Obama's Missed Opportunity

Campaign emails don't usually excite me.  I'm on so many lists that some days it's all I can do to even glance at them.  But the subject line of Obama's latest email caught my eye.  It read: Organizing Fellowship.  The word fellowship got me interested.

From the email emphasis mine:

I got my chance on the South Side of Chicago, as a community organizer, and it was the transformative experience of my career.

It allowed me to put my values to work and to see that real change comes not from the top-down, but from the bottom-up, when ordinary people come together around a common purpose.

The experience changed the course of my life -- and I want to share that kind of opportunity with you.

That's why we're introducing a program that's going to train a new generation of leaders -- not only to help us win this election, but to help strengthen our democracy in communities across the country.

The Obama campaign has set up an application page on their website and included a video with the Senator urging people to apply. The email ends with Obama saying that by working together ordinary people can do extraordinary things.

But there's a problem.  The fellowships don't pay a salary and they don't offer a stipend.  How many ordinary people, excluding students but honestly most students can't afford to do this either, do you know that could apply for an unpaid three month position?

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Obama's Missed Opportunity

Campaign emails don't usually excite me.  I'm on so many lists that some days it's all I can do to even glance at them.  But the subject line of Obama's latest email caught my eye.  It read: Organizing Fellowship.  The word fellowship got me interested.

From the email emphasis mine:

I got my chance on the South Side of Chicago, as a community organizer, and it was the transformative experience of my career.

It allowed me to put my values to work and to see that real change comes not from the top-down, but from the bottom-up, when ordinary people come together around a common purpose.

The experience changed the course of my life -- and I want to share that kind of opportunity with you.

That's why we're introducing a program that's going to train a new generation of leaders -- not only to help us win this election, but to help strengthen our democracy in communities across the country.

The Obama campaign has set up an application page on their website and included a video with the Senator urging people to apply. The email ends with Obama saying that by working together ordinary people can do extraordinary things.

But there's a problem.  The fellowships don't pay a salary and they don't offer a stipend.  How many ordinary people, excluding students but honestly most students can't afford to do this either, do you know that could apply for an unpaid three month position?

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Start Fighting Now

Full Disclosure: I am proud to work at ActBlue.

Are you ready to to take back the White House?  I know I am. 

At the moment we don't know who the Democratic nominee will be.  What we do know is that both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have inspired voters across the nation.  We also know that no matter who the nominee is they're going to need a sizable war chest to defeat the McCain machine.

I'm ready to start fighting now.  And ActBlue has a way to do that: the Presumptive Democratic Nominee fund for President.  Contributions will be forwarded to the Democratic nominee as soon as he or she has secured the nomination.

Political Director Erin Hill just sent an email out to ActBlue users explaining more.  Below is an excerpt from that email.  Emphasis mine.

The Republicans have their nominee. Time and time again, this is where
Democrats are most vulnerable: we take months to select a nominee, and
we fight divided against a unified Republican voice.

The hardest, the biggest, the most important fight right now is the fight for the White House.

We need everyone to start working on building a war chest for
the Democratic Nominee. That's why we've created a way for you to help
our nominee even before he or she is chosen.

https://secure.actblue.com/contribute/pa ge/startfightingnow

Donate today to help our candidate hit the ground running.

Are you ready to start fighting now?  Below the fold are some steps you can take.

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The Myth of Joe Lieberman (John McCain)

The McCain campaign blasted an email from none other than CT's own Joe Lieberman today.  In it Lieberman explains his endorsement of John McCain calling him "no ordinary candidate." If the email sounds familiar that's because this is nothing more than Joe Lieberman's best hits: digitally remastered and compiled on a three disc set for a bargain price.  Call now!

For Example:

In this critical election, no one should let party lines be a barrier to choosing the person we believe is best qualified to lead our nation forward. The problems that confront us are too great, the threats we face too real, and the opportunities we have too exciting for us to play partisan politics with the Presidency.

and

When others were silent, and it was thought politically unpopular, John had the courage and common sense to sound the alarm about the mistakes we were making in Iraq and to call for more troops and a new strategy there. And when others wavered, when others wanted to retreat from the field of battle, John had the courage and the common sense to stand against the tide of public opinion and support the surge in Iraq, where we are at last winning.

Unity, bipartisanship, courage: staples of the Joe Lieberman myth.  Lieberman's support will surely mean an influx of Independent support for John McCain, right?  But it turns out that the Independent support is also part of the mythology.

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Lieberman to Endorse McCain

I'm not surprised really.  He's been hinting at doing this since losing the primary last year.

Details at the Politico:

The two will appear together on NBC's "Today" show tomorrow, then at an 8 a.m. town hall in Hillsborough, N.H.

The move, which will help cultivate McCain's moderate status, is an effort to draw attention to the McCain campaign, which needs a splash. Otherwise, it does not make sense for McCain because it will only remind core Republicans why they distrust him.

Independents are an important factor in New Hampshire, and McCain, who won the state in 2000, is now depending on them.

The announcement looks like an effort to stem a stream of independents moving to Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.)

A year later, I'm still proud that CT Democrats had the good sense to get rid of him.

Update [2007-12-16 15:42:50 by Jonathan Singer]: With Lieberman endorsing a Republican for President and Bob Kerrey apparently endorsing a Democrat, it's sure a good thing that folks considered the two to be exactly alike in opposing the latter's Senate bid in Nebraska this cycle...

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Rudy the Reluctant New Yorker

There is a large segment of the US population that loves to hate NYC.  I'm pretty sure this is why New York gets destroyed in so many movies.  Audiences love to see monsters, natural disasters, and giant marshmallow men take a crippling bite out of the big apple.  

No one understands this better than Rudy Giuliani.  He's waged his entire campaign war chest on hostility towards New York.  Rudy Giuliani isn't the product of everything wonderful that NYC has to offer, but a fighter who has survived growing up in America's most reviled city and lived to tell the tale.

So it makes sense that Giuliani runs against his hometown.  Last week's New York Magazine takes a close look at how Rudy talks about NYC on the campaign trail.  It's interesting reading, even if you're already familiar with the Giuliani narrative.

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CT-04 Pub Quiz Part Deux


`Tis the season to support Jim Himes, share a drink with you fellow Democrats, and show off your mad trivia skillz.

What: That's right.  It's time for another end of quarter blograiser.  You don't have to be a trivia whiz - just have a good sense of humor, an interest in history, politics, or current events, and a strong desire to work for better leadership in Washington by electing Jim Himes to Congress.

Our September event was attended by over 60 people and raised over $4500 for the the Himes campaign. Relive the magic at the official liveblog thread, including a play by play of the game and plenty of pictures.

Essential details Below the fold.

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When Passions Collide

This week Matt Gunterman of Ditch Mitch took issue with Markos and MyDD's Jonathan Singer promoting Crit Luallen over other potential KY Democrats considering a run against McConnell.  


Unfortunately, many of those big-name bloggers took the good news and managed to alienate needlessly a significant portion of the grassroots in Kentucky with it. Of particular note are Kos of DailyKos and Jonathan Singer of MyDD who ended their posts on the matter with nearly identical lines. To quote Singer, "If you want to help turn up the heat on McConnell, head over to DraftCrit.com -- which is seeking to get Democratic state Auditor Crit Luallen to run for the Senate -- to get involved."

Now, everybody here knows that Crit Luallen (D) isn't the only Democrat considering a run against Mitch McConnell. Attorney General Greg Stumbo (D) and Lt. Col. Andrew Horne (D) are actively doing so, as well. Everybody knows that; it's been talked about for months now.

And since everybody knows that, that's what makes the singular focus of Kos and Singer on the draft Luallen movement (which is by no means a bottom-up, grassroots effort; it's entirely driven by the Kentucky Democratic establishment) a blatant dissing of Stumbo, Horne, and their respective supporters.

This is the most recent example of tension between national and state bloggers, but it wasn't the first and won't be the last.  Back in August Chris Bowers wrote a post about his own experiences with that tension.  He'd received a lot of pushback from local bloggers over Blue Majority's pre-primary endorsement of Al Franken and the Bush Dogs campaign.  Chris took the position that you don't have to live in a state or congressional district to justify your interest and involvement in a race.  

As a state blogger I can understand where the pushback comes from.  State and local bloggers eat, sleep, and breathe local politics.  In covering the political process in our states we do gain a knowledge and insight into races that national bloggers just aren't likely to have.  Most local bloggers have probably had the experience of reading a well meaning post on a national blog where the author missed crucial points, or misunderstood what was going on at the ground level entirely.  It's frustrating, and figuring out how to respond isn't easy.  There's always the risk that rather than extinguishing a fire you'll cause it to spread.  

I'm interested in this tension because I'm certain we'll see more examples of it next year.  That isn't necessarily a bad thing.  Bloggers, no matter what aspect of the political process we cover, are passionate about our areas of expertise.  Once in awhile those passions are going to collide and disagreements will surface.  How we handle those differences within the netroots community is more important than any isolated disagreements we may have.    

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Post-Thanksgiving Open Thread

Yesterday I ate too much turkey.  Today I watched too much Spongebob.  

How was your Thanksgiving?

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I Support Chris Dodd

In the beginning I wasn't that excited about Chris Dodd's run for the Presidency.  I've always had a high opinion of Dodd as a public official, but President?  Really?  Initially the idea of him running didn't really inspire or interest me at all.

But Chris Dodd has won me over.  He's a fighter, a man who realizes it isn't enough to be right on the issues you have to fight the good fight.  Chris Dodd isn't paying lip service to fighting telecom immunity, restoring Habeas Corpus, and ending the war in Iraq.  Chris Dodd isn't paying lip service to domestic issues like the mortgage crisis.  Chris Dodd is fighting the good fight and engaging citizens in the process every step of the way.

Restoring the Constitution
Chris Dodd is the only candidate who has made restoring Habeas Corpus the centerpiece of his campaign.   Dodd has utilized his dual roles as candidate and Senator to advocate for and build a coalition in support of The Habeas Corpus Restoration Act.

Chris Dodd's passion for the rule of law is apparent in his op-ed written for the Huffington Post on June 7, 2007.

At issue in these cases is not simply whether Omar Khadr and Salim Ahmed Hamdan are "lawful" or "unlawful" enemy combatants as the judges have determined. Rather, what is at stake is whether America stands for what is right or what is wrong -- whether we stand for justice that secures America or vengeance that weakens us. What is at stake is the rule of law, America's moral authority and their vital connection to America's security.

Indeed, one of the saddest days in my 26-year career in the Senate occurred last fall when the Congress passed the Military Commissions Act (MCA), allowing evidence obtained through torture to be admitted into evidence, denying individuals the right to counsel, the right to invoke the Geneva Conventions. Indeed, with passage of the MCA, Congress removed the single most important and effective safeguard of liberty man has known:

The right of habeas corpus, permitting prisoners to be brought before court to determine whether their detainment is lawful.

It's not just the battle, but how Dodd waged it.  Chris Dodd's campaign has turned fighting for this bill into an interactive civics lesson about the legislative branch.  Every step of the process was presented on the web, and people were encouraged to participate via the citizen generated whip count.  Dodd has done what many people wouldn't have thought possible: made government exciting.  

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Diaries

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