• I had the same confusion, but I figured it out. The candidates are listed in order by number, but the first candidate (Bayh) is zero, not one. Which is kinda what I think, but anyway... When you look at the data with this ordering it makes sense, all the sixes (Feingold) in first place.

    At first I was really alarmed when I thought Chris had voted for Daschle as his second choice.

  • on a comment on 2006 Is A Base Election over 8 years ago

    This makes no sense. She fears the far left in SF, so she supports the Iraq war? In case you didn't know, the 100k people who were protesting in SF in March 2003 were not supporting the war, and by the standards of most of the country I suppose they represent the "far left."

    Pelosi is far more conservative than her district (if you don't live here, you probably don't believe me), which is really weird for a congressional democrat. But that would be OK if she weren't such a finger-in-the-wind politician and actually showed an appetite for fighting for principles. This is the problem. She's in a district that she can win with 85% without campaigning, and she behaves as though she's worried about being re-elected.

    I assume her behavior is most likely explained by House internal politics. Be that as it may, however, I have been greatly disappointed in Pelosi's performance as minority leader.

  • on a comment on New Campaign Finance Bill over 8 years ago

    I don't think so. I'm pretty sure most people would contribute their voucher. But most people would not give it to third parties. The major parties are major because they have the most members.

  • on a comment on New Campaign Finance Bill over 8 years ago

    Yes, it's obviously just grandstanding. Not only could it never pass, if it did pass large portions of it would be tossed by the courts. Which makes it all the more egregious that they produced such an atrocious bill. If you're just trying to score political points, why not actually propose something good?

  • on a comment on New Campaign Finance Bill over 8 years ago

    This bill is not constitutional, not even close. The ban on spending private money for people who don't qualify for the system would never hold up in court. Nor should it.

    This thing is so far from being implementable that it is clearly just posturing. The people who wrote it obviously knew that it was not constitutional, but they wrote it this way anyhow.

  • on a comment on New Campaign Finance Bill over 8 years ago

    Well, since this bill pretty much bans anyone from running who doesn't qualify (since you can't spend any money), the bar has to be set pretty low. But, in any case, I hardly think my proposed threshold options (1000 signatures, or $25k raised) would be considered low enough that "whack jobs" would easily meet them.

  • comment on a post New Campaign Finance Bill over 8 years ago

    This is a horrible bill. It kills third parties, utterly. I keep seeing comments that it shouldn't be hard to get 10% of the district's voters' signatures if it's a real candidate. Ten to twenty thousand signatures, in one CD, without paid signature gatherers, is impossible. Even relatively large third parties, like the Greens and the Libertarians, would never be able to do it.

    The threshold for public financing needs to be much lower, perhaps 1000 signatures or private donations totaling $25000. I actually like the idea of using a threshold based on contributions rather than signatures, because a contribution shows significantly more commitment to the candidate than a signature.

    I find it shocking that alleged progressives are supporting such an undemocratic measure. If these guys are worried about third parties splitting their vote, they should be pushing for instant-runoff voting. Better still would be ranked-choice voting with multi-member districts or some sort of PR, but those ideas might actually result in representation for third parties, so these guys would never go for that.

    The gerrymandering argument is ridiculous. Why would the Republicans care that they wouldn't be able to get public financing in a district that was 80% Democratic? They just wouldn't run a candidate in that district, ever. What would be the problem?

  • This just isn't so. McCain-Feingold didn't do anything (or much, anyway) to stop the lobbying/bribery by campaign contributions that defines the current situation in Republican DC. But Abramoff and Delay Inc were doing their thing in Washington long before 2002, when McCain-Feingold was passed.

    You can say it didn't stop the problem, but it certainly did not create it. McCain-Feingold made some modest changes, like banning soft money and issue ads, in conjunction with modestly increasing contribution limits. It neither quelled nor caused the current situation.

  • comment on a post It's The Earmarks Stupid! over 8 years ago
    Earmarks are bad, don't get me wrong. However, the current problem with Republican corruption has little if anything to do with earmarks. Congressmen do not need to be bribed, or, to use the euphemism of the day, to receive campaign contributions, in order to pursue earmarks for their districts. That's called "bringing home the bacon," and it gets votes, and they will (almost) all try to do it, always.

    Earmarks are bad government, that's for sure. However, they are not exemplary of a culture in which a representative of congress intentionally works against the interests of his constituents and in favor of someone who pays him money. For that, you need to look, for example, to the bankruptcy bill, to the energy bill, to the Medicare prescription drug benefit. These were cases where members of congress were de facto if not de jure bribed to do the will of corporate interests.

    Yglesias did a piece on earmarks the other day, and in the comments (I'm dbeach) I criticized him for making it sound as though earmarks were not a problem. However, that does not change the fact that earmarks are not the root, the essence, or even really a part of the current Republican lobbying scandal. Earmarks normally have nothing to do with lobbying.

  • I don't think this is really fair. Certainly Langevin had the best chance to beat Chafee, and the opposition of pro-choice activists is the central reason he won't be the nominee. But for these activists, their most important issue is choice. Are they supposed to say any dem is OK, even an anti-choice candidate? Now, myself, if I lived in RI, I'd vote for Langevin with a smile on my face -- I'm pro-choice, but I will freely admit it's not the issue for me. But pick your most important issue, and say a candidate is good except for that, would you, in the name of party unity and picking up seats, support that candidate? I, for example, would always oppose a dem with Mary Landrieu's record on energy and environmental issues, even if that candidate was the one most likely to net the Dems a seat.
  • comment on a post NJ-Sen: Could It Be Nia Gill? over 8 years ago
    I don't know Nia Gill, as I am not a NJ resident -- she's probably great. But I do know Rush Holt, and he has been a true progressive warrior. It's true that he would not add to the diversity of the Senate... except that I'm pretty sure he would be the only physics Ph.D in the upper house.
  • Interesting list. From this list, it is clear that the "opposition Republicans" were in fact two distinct subgroups, blue-state moderates on one hand and hard-core fiscal conservatives on the other. It looks to me like the second group might even be larger than the first. The only moderates I see here are Castle, Gerlach (well, sort of), Leach, Johnson, and Ramstad. (I'm guessing that Fitzpatrick, Murphy, Platts, and Simmons are also in this group, but I don't know their records.) In the hard-core conservative group, you've got Paul, Otter, and probably Rogers, Moran and Pickering.

    But what did perennial BushCo stooges Rick Renzi and the odious Heather Wilson have against this bill? Bill Thomas, wtf? Isn't he appropriations chair, meaning he would have led the bill out of committee? I'm assuming Thomas must have voted against this as some kind of parliamentiary maneuver. Anybody have any insight?

  • As far as the primary goes, I don't have a dog in this hunt. I don't know Kurita, but I can look online and see that Ford has raised $2M and has huge name ID, and Kurita has raised $400k and nobody's heard of her. So I would certainly agree with you that she's a long shot at best, no matter what her politics are.

    I agree that Dems should not go around attacking Dems in the press, but I consider the blogosphere a bit of a different thing. If we don't communicate with each other about which candidates are most deserving of our dollars, how will we serve, as I hope we can, as the "conscience" of the democratic party?

    Having said all of that, I tend to think of my political contributions in marginal terms, ie, what is the contribution I can make that will have the largest positive impact. So I tend to favor races that are close, races in small states or markets, etc. So if, in October 2006, I really think that 50 democrats are likely to win senate seats and Ford's locked in a tight race (and seems like he could use more money), I might just hold my nose and send him some cash. But only if we don't have a chance of taking the House.

  • In the 2004 election cycle, Cooper raised roughly $225K from business PACs (ie PACs excluding labor and single-issue groups). Of that, $28k came from the finance and insurance industry. So far in this cycle, he has received an additional $12k from the finance and insurance industry, out of roughly $70k in corporate money.

    Tanner, wow, let's talk about Tanner. He raised about $500k in corporate money (compared to just $150k from individuals) in the 2004 cycle. Of that $500k, just over $150k came from the finance and insurance industry. So far in this cycle, he has already raised $150k in corporate money, compared to just $17k from individuals. Of the $150k, a bit over $30k has come from the finance and insurance industry.

    Our friend Mr. Ford also received around $500k in corporate PAC money in the 2004 cycle, of which a whopping $228k came from the finance industry. To be fair, though, the corporate money represented a relatively small portion of the total he raised, as he got $1.3M from individuals. So far this year, Ford has raised another $375k in corporate money, of which about $125k came from the finance industry. Again, though, he has raised much more from individuals, $1.5M already.

    Source for PAC money info here.

    The tax cuts were not, I don't think, particularly a priority for any PACs. ANWR, likewise, is only a priority for the oil industry, and (ironically?) only Tanner has received big contributions from Energy PACs ($26k in the 2004 cycle). Even Ford hasn't taken much energy money; I guess that means he really didn't vote for the energy bill for the money. Does that make it better or worse?

    Why do guys like Tanner and Cooper, who don't have serious challengers, raise so much corporate money? So they won't have serious challengers, I guess. It's an ugly system.

    I have said repeatedly that these guys are better than nothing, and I even hope Ford wins Frist's seat. But I'm not going to get all excited, and I'm sure in hell not going to spend any of my rather limited political contribution budget on Ford or any of these other DINOs.

    And I don't think it is counterproductive to "attack" these guys in the blogosphere (on TV would be a different story). Those of us in the netroots who are contributing money provide an alternative to corporate PAC funding, but to be as effective as those corporate guys are at getting their interests represented, we need to make sure that we only contribute to candidates who are generally progressive and generally vote with the caucus. If we don't enforce some sort of discipline, we'll just be an ATM machine.

  • First of all, I wasn't referring to Gordon; he's no angel but I was only referring to the Blue Dogs. It could be that Bush narrowly carried Tanner's district, but it's obviously not big Republican territory, since Tanner got over 70% of the vote (that's what I meant when I said his district wasn't competitive). And Ford's district is certainly strongly Dem.

    But my big beef is that you're still making the assumption that these votes on these economic issues have something to do with these guys trying to get their constituents to like them. I freely acknowledge that a liberal on social issues would be killed in these districts (except Ford's). But these guys did not vote for the bankruptcy bill because their constituents were clamoring for it. They did it to get PAC money. That is "whoring," plain and simple.

    By "good" dem, I mean one that will vote with the caucus the vast majority of the time, only jumping ship when the loyal position is unpopular in his district. Do you really think it would be impossible for such a creature to win in those districts? I find that incredible. I'm not asking for perfect, just "no" on the bankruptcy bill, "no" on the energy bill, that kind of thing.

    And I have said that a vote for Pelosi for majority leader is worth something. And each of these guys is like getting rid of half a Republican. That's worth something too. But should we, should the Democratic party, have to settle for that?

    It may be that Ford's constituents know how well he is representing their interests. I can't speak for them, but I'll ask you: Do you think Ford's vote for the bankruptcy bill was in his constituents' interest?

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