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                                       politics + culture

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Nathan Rudy and the Blue 7th

I've had a link to Nathan Rudy's Blue 7th blog up for a month now. The reason for that is that I'm convinced that local blogs opposing vulnerable GOP representatives, in this case New Jersey Congressman Mike Ferguson, are the most important netroots trend for 2006. A lot of us online want to fundamentally change politics in this county. Taking back the House in 2006 is how we do just that. This is where online activism for 2006 should start, with local opposition blogs in the 80-100 vulnerable GOP districts.

Blogs like Nathan Rudy's do three things:

  • They provide local voters with the information they need to learn how wrong their GOP representative is.
  • They provide local voters a way to sign up and pledge to fight to kick the GOP representative our of office
  • They show quality local candidates that there's a pool of fired up Democrats ready to unseat the GOP incumbant

  • This is where on-line and off-line activism meet. And the 2006 elections are very much a "live issue." This is where and when it all gets started. We need many, many more blogs like Nathan Rudy's Blue 7th.

    Yesterday I talked about unseating Richard Pombo in CA's 11th district. Readers pointed out that Jerry McNerney, an environmentalist who gave Pombo a run for his money last time around...and Steve Filson, who has apparently been embraced by the DCCC "just like that"...are both running against Pombo. My question is: is this the anti-Pombo "blog"?

    12 Comments:

    • Imo, this should be the THE blog focus for the next three months, and into 2006. The DCCC is in action. The PACs are in action. But it's all behind the scenes...and a lot of what we see....the results of this activity: Filson's site, McNerney's site, the DCCC site, the anti-Pombo site...is not so pretty.

      (Btw, what is a "social moderate" in relation to Filson/McNerney?...and why is the DCCC doing an early Filson boost?...Is it as simple as the "veteran" angle...a kind of Hackett effect? You tell me, I need to learn more about Filson and McNerney.)

      By Blogger kid oakland, at 9:35 AM  

    • I think I ought to start off with the obvious--the anti-Pombo site you link to is useful, but it's not a blog and cannot take the place of one. There is a perspective behind the website, but there is no voice to it. Also, I think its focus on environmental issues and its at least nominal non-partisanship tends to make it largely policy-oriented, as opposed to out and out political. The lefty blogosphere has the ability to get behind and aid an honest, fighting Democrat that believes in grassroots organizing (regardless of his or her ideological orientation). But the whole issue of Democratic Party reform could not be properly considered on a non-partisan site like the one you linked to. It would be much better to create a space in the blogosphere for partisan, political discourse about this campaign, which would still allow for the inclusion of the voices of others who do not share our larger political viewpoint, but who do share our desire to kick Pombo out of office.

      Second, I distrust Filson because, as far as I can tell, his rise to prominence had everything to do with the fact that his daughter worked for Ellen Tauscher. In fact, Tauscher took Steve Filson to meet the DCCC in Washington before the people in the Contra Costa County Democratic Central Committee even knew who he was or that he was running for office. I object that there wasn't even a cursory attempt to build grassroots level support for him (or at least awareness of his candidacy) before Tauscher tried to anoint him, in DC, as the Democratic challenger to Pombo. I hope it is not symbolic of the type of campaign he will run, but won't hold my breath.

      By Anonymous Matt, at 10:52 AM  

    • The metaphor for Filson's campaign, it just occured to me, is an arranged marriage. It's like Tauscher is the next door neighbor who has a grandson she wants you to marry, and so she goes to your grandparents in DC, who haven't spoken to you since 1992, to arrange the marriage. You already have a boyfriend, Jerry McNerney, and so Tauscher talks to your grandparents about how her grandson is so much better than your boyfriend, how Steve is richer than Jerry and how Jerry's never going to propose to you in any event. I mean, even if she were correct (something I obviously do not grant), wouldn't you object to the method she used? I mean, if your grandparents suddenly started paying attention to you and offered to pay for your wedding and put a down-payment on a new house if you just ditched Jerry and married Steve, maybe you'd consider it. Maybe you need the money for a house and maybe you desperately want to get married and aren't sure Jerry really will seal the deal. But goddammit, it's your decision and if Steve wants to marry you he should talk to you first. My instincts about this situation in CA-11 parallel the scenario above. The people in CA-11 are the ones who will have to deal with the consequences of this race. Tauscher and the DCCC, although they might derive some ancillary benefit if Filson is elected, won't have the pick up the pieces if things go South. So if Filson wants to run, goddammit, he should have first made his case to the people he wants to represent, starting with the Democrats who are already involved on the ground.

      By Anonymous Matt, at 11:11 AM  

    • Hah! Nice analogy.

      Just to further muddy the waters, my sources have Elaine Shaw ready to jump into the race.

      Then there would be three Bay Area Democrats (an energy consultant, a pilot, and an attorney) running in a district where the bulk of the population resides in the Cental Valley and holds a pretty deep-seated resentment towards "those Bay Area folks who think they're better than we are."

      By Blogger babaloo, at 12:01 PM  

    • The most complete list of candidates I can find is here . On the Dem side it lists: "'04 nominee mathematician Jerry McNerney (D), Scott Chacon (D), Univ. of Pacific dean Margee Ensign (D), airline pilot Steve Filson (D), St. AM Barbara Matthews (D)?" I doesn't mention Shaw, who ran against Pombo in 2002 and then ran unsuccessfully for State Assembly in 2004.

      In terms of money, only McNerney and Shaw have reported anything to the FEC as of June 1, although Shaw's reports show zero contributions and a couple thousand dollars in outstanding debt. It may be that she has to file statements with the FEC until she retires her debt from the 2002 campaign, but I really have no idea. The next filing deadline is 9/30, so we'll get a much better idea of what's happening after that.

      To be honest, I know very little about any of the other candidates, although I have checked out the website of Scott Chacon. I can see on Chacon's website that he has raised only $125 (it's been $125 since I've been checking, which has been a number of months). His new website is buggy, and the buttons seem set to work on his computer rather than the web (e.g. the button for "blog" is set to "http:///articles", not "http://www.http://www.chaconforcongress.com/articles", with the latter address being correct). He seems to want to run a completely open-source campaign, which is interesting. That said, my admittedly biased sources lead me to believe that he's a credible candidate.

      By Anonymous Matt, at 12:50 PM  

    • Indeed! I have been researching the issue of the California delegation for about three months. I have been working on a diary about it, but I am sloooooooooow.

      I firmly believe that we (Dems, progressives, the left, whatever we are) should be able to take between three and seven seats from the GOP in California alone.

      The war, Katrina, and the economy are excellent tipping points.

      *California soldiers are dying at high rates.
      *Katrina has shown us that our government is not prepared to help us in the event of a large earthquake.
      *If it was not for real estate and marijauna (no joke there) our economy would be dead. My techie friends in the Bay Area are still getting used to the fact that I make more than them again (just like after college).

      This is a poorly written thesis, I assure you that my project is better and I have more points, but I believe if the national delegation doesn't want to play hardball with their opponents, we should field a united delegation of candidates, at least in CA and perhaps even OH and PA who ignore that strategy. This is the season to contrast and compare, not try and tower above.

      By Anonymous beagleandtabby, at 1:00 PM  

    • machado would have been good in that regard, babaloo, but the tracy herald quotes his staff as saying he won't run this time. bizarre gerrymandering there, cutting stockton out of the center of the district. ahnold's redistricting plan is seriously flawed, but we need to do a better job in 2010 with making sane districts.

      By Anonymous wu ming, at 5:14 PM  

    • also missing from both mcnerney and filson's websites are any mention of delta or agricultural issues. even if we're assuming that the democratic base in any run in this district will be on the west side bay area commuter suburbs, any credible run is going to need to be able to speak to those issues when they're talking to central valley voters on the east side. filson barely has anything of substance on that page, and while mcnerney rightly hammers pombo on his execrable anti-environmental voting record, there is not a word about funding for levees, or any position whatsoever on farming or ranching-related issues. just acknowledging that those issues exist, and demonstrating some knowledge and competence in your responses, even if you "me-too" pombo's stances, would go a long way towards defusing the inevitable "bay area yuppie outsider" line of attack.

      By Anonymous wu ming, at 5:39 PM  

    • Great discussion that brought up news I hadn't heard yet.

      Thanks and hat tip to you all...and let's keep each other posted.

      Is anyone here familiar with Brett Wagner's chances against Elton Gallegly in Ventura County?

      By Blogger kid oakland, at 9:14 PM  

    • I am the one who runs the www.votepomboout.org site. I just updated the site today, so take another look if you can.

      I first encountered Pombo after the 2000 redistricting, when San Ramon was added to the 11th District. During that election, I realized who would be representing my district -- someone dedicated to overturning any and all environmental regulation. So I put up the website to give voice to my opposition. My focus has been environmental, and I have not addressed social issues. However, lately, the site has a lot about Pombo's corruption. There are so many scandals swirling around Pombo, it is hard to keep up!

      Recently, I renamed the URL to www.abettercongress.org, thinking that a positive spin is better than just "vote the bum out". The site is evolving, and a blog may be the way to go. I had tried Yahoo groups, but that went nowhere.

      I would be glad to talk with others about the website, about the campaign against Pombo, and about 11th District politics.

      My email is scottr@abettercongress.org

      By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:58 PM  

    • SoapBloxNJ is another new progressive New Jersey Blog:

      http://www.soapblox.net/nj/showDiary.do?diaryId=7

      They just went online this week. Check it out.

      By Anonymous willyr, at 9:51 AM  

    • This is from a CoCo Times article on August 3, 2005, which disappeared from their site, hence no link.

      "Political novice Steve Filson, a United Airlines pilot from Danville, ran the meet-and-greet gauntlet last week in Washington, D.C., with members of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and the California delegation. That included face time with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco.

      "The ex-Navy pilot, 58, won high praise from top Democrats, especially from Rep. Ellen Tauscher, D-Alamo. (Filson and his wife, Mary, supported Tauscher before redistricting shifted Danville into Pombo's district in 2002. And Filson's daughter, Janelle, has worked in Tauscher's office.)

      "'I've known Steve for a long time, and I believe he can galvanize both the western and eastern sides of the district, given his military record, his leadership in industry and his activities in the community,' she said. [snip]

      "Wait, don't the Democrats have a candidate?

      "Jerry McNerney of Pleasanton, who lost to Pombo by 22 percentage points in 2004, says he'll run.

      "'I don't know Steve Filson and I'm sure he's a good man, but I've been through this before and I have name recognition and support,' McNerney said.

      "But he barely made it onto the 2004 primary ballot as a write-in, and Pombo gave away more money than McNerney raised.

      "'Jerry's a great guy and everyone is appreciative of his 2004 run, but this is about elevating this race to national status and making sure we have the most formidable candidate,' Tauscher said."

      By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:07 PM  

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