Sunday Night Thread

Here are some items that caught my eye this evening:
  • Women make up only 23% of elected officials in state legislatures, but women make up 30% of elected Democrats in state legislatures. All policy positions aside, that fact alone should explain why there is a gender gap in the electorate. The Democratic Party is more favorable to women not only in terms of policy, but also in the manner of its operation.

  • In the still undecided Pennsylvania House, look for a preliminary result in the last outstanding election tomorrow. If the provisional votes are counted in that election, it seems likely that Democrats will win the Pennsylvania House. Expect this one to go all the way to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

    Unless I am mistaken, in Pennsylvania, you only need the House and the Governor in order to redraw electoral maps. It would not be hard to draw new maps that would make Democratic pickups in PA-04, PA-07 and PA-08 more so less permanent, and that would make PA-06 and PA-15 much more inviting targets. In other words, a lot hinges on the outcome of this one state legislature race in Chester County. I do not think it is difficult to argue that it is more important than any of the recounts taking place for U.S. House of Representatives seat.

  • According to a new study, paid political advertising is about all of the election coverage people get these days:Television viewers in crucial Midwest states got more political information in the weeks leading up to the midterm elections from campaign advertisements than from news coverage, according to a new study.

    In the seven markets studied, newscasts aired almost 4 1/2 minutes of paid political ads during a 30-minute broadcast, while only offering 1 minute 43 seconds of election news coverage. News organizations are supposed to cover stories that factor into the public interest, aren't they? Maybe I'm just an overly dedicated citizen, but I would image that elections are in the public interest. In my mind, there is only one way to deal with this irresponsible lapse in political coverage by news organizations: convene a blogger ethics panel.

  • Mystery Pollster looks at the aftermath of generic poll polls versus the actual House popular vote.

  • Meta-note: Don't expect me to back at full blogging strength until around mid-Tuesday. I am traveling back to Philadelphia tomorrow, for one thing. However, the real reason is that blogging, especially at the high standards MyDD has established, is actually very hard. While juicy news stoires or poll numbers can provide good quicker hitters for the front-page, most good articles with original content take a few hours of prep time. This includes extensive news and blogosphere surfing, thinking up new ideas, researching and outlining the idea, and then actually writing the post. (Given my high number of typos, you might notice that I rush through the editing portion of this process). The piece I wrote this morning on the netroots and 2008, for example, took about five hours of prep time before it was ready to post. Usually, a full day of blogging includes not only posting three or four articles, including at least one entirely original piece, but also preparing articles for the following day. Thus, when I go on vacation, it takes some time to get over the vacation and back into the full blogging cycle. That is why I am currently posting a round-up thread instead of a full original piece
Anyway, this is a Sunday night open thread. How was your Thanksgiving?

James Carville's Consultant Con

There are two main reasons why James Carville does not like Howard Dean. The first is that Howard Dean does not trash other Democrats, and Carville prefers Democrats who throw their own party under the bus. The second is that he is a political consultant, and as such many of his friends have gotten rich off of commissions from television advertisements. As far as he is concerned, all donations to all Democratic committees exist so that he and his friends can get richer. Since Howard Dean is spending money on field organizers and grants to state parties, his friends tend to not get rich from the money the DNC raised. This is abhorrent to Carville, since Democratic Party committees exist to make him and his friends rich.

However, there is a serious problem with many of the television advertisements that Democrats run. That is why on MyDD we set up Adwatch in order to monitor if the money we raised for campaigns was being spent effectively. Looking at the final results from the fifteen House races where the DCCC spent its money, one has to wonder if we did spend our money as effectively as we could have:
  • 1. PA-06: Lost
  • 2. NM-01: Losing
  • 3. CT-05: win, but credited the netroots
  • 4. OH-15: Losing
  • 5. IL-06: Lost
  • 6. IN-08: Win
  • 7. CA-50: Lost
  • 8. PA-07: Win, but raised $1M online
  • 9. AZ-05: Win
  • 10. KY-04: Lost
  • 11. WA-08: Lost
  • 12. PA-08: Win, but credited the netroots
  • 13. OH-18: Win, but defeated DCCC candidate in primary
  • 14. FL-22: Win
  • 15. CT-04: Loss
The numbers I used for this ranking come from when there was still one week to go in the election, but they still tell a disturbing tale (see source information here). Why did the DCCC lose, or is in the process of losing, eight of its top fifteen targets? Why have only six of the fifteen candidates the DCCC originally backed in these races win? Over 85% of the DCCC's independent expenditures in these races came in the form of television ads. Will the consultants in charge of thee ads be held accountable for their sub-500 record? Will other consulting firms be tested out in the future in order to see if they can produce better results? Keep in mind that I am not criticizing the DCCC for choosing these districts, because this is not a bad top fifteen-target list at all. Also, in the seats we did win, it was usually by a very narrow margin, and so this amount of money may have been necessary. However, we should have done better in this list than we did, and I do not think it takes much to argue that the main reason for our failure rests with ineffective television advertising.

Yet still, after producing a sub-.500 record int eh top fifteen House targets, Carville has the gall to tell the press that he and his other consultant buddies deserved even more money so that they could have run even more ineffective advertisements. I write this not as someone looking to attack the DCCC, but instead as someone looking to get my money's worth. The Use It Or Lose It campaign helped direct more than $2.3M into DCCC coffers for the final election push. The MyDD / Dailykos / Swing state Project Act Blue page directed more than $1.5M into Democratic coffers since February. I want to make sure that the money I donated, my community donated, and that we all helped transfer to the DCCC was spent wisely. Looking at our performance in the top fifteen targets, I have some serious doubts that it was.

Carville can try and continue his consulting con that more money to the DCCC would have automatically translated into more victories for Democrats in the House, but looking at our performance in the top fifteen targets, I have to say that is hardly a guarantee. What is a guarantee is that it would have made his rich consulting buddies a lot more money. We practically swept every close race in the Senate, so I have no beef with their consultants. However, when it comes to the House, I want answers. Did we use the right consultants? What other options to we have? What commissions are they taking from these ads? How can we work to reduce the size of those commissions if they are being done on a percentage basis? To what extent are other forms of independent expenditures besides advertising on broadcast advertising more or less effective? How much money does James Carville personally stand to gain from the extra money he wanted channeled to close House races?

These are questions that many people, including the media and the DCCC, need to start asking James Carville. We need answers to these questions. Just because we won does not mean we can't do better in the future. Figuring out what happened to DCCC advertising in our most heavily targeted races is a big area where we can start improving.

UT-Sen : Most Unique Ad You Will See in 2006

An ad concept was pitched to Pete via his blog, he gave the supporter permission to move foward, they produced/directed the spot, handed it off to us...we had another supporter polish it up and put the stand by your ad bit on it, and here it is...

Action Ashdown

We are on a much more restrained budget than other Senate (and even many House) races, but we are finding success at getting peoples attention with some unique things.  It would be nice if more people understood the meaning behind what the kids are saying, but it is amusing even in ignorance in my opinion.

This spot will be airing on Comedy Central, Spike, and a few other cable channels Sunday and Monday, while our more meaty education ad runs on the radio throughout the state.

Please provide us with some feedback!

There's more...

Another Brilliant VoteVets Ad

VoteVets, which produced and aired this terrific ad earlier in the cycle, now offers another very powerful ad.

All I can say is wow. This is exactly the type of response that the Democratic Party and all of its surrogates should have offered when the RNC's "be afraid" ad was first unveiled. But better late than never...

There's more...

3 Blunt Political Ads for Dems

Check out the youtube link below for the following
three spots:  Dead or Alive, George Allen Doesn't Know War and Time for a Change. ctures

They were submitted to the likes of the DNC, DSCC, September Fund, etc. where they were ignored.  Feel free to post a comment to help us improve our ads in the future.

K6 Pictures, LLC

There's more...


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