Sunday, March 05, 2006

If You Don't Stand for Something, You Stand for Nothing

Now, there’s been a lot of talk recently about how in order to be “electable” in the Congressional race against Richard Pombo in CD-11, a candidate must be a "centrist/moderate” so as to woo conservative voters in the Central Valley. But despite many, many requests, I have yet to be provided a working definition of what anyone here means by “moderate” or how, exactly, one candidate in this race is somehow more or less moderate than another.

With that in mind, I'll offer up my own personal definition of what it might mean to be a centrist in this race. Based on my observations, it seems like the self-proclaimed moderate Democrat in CD-11 has a lot in common with Al Capp’s mythical Shmoo:

According to Shmoo legend, the lovable creature laid eggs, gave milk and died of sheer ecstasy when looked at with hunger. The Shmoo loved to be eaten and tasted like any food desired. Anything that delighted people delighted a Shmoo. Fry a Shmoo and it came out chicken. Broil it and it came out steak. Shmoo eyes made terrific suspender buttons. The hide of the Shmoo if cut thin made fine leather and if cut thick made the best lumber. Shmoo whiskers made splendid toothpicks. The Shmoo satisfied all the world's wants.

For instance, let’s talk about the war in Iraq.

On his website Steve Filson describes his position on Iraq in the following strong terms:

We cannot leave a destabilized Iraq ripe for infiltration by terrorists who pose a threat to our safety and security. Whether you agreed with the war or opposed it, we now have a responsibility to fix what is broken.

In Congress, I will:

    Campaign for a critical and honest assessment of the realities on the ground in Iraq and a plan that includes critical guidelines: a functional, inclusive, non-sectarian Iraqi government with an Iraqi military force able to quell domestic threats,

    Support plans that stabilize Iraq as quickly as possible and allow our troops to concentrate on our original mission — fighting the War on Terror.

Yet when Filson appeared at the Lamorinda Democratic Club, known for its progressive membership, here was Matt’s take on his message:

First, Filson really did not have strong responses to questions about Iraq or universal healthcare. He faced a dilemma in which he was to the right of his audience. But he responded by repeating rhetoric that was little more than political code words. If he could articulate a reason why he was opposed to universal healthcare, I think people might disagree but understand his position. Or if he has a better response on Iraq, I think people would disagree but understand. Instead, I found his responses to these particular issues fairly devoid of substance.

Then, when Filson was questioned about his position on the Iraq War at his appearance last week at an endorsement meeting of the equally progressive Hayward Demos, according to a Filson supporter, here’s what happened:

Filson called for a withdrawl [sic] and stated that he would work with Pentagon officials to have the best plan to do just that.

Just in case you’re confused about where Steve Filson stands on the Iraq War, let me remind you of what he had to say last fall at the San Ramon Democratic Club:

He claimed that as a "centrist-moderate" he is more electable than progressives like (Jerry) McNerney and Margee Ensign... He is not against war in all cases: "It's about electability. If we wave the anti-war flag, we will lose. If we are too progressive, we will lose again."

So is this the definition for being a moderate: Taking a principled stand is overrated; “It’s about electability”?

Hey, I sure could go for a piece of chicken right about now. Can you turn yourself into that?

Then there’s health care.

Again, hearkening to Filson’s website, he stakes out the following position:

Families should be confident that they will have access to affordable, quality health care if they change jobs, lose a job or get sick; rising health care costs create debt and financial instability for families. We must do more to reduce the number of Americans without health insurance wherever possible. Many children and families remain uninsured despite the fact that they are eligible for the Children's Health Insurance Program or Medicaid. We have the means to identify and reach out to these individuals and to make sure that everyone who deserves our help knows where to find it.

We must also do more to strengthen employer-based coverage options.

Now, first you should re-read Matt’s comment cited above with regard to the Lamorinda meeting but this time focus on the part about health care.

Compare that to the Hayward Demo’s endorsement meeting, where an observer made the following note:

What I found interesting, perhaps telling was that at the meeting Filson was now unequivocally for National Health Care. At the Lamorinda Club event he was for the more ambiguous "affordable health care." That didn't go over too well there.

Then, there’s always the Democratic Club meeting in Morgan Hill, where Filson said this:

We here in the clubs, we strong Democrats, we talk about health care; we're for universal health care. I'll guarantee you, that's not going to switch a centrist voter. We care about that passionately; we have to lead them and pull them.

So maybe that's the definition of a moderate: pretending to be against something that you’re really for (or for something that you're really against?) so that once the voters elect you, you can “lead them and pull them” in some totally different direction? Huh.

You know, I changed my mind – could you turn yourself into a steak?

Of course, there’s always nuclear power.

At the Hayward Demos endorsement meeting, when Filson was directly questioned about his position on nuclear power (remember, this is a group of dedicated progressives), according to one of his supporters, this was Filson’s response:

He did not support adding any new nuclear power plants.

Well, that’s certainly what the club members wanted to hear. Only trouble is, earlier in the month, in his Daily Kos diary, Filson wrote:

Renewables should be expanded exponentially. Coal must be cleaned and gasified. Natural gas production must increase. Hydrogen, fuel cells, fusion, and even "green nuclear" technologies must be pursued.

So is this finally the definition of “moderate”: being all things to all people? Is it simply a matter of paying lip service to progressive positions when addressing progressives, conservative positions when addressing conservatives, and then doing whatever you damn well please once you're elected? Is this the form of “centrism” that the politicians in Washington expect the grassroots to embrace; is complete obfuscation of our principles the only way to beat Richard Pombo in November? Is that what Democrats really stand for?

Oh, I know – that’s it – maybe you could turn yourself into beer! I need a drink.

31 Comments:

Blogger babaloo said...

Here, let me save the Filsonistas some trouble:

Babaloo –
“You are so biased.” “Your constant attacks on Steve Filson are appalling.” “You are nothing more than a mouthpiece for Jerry McNerney.” “Do you even live in the district?” “Here goes the circular firing squad; why must Democrats always tear each other apart?”

And so it goes. Look, all I’ve really done here is let Steve Filson speak for himself. I’m sorry if the picture isn’t pretty. But don’t shoot the messenger.

My question is, can any one of you out there explain to me what Steve Filson’s stance IS on any one of these issues and why I should believe today’s version of that position? And then can you explain to me why his attempts to obfuscate on each of these issues should lead me to support him? And finally, do you really think that Pombo wouldn’t be able to figure out that Filson’s stance on the issues shifts with the wind?

And please try to answer those questions without using the words “moderate,” “centrist,” or “electable.”

10:00 PM, March 05, 2006  
Anonymous jimbo said...

babaloo -- you've outdone yourself.

Great post.

Alternative headline:

"If you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything"

Reminds me of the spineless Dems who fell for Bush's bullshit on the war in Iraq. Three years later, 2,290 of our men and women are dead and we're less safe than we were before.

If Filson was our rep in October 2002 (when Bush shoved the war down the throat of Congress) and he was facing a difficult re-election fight in the 11th District... he would have voted for this war. No doubt about it.

With Bush in office, our country needs strong opposition from the Democratic Party, not spineless Dems like Joe Lieberman and Rahm Emanuel.

I want to support Dems that are more concerned about saving lives than saving face.

11:23 PM, March 05, 2006  
Anonymous jimbo said...

What Murtha said today:

"The only people who want us in Iraq are Iran and al-Qaeda," Murtha said on CBS's "Face the Nation" political talk show. "And I talked to a top-level commander the other day and he said China wants us there also. Why? Because we're depleting our resources ... our troop resources and our fiscal resources....

"We have a situation where our military is in such bad shape, it couldn't deploy to a second front," Murtha said. "And the Iranians know this. North Korea knows it. China knows it. We're depleting our resources in Iraq."

Marine Gen. Peter Pace, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, appeared on NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday and said the war in Iraq was going "very, very well" but Murtha was skeptical.

"Why would I believe him?" he said. "This administration, including the president, has mischaracterized this war for the last two years ... So why would I believe the chairman of the Joint Chiefs when he says things are going well?"

::::::

And yet, according to accounts here of his appearances at Democratic Clubs, Filson is willing to trust the Pentagon and the Joint Chiefs on what to do about Iraq. Even though they've been wrong, wrong, wrong on Iraq.

Unlike Filson, I trust Jack Murtha. And, babaloo, so do a lot of my "moderate" and "centrist" friends.

12:13 AM, March 06, 2006  
Anonymous jbmendel said...

I've been sitting here trying to write a thoughtful comment for the last few minutes, and it's extra tough at this ungodly hour. I'm unhappy with very nearly everything about this post, and the trend on this site, and I feel the need to express that. But the thought of getting into an extended comment argument- with people who won't change my mind and whose minds I won't change- frustrates me to no end.

I read this site for news on the district and the race. I fully support your right to rant and be hateful, I do it all the time. But can we get a new system whereby this kind of post gets clearly marked so I can save my time?

6:16 AM, March 06, 2006  
Blogger VPO said...

All of that may be true, but I still would prefer Filson over the lying, corrupt, environmental rapist Pombo. That shows just how disgusting Pombo is. Ha -- I wonder if he or Brian "bullshit" Kennedy ever reads this blog. Well, if they do, here's for them: yes, there are those of us who think Pombo is about the worse Congressman possible, a far-right, lying, corrupt ideologue, gaming the system for maximum personal profit. Our sincerest hope is that he is caught in his illegal activities and sent to jail.

Why do I feel this way about him? Because he is seeking to gut and destroy all our laws for environmental protection. His short-sighted, ignorant, greedy "philosophy" is causing the destruction of special areas of wonderful natural beauty -- old-growth forests, our coastlines, the Sierras, our National Parks, the Arctic. This moron actually seeks to delay and stop the ban on highly toxic pesticides, like Methyl Bromide. He supports commercial whaling. I mean, it does not get much worse than this. What a friggin neantherdahl this guy is!

Beyond that, he is a stooge of Bush and DeLay, following them blindly, in their bizarre and pathetic policies. Even if he was not an anti-environmental psycho, I would want to see him out for being such a poodle for Bush, DeLay, and the rest of the far right Republicans.

So screw him, let's see him out of office and preferably locked up.

Now, where were we with Filson? Oh yeah, he can't decide whether we should or should not be in Iraq. Well, I guess, he is trying to be the most electable he can. True, he could stand on principle, like Murtha, and declare that this war was a crime against both the US and Iraq, that Bush is lying bastard to get us into it, and that most of the press and pundits are too busy kissing ass and trying to look pretty to print the truth about this horrible disaster.

So don't entirely blame Filson -- first of all, most of the people still watch their "kool aid" channel, Fox News, with its blatant pro-Bush spin. Also, Filson did not get us into this mess. I would not want to be in his shoes:

If he opposes the war, a la Murtha, that would be a principled stance that would energize the progressives, and actually anyone with a brain who thinks for themselves. However, most people are not like that, they have "drunk the kool aid" and still believe the war was worth it, or that we have to stay the course, of that Saddam had something to do with 9-11, or some propaganda bullshit like that put out by the main stream media.

So what is Filson to do? He is dealing with an incredible mass of ignorance. I think maybe Iraq has to descend even more into utter chaos for the people to wake up, at least a little bit.

And then, of course, Rove and the puppetmasters will pull an "Iran is a threat and must be attacked" switch on us for the 2006 elections. "We are at war with Eastasia, we have always been at war with Eastasia." (from 1984)

I don't know, maybe lay off Filson and let's slam Pombo. Who knows -- maybe meanwhile Filson will grow "some" after the primary (assuming he wins) and take a stance for once. If not, and he stays all vague and mealy mouthed until November, he still would be much, much better than Pombo. That's how pathetic politics are these days.

8:48 AM, March 06, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

However, most people are not like that, they have "drunk the kool aid" and still believe the war was worth it, or that we have to stay the course,

VPO, have you been reading Bush's recent polling numbers, both on favorability AND the war in Iraq?

Those polls show most people do NOT believe the war was worth it. And Democrats who remain blind to that fact are looking a gift horse in the mouth.

9:37 AM, March 06, 2006  
Anonymous nicholas said...

VPO,

How do you know for sure that Filson will be better then Pombo? We must demand more from those whom might hold the keys to our own prosperity.

This whole John Kerry strategy of electabilty didnt work in 04...We need to be smarter then this folks.

10:11 AM, March 06, 2006  
Blogger babaloo said...

VPO --
Bzzzt! You used the word "electable."

You say, "Well, I guess, he is trying to be the most electable he can. True, he could stand on principle..."

Um, that was kind of my point. If you think that what voters (of any ilk) really want is a self-serving shape-shifter representing their voice in government, then we are never going to agree. Because I believe to my core that what citizens and voters hunger for is someone who isn't going to BS them. Look at John McCain. I'm not saying here that Filson needs to be against the war or for national health care. I can cope with someone who holds opinions that differ from mine. What I find intolerable is someone who doesn't have the guts to stand up for his beliefs.

10:58 AM, March 06, 2006  
Anonymous CF said...

Babaloo:
I think a ‘moderate’ or ‘centrist” candidate is one that takes into account the opinion of the constituents of his or her district. He/she would rely on the reality of dealing with certain sticky issues (like Iraq), and not knee-jerk ideology. He/she will still hold certain values (fiscal responsibility, care for education and the environment, support for labor, etc.) but be able to work for ALL members of the district, no matter what side of the coin they lie on.

I want to reply to your claims of Filson ‘shape shifting’ point by point.

On War in Iraq:

The quotes you use for Filson say the following:
1) Withdrawing too quickly from Iraq will likely decrease our nat'l security by creating a more destabilized environment.
2) Filson supports plans that stabilize Iraq as quickly as possible and allow our troops (read:via withdrawal home or to other arenas) to concentrate on our original mission — fighting the War on Terror. [Directly from the website]
3)"Waving the anti-war flag" (read:calling for immediate/abrupt withdrawal of all troops) may be the desire of some progressive Democrats, but not necessarily the majority of Democrats, left leaning GOPers or independent members of the district. For example, a Gallup poll in January only had 26% of people favoring withdrawal within six months.

If you read Filson's site, you can see that he agrees that the administration bungled this whole war from day one. In a perfect world, we could head home and the cloud of turmoil in Iraq would clear up, leaving the population concerned about education, voting rights, and public works. His standpoint seems to be that any abrupt withdrawal would create too much of a security risk, and a withdrawal with a timetable and criteria for the Iraqi people is necessary and safe for the American people.

He has never wavered from this stance, no matter who he has talked to. And no, people like “jimbo” don’t agree with it. But there are plenty of people who do.

On health care:
Filson has made it clear that too many people in CD-11 go without adequate health coverage. His website states that he wants to maximize the potential of national and state programs like CHIP, Medicare, etc. that are already available. If a viable, fiscally manageable national health care system came on the table, permitting insurance for all, that sounds good to me. Is it feasible? Who knows.

I don’t know the context of the second-hand quotes from the two meetings. Matt, can you clarify what Filson said at Lamorinda to suggest he was against universal health care at that point? Did Filson say "I am against considering UHC?" Or did he say "UHC is worth investigating, but I am not sure it is feasible?" At the Hayward Demos meeting, did he say "UHC is ideal, and I will implement this at all costs." or something like "UHC seems like a good thing, and I will explore it as a possibility as your congressman." I know that this is splitting hairs, but context is very important in these second hand quotes from people who have their own respective agendas. I think national health care is an incredibly complex issue - too complex for one to say "yes" or "no" to it.

Beyond this, Filson discusses implementing incentives for preventive health care and increasing funds for medical research. During the Bush administration, the NIH and NCI funding has been slashed over and over again. In fact, people I know are increasingly affected by a shrinking pool of available research funds. Calls to increase this are refreshing and exciting.

On nuclear power:
I don't know where you are seeing the conflict. Filson says that he does not want new nuclear power plants. He does say he wants to promote research in potentially groundbreaking means of clean(er) energy (although “fusion” is probably a lost cause in my mind). Does research in new nuclear technology make the development of new plants a given? Absolutely not. Could new technology possibly be implemented in currently standing plants, decreasing their burden on the environment? Perhaps. If you have a direct quote where Filson is calling for new construction on nuclear power plants, please enlighten me. Otherwise, I don’t see any “schmooification” of this issue.

Babaloo, we know that you think Pombo is bad. We know you think that Filson is bad. Let us shift the discussion to what McNerney stated about these issues, and look for evidence that a majority of people in the district will rally behind his viewpoint on these issues and feel well served by him (I know Nicholas will be chiming in here). Please don’t use the words “progressive,” “grassroots,” or “DCCC.” :P

12:00 PM, March 06, 2006  
Blogger babaloo said...

CF –
A substantive comment from a Filson supporter – I’m swooning. And it only took five months of begging.

I do question your defense of your father’s position on the war, though. And yes, I read his website (quite extensively). I think that the only way to reconcile his position from the website with a call for withdrawal is to suspend all disbelief. I quoted this section in my post and even bold-faced it. Let me reiterate. Filson’s criteria for being able to leave Iraq are the establishment of “a functional, inclusive, non-sectarian Iraqi government with an Iraqi military force able to quell domestic threats.”

The events of the last year have made it abundantly clear that those criteria will not be met at any point in the foreseeable future. So to try to somehow piggy-back that criteria onto a call for withdrawal, even through the use of a timetable, seems disingenuous to me. I don’t believe that most people, when they use or hear that phrase, are speaking of a ten or twenty-year timetable, which is easily what it would take to create the tableau in Iraq that your father is calling for. So yes, I see him taking two distinct and opposite positions in front of different audiences, and that seems self-serving.

As to health care, I am simply relaying the facts of the Hayward Demos meeting as they were reported. People who were there can feel free to step in and debate the exact words that were spoken. But clearly, the impression that was given was one of complete support for national health care. If that impression was false, then it’s fair to question whether the ambiguity was intentional, given that it garnered support for Filson at this endorsement meeting.

And as to the nuclear power issue, I simply don’t understand how one can look to “green nuclear” technology in an essay about developing our nation’s energy sources and deny support for new nuclear power plants. And if the answer is that you’re parsing words over “new” buildings versus expansion of existing nuclear power plants, I think we come back to the same point: that there is quite purposeful and self-serving obfuscation going on here.

As to your final question on McNerney’s positions, that’s just a straw man. The two candidates can go head to head on their positions and they and their supporters can agree or disagree. But if McNerney has waffled on his positions to pander to any group, I’m not aware of it. If you have instances that you’d like to cite, I’m only too happy to go after McNerney on the same subject. I do know that a lot of McNerney supporters cite his integrity as one of the reasons for their devotion to him. Maybe that’s something to keep in mind.

1:19 PM, March 06, 2006  
Blogger VPO said...

Babaloo, the reality is this:

1. Filson has a good chance of becoming the Dem nominee.

2. He may not have taken the principled stances you like.

3. He is still preferable to Pombo.

I want to encourage you to direct this kind of analysis and intellect that you have spent on Filson to Pombo and what he is up to. Filson will do whatever he does. But we want to defeat Pombo. And there is a real treasure trove of articles, web sites, FEC filings, press releases, etc., etc., to spend your time investigating. I would suggest that as a focus. There is LOTS of very interesting material there and I think we will see more and more of this exposed. You can really help with this. Please, Filson is no shining star, we all know that, but he is on our side vs Pombo.

Please, use your time and energy to focus on ousting "Lord Darth" Pombo.

1:23 PM, March 06, 2006  
Blogger DownWithTyranny said...

I'm as certain that Filson would be a better congressman than Pombo as I am that a C or a D is better than an F. But we're talking about a primary contest right now and I think we should try to discern what kind of a mentality comes up with a preposterous and utterly out-dated notion like this:

"We here in the clubs, we strong Democrats, we talk about health care; we're for universal health care. I'll guarantee you, that's not going to switch a centrist voter. We care about that passionately; we have to lead them and pull them."

Where does this guarantee come from except from deep in the soul of a "former" Republican. "We strong Democrats" do not accept this rubbish. Today NPR interviewed the head of Gallup's polling unit about the dismal erosion of Bush's support across the country (including in red districts like the 11th). When asked what concerned disenchanted voters the most about the economy and domestic issues, there was no hesitation-- the runaway cost of HEALTH CARE, the #1 domestic issue in the nation. It's an issue McNerney has an instictual feel for and an issue that Filson sees through Republican eyes. But I'm sure he'd make a better congressman than Pombo. I have no reason to think he's corrupt.

1:35 PM, March 06, 2006  
Anonymous Erik said...

It sounds like Filson is a politician rather than a leader. Meaning he caters to his audience rather than saying what he believes. People will elect a leader they don't don't totally agree with (W is a good example). However they won't elect a politician that doesn't always agree with them.

2:42 PM, March 06, 2006  
Blogger VPO said...

Pombo is the real thing, a corrupt Washington insider, and when you start investigating him, it gets scary. All these interlocking people ("oh what tangled webs we weave when we practice to deceive"), with connections to big corps, the Bush Admin, Central Valley politics, the Portuguess "mafia", etc. -- that is what you want to investigate, if you dare.

This slamming on Filson is just plain ridiculous and counterproductive, and I have to say, cowardly. If you really want to step up to the big leagues and be a grown up Blog with a capital "B", start poking in Pombo's trash. Do the hard work, not these easy slams on Filson.

I know you are expressing your outrage or disappointment over being stuck by the DCCC with such a loser candidate, most of us feel that, but you have to get over it, and start going after Pombo. He has the stench of corruption trailing him for miles around. Dig into that, make connections, find sources -- do the hard work of exposing Pombo's fraud and corruption, rather than these potshots at such an easy target as Filson.

You will find it much more rewarding to battle the mighty dragon, than to critique the inept knight riding in to fight it.

3:17 PM, March 06, 2006  
Blogger Matt said...

VPO,

I think it's counterproductive to tell people that they shouldn't care about something they do care about. And I think it's especially counterproductive for someone who does not identify as a Democrat, like you, to presume to tell people who clearly are invested in the Democratic Party that they shouldn't care about the intra-party dynamics.

I asked you to be a co-blogger here because I know you do a lot of good work. I hope you continue to post here about the bad stuff Pombo has been up to.

But Steve Filson can only get the chance to go against Pombo by depriving Jerry McNerney of that chance. And vice versa. So it makes a whole lot of sense that we'd want to see who the best candidate is.

If you're uninterested in such discussions, then by all means start a new entry about something you care more about. But there is no way that you're going to get some of us to stop focusing on the upcoming primary. And calling us cowardly for doing so is only going to engender conflict.

3:28 PM, March 06, 2006  
Blogger VPO said...

The problem, Matt, is what you do on June 7, if say, Filson happens to win the nomination. Do these attacks on Filson continue? Is there a constant critique of his campaign and what it is doing wrong? Is there an analysis of what he said versus what he said a month ago?

Probably will be, but that is just shooting yourself in the foot and giving Pombo the victory. My point is that we all know we got screwed by the DCCC and Tauscher. That is a given fact, why beat the dead horse? It is not going to change it. They sponsored this inept, no name candidate and basically dissed the grassroots on it, including McNerney. But what are you going to do about it? Be pissed off maybe, yes, but tearing down Filson like this only furthers Pombo's campaign.

Instead, the attacks should be on the lame-brained leadership that came up with the idea that Filson could beat Pombo. Filson is just a patsy in all this, someone foolish or egotistical enough to think that he could somehow win this just because Ellen Tauscher told him to try. It is like this, "Hey Steve, does the name 'Elaine Shaw' ring a bell?"

I guess it does not for him. Meanwhile, our work should be to get over this and get on with building the progressive Dem movement so we are strong enough to prevail. If you make enough noise or have enough power, even the DCCC, at some point, has to listen to the people.

It is important to grin and bear Filson while also working with the local Dem operatives to build support for a more progressive candidate. I know it is hard to do, but attacking Filson is not going to win you any friends, and will ultimately hurt support for the progressives, who will be seen as hard to work with, demanding, and hypercritical. That is what I mean by counter-productive.

3:55 PM, March 06, 2006  
Blogger babaloo said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

4:28 PM, March 06, 2006  
Blogger babaloo said...

Sorry, I screwed up the html in the above post.

VPO --
You say, "If you make enough noise or have enough power, even the DCCC, at some point, has to listen to the people," and then turn around and tell me I should pipe down and refrain from questioning the DCCC-imposed candidate. Well, I can't do both, and I know which one I will choose.

Meanwhile, your site Vote Pombo Out and the excellent are doing an admirable job of documenting the evil deeds of Richard Pombo. But you do Democrats a disservice by pretending to know that the result of the primary election is a foregone conclusion.

I honestly don't know which candidate is going to win the primary. And frankly, that is a decision for Democrats to make. If it is Filson, let's hope that he takes some of our comments to heart and cleans up his act. And if it's not Filson, maybe the local community will have fired that shot across the bow of the DCCC.

4:33 PM, March 06, 2006  
Blogger babaloo said...

I give up. The whole damn comment is one giant link to POMBO WATCH. Happy reading.

4:35 PM, March 06, 2006  
Anonymous jbmendel said...

I've been reading the posts throughout the day, and I've got to hand it to VPO for generally keeping a cool head in the face of disagreement. I like Filson a lot more than many folks out there, and I find a lot of the criticism thrown at him contradictory or specious. That's just me; I don't feel the need to defend my position or to convince you to adopt it.

That said, I generally don't have a problem with the posts that give him a hard time, because even when people criticize/attack, everyone here can take a step back and remember that we're on the same side. I've been thinking about why this post in particular bothers me, and I think it's because- in my perception at least - it was posted in a conscious or unconscious attempt to provoke an argument. Babaloo knows this sort of thing isn't going to change anyone's mind, and starting the comment page by referring to some of us as "Filsonistas" certainly isn't helpful. What bothers me is that I can't come up with a friendly sounding answer to the question "What was the point?"

Let's get rid of some of the bitterness here. I've proudly declared that I like all three of our guys, and while Filson is my favorite, I intend to spend the summer working for whoever our nominee is. Are there any gentlemen or ladies on the other side of this divide ready to make a similar statement?

4:38 PM, March 06, 2006  
Anonymous nicholas said...

Honestly? I cant answer that...today.

The ball is in Filson's court and Filson alone.

5:13 PM, March 06, 2006  
Blogger DownWithTyranny said...

VPO, I was surprised by one of your comments today: "The problem, Matt, is what you do on June 7, if say, Filson happens to win the nomination. Do these attacks on Filson continue? Is there a constant critique of his campaign and what it is doing wrong? Is there an analysis of what he said versus what he said a month ago?
Probably will be..."

I don't know Matt well, but the little I do know of him, makes me say PROBABLY WON'T BE. Matt wants to defeat Richard Pombo and I gather from talking to him that he feels McNerney offers a better chance of doing that at this point than any other candidate. But you may not have meant that statement only for Matt, but for all the McNerney fans who post here. I can't speak for anyone but myself but, dude, there's a big difference between a primary and then going to war against a fascist monster. I, for one, may not think Filson is the best candidate but he's not a fascist monster. Pombo is. We ALL want to defeat Pombo. And we'll all want to defeat Pombo after the primary.

6:25 PM, March 06, 2006  
Blogger VPO said...

Just got news that former presidential candidate Gen. Wesley Clark will be endorsing Filson tomorrow. From Nick Juliano's blog at Tracy Press.

7:07 PM, March 06, 2006  
Blogger VPO said...

Oops, wrong link to blog. Here is the right link.

7:09 PM, March 06, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr. 2% of a buck again, and I can't resist getting into such a welcome, needed, and cathartic debate for this seat:

1) I wholeheartedly agree with Babaloo in raising these concerns -- "Joe and Jane voter in San Joaquin County" will vote for folks who they don't completely agree with, but whom they perceive (key word -- perceive -- perception is reality) to have principled and thoughtful (another key word -- thoughtful -- takes time and courage to do that) stands on issues that are not cemented in cheesecake, but concrete, and Pombo and Kennedy et. al. will shred Filson as a flip-flopper on these issues if he keeps this up (thank God his comments weren't captured on video -- I can just see the attack ad running alongside the "Annette speaks to Soccer Moms" ad showing how "Steverino" 'flips---flops---flips---flops' on everything but his name) -- and I note for the record that the impossible has happened -- I agree with Matt! 'VPO' and 'jbmendel' -- face it, as Reagan said -- "facts are stubborn things, they refuse to go away". The fact that YOUR candidate is this vulnerable on the issue of "steadfastness on issues" is a BIG DEAL for both the primary and the general election -- Joe and Jane will not elect a PUPPET / PARTY MOUTH ORGAN, nor should we expect them to -- conviction and the willingness to take risks for personal stands on issues COUNTS -- this is not an election for school board or dog catcher, it's for CONGRESS.

2) This needs to be aired as part of the process of an active and vigorous primary for the soul of what the 11th CD's Democrats will support as their standard bearer, and NOT what is jammed down their throats by Tauscher, the DCCC or anyone else -- if they (the jammers) lose face by a loss in said primary, so be it on their face and with a lesson to them that only that pain can reinforce -- don't f**k with our district with some imposed "candidate of the day" ala Filson (2006) or Shaw (2002) -- let nature and the local party clubs et. al. take its course in producing the candidates who might rise up to take on the Dickmeister -- you never know who might be out there, willing, and viable if there is NO interference from the DCCC

3) Filson's supposed endorsement by Clark ranks up there with McNerney being endorsed by Kucinich -- whoopee! That would really make the fur fly among the Joes and Janes of Tracy et. al. as neither Clark or Kucinich was able to make the needle move AT ALL during the spring of 2004 -- now, if Edwards, Kerry or Clinton came out in support of either candidate, that would be something, but having Mr. "I've got to get in good graces with the party I (now) belong to and as such I need to do the bidding of their sactioned HQ for upcoming House races" Clark give his blessing to Filson is underwhelming to say the least. Getting McCloskey to endorse Filson would be a coup -- but will not happen; he would sooner endorse McNerney than Filson.

$.02 out.

9:06 PM, March 06, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr. 2% of a buck again, with a (gasp!) postscript:

With friends like this responsible for setting the strategy to victory for Democrats in 2006 for taking back the House and Senate, who needs enemies?

Note that the clock is ticking -- November is a scant 8 months away.

$.02 out.

9:46 PM, March 06, 2006  
Blogger DownWithTyranny said...

Mr $.02, don't underestimate Wesley Clark. Although I'm not one of them, many people take him very seriously, perhaps not as a candidate for president, but certainly as a credible, even expert, thinker on foreign and security policy. I think he'd endorse anyone who was ever in the military because, in essense all he is is MILITARY. His mind works as though the whole wide world was part of the military and any question you ask him, he relates to as though it is a question concerning the military. It doesn't surprise me at all that he'd endorse Filson-- and I believe it really could help Filson with some clueless voters who attach a certain credibility to Clark's name-- beyond his true expertise (which, of course, is the military, for which he has a proud and distinguished record of service).

9:48 PM, March 06, 2006  
Blogger VPO said...

Just to clarify, I am not "for" Filson. He is not "my" candidate. I am sorry if anyone got that impression, but I thought my posts would clearly show that I am not a "Filsonista" by a long shot.

In the same vein, I am not for McNerney either. I am staying neutral on this at the moment and instead focusing on the battle against Pombo.

11:30 PM, March 06, 2006  
Anonymous jimbo said...

It's true. There are a lot of Clark supporters out there, especially on the internet. I'm one of them.

But Clark endorsing Filson could backfire. Military vet endorses military vet? Big whoop. It means about as much as Al Gore endorsing Howard fricken Dean before Iowa. And we know how that worked out.

I'm guessing Clark knows that he will piss off a lot of Clarkies who support McNerney if he sets foot in the district. I doubt he's going to risk that, given his presidential ambitions and the importance of keeping his supporters unified for 2008.

I'm betting that Clark's consultants are telling him to make a token endorsement now and then stay the hell out of this catfight. I can forgive him for endorsing Filson because some party hacks told him to support a vet -- but actively supporting Filson would be a bad move. If Gen. Clark is stupid enough to do that, given Filson's fudging on the Iraq War and the risk of pissing off McNerney Clarkies, then I guess I've got to look for another candidate in '08. With our troops in the crossfire, this is no time to be kissing the beltway's butt -- they're the morons (Republicans AND Democrats) who got us into this mess (despite Gen. Clark's warnings otherwise).

11:57 PM, March 06, 2006  
Anonymous CF said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

4:24 AM, March 07, 2006  
Blogger Matt said...

This is just a note that the previous comment was deleted at the request of its author who realized that there were some inaccuracies in it.

-The Management

8:55 AM, March 07, 2006  

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