Earlier today, the members of the Crooks and Liars, Down With Tyranny and Firedoglake communities got together for a little townhall meeting at Firedoglake where we normally blog with progressive candidates every Saturday. As I explained earlier, today was the day to pick one of the candidates for radio advertising spots that will run between now and November 7. We had previously decided on buying ad campaigns for John Laesch (IL-14), Victoria Wulsin (OH-02) and Robert Rodriguez (CA-25).
Today's session had the dual purpose of raising the extra money it would take to do the ads and to decide which of the candidates we've spoken with would be our best bet. We raised a great deal of money today, not just for this project but for almost all of our candidates. Take a look.) And we raised more than enough for an ad buy. It was a 4-way tie almost for the whole session between Charlie Brown (CA-04), who won, Angie Paccione (CO-04), who came in second-- and lost out by just a few votes-- and Steve Porter (PA-03) and David Roth (CA-45) who basically tied for third place.
Now Jacquie, our intrepid media buyer, is busy firming up the details with radio stations in Placer County, where we feel we can do the Brown campaign the most good.
I want to mention something about the folks who help Jane Hamshire, John Amato and myself make this project work. Everyone in this is working because of passion and patriotism. No one gets paid. Everything is pro-bono. Tom Maxwell and Ken Mosher, former Squirrel Nut Zippers, put the song together and donated money to the cause. Rickie Lee Jones sang with them and asked that if any money were to be made, it all be donated to the project. Same for producer Andy Paley and all the other people who worked on the musical end. Mike McIntee and Adam Friedman, our two video makers came along as volunteers and each did absolutely amazing work, turning out dozens of video clips for our candidates and for other progressives around the country, almost every one of them a candidate who Rahm Emanuel's DCCC refuses to acknowledge in even the smallest of ways.
Surely the DCCC could have helped-- even just a little-- people like Carol Voisin in Oregon and Mike McGraw in Georgia put together spots like these. Yes, these are longshot candidates in tough Republican districts but they are the heart and soul of Howard Dean's brilliant 50-state strategy. And that strategy, so violently and persistently undermined by Emanuel, will bring Democrats not Emanuel's paltry 15 seat goal, but the dozens of seats Howard Dean believed in and the community members of our blogs believed in.
Not all of our longshot candidates are going to win their races. But they are certainly positioning themselves-- and a progressive movement-- for a post-Emanuel Democratic onslaught in 2008. Before the Foley-Hastert cover-up broke into the national press, "no one" gave John Laesch a shot in hell. Oh, not no one. Back on steamy July 1 John was one of our first live guests at Firedoglake. Click that link if you want to understand why our community has been happy to donate nearly $18,000 to John's campaign so far-- and why our members are walking precincts for him, putting up signs, making phone calls, praying. Although Emanuel and the Beltway Insiders still aren't biting, we see smart, progressive fighters like John Laesch and Robert Rodriguez and Donna Edwards as the future of the Democratic Party-- regardless of what happens on November 7.
John Laesch is one of us. Robert Rodriguez is too and so are Charlie and Jan Brown and Victoria Wulsin. Rahm Emanuel? Uh... no. He's one of them-- as distant from real Americans' lives as characters like Hastert and DeLay and Cunningham. Nothing to do with us or our values and shared aspirations. That's why he manufactures fake Democrats when he can get away with it, like that Republican character Tim Mahoney he has set to "win" Foley's seat. Last spring Mahoney was a country club Republican believing in none of our values and sharing in none of our dreams. Then Rahm, knowing full well that Foley was an out of control pedophile who might slip up, promised him a good shot at a cushy, lucrative congressional seat. And all he'd have to do would be to make a switch on a piece of paper at the registrar's office and declare that he's a registered Democrat instead of a registered Republican. That's Rahm Emanuel's kind of candidate.
It gets worse. If you were suckered into contributing money to the DCCC, something very different happens with your money than what happens when you contribute directly to a grassroots candidate or to a netroots political action committee like Blue America. If you give Blue America $100, exactly $100 worth of airtime is bought. And we talk about what candidates get that money. And if you want, you can get as involved as you're capable of being. Tom Maxwell was a Firedoglake commenter. His song is on all our lips. Adam Friedman was a lurker and a contributor and today his video ads are on TV for candidates all over the country. Christine is doing our press and Jacquie is buying our media. We all "met" online. And together we raised nearly $300,000, much of it in $20 chunks, all of it from people who come to our blogs and get fully and democratically involved. If you don't get to know the candidates, it's because you choose not to. We make them available.
Now look at what happens when you give $100 to the DCCC. The consultants and media buyers and ad agencies take a hefty cut and very little is left to go on the air. Jacquie fights with every tool she has-- mostly her charm-- to convince radio station sales managers to give us good prices or extra spots. The people who do that for the DCCC aren't quite as motivated since they get a percentage of what is spent; the higher the bills, the bigger their cut. And where do the DCCC contributions go? Ask Christine Cegelis or Jan Schneider how Rahm plays. He wasted a great deal of money trying to defeat grassroots populist Jerry McNerney in the primary with DCCC money. McNerney slaughtered Emanuel's corporate candidate and now Emanuel says he doesn't have enough money to help McNerney fight Dirty Dick Pombo-- even though polls show a tight race with McNerney slightly ahead. McNerney is beating perhaps the single most atrocious congressman in the country and one of the most odious human beings to be stalking the halls of government. But where's Rahm?
Rahm wants hacks like himself in office and hacks who will support his bid for caucus leadership, leadership he has clearly demonstrated he doesn't deserve and cannot handle. Independent-minded progressives like McNerney and Charlie Brown are more feared by Emanuel than even Republicans-- who he has so much in common with and gets along just fine with.
Take a look at today's town hall session to see how we decided on Charlie Brown. And look at the archive of our first meeting with Charlie on August 5th when we first rallied behind him as a community. That's democracy in action. (The district's newspapers like him too! Look at all those endorsements that are rolling in!)
The sea of blue getting ready to engulf Bush's rubber stamp congress is coming despite Emanuel, not because of him. The despair on the far right is because of grassroots activists and American citizens sickened by the Republican excesses. And maybe because God just can't stand them anymore and decided to take the whole thing into His own Hands (j/k).