Thursday, March 02, 2006

Meta: To My Critics

You might have noticed that I have been on hiatus for the past couple of days.  Some of that was due to problems with my internet connection.  But I have also been thinking how to respond to some of the criticism I have received over the last couple of days.  To be honest, I feel completely unrepentant about how this blog has developed.  But one thing I have realized is that there might be some misunderstanding about what I’m trying to do with this blog, so let me be very explicit about the purpose of this site and how I view my role as a blogger covering this race.

First, let’s talk about the name.  Some people have criticized me for not focusing enough on the “no to Pombo” aspect of this race.  I am somewhat sympathetic to this insofar as I do wish there was more commentary and analysis on Pombo’s machinations.  But the truth is that most people who come to this site are already anti-Pombo.  I could provide a more robust analysis of why it’s good to be anti-Pombo, but I think the overwhelming majority of my intended audience already gets it.  Furthermore, Wes at Pombo Watch and Scott at VPO both do a great job of keeping tabs on Pombo’s antics. So heaping on the criticism of Pombo is neither my primary purpose nor is it a niche that I especially need to fill.

Instead, I started Say No to Pombo primarily because I saw all sorts of anti-Pombo animus on the internet that was somehow cut off from electoral politics.  When I began Say No to Pombo, I saw a lot of posts specifically about how Pombo was attempting to gut the Endangered Species Act.  A lot of people understood how important it is to stop Pombo from passing his legislation.  But the overwhelming practical upshot of this animus was that activists from across the country were writing to their own legislators urging them to oppose Pombo’s legislation.  That’s fine up to a point.  But I think there is no way we’re going to be safe from Pombo’s attacks on the environment, his attempts to privatize public land, etc. unless we kick Pombo out of office.  And so I really think it’s important that there is a place online that connects the dots between “Pombo is bad” and “there’s an alternative to Pombo.”  

Say No to Pombo was born out of a desire to connect those dots.  To see how I conceptualize this, look at the first two sentences I ever wrote on this site:

This blog will be dedicated to the campaigns to oust Pombo from office in 2006. It seems logical, therefore, to begin with a diagnosis of the Democrats who have declared their candidacy for CA-11 in 2006.

Say No to Pombo was always in my mind a tool to focus attention on the efforts to kick Pombo out of office.  I started with the belief that focusing on the campaigns would help people who were not already involved identify ways that they could get involved.  This is something that I have been relatively successful at and I am very happy with my part in this.    

That said, I never did approach the race from an “anyone but Pombo” perspective.  I am a partisan Democrat, a progressive, and a grassroots activist.  All of that informs my perspective and provides me with a point of view that is distinct from the other anti-Pombo bloggers.  Consequently, from my perspective there are better and worse candidates in this race. And my concerns are more thorough-going than the four corners of this race. But, I have never tried to hide my biases.  In fact, re-reading the first post I ever wrote, I am surprised by how consistent my perspective on this race has been.  

Of course, I brought in other bloggers who did not share my perspective in order to provide a more useful and interesting site.  I hope that the site itself will be useful even for those who do not agree with me.  But there is only so much I can do to maintain the balance of perspective on this site when most of the people I have sought to recruit to blog on this site have demurred.  Also, going in, I did not anticipate writing so much more than my other co-bloggers.  And I certainly did not anticipate the level of vitriol that sometimes appears on this site.    

But those who chide me for being “biased” miss the entire purpose of this blog.  I can only give my honest opinion and analysis about the state of the race.  Each and every reader is free to take it or leave it. And I certainly respect and consider substantive critiques of what I am saying.  But the idea that I must mask my serious, persistent, and (up to this point) un-allayed concerns about Steve Filson is ridiculous.  I have invited any number of Filson supporters to blog on this site, and none have taken me up on my offer.  And I will certainly provide the space for pieces supportive of Steve Filson if and when they are proffered.  But beyond that, I do not think I have any obligation higher than providing a free and frank assessment of the state of the race.  

Maybe I am blind to the obvious or otherwise lack the appropriate judgment to handicap this race.  I concede the possibility.  But I see what I see and think what I think and when people push me on my positions I am satisfied with my ability to defend my positions in a coherent and thorough manner.              

More to the point, unlike a lot of bloggers, I am not someone who simply sits behind my computer and snipes.  I go out to meetings, make phone calls, and otherwise interact with the people who are working to fight Pombo.  And the fact of the matter is that when I speak to grassroots activists in the district, they largely confirm what I have been saying about the state of the race.  I know that what I am saying is not the conventional wisdom you see in the papers or the conventional wisdom out of DC.  But my thoughts and beliefs are shared by a large number of people who are in a position to know what’s what.            

Let me just finish by saying that I do not intend this piece to be a set of apologetics.  I do not feel contrite about my behavior, and so the drive-by anonymous attacks are not going to get me to change my tune. I believe in what I am doing and I certainly believe in my right to be doing it.  Going into this project, I knew that I would have my critics, and I understood that it would be a liability of blogging under my own name.  But I am reconciled with that.  And I will not be intimidated by the misplaced moralistic pique of those who cower behind aliases and anonymity to attack me as a messenger of a message they have no ability to engage.  Let us be clear about that.  


17 Comments:

Anonymous Fiat Lux said...

Matt -- an absolutely brilliant post. You nailed it so hard, the whole wall came down.

My understanding of your role online and offline has been one of integrity and thoughtfulness. And honesty, despite chips falling on those who may not like it.

You've criticized both viable candidates (McNerney and Filson) but obviously Filson has received the brunt. Not a surprise, of course. From Day 1, a summary of your posts reveals that you've made it clear that your allegiance is to the grassroots/netroots FIRST. And foremost.

Filson's campaign is astroturf -- from Day 1, they have done nothing to demonstrate otherwise.

EXHIBIT A:

But the idea that I must mask my serious, persistent, and (up to this point) un-allayed concerns about Steve Filson is ridiculous. I have invited any number of Filson supporters to blog on this site, and none have taken me up on my offer. And I will certainly provide the space for pieces supportive of Steve Filson if and when they are proffered. But beyond that, I do not think I have any obligation higher than providing a free and frank assessment of the state of the race.

FILSON SUPPORTERS: Re-read what Matt said above. You have an open invitation to blog on the main page of this site and COUNTER said perceived "bias". And not just any site, mind you, but the most popular anti-Pombo blog around. And one that will grow in prominence in the coming months.

And what is your response?

Pfffft.

Actions speak much louder than words, despite all the bandwidth the three of you have wasted in the comments speciously claiming that Filson has support beyond the beltway fat cats.

Of course, there are a few obvious explanations for this apparent failure:

1) Folks loyal to Filson are few and far between.

2) Folks loyal to Filson think blogs are for the riff-raff (AKA the grassroots).

3) Both #1 and #2 (bingo!).

Astroturf = kind of self-fulfilling, isn't it?

EXHIBIT B:

Steve Filson's "blog".

Let's see. Two posts. One on February 2. One on March 1. (To be fair, McNerney's last blog entry was Feb. 3 while the McNerney campaign posted something on Feb. 13). Apparently, Filson has gazillions of dollars (apparently), but he can't get his (apparently) well-paid staff to post more than once a month?

But that's not the point. Here it is...

It's NOT really a legitimate blog -- it's a page to recycle the latest pre-fab talking points. What would make it a legitimate blog? The option to comment. Yeah, I know conservative blogs like Powerline don't allow users to comment. But we're not conservatives. Are we? Are... we?

Now, if Filson wants to moderate the comments and keep the site from being trolled, I guess that's fine (that's what McNerney does, apparently). But at least give folks the option to comment... At least give your supporters an opportunity to say something in dialogue with the campaign.

Both Exhibit A and Exhibit B reveal a fundamental reality of the Filson campaign:

Top-down. No substantive dialogue with regular people. Arrogant and aloof.

Kind of like the candidate.

2:34 AM, March 03, 2006  
Anonymous Erik said...

Great post! I for one like the quality of content in this blog. This one of the very few blogs I visit more than once a week. And its one of two blogs I've blogrolled that doesn't link to mine.

Furthermore I like having access to local coverage of the race. For those of us who have an interest in seeing Pombo gone but don't live near the district your blog is a great resource.

6:49 AM, March 03, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

wow fiat lux, really insightful "obvious explanations." I'm really struck by the venom you hold for other Democrats. I support Filson, but I don't want to blog here because I: 1. Don't have the time. 2. Am a student who is abroad right now.

As for the "grassroots/netroots," lets not be naive. The committed, dedicated core of the Democratic party is not primarily populated by blognerds who sit around taking potshots at other Democrats. I now, regretably, find it necessary to classify myself as one of these poor souls; I do not, however, confuse my interest and net-presence with any sort of influence that'll make a difference come june or november.

Filson doesnt have blog comments--now he's arrogant and lacks substance? It's so unfortunate that some Democrats have slapped on these blogworld blinders--honestly, the "netroots" only matters to a (pretty limited) point. Step out of your closet and make a difference.

Matt: good post. your writing has always been thoughtful. I often disagree with your take on the issues and especially your "Democratic establishment" conspiracy style posts, but could never question your motivation. I am guilty of some vitriolic posting--I'm gonna lay off it for lent ;) We all want our horse to win. let's do it positively

--BEARBACKER

3:14 PM, March 03, 2006  
Anonymous Fiat Lux said...

Bearbacker -

Ultimately, we're on the same team vs. Pombo. I know that. You know that.

It's understandable that you may not understand that this blog is not just a haven for "blognerds" -- it's a place that folks across the district (and across the country) are turning to for an honest, no-bullshit take on the campaign.

Sure, a select few courageous souls decide to comment. But those comments are proliferating with each post -- a proxy for readership. And there are hundreds of "lurkers" (who don't comment) reading the main page and the comments. Check the daily and monthly unique visitors on SNTP. This site's traffic is growing exponentially. And it's only early March.

The folks who are tuning in to SNTP are active and dedicated. And they are opinion leaders in their particular circles. That's why they read this blog -- it's an opinion leader on the campaign.

Listen, if Filson wins the primary, he's going to need all the help he can get against Pombo. And being tone-deaf to folks who care deeply about this campaign (and read this blog) is EXHIBIT C in why you (and they) don't "get it". Instead of dismissing these folks, it would be a hell of a lot more productive if you engaged them.

Finally, my criticism is intended to shed light on why Filson doesn't have support in the grassroots (again, failing to open lines of communication with regular folks; blogs being one excellent method). Who knows? Maybe Filson's camp will eventually "get it" and make some changes (like taking up Matt's gracious main-page blog offer to expound on Filson's merits).

For the sake of a full, fair, and open dialogue... one can only hope.

4:06 PM, March 03, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr. 2% of a buck again, to further Fiat Lux's wish of a "full fair, and open dialogue", especially of what is being captured (and, I'm sure, read with much interest) by the folks "behind the curtain" of this (by no less than Matt, himself) admittedly biased blog:

Some of you may not realize the extent of information available to "them" about "you" when you come to visit, and think that you are able to merely read (and not even wanting to post, like I am) in relative quiet, and privacy -- think again.

That level of detailed information is captured on every single one of you who dares to take a peek at yonder pages, so caveat emptor, folks.

$.02 out.

8:49 PM, March 03, 2006  
Anonymous Fiat Lux said...

So some hack on Pombo's staff (or perhaps Tauscher's?) knows our IP address?

And WE know that THEY are watching (at their U.S. House of Reps IP address).

Whoop-dee-doo.

You've only underscored my point -- which is that this blog is exponentially growing in both traffic (my previous comment) and prominence (your ominous comment).

Full, fair, and open dialogue. That's democracy. Anyone who wants to stifle it has more in common with King George W. than us...

11:55 PM, March 03, 2006  
Anonymous Fiat Lux said...

An interesting aside that has some relevance to this discussion...

CT-Sen: Lieberman consultant freaks out over blogger

The blue dog consultant? Dan Gerstein, who (quoting his bio)...

made his mark on Capitol Hill in several ways. He collaborated with Lieberman on his renowned floor statement chastising President Clinton over the Monica Lewinsky matter.

"Lieberman Democrats". Think about it. No elected Democrat has done more to undermine our party and the country (hello Iraq) than Joementum.

The fewer "Lieberman Democrats" there are in Washington, the better off we'll all be...

12:20 AM, March 04, 2006  
Anonymous Fiat Lux said...

It's a small world.

One of the frequent commenters to Say No To Pombo -- DownWithTyranny -- is actually the blogger who got under Lieberman's skin.

An excerpt from DWT's HuffPo piece:

But the fact that those affiliated with a United States Senator (sorry-- formerly affiliated) became enraged and demanded a retraction about what one lone blogger like myself had to say about them speaks volumes-- Lieberman must indeed be terrified of Ned Lamont.

Lieberman is still a rabid supporter of an unpopular and disastrous war; his vote helped put a man on the Supreme Court who is now writing love notes to James Dobson, and the man he's running against -- Ned Lamont -- is someone people really believe in, someone I believe in, someone that people are working their butts off for.


Sound familiar to CA-11? Yep.

12:38 AM, March 04, 2006  
Anonymous CF said...

Fiat lux -

Filson may not have the given readers of his website and blog the ability to comment there, but he does have multiple diaries on Daily Kos that meet that request (Matt and others have commented there).

In response to your claim that people who support Filson are few and far between, it does not seem to be the case. Sure, Mr. McNerney has loyal supporters. He has had the advantage of a preestablished group from the last campaign. Filson is working hard to make up the difference - through phone calls, public meetings, and attempts to get younger voters involved and community colleges in the district. Previous posts/comments that paint Filson as an "arrogant" candidate that is just sitting around waiting for the votes to come in are simply wrong. He understands the importance of drumming up support from people in (and surrounding) the district. In fact, my personal discussions with him about various public speaking events seem to show more excitement about connecting with individuals than any overall endorsements (although those are nice too).

If you look at the reader polls, at first glance it appears dominated by McNerney supporters. A deeper look reveals that most of the people rating McNerney high either work for his campaign, work closely with this blog, have a blog of their own, and/or live outside of this state. In fact, if you pare down the ratings to people who live in the district, it looks pretty even (i think 8 McNerney supporters, and 6 Filson supporters). And these people aren't the reviled "anonymous" commenters either - 5 of the 6 pro-Filson people either put their name, pseudonym, or initials in the post. It also seems that there are a couple of previous McNerney supporters who switched to support Filson. There is a dominant pro-McNerney tone here in the "progressive blogosphere," but I bet if you went door to door in CA-11, it would be a much different picture.

Finally, I want to discuss your comments re:Downwithtyranny and Lieberman. My only issue with this situation parallels my thoughts about blogs - great arenas for discussion and information exchange, but with a hint of hyperbole and misunderstanding.

Howie from DWT is making huge assumptions in his blog - the biggest being that "Liebermann is terrified of Ned Lamont." I don't understand how getting an email from a FORMER staffer (who probably is a friend of Lieberman) countering comments painting JL as racist and homophobic makes Lieberman "terrified" of NL. It is these hyperbolic irrational thoughts that get affixed to the blogosphere which can make a good thing dangerous (much like previous irrational posts here about Filson's family life, McNerney's campaign manager pulling strings with CCC-CLC, etc.).

Matt -

As a Filson supporter, I do like this blog and think you are entitled to hold and write about your opinions of this race and its candidates. This is not for "riff raff." I am not as riled up about the tone of this site as much as other commenters - but I would like to see more posts about what good things the candidates will do for the district.

I look forward to the upcoming few months as an opportunity to get more content preaching the POSITIVE aspects of all candidates (except Pombo of course :) ).

CF

Disclosure: I'm Steve Filson's son, and I have yet to tell him that I posted this, so please don't think that this reply means he is "terrified" of McNerney and Thomas. And Ellen Tauscher didn't make me do this either. :)

9:00 AM, March 04, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great post and rationale. I hope we can all pull together after the primary and support whomever the Democratic voters in the district choose. And it is they who will select the nominee: not me in Tauschers district or elsewhere.

I understand people being upset with Tauscher (I am too especially on the war), but remember how she got there: by taking out Bill Baker (the "proven tax fighter") in a gerrymandered Rethuglican district developed similar to the 11th. She ran as a fiscal conservative with a heart and it worked.

Let's stay focused on actually winning in Nov rather than scoring intramural points.

I switched from McNerney to Filson because while I would really like to support someone like McNerney, there is something grating like fingernails on the chalkboard about his style and presentation. It is just not going to fly - he really needs to work on modulation and form. I may be wrong but I just think Filson will play better in the district.

Dave from Lafayette

9:57 AM, March 04, 2006  
Anonymous Fiat Lux said...

CF -

Great to see your comments. I really appreciate you taking the time to respond, especially given your "proximity" to Filson :-).

I'll respond to your points in turn:

Filson may not have the given readers of his website and blog the ability to comment there, but he does have multiple diaries on Daily Kos that meet that request (Matt and others have commented there).

That's progress, certainly. Then again, who doesn't post on Daily Kos? Especially Democrats running for congress? It's Campaign 101, at this point.

But the campaigns that "get it" allow comments on their OWN blog, even if moderated.

The truth is that Filson does NOT have a real blog (it's just a static page of pre-fab press releases). And that's a shame, especially for his supporters.

In response to your claim that people who support Filson are few and far between, it does not seem to be the case... Filson is working hard to make up the difference - through phone calls, public meetings, and attempts to get younger voters involved and community colleges in the district.

Can you provide a specific example? The only public events on Filson's calendar appear to be Democratic Club appearances.

In fact, my personal discussions with him about various public speaking events seem to show more excitement about connecting with individuals than any overall endorsements (although those are nice too).

So why is it that Filson's web site only lists ELECTED endorsements (again leaving a "top-down" impression) while McNerney's web site shows dozens of individual citizens who have endorsed him (in addition to organizations and electeds)?

If you look at the reader polls, at first glance it appears dominated by McNerney supporters...

The reader polls are not a reliable indicator of anything, even if it indicates that McNerney has more support than Filson within the local netroots.

There is a dominant pro-McNerney tone here in the "progressive blogosphere," but I bet if you went door to door in CA-11, it would be a much different picture.

Really? Done any polling lately? Want to share? :-)

More to come...

1:56 PM, March 04, 2006  
Anonymous Fiat Lux said...

About the Lieberman/Howie kerfuffle:

Finally, I want to discuss your comments re:Downwithtyranny and Lieberman. My only issue with this situation parallels my thoughts about blogs - great arenas for discussion and information exchange, but with a hint of hyperbole and misunderstanding.

I agree 100%.

Howie from DWT is making huge assumptions in his blog - the biggest being that "Liebermann is terrified of Ned Lamont."

I agree. Although I loathe Lieberman, I think this whole thing is a bit overblown.

But if you re-read my comments, you'll see that I was more interested in the despicable bio of Lieberman loyalist Dan Gerstein and the district dynamic parallels between Lieberman/Lamont and Filson/McNerney. (Howie's claims are certainly debatable).

The main point, writ large, is that you have a grassroots candidate who supports the Murtha Plan exit strategy and an establishment candidate who trusts the Rumsfeld Pentagon more than the American people.

Filson's failure to call for a timeline for withdrawal aligns him with Lieberman more than Murtha on the scale of Democratic Party leadership in regards to this war. And who do DEMOCRATIC voters trust more -- Lieberman or Murtha?

Matt - As a Filson supporter, I do like this blog and think you are entitled to hold and write about your opinions of this race and its candidates. This is not for "riff raff." I am not as riled up about the tone of this site as much as other commenters - but I would like to see more posts about what good things the candidates will do for the district.

Well, CF, why don't you blog HERE about it! Matt has extended a gracious open invitation to Filson supporters. You are certainly articulate AND you have intimate knowledge of the campaign. Why not take him up on it?

If you don't want to blog here, start your own blog. Provide a place for Filson supporters to discuss the campaign. OPEN UP the process.

The Filson campaign's failure to have comments on its "blog" or encourage a similar grassroots blog like SNTP leaves one with the distinct impression that the campaign is top-down and elitist (CF, since you posted here, I'll give you the benefit of the doubt on "arrogant and aloof" :-).

Look -- we're having a full, fair, and open dialogue right here right now. So what are you (i.e. the Filson folks) afraid of?

In any event, thanks for taking the time again to post your thoughts. Looking forward to future conversations...

2:22 PM, March 04, 2006  
Blogger DownWithTyranny said...

Yo, Matt! I think your site is great and, like many people from other parts of the country, I use it as resource to find out how the challenge to Pombo is going. As for your hand-wringing and bending over backwards to satisfy a handful of loudmouthed but essentially ignorant Filson supporters... dude, stop already. You have a keen understanding of the race and of the dynamics that are behind how the Inside the Beltway power establishment within the Democratic Party works to derail activists and progressives and, especially, anti-war and anti-corporate, challengers. Rahm Emanuel of the DCCC and Ellen Tauscher are Inside the Beltway power-mongers. Your detractors have no idea what they are up to. Emanuel has been systematically going from district to district, often with the help of local stooges like Tauscher, to drive grassroots candidates out of the races. Jerry McNerney is just one of many. This week Emanuel was able to chase a grassroots progressive, Brett Wagner, out of the congressional race in Ventura, in effect ceding the moderate suburban seat to the extremely right-wing Elton Gallegly (since the two remaining candidates are even less up to the task in that district than Filson is in yours). Nationally it is coming to light how Emanuel and the other inside the worst elements of the Beltway Power Elite have undermined Paul Hackett and Chistine Cegelis. But what they have been doing in less high visibility districts-- like yours and like FL-16, for example-- is less well-known. You have been very restrained and in being so restrained you are doing what they want you do to. Filson may be a nice person-- I don't know-- but he is a stalking horse for the worst boss in the Democratic Party, our own mirror image of Tom DeLay. Matt, your VPO link in this post doesn't work.

PS- What about the rumor that Wilkes is fingering Doolittle, Hunter, Lewis and Pombo?

3:08 PM, March 04, 2006  
Anonymous Rick said...

Rahm Emanuel of the DCCC and Ellen Tauscher are Inside the Beltway power-mongers. Your detractors have no idea what they are up to. Emanuel has been systematically going from district to district, often with the help of local stooges like Tauscher, to drive grassroots candidates out of the races.

It is well-established that the DCCC recruits and financially supports candidates it feels are electable. Emanuel and Tauscher believe Filson is the best candidate for CA-11. Obviously, they don't feel the same way about McNerney. After seeing both McNerney and Filson in person, I share the DCCC's opinion.

Moreover, for the sake of argument, let's assume that the DCCC supports "pro-war, pro-corporate, anti-progressive" candidates. Assuming this naïve, simplistic, and sophomoric argument is true, then "grassroots" candidates who define themselves as contrary to those positions should be salivating at the opportunity challenge the DCCC candidates. After all, who’s afraid of an election?

Finally, it's been my observation that most self-proclaimed "grassroots" candidates have fundamental flaws that make them unelectable to begin with, and not surprisingly, can't draw any type of major financial or political support. Hence, they and their backers propagate the self-fulfilling prophecy that they are being oppressed by the "Inside the Beltway establishment."

9:38 PM, March 05, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Moreover, for the sake of argument, let's assume that the DCCC supports "pro-war, pro-corporate, anti-progressive" candidates. Assuming this naïve, simplistic, and sophomoric argument is true, then "grassroots" candidates who define themselves as contrary to those positions should be salivating at the opportunity challenge the DCCC candidates. After all, who’s afraid of an election?

Rick - DWT's argument has merit. It may be stidently articulated, but the core claim is difficult to refute.

Unless you can name an example in 2006 where the DCCC is supporting an "anti-war, anti-corporate, progressive" candidate, you should apologize to him for calling his statement "naive, simplistic, and sophomoric".

11:31 PM, March 05, 2006  
Anonymous Rick said...

My point was that those were straw-man arguments that belied a rather unsophisticated understanding about how Congressional elections are really won in this nation.

The reality is that the electorate in CA-11, as well as most of the nation, is more conservative than the public at-large. Most voters in the district will be at least 35, be a homeowner, be a parent, and be gainfully employed. For those who live west of Altamont Pass, most will have a median household income above $75,000 and some type of college degree. And most moved into the district to depart some other part of the Bay Area they couldn't afford and/or didn't want to raise a family in.

So given these demographics, does anyone really think that a candidate who is a self-proclaimed "anti-war, anti-corporate, progressive" stands a chance converting would-be Pombo voters to Democratic voters? We're here to win, right? The fundamental issue is understanding the audience, not passing a litmus test to establish "grassroots progressive" bona fides.

8:10 PM, March 06, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm the same guy who asked you the question above, Rick, and asked you to apologize for calling DWT naive and sophomoric.

In response to your response...

So given these demographics, does anyone really think that a candidate who is a self-proclaimed "anti-war, anti-corporate, progressive" stands a chance converting would-be Pombo voters to Democratic voters? We're here to win, right? The fundamental issue is understanding the audience, not passing a litmus test to establish "grassroots progressive" bona fides.

I wholeheartedly agree that we need to understand the audience. And we need to understand that if a REAL Democratic agenda is placed next to a Republican-lite Democratic agenda, the REAL agenda will win every time. Because, if the only choice is between a Republican and Republican-lite, folks usually pick the genuine article.

Furthermore, no one can claim that McNerney is "anti-war or anti-corporate." Or even "progressive" for that matter.

According to McNerney's web site, McNerney's son joined the military after 9/11 and he supported his son's service in Afghanistan. That's NOT anti-war. That's anti-Iraq War -- a position that the majority of folks in CA-11 no doubt share especially now that this miserable disaster is beyond repair.

McNerney is NOT anti-corporate. He's pro-business, especially small business. He sounds like a Lou Dobbs Democrat to me.

Bottom line: McNerney is as "moderate" as Filson on most issues. The differences? The Iraq War. Universal Health Care. etc.

If that's "progressive" given that strong majorities in this country (and presumably CA-11) don't like the war and support universal health care, well, I guess "progressive" is the new "moderate".

11:08 PM, March 06, 2006  

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