the blog of DC Drinking Liberally

January 10, 2006

Democratic Win in Virginia Tonight!


The Democrats took a seat away from the Republicans in the Virginia House of Delegates today. Democrat Shannon Valentine defeated Republican Michael Harrington by 57.5 to 42.4 percent in a special election and will take her seat tomorrow, representing the 23rd District, which includes Lynchburg.

The election was held to fill the seat vacated by moderate Republican Preston Bryant, who was appointed by Gov. Tim Kaine to be secretary of natural resources. Valentine’s win brings the House composition to 57 Republicans, 40 Democrats, and 3 independents, so Democrats still have some work to do, but they’re continuing to move in the right direction after gaining in November.

See coverage at Raising Kaine, Waldo Jaquith, and Daily Kos.

November 29, 2005

Cillizza Strikes Again


I complained a while back about a gratuitous attack on Howard Dean by Washington Post blogger Chris Cillizza. Since then I’ve seen more indications of right-wing hackishness in his blog, The Fix, but haven’t bothered to write about them — until today, when I ran across the third example of a pattern I’ve come to recognize. Cillizza has a habit of throwing in an irrelevant fact (often statistical) to tilt a story in a direction that favors Republicans.

The first time I noticed was last month, in the first installment of his “Friday Line” roundups of races to watch. He listed 10 Senate seats he thought might change hands, and then ended the post with “If every Senate seat listed above changed hands in 2006 — and I’m NOT saying they will — the Republicans would still keep their majority.” But he listed 6 Republican seats and 4 Democratic ones, so if all changed hands that would be a net gain of only 2 for the Democrats — and a pretty bizarre political event. If just the Republican seats flipped — a much more likely event, though still very unlikely — that would give the Democrats the majority. The statistic about all seats changing hands was completely irrelevant.

Then yesterday Cillizza wrote about Randy “Duke” Cunningham’s resignation and included this:

The San Diego-area district is tough sledding for Democrats; President Bush won an 11-point victory there in 2004, outperforming his statewide showing by 21 percent.

Now, the 11-point win by Bush means something, but how is the statistic at the end relevant? A Democratic candidate hoping to take the seat doesn’t need to outdo Kerry’s California percentage but only needs to beat whatever Republican is running. It doesn’t matter how much more Republican the district is than California as a whole; the only thing that counts is how Republican the district is in absolute terms (and how enthusiastic those voters are currently about the Republican Party). The “21 percent” number is just a distraction that makes things look better for Republicans, at least if readers aren’t paying attention.

Finally, today Cillizza gives us something that could be useful: a “Political Scandal Scorecard”. But as you may have guessed, he manages to slant it with an irrelevant fact. It’s not that he excluded anything going on in the White House:

We limited the scorecard to members of Congress and governors currently in office to keep the list manageable.

It’s that he violated his own restriction when he found that otherwise he could only work in one Democrat (Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich):

Former Rep. Frank Ballance (D-N.C.): Yes, we said we’re limiting this list to current members, but this is a fairly recent case so we’re making a small exception to the rule.

Ballance (interesting name for someone introduced only to supply fake balance) resigned from the House in June 2004, so he wasn’t even a recently departed member of the current Congress. What possible excuse is there for inserting him into the scorecard, except to slightly thicken the veneer of bipartisanship in the scandal list?

November 9, 2005

Kaine Wins!


Monday night Bush went to Richmond to embrace Jerry Kilgore and ask Virginians to support the Republican candidate for governor. Tuesday night we found out what Virginians’ answer was: a slap in the face for Bush. Virginians overwhelming feel the country is on the wrong track, and they elected Democrat Tim Kaine by a decisive 52 to 46 percent. The result was also a rejection of Kilgore’s relentless negative ads and dirty tricks, which were managed by former Rove colleague Scott Howell.

Republicans also lost seats in the Virginia House of Delegates (though they maintain a large majority). Among the five candidates endorsed by DC for Democracy, four won, including two — David Poisson and David Marsden — who gained seats that had been Republican.

There were other Democratic victories yesterday as well (along with some defeats), as Kos summarizes.

So come out this week and celebrate with Drinking Liberally. We’re also celebrating the first anniversary of the founding of the first DC chapter. Join the fun either tonight at Mark and Orlando’s for the DCDL birthday party or at the traditional place and time tomorrow at Timberlake’s — or perhaps yesterday’s news rates a two-night celebration. (See the upper left corner for addresses and times, and for links to sign up for the announcement lists.)

November 8, 2005

Today’s the Day!


The Virginia election is today. If you live in Virginia, don’t forget to vote, and make sure all your progressive and moderate friends and family vote as well. The outcome will turn on which side does a better job of activating its supporters. Which direction for the future will Virginians support?

November 5, 2005

Bizarre Smear Campaign in Ward 3


When last we heard from early-bird Ward 3 council candidate Jonathan Rees, he was spamming Craigslist and papering my neighborhood with campaign posters. He’s still up to those things (see some of the Craigslist posts and fallout), and his campaign site (available at both www.rees-for-citycouncil.com and the oddly generic www.dc2006.net) still reminds me of the Time Cube site, but things have gotten weirder recently.

Now that current Ward 3 councilmember Kathy Patterson is planning to run for council chair, Sam Brooks has entered the Ward 3 race. Recently someone has been posting white-supremacist and anti-gay messages on Craigslist and other forums under Brooks’s name, as reported in the Post and the Blade. Rees denies any connection to the messages.

But some newer anti-Brooks messages have Rees’s fingerprints all over them.


November 4, 2005

Kilgore Embraces Bush


Like many Republican candidates recently, Jerry Kilgore has been keeping Bush at arm’s length as the president’s approval ratings plummet. But desperate times call for desperate measures:

The White House is expected to announce this morning that President Bush will hold a last-minute, election-eve rally for Virginia gubernatorial candidate Jerry W. Kilgore in Richmond, sources in Virginia said.

Apparently the idea is to energize the hard core of Republicans who still worship Dubya, but it’s a risky strategy when, as of last month, Virginians aren’t fans of Bush’s performance: 56 percent disapprove, and only 41 percent approve, of the job he’s doing as president. I guess Kilgore is hoping that the 56 percent won’t be paying attention when he’s holding his rally with the Failure in Chief.

If Bush stands beside Kilgore on Monday and then the voters of Virginia reject him on Tuesday, that will be a remarkable slap in the president’s face from a red state. If you want to help that happen, there are plenty of opportunities between now and Tuesday to volunteer in Virginia.

November 2, 2005

Rovian Tactics in the Virginia Governor’s Race


If you need motivation to get involved in Virginia in the next few days, read this Nation article, “Hitler in Virginia”, about the Rove associate who’s handling the ads for Kilgore. He even has Rove’s concern for truth:

Nearly two weeks after Virginia Republican gubernatorial candidate Jerry Kilgore ran two of the most controversial commercials in recent political history, his media consultant would not stand by their truthfulness. “I’d love to belabor that with you,” Scott Howell told me when I asked him about the accuracy of his advertisements. “I just don’t have the — I can’t stand to talk to somebody in the media and be wrong.” He then described his ads as “tasteful.”

Other “tasteful” ads Howell has been responsible for include those used by Republican senatorial candidate Saxby Chambliss in Georgia to defeat his opponent, Senator Max Cleland — who lost three limbs in Vietnam — by associating him with Osama bin Laden, as well as Bush’s “Safer, Stronger” reelection ad, which featured fake firefighters and a shot of a dead body at Ground Zero. Let’s do what we can to see that the slime doesn’t work this time.

(Via Raising Kaine)

November 1, 2005

Last Week to Help Virginia Democrats


The Virginia election is next Tuesday, so if you want to help the Democrats win, now’s the time to act. Here’s the last message from Tanya Tarr at VA Victory 2005, with opportunities from now through the weekend and on through election day:


October 19, 2005

Bratwurst for a Bluer Virginia


DC for DemocracyDC for Democracy is holding an Oktoberfest fundraiser this Friday, October 21, to raise money and recruit volunteers for the five candidates they’ve endorsed for the Virginia House of Delegates:

The sausagy, cheesy, beery, winy fun begins at 6:30 at Christ Church Parish Hall, 620 G Street SE. The cost is $35, but there’s a special rate of $25 for people who pledge to volunteer.

DC4D’s Charles Allen has a few words of encouragement:

As you may know, DC for Democracy targeted 5 northern Virginia House of Delegate candidates. Each is a progressive voice. And each took time to understand our issues, the need for DC voting rights, and will become good neighbors to the District. But it is crunch time now. Only 3 weeks remain until the November elections. You’ve probably seen the polls where Democratic candidate Tim Kaine is now tied or leading in the Governor’s race (you may even have seen some of the disgusting ads put on TV by his Republican opponent). We need to make sure we can beat them in every race — up and down the ticket.

Details and RSVP

October 17, 2005

Eat, Drink, and Defeat DeLay


If you’re looking for a way to celebrate Tom DeLay’s troubles and add to them at the same time, here’s the latest message from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, about a low-cost fundraiser:

Over the past few weeks, stories have been streaming out about Tom DeLay’s vulnerability in the 2006 elections. It’s in this environment that we will be kicking off Lampson Victory 2006 — the DCCC’s joint effort with Nick Lampson’s campaign, the man who will help unseat the most powerful Republican in the history of Congress. The media is getting the message that the 2006 elections will be a whole new ball game, that no Republican — no matter how powerful or how comfortable — will be safe.

This is why we are celebrating tomorrow night, and I hope you will join Nick Lampson, Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, Chairman Rahm Emanuel and the DCCC for the beginning of a new day for America. Help us kickoff our new joint effort with Lampson for Congress, Lampson Victory 2006, and enjoy a night of food and drink with the Democrats leading our charge for change.

Lampson Victory 2006 Kick-Off
Date: October 18, 2005
Time: 5-7pm
Address: Democratic Headquarters, 430 South Capitol Street, SE, Washington, DC 20003
RSVP and Donate

I truly hope you can join us.

John Lapp
Executive Director, DCCC


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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