Archives for April 2006
Darcy Burner is taking on freshman Republican Dave Reichert in WA-08. She will report numbers of over $300K for Q1, which is impressive. But more so than that, the Washington state blogosphere helped her raise over $90K online in the closing hours of the fundraising quarter without any national buzz. That’s not Daily Kos or Atrios, that’s the local bloggers, and $90K is more than what we “big boys” can usually raise. If that’s not a sign of the growing power and influence of the local blogs, I’m not sure what is.
I think perhaps more than any other race, WA-08 has the potential for being a true testing ground for some of the strategic rethinking Markos and co-author Jerome Armstrong propose in Crashing the Gate. We have a smart, energetic candidate in Darcy Burner, well matched to a district that should be “swing,” but which hasn’t swung into the Democratic column since, well… forever. She is also a candidate that has recognized and embraced the power of the netroots since well before declaring her candidacy.
But equally important, Washington state has quickly evolved some of the most influential and mature local netroots in the nation… a loose coalition of bloggers who have enthusiastically embraced Burner in return. Unlike the high-profile candidacy of say, Paul Hackett, where national netroots raised gobs of money for his Ohio campaign, it was local bloggers who jumped on the Burner bandwagon early, helping to push up both her fundraising totals and her profile — and with zero national support.
Andrew Villeneuve at NPI has been in the Burner camp since day one (almost from the day we first met her at Camp Wellstone,) advising her campaign and personally introducing her to his fellow bloggers. While I waited for the field to shake out before publicly endorsing her, I’d been in regular contact with the Burner campaign for months.
And the relationship has always been two-way: Burner not only actively sought our support, she also welcomed our input and advice. Burner and her staff trust us… and that trust has been returned in spades. When Burner stopped by Drinking Liberally last week to thank the netroots for helping her blow past her fundraising targets, she knew she wasn’t going to garner any new votes — hell, most of us don’t even live in her district. I’m guessing that part of the reason she stopped by was simply to share in the genuine excitement and enthusiasm of a gathering that was about as close as you can come to an election night victory party… seven months prior to the election.
Burner came to this campaign as a political outsider, a designation proven once again in yesterday’s Washington Post, which described her as a “third tier” candidate, citing the Democrats’ failure to recruit a stronger challenger. In fact, the Democrats didn’t recruit her at all. Nearly a year ago Burner told me she was running because she was absolutely convinced that, conventional wisdom be damned, she was the perfect candidate to represent the 8th District, and since then, she’s managed to convince an awful lot of other people, including me.
Would State Rep. Ross Hunter have brought more name recognition, money, and experience into the race? Absolutely. But I sincerely doubt that an establishment Democrat like Hunter could have garnered the kind of genuine grassroots excitement that Burner has generated over the past few months. Burner is for real, not because the consultants and power brokers say she’s for real, but because she has managed to prove herself to the grassroots, the netroots, and the party leadership.
Of course, with her early success comes risks. One of the things that Markos and Jerome rail against is the way the national party steps into local campaigns, bringing in their establishment consultants, and demanding the same-old losing strategies. This not only ignores and devalues the unique insight of local political talent, it stunts their development… and judging by the Democrats near permanent minority party status at the federal level, it doesn’t seem to be working.
But if the national party should respect local perspective and talent then the same should hold true for the netroots, and just as Burner has proven herself to the DCCC, so too have our local netroots proven to our national counterparts our ability to generate buzz and money beyond all expectations. We know the district. We know the candidates. We know the muck that’s going to make Reichert’s reelection a muddy row to hoe. So when we ask that Burner be “netroots edorsed” — with all the money, support, and attention that will bring — we ask the national netroots to trust our local judgement.
Burner has quickly gone from unknown, political neophyte to the cover of Roll Call, and while she and her campaign deserve most of the credit, I don’t believe she could have done it without the enthusiastic support of local bloggers. Now it’s time to help Burner move to the next level, and we simply can’t do it without a little national support.
Markos also saw fit to comment on Sen. Maria Cantwell… and it wasn’t so glowing. Tomorrow I’ll talk about the opposition Sen. Cantwell faces from local Democratic activists and what impact this could have on the entire Democratic ticket.
AK Sen. Ted Stevens introduces Mike McGavick to oil industry fatcat.
GOP hopeful “Lobbyist Mike” McGavick was up in Alaska this week, whoring himself to oil industry executives in his quest to unseat the U.S. Senate’s most vocal and effective environmental advocate, Sen. Maria Cantwell. I suppose McGavick hopes a little oil money might cure his squeaky voice.
Pictured above, Alaska Senator Ted Stevens (you know, the guy who wants to drill in ANWR and send single-hulled tankers careening through the Puget Sound) holds a glass of North Slope crude, while McGavick inexplicably stares at the unidentified oil executive’s breasts.
Let the caption bubble contest begin.
I was all set to write about the incredibly manipulative and dishonest tactics behind the state GOP’s frivolous FEC complaint against Darcy Burner… but The Stranger’s Eli Sander’s beat me to it. Sanders outlines the GOP’s simple, time-tested, three-step process towards casting unfounded aspersions.
Step 1: Have the State Republican Party write up the complaint. Mail it off, post it on the web, and send an email to local bloggers and reporters headlined: “8th District Democrat named in campaign violation complaint.” That’ll get their attention. And it does! Bloggers post it (here and here). And the next day, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer picks it up, as does the King County Journal.
Step 2: Nevermind that the Burner campaign has already answered the allegations, calling them “frivolous.” The seeds of suspicion have been planted. It will take the FEC weeks, if not months, and maybe even until after the election, to determine whether the complaint has merit. In the meantime, encourage conservative blogger Stefan Sharkansky to do a running series of posts on the subject (here and here).
Step 3: Feed the story to the conservative Washington Times so that when it dutifully reports on the allegations (as it did today) Sharkansky can do a post announcing “Darcy Burner Makes the National News. Ouch.”
And there you have it: Aspersions cast, doubts raised, a “national story” created, and all of it just in time for Reichert’s campaign kickoff next Tuesday!
When we talk about the right-wing media echo chamber — or Markos and Jerome reference the incredible infrastructure advantage the Republicans have at their disposal — this is the type of crap we’re talking about.
Meanwhile, if you’re more interested in Burner the candidate than the fearful, cynical machinations of her Republican opponent, the Stranger is giving you the opportunity to question her on the issues:
Burner has agreed to address The Issues you find most important, but that we’ve apparently been negligent in covering. So post your questions in the comments section below, and we’ll slog her responses sometime early next week.
Betcha you won’t see that kind of responsiveness from Reichert.
You know, when Field & Stream starts editorializing against the Bush administration… the Republicans are neck-deep in their own shit.
Rod and gun in hand, and backing the Second Amendment right to own firearms, President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney have won the hearts of America’s sportsmen. Yet the two men have failed to protect outdoor sports on the nation’s public lands. With deep ties to the oil and gas industry, Bush and Cheney have unleashed a national energy plan that has begun to destroy hunting and fishing on millions of federal acres throughout the West, setting back effective wildlife management for decades to come.
This is Field & Stream for chrisakes.
They’re not officially up on the website yet, but the Monroe chapter of Drinking Liberally holds its inaugural gathering tonight at 7PM at Eddie’s Trackside Bar & Grill, 214 N. Lewis Street, Monroe WA. Join host Steve Galea for good talk, good drinks, and even better politics.
No promises, but I’m going to try to stop by tonight.
The other day our good friend Stefan chose to comment on Monday’s massive immigration rally by posting a photo sent to him by one of his readers. No, it wasn’t a dramatic snapshot of 25,000 peaceful protesters marching through streets… it was a picture of an identified person (gasp) registering people to vote. Stefan quoted the following description:
“There were people running around registering illegals to vote. And it was obviously illegals they were focused on.”
“Obviously illegals”…? And how can Stefan and his reader be so sure? I can only assume it’s because these people looked illegal. (You know… they were brown.)
What might not be so obvious is that while WA state’s hispanic population is estimated at around 460,000 our total number of illegal immigrants is estimated at only 136,000. Go ahead, check out the stats.
And of course, not all of our illegal immigrants are hispanic. Indeed, while an estimated 11.3 percent of WA’s population is foreign born, only 22.4 percent of these are originally from Mexico. Fellow (un)Sounder Jim Miller wondered “what happened to all those Mexican flags” he had expected to see, and abused the Seattle Times and Seattle P-I for not asking the same question. But for some reason he didn’t bother to ask where all the Chinese flags were… despite the fact that a whopping 41.9 percent of our state’s foreign born population was born in Asia.
But the obvious answer to why so many protesters were flying American flags is that these people love America! These are people who struggled to come to this nation, seeking better lives for themselves and their children… these are people who seek the freedom and economic opportunity that has long made America the envy of the rest of the world.
These are people who carried American flags, while marching through the American streets, protesting American policies. What could be more American than that?
I’ve missed a couple open threads recently. Ooops. Talk about your crap.
Oh man does Darcy Burner have the Republicans running scared. First, our good friend Stefan attempts to “pull a Goldy” with his ridiculous hit on Burner’s resume, and now the WA State GOP gets into the act with a frivolous FEC complaint.
In regards to the Burner campaign, the complaint mostly focuses on a video produced last fall at the caucuses for Eastside Democracy for America. After tossing about a few insults, state GOP chair Diane Tebelius alleges that:
The group produced and distributed a videotape of the event, the cost of which likely exceeds the $5,000 contribution limit for Political Action Committees.
I’ll ignore the question of whether Eastside DFA is or is not a PAC; that’s none of Burner’s concern. But “the group” did not produce this video. It was produced by Andrew Tsao (who also happens to be NPI’s Media & Communications Director) on a purely volunteer basis. Nobody paid him for his efforts. As far as I know, he wasn’t even reimbursed for the cost of the videotape.
And as the Burner campaign points out in response to the complaint, if individuals volunteer their services to a campaign without compensation, such volunteer activity is not reportable. Indeed, they don’t just point this out, they provide the text of the actual FEC regulation:
Basic Rule: No Compensation
An individual may volunteer personal services to a campaign without making a contribution as long as the individual is not compensated by anyone for the services. 100.74. Volunteer activity is not reportable.
EXAMPLE: An attorney, working as a volunteer (i.e., he receives no compensation from anyone), writes policy papers for the campaign.
Note, however, that if volunteers are, in fact, paid for their services, the activity is no longer considered volunteer activity, and the payments, if made by someone other than the campaign itself, result in in-kind contributions, which must be reported by the campaign. 100.54. (Exception: “Free Legal and Accounting Services,” above.)
Hmm. Well, Tebelius may not have done her homework, but I understand a couple of reporters have, and the FEC told them exactly what they told the Burner campaign. Tsao’s video was completely kosher, and was not subject to the reporting requirements.
But you know, I can see how a professional politico like Tebelius might be confused, as doing stuff for free just isn’t something one expects from Republicans. So if you think they’re nervous now, just wait until reality sets in… for Burner didn’t just outraise Reichert two-to-one during the last quarter all by her lonesome… she did it on the backs of grassroots volunteers like Tsao.
The Burner Buzz continues to build….
More details over on NPI.
Hey, remember those mobile “biolabs” that President Bush claimed as proof positive of Iraq’s WMD program… you know, the ones that eventually turned out not to be biolabs after all? Well, the Washington Post reports today that the Bush administration knew these weren’t really biolabs all along:
On May 29, 2003, 50 days after the fall of Baghdad, President Bush proclaimed a fresh victory for his administration in Iraq: Two small trailers captured by U.S. and Kurdish troops had turned out to be long-sought mobile “biological laboratories.” He declared, “We have found the weapons of mass destruction.”
The claim, repeated by top administration officials for months afterward, was hailed at the time as a vindication of the decision to go to war. But even as Bush spoke, U.S. intelligence officials possessed powerful evidence that it was not true.
A secret fact-finding mission to Iraq — not made public until now — had already concluded that the trailers had nothing to do with biological weapons. Leaders of the Pentagon-sponsored mission transmitted their unanimous findings to Washington in a field report on May 27, 2003, two days before the president’s statement.
The three-page field report and a 122-page final report three weeks later were stamped “secret” and shelved. Meanwhile, for nearly a year, administration and intelligence officials continued to publicly assert that the trailers were weapons factories.
As if we needed any further evidence to convince us that President Bush has been blatantly lying to the American public for years.
Last night was an important turning point in the history of Podcasting Liberally, as it marked the moment our show was mature enough to welcome its first, genuine, right-wing guest: Gen. JC Christian, Patriot, of the much reviled cesspool of theocracy, Jesus’ General. It was a very manly performance.
Joining the General and me in our left-right dialectic were Mollie, Will, Lee, and Darryl. Topic’s of discussion included immigration, the Iraq war, nuking Iran, the Darcy Burner Buzz, The General’s tatooed buttocks, and Markos & Jerome’s "Crashing the Gate" tour and how Democrats might want to focus on, um… winning.
Just updated the link to the MP3, to actually link to this week’s recording. Duh-uh.
I keep hearing from people who claim to be Democrats who tell me that they just can’t vote for Sen. Maria Cantwell because of her ongoing support for the war in Iraq. Well, Andrew heard her speak at a fundraiser today, and gee, I dunno… she doesn’t sound all that pro-war to me:
Addressing the administration’s failures in Iraq, Cantwell declared to thunderous applause, “This year must be a year of transition. In 2006 we must get the Iraqi people back on their feet and bring our troops home.”
Though Senator Cantwell has been repeatedly criticized for not having a position on Iraq, it was clear tonight that she does indeed have one.
Senator Cantwell believes that our presence so far in the region hasn’t made Iraq a freer, safer, healthier country. She is evidently frustrated with the administration’s inability to bring stability to the Middle East, and its constant stonewalling.
Senator Cantwell’s speech had great themes. Most importantly, she showed that she does have a position on the Iraq War and that she is very concerned about the administration’s mismanagement of the conflict.
For those who want to see some sort of dramatic mea culpa in which Cantwell begs forgiveness from constituents for her vote to authorize the war, well… I just don’t think you’re going to get it. But I do expect her to further explicate her position on the war as the campaign unfolds. And as I’ve previously written, her position is decidedly not pro-war.
The Seattle chapter of Drinking Liberally meets tonight (and every Tuesday), 8PM at the Montlake Ale House, 2307 24th Avenue E.
Joining us tonight will be our first right-wing special guest… none other than Gen. JC Christian, the founder and proprietor of the always informative (and manly) Jesus’ General. The General, as we fondly call him, provides a valuable insight into the minds of the far-right theocrats who have come to dominate the Republican Party nationally, and we look forward to plying him with beer, and teasing little tidbits of GOP strategy from him during his moment of weakness. Perhaps we can even coax him onto the podcast.
For those of you on the other side of the mountains, please join Jimmy at the Tri-Cities chapter of DL, every Tuesday from 5:30 onwards, Tuscany Lounge, 1515 George Washington Way, Richland.
Oh… I almost forgot. Tonight is also a special election night edition of Drinking Liberally, as we closely follow the open primary in CA-50, to see who replaces disgraced GOP congressman Duke Cunningham. MyDD has the preelection analysis.
We are a nation of immigrants, a fact brought home in Seattle and other cities around the nation yesterday when hundreds of thousands marched through the streets in support of humane and pragmatic immigration reform:
From sidewalks and bus stops and stranded cars along the way, onlookers stared in awe at a spectacle seldom seen in Seattle