Crisis of Faith

I'm having a crisis of faith today. Not in the sense you might assume though. I've always been a big proponent of the Blogosphere, and I feel it let me, and the Cegelis campaign, down. I'm not talking about the rank and file people who post a diary or comment regularily. I'm talking about the "main line" blogs like dKos, MyDD, etc. I read this statement from Chris Bowers, who is probably my favorite blogger, in disbelief:

A few months ago, I floated the idea of the netroots getting behind Cegalis full-force to a few other bloggers, but after we had all heard pretty much the same stories on how Duckworth was going to cruise, we agreed it probably wasn't a very good idea. Better to focus our resources elsewhere.

Chris Bowers is someone I'm confident is a supporter of candidates like Christine.  But yet even he, and the "few other bloggers" he spoke with, still bought the storyline out of Washington that Duckworth would win and win big. He ignored, as did other main line bloggers, the word coming from the activists on the ground that Cegelis was for real and the race would be close.

Cegelis needed the big name blogs' support to counter Duckworth's free media in the mainstream press. Instead, they let their front pages go silent on Cegelis's story, and let me and other supporters slug it out in the personal diaries rather than on their front pages.

In in the end, everything I was writing: that Cegelis was a strong candidate, that Cegelis had a strong ground game, that Cegelis has strong support in the district, was proven true by her narrow loss to a candidate that had the full weight, backing and fundraising of the entire national party working on her behalf.

And now, the day after the loss, we read that Cegelis did amazingly well. Yet the only people amazed are those who believed that Duckworth would win big like they were told by those outside the district.

I am disillusioned deeply by this. Chris and Jerome at MyDD are people I admire greatly. I'm not in their league. But they put less stock in what the people who knew the race best were saying and instead listened to what those backing Duckworth were pitching. They listened to those in the District of Columbia, rather than those in District 6.

As I noted back in December on a blogger list I have, the goal of those backing Duckworth was to dampen enthusiasm and support for Cegelis (as well as kill her fundraising) by painting Duckworth as unbeatable. The media bought it. Many in the progressive community bought it. And those who I trusted to not buy into conventional wisdom, bought into it too.

If this type of manipulation of those I trust most is possible, what hope do we have to win back an electorate that is heavily uninterested, often too busy, and limited in the knowledge and/or understanding of the issues? If those in the Blogosphere who are opinion makers can be swayed like this, and they are the ones most tuned in, how do we have any hope of convincing the ordinary citizen of a candidate's worth in the full face of a well funded mass media onslaught?

If politics in the Blogosphere is going to be about who is the most marketable, so they can raise the most money, and is thereby the most electable, what is the point? Why not sell the seat off to the highest bidder or the one with the most friends with deep pockets?

I trusted the leaders in the Blogosphere to see beyond this type of conventional wisdom. Instead, in my opinion, they helped to prove it right.

Tags: Blogosphere, grassroots, IL-06 (all tags)



Re: Crisis of Faith is less in thrall with the establishment than mydd, and kos.  You might want to try there instead.  Stoller and Bowers aren't bad, but Jerome is working for dlcer Mark Warner, and Kos endorced ndn Simon Rosenberg over Dean at the dlc.  Stoller and Kos have stated they want to be establishment Dems.  Kos frontpaged dhinmi and Elias all the time, and they are dlc dems.

by Dameocrat 2006-03-22 10:06AM | 0 recs

Incredibly strong opinions, incredibly weak on the facts. For example:

* Markos did not endorse Rosenberg over Dean. He wrote on 12/06/2004:

As I've said before, my concern with Rosenberg is not substantive, it's stylistic. The guy is really nice. The DNC chair will be the face of the Democratic Party for the next three years (until the 2008 presidential cycle). Do we want a nice guy going up against Mehlman, or do we want a pit bull? I don't have an answer to that.

As I've said before, Dean is my top choice. But Rosenberg would be an equally great reform option.

* DHinMI is hardly a DLCer. Sample diary:

That's right, the RNC is issuing press releases attacking Democrats, and citing statements by Democratic Leadership Council leader Al From to support their cause.

With friends like Al From...

by brainwave 2006-03-22 02:45PM | 0 recs
Re: Wow

Kos ultimately pulled for Rosenberg, and Dhinmi is schizo if he isn't dlc.  You ought to see him go after anyone that doesn't like Billary.  He is exactly the sort of corrupt ward bos that would bully for Duckworth.  Booman won't tolerate him for a second.

by Dameocrat 2006-03-23 06:35AM | 0 recs
Re: Crisis of Faith is less in thrall with the establishment than mydd, and kos.

Thanks for the link.  I will check it out, as a lot of the support at least over at KOS for candidates like extreme social conservative Bob Casey has me disenchanted about their views on principle.  Everyone says hold your nose and vote for this conservative because he can win against conservative Santorum.  Well principles count and if my party endorses Bob Casey, then I have to find a new party and I guess a new Blog.

by NG 2006-03-22 03:51PM | 0 recs
Re: Crisis of Faith

"Everyone says hold your nose and vote for this conservative because he can win against conservative Santorum.  Well principles count and if my party endorses Bob Casey, then I have to find a new party and I guess a new Blog."

News flash - winning counts, too. You want a chance for your principles to guide policy? Get a majority in a congressional house. If you aren't willing to compromise to get that majority, you won't be influencing much policy. It sucks, but it's reality.

Bob Casey isn't perfect, but he is exponentially better than Santorum and if I have to vote for Casey to get Santorum out of public office, you're g*dd*mn right I'll vote for him. When the time comes for Casey to represent my views on a social issue, if he doesn't come through, I'll vote for him to go home, too. But until then, I'm voting to get the idiots out of power.

Let your conscience be your guide. But feel free to let reality intrude here and there. It's, um, liberating. <g>

by KB 2006-03-23 06:29AM | 0 recs
Re: Crisis of Faith

Casey probably will be better at passing the republican agenda than Santorum because he doesn't provoke a reaction like Santorum does.

by Dameocrat 2006-03-23 06:33AM | 0 recs
Re: Crisis of Faith

"Casey probably will be better at passing the republican agenda than Santorum because he doesn't provoke a reaction like Santorum does."

I appreciate the sentiment, but the words are pretty much total nonsense. Casey will caucus with the Dems and will be a reliable vote for huge chunks of the Democratic agenda.

Santorum provokes a reaction because he's just another rubber stamp for Bush. Casey won't be a rubber stamp.

I say we vote Casey in and find out. Whaddaya think?

by KB 2006-03-23 06:51AM | 0 recs
Casey = Lieberman

What's the point of targeting Lieberman if we are going to sit back and allow another GOP suck up into the Senate?

by Gary Boatwright 2006-03-23 06:54AM | 0 recs
Re: Casey = Lieberman

Other than abortion, how do you see Casey as being as bad as Lieberman? There are plenty of "pro-life" Democrats who have turned out to be more than okay because they don't emphasize that issue the way Repugs do: Harry Reid is a case in point. Why would you assume Casey would be more like Lieberman than Reid?

by Jim in Chicago 2006-03-23 06:57AM | 0 recs
Re: Casey = Lieberman

I think for a lot of people that happened when he went out of his way to say he would have supported Alito.

by ltsply2 2006-03-23 01:32PM | 0 recs
In case you have not noticed,

Under Reid minority leadership, the SC now is about to overturn Roe. Not such a success IMO.  I wonder if a strong pro-religious-tolerance/ pro-reproductive rights Dem senate leader would have allowed so much damage without a big, no huge fight? Could it be any worse?

Jezzz, so many people with their heads stuck in the sand.

by NG 2006-03-23 02:11PM | 0 recs
Re: Casey = Lieberman

I was wondering the same thing.

by aiko 2006-03-24 06:02AM | 0 recs
Re: Crisis of Faith

correction.  I meant He endorsed Rosenberg over Dean and the DNC.

by Dameocrat 2006-03-22 10:10AM | 0 recs
Re: Crisis of Faith

You need some time, Michael, but you'll see that this is one battle in the war to take back our country from the big-money interests.

See my comment on Chris' "Worried about 2006" posting. 6/846/97#97

We will prevail.  We have to.

Carolyn Kay

by Caro 2006-03-22 10:15AM | 0 recs
Give It Time

I think the people here learned from this one that sometimes laying seige is better than "Crashing the Gate".  Remember that it's safer "inside", but much freer outside the walls.  Blogs didn't even became loud enough to be heard until after the '04 election.  That was less than a year and half ago.

Looked at another way, you've got 41% of voting dems in IL 6.  Organized and connected, I'd say that's a group to be reckoned with.

by rba 2006-03-22 10:53AM | 0 recs
Re: Give It Time

Illinois has open primaries.  There's no way to know what % of each candidate's vote came from Democrats, Independents, Republicans, or Other....

by jakester 2006-03-22 12:01PM | 0 recs
Re: Give It Time

In fact, it's extremely unlikely that Republicans crossed over in this race.  The gubernatorial primary on that side of the aisle was a crucial hardfought mudslanging brawl among three reactionaries trying to unseat a moderate hack.  For most local voters, this was -the- race.

by Feh 2006-03-22 02:59PM | 0 recs
It might be instructive

to look at the voting by precinct to see if there were areas of the district that had a heavier turnout or favored one candidate over the other.  Is the voting data available online anywhere?

by pascal1947 2006-03-22 03:09PM | 0 recs
Re: It might be instructive

The obvious split is between the DuPage County precincts and the smaller portion of the district in Cook County.

by Feh 2006-03-23 06:01AM | 0 recs
Re: It might be instructive

It might be once they finish counting the Cook County votes.

by Maven 2006-03-23 09:01AM | 0 recs
My Response
I just got done with a long day of travel and meetings, so I wasn't dodging this piece. I just didn't have a chacne to respond until now.

Am I embarrassed that I was so wrong about this district? Yes. Am I ashamed that I bought into the DC conventional wisdom, rather than the netroots conventional wisdom on this subject. Overwhelmingly so, esepcialyl after I recently wrote a piece descrbing how online CW was supposedly so different from DC CW. Do I wish that the netroots and the A-list blogs had all jumped aboard the Cegalis campiagn, andquite posibly made the difrerence that would ahve pushed her over the top? OH yeah. And I am mad at mysefl that I didn't push it hard enough, and I didn't make ti happen.

I am not always going to right be right aobut everything. Hell, I am wrong a lot more often than I am right. I definately screwed up on this one.

In 2006, I want all blogs to work together, and I want us to endorse together. I was unable to get consensus blogger support for this race. Had we beleived that the race would ahve been clsoer, it would ahve been easier to do so, but even then there is no guarantee at all that it would have happened.

That last point is where we come to an impass--what information can we use to know that a race is close when bascialyl none exists? You are probably right to say that we shouldn't have trusted the DC CW on this one, but how is trusting what a few poeple ont he ground say is happneing any mroe solid? People told me they saw polls showing big Duckworth leads--anecdotal information on the ground isn't necessarily any better than that.

If this sort of situation is to be prevented in the future, we need a better system for determining which races to support. We also probably need better information to make those decisions. We need to support races for which there is both near-consensus among bloggers and among netroots activists. We also need to choose races where we know we can make adifference. This is nto an easy task.

I admit that I dropped the ball on this one. But I don't think that just saying I shoudl ahve listened to waht a few people claimed was taking place on the ground is a better system. I don't know necessariyl what would have fized the situation, but if you have any ideas, I am willing to hear them.

Also, I have to run now, so I won't be able to read your rspnse for several hours. Just wanted you to know that I wasn't posting and running--I am just really busy.

In solidarity, Chris Bowers
by Chris Bowers 2006-03-22 02:18PM | 0 recs
I Think

we should all realize that we are all human and that we make mistakes. Just because someone is the leader of a major liberal blog doesn't mean that they can do no wrong. I know that this is obvious as you read it, but we have developed this subconsciousness about folks like Chris, Jerome, Kos, and others.

We all make mistakes. Chris at least has admitted his. Lets realize the problems that were made, learn from them, and move on.

IL-6, as other bloggers have said is a battle in a much larger war in the fight for the soul of the Democratic Party - and we won't win every single one. However, at the end of the day, we will prevail because we are right.

by gatordemocrat 2006-03-22 02:27PM | 0 recs
&quot;Our polling shows...&quot;
...People told me they saw polls showing big Duckworth leads--anecdotal information on the ground isn't necessarily any better than that...

If their spin starts with "our polling shows..." and they don't immediately show you the data, run like the wind and don't look back.
by Michael Bersin 2006-03-22 03:23PM | 0 recs
Wow. A great, honest responce. Thanks. n/t

by Nate Roberts 2006-03-22 06:17PM | 0 recs

Thanks for admitting you goofed. We all make mistakes. No long lasting hard feelings.

I've just been fighting in the trenches on this on for a long time and feel like core to my fight was that no one believed what I was saying. Then this post confirming it.

Hopefully some learning will come out of this.

by michael in chicago 2006-03-23 02:43AM | 0 recs
Re: My Response

Given Mike's frontpage post, I think that you should write an extended version of this on the frontpage.  This subject of conventional wisdom in DC and the bloghsphere deserves more attention.

by bedobe 2006-03-23 07:29AM | 0 recs
Re: My Response

I think no more anecdotal polling data.  If they have it, they should show it.  I heard too about polling data in the 6th, but no one I know has ever seen it.  The question always was: well, if they've got this great data that shows how weak Cegelis is and how strong Duckworth is -- then why won't they publish it?  

by Maven 2006-03-23 09:04AM | 0 recs

...then why won't they publish it?...

Campaign polls should never be publicly released. Campaigns use the results (and especially the crosstabs) to target. If you release "poll results" the pollster is ethically obligated to release the data and the methodology. If you release everything you've spent a lot of money to give the opposition your campaign plan. Not smart.

You can't hide it and selectively release bits and pieces. The republicans tried to do so with their "Contract on America".

...In 1997, the American Association for Public Opinion Research censured Luntz for violating the association's code of ethics, the only such censure in the recent history of the organization.

A 14-month investigation into Luntz's work found that he repeatedly had refused to disclose the questions and methodology of polling work he had done during the development of the Republicans' 1994 "Contract With America," of which he claimed to have been a chief architect -- a hotly refuted claim among critics.

Luntz said that the information in question was proprietary...

by Michael Bersin 2006-03-23 09:22AM | 0 recs
Re: My Response

Donors don't produce the cash without polling numbers first.  They had polling numbers & didn't show them because they were much lower than they expected.  They just kept telling everyone whatever marketing rhetoric they wanted to hear:  Duckworth will get 50% (+/-) of the vote.  She's polling that well.

When the campaign's PR contractors never released any info of substance, it was obvious.  Lots of marketing hyperbole, smoke & mirrors.

Duckworth will never survive Roskam.  I'm certain he already has something & is just waiting for the right time to hit her with it during the election cycle.

by Philosophe Forum 2006-03-23 02:04PM | 0 recs
Re: My Response

I believe the "Friends of Tammy Duckworth" FEC report showed tens of thousands of dollars going to polling businesses.  If those numbers had been any good, they would have leaked the numbers to the media to demoralize grassroots guerillas like the notorious M.I.C.

But they didn't.  Instead, their surrogates kept saying they had great numbers that they were not releasing for long term tactical reasons.  

It was bullsht -- I'd say self-evident bullsht -- but I fully expect the folks that fell for that line to do so again next time.  While every claim from the Cegelis campaign was subject to intense scrutiny from the media, old and new, but they ate up every statement from the superflaks at the Duckworth campaign like it was made of sugar.

Just embarassing.

by AustinMayor 2006-03-23 04:41PM | 0 recs
Re: My Response

I am even more embarrassed for those who volunteered for Duckworth after watching her commercials and seeing all the media coverage.  Do they believe everything they see on TV?

by illinois062006 2006-03-23 04:48PM | 0 recs
Keep The Faith-You Will Get Better at This


Congratulations on a job well done.  Your candidate had a lot of people on the other side scared last night.  At least until 1:00 AM.  There would have been some major ass-kicking going on this morning if Duckworth failed.

I guess the one thing that is overlooked is that the turnout was unexpectedly low. All the information I knew about showed that Duckworth was ahead. Those voters just didn't show up.  That became an edge to Cegelis because her supporters were loyal and committed and ended up having a greater impact and made it a close race.

I am not sure why you are faulting the blogosphere though.  You certainly kept me busy reading the "items" you or your cohorts posted on the internets.  I think that some of your other "contributors" made some people want to create some distance though.

Maybe come August, we can have a beer (or two)  or something and tell war stories about our campaign experiences.  I could use some tips on how this whole blogging thing works too.


by riverred 2006-03-22 03:31PM | 0 recs
Re: Keep The Faith-You Will Get Better at This

Always strange to look at things from the other side.  As I said before the election, a lot of us were confidently expecting Cegelis to win.  To win decisively.  But the voters we were counting on didn't seem to show up, either.

by Feh 2006-03-22 05:53PM | 0 recs
Re: Keep The Faith-You Will Get Better at This

So are you working for Duckworth, or the D3C or Emanuel or Durbin (did I miss anyone?)?

I don't think turn out was low. We were over 30K votes, which was more than 2004. I think the issue was that the ballot was split and many people wanted to support Cegelis and also some candidate in the Gov race that was a GOP. Since they had to ask for either a Dem, GOP, or Ind. ballot, I feel, based on poll watchers I've talked with, that many were handed GOP ballots or asked for Ind. ballots without realizing Cegelis wasn't on there.

Favorite line from the polls: I heard all about that Cegelis woman, and when I go to vote for her, she's not even on the ballot.

Regarding the blogs, it was I who kept you busy. If the major bloggers had backed Cegelis or at least not stayed silent, there would have been many more to keep you busy, and many more knocking on doors and donating.

Thanks for the positive comment after the wars we've had.

by michael in chicago 2006-03-23 02:50AM | 0 recs
Re: Keep The Faith-You Will Get Better at This


Full Disclosure - My name is Rahm Emmanuel.

Just kidding.

I haven't talked to Rahm in about 18 years.  I used to contribute to the DCCC but they misspell my name on solicitations so I throw them in the trash.

Went to a couple of Duckworth events and a voter forum in I think Villa Park.  A friend and I were there and some big fat guy with a huge camera was there and we thought that might be you.  I even wrote "Boots on the Ground" on my name tag hoping someone would ask. Nobody did.

Wasn't an official worker on the Duckworth campaign either. No pay for anything.  

Just some connections to the big bad power structure for what that is worth.

Shook Durbin's hand about two years ago at the Obama victory party and mentioned some mutual friends who speak very highly of him.  Did have Obama to my house for a fundraiser back in 2003 before he became a rock star. Worked on several House and state races in the 80's and 90's.

Even if the turnout was similar to the 2004 primary, I have to say that Cegelis didn't do a good job expanding her base beyond the true believers.  If the turnout would have been larger, I would say that 60% of those votes would go to Duckworth so the lower turnout worked to your candidates overall advantage.

Save those direct mail pieces from Duckworth. They will make good templates for other campaigns I am hoping you will work on.


by riverred 2006-03-23 09:06AM | 0 recs
Re: Keep The Faith-You Will Get Better at This

Note to self: Have direct mail pieces feature pictures of Barack Obama.

by AustinMayor 2006-03-23 04:44PM | 0 recs
Re: Keep The Faith-You Will Get Better at This

That is the first statement from a Cegelis supporter that has made me laugh. Funny!

by riverred 2006-03-23 06:37PM | 0 recs
Re: Keep The Faith-You Will Get Better at This

You make me laugh too. The Rahm line was a good one. I don't drink, but maybe someday we should meet.

by michael in chicago 2006-03-23 07:30PM | 0 recs
Re: Crisis of Faith

I've said little and know less about what was happening in IL-6 but if it is Michael's contention that a unified blogosphere would have delivered a victory for Cegelis I have to disagree.  I don't know why Duckworth won other than she appears to be a darn good candidate but it seems to me that Cegelis got a LOT of support on blogs.

by howardpark 2006-03-22 05:29PM | 0 recs
Re: Crisis of Faith

No, she did not.  There was a whole cadre of bloggers at DailyKos who did everything within their power to invalidate Cegelis supporters.  And now some of them claim they did the opposite.

by illinois062006 2006-03-22 05:45PM | 0 recs
Re: Crisis of Faith

Point me to comments by these people. I'd be more than happy to spend some more of my time setting them straight. I remember who was on what side quite well, thank you very much. Anyone claiming to be on Cegelis' side who worked against her will be called on it.

Cegelis supporters know who we are. And who were not.

by michael in chicago 2006-03-23 02:52AM | 0 recs
Re: Crisis of Faith

Yes, by all means, do point us to those comments.

by Kagro X 2006-03-23 08:47AM | 0 recs
Maybe from diarists

But there was definitely not much if anything from the front page posters at either MyDD or DailyKos.  Compare it to support for Ciro Rodriguez or Ned Lamont.


by Sarah R Carter 2006-03-22 07:48PM | 0 recs
Re: major bloggers wimping out

Not just bloggers. National DFA waded into this race VERY late in the game, dragging their feet for weeks even after a conference call when the leaders of EVERY DFA group in the area told them we were solidly behind Christine and she could win. And then all they did was inlcude Christine in one email pitch, along with 3 other candidates whose races were less imminent.  If DFA had sent a few organizers in early enough to help the campaign, who knows....

A LOT of us saw this as Rahm et al.'s way of screwing Howard Dean (again), since Cegelis's strongest backers consisted largely of former Dean supporters (and some Kucinich backers as well). If DFA had risen to the challenge, it is clear now that this race was close enough that they might have made the difference.

At least we'll all have a second chance in Connecticut in August, if progressive leaders learn from this and don't wimp out at the first sign of institutional strength from Lieberman!

Oh, and Michael: you are SO in their league, and then some!!!

by Jim in Chicago 2006-03-22 06:55PM | 0 recs
Re: major bloggers wimping out

I agree.

Michael is much more professional than most bloggers, especially DailyKos writers such as DHinMI and all those LastHurrah people.  He really deserves a round of applause.

by illinois062006 2006-03-22 07:11PM | 0 recs
Re: Applause

Yes, absolutely.  Big difference in attitude and accuracy between here and dkos.  Debate is here, noise is there.

by rba 2006-03-23 04:47AM | 0 recs
Re: Applause

DKos = drones with pom poms

by illinois062006 2006-03-23 06:28AM | 0 recs
Re: major bloggers wimping out

Michael's advocacy improved dramatically as the campaign progressed.

Unfortunately, we still have the small stain of the lack of disclosure to clean up before we can conclude who was more professional than whom.

by Kagro X 2006-03-23 08:48AM | 0 recs
This is Rahm Emmanuel's Failure

Chris Bowers, Kos and the blogosphere did not fail. They made a mistake in judgment that even in retrospect can be viewed as pragmatic. Let's be realistic. The blogosphere does not have the resources or the power to buck the influence and resources of the Democratic Party establishment.

Rahm Emmanuel is the loser. Emmanuel put his credibility on the line and his candidate lost.

Bob Casey will be the next major failure of the Democratic apparatchiks. Precisely the same result is highly likely in Pennsylvania. When Casey loses to Santorum the DLC will be politically humiliated and will have no one else to blame.

by Gary Boatwright 2006-03-23 05:10AM | 0 recs
Gonna disagree Gary

While I agree that they made a mistake, and we all do, I don't understand the complete silence on the front pages of the major blogs. I keep hearing about resources, but all I was asking for was a post every couple of weeks. What does that take in resources? It would have legitimized my arguments rather than left me out on my own where I could be marginalized as "one of those Cegelis militants."

For example, I don't remember when, but depleted uranium was a huge issue on dKos. Huge. Tons of diaries about it. Tons of outrage. I posted a diary about where the candidates stood in the IL-06 race. Not my opinion, but public statements on the record. It was pretty clear who was taking the position the Blogosphere supported and who wasn't. But nothing came of it.

Other issues were brought up too. Kos even posted last week I think about running against DC and anyone related to DC. Crashing the Gate outlines candidates we should run that mirror Cegelis. Yet no support from the mainline bloggers.

I'm disallusioned more than anything. I can't blame Chris and the other "A-List" bloggers (hate that term as I'm not one of the cool kids) for making a mistake initially. But I feel that I was ignored after a while. Probably still just in stages of grief though and will get over it.

I don't hold it against bloggers like Chris who didn't try to play both sides of the fence. I genuinely admire him, and am greatful for his comment. Those "without dogs in the fight" will remain in my memory for a bit longer and have a more difficult time regaining my respect, and that of other Cegelis supporters.

by michael in chicago 2006-03-23 06:57AM | 0 recs
Re: This is Rahm Emmanuel's Failure

"Bob Casey will be the next major failure of the Democratic apparatchiks. Precisely the same result is highly likely in Pennsylvania."

On what do you base your analysis? Specifically what have you seen/heard/experienced that encourages you to use the phrase "highly likely?"

From my limited experience, I have trouble finding any cause to write the phrase "Santorum will beat Casey" in anything except speculative fiction. E.g., I don't know anyone who's not a wingnut who thinks Santorum is representative of our state. But I acknowledge, I have limited background for this view.

by KB 2006-03-23 07:00AM | 0 recs
Good Chicago Sun-Times column today

Lynn Sweet makes the point that if Durbin et al. had started a dialogue with Christine and treated her with respect, there might have been a way to get everyone on the same page and avoid the primary split that will now be VERY hard to repair. She offers as an example how Forrest Claypool got Mike Quigley and his supporters to come on board his campaign instead of staying in the race against him: -edt-sweet231.html

by Jim in Chicago 2006-03-23 06:54AM | 0 recs
Re: Crisis of Faith

Michael, even if the blogosphere failed to realize it, everyone in 06 knew you did a great job.  

We in 06 all failed to express to the blogosphere what a remarkable person Christine is.  She made this happen all through a PERSONAL CONNECTION we felt that we had with her.  We wanted her to be our candidate because we believe that she knew best how to represent us, and she did all of this through as the NY Times referred  to as "small neighborhood kaffeeklatsches."

I have nothing against Tammy Duckworth, but I have no connection with her.  How can a war vet with no legs represent me?  It seemed to me that the DCCC were making her a side show rather than a candidate.

My intuition has told me that the problem with Christine  and Rahm was personal.  Rahm wants to  market prospective candidates from DC, not in the district.  I don't think that Christine being aligned with Dean was a good thing in Rahm's eyes.  Rahm is the epitome of marketing.  He does well in Chicago, but would fail miserably in a Red state.  He is the kind of Congressman the redstaters are referring to when they call Democrats fake stuffy intellectual snobs.  He wanted a Slick Victorias Secret type candidate, not an Ace hardware candidate like Christine.

What is really sad and is wrong with the democrats right now is the whole marketablity thing.  How can we be seen as the party of the people if we are rejecting great candidates like Christine for slick marketed candidates like Duckworth.  What is even sadder is that if Christine was a Republican she would have been embraced by the Republican establishment.  They seem to understand down in the district personal connection candidates better than the democrats do and thats how we lose our base to them.

I don't know what I'm going to do from here.  It's hard to embrace Duckworth because all she has been to me is a shiny piece of paper in my mailbox and not a real person.

by Donna loves Dean 2006-03-23 07:42AM | 0 recs

...How can a war vet with no legs represent me?...

Tammy Duckworth is a human being - she chose to run for office. That's what people do. If elected I'm sure she'll try to represent her constituents.

It's hard to embrace Duckworth because all she has been to me is a shiny piece of paper in my mailbox and not a real person.

You want her to come to your home then? May I suggest you seek her out at any one of a number of campaign events in the district that will undoubtedly be held between now and the November election? Do make an attempt, otherwise, your drama is a bit much.

by Michael Bersin 2006-03-23 07:52AM | 0 recs
Re: Wha?

What I am trying to convey to you (without drama by the way) is that Christine IS the kind of person who went door to door and you would invite her in.  Yes, she did come to my home.  That's how she campaigned.  I felt a personal connection with her.  I wanted her to represent me.  I know it may be unusual and difficult to express on line so you understand but that is the kind of campaign she ran.

by Donna loves Dean 2006-03-23 08:04AM | 0 recs
Re: Wha?

Going door to door is all well and good. That's fabulous in a primary. In a general election for a seat in Congress that becomes almost impossible - the voter universe (likely voters in a general election) is much larger than the primary (likely Democratic voters in an off year primary).

Now, there is a candidate in the general election who gets around in a wheel chair and/or on prosthetics with canes. What are you going to actively do to seek her out and try and connect with her? Or, are you going to be consumerist and blame her because she doesn't walk up your street and knock on your door?

by Michael Bersin 2006-03-23 08:46AM | 0 recs
Re: Wha?

Guess what?  Its Tammy's job to reach out to voters, not the voters job to reach out to her.  She's working on it, I think -- she's certainly said some nice things about Cegelis and her supporters since Election Day.  But people were excited by a candidate who came to their homes, who came to their restaurants, who was out in the District talking to people -- the kind of candidate you run into in the grocery store and have a conversation with.  So glossy mailers ain't gonna cut it.  Now, I think Tammy will in fact think about it and come up with some ideas on connecting with voters that work for her -- I think she's learning as she's going, and I think she learned quite a bit from her narrow squeak of a win. But she hasn't really done that yet, Michael, and you can't blame people for mourning the narrow defeat of their candidate who they knew personally, who engaged them in debate about the issues, who listened to them talk about their lives, who cared so much about the issues that directly affected their lives.

by Maven 2006-03-23 09:16AM | 0 recs
Re: Wha?

So, you only support candidates for office who knock on your door? Do you ever vote for candidates who are running for President, Governor, and/or U.S. Senate?

by Michael Bersin 2006-03-23 09:24AM | 0 recs
Re: Wha?

Here's what I learned from this campaign: you should be much closer to your congressperson than to the governor, your senator, your president.  It really should not be a surprise to run into your congressperson in the grocery store, to have met them personally at an event, to have more than a "constituent" relationship with them.  That's why congressional districts are relatively small -- to foster their connection with the people who live there.  And yes, I know that's not a reality for most of us.  But perhaps it should be.  

by Maven 2006-03-23 09:49AM | 0 recs
Re: Wha?

And that's why I make an effort to seek out my Congressman at campaign and public events (this particular district is comprised of all or portions of tewnty-five counties in west central Missouri - I doubt it is as geographicly compact as IL-06 - but it has roughly the same population). My Congressman could no more effectively go door to door than any other member of Congress or candidate for Congress.

Should they be able to go door to door in a perfect world? Only if you want districts of only 10,000 residents and a House of Representatives with 30,000 members.

by Michael Bersin 2006-03-23 10:09AM | 0 recs
Only one problem

Duckworth didn't have many public events in the district at all. She didn't attend at least 9 public candidate forums in just 8 weeks.

Maybe that will change in the General. But as was said above, people knew Christine, and noted she was making a concerted effort to get to know them. This wasn't true in the primary of her opponent.

But I agree that doing this is the general will be more difficult as the universe is significantly larger. But an effort to reach out to the residents needs to be made. If the focus is completely on out of district private or high dollar events, then again the connection will not be made.

by michael in chicago 2006-03-23 12:24PM | 0 recs
Re: Crisis of Faith

The Duckworth campaign was all about marketing.  Very little substance to speak of.  That's the way they wanted it.  Her personal touch was with the senior citizens & anyone else that would have trouble getting to the polls.  Get about 20 busloads of 50 people for early voting, ignore everyone else, & let nature take it's course.

Michael has done a fabulous job of trying to tell people the realities of IL-06.  People chose to believe or not.  In the end, the DCCC will emphasize IL-06, ignore every other vet & House race, & Duckworth will lose.

This will all backfire on Rahm & Durbin.  Rahm will lose his position as DCCC chair.  Durbin will see it in the vote totals in 2008.  They put a price on democracy.  Now we have to look to the future.

by Philosophe Forum 2006-03-23 02:20PM | 0 recs
Re: Crisis of Faith

As a 6th Dist resident, I gotta say that "Michael in Chicago" performed heroically for the Cegelis Campaign and for the grassroots progressives of the 6th District.  

"Crisis in Faith" Mike?  Hold your chin up, throw out your chest and take faith in yourself.  Your hard work and energy on line and in the real world are going to make you a great asset in the next fight.  

And there will be another fight.

by AustinMayor 2006-03-23 04:59PM | 0 recs
Mfume, Mfume, Mfume

This discussion is giving me hope for my favorite progressive running for senate.

I will be back with a list of reasons we should support Mfume on the front pages and with a list of resons why we should oppose the front runner (Cardin)(who is a good dem but no progressive).

Electability will be addressed.

by aiko 2006-03-24 06:13AM | 0 recs
Re: Crisis of Faith

But if you trade your soul to the devil for the keys to the kingdom, what do you have left in the end?

by michael in chicago 2006-03-24 09:10AM | 0 recs
Re: Crisis of Faith

The DLC and the GOP.

by illinois062006 2006-03-24 10:10AM | 0 recs


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