How exactly do you know that Cegelis "was never going" to be able to raise enough money to be competitive? What do you base that on? Since the local townships were supporting Cegelis, which Dems did she piss off? The ones in the Chicago machine pushing Duckworth? The ones demanding she drop out of a DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY? The same Democrats who complained of other candidates like Seals taking resources, media and attention from Duckworth's campaign?
First, Christine's campaign time and again met the fundraising benchmarks set by Emanuel's DCCC. Fundraising goals that the campaign was assured would earn them establishment support -- only to see Dems Inc. change their story and increase their demands when her supporters, locally and on the Internet, met the DCCC fundraising challenges. The ability to raise money only became an issue when Mr. Emanuel and Mr. Durbin began openly courting potential primary challengers.
There were definitely money problems though. As Larry the Archpundit has thoroughly documented, a lot of money was wasted on various highly-compensated campaign "professionals" who added little or no value to Christine's grassroots campaign. But I must point out, that waste took place during Cegelis Team 1.5 ("Team 1.5").
Team 1.5 was the campaign crew that was mostly held over from Christine's initial insurgent run against Henry Hyde. They were still new to the game and, unfortunately, too damn naive. Team 1.5 were told by Dems Inc. that they would have to not only have to raise a hell of a lot of money -- see above -- but would have to run "a professional organization" staffed by "campaign professionals".
Yes, the very campaign "professionals" who bled Team 1.5 dry were recommended to the campaign by the same DC Dems who later lambasted the campaign for that waste.
After it became impossible to ignore the fact that the Dems Inc. folks were somewhat less than honest with deliberately undermining the campaign, Team 2.0 -- a crew of Kucinich veterans and grassroots locals -- was brought aboard, the dead-weight "professionals" were ejected and the bleeding was stopped. But the money was already gone and the campaign was crippled from that point forward.
And are you really trying to base an argument on "a good one in the can"? Seriously? How big was that fish that got away again? If it was so good, why didn't Duckwort lead with it instead of playing defense to Roskams ads continually. Why weren't there any ads featuring pictures of Roskam at one of his fundraisers with Bush, Cheney or Rove? Why nothing but GOP wedge issue ads? Roskam is extreme! Extreme I tell you! Why not ads with Bush, Cheney or Rove about Roskam is for stay the course? Come on. A last minute "good one in the can" for that last minute media buy for all that air time that wasn't available any more. Ain't buying it.
Duckworth outraised Roskam. She had all the support from the DCCC and national party figures like Durbin with Obama cutting ads for her. She was matching Roskam's ads. They just weren't very effective. Banning Dr. Suess? Is that really a buring issue? The principal not be able to expell students looked at first to be pro-Roskam, and was intellectually dishonest. Schools are under local control of a localy elected school board. Last I checked, Iraq and Bush were the issues that resonated with BOTH Republicans and Independents and energized the base. Where were these ads?
Worst case senerio with Cegelis would have been Congressman Roskam. Which is what we now have. Duckworth, even with more money and the best "professionals" wound up with this worst case senerio.
But her campaign also fractured the base, hurt the grassroots organization that was growing in DuPage, dumped millions into media buys rather than infrasructure, and left us in a postion where we will have to start over against a sitting incumbent in 2008.
I don't think Cegelis could have done any worse if she tried.
We're discussing this at SoapBlox Chicago re: the efficacy of campaigns that focus on "walkers" or direct contact, vs. paid media in an IL-06 thread."Vosicky" refers to a local candidate Joe Voskicy who was supported largely by Cegelis staff/volunteers who ran for an IL General Assembly seat that hasn't seen a Democrat come close in decades. He's currently within 100 votes and in the process of a recount. This is astounding for this seat. His campaign focused greatly on F2F voter contacts and building community networks. From my comments there regarding "walkers" vs. paid media:
Walking is just one method of direct contact. The GOP in these areas have a network built up to get their information out. Democrats are still building this network and cutting into the GOP networks. This will take time to accomplish. I still believe that one to one, F2F contact is better than paid media and more effective on many levels, even if it doesn't show immediate results.
For example, the networks tapped by Vosicky are still there and can be built upon. The people contacted are in a data base now, and can be returned to. The activists highlighted in these areas are now available for other runs at these offices'. And Democrats in a reddish-purple area now know there are Democrats like them out there, and winning is possible. And the database is in the hands of local Democratic activists making it harder for outside machine forces to impact the area.
I'll take walkers and neighbor to neighbor contact over paid media any day where funds are limited. Paid media is needed to be sure, and a necessary part of the equation where money permits. But it's just one part of that equation. Not the be-all end-all that is the reason COH lines on and FEC report are so important to so many people like Rahm over the character of a candidate. Paid media should not trump a candidate's worth.
I really think the Democratic party needs to study the efficacy of such paid media and do a cost/benefit analysis of what is the best and most efficient method of spending money. And such an analysis needs to take into account a long term view, not a shortsighted one-cycle view of elections. Paid media seems so cost ineffective and short sighted, especially in light of how it drains money from building long term foundations that yield results repeatedly over time.
Here's why I think it is important to challenge any narrative that Rahm did a great job: Anything that improves his standing in the party or national media enhances his powerbase in my backyard, and helps to hide the negative things he did the past cycle.
Rahm deserves credit for his efforts. But this credit should be based in context. He was chair of the DCCC at a time when Democrats were more dedicated than ever to take back the House. Independents were more than fed up with Republican control of Congress. There was a very real anti-GOP, anti-incumbent feel in the electorate of all political persuasions.
Rahm should have raised money hand over fist in this environment. He should have achieved success not realized by the Democratic party in over a decade. He deserves credit to be sure.
But his credit must be tempered by the fact that his overall record might have been disastrous had he stuck to his original targets. It might has not achieved a change in power had he stuck to his "Iraq is taboo to talk about" pro-war bent.
Had he not dropped incredible sums of money in DEMOCRATIC primaries to push his hand picked candidates there might have been more resources and more local popular candidates who had the right anti-war, anti-Bush message from the start. He soured the base in more places than just IL-06, and for that he deserves the credit in part for the losses his actions are partially responsible for.
Rahm needs to be called out for what he did, both good and bad. The good needs to be reinforced, the bad hung around his neck like and albatross so he does not ever repeat it.
This is especially important to me as he is in my back yard. Any candidate that runs for IL-06 will be subject to his support/interference in the big Democratic donor network in Chicago. Even not in a position of leadership at the D3C, he still will have the ability to cripple a popular netroots or non-machine candidate who chooses to run against Roskam.
My feeling is that anyone who considers an examination of what Rahm did do - both positve AND negative - as "attacking" him or being disloyal to the party is either flacking for him or missing the importance of post-election evaluation that will open the grassroots to being treated as a doormat again, and local parties as something to be pushed out of the way.
Is my perception colored by my experience in IL-06 primary? You bet. But that doesn't make it any less valid.
Regarding Duckworth's house, this was never an issue for most. It was her lack of life experience in the area. Where she lived wasn't the issue. If Cegelis lived outside the district I wouldn't have had a problem with it as she had been a part of the area/community for over 25 years. Duckworth may have owned a home next to the district for 3 years or so, but she had more ties to DeKalb than DuPage. And even then, she had spent the overwhelming majority of her life outside the state, let alone the district.
Regarding "eschew[ing] the practices and norms of the Washington, D.C. media and political establishment" what can we do to highlight that it currently really isn't a 50-state strategy, but more like a 49-state strategy?
We didn't pick up anything in Illinois. This was a golden opportunity year, and instead it appears that tried and true Democratic politics of focused races and media buys were at play.
So BigDog, who stumps for a candidate when they are not asked to? No one from Tammy's campaign asked Christine to stump for Duckworth. Just to be certain, I talked to a couple people, including Christine to confirm this. There was no coordination and none attempted.
Christine had one contact with Duckworth, which was immediately after the primary after she had been up all night. She was not asked to stump for her campaign. She wished Duckworth luck and promised her she would keep out of the spotlight and not campaign for any other candidates anywhere - essentally lay low and let the bad blood from the primary dissapate by keeping a low profile. She promised she would do this for Duckworth.
She was never contacted again after this intial phonecall.
Less than a week after the primary, at a wrap up meeting with nearly 75 of her volunteers present, at which she wasn't suppose to attend, she told those present that they should work for a candidate - any candidate - they thought they could. This included working for Duckworth. She freed her people to work for Duckworth. It was at this meeting that Bridget took a ton of crap for pushing hard for everyone to go to work for Duckworth. But she's lying, right?
Several candidates asked Christine to stump for her, both locally and in other house races. She declined out of respect for her promise to Duckworth. In her work with ADA she also kept a low profile for just this reason. Hence why no one knew what she was doing as they were decrying what a terrible person Christie was for taking her marbles and going home. People who didn't know what the hell they were talking about.
The only campaigns she helped out were two local races of friends. And in these she did not make any appearances or speak out on their behalf. Instead she sent a fundraising letter and let them use her campaign equipment.
Others associated with the campaign were told - point blank - that if they wanted a future in Illinois politics they would stop supporting Christine. These were volunteers! Threatening volunteers goes a long way to engenger good will, doesn't it? But I'm just lying, right?
And still others told me of Duckworth's people berating them in public at non-political events for their support of other candidates in the area because this was drawing resources away from Duckworth. How dare they support someone else! The nerve! Man, I must be complete full of shit.
Am I just a liar? Is that going to be your reply? Make some calls. I know you have the contacts.
The only one who lost this race is Duckworth's campaign.
BTW: let's also get the "support the troops" argument out of the way. Just like Republicans like to slam Democrats as unpatriotic for critisizing the war or Bush as not supporting the troops, I'm tired of hearing this argument regarding this race as well.
Duckworth's volunteers worked their asses off. They gave it their all and tried the best they could. No one disputes that. But that doesn't mean the campaign is beyond critism, and doing so is not anti-Democratic party or slamming volunteers or lying just because it doesn't fit your narrative.
You don't know the half of the story, and yet you have the nerve to call people liars.
In a normal year I'd completely agree with you. But in this year I don't.
It seems pretty clear that there was an anti-GOP, anti-Bush, anti-Iraq War wave going on. Roskam was adament in his support for Bush and the war until the very end. He held events that were very public and very well covered with Cheney and Rove, and Laura and/or George (I forget if the Bush rally was for multiple candidates or not).
Point being, a candidate that was strongly anti-Bush, strongly anti-GOP would have done just fine in most any district, especially a district like IL-06 that is trending blue.
One of the things that baffled me greatly about Duckworth's campaign was her lack of beating Roskam with his photos with Cheney and Bush and his quotes on the war. Especially after "stay the course" turned into a death knell. Instead she continued to push primarily domestic issues and responded late and weak to his distortions over her tax and amnesty policies.
Being down right partisan I feel would have sold better. Instead Roskam played offense and was never held accountable for his pro-Bush positions and Duckworth played defense responding to Roskams distortions.