The revolution will not be televised, but it will be blogged. In a follow up to his Hotline article on progressive bloggers, Ron Brownstein covers some of the same turf in his L.A. Times column, Campaign Battlefield May Grow: Liberals activists want Democrats to storm congressional races, even on GOP’s turf.
Last year, Lois Herr, a former corporate executive, entered the race against Pitts just before the filing deadline. She drew one-third of the vote.
But this year, Herr is seeking a rematch, and her uphill bid against Pitts could mark a crucial test for liberal activists pressuring Democrats to radically revise their strategy for recapturing the House of Representatives.
An array of liberal Internet activists is urging Democrats to vastly expand the 2006 congressional battlefield by recruiting and funding challengers in dozens of districts that have been virtually conceded to the GOP, like the one represented by Pitts.
Imagine that! Bloggers actually want the Democratic Party to take Howard Dean’s 50 state strategy seriously.
Brownstein is actually covering the blogosphere:
Those calls are drawing new energy from Democrat Paul Hackett’s narrow defeat this month in a special election in an Ohio district where Republicans usually romp. Hackett’s showing “proved that you could build the party if you pay attention to every race,” said Markos Moulitsas Zuniga, founder of the popular liberal website the Daily Kos.
The DCCC braintrust is not quite as ossified as the DLC, but it’s close:
Rep. Rahm Emanuel of Illinois, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, has responded to the pressure from liberal activists by saying he intends next year to fund Democratic challengers for 50 Republican-held seats, about double the number the campaign committee backed in 2004.
But the committee, and many leading Democratic strategists, say that funding a wider circle of challengers in heavily Republican areas would divert money better spent on districts more closely balanced between the parties.
Mark Gersh, a longtime strategist for Democrats, said the liberal websites and blogs were right that the party needed to expand the battlefield for House seats.
“But to expand it into districts where [Democrats] have no chance of winning is absolutely crazy,” he said.
The DCCC doesn’t get it. What’s crazy is giving hundreds of millions of dollars to good buddies of Bob Schrum and Al From for expensive campaign commercials. I’m still suspicious of The New Democrat Network, if for no other reason than the fact that the DLC still has a link to them on their website, but Simon Rosenberg gets it:
The dispute, complete with incendiary attacks on the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee from some liberal websites, marks the latest disagreement between the Democratic political hierarchy and a left-leaning Internet activist base demanding a more aggressive strategy to regain power.
“The challenge the bloggers are laying on the table is to not concede and not accept becoming a minority party,” said Simon Rosenberg, president of NDN, a centrist Democratic group that has befriended Internet activists. “Their argument is correct. If we really want to win in 2006 and 2008, we have to expand the playing field.”
Of course, everybody except the DCCC and the DLC is crazy:
In an article last week, Jerome Armstrong, co-founder of the popular liberal website MyDD.com, called on Democrats to run “Hackett-like operations” against every Republican House member.
But Gersh argued that it would be a mistake to build a strategy around the Ohio example, because special elections often produced surprising results that didn’t necessarily offer clues about the general election to follow.
Diverting money to long-shot contests is “what the Republicans would want to see,” Gersh said. “This kind of craziness would exactly play into Republican hands.”
Here’s a round-up of some relevant articles:
DCCC: Leave No District Behind, by Tim Tagaris at Swing State Project.
DCCC: How Slow Can You Go?, by Bob Brigham at Swing State Project.
More Hackett Jobs, by Jerome Armstrong at Tom Paine.
DCCC & challenging all 435 seats in 2006, by Jerome Armstrong at MyDD.
An introductory effort at two way communication with the blogosphere from the DCCC The DCCC, the Blogosphere, and Progressive Movements: A Sincere Thanks and Challenge, posted by John Lapp at MyDD.
A Model for Contesting them All – Blue 7th PAC, by Nathan at MyDD.
Those are just some of the highlights in an important dialogue between the Democratic Party and the blogosphere. Let the conversation continue . . .