SHOULD PROGRESSIVES STOP CONTRIBUTING TO THE DCCC & DSCC? THE DEBATE SPREADS
by DownWithTyranny, Sun Feb 05, 2006 at 02:56:11 PM EST
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  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  and Jim Marshall , 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