The Trouble with Ideological Purity

Jeff Alworth

Note: Update on the MoveOn campaign is included at the bottom of the post.

I got an email from MoveOn today that caught my eye.  It appears to be a sort of push poll to encourage the faithful to get on board with progressive Dems:

It is also part of our work together to hold Democrats to their Party's highest values on issues like foreign policy, economic prosperity and good government.

That sometimes means grappling with specific right-wing Democrats who consistently side with big corporations and right-wing Republicans.

One approach is to support progressive primary challengers to right-wing Democrats. We think this makes sense but it's a big decision so we wanted to check with you and other MoveOn members. What do you think?

I don't think they're actually concerned with what I think, because the remainder of the email describes the evils of conservative Dems.  Still, they asked, so here goes.

Bushkiss Nothing irritates me more than Dems who appear unable to resist the magnetic force of GOP power--folks like Joe Lieberman, who rushed up to Bush after last year's State of the Union to receive a kiss on the cheek. We have, for better or worse, a two-party system, and if your party's in the minority, it can't be sucking up to the other team.

But strategically, the MoveOn idea sucks.  We've been completely out of power for six years, and mostly out of power for twelve.  One of the main reasons is because Americans view us as ideologically rigid--a false view abetted by efforts like this.  The Democratic Party needs to do a lot of work, but weeding out the insufficiently blue Democrats shouldn't be part of the game plan.  Let's put our efforts where it will really do some good--defeating conservative Republicans in districts where Dems (even conservative ones!) have a shot, like Oregon's 2nd District.  I think we can only do this by expanding the tent, not shrinking it.

(And there's something slightly ironic about the plan, too.  We hate that the party doesn't have good unity so we ... attack the party.  Hmmm.)

If we can't find a platform that unites conservative and liberal Democrats, after all the lies, corruption, and incompetence of the great GOP era, we've got bigger problems than Joe Lieberman's smooch.

[Update, Feb 16: MoveOn has mailed out the findings of its survey.  They write: "84% of us agreed we should challenge some right-wing incumbent Democrats in primary elections."  Following the formula of the earlier email, in which Henry Cuellar of Texas's 28th District was used as the example of a misbehaving Dem, MoveOn now supports deposing him.  I wrote in the post that it felt like a push poll--where MoveOn was trying to gain support for an already-made decision--and this doesn't disabuse me of that suspicion.]

Comments

  • LT (unverified)
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    The trouble with ideological purity is the question of whether it is better to be pure or in the majority.

    One approach is to support progressive primary challengers to right-wing Democrats.

    If Moveon wants purity over majority they are full of themselves. But no worse than the DSCC telling Hackett to drop out because they have decided the Congressman should run instead.

  • (Show?)

    The Christian Coalition turned itself into a big-time player in Republican politics by contesting GOP primaries and in the process helped turn the Republican party into the dominant force in American politics.

    As for the rest... my advice is that you re-examine the extent to which you have internalized and accepted the GOP narrative about the Democratic party. My sense is that Democrats lose when the public believes that we act out of political expediency rather than from deeply held values.

    If MoveOn wants to help knock out Henry Cuellar in TX-28 or Joe Lieberman in Conneticut, I say more power to them. It beats having them waste valuable activist resources with meaningless petitions and polls. Besides, there is almost no chance that either of those seats will be a GOP pickup. And both of those candidates would be worth defeating even if neither of them had chosen to play smoochies with Dubya.

  • (Show?)

    Jeff,

    Thank you for your comments. I told Move-on that if they proceed with their new approach they could kiss me good bye. If we get to a solid majority we can have the luxury of worrying about purity. All I care about at this point is getting the first vote in congress that chooses the majority leader and committee chairs. We coastal progressives do not make up a majority of the country. There are a lot of Democrats in red states that will not vote with us on all issues, but if they support us on enough we can end this nightmare the country is in. We need to keep our eye on the ball.

    This has not been a good day for those of us who would like to win next fall and require a unified party to do it. As LT points out the Paul Hackett decision has split the party there and is causing heartburn elsewhere. "Big Eddy" lost his temper on KPOJ and was yelling at an Ohio Democrat that disagreed with him on the Hackett issue and he rarely does that. You would think we were fighting over the spoils and had already won instead of trying to scratch out a gain for our side.

  • (Show?)

    If Moveon wants purity over majority they are full of themselves.

    That choice is a false dilemma if I've ever heard one.

    Republicans gained the majority by promoting ideological purity and enforcing discipline by knocking out candidates in GOP primaries who failed to respond to their base.

    If anything, Democrats lost power in the 1990's by abandoning their base in the search for the mythical middle. The beltway wing of the Democratic Party gave us the worst of both worlds inasmuch as they lost credibility with the progressive activist core of the party while failing to persuade anyone in the center, which generally perceives our candidates as political opportunists rather than people of principle and conviction.

  • (Show?)

    I don't think that the question lends itself to intellectual clarity.

    <hr/>

    I'm always railing against the DLC guys, Liebermann, Clinton, Emanuel, etcetera since I believe that they have decided that the only way to win is to whore themselves out on any issue. If they have no ideology at all, how can I be accused of pigeonholing them?

    <hr/>

    Idler, over at My Very Brain likes to go back to the 17th century for his definitions of Liberal and Conservative. As near as I can tell, his definition of liberal is about identical to my definition of libertarian. This may be accurate in some way, but practically, it just adds another layer of confusion to the topic.

    <hr/>

    My buddies on the real Lefty lists (Yes, Sasha, Wolfie, et. al. there are much more liberal sites in Oregon than BlueOregon), think that I'm an irredeemable Conservative or worse, because I favor some form of immigration law enforcement.

    <hr/>

    We're pretty much back to doing our own danged homework. The DSCC bastards called my house a week ago for money, and I'm so-o-o-o-o-o glad that I told 'em to take a flying leap. As LT mentions, what they did to Paul Hackett, absolutely proves their moral bankruptcy.

  • (Show?)

    All I care about at this point is getting the first vote in congress that chooses the majority leader and committee chairs.

    All I care about is winning on policy. You don't win on policy by giving people you don't agree with a free pass in primary elections. Besides, it's not a zero sum game. There is no reason to suppose that knocking off Henry Cuellar in the Texas-28 primary is going to hurt David Wu's chances in Oregon's 1st CD.

    Also, the example of Paul Hackett, who was pushed out by the DSCC is a terrible example for making your case. If Hackett had lost the primary, his supporters would've lined up behind Sherrod Brown the same way that Dean supporters lined up behind Kerry. Now, because of how the DSCC pushed Hackett out, those majority of those people are going to sit on their hands and do nothing for us in Ohio this year.

  • (Show?)

    Jeff: "appears to be a sort of push poll"

    Push Poll (n.) From Wikipedia: A push poll is a political campaign technique in which an individual or organization attempts to influence or alter the view of respondents under the guise of conducting a poll. Push polls are generally viewed as a form of negative campaigning. The term is also sometimes used incorrectly to refer to legitimate polls which test political messages, some of which may be negative. Push polling has been condemned by the American Association of Political Consultants.

  • (Show?)

    Taken from a recent diary at Daily Kos

    2.) Primaries are bad This is something akin to gospel in the Democratic Party and I used to buy it. Until 2004. In that cycle, competitive Republican primaries in Oklahoma, Alaska, South Carolina, and Florida allowed those Republicans to use the momentum boost and media coverage to eventually win their seats. Democrats cleared their primary fields up and down the map for all the good it did (absolutely none).

    This obsession with clearing fields really is counterproductive, generating a great deal of hostility and ill-will. And really, what better place to work on message and build the campaign machinery than in a primary? The primary election, at worse, becomes a test run to make sure the machine is firing on all cylinders. And the money used on media and whatnot during a primary is not wasted money -- it's a way to build up early name recognition to the electorate. It worked wonders for Republicans in 2004.

  • Chris Andersen (unverified)
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    You say that Democrats are out of power because we are perceived as being ideologically rigid. I'm not buying it. I think the much bigger reason is because Democrats are seen as feckless.

    And there are none more feckless than Joe Lieberman.

  • Chris Andersen (unverified)
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    Just to be clear on this: I don't think MoveOn is pushing ideological purity. I think they are pushing the idea of party loyalty. Specifically, the idea that Democrats shouldn't rush to the microphones to regurgitate Republican talking points.

    Telling Democrats to stop doing that and kicking them out when they refuse is not enforcing ideologicaly purity. Its simply rejecting someone who shows no loyalty.

  • (Show?)

    Just to be clear, this is an argument of strategy, and I'm not going to go to the mat for Joe Lieberman or Henry Cuellar. But it IS a matter of strategy, and I think having a national PAC flood local races is a three-part blunder.

    First, it nationalizes Party division, which is crappy PR. Second, it bleeds money, time, and organization away from races that are competitive in GOP districts. We happen to have one in Oregon. I'd love to see MoveOn mount a "winning in 'unwinnable' districts" push. That would unite the party and nationalize our unity. Finally, you have to make a decision: do you ask your party and leaders to fall in line with orthodoxy, or do you reach out to folks who, like Pat Ryan, will join you in larger, more inclusive agendas, but drop you in a New York (make that Clackamas County) minute if you push a narrow agenda. I think MoveOn represents the wrong choice.

    Okay, bonus reason: I'm all for progressive candidates ousting conservatives. But this should totally be a grassroots effort, should arise from local leaders because of local will, and shouldn't be choreographed by twenty-somethings in Washington because of generic purity standards.

    But, as I say, it's a strategic issue, and I think most of us are actually on the same team from a mission standpoint: regaining power and creating and passing progressive policy to undue some of the catastrophe of the Bush years. I'm a low-down pinko commie politically, but I'd settle for incremental, modest progress after the decade we've had.

  • (Show?)

    Ima wondrin' if the DFO is gonna jump on this Hackett deal.

    Veterans are the darlings of the Dems right now (me included), and since the Washington pols have nothing but contempt for (and fear of?) the Dean Bros., why shouldn't we flex our muscles a bit?

    When Jeff says:

    I'd love to see MoveOn mount a "winning in 'unwinnable' districts" push. That would unite the party and nationalize our unity. I think that he's on to something.

    MoveOn, True Majority, and the DFO, might all want to take a look at this idea.........

  • Steve Bucknum (unverified)
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    Purity versus majority is a false choice.

    And this discussion is to the side of what the American people really want.

    What America really wants is a functioning Democratic Party with some clear core values. Those values are defense of individual liberites, a level playing field for opportunity, social security (little letters means not the program, but the broader concept of a caring society), and a sensible foreign policy geared to benefit the American people not just American corporations.

    So, do we go after some Democrat that has voted conservative on some issues? Or do we go after the Republican majority in Congress? First things first - once we have Congress then we can deal with those that fall short of the ideal. Once we control Congress and the American people again see what Democrats can do when in power, the inclusiveness of our Party, perhaps some of those Democrats voting conservatively (perhaps thinking they are voting safely) might just come around and vote in a better track.

    Blue (Sal), Move On is off track with this one.

  • (Show?)

    For those of you following the Hackett story, this is a very useful commentary from KOS:

    OH-Sen: Hackett out. Of politics. by kos Mon Feb 13, 2006 at 10:01:35 PM PDT Hackett is out.

    Paul Hackett, an Iraq war veteran and popular Democratic candidate in Ohio's closely watched Senate contest, said yesterday that he was dropping out of the race and leaving politics altogether as a result of pressure from party leaders.

    Mr. Hackett said Senators Charles E. Schumer of New York and Harry Reid of Nevada, the same party leaders who he said persuaded him last August to enter the Senate race, had pushed him to step aside so that Representative Sherrod Brown, a longtime member of Congress, could take on Senator Mike DeWine, the Republican incumbent.

    Mr. Hackett staged a surprisingly strong Congressional run last year in an overwhelmingly Republican district and gained national prominence for his scathing criticism of the Bush administration's handling of the Iraq War. It was his performance in the Congressional race that led party leaders to recruit him for the Senate race.

    But for the last two weeks, he said, state and national Democratic Party leaders have urged him to drop his Senate campaign and again run for Congress.

    "This is an extremely disappointing decision that I feel has been forced on me," said Mr. Hackett, whose announcement comes two days before the state's filing deadline for candidates. He said he was outraged to learn that party leaders were calling his donors and asking them to stop giving and said he would not enter the Second District Congressional race.

    "For me, this is a second betrayal," Mr. Hackett said. "First, my government misused and mismanaged the military in Iraq, and now my own party is afraid to support candidates like me."

    Calling his donors? Seems like a bullshit thing to do. But the party wasn't afraid of Hackett, they were afraid of an untested candidate in a high-profile Senate race. He'd have all the support in the world had he decided to run for OH-02. And he'd be able to build on that support for a Senate race in 2010.

    But alas, it was not to be. Too bad.

    Update: To make something clear, Hackett is complaining about betrayal. Yet Rahm was trying to get him to become one of his candidates. In other words, Rahm was recruiting him. That's not a bad thing. That's a flattering thing.

    To be clear -- Hackett didn't stand a chance. He had a tenth of Brown's money, and that was before party people allegedly tried to stop Hackett's donors from giving. His field operation in the special election was literally put together and implemented by Dan Lucas. Who is Dan Lucas? Sherrod Brown's campaign manager. Hackett's netroots effort in the special election was put together by Tim Tagaris. And while Tim is now at the DNC, he helped put together Brown's netroots operation.

    So it was Brown's people who helped put together the nuts and bolts of Hackett's special election campaign, and they were now working for their boss -- Sherrod Brown.

    To be further clear, Brown announced his candidacy before Hackett did. Yes, Reid and Schumer were urging Hackett to run, but he wouldn't commit to running. Labor Day, the traditional announcement day for most candidates, came and went with Hackett refusing to say what his plans were. So after waiting and waiting and waiting, Brown essentially said "fuck it" and got in. It was only after news of Brown's impending announcement were leaked that Hackett decided to commit to the race.

    Bottom line? Hackett didn't stand a chance, he wasn't backstabbed by his party since Brown's candidacy was announced before his was (if he'd only committed sooner, Brown might've stayed out), and the party wasn't out to screw him, they were out to get him to run in the House.

    Update II: It looks like people misunderstood at least part of my first update. I don't think Hackett stood a chance in the primary. I think either candidate would be able to take DeWine. But Hackett had fallen woefully behind on the money and organizational races, and lacked Brown in name ID. It would've been a tough slog.

  • (Show?)

    But this should totally be a grassroots effort, should arise from local leaders because of local will, and shouldn't be choreographed by twenty-somethings in Washington because of generic purity standards.

    Perhaps you don't exactly have your finger on the pulse of the Democratic grassroots in this country if you believe that this effort began inside the beltway. Lieberman is a poster child for why progressives are abandoning the Democratic Party. I'd argue that it's a much bigger strategic mistake, if we want to have any credibility with the party's base, to let people like Joe Lieberman feel safe when they side with the worst elements of the Republican party on policy.

    Finally, you have to make a decision: do you ask your party and leaders to fall in line with orthodoxy, or do you reach out to folks who, like Pat Ryan

    I'm sure he'll speak for himself on this, but somehow, I suspect that Pat doesn't have a big problem with the push to knock out guys like Joe Lieberman.

    In any case, if contesting primaries is such a terrible strategy, why have the conservatives had so much success with it in recent years?

  • Karl (unverified)
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    I'm sorry Jeff, no offence, but I think your "strategy" sucks. I'm a progressive first and a democrat second and right now I'm totally disgusted with the good ole boy dems who cut off Paul Hackett at the knees in Ohio. For god sake, he was leading in the polls. He is a straight shooter and one of the most charismatic democrats in the country. The vast majority of the people in this country, according to the polls, agree with what he stands for. That could have been proven in a primary and given great energy to the progerssive cause. People are waiting in frustration for democratic leaders who can articulate those stands. People are dying for somebody to vote for. they are sick of always having to choose the lesser of to evils.

  • (Show?)

    So, do we go after some Democrat that has voted conservative on some issues? Or do we go after the Republican majority in Congress? First things first - once we have Congress then we can deal with those that fall short of the ideal.

    You've posited another false dilemma. The candidate lining up against Lieberman is willing and able to self-fund. What he needs is a stronger grassroots base. MoveOn has the capacity to provide him with that in Conneticut. And yes, they can also provide him with some money, and there are a lot of Democrats out there who will donate money to knock off Lieberman.

    Doing this in no way detracts from other efforts around the country.

    Again, if running contested primaries is a bad strategic decision, how do you explain the success that Evangelicals have had over the last 20 years in taking over the Republican party, and in helping to make the Republican party a dominant player in Washington?

    Do any of us really think that the Republicans gained a majority in Congress by running to the middle? Steve, I'm shocked that you of all people haven't figured out what gerrymandering has done to our congressional landscape, and why it's a perfectly rational strategy to cater to the base in many congressional districts.

  • mommycrat (unverified)
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    Do any of us really think that the Republicans gained a majority in Congress by running to the middle? Steve, I'm shocked that you of all people haven't figured out what gerrymandering has done to our congressional landscape, and why it's a perfectly rational strategy to cater to the base in many congressional districts.

    Yeah, well guess what - we don't HAVE a base in many of the districts where we need to win. When the democratic base is 20 percent of the population, you have to move to the middle or lose.

    Republicans had success with evangelicals in conservative areas where a slightly higher turnout has edged out the swing voters. Have evangelicals made a big splash in Portland? No. We have to look at the context of each race.

  • Steve Bucknum (unverified)
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    Blue (Sal) -

    There you go again. You put words in my mouth so to speak, that I never said or wrote or intended, then argue against them.

    I didn't write about Lieberman, I didn't write about not running contested primaries, I didn't write about the success of Evangelicals, I didn't (for heaven's sake!) write about gerrymandering one way or another, -- you seem to be off in lala land sometimes.

    I wrote about reality and priorities. I think Move On is off track with this, as they have a finite resource base. If you heard Earl Blumenaur's talk about the contested seats at the last DPO quarterly meeting, you would know we have a good 40 races where we are competitive and close - and we stand a good chance of winning back both the US House and Senate if we pull together focused on those races.

    Perhaps Move On is a sacred topic I just shouldn't address. No criticism is welcome. Well, Move On's money is their's. I am not a part of that group and have no interest in it. They can spend their money where ever they want, any place they want, on anyone they want. Who am I to decide for a group I don't belong to?

    But, my comment stands - I think its poor strategy to focus upon anything less than winning Congress.

  • Ross Williams (unverified)
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    I think it is a mistake to see the GOP as having been successful by appealing to ideology. Bush didn't run as an ideologue. The "Contract with America" that brought the Republicans to power in congress, while infused with Republican ideology, was a majoritarian document. They focused on the parts of their agenda that the majority supported and considered important.

    Part of the Democrats problem is that we are often focused on the parts of our agenda that, while they may have majority support, are not really important to the majority of voters. Issues like peace, ancient forests, abortion rights, gay rights, civil rights, campaign finance reform, civil liberties, gun control, land use, homelessness ... are all important issues with strong advocates within the Democratic coalition. But they only really motivate a small constituency even where they have a majority on their side. The idea that if you add all those consituencies together you have a majority I think has been proven wrong time and time again. And I say that as someone who has worked to infuse the Democratic Party with issues of peace, ancient forests, abortion rights, gay rights ...

    If we want to be the majority party we need to have a majoritarian agenda. The Republicans came up with the Contract with America and recruited candidates who would run on it. As a result they were able to run a national campaign that candidates at the local level could take advantage of instead of running away from. For the Democrats that means focusing on jobs, better wages, health care benefits, retirement security, livable communities and putting Americans first when it comes to security, economic development and protecting democratic values.

  • Ross Williams (unverified)
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    Just to finish - I think the question of whether Moveon does or doesn't go after those people elected as D's who are out of step with the majoritarian Democratic agenda is fundamentally irrelevant. It won't make much difference unless there is a majoritarian Democratic agenda for them to defend.

  • LT (unverified)
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    He'd have all the support in the world had he decided to run for OH-02. And he'd be able to build on that support for a Senate race in 2010. But alas, it was not to be. Too bad. Update: To make something clear, Hackett is complaining about betrayal. Yet Rahm was trying to get him to become one of his candidates. In other words, Rahm was recruiting him. That's not a bad thing. That's a flattering thing.

    That would be valid IF a) the people who had recruited Hackett to run for Senate hadn't bailed when a Congressman wanted to run. If you believe that a Congressman (or for that matter someone with lots of money) is always the best candidate, I invite you to talk to Senators AuCoin and Bruggere. b)do you know for a fact that there was no one running for the nomination against Jean Schmidt and that is why Rahm E. was recruiting Hackett?

    From what I have read it sounds to me like the DC crowd was saying "Paul Hackett, you need to move over for Cong. Brown, and the Congressional candidates should move over for you" and honorable Hackett was saying "I will not do to the Cong. candidates what was done to me".

    Seems like that "candidates are just chess pieces who should follow orders from people at the head of the caucus campaign committee" attitude is what is driving people away from the Democrats.

    If Moveon wants to run a candidate against Lieberman they can take their chances (and the responsibility for what happens). But that wasn't the original question.

    The very vague "It is also part of our work together to hold Democrats to their Party's highest values on issues like foreign policy, economic prosperity and good government. " could mean all kinds of people on all kinds of issues (remember the "is Nathanson a real Democrat" discussion here awhile back?)

  • (Show?)

    I have trouble with this, which shouldn't surprise people who know me. I think we do better if we attract more to our side, and I don't know how we do that by attacking folks who don't think exactly the same. This is a big country, and there are lots of different views out there, and lots of different political centers. Forcing an ideological agenda on people who cannot buy enough of it will mean fewer Democrats and fewer victories, not more. I'm willing to let candidates decide for themselves what's good for their campaigns and their electorates. When we let the hard-core types determine what everyone should believe, then we are diminishing democracy. It's very true that the GOP has won some, maybe lots, of elections in the past 10 years by going to their base to the exclusion of other groups. That's not all of it, however, and those who think it's that simple aren't very succesful in this business. History, I think, shows that their tactic s won't last. The question is, will we mimic the hard-line right of the GOP, or will we be ready to attract those they scare off? Or, will we just be content with scaring them off all by ourselves?

  • ctkeith (unverified)
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    As the Owner of http://www.dumpjoe.com/ and a member of my towns Dem town Committeee I couldn't disagree with you more. There are about 30,000 members of Moveon in Ct and I'd guess 29900 and something want a chance to vote for Ned Lamont in a primary.

    Moveon is suppose to be driven by its membership so lets put this to a vote and I'll be more than happy to live with whatever the results are. Will You?

  • LT (unverified)
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    There are about 30,000 members of Moveon in Ct and I'd guess 29900 and something want a chance to vote for Ned Lamont in a primary.

    That is fine, but do you really want people from Ohio or Oregon making that decision?

    And what is Lowell Weicker doing this year?

  • ctkeith (unverified)
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    By the way,

    I hope you'll spend a little time at the site,read the links and figure out whats really going on in Ct and change your mind.When you've got Dem Town Committeeman in their 60s and 70s who are WW2 and Korean war vets bringing resolutions condemning Joe Lieberman to the floor for votes and winning 34-1 with 1 abstention it's time for a primary.These folks aren't exactly your wild eyed liberals Joe and Sean Hannity love to yuck it up about.

  • (Show?)

    Forcing an ideological agenda on people who cannot buy enough of it will mean fewer Democrats and fewer victories, not more. I'm willing to let candidates decide for themselves what's good for their campaigns and their electorates.

    Hi Wayne,

    I'm not sure that I agree with the original frame of this discussion -- that MoveOn.Org siding with someone in a Democratic primary is tantamount to forcing an ideological agenda on anyone. Ultimately, the voters in these districts will decide what candidate they prefer.

    Having said that, take a look at one of the races they will target:

    In Texas 28, we have Ciro Rodriguez versus Henry Cuellar. Cuellar defeated the Democratic incumbant Rodriguez in 2004 after Cuellar asked republicans to rig the district in his favor as part of the Republicans effors to gerrymander the House Districts in Texas. A move that netted them 4 seats in congress.

    Cuellar campaigned for George Bush in 2004, and himself was heavily supported by traditionally Republican funding sources including the Club for Growth, whose mission, until they endorsed Cuellar, read as follows:

    "Club for Growth endorses Republican candidates who support limited government and lower taxes and pools club member's contributions to selected candidates."

    Make no mistake: The winner of the Democratic primary in 28 will win the general election. Do we really want that person to be someone who was placed there by Tom DeLay's henchman in the redistricting of Texas?

  • [email protected] (unverified)
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    LT,

    Lowell is supporting Ned Lamonts run but said should it fall short he will enter the race as an independent.

    As far as if I want people from any of the other states deciding if we have a primary for senate here the answer is that decisions already been made.

    If any person from any other state wants to toss Ned a few bucks I'll say "thank you very much"n advance.The Winner of the Dem primary for Senate will win the election here in Ct.If Joe Lieberman wins you can expect NO pickups in the house out of the 3 republican held seats.Simmons ,Shays and Johnson want Lieberman to be the candidate and the chairman of the CT. republican party has been making noises about endorsing Joe for some time now.

    The only way all three seats come into play is If CT Dems have a unified message against the war and against Republican Corruption (remember Rowland,He got out of Jail Yesterday).

  • (Show?)

    I also recieved the same email from MoveOn. I agree, it is a poor strategy. Even more so, this strategy is now public (as if any of the emails MoveOn send aren't). My guess is Republican's are foaming at the mouth to see the Democrats knock each other out.

    Yes, I don't like some conservative Democrats (Lieberman is one of those and Clinton is getting on my nerves as well), but that doesn't mean we need to be talking about knocking them off.

    While I haven't follow the Paul Hackett situation very well, I think it is a big mistake to ask him to step aside. This is a person who seems genuine and is a hero who is fought for his county. This also a mistake on the part of those who asked him to do so.

    I don't know, maybe it's time to re-register as an independent.

  • (Show?)

    Republicans had success with evangelicals in conservative areas where a slightly higher turnout has edged out the swing voters. Have evangelicals made a big splash in Portland? No. We have to look at the context of each race.

    Exactly. MoveOn's strategy appears to be to contest some bad incumbants in safe Democratic seats in the primary to see if they can get an upgrade. This is not all that different than what evangelicals did in the 1980's and 1990's to take over the Republican party.

    As for context ... when Joe Lieberman goes on national television shows and bashes the Democratic nominee during the general election phase of the presidential campaign, joins Sean Hannity in mocking the Democratic base, and sides with the worst elements of the Republican party, he is begging for a primary opponent to send him off to retirement. Hopefully, MoveOn will oblige him.

  • (Show?)

    Sorry, I meant to put my last name in my previous post. Don't like to appear anonymous.

    I'm not arguing against primary challenges for Democrats -- people have a right to do that, and as for the situation in Connecticut (I was born in Bridgeport, by the way), that's up to the Democrats there.

    What I don't like is nationalizing, cookie-cutter, one-thought-fits-all elections, and I don't like the idea of Move On, or any progressive group, becoming the lefty equivalent of the Club for Growth or Americans for Tax Reform. Any group has the right to do whatever it thinks is best, and I have the right to disagree.

    For the life of me, I can't understand people who attack the far right, and the way some of their groups act, and then claim the path to victory is to act in exactly the same way. Polarization is running our politics, and driving good people away. Democrats should be the ones reaching out, not the ones closing the door.

  • ctkeith (unverified)
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    From todays Wallstret Journal

    Michael Sohn, Mr. Shays's campaign manager, says Iraq will be a major issue in the campaign and says Ms. Farrell will be unable to score political points because the Shays position is so close to that of Mr. Lieberman. He also says the challenger will have a hard time painting Mr. Shays as a radical because of his past endorsements from liberal groups like the Sierra Club. "I understand why she wants to distort Chris's record [but] the facts don't support her thesis," he says.

  • (Show?)

    There you go again. You put words in my mouth so to speak, that I never said or wrote or intended, then argue against them. I didn't write about Lieberman, I didn't write about not running contested primaries ...

    Well Steve, here's what you said:

    So, do we go after some Democrat that has voted conservative on some issues? Or do we go after the Republican majority in Congress? First things first - once we have Congress then we can deal with those that fall short of the ideal.

    As I mentioned, it's a false dilemma. I gave some concrete examples of why it was a false dilemma.

    There's no reason to suppose that progressives need to give "some Democrat that has voted conservative on some issues (like Lieberman)" a free pass this spring in order to go after the Republican majority in Congress this fall.

    I'd say it's about time that the Democratic Party had an advocacy group that was willing to help organize progressives around the Democratic primary as well as during the general election.

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    I'm not arguing against primary challenges for Democrats -- people have a right to do that, and as for the situation in Connecticut (I was born in Bridgeport, by the way), that's up to the Democrats there.

    What I don't like is nationalizing, cookie-cutter, one-thought-fits-all elections, and I don't like the idea of Move On, or any progressive group, becoming the lefty equivalent of the Club for Growth or Americans for Tax Reform. Any group has the right to do whatever it thinks is best, and I have the right to disagree.

    Come on Wayne, we're talking about a group organizing its members in district, and funneling some national money to campaigns they endorse. It's Lamont's campaign to run, and if he doesn't have traction in-district, then he's not likely to get very far. Besides, there's nothing unusual about an interest group targeting a candidate in a political primary, and there's nothing unusual about funneling national money into a local race. To put this in perspective, 80 percent of the money that Joe Lieberman has raised in his political career has come from outside of Conneticut. Why should the defense contractors and insurance lobby that finance Joementum, or other candidates likely to be targeted by MoveOn, play by one set of rules while MoveOn plays by another?

  • Charlie in Gresham (unverified)
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    BLUE....written by a dedicated progressive who truly could give a rip about winning elections so liberals can govern. The Republicans have 60-65 members of their house caucus in Washington who are WAY WAY too moderate for their liking. They also have 9 senators that fit that description. HOWEVER....the Republican party wants control of the house and the senate so they provide funding and campaign energy even to the segment in their party that has them choking in private half the time.

    We Dems either have to begin doing the same or be content to sit back and rant and rave as the minority for another 6-8 years.

    There is one other solution for the Democratic party....publically dump the far left wing of the party. Give Kennedy, Feingold, Boxer, Schumer, Code Pink, MoveOn.org, etc. a VERY public rebuke.

    That would re-energize the true base of the Democratic party, and bring back millions of former Dems who are now independents. You'd also see millions of moderate Republicans begin to question why they aren't Democrats.

    Then we would govern. Bayh in 2008.

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    Golly Sal, read what I wrote.

    I going to stick with my belief that my Democratic Party should be democratic. That, to me, means that people (and groups) who differ should do what they can to advance their views, but respect people and groups who don't agree with them all the time. We'd do better as a Party by focusing on what we agree on, and not finding stuff to fight about.

    The Republicans are on the ropes. Does anyone really believe that the best way to beat them is to attack Democrats?

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    Golly Sal, read what I wrote.

    I going to stick with my belief that my Democratic Party should be democratic. That, to me, means that people (and groups) who differ should do what they can to advance their views, but respect people and groups who don't agree with them all the time. We'd do better as a Party by focusing on what we agree on, and not finding stuff to fight about.

    I agree with you've written above, I'm all for fighting hard for your candidate in the primary and closing ranks for the general election. But what follows is simply a false dilemma:

    The Republicans are on the ropes. Does anyone really believe that the best way to beat them is to attack Democrats?

    I disagree that contesting races in a primary is tantamount to "attacking Democrats". If you believe what you wrote earlier, why finish with the line I've just quoted? At best, it's a mixed message.

    My view is that if MoveOn.Org gets a couple of wins in safe seats for progressives in Democratic primaries it will go a long way toward re-energizing a lot of folks in the Democratic base in this country. It'll help MoveOn's fundraising heading into the general election, not detract from it. Because every time a Democrat goes on television to bash progressives, or votes for a judicial nominee before he votes against him, or throws one of his Democratic colleagues under a bus, it lends credibility to the Republican yarn that Democrats don't really stand for anything. And we lose people in our base, and we lose people in the middle.

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    I'm sorry Jeff, no offence, but I think your "strategy" sucks. I'm a progressive first and a democrat second and right now I'm totally disgusted with the good ole boy dems who cut off Paul Hackett at the knees in Ohio.

    No offense taken. Our tent is big enough to suffer strategic disagreements. But I'm not arguing for smoky, back-room deals, and I'm particularly shocked and dismayed about the Hackett thing. Let him run, see if he can win with 10% of the money. He is nothing but gracious, and would have suffered a loss decently.

    ctkeith--please don't misinterpret my post. I'm all for Connecticut voters ousting Lieberman (you don't know how much I'd love it)--but locals agitating to get a popular Senator voted out is different than a national PAC spending its resources selecting races based on ideological purity. Let me ask you this: do you think MoveOn's new plan is the best way to spend their considerable influence and money? Comments on this thread would suggest otherwise (Blue's advocacy excepted).

  • Chuck Butcher (unverified)
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    I like to see Democrats get some money, make their arguments, and then have the voters take the one they like best. Good ideas and good candidates can founder for the simple lack of money. There's a hint:

    Chuck for Congress

  • (Show?)

    After I got the moveon.org email I told them I'd be perfectly happy with them taking on right-wing Democrats--just as soon as they've finished getting rid of all the right-wing Republicans.

    I was a very early donor to moveon back when impeachment was still their reason for existing and I enjoy being able to give a little bit of money to good out-of-state candidates running against right-wing extremists. I've been doing that via moveon since they started offering it. It's kind of like having a bet on a game--gives me a vehicle for learning more about those races and makes the outcome more interesting.

    However, much as I don't like Joe Lieberman--and I'm sure I'd really detest the dude from Texas--if moveon starts spending money to go after Democrats I'm going to, well, moveon.

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    I also reject the notion that we see here often that having a more moderate position on an issue makes a person less of an idealist and that moderate positions are somehow mushy whereas extreme postions are purity itself. I don't think that notion holds up under even casual scrutiny.

    Somehow the idea seems to be that if you are on the left of the political spectrum then you have to be a communist, or at the very least a socialist, or you don't really stand for anything.

  • Ross Williams (unverified)
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    "those who think it's that simple aren't very succesful in this business."

    It seems to me that those who are successful in business have usually clearly identified their product and the market for it. Those who try to market anything to anybody don't last long.

    "I going to stick with my belief that my Democratic Party should be democratic. That, to me, means that people (and groups) who differ should do what they can to advance their views, but respect people and groups who don't agree with them all the time."

    The definition of a Democrat is anyone who isn't a Republican? I don't think you can govern with that as your common interest.

    "We'd do better as a Party by focusing on what we agree on, and not finding stuff to fight about."

    What is it that people agree on? Kevin Mannix claimed when he was running for Attorney General that the only issue that made him different from other Democrats was his opposition to abortion. Then he became a conservative Republican. Larry Sowa claimed to be a Democrat until he had to run as one in a primary. Then he became a Republican.

    The problem is the Democratic party doesn't have a common agenda it agrees on. It just has a whole series of interests whose common interest is they aren't Republicans. So the Republicans set the agenda and Democrats dissent. Our only role is as an opposition party.

    Which is why even when with Democratic governors in Oregon, Democrats still can't seem to articulate any real direction. The last Democratic Governor whose agenda was clearly blocked by a Republican legislature was Barbara Roberts. Kitzhaber and Kulongoski both "worked with the legislature" but neither one ever seemed to have a clear idea of what they working for or, at least, they didn't articulate it.

  • ctkeith (unverified)
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    Just so everyone here knows.Joe Lieberman has threatened to run as an independent if Lamont wins the primary.Joe is not a Democrat he's always been about one thing, himself.

  • Bill Hooker (unverified)
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    It was only after news of Brown's impending announcement were leaked that Hackett decided to commit to the race.

    <h2>Not true: from Majikthise:</h2> <h2>Brown assured Hackett in a face-to-face meeting that he would not seek the Democratic nomination for Ohio Senate in 2006. He publicly bowed out. Then, three days after Hackett declared his own candidacy, Brown suddenly decided that he wanted to run after all.</h2>

    Hackett got screwed. Any plan that stands a chance of turning the Dems away from this kind of scummy behaviour will have my support. There is currently little reason for progressives to vote FOR Democrats, only AGAINST Republicans, and in a lot of races there's little to separate the two party candidates. Any plan that stands a chance of turning the Dems in to a genuine opposition will have my support.

  • Wrong! (unverified)
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    For the record, anyone who thinks the Republicans have been so successful by getting rid of the moderates in their party is just simply incorrect. It is true that conservative Republicans challenged moderates in conservative places (indeed, they also challenged -- and beat -- conservative Democrats in those places (e.g., the South!)), but whenever there has been any doubt that a conservative Republican could not win in a general election, the Republican Party structure has nearly always backed the moderate.

    For a clear example of this, check out Senator Arlen Specter's last reelection bid. When he was challenged by a conservative in the primary, the whole party structure backed Specter -- a moderate -- over the conservative. President Bush even came down to Pennsylvania multiple times to campaign for Specter against the conservative challenger.

    What can we learn from this? Do not challenge moderate Democratic incumbents in places where liberal Democrats cannot win!!!

  • (Show?)

    What can we learn from this? Do not challenge moderate Democratic incumbents in places where liberal Democrats cannot win!!!

    I agree wholeheartedly with that, and with the underlying rationale for it. But Conneticut and TX-28 are two examples where we can replace conservative Democrats with liberal or moderate ones and keep the seat in the general election. And particularly in the case of TX-28, I'll stand with the guy who is endorsed and funded by the AFL-CIO, members of the Democratic congressional delegation including Hilda Solis and Charlie Rangel, and related unions above the guy who is endorsed and funded by Wal-Mart and the Club for Growth.

    If someone feels that MoveOn supporting a good candidate like Ciro in a democratic primary means they are picking fights with Democrats, then so be it. As far as I'm concerned, TX-28 is really a Republican controlled seat that should be in Democratic hands. And it's a good use of MoveOn's money and energy to pick up all the Democratic seats we can get.

  • (Show?)

    Update: DFA has joined in supporting Ciro in TX-28. They've raised $30,000 in 4 days for his campaign.

  • LT (unverified)
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    Cincinnati Enquirer has a great story titled "Treatment of Hackett leaves backers fuming".

    http://news.enquirer.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060215/NEWS01/602150382/1056

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    Bill Hooker:

    <h2>Not true: from Majikthise:</h2> <h2>Brown assured Hackett in a face-to-face meeting that he would not seek the Democratic nomination for Ohio Senate in 2006. He publicly bowed out. Then, three days after Hackett declared his own candidacy, Brown suddenly decided that he wanted to run after all.</h2>

    I am sure you can find other supporters of Paul Hackett putting their opinion on the web, but Ms. Majikthise knows no more than you or I. I will give more credance to Kos who runs a leading national blog, very liberal, and very connected. His report had a lot more detail behind it. Unless you can provide another more credible source, I will defer to his comments.

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    Whenever there has been any doubt that a conservative Republican could not win in a general election, the Republican Party structure has nearly always backed the moderate.

    MoveOn.Org, DFA, and the liberal blogosphere are not the Democratic Party structure. They are the barbarians at the gate.

    This business about Democrats not attacking Democrats is valid up to a point.

    But how many beltway insiders called foul last year when people attached to Gephardt's campaign ran ads in Iowa morphing Howard Dean into Osama Bin laden because Dean had the temerity to listen to the Democratic base and bring an anti-war agenda into the mainstream of the democratic primary?

    How many Democratic Party insiders, other than Howard Dean, stood up for Paul Hackett this week when the people who recruited him started calling his donors telling them to pull the plug on his candidacy?

    I'm sorry. For me, and I think for a lot of folks, there are two fights going on.

    The first of these is to take back power from the Republicans in Washington. But the second fight, and one that is arguably more important over the long-term, is a fight to help Governor Dean move the power center of the Democratic Party out of the hands of a beltway establishment that all-too-often puts power ahead of principle, and whose strategies have led to electoral defeat after electoral defeat for Democrats on the national stage while allowing the political polarity of this country to tilt ever further to the right.

    That's a fight that is taking place in central committees and state organizations. And if it's going to be meaningful, it's a fight that has to take place in at least some Democratic primaries.

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    I will give more credance to Kos who runs a leading national blog, very liberal, and very connected. His report had a lot more detail behind it.

    I'm a fan of Sherrod Brown, but Markos' report had several inaccuracies that anyone who has followed the race to unseat DeWine, including Markos, is aware of.

    First, it's not true that Hackett only raised 1/10th the money that Brown raised during this campaign. Hackett had raised nearly twice as much money as Brown. What he lacked was Brown's warchest, and because he was running a vigorous primary campaign, his burn rate was double that of Brown so his cash-on-hand was 1/10th of what brown had.

    Second, as Mother Jones noted last fall, Hackett decided to run only after Brown told him that he didn't want the seat.

  • LT (unverified)
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    The first of these is to take back power from the Republicans in Washington. But the second fight, and one that is arguably more important over the long-term, is a fight to help Governor Dean move the power center of the Democratic Party out of the hands of a beltway establishment that all-too-often puts power ahead of principle, and whose strategies have led to electoral defeat after electoral defeat for Democrats on the national stage while allowing the political polarity of this country to tilt ever further to the right.

    This has been the battle over most of the last 10 years. It has a lot to do with why people like me are not solid in party registration (for 6 of the last 10 years I was Indep/NAV and now am a Dem. wondering if it is worth remaining that way after the primary--could always re-register Dem. in 2008).

    Hackett, Dean and others just brought this out into the open. I vote people, I think it was my great grandmother who voted straight party.

    (hope someone fixes the italics)

  • (Show?)

    Boy, see what happens when you take a bit of a break from politics to try to get a bit of work done, clean house, set up a new office area in your house, etc.? You lose track of what's going on.

    I'm extremely disappointed to hear they did that to Hackett. I'm not surprised, since they did the same thing in Texas for DeLay's seat (not necessarily those same people, but the Dem Congressional leadership).

    DFO is definitely looking for those people wanting to run in "unwinnable" or hard to win seats. Candidates and their supporters are more than welcome to contact us at [email protected] and give us info on the candidate, their seat, etc.

  • Charlei in Gresham (unverified)
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    I'm a little surprised at the strong backing from the bluest of Oregon's progressive for Paul Hackett.

    Make no mistake about it, he's more my kind of Democrat than Howard Dean, Ted Kennedy, Or Maxine Boxer....I just didn't expect him to be so popular among many contributing here.

    Hackett is very definitely against gun control, and while pro-choice he's "uncomfortable" with late term abortions. He has stated that the Bush administration has made a lot of mistakes in Iraq, but he does not advocate pulling out until "the job is complete and the Iraqi government is in better control of day to day life." Since he recently served in Iraq I suspect he has a lot to contribute in that debate.

    As far as I can determine he's a libertarian Democrat which can be a mixed bag to progressives.

    Oh well....I think he got a raw deal too.

  • LT (unverified)
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    Charlie, you seem to forget that many voters and many activists support PEOPLE, not lists of stands on issues.

    Regardless of my own views on the issue, there are several people I support without knowing their views on abortion. They are not of the "abortion is murder, but taxes are evil" crowd who want government to make sure that children are born and then no government responsibility for feeding and upbringing of those children. A study in the early 1980s found a huge correlation between candidates getting RTL support in their campaigns and voting for Reagan's cuts in various programs for needy families, expectant mothers and kids. Never understood how that was "pro-life".

    I helped elect a friend who grew up hunting. I did it because he was my friend, not on whether or not he was "pro-gun". My grandfather was a prosecutor during Prohibition, and I don't like seeing felons (or mentally unstable people) owning guns. Does that make me "anti-gun"?

    Paul Hackett carried 4 rural Ohio counties in a "red" district and thus robbed the Republicans of their favorite slogan "Republicans understand rural areas which is why Democrats only win in urban areas".

    He is a war hero--came back from combat to run for office.

    Unfortunately, like others who have done that over the last century, the "powers that be" (who in many cases avoided combat--not just in this war but all the way back to WWI vets fighting the "good ol' boys") seem to think THEY decide who will run for office rather than letting the voters decide. The original progressives 100 years ago were the ones pushing primary elections rather than having conventions controlled by political machines deciding the nominees.

    One more thing: Hackett said when he decided to run for Senate he would not change his mind later and run for House because that would be unfair to the other candidates running for House. When the Beltway Democratic "leaders" said "Paul, you're supposed to drop out of the Senate race and run for the House", he said "I will not do to the Congressional candidates what was done to me". That is a strength of character story which makes Hackett look heroic and the "leaders" in DC look quite small.

    It is no wonder parties struggle to stay relevant if they are convinced that elections are about them and not about voters.

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
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    Wow! Hot button issue, we have here. I haven't read every post but will hazard my opinion:

    Enforcing ideological purity is not a good idea in a heterogeneous society. Forcing candidates from Alabama and east of the Oregon Cascades to run with all the same positions as a SE Portland Democrat would be a recipe for defeat. However, There is no reason a progressive Democrat cannot win Joe Lieberman's seat, and I would urge Democrats to support a challenger there.

    One reason that Dems are out of power is that voters don't see them "sticking up for the little guy." Lieberman, except for some decent environmental work, is as corporate and wealth oriented as a Democrat can be.

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
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    Pat,

    You're not the only progressive Dem who is not in favor of unlimited immigration, but you do need to stop picking up day workers and driving them to Tijuana.

  • (Show?)

    Charlie, you hit on a point worthy of a post at some point, perhaps--why would far-left liberals support a guy like Paul Hackett, who's position on issues isn't nearly as blue as their own positions?

    Here's my answer: because he's more likely to fight for the issues he believes in, more likely to win converts from the other team, and more likely to end gridlock and forward liberal legislation than someone like Dennis Kucinich. (Full disclosure: I'm a radical. I'm a pacifist; I think rich Americans should pay 75% of their income in taxes; I think the airwaves should be returned to the the public; I think we should put a five-dollar per gallon tax on gas, and spend 50% of our defense budget on addressing global warming because it, not terrorism or Iran, are the greatest threat to our security in the 21st century.) But Hackett, even if he doesn't share all these views, is far more likely to get something accomplished than Kucinch, whose politics I adore.

    Also, Hackett's a helluva guy, and there's something to be said for electing decent humans.

  • Charlie in Gresham (unverified)
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    LT wrote: "Charlie, you seem to forget that many voters and many activists support PEOPLE, not lists of stands on issues."

    I have to admit LT, when it comes to activists my observations have led me to believe that they are far more issue oriented than they are people oriented.

    The support for Paul Hackett here on BlueOregon will cause me to rethink my beliefs.....or maybe it's just that the progressive activists contributing here are just a bit more seasoned and open minded than some of their younger bretheren.

    Anyway, I was heartened to see people here support an obviously good and sincere man even though he may be more purple than blue.

  • (Show?)

    The support for Paul Hackett here on BlueOregon will cause me to rethink my beliefs...

    ... probably not a terrible idea. Although I am ideologically sympathetic to Brown because of his position on the war, and his opposition to free trade, everything that Jeff said about why Hackett has so much support in the blogosphere and among supposedly "far left" constituencies is true, in my book. Plus, I personally agree with Hackett on several of the issues that you listed as reasons for lefties not to like him.

    FWIW, according to the political compass, my belief system is that of a left-leaning libertarian which is basically how I've always seen myself.

    Also, you mentioned elsewhere that Boxer and Feingold are part of the far left that should be repudiated for Democrats to take power. Would it surprise you to know that both Boxer and Feingold defeated incumbant Republicans to win their seats?

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    Charlie in Gresham,

    I think that you and I are more "on the same page" ideologically than not, so I'd like to suggest that lumping Dean in with Boxer, Waters, and Kennedy ain't all that accurate.

    The general public have been told that Dean is a "librul that hates Murica" by:

    His Dem opponents in the primary who were terrified of this upstart from Nowhere who was getting most of his money from outside of traditional channels and hence could not be controlled by the DLC Bastards.

    This was reenforced by the anti-war crowd grafting themselves onto the only Dem candidate (besides Kucinich) that was asking even some of the right questions.

    Finally, it was picked up by the Republican Spin Machine.

    <hr/>

    Residents of Vermont know him to be a pro-business moderate-to-conservative Democrat.

    <hr/>

    Tom,

    Just doing my little bit for Truth, Justice, and The American Way.

  • Charlie Gresham (unverified)
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    Pat.....a point well taken. I'll officially scratch him off my rant list, but I hope SOMEONE will monitor his public utterances. He blurts some crap out now and then that has me shaking my head.

  • (Show?)

    Note: see the initial post for an update on MoveOn's campaign.

  • (Show?)

    Note: see the initial post for an update on MoveOn's campaign.

    Well, whether it was a good strategic move or not, by the time this is finished the blogosphere, including MoveOn.Org, DFA, the DailyKos, and some others will have raised between $750,000 and $1 million in small donations in less than a month to help knock Cuellar out of that seat in Texas. That's something like 40x the capacity that labor, which was previously Ciro's main base of support, will have brought to the table.

  • jami (unverified)
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    moveon should support whomever it likes best. but it shouldn't engage in calling a sherrod brown too "establishment" or a paul hackett a "dino." we should leave that sh-- to rush limbaugh, and busy ourselves going after the real enemies: corrupt republicans.

  • (Show?)

    Just an update, I got another email from MoveOn saying 84% of people said they want to take on conservative Democrats.

    Not sure if anyone's still commenting on this thread or not.

  • Charlie in Gresham (unverified)
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    MoveOn.org will assure that we Democrats stay in the minority in Congress and out of the White House to avoid the messy, annoying prospect of actually governing. After all....if you are in power and having to lead the way, it's rather bad form to bitch and moan from the sidelines like they do. Harder to raise money to fund that bitching and moaning too.

  • (Show?)

    To put a belated cap on MoveOn.Org's decision to support Ciro Rodriguez in TX-28, I thought that it'd be worth pointing out to the "thou shalt not take on incumbent Democrats because it's picking a fight" crowd, here's a current list of Democratic endorsers/donors to Ciro's primary campaign:

    Senator John Kerry (D-MA) Congressman Lloyd Doggett (D-TX) Congressman Charles Gonzales (D-TX) Congressman Gene Greene (D-TX) Congressman Raul M. Grijalva (D-AZ) Congressman Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) Congressman Mike Honda (D-CA) Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) Congressman John P. Murtha (D-PA) Congresswoman Grace Napolitano (D-CA) Congressman David R. Obey (D-WI) Congressman Solomon Ortiz (D-TX) Congressman Edward Pastor (D-AZ) Congressman Charles Rangel (D-NY) Congressman Sylvester Reyes (D-TX) Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA) Congresswoman Linda Sanchez (D-CA) Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez (D-CA) Congresswoman Hilda L. Solis (D-CA) Congressman Ted Strickland (D-OH) Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA)

    ... and the PAC endorsers:

    DFA MoveOn.Org LCV Sheet Metal Workers Union United Steelworkers of America Carpenters & Joiners Union
    National Assn of Letter Carriers
    Teamsters Union
    Transport Workers Union
    United Transportation Union
    Amalgamated Transit Union
    UNITE HERE
    Air Line Pilots Assn
    Laborers Union Painters & Allied Trades Union United Food & Commercial Workers Union

    And for Cuellar:

    National Rifle Assn Wal-Mart Stores Club for Growth Chevron Corp US Chamber of Commerce

    I guess I still don't see why it's a bad strategy for MoveOn.Org to side with labor, the environmental lobby, DFA, and several members of the Democratic caucus to help beat a candidate who is clearly working for the other team. Does it really matter that Cuellar is a Democrat if he was hand picked by Republican leadership to run in that district? Would it have been a better strategy for MoveOn.Org to have not gotten involved and let their allies twist in the wind in a winnable race that has clearly been targeted?

    Or are some of the folks who criticized MoveOn.Org prepared to admit that maybe it isn't quite the half-assed, divisive, strategy that folks made it out to be?

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