Friday, February 27, 2009

What Happened To The Button?

Strange bedfellows?

Longtime readers of this blog my have noticed that the Strange Bedfellows campaign button is no longer visible. That's because the art of that old site had been removed. Usually, in such situations I take the button down, but when I went over to the Accountability Now website, there was clearly something in the works.

So I left it up.

I now have an idea what the new Accountability Now will be like:

Accountability Now, which was co-founded by Jane Hamsher of, draws its inspiration from the way in which former Rep. Al Wynn, D-Md., was ousted from office in 2007 by current Rep. Donna Edwards, a more liberal Democrat, who portrayed Wynn as beholden to corporate interests.

The liberal group has been described as the liberal equivalent of the Club for Growth, an anti-tax group that backs primary challenges to Republican incumbents who vote for higher taxes.

The founders of Accountability Now, however, go to great pains to reject the comparison, saying that they are not interested in backing primary challengers with no chance of winning as the Club for Growth did in 2006 when it unsuccessfully backed Republican Steve Laffey in a primary challenge to Rhode Island Sen. Lincoln Chafee, a liberal Republican who voted against the Bush tax cuts.

"We're obsessed with polling," said Moulitsas.

Kos to Dems: Toe Populist Line -- or Else

This is what progressives need to do. In fact, it's been something I've suggested doing on a number of occasions, including this one:

Here's what we have to do, liberals. We have to be willing to vote strategically. Target one of these assholes, or several. Make them pay with their jobs, even if it means replacing them with Republicans. Until you prove that you can hurt them, these people will never respect you. They only respect power, and right now we haven't got any. That's why they piss on us and kiss up to the G.O.P. even though what those people have done to the country is the last things most Americans want any more of for a while.

I'm just going to keep repeating this message until you get it. I'm tired of losing, even after seemingly winning. When you decide you're tired of it, too, get back to me.

Meanwhile, I'm done with more useless pledges. When you're really willing to get rid of some of these assclowns, I'll be there. Until then, I'm sure there's something else I can be doing with my time.

What About This Surprises You?

It looks like they're catching on.

This is a workable strategy. The implementation is important, of course, but I feel better that, as Jane Hamsher puts it, this will be a transparent process:

We introduced people to our new Executive Director, Jeff Hauser (who some may remember when he ran Dennis Schulman's campaign). We have also begun reaching out to state and local blogs asking them to identify leaders in their communities they think we should be aware of so people will be telling us what they want and need in their own communities, not vice versa. And we'll be closely watching the voting patterns of House members to see if they're more concerned with representing lobbyists than the interests of their communities, and we ultimately hope to match up great challengers with communities that think they're not being well served by their representatives. Markos will be polling and publishing all the results on Daily Kos for everyone to see and Nate Silver will be analyzing the data. It's going to be a very transparent process.

Accountability Now — Democracy “Headache”

Open processes can be self-correcting in ways closed processes cannot. This is also a good thing.

The short version of the strategy is to find weak spots and exploit them. Identifying those weak spots, whores for corporate money like Al Wynn, whom Donna Edwards defeated in that primary challenge, who are vulnerable because they don't represent the values of their constituents is the important step. That requires polling and knowledge of the area. Cooperation with local blogs will help bring that about.

Atrios explains the reason why:

There's a difference between Democrats from more conservative districts who, while not representing my political views, do manage to represent their constituents' views, and Democrats who engage in "centrist" wankery despite representing liberal districts, or Democrats who use the conservative tilt of their district as an excuse to get on board with anything the Chamber of Commerce supports.

Does Not Compute

We're not going to be able to run progressives in conservative districts successfully. Still, there are many legislators, like Jane Harmon and Dianne Feinstein, who don't represent the views of their constituents, and yet are returned to Congress by those constituents anyway. Making those constituents aware of how little their congressmen support their views would make them more vulnerable. Ned Lamont beat Joe Lieberman in the primary for that very reason.

After that, local knowledge plus some money can bring about defeats of some of the targeted congressmen. We don't have to defeat all of them, but we do have to defeat some. Talking about how some of them might be a bit more careful about boning us after a primary challenge they won is, quite frankly, loser talk. We need to be dancing in the endzone and spiking the ball in their faces. At least, I think that's the terminology.

So, this initiative has this blog's tentative support, which I'm sure is an immense relief to the organizers ...


Dana Hunter said...

With both our blogs on board, I'm sure they're sleeping like babies now.

I can't wait to see the results. It looks like more change is coming to Washington than they're completely prepared for. That warms the cockles of my heart.

Cujo359 said...

Curiously, neither FireDogLake nor Glenn Greenwald have acknowledged our acceptance of their plan.