MyDD Announcement: Tagaris to LA-02


Last week, we asked you for money to keep us accountable to you, and to keep us paying our rent.  Originally I wanted to get 100 donors giving $100 apiece, so I put up a blog post on a Friday evening, thinking we'd have to go through the weekend fundraising.  My experience with fundraising is largely with big donors, and big donors are, to put it delicately, uninterested in helping progressives.  Look no further than Prop 87 in California, a proposition to tax oil companies funded by Steven Bing and Silicon Valley venture capitalist Vinod Khosla that was embarrassingly defeated by the voters.  Bing himself put in $40 million.  With basically no grassroots organizing, Bing and his ilk essentially gave tens of millions of media consultants and TV stations with nothing to show for it.  The proposition also had support from Bill Clinton, Al Gore, Robert Redford, Brad Pitt, and Julia Roberts, showing that celebrity liberals and large donors are largely unable and unwilling to wield power.

As Chris suggested in last post, on a state level, it looks like Democrats might have performed better in the last two elections than we did on higher levels.  Based on what I can read from spending patterns, genius operative Rahm Emanuel actually represented a subtle undertow that prevented Democrats from making even further gains in the House given the environment.  The big media top-down nature of our political elite is a serious problem, and nowhere does this become more apparent with large donors.  This isn't something that anyone wants to talk about because there's a sense that one just might be able to get money from big donors, but the reality is that the large donor universe and the foundation communities are the single most dysfunctional and unaccountable pieces of the progressive movement.

Rather than investing in voter registration for single women and Latinos, which would build the base and is the single least expensive way of generating votes, they put tens of millions into a useless, annoying, and failed airwar.  Rather than investing in a California blogosphere and organizing efforts, they let California governance lapse because it's a blue state already for Presidential so who cares.  This is of course antithetical to the 50 state strategy, and we will see how California suffers as a result of this neglect.  There is a takeover underway by activists in that state, but it's slower than it could be if progressive elites were on board.

Small dollar donors are actually a very different, much more dependable, and much more realistic group.  And I don't just say this because I am one.  The relatively small amount of money that went to Blue America or the Netroots page had a huge outsized impact.  I'm struck by the parallels between charitable giving by class.  Typically, the wealthier you are, the less you give by percentage of income to charity.  Middle class people are just more generous.  This apparently carries over to the political world; activsts are just more serious about politics than their wealthy and famous counterparts.  The progressive elite don't know it, because everyone around them largely panders, but that's the reality.  

So anyway, back to what you all did.  I was looking for $100 from 100 people over a weekend.  What we got was $11,557.94 from 142 of you.  That's incredible.  It's a validation of the work we do, and it's a recognition that we must all pay for public spaces, we must all pay a little bit for honest dialogue.  We must all pay a little bit to have a stable society, and a stable and honest media.  If it shows us anything, the conservative revolution shows that tax cuts are incredibly expensive.  And with the money you gave us we intend to show, in detail, just how true this maxim really is.

So anyway, thank you.  We got a little more than we expected, we are political junkies, and so we're going to do something really really cool with the money.  We're hiring Tim Tagaris from the Lamont campaign to head down to New Orleans and cover the LA-02 race for MyDD, somewhat as he did for Paul Hackett in OH-02 though with more of a journalistic focus and with a video camera.  Corruption in the Democratic Party has its roots in local machines, and there's no more colorful or weird machine than that of William Jefferson, a DLC Congressman caught with $90k in cash in his freezer.  A progressive Democrat, Karen Carter, is challenging him, and we've already endorsed her.  But there are two other important themes that Tim is going to cover when he's down there.  One is race, which is inescapable in Louisiana and in this election.  The second is Katrina, which is also inescapable in this election.

We are committed to progressive change and to a progressive agenda.  A post-Katrina New Orleans is the domestic symbol of the conservative movement.  Not only did underinvestment in a poor and largely black city lead to a devastating disaster, but the promises of the Republican Congress and Bush, the promises they made in our names as American citizens, the promises to rebuild the city, these are promises that we have not kept.  Tim is going to New Orleans to remind us of the compact we have as citizens, and as a country.  He's going to cover an election because that is how our political dialogue takes place.  And he's going to do it because you were generous and civically-minded enough to provide the resources.  There's no need to chip in now, but if you want to be a part of this adventure and for some reason wasn't reading MyDD last Friday evening when we asked, you can still give here. We promise we'll keep investing in cool, interesting, and impactful activism/journalism work with the money you give.  And if you know of or have a New Orleans blog, please put it in the comments.

Thank you for what you do.

Tags: karen carter, LA-02, MyDD, New Orleans, Tim Tagaris, William Jefferson (all tags)



Re: MyDD Announcement: Tagaris to LA-02

Go Tim!

by Bob Brigham 2006-11-15 10:44AM | 0 recs
Re: MyDD Announcement: Tagaris to LA-02

Fan fricken tasktic.  I could not think of a better idea for that money.  I was wondering where Tim was off to next.  

I couldn't agree more about the money that was wasted here in CA on trying to get a bunch of ballot measures passed.  Over $640 million was spent on this cycle in CA.  Nothing went into growing the netroots.  We are organizing on our own.  People are pretty fed up with the CDP.  It will be interesting to see what happens.

by juls 2006-11-15 10:47AM | 0 recs
Re: MyDD Announcement: Tagaris to LA-02

Do you have the URLs of some good California-centric blogs or netroots forums sites? I live in Oakland, so so am particularly interested in groups/individuals who are in the Bay Area.

by dreamer 2006-11-15 11:18AM | 0 recs
Re: MyDD Announcement: Tagaris to LA-02

Join Calitics -- start there!

by Bob Brigham 2006-11-15 11:26AM | 0 recs
Re: MyDD Announcement: Tagaris to LA-02

I was just looking at that website before lunch. Your recommendation did prompt me to join... thanks. :)

by dreamer 2006-11-15 11:43AM | 0 recs
Re: MyDD Announcement: Tagaris to LA-02

Calitics is a great starting point.  You can also go to the LeftyBlogs CA page.

Check out [California Progress Report ttp:/] for some wonky goodness.

Insidery blog CA Majority Report.

Those are the main group progressive blogs.

There are a whole slew of CA reporter blogs too.

by juls 2006-11-15 11:36AM | 0 recs
Re: MyDD Announcement: Tagaris to LA-02

Bookmark'd! Thank you very much. :)

by dreamer 2006-11-15 11:46AM | 0 recs
Re: MyDD Announcement: Tagaris to LA-02

You are welcome.  Feel free to email me for more links.

BTW...I just penned a post, partially in response to this post by Matt.  It is a CA postmortem and a look forward.

by juls 2006-11-15 12:59PM | 0 recs
you took the words right out of my mouth

Fan fricken tasktic

by msnook 2006-11-15 11:30AM | 0 recs
Re: MyDD Announcement: Tagaris to LA-02

I just contributed so that Karen Carter can run a campaign worthy of Tim's coverage.

by Bob Brigham 2006-11-15 10:54AM | 0 recs
Re: MyDD Announcement: Tagaris to LA-02

Keep doing work like this with my donations, and my wallet will open to you again when you ask (if there is money to give).

by johnalive 2006-11-15 11:04AM | 0 recs
Re: MyDD Announcement: Tagaris to LA-02

Let's clear the record on this DLC crap.

Look, I am pushing Karen Carter. I think she is great, and Jefferson is clearly doing something dirty. Go Karen!

But let's not falsely frame this as a DLC vs. progressive battle. Believe it or not, Karen Carter is a DLCer. Go to their website if you don't believe me. She is still a progressive, she is still clean, she is still bright, and she should still be elected. But let's not pretend that Jefferson is corrupt because he's a DLCer, or that Carter is some insurgent grassroots liberal. She is a great candidate, and I hope she wins. That has nothing to do with who's DLC here.

by raginillinoian 2006-11-15 11:21AM | 0 recs
Re: MyDD Announcement: Tagaris to LA-02

For a good, post-Katrina, New Orleans Blog, see

by zeecube 2006-11-15 11:53AM | 0 recs
by markc 2006-11-15 12:00PM | 0 recs
Re: MyDD Announcement: Tagaris to LA-02

great list -- am curious if you could recommend more blogs that cover the rest of the louisiana political scene?

by Texas Nate 2006-11-15 01:19PM | 0 recs
Re: MyDD Announcement: Tagaris to LA-02

Here are some based in lafayette.

Harry Shearer is a must read for New Orleans Levee, Army Corp, Media... rer/

The blogrolls of any of these will have good links to LA politics.  Maybe start with Oyster (  

by markc 2006-11-15 03:56PM | 0 recs
Re: MyDD Announcement: Tagaris to LA-02


by Texas Nate 2006-11-15 04:24PM | 0 recs
by Lemonsquare 2006-11-15 12:10PM | 0 recs
Re: MyDD Announcement: Tagaris to LA-02

Thank you for this. Louisiana's political and legal systems make it one of the quirkier states, and as a displaced New Orleanian, I'm eager to see what Tim has to say.

by ct03 2006-11-15 01:12PM | 0 recs
Re: MyDD Announcement: Tagaris to LA-02


Thank You, Thank You, Thank You.  Karen Carter is a good sister despite some of her DLC backers.  New Orleanians are desperate for some good leadership and she is the only shot they'll have for that.


Skeptical Brotha

by skepticalbrotha 2006-11-15 01:19PM | 0 recs
Re: MyDD Announcement: Tagaris to LA-02

This is awesome. Great work from the MyDD posse.

by Texas Nate 2006-11-15 01:21PM | 0 recs
Tim Rocks!

Great idea.

by michael in chicago 2006-11-15 01:25PM | 0 recs
Re: MyDD Announcement: Tagaris to LA-02

Speaking of unfulfilled Bush and republican promises, maybe after Karen (hopefully) wins the runoff, Time might take a tour of Katrina's ground zero, the Mississippi Gulf Coast, from Pearlington to Pascagoula.  Waveland, Bay St. Louis, Pass Christian (where I live), Long Beach, Gulfport, Biloxi, Ocean Springs, Gautier and Moss Point are the cities and towns in between which suffered the heaviest and most catastrophic damage from the storm.

Not to minimize the damage to New Orleans and environs or the suffering of its citizens, but we here in Mississippi are the forgotten victims.

by adaplant 2006-11-15 01:35PM | 0 recs
Watch out LA

they don't know what's about to hit them!!

by epv72 2006-11-15 02:38PM | 0 recs
Re: MyDD Announcement: Tagaris to LA-02

I love this idea, and really look forward to reading the coverage.

I like how you and other blogs are expanding the world of what's being covered, and how. I believe this is only a good thing for our public discourse.

Keep kicking ass!

by Paradox13 2006-11-15 03:15PM | 0 recs
Re: MyDD Announcement: Tagaris to LA-02

"Typically, the wealthier you are, the less you give by percentage of income to charity.  Middle class people are just more generous.  This apparently carries over to the political world; activsts are just more serious about politics than their wealthy and famous counterparts.  The progressive elite don't know it, because everyone around them largely panders, but that's the reality."

First, you make a mistake by equating middle class with "activist"

Secondly, isn't your formula self explanatory? "activists" by their very nature would "care more" about politics than non activists.

by DRR7799 2006-11-15 06:15PM | 0 recs
Re: MyDD Announcement: Tagaris to LA-02

I'm from New Orleans and it will be hard to get Karen Carter elected even though I hope she wins. I sent an absentee ballot in because I'm overseas but I think it's important New Orleans send a message that we do not condone corrupt politicians. My sister and dad are still rebuilding their homes  despite the lie that help was on the way for the city.New Orleanians are really hard to get to change to something that iss unfamiliar to them especially the older people in the city, She has her work cut out for her but I think she can do it. I still believe that had this been another city the response would have been much different. Well that's for another time another day. Help anyway you can to get that crook out of my district.

by dsouth 2006-11-15 06:17PM | 0 recs
I made an account just to post this Comment

For news and blog links both progressive and non, you can hit  I agree with someone above who plugged Oyester at:

I lived in NOLA for the first six months of this year (currently overseas), but I'm from Central Louisiana.  Alexandria, the largest city from Shreveport to Lafayette, just elected a new Democratic mayor, young and pragmatic, by a landslide (76/24).  Alexandria is significant as it is on the cusp between Northern and Southern Louisiana, and is the most southern real city in the state that is out of hurricane range.  

Things are about to get rolling in this town, and a solid progressive blog to follow for Central Louisiana politics and news is

The blogging and youth community in Central Louisiana found it's voice during the mayorial election, and there's a real chance that it will evolve into a free press (modeled on those of Lafayette and New Orleans) by the spring.

P.S. The need for reliable public transportation in NOLA and as a means to evacuate the poorest citizens to Baton Rouge and beyond cannot be understated.  I didn't have a car there and that is the recipe for Katrina II.

by dantsmith 2006-11-15 11:30PM | 0 recs
NOLA blogs
Imho, the most engaged and savy of Katrina bloggers id Troy 'Gulfsails' Gilbert. He rode out the storm and still managed to post short infos every hour or so by cellular. And he knows more than most about the reconstruction efforts, the FEMA disaster (he finally got his trailer several months after the flod) and local politics. Though he stepped down from active blogging a month ago, he's a real NO   patriot and I'm sure he would support Tim if he is contacted:
by Gray 2006-11-16 03:44AM | 0 recs
ThinkNola blog roll

New Orleans and Gulf Coast bloggers had a conference earlier this year that dealt with a lot of the issues regarding reconstruction and rebuilding called 'Rising Tide'. I would hook up with the organizers of that conference to get the local perspective. NOLA has as vibrant a blogging community as anywhere in the nation including Connecticut.

Here's the ThinkNola blogging list with over 100 NOLA and LA bloggers. oggers

My personal recommendations are...

Mark (Oyster) at Your Right Hand Thief

Ashley orris_the_blog/



Adrastos (not sure of real name...)

Contact Mark or Ashley via their blogs and they will help you engage the locals.

by joejoejoe 2006-11-16 09:24AM | 0 recs


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