I wasn't around the blogs during last years primary mess but I'm still learning to hate the national blogs. Matt Stoller, Chris Bowers, and the other members of Open Left have decided to launch a campaign against the following Democratic members of the House of Representatives that they've dubbed the "Bush Dogs", a play on the Blue Dogs.(…)
As you can see the list includes two Ohio Rep.'s, Zack Space and Charlie Wilson.
Now it's one thing for people who know the district to complain, it's another for someone that knows absolutely nothing to start meddling around. Sure Space and Wilson haven't always voted the way we've wanted but have they looked at their districts?
Christ but I am pissed. We're half a year from the caucuses and out-of-staters from our own movement butt in and tell us who to support? How could this have possibly passed any sane netivist's radar? How is this one iota different than the DSCC fucking with last year's primary?
Chris Bowers invited me into his BlogAds group, and I have always thought well of him. I never dreamed that he or one of his groups would barge into Minnesota and screw with our process. Never.(…)
No more. I just decided to endorse Mike Ciresi. And if Chris Bowers' Blue Majority/Act Blue wants to butt into any other primary races between qualified progressives anywhere else in the country, I'll be endorsing the other candidate in those races as well even though I feel strongly that outsiders shouldn't butt into primaries unless one or more of the candidates really bite.
Considering the comments to the later post in particular, these are not the only two bloggers upset with an out of state activist like me "meddling" in elections and with Democratic members of the US House elsewhere in the country. Even apart from me, these are complaints that I see pop up in many elections concerning many groups. Since I see these complaints often, and since I do not think they are very well founded, I would like to take some time to address all of these issues raised here as clearly and concisely as I can:
All Americans are impacted by all federal votes. The United States Congress is a national legislative body, and the laws that it passes, or does not pass, affect the entire nation. The notion that I should only engage in electoral activism within those federal elections in which I am eligible to vote (PA-Sen, PA-02) is to deny that I, and indeed all American, are impacted by the votes of every member of the US House and US Senate. Let me put it this way: as soon as how the legislative actions of Senators and Representatives for whom I cannot vote stop affecting me, I'll stop engaging in electoral activism outside of my home districts.
There are many ways to know a district. I may not be from Ohio or Minnesota, but being from a district does not provide you with a special insight on how to read public opinion surveys in that district. Currently, there are only twelve congressional districts in the entire country where either a majority or a plurality of voters in that district are opposed to the withdrawal of American troops from Iraq:
None of these districts are held by Democrats. So, one thing I know about every Bush Dog is that by voting to allow the Iraq war to continue without a mandated troop reduction, they are voting against the wishes of their constituents. I also know that the numbers in support of FISA are even lower, and so once again the Democrats supporting that legislation are doing so against the wishes of the voters of their districts. Since Bush Dogs are defined as those Democrats who voted to allow the Iraq war to continue without a mandated troop withdrawal, and who voted to give Alberto Gonzales warrant-less wiretapping powers over all Americans, without even visiting the districts in question, I know that the majority of the voters there are opposed to how the Bush Dogs voted on these matters. I doubt spending an extended period of time in either state would change my mind on that matter, or my ability to read public opinion surveys.
The people-powered, progressive movement had already endorsed Franken. Before any decisions were made to add Al Franken to the Blue Majority page, 46,000 Americans had already voted on who to endorse in the Minnesota Democratic primary. Those 46,000 Americans were the donors to Al Fraken and Mike Ciresi. By a margin of 45,000 to 1,000, the donors picked Al Franken. A large number of small donors has always been one of the hallmarks of a people-powered, progressive movement candidate, and in the Minnesota Senate race, there is a clear, glaring discrepancy in who small donors have chosen. In fact, while Al Franken boasts donors from every county in Minnesota, and every state in America, as of this writing, Mike Ciresi has not even contacted Act Blue so that it is possible for others to raise funds for him. I am not going to say anything negative about Mike Ciresi's issue stances, and I will happily help him out if he were to win the Minnesota Democratic Senate primary. However, if his campaign was interested in the people-powered, progressive movement helping him out, the least he could have done was make sure he was signed up on Act Blue. All it requires is being a federally registered candidate, and then asking Act Blue to include you.
Blue Majority has always sided with people-powered candidates in Democratic primaries, even when ideology was not clearly an issue. We did so in the Montana and Virginia Senate races last year, for example, even though many argued that Harris Miller was more progressive than Jim Webb, and even though I don't think it was clear that Tester was to the left of Morrison. Others may disagree, but I thought the key in both cases is that Tester and Webb were more populist and more people-powered than their primary opponents. The same pattern holds true in Minnesota, as Al Franken is clearly the people-powered candidate in the Minnesota Senate campaign. If anything, we are late to the game when it comes to this people-powered candidate. The movement made the endorsement long before we jumped aboard.
Ending the conservative governing majority in Washington, and replacing it with a progressive governing majority, requires national activism and a national movement. As such, I endorse the national, progressive, people-powered movement, since I believe it is our best chance to succeed in that aim. Further, I believe that our actions, both on Open Left and on Blue Majority, are reflective of that. Both the Bush Dog campaign and the candidacy of Al Franken are demonstrative of national activism and a national, people-powered, progressive movement.
If people disagree with the actions we take on Blue Majority and Open Left, I hope that they would do so because they disagree with the substance of the actions, not just because Matt and I are from different parts of America than Minnesota or Ohio. After all, people in Minnesota and Ohio are affected by the legislative actions of my representatives, Senator Arlen Specter, Senator Bob Casey Jr., and Congressman Chaka Fattah. As such, I see so reason why people in Minnesota and Ohio should not engage in activism advocating for the election or defeat of those candidates, not to mention attempts to change the voting behavior of "my" congresscritters more to their liking. To do so would not be an example of "meddling" outsiders, but rather reflective of the simple fact that we are all Americans.