Former POW Ad Slammin Mccain-It's Up to Us (crossposted at Kos)

Ok people, there's been a lot of lamenting about Obama not hitting hard enough, not being active rather than reactive, starting a new narrative about Mccain, etc. Well, the time is nigh, and instead of Obama, this is actually in our hands. The good people at DFA got Phillip Butler into an ad, and they're asking for contributions to get it on the air. Don't know who Phillip Butler is?

In 1965 he was shot down over North Vietnam where he spent eight years as a prisoner of war. He is a highly decorated combat veteran who was awarded two Silver Stars, two Legion of Merits, two Bronze Stars and two Purple Heart medals.

Was a prisoner with John Mccain. Knows him well. War hero. He also, by the way, wrote a damning indictment of Mccain, in that radical far left wing blog,

Many of us read this early on, and several bloggers here and elsewhere said "Man, someone get him into an ad, pronto!" Well, someone did. And we can put this searing stuff everywhere if we want to.

I'm tired of whining and feeling politics is unfair and why did they say that naughty thing about Obama and why doesn't he fight fire with fire. Let's do it for him. This is the kind of thing that could turn this election. It's not some corrupt smear merchant like Jerome Corsi. A hero, in Hanoi Hilton for 3 years longer than Mccain.

I'm mad. You?

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Campaign Reform Idea

I'm not even sure how this would work within the boundaries of the first amendment, but since there are other restrictions on political advertising, I'm assuming there are ways to implement an idea I had.

What if Democrats propose as part of their "cleaning up DC" plan a very simple campaign reform that states "Any political advertisement that comes during a political campaign may not mention a political opponent or refer to said candidate without those words being spoken by the advertising candidate themselves"? Now, the lawyers out there can certainly come up with better language than that, but the gist of it is to end attack ads that are not owned by a candidate. Party committees and 527's would no longer be able to create advertisments targeting a candidate. Instead of listing a litany of evils with an ominous voice, and then have a candidate cutely add at the end "I approve this message", they would have to attack the other candidate themselves.

The climate seems perfect for such a proposal, as the Republicans were badly wounded by ads by MoveOn and other liberal groups. And the electorate as a whole is angry about these ads. It would probably be just the kind of high-profile and popular issue that would really endear Democrats to everyday folks. But more importantly, though our side did well in the negative advertising war this cycle, ultimately these strategies work against our goal of increasing voter turnout and inclusiveness. There've been studies done lately that seem to prove pretty conclusively that negative advertising suppresses turnout. Ultimately, Democrats benefit in the long term when discussions return to policy and leadership, rather than the crimes of the other camp. We could put the final nails in the coffin of the Rove divide-and-conquer strategy.

Ultimately, candidates would be able to go negative anyway, if they wanted to. They just wouldn't be able to maintain a sunny facade while henchmen did the dirty work. They'd have to make the accusations themselves. And for the rest, for the scandals, the corruption that needs to be exposed, etc, that job would remain with journalists and bloggers, where it belongs.

As for free speech, there are obviously several laws around campaign advertising that restrain fully free speech ("I approve this ad" requirement, 527s' inability to mention voting for a particular candidate, etc), so there's a precedent.

Imagine if the billions that were spent on attack ads this cycle were plowed into grassroots organizing and ads that proposed positive policy and change? Another side benefit, would be that much of the political consultant population would be dislodged from the Democratic party too. What's a Carville to do without attacks?

I'm thinking about working this up into a formal proposal and presenting to a local congressman who's preparing an ethics package (Mcnerney)...what do folks think? What are the loopholes? Too restrictive to free speech? How would it best be worded?

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UK and Canada hire Dean (not Carville!)

So, apparently disagreeing with that snake Carville are the entire United Kingdom and Canada...enough to counter the opinion of this hack? For those of you who haven't seen "Our Brand is Crisis", you should. Carville more or less admits he's just an empty shirt with star status...

Labour has enlisted one of the engineers of this week's Democratic victory in the US midterm elections in an attempt to boost its flagging fortunes before the local elections in May.

Howard Dean, the former presidential candidate and one of the men credited with masterminding the trouncing of the Republicans, will visit the UK next month to brief party officials about his pioneering campaigning techniques.

And the Canadians:

The Liberal party will turn to a Democratic heavyweight from south of the border to inspire the troops during their convention.

Liberals hope to learn from former presidential contender Howard Dean who changed the way U.S. parties finance campaigns in the run-up to the 2004 election with his grassroots, Internet-based appeal.

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Report from Mcnerney-ville

I thought I'd share this email I sent out to my family and friends at 2:30am last night when I got back from Tracy, California. A little context: My family has a long tradition of radical politics, communists, sixties revolutionaries, etc...This is my coming out email for going "mainstream"... :) also, much of what follows goes ditto for the netroots in a virtual sorta way...  

"Dear family and friends...

Spent all day today working out in Tracy at the Mcnerney campaign to unseat Richard Pombo (with my cousin Katie and friend Eric!) and I must say this was one of the more wonderful days of my life. It's hard to describe the feeling of tromping around all day in the beautiful weather, surrounded by SUVs, quiet neighborhoods, streets that are all named either Sycamore Way or Weeping Willow Lane, huge lines at the polling station, the ragtag band of rebels gathering at the home of Martha Gamez,  perhaps my greatest hero of all time--a woman in her sixties who hasn't slept more than 2 hours a night for a week organizing this vast army of eager but entirely clueless Bay Areans into an eager, happy bunch of door-knockers and still managing to give out hugs and laughs and wow Americans sure can be decent wonderful people sometimes. Today was the day the last smoldering coals of cynicism died in my Election-2000-encrusted-heart. As the sun went down on the vast flat aquamarine skies of the valley, and we stood at the poll watching a huge line of happy, talkative voters wait patiently for their turn and a little posse of sleazy-looking Republicans started snooping around and looking ominous and I thought "No, today, you are not going to do anything. Because we are here. For the first time, I am not watching you fuck this up on the news afterwards anymore. I am here, and so are thousands upon thousands like me. There's Jeb who sat (mostly stood) all day at the poll, that's  12 hours if you're counting, watching for problems. There's Lee who I became best friends with for a day as we got lost in the spiraling suburbs over and over, there's Carolyn who's been traveling across the country with her husband in their RV and they decided to stop here in Tracy for a month and get this election won. And more..."

From now on, anytime you hear me say anything bitter or angry about the American people, you remind me of this day. You remind of the folks in their seventies and the college kids who patiently knocked at doors and worked like their lives depended on it and shocked those little worms. The operatives who were flown in from DC by Pombo and the RNC were defeated by a mob of smiling seniors and housewives and berkeley students and painters and laborers. And then while I was standing there as the poll wrapped up and talked to my friend Eric who said it sounded like they were projecting  a 30 seat pickup for Dems a chill went through me. I thought, everywhere around the country in small towns in Nebraska and Colorado and New Hampshire and Pennsylvania, there were people just like me doing this very thing and it meant something. The Democrats hardly even matter in this equation, and they will probably do their best to squander this. But it's too late. People know that working hard enough and watching enough and caring enough actually do make the little guy win every once in a while. That's a very dangerous feeling to have. I've never worked a campaign before on the street, and I will never let one go by again without knocking on some doors. I saw this short, balding, rather quiet, decent older alternative-energy consultant start with a write-in campaign and finish by defeating one of the most powerful, corrupt and poisonous people in congress. And all we did was go door to door and talk to folks. I know I'm not the only one who's gone all-in on this process now. I live here, my beautiful niece and nephew live here, my wonderful parents live here, all my amazing cousins and uncles and the spirits of our grandparents and we honor them in this work. I'm tired of being angry at this place. Time to make some things grow that (my nieces and nephews) Orion and Ivy and Sebastian and the generation before them can tend when they get old.

If you ever want to see where this war is going to be won, walk out on those streets with these people some day. You might never be able to curse or generalize again."

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Armageddon really is here, Ted Haggard is gay!

All over the news is Ted Haggard, the (now former) leader of the influential National Association of Evangelicals, being caught paying for a male prostitute. Wow, those Republicans sure are a racy bunch! My favorite part is that the male prostitute is 49 years old! How sweet!

It sucks to be a fundamentalist christian right now...

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Clarifying Candidates

The candidates.

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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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Dancing With Tom Delay

Wow, the Republicans have even spread their taint to reality's being reported that Sara Evans, who had been championed by Tom Delay on the reality show "Dancing With The Stars" as a wholesome answer to the "ultra-liberal" Jerry Springer, has quit the show amidst a divorce scandal. It gets better (from the NY Times):

In unusually explicit court papers, Ms. Evans accused her husband of adultery with the couple's former nanny, excessive drinking, soliciting sex via an Internet site and maintaining a library of pornography that included pictures of him having sex with other women.

There's more in the extended entry about her husband's conservative activism...

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Nice to see Compassionate Conservatism Again

I love how quickly Republicans become liberal Democrats the moment they run into personal trouble. Despite passing laws that criminalize having an Arabic name, they suddenly want us all to have compassion for a pedophile. He's an alcoholic, he was molested as a child, and my favorite--that they didn't want to seem anti-gay, so they didn't make a fuss about Foley.

This, of course, puts all of us soft, compassionate, underdog-supporting liberals in a funny position--Do we truly care about reforming troubled people? Are we really for people over politics? The very thing they criticize and ridicule and use to defeat us in elections they are now relying on to squirm loose from the quicksand they built themselves.

I say we welcome them with open arms. Let them know how much we respect and value their decision to become liberals (it appears that, according to Fox, Foley has already become a Democrat). Instead of punishing Foley, they talked to him and trusted him to reform. I'm just very touched with the gentleness with which they tried to coax this tortured man into health. If Hastert resigns his leadership post, we can offer him a leadership post at the ACLU...Foley can spearhead (from his jail cell) support for Bill Clinton in fighting AIDS...Reynolds can do work with Planned Parenthood, helping kids to understand their sexuality...and best of all, Tony "Just a Couple Naughty Emails" Snow will be assigned to the newly created Ministry of Sexual Openness and Freedom.

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Microcosms for Change

I was at a BBQ the other day, and the conversation, as it often does, circled around to politics. After we talked about Lamont, the midterms, etc, someone said:

"Well, in San Francisco, we live in a bit of a bubble. It's hard to tell what's going on in the rest of the country." This woman piped up and said "Well, actually, my entire Michigan family has voted Republican forever. Of my eight immediate family members who voted Republican in 2002, only one voted Republican in 2004. And now, not only are they not voting Republican, but they're rabidly anti-Republican. In their small, conservative town, they've formed a group to help unseat the GOP. There's only 13 members, but they're plugging away. I swear, everytime I see them, all they talk about is defeating the bastards. They're all old school Republicans, against abortion but pro-choice, fiscally conservative, Christians. But Bush pushed them too far."

When I hear stories like that, I think how brilliant Howard Dean's every state strategy is. 13 people in some small town who can be formed into a political force that never existed before. Mainstream Democrats don't realize the tidal wave that's forming. Lieberman was the first Dem to be swept into the tide. Like the Republican "revolution" of the '80s, there is an ache for change in people you wouldn't normally identify as Democrats. I'll never forget Neil Young saying he voted for Reagan. He said he responded to the positivity and forcefulness of Reagan. Democrats who can woo the equivalent in the Republican party, people looking for leadership without regard to party, will be the politicians who ride this wave.

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