NPR just announced the Supreme Court denied Coingresses petition to fouce their demand for Terry Schaivo to appear before their committees. I suspect this takes the Federal Courts out of the mix -- unless Congress comes back to pass new laws. Ruling came without comment.
I think we are missing the opportunity to remind people that just this week the House voted to cut 14 BILLION dollars out of the Medicade budget, and I find it hard to imagine that such a cut will not result in denying medical care that could be very life-giving, to a lot of poor and nameless people. I think we should be reminding of that vote -- who voted for the House Republican Budget -- and which Republicans crossed the aisle and refused to support the cuts in the Senate.
I am trying to find a source list of the committees 527's and PAC's DeLay controls that make campaign transfers or donations to Republican Congressional Candidates -- both 2002 and 2004.
What I want to do is ID these in the campaign reports of two members of the House, and one Senator -- by Committee, 527 or PAC interest as tied to DeLay, and put those relationships into play as solid information in the state, and get that information circulating as the DeLay story becomes more well known. The idea is to illustrate the financial dependency relationships between our state Congresspersons and DeLay -- and as the DeLay Ethics story, and the criminal story breaks, be able to lay the groundwork for "asking" these rep's to explain themselves.
Most of the lists I've reviewed are contributions to DeLay's personal campaign coffers -- that's not what I want. I want the entities he controls that pass on funds to Republican Candidates and incumbants.
I read a decent political science paper on this district about 2 years back and the demographics are favorable for a Moderate Democratic Woman with a business background. The District is North of O'Hara for those of you who know the landscape either by flying over or as a freeway fly by sight seer. It is Bedroom Chicago and light industry and business. Largest ethnic group is 2nd generation Polish.
Whoever runs there needs solid fundamentals -- a well worked out position on all things educational, an understanding of transit -- both rail and highway, and because of O'Hara -- the Airline Industry. As an open seat and with a solid campaign, it would be very winable.
1960 was a very interesting race. JFK was a second term Senator who had managed to have a very weak record between 1952 and 60. He led on no major pieces of legislation, and had no leadership position due to very little seniority. And remember, Johnson was his major opponent for the nomination, and between 54 and 60, Johnson controlled the Senate.
The opponent, Nixon, was also a Senator -- 2 years representing California, and then 8 as VP, but during that time the Senate was closely divided, so Nixon's services as a tie breaker were required from time to time. Nixon had been picked by Ike as a break against the Republican Right -- Knowland, Taft, and especially Joe McCarthy. That did not necessarily make him friends where he needed them. But Nixon did manage to maintain his image as a "Commie fighter" throughout his VP years.
What makes 60 so interesting now that so many good archives are available so we can see behind the scenes -- is how the people around JFK started blocking Nixon on the Commie issue as early as 1954. Alone among the Dem's JFK did not vote or announce a position on the censure of McCarthy. (he was in the hospital with bad back) -- and that meant Nixon did not have his signaturew "weak on ccooies" issue to use on JFK.
JFK had the strategy down very early on -- enough of a Senate Record co-sponsoring bills, and active participation in committee work and investigations so as to have an image -- but it was of his own design. Nixon did not have that advantage -- he had to represent a constituence of one, Ike, and much of what was passed on to him to do was what Ike didn't want to associate with himself.
I think the campaign fascinates -- it was "Senator on Senator" but JFK had the best strategic advisors, and His thin senate record served him very well in 1960.
Right now any poll is about name identity, and not much more. So if you don't like Hilary particularly, now is the time to promote other names, and generate stories about who they are. It was about this time in 2001 that I was on various lists making the point that Gore had run a terrible campaign in 2000, did not really deserve a second shot at it, and that people should read the web-site for Vermont's Governor, Howard Dean who had discussed running with some more progressive camapign management types. Yea, that guy did run, didn't win, but shook things up a bit. In late winter of 2001 no one had heard of Vermont's then Governor.
To get other names known and out there, you have to talk about them. I like General Wesley Clark and Senstor Dick Durbin of Illinois. Infact, I think that would be a great "ticket". I could also see Harry Reid of Nevada as having potential, perhaps for VP. We are much better off with a good half dozen potential candidates being talked over fovorably than we are playing 2008 three years too early.
As for the Republicans. It is good to study the electorate Rove has constructed for GWB and understand who holds power within it. I would estimate that within the Republican Electorate at least 35% of Party Activists and primary voters are Christian Right, and they can veto (at least) any candidacy. They are also used to acting in unison -- pick one candidate early, and never doubt the choice. My guess is that Frist picks up this support given who is potentially running, but he does not have a lock on it. McCain probably will not run. He will be 72 in 2008, and he has twice had Cancer. In another year I suspect attention will shift to Jeb as an alternative. The Robertson-Falwell-Dobson wing of the Republican Party will never pick Rudy G.
Most of all remember that 911 certainly changed political calculations on the grou8nd for 2004 -- and it introduced topics of great concern to voters the Democrats did not adequately factor into their approach to 2004. I suspect something else will happen over the next two years or so that will alter Strategic plans -- thus we are better off with a list of "good" potentials who can spend the next few years helping with base organization.
There is nothing wrong with a campaign generating its own blog -- or sub-blogs on specific interests. However if it is coordinated with the campaign, then it is a contribution to the campaign, and needs to be disclosed as such. It is an inkind donation -- and needs to fit within the existing rules.
My concerns are around the kind of end run around the Campaign Finance Laws Nixon pulled in 1972, when CREEP generated 250 "committees" with names like "Committee for an honorable end to the Vietnam War" -- and then had large donors write checks to the limit to a bunch of such committees. The Committees than handed over without ID'ing the donors, the bundled funds.
My point is to outlaw cut-outs. (which this Nixon ploy was). If a blog owner has any association with a campaign, that ought to be up front. It ought to be counted as a donation. Since Corporations and Labor Unions are prohibited from making direct donations, they could not own such blogs.
On the other hand, I want to hold harmless the blog that is a general interest effort, and that is about much more than one campaign. If, for instance, I post a diary about someone running for Endorsement in our Minnesota Senate Race, and supply a link to the candidate's site that has a donation window -- and I advocate donating -- I don't think the whole blog should be considered a campaign donation.
I really don't like the approach of seeking exemptions -- rather what I would prefer is some simple clear rules that would not constrain political talk and organizing, but would achieve the intent of McCain-Feingold, namely Transparency.
For instance, what harm would there be to require any blog that either advertises (for pay) for candidates or collects funds or other things of value, to identify whether the Blog Owner and major contributors are paid by a campaign, or hold an official position in it? Likewise the rules between being "coordinated" with a campaign and being an "independent committee" that takes no direction needs to be clear. My own sense of it is that if a site is owned quite independently of a campaign, and has a before and after history, then it is something other than a coordinated effort. In other words the law should spell out the difference between DKos and a campaign's decision to create several dozen interest group blogs that will fold when the campaign is over.
I think the fund-raising issue is complex. As things stand now with ActBlue, what might work for them would be to bill the campaigns for which they have accounts for services directly, and then collect all the information necessary to make certain donors are not maxed out -- but within limits, and do this in a manner that complies with the electronic filing software the campaigns are using. A "Bundler" is usually a defined interest group. Emily's List is a Bundler because it encourages donations to specific women candidates -- endorses some, ignores others. If ActBlue is simply a record keeping and financial tranaction entity for those candidates who pay a service fee -- it's not the same thing. But again, this should not be understood as an exemption from law intended to make Campaign Finance transparent -- it should help accomplish this.
Indeed you do need specialized Campaign Finance Lawyers here -- and you need to coordinate with the DNC legal staff and ask them to consult the State Lawyers for anything related to the 50 State Laws. I would also suggest talking to a "futurist" or two -- the technology constantly changes, and tiz best to anticipate this.
In situations where it is likely a Republican in a potentially swing district will be targeted in 2006 -- it is important to have a coherent local party structure on the Democratic Side regularly putting out the message that the Current "Republican Guy" is putting party issues ahead of district issues -- and putting forward the talking points as to why certain stands are against the district's interests. There is simply not enough between elections opposition research getting into local media, talk shows and the like.
Assuming Dr. Dean gets the state parties fired up this should be one of their early projects. We don't need an endorsed candidate to do oppo research and spread the results.
Minnesota is full of various Eastern European Ethnics who have names like Rudy's. Most of the people up on the Solidly DFL Iron Range -- Croatians, Serbs, Slovenians, Bosnians etc., thought Boschwitz was a Polish name, and had believed that through Rudy's two terms.
But the full flavor of what Rudy did that lost him the election is what made him, in Rudy's view a "bad Jew." Paul was married to Sheila, a Baptist born in Kentucky. Married during their first year of college, neither of them ever having had a romantic interest in anyone else, and three adult children later, Rudy really pulled a boo boo.
In Minnesota a "mixed marriage" is when a Danish Lutheran and a Norwegian Lutheran write a pre-nuptual agreement regarding the question of whether Lutefisk or Lutfisk will be served at Christmas time, and whether it is to be served with white or dill sauce.
In a state where the Jewish Population is less than 1%, and given the choice between two Jews, the result was lots of people decided to take the one with the Baptist Wife.
Very few people really appreciated Paul's background when he ran in 1990. On his Father's side the family was Russian -- from the Eastern Siberian Jewish Community almost on the China border. His Dad's whole family were wiped out in the 1930 Stalin purges. His Dad was fluent in about a dozen languages, and worked for USIA.
Paul's Mon was from New York's Lower East Side -- garment workers, union organizers. His mom was second generation, and all her family in Poland were killed in the Holocaust. In contrast, Boschwitz who was born in Berlin migrated in the early 1930's and were able to bring all their family members, wealth, a large car and servants. No one who does not comprehend these essential class differences could possibly understand how deeply Boschwitz's "bad Jew" letter cut with Paul.
Why not recycle Franklin Roosevelt's language. He called them Economic Royalists -- coming up with the term in 1937. In many respects his reference point was to the Liberty Lobby -- a group that was so extreme that in the 1936 election the Republicans asked them not to endorse their candidate.
If you are going to call them this, however you need a good story teller to lay out the narrative, because unless it is told as a story, very few would pick up the connection to FDR's language and meaning. In fact, what he meant was that gang willing to admire the Third Reich and Mussolini, and which was even prepared to do a coup to take over the US Government from FDR.
Amy Klobachar, currently Hennepin Co. Attorney just elected to a third term, is planning to run it appears. She has good name ID throughout the state, and would be a progressive Senator. Her Father was, for many years, a columnist and reporter for the Star-Tribune, and had deep connections with the Range and other towns in "Greater Minnesota". I've heard that quite a few former Wellstone campaigners are signing on to run her campaign.
One of the MPR discussions of Dayton's decision today was of interest. The Republicans were planning a very "dirty" attack campaign against Dayton, and his decision forces them to totally reverse fields as they will not be running against a "target" if you will. Minnesota generally reacts badly to dirty campaigns so if the DFL is able to mount a basic issues (Education, Health Care, Transit, Social Security) campaign that is somewhat high minded and positive -- it is DFL advantage. And Amy has been prosecutor for all these years, so that takes the law and order stuff off the table.
Since Jesse does not talk to any reporters from Minnesota Press -- it is a little hard to figure out what he is up to. However earlier this week he apparently did talk to someone from the Chicago Tribune, and suggested he wanted to run for Senator. That was before Dayton's announcement.
Ventura lost most of his support as Governor, but by keeping his third party alive, he is positioned to do damage with a spoiler campaign.
They totally shut down Paul's efforts to get funds from the DSCC, and made certain that some organizations (Council for a Livable World, for instance), which had promised support was turned off.
In examining Boschwitz's donors post election, we found a number of late donars who were DLC connected.
For me the most illuminating event was a morning after election phone call from the DLC (a national Elected official) that came to a long time elected DFL official demanding an immediate explanation as to why this awful victory had happened. The demand was for materials to be sent, Federal Express, and all that -- Statistics, last minute campaign materials, clippings, analysis -- because the outcome of Paul Winning was unthinkable.
Yes -- it is perhaps like PNAC, though I don't think the ideas are necessarily the same. Both represent power centers -- one in each party.
Rather than just pointing out the flaws in the DLC and its DC Staff -- let's look at where it really came from.
To find Origins you need to go back to 1988 and the Dukakis Campaign, particularly the run-up to the Atlantia Convention. If you remember, Dukakis was way ahead of the field, but Jesse Jackson had the votes to keep it from being a first ballot nomination -- and Jackson played his hand pre-convention, asking for and getting campaign staff slots, and a few other fovors, including a floor debate on a fairly mild Palestine/Israel resolution. The resolution broke with former Democratic platforms in that it recognized a Palestinian Right to Statehood.
Dukakis more or less agreed, and given the right to a prime time speech, Jesse released his delegates, and all went according to plan. But for some the great threat was the very large and well organized black and progressive faction within the party taking a position on Palestine/Israel and using rhetoric that was other than the AIPAC approved sort. That's the core of the DLC -- that potential threat to the party's power center had to be fractured, and the DLC was the means to that end.
Next time I saw the DLC in action was in 1990 when they sent some of their resources into Minnesota to be used against -- yea, that's right, against Paul Wellstone. Wellstone's opponent was an AIPAC approved Republican, and Wellstone had co-chaird Jackson's 1988 primary campaign. Of course Wellstone was not only Jewish, but most of his family had been wiped out in the Holocaust and in Stalin's purges. But he was not "approved" so he had to be defeated.
The vulnerability of the DLC is around humanistic issues. They have no vision for the betterment of the Human Condition -- and they need to be brought up short on that account. They do know quite a lot about schmutzy little power games, and this Dean screed they are on is about that little interest. You make them useless, irrelevant and past tense by calling them out on their anti-humanistic game.
"Politics is not about money or power games, or winning for the sake of winning. Politics is about the improvement of people's lives, lessening human suffering, advancing the cause of peace and justice: in our country and in the World." (Paul Wellstone)
I support Dean for DNC and have since the rumor he might make a run for it surfaced.
I assume we have a few more T's to cross and I's to dot before the vote -- but things look good. So what then.
Dean's platform is mostly about rebuilding state and local parties, and I would suggest that goal requires an inventory and a way to measure Dean's new administration's progress. We need to have some clarity as to what state and local parties should look like -- post reform and rebuilding -- and what process is underway to get there.
An inventory needs a national model, but all state parties will look a little different, as each has particular traditions and all. But in the end there are measures. I liken it to the difference between brain dead and a brain where all the synapises are brightly firing. Every little event that is party or campaign building is a synapis, and if they are not reaching all parts of our possible constituency, then we are not doing it.
I think this might be a grand job for bloggers -- the inventory and evaluation of all the pieces of the party that when brought together provide Dean and the team I hope he hires with specific goals. At the same time it might be useful for the pieces of the party that are essentially brain dead (or near that state) to have access to resources that will help them recover in the reasonable future.
Dean isn't going to reform the party by doing battle with Gopers on TV, though that is necessary. The reform is going to be in the pits -- the hiring of field workers at all levels, the development of strong training programs, the recruitment and training of candidates, of fund raisers, of campaign managers and techs. Some parties probably need constitution reform in order to recover -- others may need better rules so as to be open. Parties have to sponsor things other than candidates -- they need forums, pot luck dinners with speakers, and the ability to do that with non-party interest groups that are part of our voting coalition. Obviously for this to happen state offices need to be alive and open 12 months of the year -- and they need to have lots of modern resources to plug into any election, even if it is just for dog catcher. All this activity can be measured and evaluated -- and if Dean is as good as I think he is, he'll use it to accomplish his DNC platform.