Announcing Two Yearly Kos Panels

Cross Posted at Dailykos

Today, I am proud to announce that I will be moderating two panels at Yearly Kos. The first panel, "Blogosphere Experts," will take place on Saturday, June 10th, at 10:10 am Las Vegas time. The second panel, "Surveying the netroots," will also take place on Saturday, but at 2:45 p.m. Las Vegas time.

Blogosphere Experts: 6/10, 10:10 a.m.
The Blogosphere Experts panel will draw together some of the leading progressive minds on "blog theory" today: Matt DeBergalis of Act Blue, Peter Daou of the Daou Report, Matt Stoller of MyDD, and Tim Tagaris of the Lamont campaign. We will open the panel by tackling some of the biggest questions in blog theory:
  • 1) The relationship between larger, national blogs, and smaller, local blogs. Is there a progressive, political blogger aristocracy? How do blogs achieve influence in the first place? Has the insider / outsider relationship between the netroots and the progressive establishment been replicated within the progressive political blogopshere?
  • 2) Has the progressive netroots left the conservative netroots behind?. Although progressives were not political trailblazers online, of late it seems as though the progressive netroots has greatly surpassed the conservative netroots in terms of influence, audience, and political efficacy. What are the causes for this?
  • 3) The Future of the Blogosphere in the Progressive Movement. To what extent has the blogosphere already connected with the progressive establishment, and to what degree is that likely to continue? In terms of coalition building, who are the most likely allies of the netroots in the new, emerging progressive movement? Has the progressive netroots plateaued in power and influence? What are the next steps for the blogosphere and the netroots?
I will frame the debate for each question in a short, two-minute introduction. Then each panelist will offer his personal insights on the debate in a short, two-minute response. After that, the panel will be open to questions and discussion on any topic related to the blogosphere. The plan is to leave at least half of the time for questions, so we can stir up some relate discussion during the panel. I also believe that this panel will be broadcast on C-SPAN.

Surveying the Netroots: 6/10, 2:45 pm
Yearly Kos will not just be a blog and netroots frenzy--it will also be a media frenzy. With roughly one media credential for every eight conference participants, we can expect that this conference will go a long way toward defining the narrative on the netroots in the established news media. By revealing the results of a brand new poll on the netroots, this panel seeks to ground that discussion in research rather than anecdotes.

Previous studies on the netroots, conducted by Pew and Blogads, have given people, both inside and outside the netroots, a significant amount of information on the demographics, media consumption habits, and activist engagement of the netroots. However, what no survey to date has addressed in detail is the strategic outlook of the netroots. What strategic advice does the netroots have for the Democratic Party and the progressive movement? Considering that the netroots are filled with political activists, this is certainly a group of questions that should be asked.

I have spent the last two months putting just such a survey together, and in this panel I will proudly reveal the results. Along with Tom Matzzie of MoveOn, Mark Blumenthal of Mystery Pollster, and James Boyce of the Huffington Post, this panel will discuss all research that has been conducted on the netroots to date. All those interesting in finding out who really composes the netroots--especially the political strategy they outline for the progressive movement--should attend this session. This has the potential to change the way people think about progressive political activists online.

(Note: conducting this survey will cost BlogPac $7,000, and that is if I do not receive a single dime for my efforts in putting it together. Along with assisting Matt Stoller's tireless efforts on Net Neutrality, this is one of the two major reasons we are currently conducting a fundraiser for BlogPac on MyDD. Under its new management, BlogPac is now focused on defending the netroots and enhancing its political capabilities. BlogPac is for the netroots, and from the netroots. Please support us today, and join us in our efforts.)

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With a caucus on Thursday evening, a workshop on Friday morning, and another panel on Friday afternoon, I will be a busy, busy boy at Yearly Kos. And that doesn't even count the media appearances, parties, and other gatherings. This is going to be one amazing weekend, and I can't wait for it to all get started. See you in Las Vegas!

The Progressive Movement and The Looming Pennsylvania Landslides

For a challenger, Casey's lead was actually already quite large, but this is ridiculous:Santorum now trails Democratic challenger Bob Casey 56% to 33% (see crosstabs). Our latest survey of the governor's race also brings good news for the Democrat in that contest.

Last month, Santorum trailed by thirteen percentage points. The incumbent began 2006 down by 20 points and closed to within single digits by March. That was before the Primary Election solidified Casey's position as the Democratic nominee.

Santorum continues to flounder with his base, attracting support from only 67% of GOP voters. Casey now attracts 87% of Democrats, a ten-point gain since our April 20 poll. My repeated assertions that Santorum had basically no chance in this race have resulted in criticisms, both public and private, from a wide variety of Pennsylvania Democrats. Some warn of overconfidence, some warn that progressives will stay home, some warn that Santorum has loads of money, some warn that the Pennsylvania Republican base remains strong, and on and on and on. However, all of those warning and tortured attempts to try and make this race look competitive aside, I think it is time for everyone who is watching this race to look at the numbers and appreciate what is actually happening here. We now have a Republican polling firm showing the race at 56-33in favor of Casey. If an incumbent was leading any campaign 56-33, s/he would be considered safe by every election analyst in the nation. However, that isn't even how bad things are for Santorum. For a challenger to be leading 56-33 is unprecedented. Remember that undecideds tend to break overwhelmingly for the challenger. I have never seen anything like this. Not only is this the best poll for a challenger I have ever seen, nothing else I have ever seen is even remotely close to this. Santorum has a 90% name ID statewide, and only 33% of the state wants to vote for him.

The situation for Pennsylvania Republicans is rapidly collapsing statewide. The residency issue has clearly become a major problem for Santorum. Two weeks ago, in a major conservative stronghold, Democrats won a special election for the Pennsylvania state Senate by 13%. Also on the May 16th primary, Democratic turnout was over 30% higher than Republican turnout.. Rendell has moved form being the primary Republican target among Governors in 2006 to becoming a pretty safe incumbent. Lois Murphy in PA-06, Joe Sestak in PA-07, and Patrick Murphy in PA-08 have all become serious challengers to Republican held congressional seats in districts that Kerry won in 2004. Bush's approval rating in Pennsylvania has sunk to an astounding 28-70.

Pennsylvania is considered a "blue state" in popular electoral parlance, but in truth it has been red for some time. Republicans control both branches of the state legislature, have a 12-7 edge in congressional seats, and have won every full-term US Senate election since 1964. These advantages in ostensibly "blue" Pennsylvania have been absolutely crucial to Republicans maintaining their national governing coalition. However, even as a Republican activist purchases our local papers in Philadelphia, Republican dominance of Pennsylvania politics, fueled in part by longstanding Pennsylvania Democratic incompetence, seems poised to end. If the NRCC has been forced to spend nearly $4M to defend the CA-50, what can they possibly muster to the face of the coming Pennsylvania onslaught?

At the center of the transformation of Pennsylvania politics has been an extremely vibrant, emerging progressive movement statewide. For those of you who still believe that fighting internal Democratic battles is somehow a waste of progressive resources, you need to look no further than to Pennsylvania for counter-evidence. While the newly revitalized progressive movement in Pennsylvania has locked horns with the party establishment, the result has not been drained resources and two separate, warring factions. Instead, the result has been a tremendous upswing in pro-Democratic Party activity in Pennsylvania that has benefited both the new progressive movement and the party establishment. Our new progressive movement is working--the old ways of either simply falling in line behind the party leaders or bolting the party / sitting on your hands were not working. The progressive, internal reform movement has identified hundreds of new activists, resulted in a tremendous fundraising upswing, created new progressive media outlets, started new grassroots organizations, and forged new progressive social networking spaces. This is how you do it. This is how a progressive movement can win back Pennsylvania, and indeed the entire nation.

Radical, Fringe Bush Administration Increases US Military presence in Iraq

Here are some interesting polling numbers:ABC News/Washington Post Poll. May 11-15, 2006. N=1,103 adults nationwide. MoE ± 3. Fieldwork by TNS

"Do you think the number of U.S. military forces in Iraq should be increased, decreased, or kept about the same?"
Increased: 15%More:USA Today/Gallup Poll. April 7-9, 2006. N=1,004 adults nationwide. MoE ± 3.

"Which comes closest to your view about what the U.S. should now do about the number of U.S. troops in Iraq? The U.S. should send more troops to Iraq. The U.S. should keep the number of troops as it is now. The U.S. should withdraw some troops from Iraq. OR, The U.S. should withdraw all of its troops from Iraq."
Send More: 9%More:CBS News Poll. April 6-9, 2006. N=899 adults nationwide. MoE ± 3.

"From what you have seen or heard about the situation in Iraq, what should the United States do now? Should the U.S. increase the number of U.S. troops in Iraq, keep the same number of U.S. troops in Iraq as there are now, decrease the number of U.S. troops in Iraq, or remove all its troops from Iraq?"
Increase: 12% Sending more troops to Iraq is a fringe position in America, one held by anywhere from 9% to 15% of the population. These numbers correspond roughly to the number of people in October 2001 who thought military action against Afghanistan was a bad idea. Republicans made a big deal out of tarring anyone who held that position as fringe.

However, now it is the Bush administration who holds the fringe position on military action. While a very small percentage of the country thinks sending more troops to Iraq is a good idea, sending more troops to Iraq is exactly what the Bush administration did today. From ReutersSome 1,500 more U.S. troops have arrived in Iraq to help with the war against Sunni Arab rebels, including al Qaeda Islamist militants, in the western desert province of Anbar, the military said on Tuesday.

"Two battalion task forces of the 2nd Brigade, 1st Armored Division have moved into Iraq to assist in re-establishing the conditions necessary to enable effective local and provincial governance and providing additional security for the people of Al Anbar province," it said in a statement.

It said the 1,500 soldiers come from a "call-forward" reserve force based in Kuwait. A Pentagon spokesman said they would be based in Anbar province itself.

U.S. commanders, the White House and the Iraqi government have spoken of hopes for some American troops to go home this year but say that will only happen as Iraqi forces are ready. In an article about the Bush administration engaging in a wildly unpopular, fringe activity such as sending more troops to Iraq, Reuters points out not how unpopular such an action is, but instead how the Bush administration has promised that the troops will come home at some point. What this article should point out, and indeed all articles on increased American troop deployment in Iraq should point out, is how wildly unpopular this new troop deployment is. This is a fringe activity. At least 85% of the American people think sending more troops to Iraq is the wrong course of action. That should be the news story here, not more mentions of the many lies the Bush administration has told the American people about how long, and with what size of force, they plan to keep our troops in Iraq.

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