Congress Embracing Blogs?

From The Hill:

Both Democrats and Republicans have been reaching out to prominent bloggers in recent years. The House Republican Conference has sponsored two "bloggers' row" gatherings in the past six months, where bloggers meet and interview lawmakers. Republicans hosted a conference call with bloggers last week.

Democrats brought in bloggers John Aravosis (AmericaBlog), Matt Stoller (MyDD) and Duncan Black (Atrios) and two experts from the progressive Center for American Progress two weeks ago to advise press secretaries on how to court blogs. The Democratic caucus devoted its entire March 29 meeting to technology issues.

The stakes with blogs are a bit higher for Democrats than they are for Republicans. The liberal blogosphere is better developed than its conservative counterpart. Liberal blogs often provide volunteers or campaign contributions to campaigns. And liberal blogs offer an outlet for Democrats when the traditional media have until recently paid them little heed.

For the party out of power, the blogs are akin to conservatives' dominance of talk radio and direct mail in the late '70s, Cornfield said.

I think that's fair.  Like Aravosis, I'm irritated that Josephine Hearn played the 'liberal blogs are too liberal for Nancy Pelosi', since ideology has never been a problem or a litmus test for us. (Harry Reid anyone?)

Still, it's good to see more recognition of the progressive blogosphere.  Also, I'm in the tank for Nancy Pelosi, just so you know.  Together MyDD can do better!

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Thoughts for a Saturday

I've learned three things from watching the Casey debate.  Casey will support a nuclear strike on Iran, wants to 'fix' Social Security, and feels that civility is the problem in the debate over abortion.  He also wants a higher minimum wage.

Stirling is blogging from China.

And Ian Welsh has an interesting take on the Pelosi-Reid analysis.

What's Harry Reid done for you lately? Was he there on Roberts? What about Alito? Could he bothered to even rally enough Dems to come close to a filibuster on the man who pioneered Presidential signing statements and who has perjured himself in front of Congress in the past? (Of course, since Reid is a pro-life conservative who thinks forced child birth is wonderful I wouldn't expect him to try and stop Alito because women could lose the right to safe, legal abortions.)

Let me tell you the advice I'd give Nancy Pelosi - do one spectacular piece of theater for the netroots, once, like Reid, and you you can cruise on that and betray them when it really matters, and they'll suck it up and kiss your butt. I'm guessing one good piece of theater is probably good for a year or so of free passes on real issues. Give them their theater, then sell them down the river.

Nancy Pelosi seems to be some sort of whipping girl for the Progressive blogosphere these last few months. I'll tell you this - she isn't perfect, but she is, actually, a liberal, not a conservative. She did, actually, support Murtha when it mattered. She has increased caucus discipline immensely and forced House Republicans to keep sessions open past midnight, twisting arms, to pass bills. She needs to learn theater, I agree, but I'm tired of the netroots puckering up for Reid and bitch-slapping Pelosi when, objectively, Reid has betrayed progressive principles in far more serious ways.

Reid's a fighter. I respect him as a person. But if you're a progressive or a liberal and you think Reid is in your corner, you have been played.

Not sure I agree with everything, but I am gaining a bit of respect for Pelosi as someone who maintains caucus cohesion and forces Republicans into awkward positions.  That said, she isn't very good at communications, she doesn't really move the caucus to her, and her management style is opaque.  Ian is right about Reid.  He isn't really leading.  For instance, he has been nowhere on censure, which at this point is just weird.  The activist energy on behalf of censure had to go somewhere, and if you don't support censure you have to provide an alternative channel.  

Now, both leaders have less leverage to use on wayward members than Republicans do, which makes leadership more difficult.  But in my mind, the honeymoon for Reid is ending.  The Bankruptcy Bill was bad, but the lack of leadership on censure is too abrupt not to note.

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Senate: 'We're too ethical to need independent scrutiny'

Famously, the Civil Rights Act of 1957 was an act without too many civil rights in it.

The most recent ethics bill S 2349, the Legislative Transparency and Accountability Act, works on much the same basis.

Lefty blog hate figure St Joseph of Stamford together with Maine Sister Susan Collins cooked up a little amendment to establish an Office of Public Integrity to oversee the handling of ethics complaints.

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SF Pelosi Crisis - And Netroots Solution

Despite some good news, Democrats are in a crisis.  Fewer than 1 in 5 of us think Rep Nancy Pelosi is an effective leader.  It's arguably our party's biggest problem.  Where I live in the Bay Area, she is an even bigger disappointment to her constituents, who roundly booed her weak Iraq and impeachment stances at her recent Town Meeting.  

Many recent diaries document Pelosi's ineptness and passivity - now capped by her complicity in illegal spying, and her attacks on Senator Feingold's efforts to hold the president accountable for breaking the law.  What can the Netroots do?

The good news is: plenty!, cheaply, and easily - if we discard our usual preconceptions about ballots, money, and "spoiler" candidates - and only if we finally acknowledge our own potential.

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DCCC , DSCC Money Problems

From the Hotline:

Cmte      Raised     Spent      CoH
RNC       $10.8       $8.9      $40.8
DNC        $6.2       $4.1       $8.9
NRCC       $5.4       $4.3      $20.8
DCCC       $3.1       $2.5      $16.3
NRSC**     $5.5       $2.5      $14.5
DSCC       $3.8       $1.8      $27.4

Combined GOP Cmte Cash-on-Hand: $76.1M
Combined Dem Cmte Cash-on-Hand: $52.6M

The DCCC and the DSCC aren't raising as much money as the NRCC and NRSC.  This is probably because the large dollar donors angry at Dean who flooded to the committees have hit tapped out McCain-Feingold limits, and the smaller donors aren't interested in supporting leaders like Rahm Emanuel who are fighting tooth and nail against a coherent Iraq strategy.

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Diaries

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