PoliticsPA Donkey Splat

I am currently having a run-in with the local Democratic establishment here in Pennsylvania that mirrors Bob Brigham's experience on a national level. This week, the local Philadelphia Netroots kicked into high gear. On Monday, we held the first in a bi-weekly series of local progressive blogger--local prominent local Democrat conference calls. Our first guest was Ginny Schrader, concerning her announcement for Congress and local Bucks county politics. On Tuesday, Patrick Murphy, who is also running for Congress, came to Drinking Liberally. On Wednesday, we held a huge local Meetup, attended by around 200 people, five congressional candidates, and received a write-up from at least ten local bloggers, including Democracy for America. On Thursday, we launched the Philadelphia Blog Ad Network, which is already the second largest city-based network on Blogads. This was on top of a week when Paul Hackett nearly won in OH-02, and a blog that I used to write for was given the Political Play of the Week on CNN. And it was also during a week when I was able to visit a very well-attended event in D.C., where almost then entire D.C. Democratic establishment actually sat down and listened to two major influences in the blogosphere.

It truly was a great week--things were really taking off for the Netroots both locally and nationally. Now, unfortunately, I feel sick to my stomach after reading PoliticsPA's latest version of their Up & Down:

(up arrow) While PA4's Georgia Berner continues to prepare to run for the Democratic nomination for Congress, rival Jason Altmire scored a coup with the acquisition of Mark Salvas, who had served as the Director of Operations for the Allegheny County Democratic Party.(...)

(down arrow) Ginny Schrader officially announced this week that she intends to seek the Democratic Party nomination in Bucks County's Eighth Congressional District next year, but nobody seemed to notice. Schrader conducted a conference call Monday night with campaign supporters and was quizzed on several important issues, but she was clearly not as prepared as she needs to be, according numerous sources on the call. Her criticism of Bucks County Democrats on the call probably won't win her too many friends in the organization.(...)

(down arrow) And finally, we at PoliticsPA owe the PA Young Democrats an apology. It seems last February we posted a note in Up & Down commenting that their endorsement of Howard Dean as Democratic National Committee Chair didn't matter because he did not stand a chance of getting elected Chairman. Oops.

Ugh. This is what I mean when I talk about the problems that progressives have in local blog scenes. Here is an anonymous "insider" website focusing on local politics that simultaneously accomplishes all of the following:
  • Praises a local candidate for hiring a local insider.
  • Takes six months to apologize to a local Dem organization for claiming that endorsing Howard Dean for DNC chair didn't matter because he had no chance of winning the race. Of course, as anyone who was actually paying attention knew, Dean actually had the nomination sown up in late January, which makes PoliticsPA's February rebuke of a February endorsement of Dean all the more idiotic.
  • Posts wildly inaccurate and even purely fabricated information about a local netroots event that they did not even attend (or at least were not invited to attend).
How do I know their post about the conference call with Ginny was inaccurate? Because I organized and moderated the conference call. A site that purports to be an insider on Pennsylvania politics is just making shit up. Worse, no one can be held accountable for it, because the site is completely anonymous. I sent off the following email to them in response:To: Snyder@politicspa.com

To whom it may concern:

This is Chris Bowers of MyDD. I live in Philadelphia, and unlike you I actually use my real name and provide accurate contact info when I write about politics online. I am writing in order to express my extreme displeasure concerning your wildly inaccurate discussion of Ginny Schrader in your recent "Up & Down" column on PoliticsPA.

For starters, I was both the organizer and the moderator of the Monday night conference call, not Ginny Schrader, as your post claims. Had anyone at Politics PA actually received my email announcement concerning the call, or actually been on the call, you would have known this. The fact that you claim otherwise makes it obvious that you are either intentionally distorting the truth about the call, or that no one at Politics PA was even on the call. That would also be an outright fabrication, considering your post on the subject clearly implies that you were in fact on the call.

Second, the call was not with supporters of Ginny, but was instead the inaugural call in a series of conference calls to be held with local progressive bloggers and prominent local Democrats. We hope to conduct calls with all major Democratic candidates in the southeast Pennsylvania area over the next few months. The series of calls is geared toward building a better connection between the Southeast PA Netroots and the Pennsylvania Democratic Party, and is not geared toward the support of any single candidate. Once again, had you actually received my email announcement of the call, or been on the call, you would have known this, since I said it about five or six times.

Third, at no point during the call did Ginny criticize the Bucks County Democratic Party. As the moderator of the call, and considering the purpose of the call, I asked her to provide those on the call with some background info on local Bucks County politics. The only thing that she said that could have even been mildly construed as criticism of the Bucks County Democratic Party was that there were very few Democrats in local office in the county (which is true), and that a few years ago there were a lot of Republicans holding local office in the county who were not even being challenged by Democrats in local elections (which, again, is absolutely true). Of course, since in all likelihood no one from Politics PA was even on the call, I have no idea how anyone would even have known that she said that much.

Fourth, the notion that "no one noticed" Ginny has announced is completely ridiculous. Her announcement was featured on, or linked to, by almost every major local Philadelphia progressive blog, including Atrios, MyDD, BooMan Tribune, Suburban Guerilla, Young Philly Politics, Tattered Coat, Dragonball Yee, Am I Patriotic?, Above Average Jane, Rowhouse Logic and Casadelogo. It was also mentioned on Blog for America, Democracy for America's blog. Further, there were no less than two articles about it in the Philadelphia Inquirer and the Allentown Morning Call each, among other local newspapers and radio stations. In short, at least half a million people heard about Ginny's announcement this week, even though PoliticsPA didn't even include it as a front page story on their site, and instead only provided a single link about it in your SEPA and Leigh Valley sidebar.

Fifth, and finally, the notion that "numerous sources" on the call have confirmed to you that "she was clearly not as prepared as she need to be" is an outright fabrication. Considering other parts of the post on Schrader make it clear that you either were not on the call or are intentionally distorting the nature of the call, there is already great reason to believe that you are simply making this all up. Further, since I personally know everyone who was on the call, because I sent out a personal email invitation to everyone who was on the call, I have very good reason to believe that you do not even know who was on the call, and thus would not even know what sources you could possibly confirm the content of the call with.

In short, for distorting information about the call and about local attention given to Schrader's announcement, I feel that you owe her an immediate retraction of your previous post. I do not know what your motivation for making such an outrageously inaccurate post about Ginny was, and I am not going to speculate. Whatever it is, you do so while hiding behind a veil of anonymity for both yourself and your "sources." That sort of backroom rumor and influence peddling is exactly the sort of thing that is so damaging to Pennsylvania Politics, and which only serves in enhance local cynicism and under-participation in our political process. That time is ending, however. While you anonymously praise candidates in some districts, such as PA-04, for hiring local insiders, the grassroots and netroots are making real waves that will finally bring much needed transparency to the Pennsylvania political scene.

With disgust,
Chris Bowers
Philadelphia, PA

The Harrisburg bubble here in Pennsylvania is clearly very similar to the D.C. bubble nationally. The only positive I can see coming out of this is that it should make it clear to the grassroots and netroots in Philadelphia why we need to improve our local focus, and put up a fight against not only unreformed Democrats, but also conservative blog sprawl. I also promise that because this article will have repercussions on our ability to schedule future conference calls with other prominent local Democrats, that Politics PA will feel repercussions for posting this until they issue a retraction.

Tags: Blogosphere (all tags)



We've got problems in California as well
I only have a report made by an active member of my DFA Meet Up to go on, but the California Democratic party is instituting some kind of re-organization that may be targeted at locking out the progressive grassroots from the decision making structure of the party.

I still haven't completely figured out the party structure, but the gist of the story is that local Caucuses are being replaced with Executive Steering Committees that will have more top down procedures than the current caucus system.

It sounds to me like there is a concerted effort underway in the Democratic party in a number of states to discredit and exclude progressives.

by Gary Boatwright 2005-08-06 04:51PM | 0 recs
Re: We've got problems in California as well
could you post that report as a diary, gary? as a fellow californian worried about the sclerosis of our state democratic party, i would be interested to know about such a power play, so that we could organize to undercut or coopt it. there are way too many liberals and progressives in this state to put up with this kind of stuff.
by wu ming 2005-08-06 05:40PM | 0 recs
Re: We've got problems in California as well
I'm going to look for additional information next week. Right now all I know is what I reported. I will provide additional details as I uncover them.
by Gary Boatwright 2005-08-06 06:09PM | 0 recs
Re: We've got problems in California as well

With all due respect, I think you or your source has conflated debates about two bylaw changes that were enacted at the latest Exec Board meeting of the Democratic State Central Committee.  One of the changes dealt with the caucuses, and one dealt with the Assembly District Committees.  There was a lot of debate about these issues both before and at the meeting, but the debate did not neatly pit progressives against non-progressives.  Nor, might I add, did the debate pit new party activists against a more entrenched "establishment."  Although the rhetoric sometimes got inflated, I think most people who followed the debate understood that there were no sinister intentions behind these changes.      

I say this, by the way, as a new, progressive party activist.    

by Matt Lockshin 2005-08-06 08:04PM | 0 recs
Re: We've got problems in California as well
Thanks Matt. I appreciate the clarification. I was as careful as I could be that I lacked hard information. I will be glad to report back to my DFA Meet Up to avoid misunderstandings.

It sounds like the inflated rhetoric may have sowed confusion. Hard to believe Democrats would get carried away with inflated rhetoric.

by Gary Boatwright 2005-08-07 01:13AM | 0 recs
Re: We've got problems in California as well
Don't believe every rumor you hear Gary. All the Caucus are at that Assembly level where we have the most power anyway.

And my sources, which are pretty good, haven't heard anything.

And the Party Elite has been seeking input from certin Grassroots types agressively since the last Assembly Election of State Central Committee when one block took nearly 20% of the State Committee.

by BigDog 2005-08-06 06:31PM | 0 recs
Re: We've got problems in California as well
Thanks Big Dog. The alleged purpose of restructuring into Executive Committees had something to do with McCain Feingold, but the rationale was not clear. That's why I mentioned I was looking for additional information.

There was some kind of vote taken that appears to water down the Caucuses. Like I said, it is not clear exactly what happened or what the impact will be.

by Gary Boatwright 2005-08-06 07:59PM | 0 recs
Do screw with bloggers
When is the party establishment going to "get" this? We are the activists in the party. We are the fact checkers. We are the ones who watch each other's backs.

When are they going to understand that they should work with us rather than continually trying to get into pissing contests while putting us in our place?

Good smack down Chris.

by michael in chicago 2005-08-06 05:13PM | 0 recs
That should be "don't" screw with bloggers....
by michael in chicago 2005-08-06 05:14PM | 0 recs
Re: Ugh
I kind of like it the way it is. Let 'em try and screw with us. Take your best shot big boys. Welcome to the fray.
by Gary Boatwright 2005-08-06 06:10PM | 0 recs
I thought it was clever
Because we ARE as mad as hell, and we will not take these flank attacks silently.

We have the power, and we have the money. McCain-Feingold was never designed to take money out of politics, it was designed to remove the whip hand the major party and congressional campaign committes had over the flow of money. And to a large degree it is doing that.

In our new world you give us a strong message and we can finance you up to at least the levels the Party ever did. Catch fire and we will throw gas on the flames. $10 or $25 at a time if that is all we have.

by Bruce Webb 2005-08-07 11:13AM | 0 recs
Why get in a snit about a site that's clearly run by  either a Republican or GOP sympathizer?

FTR, I think Ginny is making a mistake running again. IIRC, after 2004, she was given a lot of responsibility in the BucksCo Dem party. She should concentrate on that as it would be the most beneficial thing she could do for the party.

While I have no problem at all with a contested primary, Pat Murphy is already in and IMHO he's better suited to appeal to the entire population of PA-8. He's got the ethic/family background (Irish catholic, Father Judge grad, son of a cop) and military service(Iraq vet)that will appeal to the NE Philly section of the 8th as well as the blue-collar lower BucksCo towns (Bensalem, Bristol, Fairless Hills, etc), many of whose residents moved there from NE Philly. He's liberal enough to appeal to the BucksCo progressives. Murphy will cut into Fitzpatrick's conservative Dem base while keeping Schraders' voters. In fact, I would say Murphy is a younger, liberal version of Paul Hackett.

by phillydem 2005-08-06 05:21PM | 0 recs
Re: PoliticsPA
"Why get in a snit about a site that's clearly run by either a Republican or GOP sympathizer?"

Because the site is read by a lot of politcos in PA. Because what they wrote was a series of outright lies. Because it is an example of how poorly Demcorats are doing when it comes to locally focused blogs. Because I have had enough of being pushed around by "insiders" in Pennsylvania politics. Because I'm trying to build a better connection between the local netroots and local Dems running for office, and this could hurt that. For all of those reasons, I think it is a very big deal to get in a snit about this.

As for PA-08, there is no conservative Dem base for Fitzpatrick. PA-08 has a strong pro-Republican registration edge (46.1-38.5). What Fitzpatrick did was keep those Republicans that Bush and the national Republican Party have lost over the past decade.

I also think Ginny is taking her responsibility very seriously, since she is currently holding fundraisers for local Democratic candidates rather than herself. She won't raise any money in the district utnil after the November elections. She's been doing this in the district for years, and she ran agaisnt Greenwood when no one gave her a shot. She made this a swing district.

Murphy is a very good speaker, and has a good bio. However, it is very, very difficult to defeat an incumbent congressman when you have low name ID. If anything, this primary will actually help him, since it will raise his name ID. Murphy should welcome the challenge.

by Chris Bowers 2005-08-06 05:47PM | 0 recs
Re: PoliticsPA
PPA "Up and Down" is a fun thing to read. It's
just gossip for pete's sake and one person's opinion. Do you want me to post your rebuttal over at Keystone Politics? Let me know.

I'm glad to hear Ginny is doing good things for the BucksCo Dems.

As for Fitzpatrick, he was already well known as a county commissioner. Further, that's a relatively non-partisan job, even though, it's a partisan election. Fitzpatrick got a lot of vote, I'm sure, because of things he did for the residents. He got a stop sign or red light put in at a dangerous intersection, sewers got built or a road in the neighborhood got paved, etc. - the "all politics is local" angle. I know someone who voted for Fitzpatrick for exactly one of those reasons. I don't think Fitzpatrick held Bush voters as much as he was a familiar face in a notorious ticket-
splitting area.

We shall see what the primary brings. I don't have a dog in this fight, but my money is on Murphy.
As I understand it, he's doing a lot of door-to-
door retail politicing.

by phillydem 2005-08-06 06:13PM | 0 recs
Re: PoliticsPA
Chris, with all due respect, I don't believe you can argue that Ginny "made this a swing district" -- Kerry won Bucks County by 9,000, and she lost the race by 40,000.

Bucks County has been represented in Congress by a mix of D's and R's over the years.  Schrader was the wrong candidate at the right time to swing it back our way.

I haven't heard any indication that Murphy doesn't welcome a crowded primary.

by Adam B 2005-08-06 06:41PM | 0 recs
Re: PoliticsPA
"Chris, with all due respect, I don't believe you can argue that Ginny "made this a swing district" -- Kerry won Bucks County by 9,000, and she lost the race by 40,000."

Ginny did make this a swing district. She was the only one who was running. Her primary opponent in 2004 was a conservative Republican who tried to hijack the Demcoratic primary. She was the only won who stood up to run. If she hadn't, our challenger to Fitzpatrick would have been a wingnut. And that would have been that.

She has also been working to elect local Democrats in the district while other Demcoratic candidates in the district were either holding elected office as Republicans, or voting for Bush. I'm glad they have seen the light, and if they win the primary, I'll work my asses off for them, but for a yellow dog such as myself those sorts of things raise red flags for me--especially when such changes occur as soon as the district became a swing district.

Ginny actually did 12,000 votes better than Joe Hoeffel in this ditrict. You should also note that every state Senate seat in Bucks was won by a Republican by a far greater margin than Fitzpatrick won by. Kerry may have won it, but he was campaigning here with a well-funded, full-time staff months before the Dem establishment did anything for Ginny.

I also know, since I was there, that when the coordinated campaign in Bucks sent out volunteers to knock on doors, every single out of state volunteer refused to talk up either Ginny or Joe. They were only trained to talk about Kerry, and that's all they did talk about, while the rest of the Bucks county candidates slid into oblivion in the face of lack of support from the "coordinated" campaign.

A lot of people here and elsewhere think that one candidate or another is going to do well in Bucks on the strength of the Rendell or Casey vote. I wouldn't hold my breath. The district is still solid Republican in terms of voter registration, and larger campaigns do not have a history of helping out smaller candidates in the district. Republicans control everything in Bucks County, and its going to stay that way as long as we focus on transforming the area by means of larger campaigns. We have to build thigns from the ground up in districts like this, and Ginny Schrader is the candidate for that.

by Chris Bowers 2005-08-06 07:16PM | 0 recs
Re: PoliticsPA
1.  Wait a second -- Kerry carried the state by 2% and Bucks County by 3%; Specter carried the state by 11% and Bucks County by 15%.  Schrader lost by 13% -- in other words, almost exactly the same as Hoeffel, despite running against a non-incumbent right wing extremist instead of a 24-year incumbent pro-choice moderate.  

You're not using fair numbers if you don't place them in the context of the incumbency.

  1.  Had a wingnut won the primary, the wingnut would have been replaced by the party upon Greenwood's retirement.

  2.  I do not want to get into a Murphy v. Warren v. Schrader credentials pissing match this early.  But, really, what more has Schrader done for public service in 62 years compared to Murphy in 31 or even Warren in his 61?

  3.  To the extent that grassroots work is important in Bucks County -- and, of course, it is -- that work is not dependent upon Schrader being the nominee unless you and others decide to withhold such support from others.  Because, honestly, she had nothing until you and others personally came on board -- not in terms of fundraising or organization.  There is nothing inherent about Schrader that makes her "the" grassroots candidate.
by Adam B 2005-08-06 07:45PM | 0 recs
Re: PoliticsPA
"But, really, what more has Schrader done for public service in 62 years compared to Murphy in 31 or even Warren in his 61?"

She worked for the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority for 6 years. That's six years of public service right there.

by Chris Bowers 2005-08-07 09:37AM | 0 recs
Re: PoliticsPA
"You're not using fair numbers if you don't place them in the context of the incumbency."

And calling Fitzpatrick a non-incumbent is not entirely accurate either. He had been elected county-wide three times before he ran for congress. Holding elected office over an equivalent geographical area in an makes you a de facto incumbent, according to the incumbent rule. This was revealed in the benchmark poll in the district, taken shortly after Fitzpatrick joined the race. It showed Fitzpatrick with a far higher name ID, and a 16-point lead in the trial heat as a result. Ginny closed that gap by five points before eleciton day.

The thing is, Bucks County has been ruled by Republicans for so long, there are no district-wide Democratic office-holders to use in the race, ala Casey vs. Santorum. Sandy Miller is the only one, and she isn't running. There is Warren I guess, but as with Hafer, that the Demcoratic bench in Pennsylvania is basically a group of ex-Republican floorwalkers shows what a pathetic state the party is in here.

"There is nothing inherent about Schrader that makes her "the" grassroots candidate."

Yes there is--she has been helping to elect Democrats in the district on a local, grassroots level, for the past several years. Of course neither she nor I would withhold support if she doesn't win.

by Chris Bowers 2005-08-07 10:17AM | 0 recs
Re: PoliticsPA
I don't recall her mentioning spending time out of college in Frank Rizzo's Redevelopment Authority, but, okay, it's there.

Sandy Miller isn't running; she has already endorsed Murphy.

I guess I just don't understand why you've been so quick to endorse Schrader this time around.

by Adam B 2005-08-07 02:19PM | 0 recs
Re: links
Your first two links really don't support your argument. It's a good thing and sign Andy Warren decided to come over to our side. I don't think Warren has declared himself a candidate and suspect he's politically savvy enough to understand he probably wouldn't get a lot of support in the Dem primary.

Your second link is just about Pat Murphy and how he and other veterns were proudly voting for Kerry.

Last, I believe the "wingnut" that was going to challenge Greenwood by registering as a Dem and winning that primary was Fitzpatrick. But even though he did run in the primary, IIRC, BucksCo Dems saw through that ploy and elected Schrader as their candidate.

by phillydem 2005-08-06 08:05PM | 0 recs
Re: links
In the Inquirer's article on Schrader's announcement, it mentioned that Andy Warren had stated he'd be throwing his hat into the ring soon, and Robin Weissman is almost surely to follow.
by Adam B 2005-08-06 10:59PM | 0 recs
Re: Warren, Weissman
We've been discussing PA-8 on and off over at KP.
When Warren declared his party switch, there was a story in the Bucks local papers that said he might have some interest in running, but it wasn't a done deal by any means.

Weissman apparently only wants to run if she has an uncontested primary. Since Pat Murphy is in for the duration, that's isn't happening. Given that Warren works/worked in Rendell's administration and that Weissman's hubby is a big Rendell contributor, Ed will likely not get involved in the primary.

Personally, I think it's better not to have an exact rematch of the 2004 general election candidates in 2006. I don't have any stats, but it seems to me the challenger usually fares worse the second time around. (Although, Lois Murphy may prove the exception when she rematches against Gerlach.)

by phillydem 2005-08-07 03:49AM | 0 recs
Re: PoliticsPA
"Ginny did make this a swing district. She was the only one who was running. Her primary opponent in 2004 was a conservative Republican who tried to hijack the Demcoratic primary... Kerry may have won it, but he was campaigning here with a well-funded, full-time staff months before the Dem establishment did anything for Ginny."

It would to worthwhile to note here that during "those months months before the Dem establishment did anything for Ginny," she was running against an incumbent Republican whom she had basically no chance of defeating.

It wasn't until Jim Greenwood dropped out of the race that her race received, or frankly deserved, any serious consideration from "the establishment."

As a result, I have a hard time seeing how Schrader made this a swing district.  

Jim Greenwood did when he dropped out of the race.  

by Politicalhack06 2005-08-06 08:07PM | 0 recs
Re: PoliticsPA
Wasn't Ginny the one who started crying and ran out of a debate?
by HoosierJosh 2005-08-06 10:56PM | 0 recs
Re: PoliticsPA
Um, no:


But since you are not the only person I have seen using that spin here, it makes me wonder where it's coming from.

by Chris Bowers 2005-08-07 09:25AM | 0 recs
Re: PoliticsPA
Did she leave?  Yes.  Was it a negative?  Yes.  Should it have been seen that way?  I wasn't there.
by Adam B 2005-08-07 02:52PM | 0 recs
Re: PoliticsPA
"I also think Ginny is taking her responsibility very seriously, since she is currently holding fundraisers for local Democratic candidates rather than herself. She won't raise any money in the district utnil after the November elections."

It's admirable that Schrader is working to raise money for local Democrats.  It's absolutely insane that she isn't raising any money for her own campaign in the process.

Her latest FEC report shows that she's raised $2,100 for this election.


From one contributor.

Meanwhile, Mike Fitzpatrick is sitting on just under $900,000 cash-on-hand.

THAT, my friends, is taking your race seriously.

As a result of these facts, and Schrader's recent decision not to accept PAC money (after accepting it last year), it's very hard to take her candidacy seriously this time around, and even more difficult to see why anyone should invest in her campaign seeing as she's doing so very little (putting it nicely) to make herself financially competitive.  

It IS, however, very easy to see why other candidates are being recruited.  

While other challengers around the country are actively raising money so that they can be competitive next year, Schrader isn't.  

That is absolutely no way to run a campaign for anything, certainly not againt the now-incumbent House Republican who defeated her last year, and certainly not in one of the most expensive media markets in the country.

If she happens to survive the Democratic primary or not, her current fundraising "strategy" will ensure only one thing in the general election:  she will lose, and she will have no one to blame but herself.  

By refusing to raise money for her own campaign now, and by refusing to accept PAC money (which, again, she was willing to do last year), she is placing herself at a serious competitive disadvantage from which she will never, ever be able to recover.

Looking at her race that way, it's surprising that PoliticsPA didn't place two downward arrows next to her name instead of just one.  

by Politicalhack06 2005-08-06 08:33PM | 0 recs
Ratings Abuse
I have more than a little difficulty seeing what it was about my comment that merited a "troll" rating, other than you disagreed with me. You clearly know a lot about campaigns, but if you are going to come to MyDD and other sites to try and conenct with the netroots, you have a lot to learn.

"It's admirable that Schrader is working to raise money for local Democrats. It's absolutely insane that she isn't raising any money for her own campaign in the process."

That, obviously, will be changing. Her statement isn't that she won't be raising any money, but that she won't be raising it in Bucks County until after the Novemebnr elections so as not to drain money from local candidates.

"As a result of these facts, and Schrader's recent decision not to accept PAC money (after accepting it last year), it's very hard to take her candidacy seriously this time around, and even more difficult to see why anyone should invest in her campaign seeing as she's doing so very little (putting it nicely) to make herself financially competitive."

This is the second time she has run. People often learn from previous experiences. From what I understand, she did not appreciate the way PAC money forced her into what she felt were terrible campaign decisions last time, such as, for example, sending mailings about being pro-choice into a heavily Irish-Cahtolic area of the district. National PAC's can be a grat resource, but that does not mean that they always know what goes over best in the district. Further, accepting PAC money also results in ceeding a significant amount of control over your campaign, which, as we saw with the bankruptcy bill, can force many Democrats into the wrong side on important pieces of legislation.

by Chris Bowers 2005-08-07 10:01AM | 0 recs
Re: Ratings Abuse
political hack troll rated Sam Loomis as well. At least he or she admits what he or she is.
by Gary Boatwright 2005-08-07 11:35AM | 0 recs
Re: Ratings Abuse
"political hack troll rated Sam Loomis as well. At least he or she admits what he or she is."

I'll be responding to Chris' post later, but the fact that I choose to use an alias when I post is pretty much a red herring.

After all, the blogosphere is, ultimately, about the exchange of ideas.  You can agree or disagree with what I have to say... you can even rate me a troll if you want to.  I really don't care.  Feel free.  

I might be using an alias for any number of reasons. It could be that I just enjoy my privacy, it could be that my employers, spouse or friends wouldn't appreciate my political views.

And there's even an outside, if highly unrealistic, chance that my parents actually named me politicalhack.  

In the end, does it really matter?  


Like I said, you're free to agree or disagree with me.  You're free to tell me why you think my views are wrong, and you might be right.  You're free to call me a troll!  

Debate!  Exchanging ideas!  

Isn't it great?  Isn't that why we're here?

I think Chris is wrong about a lot of things.  Ginny Schrader's campaign fundraising "strategy," for instance.

But I think this site, and sites like it, are absolutely amazing.  The potential for netroots organizing is vast, and the surface hasn't even been scratched yet.  He and others who have been on the forefront of the progressive blogosphere deserve HUGE amounts of credit for what they've done in building the netroots from essentially nothing.

And what I think makes these sites so special, and so important, is that they expand the ways in which we can communicate, and debate our views and ideas about campaigns, candidates, policy and politics.

But if you'd rather criticize someone for using an alias rather than those ideas and views themselves, go right ahead.  

Troll me, baby!  

by Politicalhack06 2005-08-07 01:17PM | 0 recs
Re: Ratings Abuse
How about all the other ratings abuse around here lately? Particularly from Gary Boatwright, the most anal rating abuser and troll around here.
by Vote Hillary 2008 2005-08-08 08:09PM | 0 recs
It's really hard not to realize
that "establishment" party insiders seem to feel threatened by netroots and the actual activists and voters taking their party back from the hand of ineefective, fat & lazy, complacent perpetual election losers like them.

That letter you wrote was an outstanding smackdown.  It was also a slap in the face, reminding them to get their shit together, get with the new program or get left behind.


by Sam Loomis 2005-08-06 05:24PM | 0 recs
A lot of people in local parties
are really dedicated people who we can have a lot in common with. Sure, there are some very complacent people but if we take action within the party, we can make sure that all local parties can be open to the grassroots and not so inssiderish. Here in Virginia, the grassroots chose someone who was not an insider for lt. gov so the grassroots have a chance.
by FairfaxDem11 2005-08-06 06:51PM | 0 recs
good luck buddy
Pennsylvania Democratic politics make me sick. After last fall, I swore I wouldn't do anything there again. I totally support reform, but I don't know if I have the stomach for it. Fighting the losers in DC is nothing like fighting the machine in PA, you have much more of a battle ahead of you.

We have your back.

by blogswarm 2005-08-06 09:33PM | 0 recs
Losers in DC
I assume you mean the entrenched politicians who come here (DC) from other places.  We didn't create these monsters.  The rest of this country voted to send them here (and they act like the own the place, see here and here).  Gotta be careful with the language.  

-- sensitive DC resident

by freedc 2005-08-07 12:56PM | 0 recs
Re: Losers in DC
I am more than a little sick of the country throwing up monstrosities like Bush, Delay et al and then blame the result on greater Washington.
by Alice Marshall 2005-08-07 09:01PM | 0 recs
Re: good luck buddy
Can't be as corrupt as Massachusetts...
by Parker 2005-08-07 02:40PM | 0 recs
Is "Wally Edge" Howard Ahmanson?
The site PoliticsPA.com is registered to the pseudonymous "Wally Edge"--along with PoliticsNJ.com. Hm-m-m, Wally Edge or is it Wedge Ally? Following the link two steps further, all of these politicsNJ/PA/NH, etc. sites apparently are the stepchildren of the Publius Institute, which is itself apparently a creation of the Claremont Institute--a conservative think tank in Claremont, CA. Since Claremont lists Howard F. Ahmanson, Jr. (of ES&S and voting machine fame) on its board of directors, and his wife, Roberta Green Ahmanson, on the same web page, it is logical to assume, as with many right-wing, Christian Reconstructionist groups, that Claremont is funded by the Ahmansons. (See: http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2004/01/06/ahmanson)

It might be worth a few hundred emails to good friend "Wally" asking them why they are performing unsubstantiated and anonymous hatchet jobs on Democratic candidates--although given the shady connections, I'd say that Ginny and Chris should take Claremont's sleazy, little, anonymous bitch slap as a compliment. Email information for these two groups is listed below.

Here also is a piece from the Boston Phoenix about the role in the 2004 NH primary of PoliticsNH.com, the sister site to PoliticsPA. The article can be found at http://www.bostonphoenix.com/boston/news_features/talking_politics/documents/02685359.htm

At PoliticsNH.com <<Click on  " Our Team, "  and it brings you to the photos and brief bios of four staffers: managing editor James W. Pindell; senior editor Brian P. Murphy, a former staffer for George magazine; Jordan S. Lieberman, who is the president of the Publius Group, which owns the site along with several others, including PoliticsNJ, PoliticsVT, and PoliticsNY; and columnist Dante J. Scala, who is also an assistant professor of politics at Saint Anselm College.<p> A check through the Networks Solutions search site reveals that PoliticsNH is registered to NameSecure.com. Wally Edge is listed as the site's  " administrative contact. "  Edge did not return a call from the Phoenix. On the PoliticsNJ site, though, the  " About Us "  link says,  " PoliticsNJ.com is operated by The Publius Group (ED. Note-an apparent front for The Claremont Institute) and our editor is Wally Edge, a pseudonym for the people who are working on this site. "

Last February, Roll Call columnist Stuart Rothenberg did a piece on anonymous political Web sites. When he called the Publius Group, Lieberman called him back but wouldn't provide additional details on who was backing the venture. Rather than identifying himself as the president of the Publius Group, as he's now listed on PoliticsNH.com, Lieberman told Rothenberg that he handled marketing for the company. Rothenberg's conclusion?  " The potential for abuse with these sites is enormous. What would stop a candidate from setting up an anonymous political site and using it as a way to undercut or discredit an opponent? "

The answer is nothing. In the meantime, PoliticsNH generates buzz.>>

So, I'd say the Repugs are scared of Ginny and the netroots and are using their usual clandestine operations to try and neutralize the netroots long before the 2006 election. (BTW, their activities sound like a great basis for a blog that outs these manipulations and informs the mainstream media in real time.) Keep up the good work. OH-2 and the Hackett campaign obviously scared the hell out of them.

In light and truth,


Claremont Institute info:

The Claremont Institute
250 W. First Street, Suite 330
Claremont, CA 91711
and Bob Gransden

PoliticsPA/PoliticsNJ Info:

409 Washington Street
PMB 361
Hoboken, NJ  07030
(Pseudonym) Wally Edge  

by VeritasLux 2005-08-06 09:40PM | 0 recs
Re: Is &quot;Wally Edge&quot; Howard Ahmanson?
First of all, these websites are not under the Publius Institute, but the Publius Group.

Secondly, there is no Publius Institute or Publius Group affiliated with the Claremont Institute.

Claremont has a "Publius Fellowship" that is intended to indoctriante young right wing <strike>idiots</strike> writers in the proper way to attack.

There is no connection between the corporation The Publius Group and the Publius Fellowship handed out by the Claremont Institute.

Many people use the name Publius, once an incredibly famous moniker because it was used by Madison, Jay and JHamilton awhen they wrote the Federalist Papers in order to protect their anonymity as the country adopted its Constitution.  Here are some other places that use the name Publius:

Each of these groups have the same level of connection to PoliticsNJ and Wally Edge (and, in the case of the New Jersey company maybe more) as Claremont: the name Publius.

Lastly, as evidence that these sites are not part of the the Ahmanson/Scaiffe world, PoliticsNJ site has had among its columnists myself ( a NJ Democratic State Committeeman, Democratic Council President in North Plainfield, NJ, and the leader of Blue 7th PAC and the Dump Mike Ferguson blog) and Steve Adubato (from one of the most powerful Democratic families in New Jersey).  The Right Wing Noise Machine doesn't give people like us avenues to reach folks.

If you can catch money, corporate ownership, scholarship recipients or anything else passing between these two entities then we can talk.  But the name Publius is famous for people who are seriously into public policy and American history.  Finding it in two places is hardly a coincidence, much less a connection.

by nathan 2005-08-07 08:24PM | 0 recs
Get used to it. Your no better than a MOVE member
The right wing that dominates PA and the national Democrat Party is intolerant of nonconformity and dissidence.

You might as well be drug addicts or members of Philadelphia's MOVE organization once you have attempted to articulate a pluralistic nonconforming perspective in opposition to the controlling Jim Crow wing of the Democratic Party.

Here are some of my other recent thoughts on this fundamental issue.

Pennsylvania -democracy incarcerated- http://mysite.verizon.net/aahpat/pdi/pdi.htm

Journey for Justice August 13 in Washington, D.C. http://leftindependent.blogspot.com/2005/08/journey-for-justice-august-13-in.html

How America's right wing has successfully subverted our democracy Or: the castration of the Voter Rights Act  http://leftindependent.blogspot.com/2005/08/how-americas-right-wing-has.html

by aahpat 2005-08-07 10:40AM | 0 recs
MOVE did not deserve to be butchered
You throw out MOVE as if they deserved to be bombed by the Philly police department. The Philly police department murdered six adults and five children. The Philly Fire Department allowed 62 homes to burn. This is one of many reported atrocities in American history.
by Gary Boatwright 2005-08-07 11:50AM | 0 recs
Re: don't glorify MOVE
MOVE, at the time, was not some benign organization that the cops just decided to harass for no reason.
They were disrupting the neighborhood with day and night rants over their loud speaker system. It was the neighbors who asked the city to do something about MOVE.

This isn't to excuse what the police did; it will be a black mark on Philadelphia forever. But MOVE wasn't an innocent party either. They were armed to the teeth. IIRC, at first the cops asked the fire dept not to try and put out the fire, but later when there was gunfire from the house, the fire dept didn't want to risk firemen's lives - and who could blame them - to fight the fire.

by phillydem 2005-08-07 09:02PM | 0 recs
Re: MOVE did not deserve to be butchered
Oh riiight. And I suppose the evil government murdered all those nuts at Waco too?
by Vote Hillary 2008 2005-08-08 08:13PM | 0 recs
Keystone Politics is NOT conservative

I am one of the editors at KP and I can absolutely assure you KP is not a conservative website. Perhaps if you actually visited the site you would see that immediately. Instead you seem to have lumped KP in with GrassrootsPA, which is a conservative /republican site, doing us a great disservice.

I believe you owe KP an apology.

by phillydem 2005-08-08 06:18AM | 0 recs
Need to quit eating their own young.
This carpet bombing fratricide needs more substantiation.
by Vote Hillary 2008 2005-08-08 08:15PM | 0 recs


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