The End of the Beginning: Rumsfeld is Done

The Bush administration knew what this election was about, and that's why Donald Rumsfeld is out of office.

Democrats pushing the conservative line, or giving credit to Rahm Emanuel, don't get it.  Rahm Emanuel did everything he could to lose the House.  His recruiting and use of money was strategically unwise, and he was bailed out by a national trend that brought us the Senate, the Governorships, state legislative chambers, and state constitutional officers all over the country.  

Democrats have won back the House. Rahm Emanuel, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), nearly tripped over himself on the way to the microphone to claim the credit. In fact, while the tidal wave in the House looks like a bit of strategic genius by Emanuel--and pundits are starting to call it that way (Howard Fineman on MSNBC noted that the Democrats even picked up a seat in Kentucky, where the 3rd District candidate was John Yarmuth--"Emanuel's fourth choice!" Fineman exclaimed, as if in awe of the power possessed by Emanuel's mere table scraps)--in race after race, it actually represents the apotheosis of forces Emanuel has doubted all long: the netroots.

In two competitive House races in the Bluegrass State, Emanuel's first choices lost by 9 and 12 points. In the 2nd District it was Colonel Mike Weaver, the cofounder of Commonwealth Democrats, a group of conservative Democratic state legislators. In the 4th, it was Ken Lucas, a former congressman whom Robert Novak recently called "moderate conservative" in a column Emanuel's "recruiting coup" in coaxing Lucas out of retirement. Both were the kind of candidates Emanuel has favored in his famous nationwide recruiting drive. Yarmuth, meanwhile, was founder of the state's first alternative newspaper, said things on the campaign trail things like "the No Child Left Behind Act ... is a plan deliberately constructed to create 'failing' schools," and called for "a universal health care system in which every citizen has health insurance independent of his or her employment."

It was a pattern repeated across the country. New Hampshire's 1st District delivered Carol Shea-Porter, a former social worker who got kicked out of a 2005 Presidential appearance for wearing a T-shirt that said turn your back on bush. That might have been her fifteen minutes of fame--if, last night, she hadn't defeated two-term Republican incumbent Jeb Bradley. For the chance to face him, however, she had to win a primary against the DCCC's preferred candidate, Jim Craig--whom Rahm Emanuel liked to much he had the unusual move of contributing $5000 to his primary campaign. Shea-Porter dominated Craig by 20 points--and then was shut out by the DCCC for general election funds.

Not all Emanuel's losing recruits were beaten in primaries. Some were beaten in the general election. Christine Jennings, a banker and former Republican gunning for Katherine Harris's former House seat lost in a squeaker to conservative Republican Vern Buchanan. Dan Seals, a black moderate in the Barack Obama mold who criticized the Democratic Party even in speeches to Democratic crowds, lost to the Republican incumbent in Emanuel's backyard, Illinois's 10th District--as did the DCCC's most talked-about recruit, Tammy Duckworth of Illinois's 6th. Emanuel poured as astonishing $3 million into her campaign. It bought her a four-point defeat. Activists say the money would have been better spent on all the promising candidates to whom Rahm wouldn't give the time of day.

Many of them won anyway. John Hall is poised to become the Democrats' version of Sonny Bono--a former environmental and anti-nuclear activist and co-author of the hit 1970s hit "Still the One," he just won New York's 19th District House seat. Chris Carney, now heading to Washington to represent Pennsylvania's 10th, beat beleaguered incumbent (and alleged-strangler) Don Sherwood. "Until Carney was ahead by double digits," complained Howie Klein of DownWithTyranny, a blog that backed his candidacy, "Rahm wouldn't take his phone calls." Larry Kissell, a high school social studies teacher, is, as of this writing, in a statistical dead heat with an incumbent Republican from of all places, North Carolina. Says Klein: "If Rahm had a little bit of foresight to see this guy was for real, and to see that he was a candidate who could have won, a little bit of money would have made all the difference for him."

Rahm Emanuel did his best to force Howard Dean to move money out of party building and into his terrible TV ad program that lost IL-06.  He sniped at Dean, at Moveon, at George Soros, at blogs, at anyone he could.  He ran scared, and he put his thumb on the scale against liberal Democrats.  He couldn't even win in his own backyard, with the milquetoast Dan Seals and charismatically moderate Tammy Duckworth.  Most significantly, for a good amount of time he didn't want Democrats to mention Iraq, period.  If Rahm Emanuel were actually been a loyal Democrat instead of someone hellbent on sabotaging liberals, imagine how many seats we could have picked up.  

It's clear that what happened last night was a repudiation of Bush and the Iraq war, and the beginning of the era of partial power for the progressive movement.  It's the very very beginning.  Realize that the 'victory for conservative Democrats' meme is being pushed all over Limbaugh and by the White House.  It's false.  Economic progressives won, some of whom are more conservative on social issues, and some of whom are not, did extremely well.  A wave of liberals won in the Northeast.  And the South is not part of our governing coalition.

Now that we've come so far so fast, there will be a vicious reaction against us, against the liberal blogs and the progressive movement.  Consultants will gather and snicker and collude, and we're going to be sold out by our seeming friends.  DLC backwash groups are already having meetings figuring out how to strike at us, and Joe Lieberman is going to be their main weapon.

But at the end of the day, all the narratives and bickering can't disguise the fact that there are a lot of new liberals and populists in the House and Senate.  Senator Tester and his incoming crew will hopefully make DC look a little more like Montana.

Tags: Emanuel, Media, rahm, rahm emanuel, triangulation (all tags)



Sec. Lieberman

I'm not a conspiracy theorist or as hardcord of a Joe-hater as many here, but the first thing that crossed my mind when I saw that Rummy was resigning was:

What if Bush picks Lieberman to replace Rummy, and as a result, Rs hold the Senate?  Would you put it past him?

by lorax 2006-11-08 08:09AM | 0 recs
Re: Sec. Lieberman

Just goes to show the power of the blogs, if Lieberman takes the job it will only be because he was nominated by Kos.

If this does play out, Dem senators are going to look like idiots if they confirm him.

by Bob Brigham 2006-11-08 08:19AM | 0 recs
I don't believe that Joe Lieberman wants be Defense Secretary.

I'd rather be a US Senator.  Lieberman could have dropped out after the primary if he didn't strongly want to be a US Senator.

by Eric Jaffa 2006-11-08 08:19AM | 0 recs
Re: Sec. Lieberman

I don't know if I'd put something like it past him, but if Joe has half a brain he wouldn't think of doing it. The Leeberdweeb may be a soulless hack, but he's also smart. I can't imagine why he'd want to chance destroying his future by going down with the most incompetent President in history.

by Spiffarino 2006-11-08 01:54PM | 0 recs
Re: The End of the Beginning: Rumsfeld is Done

Emanuel has no sense of shame.

by Bob Brigham 2006-11-08 08:16AM | 0 recs
Re: The End of the Beginning: Rumsfeld is Done

Thank you Matt.

by DWCG 2006-11-08 08:16AM | 0 recs
Second this n/t

by michael in chicago 2006-11-08 01:32PM | 0 recs
Re: The End of the Beginning: Rumsfeld is Done

whine and cheese.

by kjvd00 2006-11-08 08:18AM | 0 recs
Re: The End of the Beginning: Rumsfeld is Done

Howard Fineman had a GREAT line on MSNBC.  He said this event demonstrated that Bush Sr.'s people are taking Junior into custody.

God forbid I ever compliment Andrew Sullivan, but he did say on Sunday that this isn't an election "it's an intervention."

by jukesgrrl 2006-11-08 08:19AM | 0 recs
Re: The End of the Beginning: Rumsfeld is Done


by manyoso 2006-11-08 08:23AM | 0 recs
Re: The End of the Beginning: Rumsfeld is Done

I agree, but they wont.  That is too "partisan," something only Republicans are permitted to be.

by Andy Katz 2006-11-08 08:56AM | 0 recs
Re: The End of the Beginning: Rumsfeld is Done

Less than 24 hours after a historic victory for the progressive movement and the Democratic Party, why is it necessary to throw sling and arrows at each other?  Why do we continue to force FALSE CHOICES between the liberals and the moderates in our party?  Why does one "side" need to blame the other in order to receive the credit each so richly deserves?

The blogosphere, the Democratic base, the candidates, the congressional leaders, and the voters (independents and Dems) ALL deserve credit for what happened.

by donnie 2006-11-08 08:26AM | 0 recs
Re: The End of the Beginning: Rumsfeld is Done

I agree.  I actually think that some of the more prominent progressive bloggers should have a chat with Rahm and Co. Soon.  Discuss where they can work together, and where they are going to be at odds.  

Honestly, I hate the DLC "backwash" as much as anyone, but constantly attacking your own is irresponsible.  There's a place for smacking members of your party around on occasion.  But we're not Lenin, and this isn't the goddamned Bolshevik party.

by CranesAreFlying 2006-11-08 09:06AM | 0 recs
I think some of this needs to be said

And there's no time like the present, as distant from the next election as possible.

I would like to hear from Rahm or one of his staff members as well.

This is not the time for crowing, bragging or tearing one another down, but honest self-criticism and venting of things unsaid before the election are  very appropriate this week.

Personally, I believe Rahm deserves the credit for this win. He certainly would have had the blame for a loss.

Nevertheless, he must read, and heed, what Matt has written, for it is clear that he made mistakes both as a person and as a politician this cycle.

Above all, I hope Rahm is a big enough man to apologize to Howard Dean.

For our part, let us acknowledge that Ned Lamont was our personal lab rat. No DC consultants lost it with "their terrible ads." Instead of whining that mainstream Democrats didn't help, let's figure out why we couldn't win it on our own with a tractor-trailer full of cash and every Netroots trick in the book at our disposal.

by stevehigh 2006-11-08 09:46AM | 0 recs
Re: I think some of this needs to be said

It's easy. We knew the answer all along. One of my diaries pointed out that netroots really didn't do much wrong in the Lamont run because we do not singlehandedly get people elected. The netroots accomplished the near impossible - help Lamont get to a primary win. After that, you NEED the establishment to pitch in a state like CT with a lot of old favors due to Lieberman.

I actually think netroots were selfaware of their limitations in CT and that's why there was a lot of complaining going on because we knew we were cooked if we didn't get more help from the party brass. Sure, there was some slightly irrational exuberance where there was this denial of the polls and the high turnout being interpreted as favorable to Lamont. There was not enough coverage as to the synergy between the dem congressment running and the Lamont campaign. How does Johnson lose to Murphy by double digits and yet Lamont doesn't win that race even in those areas by the same margin. So the question must be asked, what were the lingering questions in people's minds about Lamont that they did not have about Murphy. Or was it just as simple as a portion of the dems who were unwilling to give Lamont a fair shot because of their comfort factor with Lieb the 18 yr incumbent. I think lessons learned will be this - campaign hard. Do not be afraid of negative campaigning if you got the facts. Lieberman played hard and dirty and it did not backfire on him despite fudging the record. Lamont's low key style probably demanded he needed more time to go around the state and make relationships with different people.  Do not be afraid to cash in favors and play dirty when asking for favors. Lieberman guilted and hustled people into campaigning for him. He did whatever it took. THere are many other subtle lessons we can learn that people on the ground can convey to us in the next few weeks.

Remember how devastated we were when Dean lost? Well this too shall pass. We built on the dean loss. Now we can build on the Lamont loss. Each campaign has been an improvement over the prior one which is important. I would be more distressed if it was the same old mistakes repeated.

by Pravin 2006-11-08 10:48AM | 0 recs
In order to work together

both sides have to want to work together. Rahm seems to demonstrate over and over that he wants us to work for him, not with him.

by michael in chicago 2006-11-08 01:30PM | 0 recs
Re: In order to work together

Which is why NOW is the time to air these grievances directly, sincerely, honestly, and fairly.  Perhaps we can forgive him for being hostile to taking what he saw as a gamble.  Saying as we were in the middle of a ridiculously important election.  Perhaps he saw the netroots challenge as a dangerous experiment, Russian roulette.  Who cares.

The point is that I think a civil discussion can be had between these poles of the Democratic Party.  We're not going to agree on a lot of issues and methods.  We don't need to.  There's plenty of good that can come from debate within the party.  But NOW is the time to defuse this situation, because there are plenty of areas where we can work together and really kick some goddamned ass!

The Use It Or Lose It campaign, for instance.  Brilliant idea.  Next time we can organize it better, maybe with help or cooperation from other factions within the party.  We need to work together whenever we can, and when we can't we need to fight each other in some kind of reasoned manner.  Think of it as couples therapy if you have to.  The bottom line is that we are eventually going to lose some of these pickups, and we can't afford to personalize our frustrations and try to pick anyone off who looks at us funny.  

We need to get serious about ensuring the durability of our majority.

by CranesAreFlying 2006-11-08 03:03PM | 0 recs
Re: The End of the Beginning: Rumsfeld is Done

Donny, because I do not see Rahm and others using this as an occasion embracing the entirety of the party. I see a lot of pundits acting like this is their masterplan when in fact, despite the moderation of people like Webb, they didnt run using a tone belittling the liberals like party favorites like LIeberman did. We have admitted in the past we can't do this alone. It will be nice if Rahm and Co. don't let people like Lanny Davis continue to belittle a force that has been a small but essential and growing factor in many important races.

When you see a Clintonite like Lanny Davis continuing to belittle the netroots even in wake of victory(talk about being a sore winner and not just a sore loser after the primary), why isn't any of the establishment asking him to cool it? Why is it always on the netroots to be above the fray when the nature of the medium usually is conducive to expressions that are more passionate than the norm.

by Pravin 2006-11-08 09:27AM | 0 recs

I'm kinda fond of Bill Clinton.

But that's just me.

by stevehigh 2006-11-08 09:49AM | 0 recs
Re: Clintonite?

I think he was a pretty decent president who could have done more if his indiscipline didn't make him an easy target for the predictably rabid right wingers who went way overboard and hijacked his second term.

I actually thought Hillary was one of the better first ladies despite my distaste for her conduct in recent years.

But they have put themselves over the party and the country (you seriously think Hillary believes in that foolish Iraq war?) in recent years. And I cannot stand that.

by Pravin 2006-11-08 10:52AM | 0 recs
Re: The End of the Beginning: Rumsfeld is Done
So is Al From gonna kiss and make up?  Is he going to stop calling us the nutroots?  We helped a lot of candidates that you wouldn't give the time of day to.  We will await your response.
by Calvin Jones and the 13th Apostle 2006-11-08 09:36AM | 0 recs
Re: The End of the Beginning: Rumsfeld is Done

I agree too. Calling Tester a liberal, more liberal than Duckworth for instance misses the mark. Overwhelmingly our candidates are socially progressive but moderate to conservative on spending. After years of profligate Republican waste somebody has to be adult about the national debt. I think that's where you'll find agreement among most Dems and not on say, gun control where Duckworth was to the left of Tester.

And if Rahm had spent the big TV money wisely on Duckworth he could have helped not only her but all Dems in the Chicago TV market instead of damaging her credibility with off target over the top attack ads that backfired on Duckworth.

Having said that, to be fair, Rham was able to raise gobs of money, ran volunteer turnout contests for email fundraisers like the one Kissel won a month ago when he cranked out an astonishing 1000 canvassers in one day and expanded the number of races that got DCCC money 4 times. In that aspect he was pretty nimble. Don't know how his advertizing tactics worked in other races but he got a failing grade in IL-06.

by markg8 2006-11-08 01:06PM | 0 recs
Re: The End of the Beginning: Rumsfeld is Done

I prefer to believe that our candidates are not "conservative on spending" but rather "responsible about spending".  After all the current Republican and conservative movements have demonstrated that "conservative on spending" means massive red ink, waste, and corruption.

by Phonatic 2006-11-08 01:46PM | 0 recs
Re: The End of the Beginning: Rumsfeld is Done

Please add PA-06 to DCCC targeted, DCCC funded and DCCC lost column.

The campaign was run in a mostly traditional DC-consultant fashion, not a single decent TV or radio ad (let alone an innovative good one and there was lots that could have been done - like how about a flashback to "I'm Bush's guy" from the '04 campaign?), no on-line presence at all, complete inability to preempt or innoculate against standard GOP tactics, all to cut the '04 deficit in 1/2 and lose again anyway.

by Joe in Wynnewood PA 2006-11-08 08:29AM | 0 recs
DCCC won-loss record

Where did the DCCC send money?

Is there a way to factor in the risk level and how the DCCC did?

by Carl Nyberg 2006-11-08 08:33AM | 0 recs
Re: DCCC won-loss record

Where the money went is public record and with some leg-work doable.

Risk level would have to be arrived at with one or more proxies such as voter reg numbers and Bush/Kerry vote perhaps with a scandal-factor thrown in (thinking Weldon, Ney, Burns and the like...).

It'd be fun to do if I didn't have to actually get some work done for a change (I "worked" from home yesterday as it is...).

by Joe in Wynnewood PA 2006-11-08 08:47AM | 0 recs
Re: The End of the Beginning: Rumsfeld is Done
I agree.  I live in PA-06.  When I went to the polls yesterday, there were signs all over the place for Gerlach.  Barely anything for Murphy.  She ran a crappy campaign and keeps coming up short.  If they ran someone better we'd have picked up this seat too.  Gerlach is horrible.
by Calvin Jones and the 13th Apostle 2006-11-08 09:38AM | 0 recs
don't listen to Rahm Emanuel advice

I volunteered in the IL-06 race.

Tammy Duckworth was a good candidate. She had the resources. It was a good year for Dems.

And she lost.


Is it because her campaign plan was flawed? Who created the plan? Who loaned the Duckworth campaign the expertise?

Rahm Emanuel is more of a hinderance than an asset.

by Carl Nyberg 2006-11-08 08:31AM | 0 recs
Re: don't listen to Rahm Emanuel advice
Agree that Emmanuel is a hindrance. He should have stuck with fundraising rather than candidate selection. I knew Duckworth was going to lose from the outset. Why? Because it was so clear that Emmanuel had just parachuted her into the slot. She was never "of and by" the people of that district. Not that I thought Cegelis was the right candidate either. Nice lady, but much too weak for that district. DuPage County still needs serious buildup of its Democratic infrastructure and its base of voters before we can win there. The reason Bean continues to be elected is that Lake County is turning increasingly blue. We finally have our first Democratic state senator in 30 years! Also, Bean's victory the last time around really provided some confidence to the whole Democratic party up here.
The person who should have won was Dan Seals. In spite of what Matt thinks, I had an opportunity to meet and listen to Seals and he's awesome. He's the Ned Lamont of the North Shore. That's probably the reason Rahm didn't give him the support he needed.
by grayslady 2006-11-08 08:49AM | 0 recs
Re: don't listen to Rahm Emanuel advice

Duckworth could have won that District if the ads the DCCC had run weren't so bad.  Roskam/NRCC flooded the air with his nasty little ads insinuating that Duckworth was soft on immigration and border security, and what did the DCCC come back with?  Ads about the great 90s issues of abortion, book banning, and guns.  Geez.  In an election that's about the Iraq War and the Culture of Corruption, who cares?  Why not do ads poking fun of the "weak on Border Security" -- Duckworth went to Iraq and lost both her legs there, and she's WEAK on national security?  The sheer incompetence of those ads was just amazing.  While not a big fan of Duckworth myself, I do think she could have won this district if the DCCC had run more relevant ads.  And she didn't have the money, apparently, to run her own ads which were MUCH BETTER often enough to make a dent in the NRCC saturation of ads.  

by Maven 2006-11-08 09:07AM | 0 recs
Re: don't listen to Rahm Emanuel advice

LISTENING is going to be a far more critical political asset in the era of the Internet. (Yeah, you heard it here first -- from rOTL, anonymous commenter ;-)

Ads like that are expensive bullshit.  And they are not effective.  They're an outdated paradigm, so it doesn't surprise me one bit that they didn't work.  They're what happen when tone-deaf, arrogant people get contracts to be overpaid for feeding their egos by producing b.s.

It's like watching a politicized version of the NBA or the NFL.  All the meaning is drained out; it's all about money.  Tammy Duckworth deserved better, but given my sense that Rahm is not an idiot, he'll figure it out.

The people who are in deep, deep sh*t are the Bu$hCo crowd; those oligarchs have never thought they had to listen to anyone.  I'm not sure Rummy gets it yet, but from here on out, one of my primary questions in deciding whether to support a candidate will be 'are they a good LISTENER?"

That's going to be key.

Our job as commenters (or bloggers) will be to reduce signal/noise as much as possible.  More signal, less noise will be the coming challenge for bloggers.

The higher the signal/noise ratio from those in the netroots, the better chance that disasters like the Duckworth loss can be avoided.  If Rahm turns out to be tone-deaf, his karma will catch up with him.

Meanwhile, there's going to be a new responsibility for bloggers and commenters to engage in ideas, rather than simply vent.

As Martha might say, 'that's a good thing.' ;-)

by readerOfTeaLeaves 2006-11-08 09:32AM | 0 recs
Re: don't listen to Rahm Emanuel advice

Cegelis lost by 2 points to a 28 year incumbent who was "the Dean of the Illinois Republication delegation". Duckworth lost by six points to a nobody in a Democratic year.

There is no more local Democratic infrastructure. Rahm has gutted it, even to the point of pushing Republicans into township committeeman posts.

by antiHyde 2006-11-08 09:30AM | 0 recs
Re: don't listen to Rahm Emanuel advice

"In 2004, Christine Cegelis received 105,367 votes (44.2 percent) against Henry Hyde. Last night, Tammy Duckworth received (unofficially) 77,222 votes (48.5 percent) against Peter Roskam.

"Sure, 2004 was a presidential year, bringing more people to the polls, but still."
-- The Beachwood Reporter,

FYI: And Christine didn't spend $3M on her 2004 race either.

by AustinMayor 2006-11-08 12:05PM | 0 recs
Re: don't listen to Rahm Emanuel advice

Want to get really sick and do the math on the cost per vote..

by michael in chicago 2006-11-08 01:34PM | 0 recs
Re: don't listen to Rahm Emanuel advice

Cegelis lost by double digits to an incumbent who was too ill to  campaign much in a year when Obama got 67% in the 6th and Kerry got 47%.

Duckworth lost by 2% when the Repubs spent almost $7.5 million to defeat her. She might have won if many others here and elsewhere who have complained about Emanual ad nauseum had actually mounted a email campaign to the DCCC (like I personally did) and offered their good advice on changing the DCCC ad strategy for Duckworth. He did make a Iraq ad to compliment hers but I never saw it on the air.

We also could have countered the robocalls by having a few dozen volunteers contact every local media outlet alerting them to the issue and getting it on the air as once again I personally did on Monday getting it on Channel 7's Live at 5 newscast on Monday. With enough pub it might have caused that whole program to backfire magnificently on the Repubs. Too little too late.

There's stuff to bitch about on blogs that's too inside politics for the general populace to care about like ad strategy. But that's no reason not to get ahold of the responsible parties en masse to get the problem fixed. There's also issues like the robocalls where blogs should push people to contact media to get the story out. Simply frontpaging a story on a blog like MyDD doesn't cut it. Even if this site was Rahm friendy he and his staff have no time in the middle of a campaign to read it. But a flood of emails or calls gets noticed.

by markg8 2006-11-08 01:32PM | 0 recs
Don't even start

She might have won if many others here and elsewhere who have complained about Emanual ad nauseum had actually mounted a email campaign to the DCCC (like I personally did) and offered their good advice on changing the DCCC ad strategy for Duckworth.

If he doesn't have a staffer assigned to read - at a minimum - MyDD and dKos everyday then he's incompetent. You think some staffer assigned to read email or shag the phones at the DC3 would be more efficient? Please...

by michael in chicago 2006-11-08 04:10PM | 0 recs
Re: Don't even start

Oh yeah that's right 23 year old staffers a year out of college read blogs, especially ones known to be hostile to the boss, to dig up criticism saying their guy is doing a lousy job to throw in his face. That happens all the time.

OTH even a few reasoned emails offering a sensible change of strategy offered in good faith might get results.

You do things your way I'll do things mine. I prefer results to credit.  

by markg8 2006-11-08 06:22PM | 0 recs
Re: don't listen to Rahm Emanuel advice

Huh? 2 points? If you want to raise a sore issue at least get the spread correct.

by michael in chicago 2006-11-08 01:33PM | 0 recs
Re: don't listen to Rahm Emanuel advice

Sorry, Michael. I was going from memory on that one.

The 6% was correct at the time I posted according to the cook county board of election website. I checked it immediately before posting. Apparently, the web site was outdated.

by antiHyde 2006-11-08 01:58PM | 0 recs
Re: don't listen to Rahm Emanuel advice

I live in the IL 10th District and my wife was active in volunteering for the Seals campaign.  I can assure you that Rahm Emanuel had nothing to do with the Seals campaign. (Given some of the Duckworth adds, I'm not necessarily sure whether that is good or bad.)  The Seals campaign was powered by a grass roots effort spearheaded by the local 10th District Democrats.  Dan Seals had an opportunity to knock off Mark Kirk, but the D3C focussed all its energies on IL 6 and 8 to the exclusion of this race.  Dan Seals is a good guy, but was unable to get through the veneer that Mark Kirk as built up the impression that he is a moderate when, in fact, he isn't.  As far as the Duckworth race, I tend to agree with the comment that we would have been better off with a homegrown challenger.  Just goes to show you that a lot of races out there are still local for good or ill.

by r2d2 2006-11-08 11:26AM | 0 recs
Re: don't listen to Rahm Emanuel advice

Excuse me, did I miss something, or just a few weeks ago weren't we mounting a campaign to demand that safe House Dems turn over 33% of their extra campaign funds to..... Rahm?!  I'm glad to see a few calm voices here urging a cooling of the heated rhetoric from Matt and others attacking Rahm and demanding recognition for the great efforts of the netroots, or else.  This kind of internecine warfare will not help us govern, or hold the majority we just worked so hard to get.  We need to be gracious in victory, not surly.

I also think it is in very poor taste to be so disparaging of Tammy Duckworth.  Sure, she wasn't the ideal candidate, and the DCCC spending was excessive and poorly done.  But she lost two legs in Iraq and just put herself through a grueling campaign to try to change this country. She would have been an amazing person to have in the House as ending this tragic mistake of a war is debated. I wish she had won, and to claim with certainty that another candidate would have done better is silly.  

There is enough credit for this historic victory to go around to everyone.  More importantly, although they are momentarily demoralized and disorganized, the Republicans and their allies in the right wing media  are not folding their tents and going home.  We need to be unified, smart, and tenacious to keep this wave going. Petty recriminations, while they might feel good to write, will get us nothing.  I for one have no interest in having the majority for just two years.  

by BF 2006-11-08 07:53PM | 0 recs

I don't agree with attacking Rahm right now, the day after the election. While he and Howard Dean had their differences, and while not every candidate Rahm recuited worked out, the Democrats won control of the House. Matt, this is exactly the kind of partisan in-fighting that you are blaming on Rahm in the first place. Lets not pick at each other and point fingers just yet.

by mihan 2006-11-08 08:35AM | 0 recs
That's fine

if Rahm can manage to lay off Gov. Dean and the NetRoots and be honest about who we won with. I have little faith that he won't be gearing up to do battle with us starting, well probably already has.

No reason to unilaterally disarm in a long-term struggle for the soul of the Party.

by Joe in Wynnewood PA 2006-11-08 08:53AM | 0 recs
Re: That's fine

That's a ridiculous thing to have to fight about right now. Why the hell demand that Rahm play semantic games with his own party while we should be celebrating, and starting to work on 2008?

I personally favor some opposing viewpoints amongst our leaders, so long as they keep it civil and work together. The comprimise often brings out the best results.

by mihan 2006-11-08 09:10AM | 0 recs
Re: That's fine

If we dont set the record straight now, we never will. I am shocked that The New Republic actually acknowledges teh role of the netroots in it. Of all the magazines, for them to acknowledge the importance of the netroots is downright mindboggling and a pleasant surprise.

by Pravin 2006-11-08 09:29AM | 0 recs
Re: That's fine

We've all got plenty of time over the next couple of years to fellate each other over how great the netroots were, but for now I can live with just winning elections. If our work results in our netroots candidates gets people elected, who gives a damn where the credit goes?

by mihan 2006-11-08 09:40AM | 0 recs
Re: That's fine

Its not about being fellated. It's a reaction to the insulting rhetoric a lot of us are watching on TV and reading articles by Clintonites such as Bruce Reed.

If the tv pundits and some of the democrats kept heir mouths shut about how it's over for the liberals, hey there wouldn't be much of a reaction here. It's about setting the record straight.

by Pravin 2006-11-08 10:59AM | 0 recs
Re: That's fine
Oh, bullshit.  
This is the response from Christy at FDL to a similar train of thought from one the posters there:
"no, I have officially judged him after watching him for months, and after having had many conference calls with him over the course of this election cycle, speaking with a number of people with whom he works, reporters who cover him, and folks who live in his district. And watching his maneuvers on KStreet as the numbers started looking good for Dems in this cycle. Wake the fuck up -- you think I write this shit in a vaccuum?"
by rodean 2006-11-08 09:44AM | 0 recs
Re: That's a ridiculous thing...

You're kidding me, right? These aren't semantics we're talking about. It's acknowledgement of the truth, of reality. Having just beat the shit out of GOP truthiness - AKA slander and lies, should we sit idly by while Emanuel practices a kinder gentler truthiness? I think not. Widespread acknowledgement of the real import of Dean's 50-state strategy and the netroots financial and information movement impact is critical to greater success faster. The more Emanuel is able to propagate a fiction, that his candidate selection and inside-the-beltway money was the real, even only reason for the blow-out the longer it will take to expand the great work the netroots and Gov. Dean has performed - not to mention the fact that very significant amounts of the DSCC and DCCC fundraising, along with the DNC of course, was from individuals, the rank & file of the Democratic Party over the Dean-discovered political tubes of the Internets.

by Joe in Wynnewood PA 2006-11-08 04:01PM | 0 recs
Re: The End of the Beginning: Rumsfeld is Done

I have just listen to Bush's Q & A and he does not get it. He is still looking for Victory in Iraq. Rummy was only moved out so he could show change with no change. Bush does not believe he is wrong.

by KevinB 2006-11-08 08:36AM | 0 recs
It was Genius to surrender and run Conservatives??

Ronald Reagan is LAUGHING at us.  We run a bunch of "dems" that are as or more conservative than the Republicans they replaced.  So what?  Liberalism died last night!

by Maureen Hannigan 2006-11-08 08:41AM | 0 recs
Re: It was Genius to surrender and run Conservativ

So, Maureen, you would be perfectly fine to return control of the Congress to the Republicans? Is this right?

by donnie 2006-11-08 08:44AM | 0 recs
Stop listening to the traditional media

and read the story you're commenting on - we didn't win with a bunch of conservatives. For the most part we won with a bunch of liberals.

by Joe in Wynnewood PA 2006-11-08 08:49AM | 0 recs
Re: It was Genius to surrender and run Conservativ

The Republicans are trying to spin this as a great victory for "Conservative" Dems. You seem to agree. But Kos put together an excellent post that tears this spin into shreds:

One of the most moronic media lines last night, and continuing through today, is how "conservative" these newly elected Democrats are.

Except, that they're not. In the Senate:

Bernie Sanders, VT: So conservative that he's a "socialist". His National Journal "liberal" rating is 89.7 (out of 100).

Sherrod Brown, OH: NJ liberal rating is 84.2. For comparison's sake, Harold Ford -- a real conservative Democrat -- had a 58.3 rating.

Sheldon Whitehouse, RI: An unabashed liberal in every definition of the word. I mean, he defeated a liberal Republican.

Claire McCaskill, MO: She's a progressive on every major issue. In fact, it was one of the GOP's lines of attacks against her.

Amy Klobuchar, MN: There's nothing "conservative" about our newest senator from one of the bluest states in the union.

Jon Tester, MT: One of the people accused of being a "conservative" Dem, yet he's against flag burning amendment, against an amendment banning gay marriage, against the Patriot Act, and against the war. He's an economic populist, social libertarian, pro-choice Democrat. He may be one of the very few senators who actually lives paycheck to paycheck. He's an organic farmer.

He's not Bernie Sanders or Sherrod Brown, but a "conservative" Dem? Ridiculous.

Jim Webb, VA: Politically very similar to Tester. He's libertarian on social issues, an economic populist. He wants out of Iraq and he has a personal stake in the war -- his son is actually deployed to Iraq. Sure, he served in the Reagan Administration, and sure, he can be classified as a "moderate" (whatever that means), but he's no "conservative".

In the House:

Yarmuth in KY-03? An unabashed liberal. The kind, in fact, that Rahm said couldn't win in the South.

We picked up two seats in blue country in Connecticut, four in Pennsylvania (two in blue territory, and the other two not "conservative" by any real definition of the word). KS-02? Boyda is no conservative. The two Florida seats (16, 22)? Not conservative. The three New York seats? Not conservatives. The two in New Hampshire? True progressives.

I mean, going down the list, the only Democrats out of 28 officially confirmed

victories that could be called "conservative" are Shuler in NC-08, Lampson in TX-22, and the three Indiana Dems,

That's it.

Are there moderates? Yes. Is the country moving to the center? Of course. The Democrats will push it there from the far right. If you define the "center" by where the American people reside, we are the center party.

But the notion that it's "conservative" Democrats who won last night is utter hogwash, a desperate gambit by Republicans to try and spin something good from the election.

by Curt Matlock 2006-11-08 08:50AM | 0 recs
Hannigan - schizo?

Arent you the idiot who has been calling us knuckleheads for opposing Lieberman? Now you have the audacity to attack us for supporting moderates who are respectful of us?

by Pravin 2006-11-08 09:31AM | 0 recs
Re: Genius to surrender and run Conservatives??

I don't know who you're channelling there on your ouija board, but it ain't Ronald Reagan.  I didn't (and still don't) agree with his politics, but he was capable of political realism.  And I don't think he would claim many of today's conservatives as true conservatives.

Even Reagan would have acknowledged that yesterday was a big win for Democrats, liberals, and progressives.  You're just having trouble accepting that liberals and progressives come in different shapes, sizes, and colors, and not in just your stereotyped version.  So get over it.  And I promise not to gloat.  Can't afford to.  There's too much work to be done fixing 6 years of "conservative" control in this country.

by Phonatic 2006-11-08 02:22PM | 0 recs
Re: The End of the Beginning


Montana is quite different in 2006 than it was in 2000; tons of new residents have fled more expensive places and moved to Montana seeking 'community' -- where they can have some say in how their schools, cities, and businesses are run.  Not only have the demographics changed, so have people's expectations about the role of government.  There's far more support for environmental protections -- in a state that relies on tourism -- than for Burns' outdated oil-and-gas-enabling. Tester understands the new paradigm; Burns (like Bu$hCo) is clueless.

To watch butt-covering weenies who got VietNam deferrments whine about Jim Webb over the vote count in VA ought to be funny, funny, funny.  I may even put extra butter on my popcorn to watch that fight -- Allen would be smarter to skip a recount that is only going to reveal him as a weenie tool of Karl Rove ;-))

Howie Klein is a genius. Howard Dean is a genius.  Jane Hamsher is a genius, and so are Emptywheel, Christy Hardin Smith, and Glenn Greenwald.  

Harry Reid is as smart as he needs to be, and I laughed out loud when I heard he's been invited only 'for coffee' at the WH on Friday.  Guess GWB is too scared of Give 'Em Hell Harry to make it through an entire meal with a scrappy, self-made wrestler from Nevada.  Mwahahahaha ;-)))

Don't waste too much energy on Rahm.  Enjoy the miracle.  No matter what he did, this is all about renewal, regeneration, a chance for hope to shape things in a new direction.

The people who made this victory possible are the LISTENERS: the bloggers, Howard Dean, Harry Reid, and some of the other key Dems.  There's a new Feedback Loop to Government; don't let your angst clog that pipe, Matt.  

Today, Rove is exposed as a mean-spirited, deceitful, destructive fraud.  Rummy is o-u-t.  Millions of Americans called 'bullshit' on Bu$hCo.  Millions of us gave $$ like we've never, ever given before.  If you'd told me even 4 months ago that Keith Olbermann and Chris Matthews would be anchoring electoral coverage like I saw last night, I would have been skeptical.  

Personally, my faith in my fellow Americans has improved enormously the past 24 hours.  That's worth savoring for a few hours this day. Rahm will figure it out.  And a grandmother-of-5 will help him.

Truly, this is wondrous. Relish the moment.

by readerOfTeaLeaves 2006-11-08 08:45AM | 0 recs
Good sum up

Perfect antidote to a lot of the lunacy I'm hearing and reading.

What we have forming is a "New Democrat", we're just not your father's liberals.

There's a healthy sprinkling of William Jennings Bryant populism, a proclamation that we won't be crucified on a cross of Wall Street tickertape.... but without the theocratic leanings.

There's a big dose of Western libertarianism. A backlash against failed gun control policies, but also leary of getting involved in a woman's decisions about her body, a family's decision on end-of-life matters, an American's right to privacy and protection against government intrusion.

There's a dash of the rising religious left, where issues like poverty and peace are the paramount religious contributions to the political debate.

This, my friends, is the long-awaited replacement for the old and creaking New Deal coalition.

by zonk 2006-11-08 08:57AM | 0 recs
Re: The End of the Beginning: Rumsfeld is Done

How about we enjoy this victory before we start whining about Rahm?  Granted, I am not ideologically in sync with a lot of the netroots, but I do know this: We needed Rahm, and Rahm needed us.  

Hindsight is always 20/20, and mistakes were definitely made.  Not all of the netroots-endorsed candidates won and neither did all of Rahm's candidates.  Nevertheless, we still relied on DCCC money in races that we helped make competitive.

And lets not kid ourselves, either.  A lot of the votes going to the progressive candidates were made in opposition to the Republicans, not an endorsement of the progressive agenda.  Use this enormous opportunity to further the agenda, not prematurely declare that Democratic gains signal a repudiation of moderation.

by Southern Blue Dog 2006-11-08 08:59AM | 0 recs
Re: The End of the Beginning: Rumsfeld is Done

Enjoying it, but ---

I think most folks would agree that Ned Lamont's big mistake in CT was basically going on vacation and savoring the primary win rather than seizing the post mortem news cycle.

I'm not equating Rahm/DCCC with JOe -- just saying that I think Rahm and company need to do some reaching out to us.

In 2 separate interviews last night -- I heard Howard Dean make a point of crediting the work of Chuck Schumer and Rahm Emmanuel... without prompting.   The olive branch of the Dean/netroots wing, I think is as out there as it's going to get without the Emmanuel/Caraville/Clinton at least offering some olive branch back.

I have yet to hear Schumer or Emmanuel mention the DNC, Dean, or the netroots.   I'm not qualified to speak as "we" -- but I'm quite certain Chris, Matt, Markos, et al would agree... "We" don't need   "our ring kissed" -- all "we" want is an acknowledgement that we were a big part of this wave.   We sucked it up and supported a lot of candidates that weren't our first choice.  We worked hard in a lot of those races.   "We" don't expect to control the agenda.... but I just think it's time the beltway acknowledges that we deserve, we've earned, and we belong in a seat at the table.

by zonk 2006-11-08 09:12AM | 0 recs
Re: The End of the Beginning: Rumsfeld is Done

Well said, my thoughts exactly!

by Pravin 2006-11-08 10:56AM | 0 recs
Yes, we need Rahm

Like a knife in our back!

by antiHyde 2006-11-08 09:34AM | 0 recs
Re: The End of the Beginning: Rumsfeld is Done
"A lot of the votes going to the progressive candidates were made in opposition to the Republicans, not an endorsement of the progressive agenda."
This cuts both ways. And if people were voting against republicans for whomever, I would have rather had them vote for progressives.
(In fact, I don't think people vote blindly against, you have to have at least something to vote for, and a strong contrast--ie a progressive platform--helps people understand what they're voting against more than a practically the same platform.)
by jujube 2006-11-08 11:50AM | 0 recs
NC-08 - Damn Shame

We are 350 or so votes behind in NC-08.  It's a damn shame the DCCC couldn't come through with any help for Larry.  Just a little slice of the $3 million that went to Duckworth  and we could have won NC-08 outright.  With a Progressive.  In the South.

And we may still win it anyway.  Thanks, Rahm.

by Bear83 2006-11-08 09:00AM | 0 recs
Re: The End of the Beginning: Rumsfeld is Done

I think we'd be happy to lay off Rahm if he weren't going on TV to claim credit for the win.  And I'm sorry: we can't afford to lay off, not if we want our party to be "Better Democrats" and not just Democrats.  Someone said "well, Rahm's a bastard, but at least he's our bastard" and my thought is: not if he subverts everything we work for.  I don't want the K-Street Project to move from being a Republican hand-out machine to being a Democratic hand-out machine -- I want better Democrats who serve the people and not the corporate world. I want Democrats who resist corruption, not set up it all over again.  So when Rahm claims credit for other people's hard work . . . yes, its time to call him on it.  I wouldn't be mad if he were going on TV and saying "Boy, Howard Dean's 50-State Strategy really put us on the map in a lot of districts where I didn't think we had a chance, and by working together we were able to pull off a HUGE win that frankly I didn't see coming last year."  If he said that, I'd fall off my chair -- but I'd be happy with him.  But if he's going to take credit as a Boy Genius than he needs to be taken down a peg and reminded that the great turn in Democratic fortunes wouldn't have happened without Dean in the DNC and the netroots pushing people to get out and work and donate money for their candidates all over the country.  

by Maven 2006-11-08 09:14AM | 0 recs
Re: The End of the Beginning: Rumsfeld is Done


If we can proxy Dean for the netroots ---

In two separate interviews on cable news, I heard Howard Dean make a point of crediting Rahm and Chuck.

I have YET to hear Rahm or Chuck mention Dean.

by zonk 2006-11-08 09:16AM | 0 recs
Re: The End of the Beginning: Rumsfeld is Done

To all who are saying, "Can't we lay off Rahm for a while," this isn't about squabbling over credit or seeking PR and kudos. It's about establishing a truthful record of how this election was won. Because the DNC and all Dem candidates are going to be looking forward to 2008 and beyond and making decisions about strategy, spending money, issues and motivating the electorate. And they can either base their decisions on the fake narrative being spun by Rahm and the DLC and Repubs, and go down in flames, or they can look at the truth and have a fighting chance to win.

by billybob 2006-11-08 09:24AM | 0 recs
Re: The End of the Beginning: Rumsfeld is Done

Exactly. As we acknowleged, this is about everyone. Not just us. Not just the DCCC. Not just Dean. It's time for the establishment to get it.

by Pravin 2006-11-08 09:32AM | 0 recs
Re: The End of the Beginning: Rumsfeld is Done

Matt, you are so right on Rahm however you are wrong about Rumsfeld.  The Bush administration is 100% a political campaign and every decision is about politics.  What was the story after last night?  The story was a nationwide rejection of the Bush administration policies, especially Iraq.  Bush & Co. could not allow that story to be repeated day after day and run the news cycle.  The choice that was made, sacrificing Rumsfeld, was to knock that story out of the news cycle as quickly as possible.  By having Rumsfeld resign the day after the election  the Bush political machine is seeking to regain control of the story.  Bush may be a lame duck but those around him are working very hard to try to secure the White House for the next rotten Republican President.  Democrats need to keep campaigning nonstop because that is the only way we will see a change in 2008.  I have high hopes for Pelosi and the House leadership.  When the Republicans took over in 1994 they followed a plan that led to a government shutdown that was very unpopular with the public because Republicans were pushing unpopular ideas.  If the House leadership pushes their 100 hour agenda which is chock full of very popular initiatives and Bush vetoes those bills then Democrats will be well poised for 2008.  However, Senate Democrats need to be very aggressive in pushing the same agenda so that when Senate Republicans block those bills it will be clear that it is the Republicans.  

Rumsfeld is just the first move in the next phase of the Republican political campaign to hold on to power.

by msstaley 2006-11-08 09:39AM | 0 recs
Re: The End of the Beginning: Rumsfeld is Done

I agree that Rummy is a political move, but it actually plays into the theme that the public repudiated Bush, particularly Iraq.  So it is not a news cycle favorable to them.

by parmenides 2006-11-08 10:11AM | 0 recs
Re: The End of the Beginning: Rumsfeld is Done

Dammit Matt I wish you could lend some of your backbone to the Dems too scared of their own shadows.

They'll be times when my wife and I are watching the TV news and she'll just yell out, "Why won't they fight!? Why are they afraid to stand up for what they believe?"

If there was a genius behind this, it was Howard Dean. We, the blogsphere, have to make sure that some like Dean (or even better, Dean himself) remains in the position of chairman. Just think how poorly we would have done if someone like Schumer had been running the show.

Yes, the party insiders will likely say to us, "Thank you. Now go away." HA! Too many of us have too much emotionally invested to let the clowns who got us into this mess continue their buffoonery.

by Bob Miller 2006-11-08 09:59AM | 0 recs
Re: The End of the Beginning: Rumsfeld is Done

I agree with the general sentiment that we need to start now on establishing our ground game and candidates for 08, and a lot of that is done by assessing what worked yesterday.

So we have to take credit where it is due, and by hitting Emanuel hard publicly, and vigorously promoting how liberal Dems won big last night and our role in those victories, we might be able to force him to acknowledge what we accomplished.

But none of that needs to stop us from hitting the ground running and improving our tactics for 08.  If we know we are right, then we should continue pressing forward with our agenda.  Success gets noticed and copied.  Expect the Repubs to figure out our role by, like, last night.  The sooner we can get the DLC and Emanuel to figure it out, the better for us.

As far as Congress, we should promote wildly popular policies like increasing the minimum wage, renewable electricity standards, stem cell research, and opposing Bush on Iraq.

Good policy will speak louder than anything Rahm says.  And hey, Rummy is gone, so its not all that bad.

by parmenides 2006-11-08 10:08AM | 0 recs
Re: The End of the Beginning: Rumsfeld is Done

To add my piece to the noise: It was a big victory, there's room to share credit with Rahm et al. However, Rahm should clearly be giving credit, where it's due, to net and grass roots people who don't live in Washington.

And Jerry McNerney, who ousted one of the worst members of congress from his snug Republican district, had to first beat the DLC picked hack challenger, and then drive the polls up to even two weeks ago before he got national money/help.

by jujube 2006-11-08 11:40AM | 0 recs
Re: The End of the Beginning: Rumsfeld is Done

While I sympathise with your criticisms of Emanuel, you've conflated two very different candidates when you complain that he couldn't get Seals or Duckworth elected. Duckworth was handpicked and given tons of $$ and resources.

The IL-10 race was written off before the primary. Seals and the local democrats built that race practically by themselves, with some help from the dkos netroots list.  The DCCC only sent out a couple of mailers in the last week of the campaign. Seals was a great candidate.

by skb 2006-11-08 11:57AM | 0 recs
Re: The End of the Beginning: Rumsfeld is Done

and Joe Lieberman is going to be their main weapon

Unfortunately for Joe, we can shoot back, and his life is not going to be worth living.

by Bob H 2006-11-08 12:36PM | 0 recs
Stoller is spot on

As much as Stoller is wrong about Obama (and as much as I criticize him for that), he is absolutely correct in his criticism of Emanuel.

Rahm needs to be knee-capped before his effort to sabotage Pelosi, Conyers, and Waxman gains any traction.

by Disputo 2006-11-08 01:56PM | 0 recs
Re: The End of the Beginning: Rumsfeld is Done

I may have made my stupidest post since I began posting in liberal/progressive forums. I congratulated Rahm Emanuel on DU.

After reading this post, I am ashamed of myself. I had no idea about all of the candidates the DCCC had put up and how they did compared to the netroots' favorites.

Now that I have confessed, where is the best place to find all of the candidates put up by Emanuel and the DCCC? I need to know!

by Spiffarino 2006-11-08 01:59PM | 0 recs
Re: The End of the Beginning: Rumsfeld is Done

What an offensive thing to say about Dan Seals. It is obvious from the comment that you never met him. Also, what did Rahm have to do with Dan other than jumping on his bandwagon at the very end. The Seals campaign was pure grassroots and the organization built because of it will be the lasting legacy.

by ebgill 2006-11-08 06:21PM | 0 recs


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