Frost makes private attacks on Dean, but can't take public criticism

From yesterday's The Note
With the Democratic party chair's election less than three weeks away, former Texas Rep. Martin Frost has begun to forthrightly challenge his biggest rival, Howard Dean, in private conversations with DNC members.

According to several people who have participated in the discussions, Frost argues that Dean would be a poor choice because he could hurt Democratic efforts to compete in less liberal areas of the country. And Frost asks those he is courting to join him now because he fears Dean will soon acquire enough momentum to be virtually unstoppable.

And several Democrats and labor officials say Frost told them that electing Dean party chair would discourage Democrats who don't like Dean from running for office.

On that I just have to say that no one is going to choose not to run for office because they don't like the DNC chair.  The DNC chair does not have the power to set the Democratic agenda, they have to take all their cues from currently elected officials.  Besides, the DNC currently does little to support down ticket races, the DSCC and DCCC provide almost all the support.

Well, in response to these unwarranted private attacks some Dean supporters have been emailing DNC Members this ad which has been around the blogosphere for awhile now, where Frost tries to distance himself from Democrats.

And it gets even better in today's The Note

On behalf of Rep. Martin Frost, Texas DNC chair Charles Soechting sent DNC members a defending an ad that Frost ran in his 2004 race against Rep. Pete Sessions.

Soechting says he is disappointed in Dean.

..."Here in Texas, we're used to Republicans like Karl Rove and Tom DeLay using damned lies and dirty tricks to launch character attacks against tough, effective Democrats like Martin Frost. Whoever made this attack clearly has no idea what it takes to win in tough districts -- in "Red States" like Texas or anywhere else in the country."

"In fact, Martin's 2004 campaign could serve as a model for Democrats who are running in equally tough territory around the country. The campaign involved hundreds, if not thousands, of volunteers, including Democrats of all races, union members, and many of the most ardent progressives in a tough, aggressive grassroots campaign. Martin refused to back down against enormous odds - standing up to DeLay and Rove by refusing to retire when their illegal redistricting scheme forced him into a 65% GOP district."

So apparently Frost can make dubious claims about Dean in private when there's no one there to refute them, but Dean is to blame when bloggers point out Frost's own questionable ads.

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Comments

19 Comments

Dean & TV
Dean is to blame when bloggers point out Frost's own questionable ads.

Some say that Dean is also to blame for the shitty TV commercials his consultants made.

The damn media consultants hate Dean too. Is it because he doesn't watch TV?

by Jerome Armstrong 2005-01-28 10:53AM | 0 recs
Re: Dean & TV
Heh, probably.  Oh man those ads were so bad, and who runs a negative ad the last week in Iowa? That's a definite no no.
by AnotherUnemployedDNCStaffer 2005-01-28 10:58AM | 0 recs
this has so been coming down the pipe....
martin has from DAY ONE of the dean campaign treated dean and his north texas supporters like dogshit.  only when martin was facing a desperate uphill battle - after ignoring or shitting on us for over a year - did he finally deign to beg for our help.  and you know what?  even though martin signed the infamous "pelosi letter" (which basically crapped on dean for saying we weren't safer after saddam's capture), we put that all aside and busted our asses for him.

and what do we get for this?  not even a thank you!  

with all due respect to martin's defenders, i'll bet very few of them have dealt with the guy one on one like i have.  i'll bet very few of them know the history between us (north tx deaniacs) and martin...

good god this just makes me sick.  i guess i have another diary subject to write about.

by annatopia 2005-01-28 11:35AM | 0 recs
Re: this has so been coming down the pipe....
I'm not from Texas, but this isn't just a phenomenon there. I'm really getting sick of every chucklehead in the party laying claim to great achievements from what we did.

MCAuliffe is brilliant, because he left the party in the black (er...no...the unprecidented amount of small donations did...coming primarilly from Dean and Clark supporters, or those following that example).

Frost had tons of grassroots volunteers (and guess who they all were?).

This is getting tired. These folks are almost trying to alienate people.

by ElitistJohn 2005-01-28 11:56AM | 0 recs
truly
i was really pissed when i wrote that first comment, but i stand by it.

beginning in october of 2002, i - as defacto leader of the tarrant county deaniacs - reached out to martin and the tarrant county dems.  we offered financial support, energy, enthusiasm, and footsoldiers.  all we asked was for the party officials to take a good look at doctor dean and consider supporting him.  and we made it clear that we would be there for the party regardless of whether the party joined the dean movement.

i will say this.  art brender, chairman of the tarrant democratic party (and also the guy who filed the tom delay lawsuit), treated us like gold.  he totally understood how valuable we were going to be during this last election cycle and art welcomed us with open arms.  to this day art has a great relationship with many of the north texas deaniacs.

martin, on the other hand, treated us like we had the plague.  he ignored the calls we made to his office, sent young staffers to spy on our meetups, refused to meet with us after we made repeated requests, and brushed us off IN PUBLIC (mainly at the official monthly dem party meetings).  

and like i said, we put all that aside to canvass for him last fall.  one of his staffers called me because i was still listed as the dean organiser for tarrant county even though i'd given up the position months beforehand.  i put the frost campaign directly in touch with the dallas county dean organiser (seeing as martin was no longer running in tarrant county).  and i kept in touch with that organiser, who kept me in the loop regarding the canvassing procedures.  that organiser also told me a bunch of horror stories (explaining away those ads - we had to do the same thing in tarrant county).  but the bottom line is that the dallas dean people (and clarkies, i don't discount their inccredible contributions) busted their asses for a man WHO DIDN'T EVEN LIKE THEM.  and again, NOT EVEN A THANK YOU.

by annatopia 2005-01-28 12:10PM | 0 recs
Re: truly
i can't speak authoritatively on anything in your post with the exception of your comment about the clark people:

didn't frost endorse clark?  and, if i recall, clark did a fundraiser for frost in dallas.  i even think i recall getting a robocall from clark.

so a) i'd be shocked that clark people would be mad at frost, and b) maybe frost held off on embracing dean's candidacy because he wanted to clark to run.  that doesn't me he was opposed to it, just that he knew who he was going to support someone else.

also, this just found this on the frost website.  seems this guy can speak authoritatively on the ads issue:

Statement from the Dallas Co-Chair for Kerry/Edwards on Smear Attacks on Martin Frost  

"As co-chair of Dallas for Kerry/Edwards during 2004 and as a precinct chair in Congressional District 32, I feel compelled to respond to the recent attacks against Martin Frost which distort the context and effects of ads that Frost ran in the last campaign. The TV ads in question highlighted the extreme stance of Republican Pete Sessions on air security - period.  Frost, by standing and directly confronting his opponent, Sessions, on an issue that the Republicans were trying to claim as their own - gave Democrats the courage and motivation to do the same all over Dallas County.  The result - we elected four new Democrats and created hundreds of new party activists in Dallas County.  I feel certain that Gov. Dean, like me, believes the time has come to start fighting Republicans instead of attacking our own - It is my hope that he will instruct his campaign to do likewise."

Bruce Rothstein
Dallas Co-Chair for Kerry/Edwards Campaign

by DemDog 2005-01-28 12:47PM | 0 recs
Re: truly
What the hell are you talking about?

First of all it is Frost who is calling up DNC members and trying to scare them out of supporting Dean.

Secondly, you know damn well it was not Dean who brought up Frost's pathetic excuse for Democratis ads.

by Parker 2005-01-28 01:16PM | 0 recs
demdog knows dean didn't start that attack
but apparently rothstein does not.

hm, guess i'll be making a call to his office tomorrow to clarify that.

by annatopia 2005-01-28 02:58PM | 0 recs
let's see...
IIRC, frost endorsed clark.  and i'm not in any way shape or form speaking on behalf of the clarkies at all.  i am speaking on behalf of those of us - mainly dean supporters - who got involved with the party in 2002 and 2003.  we were, to put it quite bluntly, shat upon by frost.  the other party people in tarrant county welcomed us with open arms - the tarrant county democratic women's club, the tarrant county dem party chair (brender, who i mentioned earlier), etc etc.

as to that ridiculous statement by rothstein, he can kiss my arse.  "created hundreds of new party activists" MY ASS.  those people are clarkies and deaniacs who came into the party long before martin realised that he needed them.  for rothstein or frost to take credit for that, well that's just crap, plain and simple.

by annatopia 2005-01-28 02:55PM | 0 recs
Re: truly
by the way: never seen that photo.  THAT ROCKS!
by DemDog 2005-01-28 12:48PM | 0 recs
glad you like it!
at least we can agree that picture rocks.  ;)

wish i knew who that guy was.  i found it online ages ago at the austin chronicle website, IIRC.

by annatopia 2005-01-28 02:56PM | 0 recs
Pisses me off.
I love this quote:
"In fact, Martin's 2004 campaign could serve as a model for Democrats who are running in equally tough territory around the country. The campaign involved hundreds, if not thousands, of volunteers, including Democrats of all races, union members, and many of the most ardent progressives in a tough, aggressive grassroots campaign. Martin refused to back down against enormous odds - standing up to DeLay and Rove by refusing to retire when their illegal redistricting scheme forced him into a 65% GOP district."

Let me understand this. Running ads that highlight how he was proud to stand with Bush, and "broke ranks" with his party, is a model for Democrats in Red states? How exactly is this standing up for what Democrats believe in? Is this the fifty state stratgey here? Act like a Republican if you live in a red state?

Secondly, I keep hearing that he stood up to DeLay and Rove by refusing to retire. How is that exactly standing up? You ran for office - as an incument no less - and lost. Boy that's backbone.

Finally, if "their illegal redistricting scheme forced him into a 65% GOP district" why did it work? I mean, if it was so illegal? If it was illegal, shouldn't there be some recourse? I don't know the complete story here, but if you keep crying "what happened to me was illegal!" then why did it work?

I'm tired of this ABD crap. If you think you can do the job better, then stand up and lead. If you can't get more votes than Dean by doing this, you don't deserve the job. If you have to campaign like a Republican - using negative stereotypes and fear tactics in behind the scenes meetings - then you aren't the guy for the job.

Mr. Frost, if you are the leader you claim, then lead. Don't stab others in the back in private meetings or have people like Soechting do you attacking for you. If you want to lead, stand up and have at it with Dean publically. This behavior is cowardly. That's not what we need leading the Party.

by michael in chicago 2005-01-28 12:05PM | 0 recs
redistricting
i'll try to make this long ugly story short and sweet.  i'm sure byron will pop by and correct me if i miss anything here.

we redistrict every ten years after the census comes out.  basically, a map is drawn and voted on by the legislature.  if the legislature can't hammer out a map, it goes to the courts.  the courts drew the map last time around (2001?), and apparently that wasn't good enough for the texas GOP.  tom delay arm-twisted a bunch of his austin-area bitches, and the map was redrawn by the legislature.  democrats are a minority in the texas leg, so they literally had to flee the state to prevent a quorum vote to approve the plan.  it ended up being approved when one texas dem from houston returned from exile.  the dems fought it all the way to the SCOTUS.  IIRC, last october the SCOTUS vacated the decision and sent it back to federal district court.  in other words, it's still an ongoing fight.

this is my favorite pic from during that battle.  it's a protester outside the governor's mansion in austin:

that protester is standing right where i stood when i met bill clinton in late 1991 (huzzah!).  it's a popular place to protest downtown.

by annatopia 2005-01-28 12:23PM | 0 recs
"If you have to campaign like a Republican -
 using negative stereotypes and fear tactics in behind the scenes meetings - then you aren't the guy for the job."

Hey, it worke for Kerry!  Too bad he decided to play by Queensbury Rules in the general election, but I guess defeating "Dean, Dean, Dean, Dean, Dean!" (actual sardonic Kerry quote during the primaries) was more important to him than defeating Bush.

by Jim in Chicago 2005-01-28 01:09PM | 0 recs
Successful strategy
Ya, and it worked so well for Kerry too.
by michael in chicago 2005-01-28 01:23PM | 0 recs
Two things
Having viewed those ads myself, they were not just about Pete Sessions being outside the mainstream Repub thinking.

They were about Martin Frost being in with mainstream Repub thinking. Martin's pic framed with Bush, McCain, Hastert, et al was part of the design to do that. Visuals stronger than words.

I understand why he used them-distasteful as I find them. But they are not just going to be hung round his neck by Dean supporters. Expect them to be trotted out at every opportunity during the first three months of Frost's theoretical tenure as DNC chair.

"Even the chairman of the DNC thinks the Republicans are the winning team. See?"

Yeah, it's a stinky chicken to have hanging round his neck in the race for DNC chair, but he's the one who picked it.  

And, with all due respect to the members of the Texas Dem organization, it really would be more newsworthy if they didn't endorse Frosty. I mean, really. Home state candidate who's going to be a mover and shaker in the state org no matter what the outcome of the Chair selection is.

They would and should have to think long and hard about crossing Frosty.

by boadicea 2005-01-28 06:52PM | 0 recs
Re: Two things
"They were about Martin Frost being in with mainstream Repub thinking. Martin's pic framed with Bush, McCain, Hastert, et al was part of the design to do that. Visuals stronger than words."

that is my whole point about those ads.  when the frost defenders try to nuance their way out of it, they neglect the basics of advertising.  advertising 101 will teach you that visuals are THE WAY to sear something into the brain of the targetted advertisee.

by annatopia 2005-01-29 08:27AM | 0 recs
Re: Two things
I found it noteworthy when I first heard about it, but as I said, understandable given the makeup of the CD he was running in.

Then I played the clip, and quite literall went "HOLY FUCK!!!!!!!!".  That kind of gift then RNC prays for in the head of the DNC.

by boadicea 2005-01-29 10:21AM | 0 recs
Fuck Frost
End of story.
by dave1021 2005-01-28 10:25PM | 0 recs

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