Thursday, February 16, 2006

Another betrayal...

The Democrats shot themselves in the foot again, when they kicked Paul Hackett out of the Ohio Senate race because his opponent Sherrod Brown's "fund-raising abilities made him the better Senate candidate. By the end of last year, Mr. Brown had already amassed $2.37 million, 10 times what Mr. Hackett had raised."

Just in case you wondered what qualities make "a better Senate candidate": in our country, the most important qualification for elective office is not how smart you are, how highly principled you are, your stand on taking care of old folks and children, whether you're pro- or anti-business, nor your position on the new "Cold War," but rather, how skilled you or your consultants are at raising money.

Never mind that Democratic leaders Harry Reid and Charles Schumer were the ones who urged Hackett to get into the race in the first place.

Never mind that when he ran for Congress last year, Hackett came within an eyeblink of winning the race against a Republican in a Republican precinct.

No, the only thing that matters in politics is whether you've got the support of the big spenders.

It doesn't have to be that way. Voluntary publicly funded election campaigns (Clean Money) are available in statewide races in Maine, Arizona and Connecticut. This system allows candidates who have genuine grassroots support to rely on a competitive amount of public funding for their election campaigns.

So you--the candidate--don't have to spend a third of your time and a third of your funds dialing for dollars in a money race that's spiraling out of control.

So the race can be about steps you wish to take to slow global warming. Or about what you think we should do about the coming Medicare crisis. Or whether or not that pristine remnant of wilderness in a corner of your state should be saved in perpetuity for its wildness alone or whether the oil beneath it should be drilled to provide another week's worth of gas for our beloved SUVs.

On January 30 here in California a bill to bring Clean Money public campaign funding to California passed in the Assembly. It didn't pass because the legislators thought it was a good idea. It passed because Assembly leaders received thousands of letters and phone calls in support of Clean Money. Because many of us took time to go to Sacramento to lobby for this bill. Hundreds of us wrote letters to the editor in cities all over California.

The future of this bill is still uncertain. We're gearing up for the fight in the California Senate. Then the governor has to sign it. Then it has to go to a vote of the people. The point is, this legislation depends on the support of the grass roots, not the Democratic establishment. Thanks to our pressure, the California Democratic Party endorsed Clean Money in principle at their state convention last year.

That said, the national Democratic Party is on life support. Unless we rise up to take charge back from the political hacks and moneychangers, there will soon be no Democratic Party left.

Get out your pen. Pick up your phone. Email your legislator, your Congress person, your Senator. We can't leave the fate of our aspirations in the hands of the Democratic Party establishment.


At 2/16/06, 9:08 PM, Blogger steve said...

Speaking of unpopular things to support, according to TruthOut, Senator Feingold is even now persuing his one-person attempt to filibuster the Patriot Act. No other Senators will join him, Republican or Democrat.

I doubt even calling our Democratic Senators could convince them that such a fruitless quest is worthwhile. But it sure would be nice for someone to try. I bet Feingold feels pretty lonely.


At 2/19/06, 8:17 AM, Blogger the era said...

Hi Weed-Gardener!

Yep, another betrayal. I had posted a similar link on my site. The DLC is pathetic. Who cares if Sherrod Brown is a super liberal. He's been in politics for nearly thirty years and most have never heard of him. Not a good sign. Money, money, money indeed.

That's not exactly why I'm writing. You see, I have other motives see.

While looking at your profile I noticed one of your favorite movies is Groundhog Day. Yeeeaaahhh! And the Right living is right on, no pun intended.

Okay, get to the motive, get to the motive! I posted a song on my blog "Little Red Wagons", I wrote sometime ago. Check it out and let me know what you think. If it isn't your cup o' tea that's fine.

Jason aka Pitchfork aka The Era

At 2/21/06, 2:55 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I followed the links from to TheEra and then your article on National Security. One more hit. Good work.
I forget where I read this, but the illegal NSA wiretapping is probably more about about blackmail than anything else. Thus the relative silence from those who could do something about it.

I think you're wrong about Brown. I don't know much other than what I've read in Mother Jones and InTheseTimes(one of my favorite publications), but it will be a real shame if Hackett refuses to give his support to Brown. Maybe Brown has more money because he really has more grassroots support. In These Times seems to like him, and I'm in general agreement with ITT on other issues. Time to stand together.

Sorry for the cut and paste-

"Brown believes his long progressive record will help rather than hinder. For 10 years I won in a congressional district that was slightly Republican,Brown says. I think that voters that dont agree with me on some issues will still say, Browns on my side.On economic issues Im clearly not just in the mainstream, but in the great majority. The overwhelming number of people think the drug companies, the oil companies and the insurance companies rip Americans off. They dont like the Medicare bill, they want a minimum wage increase and they think our trade agreements hurt our country. On every one of those issues, I beat DeWine. I'll debate those with anybody."

At 2/21/06, 7:14 AM, Blogger Weedgardener said...


Thanks for your comment.

My point is not whether Brown is a great guy or not. I'm sure he is. It's that the criterion for party support is fundraising ability, not character or message. This is the tragedy of American politics.

Something about Paul Hackett moved people enough to nearly elect him in a Republican district. Now we'll never get a chance to find out what that was.


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