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.