Daily Kos

Open Thread and Diary Rescue

Tue Oct 24, 2006 at 08:39:00 PM PDT

(Tonight's diary selections are brought to you courtesy of the Rescue Rangers. SusanG)

The Rescue Rangers admire your activism this election season! It's especially easy to help Google Bomb the Elections, just add one to your signature and your website! We hope you enjoy these selections this evening. As soon as you're done reading what you missed we'll let you get back to that all important phonebanking, or whatever else you're up to. (Elise)

Tonight's rescuers are tlh lib, pico, Got a Grip, msobel, B12love, and BentLiberal.  Tonight's editor is Elise.

carolita brings Top Comments of the Day.

Add your favorites from the past 24 hours and use as an open thread.

Big Doin's in Idaho

Tue Oct 24, 2006 at 07:03:49 PM PDT

Tonight is the final debate between our man Larry Grant and the Club for Growth's wholly-owned Bill Sali. So I'm hanging out with best and brightest of Idaho bloggers (fortboise, IdaBlue, The Sniff Test, Red State Rebels, Grassroots for Grant, and New West--our hosts and cookie pushers for the evening).

Today was a banner day for Larry Grant, with Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez appearing for Larry at a press conference and a tea at which the women of Idaho plotted to take over Congress and the world. If there are any women who can do it, it's Idaho's women.

So as we get ready to watch tonight's debate (only those of you in Idaho will be able to really participate--it's on public television) the rest of you can mull over this fantastic news I just got from a source close to the Democratic Brady for Governor campaign. Jerry Brady has closed a 19-point gap since June.  In June, Otter was up 48-29%, in September Otter had a 45-34% lead, today Brady is up 42-40% on the 30-year politician Congressman C.L. "Butch" Otter. The poll surveyed 400 likely Idaho voters and the MoE is 5 points.

So while you all mull over the possibility of a Democratic Congressman and Governor in the great state of Idaho, the rest of us will watch the debate.

Update: Word is it's being livestreamed:

http://idahoptv.org/livehi.asx (hi bandwidth)
http://idahoptv.org/livelo.asx (lo bandwidth)

Update by kos: Let me format the poll in standard Daily Kos style:

Goodwin Simon Victoria Research (D) for Jerry Brady. Dates unknown. MoE 5% (September results)

If the election for Governor of Idaho were held today and the candidates were: (Names rotated), which one would you be inclined to vote for? (IF UNDECIDED ASK): ‘Well, towards whom do you lean?”

Otter (R): 40 (45)
Solid: 32
Lean: 8

Brady (D): 42 (34)
Solid: 35
Lean: 7

Ted Dunlop (L): 2
Solid: 2
Lean: 0

Open Thread

Tue Oct 24, 2006 at 06:32:55 PM PDT

California's "Courage Campaign", a group fighting Props. 85 and 90.

Taliban Attacks Up 300%

Tue Oct 24, 2006 at 05:10:25 PM PDT


U.S. military officials tell ABC News cross-border attacks by the Taliban are up "300 percent"  since President Musharraf declared a "truce" with tribal leaders in the troubled Northern Waziristan region that borders Afghanistan. [...]

Reports from the district capital Miram Shah say Taliban vigilantes now patrol the streets, while Pakistani government officials and the military are all but absent.  [...]

"If the Pakistan army is not willing to clean this up in a sustained manner," worries a top U.S. military official, "I just do not know what we are going to do."

Although the peace deal with Islamabad specifically forbade the Pakistani tribesmen from forming a parallel government, Taliban rulers in the region have issued a strict legal code, even announcing plans to begin taxing vehicles that pass through their district.

Many national security experts warned that the truce would do more harm than good in the fight against terror.  Sadly, it appears that Richard Clarke's September prediction has come true:

Former White House counter-terrorism czar Richard Clarke, an ABC News consultant, said "What this means is that the Taliban and al Queida leadership have effectively carved out a sanctuary inside Pakistan."
Let's remember that the President didn't raise objections to the deal:
"When [President Mushareaf] looks me in the eye and says the tribal deal is intended to reject the Talibanization of the people, and that there won't be a Taliban and won't be Al Qaeda, I believe him."
The upcoming election is a referendum on this President's failed judgment throughout this fight against terror, from the mountains of Pakistan and Afghanistan to the desert of Iraq. It will also be a referendum on a Republican Congress that has sat idly in silent acquiescence as the President committed these dangerous errors in judgment.

Hastert Vigil: Dead Man Talking

Tue Oct 24, 2006 at 03:50:07 PM PDT

Denny Hastert had his moment in the sun, explaining to the Ethics Committe that he can't remember a damn thing, and besides, his staff never told him (as far as he can remember).

His appearance before the panel today followed hard on the heels that of Rep. Tom Reynolds (R-N.Y.,) who has publicly said he told Hastert earlier this year about former Republican congressman Mark Foley's innapropriate communications with House pages.

Hastert has said he doesn't remember Reynolds mentioning this Foley problem to him. There's many a reporter in Washington who would love to be inside the room to see how Hastert's lack of recollection is playing, especially with the Democrats on the panel who are no doubt smelling blood.

Hastert, supplying parents everywhere with a reason to vote Democratic, also indicated he's well grounded in reality.
"But, yeah, I think we can hold on to the majority," said Hastert, who indicated he would like to run for House speaker again.
Given the current chaos in the House, does anyone think Hastert would be allowed to run again by Republicans? If the answer is no, it's all the more reason to vote these people out of power. If the answer is yes, even more reason.

If the Democrats take the House, as is certainly possible, Dennis Hastert has to be given a large part of the credit.

GOP's list of endangered races

Tue Oct 24, 2006 at 03:38:12 PM PDT

Chris Bowers has gotten hold of a spreadsheet with the NRSC's and NRCC's top defensive races.

And this list must be outdated, because the NRCC just dropped $375K in the ID-01 race even though it's not on their list. And if they're dropping money into races outside of their top 48 most endangered, you know they are in serious trouble.

According to the list, Republicans have already conceded the following Senate races: MT, MI, WA, and MD. They expect to lose, unless there's a serious change in the race, the following: PA and OH.

In the House, the GOP has given up on: TX-22, AZ-08, OH-18, and PA-10. They expect to lose, absent a serious change in the race, the following: FL-16, CO-07, NC-11, IN-02, IN-08, IN-09, OH-15, NY-26, NY-24, and PA-07. That's 14. We need 15 to win. "True toss ups" in the Senate: MO, RI, TN, and NJ. "True toss ups" in the House: OH-02, IA-01, PA-06, CT-02, CT-04, IL-06, PA-08, WA-08, KY-04, MN-06, OH-01, WI-08, NM-01, and VA-02.

The spreadsheet even references internal (R) polls, like the tied race in OH-02 between Wulsin and Mean Jean Schmidt.

WY-AL: Changing stories

Tue Oct 24, 2006 at 02:51:28 PM PDT

So Cubin changes her story again, and then throws in an apology.

"It was person to person and it was not an attack on the disabled," Cubin said in a telephone interview from Rock Springs, Wyo. "In retrospect I was wrong in what I said and I apologize."

Cubin, who is seeking a seventh two-year term against Democrat Gary Trauner and Libertarian Thomas Rankin, also presented different account of what she said compared to what Rankin recalled and her account of the incident was different from the one her campaign initially issued.

Rankin, who has multiple sclerosis and uses an electric wheelchair, said that after the debate Sunday night Cubin "walked over to me and said, 'If you weren't sitting in that chair, I'd slap you across the face."

Cubin said she went over to Rankin, challenged his debate assertions and remarked that "if you had said that to anyone else, they probably would have smacked you."

Again, to be clear -- Cubin said she'd resort to violence against Rankin if he wasn't wheelchair bound, all because Rankin had the gall to point out that Cubin took money from Tom DeLay. Which she did.

Of course, there would be no need for Cubin to apologize had she really said what she now claims she had said (which remember, was different than what her campaign said she said yesterday).

As Rankin said earlier today:

"The best response Barbara Cubin could give would be a resignation," he said. "Nothing less than that would satisfy me.

"She is not the type of person Wyoming residents want representing them," he said.

Midday open thread

Tue Oct 24, 2006 at 12:53:09 PM PDT

  • Googlebomb the election. Even the mere thought of it is sending shudders across the wingnutosphere.

    Oh, and the idiot who runs the National Journal's Blogometer (Conn Carroll) is all hot and bothered about it, suggesting that it could lead to the regulation of the blogs. Because, well, just because.

    I like the National Journal, but I've got to say I lose a little respect for them every time I read the Blogometer. It needs to be put out of its misery.

  • MI-11: On the Majority Report this morning on AIr America, Sam and I talked to Tony Trupiano from the Detroit-area MI-11. Tony has a great grassroots operation going, so check him out if you live in the area and give the guy a hand.
  • AZ-Sen: An ASU poll tonight will threaten to turn the race upside down. Apparently, it's a 2-point race. Outlier? Other polls are showing the race tightening.
  • Hastert says GOP will keep House. That's not as interesting as the fact that he declared that he would run for Speaker again if they did. A vote for a Republican congressional candidate is a vote for Dennis Hastert, the guy who covered for a sexual predator in his caucus.
  • VA-Sen: The NRSC has spent $1.4 million against Webb so far.
  • I agree with this, and look forward to really fleshing out this debate after the midterm elections:

    I find it very difficult to believe that smart people like Kerry and Edwards could be "fooled" or "misled" [on the Iraq War vote] by the stupidest president in American history. The sad truth is they were scared of being called weak on terror like their commiecrat allies Ted Kennedy and Russ Feingold. And since America is a country where it is considered weak to oppose any war, no matter how unjustified or ill-conceived, they threw their consciences under the bus for the sake of political ambition.

  • CT-Sen: The General has Lieberman's back. And see the Lieberman campaign's fancy footwork trying to avoid disclosing the contents of their nearly $400K slush fund.
  • MSNBC's Chris Jansing gets today's award for "World's Worst Reporter."
  • Two of three CQ ratings changes today favor Dems: KY-03 to "Lean Republican", CA-50 to "Leans Republican, and in NV-Gov, to "Lean Republican" from "No Clear Favorite". In the 50th:

    It initially appeared that Republican Brian P. Bilbray had survived the worst the Democrats could throw at him when he won the special runoff election June 6 to replace resigned Republican Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham -- and earned a trip back to the House, where Bilbray had previously served from 1995 to 2001.

    His Democratic opponent, former community college trustee Francine P. Busby, had fallen short by 5 percentage points, even though she went all out to try to taint Bilbray and Republicans in general with the bribery scandal that forced Cunningham to quit Congress and sent him to federal prison. And Busby is again Bilbray's opponent in the Nov. 7 election, having won the Democratic primary on the same day that she lost the special election.

    But as the public reads new details about Cunningham's bribery affair and the national approval ratings for the Republican Party sink further lower in the wake of policy controversies and other scandals, the short-term incumbent appears to be vulnerable in his bid for a full term in the usually Republican-leaning San Diego-area district [...]

    Luna said Bilbray has kept a low profile during the fall campaign and had taken the "head down, hunkered in" approach, hoping that he will coast to victory on his incumbent status. But Luna argues that while making a campaign misstep could be harmful for Bilbray, being invisible can be "just as bad."

    As of Oct. 23, Bilbray's campaign Web site still displayed news clips and press releases from May, prior to the special election, under the news section.

PA-Sen: Santorum is off the air

Tue Oct 24, 2006 at 12:19:32 PM PDT

After blowing through $9 million in this election, Santorum trails in the polls badly. And now, two weeks out from the election, the incumbent Republican has gone dark. From a DSCC email:

According to publicly available reports, Rick Santorum is now 100% dark in Pennsylvania, having paid for no campaign ads today. Santorum has spent more than $9 million on ads so far, but his latest media buy ended last night. Since national Republicans aren't airing independent ads in Pennsylvania, that means nobody will be on the air on Santorum's behalf until Santorum himself pays to go back on. So far, Santorum has yet to reserve ad time for the final two weeks of the campaign.

On the web: Bob Casey for Senate

Who Supports The Troops? Democrats, As It Turns Out...

Tue Oct 24, 2006 at 12:13:37 PM PDT

Via Bob Geiger, the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America took a look at 324 legislative votes in the last five years which affected American troops and veterans. Legislative proposals included veterans' benefits, healthcare, and medical research dedicated towards injured soldiers (head injuries, etc.) Based on these votes, IAVA calculated which senators and congressmen had a history of supporting the troops, and which didn't, and graded them on a curve.

You can see the full results at the IAVA website, here. But Bob has put the Senate rankings in order of letter grade, and produced this handy chart. As you'll note, based on the over 300 votes the IAVA used in its calculation, all Senate Democrats have been more supportive of the troops -- when it comes to their actual votes, over the past five years -- than any of the Senate Republicans.

The IAVA is a nonpartisan organization. That the results -- who supports the troops, and who doesn't -- are so strikingly partisan is another demonstration of Republicans talking the talk, and the Democrats walking the walk.

Also see daulton.

MT-Sen: Tester profile

Tue Oct 24, 2006 at 12:06:40 PM PDT

This very positive profile of Jon Tester is surprising in that it's the cover story of the very conservative Weekly Standard.

He was born in Havre, and grew up in Big Sandy, where his family had lived since his grandfather homesteaded there in 1919. Farming was the family business: As soon as you were able, you were put to work. At times it could be a difficult life. When he was a boy, Tester lost the index, middle, and ring fingers on his left hand in an encounter with a meat grinder. Tester brags that he can still play the piano.

He matriculated at the College of Great Falls, from which he graduated in 1978 with a bachelor's degree in music. When school was over, Tester returned to Big Sandy, where he worked on the farm and taught music to elementary school kids. In addition to piano, he played the trumpet and baritone. While he was teaching, Tester attended church one day and noticed "this great looking lady" and thought, "Wow, this is good." He wanted to get to know her, so he went to the church youth group. The group played softball. Tester let the pretty girl strike him out. She must have appreciated it. Within a year the two were married, and they have remained so for 28 years. The Testers have two children and one grandchild. Another grandchild is due in January. Following Tester last week, I never saw him more than thirty feet away from his wife.

For Tester, life is centered around the family farm, which, at 1,800 acres, is a little smaller than most of those around it. The Testers grow wheat, lentils, barley, and peas, among other things, depending on the current crop rotation. In 1987 they decided to grow only organic crops. It is a crunchy lifestyle, no doubt about it. Tester says on the farm he learned the value of communication and cooperation. "You don't do things alone in this world," he told the ladies at the Hilands Golf Club.

The author, Matthew Continetti, spends a great deal of time talking about the rise of the Western Democrat.

The Interior West--which includes Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming--is slowly embracing Democratic politicians and Democratic policies. And the roster of Western Democratic pols is impressive. In Arizona, there is Gov. Janet Napolitano, who is cruising to reelection. In Colorado, there is Democratic senator Ken Salazar and his brother John, who represents the state's Third Congressional District. In Montana, in addition to Tester, there is Gov. Brian Schweitzer. In New Mexico, there is Gov. Bill Richardson, a potential 2008 Democratic presidential candidate and the current chairman of the Democratic Governors Association. And in Wyoming, there is Gov. Dave Freudenthal, who is also likely to be reelected.

There are additional signs of Democratic growth in the West. Colorado, Montana, and New Mexico all have Democratic legislatures. Democrats command a majority in the Nevada house, though not in the state senate. In Colorado, Democrat Bill Ritter is leading Republican congressman Bob Beauprez in the race to succeed Republican governor Bill Owens. The Democratic leadership in Congress consists of a Mormon from the Interior West (Senate minority leader Harry Reid of Nevada) and a Catholic from the Pacific Coast (House minority leader Nancy Pelosi of California). On Election Day, Democrats are looking to gain U.S. House seats in Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona [...]

When Schweitzer won in 2004, Democrats had been out of the governor's office for 16 years. They had been in the minority in both chambers of the state legislature for 12 years. Today they are in the majority. As Ryan Sager points out in his new book The Elephant in the Room, in 2004 Democrats in Montana won races for four out of five state offices. As Thomas Schaller points out in his new book Whistling Past Dixie, no state in the Interior West had a Democratic governor as recently as 2001. Today four of those states have Demo crats in the governor's mansion, and Democrats are running strong campaigns for governor in Colorado and Nevada. And as Mark Sundeen pointed out in a recent profile of Schweitzer, a decade ago the Interior West was home to 24 congressional districts of which Democrats held 4. Today the region is home to 28 districts of which Demo crats hold 8. On Election Day they may pick up as many as 4 more.

And he didn't get snarky or partisan snide when discussing this site's (and my) great interest in the race.

"Say hello to the next senator from the great state of Montana," the nation's most influential liberal blogger, Markos Moulitsas, wrote on his website Daily Kos when Tester won the Democratic primary. Later that night, in another post, Moulitsas drew a lesson from the victory. "Tester didn't quit despite early fundraising woes," Moulitsas wrote. "He didn't quit when he was down in January 45-25 [percent] according to Morrison's polling. Be cause people-power matters. And that message will reverberate inside the D.C. political and media elite tonight."

It is difficult to quantify the role the Internet has played in Tester's campaign. When I asked one aide how important the Internet was, he immediately said, "It's huge." For his part, Moulitsas sees in Tester and other Western Democrats the beginnings of a new Democratic party, even a new ideology. In the end, Moulitsas wrote on June 7, John Morrison's advantages--his money, his connections, his experience--were ir rel evant. Instead, "people matter." To Moulitsas, this only showed that the centrist Democratic Leadership Council is "an irrelevant, dying organization" because

it has no people behind it. It has no natural constituency. No ability to mobilize anything more than corporate lobbyists for any cause. And in today's people-powered environment, it is an anachronism of a different era, built for a different political world, unable or unwilling to change or adapt. Its candidates are dropping like flies, unable to win contested primaries. More and more DLC-aligned incumbents are facing tough primaries. Its patron saint--Joe Lieberman--may not even be a Democrat for long. You know Tester's dramatic victory has to weigh on Joementum.

As it happens, Moulitsas turned out to be right about Lieberman, though the fate of the DLC is still unclear. What is clear, though, is that Moulitsas has done everything he can to champion Tester's candidacy. For their book Crashing the Gate, Moulitsas and coauthor Jerome Armstrong, a blogger and political consultant, visited the farm at Big Sandy and wrote an adoring passage on Tester. Reading the books and web posts, you see that the bloggers are attracted to Tester's populism, his antiwar politics, his criticisms of the Patriot Act, and his authenticity.

But Moulitsas also believes Tester and other Western Democrats represent the beginning of a new political animal--what he calls the Libertarian Democrat. In this analysis, traditional libertarians err in seeing the government as the greatest threat to individual freedom. Corporations also threaten personal liberty, Moulitsas writes on his website and in a recent essay for the Cato Institute.

The big omission in this piece is the work done by the Montana bloggers, which drove just about every bit of my coverage on this race. All successful Netroots efforts -- be they Montana, Connecticut, Virginia, or anywhere else start at home, with activists on the ground. This site was the megaphone, amplifying the real work being done in Big Sky Country.

And speaking of megaphones, I decided to go look for the first post I ever wrote about Tester. Can you believe that it was December 12, 2004?

[Montana] Democrats are bubbling with excitement at their sudden reemergence. They believe they can take Republican Conrad Burns in the 2006 Senate race, who just barely defeated current Democratic governor Brian Schweitzer in the 2000 contest. Dems are looking to John Tester, a bona fide Western farmer (complete with missing finger from farming accident) who is now Senate Majority Leader. He's literally from the middle of nowhere, and naturally speaks the language of rural America.

No wonder I feel like I've known Tester forever. It's been almost two long years to get to where we are today -- a neck and neck race with two weeks to go.

If Tester wins, and that's still an open question, but if he wins, he'll be a transformative figure in the Senate, a symbol of a new Western libertarian populism that the region's other Democratic senators don't share (like Salazar or Baucus). While the old-school Democrats from that region have succeeded by blurring the lines between them and Republicans, Tester hasn't been afraid to highlight them. He's not afraid of controversy and isn't afraid to fight for what he believes is right.

And with candidates in the region already looking to Schweitzer and Tester for inspiration (like Grant in ID-01), this is hopefully the start of something very beautiful indeed.


ID-01: On the Trail in Idaho--Liveblog with Larry Grant

Tue Oct 24, 2006 at 10:52:34 AM PDT

Idaho Democrats are alive and well. And for once feeling pretty damned optimistic. That includes former Governor and Interior Secretary Cecil Andrus, who cut short an elk hunting trip to attend a rally last week for Larry Grant with Max Cleland. And he stayed out of the mountains to join Idaho Democratic luminaries, past and present (yes, there are a few of them) for what hostess Bethine Church called a pep rally. (That's Bethine, Larry Grant, and Chase Church in the background.)

Mrs. Church is, of course, widow of Senator Frank Church, and the matriarch of Idaho Democrats. So when she issues an invitation, you show up. Which is what about 100 very loyal and excited Democrats did last night, buoyed by the prospect of being competitive in this state after 12 long years in the wilderness. The slate of candidates present last night included some of the best and brightest in the state, all fighting hard to take back this state. Congressman Earl Blumenauer, who has close ties to Idaho from his work in Oregon back in 1976 on Senator Church's presidential run, was the guest of honor. He repaid that honor with some very generous contributions Idaho candidates.

That included a healthy donation to Larry Grant, the candidate creating the greatest buzz in the state. The fact that this race is receiving national attention has created real excitement in the Party here. Particularly since that attention has been as positive as it is. Here's today's Washington Post:

COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho -- It is, perhaps, the political equivalent of hell freezing over in the interior West. This red state where conservative Republicans routinely wipe the floor with hapless Democrats has a Republican running for Congress who just might lose.

The suddenly competitive race is a delicious development for Larry Grant, a Democratic candidate for the House who finds himself transformed from sacrificial lamb to reason for worry among national Republican strategists....

With an impish smile, Grant, who was a high-tech executive in Boise, took a moment from knocking on residents' doors here last week and said: "Can you imagine Republicans sitting around in Washington and saying to each other, 'Jeez, now we have to spend more money to win -- in Idaho?' "

But spending and worrying the Republicans are, here and in a handful of other usually safe House districts in the West, where unrelentingly grim news from the war in Iraq has combined with smoldering anger over federal deficits and Washington scandals to vivify Democratic candidates who not long ago were reconciled to their fate as biannual Republican roadkill....

Now, to shore up support in Idaho's vast 1st Congressional District -- 500 miles long, from Canada to Nevada, crossing two time zones and three media markets -- the Republican National Congressional Committee spent $135,000 last week for ads against Grant. His campaign says that for the final two weeks of the campaign the Republican committee has committed about $375,000 to buy television and radio time, a figure that approaches Grant's fundraising total for his entire campaign.

The GOP having to spend half a million dollars to defend a seat in Idaho? Sounds good to me. And to Larry Grant. You can ask him about it in the comments. For the next half hour or so, Larry will be here to chat.

VA-Sen: Warner's new ad for Webb

Tue Oct 24, 2006 at 10:46:00 AM PDT

WY-AL: Libertarian urges Cubin to resign

Tue Oct 24, 2006 at 10:30:48 AM PDT

Man, Libertarian candidate Thomas Rankin is thanking his lucky stars he was afflicted by MS and is wheelchair-bound, otherwise, Rep. Barbara Cubin (R) would've kicked his ass. Or, that's essentially what Cubin told Rankin after yesterday's debate.

I don't know if threatening disabled candidates for Congress with physical harm is "Wyoming values". Such boorish cowardice isn't really acceptable behavior anywhere in this world, as Rankin notes:

"The best response Barbara Cubin could give would be a resignation," he said. "Nothing less than that would satisfy me.

"She is not the type of person Wyoming residents want representing them," he said.

Gary Trauner:

Kerry's spokesman insults Chris Bowers and the rest of you

Tue Oct 24, 2006 at 10:05:46 AM PDT

This is a great way to build netroots support for 2008.

The New York Times is picking up on Chris Bowers' brilliant "Use It Or Lose It" campaign, which seeks to force comfortable Democratic incumbents to donate 30% of their useless war chests in order expand the field of competitive seats. The Times leads with Martin Meehan, a safe, Massachusetts Democrat with $4.8 million in the bank. He's donated $355,000 to the DCCC.

Now, Meehan won in 2004 with nearly 70% of the vote. This year is a Democratic dream and he lacks a serious challenger. A 30% donation from him would be $1.44 million, more than enough to fund a couple smaller House races and offer the Democrats a cleaner, less compromised majority. But he has no intention of giving more money. In part, that's because he dreams of eventually running for Senate. In part, it's because he doesn't see why he should have to. Kerry's spokesman, David Wade, sounds similarly entitled:

Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts, the Democratic presidential nominee in 2004, came under fire last week when it was pointed out that he had contributed only $15,000 this year to the party's senatorial committee. Heyjohn.org, whose creator has remained anonymous, highlights the fact that Mr. Kerry has $14 million in his campaign accounts.[...]

"Cowards can hide behind anonymous Web sites," Mr. [David] Wade said, "but Democrats out in the country, party leaders and real net-roots activists know how hard John Kerry has fought to win these elections."

Bowers doesn't look that anonymous to me. Nor am I. But to Wade, here's a hearty "fuck you". We have long memories.

Here's the bottom line -- safe Republican incumbents are ponying up in an effort to keep control of Congress -- to the tune of $2.3 million more than Democrats. It's why they win -- they work harder and sacrifice more than our safe, lazy, entrenched incumbents who would rather stew in the minority than actually extend themselves out a bit.

Ask any campaign around the country at this stage what they would prefer -- a campaign visit from Kerry (or anyone else save the Big Dog), or cold hard cash, and guess what they'll answer? Money and volunteers will help us close this election strong. Not campaign appearances that is more about Kerry building support and chits for 2008 as it is about helping our guys this year.

Ante up. It's that simple. Those of us in the rank and file have been doing so, taking money out of our household budgets. We're expected to sacrifice, yet these incumbents act like it's an insult to their honor to expect the same out of them?

And insulting people like Bowers doing heroic work to change the stultified culture in DC Democratic establishment circles isn't the best strategy.

Update: In the comments, people defend Wade for saying that he was referencing the HeyJohn.org website (which appears to be down at this moment), not Bowers. Problem is, the HeyJohn website is based on Bowers' efforts to get safe Democrats to ante up this year. This campaign isn't being waged by HeyJohn, it's a blogosphere-wide effort led by Bowers.

Wade's insinuation is that only anonymous cowards who aren't "real netroots activists" are pushing this. Yet there is Chris Bowers, very public, leading on this issue. Hence, the insult.

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