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Thursday, September 28, 2006

six weeks out

Like many of us here in the progressive blogosphere, I find the news coming out of Congress today tremendously disconcerting.  At the same time, I firmly believe that democracy is about both process (debate, discussion, public stands) and results (elections, Congressional votes, legal decisions). These two aspects of our democracy are deeply linked.


As someone who has written numerous pieces raising energy and awareness about electoral activism I know just how significant elections are...and how important what we do and how we conceptualize what we do in the next six weeks will be for all of us.


Here's a reality: in just a matter of days most absentee ballots will have been mailed out around the nation and the national mid-term elections of 2006 will have officially begun. I see what's going on in Washington with the "torture votes" as directly related to this reality. In my mind, our job is keep our eyes on the ball. Our job is to keep relentlessly building our movement.


This essay is written out of that conviction...

::

I think Democrats need to take a step back, take a deep breath, and realize that the challenge we are facing this fall is a familiar one. This is not new territory.


The GOP is using national security and wedge issues like gay rights and immigration to slam Democrats. Push-polling is underway in swing Congressional districts across the nation. The RNC is spending big in state after state. High profile "side issues" are cropping up right and left and sucking the oxygen out of what a mid-term election should be about: a referendum about the party in power.


I want to be real. From the point of view of progressive and reform-minded Democrats, this year presents a challenge and an opportunity. It's not at all clear that the majority of our party or our Congressional representatives "get" the netroots reform agenda. Not in the least. Further, the media environment remains decidely negative for making our case. While we can be excited that we have more progressive infrastructure in place than in previous years, there is still so much work to do. Any on-the-ground activist will tell you: there are so many lessons for us netroots and grassroots activists to learn. Quite frankly, we are learning them...sometimes the hard way...every single day.


Now, 2006 also presents us with a number of very positive trends: reform-minded grassroots and netroots activism is on the rise, and, in district after district, fresh Democrats are taking on GOP incumbents and mounting serious challenges. I am quite sure that election night 2006 will provide us with exciting stories of Democratic success. But, friends, that prospect is not enough.


We Democrats want both legislative majorities AND the infrastructure to maintain them. That project will not be realized in one year. Even if we did succeed in winning back Congress, we all know, and have learned once again today, that our netroots reform agenda would be far from finished.


What I'd like to point out is this: our job is to fight our long term battle for our reform agenda while we fight the short term battle of the mid-term elections of 2006. The two projects, for the next six weeks, are rolled into one.


Long term we are building a movement dedicated to reforming the Democratic Party and winning back Congress. To do that we have to persuade our fellow citizens to vote for our agenda and our candidates. We need to elect candidates who "get" what it means to be a Democrat so that when they get to Congress they do us proud. In sum, these two projects are linked. We know they won't happen overnight or out of thin air.


Now, getting real, we activists also know that the shape of the 2006 mid-term elections is already largely in place. What electoral infrastructure was going to be built...has been laid out. What's left now is the execution...the debates, the ads, the battle in the press and on the blogs...and, most critically for us grassroots activists, the getting out of the vote.


My message to netroots and grassroots Democrats is this: we need to remember that we are building something long term here. We need to let that insight inform what we do this election season. Let's not let the GOP distract us from the hard work of laying out local infrastrucutre and building the connections that result in long term success.


Democracy is NOT about instant results and easy success: it is about process and results that are sustainable in the long term. It's about building infrastructure and community and maintaining BOTH from election-to-election and year-to-year. We need to be real. We progressive netroots Democrats have a VERY TOUGH dual job. We are trying to reform our party from within AND we are working in coalition with every Democrat and sympathetic citizen nation-wide to kick the GOP out of their legislative majorities. The next six weeks are where those two jobs coincide.


If there's something that I'd like you to take away from this piece it's this: this is a very exciting time. We are building something bigger than the apparent sum of its parts. Whether it's local blogs emerging to take on GOP incumbents in state after state or GOTV volunteers from 2004 reuniting every weekend to make a difference in 2006, we ARE living up to Howard Dean's vision of taking our country back. Don't let the GOP distract us from that reality.


This fall is a time to get local and stay local. This fall is a time to build infrastructure that lasts. This fall is a time to realize that our project is both long term AND short term. The friends we make doing GOTV this fall are quite likely our allies for life. This is no "one shot deal." We are in this for the long haul, and we need to realize that fact. We will not win every race we contest. We knew that going in. We will also certainly have some very HARD LESSONS that we learn coming out of this. We knew that too. But the process we are engaged in is bigger than all that.


If you, like me, are disheartened and disconcerted by what you hear coming out of Washington DC today, I'd ask you to remember this: The next six weeks we are all locked in a battle for the hearts and minds of our fellow citizens. That battle is, simply put, what our democracy is all about. The friends we make in that effort, the alliances we forge, the community we develop will be part of our long term effort to take our country back.


Don't lose sight of that. We are building something bigger than short-sighted consultants and GOP strategists can envision.


In fact, I would say this to every local Democratic activist: the friends you make and alliances you build in the next six weeks are the GOP's worst nightmare.


We aren't going away. We are keeping our eyes on the ball. And that, my friends, is what will make the difference. The "people power" infrastructure we are constructing lies at the heart of every successful political movement.


Everything else is a distraction; win or lose this fall, what we are building is for the history books.

[You can read a dicussion of this post at dailykos.com.]

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Local blog sleuths axe GOP Congressional Aide

This fresh off the Washington Post: "House Aide Resigns over Fake Blog Posts"

A top aide to U.S. Rep. Charles Bass resigned Tuesday after disclosures that he posed as a supporter of the Republican's opponent in blog messages intended to convince people that the race was not competitive.

Operators of two liberal blogs traced the postings to the House of Representatives' computer server. Bass' office traced the messages to his policy director, Tad Furtado, and issued a statement announcing Furtado's resignation Tuesday.


And, yes, it was the sleuthing of Blogs United and Dailykos blogger Miss Laura of Blue Granite and Michael Caulfied of NH-02 Progressive (and Blogs United, but I'll let him say who he is on his own) that broke this story and uncovered Tad Furtado's astro-turf blogging from Bass's DC office.

Think local blogs don't matter? Think we aren't a part of the story this fall?

Think again. Hats off the intrepid NH bloggers. This is a big one.

Kudos to both of you!!

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Blogs United: structure and openness

I've been doing a ton of work off the blogs on Blogs United. And, yes, that's cut into my blogging time. Just the truth.

Here's where Blogs United is at today:

  • We have a DFA-link site up.
  • We have a Google Group up and running.
  • We have a public Wiki with a number of cool features available for browsing...and many more to come.
  • We have a small satellite presence on the Party Builder site.


  • Wikis...as I'm learning...are a ton of work But I'm hopeful as the months progress that the Blogs United wiki will prove to be one of it's more innovative and useful features...we'll see.

    I'd like to address the Google Group here for one second. I've tried to make Blogs United as inclusive and open as possible. That means trying to: a) make sure as many people as possible know about the group and feel free to join and b) creating a public presence for the group in multiple ways (DFA-link and Party Builder networks, public Wiki, Google Group with clear portals for entry.)

    However, given the above, the Google Group for Blogs United is not publicly viewable. You might ask, how does that square with the above goals and my stated preference for "open source politics?"

    There's two major factors involved:

    1. In actually doing this group...ie. when the rubber hit the road...I realized that emails sent to and from one's email inbox deserve some umbrella of privacy.

    It's one thing to make a comment on a blog; it's another to say that your emails should be read by everyone who wants to see them. Fwiw, while the Blogs United Google Group is not publicly viewable, it's also explicity not off the record. Information offered and shared on that list serv is meant to reach many people and be useful. However, as a common courtesty I created two basic guidelines that I've emailed to all the group's participants:

    a) Ask and receive permission to quote someone's words elsewhere (ie. give emails the respect you would to any email.)
    b) If you think information you have should NOT be shared with a large group of people on an email ring: it probably shouldn't be

    2. The other factor that influenced my choice to make the Google Group not publicly readable is that we on the blogs already have ample resources for public discussion.

    We don't have a lot of resources for peer-to-peer support and information sharing. I think it's possible to have an email ring...in fact multiple email rings...that SERVE bloggers and the common good without making everyone's emails public OR having everyone involved sworn to secrecy.

    In sum, I like the fact that the Blogs United Google Group (which may break down into more than one eventually) is rooted in access portals like DFA-link and the Wiki that are viewable and visible online. That's important. Further, I think it's important that while participants can't repost someone else's words from the Google Group neither is the content of any of the discussions expected to be secret. Among other things, that's simply an unresonable expectation for any email sent to large group of people.

    As I've written before, building infrastructure is important. It's the critical task at hand for the netroots.

    One of the things I'm committed to is building and innovating structures that serve netroots communities for the long haul. Wikis, email groups, social networking sites, blogs: these are all part of the emerging netroots infrastructure.

    Blogs United FAQ here.

    Email me for more info at: kidoaklandactivism"at"comcast"dot"net

    Friday, September 22, 2006

    Blue Jersey

    Blue Jersey continues to expose the Kean campaign...what a great headline: It's not Easy being Kean.

    Thursday, September 21, 2006

    the politics of Peter Daou's invite list pt. ii

    I very deliberately titled my last post on this subject with Peter Daou in the title. There's a point there that I think folks have been missing.

    Peter Daou works for Hillary Clinton, a U.S. Senator and presumptive Presidential candidate. It's his job to do outreach to the blogs.

    To criticize Peter in that capacity is, far from being unfair, par for the course. Criticism is to be expected in politics and comes with the territory.

    Had Peter been assigned to do a lunch with the Korean grocer's association of Manhattan, no one would have griped if the resulting photo depicted Clinton w/ Korean grocers. That wasn't the case here. This "bloggers lunch" and the photo that resulted from it, just did not reflect the diversity of the blogosphere or its leaders. Hell, it doesn't reflect the blogosphere that Peter himself linked to extensively in his admirable career at Salon.com. To do that meeting, with that outcome, both visible and invisible, was a mistake.

    For Terrance at the Republic of T to bring that up was courageous.

    Now, for a blogger to be critical of the employee of a Democratic Senator is hardly surprising or new. It's par for the course. However, in this instance Terrance made his observation with some sense of the guff and feedback he would get from the blogs...and guff and feedback he got. I respect Terrance MORE for bringing this up regardless of the criticism he would get. The photo, and the lack of inclusiveness it represents, is Peter's creation, not Terrance's.

    It's Peter's job to do outreach to the blogs...to communicate...to ensure inclusion...to lead. That's what he gets paid to do. As I said in my first post, Peter led us into this situation; he has a professional obligation to lead us out of it. While I respect the diversity of links that Peter provided in his career at Salon.com and understand that he had invited people to the lunch who did not come, that doesn't absolve him from taking reponsiblity for the fact that this lunch has had some negative impacts that need to be addressed. We need to take steps to make sure this does not happen again.

    Criticism of the employee of a U.S. Senator for the lack of inclusion at a bloggers meeting and in the resulting group photo made public far and wide comes with his job. It's not a personal dig; it's called professional accountability.

    That's a point that too many miss here. That does not mean it was not the essential issue all along.

    Wednesday, September 20, 2006

    blog toronado

    Sweeping through blogistan:

  • Blue Jersey has two great, must read posts about the GOP Kean campaign astroturfing their blog: Astroturf 1 and Astroturf 2. If you're looking for evidence of the significance of local blogs...how about being directly attacked by opposing campaigns???
  • Ampersand at Creative Destruction has a really carefully thought-out run-down analyzing the mindsets behind the Clinton lunch. (Not a title I would have chosen however, there's been enough of that already.)
  • Lynn Allen has an update from WA State while N in Seattle previews a new form of campaign ad: crop art!
  • MN Publius has a good post on how the GOP attempted to vilify a Muslim Democrat running for Congress in Minnesota by associating him with...a man the GOP themselves embrace.
  • There's good news from Virginia in Jim Webb's fight to unseat George Allen. And the fact that the the Sierra Club is now on board helps.
  • Tuesday, September 19, 2006

    take a look at Michigan Liberal

    Michigan Liberal is a regional liberal Soap Blox blog covering the great state of Michigan.

    You may have caught them the first time through the national blog coverage this story got...

    but if you take a closer look at the website, from the staff page to the page covering the races for the Michigan State House you'll find a regional blog that has built a powerful local infrastructure covering Michigan politics. There's also a healthy user diary section too.

    Anyone interested in local blogs or Michigan politics should take a look.

    Saturday, September 16, 2006

    the politics of Peter Daou's invite list

    Sometime earlier this month Peter Daou, a leading Democratic online writer and organizer (and current blog advisor to Hillary Clinton) organized a bloggers lunch where fourteen Democratic bloggers met with former President Bill Clinton in his offices in New York City.


    For any progressive blogger worth their salt this was a kind of 'dream date:' lunch with Bill Clinton and a group of peers for a freewheeling debate on the issues of the day two months out from a major election.

    According to the participants the event went really well. You can read the reports on their blogs:


  • Christy Hardin-Smith of Firedoglake covered the meeting here
  • Chris Bowers wrote about it on MyDD here
  • and Jeralyn Merritt of TalkLeft's rundown can be found here.

  • Now, as word of the Clinton lunch...and photos of it...spread throughout the blogosphere, a question arose: "Where were the bloggers of color?"


    First, blogger terrance of the Republic of T (who self-describes as "Black, Gay, Father, Vegetarian, Buddhist, and Liberal") wrote a piece on September 13th entitled Write Your own Caption which featured photos of the event's participants and asked, "Notice Anything?" His readers did. The first comment noted:

    Well, It may not really be a caption, but the first thing I thought was...Dang Bill! Where are the black people. I know you noticed.
     

    Next, linking to terrance's post, Liza Sabater of Daily Gotham and Culture Kitchen, followed up that question with a post entitled: To  Peter Daou and the DailyKos Crowd... where she asked:
    What does it mean though that there are 20 bloggers invited to this lunch and not one is black or latino? What does it mean for this group of bloggers to be patting themselves on the backs for being with Clinton when they are all in Harlem and not one of them is a person of color? What does it mean for these people to be there and have not one of them raise this issue in their blogs?


    I think terrance and Liza's questions aren't just good questions. I think the point they make isn't just a good point that one can take or leave like we're discussing the finer points of trade tariffs or a Cable TV bill. Let me put it in no uncertain terms, if the progressive blogosphere can't come up with real answers to these questions and a plan to make sure this never happens again, then the blogosphere isn't worth a damn. This isn't a minor blip or an ego thing as some have portrayed it; this is a wake up call.


    The irony of a soul food lunch at Clinton's Harlem offices served to a group of future leaders of the Democratic Party that did not include African Americans and Latinos is too rich and too bitter not to note. To be frank, it echoes in some ways the experience at Yearlykos in Las Vegas where the dailykos community learned just how racially diverse we in attendence...weren't. For myself, I can't write a post titled "time to get real" one day, and then play "let's pretend the invisibility of bloggers of color at the Clinton event was okay" the next.


    Friends, we are better than this. This is 2006, not 1953.


    When we blog, our readers cannot see the color of our skin tone. That is true. It defines this online world. But that is no excuse that bloggers of color should be invisible at a meeting of our leaders with Bill Clinton in Harlem...or anywhere for that matter.


    Now, there were 14 great bloggers at that event. All of them leaders and writers I respect and count as colleagues. They didn't plan the event. They didn't draw up the guest list. But somebody did. And, yeah, that somebody does deserve some blame. There needs to be some accountabilty here.


    Peter Daou, the event's organizer, has a letter in response to Liza that she published at her blog. It reads like this:


    Hi Liza -
    several bloggers were invited who couldn't attend, including Oliver Willis (who you didn't mention in your post). Also, I was told that more events like that are planned, and there will be an opportunity to invite bloggers who didn't attend the first one.
    So respectfully, you may have reached a conclusion without all the facts.
    Best,

    Peter


    P.S. Feel free to publish this email as an update to your post.


    I have more than a little problem with that non-answer. You see, we're in the home stretch of a very important election season and when I look around me at my colleagues and fellow Democratic activists here in Oakland I don't think that "opportunities in the future" cuts it. I don't think that mentioning by name the one person of color who was invited but couldn't make it is a proper or remotely adequate way to address this mistake. (I'm pretty sure that Senator Clinton would agree.)


    I have a sincere message to Peter Daou: Peter, straight up, you led the way into this situation, now is the time for you to start leading the way out. In turn, all of us need to answer some questions. How did this happen?  How can we make sure it doesn't happen again?


    With or without a lone African-American, the face of the Democratic Party does not look like that picture. Every single last one of us on the blogs knows it. We can't be the party to take on Senator George Allen for his racial slurs one day and then ignore our own hypcrisy the next. It may well be, as we learned at Yearlykos, that the liberal blogosphere is significantly more white than the Democratic Party at large. Our response to that challenge should not be to shrug it off. Our job, in fact, is to address it.


    We are better than this and we need to take this moment as a wake up call. We need to start a discussion that does not stop till we've built structures that get beyond this BS. That won't be easy. That will involve clashes of egos and words and agendas; everything worth doing does. But, friends, as Democrats, that is our job.


    We bloggers are only as good as our words. If we can't take steps to learn from this mistake, we aren't worth the words we type.


    How we rise to this challenge will be a yardstick that we measure ourselves by. Terrance and Liza have posed the challenge and the question: how will the blogosphere respond?

    on the Blog Beat...Sat. AM edition

    How about a quick tour of local blog action from NM-01, MN-01, NY-24 and KY-03?

  • New Mexico blog NM FBIHOP has a really nice run down of the culture of corruption angle. GOP Congresswoman Heather Wilson says her policy on taking dirty money like the $60,000 she raked in from Tom DeLay is just to "give it back." Sounds weak to me...but it turns out Heather Wilson is not even doing that.
  • Blue Stem Prairie highlights a clear choice facing Minnesota voters in MN-01. On the one hand there's GOP incumbent Gil Gutknecht who has invited his buddy Newt Gingrich to help him campaign for a promise-breaking, "chuck the Contract with America" out the window seventh term in Congress. On the other hand there's Democratic challenger Tim Walz who's appearing this weekend with Congressman John Murtha. Gutknecht/Gingrich versus Walz/Murtha. That's a clear contrast for Minnesotans come Novemeber on issues as diverse as the war in Iraq to fiscal responsibility to privatizing Social Security.
  • Local blogger Take Back the 24th in NY-24 expresses frustration with Democratic candidate Mike Arcuri. This kind of strong and critical local voice is, imo, important for districts and campaigns. BS and happy, happy doesn't cut it. Authentic, constructive criticism is what local blogging is about.
  • Bluegrass Report has interesting piece on Senator Obama's visit to Louisville. This is the kind of story that local blogs do well...and the battle in the comments is typcial of what happens when folks start paying attention to local politics. It's not always pretty, but it is democracy. And that's what citizen journalism is all about.

  • Thursday, September 14, 2006

    time to get real

    Chris Bowers has an excellent post up at MyDD about the existence of a "generation gap in perception" around the 2006 midterm elections. That post, in making a distinction between how those above and below the age of 40 see this election and the Democratic party, dovetails with an interesting conversation I had with fellow blogger Matt Ortega at Drinking Liberally Oakland last night.

    There is a missing ingredient that the Democrats need to find RIGHT NOW. That ingredient is precisely this: a level of backbone and a resolute focus on the GOP record embodied personally by Republican candidates. Democrats have failed to produce this ingredient in previous elections, and we've paid the price.

    We need to make a visceral connection with the voters about the price of this GOP Congress. We need to make this personal. We need to get real.

    To elaborate on what it means to "get real," Matt Ortega spoke convincingly about the recent anti-George Allen Vote Vets ad on body armor. That ad, with its direct, side-by-side comparison of GOP versus Democratic legislation makes the kind of visual point that sinks in. The Vote Vets ad pulls no punches. That approach is EXACTLY what is called for.

    In my view, if this election is simply base against base. Mid-term voters versus mid-term voters. Democratic turnout versus GOP turnout. We change nothing even if we win seats.

    We Democrats need to take our chips and put them ALL on a simple, direct message that will resonate for decades: it's time for America to get real about the consequences of this GOP Congress.

    To convey that message we need to get real ourselves. We can't pussy-foot around. Let me put it this way, if the Republicans are going to spend another election season attacking Democrats as if we are "in bed with terrorists" then Democrats sure as hell better stand up and start attacking Republican candidates and standing up to that slander. We Democrats need to make it clear that we mean serious business. There is no room for equivocation or qualifiers. This is no time for niceties.

    You see, everything that is wrong with the direction this country is headed in is embodied in the record of this GOP Congress. Everything. We need to convey that. We need to talk about that. We need to present that distinction in unequivocal and direct terms.

    Democrats need to connect with folks who eat breakfast at McDonalds. Our arguments have to work in that environment. Our ads, our candidates, our message needs to play in that arena: we need to connect...viscerally...with small groups of Americans talking over a cup of coffee and an Egg McMuffin. The VoteVets ad does that...in 30 seconds.

    That is precisely where the Democratic Party needs to be right now.

    Wednesday, September 13, 2006

    midterms: less than two months out

    Yesterday's primary results have been well-covered at MyDD and Dailykos. I'll be interested in following how local blogs in Arizona and New York spark up now that we have defined races in those two states.

    I've been busy working (I do make a living outside of blogging) and working on organizing Blogs United, so forgive my light posting. I do have a couple thoughts regarding the "state of the midterms."

    First, I think the coverage of campaign ads from YouTube is spot on. It's the perfect mix of short, sweet digestible content and amplifies two things that our campaigns really need help with: getting the message out and getting feedback about what does and doesn't work. Vis a vis the ubiquitous YouTube I say, "rock on."

    Second, there is motivated energy among activists on the Democratic side. However, at least from this pov, that energy has not crossed the chasm to activating the "next wave"...the sometime volunteers, the word-of-mouth wave that creates peer-to-peer pressure to vote.

    There is no secret to the fall midterms: Democrats need turnout. We need that second wave. Two months out is usually the moment where that wave starts to form and galvanize. We should think about what we can do to help make that happen.

    Finally, as a complete and total aside, I would like to make an observation that echoes a point I've made before: this fall Democrats who reach out to the broad middle will win suprising support from that middle. Democrats who break down the myth that you must be a "liberal" to vote Democratic will find an American electorate very willing to listen to common sense proposals for a change in Congress. In my view, fall of 2006 is about connecting with those voters. Period.

    Yes, Democrats must run a politics of contrast and change against the GOP, but above all, the Democratic Party must authentically connect with mainstream voters. It's not about message or positioning and definitely not about pandering; it's about connecting...it's about authenticity. That's something for every campaign to remember this fall.

    Sunday, September 10, 2006

    3 Sunday must reads

    Here's three pieces that anyone following the fall elections should take a look at today:

  • ahf8 has a diary up at MyDD called If we don't fight, we'll lose.
  • Matt Stoller's criticism of the Lamont campaign is timely and has broader implications than just CT.
  • And James L put up a post at Swing State Project last night highlighting the state of primary races around the country. It's essential reading.

  • My impression of the pulse of the netroots is that all-Disney all-the-time has actually been a net negative. I'm sure GOP strategists are happy that netroots diarists are talking about Bill Clinton and Madeleine Albright today and not vulnerable GOP incumbents. I wrote a piece yesterday on dKos called outrage and infrastructure. In retrospect, it was too gentle and considered.

    If you measure this weekend simply by the yardstick of whether the netroots pushed the name recognition of vulnerable GOP incumbents: this weekend is a huge loss. Most of the GOP incumbents we are trying to defeat this fall...incumbents like Anne Northup, Jon Porter, Deborah Pryce, Thelma Drake, Cathy McMorris, Mike Ferguson, Nancy Johnson...are hardly known quantities in the national blogosphere. I would add that while each of these GOP incumbents have ample reasons we should oppose them: not a single one of those reasons has much of anything to do with the ABC/Disney movie.

    Why does the netroots go for these distractions every time? Well, the internet is an "eyeball environment." No diarist at dKos likes to watch a diary sink like a stone. Every blogger likes to feel like they've got a hot scoop. The GOP Congress is a stale story. While no reader likes to have the name of some vulnerable GOP incumbent shoved in their face, here's a companion truth: a hell of a lot of people spent a hell of a lot of energy talking and learning about Disney and ABC this weekend. Could some of that time have been better spent talking about J.D. Hayworth (GOP, AZ-05) and Charlie Bass (GOP, NH-02)? In my view, yes.

    This post-Labor day weekend should have been a time to reinforce key themes and push some races to the forefront. At the end of the day, it wasn't.

    I offer the links above as one antidote to that situation.

    Saturday, September 09, 2006

    Blog-round-up-a-rooni

    Just a few local blogs that fight back:

  • Horses Ass reports that Darcy Burner Dem WA-08 is raising hella money in Washington State...
  • Ohio's FIRST reveals that Dem Steve Cranley is on FIRE, with a new website and fresh energy headed into the fall campaign season
  • Ohio Fifteenth takes a look at this Cook report rating that predicts that vulnerable GOP incumbent Deborah Pryce will have her hands full with Democrat Mary Jo Kilroy in central Ohio.
  • Well, looks like "archive scrubber" Brodkorb's got his hands full with MN bloggers for now...
  • ...and the Defenders of Wildlife are kicking up some dust in Pombo's district...
  • Pacified at Square State isn't taking biased polls lying down.
  • I guess Curt Weldon GOP in PA-07 really did say "we either fight them over there or in our supermarkets" to justify his support for Donald Rumsfeld. Curt Weldon, a Bush apologist...who knew?
  • Looks like TN Republican Senatorial candidate Bob Corker is a Debate Dodger...wonder why?

  • Friday, September 08, 2006

    blogs united

    My blogging has slowed since I've spent more and more time the last two weeks doing organizing for Blogs United. That work organizing, however, has paid off.

    Blogs United currently has 130 members on DFA-link and 90 participants in the Google Group email ring. (Up from 43 and zero, respectively two weekends ago.) There are currently 27 states represented and growing. If you are a local or regional blogger interested in participating...email me at kidoaklandactivism"at"comcast"dot"net.

    I started Blogs United at DFA-link last winter on the recommendation of Matt Lockshin. Matt has one of the sharpest analyses of the usefulness of locally-focused blogging of anyone I know. He's also one persuasive guy when he puts his mind to it. Witness the fact that he got me to start Blogs United! (How did that work?)

    Something Matt and I have had innumberable converstations about is the power of locally-focused blogging. I recognize, however, that even this term confuses some people, "What's a local blog?" "How can the internet be local?" "What's useful about a blog?" (versus what's merely interesting.) "Why shouldn't we all just write on big national blogs?"

    These are all interesting theoretical questions. For some answers, I would recommend reading this essential post by keener at NH-02blog called Why I Blog Locally.

    Local bloggers are citizen journalists and activists. They are a vital part of the emerging netroots infrastructure. My goal this election season is to show how local blogs are changing the political landscape of the United States. And my goal with Blogs United is to try to provide a forum that is useful to local blogs and bloggers themselves.

    Something is going on here just below the radar. I'm committed to tracking it and helping to explain it.

    Thursday, September 07, 2006

    the k/o list

    Below you'll find an updated blog entry version of the k/o list. This list, as I've explained before, is a work in progress and a tool for you to use to read about some of the close races in this country where Democrats are taking GOP seats back from Republicans. I will republish it periodically before election day:

    the k/o list: updated Thursday 7th, 2006

    Key:

    candidate name = Democrat running for office
    CA-11 = dkos Tag
    local blog name or L = local blog
    G = google blog search
    T = technorati search
    R = regional blog
    C = Campaign website
    $ = ActBlue page


    The West

  • Harry Mitchell AZ-05 the Lofty Donkey G R $
  • Primary AZ-08 R
  • Jerry McNerney CA-11 SayNotoPombo G R $
  • Phil Angelides CA-Gov GovernorPhil R
  • Ed Perlmutter CO-07 SquareState G R $
  • Monica Lindeen MT-AL L R $
  • Patricia Madrid NM-01 NM-FBIHOP G R $
  • Tessa Hafen NV-03 LV Gleaner R $
  • Peter Goldmark WA-05 R $
  • Darcy Burner WA-08 Evergreen Politics R G $

  • The Midwest

  • Bruce Braley IA-01 $
  • Tammy Duckworth IL-06 WurfWhile G R $
  • Joe Donnelly IN-02 CCINDems G R L $
  • Amy Klobuchar MN-Sen MN Publius G R $
  • Tim Walz MN-01 BlueStemPrairie G T $
  • Patty Wetterling MN-06 Minvolved $
  • Claire McCaskill MO-Sen Blue Girl, Red State G R $
  • John Cranley OH-01 Ohios First G R $
  • Mary Jo Kilroy OH-15 Ohio 15th blog G T $

  • The East

  • Chris Murphy CT-05 CT-05.net G R $
  • Paul Hodes NH-02 NH-02 Prog G R L $
  • Linda Stender NJ-07 Dump Mike T R $
  • John Hall NY-19 Take 19 G R $
  • Mike Arcuri NY-24 Take Back 24 $
  • Joe Sestak PA-07 PA-7 Watch G $
  • Patrick Murphy PA-08 AboveAvgJane T R $

  • The South

  • Christing Jennings FL-13 R R
  • Ron Klein G FL-22 R $
  • John Yarmuth KY-03 BluegrassReport G L $
  • Heath Shuler NC-11 Blue NC G $
  • Harold Ford TN-Sen L R $
  • Jim Webb VA-Sen Raising Kaine G T $
  • Phil Kellam VA-02 VB Dems G $

  • I am not claiming that this list is exhaustive or a substitute for any of the other great lists out there. (Among them Blue America, the combined Netroots Candidates pages of the MyDD, Swing State and Dailykos communities, and eRiposte's amazing national local blog list.) Because I focus on local blogs and what Lynn Allen calls transformational candidates; this list leans towards what I hope is a sweet spot in the 2006 election cycle, races where, with a bit more support and effort from netroots bloggers and grassroots activists, Democrats might just well win and create downticket netroots waves across the nation.

    Exclusion of your blog or race is not meant to mean anything. This list is just my own start point in a much larger effort. Your comments are welcome below.

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    Wednesday, September 06, 2006

    GOP hypocrisy round up: mendacity overload

    Our tour of GOP hypocrisies large and small starts in the state of Nevada, detours through Colorado (CO-06) on the way to West Virginia, takes the Abramoff cesspool head-on, gets a taste of New Jersey medacity (NJ-07) and flips the meme and winds up with the story of Democratic lack of action in support of Claire McCaskill in Missouri. Mendacity overload:

  • GOP Candidate for Nevada Governor seems to like holding other folks to standards he doesn't follow himself. Fresh hypocrisy brought to you by the Las Vegas Gleaner
  • Colorado's Tancredo Watch posted this almost a month ago...but double standards don't get much more galling than this.
  • Carnacki at the W. Virginia Grassroots blog points up this aspect of Bush family "niceties"...a nice analysis.
  • Dailykos diarist denegre has a great round up of that cesspool of GOP scandal that goes by the name the Abramoff 64
  • New Jersey blogger Dump Mike forwards this piece of outrage from NJ-07, where GOP Congressman votes himself a pay raise while he has a problem with raising the national minimum wage...currently $5.15 and hour
  • ...and finally a piece of our own hypocrisy: where is the netroots support for Claire McCaskill? Where are the bloggers? This lonely diary expressing concern about this race from dailykos is that last thing Tagged about this race. (I lied, here's something from last weekend...and here's a host of posts located at that better Tag.) But Google blog Search is a cesspool of GOP attack blogs targeting McCaskill. Claire McCaskill needs every ounce of netroots love she can get; too much hype and an obsession for the hot story strikes again. Outrage peddling is so 2004...somebody on our side should start covering this race before the sharks move in for the kill...


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    Tuesday, September 05, 2006

    post weekend blog dynamo

    All reports are that this election cycle will be one for the ages. Let's take a peek at some of the local races and blogs that everyone will talking about 63 days from now...

  • Lynn Allen at Evergreen Politics examines the deep dirt on GOP Congresswoman Cathy McMorris who is being challenged by Democrat Peter Goldmark in WA-05.
  • Hoosier Democrats reminds everyone that Indiana is a critical battleground state this fall: with three races where the GOP is in deep doo-doo.
  • CT-05 blog fronts some MoveOn YouTube that points out Nancy Johnson's true loyalties.
  • It was huge on dkos, but don't miss this post vis a vis Senator Allen and the meaning of "macaca" by RamR on Raising Kaine.

  • That's WA-05, IN-02, IN-08, IN-09, CT-05 and VA-Sen in one fell swoop. And, while you're in a local frame of mind, don't miss this piece from the New York Sun.

    Monday, September 04, 2006

    More positive local press coverage of blogs

    First it was Virginia, and next it was Montana...and now it's North Carolina, where the Charlotte Observer covers the local blogging of the Southern Dem, a local blogger whose writing covers the race to unseat GOP incumbent Robin Hayes in NC-08.

    There's a pattern here, despite the awkward cluelessness of some political pundits (and the clear intention of the GOP 'talking points class' to brand local bloggers as "angry" this fall)...the local press is starting to get it. Local citizens who write about local politics are a positive force multiplier when it comes to generating interest in topics that local reporters cover. Local bloggers are very much a part of the story this fall, whether in Montana, Virginia or North Carolina, which is yet one more Southern state where there's more than one congressional race of interest this fall.

    Update: Check out this effort to recruit local journalists fresh off the press from BlueJersey.net. This is the direction local blogging and activism is going: local citizen journalism. This effort in New Jersey is squarely in the tradition of John Peter Zenger and the colonial jury that, in acquiting him, established, from the very beginning, that freedom of the press was an essential component of American democracy. But more of that another time...

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    Sunday, September 03, 2006

    Sunday Blog Roundup-a-thon

    Today's blog news returns to Kentucky (KY-03), Ohio Buckeye country (OH-15), takes a peek at New Hampshire (NH-02) and finishes out West in New Mexico (NM-01). Let's not waste time:

  • Bluegrass Roots examines some recent polls in the Yarmuth v Northup race in KY-03. Read to the end for the on the ground assessment.
  • Ohio 15th lays out the local case against GOP incumbent Deborah Pryce in true Ohio style.
  • Speaking of local style, the Yankee Doodler continues to hone its laser focus on GOP incumbent Charlie Bass in NH-02 with a post-entitled: The Dog Ate My Iraq Accountability. My advice? Read it.
  • Out here in the West NMFBIHOP reports on the lastest polling for New Mexico, and what those polls mean from the local point of view.
  • Finally, be sure to keep fresh local blogs like...Take Back Cincinnati and Pete King Watch on your radar.

  • On a meta note, I have a piece up on MyDD right now called Fear of a Netroots Nation. Try it for my take on the disconnect between how insiders view local blogs and how we view ourselves.

    Saturday, September 02, 2006

    Green Warrior needs Blogs Badly...

    The tour de local blogs this Saturday starts in Colorado, (CO-07), visits Minnesota (MN-01), does due diligence in New Jersey (NJ-07) and finishes with a taste of Kentucky (KY-03, KY-04).

  • If you didn't think that this election season was going to represent a politics of contrast, check out this great post by CO Democrat on a Colorado Republican plan to draft male high school students into the Border Patrol.
    Democratic candidate for the 7th Congressional District, Ed Perlmutter, denounced his opponent, Rick O’Donnell’s proposal to “help boys successfully become men of character” by drafting all teenage boys in their final semester of high school to serve as border patrol agents.
  • Ollie Ox at A Blue Stem Prairie continues to prove that national level coverage of local races and issues is not the sole domain of "big blogs." That piece has it all: national analysis, engagement with local press and news, and links to fellow local blogs. Kudos.
  • The excellent blog covering NJ-07, Dump Mike, notes how Linda Stender is using Stem Cells to draw a contrast with vulnerable GOP Congressman Mike Ferguson.
  • Like me, you may have missed this week-old bit from the KY Blue Grass Report. The point? This is a national campaign to take Congress back. Every state has something going on. KY-04 and KY-03 are important races!

  • Meanwhile, here in Oakland, my labor day project is to expand the k/o list. And continue to do outreach to local blogs. (And, yes, the title above is a really bad Gauntlet reference.)

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    Friday, September 01, 2006

    MT Blogging and Jonah on How to Blog

    Following up on that nice blog op/ed from Virginia two days ago, here's an excellent companion piece on the local Montana blogosphere from the Missoula Independent. (w/ photos.) This is a must read on one of the most interesting local blog environments in the country. Blogs mentioned in the piece include Left in the West, 4 & 20 Blackbirds, Wrong Dog, Pragmatic Revolt and A Chicken is Not Pillage. They are all worth a visit.

    You could say that the media CW is beginning to change about blogs and bloggers. At least in Virginia and Montana. Some folks in high places still don't quite get it.

    The water's fine, however, in the world of local political blogging, where readership is measured in terms of neighbors and local issues. And, as Jonah in NYC points out in a post that gives tips on How to be an Amateur Blogger, there's never been a better or easier time to start a blog.

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