Carrots And Sticks

Glenn Greenwald and Ed Kilgore debate the virtues of challenging incumbent Democrats, or as Ed puts it, "settling scores." I think a more basic problem needs to be addressed first, the bizarre penchant of the Netroots to concentrate its resources on electing Dems like Travis Childers and Heath Shuler. Now I have nothing against either of these Dems - they represent the views of their particular districts. My problem is with a so called Progressive Netroots wasting its resources working to elect candidates who basically disagree with their view of what the Democratic Party should be.

I guess, in a way, this puts me in the Kilgore camp, of not being for "score settling" against Dems like Shuler, Childers, Ben Nelson, Gene Taylor and the like. I am for getting "better" Dems in districts that will support better Dems. More . . .

But more important than all that is the need to be able to fight for issues outside the direct context of an election. In a sustained way. Short term outrage is of course good. But memories are short. While the FISA Capitulation by the Democratic Party was one of the most outrageous in a line of outrageous capitulations by Democrats, the unerlying issues - the destruction of respect for the rule of law should not be forgotten. We have to keep fighting.

And, as always, these things come back to the head of the Democratic Party, Barack Obama. He can not be treated with kid gloves, as the Netroots and "progressive" activists have decided to do. His behavior on FISA was disgraceful. And he has done nothing to fix the problem. And why should he? Everyone is back on board, holding their tongues about his disgraceful behavior. Kilgore rightly points out that this will be a continuing problem with Obama:

If intraparty fights break out, would an Obama administration take a detached position on them, or intervene in one way or another? (After all, Obama endorsed Lieberman's primary candidacy in 2006 and also endorsed Barrow this year.) Will post-election challenges to House or Senate leaders (say, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer) emerge? What issues, if any, will represent intraparty flash points? And will a Democratic "big tent" wider than some progressives are comfortable with be an asset or a handicap to a President Obama, who has spoken so often of breaking the mold in Washington but also of overcoming stale partisan debates?

Progressives and the Netroots need to get over it starting now. Sure vote for Obama. Who could possibly vote for McCain? But do not hold your fire on him, or any Dem for that matter, starting NOW. Kilgore advises waiting "until after the election." But there always is an another election coming up. We can't run our principles and beliefs and advocacy on an electoral calendar. It just does not work.

And a final word on the electoral component. the folks at Open Left (Kilgore strangely called their anti-"Blue Dog" campaign "highly influential," I called it a silly joke that made them look foolish) are not being realistic or productive - targetting people like John Barrow makes no sense. (On the other hand, targetting folks like Chris Carney and other blue state Dems makes tremendous sense.) Thus while I agree with Greenwald's statement that "uncritically cheering on any and every candidate with a "D" after his or her name has resulted in virtually nothing positive -- and much that is negative," and that "many progressives continue, rather bafflingly and stubbornly, to insist that if they just keep doing the same thing (cheering for the election of more and more Democrats), then somehow, someday, something different might occur," intelligent marshalling of resources, arguments and attention are necessary as well. Going after John Barrow was silly. But so was throwing support behind Travis Childers and Heath Shuler. I wrote a post about this a few years ago that I still think makes sense even though no one seems to agree with me. I called it Relativity, Uncertainty, Big Tents and Political Space Time Curvature. My key points:

Let's recall T&H's 5 postulates:

(1) The starting point for all political organizing and campaigns should be: "What are my core beliefs and principles and how do I best explain them to supporters and skeptics alike?"

(2) Every political battle, both proactive and defensive, should represent a basic statement of progressive character and present a clear, concise contrast with conservatives. Do not blur lines.

(3) All issue campaigns and agenda items are not equal. Progressives should focus their efforts on issues that can simultaneously strengthen the base and appeal to centrist voters. Progressives must be willing to make sacrifices and tradeoffs -- in terms of coalition building and budgetary concerns -- to achieve their most important agenda items.

(4) Escalate battles that expose the extremism of the right or splinter their coalition. [Follow-up: When confronted with the right's social, cultural, or national security agenda, the absolute worst response is to fail to combat these caricatures or to explain one's position directly to voters, regardless of the popularity of the position.]

(5) Every political action should highlight three essential progressive attributes: a clear stand on the side of those who lack power, wealth or influence; a deep commitment to the common good; and a strong belief in fairness and opportunity for all.

As general themes and principles, these postulates can be applied in every region of the nation. But they will not lead to uniform specific issue positions for Democrats everywhere. The political gravity or, "political space time curvature" in Nebraska or Mississippi is different from that in say, Rhode Island. But the progressive or Democratic position in each of these locations can clearly be discerned and is the position for Democrats to follow in each of them.

So how do we determine what the political gravity is in the locales and how do we determine the "progressive position?" How do we determine how far progressives can push? What is the velocity of progressivism and where does it stand across the Nation?

. . . It is important that Democrats, Single Issue Groups, citizens, all make these judgments. And argue their points of view. How far can we push Dems in Pennsylvania, Nebraska, Mississippi, etc? We have a wonderful POSITIVE mechanism for making these determinations - primaries.

So WHICH primaries should progressive activists and the Netroots involve themselves in? First of all, ones where there is a candidate worth fighting for. That means one who is fighting for your issues. And winning and losing is not always the important end. Ned Lamont's campaign changed the debate on Iraq across the country. Donna Edwards won on the issues we are supposed to care about. Marcy Winograd made Jane Harman a much more progressive politician. FEAR of a primary moved Ellen Tauscher to the Left. But consider where those races were run. Blue state America.

What races should be avoided? For starters, ones where there is no candidate fighting for our values. Travis Childers' win in Mississippi means nothing for progressives. Not a dime or a minute should have been spent on that race. I am not saying run against him. I am saying let him take care of himself. He is not going to do anything for progressives. At all.

Other races to avoid? Ones where our views simply have no traction. The John Barrow race was ridiculous to target. Dan Boren can't be beat by progressives. Jim Marshall can't be beat by progressives. You get my point by now.

Make Democrats in blue states more progressive. That is where the fight is first. Indeed, that is the only place the fight can be waged with any modicum of success. Targetting so called Blue Dogs in Mississippi and Tennessee and Oklahoma and North Carolina is ridiculous. But I would not work for them either. Focus the fight where it can be won. Where the influence can be wielded.

And for Gawd's sake, no free rides for any pol, especially not for Democrats.

Speaking for me only

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    I write these things every now and then (5.00 / 5) (#1)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 09:07:14 AM EST

    thank you (n/t) (5.00 / 2) (#40)
    by sher on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 09:35:46 AM EST
    After the election (5.00 / 3) (#62)
    by Demi Moaned on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 10:04:15 AM EST
    And they make a lot of sense. One line in particular bears repeating:
    there always is an another election coming up.

    Too much of the what I see seems to be advocating deferring all fights until 'after the election'. As Greenwald points out, elections are your only real chance to effect change.

    I'm with you on Travis Childer at al. in regards to the current election. In '06 there was some logic in trying to gain these red seats as we were still in the minority. But with the majority safe, there is no value in trying to pad the numbers with more Democrats who are going to align with the Republicans on every controversial issue.


    You forgot the local component (5.00 / 5) (#95)
    by beachmom on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 11:17:06 AM EST
    I am in Georgia, and Open Left's interference with that race struck me to be akin to a DCCC blunder.  It ends up that Barrow's opponent had in many years a perfect rating with the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, and was deeply conservative on social issues.  But since she hit the right notes on whatever the netroots' pet issue of the week was, her pro-business record was ignored.

    The power of the netroots comes from connecting with local Democrats who blog, know their districts, and know their candidates.  We should be following THEIR lead, and stop stepping in like carpetbaggers to places and backing people we know nothing about.  That is the real power of the netroots, not, to be quite frank, big name bloggers with big platforms.  It's the little bloggers who provide the most important thing to Democrats:  information.  Good intell, if you will.  I suggest we a) encourage and help out local bloggers and b) carefully consider what they are telling us before tromping through uncharted territories without a map or compass.

    I also want to put in context the Lieberman race.  Not ONE elected Democrat endorsed Lamont during the primaries; they either endorsed Lieberman or stayed neutral.  Along with Obama, Dems like Barbara Boxer endorsed Lieberman.  So I guess I sit in the minority in not getting all worked up about who endorsed Lieberman -- what mattered to me was what happened AFTER Lamont won the primary.  The two heroes were Gen. Wes Clark and Sen. John Kerry, who stumped for Lamont in Connecticut for TV cameras at the bitter end, when all polls pointed to Lieberman winning easily.  Meanwhile, Bill Clinton went on Larry King Live, and said we win either way, a particularly boneheaded remark.  

    Obama and Clinton both gave Lamont $5K, and Obama sent an e-mail to 5K voters in Conn. in late October 2006 urging them to vote for Lamont.  So I guess Obama was disappointing, but so was pretty much everyone, except Kerry and Clark.


    I believe (5.00 / 4) (#107)
    by Steve M on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 11:47:05 AM EST
    that netroots people are way too susceptible to a good vs. evil narrative.  You get a tiny bit of information about a person, you assign them a hero or villain label, and that tends to stick.

    I can't remember how many times at Daily Kos I saw hordes of people getting exercised over some supposed outrage, and one local commentor trying his best to reassure people that no, they actually hadn't gotten the whole story.  It's hopeless.  People have a strong preference for simple narratives they can hold onto.


    Bingo! (5.00 / 1) (#117)
    by Truth Sayer on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 12:03:00 PM EST
    "It's hopeless.  People have a strong preference for simple narratives they can hold onto."

    Now that is the really big problem with the netroots and it is something that cannot be fixed.

    Now besides the general nature of people latching on to preferences and narratives the other problem is that the bloggers themselves push certain preferences and narratives and even hide and mask the truth about many things and help create the exact problem you are talking about.

    Ther other problem with the netroots, and this will not be popular but it is the truth, is that most of the netroots are talkers and not doers. they try to use the net as a megaphone of sorts but in the end it ends up being more like an echo chamber instead of a megaphone. Pure online advocacy is advocacy neutered.


    Well, I recommend reading (none / 0) (#123)
    by beachmom on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 12:18:40 PM EST
    the "activist" diaries.  People who blog AND do.  They're always the smartest bloggers around.  Kath25 and thereisnospoon are two that come to mind on Kos.  They don't just say, they DO.

    But you are right, that there are a lot of whiners on the blogs who don't volunteer much if at all.  Believe me, after an afternoon registering voters at the Capitol bus stop in Austin, TX, my perspective had already changed.  Once confronted with individuals with different opinions, you realize there is no conventional wisdom; only statistics people try to view as Truth.


    That's right (none / 0) (#125)
    by Truth Sayer on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 12:26:55 PM EST
    thereisnospoon is an active activist as are others. That is why I said "most" in my post. Unfortunately "most" represent the majority.

    Yep. Webb is a good example of that. (5.00 / 2) (#122)
    by beachmom on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 12:14:32 PM EST
    I was in Virginia at the time, and voted for Webb in the primaries, knowing full well who he was and what his general philosphy was.  I gave him money and volunteered for him, and by God he won, and therefore, we won the Senate.  For about a year or so he was labelled "hero" on DKos and elsewhere.  Then he had a few votes people didn't like, and it wasn't universal praise anymore.  Then a few MORE votes people didn't like (FISA, the environment), and suddenly he was turned into a "villian".  Has Webb changed?  Nope.  He's the same guy I voted for and volunteered for.  And yet those who followed that simple narrative are disappointed and angry.  Well, hey -- they should have done their homework, then they wouldn't have been so caught off guard.

    I completely agree (none / 0) (#99)
    by pie on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 11:27:07 AM EST
    with this:

    We should be following should be following THEIR lead, and stop stepping in like carpetbaggers to places and backing people we know nothing about.

    About the only support we should give in other areas is money.  Let the locals handle the door-knocking and campaigning for the candidate.  


    The Problem I See (5.00 / 3) (#101)
    by Truth Sayer on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 11:32:39 AM EST
    with what you wrote is that to your own admission part of it is generalizations. Then you have a strategy of sorts, one which is not new and is well known for many decades, but you offer no tactics outside of what to do in elections. A strategy with no tactics is an empty bucket. So what are the tactics to be employed between elections?

    As an aside:

    "Sure vote for Obama. Who could possibly vote for McCain?"

    You always offer only two choices forgetting the third, which is not to vote for either of them for neither belong in the WH.

    You say hold Obama's feet to the fire. We did that already with FISA. He not only did not act on our wishes he thumbed his nose at us afterward an then said we should hold him accountable which is really an insult. Why tell me to hold you accountable when what you have already said and done after I tried to hold you accountable tells me you will not be held accountable? That is insulting pandering typical of him which is why the third option of not voting for him is the right one.

    So back to tactics. Whether it be to try to hold Obama accountable or to fight for issues (one in the same really as issues go through politicians) what are the tactics that will work? Anyone can say this should be our strategy, the blogs are full of that stuff everyday, but what is lacking are the tactics to make that strategy happen and be effective.

    One can say many things that are wrong with the netroots as you often do but unless one comes up with the tactics to make things different then that person waving their arms about what is wrong is no different than those they are criticizing. It is easy to be a critic, everyone in the world is one. But it is another thing to have a concrete plan with specific steps (tactics) to actually change the thing we are criticizing.


    Don't blame Obama for the fact that most (none / 0) (#127)
    by beachmom on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 12:31:07 PM EST
    Americans haven't even heard of FISA.  Obama votes and acts on consensus; this has always been his way.  He is, in fact, a lot like Bill Clinton, minus the personal problems.  If WE activists can create a consensus shared by Americans (and I am not talking about a poll, but a subject for which people are pretty darn opinionated about, and it's all they talk about when the issue comes up) that the FISA bill was a bad bill that should be undone, then I could see our government headed by Obama acting on it.  But I can tell you, outside liberal activists and bloggers, nobody I talk to gives a hoot about FISA.  Think about the issues that have gained traction, and ask yourself why FISA didn't.  We may need to wait until a scandalous situation of someone innocent (and preferably famous) being wiretapped illegally happens before it comes to that.  That is just the way it goes.

    A lot of people on Talk Left backed Clinton because they felt she would be more "partisan" (um, not ideological.  The Clintons never were that) than Obama, and they were right.  He has always been cautious, but when he does make a move, it is on principle, backed by a consensus of people.  

    So make FISA a consensus issue, and then things will change.  As it stood, the only consensus is that Democrats are "weak on national security", so Obama voting the other way would have opened him up to attacks, possibly effective attacks.  I wish it were different, but that is how it is.  And, frankly, it goes without saying that no one knows how Sen. Clinton would have voted had she been the nominee.  But as Sen. from NY, she voted the way her constituents wanted her to.


    Honestly (5.00 / 6) (#129)
    by Steve M on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 12:33:45 PM EST
    I don't think it's our responsibility to make FISA an issue.  The guy promised to filibuster the bill, period.  You don't get to say "sorry, I'm not keeping my promise because you didn't make it a big enough issue."

    What? (5.00 / 2) (#134)
    by Truth Sayer on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 12:41:43 PM EST
    Sorry but I can't agree with this:

    "He has always been cautious, but when he does make a move, it is on principle, backed by a consensus of people."

    Principle backed by a consensus of people? Principle needs no consensus. You are either principled or you are not - with or without other people.


    what???? (5.00 / 4) (#135)
    by TimNCGuy on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 12:59:16 PM EST
    you claim....no one knows how Clinton would have voted on FISA if she were the nominee?

    So, let's not give Clinton any credit for her vote on FISA.

    But, apparently, everyone KNOWS that Obama would have voted against the Iraq war resolution if he had actually been a senator at the time and really had to vote?  

    So, let's all give credit to Obama for a vote he never had to make.

    Bizarro world is taking a little bit more getting used to than I thought it would.


    but, but, but.... (none / 0) (#153)
    by pluege on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 03:15:35 PM EST
    the paragons of the left are diffffferrrrrennnt. beeeeccccause they are.

    "He is, in fact, a lot like Bill Clinton (5.00 / 3) (#151)
    by gyrfalcon on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 02:42:57 PM EST
    minus the personal problems."

    Wwhuh?!  (head spinning, need time off from blogs...)


    I particularly believe (5.00 / 1) (#139)
    by BernieO on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 01:24:26 PM EST
    that your first point it crucial. Progressives are terrible at defining and explaining their core beliefs and have therefore allowed the right, who are masters at this, to dominate the issues - and the media coverage of them.
    I find I usually can get people's to listen when I frame my arguments in terms of what is good for our democracy. For example, when I argue in favor of programs to reduce poverty most people respond more favorably when I point out that countries with large numbers of poor and a relatively weak middle class do not have stable democracies.

    Instead of saying things like it's the economy stupid, I think we need to start arguing that it's our democracy. A strong economy is undeniably important for democracy, but you can have one without a healthy democracy, as in Russia and China.
    Ditto for education. We need to focus on more than education to prepare workers. Education should be explicitly geared to prepare kids for  citizenship, which of course includes work, but also much more. After all Nazi Germany was a highly educated society.
    Another example is the argument about FISA. Most people do not feel threatened by this because they reasonably assume that the odds are that it will not be used against them. However, when I point out that it could be used against politicians they support most people see the threat more clearly.(Like Obama and his campaign, the fools.) Reminding them that this was a major factor in how the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany maintained control is also an eye opener.

    It is time we learned how to make our principles and the positions based on them clear. I believe that the majority of Americans would be in close agreement with most things if we ever bothered to counter the right wing propanda machine.


    that was very insightful and spot on (5.00 / 4) (#3)
    by Capt Howdy on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 09:12:26 AM EST
    thanks for posting it.

    "many progressives continue, rather bafflingly and stubbornly, to insist that if they just keep doing the same thing (cheering for the election of more and more Democrats), then somehow, someday, something different might occur,"

    thats pretty close to Einsteins definition of insanity.

    But isn't that exactly (5.00 / 3) (#105)
    by Truth Sayer on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 11:44:40 AM EST
    what Obama supporters who critique Obama are doing?

    For example Big Tent and others have finally come around to critiquing Obama but yet they will faithfully vote for him and expect what? Something different might occur? Like FISA maybe? Too late for that. How about getting us out of Iraq? Nope Obama is moving toward McCain's position of 'conditions on the ground'. How about freedom of choice? No mental problems are no reason for an abortion. Doing away with government funded faith based initiatives? Sorry, not only will that continue it will grow.

    So what is different about Big Tent and others who say other people just cheer lead and vote for Democrats and expect "Something different might occur" when they in fact are doing the same thing they critique other over. Critiquing a candidate does not change the end result of blindly voting for them because they has a (D) behind their name.


    I was thinking along those lines (5.00 / 1) (#112)
    by cmugirl on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 11:53:55 AM EST
    We shouldn't expend resources supporting candidates just because they have a (D) by their name if they aren't "progressive" enough, but we should blindly support Obama?  

    I think BTD was challenging that notion and telling the Netroots to get off their duffs and start hitting him hard.  Right now, they are no better than Rush Limbaugh, and even he has said he was tired of carrying water for the Bush administration.


    But in the end (5.00 / 6) (#120)
    by Truth Sayer on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 12:10:21 PM EST
    what is the difference of hitting him hard but knowing you are going to vote for him anyway. It's camouflage.

    Obama knows people are going to vote for him anyway. That is why he says 'hold me accountable' and then in the same breath says 'we will not always agree'. He plays people. He gives you your voice but your voice means nothing unless he already agrees with what it is you are saying.

    So in the end to stand up and scream and then vote for him anyway is part of his game. He wants you to scream because then you think you are actually doing something which is what he wants. But in the end he does what he wants. That is a tactic that just will not work. Holding someones feet to the fire with words only is a loser.


    Obama Supporters Who Critique (5.00 / 0) (#152)
    by daring grace on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 03:08:46 PM EST
    Speaking as one, I can still vote for him because while I'm angry and disappointed by his FISA shift, it is not a deal breaker. He hits the other notes that are important to me.

    Now if he were anti choice, THAT would be a deal breaker. But his record is strong on reproductive freedoms. There are other deal breaker issues, but so far he hasn't strayed anywhere close to the wrong side of them.

    So, for now, he's another politician to me. Not my idol, but far from the most odious one I've ever had to contemplate holding my nose and casting my ballot for. If I expected a candidate who did nothing I needed to critique, I would stay home every election day. There just isn't one out there that I've ever seen.


    I don't think there's much baffling about it (none / 0) (#4)
    by andgarden on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 09:13:49 AM EST
    Netroots "activists" only care about issues peripherally.

    I am starting to see the "netroots" (5.00 / 2) (#6)
    by Capt Howdy on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 09:16:55 AM EST
    as part of the problem.  a few years ago I would never have imagined that possible.

    isn't it possible (5.00 / 4) (#21)
    by TimNCGuy on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 09:25:45 AM EST
    that Netroots activists really only care about their own level of notariety or perceived power or their web site's hit rates and ad revenue generated?  You know, kind of like all the memebers of the MSM that the netroots always complain about.

    I think that is way more than (5.00 / 4) (#32)
    by Capt Howdy on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 09:31:15 AM EST
    possible at this point.  but its worth remembering that Kos and Aravosis, for example, were both republicans and sometimes that tendency just rears its ugly head.
    I am thinking specifically about the Aravosis series of rants about the congress attempting to help exploited mortgage customers, who were btw largely poor and minority communities.
    he was up in arms.  it was very telling.

    I recall some of that (5.00 / 3) (#66)
    by TimNCGuy on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 10:06:58 AM EST
    from Aravosis before I left there for good.

    I seem to remember him complaining about his own housing costs and how he has to live in such a "small" place to be able to make it.

    But, to my knowledge, no one is FORCING him to live in DC.  And, he isn't forced by circumstances to stay where he is as many extremely poor people are forced to since they can't really afford to even move.  He could certainly move to somewhere with a lower cost of living.

    But, he wants to be where the power is as he tries to move up the "chain of command" in the blog world.  And, I think his ultimate goal is to become a regular TV pundit or MSM print pundit and move on up the way the original "Wonkette" did.


    yeah (5.00 / 1) (#70)
    by Capt Howdy on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 10:14:18 AM EST
    it was vile, selfish and self absorbed.
    in other words, vintage Aravosis.

    I think most of the ... (5.00 / 1) (#89)
    by Robot Porter on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 11:01:27 AM EST
    so-called progressives in the netroots are really centrists with libertarian leanings.  The suite of issues they seem to care about fits that label, from Net Neutrality to FISA.

    Nothing wrong with that.  And progressive can find common cause with them on many of these issues.

    But we need to realize most (especially the a-listers) aren't progressive, and aren't going to be that interested in the mainline progressive causes.


    It is best not to stereotype (5.00 / 1) (#97)
    by beachmom on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 11:22:13 AM EST
    I have met all kinds of people in the netroots, and some focus solely on single issue or a plethora of progressive issues while others stick to local races; still others back certain politicians.  What I think is needed is honesty and less hackery.  But .... I also get tired of the "whining".  That turns me off more more than anything else.  My favorite bloggers are the ones who actually are volunteering and organizing locally, then telling everyone their stories.  Seems like you need to get out more, if you think The Netroots is something monolithic when it never was nor will it ever be like that.  We're not the Right.

    You ignore the issue. . . (5.00 / 2) (#7)
    by LarryInNYC on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 09:17:30 AM EST
    of basic partisan control of legislative bodies -- control which may not have accomplished everything you want but which has accomplished some of what you want (the Justice Department is in a better place than it was before the Democrats investigated Gonzales out of office, for instance).

    When the issue of control is factored in it can be worthwhile to campaign for otherwise unhelpful candidates.

    Is that how you saw Swing State Project (5.00 / 2) (#10)
    by andgarden on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 09:19:48 AM EST
    advocating for Travis Childers? Dems already control the House, and the DCCC should be able to keep it that way until they screw up. The DCCC exists to support people like Childers, we do not.

    I ignore it because it is no longer in issue (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 09:20:31 AM EST
    The Dems will control the Congress for the next decade.

    Besides, my implicit focus on blue state Dems should answer your alleged concern about control of the legislative bodies.

    Steny Hoyer's seat is not going to go Republican.


    I dunno (5.00 / 1) (#111)
    by cmugirl on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 11:51:10 AM EST
    The Dems will control the Congress for the next decade.

    If Obama gets in and doesn't perform well in the next 2 years, you could see a Congressional swing back to Republicans.  Remember - Congress is held in lower esteem than Bush and the Dems have already had 2 years of doing nothing or letting us down.


    A decade is not. . . (none / 0) (#19)
    by LarryInNYC on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 09:23:59 AM EST
    a very long time -- I'd hope to see them control it for longer.

    And some of the races you wrote about happened at a time when the Dems were taking or consolidating control of the House.


    My dream (5.00 / 4) (#24)
    by andgarden on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 09:26:10 AM EST
    is that the Republican party is forced to change so much that I won't care if it takes the House in 10 years.

    John Dean wrote in "Broken Government" (5.00 / 0) (#130)
    by hairspray on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 12:34:11 PM EST
    that no one should vote for a Republican for the next 10 years. It would take that long for the debris to be cleaned out, and I am paraphrasing here.

    A decade is plenty of time (none / 0) (#30)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 09:29:26 AM EST
    Well (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by Steve M on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 09:19:19 AM EST
    Better Dems in blue districts are the driving force behind any progressive agenda, but lousy Dems in red districts are still the footsoldiers for enacting that agenda.

    The Southern Dems didn't take the lead in enacting the New Deal or the War on Poverty, but it was critical that they didn't stand in the way.  So it seems to me that you need both kinds of success.

    By the way, I cannot understand how Evan Bayh as VP is not a total nonstarter for the netroots.  Setting everything else aside, can you imagine Bayh as the presumptive frontrunner for 2016?  In the blogging universe I used to know, every day there would be overwrought threats to leave the party if Bayh is the pick.

    I am not for targetting Red State Dems (5.00 / 0) (#13)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 09:21:27 AM EST
    but I am against expending our finite resources to elect them.

    They do not forward our agenda in this environment.


    I think what you're talking about (5.00 / 2) (#18)
    by andgarden on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 09:23:47 AM EST
    is our role vs. the party's role.

    Rahm Emanuel does think about electing red state Dems. And why shouldn't he? But there is no reason in this environment that we should.

    So the question is, what should the netroots be? Not hacks for the party, I hope.


    Sure (none / 0) (#29)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 09:29:03 AM EST
    Hm (5.00 / 1) (#41)
    by Steve M on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 09:37:59 AM EST
    I'm not convinced that our resources are all that finite, when the context is a special election.  Travis Childers was the only game in town.  I doubt anyone would care about that district if it were a November election.

    When it comes to special elections, I think the netroots gains credibility as an organizing force if they are perceived as being able to impact an election like that.  In turn, this furthers the ability of the netroots to push its agenda in every other race.

    Let's assume we lived in a world where getting an endorsement from Big Tent Democrat (to name a netroots superstar at random) automatically meant millions of dollars in fundraising and a group of dedicated volunteers for phonebanking and the ground game.

    Now let's say Big Tent Democrat announces that no Democrat will be getting his Seal of Approval this year unless they vote to filibuster telecom immunity.  That wouldn't singlehandedly stop the bill, but it would certainly make it a lot more likely that we would pick up votes.

    That's political pressure at a most basic level.  So to make that scenario come to pass, we need to create the paradigm where a BTD endorsement really is a known quantity that candidates crave.  Winning a special election, regardless of what sort of candidate we get out of it, is one way to establish that paradigm.


    Come on (5.00 / 2) (#43)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 09:43:53 AM EST
    you think Larry LaRocco could not have used the money sent to Childers? Kleeb? Or any number of them?

    Sorry, that is absurd.


    I'm confused (none / 0) (#48)
    by Steve M on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 09:48:02 AM EST
    Did LaRocco or Kleeb have a special election?

    No (5.00 / 1) (#50)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 09:49:01 AM EST
    a regular election, in November. When did you thnk Childer ran? It was a few months ago. you think Larocco could not use the money and attention a few months ago?

    Nah (5.00 / 1) (#54)
    by Steve M on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 09:55:58 AM EST
    I believe that money spent in May is pretty much renewable by November.

    While I agree with the principle that if it were my money, I'd rather put it in the hands of an actual progressive, in practice you're going to raise a lot more money for a special election happening RIGHT NOW than you are if you decide to hold the "hey let's give Larry LaRocco some fundraising credibility 6 months before the election" drive.

    So in reality, I think that if you don't raise the money for Childers, most of it just ends up getting spent on non-political stuff.  I don't think we can just assume it's all fungible between one candidate or another.


    LaRocco could have used that money in May (5.00 / 1) (#64)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 10:06:09 AM EST
    BTW (5.00 / 1) (#45)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 09:44:36 AM EST
    The Netroots was disavowed by Childers expressly.

    that is the kind of "credit" you want?


    Didn't Obama disavow the netroots also? (5.00 / 3) (#141)
    by MichaelGale on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 01:26:45 PM EST
    You know what really gulls me about Obama?  It isn't all sexist and incompetence.  It is that he appears to pay attention to no one. He has written off the netroots; continues to discount Clinton supporters; makes no attempt to acknowledge the split in the party; and it seems, he discounts the word Democrat all together.

    There are some things that he has supported that are centrist that I could agree with and some that are conservative that I can make a case for.  However, that thing about I don't need you, really makes me crazy.

    And the statement about principles: Do politicians have principles? Really, I'm serious.


    Sections of the liberal blogs liked the (5.00 / 2) (#17)
    by tigercourse on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 09:22:42 AM EST
    idea of Hagel as the VP candidate. They'll love anyone (except Clinton) that Obama picks.

    thats right (none / 0) (#26)
    by Capt Howdy on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 09:27:14 AM EST
    the netroots might complain a bit about Hagel.  but only a little.
    they would swoon about Kaine.  who would be at least as bad.

    He is also one heartbeat (none / 0) (#131)
    by hairspray on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 12:35:53 PM EST
    away from the presidency.  How's that for scary?

    I think one of the problems (5.00 / 2) (#15)
    by Capt Howdy on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 09:22:24 AM EST
    that have sort of accumulated over the last few decades is that on the republican side they have been electing more and more conservative candidates.
    almost all the northern liberal republicans are gone.
    on the other hand what have we been doing?  electing more and more conservative democrats.
    see the problem?

    i guess that is the "problem" (none / 0) (#34)
    by TimNCGuy on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 09:32:16 AM EST
    but, i don't see what there is to do about it.  I think what it really means is that the average democrat across the country isn't really as "progressive" as we would like.  That's why the likes of Schuler get elected in the first place.

    Maybe the only real way to get that changed is by getting the changes we want at local and state levels so that those locations can be shown to the rest of the country as good examples.

    Kind of like how we should be using MA and CA in the future to prove to the rest of the country that marriage equality won't hurt anyone.

    Certainly state and local initiatives could be used to prove the same about green energy.  That it would generate jobs and build the economy and not destroy businesses.


    there is always (5.00 / 2) (#42)
    by Capt Howdy on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 09:40:50 AM EST
    the dreaded third party.  its looking better and better.

    Works as a scalpel, not a club. (none / 0) (#53)
    by Ben Masel on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 09:55:25 AM EST
    I was thinking more "shiv" (5.00 / 1) (#57)
    by Capt Howdy on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 09:57:23 AM EST
    but point taken

    You mean Nader? (none / 0) (#87)
    by MKS on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 10:55:41 AM EST
    well (5.00 / 1) (#88)
    by Capt Howdy on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 11:00:31 AM EST
    I have been one of Naders harshest critics but tell me why Nader would not be a better, meaning more progesssive, president than Obama.
    btw, lets not get into the "he cant win" stuff.
    I used that argument for years and look where it got  me.  its simple. if enough of us vote for him, he can win.
    and if Obama was a progressive he would not have the problem.

    Cap, I think a large portion of ... (none / 0) (#94)
    by Robot Porter on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 11:13:13 AM EST
    the Netroots aren't progressives.  That's why they have no problem supporting a centrist like Obama.  They actually agree with his centrist positions.

    Generally, I wouldn't have a problem with that if more of them were willing to admit it.


    Actually on some sites like the DailyCheeto (none / 0) (#140)
    by rjarnold on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 01:26:14 PM EST
    the majority are very progressive, but whenever Obama took a position that was centrist or when he flip-flopped, they convince themselves that Obama is right or doing it for noble reasons. It's bizarre.

    Green Party != Nader (none / 0) (#106)
    by sj on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 11:46:19 AM EST
    Cynthia McKinney is the Green candidate.

    well (5.00 / 1) (#114)
    by Capt Howdy on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 11:54:32 AM EST
    not all third party candidates are created equal.

    Net positive value. (5.00 / 0) (#16)
    by LarryInNYC on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 09:22:25 AM EST
    (which could also be called net progressive value,  but I personally believe progressive is a meaningless term).

    The problem with taking a pure issues stance on choosing who to challenge within the Democratic Party is that no politician is going to meet the test 100% of the time.

    If one is going to challenge people because of their  "un-progressive" stances you'll have to primary people like Feingold too (for his deference on political appointees).  Admittedly that's an extreme example but looking closer to home what would you do about my Senators, Clinton and Schumer?  They're reasonably reliable liberal voters, but they each have sufficient "non-progressive" votes to make them primary targets for a lot of progressives.

    no sane progessive is going to (none / 0) (#23)
    by Capt Howdy on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 09:26:08 AM EST
    be for challenging either NY senator.  you want to talk about a  candidate for a challenge?
    try my senator.  David Pryor.

    Or Thomas Carper of Delaware? (none / 0) (#132)
    by hairspray on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 12:38:34 PM EST
    David Pryor (none / 0) (#133)
    by Steve M on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 12:39:25 PM EST
    is truly awful.  He hasn't cast a good vote since 1996!

    My general feeling is that every pol should be (none / 0) (#25)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 09:26:14 AM EST
    primaried. but more realistically, I doubt you really believe that picking legitimate targets would be difficult.

    Indeed, if you believe in the political system, then the targets will identify themselves.


    Not difficult for ME. (5.00 / 1) (#33)
    by LarryInNYC on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 09:31:58 AM EST
    But difficult for someone who's driven solely by issues considered in isolation from each other?  That wouldn't be difficult, exactly, since every single Democrat would then deserve to be turfed out of office.  But it wouldn't be particularly productive.

    The problem is that politics is accomplished through horse-trading, including trading your support for a politician for their votes on a particular issue.  That's what you're counting on, I think, in your philosophy of challenging bad Dems.  The problem is that if you are anything other than a literal single issue voter (single narrow issue) every politician is going to disappoint you on some issue.  And if you primary all of them, you are no longer in a position to trade your vote or influence with any of them.


    Ridiculous (5.00 / 2) (#38)
    by andgarden on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 09:34:58 AM EST
    What you do is look for Dems who are out of step with their district to the right. Dan Lipinski is a perfect example.

    Will there be disagreements? Sure. But they shouldn't be show-stopping.


    Come now (none / 0) (#35)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 09:33:16 AM EST
    You are just being pedantic now. It is easy and you know it is.

    What about Clinton? (none / 0) (#44)
    by LarryInNYC on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 09:44:25 AM EST
    She voted for the AUMF.  Should she be turfed from office?

    Not realistic (none / 0) (#49)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 09:48:07 AM EST
    But she was primaried in 2006, in case you missed it.

    Of course I didn't miss it. (none / 0) (#58)
    by LarryInNYC on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 09:58:36 AM EST
    Are you saying that was a good primary challenge you would have supported if only it had had a better chance of succeeding?

    not a question for me (5.00 / 2) (#60)
    by Capt Howdy on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 10:03:57 AM EST
    I guess but I would say it was a good challenge because I like the idea of primary challenges.  it keeps people awake.  lets them know it is not a job for life.  as many of them seem, rightly in many cases, to now think.
    and my fanboy status for Hillary is well known.

    I am glad she was challenged (none / 0) (#63)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 10:05:21 AM EST
    I do wish it was a more credible person challenging her.

    She may have even benefitted from it.


    But you didn't answer my question. (none / 0) (#71)
    by LarryInNYC on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 10:15:53 AM EST
    If Tasini had been a more credible challenger, would you have supported removing Clinton from office in 2006?

    Feingold's disappointed me 25 times in 15+ years (none / 0) (#46)
    by Ben Masel on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 09:46:52 AM EST
    Kohl tops that in most single years. I'm running in 2012, not 2010.

    Counterpoint (5.00 / 2) (#22)
    by MO Blue on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 09:26:05 AM EST
    I don't agree that running a progressive against candidates like Barrow with the support of the blogs is ridiculous. If I had my way, progressive candidates would be running in all 50 states regardless of how conservative. Would they lose at this point in time? Sure.  IMO beating the drum for progressive politics, issues they represent and moving the window of what is acceptable may be more important than winning if we are ever to move left of center. Make conservatives of both parties justify their positions. Present an alternative view point and change minds one voter at a time if that is what it takes.

    My point is a different one (5.00 / 0) (#28)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 09:28:23 AM EST
    I think it is great when there is a progressive candidate in every race, even if that candidates loses 80-20.

    But where you put your resources does matter. John Barrow was not going to be beaten by the best and best financed progressive candidate. It was not even possible to make it a credible challenge.

    More importantly, in that district, Barrow is the only one who can win.

    It was a complete waste of resources and actually makes progressive ideas seem less saleable than they are.

    Let the local fight those fights.


    credible challenges (5.00 / 3) (#67)
    by p lukasiak on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 10:10:02 AM EST
    I have to disagree.... putting up progressive challengers in relatively safe districts is a smart long-term strategy.  Incumbents win mostly on 'name recognition' and entropy; put up the same progressive challenger for two or three cycles against someone like Barrow, incumbents find themselves with a real fight on their hands.

    But the key here is long term.  You establish name recognition in the first challenge by providing adequate funding; the next cycle, people start paying attention to the challenger because its someone they've already heard of, and their message can get across at that point.


    The downside to this scenario (none / 0) (#77)
    by stxabuela on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 10:27:49 AM EST
    is that a candidate can get labled a "perennial loser." I'm only a local insider, but I think a better tactic is to quietly garner support for a future run. An added benefit is that the incumbent will know there is discontent brewing about his/her voting record.

    well, after three losses... (5.00 / 2) (#80)
    by p lukasiak on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 10:40:08 AM EST
    I agree that after three losses, a new "challenger" should be found -- but I think that name recognition is extremely important in creating credible challengers, and you usually need at least one election cycle to establish name recognition throughout a congressional district.

    Good point, (none / 0) (#82)
    by stxabuela on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 10:45:58 AM EST
    especially if the challenger loses in a close race the first time around.

    Even perrenial losers gain leverage. (none / 0) (#85)
    by Ben Masel on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 10:53:14 AM EST
    Tho I only hit 14.5% in my last Statewikde race, Dems challenging in State Legislature seats are now asking for my endorsement, and deciding it's worth taking policy positions to earn it. 21 of 22 i was able to corner at the Democratic Assembly campaign Committee's "Meet the Candidates' event 2 weeks ago were willing to go on record for medical marijuana. 2 years previous, I could only get that from 1/3, with several others only willing to whisper.

    That's fine (none / 0) (#27)
    by andgarden on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 09:27:25 AM EST
    But you're not going to give every progressive challenger the same level of resources and support, right?

    I guess I don't see it as an either or situation (5.00 / 1) (#47)
    by MO Blue on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 09:47:32 AM EST
    Sure put resources into challenging Blue State Dems but why not select one or two purple or red Dems also.

    Maybe there is a need for a strong organization that is dedicated to promoting a left of center agenda. IMO if we are ever to move away from a right of center agenda we need the equivalent of the Club for Growth to challenge the status quo.


    People need to be more discerning (5.00 / 11) (#37)
    by inclusiveheart on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 09:34:27 AM EST
    about who they support across the board.

    I was talking to my Aunt while I was in AL about a friend of hers who was going to run for city council.  I asked if her friend was a Democrat.  She said, "I think she's a Republican, but she'll probably run as a Democrat.  That's what they all do around here if they want to get elected."

    That's how a number of these Blue Dogs came to be in the first place and in those cases and places I am not convinced that it is a totally lost cause in every case to attempt to primary some of those Reps with a bona fide Dem.  Would I recommend primarying Gene Taylor - no - not a chance - he is just too pretty and too well liked in his district.  But I am not sure that I think that is the case for all of the Blue Dogs.

    One of the big problems in the Southern states are the open primaries which basically makes it impossible for a liberal Dem to even get on the ticket.  If the Republicans identify a liberal Dem who is gaining traction, they'll cross over and vote for his more conservative opponent in the primary - or they'll cross over and vote for the weakest Dem - it depends on what kind of so-called Dem is running against the liberal.  If the "Dem" is like the lady running for city council in my family's small town, they'll vote for her in the primary and the general too knowing that they've got themselves a Republican.  And that is where the local scoop is not really being properly reviewed by the netroots activists.  A lot of people I've seen who are quite prominent really don't understand the political culture well enough to identify a decent candidate.  Blindly supporting people who've attached a D to the end of their names in many of these districts can mean that they are supporting a Republican.

    The thing is though that there are Democrats - even liberal Democrats in that region - the challenge is properly vetting them.  Having said all of that, my objective would be to identify one district from each of the Southern states that could be represented by a liberal Dem and work towards getting one elected - and then build from there.  

    But primarying every Blue Dog though is a waste of time.  Actually, my parent's GOP rep Aderholt - based on what I hear about him from people around that district - would be a better target to take out than some of the Blue Dogs.  He is viewed as useless...  The problem there is finding a strong enough opponent to disrupt the status quo.

    Indeed. (5.00 / 3) (#75)
    by lilburro on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 10:22:35 AM EST
    I live in North Carolina, and the local politics are similar.  Republicans will jump into a race with a D behind their name so they have a better chance of beating the other Republican.  A comment at a local Dem meeting went along the lines of, "well, we're so fiscally conservative, that when Northerners come down here to live they find themselves surprised that they actually like Democrats, because they were Republicans back home!"  

    I can't say how often this happens at higher levels, but it is clear that this tendency exists in the House/Senate.  You've got to start somewhere...and some pols don't care if that where is D or R.


    Barrow's challenger was basically a Republican (none / 0) (#102)
    by beachmom on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 11:36:45 AM EST
    And yet, since she said the right things to Open Left, they went ahead and backed her, and chastised Obama for endorsing Barrow.  Now my point is not to say Barrow was all that wonderful; he's not.  But national bloggers can be just as tone deaf as Rahm and the DCCC.  Savvy local bloggers know their districts and their candidates better.  It ends up there is no Savannah liberal blog, so we had no good info until I came across a commenter on Kos who had links and info, including the fact that the state Senator challenging Barrow had been awarded a chairmanship in a GOP controlled state Senate, a tell tale sign that she knew how to play ball for the GOP.

    So it swings both ways, and challengers can be a decoy as well.


    The challengers often are. (5.00 / 0) (#113)
    by inclusiveheart on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 11:53:57 AM EST
    People become consumed with the perceived offenses of the guy or gal they know and sometimes become so desperate to replace them that they don't bother to vet the potential replacement.

    That's why it is important to pick your battles carefully - and dispassionately.  The question should not simply be, "is there a challenger?"  The question should be, "Is there a challenger good enough to merit support?"


    What about all the Democrats (5.00 / 1) (#51)
    by Josey on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 09:52:19 AM EST
    challenging AA elected Democrats because they initially supported Hillary?!!
    Rep. John Lewis is considered a "better Dem", but since he initially supported Hillary (switched endorsement in Feb) - his punishment is an AA/Obama challenger.
    afaik - no comment from Obama.

    Lewis easily won. (none / 0) (#108)
    by beachmom on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 11:47:46 AM EST
    Many "statements" are being made about the presidential primary (in both directions, I may add), but that's all they end up being -- sending a message -- without anything else happening.

    What was the message (none / 0) (#142)
    by oldpro on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 01:27:12 PM EST
    to John Lewis?  And what was the message he got?

    I Wonder If There Was a Dual Message (5.00 / 0) (#154)
    by daring grace on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 03:20:40 PM EST
    Sure, the idea of 'payback' for supporting a candidate his district didn't.

    But also that there are younger and ambitious opponents in his local party who wanted to use that opening as a chance to advance.

    Isn't this fairly common in politics within parties?


    The last time (5.00 / 1) (#161)
    by oldpro on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 05:29:53 PM EST
    race was the defining issue within the Democratic Party was in the 60s....when Lyndon Johnson signed the civil rights' bills and the racist Dems in the South became Republicans.

    There is no precedent for this year's politics at the national level...not in my lifetime.


    That's What I Mean (5.00 / 0) (#163)
    by daring grace on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 05:50:06 PM EST
    The first framing of the Lewis opposition could be focused on race, not supporting the credible AA candidate for president when your (I presume) overwhelmingly AA district does.

    The second framing of the issue is as old as politics itself: a new crew of ambitious up and comers seeing a potential opportunity to elbow a gray eminence aside.

    I'm just musing on this because of analysis that emerged when this was beginning last spring and that also came out after the recent Jesse Jackson hot mic incident--about different generations clashing and chafing against one another.


    Message sent and received (5.00 / 1) (#157)
    by gyrfalcon on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 04:04:29 PM EST
    was that Lewis was a race traitor, despite his unparalleled history, for supporting Hillary instead of Obama.  The man was in agony being torn between the two, but I doubt he ever for one moment was worried about losing his seat.  He was worried about larger things-- doing what's right and being true to his lifelong integrity.

    Absolutely right. (5.00 / 2) (#162)
    by oldpro on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 05:31:52 PM EST
    And it was excruciating to watch.

    One of the truly (5.00 / 2) (#165)
    by gyrfalcon on Wed Jul 30, 2008 at 12:20:54 AM EST
    great men of America.  I admire him more than anybody I can think of.

    As much as anything, (5.00 / 2) (#166)
    by oldpro on Wed Jul 30, 2008 at 01:03:39 AM EST
    it was the disrespect shown to John Lewis by people of his own race that infuriated me about the Obama campaign's 'assault' on the superdelegates...especially the older African American supers who had paid their dues and earned the right to make any damn choice they wanted to...freely...and without threats or intimidation.

    Surely, surely they had suffered enough of that at the hands of their enemies when they were young and strong.  To suffer it now from kith and kin...from their own ungrateful children - grandchildren even - must have been as agonizing to experience as it was to watch.

    Perhaps John and Jesse will be able to forgive Jesse Junior.

    I doubt I ever will.


    Bad timing.... (5.00 / 7) (#52)
    by p lukasiak on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 09:52:27 AM EST
    If you are supporting Obama, it makes no sense to try and support any of the kind of initiatives Greenwald is proposing.

    Simply put, thanks to the mess that Bush will leave his successor, 2010 and 2012 are likely to be years where the party holding the White House will do poorly in Congress.  This is especially true if Obama wins -- Democrats will control both Congress and the White House, and take all the blame for not "fixing" what its taken eight years for Bush to destroy.

    In other words, Democrats will be fighting to maintain control of congress in 2010 and 2012 if Obama wins -- and progressives won't be in a position to fight for "better democrats".

    However, if McCain wins, progressives will be positioned perfectly to go after "blue dogs" -- by putting up progressive primary challengers who label the Blue Dog incumbents "McCain Democrats".  

    The smart strategy for real progressives this year is to send a message to the Democratic Party by doing two things

    1. withhold support from Obama (allowing McCain to win while maintaining control of Congress and bringing in more progressives in 2010 and 2012, and retaking the White House in 2012)

    2. Send a message to the Democratic leadership by supporting Cindy Sheehan in her "independent" bid against Pelosi -- if Sheehan can get on the ballot and run a credible campaign, progressives can send the message that we're not going to take spineless Democrats anymore.

    And to those who like to scare people with the prospect of a McCain presidency  -- if Obama is elected, the odds are high that the GOP will win the white house and control of congress in 2012.... and the Republican who wins in 2012 will be far worse than McCain, and if he has control of Congress, the damage that he can do will make McCain look like FDR in comparison.

    this all sounds right to me (5.00 / 1) (#56)
    by Capt Howdy on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 09:56:29 AM EST
    then give me (5.00 / 0) (#59)
    by p lukasiak on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 10:02:17 AM EST
    then give me a FIVE rating, so it can move up, dagnabit!! :)

    done (5.00 / 0) (#65)
    by Capt Howdy on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 10:06:45 AM EST
    I dont generally rate.  in fact that might be my first.  I dont really see it as my job here and it never occurs to me.
    but you got it.  I liked the whole thing.

    Speak for yourself (5.00 / 0) (#61)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 10:03:58 AM EST
    I frankly am heartily sick of you Paul telling people what they can and can't do.

    Of course the most ridiculous part of your entirely ridiculous comment is that I can't support Glenn Greenwald's initiative  because I support Barack Obama. By that measure. Glenn Greenwald can't support his own initiative.

    your behavior of late lessens your credible arguments. I suggest you try and make sense in the future.


    I think you have to face the fact (5.00 / 4) (#68)
    by Capt Howdy on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 10:10:52 AM EST
    that if Obama wins it seems likely he may end up being one of those dems who deserves a primary challenge in the next election.
    at least thats how many of us see it.
    and I think his comments about dems losing the congress if Obama is elected does not sound beyond the realm of possibility at all.
    and anything ANYTHING to get rid of Pelosi.

    So prtimary him (3.00 / 0) (#69)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 10:12:26 AM EST
    there was a primary this year and he won.

    Now it is him or McCain.

    On how you vote.

    As for what to say about him. say what you believe.

    As will I.

    I am quite tired of Paul's act at this point frankly. And I am a fan of his.


    guess Im not here enough (5.00 / 0) (#73)
    by Capt Howdy on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 10:17:12 AM EST
    to be all that familiar.
    but I liked that comment.

    I can't say I've followed every one (5.00 / 4) (#78)
    by frankly0 on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 10:32:36 AM EST
    of your prescriptions with respect to "solving" the problem Obama represents, but I've always been baffled by what you really think can be done to change Obama consistent with your support of him.

    What do you imagine will possibly work to alter Obama into someone who listens to the progressives (and other supporters of the Constitution) on, say, the issue of FISA?

    I know one thing that generally works with politicians like Obama: refuse him your support, either in terms of money or your vote. Or organize against him. Or do any of a number of things that might deny him the one thing he might actually pay attention to: success at the polls in November.

    Problem is, you're continuing to support Obama despite his many capitulations. What do you propose to do as remedy? Criticize him, while you support his candidacy? And, if he still doesn't change, criticize him some more?

    Do you really think that's going to work? If so, why?

    You see, that's where your own position just loses all clarity for me.


    I would add to that (5.00 / 2) (#86)
    by Capt Howdy on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 10:53:56 AM EST
    it is starting to look more and more like a plan to me to use Obama to win good margins in the congress and not worry to much if he loses since we should have good margins in the congress.
    and wait for a real progressive in 2012 to keep and even expand those margins and actually get some things done.
    and I actually believe that McCain is the person he ran as for the last 20 years and not the one he has run as, for the purposes of winning, in the last 20 months. and if he isnt we will have good margins to keep him in check.
    I know this may sound a little blasphemous but I really fear that not only will Obama deliver the WH to a republican in 2012 but the congress as well.
    just MO.

    what is the saying? (5.00 / 2) (#93)
    by TimNCGuy on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 11:10:41 AM EST
    "Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me."

    This all sounds to me like Obama "fooled the progressives" once in the primaries.  And, they continue to support him now being "fooled" the second time.

    Because I guess, Obama only needed to fool them the first time to get what he wanted.  Now, they don't see any way out because they fear a McCain presidency more.

    Others of us fear the Obama presidency more.  In my case it is because I don't think a dem congress would be able to perform much "checking and balancing" on Obama.  And, I don't really like Obama's center right positions


    "checking and balancing" (5.00 / 1) (#98)
    by Capt Howdy on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 11:23:17 AM EST
    yes, exactly.  that is my fear as well.
    on the other  hand they would fall over each other to challenge a president McCain.

    Wow BTD... (5.00 / 1) (#72)
    by p lukasiak on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 10:16:36 AM EST
    first off, I didn't tell anyone what they "can and can't do."  I pointed out that Greenwald's strategy made no sense, provided arguments why it made no sense, and offered a "smart" alternative strategy.

    Your response doesn't address any of the issues I raise -- rather it comes off as pure defensive ad hominem.

    If you think I'm wrong, show me (and everyone else) why I'm wrong.  But don't attack me just because I'm skeptical of both McCain and Obama, and skeptical of those who are jumping on the unity pony just because he has a "D" next to his name.


    The chance (5.00 / 3) (#81)
    by Steve M on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 10:40:17 AM EST
    of Cindy Sheehan running a credible campaign is 0%, God bless her.

    sadly I agree (5.00 / 2) (#83)
    by Capt Howdy on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 10:47:14 AM EST
    but I so want to stick it to Pelosi.  and if Cindy can win anywhere . . .

    sending a message.... (5.00 / 2) (#121)
    by p lukasiak on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 12:14:22 PM EST
    I don't think that Sheehan can win either -- but I do think that with national progressive support, she could mount a credible challenge.  

    (as for the 'nader' comment above, this is not a "nader" move.  Nader's campaign was based on the false premise that there was no difference between Bush and Gore in 2000.  I don't think anyone who is refusing to support Obama thinks there is no difference between McCain and Obama.  And I'm not even saying that people shouldn't support Obama because he's insufficiently progressive -- rather that support for Obama is inconsistent with achieving the "better Democrats" goal.)


    Losing elections does not help (5.00 / 1) (#84)
    by MKS on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 10:51:37 AM EST
    Hoping McCain wins is going the wrong direction......

    This is Nader all over again.....Look at how well that worked.


    Hey, what a plan. Let's LOSE the WH again. (5.00 / 1) (#104)
    by beachmom on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 11:43:48 AM EST
    Unbelievable and incredibly short sighted.  Hey, who needs Roe v. Wade, anyway?  I don't care about long term majorities if it means allowing my country to go to pot in the mean time.  In case you haven't noticed, we're in a major economic slow down and people are really hurting.  We need leadership, thank you very much, not a third Bush term, and dreams of a long term majority a la Rove, which never ends up working out as planned.  If all you desire is power for power's sake, instead of bettering people's lives, then there is another political party you may be interested in.

    BTW, that means I would have preferred Kerry to have been president in '04.  That may have meant the Congress staying Republican, and maybe only a one term Democratic President (Kerry would have been blamed for everything, but he would have done it anyway).  But I have no doubt in my mind that we would already be out of Iraq and tackling the climate crisis, much of which could be done without Congressional approval.  I could go on and on .... sigh.


    "D" uber alles? (5.00 / 2) (#128)
    by p lukasiak on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 12:31:51 PM EST
    Hey, who needs Roe v. Wade, anyway?  I don't care about long term majorities if it means allowing my country to go to pot in the mean time.  In case you haven't noticed, we're in a major economic slow down and people are really hurting.  We need leadership, thank you very much, not a third Bush term, and dreams of a long term majority a la Rove, which never ends up working out as planned.

    Hey, if there is a GOP president in 2012 (possibly with a GOP Senate), you can wave buh-bye to Roe v Wade anyway.  Your scare tactics don't work on people who understand that Roe v Wade will remain under assault for at least a decade or two because its doubtful that Roberts, Scalia, Alito, and Thomas are planning on retiring any time soon (and will wait until their replacement can be nominated by a GOP president anyway.)  

    And if you think that Obama is going to provide the kind of 'leadership' you're talking about, well, you're one of those who have been projecting your own aspirations on Obama (just like he wants you to do), rather than paying attention to the way in which he has been throwing progressives under the bus every chance he gets.  


    It literally makes me (5.00 / 1) (#158)
    by gyrfalcon on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 04:12:20 PM EST
    nauseous, but I'm coming more and more to this way of thinking.  I don't see any other scenario that holds much hope for keeping the country from just going under.

    The threat of a primary (5.00 / 3) (#55)
    by stxabuela on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 09:56:13 AM EST
    in a reliably blue district can work, if you've recruited a good candidate and have a committed core of supporters willing to buck the status quo in the organized local party structure. There's a lot of pressure on newcomers to the political scene to stay out of a primary against an incumbent, even if that incumbent has been a disappointment. I've worked in the local party apparatus for many years. This is the scenario in which gate-crashing is required; the long-term party activists, even the progressive ones, may well fight against a primary challenger. Sad, but true, this is sometimes the toughest fight.

    It's a lot easier running a Blue Dog in a swing/leans R district.  I have seen this locally with the Juan Garcia win in the Texas House of Representatives. He distanced himself from the local Democratic Party structures, yet had the full support of the local activists. Garcia beat the R incumbent--and now the Republicans are trying to copy his success by running a D turned R, more middle of the road candidate.

    I would like to see progressives look a little further down the road at blue districts in which a Blue Dog may soon be retiring. Positioning a good progressive to run in an open seat in two to four years is not only easier, but it can certainly get an incumbent's attention--witness the change in Tauscher's position. With open seats, even entrenched members of the local party structure are very likely to support the most progressive candidate. The far-right shift in the Republican Party didn't happen overnight. The old adage, "All politics is local," is correct.  And all change in politics is incremental.  


    Another factor to consider carefully (5.00 / 0) (#74)
    by Radiowalla on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 10:19:50 AM EST
    is whether the balance of power is at stake.  In '06, the Lamont race certainly attracted attention to the Iraq war, but it also drew tremendous resources away from races where the Democrats might have picked up Republican seats in the senate.  The Democrats needed to win 5 seats to gain the majority.  The outcome of the Lamont-Lieberman race served to make a statement about the war, but it didn't advance much in terms of wielding power.  Lieberman has become even more of a liability than if he had been left alone.

    Just a thought.

    On the contrary (5.00 / 4) (#79)
    by andgarden on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 10:34:31 AM EST
    Lieberman has been exposed for who he really is.

    Yes, he has been exposed (none / 0) (#109)
    by Radiowalla on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 11:48:26 AM EST
    but unfortunately he has even more power than before.  The Dems have to kiss his heiney to keep him in the caucus and the balance in the senate depends on him.    

    Not for long. (5.00 / 3) (#115)
    by andgarden on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 11:55:03 AM EST
    And what good is control of the Senate now anyway? Blocking Bush's judicial nominees, sure, but even with 50 Senators we'd have more than enough to do that.

    We can prevent recess appointments--that's it.


    and we control (none / 0) (#116)
    by TimNCGuy on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 12:02:47 PM EST
    what legislation gets on the schedule.

    True, but Reid has been very unsuccessful (5.00 / 1) (#118)
    by andgarden on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 12:08:03 PM EST
    at making that an important power. Indeed, he has capitulated more than once.

    maybe he should (5.00 / 3) (#119)
    by TimNCGuy on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 12:09:51 PM EST
    be replaced next year by a woman who has a "set".

    Hehheheh. (5.00 / 1) (#159)
    by gyrfalcon on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 04:15:13 PM EST
    As Carville once said, if she gave him one, they'd both have two.

    True (none / 0) (#160)
    by sj on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 05:17:59 PM EST
    And here we are:  discussing Obama's FISA vote.  However did that get on the calendar, I wonder....

    Allocation of Scarce Resources (5.00 / 4) (#76)
    by santarita on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 10:23:40 AM EST
    The diary presents a good framework for determining how to allocate resources in a meaningful way.

    The  progressive netroots doesn't have sufficient  wealth, power and influence to disperse its energies and resources effectively across the nation.   It's  better to focus like a laser on certain races.  

    I wonder if, in addition to the criteria discussed in the diary,  focussing on primaries where there is a viable progressive candidate running against a high profile disappointing Dem - like Nancy Pelosi or Steny Hoyer may get a lot of bang for the buck.  Even if they ultimately win, they realize that their power doesn't insulate them from the voters.  

    agreed BTD. (5.00 / 1) (#92)
    by cpinva on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 11:06:31 AM EST
    My problem is with a so called Progressive Netroots wasting its resources working to elect candidates who basically disagree with their view of what the Democratic Party should be.

    which causes me to wonder why on earth you, or any other "progessive" democrat, could possibly support an obama candidacy for president.

    he doesn't even qualify as a DINO at this point, much less exemplify what the democratic party is supposed to stand for.

    if you truly believe the above referrenced statement, your (admittedly qualified) support for sen. obama renders you a hypocrite.

    for myself, though clinton isn't perfect (who is?), she comes far closer to the progessive democratic ideal than sen. obama. that's why, should the SD's still be intoxicated by the whiff of "obama number 5" in august, i shall be availing myself of the write-in option, come nov.

    MayI suggest Voting Green? (none / 0) (#124)
    by Radix on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 12:20:33 PM EST
    It will only add to their numbers thus making them more of a threat to the Dems.

    you may (none / 0) (#144)
    by Capt Howdy on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 01:56:54 PM EST
    Back from a weeks vacation. (5.00 / 1) (#100)
    by Faust on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 11:30:56 AM EST
    Good post to come back to. I won't comment expansively except to say I agree with the bulk of the argument.

    I haven't been a fan of the Blue Dog project (5.00 / 1) (#110)
    by beachmom on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 11:49:59 AM EST
    either.  I just think the trick is finding the right district and the right candidate, and as I alluded to upthread, checking in with local bloggers/activists to make sure conditions are right for a successful primary challenge.

    No supporting Obama? (5.00 / 3) (#137)
    by pluege on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 01:07:23 PM EST
    My problem is with a so called Progressive Netroots wasting its resources working to elect candidates who basically disagree with their view of what the Democratic Party should be.

    that rules out center-right candidate Obama.

    I don't see how (5.00 / 3) (#138)
    by TimNCGuy on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 01:22:32 PM EST
    the netroots or the progressives wil be any happier about Obama being elected than they have been by Pelosi gaining the speakership.  They thought giving the house to the dems would do something for their agenda and they still have no accountability from the Bush admin.

    They have been highly disappointed in her and they will be just as disappointed in him.


    Worse (none / 0) (#146)
    by pluege on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 02:08:19 PM EST
    Obama is "one of them" in many ways. Pelosi seems weak, craven, and easily manipulated, but she doesn't seem to originate pro-wingnut stances, just not fight them.

    Obama, with his anti-gay, pro-religious wack-job holier than thou, anti-women, suck up to republicans orientation, coupled with his no fight for what's right demeanor and his 'lets fight a different war' policy will be even more painful than vichy dem Pelosi. Still, (repeat after me) nothing could be worse than chief republican loon mccain.


    nope (5.00 / 2) (#148)
    by TimNCGuy on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 02:14:28 PM EST
    Obama could be worse than McCain.  Because the dems would stop much of McCain's damage.  But, they won't try to stop any damage Obama would do.

    I don't see that there would be ANY effective "checks and balances" used against Obama by the dem congress.


    Whaaa???? (5.00 / 0) (#155)
    by pluege on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 03:21:15 PM EST
    how effective have the vichy dems been at stopping bush? Hell they don't even want to. Dems "stopping mccain" is a non-starter.

    Obama is the Ultimate Blue-Dog Democrat (5.00 / 2) (#147)
    by bmc on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 02:11:29 PM EST
    I find this whole discussion to be highly amusing considering that we are intent on nominating the epitome of BLUE DOGS for the head of the party.

    Sorry. I just cannot resist pointing out that Barack Obama hired Tennessee's Jim Cooper as his campaign manager in the primaries. You of course know who Jim Cooper is, right? He's one of the Blue Dogs who terminated the Clinton healthcare reform initiative during the 90s--because he thought mandates were too far "left."

    Jim Cooper--the Blue Dog Obama hired to run his campaign in Tennessee--also voted against using hikes in tobacco taxes to pay for health care coverage for children under the S-Chip program.

    Obama--like Cooper--is the ultimate BLUE DOG Democrat. His policy against "mandates" for his health-care reform plan comes straight from Tennessee's Blue Dog Democrat, Jim Cooper, and lobbyists like John Breaux.


    BTD remarked on this column by Brooks:


    Well, there ya go. (none / 0) (#167)
    by oldpro on Wed Jul 30, 2008 at 01:18:48 AM EST
    Reality bites.

    Agreed with one caveat (none / 0) (#2)
    by andgarden on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 09:11:08 AM EST
    PA-10, which Chris Carney represents, is not really blue America. It does have the fastest growing county in PA (Pike), but George Bush still won in 60/40 in 2004. The Republicans scooped out Scranton in 2002 to make it that way.

    Otherwise, yeah, targets like Harman, Tauscher, and Wynn make much more sense.

    It's 2008 (none / 0) (#8)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 09:18:57 AM EST
    Not 2004. I guarantee you it is not 60/40 Bush now.

    I bet is is 40/60 Bush now.


    Well, Rick Santorum won the district in '06 (none / 0) (#12)
    by andgarden on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 09:21:05 AM EST
    Lynn Swann lost to Ed Rendell there, however.

    Bush has a 25% approval rating (none / 0) (#14)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 09:22:12 AM EST
    He was at least 10 points higher in 2006.

    Well fine, but I'll bet you a dollar (none / 0) (#20)
    by andgarden on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 09:25:15 AM EST
    that John McCain wins it 60/40 this year.

    Bet (none / 0) (#31)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 09:29:57 AM EST
    meh (none / 0) (#36)
    by Capt Howdy on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 09:33:31 AM EST

    Probably (none / 0) (#39)
    by andgarden on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 09:35:43 AM EST
    And that means that Obama is sure to win the state.

    Pike County is fast growing for sure (none / 0) (#90)
    by BarnBabe on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 11:03:04 AM EST
    I am in Carney's district in Wayne County. Votes GOP. Pike County which is right next to it is growing but most of the people moving to that county come from NY and NJ I believe. It was first a weekend place but many are moving here permanently. So good for Dems unless they are already registered in their home state and don't vote here. Carney did desiginate his Super Del to Hillary saying she won the district and he would vote with his people.

    Change between 2006 and 2008. In '06 Dems just wanted to get the majority. Carney ran. No one knew him but his GOP opponent was Don Sherwood. Anyone could have beaten him. Thus, they had a chance to put a true Dem in this spot. They didn't want to chance it I guess. Casey was a good bet too. Same, going for who could win.


    Actually Ellen Tauscher may come from a (none / 0) (#136)
    by hairspray on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 12:59:27 PM EST
    blue state, but her district is pretty purple at this point.  She won her first election, barely, against pro-life Bill Baker. He was as bad as any I have seen and he lasted out there for almost a decade. In fact I worked in 2 campaigns intending to unseat him until Ellen came along.  She was a businesswoman and did not frighten the folks out there. The Livermore Amador Valley is full of "white flight" retired, sprawling development types and ranchers. I think keeping her honest is the best bet.

    It's a very blue district now (none / 0) (#150)
    by andgarden on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 02:30:18 PM EST
    Al Gore won it as it was by more than 8 points in 2000, and the CA legislature rejiggered it so that Gore would have won by almost 14 points in 2002.

    Almost any Democrat can win there now.


    Maybe. I doubt that a neandertal like (none / 0) (#164)
    by hairspray on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 06:20:33 PM EST
    Baker would ever win again, but a moderate Republican could easily. And my guess is that is all that will attempt that district. It is still politically moderate.  

    Excellent, excellent post, BTD. (none / 0) (#5)
    by Anne on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 09:15:15 AM EST
    Should be required reading across the progressive blogoshpere.

    If all politics is local... (none / 0) (#91)
    by lambert on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 11:05:15 AM EST
    ... don't we then need to go local?

    How do we do that?

    The vast majority of politicians (5.00 / 1) (#96)
    by samanthasmom on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 11:20:13 AM EST
    with national recognition began their rise at the local level. Some with family connections or large fortunes are able to jump to higher positions right away, but most start out at the local or state office. If we concentrate our efforts on electing progressives at those lower levels, and continue to support them only if they remain true to their roots, we would eventually end up with a pool of progressives with enough experience to serve in and name recognition to run for our highest offices. The problems with this are that it takes a great deal of patience to work from the bottom up, politicians often lose sight of their roots as they move up through the ranks, and the netroots may not be as effective a way to promote and support a candidate at the lower levels of government. Up close and personal works better when someone's district is only a few square miles.

    Actually, the more local progressives (none / 0) (#126)
    by Radix on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 12:27:36 PM EST
    that get elected, the less likely they will forget were they came from. When local candidates seek higher office they need to appeal to larger groups. The more pervasive the progressive movement is in the larger group, the less likely they will be to change their positions. So, the more districts that are progressive the greater their collective ability to move progressives into higher state and federal offices.

    No easy short answer to that (5.00 / 1) (#103)
    by stxabuela on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 11:43:18 AM EST
    If there is an active party structure locally, going to generic Democratic functions is a good way to meet several candidates, potential candidates, and office-holders personally, at one event. Getting involved in a particular candidate's campaign is also a good way to meet others (they are always trolling for votes at each other's events.) Netroots is a tool, particularly for fundraising from like-minded people outside the local area, but the best way to find good potential candidates is face-to-face meetings. Believe me, if they have been seriously considering a run, they'll approach you to introduce themselves. I can't speak for the rest of the country, but locally, it's usually the same 75-150 activists who show up to create a crowd. A candidate will bypass 20 of his/her friends to shake the hand of someone new. I was at a function last night with an office holder who was once my boss. He waved at me, but we never spoke--he was working the 50 or so "fresh faces."  

    No free rides. Yup. (none / 0) (#143)
    by oldpro on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 01:49:05 PM EST
    Sorry I missed the original series on DK...good fun.

    The reminder of the 5 postulates could be programmed to come sailing by a little more often than every two years.  Let's put it up on the Party bulletin board. (I'm printing it out right now...and then I'm off to get my 7th grade student reelected to the country commission).

    So basic.

    So right.

    It's not rocket science.  But somehow, some folks think time and space don't curve in their hood.

    Good post.

    Was H. Clinton primaried for President? (none / 0) (#145)
    by wurman on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 01:59:27 PM EST

    Progressivism and Geometry (none / 0) (#149)
    by Dadler on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 02:29:51 PM EST
    I'm reminded of the motto my high school geometry teacher offered us about that mathematical discipline, and it seems well suited to deciding which "progressive" candidates to support.  It went simply like this: That that is, is; that that is not, is not.

    Is Nancy Pelosi in a blue state? (none / 0) (#156)
    by lambert on Tue Jul 29, 2008 at 03:56:56 PM EST
    Just asking....

    "Blue State" Dems (none / 0) (#168)
    by jefered on Wed Jul 30, 2008 at 06:58:08 AM EST
    Let's be honest here - "blue state" Dems haven't done much of anything to forward the progressive agenda, either. I'd rather see the party hold influential members (Pelosi, Reid, and yes, Obama) accountable for decidedly un-progressive stances (FISA, more funding for the war, etc.) than blame party failures on conservative Dems.

    I'd be very much in favor of taking netroot money away from the Heath Shulers of the party if the money was put toward promoting progressive values. If you're simply suggesting taking money away from "hick states" and pouring it into New England and California just cuz, well, that's what I'd consider promoting a bias rather than promoting progressive values.

    After all, it wasn't Southerners who voted Lieberman into office four times.