Schumer Hearts Santorum

From Rasmussen: (via political wire):

When pollsters informed voters that the National Organization for Women "is concerned about Casey on the abortion issue" 24% of Casey's initial voters "changed their mind upon hearing this news" and half actually switched to Santorum. "The change was dramatic enough that, having heard the new information, voters favored Santorum by a five-point margin (46% to 41%)."

Glad to see we're protecting those marginals.

UPDATE: Whoa, there's quite a backlash in the comments. Here's what I understand about PA politics. There are a bunch of moderate Republican single issue voters in the Philly suburbs. These are women who want low taxes and are pro-choice. They will vote for the pro-choice candidate, as they did for Specter and Kerry in 2004. When candidates are equal on the choice issue, they will vote for the Republican.

UPDATE AGAIN: A Quinnipiac poll also came out which shows Casey with the worst head-to-head results in a year. On the abortion question, this poll doesn't have conclusive results. While it asks whether Democrats would switch votes in the primary to other relatively unserious candidates based on this single issue, it doesn't ask Republican pro-choicers about the general, and those are the single issue voters that I'm talking about.

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Clarifying on the Need for Upheaval

Based on a wealth of irritated comments here and at Daily Kos, I figured I should clarify what I wrote since I probably didn't explain myself very well.

1) I am not arguing for a primary challenge to Chuck Schumer.  He is up for reelection in 2010, and he probably cannot be beaten.  Similarly, a primary challenge to Rahm Emanuel probably won't work.

2) I am not arguing for ideological purity in the party.  That is both impractical and bad for the party.  I would note that Schumer is the one who seeks ideological purity around what he calls 'the marginals'.  It's actually weird, if you read the article, how he has completely bought into the David Brooks formulation of American voting patterns.  He cannot believe that a Senator from North Dakota voted against the war and against the hate and flag burning amendment; he just doesn't understand that populist prairie states aren't Southern fried, and that Kent Conrad is really popular.

3) Schumer is a socially moderate hawkish protectionist.  He is heavily tied in with neoconservative hawkish think tanks and the banking industry.   He is not on our side as he is willing to trade away our values at the drop of a hat, but he is not on the right-wing's side either. That does not mean that we cannot work with him, it just means that he does not take us seriously, nor should he at this point since we haven't proved that he should.

So here's my point.  The Democratic Party is a coalition between centrists and progressives.  It will always be such a coalition, since there is not a progressives, conservative, or centrist majority in this country.  From 1932 until 1968, progressives had the upper hand in this coalition, which was at the time a governing coalition.  From 1968 until 1980, it was even, and since 1980, progressives have had basically no influence in the party.  Progressives are so cowed that even our 'champion' Barack Obama, a guy with a 70% approval rating, has thrown his lot in with the centrists.  The challenge for progressives is to change this dynamic within the party and build a governing coalition.  These are not at odds, and they are both keys to dealing with problems like global warming, energy, health care, etc in a progressive manner.

To get this done, we need to build an alternative party mechanism that can recruit and elect our own candidates, along with all associated policy and information channels required for a progressive political machine.  That means primary challenges in 2007 for Democrats in the House, as well as working to get progressives positioned to take on open House seats and Senate seats held by vulnerable Republicans.

Are the blogs going to do all of it?  Heck no.  Are they fulfilling some part of it?  Yes.  A little bit of organizing, some amount of money, and some amount of media.  

So name your least favorite House Democrat.  Let's start putting a list together.

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The Need for Upheaval

Ryan Lizza wrote a great article on Chuck Schumer.  It's a portrait of the most extreme version of a Reagan Democrat, a Senator whose core characteristic is a weird sort of intense and narcissistic cynicism.

He is, famously, the Senate's greatest fund-raiser and greatest TV hound, important qualifications for his new job. Schumer thought about running for governor this year but instead leveraged the threat of leaving the Senate to secure a spot on the powerful Finance Committee, which writes the nation's tax laws and, not insignificant, is a perch that puts him in constant contact with the political donor class. "That was my dream," he says. "I always wanted to be on the Finance Committee."

This is so unbelievably messed up.  Schumer's dream, his dream, is to be close to political donors.  And for those of you who wonder why Casey is a serious problem for the party, check out this paragraph:

These red-state political moves aren't just helping Democrats this cycle. They are serving as a road test for the potential platform of the party's 2008 presidential nominee, whoever that turns out to be. Democratic victories in red states this year will be seized upon by party strategists as pointing the way forward for 2008. In that way, Schumer is helping the party define a kind of centrism that, if successful, could also help win the White House.

The whole article is immensely upsetting, but not surprising.  Schumer, like most center-right Beltway types, doesn't believe that principles, or the American people themselves, matter.  What matters to him are TV exposure and access to donors, and that's truly it.  He's a very very smart man, perhaps the smartest and savviest in the Senate, and certainly the hardest working.  But I couldn't help but think of this quote, from Kevin Phillips:

Thus, the challenge for Democrats during what should be tumultuous times in the next 6-8 years is to identify the issues that matter and hammer away at their mishandling. The outsider, progressive and populist Democrats can do this, whereas much of the Democratic establishment let itself become too collusive and contributor-driven to criticize. They remind me of the Rockefeller Republicans in the 1960s who did not want to seriously challenge the existing Democratic policies but rather to make the GOP much the same with a few caveats. Upheaval came only as they were pushed aside.

Assuming that progressives care about taking power or even being relevant, it's soon going to be time to make lists of candidates who deserve primary challenges in 2008.  There's just no other way to save the country.

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Shorter DSCC/DCCC Teleconference

We are gonna loose.

OK I will expand due to my respect for MyDD's "no one line diaries policy."

Basically, the Dems in DC don't want to make hay out of things that will satisfy the base (ie. Censure, etc.) because this will only paint local candidates as crazy lefties.

Apparently, lots of the local candidates don't want the DC dems to do crazy lefty things because they fear being painted as crazy lefties and then they will loose.

However, they are also concerned about turnout. And you can't get turnout without getting the base fired up. And you can't get the base fired up without throwing them some nice red meat once in a while.

Sounds like a catch 22. Right?

Wrong. Because no matter what any DC or local Dem does, the Repugnican counterpart will in fact call them a crazy lefty Michael Moore lover.

So, by not gathering together in DC for things that are important to the base, like Republicans do. They will drastically affect their turnout, which in turn will help them loose the election.

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Do we have the Dem 'Contract with America' already?

Jonathan Singer discussed the Newsweek Emanuel piece.

Emanuel also gave a presser with Schumer last week (covered by Morton Kondracke - but not by anyone else, that I can see), in which he seemed to set out the long-awaited principles on which the Dems will fight this year's elections:

When I asked Emanuel and Schumer whether the party would have a positive agenda to go along with their withering negatives, they both said it would -- but not yet.

Schumer responded, "We need a positive agenda. We have a positive agenda. And we're going to roll out a positive agenda at the appropriate time. ... We know we have to tell the American people where we're going."

He said that, "some pundits overemphasize the importance (of an agenda) in the minds of voters in a midterm election. But we'll have one that will stress six issues - honesty in government, real security, retirements and pensions, better health care for everybody, education and job security and energy independence."

So far, this is not blowing my skirt up gentlemen.

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Diaries

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