Sunday, December 17, 2006

Katie Merrill Catapults a Primary in CA-10

Ellen Tauscher Weekly, V1.01
This was the week that the anticipated 2008 primary campaign against Ellen Tauscher transitioned from an idea into reality - with political editors taking note. San Francisco Bay Guardian Executive Editor Tim Redmond labeled it a, "district to watch." SFist Editor Jon Shurkin stated, "it's on." And California Majority Report Editor Donald Lathbury explained one incentive for all of the coverage when he noticed, "CMR's Katie Merrill posted a piece that has generated quite a bit of heat in the blogosphere (not to mention quite a lot of traffic for CMR, go Katie!)."

Indeed, this race will bring many eyeballs to the writing of California pundits and the early attention of the race can almost all be attributed to Katie Merrill. Since so much was written last week, here is the first post in the handy Ellen Tauscher Weekly to keep everyone on the same page moving forward.

CA-04 ellen tauscher mapMonday, December 11, 2006 - Former Ellen Tauscher campaign manager and chief of staff Katie Merrill began the week with the worst political mistake since Gary Hart goaded the press into following him around. For some unknown reason, Katie Merrill described the netroots efforts in 2006 as having "ultimately failed" and suggested people could not be "good Democrats" if her benefactor were to face democracy in the primary.

Within a few hours, there was a Calitics diary pointing out that only a few months earlier Merrill had described herself as a "political Luddite" who knew nothing about online politics. Robert Salladay then picked up the story for the LA Times Political Blog. By mid-afternoon, Ruck Pad had destroyed Merrill's position with a detailed, 8-point rebuttal (that agreed with Katie Merrill's assertion that she had no clue about the blogosphere). Monday evening there was a Calitics post on Tauscher and Republicans along with a recommended diary on MyDD wondering if Merrill was auditioning to be Sean Smith or Dan Gerstein (in reference to the Joe Lieberman staffers whose contempt for democracy served as an online rallying cry that helped Ned Lamont win the 2006 Connecticut primary). Monday was a disaster for Tauscher, but the week got worse.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006 - Markos Moulitsas ZĂșniga, Editor and Publisher of the most read political blog in the world, threw down against Katie Merrill. Kos wrote that he could understand why she feared what he characterized as a, "vicious fight for this seat" but declared, "we will have a candidate, and there will be a primary." Within an hour there was a second diary and a third by dinner time.

At Calitics, there was a long, passionate diary declaring that Ellen Tauscher does not share my values. And Left in SF noted a rumor that, "some bloggers may start a blog specifically to take on Tausher and make her accountable for her actions".

But a short time later something even more remarkable happened. An 18 year old high school student took Congresswoman Tauscher to task. He noted, "Her belief that government is for professional activists and politicians undermines all that netroots, grassroots, and the Democratic Party should stand for. If we want to remain in control of the House and Senate, if we wish to take back the White House, than we've got to be the party of the people and it's Democrats like Tauscher that are standing in our way." And so, but the end of Tuesday night, Katie Merrill had guaranteed the very primary she was seeking to avoid.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006 - The day began with a post by Jane Hamsher, titled, How to Win Friends and Influence People on the popular nationwide blog, Fire Dog Lake. The post picked up where Tuesday night left off in a way that showed a high school student had more political game online than Katie Merrill. But Merrill surfaced a short time later in the comments at CMR, where she stuck her head in the sand by concluding, "On the contrary, my post far from backfired. In fact, the critical responses to my post on CMR and on different blogs prove my point." Uh, yeah. Within two hours she had be given the nickname, Counterproductive Katie. Ruck Pad responded, "Your post backfired completely, insuring that there will be a primary challenge of Tauscher that will be supported locally and nationally. It created a sense of unity and purpose." At Left in SF it was detailed how Merrill had poked a stick in the eyes of people with far more fundraising ability than Tauscher's friends in the DLC.

Thursday, December 13, 2006 - The battle for CA-10 made The Left Coaster in the morning, "In my view, it is counterproductive for her supporters (see here) to make the situation worse by misconstruing the reason why the netroots have an aversion for Rep. Tauscher."

That night the SFist noted, "Now Tauscher is in trouble with the netroots for showing up and not pulling a Jim Webb (Webb, by the way, rules) They're even throwing the "L" word to describe her, you know, Lieberman. The site Calitics has been all over her lately and even has a post from one of her constituents saying that she's really not that nice of a lady. And needless to say, the Kossacks are in full bile spewing mode. There's even talk of running someone against her in the next primary and when her campaign spokesman pooh-poohed the whole thing, the netroots brought the pain. Oh, it's on." The SFist went on to note the conventional wisdom when it comes to soon-to-be Speaker Nancy Pelosi, "It doesn't help that it's well known that Tauscher and Pelosi don't get along."

Friday, December 14, 2006 - In the morning, the issue was revisited by the California Majority Report where the editor suggested, "the potential clash between Rep. Ellen Tauscher and an unknown primary rival is certain to be a topic of discussion here far into the future."

ellen tauscherA short time later, a Calitics article pointed out how Ellen Tauscher had scrubbed her official government website of a notorious photo of her and President George Bush that had been making the rounds on the blogs. As Jane Hamsher noted at Fire Dog Lake, "Don't worry, Ellen. We'll remember."

Saturday, December 15, 2006
The website scrubbing scandal entered Day 2 on Saturday with the SFist noting, "Tauscher's site may have been scrubbed clean of the picture, but that picture now exists all over the place."

Late Saturday night, the picture and the scandal were on the front page of Daily Kos, "And if you're wondering what a netroots-backed primary challenge looks like from day one, read this. We're going to have fun with this future race."