SHOULD PROGRESSIVES STOP CONTRIBUTING TO THE DCCC & DSCC? THE DEBATE SPREADS

Sam in DC here at My DD has posed an interesting question, and an inevitable one for anyone who has been reading my series on Rahm Emanuel (here and here and here and here and, most recetly, here). Should progressives starve the DSCC and the DCCC? This is what Sam wrote:

"As yesterday's disappointing episode on the Senate floor shows, there need to be new Dems representing us. While I would never jump ship and join another party, I do believe that we must show that these senators need to stand for something. I propose the netroots cut funding to the DNC, DSCC, and DCCC, so long as there are politicians within the party willing to be feed off our money, but refusing to stand for our principals."

[Let me break in here a moment and say that my own research has shown me that the DCCC under Boss Emanuel is the sworn and mortal enemy of progressive Democrats; to treat anything Emanuel-oriented differently than we'd treat something DeLay-oriented is something we-- progressives-- do at our peril. I am not as certain that the DSCC is as bad, although it looks pretty bad, especially if you look at the kind of assistance the DSCC is giving the odious Bob Casey against grassroots progressive Chuck Pennacchio in Pennsylvania. (I bet the DSCC would never get behind Carl Sheeler in his bid to dislodge Lincoln Chafee in Rhode Island.) As for the DNC, I have no idea at all why Sam is lumping them in with these guys. The DNC seems to have reformed itself tremendously since the bad old days of Terry McCauliffe. I haven't seen even one instance of them doing anything to harm progressives or grassroots candidates and I have seen them doing a lot of good in terms of strengthening local Democratic parties and becoming less and less of an out-of-touch Beltway agency for politicians'-career-enhancement. I feel confident that the DNC should be left out of this move.] Back to Sam:

"Now, its true that there are plenty of good Democrats who rely on these DC-based operations and it helps to have a well-funded national party. Still, there are ways to channel your money to quality candidates and the Democratic cause without going through an establishment out of touch with its base and unwilling to represent the 48% of America that voted for John Kerry and the majority that legitimately elected Al Gore in 2000."

[I hate to interrupt again so soon, but Bush did not legitimately get more votes than Kerry. The 2004 election was so compromised by Republican/Diebold electronic vote rigging that it is inaccurate to imply that Bush was elected president. I just can never let that pass-- for the record.]

"For instance, rather than giving to the DSCC, why not funnel our contributions to the specific campaigns of senators or primary challengers who represent our interests. Or perhaps, if one is concerned that such efforts will damage the 50-state strategy of the DNC, why not send that money directly to the states? Do we really need to channel our money through an out of touch DC establishment? Additionally, why not fund organizations like DFA, Move On, or ACT if you are concerned about leaving the organizing operation solely to the states (some of which have yet to truly develop successful operations since JFK)?

"In essence, what I am proposing is forcing our party's politicians to think twice about their votes. Without a willingness on our part to put some teeth behind our words and beliefs, then we stand in no better position than those senators who voted against every issue they supposedly believe in order to cave in and vote for Alito (or for cloture). No senator should get a free pass and know they can vote against our interests, but still receive contributions through the DSCC and DNC; otherwise, the netroots stand for nothing."

Overall I like Sam's idea-- and it's certainly what I've been practicing for many many years before  Alito became a household word. Even when I was just a small kid growing up in Brooklyn I was painfully aware not just of powerful reactionary and racist congressmen and senators from The South holding back progressive legislation, but of my own egregiously right-wing swine of a Democratic congressman (right there in Flatbush!!), Emmanuel Celler. I understood very quickly the difference between helping out a congressman like Bill Ryan on the Upper West Side (who was one of only 4 congressmen to oppose a veritable declaration of war against the Vietnamese people based on Lyndon Johnson's bogus Gulf of Tonkin provocation) and aiding the Democratic Party apparatus that was almost as corrupt back then as the DeLay/Frist/Bush/Abramoff Republican regime is now.

Until Howard Dean became DNC chair I never gave to any arm of the Democratic Party. Sometimes when I get those annoying mailers asking for money for the DCCC (Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the machine Emanuel runs) or the DSCC (Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, currently run by Chuck Schumer) I actually write back to them about particularly egregious examples of Democrats who are worse than Republicans, like Lieberman or one or both Nelsons in the Senate or a whole gaggle of really atrocious Democrats in the House.

In fact, let me say something about the worst Democrats in the House. How do you know who they are? EASY as pie. Go to the official DCCC Races to Watch page and you will immediately see one, and only one, large red link; it says "Frontline 10 Incumbents." This is a list of endangered Democratic incumbents-- the ones the DCCC wants your money for the most (not, for example Julia Carson of Indiana, a liberal endangered incumbent). On this list are some of the most reactionary members of Congress, so-called Democrats who can be counted on to vote with the Republicans-- but only on the really important issues: Melissa Bean of Illinois (75), Jim Matheson of Utah (63), Charlie Melancon of Louisiana (63), Chet Edwards of Texas (68), Leonard Boswell of Iowa (67), Dennis Moore of What's Wrong With Kansas (74), John Salazar of Colorado (73), Stephanie Herseth of South Dakota (69) and John Barrow of Georgia (70) (New York's Brian Higgins [81] is also on this list but he's just a run-of-the-mill moderate Democrat, not a true reactionary). Now what are those little bracketed numbers after the names? Good question; believe me, the DCCC doesn't include them. These are the scores that ProgressivePunch comes up with after rating each of our legislators based on an exhaustive record of voting. For comparison's sake, take a look at what some well-known political figures get: Hillary Clinton (92), Joe Lieberman (76), Tom DeLay (3), Barbara Boxer (95), Dick Pombo (6), Henry Waxman (92), Barack Obama (93), John McCain (50), Russ Feingold (89), Barney Frank (93), Bill Frist (4), Dianne Feinstein (84)... and the two Nelsons? Ben Nelson, the Nebraska make-believe Democrat who loves Alito (50) and Florida's Bill Nelson, who we will all dutifullyat least root for, rounds it out with a barely respectable 83. I said "barely respectable 83" because anything under an 80 is too close to right wing reactionary territory for me to handle. (By the way, there are even a few more horrendously reactionary Democrats than the DCCC endangered conservatives: the recently infamous Henry Cuellar [62] and Jim Marshall [62], for example.)

My point: you probably don't want your personal hard-earned dollars going to these people who will generally vote for the Alitos, against woman's issues and gay issues; many will tend to be hawkish and xenophobic, reflexively anti-Labor and pro-corporation. I mean if that's what you want, send a check to Rahm Emanuel today-- although why you're reading MyDD puzzles me-- but if you want to contribute to genuinely progressive Democrats... well, it's a little harder (but the best things always are, aren't they?) You really should research the candidates-- and the internet and Google make that pretty damn easy-- or at least give to organizations that are proven to support progressives. (Plug: you can also go to the DWTACT BLUE Page and pick a candidate or two or three to donate whatever you feel like. We're open 24/7 and every penny goes right to the candidate and every penny is appreciated.) There may be a candidate or two that the DCCC and I both like-- Charlie Brown, Francine Busby and Lois Murphy are great examples-- but in all those cases, these are not Emanuel-recruited candidates; they are grassroots candidates who were simply too strong in their districts for him to screw with. The ones I'll be endorsing in primary races will be progressives who are struggling to challenge Emanuel's hand-picked reactionary hacks. Count on it.

Crossposted from Down With Tyranny

Tags: Chuck Pennacchio, dccc, netroots fundraising, rahm emanuel (all tags)

Comments

29 Comments

Why this is still being debated?

If someone doesn't want to contribute to DSCC & DCCC, then don't.  Give your money directly to a candidate that you can support, if that is what you want to do.

Before Howard Dean became DNC chair, I never donated to the DNC because I never knew what my money was being used for.  Now, I have a better idea and am comfortable with donating.

Will I give to D-trip or DSCC?  Probably not.  I'm not happy with Emmanuel and I was disappointed in how the DSCC decided Bob Casey Jr was their man.  But, I would consider donating to Ciro Rodriguez, Ned Lamont, Jon Tester, or any other candidate I think is worth supporting.

The problem with this debate is that donating is a highly personal act.  People donate for many reasons and blanket directives to "starve" the DCCC and DSCC aren't useful.

by KimPossible 2006-02-05 03:13PM | 0 recs
Re: Why this is still being debated?

If someone doesn't want to contribute to DSCC & DCCC, then don't.

My thoughts precisely.

by Alice Marshall 2006-02-06 09:53AM | 0 recs
Well

Your post is ridiculous. The DSCC and DCCC support congressional candidates that they believe have the best chance of winning. In the case of the PA Senate race it's not Chuck Pennachio in spite of what everyone here thinks. The DSCC isn't going to throw money against untested candidates with no experience and who can't fundraise. That's the brutal reality.

As for the "ten most vulnerable Democrats", does it really surprise you that most of them come from marginal to conservative districts not hospitable to the "progressive" values that many here support? Could it be that the type of candidate you want would fail miserably in a place like Utah, Colorado, or Kansas? Can you really force a far left candidate on a hositle electorate? Maybe these "ten most vulnerable Democrats" are "awful" because they come districts that are "progressive"? Did that ever occur to you?

Your logic confounds me. You really would rather have people who support your interests 0% of the time rather than someone who supports them 80% of the time? If I read your "index" correctly you don't consider someone who supports your agenda 80% of the time "worthy?"

The DSCC and the DCCC have the mandate of electing Democrats to office. Ideology is not their main consideration. They aren't going to support long-shot candidates to appease the far left.

by jiacinto 2006-02-05 04:43PM | 0 recs
Re: Well

Agreed. Both organizations are arms of the Democratic Party, which is a large coalition made up of liberals, moderates, and conservatives. THe party is formed around basic principles, and the purpose of the campaign commitees is to fund candidates who share those principles and can win, regardless of their ideological leanings. Liberals have a choice: to work within the party like every other part of the coalition, or try to blackmail the party and overplay its hand. You want to prove your worth to the party establishment? Flood OH or MT or AZ or MO with liberal activists and money and take out an incumbent Republican. That'll impress Washington.

by bluenc 2006-02-05 06:23PM | 0 recs
Re: Well

It just amazes me how people don't understand that certain types of candidates can't win in the "red" part of the map. Maybe the top ten vulnerable Democrats are the most moderate to conservative because their districts are either evenly divided or slightly to heavily Republican? Did the original poster ever realize that in some of these districts a majority of voters may not be supportive of "progressive values" to the extent of most people here?

by jiacinto 2006-02-05 06:29PM | 0 recs
Wrong

and the purpose of the campaign commitees is to fund candidates who share those principles and can win, regardless of their ideological leanings.

The purpose of the DSCC and DCCC is to fund incumbants who have contributed to their kitty. The DCCC has a formal policy of not interferring in primaries, but violates it with regularity in favor of corporate sockpuppets.

Liberals have a choice of boycotting contributions to all formal Democratic power structures that discriminate against liberals.

The way to prove our value to the Democratic Party is by taking down Lieberman and working our butts off to see Cegelis and Pennacchio win their primaries. That's how to get the attention of Democratic apparatchiks.

by Gary Boatwright 2006-02-06 08:13AM | 0 recs
Re: Wrong

What you call interference, the DCCC calls encouraging viable candidates. Their job is to encourage electable candidates to run. Candidates who are more electable (according to the DCCC's criteria) will get more encouragement. If you don't like their criteria, you're free to just not give them money, but they're just doing their job.

by bluenc 2006-02-06 01:09PM | 0 recs
Re: Wrong

They call them viable to disguise the fact that most are corporate, and make certain big time donors happy. Casey is against national health insurance which means he sucks on economics too.  He also voted for Alito who will be the biggest corporate whore on the bench.

by Dameocrat 2006-02-17 11:59AM | 0 recs
I don't agree

The ideological slant has little to do with the areas politics. The bankruptcy bill was a loser in all part of the country, but it doesn't stop these people from pushing candidates that supported it.  Casey's antichoice politics certainly aren't necessary to win Pennsylvania.  

by Dameocrat 2006-02-06 09:39AM | 0 recs
Re: I don't agree

The DSCC backs Casey not because of his position on abortion, but because he's the Democrat with the best chance of beating Santorum. I repeat, he was elected last time with more votes than any other candidate for statewide office in PA history.

by bluenc 2006-02-06 01:12PM | 0 recs
Re: Well
DSCC is screwing up royally here in TN.  Dems have a winnable Senate race down here.  We also have TWO viable Dem candidates Rosalind Kurita and Harold Ford, Jr. However, Schumer refuses to list her on the DSCC website.  This is galling for a couple of reasons.
First, the DSCC doesn't know a damn thing about who is/isn't a legit candidate.  For a variety of reasons, Kurita is a much more attractive candidate.  the DSCC does a disservice to the party by signaling to donors throughout the country that there is no primary race here.
Second, it is annoying because the DSCC is actually trying to push out the more progressive candidate, Kurita.  
Ultimately, the DSCC seems to be acting without regard to electibility of the candidates or their stances on issues.  
by BobbyDem 2006-02-06 12:41PM | 0 recs
Absolutely right on target

We can never have too many reminders of how corrupt and ineffective the Democratic Party leadership has become. I'm still not convinced that buying Democracy Bonds to support Dean and the DNC won't actually end up helping the DLC Dems more than the progressive Dems we should be supporting.

My personal preference is to only contribute to candidates whose values I agree with.

by Gary Boatwright 2006-02-05 07:09PM | 0 recs
Troll?

I'm not exactly sure about this, but I think DownWithTyranny could very well likely be a troll.  Both diaries he has written and all his comments seem to only create a circular firing squad, and they're always trying to convince others that we should starve the DSCC, DCCC, DNC.  Honestly now, if you don't like the tactics the DCCC is using, don't contribute to them.  But their mission is to elect Democrats to the House, so our success will be dependent on their success, and their success will be dependent (at least partially) on donations from people like us. So telling everyone to "starve" the DCCC doesn't seem to me to be a very good idea.

Until DownWithTyranny does something to indicate he's NOT a troll, I'm going to regard his diaries and comments as troll material.

by Fran for Dean 2006-02-05 09:22PM | 0 recs
A Stopped Clock

Even a stopped clock is correct twice a day. A contribution to either the DCCC or the DSCC is more harmful to our republic than a contribution to the RNC or David Horowitz.

by Gary Boatwright 2006-02-06 03:17AM | 0 recs
Re: Troll?

Don't worry Fran For Dean, I'm not a troll and I'm too polite to ask if you're a troll for Rahm Emanuel. Please check out my blog-- or, better yet, ask our mutual friend Mr. Dean. (My name is Howie Klein, by the way.) I am a progressive first and foremost, not a politician and not a Democrat in the sense that I support corruption and bad policies as long as they're not Republican corruption and bad policies. I have a tendency to hold my noise come Novembers and vote for Democrats I rate a "C" over Republicans I rate an "F." But this isn't November; it is primary time. And as a progressive I am eager to see grassroots activists and anti-war and progressive candidates get a chance to challenge Republican incumbents on the field of ideas.

Now I want to challenge you, who are smart enough to understand that Howard Dean represents the best chance of the Democratic Party, to do the research I-- and many others-- have done into Rahm Emanuel's actvities in sabotaging the candidacies of local Democratic Party activists. Instead of accusing me of being a troll, pick a race in a congressional district with a vulnerable Republican incumbent and check into the Democratic challengers. You may be in for the shock of your life. (One of the districts I looked into--
Florida's 16th CD
-- is a primary race that pits an extremely intelligent school teacher activist with clear progressive ideas and the ability to communicate them against a REPUBLICAN millionaire with no ideas and no charisma recruited by Emanuel who is demanding that the actual Democrat withdraw for the sake of "party unity.") And I've been finding races like that-- and local activists who are pissed off-- all over the country.

Progressives are about ideas. Politicians are-- more often than not-- about their own careers. Confuse the two at your own risk. Progressives have an opportunity to run good candidates against a discredited and wounded Republican establishment. If we just blindly follow the DCCC (which I do not associate with the DNC as you probably saw in my post), we can do our ideas more harm than good when Democrats-- if they even win--  start to prove that corruption, though not Abramoff, really is bi-partisan.

by DownWithTyranny 2006-02-06 09:10AM | 0 recs
Re: Troll?

Howie I love yah.  This is Jenn.

by Dameocrat 2006-02-06 09:42AM | 0 recs
Re: Troll?

I think you can be pretty confident I'm not trolling for Rahm Emmanuel.  I myself will not be donating to the DCCC and am quite disappointed in the decisions he has made, specifically with regards to Tammy Duckworth and the IL-06 primary.  I have made a few donations to Christine Cegelis specifically to counter the bullshit that he's pulling there.

However, that is not to say that I don't want the DCCC to be successful in what it does (electing Democrats to the House).  I do, but I just don't agree with the tactics they're using to do that, and as such, I am choosing to not donate to the DCCC for now, and instead to donate to individual candidates and to other campaign committees (like the DNC, and to a lesser extent the DSCC).  But in the end, for us to be successful, the DCCC needs to be successful, so calling for everyone to "starve" the DCCC seems very counter-productive.

My question of whether you're a troll is not because I disagree with you that what the DCCC is doing is not right, but rather because it seems that every post that you have made so far on MyDD has been bashing Democrats and Democratic organizations.

by Fran for Dean 2006-02-06 09:51AM | 0 recs
Dissent is patriotic

'Nuff said.

by Gary Boatwright 2006-02-06 10:01AM | 0 recs
Re: Dissent is patriotic

I never attempted to squash dissent.  Look two inches above your post where I voiced my own disagreements with Rahm Emmanuel.  All I'm saying is that calling to "starve" organizations whose objectives are to elect Democrats is counter-productive, and if that's the only thing that you've done since joining this blog, I'm going to be skeptical about your motives.

by Fran for Dean 2006-02-06 10:07AM | 0 recs
Support Progressive Fundraising Orgs

Don't support organizations that are not supportive of progressive candidates/issues/policy.  

We are building momentum.  You don't do that by supporting the status quo and then bitching when they don't do what you want.  If we want attention and influence bundle the money in progressive fundraising organizations that support progressive candidates that can win.

Simple really.

by aiko 2006-02-06 03:36AM | 0 recs
Ugh

This is how we lose creditability.  The more we donate the more dependent they will become on the grassroots!  If we stop donating, they'll look, even more towards corporate America for donations and continue to embrace their policies.  If we donate, they'll be forced to listen to us and you'll see the party move to the left.

by jkfp2004 2006-02-06 04:20AM | 0 recs
No

Our money will be obvious to all--no matter where it goes.

by aiko 2006-02-06 08:30AM | 0 recs
Double UGH

Another example of the "carrot and the carrot" approach. If they don't act in a manner you like...give 'em even more money!

Nope, I say donate to whom you respect, be it candidate or org.

by ElitistJohn 2006-02-06 08:43AM | 0 recs
Exactly

Since the DLC, DCCC and DSCC and DCCC are beneath contempt, everyone should freely contribute to any other Democratic organization that they respect.

Is it even possible for individuals to contribute to the DLC or are they entirely dependent on corporate scumbags for their funding?

by Gary Boatwright 2006-02-06 08:53AM | 0 recs
Re: SHOULD PROGRESSIVES STOP CONTRIBUTING TO THE D

The 2006 is the most important midterm election in decades.  If progressives choose to have their voices ignored in the national debate, we will allow  the right wing to define the key issues of the day (national security, foreign policy, immigration, globalization).  Unfortunately, the Democratic Party, with its current batch of politicians, refuses to debate these issues on a national stage and truly educate the voting public.  Rather, the party (namely the Senate and House) prefers to provide limited criticism coated with language implying that maybe the right wing approach isn't all that bad.

After these politicians sacrifice the very values of the Democratic Party while performing their functions as elected officials bearing the party's name, they come to the base and ask for money so they can stay in the K Street provided luxury homes in DC, far away from where there actions can be scrutinized.

We, as knowledgeable progressives, should demand accountability.  My suggestion was meant to spur debate among progressives.  As we head into primary season, we must speak with one voice to take back our party, first, so that we can take back our country.  There are real issues at stake with viable progressive solutions that can sell in blue, red, and purple America.  Unfortunately, the current Dems are not selling these principles.  We must clean house.

by SamInDC 2006-02-06 06:28AM | 0 recs
Re: SHOULD PROGRESSIVES STOP CONTRIBUTING TO THE D

We, as knowledgeable progressives, should demand accountability.  My suggestion was meant to spur debate among progressives.  As we head into primary season, we must speak with one voice to take back our party, so that we can take back our country.  There are real issues at stake with viable progressive solutions that can sell in blue, red, and purple America.  Unfortunately, the current Dems are not selling these principles.  We must clean house.  Why donate to the status quo?

by SamInDC 2006-02-06 06:30AM | 0 recs
Donate to Cegelis & Pennacchio & Lampson

Let the Democratic Party worry about every other race, unless you have a local or state favorite.

by Gary Boatwright 2006-02-06 08:15AM | 0 recs
Re: SHOULD PROGRESSIVES STOP CONTRIBUTING?

I support the sentiment.  However, if we are going to use sticks instead of carrots on the Demcratic leadership then we have an obligation to do so only after verifying that they are not behaving.

As DWTyranny pointed out, SamInDC was simply wrong about the DNC.  The DNC is a radically different beast than it was under Terry Mac.

I would argue that the DNC needs our support now more than ever.  The media, the GOP, and the beltway Dems all have a vested interest in seeing Dean's fund-raising and fund-allocation models fail.  Despite Dean's great successes, I continue to see stories suggesting that he has let the Dems fall far behind on his watch.  We need to prove that b.s. wrong.

by space 2006-02-06 09:31AM | 0 recs
Should progressive stop the money flow

Progressives contributing, that's a laugh. Many progressives, except a small number were put out of work due to the dieing breed of manufacturing jobs.

by mleflo2 2006-02-07 01:16AM | 0 recs

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