steve's got a response up to my post. it's worth a read, and i'm going to quote it liberally here and elaborate because i have a feeling that i am soon going to be the recipient of some very nasty comments and responses.
first, i want to thank steve, because he responded very civilly. i imagine that might have been hard to do after i expressed so much anger and frustration in my original post.
steve and i have had a great report in email and i met him in 2004 when i went to nyc to protest the gop convention. put simply, i adore the guy and we agree on just about everything. i have a ton of respect for him. with that said... here goes.
I know Joe Barton is an asshole, but the easiest way to strip him of power is to change who runs the House. Now that may suck when you see a campaign up close, but the only people who hate Barton are the people who run against him and the people in his district.
But Lieberman is what we call a force multiplier. He is on TV every week, undermining the Democratic party. Lieberman is the roadblock to party unity. Because he loves to attack fellow democrats to look better. He provides cover for Bush in a way no House member could and helps define the national party as weak and feckless.
yes steve, i know. i'm not disagreeing with your points, but you just have to understand where i'm coming from with all this. you're on a mailing list with me; you're well aware of the fact that i supported ned lamont in the primary. this is something that all the folks reading my diary at dkos don't know. i support ned lamont. i did a whole sore loserman page on myspace. i am on the youtube nedheads group, i participated in the friends and family program and got everyone i know in connecticut to vote for ned. i donated. i did that because i know lieberman is a bush enabler. i know he's a pox on the party. i just want to make it crystal clear to everyone that i realise how bad joe is for the party, since some people on the dkos diary have already accused me of being a lieberman plant (nice groupthink there, folks). i was hoping that lieberman would have the fortitude to accept the decision of the good people of connecticut and bow out gracefully after he got his ass whupped. but he didn't. more on that in a moment.
You aren't going to take back the Congress without getting our house in order, and Joe Lieberman is that house. As long as he's claiming to be a Dem, he is a bright, shining example of how the Dems don't stand for anything or anyone. He is the front man for the DLC, the Beltway crowd, the whole rotten lot of them. There is no point in taking the Senate and having Lieberman snipe at the leadership.
The issue wasn't the seat, but the man who held it, and how he was more important than the party or even elections. Lieberman was the pet Dem for the GOP and the damage he did doing that was amazing.
again, i am well aware of all that, and because of those factors, i supported lamont's primary run. but speaking of getting our house in order - because that's really where i am concerned here - how are we going to do that if we don't get a democratic majority? my concerns are that this race will continue to suck media wind. good candidates - not just my guy dave - are being ignored, neglected, and underfunded because of the amount of resources that were put into the lieberman race. i think about all that energy that was put into lamont's campaign, and while i cheer it and think it's a great example of people power, i wonder how many people burned vacation days and dollars to travel there when they could have been putting resources into their local campaigns and races.
i just wonder about that. i wonder if we've made a grave miscalculation here. and my doubts are seeded in the fact that lieberman - unless he drops - has a good chance to win. i guess i'm not supposed to voice these doubts out loud - that i'm supposed to be a good team player - but i cannot help but worry what effect this is going to have nationally. if lieberman doesn't drop, he is going to be the number one media narrative between now and november. it plays right into the rovian narrative of dems being weak on national security. and that damages our candidates, especially the ones running in reddish and purpleish states.
i know that there are a lot of national dems - especially rahm (god i never thought i'd type that) and wes clark - who are kicking ass and taking names right now, and many people (especially on the liberal blogs) are weaving a "we ain't skeeered" narrative. but listen yall, that may work in some places, but it doesn't work everywhere. my district is a prime example. last night i met so many people who were mad at barton, but who expressed a deep regret about what happened to lieberman. one guy - bob - told me he was a JFK dem, and that booting lieberman was the worst thing that has happened to the dems in ages. you gotta understand the type of voters i'm trying to woo down here, folks. it isn't true blue liberal types. it's conservative to moderate dems who appreciate people like lieberman. and honestly, until last night i didn't realise that the FAUX news narrative was working on these folks. i didn't realise until i got out and talked to ordinary voters in this district how strongly they felt about the lieberman race. i haven't canvassed (or actively blogged) in over 5 weeks because i went back to college, and last night was like a kick in the face. what happened in connecticut was great for connecticut, but it just made my job so much harder.
But even in Texas, who do you help? Nick Lampson? His race is going to suck up light and money as well. But there's a chance to make real change in TX-22. So it's about choices, hard choices.
yea, but only because tom delay resigned. had delay still been there - as corrupt as he was - he would have been reelected. it doesn't matter how much money lampson's raised, or how much noise we made, delay would have won. period. that is not up for debate. that may seem outrageous to non-texans, but it is what it is.
so who do you help? well, you help your local races, first and foremost. i have been busting my ass for dave. so have the local dem activists. i've also been supporting david pillow, the candidate for my state house district. in a place like texas - where the slog is sooo damned hard - you have to work in your backyard first. that's why i haven't piped up about too many national races. that's why my blog took a local focus. i gotta start here.
there's also another option. the texas bloggers banded together and created a mailing list. it's no secret that we're working together to try and get attention to all our folks. we've got our own texroots page. we're doing what we can. but it's a different playing field down here, and i don't think that folks who don't live here (or have never lived here) understand the kind of fight we have on our hands.
it's not like we're not trying to change things down here. it's just a much harder fight.
i say all this because today i have also been accused of not doing anything (not by steve, but by some other people who are just getting exposed to me). people (especially those who don't know me), listen up. i have been a democratic activist since 1992 and i don't appreciate my credentials being questioned. my first campaign experience was gathering signatures for al gore in 1991/92 when i was 18. sure, i spent the latter half of the 90s taking the good times for granted, but i got even more heavily involved after the 2000 elections. i jumped on the dean bandwagon in august of 2002, and along with aziz and jerome, wrote at the very first dean blog. i spent hundreds of man hours working for dean and then kerry. i worked for morris meyer - barton's last challenger - and now dave. i have donated thousands of dollars to democrats and spent my blood, sweat, and tears trying to take this country back. i am an elected official. it makes me so sick to think that by voicing a doubt, all of a sudden people are questioning my credentials. why don't you just go ahead and brand me with a scarlet A and be done with it?
We could have let Lieberman slide, be happy with most of his votes, but that would have been a mistake. While the Lamont campaign got attention, it didn't really suck up all that much money, and the techniques learned there will pay immediate dividends. It's all a matter of resource allocation on trying to win in places where that can happen. You take away his committee chairmanship and see how long he stays in the House?
steve, i'm not disagreeing that lieberman is bad for us in some ways. that seems to have gotten lost in the debate here. so here is how i'm looking at it. lamont could have self funded, and he did to a large extent. but looking at the netroots page, he took in $308,973.97. what i'm thinking is that money could have funded a few small-dollar races where we had a good shot at taking back a house seat from a few rubberstamps. instead of taking down one bad guy, we could take down several. it pains me to no end to say this publicly, but it's just how i feel.
i didn't pipe up and voice any doubts when the lieberman idea was floated because it seemed like a done deal and i'm just one voice. but i sincerely wonder if we should have first concentrated on regaining a majority before cutting the deadwood.
I know it's frustrating, but you can't do everything and be everywhere. You pick your shots, hope for the best and elect a House where Barton has much less power, if you can't beat him outright
yes steve, it is indeed frustrating, and that's putting it mildly. i am literally in tears here because i am feeling extremely hopeless and helpless. yall just don't understand how bad it is down here at times. it's so easy to get beat down, depressed, and disgusted after what i went through last night. i sat in a room with a bunch of fucking racist, close minded useful idiots, and realised that they were clearly the majority. how do you think that made me feel? so alone... but even among them, there was discontent, and i could not help but think that if some of those people were exposed to a different option in this race - if they were given a chance to see and hear dave speak and realise that he's a goddamned decorated war veteran who will truly represent them - that some of them would have changed their minds. i would say the same of every single candidate in texas at both the state and local level. i see it in david van os and fred head and hank gilbert and all the wonderful candidates who are out there putting their lives on hold and their asses on the line to fight right here in the belly of the beast. and you know what? other than the bloggers and grassroots in texas, they aren't getting much help. it's not like we have a well oiled machine here (although we are working on that).
and what is completely disheartening is to know that nobody is going to help us. not the national party, not the state party, not the national liberal blogger noise machine, not the dtrip - NOBODY. i don't think that many people realise how it feels to be completely written off as hopeless and a waste of time, because honestly, that's how people see this entire state. they see it as a waste of time. "fuck the south" you know. and for the past few months i have felt like i'm just supposed to sit here and accept that status quo - that i'm supposed to be the good team player and just help everyone else. well i'm sorry, i just can't keep quiet about this anymore.
my priority is my own backyard. that's where i have to work on changing hearts and minds and votes. for the past few years, i have worked the ground in my district, i have served as a precinct chair, i have won elections within the party, i have gotten involved with the tarrant dems and been a good team player for them. and it's opened my eyes in ways that have pretty much devastated me. i know i am waaaay left compared to the folks here. and i have to moderate when i talk to people. i have to learn to speak the language of "values" and faith, and i'm a goddamned atheist! imagine carrying that weight every day, knowing that most of the people you canvass would slam the door in your face if they knew you didn't believe in god. and these are the people i have to deal with - the most conservative democrats of all.
imagine my disgust after the state party convention this summer (conveniently held on the same weekend as yearlykos, so i couldn't even go there and get my batteries recharged by being among my brothers and sisters) when my candidate for state party chair was derailed by a whisper campaign about his sexuality. this is not a personal knock on our chairman, but when boyd richie was elected i cried. the last time i shed tears like that was when kerry lost, and before that, when dean got taken down. i am just sick and fuckin' tired of losing and i'm sick and tired of feeling like nobody gives a shit about texas.
i hoisted a beer to lamont's victory, but it was bittersweet. i am so happy that the good people of connecticut made the decision they did, and i do not begrudge them one bit. i want to make that crystal clear so that there is no question. but i think that i have a real fear here - one that everyone else for some reason seems hesitant to write about - and that is that holy joe won't drop out and that he'll win. it seems to me that some folks who commented on my thread at the big orange blog shared my concerns. they're worried about the race sucking resources as well. and when we are at such a crucial turning point - shit yall, the elections are like 85 days away - we need everyone on board in every district where there is a challenger. i think it's a legitimate fear to worry about whether our other candidates will get a fair shot with the lieberganda being broadcast on all the networks. and i'm being treated (again, not by steve) like judas for even mentioning that. why? we're not republicans. we're allowed to disagree with each other, aren't we?
now listen, i know that my post on the big orange blog was written with in anger. for those who don't know me, anger is usually what generates my most controversial and popular posts. don't ask me why. i have no fucking idea. i have been busting my blogging ass for nearly five years and nothing gets traffic like me being pissed off. but i didn't write it to get traffic or get recommended. i wrote it because the emotion was raw and i needed to get it off my chest. i wrote it because these things are very real to me.
i don't apologise for anything i wrote in the post. i do admit that the "fuck yall" was a bit harsh, but as i said, the emotions are very real and raw right now, and to be quite honest yea, i do feel that way at the moment. maybe that's hard for people to understand, and that's fine. but try living in red red texas or oklahoma or mississippi or alabama or georgia or anywhere else in the deep south. live there for a while among the people, and realise that your party institutions are broken, and people are beaten down and there's very little hope, that nobody's got your back, and see if you don't want to tell everyone to fuck off once in a while. this environment is very demoralising.
that's why i believe in the 50 state strategy. howard gets it. he knows that a large chunk of his support came from texas, and we need him and we need the national party institutions to be rebuilt. and if we're not going to fully commit to that, why the fuck am i here busting my ass?
i imagine that some people won't get what i'm trying to say here and that's fine. i don't begrudge anyone for hating me or being pissed off about what i wrote. but there is one standard i have always held myself to for these past five years, and that's that i will not hold back. i will not write from fear. i will not pretend everything's ok when it isn't. i will be honest with my emotions, regardless of who i might piss off. i will say what's on my mind and not be scared of reprisals. if you don't get it, then fine. i'm not here to please you. i am just me, the only active liberal blogger in the 6th district, and i can't paint a picture that isn't real to me