid stream of good news for Major Paul Hackett's bid for Ohio's 2nd Congressional. The August 2nd Election is less than two weeks away. I'm told Hackett's satellite offices are humming with scores of phone lines. The campaign is doing a major mobilization this weekend to run up the ID'd voters list so that the large GOTV program has more targets.

Republican state Rep. Jean Schmidt is bogged down in a late breaking scandal (see the ad). Schmidt's ethics scandal is invoking the "culture of corruption" meme against the Ohio Republican Party.

Last time I updated you on the ACTBlue page (38 hours ago), the total was $100,504.47. Now it is up to $129,805.92. If you haven't deployed a few bucks for this special election, please consider investing.

From the AP:

SEAMAN, Ohio - A few months ago, Paul Hackett was flushing out insurgents and avoiding ambushes in Fallujah, Ramadi and other hotspots in theIraq War. Today, the Marine is trying to round up votes in small southern Ohio towns like this one.

Hackett, a Democrat, is running in a special election Aug. 2 in a bid to become the first Iraq War veteran elected to Congress.

The stakes couldn't be higher, either Hackett goes to Washington or back to Iraq.

The 43-year-old lawyer, former Milford city councilman and Marine Reserve major is hoping his battlefield experience will help him become the first Democrat to get elected in Ohio's conservative 2nd District in three decades. [...]

That Hackett is on television at all is remarkable in deep-red southwestern Ohio, which helped tilt Ohio's crucial 20 electoral votes to Bush last year. Seven-term Republican Rob Portman regularly won with more than 70 percent of the vote before leaving Congress to becoming Bush's U.S. trade representative this year.

Army Lt. Paul Worley, 23, of Peebles, said he likes the idea of a congressman veteran as he prepares for Iraq duty later this year: "You can't substitute anything for leadership by example, somebody who's been there and seen it."

We need Major Hackett in Washington. Go check out the Paul Hackett website.

UPDATE: (Bob) Here is are some action items from histopresto's Kos diary:

1. Look on our website for a link to contribute and volunteer to the Hackett campaign.  Or you can find more information about Paul Hackett on his website and contact him directly

2.  Hamilton County: We are going to have a volunteer rally and canvass kick off on Saturday the 23rd at 10 AM at 1523 Madison in Cincinnati. We need to have everyone there. Please RSVP <snip> Bring your comfortable shoes and a car, if possible.  We'll be meeting rain or shine - bring a cell phone (free weekends!) to phone bank if the weather isn't great. If you cannot canvass but would like to help us on our phone banks, please let us know at

3. (Ohio residents) Check with your local County Democratic Party to see how they will be helping the 2nd congressional race. You can find your local county party contact information at our [website]  Many local democratic county parties statewide have committed to send volunteers down to the Second Congressional race to help with Getting Out the Vote efforts the last weekend of the election by passing out literature door to door, making phone calls and helping on Election Day August 2nd


Or you can contact the Democratic Parties in the 2nd congressional district directly from their contact information on our website.

Adams County  

Brown County

Clermont County

Eastern Hamilton County

Pike County: Harold Cooper  740-493-2402

Scioto County

Southern Warren County


4. Hamilton County: Our Get Out The Vote project will have a huge canvass push the weekend before the election, on Saturday the 30th at 10 AM at the same location.  We need you there! Please RSVP to let us know that you will be there.

Posted at 04:30 PM in 2005 Elections, Activism, Ohio, Special Elections | Technorati

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

SCOTUS: Ethically Challenged John Roberts (Another Partisan Hack)

Posted by Tim Tagaris

An ethically challenged lawyer appointed by an ethically challenged "win-at-all-cost" administration.

U.S. v. Smithfield Foods - Roberts representing a pork processing company against Clean Water Act violations. This is what the court had to say about Roberts the litigator:

"The mischaracterization and distortion of this Memorandum is frustrating to the court. Quotes are being taken out of context, and it appears that words are being conveniently deleted or added for purposes of argument." "A totally misleading argument presented to this court."

I am not sure the amount of cases he has argued is very compelling if that is the way that he argues them.

UPDATE: Roberts on Roe v. Wade -- Brief field in Rust v. Sullivan

"We continue to believe that Roe was wrongfully decided and should be overturned." "[T]he Court's conclusions i Roe that there is a fundamental right to an abortion and that government has no compelling interest in protecting prenatal human life throughout pregnancy find no support in the text, structure, or history of the Constitution."

UPDATE (Bob) John Aravosis has info from NARAL Pro-Choice America on John Roberts and the huge oppo file from Alliance for Justice on John Roberts.

UPDATE (Tim) Aravosis has more, including Roberts' weak resume, and militant crusade to erode a woman's right to privacy, choice, and apparently right to live free from violence.

UPDATE (Tim) Jeralyn already debunks the Right's first talking point, that he was approved by the Senate to the Appeals Court overhwlemingly.

UPDATE (Bob) Here is PFAW on John Roberts (PDF)

UPDATE (Bob) Update the dkosopedia page on John Roberts and the Wikipedia page on John Roberts.

UPDATE (Bob) The John G. Robert's 2003 Confirmation Hearings

UPDATE (Bob Chris Bowers is right, John Roberts is a Partisan Hack:

The Bush administration has clearly stepped up the nomination of John Roberts in order to deflect attention from Karl Rove. Really, it makes sense. One partisan hack is deflecting attention from another.

Karl Rove is a lifetime Republican operative. John Roberts has been filing briefs and providing legal support for recounts (Roberts worked for Bush-Cheney 2000 in Florida) on behalf of Republicans for two decades. John Roberts is a partisan hack taking the heat for another partisan hack. He has only been a judge for two years. He has been a partisan Republican hack for twenty years.

The Bush administration was elected by the Supreme Court, and now it is electing a member of its campaign team to the Supreme Court in order to deflect attention away from ethics violations by the head of its campaign team, Karl Rove. The is partisan hackery at its best. The Bush administration has decided to treat the Supreme Court as an ambassadorship.

And so the fight is enjoined--the Bush administration wants to nominate a partisan hack who helped elect Bush to the Supreme Court, which elected Bush, in order to deflect attention from possible the possibly treasonous activates of another partisan hack who led the Bush campaign in 2000 and 2004. And so this is our fight--the Supreme Court is not the Northern Mariana Islands. The Supreme Court is not a way to reward those who helped get you elected. The Supreme Court is not a way to help deflect attention from the ethics violations of those who helped elect you. The Supreme Court is not a place for partisan hacks, but the Bush administration thinks it is. And so this is our fight--country over partisanship. And so it begins.

Howard Dean (from a press release):

Washington - Faced with a growing scandal surrounding the involvement of Deputy White House chief of Staff Karl Rove and Vice President Cheney's Chief of Staff Lewis Libby in the leaking the identity of a covert CIA operative, President Bush announced his nomination of John Roberts to the Supreme Court late this evening. Democratic National Chairman Howard Dean today issued the following statement on the nomination:

"It is disappointing that when President Bush had the chance to bring the country together, he instead turned to a nominee who may have impressive legal credentials, but also has sharp partisan credentials that cannot be ignored.

"Democrats take very seriously the responsibility to protect the individual rights of all Americans and are committed to ensuring that ideological judicial activists are not appointed to the Supreme Court. The Senate Judiciary Committee will now have the opportunity to see if Judge Roberts can put his partisanship aside, and live up to a Supreme Court Justice's duty to uphold the rights and freedoms of every American and the promise of equal justice for all."

Posted at 08:02 PM in Activism, DNC Chair, General, Netroots, Nuclear Option, Plamegate, Scandals, Supreme Court | Technorati

Monday, July 18, 2005

Karl Rove Scandal Mementos

Posted by Bob Brigham

Nothing like a t-shirt vendor to compliment the festival-like atmosphere as we watch the Bush Administration attempt to cover-up treason. Either Karl Rove lied and should be fired or Bush lied to us all. So enjoy the entertainment and get your Karl Rove Scandal T-Shirt.

Posted at 12:55 PM in Activism, General, Plamegate, Republicans, Scandals | Technorati

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Bring on the Blogosphere

Posted by Bob Brigham

A huge INDEED to Kid Oakland.

Posted at 03:40 PM in Activism | Technorati

Thursday, July 14, 2005

OH-02: Blogging the Special Election

Posted by Bob Brigham

From the new National Journal Beltway Blogroll:

Voters in Ohio's 2nd District will choose a replacement for Republican Rob Portman in an Aug. 2 special election, and The Stakeholder, the blog of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, is billing it as "a campaign that could cement the blogosphere's reputation as leaders in the Democratic Party."

Portman left the seat to become U.S. trade representative, and with Portman having won 72 percent of the vote in the district last fall and President Bush netting 63 percent, GOP candidate Jean Schmidt seemed to be a sure bet for victory. But that was before the Ohio Republican Party was rocked by a scandal involving state investments in rare coins.

Now the DCCC sees an opportunity to trim the Republican House majority, and it is calling on bloggers to help the cause by supporting Democratic candidate Paul Hackett. "Can we raise $25,000 in two weeks to get Paul Hackett elected?" Stephen Yellin wrote at The Stakeholder. "We did it in 2004 with Ginny Schrader in a week, and this race is no less important. And when I threw the first pebble into Ginny's wave of money, I knew that her race mattered. So does Paul Hackett's."

By way of reminder, Schrader was dubbed "the candidate of the netroots" by Daily Kos, which also created "Blogosphere Day" (July 19, in case you're wondering) to recognize how bloggers rallied around her campaign in Pennsylvania's 8th District.

I forgot about Blogosphere Day -- set your calendars. An appropriate tribute would be to support Paul Hackett.

Posted at 06:31 PM in 2005 Elections, Activism, Ohio, Open Seats, Special Elections | Comments (1) | Technorati

YDA Action Caucus

Posted by Bob Brigham

Are you a reformer, under 35 and living in the Bay Area? If so, help Reform the Young Democrats:

[...] The Republican Party is very, very adept at cultivating a vanguard among its young partisans, and seeding the world with it. We're not. Unless progressives start taking youth organizations like the YDA much more seriously, the next generation of Democratic leaders is going to be another bumper crop of party hacks. What we need is leaders, not professional insiders, and for that it's going to take a sustained effort to change the culture of the YDA, both from the inside and from the outside.

The YDA has a lot of promise. There are some exceptional people in its ranks, at the local, state and national levels of leadership. But much of their work is wasted within an institutional culture that rewards connections and favor trading and does little to encourage activism. Let's help those leaders turn the YDA around.

If you're in the Bay Area, attend the kickoff party of the YDA Action Caucus:

Thursday, July 21, 7-9pm
Café du Nord (it's a bar, not a café)
15th and Market (by the Church Street Muni station)

Posted at 04:59 PM in Activism | Technorati

Today: 2:30 PM - 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue

Posted by Bob Brigham

Go to today's MoveOn's Protest.

2:30 TODAY
The White House
Stop the Cover-Up and Fire Karl Rove

Posted at 09:32 AM in Activism, Plamegate | 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

Thursday, June 30, 2005

MT-Sen: Support Jon Tester

Posted by Bob Brigham

The Top 10 reasons why it is critical to contribute to Jon Tester:

  1. Senator Conrad Burns (R-MT) has a re-elect number of only 36 % -- conventional wisdom says an incumbent Senator with a re-elect number under 40 is pretty much screwed.

  2. Senator Conrad Burns is bolo-tie deep in the Jack Abramoff corruption scandal, in fact, he's a key figure in multiple federal investigations along with Shawn Vasell, Burns former State Director, who just pleaded the 5th and is also under investigation in Montana for a major hunting scandal.

  3. While the netroots are loving on Tester, Montanans are not donating to Conrad Burns.

  4. The Montana press are not buying Burns' spin and are taking extreme steps to call him on his bullshit.

  5. Burns wants to test pesticides on kids, as Kos and DavidNYC reported yesterday.

  6. Montana State Senate President Jon Tester has lots of momentum following a very successful legislative session.

  7. Tester is running the type of populist campaign that elected Brian Schweitzer Governor and allowed Tester's leadership to deliver a sweep of both legislative chambers in 2004.

  8. Wellstone had the bus, but Tester has an 18 wheeler.

  9. Jon Tester is on track to beat Conrad Burns.

  10. We need to keep the Montana Miracle moving. Jon Tester is the who can both pick up a Senate seat and make us proud when he gets to DC. We need Jon Tester!
Jon Tester (MT-Sen) $

Posted at 05:03 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Activism, Montana | Technorati

Friday, June 24, 2005

NJ-Gov: Karl Rove Scandal Scalds Doug Forrester

Posted by Bob Brigham

I knew the Karl Rove scandal would have impacts in local elections when I received the following email with an hour of the scandal blowing up:

Vicious Karl Rove Just Raised Money for Republican Doug Forrester

I’m sure you’ve heard about Karl Rove calling liberals and Democrats traitors, and the White House supporting his comments.

I think it’s interesting that Karl Rove was just in New Jersey raising money for Republican gubernatorial candidate Doug Forrester: link

Now there is an Action Alert to contact NJ Gubernatorial candidate Doug Forrester, New York City Mayor Michael Bloombloog and New York state Governor Bill Pataki. This already has support from Americablog, Eschaton, Steve Gilliard's News Blog, and Chris Bowers at MyDD.

From AmericaBlog:

Anti-Karl Rove Action Alert

Atrios suggests we all do the following. I agree:
This week Karl Rove headlined a couple of fundraisers for the Republican candidate for governor of New Jesrsey, Doug Forrester.

Call his campaign office and demand to know if Forrester stands by Karl Rove's assertion that Democrats like Dick Durbin are motivated by a desire to see troops die (especially if you live in New Jersey or imagine that you do). Demand that he return the money he raised. Find out if he's proud to stand with Karl Rove, and if also thinks that New Jersey Democrats are motivated by a desire to see our troops die.


GOP Mayor Bloomberg of NYC has refused to repudiate what Rove's, Mehlman's, and the White House's assertion that YOU want to kill the troops and didn't give a damn about September 11. And remember folks, this is New York City, if they want to play that "liberal" card, let them. 80% of the city would call itself "liberal." So Bush thinks 80% of New Yorkers didn't give a damn about September 11. You're traitors, you dishonor the dead. When your friends died that day, you wanted to give Osama a hug.

Call Mayor Bloomber and demand he publicly repudiate the White House's slander against New Yorkers and all those who survived September 11. Bloomberg's wishy-washy statement about how we wishes all sides would stop politicizing September 11 is cute, but "all sides" weren't politicizing it. Only one party has. That would be the party he invited to hold its patriotic orgasm of a convention there last fall, the one that politicized September 11.

It's time for Bloomberg to tell New Yorkers, is he with them or against them? Does he stand by the White House's words that 80% of New Yorkers are motivated by a desire to kill our troops, and that 80% of NYers didn't give a damn about September 11? Answer the damn question, or don't be mayor.

Email bloomberg here.

Then make some phone calls to Bloomberg's press people:

Edward Skyler, Robert Lawson, Jennifer Falk (212) 788-2958


Pataki refused to even give a wishy-washy answer yesterday about the White House's slander of NYers and all Americans. He stood by Rove 100%. Give him a call too, and demand that he publicly repudiate this disgusting use of the 9/11 dead to help George Bush's polls.

Main governor's office phone: 518-474-8390, 212-681-4580
Email the governor here

Lynn Rasic (Governor)
(212) 681-4640

Forrester, Bloomberg and Pataki need to do the right thing by denouncing Karl Rove and returning the poisoned money.

Posted at 12:59 PM in 2005 Elections, 2006 Elections - State, Activism, New Jersey, New York, Republicans, Scandals | Technorati

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

CA-50: Duke Cunningham Smacked Down

Posted by Bob Brigham

Congressman Pete Stark (CA-13) publically smacked down scandal-tainted Congressman Duke Cunningham. Stark spent $500 of his own money for web ads that ran on the D.C. insider sites Congress Daily and Hotline. As is to be expected with any investment in bold action, Stark earned traditional media, from The Hill:

Rep. Pete Stark (D-Calif.) spent $500 of his own money to place an ad online lampooning Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham’s (R-Calif.) recent controversial sale of his home to a defense contractor.

“Attention Powerful Lobbyists! House for Sale By Influential Member of Congress … From recent practices by defense contractor lobbyists, it appears that you may be able to slip a cool million to a Member of Congress with little fear of ethics violations,” read the ad, which ran yesterday on the National Journal website.

Stark said in a statement that he acted out of frustration with the House’s stalled ethics process, adding, “It is ridiculous that the House is still without a working ethics committee that can investigate abuses of power.”

Props to Congressman Stark for creatively bringing attention to the ethics-free zone the Republican Leadership has created.

Posted at 01:55 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Activism, California, Scandals | Technorati

Saturday, June 04, 2005

MT-Sen: Campaign Fundraising for 2006 Senate

Posted by Bob Brigham

In a discussion on saving Amtrak from Republican attacks, Montana state Senate President Jon Tester commented in the Havre Daily News:

"I think the president misreads the can-do attitude of the people of Montana, particularly those along the northern tier," Tester said.

Bush would be wise not to misunderestimate Montanans, especially not a hi-liner like Jon Tester.

Montana Senator Conrad Burns underestimated a Montana farmer with no name recognition in 2000. That farmer was Brian Schweitzer and Schweitzer almost beat Burns -- even though he only had $2 million to face incumbent Burns' $5 million.

This year, Burns is in such dire straights politically that he thinks he'll need "$8 million to $10 million" to buy a fourth term (after he promised he would only serve 2 terms).

For the life of me, I have no idea what a campaign would have to do to spend $10 million in Montana. Forty bucks a vote? In Montana?

The key isn't to outraise Senator Burns, a credible candidate can run a great campaign with half of that -- I mean, we're talking about Montana. Total saturation will happen...the question is whether Tester will be able to establish himself before the Burns slime operation kicks into high gear.

Everyone who gets to know Tester loves the guy, but he has plenty of room for improvement, according to the editorial board at the Helena Independent Record:

What's it take to get a little recognition in this state? Well, judging by a recent poll conducted for Lee newspapers in Montana, it apparently takes a lot.

The poll included questions designed to measure the name recognition of four prominent Democrats who have announced or are considering running against either Sen. Conrad Burns or House Rep. Denny Rehberg, both Republicans.

Essentially, the response was: "Who?" [...]

Jon Tester, president of the state Senate during the last legislation session and the lawmaker who probably had the most to do with the session's outcome, had 14 percent favorable and 4 percent unfavorable recognition. Sixty-one percent of the voters never heard of the guy.

But the IR also points out the solution:

None of this means that name recognition can't be achieved. Look at Gov. Brian Schweitzer, who came out of political nowhere just half a decade ago and almost upset Burns in his last Senate race.

But it does help us understand why little-known campaign challengers need more than a solid political agenda. To even stand a chance, they need a war chest brimming with gold.

Jon Tester is a Montanan you don't want to underestimate. Thanks to everyone who is helping give Tester the resources to compete against Burns' big money.

Contribution amount: $

Posted at 12:49 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Activism, General, Montana | Technorati

Friday, June 03, 2005

Convio Boycotted

Posted by Bob Brigham

John Aravosis offers a big "Fuck. You." to Convio. Almost instantly, a boycott is launched and joined.

Atrios: "I think now would be a good time for all good lefty organizations to sever relations with Convio, if there are any. The shitstorm will follow..."

The shitstorm is moving quickly today, Kos piled on 12 minutes later.

Posted at 05:53 PM in Activism | Technorati

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Activism: Big Day

Posted by Bob Brigham

Maybe it is because of the vast left wing conspiracy meetings, (more from AmericaBlog, Atrios, Jerome Armstrong, and plenty more from Oliver Willis), but today has been a big day for activism.

I don't think it is possible to get a good idea what is going on district-by-district without tracking the big moves by the national orgs.

Hence today's posts on Moveon's Fire Tom Delay, Russ Feingold's Progressive Patriots Fund, DFA's Walmart Movie Meetup, and American Progress Action Fund's Drop the Hammer. Anything I left out?

Posted at 06:06 PM in Activism | Technorati

Walmart Movie

Posted by Bob Brigham

From David Sirota:

My good friend Robert Greenwald (of Outfoxed fame) today publicly announced that his next documentary will be about Wal-Mart's unpatriotic behavior. Check out information about the movie, see the trailer, and help Robert collect as much information as possible about Wal-Mart.

It's no secret that Wal-Mart sells out average Americans. Though the company executives have always tried to wrap themselves in the flag, those PR efforts have been exposed as total shams. Wal-Mart is one of the big beneficiaries of corporate-written "free" trade deals with China - using those deals to help eliminate U.S. manufacturing jobs and exploit China's slave-like conditions. Not surprisingly, the company is now aggressively lobbying to pass the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) - a deal that once again sells out American workers.

Wal-Mart also drives down U.S. wages. It pays its own workers so poorly, in fact, they are among the biggest recipients of welfare. This, at the same time it uses huge campaign contributions to coerce politicians to shower the company with taxpayer handouts.

Now would be a good time to sign up for the June Democracy for America meetup" (from an email):

You can expect to see an exclusive glimpse of an upcoming documentary -- a glimpse that shows you the stakes in the battle to teach the country's largest company about corporate responsibility. And you'll get to see it before anybody else.

See you there.

Posted at 01:44 PM in Activism, Scandals | Technorati

MT-Sen: Conrad Burns and Mason-Dixon

Posted by Bob Brigham

From Kos:

And take a gander at these historical M-D numbers:
May 2000
Burns (R) 54
Schweitzer (D) 30
September 2000
Burns (R) 48
Schweitzer (D) 39
October 23-24, 2000
Burns (R) 45
Schweitzer (D) 44
Final Results, November 2000
Burns (R) 51
Schweitzer (D) 47
Burns starts weaker today, over a year out, than he looked four months before the 2000 election against a then-unknown Schweitzer.

That really puts in perspective the new Mason-Dixon poll. Via Kos:

Mason-Dixon. 5/23-25. MoE 4%. (No trend lines.)
Burns (R) 49
Morrison (D) 34

Burns (R) 50
Tester (D) 26

While I generally don't get involved in primaries, I will be strongly backing John Tester, the MT Senate Majority Leader, in this race. I have no doubt he will win both his primary and the general election come November 2006.

Burns dropped a solid five points during the spring 2005 Republican legislative disaster.

Same poll, trend lines from Mason-Dixon 12/29/2004, 625 self-described voters:

Senator Conrad Burns Job Approval

Approve 59 (64)
Disapprove 39 (33)

I've never had much respect for Mason-Dixon in Montana, so I usually calculate that Dems are actually in better shape than their sample suggests. Regardless, Burns is trouble, especially contrasted with Jon Tester. As the (subscription only) Hotline headlined: MONTANA: Poll Finds What Instinct Already Was Saying, Burns Is Probably Going To Be Vulnerable

Kos also brings up an important point:

Tester's name ID is a mere 39 percent, compared to 69 percent for Morrison and 99 percent for Burns. In a small state like MT, it doesn't cost much to get your name ID up there.

We starting early and have a great candidate, join Swing State Project by helping with an early contribution.

As TMO said in the comments:

I sent in a small donation, enough that I'm going to stay interested.

Montana is a great pickup possibility for us because of the tiny population, as Kos mentioned. At a little over 900,000, it's smaller than many left-leaning cities and urban counties. For the same power as a California senator, we only have to reach 1/30th the number of voters as in California.

Tester is an ideal western candidate and we have a huge opportunity. TMO won't be the only one to "say interested" in this race. Within months, I fully expect to see long drawn out debates over the Iron Triangle strategy, Reservation registration, and the sign war highway-by-highway.

Contribution amount: $

Posted at 10:10 AM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Activism, Montana | Technorati

Monday, May 30, 2005

Tom DeLay T-Shirts

Posted by Bob Brigham

From Raw Story:

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

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

Posted at 10:43 PM in Activism | Technorati

Friday, May 27, 2005

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

Posted by Bob Brigham

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

Contribution amount: $

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

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

P.S. Have a great weekend!

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

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

Stem Cell Research Living Will

Posted by Bob Brigham

From Crooks and Liars:

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


Rest of Family


Notary Public


Posted at 03:23 PM in Activism | Technorati

Thursday, May 26, 2005

MT-Sen: Jon Tester Announcement News

Posted by Bob Brigham

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

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

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

First, The Missoulian:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And who was with him in Missoula?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This article has more on the issues:

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

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

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

Here's why he needs your help:

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

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

Contribution amount: $

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Contribution amount: $

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

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

The Swing State Project's Official Candidate List

Posted by Bob Brigham

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

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

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

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

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

Contribution amount: $

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

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

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

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

MT-Sen: Jon Tester to Beat Burns

Posted by Bob Brigham

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

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

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

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

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

Burns re-elect number is 36%

Burns is having trouble raising money

Burns is a key figure in multiple corruption investigations

Burns lies to Montanans

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

On national issues:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Damn straight.

Contribution amount: $

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Contribution amount: $

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

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

Monday, May 23, 2005

Dr. Action on GOP Abuse of Power

Posted by Bob Brigham

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

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

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

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

Blogosphere Slumber Party Tonight

Posted by Bob Brigham

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


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

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

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

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

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

"Nuclear Option" Citizen Filibusters

Posted by Bob Brigham

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

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

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

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

Nuclear Option: Will Blog for Coffee

Posted by Tim Tagaris

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

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

Saturday, May 21, 2005

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

Posted by Bob Brigham

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

Contribution amount: $

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1. Send him some money

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, May 19, 2005

PA-Sen: Senator Rick Santorum Out of Line

Posted by Bob Brigham

This post made CNN.

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

Another Raw Story Exclusive:

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

Atrios asks:

The "Move On" Standard

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Email Manny Miranda

Posted by Bob Brigham

From Kos:

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

Spread the word.

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

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

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

Posted by Bob Brigham

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

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

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

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

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


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

Click here to download the flyer (PDF)


Support our campaign:

Participate in our Massive Immediate Response:

Sign our petition to Save the Filibuster:

Forward this e-mail:

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

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

Nuclear Option: Senator Ted Kennedy

Posted by Bob Brigham

Senator Kennedy rocks, check out STOP IT NOW:

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

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

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

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

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

Send a Telegram

Posted by Bob Brigham

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


Time to escalate, time to go old school.

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

Monday, May 09, 2005

Princeton Filibuster Phase Two

Posted by Bob Brigham

Via Talking Points Memo, I see that the minds behind Filibuster Bill Frist are raising money for a Phase II. They need to raise $5,000 (by tomorrow) and are at $3,719.16 right now. If a lot of people help a little... donate

UPDATE: They are now at:


Posted at 11:02 AM in Activism | Technorati

Sunday, May 08, 2005

On Mother's Day: Mainstreet Moms

Posted by Bob Brigham

Happy Mother's Day, Mom!

From Megan Matson's MyDD Diary:

This summer: Leave My Child Alone!

We're just launching (the HTML's still wet) a partnership with Working Assets I am completely excited about. Leave My Child Alone takes on a sneaky ingredient of the "No Child Left Behind" Act that strong-arms local high schools into turning over student information to military recruiters. Many parents have no idea this is even happening.

I hope you'll decide to add this action to your Meetups on June 1st. Just email Eden James, a DFA Meetup Organizer extraordinaire, for full info. We're developing a database of 12,000 School Superintendents, Opt Out forms, and backgrounders.

Other actions at The MMOB include our California creation titled Moms-to-Maria. We're urging Maria Shriver to "pillow talk" her husband out of his Special Election schemings.

Next up is Register-Don't-Recruit, a mom-created campaign that handholds you through registering kids on your local high school campus. And as soon as THAT dust settles and we catch up on the laundry (which could take a while), it's onto Election Reform, and an Energy action called Mercury-Free Schools. So join us, if you can, and please add your idears to our Yahoo! discussion group.

Thank you DFA, thanks to every blessed one of you still going, and going, and going, and happy, happy Mother's Day.

Posted at 10:33 PM in Activism | Technorati

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Philly-DA: Philly Bloggers at it Again

Posted by Tim Tagaris

Last week, about a dozen bloggers from Philadelphia launched a concerted effort to promote the candidacy of a 38 year-old Philadelphia prosecutor running for District Attorney, Seth Williams.

As I noted on first day to raise awareness online for Seth's campaign, this is pretty important news. But today, the rag-tag group of bloggers helping to raise the profile of a candidate they deeply believe in are taking it to another level.

They have a specific request on how you can help the campaign if you live anywhere near Philadelphia, and unlike most campaigns, their request is not money. In true grassroots fashion, they are asking you to volunteer for Seth's campaign. So if you can, I would encourage you to do so. I am signing up as soon as I finish writing this post.

But what makes these bloggers special is three things: As I have already noted, they recognize that the best way to change the face of the Democratic Party is to get involved in the primaries. In this instance, among many other issues they recognize the importance of the death penalty in a District Attorney's race. They are deeply concerned with incumbent Democrat Lynn Abraham's reliance on it as a "crime prevention" tool.

The second item of note is their sharp realization that, collectively, they have power. They have the power the make a real difference in this race. It's all about the blogosphere trending towards regionalization, and they are way ahead of the curve. They are forming the bonds of a solid network that will not only help Seth Williams over the top, but infrastructure that will help elect Democrats in 2005, 2006, 2008 and beyond. As important, these bonds will also help to keep elected officials accountable once in office.

But there is more. These bloggers see the big picture; the impact that online communication has offline and the elusive meshing of the two. That's why it's so important that they are soliciting volunteers on the ground. That's why one of them is, as I type, working on creating a blog to coordinate many of these efforts in a central location and give the tools and direction necessary to make online activism translate directly into votes. And if all goes well, I hope that the largest paper in Pennsylvania will cover today's day of action.

For more information on Seth, read the recent Philadelphia Inquirer article about him. And again, to volunteer for Seth's campaign, please click here. And if you have a blog, please write about it.

Posted at 01:08 PM in Activism | Technorati

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

S.F. Move-On Filibuster Live-Blog

Posted by Tim Tagaris

Bob just called me from San Francisco's Moveon event, as advertised. While this event is a lot more mellow than the LiveBlog of the Ahnold protest the second I picked up the phone, Bob's voice was drowned out by horns honking and cheering supporters.

The event is taking place on the main one-way thoroughfare that connects the Golden Gate Bridgea and the Bay Bridge, so there is plenty of traffic to compliment that 1,000+ event-goers Bob estimates are still pouring in. The rally is taking place right infront of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, often a target of the radical right-wing power grab, at the James R. Browing building.

CBS is respresenting the local network news organizations and there are professional photographers in attendance as well to record to the rally. Signs include: "Save the courts" "Right-wing judges only" "Keep out" "Courts Seized by right-wing radicals."

It's been raining all afternoon, but the showers went away in time for the rally and the crowd continues to swell. Bob described it as a real mellow event thus far.

Updates in the extended entry.

Update: 1

Frank Chiu is doing an interview on the 12 Galaxies. Apparently that is something that natives understand that escapes me.

Chanting has begun, "save the courts." A lot of people with digital cameras and mini dv camcorders, so Bob is guessing there is going to be a lot of images coming down later. A lot of families and kids are there.

The people from Phil A. Buster are at the event, giving away audio CDs, music that they are using for an MTV ad campaign. It's just a real well organized. There is a high ratio in event organizers in arm-bands that are doing a great job.

Small speeches from a bullhorn in the center of the group have started happening as well.

Posted at 08:02 PM in Activism | Technorati

Live Blog Tonight

Posted by Bob Brigham

Tim Tagaris and I have spent some time doing phone-relay, live blogging where the one on the ground phones in updates to the one in front of a computer.

The most notable was the Schwarzenegger protests in San Francisco. Tonight we'll be providing live coverage of MoveOn's Stop the Judicial Takeover protest in San Francisco.

The event will be held in front of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which should combine with the passion over the "Nuclear Option" and the excitableness of Bay Area protests to create a memorable night.

It starts at 8 PM Eastern (5 PM local), tonight. Join us.

Following the San Francisco protests of Arnold Schwarzenegger live-blog, we posted on the protest in Berkeley that scared off the Governator. We also did this for the DNC Western Regional Caucus: #1, #2, and #3. And we've live-blogged conference calls with Simon Rosenber and Donnie Fowler. Tonight should be fun and I'm sure we'll have more to come.

Here is what MoveOn says about tonight (from an email):

MoveOn PAC Sponsors 150 Rallies in 48 States
to Oppose Nuclear Option

New TV Ad Features Rampaging Elephants in Slam of
Republican Move To Control Federal Courts

Vice President Gore Speech Will Headline DC Event

View Rallies at:

Washington D.C. --- MoveOn PAC will kick off a week of campaign activities to oppose a Republican attempt to eliminate the filibuster of presidential nominations for the federal judiciary. A new TV ad and at least sixty rallies in over forty states will spearhead the effort. On Wednesday, Vice President Al Gore is scheduled to give a major address on the subject at a MoveOn PAC rally in Washington DC. The Senate may vote this week to eliminate the 200-year-old rule.

"Our government was founded on principles of checks and balances to ensure that no one party holds absolute power," said Ben Brandzel, MoveOn PAC Advocacy Director.

The ad, which begins airing tomorrow on CNN nationwide, features animated elephants, symbolizing radical Republicans, rampaging through the Capitol, only to be stopped on the steps of the Supreme Court.

"You would think it would be enough for Republican leaders that their party controls both houses of Congress, the White House, and has appointed most of the sitting Supreme Court Justices and appellate judges, but no, they want complete control of the federal government. To get it, they're willing to toss out a 200 year old rule that has balanced the rights of political majorities and minorities and served the American people well since the early days of the Republic, said Brandzel"

Wednesday, MoveOn members and allied organizations will participate in “Rallies to Stop the Judicial Takeover”. They will call on their senators to vote against the Republican effort to seize full control of the federal courts by packing them with right-wing judges. The events are organized by the 3.1 million-member grassroots organization, MoveOn PAC, and the Coalition for a Fair and Independent Judiciary, an alliance of the nation’s leading civil rights and public interest organizations opposed to a right wing judicial takeover.

To dramatize the impact of the attempted Republican judicial takeover, volunteers will symbolically cordon off court houses and declare them property of the Republican leadership. The rallies will occur on Wednesday, the day Senate Republican leaders are expected to call a vote to eliminate the filibuster.

This past weekend in 800 neighborhoods across the country, MoveOn PAC members went door-to-door handing out window signs and urging friends and neighbors to call their senators.

MoveOn PAC
TV :30






ANNOUNCER (VO): Republicans control the White House.




ANNOUNCER (VO): And the House of Representatives. And the Senate.




ANNOUNCER (VO): Republican Presidents appointed the majority of judges on most of our appeals courts. But radical Republicans want absolute control of the entire government. So they’re planning to break the rules, eliminating checks and balances to get more extremist judges approved.




ANNOUNCER (VO): A few courageous Republicans have said “no” to the radicals. Will your Senators have the same courage? Call them.


SUPER “CALL YOUR SENATORS TODAY, 202-224-3121.” THEN SUPER “PAID FOR BY MOVEON PAC, THIS COMMUNICATION IS Not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee. Moveon PAC is responsible for the content of thIs ADVERTISEMENT”.


ANNOUNCER (VO): MoveOn PAC is responsible for the content of this advertisement.

View ad at:

Posted at 05:50 PM in Activism, Site News | Technorati

Sunday, April 17, 2005

TX-22: DFA Billboards Final Call

Posted by Bob Brigham

Last week, I wrote about the wonderful campaign by Democracy for America to open-source the message creation for billboards in Tom DeLay's 22nd Congression District in Texas. DavidNYC then posted on the idea Richard Morrison suggested. Even DNC Chair and for DFA leader Howard Dean seems to catching the spirit.

Blog for America just mentioned Swing State Project and a great Kos Diary by Fran for Dean.

Greg Greene writes:

Let's keep the brilliance coming — make your bid for billboard immortality today. The finalist slogans will be annouced tomorrow.

So send in your entries.

Posted at 04:28 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Activism, Netroots, Texas | Comments (7) | Technorati

Saturday, April 16, 2005

OH-2: Open Seat Update & Testing New Ideas

Posted by Tim Tagaris

Six GOP candidates have already announced their intention of running for the soon to be open 2nd Congressional District in Ohio. The latest two to throw their hat into the ring are State Representative Tom Brinkman and former U.S. Representative Bob McEwen. So far, no Democrats have announced their intention to run for the seat. Current Representative Rob Portman (R-OH) was nominated by President Bush to become the next U.S. Trade Representative and is slated to stand before the Senate Finance Committee in a confirmation hearing next Thursday.

Swing State Project's very own DavidNYC started a discussion on DailyKos a few weeks ago about using this special election as a "trial run" to test out ideas involving grassroots/netroots type activism that might be risky to give a first go in a hotly contested seat.

I agree. When it comes to netroots activism, this would be a great opportunity to attempt the difficult process of distilling national support for a candidate down to the local level where it actually translates into votes, volunteer hours, and results on-the-ground. That means creating an online infrastructure that gets people talking to people in like-minded communities, whether those are interest or location based. As of right now, and outside of fundraising, most candidates/campaigns think the only option is to cast a "national net" and attempt to catch the pieces that fall between the cracks into their own states/districts. The "national net" might be fine for Presidential races, and it certainly has helped out quite a few statewide and congressional campaigns, but until we attempt to create the infrastructure that targets specific demographics (ie. location), we are leaving a lot of potential on the table. This would be my first priority with the OH-2 special election.

Now we just need a candidate. But as Bob is fond of saying. "Forget about the candidate, we have an election to win."

Posted at 07:54 PM in 2005 Elections, Activism, Ohio | Comments (5) | Technorati

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

TX-22: Taking Aim at DeLay's Contributors

Posted by Tim Tagaris

Working for Change is taking aim at one of Tom DeLay and the Republican Party's biggest contributors, Verizon. The effort builds upon activism by similar organizations, such as,, a group intent on drying up the money used to pay for Tom DeLay's legal defense fund.

Working Assets, the group behind Working for Change, does a good deal of promoting and funding of progressive causes across the country. They note that since the year 2000, Verizon has contributed upwards of $5.5 million to Republicans and even hired St. Ralph Reed as a consultant recently.

Similar groups, like Buy Blue, have received national attention and success educating Democrat on how to make purchasing decisions that are in-line with their principles.

Posted at 02:53 PM in Activism | Comments (1) | Technorati

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

2006 House: Is Delay Ethically Fit? Ask Your Representative

Posted by Bob Brigham

Campaign for America’s Future has a great new action to hold Republican's accountable for supporting DeLay's corruption. From an email:

Our plan is to have constituents call their member of Congress and get them on the record answering the question, “Does my Representative believe that Tom DeLay is ethically fit to serve as House majority leader?” We request that callers enter their information on our website so that we can keep track of who stands with DeLay, who stands with democracy and who ducks the question. Once we gather, analyze and double check the data, we’re going to release it to the public and to the press.

Take a moment and help CFA Open Source the research.

Posted at 06:27 PM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - House, Activism, Netroots | Technorati

TX-22: Project for SSP Community

Posted by Bob Brigham

One of the most interesting aspects of post-modern politics is the potential of using Open Source message creation. While this scares the hell out of many political consultants, I'm confident enough to realize that all of you are smarter than me. It appears I'm not alone in this realization, check out this email:

From Democracy for America:

If you could say something -- in a big way -- to the people of Congressman Tom DeLay's district in Texas, what would it be?

We're looking for a slogan -- something short, something memorable, and something that lets the people of his district know that it's time for him to go.

We're buying billboards in the 22nd Congressional District, and if your slogan is selected, it will be part of Democracy for America's big splash in Tom DeLay's backyard.

Suggest your Tom DeLay slogan here:

You have a lot of material to work with, thanks to Tom DeLay himself. Everything is fair game -- his abuse of power, his money-for-influence machine, his corporate shilling, his ethics rebukes, his foreign trips with lobbyists, his huge campaign payouts to family members, his bullying of fellow Congressmen.

You can even use his more recent threatening of judges and his wild lashing out at critics. And remember, his nickname is "The Hammer" and he's a former exterminator -- those facts might come in handy as well.

What message do you want to send?

With the folks at Democracy for Texas we're going to take your slogan and make a stand on DeLay's home turf -- where his political base erodes more and more every day.

You were the first to put an ad on the air in his district last year, when everyone thought Tom DeLay was untouchable. Our efforts helped give him the scare of his political life and his lowest margin of victory ever.

Now it's time to finish the job -- and have a little fun doing it.

Thank you,

Tom Hughes
Executive Director
Democracy for America

P.S. -- Don't forget to suggest your slogan:

My hunch is that Swing State Project has a pretty smart readership. Here is your chance to prove it. Feel free to brainstorm in the comments, maybe collectively we could both identify a line of attack and refine the message prior to submission.

Posted at 02:14 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Activism, Netroots, Texas | Comments (10) | 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

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Walmart major politcal issue

Posted by Bob Brigham

Walmart is finally getting the scrutiny the company deserves. The more that is learned, the more people are boycotting.

David Sirota:

Progressives in Colorado are on the verge of passing one of the most important pieces of legislation when it comes to workers, health care, and Wal-Mart. Denver's Rocky Mountain News reports that under pending legislation, the state "would publish a list of companies that offer little or no health insurance - as well as how much they're costing the state in Medicaid." Wal-Mart is expected to be high on the list.

Consider the following statistics to understand how disgusting Wal-Mart's willingness to shaft its workers really is: The company is one of the wealthiest in the world, regularly topping the Fortune 500 list, with almost $300 billion in annual sales. The company is so flush with cash, it pays its top executive almost $20 million a year, showers the Republican Party in campaign cash, uses its army of lobbyists to push for estate tax cuts for the Walton family, and, according to a former top executive, spends freely on anti-union activities.

MyDD's Levana:

I was doing my daily email actions which included an email from the Citizen's Action Network(CAN) for Naral Pro-choice America to all major US Pharmacy Chains. As most of you probably already know, Pharmacists across the country have been denying to fill prescriptions for birth control due thier personal opposition to women being allowed to control their own fertility. [...]

I already hate Walmart for other reasons, but a lot of women shop there. Not only do they refuse to stock certain products, but they give their employees carte blanche to decide who gets what medicines they need based their "personal convictions." Now, this policy is against the law in some states, and I'm sure it is illegal under the Civil Rights Act. Not only am I angry at the discrimination against women, but this policy is just ridiculous. If employees are allowed to decide which customers are allowed to buy certain products based on their personal beliefs, then chaos could ensue at Walmarts everywhere.

Posted at 11:43 PM in Activism | Technorati

TX-22: Tom DeLay Corruption: Drop the Hammer

Posted by Bob Brigham

I have taken a previous look at Drop the Hammer, but I wanted to come back to the subject to focus on a couple of key points in the effort to expose Republican Majority Leader Tom DeLay as corrupt.

First of all, I think deserves some serious credit. The Drop the Hammer effort deserves an 11 on a ten point scale when it comes to online activism. The American Progress Action Fund has given clear notice that companies willing to facilitate corruption will face accountability.

But what I really like about the Drop the Hammer effort is the flow-chart of the corruption. If you care at all about America's democracy, you should check out the DeLay corruption page on Drop the Hammer.

Posted at 09:01 PM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - House, Activism, Netroots, Republicans, Texas | Technorati

Friday, April 08, 2005

Action Hero Chickens Out in Berkeley -- Live Blog

Posted by Tim Tagaris

Not a very good week for California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in the Bay Area. First their were the mass protests in San Francisco, his approval rating dropping to a paltry 43%, and today, the action hero known as Governor was a no-show for a speaking engagement with Bayer.

Girlie Man? Yeah.

Ahnold, who is "not beholden to special intersts," has taken tons of money from the pharmaceutical indusrty, vetoed a bill making safe importation of affordable medicine. Today, the California Nurses Association, Machinists Local 1546, Teamsters, and teachers all showed up at the event to protest to support patients, students, workers, and affordable health care.

The only person missing was Arnold. (Liveblog in the extended copy)

I just got off the phone with Bob Brigham who, again, was at the event. He said that the rain was coming down so hard that you could see the animals marching two by two to the ark. He told me that the event was very well organized and attended, especially since no one really knew about it until yesterday.

"The passion is certainly here," Bob said.

I also had a chance to speak with frequent Kos and MyDD contributor, Paul in Berkeley. He said, "We drew a line and said, the Bay Area is not a place where he is welcome. He should stick to doing visits to shopping malls in orange county, because the bay area is an Arnold free zone."

As I was on the phone with Bob and Paul, I could hear all kinds of people driving by and honking their horns in solidarity. The California Nurses Association is to be commneded especially. They were the ones that gave Bob the bottle of water as he breathed in the smoke from smoke bombs at the San Francisco rally; today, they were there with an umbrella for him. They are really taking the fight to the action hero.

The moment that word came that Arnold had cancelled the event, a celebration ensued among the dozens and dozens of protesters in attendance.

If you are in California, take a look at the campaign website of Phil Angelides. I know at least one member of his staff, and I am very impressed by what they are doing. Maybe you can volunteer a few hours if you live out that way?

Posted at 01:17 PM in 2006 Elections - State, 2006 Elections - State, Activism, California | Comments (1) | Technorati

Arnold Schwarzenegger down to 43%

Posted by Bob Brigham


SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is showing himself to be an ordinary mortal after all with a significant policy retreat on Thursday and a new poll showing his approval rating down sharply.

Swept into office in an unprecedented recall election in 2003, the Republican's approval rating fell to 43 percent from 59 percent in January, according to a Survey and Policy Research Institute poll released on Thursday.

I'm heading to the a Schwarzenegger protest right now. The link to the last protest is here, today's is in Berkeley.

More to come...

Posted at 11:03 AM in 2006 Elections - State, Activism, California | Technorati

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) declares war on Democrats

Posted by Bob Brigham

A.P. Short says the DLC wants war with Democrats:

Over the weekend, a key Democratic leadership coalition escalated hostilities along an already volatile front in one of Washington's bitterest ideological disputes. It was a savage and overwhelming broadside - talking heads fanned out across the entire spectrum of the broadcast media, and establishment bloggers fired up their iMacs to take their case to the global network with coordination, zeal, and ruthlessness. [...]

The DLC wants to fight a war with the activists and the progressives for the soul of the party. They believe that if if this fight is fought on their terms, using the empty language whose use they have perfected over the course of so many soulless and lackluster campaigns, they can win easily. [...]

So as the Democratic right wing takes to the airwaves to declare war on us, the soul of this party, let them hear the cry of this lowly "activist," proud to have stood up against a foolhardy, counterproductive response to a national tragedy, proud to have vehemently opposed the return to aggressive war in the nuclear age in Iraq, and proud, even still after everything, proud to be a Democrat.

For the life of me, I can't understand why the DLC attempts to triangulate by bashing Democrats. That isn't quite true, I understand that is what they are paid to do. What I can't understand is why Democrats let the Democratic Leadership Council get away with it.

Campaign finance reform has rendered the DLC obsolete, they no longer own the Democratic Party and these desperate cries for relevance are the last gasps from the political deathbed of the corporate bagmen.

Posted at 04:36 PM in Activism | Technorati

TX-22: Tom DeLay vulnerable; Democrats gearing up

Posted by Bob Brigham

Republican Congressman Tom DeLay (R-TX) has been getting plenty of ink on the likelyhood of Majority Leader losing his seat in congress.

Now the Associated Press is bringing the story to every small-town paper in the country:

HOUSTON - Democrats, who often ignored Rep. Tom DeLay's Republican-leaning district, see a political opening in 2006 now that the House Majority leader faces ethics questions and dismay over his intervention in the Terri Schiavo case.

The AP story mentions the latest polling (see more here):

This week, a Houston Chronicle poll in the district found that 49 percent said they would vote for someone else. That number has sparked the most interest in a Democratic primary in the district in years.

"Now that DeLay is being pushed ever closer to the political brink, everyone is realizing that any of these challengers on his worst day might be better than DeLay on his best day," said longtime Democratic strategist Kelly Fero.

The AP also lists possible contenders:

Among the potential Democratic challengers:

_Richard Morrison, a lawyer from Sugar Land, Texas, captured 41 percent of the vote with only $630,000 against DeLay's $2.9 million in last November's election. Morrison is favored by local Democratic activists who believe he deserves their loyalty for his strong showing.

_Houston City Councilman Gordon Quan, a Chinese-American immigration lawyer, could capitalize on the district's growing Asian and South Asian population.

_Former Rep. Nick Lampson, whose district was redrawn to favor the GOP and covered areas that DeLay now represents, including the NASA area and Galveston. Lampson said he has been approached by several people but hasn't decided whether to run.

A nascent effort to draft former Rep. Chris Bell (news, bio, voting record) fizzled when Bell responded to e-mailers that he preferred to focus on his gubernatorial ambitions.

The good news for Democrats is that it is looking like we'll have a contested primary. That would allow more exposure early and help Democrats in the nationalization of running against Tom DeLay. The story of local campaigning will speed the increase in DeLay's name recognition nationwide and give Democratic challengers across the country the perfect villan.

I was delighted when I read the following:

Morrison, who initially offered to step aside out of party loyalty if Quan wanted to run, said he has changed his mind.

"I'm not going to be scared to spill Democratic blood," Morrison said. "I'm a victim of my own success. Last time, the wisdom was, don't do it, he (DeLay) will stomp you into the ground. ... And now it's a race."


Posted at 03:32 PM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - House, Activism, Texas | Technorati

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

TX-22: Drop the Hammer

Posted by Bob Brigham

Republican Majority Leader Tom DeLay is one day closer to a perp walk. Today, both the New York Times and Washington Post broke new ground in the Republican corruption scandal.

And now there is a new website:

The website is targeting the corporation funding the corruption Majority Leader:

Tell Corporate America to Drop the Hammer House Majority Leader Tom DeLay is widely regarded as the most powerful member of Congress. DeLay's abuse of this power has encircled him in a web of scandal. He has already been admonished three times by the bipartisan House Ethics Committee and a political action committee he set up in Texas is currently the subject of a grand jury investigation.

A network of large corporate backers have come, cash-in-hand, to DeLay's defense. American Airlines, Bacardi USA, Nissan USA, RJ Reynolds, and Verizon have all contributed thousands to Tom DeLay's Legal Defense Fund.

Send a message to these corporations and tell them to stop enabling Tom DeLay's unethical behavior. Let these corporations know that unless they stop supporting Tom DeLay, you'll stop supporting them.

The website has an easy-to-use form to send the following letter:

Dear [Company]:

I am writing concerning [Company's] contribution of $[XXXX] to Tom DeLay's Legal Expense Trust.

The bi-paritsan House Ethics Committee has rebuked Tom DeLay three times. DeLay's Texans for a Republican Majority political action committee is the subject of a grand jury investigation for money laundering and illegal campaign contributions. Three of DeLay's closest associates have already been indicted.

Everyday the accounts of Tom DeLay's corruption get worse and worse. Prominent conservative voices, such as the Wall Street Journal editorial page, are saying that Tom DeLay has gone too far.

As a consumer, it's unacceptable to me for your company to support Tom DeLay's unethical behavior. It is time to restore ethics in Washington. It is time to demand more of our politicians.

You can restore my confidence in your company by:

(1) providing an explanation of why your company contributed to Tom DeLay's Legal Expense Trust;

(2) pledging that you won't donate any more money to Tom DeLay's Legal Expense Trust; and

(3) formally requesting that Tom DeLay's Legal Expense Trust return the money you have already contributed

I look forward to a response from you on this important matter.

Thank you.

I used their form to voice my displeasure. You should too.

Posted at 03:20 PM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - House, Activism, Texas | Comments (1) | Technorati

2006 Senate Primary: Lieberman is in trouble

Posted by Bob Brigham

Via Kos...

Quinnipiac Univ. 3/29-4/4. MoE 2.5% (No trend lines.)

Lieberman approval ratings
            All    GOP    Dem
Approve      67     72     66
Disapprove   22     18     23

Lieberman deserves reelection?
            All    GOP    Dem
Yes          66     73     65
No           25     22     25

Senator Lieberman is more popular with Republicans and more loathed by Democrats?

Posted at 01:30 PM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - Senate, Activism, Connecticut | Comments (2) | Technorati

California needs a real Governor

Posted by Bob Brigham

Read the protest live-blog HERE.

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is no longer the hero, he is the villan. Tonight every news station from Santa Rosa to Santa Cruz had a truck to document the fact that teachers, nurses, and firefighters know Schwarzenegger is screwing up California. Tomorrow, every paper will have coverage of how the people who make California great have joined together to explain how Schwarzenegger is hurting the people of California.

Every day from now until November 7, 2006, Schwarzenegger will be held accountable. He is beatable. And he will face a wrath unlike anything Gray Davis faced.

Check out the Democrats, Phil Angelides and Bill Lockyer because one of them is going to beat Schwarzenegger.

Posted at 12:39 AM in 2006 Elections - State, Activism, California | Technorati

Schwarzenegger backlash, critical mass achieved

Posted by Bob Brigham

Tonight was a turning point in California politics. The gubernatorial race is more than competitive, I'd now call it leaning Democratic.

Tonight, the people who actually run California, the teachers, the nurses, the firefighters, the citizens joined together with a united message that the Governator is hurting the people.

Living in San Francisco, one sees a great deal of protests. But the crowd tonight was not the people I marched with all night when Bush started the war. Tonight's crowd wasn't radicals, but radicalized opinion leaders. Imagine your second grade teacher, face strained while shouting, "Shame" and you'll know tonight's story.

...more to come.

Read the protest live-blog.

Posted at 12:21 AM in 2006 Elections - State, Activism, California | Technorati

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

CA Gov. 2006: "The Tipping Point" (LIVEblog Part 1)

Posted by Tim Tagaris

This is one thing I love about California, and San Francisco in particular, they don't play around. Bob Brigham is on-the-ground right now, phoning in updates from a large scale protest against California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. The event: Arnold's $1,000 to $100,000 a plate fundraiser. Bob referenced it in a post earlier today, here are the updates. It looks like Govenator's re-election will not be as smooth as many anticipate:

Bob says that there are easily 3000 people there right now, and they are all over the place. He counted at least 10 telvision news trucks, 30 photographers, and 2 helicopters constantly circling overhead. He said he couldn't tell what the plane flying above had on it's banner, because it was directly overhead (that made me laugh). He told me that this is nothing short of a rock concert atmosphere.

Bob just called me back to let me know that there is a group forming to the side that is going to attempt to block the Governor from even entering the event. Firefighters are all over the place with signs that read, "Not my neighborhood firehouse," and are holding professional looking signs with burning buildings demanding that local firehouses be kept open. Other signs read: "Money for schools not corporate interests"

Bob's quote to me was: "It looks like the tipping point. There is blood in the water. The race is going to be extremely competitive."

The two Democrats vying to compete for the Governor's mansion in California are State Treasuruer Phil Angelides -- (campaign website) and Attorney General Bill Lockyer.

He also mentioned that Assemblyman Mark Leno was rushing down from Calfifornia to speak at the event.

More on everything (updates) in the extended entry--cause Bob keeps calling.

UPDATE: Bob just called back and put his phone in the air to let me hear the chant, "RECALL ARNOLD."

He says that every single off-duty emergency personnel is there to protest George Bush and Arnold. The police are now breaking out more barricades. Bob claims that there are more off-duty police officers on the people's side of the barricades than Arnolds.

"They are taking over the street now. The street is shut down. There are about 50 people on the middle of the street, they just took it over." "There are smoke-bombs going off." He is laughing/coughing. "I am right in the middle of all of this, this is amazing."

There are green smoke bombs going off--green and gray smoke going off all throughout the crowd.

"We have the street" -- "We have taken the street." "The cops have no interest in restoring control. The police are laughing." Bob has no idea how Arnold will even get inside his fundraiser.

The limos that were approaching the hotel, the motorcade, has been surrounded by protestors. Traffic is shut-down. The situation is completely out of control. The dirt-bike cops are leaving. It is all shut down he says.

More later...


The police just tried just arrest somebody, and the crowd started chanting "shame on you," -- the cops let him go. And now that same guy is leading the march to re-take the street, and Bob is right next to him wearing his BlogPAC hat.

They had the guy cuffed, uncuffed him, and now he is leading the charge the re-take the street.

Bob just put him on the phone for me to interview him. His quotes:

"If I felt any better I would be the cupcake, like the sprinkles. Its about taking back the power."

He just told me that when the cops cuffed him, he told them he was out fighting for their rights as well. Then they patted him on the back, uncuffed him, and said, "let's get this thing going," and sent him on his way.

He said he is not worried about getting arrrested -- not for this cause this cause. He would pay a fine go home, feeling good, and he would hang that citation on the wall.

Five reporters were waiting to interview him while he was on the phone with me.

COPS ARE GETTING OUT OF CONTROL. IT IS GETTING VIOLENT, Bob says. They are shoving people all over the place.

More soon...

Backup called for: The California Highway Patrol is there.

The banner on that airplane I referenced above was paid for by Calif. Nurses Association and it said, "Arnold, Calfornia is not for sale."

Arnold is going to enter the building on the opposite side of the building that the protesters shut down the street. The police are now marching down the street in lock-step.

The violence has worn down. Bob said that the cops ruthlessly arrested one guy and hauled him into the hotel. The crowd is swelling, Bob puts the number at 10,000 for crowd size. More and more people keep on coming.

Again, the police do not have on full riot gear, just helmets so far with the huge nightsticks. But the violence has calmed. But, Bob can only comment on one of the sides of the building, but there are people on all sides.


The motorcade is now forming to come down Nob Hill. Sixty motorcycles (police) are escorting Arnold's motorcade down the street.


"Arnold's San Francisco priveleges have been revoked; he can never come back again." - Bob Brigham

He also wanted me to let you know that there is a protest going on at the GAP right now that one of his friends is organizing (Cory Black is leading the boycott). People are protesting the chain because of the owner's contribution (Don Fisher) to Arnold's re-election campaign.

Four streets are now blocked. And the crowd continues to grow. No word on the motorcade, as it is coming down the street on the opposite side of the building.

Bob Brigham just talked to rising star Mark Leno and he asked Californians to sign a petition to stop Arnold at:

Petition at California for Democracy.

"Using the Internet there is going to be a grassroot uprising in California." -- Assemblyman Mark Leno


"It is amazing how many nurses are here in their scrubs. They just gave me a bottle of water to quench my thirst after the smoke from the smoke bombs." -- Bob Brigham

Street Closings:

California Street
Pine Street
Grant Street (Chinatown)
Stockton Street


"The sun has set. The streetlights are on. The crowd has laid siege to the building, controlling all entrances, and all streets. The streets belong to the people." -- Bob Brigham

The crowd is chanting that Arnold is chicken. The crowd is now chatning "na na nana hey hey hey good bye" (I can hear that). The professionalism of the organizing is "pure west coast."

The nurses have a staging area at St. Mary's park -- a half block away. The firefighters provided the flatbead truck that serves as a stage with sound equipment to amplify music and speeches.

More signs:

Stop the budget cuts -- save social security
Public Health - Not Corporate Wealth
Don't Target Our Children (held by an 8 year old over her head)
Hands off workers pension
Workers are not a special interest


People were pounding on the Governor's car, while it was speeding out of the garage. Bob said the car peeled out, and you can literally smell the burnt rubber from where he is standing. He fled with his tail between his legs.

The motorcade is following the Governor's car down the street. It's over.

The people won.



Code Pink, a group founded by women to protest the war in Iraq, also showed up -- and not the same way as the other protesters.

Instead, they rented a $325-a-night room in the hotel, donned pink wigs and hung an anti-Schwarzenegger banner out a window before hotel security intervened. [...]

The protest organizers weren't content to limit their efforts to the hotel on Tuesday. The California Nurses Association drove a mobile anti-Schwarzenegger billboard to opening day at SBC Park and had an airplane flying over the city with a banner saying: "Arnold: California is not for sale."

"We're going to have a blast,'' said Rose Ann DeMoro, executive director of the nurses group. "We've been protesting at 38 of the governor's fund-raisers since November, and we expect this to be the most significant."

Earlier on Tuesday, protesters also took their complaints to the governor's biggest financial backers. Demonstrators showed up outside the Gap store on Post Street in midafternoon to protest the $225,000 that company founder Don Fisher and his family have given to Schwarzenegger and his committees.

Posted at 08:32 PM in 2006 Elections - State, Activism, California, California, Netroots | Comments (5) | Technorati

Primary campaign against Lieberman heats up

Posted by Bob Brigham

NOTE: Swing State Project is closely following the 2006 Senate Primary in Connecticut. You can read more about the strategy and check out the maps.

Manchester Journal-Inquirer:

In an extraordinary encounter last week with members of the Democratic State Central Committee, the senator was forced to defend his hawkish record by Myrna Watanabe, Harwinton's town chairwoman.

Watanabe, a professional science writer who took notes on the exchange, told Lieberman that while she appreciated his "very good" voting record, she wanted to know how she could present him for re-election in her town when "our people are pretty pacifistic" and were opposed the war in Iraq "from the beginning," when "our people don't support Rice," and when "they are most unhappy with Gonzales."

She said Lieberman responded that he does what he believes is right, that he didn't want the war to be used as a litmus test, and finally that he didn't have to come to Harwinton. [...]

Watanabe said she was unsatisfied when Lieberman concluded that they had had a "difference of opinion." She subsequently wrote him saying it was more like a "gaping chasm between you and the state party's rank-and-file."

"Your 70 percent approval rating will do you no good in getting the party's nomination if our Democratic town committees refuse to support you," she warned.

Lieberman's voting record:

In the last three months, Lieberman has sided with the president's stated position on five votes and disagreed on just one, according to VoteTracker, a nonpartisan subscription service that follows every vote cast in both houses of Congress. [...]

The president doesn't take a position on every bill before the Senate, but the Republican majority certainly does. So far in the 109th Congress, Lieberman has agreed with the opposition on 17 votes and disagreed on 63.

His stands with the Republicans included his vote against California Sen. Barbara Boxer's objection to certifying the results of the 2004 presidential election, which failed 74-1, as well as his vote to invoke cloture in the debate over the bankruptcy bill, which passed 69-31.

Lieberman's votes with the Republican majority included his votes on the Rice, Gonzales, and Chertoff nominations, the class action bill, and the genetic information bill.

But it is his words that embarrass Democrats:

Lieberman's toughest critics, however, say he has become not so much embarrassed as traitorous at a critical time when Republicans -- and very partisan Republicans at that -- control both the White House and the Congress.

Many point to the much-publicized kiss Bush planted on Lieberman's cheek on the night of his state of the union address in January as the most poignant symbol of the senator's fealty to the president.

John M. Orman, a Fairfield University political science professor who recently announced his intention to mount a Democratic primary campaign, says he's also disgusted with Lieberman's support of Bush's claim that Social Security is in "crisis" and with the senator's support for the invasion of Iraq.

Citing a statewide poll from last year that showed slightly more Republicans supported Lieberman than Democrats, Orman branded him a "Republicrat" who might as well switch parties.

"He calls it being a New Democrat or a DLC Democrat," the professor said, referring to the centrist Democratic Leadership Council, which Lieberman helped to create.

"But in a Democratic primary, that's what the Democrats' rank-and-file will have to decide. Are we a party of accommodation or of opposition? I believe we must be a party of opposition."

"Lieberman, for example, was just on national television with Chris Shays," Orman added, referring to the Republican congressman from Connecticut's 5th District. "Shays was arguing that the Congress had gone too far in the Schiavo case, and Joe Lieberman was there talking almost like Tom DeLay."

It isn't just words that have create the "gaping chasm" between Lieberman and Democrats, it is also the blood on Lieberman's hands:

It may be Lieberman's early and continued support for the invasion of Iraq, however, that has drawn the most wrath from Connecticut Democrats, including some party leaders.

The lead Democratic co-sponsor of the Gulf War resolution in 1991, Lieberman joined Republican John McCain in 1998 to introduce the Iraq Liberation Act, which made the "liberation" of that country U.S. policy. He later became the lead sponsor of a 2002 resolution authorizing Bush to use force, if necessary, to disarm Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.

Lieberman's corporate donors may be able to buy him the seat for another six years, but the boos he will hear whenever he takes the stage he's earned on his own.

Posted at 07:37 PM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - Senate, Activism, Connecticut | Technorati

Senator John Cornyn

Posted by Bob Brigham

Kos has the early roundup but it looks like the blogosphere will (rightly) be pushing on Cornyn for some time to come. I especially liked this idea from TPM:

Apropos of Sen. John Cornyn's suggestion today that judicial activism may be an underlying cause of the rash of murders of judges and their families, perhaps the Democrats need to introduce a sense of the senate resolution condemning those who threaten violence against judges or offer excuses for those who commit violent acts against members of the bench.

Posted at 11:20 AM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Activism, Texas | Technorati

Howard Dean to speaks to politics of old

Posted by Bob Brigham


LITTLE ROCK - Howard Dean, former governor of Vermont and now chairman of the Democratic National Committee, will be the keynote speaker Friday at the Association of State Democratic Chairs luncheon.

Dean will highlight the committee's agenda to strengthen the state parties in his speech.

That couldn't be a better topic for the ASDC. Under Mark Brewer's reign ASDC has been a disaster.

Posted at 01:49 AM in Activism, Arkansas, DNC Chair | Technorati

Monday, April 04, 2005

Online Campaigning

Posted by Bob Brigham

Swing State Project covers more than what is going on in the states, we also try to following the evolving role of the internet in political campaigns. The 2006 cycle will take online campaigning to a level few can imagine now. These drastic changes in the fundamentals of campaigning will create winners and losers.

When Tagaris and I aren't posting here, we are both busy consulting candidates and causes in the best practices to catapult movements online. Here are some things we've been writing about lately.

My ATM Pin Number or On-Line Fundraising

There are many good reasons why this has become a cult classic. Read this one first.

Here are some more classic posts by Tim:

The Small Blog as the Small Donor of 2006/2008

No Filter: The Net as a Tool for Upstart Campaigns

I've been laying off the campaign guides for a few months, but you might enjoy a three-piece series I did for the New Democrat Network:

The 2024 Presidential Campaign

Modern Fireside Chats

Mehlman's Modernization

Also, you might be interested in:

Post-modern Politics

Simon Rosenberg's DNC Blog Plan

We'll be doing more of these posts, use the comments to suggest any subject areas.

Posted at 05:21 PM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - House, 2006 Elections - Senate, 2006 Elections - State, Activism, Netroots, Site News | Technorati

Anti-Sam Brownback

Posted by Bob Brigham

In the comments, our friend KansasNate gives us a heads-up about his new blog, which is dedicated, "to the Savaging of Sam Brownback" (R-KS).

The Anti-Sam

Posted at 02:27 PM in 2008 Election - President, 2008 President - Republicans, Activism | Comments (1) | Technorati

Sunday, April 03, 2005

2006 Primary: Joe Lieberman credibility bankrupt?

Posted by Bob Brigham

I actually did vote for it before I voted against it:

The greatest hypocrisy on this bill may come from the Democrats, who often speak as if they are the party of working people. Some Democratic senators spoke against the bill and then voted for it. One of them, Senator Joe Lieberman, spoke for it and against it, voted for cloture (cutting off debate and moving the bill toward passage) and then voted against the bill.

Posted at 06:28 PM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - Senate, Activism, Connecticut, Economy | Technorati

Friday, April 01, 2005

OH-02: Open Seat, Special Election 2005

Posted by Bob Brigham

Blogfather Jerome Armstrong on OH-02:

Seems pretty clear that this is a longshot, but one worth contesting with the backing of Project 90 and BlogPac. As David NYC has stated, this is where the netroots can put ideas to test, taking this Open Seat on a trial run for '06. We'll be running against DeLay in '06 in all 232 of the Republican held seats, starting with the OH 2nd this fall.

Cincinnati Enquirer:

Two Hamilton County Republicans - county Commissioner Pat DeWine and state Rep. Tom Brinkman - said Monday that they are running to replace U.S. Rep. Rob Portman.

DeWine and Brinkman are the first to commit to what's expected to be a crowded contest. Both men hustled to Pike County Monday night to introduce themselves to Republicans in the easternmost part of Portman's 2nd Congressional District, two hours east of Cincinnati. [...]

Other possible GOP candidates include former U.S. Rep. Bob McEwen, who splits his time between Hamilton County and Northern Virginia; former state Rep. Jean Schmidt of Clermont County; WLW talk-radio host Bill Cunningham; Cincinnati lawyer Bill Keating Jr.; and state Rep. Tom Raga of Warren County.

On the Democratic side, state Rep. Todd Book of Scioto County is thinking about running. State Rep. Tyrone Yates of Hamilton County says he would consider a run only if Book didn't.

Even though the election date has not been set, DeWine is kicking off his campaign today with a bus tour of the 2nd District. His father, U.S. Sen. Mike DeWine, will be among those aboard.

Brinkman said he decided to enter the race when county Commissioner Phil Heimlich, a close ally, opted to run for lieutenant governor instead of Congress. Heimlich is joining Attorney General Jim Petro in his run for governor in 2006.

To recap:

Potential Republican Candidates:

  • State Rep. Tom Brinkman

  • WLW talk-radio host Bill Cunningham

  • County Commissioner Pat DeWine

  • lawyer Bill Keating Jr.

  • former U.S. Rep. Bob McEwen

  • State Rep. Tom Raga

  • former State Rep. Jean Schmidt

Potential Democratic Candidates:

  • State Rep. Todd Book

  • past nominee Charles Sanders

  • State Rep. Tyrone Yates

Posted at 03:25 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Activism, Ohio | Technorati

Montana Senate 2006: Third Degree Burns

Posted by Bob Brigham

Via Left in the West, I've learned that some Montanans want to give Montana Senator Conrad Burns the dreaded Third Degree. In fact, they have a Federal Political Action Committee and a website:

This PAC was founded to make a "big impact" by running "negative attacks" as part of a strategy that plans, "to run early and repeated negative ads" in an attempt to "raise those negatives so high that they can not be overcome" as part of a "truly grassroots effort, fueld by constituent anger."

Conrad Burns has consistently voted against the interests of the people of Montana and the United States since he's been in office. In 2000 he won re-election by a mere 3% - fewer than 15,000 votes.

The 2004 election proved the power of negative campaigning. The persistent raising of doubt, early in the cycle, creates an enormous obstacle for a candidate. True or false -- and we have the advantage of truth-- negative attacks make a big impact.

To that end we've founded the Third Degree Political Action Committee. The Third Degree PAC is dedicated to shining the light of truth on the actions of Montana Federal candidates and politicians. With an eye towards the future, Conrad Burns is only the first target. The plan is to raise money with which to run early and repeated negative ads - probably on radio at first - against Burns. Raise those negatives so high that they can not be overcome.

This is a truly grassroots effort, fueled by constituent anger. We need more volunteers, for research, web and ad design, strategy, and more.

You heard them, they need:

  • Volunteers
  • Reseach
  • Web Design
  • Ad Design
  • Strategy
  • "more"

Visit the forums.

Posted at 12:14 AM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - Senate, Activism, Montana, Netroots | Technorati

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

CT-2: Rob Simmons challenged to refuse DeLay Money

Posted by Bob Brigham

Campaign for America's Future:

The Public Campaign Action Fund begins a $25,000 buy of television ads also calling on Rep. DeLay to resign this week in three districts represented by Republican members Rep. Rob Simmons, R-Conn., Republican National Committee Chair Rep. Tom Reynolds, R-N.Y., and House Ethics Committee Chair Rep. Doc Hastings, R-Wash.

The Campaign for America’s Future spot is available for viewing at Text of the ad follows:

“Without DeLay” TV :30

Female narrator:

He has scoffed at the law.

Male narrator:

Tom Delay. A pattern of abusing authority.

Female narrator:

Repeatedly the House Ethics Committee has found Tom Delay guilty of serious rules violations.

Male narrator:

Tom DeLay is a national embarrassment. He should resign his leadership position, if not his office.

Female narrator:

It’s time for Republicans to stand up and demand Delay’s resignation

Male narrator:

Congressman Simmons. Refuse the tens of thousands of dollars Tom DeLay’s PAC just raised for you, and clean up Congress without DeLay.

Posted at 07:17 PM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - House, Activism, Connecticut, New York, Washington | Technorati

TX-22 Tom Delay corruption ads launch

Posted by Bob Brigham

Campaign for America's Future:


Campaign for America’s Future Fights Most Corrupt Congress’ Abuse of Power

WASHINGTON – The Campaign for America’s Future unveiled a new television ad today that urges Congress to “wash its hands” of Rep. Tom DeLay, highlighting the controversy surrounding the House majority leader, who is increasingly seen as a liability to his party.

The Campaign for America’s Future spot begins airing Thursday throughout Rep. Delay’s Texas district and on major news stations in Washington. The initial $75,000 buy runs for a full week.

Text of the ad:

“Washing Hands” TV :30


Tom DeLay. He’d like to wash his hands of corruption.

He'd like you to forget he's been accused of accepting a gift worth thousands from a foreign agent.

He'd like you to forget that two of his close associates have been indicted for money laundering.

Tom DeLay can’t wash his hands of corruption by involving Congress in one family’s personal tragedy.

[Onscreen:, paid for by the Campaign for America’s Future.]

But Congress can certainly wash its hands of Tom DeLay.

The Public Campaign Action Fund ads are available for viewing at

Posted at 07:10 PM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - House, Activism, Texas | Technorati

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Skip the filter, talk directly to the People

Posted by Bob Brigham

Christian Science Monitor:

Yet politicians are beginning to see blogs are more than forums for snoops. [...]

In many ways, the blog provides politicians an opportunity to recast themselves away from the mainstream media. [...]

"Blogs are where online fundraising was before Howard Dean," says Michael Cornfield, a political scientist at George Washington University. "Radio was around for a while before [President Franklin Roosevelt's] first fireside chat.... For the Internet, nobody's had that breakthrough moment yet."

Posted at 01:15 PM in Activism, Netroots | Technorati

Monday, March 28, 2005

An Open Letter To The National Press Club

Posted by Bob Brigham

I added my name to the Open Letter To The National Press Club:

Members of The National Press Club,

We, the undersigned bloggers, are very concerned about how liberal political bloggers are being systematically under-represented and belittled in the mainstream media, academic settings and media forums. By being intentionally excluded away from these venues, we are effectively pushed out of the discourse of opinion-leaders. The result is that the conventional wisdom about blogging, politics and journalism, as it concerns liberal blogs, becomes a feedback loop framed by the Conservatives and their media allies.

Indeed, just a few weeks ago, The Brookings Institution hosted a panel that originally included no liberal political bloggers and yet while including numerous conservative political operatives in the event. We registered our protest and the Brookings Institution's response was simply to invite a few liberal political bloggers to attend, yet not sit on the panel, as we had originally insisted upon.

Today, however, we are faced with an entirely new situation that is more insult than misrepresentation. The discredited conservative media operative Jeff Gannon, nee Guckert has been invited to sit on a panel at the prestigious National Press Club to talk about the scandal surrounding his access to the White House and more generally, the similarities and differences between bloggers and journalists. Guckert's token liberal counterpart will be a gossip blogger and sex comedy blogger. While we have nothing but the greatest respect for Mr. Graff and Ms. Cox we believe that neither represents bloggers who write about hard-nosed politics. And as for Mr. Guckert, he isn't a blogger, he's barely a journalist, and not a single political blogger involved with the Gannon/Guckert scandal, or otherwise, has been invited to sit on the panel to counter Mr. Guckert's arguments.

Therefore, we the undersigned bloggers, respectfully but firmly insist that a serious political blogger such as John Aravosis, of be included on the panel to fairly and accurately represent our industry and us. Mr. Aravosis has agreed to our request that he serve on the panel as our representative and is available should such an invite be forthcoming.

This situation is simply unacceptable. We will push back against the growing bias and sloppiness we see in the mainstream media as it concerns serious political blogging. If we do not we will never achieve any semblance of balance in the media. If we do not, we abdicate our ability to tell our own side of the story. If we do not we leave it to others to define us and defame us.

Please call Julie Shue at the The National Press Club and politely insist that they include John Aravosis of at their event. Here are there numbers: 202-662-7500 or 202-662-7501 or email at and

Posted at 11:11 PM in Activism, Netroots | Technorati

2006 Rhode Island Senate Democratic Primary

Posted by Bob Brigham

Providence Journal:

But I do get a kick out of his calling on Secretary of State Matt Brown to drop out of the race for the Democratic Senate nod and pave the way for an unimpeded bid by Rep. Patrick Kennedy, or, more likely, former Attorney General Sheldon Whitehouse. Who is Langevin -- or anyone else -- to suggest Brown needs permission to run? [...]

Whitehouse has mulled so many offices this time around -- governor, lieutenant governor, and Senate -- that Chafee says it reminds him of the kids' game, Pin the Tail on the Donkey. Chafee wonders, "Where's he going to end up?"

It seems much more credible to think that Whitehouse, not Kennedy, will enter the Senate fray. Kennedy, whose father, Ted, is the famous Massachusetts senator, for years has episodically eyed a Senate bid and passed up the chances. As recently as December, he ruled out running in 2006 and urged Langevin on. Kennedy said it was more important that he stay in the House, where his service on the Appropriations Committee enables him to funnel big bucks to Rhode Island.

Though colorful, wealthy, and impassioned, Kennedy also has had a lot of personal scrapes that well-financed detractors -- you know, Swift-boat veteran types -- could rehash and turn into a campaign nightmare.

Still, with Langevin out, Sean Richardson, Kennedy's top aide, says the congressman is now taking a "serious" new look at a Senate run. My instinct: If Kennedy really wanted to be in the Senate, where he'd be in the direct shadow of his dad, he'd already be running.

Posted at 02:07 PM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - Senate, Activism, Rhode Island | Technorati

2006 Connecticut Primary: Lieberman unacceptability

Posted by Bob Brigham

From The Washington Times:

"His message is basically 'Republican good, Democrat bad,'" says Keith Crane, a member of the , Branford, Conn., town Democratic Committee. So lately Crane has taken on another role: He is one of the founders of Dump Joe, a group dedicated to finding and supporting a candidate willing to challenge Lieberman in next year's primary election. "Opposition to Lieberman is driven by the sense that at a time when Democrats are seeking to achieve unity, and liberals are seeking to construct a new infrastructure comparable to the one the conservative movement has built over the past 30 years, Lieberman is uninterested in acting as a team player. Postings on the Dump Joe e-mail list cite his willingness to disparage fellow Democrats on Fox News, often alongside his 'good friend' Sean Hannity, as evidence of his unacceptability."

Kissing Bush on the floor of Congress, good friends with Sean Hannity? Brings to mind the old saying: The friend of my enemy is my enemy.

Posted at 01:42 PM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - Senate, Activism, Connecticut, Netroots | Technorati

Rhode Island 2006 Senate: Reproductive Rights

Posted by Bob Brigham

From Brian Faler in the Washington Post:

Abortion rights advocates were sighing with relief this week, after Rep. James R. Langevin (D-R.I.) announced that he will not challenge Sen. Lincoln D. Chafee (R-R.I.) , a supporter of abortion rights, in the 2006 elections.

Langevin, who was considered his party's preferred candidate -- but who opposes abortion rights -- said he will forgo the race to hold on to his current job. "I have come to the conclusion that rather than starting over in the Senate, I can be most effective for Rhode Island by building seniority in the House," he told the Associated Press.

Posted at 11:57 AM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - Senate, Activism, Rhode Island | Comments (1) | Technorati

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

No Filter: The Net as a Tool for Upstart Campaigns

Posted by Tim Tagaris

When an underdog campaign gets started, it generally has a difficult time taking the fight to opponent(s), a negligible ability to impact the daily mainstream media cycle, and often lacks the staff and organizational tools to effectively talk with the grassroots (ie. ground game).

Fortunately, it's a brave new world.

Some of you might have read what I consider the first piece in what I hope becomes a series based on my campaign experiences: "My ATM Pin Number: Or Online Fundraising." If not, you can check it out HERE, but not until after you finish reading this full entry. Deal?

It is a collection of observations I had while working Communications/Online Outreach for Jeff Seemann's Congressional campaign. The writing is mostly about the ill-informed belief in "political circles," that the Internet is good for one thing, fundraising. It also touches upon what I believe are good practices and how treating the Netroots as an ATM Machine simply will not work.

This piece will focus on some of my early observations while working on Chuck Pennacchio's U.S. Senate campaign in Pennsylvania. It will focus on some of the tactics we have used to propel a previously unknown candidate into a national spotlight, get the statewide media to pay attention to us, recruit staff, and disseminate our message throughout the blogosphere.

There are a lot of great progressive candidates out there that continue to get shunned by the party establishment across the country (Jeff Smith 2004 comes to mind). While I wish I could work for every single one of them, I can't. I do, however, hope that there is something in this post, or the ATM one, that people on sites like Swing State Project, Kos, MyDD, or wherever you are reading this can take to the candidates you support, regardless of who might pretend they don't exist.

There Is No Filter

One of the biggest problems that insurgent campaigns have is making that initial splash, and getting something about their campaign, or their opponents, into the news.

On February 22, 2005, Rick Santorum was in the midst of criss-crossing the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania when he stopped at Drexel University. As he was walking into the event, his youthful idealistic supporters (College Republicans) serenaded the Senator with chants of "hey hey, ho ho Social Security has got to go."

The event ended innocuously enough. Most of the attendees walked away remembering two LaRouchies getting carted out by security for disrupting the proceedings. That changed the next day when the video of the serenade went live on the website of a previously unknown U.S. Senate candidate. So unknown, in fact, that most of the bloggers who originally linked to the piece were hesitant to even include the candidates name. However, because of the event, many of us know about him now.

Maybe I buried the lede a bit here, but the most important point here is that with the Internet, there is no filter. I'll say it again, there is no filter. You don't have to wait for some traditional press-type hack to pick up your message; your ability to inform the public has a direct relationship with the time, effort, originality, and investment you are willing to make in the non-traditional medium.

In our case, we went to the event, shot it, stumbled upon the clip, and used every means necessary to get it into the public spotlight. As it happened, MyDD picked it up, then Atrios, then Kos and Talking Points Memo, 60 plus blogs linked it, MoveOn put it in an email, and Paul Krugman talked about it in the New York Times.

What's really interesting about that story is that CNN sat on the footage they had of the chant for over 24 hours. By then, they were scooped--scooped by a little known campaign and an armada of bloggers who recognized that the media filter of old is just that, part of the old-guard.

The same can be said (to a lesser extent) with the poll that Rick Santorum yanked from his website when people weighed in at a clip of approx. 90% against Social Security Privatization. He yanked it, one of our supporters "screen-shotted it," we had it on our site, and the next thing you know, Raw Story and Roll Call were writing about it.

We have all of the tools we need online to dictate to the mainstream media the issues we see as important. If there is information "good enough," we are more than capable of catapulting it into the national spotlight.

The Power of the Internet Distilled Locally (Press Part II)

"Yeah, yeah, that's great, but how has that event produced tangible results outside of web hits for the campaign?"

Fair question. In short, it helped to legitimize our effort. It showed that we are not afraid to take the fight to Rick Santorum. Alright, tangible results? It proved to national and local press that the campaign is one that deserves to be taken seriously and in conjunction with our "standard" Netroots outreach, and subsequent support, has opened up the door to numerous main stream press opportunities.

Let me take a step back, because this part of the piece veers off in two directions.

1.) Getting the Mainstream Media to take you seriously

On the day Bobby Casey Jr. announced his run for the United States Senate seat in Pennsylvania, I made numerous phone calls to newspapers and radio stations across the state to let them know this is NOT an uncontested primary. Some covered us, some did not. One call in particular stuck out in my head.

It was a phone call to the Associated Press. In the call I was basically challenged to legitimize the campaign. Forget the fact that we have filed with the FEC, are raising money, have a staff, HQ, and hundreds of volunteers. My explanation wasn't good enough. Not only did the article not include Chuck's name, but the author included quotes from sources that indicated their would be no primary challenge.

Wrong answer.

That weekend, the grassroots/netroots supporters of our campaign took action. We put out a call to our local supporters, it was up on the front page of MyDD, Atrios, AmericaBlog, and in the diaries of DailyKos (as well as the campaign blog). If I had to guess, the AP probably received over 200 emails and over 50 phone calls from Pennsylvanians and others across the country. Whatever the number was, the wire service let us know that, we probably "over-reacted," but at the same time, they "got the message."

One week later the AP was at our first Philadelphia organizational meeting the next weekend, and since then has been very receptive to our campaign and even informed us of the best way to get our information to them.

Just another power of the grassroots/netroots that has nothing to do with money: Collective action online can spur results offline.

2.) When the Mainstream Media Notices Your Efforts

You can't badger every reporter across the state with your grassroots/netroots supporters. That in itself would be an organization feat. But what campaigns have to realize is that breaking ground/stories online will lead to coverage offline in the mainstream media. This will take us back to the Santorum "hey hey, ho ho" video.

Example: The Philadelphia Inquirer has the largest circulation in Pennsylvania. You can imagine my initial outreach to them after the Casey announcement was an important moment in campaign HQ.

I was eventually given the contact information of a reporter who would be covering the 2006 U.S. Senate race. After a brief introduction and discussion about the campaign and it's progress, I brought up the Santorum video. The reporter responded, "That was you guys?" I can tell you, because I was on the phone, that was the moment the conversation turned. The Inquirer will be running a full feature piece on Chuck this weekend. They have also assured us they are very interested in our campaign. They have done so through their words, and they are about to do so in deed this weekend.

Not only that, but the reporter also wants to investigate the way we are using the Internet to reach out directly to voters. Even more earned media! And earned media about the "novel idea" of a candidate talking directly with voters. Imagine that. The Net will also generate earned media, which is a HUGE problem for most upstart candidates and campaigns. With the Dean campaign, and since then, a lot of the press attention has focused on how much money someone can raise online. Once again, the world is changing. You don't even have to raise $40 million dollars for someone to talk about the exciting new ways a campaign will use to reach out to voters.

Viral Blogging

The first I saw of it on such a large scale was (TINC). Matt, Josh, and Bob put up that graphic that people were given the code to syndicate on their own blogs and websites. Next thing you knew, over 600 bloggers had it up on their own site, directing traffic to TINC. So, by the order of the mighty scoop, we copied the idea with Chuck's campaign.

You will notice on our website, we include instructions on how to place our graphic on your blog or website, I can tell you, as the guy that looks at the web statistics a few times a day--this has been quite a success. Dozens of bloggers (from large to small) have taken us up on the offer and the results, in terms of hits, show.

Now of course, any old candidate can put up a syndication link on their own website, but that doesn't mean bloggers are going to take them up on the offer. The first place I would point candidates and campaigns to is the piece I linked above on the ATM Machine. While placing the graphic on a blog might not seem like a big deal to "seasoned operative," to me, I take it as something pretty serious. I know how people feel about their blogs, and it means a lot to me, and the campaign, every time I see a Pennacchio for Pennsylvania banner out there.

The Greatest Medium for Rapid Response

I am already getting pretty long-winded, and I still have something to ask of you at the end of this email. I will toss out some links if you are inclined to keep reading after the next few paragraphs. I would be remiss if I didn't address the rapid response capabilities of the Internet. But what I want to talk about specifically is the use of Internet Advertising as a rapid response tool.

Sure, anyone can get online and create a regurgitated press release that poses as a thoughtful diary, and some do. It's a great idea, and I am sure that we will see more and more campaigns doing so in the upcoming election cycle. I would argue that it's not the best strategy for outreach, but what the hell. They will do it anyway.

That said, one of the greatest tools online in terms of versatility, speed, and targeting is advertising. Specifically, Blog Ads.

The founder of BlogAds, Henry Copeland recently cited our use of Blog Ads to promote a conference call we had with local bloggers, and some of their subsequent reactions. Here is what Henry said,

Another cutting edge ad. It doesn't ask for an action or a "buy." It provides content, information, newsy stuff people actually might enjoy using. Rather than trying to megaphone its message over the community, this advertiser is engaging the blogosphere and using blogads to facilitate that communication.

But back to the speed part of the message.

Remember when the Democrats introduced the "Sense of the Senate?" That one line that said we shouldn't make massive cuts into Social Security benefits or incur serious debt in its "reform?" Well, Rick Santorum voted that down. Within hours, people were calling for ads against Republicans who voted against the "sense."

So, we took our BlogAds, and turned it into an ad against Santorum's vote. How did this help? Well, I can tell you that a couple thousand more people know for sure that Rick Santorum is pro-massive debt and benefit cuts. I can also tell you that it helped prove to even more that we are willing to take the fight to Rick Santorum on important issues. People noticed.

That's about it for now. This has already dragged on entirely too long, but I will write more later. Also, this message was truncated from its original format, because the original piece was a campaign communication. If I have left anything in here that asks you to do anything for the Pennacchio complain, ignore it.



Posted at 07:27 PM in Activism, Netroots | Technorati

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Push to Revoke Frist's Medical License

Posted by Bob Brigham

They play hardball at the Liberal Oasis:

You may recall that last December, LiberalOasis encouraged readers to contact the Nashville Academy of Medicine and request that Sen. Majority Leader Bill Frist have his medical license revoked.

That was because he violated the AMA Code of Medical Ethics by spreading misinformation about HIV transmission and condom use.

Now once again, he has violated his pledge to be honest in all professional interactions, advance scientific knowledge and maintain a commitment to medical education by claiming to make a superior diagnosis than Terri Schiavos doctors by watching a few video clips.

Since LOs earlier Frist post, LO has obtained the official Nashville Academy of Medicine grievance form from the academys executive director.

To file an ethics complaint, download the form, follow the directions, have it notarized, and return it to the address at the bottom of the form.

Feel free to roll all of Frist's ethical violations into one comprehensive complaint.

Posted at 02:37 PM in 2008 Election - President, Activism, Tennessee | Technorati

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Reid and Lieberman

Posted by Bob Brigham

Tuesday, Democrat Leader Harry Reid threatened to shut down the Senate if the Republicans went Nuclear, invoking a MAD paradigm of interaction.

But MAD only works if everyone is on the same page. Imagine the response if a general, in the heat of the Cold War, had said that he wouldn't respond in-kind to a nuclear attack.

If your friends aren't with you when the other side goes Nuclear, then they are probably your enemies.

MSNBC sets the stage:

'Cataclysmic event' “If Republicans want to go down this road, they are going to be beginning a huge, partisan, cataclysmic event, the implications of which are so profound that none of us really know the answer to it,” said Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., one of the Democrats arrayed behind Reid on the Capitol steps.

The next subhead:

Key Democrats: Nelson, Lieberman Conspicuous by their absence from Reid’s Capitol steps event were two Democrats: Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska, who has voted against all but one of the Democratic filibusters since 2003, and Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut. Both men are up for re-election next year, and Nelson is running in a state Bush won with 66 percent of the vote.

Damn straight Lieberman's absence was conspicuous.

Harry Reid responds in Raw Story:

Sen. Reid took pains to detail why he feels blogs–and Internet news sites in general–are paramount. Reid says he believes much of the American agenda today is dictated by wealth and power, and that blogs offer “regular, ordinary people” a place to have a voice.

“What has happened in recent years… [is] the concentration of media power, so one station, one owner can own 1,200 radio stations,” Reid said. “What this means is that wealth and power control most everything in this country. But one thing they do not control–wealth and power does not control the Internet.”

“I think the blogs are a tremendously important way for the American public to find out what’s really going on,” the senator continued. “That’s why I go out of my way to communicate any way that I can on the Internet.”

Of late, Reid and other Democrats have taken heat from progressive bloggers on the issue of party unity. The Democrats in the Senate split nearly evenly on the recent bankruptcy bill, and some Democrats have been tagged as waffling in their opposition to the president’s Social Security plan.

Reid dismissed the critique, saying it was “not valid.”

“That’s really not valid,” he told RAW STORY. “We have people who have different views on what should happen once privatization is dropped. But that’s good and healthy; there’s nothing wrong with that.”

“We have had unity on Social Security,” he added. “Total unity. Everyone agrees that privatization would destroy Social Security and we have also total cooperation and unity in the fact that if he’s willing to back off that–privatization–we’re willing to work on Social Security’s out year problems.”

Total unity on Social Security is a good start.

Posted at 11:50 AM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - Senate, 2008 President - Democrats, Activism, Connecticut | Comments (1) | Technorati

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Lieberman Primary challenger?

Posted by Bob Brigham

Dr. JOHN ORMAN has announced the formation of an exploratory committee. It looks like it is getting interesting in Connecticut 2006 Senate Primary.

Full release below the fold, from a Kos diary

PRESS RELEASE March 16, 2005

Citizen activist and political analyst, Dr. JOHN ORMAN, Politics Professor at Fairfield

University, announced today his intention to create an advisory committee to evaluate

his candidacy to challenge Joe Lieberman for the Democratic nomination for U.S.

Senate in the 2006 primary. Orman said, "There is a great national debate going on

for the heart and soul of the Democratic party. Let the battle begin here and now in


Orman said, " What sealed my discontent with Lieberman was the famous kiss

that President Bush planted on him after this year's State of the Union Address."

"Our party's Senator is no longer a Democrat. He has joined the Republicrat Party.

After 17 years as a safe seat Senator, Joe has lost touch with his party and with his state."

Orman declared," Just as Lieberman indicated in 1988 that Lowell Weicker was a

sleeping bear in the woods who was an arrogant incumbent, Lieberman has crossed

over into that same forest. Joe is a minority member of the national minority party who

has a worse attending record in the Senate than Lowell Weicker ever did."

Orman noted, "Lieberman was wrong on his support of Bush's claim that the Social

Security System is in crisis. He was wrong to support Bush's war on terror diversion

into Iraq. He was wrong to support Attorney General Gonzalez for confirmation.

Lieberman should just join the Republican Party."

Orman observed, "Lieberman has ignored his Connecticut Democratic base of seniors,

working women and men, students, teachers, liberal Democrats, progressives and others.

Regardless of whether I decide to run for the U.S. Senate nomination against Joe

Lieberman, the Senator has been put on notice that he will be challenged."

Orman was the Democratic candidate for U.S. House of Representatives in 1984

in the 4th Congressional District who ran against Stewart McKinney. In 2000

Orman was the Connecticut citizen who stepped forward to challenge Joe Lieberman

for running for two different national offices at the same time. When Orman started to

file official complaints in September ,2000 he made it a national issue. By October 2000

the issue had become a state issue and the Quinnipiac Poll reported that 45% agreed

with Lieberman and 46% disagreed with him running for two offices at the same time.

Orman is the author of five books including PRESIDENTIAL SECRECY AND



CELEBRITY POLITICS (co-author Darrell West). Orman has appeared on CNN, Fox,

ABC, CBS, NBC, NPR, BBC and other networks talking about politics in America.

He is frequently quoted on American politics in national newspapers and publications.

Posted at 11:47 AM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - Senate, Activism, Connecticut | Technorati

DLC List of Shame

Posted by Bob Brigham

In the comments of my post on the DLC agreeing that Kos was right, DavidNYC directed me to the google cache of the Democratic Leadership Council list (David has screen captures).

The site was cached on March 4, 2005. In addition to finally granting Senator Obama's request to remove his name, there was at least one additional change.

The March 4th version identifies Gavin Newsom as member of the Board of Supervisors, San Francisco CA while the current version has been updated to reflect that Newsom is Mayor. In fact, he celebrated the end of his first year on the job (a couple of months ago).

I'm sure the DLC was as instrumental in Newsom's campaign as in Obamas, which makes me wonder why they didn't notice that he won. Or maybe they are just incompetent.

If anyone else is trying to decide whether the DLC was out of the loop or simply incompetent, here's Al From discussing Newsom's victory -- two days after the 2003 election:

Newsom's election "puts him together with a group of young, really bright stars who are emerging as the new leaders and future leaders of the Democratic Party in the cities," From said Wednesday.

Posted at 12:50 AM in Activism | Comments (2) | Technorati

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

More controversial than a phone book

Posted by Bob Brigham

For some time, the DLC has been lying about Barak Obama. Kos called them on it and the DLC freaked out:

Man, talk about beams and motes. The vitriol that's been poured on the DLC by Kos and several other netwarriors in the last couple of years is endless, personal, often obscene, and frankly, a little nuts. If we're as irrelevant as he keeps insisting we are, why bother? Just ignore us, and we'll go away, right? If our only value, as Kos suggests today, is to provide right-wing media with anti-Democratic quotes, then you have to wonder why so many elected officials bother to identify with us and come to our events (e.g., one today attended by Sen. Joe Biden)?

Indeed, that question seems to bother Kos as well, since his very next post begins a process of "calling out" DLC-friendly Democratic pols and asking them to disassociate themselves from us. He even took the trouble to dig down in our web page--bypassing a few hundred thousand pages of policy work, which is what we do to pass the time while waiting for the next call from Fox News--and discover that Sen. Barack Obama is still listed in our data base! Scandal! (He's in there because he recently joined the Senate New Democrat Coalition, all of whose members are in our database, which is about as controversial as a phone book).

a few hours later...

UPDATE: Turns out I was misinformed about Obama's being a member of the Senate New Democrat Coalition. The misunderstanding was based on the two different meanings of "New Democratic Senators," but we were wrong about that, and have removed his name from our Directory.

If there are any other mistakes with the list, people should call them out. Feel free to use press releases. If you work for somebody on the list, point out this is a quick and easy way for a politician to score some points with the netroots.

Posted at 08:55 PM in Activism, Illinois, Netroots | Comments (2) | Technorati

Lieberman's potential 2006 primary

Posted by Bob Brigham

In my last post on a potential Lieberman primary, I used a series of maps to illustrate the problem Lieberman would have due to the unique situation of his state being situated in the middle of a high density bastion of Democratic support. The argument that I laid out was for the potential of an invasion of out-of-town Democrats focused on enforcing Party discipline.

In response, it was noted how Howard Dean’s invasion during the Iowa Caucuses backfired.

I agree with the analysis that the Iowa voters were turned off by out-of-state activists telling them who to vote for. This was heightened by the vast cultural divide between the Dean supporters and Iowa Democrats.

However, this will not apply to a potential primary campaign for three main reasons.

The blogosphere learns very quickly and having identified this, the blogosphere will adapt. Any such primary campaign will focus on organizing Connecticut residents who support a united Party to convince their neighbors to join them in support.

The second major reason why this won’t be relevant is because the cultural divide between Connecticut and the surrounding area is minimal. Many Connecticut voters work in New York and New Yorkers campaigning will not intrinsically offend their cultural sensibilities.

Finally, the lesson of the Dean campaign is that people don’t want outsiders telling them who to vote for. The inverse of this statement has yet to be tested. At this point, any primary campaign would not be a positive movement for a candidate, but a negative statement. Extensive evidence proves that voters respond as intended to negative attacks and a campaign that focuses negatively will not face the same hurdles.

When these factors are considered, it is easy to conclude that out-of-state volunteers could effectively contribute to a potential primary campaign against Lieberman. By focusing out-of-state volunteers on communicating and organizing supporters, their efforts could help build the type of infrastructure necessary for a true grassroots campaign. When interacting with undecided and Lieberman voters, having their efforts focused on a purely negative message would allow their argument to gain traction regardless of their home address.

These are only some initial points and strong on-the-ground leadership and direction will surely refine such tactics.

But it is true that if there is a challenge, people will come. By realizing how such efforts have been counter-productive in the past, organizers could construct a campaign that will minimize liabilities while maximizing effectiveness.

Such a campaign could be an exciting test case for post-modern primary involvement.

Posted at 11:02 AM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - Senate, Activism, Connecticut, Netroots | Technorati

Monday, March 14, 2005

Proud partisanship

Posted by Bob Brigham

Over at the DLC, logic has long since left the building. This was quite apparent with the recent Bull Moose post, Grow up Bloggers:

The recent rage on the left is to heap scorn on Joe Lieberman. The Moose is honored to stand with Joe against the dogmatic idealogues of the blogosphere. And he wears their scorn as a badge of honor.

What the aisle-crossers over at the DLC refuse to accept is that the angst against Lieberman isn't ideological, it is pragmatic. Bloggers love Reid and hate Lieberman because the Stormin' Mormon fights for Democrats and Lieberman fights against Democrats.

Specifically, the blogosphere is ready to unleash a savage fury against Lieberman if he gives Bush cover on Social Security.

So who does the DLC stand with? Today's Washington Post/ABC News poll suggests the DLC stands with the 35% of Americans who approve of Bush's privatization. Last week's AP poll says the DLC stands with the 37% of Americans who approve of Bush's privatization.

For those who haven't been reading the cross-tabs, this means the DLC is standing further away from the Democratic Party than a good deal of the Republican congress. This means the DLC would rather stand with the most right-wing of Americans than help our Party win on an issue that is the bedrock of Democratic values.

The scorn of the blogosphere is shared by almost 60% of Americans...and that number is growing. The DLC had a good thing going, they filled their pockets by getting Democrats to cross the aisle and help out the GOP, but the gig is up.

Lieberman needs to stop being such a baby. And the Bull Moose needs to stop "grazing" at the privateers trough. The gig is up.

Posted at 10:07 PM in Activism | Comments (2) | Technorati

Gavin Newsom wins on Gay Marriage

Posted by Bob Brigham

SF Chronicle:

A judge ruled Monday that California can no longer justify limiting marriage to a man and a woman, a legal milestone that if upheld on appeal would pave the way for the nation's most populous state to follow Massachusetts in allowing same-sex couples to wed. In an opinion that had been awaited because of San Francisco's historical role as a gay rights battleground, San Francisco County Superior Court Judge Richard Kramer said that withholding marriage licenses from gays and lesbians is unconstitutional.

"It appears that no rational purpose exists for limiting marriage in this state to opposite-sex partners," Kramer wrote.

Eric Jaye, Newsom's political consultant, has an important strategy memo on Gay Marriage that I posted earlier. Big day for Newsom.

Posted at 03:46 PM in 2008 Election - President, 2008 President - Democrats, Activism, California | Technorati

West Coast Offense

Posted by Bob Brigham

The thing about leadership is that, inherently, you must be a leader. Unfortunately, the poll-hacks think there is a magic formula of stances that equals victory. Total horse-shit.

To lead requires standing up for beliefs, not backing down…running and hiding.

Polls don’t tell us what issues to choose, they tell us how well we are doing in the fight for each issue. If an issue Democrats care about polls poorly, it means our leaders aren’t leading enough -- we aren’t doing a good enough job. Leaders drive polls, they don’t follow.

But, before a voter looks at any issue, they will decide whether or not they respect the politician. Poll-driven candidates appear shallow. People respect action, people respect leaders who stand-up and fight for their values. Even if people disagree, they will still respect the politician. Cowards are the doormats of post-modern politics.

Gavin Newsom showed us how a Democrat can grab a difficult issue by the horns and fight.

Friday, Eric Jaye (Newsom’s political consultant), published an important piece in the subscription-only Hotline.

Here’s what he had to say:

A Democratic Strategy on Gay Marriage
by Eric Jaye
Last year the Democrats had numerous opportunities to stand on principle -- and in doing so show they had the courage to stand for something. No opportunity was greater than the raging debate over gay marriage.

Facing an evenly divided electorate, Republican strategists surmised that victory in 2004 lay in driving turnout among their base voters. That's why they placed attacks on gay marriage on state ballots in swing states. They believed that such a debate would drive turnout, particularly among low-turnout Christian evangelical voters.

What did the Democrats do? By and large they ducked, with poll-crafted drivel that made them seem like typical politicians, not courageous leaders.

Most voters do not yet support gay marriage - although support for equal matrimonial rights has risen dramatically in the past decade. Polls show a sharp generational divide, with the majority of voters under 40 in support of gay marriage and the majority of voters over 60 strongly opposed.

But in this day and age, most swing voters reserve more venom for vacillating politicians than they do for two gay people deciding to adopt the bourgeois convention of lifetime commitment and matrimony.

It is this disdain for vacillating politicians that allows President George Bush to take so many controversial stands yet still win elections for himself and his party. It's called leadership and voters reward it.

On a woman's right to choice, Iraq, environmental protection, outsourcing and Social Security - Bush is 'wrong' from a pollsters' perspective. Yet, why does he still seem so right to so many voters?

Bush wins by being "wrong" because his controversial positions resonate as authentic. American voters don't agree with him on key issues -- but they tend to believe he "stands up for what he believes." In a political landscape in which character matters more than ideology, Bush wins by seeming "real" to voters.

So while Bush seems authentic at the very moment he is pursuing a political ploy to excite his right-wing base - Democrats seem weak and untrustworthy - not just to their base supporters, but to the broad mass of swing voters.

With a few exceptions, most Democrats simply lack credibility when they say they oppose gay marriage. We have the honor of belonging to a party that has been on the forefront of the civil rights movement for more than 50 years. Most voters, in most states, expect us to stand for civil rights - even when these very same voters are taking a go-slow approach.

So who do we think we are fooling when we mumble finely nuanced positions on gay marriage? The truth is we are only fooling ourselves.

We have now survived an entire generation of poll-tested politicians and incremental politics. Finely crafted "agreement" messages, once an innovation, are now an invitation to ridicule. Not just late at night on television, but at almost any hour, we can all enjoy a good laugh at the expense of a politician who is merely reading from a poll-tested script.

So what's the right answer when Democrats are asked, "Do you support gay marriage?" The right answer, in almost every case, is the truth. And in most cases, the truth is "Yes."

First and foremost - by saying "Yes" we are standing for something, even when the majority of voters don't yet support our position. And telling the truth makes us sound like real people, not like robo politicians. But more than this - by saying "Yes" we can seize political terrain that allows us to drive the debate, not duck it.

And we are finding that when we take the offensive on the issue of gay rights and gay marriage, we can make real progress. At the very least, we have a fighting chance when we stop ducking the issue of gay rights and start debating it with clear and concise language.

Along with a team of top-notch consultants, we worked on the successful campaign in 2004 to repeal Article 12 of the Cincinnati City Charter, which allowed discrimination against lesbian and gays. Just this month we helped defeat the Topeka City Question in Topeka, Kansas that would have allowed discrimination against gays. Both campaigns were played out in the context over the debate on gay marriage.

Last year, as former consultants to San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, we were closely involved in presenting the "winter of love" gay marriages to the public. We were also part of the unsuccessful effort in Oregon in 2004 to defeat the attack on gay marriage.

We took away from those successes, and that failure, the belief that when it comes to gay marriage the simple truth is better than a complicated lie.

But more than that - in the long run we can't win if we don't debate. And let's not fool ourselves, this debate is not going away. The Republicans put it on the agenda, and they will keep it there, particularly so long as we refuse to even articulate our own position.

Cautious Democrats should face the fact that no position on gay marriage is the weakest possible stance. Silence is read as support for gay marriage. And your silence is seen as political at best, cowardice at worst. As a party, we might not have chosen this fight. But it is here. Unilateral surrender is not a workable strategy.

And to my fellow consultants I would offer this hard-learned lesson. Anti-gay marriage amendments are being fought on the basis of gay marriage -- not some "hidden flaw" or "costly consequence." These measures are not analogous to some down-ballot initiative that we can define. Voters know what they are about -- gay marriage.

In California, we found during the San Francisco gay marriage insurrection that support for gay marriage increased slightly across the state, and support for civil unions increased dramatically, after we captured the airwaves with images of couples who were absolutely unremarkable in any way other than in their desire to profess life-long love and responsibility for each other.

First in Cincinnati, and then in Topeka, we won campaigns against discrimination in part by seizing the language of morality, rather than ceding it to our opponents.

We crafted mail pieces entitled "Not Just on Sunday," and "Daily Bread," that took up the language of the Lord's Prayer in defense of tolerance and equal rights every day.

We didn't hide from the issue. We didn't run from the moral debate. We embraced it - and won. Democrats around the country have nothing to lose, and so much to gain, from doing likewise.

Posted at 06:42 AM in 2008 Election - President, 2008 President - Democrats, Activism | Technorati

Friday, March 11, 2005

Santorum Funeral

Posted by Bob Brigham

Last time Senator Rick Santorum was seriosly slapped around, it was due to two bloggers. Chris Bowers and Tim Tagaris went to a Townhall meeting the Senator was throwing.

Tim captured the legendary video footage of the College Republicans chanting, "Hey-hey, Ho-ho, Social Security has got to go.

Once inside, Bowers got Santorum to admit that he couldn't name a single Democrat willing to privatize.

Now, the two are at the Funeral March for Social Security.

Bowers told me that there are well over 200 people marching and that the sound is echoing off the buildings...creating a roar.

Tim has a camera again and told me, "People do real stupid things when you turn the camera on." He claims to have, "great video" of the protest.

UPDATE: There is a great deal of least eight cameras. Bowers says they are loud enough to be heard inside.

more to come...

Posted at 05:32 PM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - Senate, Activism, Netroots, Pennsylvania | Technorati

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Potential Lieberman Primary

Posted by Bob Brigham

Some people need to realize that it isn't the blogosphere that would organize a potential primary campaign, the blogosphere would just nationalize the effort.

It is Connecticut Democrats, on the ground in Connecticut, having the discussion:

Connecticut Democrats dissatisfied with U.S. Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman want to mount a primary election challenge to the three-term incumbent in 2006 and say they are debating the merits of as many as six alternative candidates. Tom Swan, executive director of the Connecticut Citizen Action Group and a party insider involved in the insurgency, declined this week to name any of the potential challengers. "There's a great deal of displeasure with Joe and some of his recent actions," Swan said, referring to the senator's stance on proposed changes to the Social Security system and his support for the confirmations of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice. "But it would be premature at this point to discuss specifics."

For those unfamiliar with Citizens Action, they spend most of their time walking door-to-door, but take breaks for in-your-face media events.

Nevertheless, Swan and Nathan Karnes, a member of a Democratic ward committee in New Haven and a leader of a "DumpJoe" message group at, said those under consideration include current and past state officials and at least two "high-profile" figures from the entertainment industry who live in the state and are politically active.

They said the latter do not include actor and philanthropist Paul Newman, a Westport resident who had been rumored to be considering a race against Lieberman that party leaders have since discounted.

How do you nationalize a primary?

The insurgents' comments came as a Web site created by a former Connecticut resident now living in southern California began collecting cash pledges from those who would help fund a primary bid against Lieberman.

Under the rubric "timetogojoe," the site brands the senator as "a Democrat in name only" and seeks to raise as much as $1 million for "any real Democrat" who might oppose him.

The tone of web campaigns?

"Had enough of Joe Lieberman playing both sides of the aisle?" the site's home page asks. "Let's give the Left-Hating, War-Hawking, Bush-Kissing, Neo-Con, Torture Apologist the primary he deserves."

In one of the most recent postings, a participant calling himself "joesnotmyhometownboy" attacks Lieberman for his position on the board of directors of The Nixon Center, a division of the Richard Nixon Library and Birthplace Foundation. The Washington-based think tank is headed by former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.

It isn't about being a leftwing Democrat, it is about being a proud Democrat:

"We're saying, "Hey, what do you guys think about this guy?'" Karnes said. "We don't have to accept him at the Democratic nominee in '06 without a challenge, and I think the reception has been very good."

The listserve's participants have bristled at characterizations of Lieberman's Democratic opponents as "liberal," and Karnes said it is not necessarily true that he and his colleagues all hail from their party's left wing.

He noted that his parents and their friends, who he said were by no means liberals, shared the sentiment prevailing on the listserve.

"It's really Joe Lieberman that's moved away from the Democratic Party," he said. "And it's not just the social issues where he had moved away."

In news probably unrelated to Lieberman looking at a tough primary, CREW exposes he has taken $16,000 from smut peddlers. Atrios posted the story and gave a good laugh to 50,000 netroots activists...

Posted at 05:47 PM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - Senate, Activism, Connecticut, Netroots | Technorati

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

The Takeover: Part II

Posted by Tim Tagaris

Jay-Z would be proud:

Months after their historic wins in November, Colorado Democrats have ousted party chairman Chris Gates in an upset organized by activists angered by his handling of Mike Miles' failed bid for the U.S. Senate.

Pat Waak - a nonprofit director from Erie who is little-known in statewide political circles - narrowly edged out Gates in a final vote of 187 to 184 during Saturday's meeting of the Democratic State Central Committee.

Chris Bowers has the rest at MyDD.

Posted at 01:46 PM in Activism, Netroots | Technorati

Lieberman, DLC, Bloggers and the 2006 Primary

Posted by Bob Brigham

As of late, there has been a great deal of discussion concerning a potential primary challenge to Senator Joe Lieberman. As is to be expected, the DLC is flacking for Lieberman, here's what our friend at Bull Moose says:

While the Moose is clearly partial to the blogosphere, as of yet, he has not seen evidence it carries much political clout outside of raising money.

First of all, I'm glad we can all agree that any primary would be very well financed. Furthermore, it bears notice that bloggers don't pay consultants on percentage, and absent such conflicts of interest the bulk would not be wasted on TV (Lieberman would not have such an advantage and considering the expense of the media markets involved, this is very relevant).

Democratic Primary voters love an underdog (cue: Eye of the Tiger), so any such investment in media would gain immediate traction. The numbers I spend all day looking at on Social Security suggest that any such campaign would have even more support among seniors than among young anti-war activists.

So, bloggers would have the money to run plenty of mail, robo-calls, radio, etc. And the money to build the organization.

The organization is where things get interesting. Because the unique geographical location of the district in relationship to a fuckton of people.

In fact, if you look nationwide at population density outside, but nearby a state, Connecticut would be the poster child for volunteer mobilization in a nationalized primary. Here's a density map based on population density that I pulled together from National Atlas
Keep reading for all the maps.

Clearly Connecticut brings this potential dynamic into play more than any other state in the union. Not only would comparisions to non-internet driven campaigns be irrelevant, but so would comparisions with past primary campaigns in other regions.

In fact, when we zoom in, it becomes even clearer that there are a helluva lot of people nearby.

The problem is that this map uses the same color (dark blue) to show density of 250-66,395. Which is a fairly wide range, so let's look at the extreme population density with another map where each point of light represents 7,500 people. When you look at the area around his district it is lit up like it could be seen from space.

The biggest problem for Lieberman in any potential primary campaign is that a great deal of these people are Democrats. Playing around with Professor Robert Vanderbei's maps shows that not only are there a great deal of people, but that the people who live near Connecticut compromise a bastion of Democratic voters. The following map is a sliding partisan scale (blue to red) with the vertical axis representing population density.

The blue skyscrapers just outside of Connecticut represent the northeastern base of the Democratic Party. Many of these voters are activists and if organized (hmmm, such as online) could be mobilized to form an organization unlike any army ever raised for a primary campaign.

The important thing to note is that these volunteers would have more than idealogy on their side, they would actually have science. Yes, scientists study how Lieberman hurts the Democratic Party in the minds of swing voters. Cognative Scientist Professor George Lakoff concludes:

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.

A potential primary be instantly nationalized, would have a pile of money that would fundamentally be spent more effectively, access to a greater pool of out-of-district activists than any race in the country, and the volunteers would know that they are scientifically doing the best thing for the Democratic Party.

Oh yeah, it it would start online so it would be extra nasty...

Posted at 12:35 PM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - Senate, Activism, Connecticut, Netroots | Technorati

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Two more State Party Blogs

Posted by Tim Tagaris

Take a moment and head over to the two newest state party websites that have included blogs as a means to communicate directly with the grass/netroots.


New Hampshire

I am particularly fond of the Maine blog. It looks like the party has really spent some time and effort in getting it up, running, and did an effective job getting people to participate.

On a sour note: The Pennsylvania Democratic Party basically said, "f you" to members of a DFA in Bucks County who requested a blog. CLICK HERE for more information -- and expect even more in the near future. As Chris Bowers of MyDD puts it:

Ahhh, the Pennsylvania Democratic Party, where reform goes to die. Forcing candidates out of the Senatorial primary. Endorsing Fowler for DNC chair after Dean secured the votes to win. Not giving Ginny their full support (more on that later). And now, this. No wonder in a state where Democrats lead in voter ID and voter registration, they are substantially behind in the legislature, the congressional delegation, and don't have a Seantor. Color me disgusted

Posted at 05:56 PM in Activism, Maine, Netroots, New Hampshire | Comments (2) | Technorati

Friday, March 04, 2005

What a day...

Posted by Tim Tagaris

When we started the day, Barbara Hafer was in the PA Senate race to stay, Bob Casey Jr. was unsure, no word from Joe Hoeffel, and Chuck Pennacchio wasn't going anywhere.

Well, at around noon, the stuff really hit the fan. Casey is now in, Hafer is now out, still no word from Hoeffel, and Pennacchio remains steady.

Read more at PoliticsPA.

Apparently the back-room efforts have paid dividends for the Casey Jr. campaign. I suppose its only a matter of time before Hafer is offered the Lt. Governor position for her party loyalty.

Pennacchio website

Casey Jr.'s new website

Posted at 01:10 PM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - Senate, Activism, Pennsylvania | Comments (4) | Technorati

Thursday, March 03, 2005

State Party Blog Project

Posted by Tim Tagaris

You can lend a hand with Pennsylvania, and have immediate impact. Tonight, I am meeting with the Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Democratic Party, Don Morabito.

The local DFA asked me to speak to him about the importance of getting a blog up on the PA State Party website. So, that's where you come into play.

Are you from Pennsylvania?

If you are, please send me an email letting me know what it is you would like to see from a brand new Pennsylvania Democratic Party website. Let me know how you want the state party to use a blog in their grassroots outreach. In fact, pass along whatever you want passed to Morabito.

I will collect the emails and bring them into the meeting:

If you aren't from PA, feel free to write something on how your state party uses its blog, or even how you have seen blogs as an effective fundraising, organizational, and communication tool.

I will pass those along as well. I hope we can get about 10-15 of them by the time the meeting starts.



Posted at 10:59 AM in Activism, Netroots, Pennsylvania | Technorati

Saturday, February 26, 2005

New Jersey!

Posted by Tim Tagaris

Congrats to the people at the New Jersey Democratic Party -- Their new blog looks great. If you are from the Garden State, bookmark it.

Quite frankly, it is f'n great. Allow me to give some public props to Michael Giglio over at the NJ State Party; he is an asset to our side. I have had the priviledge of talking to him a few times in the past week or two--he is one of the reasons I feel great about the relationship between the netroots and the future of our party.

It's a new day.

Posted at 12:17 AM in Activism, Netroots, New Jersey | Technorati

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Rick Santorum Video From Yesterday

Posted by Tim Tagaris

Here is the video I shot from the town hall meeting yesterday featuring Rick Santorum. Disclaimer, I work for the candidate whose site it is posted on.

That out of the way, there are two clips:

1.) Drexel College Republicans chanting "Hey hey, ho ho, social secrurity has got to go," as Santorum enetered the building.

2.) Chris Bowers calling out Santorum on an earlier statement by the Senator that Democratic colleagues of his supported privatization. Nice try Rick.


Posted at 12:18 PM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - Senate, Activism, General, Netroots, Pennsylvania | Technorati

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Report From Santorum Soc. Sec. Event in Philly

Posted by Tim Tagaris

(video coming tomorrow of said events)

The first stop on Rick Santorum's re-election campaign this morning was Philadelphia, Pennsylvania--Drexel University. First of all, let me tell that I got lost on the way (not being from PA), and drove around for around 45 minutes more than I had to.

It was worth it...

I got there at around 9 A.M. in time to witness the pre-protest taking place outside of the ballroom the event was to take place in. At first it was a bunch of Drexel College Democrats standing outside, getting organized and passing out pamphlets. Then the College Republicans started strolling down the pavement.

You can see them coming from a mile away, or smell them coming, or sense them coming, whatever... It's funny, cause they feel like they have to put on a show; it's not even about supporting Santorum, it almost seemed like it was more about getting people to look at them. Example: One kid who deemed it necessary to put his Bush/Cheney t-shirt on in long exaggerated movements as he began approaching the crowd. It's a little thing, but it was obvious.

Anyway, the cameras were rolling and the literature was flying. One man stood out in the middle of the road with a giant sign that said, "TAX THE RICH" Back and forth, chanting, hooting and hollering like it was a college basketball game.

But the real show happened inside...

So, I am walking up the steps a few minutes before 10 A.M. to head inside and get a good seat. I was supposed to meet Chris Bowers from MyDD, but at this point I gave up hope. As I am walking up, the level of noise grew and people swarmed around me.

Well, not me, Santorum was walking up the steps right beside me. Yes, I was about 2 feet away. Soon the press swarmed and I just put my cigarette out, and moved aside from the spectacle. I walked inside the lobby and here he came again, as if he was following me. He motioned to one of the security folks that he had to use the rest room; it was only because I was restrained by a smarter man than I that I didn't follow him in with the video camera.

So, I headed inside and the show started. About 3 minutes into the event, Chris Bowers called and had no idea where to find the place. I got up and met him outside and we came back in. It gave me another chance to get a few puffs in.

Oh, I forgot to note that some shmuck from the SSA used some analogy about an aircraft carrier, let's call it, "The FDR," he said. And the ship's Admiral got an order to turn starboard. The admiral got pissed and the punchline was something about the orders coming from a lighthouse. Stupid, I know. But the "FDR" crack kind of pissed a few people off.

Where was I? Yes, Bowers and I get back inside.

Right away, Santorum asks, "and do you know what happens in four years?" Immediately, someone responded, "Bush is out of office." The smirk on the face Richy Rick (R-VA) was priceless. I only wish I got that part on tape. Sorry. The place clapped, it was great.

About two minutes later, a young man stood up and started calling Rick Santorum out and talking about Pinochet, Chile, George Schultz and the Govenator. Once again, Rick had quite a smirk on his face. The man was escorted out of the room while screaming something about "death squads."

Yes, he was a LaRouchie.

No more than 2 minutes later, the guy RIGHT INFRONT OF ME stood up. Same thing, Pinochet, Chile, and death squads. This guy kept on going--then he got roughed up. I have the entire exchange on tape, and as I said above, I will post a link to it tomorrow.

The entertainment value was high, but as someone next to me noted, "Every Democrat is hanging their head right now." He was right, it did not reflect well on us.

So, the rest of the event was pretty, ummm, uneventful. With the exception of the last minute. That was when Chris Bowers got to ask a question. Earlier in the forum, Slick Rick (R-VA) said something to the effect of conversations with Democratic Senators that supported atleast partial privatization. Chris called him on it and asked him to name names.

Rick could not.

In fact, he said that there were not any Democratic Senators who supported the Bush-Santorum corporatization scheme, but there was "one member in the House, I think."

Umm, yea. Nice try Rick--Great question Chris.

After that, I had my first Philly Cheese Steak Sandwich, in Philly, and went home.


Posted at 09:02 PM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - Senate, Activism, General, Netroots, Pennsylvania | Comments (1) | Technorati

Call Joe Lieberman Day

Posted by Tim Tagaris

I was at one of those Rick Santorum town hall meetings earlier today. It was quite interesting. I'll write on it tonight. In the meantime:

Stolen wholesale from MyDD.

Starting today at noon, make sure you drop Shaky Joe a line, letting him know you oppose all bill's to phase out social security, whether the bill is Bush's or Lindsey Grahams. Also let him know you don't appreciate his weak rhetoric in the issue...all that does is help Republican.

Here's the contact info:

706 Hart Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
(202) 224-4041 Voice
(202) 224-9750 Fax

One Constitution Plaza
7th Floor
Hartford, CT 06103
(860) 549-8463 Voice
(800) 225-5605 In CT
(860) 549-8478 Fax
(860) 522-8443 TDD

He's out of Washington today, so a call to his Connecticut offices might be in order. Especially if you are a Connecticutie.

For information why, read this.

Posted at 02:32 PM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - Senate, Activism | Technorati

Friday, February 18, 2005

Lieberman Primary Challenge?

Posted by Tim Tagaris

Believe me, I would love to see it. I am a strong believer that fighting inside primaries is the best way for us to change the face of our party. We do it in presidential races, why not the Senate? Is that body not important enough?

Personally, I believe the fact we don't routinely have contested Democratic primaries on the Senate level is the fault of our national party (more on this later). This is especially true in open seats and ones with a Republican incumbent. However, some Democrats need to be put on notice as well. Unfortunately, this is why it would be so tough to take out Joementum in a contested primary (MoE +/- 3.3%)

Among Democrats:

Approve: 72%
Disapprove: 19%
DK: 9%

His numbers drop only slightly when you expand beyond Democrats only and into Republicans and Independents.

Posted at 09:40 AM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - Senate, Activism, Connecticut | Technorati

Monday, February 14, 2005

Support Howard Dean & the DNC

Posted by DavidNYC

Howard Dean became chairman of the Democratic National Committee this weekend. Today, at the start of the week, it's time to show our full support for him. Why is this important?

• To those outside the Democratic Party, we must demonstrate that all Democrats stand united behind Howard Dean.

• To the old-guard establishment within the Democratic Party, we must show that the netroots must be taken seriously.

• And to all concerned, we must make it clear that we're willing to put our money where our mouths are, to back up our words with dollars.

There will be a time once again in the very near future where we will need to organize and mobilize. But right now, the way we can send our message is with our hard-earned cash. So I strongly urge you to contribute what you can via ActBlue:

Contribution amount: $

You can keep track of donations here.

Posted at 02:27 PM in Activism, Netroots | Technorati

AmericaBlog blows open PropaGannon

Posted by Bob Brigham

John Aravosis of has quite a Valentine's Day present for Scott McClellan. has linked James D. Guckert, who "reported" on the White House under the pseudonym Jeff Gannon, to as many as six different internet escort profiles -- with X-rated pics -- and ratecards quoting $200/hour or $1,200/weekend.

Link Warning: The AmericaBlog scoop in not safe for work.

Posted at 01:48 PM in Activism, Netroots | Technorati

State Party Blog Project: Update

Posted by Tim Tagaris

We can show them with more than just money.

In the hours since Howard Dean was selected to lead our party into the years ahead, the blogosphere has responded by contributing $97,000 plus in the past 48 hours to the DNC. We do so as a show of support for the Governor. "We've got his back." For the little its worth, I urge you to continue contributing nationally, but I also implore you to act locally.

One of the major tasks ahead of us is building a solid party infrastructure that has been woefully neglected until now--until the grassroots uprising inspired in large part by the Dean campaign. The State Party Blog Project attempts to take those first steps, online, in our own states. Please link our effort to your blogs and websites, and most importantly, keep working towards our goal.

We have been at the project for a few weeks, and already have had some successes. I want to take this opportunity to outline some of those victories, implore you to apply pressure in states that are close to coming around, and attempt to convince states that don't seem to be listening.

Success Stories

Alabama: Yes, I am partial. Not because I am from the state (cause I am not) but because working with the technology director of the Alabama State Democratic Party was a lot of fun. Great guy, the state party is lucky to have Brannon on the team. From our first emails:

i have been wanting to do this. not sure exactly how to go about it. any insight would be greatly appreciated. Brannon AL Dem Party

Well, a few weeks later--we have this: Great work, Brannon!

Florida: No real point in looking to the past, and it probably wouldn't have been used much--but imagine what a blog would have done in this state during the 2000 recount. With a Gov. and Sen. race in 2006, the party has jumped into the 21st century. From the first email returned by the Florida Democratic Party back in December:

I've gone so far as to walk through the blog creation process at and to download movable type for potentially hosting a blog on our webserver. We also wrote a very simplistic web diary for use by our delegation during the convention. [...]

I love blogs. I read several regularly. We already run a yahoo group that allows some members to carry on discussions. What more will a blog do for us?

I don't know if the emails back and forth had anything to do with it, and quite frankly, it's not important. But this is:

Tennessee: I wish I still had the emails to share, but the good people at the Tennessee Democratic Party were one of the first to respond when the initial call by the project's participants went out.

Now, they have a blog up.

Massachusetts: In response to a flood of emails from the netroots:

Hey folks, The MDP is going to start a blog. In addition to our forum.

Right now we are trying to decide who the blog moderator will be.

Iowa: This is another state that didn't have a blog when the project first started. Well, they had one, they just never used it. Which is another important facet of the project--getting states that have blogs, and don't use them, to start.

We have been assured in the case of Iowa, that will change. From the Iowa Democratic Party:

The Iowa Democratic Party does have a blog! See Here it is just getting started, and we have new staff coming on board next week, so things should start picking up. You can contact me if you have any questions, comments, concerns, or would like to volunteer to help.

-Andrew Brown

But here is the point, once again. I could go down the list and count off state party websites that did not have blogs when we started, but do now. All of these blogs appeared after some form of outreach from our effort. Some of the states said they planned on starting a blog at first ask by the SPBP. Others did not. Either way, if they have a blog now, that is a victory.

But more important than celebrating our successes, is working towards states that are coming around--they just need a little more prodding. For example:

States We Can Get--Keep the Pressure On!

North Dakota is an easy get--if we follow up. From the Executive Director. Kind of makes me bad for going off on this state on the site.

We are interested. Thanks, Vern Thompson

Short and sweet, but that's fine. Someone, grab that ball. Here is the email address to use:

New Jersey: Sorry to solicit more emails to the NJDP Mike, don't take it the wrong way--I really do like you.

Thank you so much for your input. There has been an increase in the number of requests for the New Jersey Democratic State Committee to provide a blog to our supporters. I assure you that the idea is being considered, so please check our website often for updates! We post new information, and ways for our supporters to get involved very often, so thank you for visiting our site, and we hope to hear from you soon!

Michael Giglio
IT Director
New Jersey Democratic State Committee

Pennsylvania: Could there be a more important race in 2006 than our opportunity to take out Rick Santorum? Seriously. This is why Democrats have lost 13 straight full-term U.S. Senate elections in PA. They say they are short-handed, well let them know that we will pick up the ball for them!

I just called and spoke to the PA Dem webmaster. He thought a blog is a good idea and told me that there is an intention to create a blog. But he is part of a three person team with a number of tasks, so it doesn't sound like we'll get a weblog soon.

He asked me if there is an email going around because I was "the fourth person" who called him today to inquire about a weblog.

So that is a quick down-and-dirty update. I have made all of the requisite updates on The State Party Blog Projet Blog. Atleast I hope I have. That is the hub for information and all of the tools you need to push the project down the field. Oh, not to glance over them. But we are going to include D.C. and Puerto Rico. More information on that shortly.

Please, take advantage of them. It is a new day for the Democratic Party. What better gift can we give our new Chairman than working to rebuild the infrastructure of our party and convince them (like we should have to convince) to implement the tools that allow us to participate and communicate directly from the roots.

Let's open those lines of communication.

Posted at 11:52 AM in Activism, Netroots | Technorati

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Calling out the Illinois Democratic Party

Posted by Tim Tagaris

Yo. Anybody there in Springfield? Cause no one is responding. I hate to call you out in public, but many have tried in private. Now I gotta shame you. Your website is the worst mechansim for any sort of meaningful communication or information I have ever laid eyes on in my life.

I am not even trying to get all Internet evangelical on you; you gotta crawl before you can walk. But seiously, as a native, I am embarassed.

Where to even begin:

1.) At the very least, most candidates/parties make sure their contribution page is up to snuff. After all, they want the loot. But you can't even contribute on the website. You have to call or email to get instructions. What happens when you call? Do they get the information and a carrier pigeon comes to pick up the check?

2.) Maybe this is a simple oversight on your party, but do you know there is no way to even call on the front page? No telephone number, no email address to an info-at. The only HINT of contact information is an email address to the webmaster. Seriously, how can you not do better than that?

3.) The links page is funny. Someone got ambitious and attempted to link us to each state parties in the country. An ambitious goal for that crew, even if it doesn't really promote activism in Illinois. However, they apparently got lazy and stopped after twenty-some states.

Out of 102 counties in Illinois, there is contact information for seventeen of them. Sure, not every county has a Democratic Party, we are working to change that--especially if you won't. But I am quite sure that the number of existing counties with local parties is more than seventeen.

No one is asking for for an exhaustive list or user-friendly splash, heaven forbid. But let's make an effort.

4.) The candidates page says, in reference to 2005 races:

Visit this section again next election. Thank you!

That made me laugh. I really believe they were thinking, "yeah, visit it on election day and see who to vote for." Well what if people want to GET INVOLVED with some of those local candidates but don't know how to find them! Unbelievable. Does anyone else find that quote funny? Especially in light of the rest of the site?

5.) The Join the Team page still talks about building off the successes of 2002. Let's assume for a second they think 2002 was home to the last successes of the party. Whatever, fine. But you are missing the point. Give us some options to, umm, "join the team." I don't know, some form where I can check some boxes or type some text. We aren't asking for much here. . . We can even pretend that when I submit it, someone will read it.

6.) The press releases page is apparently under development. Unfortunately, it has been for a few months now. It is not too tough save a release, drop it on the server, and link it. No one is asking for beauty here.


7.) The calendar page is the shining light of the website. Only, there is no calendar actually. It only provides information on fundraisers. Two of them to be exact. But beggars can't be choosers--thanks for updating that part.

People have tried. Many. I know because they email me or comment on it in other blogs. I know because I have tried myself. We want to help you here. Be pissed at me as you read this, fine. But myself, and many others want to help --

Blow up their phone lines with this number: 217.546.7404
- email here:

Posted at 11:15 PM in Activism, Illinois | Comments (3) | Technorati


Posted by Tim Tagaris

"It's time to punch the clock." The "Battle for America," has just begun.

Posted at 01:10 PM in Activism, General | Technorati

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Blogosphere United

Posted by Bob Brigham

BlogPAC is leading an effort to unite the blogosphere behind Howard Dean.

Contribution amount: $

Here at the Swing State Project, we've been very focused on the future of our Democratic Party. We've covered the campaign for DNC Chair extensively. DavidNYC travelled to the Eastern Regional Caucus, I travelled to the Western Regional Caucus, and Tim has written dozens of posts on the campaign. We did this because we care about the future of our Party. Now that we have a reform Democrat leading the DNC, it is time for the blogosphere and the netroots to come together and support our leader.

If you have a blog, syndicate this and join a united blogosphere. You can also help by emailing your friends and sending them to:

UPDATE (DavidNYC): I just kicked in 25.01 - and I'm a poor student in debt up to my ears! So please, please contribute. Nothing could be more important than showing we are united in our support for Dean, and at this precise moment in time, dollars are the way to send that message.

UPDATE: $10467.69 from 215 donors in the first hour.
UPDATE 2: Be patient, ActBlue is running a little slow due to the response.
UPDATE 3: $22871.55 from 458 donors in the first two hours.
UPDATE 4: Interesting Times says Actblue, "appears to be swamped"
UPDATE 5: $34263.77 from 675 donors in the first three hours.
UPDATE 6: $43082.20 from 883 donors in the first four hours.
UPDATE 7: Kos says, "the ActBlue servers were so hammered that many went over and donated directly at the DNC site."
UPDATE 8: Blogsnow is tracking this as one of the most talked about items in the blogosphere.
UPDATE 9: Timeline: Atrios posted at 12:03 PM eastern, Markos posted the syndication code four minutes later at 9:07 AM pacific.
UPDATE 10: In five hours, 1000 people donated.

Atrios says:

We've set up a blogosphere-wide donation page, so show your support.

Remember: money talks. So, one way to get Candy Crowley to shut the fuck up is to play to Dean's strengths, which include gettting lots of turkee from the netroots.

Kos says:

Now that "Chairman Dean" is official, let's get Dean's back.

That fundraising link is being shared by a great deal of blogs.[...]

Remember, the GOP will unload on Dean. Everytime you hear the "Dean Scream" without context, consider donating. When you hear some empty head talk about the party "moving left" with Dean, consider donating. When you hear about unnamed big dollar Democratic donors whining about pulling their money out of the party, consider donating.

TalkLeft says:

Congratulations, Dr. Dean. Let's give him the ammunition he needs to successfully reform our party. Here's a blogosphere-wide contribution page.

Chris Anderson says:

The button may not work. ActBlue, the site handling the contributions, appears to be swamped right now. This is a good thing. If the button doesn't work you can go to the contribution page directly.

Articulate.babble says

Those of us who have followed Dean through the highs and lows know that he’s got our back. It’s time to get his. Donate to the DNC and show Howard that we support his efforts to reform this party!

I am a Reform Democrat.

For a trip down nostalgia lane, here’s a video link to Dean’s famous “What I Want to Know” speech two years ago at the DNC winter meeting. Now he’s DNC chairman.

What a country!

Damn Liberals says:

The GOP didn't want this. The status quo Democrats, like Lieberman, didn't want this. Dean represents a driving force that will give the party back to the people. This is a threat to those in power. As long as we are ignorant, they can rule. Dean refuses to allow us to remain ignorant any longer. As such, those in the GOP will open up with both barrels on him, probably starting tomorrow on the Sunday talking bobble head shows. We must watch Dean's back, and close ranks in support of him.

One way we in the Blogosphere can do this is through showing our support with our wallet. Please consider donating NOW to the DNC in support of electing Howard Dean to the chairmanship.

Posted at 12:11 PM in Activism, DNC Chair, Netroots | Technorati

Friday, February 11, 2005

Jeff Gannon

Posted by Tim Tagaris

If you are a regular visitor to SSP, there is no doubt that you have come across the Jeff Gannon story by now. If not (or even if you have), here are two of the best recent summaries:

1.) Press release put out by the DailyKos diarists who broke, and have remained on top of, the story.

2.) Jon Aravosis, of AmericaBlog, on CNN last night with Aaron Brown. He did a great job and represented us (the lefty blogosphere) well.

And to think I remember joking around with David on messenger over a week ago about whether or not this story had legs.

Posted at 10:31 AM in Activism, Netroots | Technorati

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Senator Feingold Interview

Posted by Tim Tagaris

Is done...

Well, it turns out that I am second-to-last blogger to ask a question; chances are anything I have thought out will have been covered at that point. That's fine--I am just happy to be there. So. . .

Put your questions/comments in this entry. I will keep the screen open while the Q&A is going on, crossing off questions as we move along. If something is left by my turn, I will fire it out there.

Also, feel free to trackback people from your sites--I will do my best to blog the exchange as it happens, just like we did with Donnie Fowler's interview.

Overview: The first question I asked was about veterans and "supporting the troops." I got so pissed while thinking about 250,000 vets a year waiting in line for care, people I know personally who have died in Iraq, and Republicans waving their purple fingers at the SOTU, that I stuttered and stammered through the whole question.

The second question I asked was about the Senator's quote in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

"If at some point people say, 'Hey, we think you ought to run for president' (and) it's a serious thing, I'm going to listen. I would only run if I honestly believed that I was the guy that really could win, that I was the person who was the best candidate to run"

That one, I managed to get out without making myself sound like a smitten fifth grader. Extended entry...

5:52 P.M.

I am about to call in right now. I am a bit frustrated because on Tuesday night where I work--there is Irish dancing classes that go on upstairs. It sounds like a train is running through the building. I hope the conference is taken on mute for all callers, otherwise I will have to go outside to my car and take the call. If that happens, I will post a full update when its over.

6:02 P.M.

Gotta take the call outside. Will update when it's over. Sorry folks.

7:05 P.M. (Recap)

Right off the bat we got into 2008. Markos asked about other potential candidates for president wooing Washington insiders to bolster future runs.

The Senator countered with a refrain he repeated throughout the Q&A. Locking down insiders right now is a losing strategy. We don't even know what the world is going to look like in two years and it would almost be irresponsible (my word) to make a decision on 2008 right now, and start agressively moving towards it.

I gotta be honest--I had to take the conversation in my car (not running), so I was freezing and not able to take many notes. However, I think detailing the following is important:

He acknowledged a battle for the soul of the Democratic Party is taking place. He stressed that if there is a WINNER of that battle, and we divide ourselves in the process, the party is in trouble. I agree, sort of...

In my mind, Tim Roemer has little place in the future of "my" Democratic Party. See Mercatus. Congressmen like Martin Frost who run television ads claiming their Republican opponent isn't Republican enough. . . Umm, not palatable to me either. I understand that in some areas of the country you gotta do what you gotta do to win. But there is a line where personal principles have gotta come to the fore--and "Who supported President Bush?" "Speaker Hastert, and Martin Frost" "Kay Hutchinson and Martin Frost." Umm, no thanks.

But I think what most of SSP readers want to know is whether or not we got any clues as to whether or not Feingold is running in 2008. I came away from the interview unsure. It is obvious that he is seriously thinking about; waiting to see how things play out in D.C. and across the country before comitting to anything.

Were it Final Jeopardy, I would guess that he will be the progressive option on the ballot in Iowa, New Hampshire, or whatever states come first in the next cycle.

At the end of the interview, Chris Bowers asked him whether or not he was aware that in most online polls for 2008, he leads--almost exclusively.

Hopefully that translates at some point into him realizing that people are saying, "Hey, we think you ought to run for president."

Cause he "oughta."


Posted at 03:00 PM in 2008 Election - President, 2008 President - Democrats, Activism, General, Wisconsin | Technorati

Thursday, February 03, 2005

State Party Blogs: Quick Update

Posted by Tim Tagaris

The response to the State Party Blog Project has been tremendous. Thank you. There has even been some direct feedback from the actual state parties on the site. I want briefly highlight one in particular: Arizona.

In short, the state's non-traditional campaign director made a direct appeal for bloggers. They need writers! It sounds like a great opportunity to get involved doing something most of us already enjoy. So, if you would like to do some blogging for the Arizona Democratic Party, please use the contact information below.

Tony Cani
ADP Non-Trad Campaigns Director

Posted at 12:17 PM in Activism, Arizona, Netroots | Comments (3) | Technorati

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

The place to be for State of the Union

Posted by Tim Tagaris

There is NO Crisis has a list of bloggers who will be commenting on the event in real-time HERE. There will also be a rapid response they have set up that you can visit and, more importantly, participate in HERE.

No further text necessary tonight. There is NO Crisis is the place to be.

Posted at 05:03 PM in Activism, Netroots | Technorati

State Party Blog Project: Now YOU have the tools

Posted by Tim Tagaris

So it's looking good that Howard Dean will become our next DNC Chairman, and that means we have a mandate. A mandate to reform the party.

Don't get it twisted; the fact that Howard Dean will most likely be heading up the Democratic Party is our victory. It is the voice of the grassroots lifted up into the halls of power once owned by the "aristocracy of consultants." No more.

It is incumbent upon us to continue this fight and provide our state parties the tools available to communicate with the grassroots. When that is done, we begin at the county level - and so on.

For those familiar with the State Party Blog Project, I have created a website to give you all the tools to make the job happen. It will also serve as a hub for information and updates on our progress.

For those not familiar...

This project is a grassroots effort encouraging all 50 Democratic state parties to not only put a blog on their official website, but to use it effectively. The Internet is the only medium of communication available for mass two-way communication. It is not only an effective fundraising tool (the language most "professionals" speak), but has tremendous organizational and communicative benefits most fail to recognize.

The time has long passed to build an effective communication infrastructure online. If the good folks in Washington, D.C. don't want to do it, then the netroots will pick up the slack once again.

Posted at 01:03 PM in Activism, Netroots | Technorati

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Positive Reinforcement...

Posted by Tim Tagaris

If you have 30 seconds, please visit the Alabama Democratic Party Blog and post a comment. Praise the "yellow dogs" for creating a vehicle for two-way communication and offer suggestions you have their the blog.

It would help if we could use states like Arizona and Alabama as examples (and new ones as they emerge) to help push the state parties lagging behind towards creating their own blogs.

Posted at 02:00 PM in Activism, Alabama | Comments (2) | Technorati


Posted by Tim Tagaris

A few weeks ago, many of us embarked on a project to bring each and every state party online with a blog for their home page. It started with Bob Brigham's discovery that 3/4 of state parties lack the most basic tools for two-way communication with the grassroots. So we embarked on a mission -- a mission to bring the 34 state party websites without blogs, up to speed. Today, I am happy to report that the next of those states has come on board, and who would have guessed it...

The New Alabama Democratic Party Blog.

I must admit, the project got me down. Tales of failed attempts to convince and outright refusal by some states to even discuss the prospect of a blog had me about to call it quits. Now, I am ready to pick the fight back up. Bouyed by the Alabama Democratic Party (Brannon), I want all who stepped in the first time to join me again.

In the extended entry you will find a list of states who don't have blogs, and ones that do but do not use them. Even if someone has claimed a state, jump on board and indicate in the comments that you will do so. Let's put the pressure on from all angles.

Please keep me updated as you progress, or decide not to progress. If states don't want to listen, we can adopt a plan 'B' for them. Let's set a stated goal of June 1, 2005 to bring every state party on board. Once again, please include the state you are adopting and your email address in the comments. If you have already done some work, please report on your experience as well.

The States:

AL: (ttagaris - - Will have a blog next week
AZ: Just put a blog two days ago.
DE: (ttagaris - - Currently talking with them
FL: (ttagaris - - Have had a few conversations with them
IA: (Hans - ) - Need an email address
KY: (ttagaris - - Turning blog option "on" shortly.
LA: (ara - Just moved to Louisiana
ME: (Alna Dem -
MA: (Ken Michaud - - will email this weekend
MI: (Rabid Nation -
MT: (Bob Brigham - "Montana..I'll land"
NH: (Chuck - -- Is in for New Hampshire
NY: - We have one person that wishes to remain anonymous.
NC: (ttagaris - Revamping webpage to include a blog
ND: (ttagaris - - Talking with State Chairman Monday
PA: (Chris Bowers from MyDD) is going to handle it "in a way so large its hard to imagine"
TN: (ttagaris- - Talked to them today. Putting one up
TX: (sharon - - Has decided to mess with Texas
VT: (Lunch Lady -
WA: I think either Ron or N in Seattle had a lead here. Can't recall.
WV: (Carnaki --
WI: (Mike - - Has already taken step 1

Additionally, ID (Bernine - Value of using a blog

NM, UT, and WY have blogs that they have decided not to use and

MD's blog has only 2 posts. ( &

Tech Help: (

Posted at 11:07 AM in Activism, Alabama | Comments (3) | Technorati

Monday, January 24, 2005

Democrats have a Positive Message

Posted by Bob Brigham

Sen. Reid's War Room kicked into high gear today as the Senate Democrats rolled out an ambitious positive agenda for America. We now have an agenda, we now have a Promise.

Senator Reid's leadership in taking our message online is very much appreciated, so I've posted the Senate Democrats' promise to America:

UPDATE: From MyDD, go show your support by co-sponsoring our agenda. I've categorized these posts under "2006 Midterm Elections" because the Senate Democrats have told us what they're going to be talking about for two years, presented us with in-depth information, and told us what we can do. I co-sponsored:

Senate Democrats open the 109th Congress steadfastly committed to keeping the promise of America, the promise that all Americans who work hard can build a stronger and brighter future for their families. By embracing and affirming our core values of security, opportunity and responsibility, Democrats are united to help America fulfill this promise.

We need to show them our support. Cosponsor the Democratic Agenda by visiting:

Posted at 12:33 PM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - House, 2006 Elections - Senate, Activism | Technorati

Putting America's Security First

Posted by Bob Brigham


Senate Democrats open the 109th Congress steadfastly committed to keeping the promise of America, the promise that all Americans who work hard can build a stronger and brighter future for their families. It is the promise of security, that the American way of life and our freedom will be protected by using all the tools to take the fight to the terrorists and standing with those who have served.


S.11: Standing With Our Troops. Democrats believe that putting America’s security first means standing up for our troops and their families. Democrats will work to increase our military end strength by up to 40,000 by 2007. We will create a Guard and Reserve Bill of Rights to protect and promote the interests of our dedicated citizen soldiers. Democrats will also fight for the families of those who serve our country. This includes providing income security and immediate access to affordable health care.


Democrats understand that putting America’s security first means providing our troops, both the active duty and reserve components, and their families with the resources they need to protect our freedom. S. 11 recognizes the sacrifices our troops make on our behalf by providing them the personnel, equipment, compensation, and benefits they need to them accomplish their mission.

Increase Army and Marine Endstrength By Up To 40,000 By 2007. All Americans have seen and heard of our overburdened and overstretched military. S. 11 recognizes that need and adds up to 30,000 Army personnel and up to 10,000 Marines over 2 years to provide for our security.

Recognize the Sacrifice and Valor of Our Troops. Reports show that the DoD may be dramatically underreporting U.S. casualties in Iraq. S.11 requires the DoD to prepare a monthly report on casualties and establishes an advisory panel on medals and decorations to ensure that deserving servicemembers are honored.

A National Guard and Reserve Bill Of Rights:

  • Straight Answers About Deployment/Service Obligations. S. 11 requires the Defense Department to report on the lessons learned in connection with deployment, extension of duty, and troop rotations. It also requests that the Defense Department keep its commitment to limit the length of service for our citizen soldiers.
  • Best Equipment. In response to the widely publicized shortages of body armor, up-armored Humvees, and other vital equipment and gear, S. 11 would: establish an Office of Mobilization Planning and Preparedness within the National Security Council to plan and prepare for mobilization of private sector and other non-military entities during a national security emergency; require a report from the DoD on Armed Services needs with regard to reconstituting equipment stocks to recover from damage and destruction accumulated during recent combat operations; and authorize $8.5 billion to the Army and $2.1 billion to the Marines for reconstitution needs.

  • Better Representation Within Defense Department. In order to ensure that the reserve component’s increased role is reflected in the Pentagon’s leadership, S. 11 would elevate the Assistant Secretary for Reserve Affairs to Deputy Undersecretary.

  • Timely Compensation. GAO reports in November 2003 and August 2004 found that as many as 95 percent of reservists have experienced pay problems while deployed to Iraq, and that these problems have had a significantly adverse effect on these troops and their families. S. 11 would create a position in DoD to implement the recommendations of the GAO to fix the reservist pay system.
  • Fulfill Our Commitments To Military Families. Democrats also recognize the tremendous sacrifices made by family members of military personnel when their loved ones depart for duty. They must face the difficult task of continuing to support their families and households. S. 11 would ensure both financial and physical health for servicemembers and their families.

  • Provide Pay Security To Federal And Civilian Workers Called To Active Duty. S. 11 provides pay security to military families by offering a tax credit designed to entice employers of reservists to make up the difference between their activated military pay and their civilian income; requires the federal government to make up the difference between reservists’ activated military pay and their civilian income; allows reservists to make certain tax-free withdrawals from IRA accounts; and makes allowances for wage payments made in income tax calculations and retirement plan management.

  • Provide Access To Health Care For All Reservists And Their Families By 2006. A 2000 DoD survey found that 20 percent of reservists, including 40 percent of junior enlisted personnel, had no health care coverage while demobilized. In 2004, Congress passed legislation authorizing reservists to obtain access to the military’s TRICARE health care program for 1 year for each 90-day period of active service. While an important step forward, this provision only provides health care after a deployment is complete, and fails to provide the complete health care coverage necessary to ensure that reservists are medically ready to answer a call to duty. S. 11 provides access to permanent TRICARE coverage.

  • Increase Death And Survivor Benefit. Death and survivor benefits provide the government an opportunity to help military families at their hour of greatest need. S. 11 increases the death gratuity from $12,000 to $100,000. It also lifts a prohibition against receiving both the Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) and Dependent and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) benefits, and extends the thirty year limitation on paying SBP premiums to retirees who signed up for SBP between 1972 and 1978 (currently, those who joined after 1978 can stop paying premiums after 30 years).
  • Fulfill Our Commitments To Our Taxpayers. While we all support the brave Americans risking their lives in our nation’s defense, Democrats believe Iraq is the world’s problem and others should do their fair share. Unfortunately, U.S. taxpayers have paid over 80 percent of reconstruction costs and over 90 percent of military costs in Iraq. S. 11 requires the President to report to Congress on U.S., Iraqi, and foreign contributions to Iraq’s reconstruction before any new U.S. reconstruction funds are appropriated. Furthermore, the President is required to certify to Congress that he has been unable to generate additional support from Iraqi oil revenues or other nations before any new U.S. reconstruction funds can be allocated.

    S. 12: Targeting the Terrorists More Effectively. Keeping America secure means stepping up the fight against the radical Islamic fundamentalism. Democrats will work to increase our Special Operations forces by 2,000 to attack the terrorists where they are and to protect our freedoms here at home. We will further enhance our efforts against enemies by targeting the institutions that spawn new terrorists. Democrats are also united to ensure that the world’s most dangerous weapons stay out of the hands of terrorists. We will expand the pace and scope of programs to eliminate and safeguard nuclear materials, enhance efforts to keep these and other deadly materials out of the hands of terrorists, and assist state and local governments in equipping and training those responsible for dealing with the effects of terrorist attacks involving weapons of mass destruction.


    Democrats are determined to wage the most effective war on terror. S. 12 lays out a comprehensive U.S. strategy to fight and win the war on international terrorism. In contrast to the Bush Administration’s piecemeal approach, S. 12 establishes four interlocking pillars necessary to wage an effective war on terrorism: (1) taking the fight to the terrorists, (2) drying up the breeding grounds that produce terrorism, (3) enhancing the U.S. government’s accountability and effectiveness to deal with this issue, and (4) reducing the possibility terrorists could acquire and use nuclear materials as a weapon, the greatest single threat to U.S. national security.

    Take the Fight to the Terrorists. S. 12 contains three basic provisions that will allow the U.S. to take the fight to the terrorists in a more effective manner. First, S. 12 increases the U.S. Special Forces capability by 2,000 personnel over the next several years, greatly enhancing this nation’s ability to track down and eliminate international terrorists in all corners of the globe. S. 12 also increases foreign language experts in the U.S. government, thereby ensuring that our troops and security personnel receive timely translations of critical conversations between terrorist organizations. S.12 also strengthens measures to combat terrorist financing, a critical aspect of the war on terror.

    Dry up the Breeding Grounds that Produce Terrorism. A long term complement to the offensive measures, S. 12 contains four key long-term initiatives that are designed to dry up the breeding grounds of terrorism. S. 12 authorizes additional funding for basic education programs to help nations provide a clear alternative to the madrassas preaching radical Islam; support to non-governmental organizations working to enhance democracy and development in the Muslim world; new public diplomacy programs to enhancing America’s image abroad, and a long term strategy to deal with key states; including Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia.

    Increase the U.S. Government’s Accountability and Effectiveness to Counter the Terrorist Threat. The U.S. government lacks the basic tools to determine if our efforts to combat terrorism are actually working. This fact was compounded by the errors in the State Department’s annual report on global terrorism. S. 12 deals with these problems by establishing an independent institution with the sole purpose of assessing the effectiveness of U.S. polices and programs on the war on terror; creates tough criminal penalties for anyone caught defrauding or profiteering from U.S. foreign assistance programs; and creates an independent commission to hold accountable all of those responsible for the Abu Ghraib scandal.

    Prevent Nuclear Terrorism. Nuclear terrorism is the single greatest threat to U.S. national security. S. 12 expands the pace and scope of programs to eliminate and safeguard nuclear materials by authorizing a global cleanout of radioactive materials; constructs permanent security arrangements for radioactive materials; expands the Cooperative Threat Reduction program beyond the Former Soviet Union; and dramatically increases resources for a range of under-funded, yet vital, State and Defense Department programs. The bill also includes a number of measures to increase border and port security and respond to a catastrophic terrorist attack. It adds 1,500 Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents and Customs and Border Protection agents over 5 years; authorizes $3 billion over 4 years to ensure that MTSA standards are met and funds other port security measures; and creates or restores a number of programs designed to ensure that this nation’s state and local first responders have the training and equipment they need to deal with this threat.

    S. 13: Fulfilling Our Duty to America’s Veterans. A key component of keeping America secure is protecting the rights of our veterans. Since the time of Lincoln, Americans have made and kept a sacred commitment to those who served this nation in the defense of freedom. As a new generation of veterans return from Iraq and Afghanistan, Democrats are united to fulfill that promise. We will ensure that all veterans get the health care they deserve while also expanding the availability and accessibility of mental health care. We will ensure that no veteran is forced to choose between a retirement and disability check. We will also make the same commitment to the soldiers of today that was made to past veterans with a 21st Century GI Bill.


    Since the time of Lincoln, Americans have made and kept a commitment to those who served in the defense of freedom. As a new generation of veterans returns from Iraq and Afghanistan , Democrats are united to keep that promise. We will ensure that all veterans get access to the health care and services they need.

    Ensure All Veterans Get the Health Care They Deserve By 2006. The May 2003 report of The President’s Task Force To Improve Health Care Delivery For Our Nation's Veterans found a serious imbalance between demand and available funding at the VA that delays care and threatens its quality. Under the current funding process, the VA has experienced billion-dollar shortfalls every year for the past several years. At a time when the number of veterans needing services is increasing daily, S. 13 ensures that America keeps its promises to our veterans and they get the health care they deserve.

    Expand Mental Health Care to All VA Hospitals By 2006. The New England Journal of Medicine has reported that as many as 1 in 6 soldiers returning from Iraq may suffer Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Yet only 86 of 163 VA Medical Centers currently have PTSD clinical teams. S. 13 would place a PTSD clinical team at every VA Medical Center, and would improve outreach to at-risk veterans.

    Make Prescription Drugs Readily Available to Veterans. Under current regulations, a veteran receiving a prescription from a private doctor must complete a physical with a VA physician before the VA will honor that prescription. This red-tape costs the VA an estimated $1 billion or more each year. S. 13 will overturn this regulation, providing veterans with quick and easy access to prescription drugs.

    Ensure No Veteran Is Forced to Choose Between Disability Compensation and Retirement Pay By 2006. In 2003, Congress enacted a law phasing in full concurrent receipt of disability compensation and retirement pension over 10 years for all disabled military retirees with 50 percent or higher disability ratings. While such legislation constitutes an important step forward, over 400,000 veterans are still prohibited from receiving the compensation they have earned with their service and sacrifice. S. 13 will revoke the “disabled veterans tax” and make certain that no veteran will have to choose between a disability check and a retirement check.

    Create A Seamless Transition From the Military to the VA. Many veterans have encountered obstacles to getting the services they deserve when they leave active duty status. While the Defense and Veterans’ Departments have been trying to iron out the kinks preventing a “seamless transition” from military life to the VA system, the agencies have yet to complete any of the seven recommendations for this necessity offered by the President’s Task Force. S. 13 would enact each of these seven recommendations, including requiring pre-separation medical examinations and disability benefits counseling, removing information-sharing barriers, and requiring greater cooperation between VA and DoD in tracking disabilities resulting from occupational exposure to hazardous materials.

    Enact A New G.I. Bill For the 21st Century. Education assistance provided under the G.I. Bill and its successors has been one of the most successful federal government programs in history. S. 13 revitalizes the G.I. bill for the 21st Century by excluding G.I. benefits from financial aid eligibility computations, thereby allowing veterans to obtain greater financial aid, and offers Montgomery G.I. bill benefits to more veterans by creating a new enrollment window for Veterans Education Assistance Program participants.

    Democrat's Promise

    Posted at 11:40 AM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - House, 2006 Elections - Senate, Activism | Technorati

    Expanding Opportunity to All Americans

    Posted by Bob Brigham


    Senate Democrats open the 109th Congress steadfastly committed to keeping the promise of America, the promise that all Americans who work hard can build a stronger and brighter future for their families. It is the promise of opportunity so that every American can get the education they need to compete in the 21st century; live in an economy with well paying jobs and high quality health care; and participate in our democracy.


    S. 14: Expanding Economic Opportunity. Democrats understand that the most effective means of increasing opportunity for our families is a high quality, good paying job. Democrats will fight to restore overtime protection to 6 million workers and increase the minimum wage for 7.4 million workers. We must do more to create good jobs today and in the future and the Democratic bill does so by eliminating tax incentives for companies that take jobs overseas, creating new jobs through an expansion of infrastructure programs to repair America’s backbone, and encouraging innovation in the American economy. We are also determined to pursue a trade policy that protects American workers and addresses our record trade deficit. Democrats will work to strengthen enforcement of our trade agreements while assisting those workers who have been unduly burdened by unfair trading practices of other nations.


    Democrats understand that the most effective means of increasing opportunity for our families is a high quality, good paying job. We are committed to expanding economic opportunity to all Americans and investing in America to create the new jobs of the future.

    Ensure Fair Wages for America’s Workers. This Administration has denied the availability of overtime wages to some of the workers who need it most. This bill restores that availability to 6 million workers. The existing minimum wage is no longer a livable wage. S. 14 would increase the Federal minimum wage over the next two years. Finally, the bill supports relief for multi-employer pension plans, which are used predominantly by small businesses to provide pension benefits to an estimated 9.7 million American workers.

    End Tax Break for Companies Exporting Jobs. The tax code allows companies that earn income in foreign countries to defer paying tax on these profits until they are brought back to the United States. This quirk in the tax code provides a tax incentive for companies to move U.S. production facilities abroad, even if the eventual market for their products remains in the United States. Democrats will eliminate this loophole by requiring companies to pay tax immediately on the profits they earn abroad, but only with respect to products that are imported back into the United States. Companies that locate production facilities abroad for the purpose of serving those foreign markets would not be affected by this change.

    A Marshall Plan to Improve Traditional and High-Tech Infrastructure. Across America thousands of infrastructure projects - from our smallest rural communities to our biggest cities - await the capital to move forward. Investing in our nation’s roadways and waterways would improve our quality of life and protect public health and safety. Equally important, it would create a huge boost for our economy - creating 47,000 well paying American jobs for each billion dollars in investment. America continues to fall behind our competitors in access to broadband internet service. Most of the communities lacking service are in rural and economically-distressed areas of the country. S. 14 expands broadband availability to these areas by allowing broadband service providers to immediately deduct one-half of the cost of their investment in equipment to provide current generation broadband access to rural and underserved areas.

    Strengthen and Restore American Innovative Strength through Commitment to Research, Science and Technology. Research and development results in higher quality jobs, better and safer products and higher productivity among American businesses. U.S. economic strength is dependent on its leadership in science and technology, and the U.S. is losing ground to foreign competitors. The U.S. needs to re-commit itself to the value of public investment in research and development, which is being outpaced by investment in the private sector. This bill makes permanent a tax credit for entities that increase their research activities and makes a credit available to consortia of entities that research collaboratively. The bill also expresses support for legislation that will increase federally funded research at the National Science Foundation, the Office of Science at the Department of Energy, the National Institutes of Health and the National Institute of Science and Technology so we can better compete in the international economy, as well investment in math, science and technology programs at our secondary education institutions.

    Enforce Our Trade Agreements and Maintaining Level Playing Field. Democrats are determined to pursue a trade policy that protects American workers and addresses our record trade deficit. This bill requires the Administration to identify the most important export markets that remain closed to U.S. products and provides the tools needed to open them. It also creates the office of Chief Enforcement Negotiator, whose sole responsibility will be to police our trading partners’ performance of their obligations. This bill will force China to stop manipulating its currency and force China to choose between revaluing its currency to its market value or facing a tariff on all Chinese imports to the United States equal to the unfair trade advantage China currently enjoys.

    Retrain Workers Displaced by Trade. Trade Adjustment Assistance has helped thousands of manufacturing workers get retraining, keep their health insurance, and make a new start. This bill will expand TAA to cover service workers who lose their jobs to offshoring. This bill will help rebuild communities hurt by outsourcing by integrating political and economic organizations and coordinating Federal, State, and local resources to develop a new plan and a new future for the people who live in them. Unemployed workers learning new skills can not stick with their training if they do not have effective health coverage. This bill allows them to complete their training by offering an effective health benefit.

    Define a Ceiling for the U.S. Trade Deficit and Foreign Debt. The United States is now the world’s largest debtor nation, and risks serious consequences if its trade deficits continue unabated. While Congress has set a ceiling on the national debt, it has set no limit on the U.S. foreign debt, nor on the annual trade deficits that feed it. S. 14 will change that. Whenever the overall foreign debt reaches 25 percent of our GDP, or when the annual trade deficit reaches five percent of GDP, the Administration would be required to convene an emergency interagency meeting, and provide Congress with a trade deficit reduction plan to lower debt levels below the statutory ceiling.

    S. 15: Quality Education for All. Democrats are committed to providing a quality education to all Americans because we recognize that education has always been the cornerstone of equal opportunity. Democrats will keep our promise to our children by increasing support for pre-school education, fully funding No Child Left Behind and improving its implementation. We are committed to providing safe and reliable transportation for our rural school children and meeting the Federal commitment to children with disabilities. Democrats will also address the shortfall of math, science and special education teachers by creating tuition incentives for college students to major in those fields. We will help expand educational opportunities for college by providing relief from skyrocketing college tuition, increasing the size and access to Pell Grants and supporting proven programs that encourage more young people to attend and succeed in college.


    Democrats are committed to providing a quality education to all Americans because we recognize that education has always been the cornerstone of equal opportunity. Democrats will keep our promise to education at all levels, from pre-school to college. We are determined to expand access to a high quality education for all Americans.

    Strengthen Head Start and Child Care Programs. Children that participate in Head Start and Early Head Start enter elementary school ready to learn. Democrats will acknowledge and support the Head Start program by allowing poor families up to 130% of the poverty line to participate; improving school readiness of Head Start children by strengthening activities to promote social, emotional, physical, and cognitive development; requiring teachers to have a college degree within the next 8 years and that within the next 3 years, all new teachers must have an AA or be enrolled in a program leading to an AA degree; requiring teachers to receive on-going literacy training; and targeting the use of quality funds to promote early childhood development in addition to safety.

    Provide Safe, Reliable Transportation for Rural School Children. Many rural local educational agencies do not have safe and reliable buses and lack the resources to buy new buses or retrofit the ones they have. This leaves children no choice but to ride in outdated, unsafe buses. This bill creates a federal program for rural school districts to purchase new buses so that they can retire substandard buses. It establishes a 75% to 25% federal to local match, and authorizes $50 million for 2006 and such sums as may be necessary for 2007 through 2010.

    Fulfill Our Obligation to Children With Disabilities. Improving educational results for children with disabilities is an essential element of national policy. Congress passed the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Reauthorization in the 108th Congress, which called for the federal government to honor its commitment to the States by providing 40% funding for the excess cost of special education. S. 15 calls for the federal government to fulfill its obligation to the states and approximately 6.5 million children by appropriating the funds authorized in the law by 2011.

    Improve Elementary and Secondary Education. The No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) created unintended consequences for school districts nationwide. Due to the rigidity of the law’s requirements, many schools had difficulty implementing the mandate which was exacerbated by continual underfunding. S. 15 recognizes that NCLB can – and should – be improved. This bill makes improvements in the areas of supplemental services, highly qualified teachers and paraprofessionals, and recalculation of annual yearly progress (AYP). Democrats will provide the additional resources that will help our schools work with the nearly 4.1 million students, or 8.5 percent of our nation’s public school students, who are English language learners. The bill also provides full funding of Title I resources for local school districts that help disadvantaged students succeed academically. The bill also includes a Sense of the Senate Resolution to fully fund Title I: $22.75 billion in FY06 and $25 billion in FY07.

    Address the Need for Math, Science and Special Education Teachers. Democrats recognize that math, science and special education teachers are becoming scarce. This bill creates a tuition-free program for future teachers in these fields. Democrats will make public college effectively tuition free for future math, science, and special education teachers.

    Provide a Roadmap for First Generation and Low-Income College Students. Democrats will continue to support the opportunity of a college education. The bill provides additional funding to TRIO, a program that helps low-income, first-generation college student attend and complete college, and GEARUP, a program created to help lower-income students consider and prepare early for college. These are two of the most important and successful support systems for aspiring students and the budget should not be balanced on their backs. This legislation authorizes funding for TRIO at $1 billion and GEARUP at $400 million.

    Provide College Tuition Relief for Students and Their Families. The Department of Education changed the eligibility determination for Pell Grants via tax tables in the dead of night. The new formula will purge about 90,000 students from the rolls. This bill provides a hold harmless component on the Administration’s change to the tax table determination and restores the formula for Pell Grants, saving 1.3 million students from receiving decreased funding. Democrats will also increase the maximum Pell Grant award to $5,100 starting in FY2006. Democrats are also committed to helping students succeed and graduate. The legislation authorizes $500 million to create a Summer Pell Demonstration Program to facilitate the ability of low-income students to complete their degree within 150% of the expected time.

    Making College Affordable for All Students. Democrats are determined to expand the opportunity of college and will do so by increasing access to HOPE and Lifetime Learning tax credits. The bill makes these two credits refundable. We will also triple the maximum college tuition deduction to $12,000 and make the deduction permanent. Democrats also understand the difficult burden that college loan payments place on recent graduates and their families. Democrats will create a tax credit for student loan interest expenses. The credit is targeted to low and middle-income families and increases the current tax benefit for the average family from $375 to $1,500.

    S. 16: Making Health Care More Affordable. Spiraling health care costs are putting the opportunity of America at risk, making it harder for families to buy health insurance and placing a difficult burden on small businesses and manufacturers. Democrats will address these concerns by making prescription drugs more affordable through the legalization of prescription drug reimportation and more safe by ensuring drugs are monitored after they are approved for use. Democrats will ensure that all children and pregnant women will have health care and protect Medicaid. We will reduce the growing cost of health care to small businesses by offering tax credits while also modernizing health care to cut costs for patients and businesses.


    Spiraling health care costs not only make it harder for families to buy health insurance and seniors to afford their prescriptions but these soaring costs weaken our economy by burdening small businesses and making American manufacturers less competitive. Democrats are committed to addressing the rising cost of health care with commonsense measures that will provide relief to businesses and families.

    Make Prescription Drugs More Affordable. S.16 makes prescription drugs more affordable by legalizing the safe importation of FDA-approved prescription drug from other industrialized countries where they are more affordable. The bill also addresses the safety of prescription drugs and provides for better monitoring of drugs after they are approved for use.

    Make Health Care Affordable For Children and Pregnant Women. This legislation would provide coverage to all children and would increase coverage for pregnant women. It also affirms Democrats’ commitment to protect the Medicaid program that provides coverage to more than 40 million Americans.

    Provide Small Businesses Relief. S. 16 will provide small businesses relief by offering tax credits to help small employers provide coverage for their employees. The bill would create 25 pilot programs to build on the innovation of several programs across the country that help small employers cover their employees.

    Modernize Health Care. This legislation would cut costs and improve care by increasing the use of information technology and assuring patients have electronic medical records. This bill would help in reducing medical errors which contribute to 98,000 deaths each year.

    S. 17: Democracy Begins at Home. Equal opportunity in this country is based upon equal representation and fair voting. Democrats are determined to reforming the voting system in this country to create Federal standards for our elections. The bill adds verification, accountability and accuracy to the system. It increases access to the polls with Election Day registration, shorter lines and early voting. The bill also aims to modernize our election equipment and increase impartiality and provides the resources to our states to implement the bill.


    Democrats are united in our effort to making voting reform a reality for all Americans. It is time for the opportunity of a fair and transparent voting system to be available to every voter. The Help America Vote Act made important steps forward and now it is time to continue to make reforms that will ensure each voter gets the opportunity to vote and all votes are counted.

    Voter Verified Ballots. All voters must be able to ensure that their vote is accurately recorded. The bill requires that all voting systems used in Federal elections provide a voter verified ballot that is fully accessible to the disabled and ensures privacy and independence.

    Election Day Registration. The bill requires each state to adopt Election Day registration procedures for Federal elections.

    Uniform and Nondiscriminatory Standards 1for Counting Provisional Ballots. The bill requires that states count any otherwise eligible provisional ballot if cast anywhere in the state.

    Shorter Lines at the Polls. Numerous and often widespread reports of long lines at the polls hinder the voting process. The bill requires states to meet Election Assistance Commission (EAC) mandatory standards that establish a minimum number of voting systems and poll workers which must provide geographic distribution.

    Create a National Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot. The bill creates a National Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot (NFWAB) for Federal office that every and any eligible voter is entitled to cast from anywhere inside or outside the United States and requires the NFWAB be counted without regard to which polling place, precinct, local unit of government, state, or country the NFWAB is cast in.

    Accurate and Transparent Voting Rolls. The bill requires states to provide public notice of all proposed purged names from voting rolls 60 days in advance of a Federal election. It also prohibits states from purging names of voters from the list without specific notice provided in accordance with National Voting Rights Act (NVRA).

    Establish Early Voting. The bill requires states to establish early voting periods for a minimum of fifteen calendar days prior to a Federal election, with uniform mandatory Saturday hours, and a minimum of four hours per day, including Saturdays.

    Investigate a Federal Election Day Holiday. The bill requires the Election Assistance Commission to study and make recommendations for a national voting holiday within six months of enactment of this Act.

    Upgrade Voting Machines and Improve Ballot Designs. The bill requires punch card voting systems to provide in-person notice of over-votes and prohibits central count optical scan systems from meeting the voter verification requirements through an education system to ensure all votes are counted.

    Create Uniform and Inclusive Voter Registration Standards. This bill 1establishes the right of a citizen to use the Federal voter registration form under NVRA to register to vote in Federal elections and directs the EAC to issue a revised form that requires a mandatory affidavit/signature attesting to both citizenship and age.

    Establish Fair and Uniform Voter ID Rules. This bill expands the means for establishing voter identification to allow a voter to execute a written affidavit attesting to their identification.

    Impartial Election Administrators. The bill requires notice provisions, public statements, and other transparency/accountability measures with regard to election administrators, changes in state election laws prior to Federal election,; modifications to polling places, and denial of requests by international and other non-partisan observers for access polling places.

    Increase Funding to States. The bill provides additional appropriations to states for the requirement grant payments to meet the new requirements included in this bill.

    Democrat's Promise

    Posted at 11:33 AM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - House, 2006 Elections - Senate, Activism | Comments (1) | Technorati

    Meeting Our Responsibility to the Future and the Past

    Posted by Bob Brigham


    Senate Democrats open the 109th Congress steadfastly committed to keeping the promise of America, the promise that all Americans who work hard can build a stronger and brighter future for their families. Keeping the promise of America means meeting our responsibilities both to future and past generations by providing our seniors what they have spent a lifetime work for; acting responsibly with taxpayer’s dollars and with our children’s future by restoring fiscal discipline; and enabling women to take responsibility for their health.


    S. 18: Meeting Our Responsibility to Medicare Beneficiaries. Democrats will take the special interests out of the Medicare law by repealing the provision that prevents Medicare from negotiating better prices for seniors and eliminating the slush fund for HMOs. We will also improve the prescription drug benefit by phasing out the current doughnut hole where seniors pay a premium but get no benefit. We will buy down the Part B premium so premium increases are not too steep. We will address incentives that encourage employers to drop retiree benefits and we will ensure that no seniors are forced into HMOs while helping seniors in their transition to the new benefit.

    The Medicare Prescription Drug Bill created a number of problems for our seniors. The Republicans used every chance they could get to help their special interest HMO and drug company friends. Democrats believe that seniors and people with disabilities should come first and this bill takes the first steps to improving the Medicare program to reflect those priorities. The Meeting Our Responsibility to Medicare Beneficiaries Act will lower the cost of prescription drugs and Medicare premiums, eliminate the HMO slush fund and protect the interests of our seniors.

    Lower Drug Prices for Seniors. Democrats want to lower drug prices by eliminating the prohibition on allowing Medicare to use the power of its 41 million beneficiaries to negotiate lower drug prices. Medicare negotiation would mean lower drug prices, just like it does for the VA and other bulk purchasers.

    Lower Part B Premiums For Seniors By Eliminating the HMO Slush Fund. The bill eliminates the $10 billion HMO slush fund Republicans put in the Medicare law. In addition, it stops the Bush Administration from assuring that HMOs are paid more than traditional Medicare by redistributing overpayments back to private plans. The bill requires HHS to adjust the payments in a way that saves that money for Medicare beneficiaries and uses the savings to reduce Medicare Part B premiums for seniors who are coping with the largest premium increase in history this year.

    Protect Seniors From Gaps In Coverage. The drug benefit contains a huge gap in coverage during which seniors continue to pay premiums but get no drug coverage at all. This coverage gap only gets bigger over time – from $2,850 in 2006 to $5,066 in 2013. This bill would phase out the gap in coverage.

    Protect Retirees From Losing Drug Coverage. The Republican drug bill will cause 3.8 million retirees to lose the good drug coverage they already have. This bill requires HHS to develop incentives for employers to maintain coverage and ensures that current incentives function properly.

    Ensure Seniors Are Not Forced Into HMOs. In some communities, the Medicare drug bill could force seniors into HMOs because there may not be enough competing plans. This bill ensures that a1 guaranteed Medicare fallback is triggered whenever there are not two stand-alone drug plans available in an area so that seniors are not forced to join HMOs.

    Eliminate Late Penalties. The new law creates considerable confusion and new sets of choices for seniors. Seniors will be forced to sign up for a plan without fully understanding what benefits are offered, whether the drugs they take are on the plan’s preferred list, or how much they will actually pay. This bill waives the late enrollment penalty for the first two years to give seniors time to understand the benefit and decide if they want to join, without subjecting them to a 12 percent per year late enrollment penalty. This provision makes the legislation truly voluntary.

    Protect 6 Million Low-Income Beneficiaries During The Transition. The new law prohibits states from getting federal Medicaid matching funds for covering drugs for beneficiaries who are eligible for the new drug benefit from day one. This bill allows Medicaid to continue to cover drugs during the transition, protecting 6 million of our most vulnerable beneficiaries from falling through the cracks and having no coverage for the drugs they need.

    S. 19: Fiscal Responsibility for a Sound Future. Democrats know that fiscal mismanagement today only leads to greater problems for our children. It is our responsibility to address the fiscal irresponsibility of the current Administration by imposing discipline today and Democrats are united to strengthen budgeting rules that require the government to live within its means.


    The Fiscal Responsibility for a Sound Future Act helps to restore budget discipline and fiscal responsibility to our nation’s finances. Democrats know that fiscal mismanagement today only leads to greater problems for our children. It is our responsibility to address the fiscal irresponsibility of the current Administration by imposing discipline today. Democrats are united to strengthen budgeting rules that require the government to live within its means. This legislation would return us to a path of budget discipline.

    Spend Within Our Means. This legislation would restore the Senate pay-as-you-go rule to require that mandatory spending and tax legislation be fully paid for, or be subject to a 60-vote point of order. Pay-go is one of the crucial budget enforcement tools that allowed the federal government to move from deficit to surplus in the 1990's. The Senate pay-go rule has been weakened in recent years, in order to allow for passage of large tax cuts. Since then, deficits and debt have skyrocketed. The Fiscal Responsibility For A Sound Future Act of 2005 would end the current practice of exempting all mandatory spending and tax cuts assumed in the budget resolution from the pay-as-you-go rule, and extend the Senate pay-go rule (currently set to expire in 2008) through fiscal year 2015.

    Reinstate Mandatory Spending Cuts to Balance the Budget. The bill would also reinstate sequestration (across-the-board spending cuts) to enforce pay-go and discretionary spending limits. Legislation that exceeds fiscal year 2005 discretionary spending caps, as well as mandatory spending and tax legislation that would increase the deficit, would trigger sequesters. The bill also expresses the sense of the Senate that statutory discretionary spending limits should be enacted for 2006 to prevent passing more debt to our children.

    Limit the Use of Reconciliation to Deficit Reduction Legislation. The bill prevents procedural gimmicks from being used to increase the deficit. The bill allows the Senate’s fast-track “reconciliation” procedures, which cut off debate after only 20 hours, to be used only for deficit reduction. Legislation that would increase the deficit could still be considered in the Senate, but could not be expedited. This would restore reconciliation to its original purpose of deficit reduction, and ensure that any legislation increasing deficits is subject to full scrutiny, debate, and consideration in the Senate. In addition, the legislation would prohibit the fast-tracking of Congressional budget resolutions that contain a reconciliation instruction that would worsen the deficit.

    S. 20: Putting Prevention First. Democrats are committed to reducing unintended pregnancies by increasing access to family planning services and improving contraceptive coverage. We will increase funding for family planning and empower states to enable more women to take responsibility for their health. We will also improve contraceptive coverage by assuring equity in prescription drug insurance.


    The United States has the highest rate of unintended pregnancies among all industrialized nations. Half of all pregnancies in the United States are unintended, and nearly half of those end in abortion. By increasing access to family planning services, our bill will improve women’s health, reduce the rate of unintended pregnancy and reduce the number of abortions – all while saving scarce public health dollars. The Democratic bill will increase access to family planning services, reduce the number of unintended pregnancies and reduce the number of abortions. It will also provide relief to Medicaid by decreasing the financial burden of pregnancy-related and newborn care. Specifically, our bill will:

    Increase Access to Family Planning Services. This bill increases funding for the national family planning program (Title X) and will allow states to expand Medicaid family planning services to women with incomes up to 200 percent of the federal poverty level.

    End Insurance Discrimination Against Women. The legislation ensures equity and fairness in contraception coverage by ensuring that private health plans offer the same level of coverage for contraception as they do for other prescription drugs and services.

    Provide Compassionate Assistance for Rape Victims. Women who suffer sexual assault should not have to face the additional trauma of an unwanted pregnancy. Our bill ensures that women who survive sexual assault receive factually accurate information about emergency contraception (EC) and access to EC upon request.

    Improve Awareness about Emergency Contraception. Approved by the FDA as a safe and effective means of contraception, EC could substantially reduce the staggering number of unintended pregnancies. Our bill provides $10 million to implement important public education initiatives about EC and its benefits and uses to women and medical providers.

    Reduce Teen Pregnancy. The bill would provide $20 million in annual funding for competitive grants to public and private entities to establish or expand teen pregnancy prevention programs.

    Truth in Contraception. Government-funded abstinence-only programs are precluded from discussing contraception except to talk about failure rates. A recently study found these programs distort public health data and misrepresent the effectiveness of contraception. Our bill ensures that information provided about the use of contraception as part of any federally funded program is medically accurate and includes information about the health benefits and failure rates of contraception.

    Democrat's Promise

    Posted at 11:28 AM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - House, 2006 Elections - Senate, Activism | Technorati

    Democrats Promise

    Posted by Bob Brigham

    They are for Crisis, we are for Security. They are for Fear, we are for Hope. They are for Greed, we are for Opportunity. They are for Profit, we are for Duty. They are for Excuses, we are for Responsibility. They are for Fraud, we are for Democracy.

    They might have Power, but we now have a Promise...

    A Future of Security, Opportunity and Responsibility

    The Democratic Agenda for the 109th Congress

    Senate Democrats open the 109th Congress steadfastly committed to keeping the promise of America, the promise that all Americans who work hard can build a stronger and brighter future for their families. By embracing and affirming our core values of security, opportunity and responsibility, Democrats are united to help America fulfill this promise.

    It is the promise of security, that the American way of life and our freedom will be protected by using all the tools to take the fight to the terrorists and standing with those who have served. It is the promise of opportunity so that every American can get the education they need to compete in the 21st century; live in an economy with well paying jobs and high quality health care; and participate in our democracy. Keeping the promise of America also means meeting our responsibilities both to future and past generations by providing our seniors what they have spent a lifetime work for; acting responsibly with taxpayer’s dollars and with our children’s future by restoring fiscal discipline; and enabling women to take responsibility for their health. It is these values that will continue to guide the Democratic agenda as this Congress moves forward.

    THE AMERICAN PROMISE: A Future of Security, Opportunity and Responsibility


    S.11: Standing With Our Troops. Democrats believe that putting America’s security first means standing up for our troops and their families. Democrats will work to increase our military end strength by up to 40,000 by 2007. We will create a Guard and Reserve Bill of Rights to protect and promote the interests of our dedicated citizen soldiers. Democrats will also fight for the families of those who serve our country. This includes providing income security and immediate access to affordable health care.

    S. 12: Targeting the Terrorists More Effectively. Keeping America secure means stepping up the fight against the radical Islamic fundamentalism. Democrats will work to increase our Special Operations forces by 2,000 to attack the terrorists where they are and to protect our freedoms here at home. We will further enhance our efforts against enemies by targeting the institutions that spawn new terrorists. Democrats are also united to ensure that the world’s most dangerous weapons stay out of the hands of terrorists. We will expand the pace and scope of programs to eliminate and safeguard nuclear materials, enhance efforts to keep these and other deadly materials out of the hands of terrorists, and assist state and local governments in equipping and training those responsible for dealing with the effects of terrorist attacks involving weapons of mass destruction.

    S. 13: Fulfilling Our Duty to America’s Veterans. A key component of keeping America secure is protecting the rights of our veterans. Since the time of Lincoln, Americans have made and kept a sacred commitment to those who served this nation in the defense of freedom. As a new generation of veterans return from Iraq and Afghanistan, Democrats are united to fulfill that promise. We will ensure that all veterans get the health care they deserve while also expanding the availability and accessibility of mental health care. We will ensure that no veteran is forced to choose between a retirement and disability check. We will also make the same commitment to the soldiers of today that was made to past veterans with a 21st Century GI Bill.


    S. 14: Expanding Economic Opportunity. Democrats understand that the most effective means of increasing opportunity for our families is a high quality, good paying job. Democrats will fight to restore overtime protection to 6 million workers and increase the minimum wage for 7.4 million workers. We must do more to create good jobs today and in the future and the Democratic bill does so by eliminating tax incentives for companies that take jobs overseas, creating new jobs through an expansion of infrastructure programs to repair America’s backbone, and encouraging innovation in the American economy. We are also determined to pursue a trade policy that protects American workers and addresses our record trade deficit. Democrats will work to strengthen enforcement of our trade agreements while assisting those workers who have been unduly burdened by unfair trading practices of other nations.

    S. 15: Quality Education for All. Democrats are committed to providing a quality education to all Americans because we recognize that education has always been the cornerstone of equal opportunity. Democrats will keep our promise to our children by increasing support for pre-school education, fully funding No Child Left Behind and improving its implementation. We are committed to providing safe and reliable transportation for our rural school children and meeting the Federal commitment to children with disabilities. Democrats will also address the shortfall of math, science and special education teachers by creating tuition incentives for college students to major in those fields. We will help expand educational opportunities for college by providing relief from skyrocketing college tuition, increasing the size and access to Pell Grants and supporting proven programs that encourage more young people to attend and succeed in college.

    S. 16: Making Health Care More Affordable. Spiraling health care costs are putting the opportunity of America at risk, making it harder for families to buy health insurance and placing a difficult burden on small businesses and manufacturers. Democrats will address these concerns by making prescription drugs more affordable through the legalization of prescription drug reimportation and more safe by ensuring drugs are monitored after they are approved for use. Democrats will ensure that all children and pregnant women will have health care and protect Medicaid. We will reduce the growing cost of health care to small businesses by offering tax credits while also modernizing health care to cut costs for patients and businesses.

    S. 17: Democracy Begins at Home. Equal opportunity in this country is based upon equal representation and fair voting. Democrats are determined to reforming the voting system in this country to create Federal standards for our elections. The bill adds verification, accountability and accuracy to the system. It increases access to the polls with Election Day registration, shorter lines and early voting. The bill also aims to modernize our election equipment and increase impartiality and provides the resources to our states to implement the bill.


    S. 18: Meeting Our Responsibility to Medicare Beneficiaries. Democrats will take the special interests out of the Medicare law by repealing the provision that prevents Medicare from negotiating better prices for seniors and eliminating the slush fund for HMOs. We will also improve the prescription drug benefit by phasing out the current doughnut hole where seniors pay a premium but get no benefit. We will buy down the Part B premium so premium increases are not too steep. We will address incentives that encourage employers to drop retiree benefits and we will ensure that no seniors are forced into HMOs while helping seniors in their transition to the new benefit.

    S. 19: Fiscal Responsibility for a Sound Future. Democrats know that fiscal mismanagement today only leads to greater problems for our children. It is our responsibility to address the fiscal irresponsibility of the current Administration by imposing discipline today and Democrats are united to strengthen budgeting rules that require the government to live within its means.

    S. 20: Putting Prevention First. Democrats are committed to reducing unintended pregnancies by increasing access to family planning services and improving contraceptive coverage. We will increase funding for family planning and empower states to enable more women to take responsibility for their health. We will also improve contraceptive coverage by assuring equity in prescription drug insurance.

    Posted at 09:40 AM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - House, 2006 Elections - Senate, Activism | Comments (2) | Technorati

    Sunday, January 23, 2005

    Sacto Meeting

    Posted by Bob Brigham
    "What you're seeing is the transformation of the old party into the new party, which is the Internet party, which is going to fund the party." -Bob Mulholland

    I've written about Mulholland before. Let's give the guy some props, he credentialed me and let me plug a mic plug into the mult box so I have press pool audio of the event. Mulholland was the first person to credential bloggers when he asked Kos and Jerome Armstrong to blog the 2003 Democratic Convention. Cheers to Bob...go check out Bob's Blog -- it is a model other state parties would be wise to copy. Mulholland isn't some 20-something geek, but an old school political hack who has realized that the internet allows him to take advantage of his political instincts and great writing to slap around his adversaries. Mulholland is the example of why old school political operatives shouldn't be scared of the net, the tools that made them successful in 20th century politics will allow them to triumpth in 21st century politics (if they are willing to allow their message to spread in real-time).

    I say this because of the dynamics for DNC Chair. Many in the press are too simple-minded to see the race as more than a left-right battle. But the dynamics have always been more aptly described as reform vs. status quo; advancing vs. treading water.

    The reform vs. status quo dynamic is now manifesting itself in a value-the-netroots vs. hate-the-netroots division. Frost and his staff are said to "hate" the netroots and I had a Roemer staffer tell me he has "no affinity" for DailyKos (most popular Democratic blog) and MyDD (blogfather's blog). I had scheduled an interview with Roemer to get his view on the Mercatus Scandal but I ended up blowing him off. You see, Nancy Keenan, the head of NARAL, snubbed Roemer last week. Nancy Keenan has been hero of mine and is a western Democrat legend -- I figure if it is good enough for her, it is good enough for me.

    The small donor is the backbone of the 21st century political party. Frost and Roemer are politicians looking for a job so they don't care about the netroots -- and they won't get netroots money!

    I have hours of audio and a lot more to say. But I can tell you two things out of today's Western Caucus:

  • Roemer and Frost are unacceptable
  • Leland and Fowler are not contenders
  • much more to come

    Posted at 01:09 AM in Activism, DNC Chair, Netroots | Comments (3) | Technorati

    Friday, January 21, 2005

    The Small Blog as the Small Donor of 2006/2008

    Posted by Tim Tagaris

    You couldn't escape it. During the 2004 election cycle, Internet fundraising was all the rage. From Howard Dean's $40 million, DailyKos and ActBlue, to Terry McAuliffe receiving credit, some of it undeserved, for leveraging the small donor to pull even with GOP fundraising efforts.

    That's great - for whatever the real reasons - the Democratic Party did a terrific job of using the Internet to raise money in small amounts as a counter to a traditional GOP advantage. But guess what? The Republican (Noise) Machine will learn, and we had best get ahead of the curve.

    If the small donor was the phenomenon of the 2004 election cycle, the small blogger might very well be the next great hope for the Democrats.

    The online financial contributions had implications for finance (and comm.) staffs working campaigns across the country. Leveraging the small blogger is predominantly a technological offshoot for traditional field programs (and comm). And as many of us know, the field organization is where is gets done in a grassroots effort. They are the group that will put in hours of tedious study to pull every last vote out of each precinct in a candidate's universe.

    Much like everything else in the field plan, organizing the small blogger is laborious and requires a commitment often unmatched by other parts of traditional campaigns. The good news is, so much of netroots outreach crosses formerly compartmentalized groups within a campaign structure; so you can share the burden. What fun!

    Let's begin.

    If you listen to the pundits, why was the GOP finally able to effectively counter the Democrat's field operation? I have heard it a million times, you probably have as well, it was "the neighbor to neighbor strategy." Ken Mehlman and Karl Rove crafted a plan that had people convincing others in their communities to vote for President Bush. By most accounts, it worked terrifically.

    We can accomplish the same thing using our netroots. The beautiful thing about this plan is that we have all the resources necessary to accomplish it without some sort of direction from the powers-that-be. But let's take it back into the campaign setting, because that is the reason I started writing this. Rest assured however, the blogosphere has every resource it needs to make this happen without direction.

    Think about the characteristics of the small blog. Many of us run our own. You know the blog your friends, co-workers, and maybe your parents read? The same one you link to in your Kos diaries to boost your visibility? Yes, that one.

    It's the blog that generally gets the same 15 people, most within same community you are targeting, reading it a few times a week/month. Maybe you see where I am heading now?

    I propose that we take that personal neighbor to neighbor strategy and lead it in a technological direction.

    Let's assume you are working on a campaign that has a very clear message. You are part of a functional effort that sends out consistent press releases, talking points, and uses the Internet to foster participation within your congressional district, legislative district, or even statewide.

    Step 1: Start collecting each and every single blog that exists within the universe your campaign is operating in. Find them out, email them directly, then introduce yourself and your campaign.

    Step 2: Give your supporters the tools to create their own blogs. And do it your website. Heck, it takes 3 minutes to start a blog - walk them through it on your homepage or get involved page. Get a volunteer in the office whose task it is to take people through it step by step over the phone if necessary.

    Step 3: If a blog, even a small blog, asks for an interview, grant it! If it gets to be too much, then schedule a weekly/bi-weekly half hour conference call with all the bloggers who want to participate.

    Step 4: Back to the press releases and talking points. Send them to bloggers. Send them in the same mass email that you are sending out to the traditional media outlets. Give them the same opportunity to ask questions of the campaign.

    Step 5: Invite bloggers to attend your events, just like the press. Make your press conferences and events wi-fi when possible.

    Step 6: Nurture the relationship. Rinse and repeat. Bloggers love the inside scoop before the newspapers can get it in print the next day or the news broadcasts it a few hours later

    And this plan holds for medium sized blogs as well. The ones that candidates and their staffs would have never dared to enter before because there weren't enough ATM cards found on a consistent basis.

    There are some great medium sized blogs out there on both sides of the aisle. There are quite a few of those smaller blogs that have HUGE POTENTIAL in the state I am working now; they include: Young Philly Politics and Philly Future. Pittsburgh Webloggers is also a great source.

    The way that traditional communication directors compile lists of newspapers, reporters, journalists, and their contact information - that is the way they need to start with bloggers, especially the small bloggers within their universe.

    Finally, cross your fingers and hope they remember you when they go big! Until then, just be content as you work with them to spread your information to their families, co-workers and friends in the district which you are running.

    Posted at 02:18 PM in 2005 Elections, 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - House, 2006 Elections - Senate, 2006 Elections - State, 2008 Election - President, 2008 President - Democrats, 2008 President - Republicans, Activism, General, Netroots | Comments (1) | Technorati

    Wednesday, January 19, 2005

    Post Modern Political Warfare: Part II

    Posted by Tim Tagaris

    It looks like one reader has taken, and ran with, the idea I discussed in this post about waging politics on-line. The idea was to purchase potential URLs for 2006 GOP candidates, before they do.

    SSP reader Max Palmer sent me this email earlier today:

    Inspired by your post "Post-Modern Political Warfare", I registered several domain names tonight of Republic senators up for relections:,,,,,,, - I also registered, b/c I am worried about both races and did not want anyone opposing them to get it. [...]

    I consider the $90 I spent registering these sites to be a part of my donations to the democratic party and its candidates.

    It's a new ballgame folks. Those who used to marvel at the perfect placement for a yard sign, should now consider perfect Internet positioning in post-modern political campaigns.

    Imagine if Katherine Harris had to give out the URL, "" on every piece of literature, in every speech, and in commercials. The fundraising, organization, and information loss would be staggering.

    If nothing else, the people at Free Republic were pissed at my original post.

    You can check out what domain names are taken and available here.

    Disclaimer(s): You should not purcahse these URLs and attempt to sell them for profit later. If you buy a GOP URL, link it to the Dem candidate's site, or put your own blog on it and comment on the race.

    If you buy a Democrat's URL, offer it up to the campaign as an in-kind contribution.

    Posted at 04:07 PM in 2005 Elections, 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - House, 2006 Elections - Senate, 2006 Elections - State, Activism, Netroots | Comments (2) | Technorati

    Tuesday, January 18, 2005

    There Is No Crisis

    Posted by Tim Tagaris

    A revolutionary website that gives the netroots the tools necessary to protect the integrity of social security. Click on the picture below and link it on your own sites.

    The blogosphere has officially jumped into the mix.

    [P.S. The "There Is No Crisis" blog is operated by none other than the SSP's own Bob Brigham. - David]

    Posted at 10:30 PM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - House, 2006 Elections - Senate, Activism, Netroots | Comments (1) | Technorati

    Sunday, January 16, 2005

    Our Netroots

    Posted by Tim Tagaris

    Great piece by Matt Stoller over at Personal Democracy Forum. As a party, we have managed to compile a world wide web of communicators that fail miserably at communicating with eachother.

    1.) Traditional Democratic institutions fail to communicate with the netroots.

    It seems that the powers-that-be have yet to find a useful purpose for millions of on-line activists short of asking them for money or an occassional letter to the editor. Until they open channels of communication from the bottom - up, they will never understand our potential for contribution far greater than a $20 donation. The "right" is already way ahead of us on this account.

    2.) Many opinion leaders within the netroots fail to communicate effectively with eachother.

    This was evidenced by the Kos v. Exley debate that unfolded over the holidays. Matt thoroughly documents this in his piece at PDF.

    The funny thing is , I have seen firsthand what a wealth of communicative, technical, and organizational talent we have within the netroots. I don't know as much about the right-wing Internet infrastructure, but I would have a hard time believing that it is anywhere near as talented as ours. If we were able to get our shit together and act in concert with the traditional power structure within the Democratic party, what we could accomplish would be limitless.

    But that involves a give and take.

    As we saw last election cycle with the DCCC v. Kos, and Exley's lack of a seat at the table on the Kerry campaign, I am not sure we are quite there yet. So, the netroots operates in large part independent of the party, and the party fails to harness the limitless potential of the netroots. Everyone loses.

    3.) Meanwhile, Republicans are finding a place within their vast noise machine for bloggers to amplify their message.

    Look no further than "Rathergate" and the Daschle v. Thune blog.

    Let me give the latest best example that just popped into my head. When Harry Reid announced the formation of his "war room," I immediately asked myself what role bloggers would play? I even called his Senate office earlier this week to ask the question and share some ideas.

    I am still looking for the answer if anyone can help.

    Posted at 03:37 PM in Activism, General, Netroots | Comments (1) | Technorati

    Saturday, January 15, 2005

    Ride-Sharing to the DNC Caucuses

    Posted by DavidNYC

    Two down, two to go: The DNC's regional caucuses, which play a key role in the selection of our next DNC chair, are well underway. The Southern caucus took place last week, and the Midwest caucus went on yesterday in St. Louis. But there's still time to make it to the Western caucus (in Sacramento on the 22nd) or the Northeastern caucus (in NYC on the 29th).

    If you want to be part of the process - it's your right; all DNC meetings are open to the public (PDF, Art. 9, §12 on p. 12) - and you're looking to share a ride, check out, a great site I had occasion to plug during the campaign season last year. You can also look for rides to the Inauguration on the 20th, which of course I'll be around for. (Believe it or not, school is closed that day.)

    So go, make your voice heard - or at least, have a listen.

    Posted at 09:30 PM in Activism | Comments (2) | Technorati

    Thursday, January 13, 2005

    Post-Modern Political Warfare

    Posted by Tim Tagaris

    Internet gamesmanship in the run-up to the race for Governor of Massachusettes in 2006:

    Massachusetts Republicans have launched a pre-emptive strike against Democratic Attorney General Tom Reilly by snapping up online Internet addresses that would have been obvious picks for him if he decides to run for governor in 2006.

    Reilly has not yet said whether he will challenge Republican Gov. Mitt Romney in 2006. But if Reilly does run, it will be hard for him to use the Web sites,, and

    A smart move is a smart move, regardless of what party is behind the tactic. Get ready to see increased political warfare on-line during the 2006 election cycle. Since most web campaigns begin with a simple URL, I can't think of a better place to start.

    So, if you have a credit card handy and $7 you are willing to invest... is available. is available. is available. is available. is available. is available.

    Doesn't have to be Santorum; choose your race and knock yourself out. can tell you if there are domains available.

    If you buy any, for any Republican candidate, please email me to let me know.

    Posted at 10:10 AM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - House, 2006 Elections - Senate, 2006 Elections - State, Activism, Netroots | Comments (6) | Technorati

    Wednesday, January 12, 2005

    BlogPAC: Governor Dean Conference Call

    Posted by Bob Brigham

    The call with Governor Dean is beginning right now. I'll have live-blog updates in the extended entry.

    P.S. Sign up with BlogPAC!

    Empowering people in 50 states with grassroots campaigns.

    Don't be counter-productive with contacting DNC members, but he is saying it is fine to contact members in your state.

    Reform is on the way.

    Annatopia is live blogging.

    Dean wants to focus on training young activists.

    Won't shut down DFA.

    Touts experience.

    DFA has more people now than when Dean left Presidential race.

    Split position (co-chair) is impossible.

    There are a lot of good people in Washington.

    We need to language, not beliefs.

    When he is asked what he thinks he'll say it.

    Job of DNC Chair isn't to be lone spokesman, it is to win elections.

    Won't become somebody he isn't.

    Blog for America is going to start rolling out detailed plans, campaign will be run through DFA.

    Posted at 05:04 PM in Activism | Comments (2) | Technorati

    Tuesday, January 11, 2005

    Red State, Blue State

    Posted by Bob Brigham


    OAKLAND, Calif. -- A panel of linguists has deemed "red state, blue state, purple state" the phrase that most colored the nation's lexicon in 2004.

    Attendees at the annual convention of the Linguistic Society of America on Friday chose the word or phrase that dominated national discourse over the course of the last year.

    "It was the best candidate for word of the year," said Dennis Preston, a professor of linguistics at Michigan State University. "It engaged the American public for the entire year. Nothing showed the bloodthirsty population-engaging election as this."

    Pajamahadeen confirm lawn mullet, Hillbilly armor, flip-flopper, wardrobe malfunction and nerdvana unavailable for comment.

    Posted at 09:40 AM in Activism | Technorati

    Sunday, January 09, 2005

    Rep. Rahm Emanuel to lead DCCC

    Posted by Bob Brigham


    Illinois Rep. Rahm Emanuel, a former political operative for President Clinton, was named head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee on Sunday, replacing the late Rep. Robert Matsui.

    Emanuel, a former senior staffer for the House Democrats' fund-raising and recruiting organization, will lead the Democratic effort to regain control of the House in 2006.

    You can find out more about the DCCC, read the Stakeholder (DCCC blog) and here is the link to the new DCCC Social Security site.

    The Stakeholder has Pelosi's statement:

    House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi today named Congressman Rahm Emanuel of Illinois to lead the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

    "House Democrats are focused and determined to win a majority in the House in 2006, and Rahm Emanuel will be an outstanding leader in this effort," Pelosi said. "Rahm knows this country, its people and its politics from the neighborhoods up, which has been a key to his success and will be a key to ours in 2006. Rahm is a master strategist with the expertise and passion to build on the foundation that our dear friend Bob Matsui built during the last two years."

    In the 1980s, Emanuel held senior staff positions at the DCCC, and helped produce significant victories. He played a major role in the election of Bill Clinton as his Director of Finance in the 1992 Presidential campaign. Emanuel served as a top White House advisor to President Clinton from 1993 to 1998, first as Assistant to the President for Political Affairs and then as Senior Advisor to the President for Policy and Strategy. As a Member of Congress, he has distinguished himself with thoughtful ideas and strategic insights.

    "Rahm brings something more than a long resume," Pelosi said. "He brings the passion of an immigrant's son, and the street-smarts of his hometown of Chicago. His uncle has spent decades as a police sergeant in the same northwest side district Rahm now represents in Congress. His father was a pediatrician and treated thousands of children in the community."

    Emanuel said: "I thank Leader Pelosi and my Democratic colleagues for their confidence in me, and I appreciate the opportunity to lead the DCCC. This is about winning elections by setting the right priorities for our nation and its future. I look forward to a battle of ideas with the Republicans that will engage and motivate voters across this great country."

    Emanuel, who was re-elected in November to his second term as Representative of Illinois' 5th District with 78 percent of the vote, was recently appointed to the powerful House Ways and Means Committee. Emanuel was chosen by his Democratic freshmen class as Democratic Whip for their class. In the 2004 election cycle, he served as a Vice Chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and as a member of the Executive Committee of the New Democratic Coalition.

    Emanuel is the perfect choice to lead the DCCC.

    Posted at 03:44 PM in 2006 Elections, 2006 Elections - House, Activism, General | Comments (2) | Technorati

    Friday, January 07, 2005

    Simon Rosenberg's DNC Blog Plan

    Posted by Bob Brigham

    Yesterday, Simon Rosenberg announced an aggressive draft blog plan for the DNC. BlogPAC has posted the details:

    As DNC Chair, I'd like to take the DNC and make it a full part of the blogosphere. The principle behind what I offer here is to foment a continual and robust online discussion that the DNC actually is part of and that reinforces an overall Democratic political strategy.

    This visionary document was said to only be a draft that would be revised after further input from the blogosphere. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the netroots to help choose future tactics before the future leader is elected. The day he announced he unveiled a plan for blogs that he wants us to refine. To take advantage, I am going to evaluate each of Rosenberg's nine points. Netizens, it is time for a discussion.

    1. Regular conference calls, conferences, and a blog committee of ‘netroots’ representatives to advise various DNC departments on strategy, research, messaging and outreach.

    Well I'll be damn. That is what I'm talking about. Full integration of the blogosphere into all aspects of campaigning. This is visionary stuff. The conference calls and conferences could go a long way towards building a team approach that unites the DNC with the netroots. The coordination in terms of strategy would allow us to harness the collective wisdom of the blogosphere while ensuring that Team Democrat is using the same playbook. Research is also an amazing opportunity for the netroots to help create open-source oppo that would allow anyone to put forth effective reasons why their republican representation should be sent packing. Message is also a vital area of importance -- working together we will find better wording while helping to build consistency. Outreach provides the most potential. Democrats are far from peaking when it comes to activating our supporters. A team approach could increase our results along the same astronomical curve we have seen during the last few years.

    2. A consistent non-election year blogad budget dedicated to framing and testing messaging, as well as potential seed money for specialty blogs.

    Now we are talking. The DNC investing in message creation instead of message distribution. This is post-modern politics at it's best. This is a far more effective alert system than relying solely upon emails and allows the DNC to "blog through ads" across the internet. Tim Tagaris calls this "thinking outside the website" and this approach provides an unlimited expansion ability. I would love to see the DNC message of the day on every liberal blog I visit.

    3. An internal champion in the DNC to break news on blogs and connect elected Democrats and high level staffers with blogs, bloggers, and effective use of the internet with the goal of having the blogosphere surpass cable news networks in reach and influence.

    A DNC that is ready to commit acts of news online? This reads like my wildest dream. And that is before the line of having the blogosphere surpass cable news networks in reach and influence. Rosenberg has true vision and when he's elected I look forward to working with the DNC's Blogosphere Champion. And what a great benefit for DNC staff, help leveragig the internet to increase their productivity.

    4. To use the DNC’s 3.7 million person email list to create community and promote interesting spinoff projects like and grassroots created quality video and audio content.

    My guess is that 3.7 million person email list will double in size during Rosenberg's first year once this plan is enacted. But the key here is that he wants to use email for interaction, not just fundraising. Rosenberg has Tim's ATM pin. The multimedia aspect is equally important. Online, ads aren't constricted by time limits which allows unhindered, real-time campaigning potential. The spinoff project idea shows how Rosenberg is re-writing the job description for DNC Chair. This is really good stuff.

    5. Regular guest-posting from DNC representatives on willing blogs to talk through organizational, operational, and policy issues.

    This appears to be the deal. Rosenberg will help us with everything we've asked for and more, but we need to let the DNC have a voice on our blogs in return. Where do I sign?

    6. To work with blogs to figure out how to use Meetup effectively as a political tool for state and local parties.

    Meetup vs. Get Local is a discussion that we need to continue. We know that there is vast potential but we all know it could be used more effectively. Bloggers need to work with the DNC to make this work better.

    7. To promote a dialogue in which the blogs continue their discussion of the Democratic Party so that we can create the social networks critical to a vibrant progressive movement.

    The social networking future is something that we could catapult under the framework Rosenberg is suggesting in his Blog Plan. Rosenberg is years ahead of the pack on this one. The fact that he realizes it isn't about campaigns, but rather a movement is a critical observation. Bloggers need to constantly push the Democratic Party to do more, to do it better, and then to expand. Rosenberg's thirst to foster this dialogue is revolutionary.

    8. To integrate blogs fully into the progressive messaging machine that targets and unseats Republicans and Republican initiatives.

    One thing I've noticed about Rosenberg is that instead of running for Chair of the DNC he is running to create a Democratic Party Empire. Better yet, he is focused on winning. The right is far ahead of us at this point but Rosenberg's embrace of the netroots could provide the catapult for us to rapidly catch up -- and then surpass -- the vast right wing conspiracy.

    9. A New Politics Think Tank inside the DNC that fosters the sharing of best practices among those involved in netroots politics so as to allow for a supported network of savvy operatives to permeate progressive organizing. This organ would also investigate new technologies like RSS, wikis, podcasting, and their applicability to organizing at every level.

    As far as I know, Rosenberg is the first candidate to ever mention podcasting. RSS as a message distribution tool proves that Rosenberg is an online visionary. When I encountered Wiki my first thought was oppo. My next thought was elected official achievement. My final thought was that my first two thoughts were only the tip of the iceberg. Rosenberg is embracing open-source politics and cutting edge technology. Wow.


    Wow. What else can I say? Rosenberg "gets it" and is asking us to help him get it even more. This isn't a candidate willing to accept technological tools, rather Rosenberg is a leader focused on ruthlessly exploiting technology to provide Democrats -- as in each of us -- the tools to realize his vision of a Democratic Party Empire.: tools to match our passion:

    We have to recognize how the Internet and the passion of Americans are fundamentally changing American politics. And when we think of the DNC in the years ahead and the Democratic Party, I hope that we don’t think of 447 people but we think of millions of Americans going to work every day to make their country a better place. That’s a better vision of what a Democratic community can be.

    But it is important that he wants to discuss this draft plan and figure out how to do it better. This is what we've been asking for. Let's have a discussion.

    Posted at 09:11 AM in Activism, DNC Chair, General, Netroots | Comments (1) | Technorati

    Thursday, January 06, 2005

    Statement from Senator Barbara Boxer

    Posted by Bob Brigham



    Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., signed a challenge mounted by House Democrats to Ohio's 20 electoral votes, which put Bush over the top.

    Asked about her historic vote to stand up for the people, the Office of US Senator Barbara Boxer may have released the following statement:

    "I exercise my right to express when I feel it's time. I say to fight, you take it as I'mma whip someone's ass."

    "Come along follow me as I lead through the darkness, as I provide just enough spark that we need to proceed. Carry on, give me hope, give me strength -- come with me and I won't steer you wrong."

    "Put your faith and your trust as I guide us through the fog to the light at the end of the tunnel."

    "Now this is our final hour, let me be the voice in your strength and your choice. Let me simplify the rhyme just to amplify the noise. Try to amplify the times it, and multiply by six. Teen million people are equal at this high pitch."

    "If we don't serve our own country, we're patronizing a hero. Look in his eyes its all lies."

    Posted at 11:32 AM in 2006 Elections, 2008 Election - President, 2008 President - Democrats, Activism, California, Ohio | Technorati

    Friday, December 17, 2004

    State Party Blog Project: In It Together

    Posted by Tim Tagaris

    Thanks to those of you who have made their way over from DailyKos for the first time.  For the regulars, let me explain...

    One way or another, the vast majority of you are aware that we are trying to bring all 50 states on-line with a blog on their webpage.  In the extended entry portion of this thread, you will find a list of states lacking a blog, a link to their webpage, and a copy of the email I initially sent to each of the state parties.

    If you are interested in "adopting a state," please note which state you would like to take the lead with in the comments along with your email address.  I will update this blog daily on the topic; if you have made any progress, please indicate that and I will update the main page of the blog accordingly.

    Information in the extended entry.  For future reference or questions, my email address is

    The States:

    AL (ttagaris - - Will have a blog next week
    AZ Just put a blog two days ago.
    DE (ttagaris - - Currently talking with them
    FL (ttagaris - - Have had a few conversations with them
    IA (Hans -                                 ) - Need an email address
    KY (ttagaris - - Turning blog option "on" shortly.
    LA (ara - Just moved to Louisiana
    ME (Alna Dem -
    MA  (Ken Michaud - - will email this weekend
    MI (Rabid Nation -
    MT (Bob Brigham - "Montana..I'll land"
    NH (Chuck  - -- Is in for New Hampshire
    NC (ttagaris - Revamping webpage to include a blog
    ND (ttagaris - - Talking with State Chairman Monday
    PA (Chris Bowers from MyDD) is going to handle it "in a way so large its hard to imagine"
    TN (ttagaris- - Talked to them today.  Putting one up
    TX (sharon - - Has decided to mess with Texas
    VT (Lunch Lady -
    WV (Carnaki --
    WI (Mike - - Has already taken step 1

    Additionally, ID (Bernine - Value of using a blog

    NM, UT, and WY have blogs that they have decided not to use and

     MD's blog has only 2 posts.  ( &

    Tech Help: (

    The Email I Sent:


    My name is Tim Tagaris.  During the past election
    cycle I was the communications director for Jeff
    Seemann's (Dem.) congressional campaign in the 16th
    district of Ohio.  During the race we received
    national acclaim for our use of the Internet as a tool
    to communicate with the grassroots and fundraise.

    We found that feedback, inclusion, respect and
    communication were the most effective way to register
    useful feedback and communicate in real time with the
    people in the best position to support the goals of
    the Democratic Party, the people.  The most useful and
    efficient mechanism to accomplish those goals during
    the campaign was a blog. 

    I noticed that your state party webpage does not have
    a blog.  I would love to take a few minutes (that's
    all it takes!) and help you get one up on your site to
    better communicate with people in your great state,
    and others across the country.

    Unfortunately, three-fourths of state party websites
    don't have a blog either.  I am sending this message
    to each one of those states.  Hopefully by the end of
    January we can ensure that EVERY state party website
    has the tools necessary to communicate and reach out
    to their constituents.

    Please let me know if you already have plans to set up
    a blog on your webpage, if there is anything I can do
    to help, or if you are not interested..

    Posted at 10:24 PM in Activism, Netroots, Netroots | Comments (12) | Technorati

    Thursday, December 16, 2004

    State Party Blog Project: Day 1

    Posted by Tim Tagaris

    Twenty-four hours ago I sent out an email to the 34 states absent a blog from their party web page.  The note discussed the  implications netroots outreach have in organizing, informing, involving, and fundraising (the language they speak).  I even offered to help those without blogs get off the ground; setting them up and tips for outreach based on the successes from the last election cycle.

    By the time I woke up, Wednesday morning, I already had several replies.

    Was your state one of them, and what were the specific replies?  Find out in the extended entry....


    We are interested.

    Short and sweet, but that's alright.  They will get a phone call and will hopefully be on-line within the next few days.

    North Carolina

    Thank you for your message.  You're right about the blog and we are currently in the process of revamping our website to include one.


    Thank you for contacting us about having a blog on our Web site.  We switched to a new Web site recently and it does have built-in blog capabilities.  We do plan to turn that feature "on" soon.

    Again, thank you for bringing the importance of using blogs to our attention--more precisely, thanks for reminding us that we need to further explore how we will use ours.

    That was my favorite response, until...


    i have been wanting to do this.  not sure exactly how to go about it. any insight would be greatly appreciated.

    Finally, Florida (an excerpt -- was a long email)

    I've gone so far as to walk through the blog creation process at and to download movable type for potentially hosting a blog on our webserver. We also wrote a very simplistic web diary for use by our delegation during the convention. One reason I'm not hosting a blog is maintenance.  [...]

    I love blogs. I read several regularly. We already run a yahoo group that allows some members to carry on discussions. What more will a blog do for us?

    I emailed him back, talking about how much a blog could have done in 2000 for Florida. I also noted the potential for 2006, since they have a Gubernatorial and Senate race up for grabs.

    Even tonight, I got an email from someone in Rhode Island who heard about the project and wants to help locally, to get his state party set up despite a lack of manpower.

    Oh, I forgot one.

    New York

    Thank you for contacting us.  Because of the volume of email we receive daily...

    Yeah, it was a form letter directing me to other links on their page.  But that's OK!  We got responses from "red states," "blue states," and "swing states."  As Jerome and Matt discussed in their coverage of the Orlando meetings, many of the "less competitive" states were very upset about getting scraps from the national party.  If our goal is to turn elections into 50 state contests, that is a legitimate beef. 

    Putting a blog on your web page is only one small step.  However, if taken seriously, the ability to communicate, inform, recruit, and solicit are powerful byproducts of the technology.  By moving themselves one step closer to two-way mass communication with the grassroots, they will be making progress toward putting the power back into their own hands, regardless of who is elected DNC Chair.

    Posted at 03:08 AM in Activism, Netroots, Netroots | Comments (7) | Technorati

    Wednesday, December 15, 2004

    Red State Party Domination

    Posted by Bob Brigham

    Until today, much of the focus of my little crusade for State Party modernization has been focused on the negative. The fact that 75% of state Parties don't even have blogs suggests many states suffered opportunity cost losses by not taking advantage of modern tools. But today is a day to be positive.

    Democratic State Parties must modernize, sooner or later. While in the short time the early adapters will have a tactical advantage in organizing, in the long term most thorough modernizers will be the strongest.

    Seeing Micah Sifry pile-on made me think of his recent article in The Nation. If you are a State Party considering modernization, you would be smart to read this article.

    Also, when it comes to my little crusade for modernization, some have argued that there is no point in setting up a blog for the reddest states. I would disagree 100%. The internet is a leveling force which means the most important places to embrace netroots technology are the reddest of the red states. The internet allows the willing to leverage, meaning the greatest potential gains are in the reddest of states. For example, is it going to be easier to double the number of precinct captains in Oregon or Alabama? For those readers new to the netroots, the internet is more powerful as an organizing tool than it is as a fundraising tool. But overall, it is about gettting more people involved, something every State Party in America needs.

    As we continue to plan modernization of State Parties, I would like to think how we can focus on the reddest states. As we do modernize I suggest we focus on where we need to be in 20 years instead of where we should have been this year. Let's do it right, especially in the red states.

    Today is Day 4 of my crusade to help our State Parties. Even in the Red States. Especially in the Red States. See the List of Shame and contact your leadership if your State Party needs to modernize.

    Posted at 01:55 PM in Activism | Comments (3) | Technorati

    Tuesday, December 14, 2004

    WashPost on State Party Reform

    Posted by Bob Brigham

    E. J. Dionne Jr. wrote the best piece yet on Orlando, where he explained why the real debate didn't happen if front of the State Party Chairs, "It isn't quite so sexy to talk about why it is that Republican state party organizations are, with a few exceptions, much stronger than Democratic organizations."

    We all know that is the truth.

    It appears the mainstream media is beginning to realize that the true dynamics in the race center around reform. Not just reform of the DNC, but reform of the antiquated state parties.

    Mark Brewer didn't get any ink in the Washington Post, in fact the name of his ADSC wasn't even mentioned. But bloggers had a seat at the table. Because modern reporters are letting the old press releases sit unread while they surf the blogosphere for the real news...and the pulse.

    It is entirely understandable that Dionne refers to the State Parties under Brewer's leadership as "atrophied party structures" because they need to be rebuilt. Not just reformed, but rebuilt.

    However, he brings up another important point when he mentions the few exceptions. Some State Parties are stronger than their GOP counterpoints. Some State Parties are using all of the tools available to aggressively mount modern campaigns. We should deploy the best practices from these states to the states in need. If the DNC won't provide the leadership, if the ADSC won't provide the leadership, then maybe it is time for the strong state parties to provide the leadership. Maybe it is time for some horizontal leadership...some west coast offense. Maybe we can do better.

    Today is Day 3 of my crusade to help our State Parties.

    Posted at 12:45 PM in Activism | Technorati

    Monday, December 13, 2004

    State Democratic Party Websites

    Posted by Bob Brigham

    It is Day 2 of my project to focus on modernizing Democratic State Parties. With MyDD and DavidNYC weighing in, the crisis received many more eyeballs.

    Yesterday I complained, but today I am taking the first step towards helping solve the problem.

    As I noted in my study of State Democratic Party blogs (or lack thereof), the California Democratic Party has a strong blog written by Bob Mulholland.

    For almost a year Mulholland has taken advantage of his blog to ruthlessly bash the opposition, energize the grassroots, organize and raise money.

    The CDP website also has a neat feature titled, "Ask the Chairman" where readers can send emails to CPD Chair Art Torres that he can then answer online.

    So today I sent an email to Chair Torres, here is what I had to say:

    As you know, Bob Mulholland does a pretty damn good job of blogging.

    However, a new study has shown that three-fourths of State
    Democratic Parties do not even have a blog, much less one like Bob's. In 2006, 80% of the states that will host US Senate races are lead by State Parties that do not even have a blog.

    Recently, this has received much attention online with Democratic activists worried that most State Parties are ill-prepared for modern campaigns.

    So here is my question, as State Chair can you have Mr. Mulholland spend an afternoon writing an email to the other State Parties sharing his experiences blogging? Instead of forcing the other states to learn through trial and error, can you to deploy our best practices and lead the other states?

    Thanks for reading my question.

    Bob Brigham

    Hopefully, this email will spur some action.

    While I'm writing, let me give you a taste of one week on Mulholland's blog:

    Last Friday: "If Nader had not run in 2000, Al Gore would have been re-elected on Nov 2. Instead Kerry will receive 252 Electoral Votes and Bush Jr. will get 286 (270 needed to get the White House keys)"

    Last Thursday: "Rumsfeld should be court-martialed for putting Americans in combat without armor."

    More from Thursday: "That���s right ��� 50 percent of Bush Jr.���s own Congressmembers in California gave him the finger."

    Last Wednesday: "The United States and Australia are holding out for God to stop global warming."

    Last Tuesday: "So after years going on Middleast TV talking about democracy, Bush Jr. has finally learned a lesson ��� the one he slept through at Yale."

    Last Monday: "Schwarzenegger once again sells out California���s interests. He does what Karl Rove tells him."

    These are just a few choice quotes from the 16 posts Mulholland wrote last week. After a year of blogging, he has really hit his stride. It would be a benefit to the entire Party if he could share some of his experiences with his counterparts in other states. Not only does he write a blog that is popular with activists and the media, but he writes from the perspective of a state Party mouthpiece.

    Posted at 08:25 PM in Activism | Comments (5) | Technorati

    Sunday, December 12, 2004

    State Party Blogs

    Posted by Bob Brigham

    At the Orlando winter meeting of the Association of Democratic State Chairs, Michigan Mark Brewer appeared to relish kicking out bloggers. If you are one of the few who hasn't heard of the scandal, Jerome Armstrong, Matt Stoller and Joe Trippi were kicked out of an otherwise public meeting because they have blogs. MyDD broke the story which has since been blogged by our own Tim Tagaris, Kos, Blogging of the President, Atrios, Mathew Gross, Steve Gilliard, Suburban Guerrilla, Mahablog, and Change for America.

    In my humble opinion, the ADSC should have kicked out anyone who doesn't have a blog. I can't think of a single reason why a state party chair would not have a blog. In fact, in this "Year of the Blog" with blogs proving to be unmatched resources for raising money, engaging activists, and creating change, I believe it to be a sign of incompetence for a state Party to not have a blog.

    I was shocked to discover that three-fourths of state Democratic parties do not have blogs. AL, AK, AZ, AR, CT, DE, FL, HI, IL, IN, IA, KY, LA, ME, MA, MI, MS, MT, NH, NJ, NY, NC, ND, OK, OR, PA, RI, SD, TN, TX, VT, WA, WV, WI all make the list of shame for not having a blog. Additionally, ID, NM, UT, and WY have blogs that they have decided not to use and MD's blog has only 2 posts.

    While almost all of these states have a mechanism for accepting online donations, none of them decided to catapult their online campaigns by having a blog. Likewise, almost all of these websites ask people to volunteer without offering daily reasons why their time is need.

    As NE and NV have demonstrated, a state party can spend 20 minutes to set up a free blog on blogger, put a link on their website, and be a modern Party in a half an hour.

    If state parties want to do more, they could follow the lead of California's Bob Mulholland who uses his blog to bash Republicans, fire up activists, and raise money -- in real-time, almost every day.

    The fact that three-fourths of State Parties do not have the most basic of tools for online campaigning highlights the absurdity of Terry McAliffe's recent efforts to re-invent himself as a grassroots Chair.

    As somebody who has created dozens of blogs, I will attest that it is easy to set up a blog and begin realizing major gains. It can even be free and not doing so is inexcusable. So next time, the ADSC should kick out the dead weight and let the visionaries stay.

    This has been updated to remove MN and VT which have blogs. Minnesota's blog is now linked from the DFL website, thank you to our very responsive friends in MN.

    Posted at 05:29 PM in Activism | Comments (24) | Technorati

    Friday, December 10, 2004

    Opposition beats Bernard Kerik

    Posted by Bob Brigham

    Bernard Kerik was forced to withdraw his name from consideration to lead Homeland Security -- that much you have probably already heard and if so we can agree it to be true.

    However, the agreement ends there with far different reasons given for this action:

    1. Kerik decided to let the terrorists win.
    2. The official version is true and revelations of Kerik employing an illegal immigrant house keeper caused him to volunteer to withdraw his name.
    3. He was asked to withdraw after being stomped online as being unqualified, corrupt, incompetent, and opposed to free speech.

    Now on my first day here I don't want to go running my mouth calling people stoopid, but the fact that this won't be discussed until further re-writes is exactly why this is breaking on a Friday night.

    All administrations, and this administration in particular, know this is how you kill a story. Examining the news as it is being written tonight shows how easily the White House can outwit the media. The interns and junior staff who end up working on Friday nights aren't going to risk their careers by writing what everyone knows so they stick to the official version and leave the speculation -- no matter how obvious -- for someone else.

    Tonight, that means me. So let me tell you the lessons we can draw from this story. First, if the President appoints somebody unqualified simply because they are loyal, we can win. I would go so far as to say we have an obligation to win. Second, we need to throw everything we have at poor nominations. The White House might be fine with unqualified, corrupt, incompetent, and opposed to free speech -- but sometimes it takes having a non-American cleaning the bathroom for a Bush nominee to be considered unfit.

    In the coming days I'm certain the blogosphere will have a strong discussion about what worked in beating back Kerik. I look forward to participating and learning how we can deploy best practices in future efforts. But it is a Friday night so I'm going to sign nice to the interns and keep one eye on the White House Press Office.

    Posted at 11:33 PM in Activism | Comments (2) | Technorati

    Monday, November 01, 2004

    Sunday on the Campaign Trail with Ginny

    Posted by Chris Bowers

    This week, I had the time of my activist life working with/witnessing the Ginny Schrader campaign in action. It was a grassroots, citizen-based campaign the likes of which I have never seen before in my life. Ginny herself is a remarkable, fantastic person. If John Kerry wins tomorrow, I will still be depressed if Ginny Schrader loses. She is exactly the sort of person we need in Congress, the sort of person everyone says they want in Congress. She is the American Dream in the flesh.

    Here are just some of the things I learned about Ginny's campaign during my two days:

    �Ģ No staff member has been paid in about a month. Nearly all of the money they raised went directly to campaign related activities, even though they raised more than $400K over the past three months. In addition to funding the final mailing, our final few contributions probably meant that the staffers would not go home completely empty-handed.

    �Ģ Ginny's campaign might be the first Congressional campaign in history to raise the majority of its money online. Ginny received the majority of her money form blogs, MoveOn, DFA and direct online contributions.

    �Ģ Over the final week, the campaign is fueled primarily by several hundred volunteers, most from in-state who just walked into either the campaign office or one of the five Democratic coordinated campaign offices in Bucks county.

    �Ģ Apart from organizations such as ACT, MoveOn labor and environmental groups, there are nearly 1,000 volunteers walking Bucks county in the coordinated Democratic campaign this week. Bucks has just under 600,000 people.

    �Ģ If Kerry reaches 55 or 56% in Bucks county, Ginny will win. I have seen the numbers in the county, both for the congressional and Presidential campaign, and this is very doable. Right now, Bush is stuck in the mid to low forties in the district.

    On Sunday morning, before noon, I helped seventy-five volunteers stream into the office, fold literature, be quickly and orderly assigned walking lists, and sent into the field to work with the over 200 volunteers at one of four offices of the Bucks County Democratic coordinated campaign.

    Also on Sunday, starting at 7:30 am, well before Ginny spoke in a predominantly African-American church in the MontCo corridor of the PA-08, an RV covered with Ginny signs, called the "Ginny mobile" was already touring the streets. Playing music and with former Congressman Mike Forbes as MC, Ginny would jump out of the RV every so often to shake hands with enthusiastic supporters. I was frequently aboard the RV, and being there gave me a feeling of utter confidence and excitement about the campaign.

    I saw Ginny walk tables in a diner with Senator Bill Bradley, who I had the honor of meeting and chatting with for a couple minutes (we actually talked about, of all things, Chris Mathews). I shared a free loaf of bread with the staffers, Ernestine Bradley (Bill's wife), George Schrader (Ginny's husband) and Ginny's two young granddaughters, who came to the diner for the event.

    I saw Senator Bradley, usually reserved, immediately perk up and give the most intelligent, thoughtful response to any question the second he was asked. He was remarkable--the political equivalent of what my father said Jim Brown was like as a football player (Brown walked back to the huddle as slowly as possible to conserve energy, but he would explode whenever he was handed the ball).

    I saw staffers, most of whom were younger than myself, act with incredible professionalism and dedication even as they casually chatted with me about blogging, Senate campaigns and swing states. I did not keep an exact count, but I think the staff thanked me more than one hundred times for the help the netroots had given to the campaign.

    I saw a rally of two hundred volunteers greet us when we arrived at the one of the coordinated campaign offices, cheering like mad as Ginny, Senator Bradley and everyone else stepped out of the RV. I saw Ginny and Bill give excellent speeches, and then I saw all two hundred volunteers return to canvassing only a few minutes later.

    In the midst of a campaign fueled almost entirely by small donations averaging $40 and hundreds of volunteer activists, I saw NRCC TV ads calling Ginny Schrader and Lois Murphy terrorists who supported the rape of young girls. Now you tell me, how am I supposed to have any respect for Republicans at all after seeing that? It was the face of pure hatred scowling at a group of active citizens filled with hope. The NRCC is running this ad nationally to attack every Democrat in a close election--how can you have any respect for Republicans at all after this attack?

    In short, I saw politics the way it should be run: a fully functional grassroots campaign supported by the larger party. I also saw it up against the definition of how politics should not be run: an evil smear campaign used in an attempt to perpetuate a radical agenda. A loss here would be a profound defeat for American politics. Then again, that Ginny is close is already a huge victory. This is what the blogosphere has wrought.

    Posted at 10:54 PM in Activism, Pennsylvania | Comments (1) | Technorati

    Get Out the Vote in Pittsburgh - It's Your Turn!

    Posted by Seamus


    We have 24 hours left. And we need your help NOW!

    I've been working down here in Pittsburgh at the Steamfitters Hall with America Votes since Saturday. It has been a good experience, but we have been woefully short on the volunteers we need to get out the vote in the Burg. That means that we need folks within driving distance of Pittsburgh who aren't already committed to getting out the vote to come on down.

    Are you supposed to work? Call in sick.

    College classes? Call in sick.

    Doctor's appointment? Call in sick.

    This is the most important election in our lifetime. Directions and more info below the fold.

    Use this Mapquest link, enter your address, and create directions.
    Mapquest Link to the Steamfitters Hall
    Note: If you are traveling north on Route 51, you want to turn left immediately after the BP gas station (also on the left).

    Call me on my cell phone at (814) 229-4790 if you need to.

    The America Votes coalition, along with SEIU, Sierra Club, and ACT, is trying to help get Pennsylvanians to the polls. But our volunteer base has been inadequate, which means if you can feasibly drop everything on your desk, we need you now.

    I've been here since Friday night. That night, we organized canvassing in the Sierra Club office which has a solid volunteer base. On Saturday, we moved on to the America Votes site but have not met our volunteer goals. We have been canvassing the South Side, Greenfield, and other neighborhoods. These are areas that have not turned out to vote in adequate proportions in prior years. Today, we have been canvassing with door hangers to remind folks when polls are open and where their polling place is. Believe it or not, people often do not know these things.

    Tomorrow is crunch time. We are going to be canvassing the neighborhoods and reminding folks that we need them to vote. But we need more bodies if we are going to do this successfully.

    If you are not within reach of Pittsburgh, please take the time to figure out where you can go help get out the vote. To do that, visit Act For Victory and click on your state. The contact numbers for offices in your state are listed on the left.

    Posted at 05:07 PM in Activism, Pennsylvania | Technorati

    Sunday, October 31, 2004

    The Swing State Mom Reports in from the Field

    Posted by DavidNYC

    The official Swing State Project mother, author of Picking Your Battles, has picked hers. Here's her report from the field:

    From the ground in Ohio! I am here with 5,000 ACT volunteers in Cleveland getting out the vote. It is heartening to be surrounded by so many commited activists. We have poured in from as far as LA and NY. We are disproving the NYTimes which today writes that these states are "watching from the bleachers." No we are not! We have come down on to the playing field and giving it our all.

    After a day of canvassing in the Mayfield Heights, which included private homes and apartments, we assembled in a hotel ballroom and worked on get out to vote "door-hangers" that will be distributed to 150,000 voters on election day. Canvassing continues today through Nov. 2. ACT is very, very, well organized and we go out in teams.

    The atmosphere is encouraging because the preponderence of volunteers are young - I am one of the oldest people here! We have a job to do whether Kerry wins or not. We have to follow the DEAN Prime Directive to influence not just this elecation but the future of politics. For me this means to get people into the process of progressive, liberal politics. (Yes, I���m a bleeding heart liberal, which means I have a heart!)

    Time to go hit the streets again. Everyone out there reading this: PLEASE get out there even in these last hours. It can and will make a difference.

    You heard the lady! Get out there and do whatever you can.

    Posted at 05:48 PM in Activism, Ohio | Comments (20) | Technorati

    Friday, October 15, 2004

    What We Do From Here on Out

    Posted by DavidNYC

    Today, October 15th, is the final FEC filing deadline of this election cycle. We're soon going to find out which campaigns fared well and which fared poorly over the last quarter. What this also means is that we're reaching the point where donations of cash are less important than donations of time. A fat bank account can't do voter outreach and get people to the polls on election day.

    This is where we come in. If you haven't already, it's time to volunteer. I've plugged many groups, but as I've said before, the one I recommend most highly is America Coming Together. There are three reasons for this. First, ACT is everywhere - they almost certainly can get you plugged in near where you live. Second, everyone I know who has worked with ACT has had a great experience. And third, ACT is in this for the long haul. Like everyone else, ACT wants to - and plans to - win right now. But they also are taking the long view of things and want to help build the party for years to come.

    If you want to hook up directly with a campaign, you can certainly call the Kerry people. One alternative I would suggest, though, is that you see if there are any smaller local or state campaigns in your area. To find out which races are the most competitive, visit ActBlue, which also has links to candidates' websites.

    Finally, if you are a lawyer, law student or legal professional, your special skills will be of critical importance on election day. I don't need to remind anyone about the importance of making sure huge numbers of Americans don't get disenfranchised again. For law students, check out Impact 2004, which is the group I'm getting involved with. They offer training sessions and volunteer opportunities in swing states. Impact is part of an umbrella group called the Election Protection Coalition, which is another place you can sign up, particularly if you're an attorney. And lastly, there is the Democratic Party's Voting Rights Institute, which also wants volunteers.

    Readers: If you've done work with a campaign or other pro-Dem group, please tell us about your experience in the comments. And if you want to make a pitch for a particular group, do that as well.

    Posted at 01:52 PM in Activism | Comments (1) | Technorati

    Thursday, October 07, 2004

    Yesterday You Voted - Today's the Day

    Posted by DavidNYC

    Yesterday, over 1200 people voted to decide Jeff Seemann's schedule for today, and now you can click here to see what it looks like. Looks pretty darn good to me. (Hey, Jeff, maybe you can cut costs by using us as your campaign manager every day?) And how can you not love the fact that people voted for Jeff to tuck his daughter in at 9 o'clock? So sweet!

    The campaign is already getting some good local coverage in the Canton Repository, hopefully with more to follow. And we should also expect some updates from the campaign itself. Good luck today, Jeff!

    Posted at 01:07 PM in Activism, Ohio | Comments (1) | Technorati

    Rally for Kerry in MO

    Posted by DavidNYC

    Speaking of Missouri, Team Kerry is having a big ol' rally after the debate this Friday night. If you're in the St. Louis area, go, have fun, listen to JFK and then go get some beers afterwards. But sign up for (free) tickets first. If that's not enough revelry, you can Drink Liberally next Wednesday, too.

    And if you are still thinking about doing volunteer work in a swing state but haven't made any plans yet, ACT will hook you up.

    P.S. More callback interviews this Friday, plus I'll be staying in NYC for the weekend. (Gonna do a little J-E-T-S on Sunday.) I'll be posting, but probably a little lighter than usual.

    Posted at 02:48 AM in Activism, Missouri | Technorati

    Wednesday, October 06, 2004

    Manage the Seemann Campaign for a Day!

    Posted by DavidNYC

    Oh, man, this is so awesome - this is SUCH a cool idea. I can't tell you how many times during the Dean campaign I said to myself (or whomever would listen), "I wish I could be in charge for a day!" But Jeff Seemann is letting his supporters do exactly that: We get to decide everything Jeff does for an entire day. In other words, the Seemann campaign is letting the netroots become his virtual campaign manager for a day. Totally brilliant.

    So how do you get involved? Follow this link. The staff has broken up Jeff's day into various segments, and we can vote on what we think Jeff should be doing in each time block. You think Jeff is best served by doing some blogging? You can vote for that. You want Jeff to go make some noise at the Timken factory? You can vote for that, too.

    If you want some background on the various issues that affect Ohio's 16th CD, you should check out Jeff's website. You can also visit the DailyKos diaries of Tim Tagaris, Jeff's communications director, and Jeff's own DKos diary. And there's also the campaign's new blog.

    Anyhow, go vote! This is the ultimate in netroots wish fulfillment: your chance to truly have a seat at the table. And if you are so inspired, you should give Jeff some turkee, or if you live in his area, volunteer for him.

    UPDATE: A Raw Story partner has a piece on this, with a cute headline: "Candidate Ditches Manager, Hires Internet."

    ANOTHER UPDATE: Kossacks, go recommend this diary by Jeff himself - everyone should have a chance to participate in this historic event.

    Posted at 03:00 PM in Activism, Ohio | Comments (1) | Technorati

    Won't Get Fooled Again

    Posted by DavidNYC

    For your Wednesday morning activist pleasure... Operation "Shame on You," which I mentioned not long ago, has spun off into its own site and renamed itself Operation "Fool Me Once," which I like a lot better. The goal is to convince newspapers which endorsed Bush in 2000 to endorse Kerry this time around by writing letters to the editor.

    And this time, the new boss won't be the same as the old boss, not by a long shot.

    Posted at 02:11 AM in Activism | Technorati

    Thursday, September 30, 2004

    Sign Up For DNC's Debate Response Team

    Posted by DavidNYC

    If you haven't already signed up for the Kerry-Edwards debate response team, do so immediately. Four years ago, initial polling confirmed that Al Gore won the first debate. But within a few days, the Beltway Heathers convinced America that Bush had won and the un-cool Gore had been beaten. So I can't stress enough how important it is that we win this post-debate "debate."

    If you sign up, you'll get an e-mail within minutes of the debate which will provide an action plan to ensure that we get positive media coverage. This is especially important for those of you living in swing states, where local coverage can have an enormous effect.

    Posted at 04:41 PM in Activism | Comments (3) | Technorati

    Monday, September 27, 2004

    Operation Shame on You

    Posted by DavidNYC

    I like this idea: Some folks have launched "Operation Shame on You," which is designed to target newspapers which endorsed Bush in 2000 to get them to change their minds for this year. The current target state is Pennsylvania. A number of papers there actually endorsed Clinton-Gore in 1996, so getting them to see the light via letters to the editor might actually be doable.

    OSOY has previously targeted Ohio and Florida, but if you want to help out with those states, you certainly still can. This is something very easy to do - you don't even have to get out of your chair. I'm not sure how big of an effect these endorsements have, but I'm inclined to believe that they matter, particularly for undecided voters right near the end of the campaign. Let's put it another way: It can't hurt to have as many endorsements as you can muster.

    Posted at 03:13 PM in Activism, Pennsylvania | Comments (1) | Technorati

    Wednesday, September 22, 2004

    The Road to Somewhere

    Posted by DavidNYC

    Regular guest-blogger Seamus is involved with a very worthy swing-state activism project, the Sierra Club's "Road to Somewhere." This program aims to increase turnout by educating voters about environmental issues. I think this is potentially a very powerful topic, especially when focused on local issues - such as mining safety in Appalachia and Yucca Mountain in Nevada, two topics we've discussed here, for instance.

    The Sierra Club is running programs in almost all the swing states, including Seamus' native Pennsylvania. If you can stay for an extended period of time, Sierra will try to find you housing. I know a number of people who have taken this ultimate plunge (most with ACT), and almost everything I've been hearing back has been positive. But whether you can go for 6 weeks or one afternoon, this is yet another good program to join up with.

    Posted at 11:10 PM in Activism | Technorati

    Friday, September 17, 2004

    Making a Difference in the Field

    Posted by DavidNYC

    I hope everyone who was celebrating Rosh Hashanah had a great holiday - I certainly did. I just wanted to quickly point your attention to this diary by Dan who went to Ohio for five days of volunteer work. He & a friend hit up several different offices, including one of ACT's and a couple of Kerry's. In addition to doing all kinds of campaign work, Dan & Amanda also managed to get Kerry HQ to take action to shore up a flagging satellite office. Nicely done. Just goes to show you can make a big difference if you spend a few days in a swing state.

    Posted at 07:47 PM in Activism, Ohio | Comments (1) | Technorati

    Sunday, September 12, 2004

    What is Canvassing Like?

    Posted by DavidNYC

    When it comes to get-out-the-vote (GOTV) operations, nothing is more important than door-to-door canvassing. If you haven't done it yet but you're wondering what the experience is like, ebradlee10 has a good diary about spending the day canvassing the Philly burbs with ACT.

    Posted at 11:18 PM in Activism, Pennsylvania | Comments (1) | Technorati

    Wednesday, August 04, 2004

    Shiny Happy Voters

    Posted by DavidNYC

    ACT & MoveOn are staging what appears to be a huge concert tour featuring some seriously big-name artists (Bruce Springsteen, Dave Matthews, Pearl Jam, and, yes, R.E.M.) in nine swing states during October. Proceed from ticket sales go to ACT. Seems like an awesome way to make your dollar go to work for the Dems & have a blast at the same time. So get your music on!

    UPDATE: This NYT article says that MoveOn members get to buy tickets in advance of everyone else, so you should sign up if you haven't already.

    Posted at 04:43 PM in Activism | Comments (8) | Technorati

    Tuesday, August 03, 2004

    Weekend Canvassing in Schrader's Back Yard with DFA & ACT

    Posted by DavidNYC

    Democracy for America's Mercer County, NJ branch is teaming up with its counterpart in nearby Bucks County, PA and America Coming Together to target voters in Bucks, which is a suburban Philly-area county. They'll be carpooling into PA nearly every weekend from the end of summer until election day. This seems like a great way to reach out to a swing state, and I've heard pretty much only good things about ACT. I haven't yet heard about anyone's field experiences with DFA 2.0, but of course, Deaniacs have always had a strong ground presence.

    Mercer County, btw, is the home of Trenton, the state capital. It's around an hour or so from NYC by car, and a little bit more than that via New Jersey Transit, which leaves from Penn Station & is pretty affordable. Of course, I don't know exactly where the group is meeting up, but if you want information, e-mail jmelli, the author of the DKos diary linked above.

    UPDATE: D'oh! I can't believe I forgot the most important part (which Chris helpfully reminded me of): This is Ginny Schrader's home territory. And by the way, SSP readers have raised close to $900 for Ginny - let's try to make that $1,000 soon. But if you can't contribute with cash, contribute with your feet!


    Posted at 12:13 PM in Activism, Pennsylvania | Comments (1) | Technorati

    Monday, August 02, 2004

    Precinct Level Voting, Turnout and Demographic Data

    Posted by Chris Bowers

    Fairplan 2000 is a remakrable website that offers uniquely detailed data on the 2000 election and on current demographics. It is a must view for anyone interested in local, targeted voter registration and get out the vote drives. Hell, the information is so amazing, that there is almost no limit to its potential poilitical use.

    For example, here is my neighborhood, which you can tell did not turnout to vote in a particuarly higher percentage in 2000, even though it went well over 75% for Gore. That is the story of the Democratic Party around the country, I guess.

    This is exactly the sort of tool that self-starting swing state activists activists need.

    Posted at 12:15 PM in Activism | Comments (9) | Technorati

    Wednesday, June 30, 2004

    ActBlue Relaunches

    Posted by DavidNYC

    ActBlue, a website that helps you keep track of Senate and House races, has relaunched and is now, in a word, amazing. You can now create an account and keep personal lists of the races you are interested in. I went ahead and created a list of my favorite swing state Senate candidates - you can take a look here. You can also modify the default text that ActBlue provides for each candidate and write a personal appeal.

    What's also especially cool is that you can ask people to donate directly to your candidates through your lists, and ActBlue will keep track of your donation totals. It's a little bit like the DKos 8, only a LOT easier to administer. In fact, there's a replica of the DKos 8 list already on ActBlue. (Just an FYI: I am not asking people to donate to my list or any other. I just created it to explore the site. Though feel free to donate if you like!)

    Ben (my friend who runs ActBlue) tells me that they'll be adding state and local races soon, too. So, as I always say, go check it out! Create your own list and have fun with it.

    Posted at 01:09 AM in Activism | Comments (3) | Technorati

    Monday, June 28, 2004

    Moms to Bush: Watch Out!

    Posted by DavidNYC

    There's another swing-state focused grassroots group I'd like to bring to your attention: Mothers Opposing Bush. (Not to be confused with Mainstreet Moms Opposing Bush.) MOB is doing voter outreach and get-out-the-vote (aka "GOTV") efforts, on the strength of the moral authority we all know that moms can have. They have chapters in a number of swing states. Go check `em out.

    Posted at 07:11 PM in Activism | Comments (3) | Technorati

    Friday, May 21, 2004

    Where Should You Volunteer?

    Posted by DavidNYC

    I recently had an interesting discussion with a reader (via e-mail) who wanted advice on where she should move in order to make the biggest impact in the presidential election as a volunteer. I imagine that this question might be of interest to other folks who are considering moving & devoting their time to helping the Democrats. Anyhow, my suggestion was pretty straightforward: Pick one of the closest and most important swing states (eg, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida, etc.) and head there.

    As it turns out, a diarist at DailyKos has actually tried to quantify this question - ie, where can your volunteering deliver the most bang for the buck. Based on a metric (explained in the post) that he/she calls the "vote multiplier," globecanvas determined that New Mexico is the best place to go, followed by IA, OR, WI and NH, in that order.

    Of course, the methodology is far from perfect. It relies heavily on the author's predicted margins of victory and also doesn't take down-ticket races into account. But globecanvas acknowledges that this list is just a starting point for discussion - and an interesting one at that, I think.

    On a related note, I would advise anyone who is considering moving to a new state & volunteering to consider the culture of the place you want to move to. As many of you may recall, there were reports that at least some Iowans grew to resent the "invasion" of (over-)zealous young volunteers during the primary campaign. So naturally, you might find it easier to fit in in some places rather than others - and you'll probably be able to do more good (and be happier, to boot) in a place where you're more comfortable.

    (Via a commenter at MyDD.)

    Posted at 12:15 AM in Activism | Comments (5) | Technorati

    Friday, May 07, 2004

    May 8th is National Election Action Day

    Posted by DavidNYC

    America Votes, a huge coalition of left-wing groups, is devoted to voter registration, communication and GOTV. (The site says they're non-partisan, but just take a look at the membership rolls.) Tomorrow (Saturday, May 8th) is their inaugural Election Action Day. Voter registration events will be held in 17 swing states across the nation. If you don't live in a swing state or can't travel to one, there will even be some events in non-swing states.

    So if you have free time this Saturday, go on over to the America Votes website and click on whichever state you're interested in. Also note that some safe states are organizing trips to swing states. For example, Music For America is arranging a bus trip from the Bay Area to Reno, NV (leaving tonight - Friday night). Wow - MFA is picking up the entire tab, for both the bus AND for hotel rooms in Reno. So go check it all out - and register some new voters.

    Posted at 12:59 AM in Activism | Comments (3) | Technorati

    Sunday, April 18, 2004

    Letters, They Get Letters

    Posted by DavidNYC

    I'd like to introduce another top-notch new site that's joined the fight: Mainstreet Moms Oppose Bush. Taking a page from one of the Dean campaign's most inspired ideas, the MMOB is sponsoring "Adopt-a-Swing-State" letter-writing parties nationwide. The target of these letters will be unregistered and under-voting women in battleground states, an important group which should, by all rights, really want to see Bush out of the White House.

    So if you can't drive down to a swing state yourself, this is a great (and easy) way to get involved. The first parties will be held on May 1st, or if you want to plug into the Democracy for America (aka DFA 2.0) Meetups, on May 5th. Oh, one last thing I should mention: MMOB was started by moms, but it's open to absolutely anybody and everybody. So let's start writing!

    Posted at 07:39 PM in Activism | Comments (1) | Technorati

    Wednesday, February 25, 2004

    "D"s Are a Few of My Favorite Things

    Posted by DavidNYC

    I want to point you toward a fantastic new website called ActBlue, which aims to be a "clearinghouse for Democratic action." More specifically, it has information about all the competitive House and Senate races in the nation. In fact, it's very similar to my sideline project "Competitive House Races," except for the fact that it's way, way better. Go take a look - it's easier to show than tell.

    I've been in touch with the folks who run ActBlue, and they have some great plans in the works. Right now, the site mostly offers links for campaign donations, meetups, etc. But in the future, you'll be able to sort the races in sophisticated ways, like punching in your ZIP code to find out which races are nearest to you. It'll be a great resource for people who want to get involved, but aren't sure how or where.

    So, in the face of superior competition, I'm going to retire "Competitive House Races." I'll keep you updated about any big changes ActBlue rolls out. In the meantime, please check it out & let your friends know about it, too. And if you want to do ActBlue (and the Democratic Party) a big favor, you might even want to consider mentioning the site on your blog, if you have one.

    Posted at 02:20 PM in Activism | Comments (6) | Technorati

    Thursday, February 05, 2004

    ACT Hiring

    Posted by DavidNYC

    America Coming Together, as you may know, is a new 527 focused on defeating George Bush in the swing states. Their major financier is George Soros. And the good news is, they're hiring. I don't know much about ACT beyond what I've read in the papers, but it certainly strikes me as a worthwhile organization that "gets it". So if you're interested in getting involved - and, it seems, even getting paid - check `em out.

    (Thanks to jbou.)

    Posted at 02:50 AM in Activism | Comments (2) | Technorati

    Activism Archive: