Posts Tagged ‘Netroots’

It’s No Surprise To Me…

Thursday, June 11th, 2009

by Brien Jackson

Jane Hamsher is our own worst enemy. Now she’s trying to whip up opposition to the war funding supplemental:

I just want to take a minute to thank everyone who is taking time out of their day to make calls and stand by their commitment to end the war. When I look over the lists and read about the thousands of calls people are making to the offices of members of congress, and I see people like Toby who called 25 offices in one day, it makes it all worthwhile.

We really appreciate the efforts of everyone who has called, and who continue to call.  It’s a highly fluid situation, and Rahm Emanuel is furiously horse trading for votes.  Sources on the Hill say that they’ve never seen this kind of full-court press from the White House.  Members are being bribed, bullied and cajoled into abandoning their commitment to vote against any war funding that doesn’t include a time table to bring the troops home.

There’s some controversy about giving money to the IMF, which I’m not really as familiar with as I should be, so I won’t comment on that yet, but Hamsher doesn’t address that here either. Instead, she talks about “war funding that doesn’t include a time table to bring the troops home,” which is just bizarre. It’s not bizarre because we shouldn’t have a time table, of course, it’s bizarre because the US has already agreed to a time table for withdrawing troops from Iraq. It was one of, if not the, key point of the status of forces agreement we signed with the Iraqi government. So insisting on including something you already have in order to vote for something is just odd.

And that’s without even pointing out what a political disaster it would be to have Democrats killing funding for American troops in combat. Say what you will about public opinion about the Iraq war, people just aren’t going to be comfortable with cutting off funding for supplies while troops are in the field. Nor should they be. If Democrats do kill this, and I doubt they will, they’ll lose a lot of ground for it very quickly. And I doubt that much matters to Hamsher who, like a Rush Limabugh or a Sean Hannity, is much better served, personally, by being in the minority.

Accountability Now

Friday, February 27th, 2009


Accountability Now PAC will officially be based in Washington D.C., though its influence is designed to be felt in congressional districts across the country. The group will adopt an aggressive approach to pushing the Democratic Party in a progressive direction; it will actively target, raise funds, poll and campaign for primary challengers to members who are either ethically or politically out-of-touch with their voters. The goal, officials with the organization say, is to start with 25 potential races and dwindle it down to eight or 10; ultimately spending hundreds of thousands on elections that usually wouldn’t be touched. […]

It is a concept bound — indeed, designed — to ruffle the feathers of powerful figures in Washington, in part because the names behind it are now institutions themselves. With $500,000 currently in the bank, Accountability Now will be aided, in varying forms, by groups such as MoveOn, SEIU, Color of Change, Democracy for America, 21st Century Democrats and BlogPAC. FireDogLake’s Jane Hamsher and’s Glenn Greenwald will serve in advisory roles, while Markos Moulitsas of DailyKos will conduct polling, with analytical help from’s Nate Silver.

Because there’s nothing like a Washington based PAC to ruffle the feathers in Washington. And really, I think the netroots involvement is selling themselves short here. Clearly, Markos should do candidate outreach, Move On could run their candidates’ marketing efforts, and Hamsher can throw in some copy-editing help. What could possibly go wrong?

More seriously though, this is a really stupid venture. I know it’s sometimes hard to understand, but the United States has a really peculiar election system, and it’s something that’s very odd across the board. We’re not a parliamentary legislature, and even the more receptive chamber of Congress, the House, is somewhat skewed away from public opinion because of the nature of single district representation. More to the point, it’s skewed because districts are drawn up once a decade, and done so by partisan apportionment boards in the various states. So while it sounds counter-intuitive after an election where Democrats carried such sweeping victories nationally, a lot of these districts are still very marginal, if not slightly Republican leaning in general, because Republicans controlled the last round of redistricting in these areas. Looking at Mary Jo Kilroy (OH-15), she represents most of Columbus, but the boundaries of the district largely overwhelm the urban core with the highly Republican Eastern suburbs, to the extent that Kilroy lost in 2006, and barely won in 2008. So if she exhibits “Blue Dog” characteristics, it says nothing about her own personal opinions, but rather that she’s trying to navigate a highly Republican district. Pursuing a primary challenge against her will do nothing positive for Democrats or progressives.

But moreover, the point is that these districts are only Republican leaning at the margins, and some minor tinkering could make them noticeably more progressive. And guess what; the last election before widespred redistricting is…2010! Which is what’s particularly absurd about this “Accountability Now” nonsense. If the people organizing it really do want to make Congress more progressive, they could raise money for Democrats at the state legislature level or in other state level races with an eye on the apportionment board in states where that can make a disproportionate difference. So the obvious thing to observe here is that either the people running this operation know very little about politics, or Hamsher is totally full of shit and it’s all about party purges. Given what you read from most of the people involved with the project, I’m going to go with a little of both.