the blog of DC Drinking Liberally

July 22, 2006

DNC Disses DC, Rewards Nevada and South Carolina, in 2008 Schedule


This morning at the ungodly (for a Saturday) hour of 9:30, I showed up, along with more than a dozen other supporters of DC voting rights, at the Capital Hilton to lobby and observe the meeting of the DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee. The purpose of the meeting was to vote on a historic change to the presidential election schedule: inserting an additional caucus between the traditional leadoff events of the presidential nominating process, the Iowa caucus and the New Hampshire primary, as well as inserting a new primary shortly after New Hampshire. Ten states plus the District were in the running, and we were there to support DC’s bid. Thanks to DC Vote, we all had T-shirts reading “Let DC Vote — Early Caucus 2008″. Unlike some of the other contenders, we didn’t think to bring bribes — South Carolina had a bag of peaches for each committee member, and Hawaii brought macadamia nuts.

Our message was that DC would provide an appropriate balance for the mostly white and rural Iowa and New Hampshire, bringing needed representation of urban and minority voters into the process. In addition, greater visibility for DC in the nomination process would bring more attention to the immoral disenfranchisement of DC residents, who despite paying federal taxes have no voting representation in the Congress that decides how those taxes are spent.

DC’s lobbying effort had been pretty minimal, so my expectations were low, but they were raised slightly when I heard that a member of the committee from New Hampshire, Kathleen Sullivan, had decided to vote for DC in the hope of avoiding a collision between New Hampshire state law and the DNC’s rules. The state law requires that the primary be moved if any other state tries to move ahead of New Hampshire, but since DC isn’t a state it wouldn’t trigger the law. It’s too bad that this possible compromise couldn’t have been noticed and earlier and publicized within the committee.

The meeting started off with praise for the recently renewed Voting Rights Acts, which was followed by an attempt to reopen a question decided earlier: whether to add four new states in the early period rather than only two. That was quickly shot down, and then committee member Harold Ickes proposed that the committee consider choosing the caucus state from the West and the primary state from the South. His proposal was passed, although he and the committee co-chairs claimed that it didn’t exclude other states from consideration, so I’m not clear what its real purpose was.

Things moved on to a confused description of what seemed to be an instant-runoff vote to determine the order in which contenders would be voted on. Ickes headed that off by proposing a simpler vote in which each member would write down only his or her first choices for the caucus and the primary states. Members then spoke in favor of various contenders, describing how their favorites fit the DNC’s criteria of diversity (racial, ethnic, and economic), labor representation, and suitability for “retail politics” — all qualities DC has plenty of. Speaking for the District were Sullivan and DC resident Donna Brazile. Finally the committee completed their ballots and adjourned for lunch.

After lunch the results were announced:

Caucus        Primary
Nevada 20 South Carolina 22
Arizona 5 Alabama 5
DC 2 Michigan 1
Michigan 1

Unfortunately no one joined Sullivan and Brazile in supporting the District. Still, it will be interesting to see whether incorporating states from the West and the South will improve the presidential nomination process.

Reid Wilson from the Hotline on Call blogged the meeting live (see this post and the ones around it).

July 14, 2006

McNerney Fundraiser Followup


On a muggy, occasionally rainy DC night, about 70 people gathered in an upstairs room at Così coffee shop and bar to show their support for Jerry McNerney, the Democrat who’s running against Richard Pombo, the House’s foremost enemy of the environment (I announced the event earlier). Among the crowd were

Jerry was introduced by Congressman George Miller and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (I got a bad photo — should have used a flash). He then spoke about his how he got into alternative energy and eventually ended up running for Congress.

Jerry spoke about having a job interview for an oil company at a site where he could taste the oil in the air. He knew he didn’t want to be contributing to that sort of pollution, and he had to decide whether to take the money or do the right thing (and, as Jerry said, we know what Richard Pombo would do in that situation). So he went into wind energy.

Years later, Jerry said, his son Michael felt called to join the military after 9/11, and then in 2004 Michael noticed there was no Democrat running in the 11th District and suggested that his father do his part for the country by running. Jerry jumped in at the last minute, ran as a write-in in the primary, and got onto the ballot to run against Pombo. Unfortunately he didn’t win that time, but now he’s back with the experience he’s gained from his first campaign, and judging by the polls and the number of supporters, he’s doing a lot better this time.

If you missed the fundraiser and still want to do your part by donating what you can afford, you can give through the ActBlue netroots candidates page.

Update (July 18): It’s possible it was Pete McCloskey’s daughter, not his wife, who was there. Sorry for the inept reporting.

July 9, 2006

Dump Anti-Environmentalist Pombo! Jerry McNerney Fundraiser


Are you worried about what’s happening to the environment under Republican rule? Then show up at an affordable fundraiser for Jerry McNerney, the Democrat running for Congress in California’s 11th District. Join Jerry, Democratic members of Congress, and DC netroots activists on Wednesday, July 12, 5:30-7:30pm, at Così, 301 Pennsylvania Ave SE (Capitol South Metro). Suggested donation is $25 per person, but please give more if you can afford it. RSVPs to Kenneth Christensen at 202-543-8191 (or ken{at}caiassociates.com) are appreciated.

McNerney’s opponent is the Republican incumbent, Rep. Richard Pombo, who we’ve written about several times before, mainly in connection with his proposal to sell off Roosevelt Island. The way he’s used his chairmanship of the House Resources Committee to do the bidding of oil and mining companies has made Pombo the foremost enemy of the environment in the House. He’s also one of the 13 most corrupt members of Congress, according to the nonpartisan Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.

Here’s Pombo having his head adjusted by the Personal Space Invader-in-Chief (from Pombo’s own photo gallery):

Bush checking out Pombo's shave

Jerry McNerney, on the other hand, is a windpower engineer who ran against Pombo in 2004. This time around he has great support from the netroots, who have helped him win endorsements (and donations) from Russ Feingold’s Progressive Patriots Fund and Democracy for America, and have put him among the Map Changers finalists for Mark Warner’s Forward Together PAC. There’s an interview with him on the DNC blog.

A poll in May by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research showed McNerney actually winning over Pombo 46 to 42 percent (PDF), so this seat is a real pickup possibility for Democrats — if McNerney can get the money to fight back against Pombo’s polluter-backed and corruption-funded campaign. So come meet Jerry and give generously!

Update (July 14): Followup.

July 7, 2006

Schumer and Bush Agree: Lieberman’s Sheer Animal Magnetism Could Lure Them Away From Their Own Parties’ Candidates


You’d think that someone occupying a prominent position within a political party — say, chair of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee or president of the United States — wouldn’t have to think very long about whether to support that party’s candidate in an election (barring criminality, terminal kookiness, or something equally disastrous). But within the past week both Senator Chuck Schumer and President George Bush have danced around answering the question of whether they’d support their own parties’ candidates if Joe Lieberman decided to run as an independent in the Connecticut Senate Race.


Lieberman-Lamont Debate


Last night at DC Drinking Liberally Thursday we got Timberlake’s to turn on MSNBC so we could watch the debate in Connecticut between Bush’s best friend among Senate Democrats, Joe Lieberman, and his primary opponent, Ned Lamont. Yes, it cut into our time for socializing, but everyone was eager to see how the challenger stood up to the senator. I was worried about Lamont for the first few minutes, but he quickly got more comfortable and easily held his own even though Lieberman is much more experienced with debating and with being on television. And in this situation, holding his own is a win.

A few more observations:

For coverage of the race, I’ve been reading LamontBlog (currently featuring a disturbing shirtless Cheney, but that will pass), ConnecticutBlog, and the community site My Left Nutmeg, as well as the official Lamont campaign blog.

July 6, 2006

Too Many Candidates, and the Importance of Deadlines


Yesterday was the deadline for candidates to file nominating petitions for DC’s September 12 primary. I was sort of hoping that a few of the long list of Ward 3 council candidates might not make it, and thus simplify my decision, but it looks like they all got theirs in. Of course things could be worse — I could be in Ward 5, where there are 14 candidates.

Everyone has the right to run, but if we’re going to have so many candidates we really need a system that handles it better. Since there’s no runoff, a winner in the primary could end up having the support of only a small fraction of the electorate. Besides, this is a Democratic primary election in a very liberal city, so the candidates don’t disagree on much. I feel much the same annoyance I do at having to choose between dozens of brands and types of toothpaste. No doubt that makes me a foe of both capitalism and democracy.

All of us who have ever missed a deadline should spare a little sympathy for one prospective candidate:

But Ward 6 Democratic hopeful Will Cobb forgot about yesterday’s deadline.

“Holy cow, I got them sitting in my house right now,” he told a reporter after getting a call.

Cobb’s campaign manager, Jessica Strieter, raced down to the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics but arrived at 5:45 p.m., 45 minutes after the deadline.

Cobb said he had collected 560 signatures during an aggressive door-to-door campaign to replace retiring incumbent Sharon Ambrose.

I don’t imagine he’s having a very good day today. Still, keeping track of details is part of the job.

July 4, 2006

Meet DC Candidates at DC for Democracy


Our friends at DC for Democracy are having a bunch of DC candidates at their monthly meeting on Wednesday, July 5, at 7pm at Ben’s Chili Bowl, 1213 U St NW (U Street Metro):

Join us after your holiday weekend to learn more about the D.C. primary elections coming up in September and to hear about DC for Democracy’s endorsement plans.

Here’s the current list of candidates attending, which I’ll update as I get more information:

Show up, have a bowl of chili, and find out more about who’s running in the September primary.

June 18, 2006

Help Retake the House With Phyllis Busansky


DCDL Thursday regular Ian Fried is one of the people behind Blue Catapult, a political action committee whose philosophy is expressed on its “Why” page:

Incumbents of either party rarely have problems raising money. They can use their voting records to curry favors; they have developed campaign networks; they have people and interest groups who use contributions to gain access to them. Most challengers have no such advantages.

Blue Catapult PAC seeks to overcome this inequity by focusing solely on Democratic challengers against Republican incumbents or who are running for open seats. While other PACs and the DCCC want to defend their endangered incumbents first, Blue Catapult will aim at expanding the map of Republican seats under Democratic challenge.

Monday, June 19, Blue Catapult is holding an affordable fundraiser for Phyllis Busansky, who is running for the House seat in Florida’s 9th district — a seat currently occupied by Republican Mike Bilirakis. (Her likely opponent is the congressman’s son Gus Bilirakis, so you might support her simply on the principle of opposition to dynasties.) The event is from 7 to 9pm at Tabaq Bistro Lounge, 1336 U St NW (near the U Street stop on the green line). Suggested donation levels are $100, $45, and $25. RSVP to launch@bluecatapult.com, and find more details at the Blue Catapult site.

June 12, 2006

Meet Ned Lamont, Lieberman Challenger


If you think liberal bloggers are hard on Joe Lieberman, check out this piece by Paul Bass from the Hartford Courant.

If you’re tired of Lieberman and are in the DC area, you have an opportunity to meet the man who hopes to put an end to his time in the Senate as Bush’s favorite Democrat. Ned Lamont, a Democrat who’s running in the August 8 primary, will be at the Take Back America conference:

Tuesday, June 13, 5-7pm
Solar Suite, Washington Hilton
1919 Connecticut Avenue NW
Washington, DC

You don’t have to go to the conference to attend the event. Donations are requested, but you’re welcome to come and support Lamont even if you can’t afford to give.

June 8, 2006

Five Days Till Virginia Primary


Tuesday, June 13, is the primary in Virginia, in which Democrats will determine who will face Senator George Allen in the November general election. The choices are Jim Webb (warning: background sound), former secretary of the Navy, and Harris Miller, IT lobbyist. Feel free to post about your candidate in the comments.

If you’re in Virginia’s 11th district (parts of Prince William County, Fairfax County, and Fairfax City), you have another choice to make. The Democratic opponent for Rep. Tom Davis will be either Andy Hurst or Ken Longmyer.

If you’re registered in Virginia, please vote. For more information, see Virginia State Board of Elections.


DCDL is a blog by Washington, DC-area members of Drinking Liberally. Opinions expressed are the writers’, not those of Drinking Liberally, which provides no funding or other support for this blog.

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