And One Last Thing...

As you have probably noticed, I have not blogged a whole lot over the past month. I think nineteen months of nearly non-stop, seven day a week blogging, combined with a difficult new project I am working on, have finally resulted in my first temporary case of blogger burnout. As such I have decided to take my first-ever official vacation from blogging. I will return to the scene on January 5th, hopefully fully recuperated and ready to go for another full year.

Before I go on my vacation, however, I want to make one final post concerning an issue I have spent much of the day thinking about. I think that the DCCC supporting Duckworth against Cegalis is a truly horrendous move on their part, and I honestly believe that in response the netroots should fight back by supporting Cegalis in the primary in any way possible.

I have three basic reasons why I think the DCCC's move to support Duckworth is awful:

  • 1. It is an incredible waste of resources. Simply put, the DCCC's fundraising is not very good. While in the 2005-2006 cycle the DCCC has more money relative to the NRCC than they had in 2003-2004, our House committee is still taking a beating at the hands of Republicans when it comes to fundraising. Considering that the NRCC has a 60% advantage in total fundraising and cash on hand, spending any money in any Democratic primary is only going to stretch our resources even thinner come September and October of 2006. However much the DCCC is spending to help Duckworth, it is an utterly unjustified diversion of resources away from challenging incumbent Republicans and toward challenging other Democrats.

  • 2. It is a repeat of our losing 2004 strategy. I know that a lot of people are invested in the "Fighting Dems," narrative for 2006, where Democrats run as many Iraq veterans as possible for federal office. In some ways, it is a pretty good strategy, as theoretically it provides us with Iraq truth tellers in the face of administration lies, an image of national service, and potentially a counter to the old "weak on defense" charge.

    However, as familiar as I am with the theory, in practice I just don't think it is a winning narrative. With the possible exception of Paul Hackett, who I believe was boosted largely for reasons other than being a veteran, I can't think of any campaigns recently where being a veteran actually helped a candidate. I remember the weak bounce Kerry received after a convention that did little else but portray him as a war hero--a weak bounce that came before the Swift Boat Liars even started getting press. I remember the "draft dodger" charges against Clinton that never went anywhere. I never noticed Dole's service help him, or Bush II's lack of service hurt him. I remember Max Cleland being slimed to the high heavens despite being the ultimate image of a veteran who served his country. I just don't believe that being a veteran, however admirable it is, compels the electorate anymore. I further shudder to think that being a veteran was one of the main reasons why the DCCC decided to back her, even after Kerry, who was basically chosen by Iowa voters for the same reason, failed against a chickenhawk just last year. I think that as political activists we need to finally be honest with ourselves and realize that the era of Eisenhower and Kennedy is long over, and that being a veteran no longer helps anyone at the ballot box. This doesn't mean I am not going to support Democratic candidates who are veterans in primaries, but it does mean that I am not going to support Democratic candidates in primaries simply because they are veterans.

    In other words, not only do I not believe that Duckworth being a veteran is much of a bonus to her candidacy, I am actually horrified that we think we could win in 2006 using the same theory we had in 2004. If we are still deluding ourselves into thinking that someone will win because s/he is a veteran, then we didn't learn anything from the past. Are we really so uncritical of our past performances, and are we really doing so little to come up with new ways to run campaigns, that we are just going to use the same strategies from losing campaigns again and again? The lack of vision here is truly disturbing.

  • 3. It takes the base for granted. As a proud Deaniac, few things irritated me more during the primary season than the assumption often vocalized by the Democratic powers that be that, even if Dean lost, his new activist movement would be easily transferable to the establishment candidate that won. Admittedly, one of the things that irritated me about it was that anyone who said this was right: we all knew we wanted Bush out of office so badly that, pretty much unless Lieberman won, we would indeed work our butts off for a non-Dean nominee. And so we did, to the tune of tens of millions of volunteer hours, hundreds of millions of dollars, and god knows how much of our new, independent progressive media.

    In 2004, we did indeed transfer our new movement to the establishment, and I have a feeling that set a really bad precedent. I believe that many in the establishment came to believe that they could pick whatever candidate they wanted to run, and we would fall in line behind that candidate, causing the money, the activism, and the new alternative media to flow to whoever they wanted. However, in this race it can be different. If the netroots supported candidate can actually defeat the establishment chosen candidate, it will force the establishment to stop taking the base for granted. If we can defeat the establishment in at least one location, it would force them to actually negotiate with us in the future. This could help bring an end to bossed primaries. This could help the netroots to have a real say in the messaging and direction of the party. If Cegalis can win, then they will have to start actually coming to us and asking us what we think before they decide to waste our resources and use other bad strategies in both primary and general elections. The ice is already slightly cracking on their willingness to listen to us: a big primary victory like this could cause it to shatter.

So that is my case. I think for the DCCC to support Duckworth is a waste of resources, is a bad electoral strategy, and takes the activist base for granted. I also think that helping Cegalis win would greatly enhance the bargaining power of the netroots within the party. I honestly believe that if there is one primary we should focus on this year, it is the IL-06. Here is a link to her website. Please support her.

I am out of here now, but in the comments I urge you to offer your actual list of reasons you agree and/or disagree with this post. Please, no ten word responses. Please, no comment rating and flame wars. This is important stuff, and should be treated as such. Let's have a serious discussion.

Tags: Primary Elections (all tags)



Thanks for your blogging
While I haven't always agreed with you, I think you've added more to the debate on Democratic strategy and tactics than any other blogger.  It's been fun reading about your adventures in the Philly Democratic Party, too.  I hope you get a chance to relax on your vacation, and that you come back with your fire renewed.

As for Duckworth vs. Cegelis, I'd still like to get the DCCC's side of the story.  Do they have oppo research on Cegelis?  Is there some reason that Rahm thinks Duckworth would fit the district better, given that he is from the area?  I don't want to make up my mind without hearing the other side of the story.

by ItsDrewMiller 2005-12-23 02:57PM | 0 recs
Re: Thanks for your blogging
Is there oppo research on Christine Cegelis. obviously haven't met Christine.  There's more oppo research material on my grandmother than on Christine Cegelis.

by kb54010 2005-12-23 05:24PM | 0 recs
Re: Thanks for your blogging
Obviously not, I'm from Iowa.  :-)  Still, is there a reason other than just blindly pushing forward the fighting dems message?
by ItsDrewMiller 2005-12-26 07:25PM | 0 recs
i've added her website
to my blogroll. will be making a post on this shortly
by Cedwyn 2005-12-23 03:03PM | 0 recs
Since this is about Primary Elections a bit
Can you throw me a list of schedules for states to hold there primarys and states Filing dates that would be great. Also on the fighting Dems I think that strategy can work i just think that will blow away the charges that we aren't patriotic or that we don't support our troops. As well as showing that the situation in Iraq is not as great as the Admin. says it is because if it was these Veterans would likely be running as Republicans. Also i'm doing what i can as a Floridian to get Paul Hackett elected in 2006. I hope the rest of you will join me in support of Hackett and the effort to defeat Senator Mike DeWine.
by Liberal 2005-12-23 03:32PM | 0 recs
Re: Elections Calendar
Federal Elections Commission Library page.  Link takes you to the page with primary election calendars.  As usual, in .pdf.
by rba 2005-12-24 04:45AM | 0 recs
an Iraqvet is different than being a Vietnam vet
While I agree with your general feeling that some Dem leaders view the 'netroots' as a wonderful new unquestioning ATM/volunteer base, i strongly disagree with your assessment of the 'veteran angle' for the 2006 elections.  

Kerry, and Cleland, were veterans of Vietnam, a war that is a distant memory for the public.  It is a case in American history that is closed.  The Iraq war is on going, and far from closed.  Running as an Iraq war vet is very very different than running as a vietnam vet.  Offering solutions to a current conflict, while being a veteran of it, is a much greater assest than being a veteran of a past conflict.  Combine that with Pres. Bush's recent rhetorical deference to the generals and soldiers "on the ground" to be the guides to his Iraq policy, and I see an effective campaign tool and an advantage.  (what happens when someone who "was on the ground" disagrees with Bush?  At least some effect free media coverage)

Now, being an Iraq vet will not be a magic pill that cures all a candidate's ills, but it will be a positive, no doubt.  

by padraig26 2005-12-23 03:34PM | 0 recs
Re: an Iraqvet is different than being a Vietnam v
I was going to write a similar critique of Chris's analysis, but you said it much better than I would have.

To add on to what you said, though, I think the very fact that we can point to 20-30 vets running as Democrats will give us the credibility to stand up and say "you want to call us unpatriotic?  You don't think we support the troops?  How come almost all the returning vets are running as Democrats?"  That's much different than a single candidate running and being a veteran.  This could make it so that the Democratic Party becomes the party of the troops.

by Fran for Dean 2005-12-23 03:44PM | 0 recs
How about taking a stand on some issues?
Nothing is going to overcome a muddle of the road position on all of the issues voters care about. The strongest reason voters select one candidate over another is the same as its always been:

What's in it for me?

Forget the symbolism and get back to the roots of the Democratic Party. Preserving the middle class, good jobs at good wages and no more corporate welfare. Kitchen table economic issues will win elections.

by Gary Boatwright 2005-12-23 04:50PM | 0 recs
Email the DCCC
I think we should also email the DCCC and let them know what you think.  I just sent them an email saying I'll be witholding my donations to the DCCC until they stop undermining Christine Cegelis and giving support to Tammy Duckworth's campaign.  In the meantime, my donations will be going to the DNC, DSCC, and Christine Cegelis.
by Fran for Dean 2005-12-23 03:40PM | 0 recs
Re: Email the DCCC
In the meantime, my donations will be going to the DNC, DSCC, and Christine Cegelis.

Why support the DSCC? They are doing the very same thing to Chuck Pennacchio that the DCCC is doing to Cegelis.

by Gary Boatwright 2005-12-23 03:50PM | 0 recs
Re: Email the DCCC
not being as up to date as I would like to be - are there any preliminary polls on the cegalis/duckworth race?  Are they close?  It seems to me, as a former Pennsylvanian that first and foremost wants Santorum out, that Jr. was always way ahead of Pennachio.  Again, correct me if I'm wrong.

If the Cegalis race is close, then that makes it a different story.  Having said that, I think the national party should stay out of all races until the local people speak.  Whomever wins, if obviously the best candidate and would appreciate the extra funds not wasted on a primary.

by Robert P 2005-12-23 04:33PM | 0 recs
Re: Email the DCCC
I'm not aware of any polls, and this far out polls don't mean very much. The general election is a year away and the primaries are six months out. That's a long time.

The bottom line is that the DSCC manufactured a candidate when Schumer and Rendell twisted Casey's arm to enter the primary with the backing of the DSCC. Big surprise! Pennacchio's fund raising efforts ran into a brick wall and Casey is winning the money race. Same old story.

Casey's weaknesses are well known to the netroots and the RNC. He is a famously weak campaigner. If memory serves, he was leading Rendell in the '02 Democratic primary race for Governor by 17% in early polls and lost to Rendell by 12%.

There is a very good likelihood that Santorum will do the very same thing. Take it for what it's worth, but there are rumors that some Democrats are concerned that Bob Casey's race against Santorum will be a fund raising black hole that sucks up money from other races.

Pennacchio is an energetic campaigner that fires up his supporters. It's the difference between night and day.

by Gary Boatwright 2005-12-23 04:58PM | 0 recs
Il primary mid March - less than 3 months out. n/t
by Jeff Wegerson 2005-12-23 05:36PM | 0 recs
Re: Email the DCCC
Your defense of Cegelis is undermined every time you bring up Pennachio. Cegelis and Pennachio aren't even in the same league, Cegelis has raised real money, Pennachio has barely raised enough to run a competitive race for a Democratic primary for a county level seat. Pennachio's lack of funds doesn't come from the DSCC or Bob Casey, it comes from the fact that he isn't a viable candidate.

Casey may have lost to Rendell, which is still only losing to Rendell, but Casey won all except for about 5 counties in the state.

Casey made mistakes before, but he has a better team this time. He has Mike Earley's campaign manager, who easily won re-election in NC, as his campaign manager. Pennachio is an energetic nobody firing up, basically nobody.

by upstatenydem 2005-12-23 07:43PM | 0 recs
Cegelis/Pennacchio comparison
Cegelis has raised real money

Really? Last I heard she was getting shut out and was stuck at about $200k.

Casey won all except for about 5 counties in the state.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but don't 5 counties, including the greater Philidelphia area, contain about 80% of the Democratic vote? That's like saying if you only lose California, Texas, New York, Florida and Pennsylvania it's no big deal in a Presidential election.

Pennachio is an energetic nobody firing up, basically nobody.

We shall see. We shall see. I'm still putting my money on Pennacchio and so would the DSCC if they had half a brain. Casey's campaign is going to be an expensive television commerical driven campaign and he's going to do terrible in the debates with Santorum, if he wins.

Maybe Bob Casey should get some debate practice by accepting Chuck's offer? Don't the primary voters deserve to see their nominees in action?

by Gary Boatwright 2005-12-24 03:50AM | 0 recs
Re: Email the DCCC
I've meet chuck several times in the past year. He's a nice man but simply out of his league. He's even being out fundraised by Alan Sandals.

Rendell beat Casey in the primary in 2002 because one he had the support of all the ward bosses in philly, Pittsburgh and Allentown, 2 he had as much money as Casey, 3 he ran on a platform of keeping abortion safe legal and rare. 4. Rendell outraised casey 5.Rendell was able to confince people he was one of them.

Rendall won in the General election because Mike Fisher,was a complete loser as a candidate. 2. pa has history of never electing the same party to more than two consective terms. 3. See the reason Rendell beat casey

by orin76 2005-12-24 09:31AM | 0 recs
Re: Email the DCCC
The difference is, Christine was the candidate in 2004 and pulled 44.2% of the vote.  She already had an established campaign organization, volunteers, and donors.  Tammy Duckworth was installed by Rahm Emmanual after Christine was already well on her way.

In Pennsylvania, Chuck Pennacchio had none of those things.  For the record, I donated to Chuck's campaign, as I thought he was a better choice.  Since Pennsylvania is the DSCC's top target, they understandably want a good candidate.  Now, I disagree with the DSCC or DCCC getting involved in any primary, but in this case, it was the eventual nominee Bob Casey, or Chuck Pennacchio.  Anyone could have told you the outcome of that primary before the DSCC got involved anyway.

Furthermore, the DSCC has been doing a phenomenal job of recruiting great candidates to run in all the target states.  Do I agree with them supporting Casey so early?  No.  But overall they've been doing (I think) a great job this cycle.  The DCCC, on the other hand...

by Fran for Dean 2005-12-23 04:55PM | 0 recs
It's exactly the same thing
Steve Young is another example. Steve Young is not an Iraq vet, but he came from a military family. He is getting support from The American Legion, if not a formal endorsement.

Bottom line: The DSCC and DCCC have both turned their backs on progressive, anti-war candidates.

by Gary Boatwright 2005-12-23 05:01PM | 0 recs
Re: Email the DCCC

Go directly to

Do not visit the DSCC.

Do not contribute to the DCCC.

by Philosophe Forum 2005-12-23 06:18PM | 0 recs
Agree on all points
1. Roskam is sitting back laughing at the DCCC blowing money, time and momentum on this race. We keep hearing about the limited resources they have. Yet they have, as rumored, upwards of a million to blow ousting A DEMOCRAT? This sets a really bad example for any hard working Democrat out there thinking of running. Cegelis quit her job, spent her life savings, and went to every township Democratic meeting, union hall, DFA meet-up and house party she could. That shows the dedication to service and courage we need in Congress. Undermining her campaign is reprehensible.

  1. They really think that Roskam won't attack her because she's an injured vet? Does the name Max Cleland ring a bell? Look what they did to Kerry. This also doesn't factor in the lack of military in the district, Duckworth not being a resident, only having lived next to the district for three years, and the drawing down of troops in Iraq. Add to this the fact that she volunteer to go fight in Iraq, and you'll being hearing "She volunteered to fight in Iraq before she thought it was a bad idea." from the GOP the day after the primary. Duckworth's position on the war and her status as veteran leaves her open to attack on this issue, and her key strength either neutralize or the waters muddied enough that the issues is moot. Cegelis on the other hand has been against the war since day one, supports Murtha's plan for withdrawal, and is a steadfast supporter of veteran benefits.

  2. They know that Roskam is a wingnut probably beyond Bush in scope and depth. They know Dems in the district want a Dem over him any day of the week. But I'll say it again, if Duckworth wins the primary (REALLY BIG IF THAT I DOUBT), then all she'll get is one vote from me. I'm not talking to my neighbors about her unless to relay what her campaign and Emanuel did to undermine the Cegelis campaign. I'm not giving one red cent. I'm not doing anything as this whole situation has soured me view on just how much power I really have. Emanuel has made it quite clear that my help is not needed or wanted.

Thanks for the post on this Chris. I completely agree with you.
by michael in chicago 2005-12-23 03:51PM | 0 recs
Re: Agree on all points
She won't even get a vote from me. I'm not voting for the Chicago Machine's puppet.
by antiHyde 2005-12-24 05:21AM | 0 recs
Exactly what I'm talking about
Precisely what I would have said, if I was as reasonable, insightful and urbane as Chris is.
by Gary Boatwright 2005-12-23 03:52PM | 0 recs
a fight by proxy?
I agree with most of your reasoning, but not the conclusion.  I do think it's a mistake for the DCCC to pour money into Duckworth's campaign.  But I don't think the progressive blogosphere should organize to support Cegalis in the primary.  These are preliminary thoughts, and I'm open to reconsidering.  

I'm particularly responding to point #3 - taking the base for granted.  This point is important because it's the most clear-cut reason to actually intervene (e.g., it's not less of a waste of DCCC money if we're spending too).

I fear that your argument leads toward a scenario where we start picking districts within which to do battle by proxy with the DCCC leadership.  What you propose is dangerously close to making candidates like Cegalis little more than pawns in a larger game.  First of all, I frankly don't think this is fair to Cegalis, as much as it may be intended to benefit her.  Second, I don't think it's fair to the voters in the district.  Third, I think it's a terrible waste of limited resources.

Let me briefly elaborate on each point.

  1.  Cegalis needs to be able to define herself in term of local interests, not netroots interests.  Yes, of course I recognize that limited funding is a major roadblock to doing that.  But what you propose - effectively, making an example out of this primary - will redefine her as the candidate of the blogosphere.  If she comes forward and clearly asks for this kind of a full-throttle campaign by the netroots, then I'll put aside my objection.  But she has to be able to consider whether she wants to be our national poster child.

  2.  I guess I'm old-fashioned, but I also believe that except in extreme cases, primaries are best left to people in the local districts.  Just as I hear the beginnings of "war by proxy" in what you wrote in point #3, I would ask: do the people of the district become alienated in the process?  What, exactly, is involved in providing support in any possible way?  If it's just fundraising, then fair enough (but see my next point), and again my concerns are mitigated.  But "any way possible" - to me - suggests volunteers in the district, possibly advertisements, etc; I worry very much about contributing toward the hijacking of a primary that belongs to local voters and local activists.  It doesn't change my view that the DCCC may already be doing hijacking of their own; from my perspective, a war by proxy in the district adds to the alienation that the DCCC's actions may bring, rather than diminishing it.

  3.  This is probably my biggest concern - waste of resources.  There is not an unlimited source of funding in the netroots.  Donor fatigue will eventually set in.  I personally know a bunch of small-scale progressive donors who, like myself, are tapped out from the combination of 2004 and scattered fundraising drives this year.  For my own part, I'm willing to start donating again in the 2006 general election season.  But my ability to do so would be seriously hampered by significant investments in primaries.  Not everyone is in this position of donor fatigue, and it's not a strict zero-sum game; success can breed more success.  Nonetheless, in the end, dollars are limited.  I'm truly uncomfortable with the notion that fighting the DCCC is the best use for my resources, or our collective resources.  I want my dollars to go to fighting Republians.  I won't give them to candidates, even in the general election, who don't share my values - let the Dem establishment get the message that way.  But if I don't like the final candidate in a district, there are many, many others who need the money.  I'd rather send money to support Tester in a Montana general election than a Leiberman primary challenger.  I'd rather send money to support Nick Lampson against DeLay, than Cegalis against Duckworth.  That's even though from what I see, I like Cegalis.  The DCCC (and DSCC) are just not the enemy, nor is Tammy Duckworth.

As I say, I'm still open to being convinced otherwise, although it would take a lot of convincing.  I think it would be tragic if the netroots started acting like just another special interest group.  Without insult intended, point #3 in particular sounds like the response of an interest group, not a broad, inclusive progressive movement.  The value of what you, Jerome, Kos and many other de facto leaders in the blogosphere have helped create - a new form of grassroots activism - is gradually sinking in.  Impatiently going to battle against the establishment because they're not "getting it" quickly enough is, in my opinion, not the way to win.


by arenwin 2005-12-23 04:01PM | 0 recs
Re: a fight by proxy?
By the way, I figured I should clarify that when I said this:

But "any way possible" - to me - suggests volunteers in the district, possibly advertisements, etc; I worry very much about contributing toward the hijacking of a primary that belongs to local voters and local activists.

I didn't mean that I have a blanket opposition to the judicious use of outside volunteers, strategists, ad buys in elections of all kinds.  I recognize that as entirely necessary in the general elections (i.e., I'd still rather see as much of an emphasis as possible on local activisim, but I know how realistically important it is to put national muscle behind local candidates).  Yet in primaries, where it's about building up one Dem faction or tearing down another, rather than than building up local progressive capabilities and infrastructure in general, I don't believe it's necessary or important enough to be worth the cost of another up-tick in the national political arms race.  The fact that we must nationalize general elections to some extent doesn't mean that we must extend that strategy to primaries.

by arenwin 2005-12-23 04:28PM | 0 recs
Re: a fight by proxy?
I understand your points and appreicate the way you've always been respectful in expressing them. But let me take a crack at convincing your otherwise:

  1. Cegelis has defined herself locally, and worked hard to get the support of the local township Democratic orgs - some of which have been openly hostile to Duckworth's entry. This is one of the key points of contention among Cegelis supporters - that the locally supported candidate is being tossed out by Rahm and the DCCC. He's been undermining her campaign for months, and Duckworth is at least his 3rd choice (some say his fifth) entered at the 11th hour to knock off Cegelis. Cegelis has always reached out to the Blogosphere, and treated bloggers with respect and inclusion in her campaign. Duckworth doesn't even have a blog on her site.

  2. Letting the voters decide is a key point in this debate. Rahm has put his entire weight behind Duckworth's campaign. She will raise money through his support network, largely from outside the district in his district. This already is a battle between a local candidate inCegelis vs. a Chicago party boss anointed candidate in Duckworth. Rahm has worked to shut down Cegelis campaign and is pulling out the stops to undermine any support from the party she might get. Help from the Blogosphere would aid in leveling the playing field and truely letting the voters of the district decide.

  3. I believe the party is undergoing an interal struggle for itself. If you believe that the way Duckworth is entering the race is acceptable - complete institutional support intent on spending whatever it takes to take out another Democrat who primed the district - then we disagree.  I agree with Chris on this point strongly. At some point we have to stand up and stop voting for who they tell us to vote for. Duckworth has few ties to the district, and as spent only the last three years living outside of it. If we just abandon Democrats who give up everything to help build their local party then why would anyone continue to do that thankless job? I believe this is why Emanuel has yet to find challengers for every GOP district out there. Why bother? If you're not a chosen candidate, you'll get no resources, no help, and be made fun of and belittled for your your achievements. That's not the model for building the party that I believe in.

This isn't a quick rush to battle the establishment. This is a opportunity in which the grassroots have a candidate with an organization in place, volunteers fired up, and the support of local party orgs. This is winnable for us. This is a "pick-up" opportunity for the Netroots.
by michael in chicago 2005-12-23 04:42PM | 0 recs
Re: a fight by proxy?
I don't believe Duckworth's entry is acceptable, based on what I understand of it.  I similarly think it's not a good sign that her entry seems to be linked to the fulfillment of a fad - the fighting dem.  So we don't disagree there.

Let me try to draw the fine line between what does and doesn't concern me, linked to the first two points that I raised and you responded to.

The netroots, when their energies are marshalled, have a great deal of power.  The ability to unify effort and money from the many, many thousands of readers of Daily Kos, MyDD, Atrios, and the many smaller blogs is an inspiring phenomenon.  It was inspiring to see it work for Dean, and then for Hackett; you could just get this rushing sense of energy and purpose.  It's also tremendously gratifying that candidates and representatives are starting to pay attention, including some I have particular respect for.  (E.g., I have taken great pleasure at seeing Louise Slaughter reach out.  I've watched her political rise since I lived in her district during her first Congressional race in what... 1986, I think?  I wasn't old enough to vote yet, but she is one of those people who got me believing in politics - a great person as well as a committed progressive voice.  I hope she's there to run the Rules Committee when we finally kick the bums out.)  And Dean becoming DNC chair was a tremendous victory.

But with all that power and energy comes a real risk.  The netroots are still the small dog compared to the DCCC, at least in terms of $ and raw influence, and that's linked to all these problems, of course.  But compared to a local grassroots operation, when rallied, we're rapidly becoming the big dog; a kind of alternative national establishment made up of very anti-establishment types.

Not just in politics, when any kind of grassroots organization operating at a disadvantage against a large patron reaches out to another large patron for assistance, there's an assymetry in the relationship.  If the large patron comes in with something to prove, and/or with their own established interests, the risk increases that the strings attached to that assistance become overwhelming.  And this is even when everyone has the best of intentions, as I strongly believe is the case here.

Like I said to BigDog once when he argued with me on a marginally related point, I am in no position to second-guess the decisions by local activists about how and from whom to seek support.  I think the netroots are a fabulous base of support, filled with energy and enthusiasm and idealism that is so refreshing to a borderline cynic like me, and I've enjoyed becoming one of the more recent members of this community.  If Cegelis says, "I need a organized effort behind me to accomplish these things [...]," then fair enough - and at a minimum the first concern I listed is much diminished.

But she, and the local activists, have got to be clearly in the driver's seat.  There's a hair-width line between one grassroots organization helping out another, and the creation (even inadvertently) of districts as pawns in a bigger battle.  I worry about that because I've seen so very many examples - both from personal experience, and through my training as an Anthropologist - where outside help carries a heavy cost if those outside helpers have something to prove, or are pursuing strong interests of their own.

So, I've said my peace on this.  I appreciate your response; I'll keep an open mind.

by arenwin 2005-12-23 07:38PM | 0 recs
Re: a fight by proxy?
I appreciate the well thought out response.

The key for me here is that I'm one of the activists on the ground in the district. Cegelis is no pawn, but truely represents her constituents. That's why I see this as such an opportunity just as Chris does.

The only way this primary is going to let the people of the distric choose their candidate - whom ever that may be - is to level the playing field between the candidate boss Emanuel has backed to the hilt and the citizen candidate that Cegelis is.

It would be one thing to throw resources behind a grassroot candidate in a David and Goliath approach to making a statement. Although this may work, the chances are that resource will just go into making a losing point.

This is not the case with Cegelis. Her campaign's established nature provides a real pick-up opportunity for the Netroots as she has an organization in place, the support of many of the Township Democratic orgs, and volunteers fired up and loyal to her ready to knock on doors.

By leveraging the Blogosphere's strength behind her campaign the primary playing field becomes level and her chances, already strong, become equal or greater to those of the DCCC's anointed candidate.

As has been mentioned many times, Emanuel and all the Beltway knows that we'll vote for a Democrat come the primary. That's why this race, and it's potential for the Netroots, is such a great opportunity. We can influence who that Democrat will be in the General. We have an opportunity to make the Democrat we vote for in the General one that is a real progressive who believes in and supports the Net/Grassroots.

by michael in chicago 2005-12-24 05:40AM | 0 recs
Re: Knowing When To Walk Away
I've said it before, and I'll say it again. If you're not willing to walk away from the table, you don't have any power. This is basic and fundamental. Dave has a post at Seeing the Forest Negotiating When The Other Party Won't:

If one side just wants to win, and doesn't care about establishing a relationship or creating a structure that will actually work, for the other side "Getting to Yes" really means "Rationalizing your Concession". Whichever is most willing to walk away will always win a negotiation. Ask anyone who's ever done business with WalMart.

If we don't stake out our turf and demonstrate a willingness to walk away from distasteful candidates and fight for the values and candidates we believe in, the DCCC and DLC and Democratic Party will continue chop blocking candidates like Cegelis, Pennacchio and Young.

If you're not willing to fight for what you believe in, you don't really believe in it.

by Gary Boatwright 2005-12-24 03:59AM | 0 recs
Re: Knowing When To Walk Away
There are many ways to fight.    Nancy Pelosi does the right thing the vast majority of the time, and I want to see her become Speaker in 2006.  

I'll fight like hell for a Bill Bradley or Howard Dean in 2008.  I'm ready to go to the mat for a candidate of big ideas who will speak honestly on the war, fight for universal health care, and take poverty seriously again.

My calculus for house candidates in someone else's district is more pragmatic.  What use of my $ will go the furthest toward creating Speaker Pelosi?  I don't think supporting candidates in the primaries is the most effective use of $.  And I'll fund candidates in the general election that I believe in, rather than the DCCC; that's where I draw my line in the sand.

I also have strong beliefs, that I will fight for, in pluralism of views (i.e., the so called "big tent") and in local agency - legitimacy flowing from consent of the governed through their representatives and their democratic process.  Thus, my greatest concern here is the unacceptable way that the DCCC has been meddling.  michael in chicago's has laid out strong arguments for why what Chris proposes isn't, effectively, counter-meddling.  Not yet persuaded.

by arenwin 2005-12-24 05:27AM | 0 recs
Re: Knowing When To Walk Away
Thus, my greatest concern here is the unacceptable way that the DCCC has been meddling.  michael in chicago's has laid out strong arguments for why what Chris proposes isn't, effectively, counter-meddling.

Counter-meddling? How is backing the candidate preferred by the local grassroots meddling? If we don't fight for Cegelis tooth and nail, the DCCC will continue to coronate their chosen candidate regardless of what the grass/netroots want. This is the time to hold on to our cards and play out the hand.

We bloody the DCCC's nose in the primary and force them to waste as much money as possible. If they don't have to pay a price that affects the entire ticket, there will be no reason for them to change their tactics and start to work with us, instead of against us. If Duckworth wins, we walk away from that race and focus on a progressive candidate.

If the decision was mine, instead of trying to support a ridiculous number, like the 88 I've seen bandied about, the netroots would support six or seven candidates and pour every dime into those races. Cegelis, Pennacchio, Young and three other candidates would be a good starting point.

by Gary Boatwright 2005-12-24 10:46AM | 0 recs
Re: Knowing When To Walk Away
If the decision was mine, instead of trying to support a ridiculous number, like the 88 I've seen bandied about, the netroots would support six or seven candidates and pour every dime into those races.

This part of your post I entirely agree with.  Of course, getting agreement on the six or seven... -chuckle.  But spreading support thin is a crazy strategy, as appealing as the Quixote fund sounds at first blush.

by arenwin 2005-12-24 04:57PM | 0 recs
Couldn't have said it better myself
So I won't say it again, except to say I agree with every word, Chris.
by Revere 2005-12-23 04:54PM | 0 recs
I agree
I largely agree with Chris' points, but I would add a different dimension to his third point. When the members of the Democratic Party establishment take the base for granted, they are acting as if the base is not a genuine stakeholder group in the Democratic Party.  Since the base will vote for any Democrat over any Republican, the base is just a feature of the party, not a constituency whose needs must be addressed.  

As far as I can tell, what the DCCC is doing in IL-6 is simply a more egregious example of what the DCCC is doing in CA-11.  There are numerous parallels between the two primary races, although I won't go into them here.  

My point is that in CA-11, the DCCC decided they were going to support Steve Filson before anyone in the district had even heard of Steve Filson.  There was no consultation process.  After Filson declared his candidacy, he did not try to mollify people in the grassroots who were upset that he had been imposed on the district by Democrats in Washington (and Ellen Tauscher, who lives in the neighboring district).  Indeed, Filson's overriding message to the grassroots has been: "Shut up, stop complaining, and start toeing the line."  He even told me that the Democratic clubs in his district are NOT stakeholder groups in the Democratic Party.  For him, the Democratic Party begins and ends with the elected officials.  

There is no fame and precious little glory in the grassroots of the Democratic Party.  Those of us who work at the grassroots do so because we believe in something greater than ourselves.  And it is our hard work that provides the fundament upon which politicians can run their campaigns.  

I do not doubt that Ellen Tauscher or Rahm Emanuel has more power than the grassroots people in CA-11.  But the fact that they hold power ought not to be used to justify a complete disregard for the will and desires of those who toil to give the Democratic Party life and vibrance--those who work to make the Democratic Party about something more meaningful than political power or crude political calculation.

I have no doubt that the DCCC can impose its will on various districts.  But having the power to do something does not imply a license to use that power for whatever ends you might want.  There is something paternalistic and deeply anti-democratic (and hence anti-Democratic) about the actions of the DCCC in these races.  

Ideology is not just what you say, it's what you do and how you do it.  By acting in such a crude manner, the DCCC is changing what it means to be a member of the Democratic Party.  And I deeply resent that.  And I know I'm not the only one.

We are in a historical moment where the possibility presents itself to bring back into the fold many erstwhile, or otherwise latent, Democrats.  We're not going to do it if our party leadership continues to crap on the grassroots and the progressive values we hold dear.    

by Matt Lockshin 2005-12-23 04:55PM | 0 recs
That's six examples that we know of
There are probably more. Here are the six that I know about:

  1. Chuck Pennacchio
  2. Christine Cegelis
  3. Steve Young
  4. The Filson primary
  5. Scott Mortenson in MN-06
  6. Colleen Rowley in MN-02.
by Gary Boatwright 2005-12-23 05:12PM | 0 recs
Re: I agree
I'd give you a 4 if I could. Well said.
by michael in chicago 2005-12-23 05:17PM | 0 recs
Re: I agree
Steve Filson, huh?  Pombo's opponents have spent $12,000 in 2000, $554,000 in 2002, and $154,000 in 2004 while polling 38%, 40%, and 39% respectively.  So much for the money is everything philosophy of Rahm Emmanuel.  Half a million just got us up 2%.

How realistic is Filson as an opponent without the grass roots even with all the money and contempt that the DCCC chooses to shovel into the district.  For that matter, Capri Cafaro spent close to $2 million and didn't crack 40% in a district in Ohio that was a lot friendlier than Ohio 2.

The secret of the right wing uis that they play to win for the right wing not for Republicans, per se.  Otherwise, here in NJ< Kean, Jr. would be an incumbent congressman not Scott garrett, etc. etc. etc.

by David Kowalski 2005-12-24 12:01PM | 0 recs
Re: Three Responses
On your third point, I strongly disagree.  It's not just a question of the grassroots going out and voting for the nominee.  Sure, they'll do that pretty much no matter what.  The difference is that if you pick a candidate that doesn't inspire them, they won't be donating and volunteering nearly as much as they could have.

I would have donated and volunteered a lot more for Howard Dean if he were the nominee, for example.

by Fran for Dean 2005-12-23 05:01PM | 0 recs
Chicago Party Boss Candidate
I have heard this said about Duckworth before but I have a question about this.  I was under the impression (possibly incorrectly) that Emanuel and Daley were not necessarily close allies.  Is there some division in the Machine?  Could someone more knowledgable in this area clear this up for me.  Thanks.
by Demo Dan in Dayton 2005-12-23 05:05PM | 0 recs
Re: Chicago Party Boss Candidate
The reality probably doesn't matter in this case as much as perception and appearance. Emanuel lives in Chicago and Cook county, as does Daley. Emanuel is a part of the party establishment as is Daley. They both pretty much occupy the corporate leaning right side of the party.

"The Chicago/Cook county machine" is not what it used to be before the ascendency of TV in politics as well as anti-patronage court rulings against it. So yes there are splits and internal power struggles, most of which stay within the establishment.

That said, I'm not much of an expert either.

by Jeff Wegerson 2005-12-23 05:52PM | 0 recs
Re: Chicago Party Boss Candidate
""The Chicago/Cook county machine" is not what it used to be before the ascendency of TV in politics as well as anti-patronage court rulings against it."


Go to the Chicago Tribune Website and search for keywords "Hired Truck". The "Machine" is as big and bad as ever, although it's beginning to unravel in the face of these huge scandals.

by dabuddy 2005-12-23 10:51PM | 0 recs
Re: Chicago Party Boss Candidate
Rahm made it to where he is today by hitching onto Daley's (and David Wilhelm's) coattails. His first big break in politics was doing opposition research for Daley's mayoral campaigns.

Without Daley...And more importantly, Daley's patronage army of precinct workers, Rahm could find HIMSELF vulnerable in '08.

That is a real concern for him, as Daley may well LOSE the next Mayoral election due to this huge scandal. Hell, Daley might even end up in prison...And Rahm has been indirectly implicated, as well.

by dabuddy 2005-12-23 10:45PM | 0 recs
Re: Chicago Party Boss Candidate
Very cool. Above all else the Democratic Party should be pushing a Reform Democrat message. We can't do that if our party is controlled by hacks who are as corrupt as DeLay. It doesn't surprise me a bit to hear that Rahm is implicated in a scandal.

 Tell me more. Do you have a link?

by Gary Boatwright 2005-12-25 12:47AM | 0 recs
Thank you Chris
As usual I am in complete agreement with you. The DCCC has made an incredibly stupid strategic error in Illinois-06. It is our job to make it abundantly clear to them so that they do not repeat this error in the future.

Happy Holidays Chris. Enjoy your well earned vacation.


Kirstin Gillibrand for Congress - NY-20
Christine Cegelis for Congress - Il-06

by Andrew C White 2005-12-23 05:51PM | 0 recs
grassroots support
I got involved in local politics for the first time this summer at the age of 55. The first event I went to happened to be a DFA meetup and Christine Cegelis was there. I found her to be gutsy, smart, and refreshingly direct. It is a joy to be involved in her campaign and I am proud to support her.

Christine is a solid progressive whose base comes from the grassroots. Electing her will be a huge step forward in reclaiming our Democracy from the crooks, the fat cats, and the charlatans.

Regarding Major Duckworth, I say welcome to the process but I find your position statements tentative and vague enough that right won't get too upset. I hope you find some more bold and progressive values and then displace a Republican in some other district in '08; they are leading us to ruin.

by DrXyzzy 2005-12-23 06:03PM | 0 recs
Re: Three Responses
All that said, I don't think that just rolling over and letting the DCCC steamroll folks is a good plan either. [...] Might it not be a better use of our resources to focus on putting up a successful candidate elsewhere than funding an internal war within the party that just sucks more money away from the broader goal?

This, right there, is the poser, isn't it.  The goal is a more progressive government.  What's the best way to get there?  There's got to be some balance between working with and pushing back against the DCCC and other Democratic Party organs.

by arenwin 2005-12-23 07:51PM | 0 recs
Re: Three Responses
There's no reason for the DCCC NOT to take the netroots for granted. No matter how much or how little a fight we put up, is any significant number of us going to not vote or flip to a Repub vote because we didn't like the way the primary played out? Of course not, because ultimately the biggest priority is getting SOMEone elected- even if it wasn't the best choice.

This is a good point - one which I had already realized subconsciously but did not fully appreciate on a conscious level until now. We always talk about the right-wing base "deserting" Bush - abortion's still legal, school prayer's still illegal, Hollywood is still poisoning America, etc. We always like to imagine that they'll "stay home" on election day, burned by too many betrayals.

But will they really ever? Deep in their hearts, they know that George Bush/Arlen Specter/etc. etc. are better choices than really any Democrat alive. Isn't it the same with us? Think about it this way: How much would you rather have even JOE LIEBERMAN be president of the United States than George Bush today? Scary thought, but in your heart, you know it's true.

It's a strange thing to admit - that we, the netroots, might fight the "establishment" at various steps along the way, but that really, in the end, any threat to quit and "take our ball home" is quite empty. It's almost ironic: If we weren't such fierce partisans, we wouldn't do all the things we already do - but because we're so partisan, we'll suck it up and support the lesser of evils in almost any case.

Now, I realize that this doesn't apply to everyone - it's a generalization, for sure. But I think it does apply to a sizable majority of the netroots.

by DavidNYC 2005-12-23 07:56PM | 0 recs
I'd rather have Bush than Lieberman
If Lieberman was President right now, he would have marginalized and demonized progressives even more than they already have been. Lieberman has turned into a disaster for the Democratic Party as Senator and would be an even bigger disaster as President.
by Gary Boatwright 2005-12-25 12:30AM | 0 recs
People seem unfamiliar with Tammy Duckworth
Here's a link to a Crooks and Liars post of a video of an interview she did for an ABC show .

I honestly don't know enough about either candidate yet to take a side in this debate, but from what I DO know, this definitely isn't a Pennacchio/Casey type of situation at all IMO. Duckworth seems to be a standout candidate. But like I said, I'm still in the learning process.

by Parker Lewis 2005-12-23 08:27PM | 0 recs
I should probably also say that I know next to nothing about Illinois politics, which seems to be driving a lot of the energy regarding these two candidates. So my opinion is that of an outsider.
by Parker Lewis 2005-12-23 08:31PM | 0 recs
Re: Oh
Illinois Political Primer:

Rule #1: Illinois politics is a FULL CONTACT sport.

Rule #2: See Rule #1.

As far as Duckworth goes, she is simply "window dressing"...Rahm's Purple Heart Poster Child, for his "campaign-in-a-can".

by dabuddy 2005-12-23 10:58PM | 0 recs
Re: an Iraqvet is different than being a Vietnam v
You've listed Christine last on your list of beneficiaries. I hope that you will list her FIRST in your checkbook. The DNC/DSCC have lots of rich "establishment" dems feeding their coffers. Christine is struggling on her own.

I would hope that we will all MAX OUT our contributions to Cegelis, before we even consider donating to any of these other organizations.

We MUST support our own, first, last and always...They do.

by dabuddy 2005-12-23 09:44PM | 0 recs
Whatcha gonna do
To Rahm Emanuel and the DCCC:  Whatcha gonna do when Bush starts bringing the troops home?

What good will your Fighting Dems strategy be then?  You'll have made a lot of enemies for nothing.

Carolyn Kay

by Caro 2005-12-24 01:13AM | 0 recs
The out of touch blogosphere
Don't call me a troll because I've been reading mydd since the '04 primaries, but I think this post proves the limits of the blogosphere, because how many of you have actually met Cegelis?  I know nothing about Duckworth, but I've met Cegelis on several occasions and she doesn't have "It"  I'm sorry for using a term like that, but Cegelis looks good on paper, she's got some good ideas but having met her she lack presence, gravitas if you will, and I've known several other people who thought the same thing.  It's also part of the reason why she never had a good full time fundraising director.  

It could be Duckworth has the same problem, I don't know, I no longer live in Chicago and haven't been following Illinois politics like I did last year.  However, before bashing the DCCC and everyone supporting them, do take some time to think about the subjective that you can't see by just looking at a person's website.  I hope we all know by know by now that presence and personality are just as important for a politician as their ideas.

by LittleOldMe 2005-12-24 03:23AM | 0 recs
Re: The out of touch blogosphere
I live in the district. I worked and contributed to her last campaign. I have heard her speak many times and I totally disagree with you.
by antiHyde 2005-12-24 05:33AM | 0 recs
Re: &quot;It&quot;?
she doesn't have "It"

That's ridiculous. Does Dennis Hastert have "it"? "It" is not all "that."

by Gary Boatwright 2005-12-24 10:50AM | 0 recs
Priority: Dem House &amp; Senate
How can we stop the radical right wing policies of the radical Republicans--but have a Dem house and Senate in 2006.  This is a priority.

How can we demand accountability from what we think are abuse of power and the military and incompetence.  We need a Dem House and Senate!

Let us stop the bickering and namecalling and just have a clean primary that will eventually help the Dem candidate not handicapped them.

Duckworth is not Bush or a neocon or a RINO or a Wittman or a Zeill Miller or a Lieberman,  so if she wins the primary,  then grassroots should get behind her.

by jasmine 2005-12-24 05:10AM | 0 recs
Re: Priority: Dem House &amp;amp; Senate
For a clean primary you need a level playing field. The DCCC has tilted it virtually on its side.

Contributing to the Cegelis campaign only tilts it back to level.

by antiHyde 2005-12-24 05:35AM | 0 recs
Re: Priority: Dem House &amp;amp;amp; Senate
Make the race close--to show the power of grassroots.
by jasmine 2005-12-24 05:48AM | 0 recs
Re: Priority: Dem House &amp;amp;amp;amp; Senate
Make the playing field level and we win.
by michael in chicago 2005-12-24 05:50AM | 0 recs
Re: Priority: Progressive Dems
If Duckworth wins the primary, we dump her. Duckworth is the DCCC candidate and she is her responsibility after the primary. We should only support progressive Dems that the DCCC and DSCC abandon or ignore.
by Gary Boatwright 2005-12-24 10:52AM | 0 recs
The big picture is Dem house in '06
That should be the goal, yes?
by jasmine 2005-12-24 02:03PM | 0 recs
Re: The big picture is Dem house in '06
by Gary Boatwright 2005-12-24 04:15PM | 0 recs
Re: The out of touch blogosphere
As a registered voter in IL-06, I've met both Cegelis and Duckworth.  I like Christine and her ideas, but feel that she has neither charisma or passion for her positions.  Duckworth, however, was tough, passionate and articulate. Most importantly, I think she's a stronger candidate, with a better story, than Peter Roskam. Duckworth can beat him.  I don't think Cegelis can.
by dupage leo 2005-12-24 05:14AM | 0 recs
Re: The out of touch blogosphere
Then vote for her. But massive donations by the puppet master do not inspire confidence.
by antiHyde 2005-12-24 05:36AM | 0 recs
Re: The out of touch blogosphere
Can you point to a single "massive donation?"
by Politicalhack06 2005-12-24 06:27AM | 0 recs
Re: The out of touch blogosphere
News stories say that the DCCC has given Duckworth one million. I call that massive.
by antiHyde 2005-12-24 08:06AM | 0 recs
Re: The out of touch blogosphere
That's interesting, but first of all, the DCCC cannot give $1 million to any candidate.  

The DCCC CAN spend unlimited amounts on independent expenditures.  

But before that would ever happen, the campaign would have to be considered viable and competitive.  

Given that we're still 11 months away from the general election, there is no way whatsoever that the DCCC has already committed, let alone spent, that money on this race, or this particular candidate.

by Politicalhack06 2005-12-24 10:33AM | 0 recs
Re: Durbin &amp; Obama made a pledge
Are you kidding me? We have to point to and prove a contribution?

When Dick Durbin and Barak Obama both pledge to campaign for and fund raise for a candidate, with the additional backing of the DCCC and Rahm Emanuel's personal backing,that translates into a million dollars worth of support.

by Gary Boatwright 2005-12-24 11:22AM | 0 recs
Re: The out of touch blogosphere
So would you explain to me how Duckworth just happens to have all A-List Democratic strategists, PR and mailing people lined up and working for her? How is she paying for this?
by michael in chicago 2005-12-24 06:13PM | 0 recs
Re: The out of touch blogosphere
Hell, how is she paying for the new and improved website she already has up? It's still incredibly shallow and superficial on the issues. Looks a lot like Bob Casey's website as a matter of fact. Lot's of vague generalities that Santorum and Roksam could also campaign on.
by Gary Boatwright 2005-12-25 12:53AM | 0 recs
Re: The out of touch blogosphere
I'm certainly not claiming that the DCCC isn't helping her.  

But the idea that they CAN give $1 million to any single campaign, whether Duckworth's or anyone else's, is just absolutely ridiculous.  

As for the consultants that Duckworth has hired, it's not like she has to pay them the instant she signs them to a contract.  

by Politicalhack06 2005-12-25 06:31PM | 0 recs
Re: The out of touch blogosphere
Says the freshly minted user with only one comment.
by michael in chicago 2005-12-24 05:49AM | 0 recs
Re: A lot of one commentors showing up
Isn't it interesting how many brand new commentors that support Duckworth are showing up for this one diary?
by Gary Boatwright 2005-12-24 11:25AM | 0 recs
Re: Pie in the sky
Duckworth, however, was tough, passionate and articulate.

The grassroots in the district disagrees strongly. Duckworth doesn't even have any public positions on most issues. Do you think issues are irrelevant to political campaigns?

Duckworth can beat him.  I don't think Cegelis can.

Cegelis got 44% last time against one of the strongest incumbants in American history. What has Roskam got going for him that would make him tougher for Christine to beat than Henry Hyde? A 7% pickup would be as easy as pie with the backing of the DCCC and the party. The DCCC is walking away from a proven vote getter to back an untested challenger that nobody knows anything about.

by Gary Boatwright 2005-12-24 10:58AM | 0 recs
Re: Pie in the sky
 "Duckworth doesn't even have any public positions on most issues."   If you'd take the time to go to, you could learn about Duckworth's postions. Also, Duckworth expoused her positions on most of the things I care about during her public press conference announcing her candidacy.  If you are interested, you can find out more about Duckworth from some of her upcoming interviews with the national media.  By the way, the only thing I care about as a Democrat living in IL-06 are the issues and winning the district.
by dupage leo 2005-12-24 11:42AM | 0 recs
Re: Wow! Four whole issues!
Community Issues:

Education: We need to change our priorities and make the investments that will benefit our nation in the long-term. And that begins with a strong commitment to better schools and access to a higher education.

How many Republicans can you name who would oppose that?

Iraq: To bring our troops home, we need a much more aggressive plan and timetable than the Bush Administration has offered for training the Iraqi police and armed forces, and transferring to the Iraqis the responsibility for securing their own country.

Does Duckworth agree more with Murtha or Rumsfeld?

Economy: There are places to reduce the tax burden on middle-class families. For example, I would support expanded education tax breaks and childcare tax credits. We also need to provide relief from the Alternative Minimum Tax, which is unfairly increasing the tax liability of thousands of families across our district. By helping middle-income families, these tax cuts will boost our economy. But with a record federal debt, cutting taxes that primarily benefit millionaires is bad fiscal policy.

We also ought to support the small businesses that create most new jobs in this country, and promote entrepreneurship. Rather than doling out billions in new subsidies to hugely profitable oil and drug corporations, we could provide tax breaks and loans to people struggling to launch new enterprises.

Whopee! Let's shift tax cuts from millionaires to the middle class and small businesses! How original.

Health Care: This shows the problem that millions of Americans need help but lack the insurance to cover it. We can't afford to ignore this national crisis any longer. Congress must step up and work together to provide access to affordable health care to those who need it.

Providing health coverage for all children is a good place to start. The S-CHIP program, begun under the Clinton Administration, has reduced the number of children without health insurance even while the ranks of uninsured adults have expanded. I support Governor Blagojevich's initiative to provide health coverage to every child in Illinois, financed largely through administrative changes in the state's Medicaid program. As a Member of Congress, I will work for a similar initiative at the federal level.

I will also work hard to ensure that the medical care we have promised to those who defend our nation is delivered. A strong and responsive VA health care system is absolutely essential - both in fulfilling our pledge to our nation's veterans, and in recruiting men and women for future service. There will be no stronger voice in Washington than mine on behalf of veterans' healthcare.

The operative phrase is "those who need it." Kids and vets. Single women and single men can fuhgedaboudit.

Anyone who thinks I have been unfair to Duckworth is free to write their own diary.

by Gary Boatwright 2005-12-24 04:32PM | 0 recs
Re: Pie in the sky
Cegelis got 44% last time against one of the strongest incumbants in American history.

Cegelis got 44% against a feeble 80 year old shell of his formerly formidable opponent in a district that is tending D.  

One should note that Cegelis ran 3% behind Kerry in 2004, which isn't a particularly ringing endorsement for her candidacy in 2006.

by Jay 2005-12-25 11:37AM | 0 recs
Re: Pie in the sky
Oops, I mean her opponent.
by Jay 2005-12-25 11:37AM | 0 recs
If Henry Hyde was feeble
why didn't the DCCC run their own candidate against him then? Cegelis stepped forward because the DCCC was not able to get a single challenger against Hyde.

One should note that Cegelis ran 3% behind Kerry in 2004, which isn't a particularly ringing endorsement for her candidacy in 2006.

Cegelis got 44% of the vote.  Are you suggesting that a totally unkown challenger, running for the first time, who did not get an iota of support from her own party, should have pulled 47% of the vote? Your analysis indicates that any first time challenger who does not get at least 47% should just give up and the party should write them off. Is that where the DCCC is setting the bar? No wonder they are having trouble getting Democrats to run in vacant slots.

Kerry was not running against an incumbant.  If I recall, Kerry didn't have very long coat tails in many districts. There could be all sorts of reasons for a 3% discrepancy, including the fact that Cegelis had no support from her own party whatsoever.

Why does Rahm Emanuel have a problem cooperating with the IL-06 grassroots instead of fighting them? All Cegelis

by Gary Boatwright 2005-12-25 02:34PM | 0 recs
Re: If Henry Hyde was feeble
Kerry was not running against an incumbant.  If I recall, Kerry didn't have very long coat tails in many districts. There could be all sorts of reasons for a 3% discrepancy, including the fact that Cegelis had no support from her own party whatsoever.

Kerry wasn't running against an incumbent?  Were you hiding in a hole from 2000-2004?  And even if Kerry didn't have coattails, Barack Obama was also running on that ticket and he was pulling 64% in DuPage county (21% ahead of Cegelis in DuPage).

As far as the DCCC being biased against Cegelis because she is progressive, it is more likely that they are biased against her because her fundraising is a joke.  We won't know for sure how much money she has until December 31, but the rumor is that she has less than $50K COH.  That just isn't gonna get it done.  

The thing that causes me to be dubious about Cegelis, though, isn't that the DCCC has a negative evaluation of her campaign, but rather that she isn't one of Emily's List's supported candidates.  They have no problem with progressive candidates, have an excellent track record of evaluating campaigns, and have no problem crossing the DCCC.  (In fact, they gave $400K to Emanuel's primary challenger in 2002.)  Furthermore, they are quite willing to jump in early if they like a candidate.  (EMILY stands, in case you don't know, for Early Money Is Like Yeast).  If they don't think that Cegelis' second go around is worth supporting then there must be something wrong there.  

by Jay 2005-12-25 03:04PM | 0 recs
Re: If Henry Hyde was feeble
You are clearly missing the point.  And you are continuing to miss the broader problem everyone here is discussing.  Cegelis could not fundraise because the donors of Chicagoland were asked not to support her as Emanuel was locating a candidate for the district.  To blame her for not benefiting from Emanuel's base is not an argument, as you are mistaking the effect for the cause.

Cegelis does have key endorsements, such as that of Marcy Kaptur (OH-01), who will hold a fundraiser for Cegelis in Elmhurst, Illinois, next month.  That a senior member of Congress is willing to extend her support to Cegelis despite Emanuel's hostility should be noted.  Perhaps this will impel Emily's List to support our candidate.

What you neglect to discuss is the presence of many Republican Congresspeople in districts that voted for Kerry in 2004.  Using one election count as a variable in determining the vulnerability of a seat is a flawed methodology, and perhaps you should consider other variables such as the power of incumbency, money raised and spent, name recognition, election counts from 2000 and 2002, etc.  That you do not reveals how you desire to manipulate evidence so as to minimize Cegelis's 2004 accomplishment.  

And I will ask this question once again: From whence do Duckworth's funds come?  Who is defraying the cost of her lease, her advisors, her consultants, her (paid) volunteers, etc.?  And who contacted media organizations on her behalf?  Whose connections were utilized in this attempt to create a celebrity candidate whose image was exploited before her positions or lack thereof were announced?  Perhaps one should answer these questions first before claiming that Duckworth is somehow an experienced fundraiser with campaign experience.  For to ignore these facts is to perform an act of bad faith.  

You clearly do not reside in District 6 or in northeastern Illinois.  If you did, you would understand why the DCCC's actions are completely unwarranted.  You would also understand that Duckworth's appeal is limited to members of the DCCC, to those connected to Emanuel, to politicians who want to exploit her commodity image, to reporters who were assigned to re-write and rehash her retroactively constituted "story," and to those who visit blogs and blindly assume a mindless allegiance with the DCCC.

And may desire to ask why Duckworth is not considered a "Fighting Dem."  That the DCCC would exploit a strategy formulated by Air America Radio and Daily Kos reveals how devoid of ideas that organization is.  It also reveals how they are willing to exploit the knowledge of the blogosphere without supporting the candidates we and the voters of Congressional districts respect.  Their manoeuvre is mighty cynical, and the sleaze and haste with which they have manufactured their candidate is not a benefit to the Democratic party.  Republicans and Democrats alike view it as divisive and unethical, and I fail to see how this will benefit any Democratic candidate during the 2006 cycle.  Even my mother finds it deplorable.

So please go ahead and rehearse the talking points many bloggers have debunked time and time again.  The fundraising argument is false, the attempt to minimize Cegelis's acheivement in 2004 fails to hold water, and your attempt to invalidate the campaign by citing one organization's lack of an endorsement caves in on itself, as the endorsements are yet to come.  Perhaps you should view the endorsements Cegelis received in 2004.  I imagine the list for 2006 will be larger.


by ilyayavitz 2005-12-25 03:35PM | 0 recs
Re: If Henry Hyde was feeble
They need to convince Cegelis and her supporters that they can't beat Duckworth. They need her to drop out.

Cegelis got nearly 20,000 votes in the last primary. With a three way primary, Cegelis will only need aroun 12,500 this time to win the primary. Since primaries are based less on paid media than on organization and ground game, they know quite well that Cegelis winning the primary is a very real possibility no matter how much money they throw behind Duckworth's campaign.

So they have to try and force Cegelis out before the voters can decide. How very Democratic.

by michael in chicago 2005-12-25 03:58PM | 0 recs
Re: If Henry Hyde was feeble
You are clearly missing the point.  And you are continuing to miss the broader problem everyone here is discussing.  Cegelis could not fundraise because the donors of Chicagoland were asked not to support her as Emanuel was locating a candidate for the district.  To blame her for not benefiting from Emanuel's base is not an argument, as you are mistaking the effect for the cause.

I realize this.  I don't really buy it, though, because I don't think that Emanuel controls his donors, but rather the other way around.  If Cegelis could make the case to them for financial support then she would have gotten it, Emanuel or no.  And even if this were true, it doesn't say anything about why EMILY's List is sitting out, because they have no trouble telling the DCCC to piss up a rope.  

Cegelis does have key endorsements, such as that of Marcy Kaptur (OH-01), who will hold a fundraiser for Cegelis in Elmhurst, Illinois, next month.  That a senior member of Congress is willing to extend her support to Cegelis despite Emanuel's hostility should be noted.  Perhaps this will impel Emily's List to support our candidate.

Perhaps, but they looked at her campaign in September and apparently decided to pass on it.  Now that Duckworth is in, I wouldn't be surprised if they wait until after the primary.  After all, both Duckworth and Cegelis are pro-choice Democratic women, which is all the criteria they need to support a candidate.

Since you appear to be connected with her campaign, perhaps you can answer why EMILY's List didn't give her seed money.  After all, had they done so you probably wouldn't have this problem right now.  

You clearly do not reside in District 6 or in northeastern Illinois.  If you did, you would understand why the DCCC's actions are completely unwarranted.

True, I'm not from IL6.  And I can understand why it hacks you off that outsiders are messing in your primary.  Personally, I usually don't give money to primary candidates for just this reason; I don't like goading Democrats on against each other.  And I don't really care who wins as long as they knock off Roskam in November.  Neither could be as bad as the odious Melissa Bean and I'm happy to have her around as a vote for Speaker Pelosi.  I'm just saying that from my emotionally detached position as an outsider she appears to have a problem running the campaign she needs to run to be elected.   And, looking around for somewhere to drop my small contributions for 2006, this just doesn't look like a good investment to me.  

by Jay 2005-12-25 11:39PM | 0 recs
Re: If Henry Hyde was feeble
then you are clearly not interested in electing candidates of integrity.  if one were to invest their money in a campaign that would spend it wisely, then one would contribute to the campaign of Christine CEGELIS.  
by ilyayavitz 2005-12-26 03:33PM | 0 recs
Re: If Henry Hyde was feeble
hen you are clearly not interested in electing candidates of integrity.  

Oh, please.  Donne moi un break.  I have no reason to doubt that Cegelis is of unimpeachable character.  On the other hand, though, I have no reason to doubt Duckworth's character either.  Still, let's take it as given that Cegelis is somewhat superior to Duckworth as a putative representative, although not necessarily as a candidate.

I already have a representative, Chris Van Hollen, whose integrity and positions are unimpeachable.  We in MD8 put in the hard work to help him unseat a Republican incumbent in 2002.  But he can't do all, or even much, of the work that we sent him to DC to do because he is stuck in the minority.  So the most improtant thing I care about, coming out of IL6, is a vote for speaker Pelosi.  If I can be satisfied with the odious Melissa Bean sitting over in IL8, I can accept whatever D comes out of IL6.  

All things being equal, of course, I would prefer Cegelis.  But I have serious questions about whether she can do what needs to be done to take down Roskam.  I'm not going to send any money to either candidate until after the primary, because at this point I'm not particularly interested in taking sides.  You can hash this one out for yourselves back in Illinois.  But whether I send any money after the primary will depend on whether I can be convinced that Cegelis can seal the deal.  

Now K-k-k-ken, I can't speak for anyone else who might be sitting on the sidelines waiting to decide, but for me you (or another Celegis worker) could answer the following  question for me in a way that would be positive for you.  Namely, as I asked above, why didn't EMILY's list provide seed money for Cegelis?  And if something bothered them before, has she solved it now?  A reasonable answer to this question would convince me that Cegelis is worth serious support.  

At the very least, though, we could agree that reasonable people who have put some thought into it have looked at Cegelis' campaign and not felt right about her chances without doubting their intelligence or their integrity.

 if one were to invest their money in a campaign that would spend it wisely, then one would contribute to the campaign of Christine CEGELIS.  

I'm not interested in investing in a campaign that would spend my money wisely.  I'm interested in investing in one that will use it to win.  The two aren't necessarily the same thing.

by Jay 2005-12-26 06:55PM | 0 recs
Re: If Henry Hyde was feeble
I believe you make too many assumptions:  I do not work for Cegelis; I have never volunteered for Cegelis; I do not agree with your point about her inability to win; and you have no right to address me by any first name you may attribute to me.  And the idea that one should win by whatever means possible is a bit cynical.  Not only will it fail to produce a majority that will in any way remain permanent; it will alienate those who desire to participate in the political process.  Integrity and conviction do have their benefits.
by ilyayavitz 2005-12-27 01:15PM | 0 recs
Re: Pie in the sky
One should note that Cegelis ran 3% behind Kerry in 2004, which isn't a particularly ringing endorsement for her candidacy in 2006.

You might want to also note that every Democratic challenger ran in behind the top of the ticket when challenging Hyde. Cegelis did better than any challenger he had in his career - both to him and to the top of the ticket.

by michael in chicago 2005-12-25 04:07PM | 0 recs
360 degrees; what is the winning strategy for US
I share in your dismay.  I am not nearly as articulate as many on this blog or KOS, but think it is time to make it clear to the DNC that we are a voice to be compromised with; not trivialized and utilized as if we agree with every point.  I have heard it discussed here that perhaps another party altogether is the way to go.  This would likely insure the presidency to some Republican; unless the Jerry Falwell group creates their own also.

Everyone was so agitated with Ralph Nader in 2000 for running.  This fear of a repeat now resides in many that contemplate the possibilities of another party.  That possibility certainly does exist, but had the Clinton White House given Ralph more of a voice would he have run?  Would they have done better to embrace the concerns that Nader personified in his campaign.  I would have felt better!  I voted for Gore, and would do it again if he put his name in the hat again.  However, a part of me cried out for the issues the Green party exposed.  

Seems to me that the Republicans do not seem to suffer by giving the extreme right an open ear.  Why is it then that we (those who blog) are labeled extreme left and asked to support, but not given a listen.  This nation would be well served by a stronger diversity in the House and the Senate.  That is not going to happen as long as the only hats in the room are Blue and Red.  

I am not going to be able to support many of the Democratic potentials for president.  I had a tough time accepting Kerry last time around; he did a horrible job and squandered the political capital "we" gave the DNC.  Therefore, to blindly march on and allow them to do it again would be folly.  The voice we have needs to be honed into a sword we can swing.  We here in the blogosphere do have a vision for America that we have a right to fight for.  To accept something in the middle as a stepping-stone seems to me to be giving away the potential fruits of our labor.  

The DNC needs to take the whole lot of us seriously or perhaps we need not take them so seriously.  I am convinced that the right person could energize millions who do not currently vote and embrace many of us that already do.  Perhaps the history will not change until we abandon the paradigms that only a Democrat or a Republican can win the White House.  A diluted Senate and House with "Independent Progressives" sitting in the seats could be the votes that make or break various agendas that seem to be only bad or badder.  

Change is impossible with only the same two choices; mixed together it is what we have today.  We are living in a political environment that will destroy our liberties, freedoms and America itself.  To ask me to fight for the status quo that is led by a bunch of grey haired politicians that have a losing strategy of the White House (Most of the Time), and have managed to lose the House and Senate through failed strategies.  

We are the change, we are the people, we are of, by and for; our voices need to make a difference to the DNC or we need to find a new set of vocal chords.

by WhyldBill 2005-12-24 05:52AM | 0 recs
for the record
Just for the record, the issue in IL-06 is with the DCCC not the DNC.
by michael in chicago 2005-12-24 08:29AM | 0 recs
And One Last Thing

Thanks for encouraging this "discussion" about the Cegalis v Duckworth race in IL 06.

Durbin, Obama, and Rahm all have met Christene Cegalis and Tammy Duckworth. I think it was Durbin who initially met Duckworth at the rehab hospital by DC and encouraged her to run. Duckworth has a compelling story to tell that will translate into a successful candidate.

Supporters were drawn to Obama's candidacy based on his story, not necessarily his position papers or his netroots. Obama later received a key endorsement from Sen. Paul Simon's daughter that translated into a pretty powerful ad.  This ad basically contributed to Obama's landslide in the primaries against two better financed candidates.

Neither Durbin or Obama is on the ballot this year so I think they intend to help coordinate Duckworth's fundraising efforts within Illinois. Simply put, it may take $1.0 Mio to win the IL-06 race but it doesn't have to be all of DCCC dollars.  

This race is also local for Rahm.  His District is next door and he doesn't have a real race on his hands this year so he can raise money from his own base for Duckworth that would also be local for those contributors as well.  Cegalis has had about 1 1/2 years since her last race to put some dollars "in the bank".  Those dollars either haven't materialized for Cegalis or she has spent them.  Yet people want to blame the power structure for drying up her dollars.  

I don't think that Durbin, Obama, or Rahm would have sought a different candidate for this race to challenge Roskam (R) in the fall if they thought Cegalis was putting it together. Cegalis's shortcomings in fundraising in addition to her overall campaign strategy is suspect and not viable for a District that is still solidly Republican.  Witness the difference in exposure for each candidate's announcement. Duckworth received both local and national coverage due in part to the story she has to tell. No offense but Cegalis's claim to fame is she came within 27,000 votes of knocking off an incumbent Republican.  

I keep seeing the 44% vote return in Nov 2004 as a statement about Cegalis's base.  It is more realistic to say that Cegalis lost by about 27,000 votes in a year that was Democratic in Illinois.  A lot of top of the ticket help from Kerry and Obama's races helped bring Cegalis up to 44%. Kerry out polled Cegalis by a couple of thousand more votes in the same townships where they were on the ballot together. A candidate's base and vote total percentage are not synonymous.

I know this won't endear me to your audience of bloggers but I think Cegalis has a tough race ahead of her. If Cegalis makes it through this primary challenge, it will only make her a better candidate for the fall.      

by riverred 2005-12-24 05:54AM | 0 recs
Re: And One Last Thing
And Duckworth's claim to fame is that she got her limbs blown off. What does that have to do with her stand on outsourcing? She is pro-business and pro-war. No more DINO's.

Christine only takes small contributions. What is Duckworth going to say when one of those deep pockets business donors wants a bill that screws the working person?

I'd dislike her just for taking big money.

by antiHyde 2005-12-24 08:12AM | 0 recs
Re: And One Last Thing
This race is also local for Rahm.  His District is next door and he doesn't have a real race on his hands this year so he can raise money from his own base for Duckworth that would also be local for those contributors as well.  Cegalis has had about 1 1/2 years since her last race to put some dollars "in the bank".  Those dollars either haven't materialized for Cegalis or she has spent them.  Yet people want to blame the power structure for drying up her dollars.  

You make my argument for me here. Rahm controls the purse strings in IL, and especially in a neighboring district like IL-06. To say that Cegelis had a year and a half to put money in the bank is disengenouly as you know quite well that Duckworth is not Rahm's first choice and he has been actively undermining Cegelis for the past year. This is the reason Cegelis dollars haven't materialized more than any other factor.

As to Cegelis spending, her expenditures are well below the average of other Dems running for Congress in IL.

Cegelis expenditures were well below the average
4 in 12 candidates spent less than Cegelis
4 in 12 candidates spent twice than Cegelis
2 in 12 candidate spent three times Cegelis

Average of All Dem Expenditures = $69.03
Average w/o Guiterrez = $75.05
Cegelis = $46.4
Roskam = $105.9
The biggest spending Democrat was Rahm Emanuel: $146.5K

This isn't the first local Democrat Rahm has tried to undermine, but the latest in a list. And rolling out Congressman in support of his candidate is not new either.

Mr. Vance, who has been the top Democratic vote-getter in the 2003 and 2005 municipal primaries and general elections in the Brass City, is running for his party's nomination in the sprawling congressional district, which covers 41 municipalities stretching from Salisbury to Newtown.
It includes most of Litchfield County and the Greater Danbury area.


Mr. Vance, 31, is running against State Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Cheshire) for the party's nomination.
Mr. Murphy has been endorsed by U.S. Rep. Rahm Emmanuel (D-Ill.), the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC).
Mr. Vance, who attended several meetings in Washington during a brief tour last summer, indicated that DCCC officials had told him they would not make an endorsement until a nominee had been selected.
"I think it's deplorable what the DCCC did," he said during a recent interview at his law office near downtown Waterbury.
Mr. Murphy also has been endorsed by the state's two Democratic U.S. House members-Rosa DeLauro of New Haven and John Larson of East Hartford.

What, DCCC staffers told him something that wasn't true?! I'm shocked.
by michael in chicago 2005-12-24 08:26AM | 0 recs
Re: The only important 'Thing'
No offense but Cegalis's claim to fame is she came within 27,000 votes of knocking off an incumbent Republican.

Without one iota of help from the Democratic Party. Before Christine took on Henry Hyde the conventional wisdom was that Hyde was invincible. I would love to know what the Vegas odds were that Cegelis would defeat Henry Hyde without the backing of the Democratic Party.  

All the DCCC had to do to pick up this seat was leave well enough alone. Cegelis is a cold pipe cinch to pick up an extra 27,000 votes even without a lick of support from the Democratic Party. Just the fact that it is an open seat is probably worth 27,000 votes. There is no question that she has the support of 44% of the voters in the district. What was her total budget in that race? Probably less than what the DCCC is planning to spend on Duckworth just for the primary.

If Duckworth wins the primary the DCCC will have to continue pouring money into the general, because nobody knows how the grassroots will turn out for her in the general. Nobody knows if Duckworth can get 44% of the vote, even for an open seat.

Backing Duckworth was and is a huge riverboat gamble by Emanuel. It was and is an unnecessary waste of dollars that the DCCC doesn't have and didn't need to spend.

by Gary Boatwright 2005-12-24 11:09AM | 0 recs
Re: And One Last Thing
Yeah, well, we progressives are pretty disappointed in Obama.  And in Melissa Bean.  They either used us as patsies to get elected, or the Washington crowd turned them into good little DLC automatons.

Either way, they've lost much of their base.

Carolyn Kay

by Caro 2005-12-30 03:15AM | 0 recs
I don't fully agree...
While I do strenuously object to the DCCC spending money to defeat Cegalis, I have a somewhat different point of view of the whole business.

I believe it is putting the cart before the horse to be focusing on electoral strategy when we haven't even put our house in order in the Democratic Party. There is some serious bloodletting that needs to get done before we all turn our attention to strategy.  We don't even agree what the Democratic Party should be for and against yet. The only point I agree with fully is point three--the mossbacks in the Party are once again (as always) taking the base for granted.

The 2004 election was a watershed for the Democratic Party, but the mossbacks just don't get it.  Here in Texas at the 2004 state Democratic Party Convention, at the initial general assembly, the chairman of the state Party asked all those delegates who were delegates for the first time to stand. About 90% of the people rose. He exclaimed, "Wow! Look around you! This is unprecedented. It looks like the Democratic Party has been doing something right!"  WRONG! The fact is, the Democratic Party had been going in the wrong direction for years, and Howard Dean and Dennis Kucinich were responsible for this new blood.  

The mossbacks in the Party still do not get it. They are scrambling to hold on to power as these new activists are engaged in trying to get new County Chairs elected in 2006. They are incensed that we don't want to keep on doing what they've been doing for the last 10 years. These mossbacks supported old line Democrats like Martin Frost who lost his seat in Congress because he sounded just like a Republican on the war and everything else Bush wanted. They still talk about what a good Democrat he was.

Christine Cegalis was supported by Dean for America in 2004, and with a very small war chest nearly toppled Henry Hyde for the seat she's now running for again. She is exactly the sort of person that the DCCC does not want to see elected. Rahm Emmanuel is an enthusiastic member of the DLC, an organization of faux Democrats who brought us NAFTA, outsourcing, etc., etc.  All 90% of the delegates in Texas who were new in 2004 want to see the DLC expelled from the Party. They are nothing but Republicans in Democrat suits whose mission is to ensure that the Democrats never nominate a progressive candidate.

But we have yet to fight the battle for control of the Party. And we are seeing in the IL CD 6 race this year another attempt by the DLC to keep progressives from gaining seats in the House.  We have got to have a no holds barred open fight about the values of the Party. We can never win until we are agreed on what we stand for.  

by lobdillj 2005-12-24 08:19AM | 0 recs
Re:Mossbacks - I love it!
The mossbacks in the Party still do not get it.

The mossbacks do get it. That's the problem. Dean and the grass/netroots are an insurgent political force in the Democratic Party that threaten their power base.

But we have yet to fight the battle for control of the Party. And we are seeing in the IL CD 6 race this year another attempt by the DLC to keep progressives from gaining seats in the House.  We have got to have a no holds barred open fight about the values of the Party.

Exactly lobdillj. Cegalis and Pennacchio are precisely the primary races we should make a stand on. You may have a similar race in Texas. We pour every dime into the primaries to get progressive Democrats elected. If our candidate loses, we walk away and leave that election to the DCCC or the DSCC. Let them pay for their own candidates.

We switch our contributions for the general to progressive candidates that did win. Stick with Cegelis and/or Pennacchio if they win and move on if they don't.

The DLC, DCCC and DSCC have declared war on the Democratic Party. They would rather remain a minority party than win with a large bloc of progressive Democrats.

by Gary Boatwright 2005-12-24 11:17AM | 0 recs
Re:Mossbacks - I love it!
I agree.

I wonder how many people on this blog agree with us on this point.

by lobdillj 2005-12-24 01:05PM | 0 recs
Re:Mossbacks - I love it!
Most of the regulars. You can click on the user name of the Duckworth supporters and find that most of them have not even made their first fifty comments. At least a few of them are under ten comments. Very few if any of them have gone to the trouble to write a diary about Duckworth or anything else.
by Gary Boatwright 2005-12-24 01:15PM | 0 recs
Great Post
The DCCC has invested a great deal of time trying to get somebody to run against Cegalis, Duckworth is just the latest. Yet they still haven't found a single Democrat to run in more than 60 Districts. WTF?

At the same time, if the DCCC has enough resources to waste playing in primaries, then it makes no sense to donate to the DCCC (looking at the campaign finance reports of the committees, it looks like people have decided that the DCCC is not a good investment).

I think the heart of the issue is the war, Cegalis was right and Emanuel was wrong.

As for "Fighting Democrats" -- the term has come a long way in a year. I remember Kid Oakland using the term about this time last year as a more aggressive version of "Reform Democrat" that was all the rage during the DNC Chair debate. 'Fighting' was far better suited than 'reform' during the Social Security debate at the beginning of 2005, so that came to be the dominant frame for the opposite of the DLC. Then came Hackett, who was a Kid Oakland style "Fighting Democrat" who had also been to Iraq, so it was like, "He's a fighting Dem, literally, ha ha." And he was. With Duckworth, we have a Democrat who has fought, but not a "Fighting Democrat" -- just a DLC'er in uniform. In fact, the Duckworth disaster is one of the things Fighting Democrats were fighting against. The term was never meant to delinate fighting against Iraqis, it was meant to delinate Democrats who fight against Republicans from the establishment losers.

by blogswarm 2005-12-24 09:05AM | 0 recs
Re: I noticed that as well Bob
It was only a couple of weeks ago that I saw the first reference to "fighting Democrat" in connection with an Iraq vet. There is no question this is a DLC frame to divert attention from the fact that they do not favor the Reform Democrat movement at all and are all too cowardly to define the Democratic Party in opposition to the Republican Party.

The DLC doesn't have a fighting bone in it's body when it comes to standing up to Republicans. I cannot think of a single DLC Democrat who is half as harsh a critic of Republicans as Will Marshall and Blueprint Magazine is of progressive Democrats and Howard Dean.

by Gary Boatwright 2005-12-24 01:19PM | 0 recs
District 6
looks forward to seeing Bob Brigham in March.  Please tell us you will support Cegelis's organization before the primary.
by ilyayavitz 2005-12-24 10:24PM | 0 recs
Missing the Point
I support Christine Cegelis, and agree that it is tragic the DCCC has undercut her this way.

But, your other observations completely miss the point. Undercutting the netroots is exactly what Rahm Emmanuel and the DCCC (and Al From and the DLC too) want to do! They want to cut the legs out from under the progressive wing of the party. Less than children, they want you to be neither "seen" nor "heard."

These people are all about money, the same corporate money as the Republicans. Wake up and smell the money. Peace be with you ...

by Bill Scheurer 2005-12-24 01:24PM | 0 recs
Re: Exactly Bill
Bob Casey's big bucks contributor list is almost identical to Rick Santorum's big bucks contributor list. Both Casey and Duckworth will owe their election to corporate special interests.

Pennacchio and Cegelis will owe their election to the voters. Period.

by Gary Boatwright 2005-12-25 12:58AM | 0 recs
Get Christine Cegelis' name right, will ya?
Will somebody please tell Matt and Chris how to spell Cegelis? I mean, it's not like they don't have access to her campaign website or anything like that.

If you're going to write posts once a week discussing how the DCCC is screwing up the race in IL-06 (and I agree with you guys 100%), you should at least spell the candidate's name correctly once in a while . . .
by Michael Sheridan 2005-12-24 01:48PM | 0 recs
Re: Priority: Progressive Dems
How is losing because of spiteful infighting better than electing the second best Democrat option?

That's a very good question for Rahm Emanuel. Why is he pouring a million dollars into supporting the second best Democrat?

Roskam is not a better option than Duckworth.

I don't know that. Nobody knows what Duckworth's position is on most of the issues.

by Gary Boatwright 2005-12-24 04:17PM | 0 recs
Too far Gary
Roskam is a first class Grade A wingnut. Most any Dem is better than that. Plus Roskam doesn't vote for speaker Pelosi.
by michael in chicago 2005-12-24 06:16PM | 0 recs
Re: That's Rahm's problem
Not mine. Let's not allow this to get morphed into a blame shifting exercise by the DCCC. If Roksam wins, it is all on Rahm. I hope voters in Il-06 turn their back on Duckworth if she wins the primary.

If the Democratic Party tries to chop block Steve Young by funding a primary opponent in CA-48, I will actively campaign for the Republican in the general. My allegiance is to my values, not to the Democratic machine.

by Gary Boatwright 2005-12-25 12:51AM | 0 recs
Re: Priority: Dem House &amp;amp; Senate
I agree in principle, but still don't see undermining fellow Democrats as productive.
by michael in chicago 2005-12-24 06:17PM | 0 recs
Re: a fight by proxy?
You make good points. I'm not sure I agree with all of them, but thanks for the respectful dialog.
by michael in chicago 2005-12-24 06:22PM | 0 recs
A resident
of northeastern Illinois, I am proud to announce my suuport of CEGELIS.  Here is a Letter to the Editor I submitted to the Chicago Sun-Times, where I exhort fellow Chicagoans to denounce Duckworth and Emanuel's intervention in the sixth district.  Many in the Chicagoland area are not impressed with Duckworth's entry, and I imagine many more letters will be written to the editors of Chicago's news organs.  I recommend everyone listen to the residents of northeastern Illinois and support CEGELIS, for Cegelis is a woman of rare integrity.  

And I agree with Gary Boatwright: Duckworth is not what many now call a "Fighting Democrat."  A cog in the DLC machine, I do not see her throwing a wrench in the Democratic Party establishment.  The sixth district desires representation from a candidate who is truly in touch with local concerns and issues, and the revised and rehashed DLC talking points on the website Duckworth's consultants created on her behalf in no way resonate with the preoccupations and desires of the residents of District 6.  We do need to support Cegelis, and I look forward to volunteering with everyone who has posted here in March before the Illinois 06 primary.  If we stand unified, we can reclaim this district twice in 2006.  First we must reclaim it from Emanuel's sleazy machine, and then we must reclaim it from Henry Hyde.  Although it may appear to be a daunting undertaking to many, this resident of Chicagoland believes it is possible.  And no, I am not one to pursue quixotic endeavours.  

So join this twenty-nine year old and support Christine Cegelis.  And by the way, Marcy Kapture (OH-01), the oldest Democratic woman in the House, will hold a fundraiser for Cegelis in Elmhurst.  Notice how Cegelis holds a fundraiser in the district, while Duckworth must travel to the Hilton in downtown Chicago in order to attract donors from outside the district.

by ilyayavitz 2005-12-24 10:22PM | 0 recs
Re: A resident and fighting Democrat
We are all fighting Democrats when we stand up for what we believe. Keep on keepin' on. Never give up and never give in. No quarter, no surrender. If Rahm Emanuel wants a fight to the finish, we give it to him.
by Gary Boatwright 2005-12-25 01:05AM | 0 recs
Re: a fight by proxy?
by going to war here we'd be doing everything that the DCCC is doing wrong.

That's only true if the DCCC is on our side. As long as the DCCC and the DSCC are blocking our candidates the Democratic Party is not allowing our views to be represented in the party. They have declared war on us and if we don't fight back they will continue the war. We have to make their war too painful to continue.

In the meantime, the left in general has gone after every little thing and can't figure out what sort of candidate they're looking for.

We know exactly what sort of candidate we're looking for. Cegelis, Pennacchio and Young.

it reinforces for undecided/independent voters the notion that Dems still don't have their act together and that if they can't unite NOW against Repubs

That's Rahm's problem, not mine. I have absolutely no interest in a unified Democratic Party if Lieberman, Biden, Al From and Marshall Whitman are the voices the party unifies behind.

They aren't gonna dump $1 million into opposing every progressive, netroots candidate, especially as more of them pop up.

They won't have to. If we don't fight them here and now, progressives will stop coming forward, because they won't want to get creamed by the DCCC money machine. Steve Young put $100k of his own money into his primary run. How many progressives can afford that?

We don't have to match the DCCC dollar for dollar to win. We just have to make it so expensive for them to fight progressive Democrats in the primary that they stop doing it. If we don't make it too expensive for them to fight progressive Democrats in the primary, they won't stop doing it.

by Gary Boatwright 2005-12-25 12:42AM | 0 recs
Re: a fight by proxy?
No they aren't better than Bush, because they support the exact same policies, and because they are democrats, other dems won't oppose them.  
by Dameocrat 2005-12-26 05:00PM | 0 recs
Re: Three Responses
The dccc are the ones funding an internal war, by funding Duckworth.
by Dameocrat 2005-12-26 05:02PM | 0 recs
Don't Judge Based on a Snapshot
I've knocked on a lot of doors in my time -- in Wisconsin, DC, Missouri, New Hampshire, Iowa, Illinois, Virginia & Maryland -- and I know that all things being equal, being a veteran does help a candidate.  There are many pluss'es on a candidate resume, no candidate has 'em all but for Chris to imply that promoting good, veteran candidates is a poor strategy because it did not work for Kerry is drawing a sweeping conclusion based on a tiny snapshot of a time period.  That is like saying there is no global warming because the temperature outside happens to be below average on a given day.  Further, Congressional candidates get less exposure than a presidential candidate, so any positive on the resume means more for a lesser known candidate.  The problem with Kerry was Kerry, not his background as a veteran (I do agree that the Convention overemphasized it).

I have no idea about the 6th District in Illinois.  Whatever Democrat wins will probably be a better candidate after a tough but fair primary. The "Fighting Dems" will help in 2006.  The DCCC is NOT helping all of the Fighting Dems.  I agree that they should stay out of 99% of primaries.

by howardpark 2006-01-03 04:55PM | 0 recs


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