Bank of Osama (political cartoon)

Crossposted from Town Called Dobson


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Grants For Local Bloggers

I touched on this in my post earlier today, but I wanted to dedicate some time specifically toward looking for more local blogs to support. If you have one, contact me at chris@mydd.com--Chris

There is a total market failure for local news in this country, caused in large part by corporate media consolidation. Local newspapers are laying off staff and relying more heavily than ever on news wires. Most alternative local weeklies have either shut down, or been purchased by larger media conglomerates. "Local" TV stations, such as those owned by Sinclair, have much of their content produced from a single, centralized news studio. Local voices are being shut down, which invariably means that progressive voices are being shut down as well.

Fortunately, local progressive blogging is filling this void in states and cities around the nation. However, even as local bloggers help to revitalize local and progressive media nationwide, and even as they help build local progressive, activist communities, they receive virtually no compensation for doing so. That is where BlogPac's local blogger grants come in. As Laura Packard wrote earlier today:BlogPac will be offering a series of grants to community blogs to help cover those fees (one year of hosting, ie. $180, will be the standard amount).

We are pleased to announce our first round of grants. BlogPac will be supporting: These websites are not only local progressive media outlets--they are also hubs for local progressive activist communities. Also, because they are independent websites not tied to any existing institution, they offer the sort of raw, unfiltered content you can trust. Further, by focusing on politics from a statewide level, they are local, but can still impact the national scene. These are exactly the sort of blogs that will sustain the progressive movement in the months and years to come, and we want to give out grants to at least another 38 of them. Here are our complete eligibility requirements:
  • Must have a lefty political orientation
  • Must have mostly state-based content, not just city or region
  • Must be mostly political content
  • Must allow diaries as well as comments
  • Must be independent - not a part of an existing political group ie. candidate or official campaign, state party, union, caucus, College Dem chapter etc.
If you have, or know of, a local blog in your state that meets the requirements and could use a website hosting grant, contact me at chris@mydd.com. Don't be bashful. I want to start sending out money ASAP.

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.

Independent Expenditure Totals For All Party Committees In 2006

Here is a treat for all you political junkies out there: the complete independent totals for 2006 in every congressional race, both House and Senate, for all party committees combined: DNC, RNC, NRCC, DCCC, DSCC and NRSC. Check it out:

Independent Expenditure Totals For All Party Committees In 2006

Kombiz sent this to me last night, and deserves a ton of credit for this. The bigger MyDD becomes, and the more projects we engage in, the more we continue to need help from members of the MyDD community. This blog is becoming more and more of a group effort all the time.

Here are some items of note from the totals:
  • In the House, about 93% of all money was spent on Republican held seats. In the Senate, about 83% of all money was spent on Republican held seats. These totals might only increase during the final weekend.
  • Republicans actually spent a slightly higher percentage of their funds on defense, 90.3%, than Democrats spent on the attack, 88.4%. This is because the DSCC spent nearly 20% of their funds on defense.
  • The Missouri Senate race has had the most independent expenditures in the entire nation, with $19.6M. The Ohio Senate race comes in second at $15.3M. Tennessee is a distant third at $10.5M. Missouri really is where the Senate will be decided. Also, while Republican committees really were running a firewall strategy in those three states, Democratic committees actually matched them dollar for dollar in those competitions.
  • The CA-50 is still the race with the most expenditures in the entire nation, at $7.1M. The top ten are PA-06 ($6.2M), NM-01 ($5.6M), PA-07 ($5.2M), FL-22 ($5.2M), OH-18 ($5.0M), PA-08 ($4.8M), CT-05 ($4.8M), IL-06 ($4.6M), and IN-09 ($4.5M). Those ten races actually account for around 37% of all spending on House races.
  • The House races where Republicans have most outspent Democrats are: CA-50 ($2.8M), IL-08 ($2.2M), FL-22 ($1.8M), TX-22 ($1.5M), CO-04 ($1.5M), OH-18 ($1.5M), FL-16 ($1.3M), CT-02 ($1.2M), IN-09 ($1.2M), PA-08 ($1.1M), KY-03 ($1.1M), NC-11 ($1.1M), and PA-07 ($1.0M)
  • The House races where Democrats have most outspent Republicans are: CO-07 ($987K), IN-02 ($842K), OH-15 ($697K), NV-03 ($593K), and GA-12 ($432K).
Fascinating stuff. I hope you enjoy it.

House Members Matching Funds?

I got this Barack Obama written email today from the DCCC that included this line:

"We have just 15 days to give the American people the leadership they are looking for. Make a secure online contribution today and it will be matched 3-to-1 by Democratic House members for every dollar contributed online effectively giving you four times the impact."

Does this mean those house members who are in safe races, the folks Bowers has been talking about? Who are these House members who will match funds, anyone know?

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