Friday, June 30, 2006

Lamont v. Lieberman, the DSCC crumbling, John Kerry against the war?

I post pretty often about the conflict between right-wing Democrats (they call themselves centrists) and progressives, but I haven't really devoted much time to covering Ned Lamont vs. Joe Lieberman. Hundreds of other blogs are doing a good job of that. I have enjoyed pointing out that the DSCC, the principal democratic fundraising unit for Senatorial campaigns, has been hijacked by pro-war and anti-reproductive rights politicians like Schumer and Reid. That this is first and for most a job-insurance system that necessarily cuts deals with the other side to allow the Republican equivalent a chance to sucessfully preserve the jobs of their incumbents, hence the focus on races involving open seats. All of these posts have been made with little thought about the long term consequences. I don't want to absolutely destroy the DSCC forever, but I do want to see them suffer some meaningful defeats in primaries, and actually get some good Democrats through to the general election, and then see them elected to office. Lamont is a good start, but we need some enthusiasm in other races and other states. As an architect of the war in Iraq, as an author of the Patriot Act, as a Democratic mouthpiece for President Bush, Lieberman deserves to be run out of our party. Or does he deserve a second chance if he immediately corrects his behavior?

Maybe. But maybe what needs to change is the sense that Democrats need to protect every incumbent. That is something changing with the view of Lieberman (and it is something I feel about some state legislators that are non-performers for their key constituents in my part of Minnesota). See this Firedoglake post about Lieberman loosing support, or needing to earn it, from other elected Dems (Murtha, Feingold). It is a risk to allow a new, untested candidate to run for an incumbent's seat in the general election. But if the Democrat we lose is as bad on peace and security issues, on civil liberties, etc. as any Republican we can imagine, it is a risk we should be willing to take. We should certainly not be promising the resources of a Democratic fundraising organization to fund the campaign of an incumbent who loses all support from a their own home state's Democratic party and is forced to run as an independent in the general election.

Likewise, the early, undemocratic DSCC endorsements of pro-war candidates that preceeded the party process of endorsement conventions and primaries cannot be tolerated by anyone with a sense of fairness, and real Democrats have a sense of fairness. There is a need for Democratic leaders like Murtha and Feingold to champion anti-war candidates over the candidates that Reid and Schumer have picked to support their own agendas and expanding personal powergrabs. Schumer has picked candidates with little interest in the foreign policy of the United States, no skepticism about the conduct of the Global War on Terror and the war in Iraq, or a willingness to nuke Iran before meaningful diplomatic engagement has been tried to stop the further progress toward an Iranian atomic bomb. Where Schumer has picked candidates with experience and interest in foreign policy, he has picked former Republicans, like Webb. If John Kerry is sincere in his desire to be a leader in the Senate on the issue of ending our involvement (on this scale) in Iraq, he may have to abandon support for Klobuchar in Minnesota, which is probably a tough call for him, as she put in some work on his campaign as a proxy speaker for Kerry, though she did it primarily for the purpose of self promotion as a candidate for Attorney General and/or other higher office. How real is Kerry's commitment to be a leader on this issue? Does it trump his desire to build and maintain a machine, and run his PACs in a consistent way?

Can the DSCC be saved? I think having Schumer and Reid step down from their positions, to pledge not to run for Senate leadership positions in the next session would be a start to preserving the long term value of the DSCC. Otherwise, we have to starve it of resources to stop the abuse.

This whole idea of the DSCC supporting centrists vs. liberals (electable candidates vs. moonbats) is pretty false, but simple. I think that you could more accurately describe the DSCC picked candidates as servents of vested interestes, of oligarchs and oilmen. The Democratic insurgents (Bell, Tasini, Lamont, etc.) I think are often more populist, more American, more about the fundamental purpose of government in protecting civil liberties, of providing for the common good and reasonable common defense vs. funding an elective war for narrow private interests in Iraq.

I want to see some good "You Tube/Google Video" ads along the lines of what I see for Lamont done here in Minnesota. Does anyone have a camera and some internet video experience they could lend to the Ford Bell campaign?

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Blog for Bell has posted a challenge to the Klobuchar campaign: turn that frown upside down and also their weekley feature: "Ford Take Five" (five questions from a blogger, answered by Ford Bell himself).

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As far as developing a strategy on Iraq, consistent messaging from anti-war candidates, and exposing the financial interests of the DLC-type Democrats in prolonging the war in Iraq, I think there needs to be something like a national summit of anti-war senate and congressional candidates, maybe in August, with a few closed-session workshops for the candidates and their staffs, but lots of public panels for the benefit of CSPAN and internet stream recieving audiences, when there is lots of available air time, and people have more time to digest serious debate about where this country is going, and why. We could do it in the Twin Cities, as a tie-in to our bids to host the national conventions of the Democratic and Republican parties in 2008.

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2 Comments:

Blogger Scarce said...

http://www.youtube.com/group/nedlamont

10:55 AM  
Blogger Kris Schultz said...

Here's something you aren't hearing enough about in the blog world - the Akaka primary in Hawaii.

It's a reverse Lieberman situation, where anti-war Akaka is being challenged by Bush sympathizing Case. Akaka is one of 13 Senators to vote for a firm timetable of withdrawl of U.S. troops from Iraq, while Case rubberstamped Bush's war in a house vote the week before. I wrote some blog postings about it that you might be interested in. Akaka needs as much support as we can give him.

Wouldn't it be ironic if Lamont goes to the Senate from CT, yet his votes are cancelled out by D-in-name-only, pro-Bush/Pro-Iraq war Ed Case from Hawaii? We need to fight to keep Akaka in the Senate. Spread the word and Support Akaka!

11:00 AM  

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