Monday, March 2, 2009

Fire Dog Lake Email on Ellen Tauscher

President Obama says that allowing bankruptcy judges to write down mortgages is an important part of his plan to arrest the downward spiral of the foreclosure crisis, but corporatist members of Congress and bank lobbyists are trying to stop that.

For every foreclosure in a neighborhood, home values drop by an estimated 1%. Credit Suisse says that if judges have the ability to write down mortgages, it will stem the tide of foreclosures by 20% and it won't cost the taxpayers a single dime.

But banks want taxpayers to bail them out -- and members of Congress like former Wall Street investment banker Ellen Tauscher and her New Democrat Coalition are helping them.

They are bragging that Nancy Pelosi "buckled" under their pressure and now the bill is sidelined at a time when mortgage relief is desperately needed and time is of the essence.

Can you help?

Write a letter to the editor of your local papers (just enter your zip code) saying you expect your Member of Congress to represent you, not the banks, and you'll be watching to see if they oppose Tauscher and her bank lobbyist cronies:

Sign a petition to Nancy Pelosi telling her not to "buckle" to pressure from bank lobbyists working through greedy corporatist Members of Congress, and to act swiftly to give judges the authority they need to write down mortgages:

It's time to let Congress know they need to represent the people who elected them, not bank lobbyists.

Thanks for your help,

Jane Hamsher and the Firedoglake Team

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Accountability Now PAC

New PAC Will Use Primaries to Hold Incumbents to Account:

Effort Will Challenge Vulnerable Members of Congress Who Side with Corporate Interests Instead of Constituents

Click here to donate today!

Washington, DC — Accountability Now PAC announced its plans today to use primaries to hold incumbents to account for voting with corporate interests instead of their constituents. The new PAC is a grassroots effort devoted to compelling real accountability in Washington by closing the gap between citizens and their elected representatives in Washington, DC.

“We need members of Congress to leave the bubble of Washington, D.C. and stand with their constituents,” said Jane Hamsher, founder of and co-founder of Accountability Now. “We need members of Congress to ask the tough questions about continued Wall Street bailouts that reward the donor class, two wars without seeming end, the ceaseless assault on our civil liberties, and other issues that separate the citizenry from the DC cocoon.”

“Accountability Now is an organization built around a single guiding principle: challenging the institutional power structures that make it so easy, so consequence-free for Congress to open up the government coffers for looting by corporate America while people across the country are losing their jobs and their basic constitutional rights while unable to afford basic health care,” said Glenn Greenwald of and co-founder of Accountability Now. “Accountability Now believes that members of Congress in both parties need to hear from their constituents, and that nothing focuses the mind of a politician on listening to citizens better than a primary.”

“Accountability Now PAC will recruit, coordinate, and support primary challenges against vulnerable Congressional incumbents who have become more responsive to corporate America than to their constituents,” said Accountability Now’s new Executive Director, Jeff Hauser. “By empowering the grassroots, Accountability Now will help create the political space needed to enable President Obama to make good on the many progressive policies he campaigned on - such as getting out of Iraq, ensuring access to affordable health care for every man, woman and child, restoring our constitutional liberties and ending torture.”

In 2007, grassroots activists banded together to oust Al Wynn out of office, and it shook House Democrats to their core. Similarly, we learned in 2006 how even a primary challenge that does not win could change behavior, as Jane Harman has been more accountable to the concerns of her constituents after a tough primary race against Marcy Winograd.

Out of these recent lessons, diverse and politically powerful groups have decided to support Accountability Now’s efforts, such as MoveOn, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), DailyKos,, and Democracy for America, 21st Century Democrats and BlogPAC.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Washington Post front-page story

It is great to see the Democratic Party having a debate about how we can optimize our position in DC. At the heart of the debate is making sure we can have the best representatives possible. In CA-10, we have a Representative who is out of line with her district, but the discussion we are now having will be a win for the district.

The voters deserve a choice and the process of democracy is a win for the voters. If the process makes Tauscher a better representative, it is a win. If the voters choose somebody who they think can do better, it is a win. Even having this debate is a win.

No matter what, I don't think we'll see Tauscher standing behind the Bush any longer, which is a win.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Ellen Tauscher Ranked Most Offensive Democrat

Ellen Tauscher Weekly, V2.03

Today, a new project of "top Democrats" launched and named Ellen Tauscher as the Democratic Party's #1 Worst Offender. Called the Working for Us PAC the goal of the new org is to hold people like Tauscher to account for being out of tune with their districts.

This has changed the dynamics of the 2008 CA-10 primary by fundamentally upending conventional wisdom on the race, especially in the following areas:

The Money Race It is now likely that Ellen Tauscher will be the financial underdog in her primary campaign. Since bloggers started targeting her, it has become apparent to everyone that she has lost her ability to cut deals across the aisle, which dries up her corporate PAC support. In fact, considering Tauscher's long-standing feud with Nancy Pelosi, the smart business PACs will contribute to her opponent and kiss up to the Speaker. And Tauscher's New Dems didn't raise much last year even with PAC support.

In 1996, Tauscher spend $1.7 million to buy her seat, but she lost that ability following her divorce. In short, Tauscher has lost access to the two main sources of support that have been there for her in the past.

But her opponent will be able to raise huge money online with DailyKos and Moveon and receive a great many checks from the trial lawyers. We're talking millions.

Even more important is that there will be more than enough easy money to free the challenger from the phone to go out and campaign while Tauscher is begging for donations.

Candidate Recruitment What potential candidates want to hear are things like, "courageous primary challengers will have immediate, substantive, significant support." Removing viability concerns means that we no longer need to find a self-funding candidate, we are free to find the best candidate. And with the emerging time-frame, there is no rush.

Primary campaigns are like recalls, the first question is whether the incumbent should be retired followed by a traditional comparison race.

It makes sense for a challenger to announce early in the quarter to be able to report good fundraising numbers out of the gate. Nobody wants to announce in the summer. That leaves early April or early October. The former turns this into a marathon and we can do better in a sprint. To make a long story short, the smart move isn't until at least the first week in October (setting up a sprint 2 months longer than Lamont).

Until then, it will only be about Tauscher. Not about her compared to somebody else, but about what she is doing.

And now, there is a perfect vehicle to advance the debate on the first question. Working for Us probably has 9 months to keep the focus squarely on Tauscher while organizing the district and raising an army.

Field One huge potential for a challenger is the ability to leverage the entire Bay Area and deploy activists via the 6 different BART stations stretched across Tauscher's district.

With Moveon and Kos working in tandem to electronically mobilize their tens of thousands Bay Area supporters the online potential for offline volunteering is enormous and scalable. The unions have impressive infrastructure in place and taken together there is an army waiting for walk kits and phone lists.

Communication Frank Russo has a great read on the democratizing of ideas that this race is triggering. Tauscher's opponent is going to have real-time message capability across the blogosphere.

Voice in traditional media are going to be held to account -- publicly. This is now the number one primary race in the country and online fact checking is going to keep the discussion in the reality-based world.

And newspapers aren't just going to follow this in print, they are going to do it online. Already, this story has been blogged on by Lisa Vorderbrueggen, Robert Salladay and Josh Richman

In fact, within 70 minutes of the Richam piece it was discovered that Tauscher Press Secretary Kevin Lawlorlied to both the Oakland Tribune and Associated Press.

This isn't suprising, the Tauscher press office also mislead Lisa Vorderbrueggen the day before. Some might call that a pattern. Two things are for sure: Tauscher is going to have a nationalized primary campaign and her press office can't be trusted.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Sacramento Pays Attention

Ellen Tauscher Weekly, V2.02

From the Sacramento Bee:

Inspired by the defeat of U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut in a Democratic primary last year, liberal Democratic bloggers in California are taking aim at a top target in the 2008 elections: Rep. Ellen Tauscher, D-Alamo, a Lieberman ally and chairwoman of the moderate New Democrat Coalition.

In criticizing Tauscher for voting to support the war in Iraq, they've found a powerful ally: Markos Moulitsas ZĂșniga, who runs the Berkeley-founded DailyKos, the most popular liberal blog on the Internet.

Last month, ZĂșniga wrote, "We will have a candidate, and there will be a primary," in Tauscher's district.

Ah, allies.

Saturday, January 6, 2007

CA-10: Let's Take This Primary on a Trial Run

Ellen Tauscher Weekly, V2.01

On St. Patrick's Day 2005, then Congressman Rob Portman was tapped by President George Bush as U.S. Trade Envoy. The progressive blogosphere paid attention within two hours and the very next day, Swing State Project publisher DavidNYC wrote the following on the front page of Daily Kos:

Portman's district is very Republican - it voted for Bush over Gore by a 63-35 margin in 2000. I'd say this makes it extremely unlikely that we'd win this seat. As I understand things, the most Republican district represented by a Democrat is PA's 17th, where Tim Holden sits. His constituents went for Bush over Gore 56-42, but the district was much Dem-friendlier when Holden was first elected. In any event, a 63-35 margin is quite a bit worse.

But I don't think this is only bad news, and I don't think we should write this seat off. Rather, I think an off-year special election (which will likely take place either in August or November) for a seat we have little chance of capturing is the perfect time to get creative and try out new ideas.

As Atrios is fond of observing, being in the opposition can be fun. Similarly, it can also be freeing. I'd love to see local, grassroots/netroots-type Dems get behind a candidate willing to be bold - to do things like Jeff Seemann's highly successful "Campaign Manager for a Day" and whatever daring ideas lie beyond. We can use this race to experiment - to see what works and what doesn't - in plenty of time for the midterm elections next year.

Back then, the OH-02 race had all the numbers going against it, but the initial things that made it worth fighting for were the facts that the major national bloggers were willing to link to good stuff on the race, some pioneers were willing to fight to the point of (actual) potential lawsuits, and there was a vacuum effect because the GOP thought they had it easy and DC Dems indicated little interest in getting involved.

So we fought and learned a great deal. Not only did we fight, but we played the expectations game so effectively that our loss dominated the national media as a win. And the netroots decision to fight despite the odds invigorated the local grassroots to the point where in 2006 Vic Wulsin did better than the Hackett results that were a nationwide story. But nationally, many of the tactics refined during the Ohio 2005 Special Election were used successfully across the country during the 2006 general election. I would suggest that we think of the inevitable primary in California's 10th district along the same lines.

It makes sense for the netroots to decide to fight in CA-10 -- against Ellen Tauscher in the primary.

The netroots may win or may lose, but because of the support the local blogs will receive from national supporters, we will be able to test and pioneer new tactics that Democrats everywhere can re-deploy against Republicans in the general election.

While many Californians are prominent national bloggers, there has never been a single race to force the teamwork that in other states has resulted in a unified group that coordinates offline to win online.

Another benefit is that high profile early races draw people from around the country who believe in themselves to the point where they think they can be an asset in the all-hands-on-deck battles. During Hackett's campaign, a young volunteer drove to Ohio from Florida because she knew deep down inside she had game and was looking for a place to prove it (she is now the chief blogger for the DNC).

So let's take Web 2.0 out for a test drive in California's 10th Congressional District. Let's test and if successful refine the tactics we need to redeploy during the 2008 general election in races nationwide. We have the talent, the national bloggers' links will give us the platform, and even if we don't win the primary we will help win more seats for Speaker Nancy Pelosi in 2008 if we decide to test the next generation of online politics against Ellen Tauscher.

Saturday, December 30, 2006