Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Sound Off Part II: Madrid's Madness by Peter Bafangazi

Editor's Note: This Sound Off was submitted by Peter Bafangazi as a follow-up to his original Sound Off on this topic, which can be found here. Sound Off is a sometimes feature of this blog designed to give our readers a chance to post their personal views. If you'd like to submit a Sound Off of your own, use the email link near the top of the right-hand sidebar on this page.

I'm sure that some of your readers will find my focus on the political machinations of New Mexico's political leaders to be inappropriate at a time of national emergency. And though Sen. Bingaman, Sen. Domenici, Rep. Pearce and Rep. Wilson believe that now is not the time for finger pointing, we do have to remember that the thousands of deaths that likely occurred as a result of the levee's breach and the government's slow and paltry initial response, could arguably have been avoided, or at the least lessened, had our elected leaders heeded the warning signs, listened to the experts and reevaluated their priorities.

I say THEIR (in reference to our elected leaders) priorities because we can't possibly hope to refocus our great nation's priorities away from terrorism, Tax Cuts, Social Security "reform", Religion and multi-billion dollar pork projects, if the first priority of our elected officials is political ascendance instead of national service.

Without carrying on too much, this brings me to Patricia Madrid, who previously I speculated was backing away from running against Heather Wilson in order to run against fellow Democrat Diane Dennish. I also speculated that Madrid's Madness may not stop at g/running for Lt. Governor, but may even include going after Big Bill himself by exchanging favors with perpetual presidential candidate and eventual primary opponent to the Gov, John Edwards. Well, sometimes being right doesn't feel good...It feels scary. Lo and behold, this showed up in my email box the other day.

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(Click on image for larger version.)

I swear I didn't know about this before writing you in late August. Presumably a scan of an actual mailed invitation and not an invite to yours truly. You can't make up amateur machiavellian crap like this. (And remember, funds donated to Madrid's PAC can't be used on a Congressional race.)

I'm sure that some out there are saying: "Hey, Peter, why do you care if Madrid challenges Denish? So what if she runs for land commissioner?," and "why do you want Madrid to run for Congress so bad?"  My answer is the following: I don't give a shit if Madrid wants to be governor or if she and our Democratic Party Chair have some sort of plan to further their own political careers to the detriment of the Governor and the Lt. Governor. I don't care that the Governor doesn't care that these people are screwing him. Although you've got to wonder if he's blind or if he just likes getting screwed from behind. What I care about is that all three branches of the federal government are in the hands of a Republican party that has proven itself time and again to be either criminally incompetent or criminally negligent or both.

It hasn't even been a year since the re-election of George W. Bush, we have 3 more years of his "leadership" ahead of us, the country is going down the god damn drain and we're sitting on our fucking hands while B team Democrats in the state are preoccupied with grinding personal axes and fulfilling egomaniacal ambitions that have no chance of being realized. For New Mexico to do its part in getting this country off its present collision course with reality, it has to replace Wilson and Pearce pronto. Swinging the balance of Congress in 2006 is America's only chance before 2008 to slow down the train wreck that is the Bush administration. Wilson and Pearce took the brakes off by signing off on every initiative of the Bush administration. New Mexico needs responsible leaders that understand that their job isn't only to garner favor with the President or even their own party leaders, but to represent the best interest of all voting members in their district, regardless of party affiliation, class, race or financial support.

So here it is: I don't know Patricia Madrid and I don't know if she could even beat Heather Wilson were she to run. I know that the DCCC wants her to run because they think she can take Heather down and I know that means money in the bank to finance the operation. I know that there are a lot of compelling reasons for Madrid to run for Congress, but I would hope the most compelling would be that she knows the country needs a change of direction. Being a public servant is a sacrifice. As we pass the fourth aniversary of September 11th and we witness the heroics of first responders in New Orleans and throughout the Gulf Coast region, we are reminded that being a public servant means making a personal sacrifice for the public good. Sometimes this means running in races you aren't guaranteed to win and against people you don't necessarily dislike.  If Patricia Madrid runs for Land Commissioner or Lt. Governor, she'll confirm what we always suspected -- she's a politician and not a public servant.

Instead, I hope that Patricia Madrid contemplates what another term for Heather would actually mean, draws on her emotions and takes seriously her responsibilities as a public servant. It is so critical that we have a change of direction in this country, and that Democrats like Patsy step up to the plate to strengthen our party, our state and our nation, rather than just trying to maximize their own personal political power.

September 13, 2005 at 09:49 AM in Sound Off! | Permalink | Comments (5)

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Sound Off: Madrid's Madness by Peter Bafangazi

Editor's Note: This Sound Off was submitted by Peter Bafangazi. Sound Off is a sometimes feature of this blog designed to give our readers a chance to post their own personal views. If you'd like to submit a Sound Off of your own, use the email link near the top of the right-hand sidebar on this page.

Consider the following:

You're the first female ever elected Attorney General in the State's history, the first Hispanic female elected Attorney General of any state in the nation.  The State's past AG's have gone on to hold federal office -- Jeff Bingaman becoming Senator, Tom Udall becoming Representative of the 3rd CD -- and now it's your turn to move on, but where to?  You've done a pretty good job as AG: fighting against such things as ID theft and child predators on the internet and scored political points on a  bunch of issues. You look in the mirror, and think, "gosh darnit, I'm good enough and people like me. Heck, they need me...but in what office?"

The Governor of the State is running for reelection even though he will probably only serve two years of his next term before running for President. The Lt. Governor is running for reelection and will most likely become Governor when Big Bill makes his move. Sen. Jeff Bingaman, with a 70+ approval rating, is running for reelection and there's no chance of beating him in a primary. Sen. Pete Domenici isn't up for election until 2008 and will probably retire, in which case, word on the street is that Heather is the heir apparent, even if Steve Pearce has something to say about it. So Senate is out of the question, at least till 2008, and then even if you made it out of a primary, you'd still have to face a tough Republican in the general. No guarantee of winning there.  Hmm... what to run for? Hmmm.....

2002 was going to be your year to run for Governor, but Big Bill nixed that. In 2004 you got your own little piece of the limelight courtesy of John Edwards, but that didn't last too long.  The question is, what do you want to do? Where do you see yourself 10 years from now? Governor? (maybe) Lt. Governor? No, not good enough. Congress? Mmm, maybe you'd prefer Senate? Senate wouldn't be bad. President? No, not likely. Vice President? What?

Yeah, Vice President. Hmm. Like the sound of that don't you? After all, John Edwards is running again, you were a prominent part of his campaign and he was just in Albuquerque with you for that living wage rally. Vice President ! Hell, what would be a better way to stick it to Bill in 2008 then by becoming the Vice Presidential pick for the candidate that inevitably beats Big Bill?! Ok, so what do we do between 2006 and 2008 to increase your profile, your value on the market?

Well, lets consider the political landscape:

Disapproval of the President and his policies is hovering around 56%, 64% of Americans rate Republican job performance in Congress as only fair / poor (highest levels of disastisfaction with the direction of the country since  the 1997 shutdown of the federal government by Newt).

In polling of likely voters conducted as recently as July 19-25 by Greenberg Quinlan Rossner Research, 48% of respondents said they would vote for the Democrat compared to the 41% who said they would vote for the Republican in upcoming congressional elections.

In polling for ABC News/Wall Street Journal conducted July 8-11, 1009 adults were asked "In the next election for U.S. Congress, do you feel that your representative deserves to be reelected, or do you think it is time to give a new person a chance?" 46% said it was time to give a new person a chance, 41% said their current rep deserves to reelected and 13% said they were unsure. 

a) Run for Congress against Heather Wilson, a champion of the very policies that have led this nation in a decidedly wrong direction. Challenge Heather to defend her defense of bad policies backed by bad intelligence backed by bad actors. Help put America on the right course by taking one of the Republican party's rising stars out of office. Become a leader in Congress.

b) Run for Land Commissioner. Heck it's statewide office. You could beat Pat Lyons (maybe). The job deals with the environment and you like the environment. Plus, it's an untraditional career choice that might gain you some good PR -- you can say you did it because you love the environment: birds, trees, land, etc.

c) Challenge the incumbent Lt. Governor and fellow Democrat Diane Denish. This isn't like any race for Lt. Governor we've had before, it's a race to replace Bill when he runs for President in 2008. Figure he's going to have to step down from office sometime after the 2007 legislative session --figure late March 07' -- and then the Lt. Governor becomes Governor. You win, and you can position yourself for 2008. No one shows interest in having you run on their ticket so, what, you could be Governor for almost 11 years -- finish up Bill's remaining three plus eight years of your own. 

d) none of the above.
e) all of the above.
f) some and none of all of the above.

Well, if you're Patricia Madrid, evidently you call your favorite celebrity gossip columnist, Joe Monahan and contemplate the sun, the moon and the stars of your political career before all New Mexico. Indeed, that's what Patricia did last week when, according to Monahan, Madrid "did everything but take a Heather challenge off the table when she phoned in Monday to comment about the blog and La Politica." Madrid, term limited as AG, actually stated that she was considering a challenge to Lt. Governor Diane Denish, as well as a run for Land Commissioner, in which case she would likely square off against Albuquerque City Councilor and rising star, Martin Heinrich, in the primary.

This revelation raises worrisome questions about the priorities of the State's Democratic elected officials and the ability of the State Party's current administration to capitalize on the changing tide in the nation against Republican dominance of government. 

Why would Patricia Madrid, a Democrat who has been heavily courted by party leaders at the national level to run against Heather, instead wish to challenge fellow Dem, Lt. Governor Denish in a primary, potentially splitting the party?

One answer that comes to mind is that Patricia Madrid has gone bonkers and actually thinks she could defeat Diane Denish on the issues. Wait, what issues? Denish arguably has more experience running New Mexico than any other Lt. Gov in recent history, filling in for Bill Richardson every time he leaves the state. And Denish has deftly governed the State Senate through three of the  busiest and most contentious legislative sessions in history, all while championing the welfare, education and health of New Mexico's children. All in all, it's hard to find a Democrat who thinks Denish isn't doing a bang-up job as Lt. Governor.

A more likely, but purely speculative answer, is two fold: family and money.

Patsy wouldn't float the trial balloon of running against Denish if she didn't think she had a shot at actually pulling it off, meaning that there are actually some people out there are probably encouraging Madrid to jump in the ring against Denish. And if you've ever attended an event with the State Party Chair and the AG, then undoubtedly you will recall one or the other mentioning that they're cousins.

The Wertheim link may be convoluted, but nonetheless an important one to consider. Think of Miles Nelson, a guy who got no help from the party establishment when running for Congress, who got beat and (rightfully) got angry and (not rightfully) split. Wertheim ran twice, 1996 and 2000, and got no help from the Party establishment either time. Who was the Party Chair in 1996? Diane Denish.

(This is the Rumsfeldian portion of the article where I ask myself rhetorical questions and then give answers anyway.) Is it possible Wertheim has a beef with the Lt. Gov? Yes. He's human. Could it be that Wertheim is tired of his failures as Chair being compared to Denish's successes as Chair? Don't know, but you've got to think he's compensating for something more than just his height.

Regardless, the Wertheim / Denish and Denish / Madrid splits are as well known in some political circles as the Madrid / Governor split is by the general news-reading public. It's a political reality, meaning that if Madrid is serious about running for Lt. Governor and if blood is thicker than water, then Wertheim sides with Cousin Patsy. So what does this mean? Nothing, except that if Patsy goes ahead with challenging Diane, she would most likely have some backing from some Party elites.

On the money front, running for Congress isn't cheap and would require a lot of cash, which Madrid doesn't seem to have much difficulty raising for her 527 PAC, Justice for America Inc., which according to May 2005 filings with the Secretary of State's office had over $126,000 in contributions. However, Madrid can't use a penny of that money in a run for federal office, meaning she could only use it in a statewide race, hence Lt. Governor or Land Commissioner.

Another factor to consider is that Patricia doesn't think she could actually beat Heather Wilson if she were to challenge her for the first CD, so the AG is just stirring the political pot to see what rises to the top.

This sort of political behavior is what gives politicians a bad rap; self-interested instead of selfless. The cavalier manner in which the AG tossed out the idea of challenging Denish or jumping into the the Land Commissioner's race, where she would ulimately have more cash than Heinrich, is the type of behavior that makes even friends cringe. New Mexico needs people who can and will put New Mexico first, instead of their own political careers, and we need them badly.

August 31, 2005 at 02:09 PM in Local Politics, Sound Off! | Permalink | Comments (6)

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Sound Off From "progressive dem": Who Will Take On Heather?

Editor's Note: I'm bumping this up from the comments section of several posts. I don't know who "progressive dem" is, but I think he or she is asking the right questions at the right time about who we can get to run against Rep. Heather Wilson (R-CD1) in 2006.

As Monahan reports, NO-ONE is stepping up to run against Scary Heather, despite the fact that the DNC is strongly pushing its 50 State Strategy in challenging Republicans. How can we allow this to happen? I know that finding, developing and supporting candidates is one of the most vital functions of the State Dem Party. However, years of neglect in Party building and member recruitment, coupled with establishment efforts to keep out "new blood" that doesn't toe the line of the bigwigs, has resulted in a very small and weak pool of potential candidates. Yes men and yes women usually don't make passionate and inspiring candidates.

It seems cruelly ironic that Miles Nelson, one of the most popular and passionate outsider candidates to date , was eternally stymied by the Governor and the powers that be when he ran for the chance to go up against Wilson last time. You know what happened. Now Miles lives out of the district and NOT ONE DEM is stepping up to the plate.

WHAT CAN WE DO ABOUT IT? Let's hear your thoughts after you read what "progressive dem" has to say. Can we come up with a candidate? -BW

Posted by: progressive dem | Aug 24, 2005 8:04:58 AM:

Netroots Candidate Recruitment

In this morning's blog, political watcher Joe Monahan reports that "no serious challenger" has emerged to take on Heather Wilson.

This is a major opportunity for Albuquerque's progressive community. Here's the challenge: let's recruit a strong, dynamic progressive candidate to run against New Hampshire's favorite daughter.

The establishment in Washington and Santa Fe have failed to annoint a candidate and bestow that person with hundreds of thousands of corporate dollars. Their failure of leadership has given the progressive community a golden opportunity to recruit and unite around a strong progressive voice that can take back New Mexico 1!

Heather Wilson is beatable - and she must be defeated this year lest she make a strong run for Dominici's soon-to-be vacated Senate seat. Bush's popularity is at an all time low and with divisive issues like Social Security remaining on this year's Congressional docket, Wilson could be more vulnerable than ever.

Now is the time to defeat her. Who should we recruit?

August 24, 2005 at 12:17 PM in Candidates & Races, Democratic Party, Sound Off! | Permalink | Comments (28)

Monday, August 08, 2005

Protesting Bush's War

I see that Joe Monahan is bagging New Mexico's Democratic Party and elected officials for not criticizing Bush's Iraq War. He also wonders where the anti-war movement is in New Mexico and claims there's isn't much of one because "What's left of the "Left" is apparently confined to wheelchairs, too old to get out and protest."

I guess ole Joe doesn't get out much.

There have been numerous anti-war events in many parts of the state since before the Iraq war began, and these have been publicized via emails, flyers, websites and at meetings. We can't help it that the mainsteam media doesn't cover this story.

Dscn0452

(Photo from Saturday's peace and anti-nuclear proliferation rally in Los Alamos on the 60th anniversary of the Hiroshima bombing. No prominent Dem was in attendance. Click photo for larger image.)

Monahan also infers that because of a lack of interest or energy, few will protest the war during Bush's visit to Sandia Labs today to sign the energy company giveaway known as the energy bill. This just MIGHT be because the Bush minions have kept the exact time and place of his visit secret, like they attempt to do with most information that should rightfully be publicly available.

From piecing together snippets of info, we know Bush will sign the bill sometime today somewhere within Sandia Labs with Senators Domenici and Bingaman present. No doubt he'll fly in at a Kirtland AFB runway. Neither  location is open to the public at large and surely they won't allow any gathering of citizens to protest or otherwise see or be seen by our timid President.

However, Monahan does have a point about the reluctance of Democratic Party officials and officeholders to criticize Bush on the Iraq war. If you click through to the continuation of this post you'll see the Bring Home the Troops Resolution passed by County Dem Parties including Bernalillo, Santa Fe, Los Alamos and San Juan. It also passed unanimously at the Party's State Central Committee meeting this past April. Yet a link to it and other Resolutions passed by the DPNM is buried on the State Party's website, in the Press Release archive for April 23rd. I wonder why that is.

I do know many Party members have requested the addition of a more prominent link to the Resolutions, to no avail. It's also very frustrating that the official minutes of the SCC meeting, including an official transcript of the approved Resolutions, have yet to be issued by the Party's Secretary, Elena Moreno-Sparks. This despite numerous phone calls and emails from SCC members and others.

It's hard to be a member of an opposition Party that seems afraid to oppose Bush's actions, lies and mistaken policies loudly, passionately and publicly, isn't it? Pussyfooting around in criticizing Bush, coupled with what seem to be a serious lack of transparency and organization, is a hard pill to swallow for those of us who feel the urgency of the moment.

The recent special congressional election in Ohio, where anti-war Iraq war vet Paul Hackett almost beat the Republican candidate in a massively Republican district, clearly shows Dems should be out there loud and clear on the folly and negative consequences of this war. And yet, even there, the Dem Party's DCCC gave Hackett support only very late in the race, after Democracy for America and bloggers at My DD and Daily Kos raised more than $400,000 and helped build a large volunteer force for Hackett.

I guess it's just more evidence of how disconnected Party leaders are from rank and file Democrats , as well as a growing segment of Americans in general. You'd think Bush's plummeting poll numbers on the war and just about everything else would put some "starch," as Wesley Clark calls it, in the Democratic response. There are Democratic officeholders out there speaking truth to power, like Rep. Conyers, Senators Dick Durbin and Barbara Boxer and others, but they are still too few and far between. If we want to win in 2006, we need to wake up the Party NOW, don't we?

From RESOLUTIONS PASSED AT STATE CENTRAL COMMITTEE MEETING, Saturday, April 23, 2005, Unofficial listing from website of Democratic Party of New Mexico

29.  RESOLUTION TO BRING HOME THE TROOPS

WHEREAS, the actions of the United States of America in Iraq show that the United States wishes to establish a permanent presence in Iraq, including the establishment of a number of military bases, and

WHEREAS, our military is being drained of its capability to respond to crises in other parts of the world, and

WHEREAS, more than 150 billion dollars have been spent for the Iraq occupation and, over the next year, the continuing occupation will take an additional 81 billion dollars away from the priorities at home, and

WHEREAS, there have been more than 1,500 U.S. soldiers killed, thousands of U.S. soldiers wounded, and untold thousands of Iraqi citizens killed in the continuing conflict in Iraq, and

WHEREAS, our military presence in Iraq continues to result in the death and wounding of American soldiers and Iraqi citizens, and

WHEREAS, our occupation in Iraq has worsened an insurgency that has as a principal goal the expulsion of outside influences, and

WHEREAS, our occupation and the associated violence in Iraq has increased recruitment by terrorist organizations intent on attacking the U.S., and

WHEREAS, elections have been held in Iraq, and the Iraqi people want to resolve their own problems and establish their own government free of outside influences,

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY OF NEW MEXICO that the DPNM supports our troops, opposes the continued military occupation of Iraq, and urges the Government of the United States of America to immediately plan for the withdrawal of its military forces from Iraq. This plan should specify a target date for the completion of the withdrawal, which is no later than June 2006. Withdrawal should begin soon to signal our good intentions. The United States should announce that it has no plans for a long-term military presence in Iraq, except for that associated with normal diplomatic relations.

August 8, 2005 at 11:21 AM in Democratic Party, Iraq War, Sound Off! | Permalink | Comments (3)

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Continued Sound Off: More on DLC Delusions

More pointed commentary on the dreary DLC meeting in Ohio this week. For a sampling, take your pick of Digby, Sirota or Kos in response to Will Marshall's piece, Hillary's capitulation to DLC mongering and other highlights of the recent meeting of anti-progressives. Today, the Washington Post weighs in on the battles and Arianna Huffington challenges the DLC to a rumble.

Why are we losing elections? The DLC seems to believe it's because we aren't more behind the "patriotic war" in Iraq and militarism as a solution to our problems! Oh, we're so caught up in the 60s that we can't see the merits of supporting wars backed by lies against enemies that weren't involved in 9-11! But wait, didn't the majority of prominent Dems vote FOR the Iraq War? Didn't our presidential candidate, deemed Mr. Electability because of his military credentials, vote FOR the Iraq War as well?  Didn't Kerry even show up at the convention with a Reporting for Duty salute and an array of his fellow Viet Nam vets? All we needed was a medley of Sousa marches for added emphasis.

The DLC argues we must adopt a more "authentic" patriotism than the Repubs. Marshall dubs it "progressive patriotism" of all things. Hey these folks seem alot like Rovian Repubs in their penchant for hijacking the terminology of their opposition and distorting it, don't they? As far as I can tell, the DLC isn't progressive in anything except kowtowing to big donors and falling over one another trying to show how willing they are to use military power. Shame on those decrepit peace activists and elitist liberals who gave millions of dollars in small donations and millions of hours of volunteer help on behalf of Kerry, even if they had to hold their noses while doing so. Any minute now I expect to read that DLC bigwigs like Al From and Bruce Reed have instructed the Democratic Wing of the Party to do the right thing about America -- Love It Or Leave It.

Marshall says:

The left's unease with patriotism is rooted in a 1960s narrative of American arrogance and abuse of power. For many liberals who came of age during the protests against the Vietnam War, writes leftish commentator Todd Gitlin, "the most powerful public emotion of our lives was rejecting patriotism." As he and other honest liberals have acknowledged, the excesses of protest politics still haunt liberalism today and complicate Democratic efforts to develop a coherent stance toward American power and the use of force.

Well I was there and it wasn't about "rejecting patriotism" any more than the civil rights movement was about hating America. It was about using the unique tools of American democracy to try and pull the country's leaders back from military madness -- a madness very similar to the one we are seeing today.

Love my country? Yes. Spend time and money and energy participating actively in the American democracy I love within the Party and without? Yes. Blindly support military solutions to nonmilitary problems and an invasion of a sovereign nation based on lies and distortions at the highest levels? Sorry, no. If that makes me unpatriotic in the eyes of DLC Dems who seem to believe they own the Democratic Party, so be it. How about you?  --Barb

July 27, 2005 at 01:49 PM in Democratic Party, Sound Off! | Permalink | Comments (3)

Friday, June 10, 2005

Sound Off: Beltway Dems Whining Again

Pointing

This Daily Kos diary, "Beltway Dem Insiders Whine, 'Dean Stole our Golden Goose!'," says it for me. Enough already with the cheapshots from the likes of Bill Richardson, James Carville, Nancy Pelosi, John Edwards and Joe Biden, Dems apparently most concerned with building or retaining their own clout. We're back to the fight between personal kingdoms and what's good for the Party, and if the Party expects to recoup any of its losses in 06 and 08, they'd better start telling their elected officials to start putting the Party first.

Governor Richardson , while admitting that Dean is doing a good job as DNC Chair, stated that Dean is not the Party's spokesperson. Once-liberal House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said the same thing. I guess they and certain other Dems are afraid that Dean might actually be "mistaken" by rank and file Democrats as their spokesperson, given how he has a spine and the nerve to call out the Republicans without hemming and hawing.

To me, their responses underline how the complainers have mustered only weak defenses, if any, on behalf of our core values. Of course, if Dean is getting all the media coverage, it's tempting to get some for yourself by criticizing him and asserting that you are the "real" spokesperson for the Party. If the Party gets hurt in the crossfire, so be it. What are they so afraid of? Isn't the opposition party supposed to operate in opposition to the party in power, especially when the Repubs are lying, abusing power and worse?

So Dean said the Republican Party is composed mostly of white Christians these days. That's a fact, and it's been truer with each passing year since Civil Rights legislation was passed in the 60s and Nixon's Southern Strategy kicked in. So he said the Repubs don't seem to care about minority voters having to wait in line for 8 hours to vote because many of them haven't worked a day in their lives. Seems obvious to me. A large and powerful sector of the Republican Party is made up of the investor class.

These statements are controversial? By acting like they are, certain Dems are playing right into the hands of the infomercial media and the global corporate cabal that gains from a focus on non-issues like this. Good job. Meanwhile, Dem voters like us have been called unpatriotic, elitist, self-centered, anti-American, sinners and worse by the Republican spokesmonkies. Oh, how they must laugh when they see certain Dems kneejerk to apologize the minute Dean or anyone else uses red-meat rhetoric nowhere near as insulting as theirs.

Even if these Dems believe our rhetoric should be more dainty, it would be easy to use these opportunities to drive home the Dem message instead of being apologetic and distancing. They could say that it's true that radical fundamentalist Christians have taken over the Repub Party's levers of power and are working to obliterate the separation of church and state that's been honored by traditional religions since America was created. They could say that the Republican Party, with its elitist tax cuts, refusal to raise the minimum wage from 1997 levels and ongoing attempts to privatize social security is obviously serving our richest citizens to the detriment of working people nationwide.

We also keep reading leaked and often unsourced quotes about how Dean is failing in the fundraising department. And yet, he's raised more at this juncture than any DNC Chair in history:

Despite the polemics that were sure to follow Dean's assuming the role of party chairman, his primary duty is to raise money. Though the Republican National Committee has raised money at a rate of 2-to-1 on Democrats in the first quarter of 2005, Dean himself has been effective. In the first four months, under Dean's stewardship, the DNC has raised nearly $19 million -- more than under any other Democratic chairman in an off-election year.

I know that as progressives, we take alot of heat when we criticize Dem elected officials, leadership or the Party itself. We are accused of being devisive and damaging. Yet when the likes of Carville and other insiders repeatedly, and often inaccurately, whine about Dean and publicly or privately undercut what he's trying to do as DNC Chair, we're supposed to see this as a positive?

I'm sure this battle between the base and the fatcats will continue. Between the business-as-usual insiders and the bottom-up-strategy grassroots. Between those who think gold cufflinks and big spender contacts are IT and those who believe Party-wide reach-out to the base, boldness, passion, accountability and transparency are what's missing. Which side thinks more about holding onto personal clout and that of its monied clients and contributors than strengthening the Party of the People? You know the answer. Follow the limousines. Or the shiny new, state purchased private jets.

Shouldn't all these Dem apologists, most of whom strongly opposed Dean for DNC Chair, be speaking instead about this? Read it and weep over at Make Them Accountable. One more thing, Dean may not speak for Biden or Richardson, but he speaks for ME.

Barbara Wold

June 10, 2005 at 02:46 PM in Democratic Party, Sound Off! | Permalink | Comments (5)

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Sound Off! Who's the Culprit?

From Barbara Wold:
I was shocked and appalled to see the following item on Joe Monahan's website today:

Linda Lopez & The Deaniacs; No, It's Not a Rock Band
It would make a good name for a rock band: Linda Lopez and the Deaniacs. But the veteran Dem ABQ Valley State Senator is probably in no mood to joke about her whipping at the hands of supporters of onetime prez candidate and now Democrat National Chair Howard Dean. Lopez was unceremoniously dumped from her spot as chairwoman of the Bernalillo County Democratic Party and replaced by party liberal and oldtimer Marvin Moss.

"It was the Dean supporters who did did her in. They packed the precinct and ward meetings leading up to the county convention and they did Linda in," reported an Alligator in attendance at the weekend confab. "The post has lost its glamour. Just what does the county chair do? Not a whole lot," added our on-the-scene Gator.

But whatever the chair does, Linda Lopez will not being doing it. By any measure that is a setback. She has repeatedly been mentioned as a possible candidate for higher political office, everything from Guv to mayor, but her detractors are now saying she was unable to hold on to a relatively minor party post. That gladdens the hearts of her rivals, including friends of Light Guv Diane Denish who are tired of being taunted by the Lopez clan for keeping Linda off the ballot when the two sought the Dem nomination for Light Guv in 02.' Oh yeah, Big Bill isn't crying in his beer about this one either.

I wonder who the devisive and wrong-headed person is who fed this line of distorted untruth to Monahan, who's always glad to feed the fires of Dem bashing. Given the tenor of the rumor, I'm not surprised they decided to spew this garbage anonymously.

First off, DFA-DFNM is much more than "Deaniacs" these days. Our ranks now have many people who weren't supporters of Dean's presidential run joining the "old-timers" whose involvement stretches back to the early days of the presidential primary.

Second, as anyone who knows anything knows, DFA-DFNM took no stand on the race for Bernalillo Dem County Chair. In conversations with many members, I learned first-hand that many voted for Linda Lopez and many voted for Marvin Moss. Contrary to the rather hysterical tone of the Monahan item, there was no concerted effort by "Deaniacs" to sway the race one way or another.  And most people had a hard time deciding between them.

Many I spoke with who had decided to vote for Marvin Moss said they were doing so NOT because they disliked Senator Lopez or didn't respect her politically, but because they thought Moss would have more time and inclination to immerse himself in the often tedious work that will be necessary to rebuild the Party, its infrastructure and its procedures in this time of upheaval. Many believe he has exactly the right skills for the job.

As for Linda Lopez, a significant number of members I spoke with said they thought she should instead run for higher office, like the governorship or Congress, instead of devoting time to the more mundane responsibilities of the County Chair position.

Also, every single DFA-DFNM member and other progressives I've talked to who worked with Senator Lopez on the election reform bill that's being signed today by Governor Richardson came away from the process with a very high regard for her. To a person they were impressed with her energy, enthusiasm, smarts, dedication, talent and honesty as exhibited in her negotiations with advocates, the Governor's office and other legislators.

It's clear that whoever planted this item wants to sow the seeds of divisiveness among progressive Democrats and bash Senator Lopez. They will not succeed. Contrary to to what the leaked item says, progressives sought precinct and ward chair slots, as well as membership on the State Central Committee, in order to change the Party from within and have a say on Party positions and candidates -- not to damage the chances of one of our most progressive and enlightened State Senators. 

Believe me, there are few fans of Govenor Richardson in the liberal and progressive ranks of the Party these days and it is upsetting that the item claims Richardson "isn't crying in his beer" over Senator Lopez's loss. Message for you, Bill (and whoever planted that item) -- we're trying to rebuild this Party from the ground up to counter the Republican-lite voices of Democrats-in-name-only like you and promote lively and courageous voices like Senator Lopez. Many of us intend to support her for higher office and work to get rid of the anti-progressive voices of pro-corporate Dems who vote against the little people way too much of the time. Saavy?

April 6, 2005 at 01:27 PM in Democratic Party, Local Politics, Sound Off! | Permalink | Comments (9)

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Sound Off: HIP, HIP, HOORAY!

From Mary Ellen Broderick:

CONGRATULATIONS TO US ALL!!!

WOW what a lot of work to get the results we did for the precinct and ward elections and the state central committee slots.

To me it was a sure test of all the progressive groups coming together, working together and getting people in.

What we know is this:

The county convention was totally chaotic -- but we can and will work on that to improve the next one.

We filled possibly 12 out of the 41 Ward chair slots -- 25% now filled by progressives.

We filled possibly 40 precinct slots.

We filled 25 of the 119 state central committee slots -- a whopping 21%!!!!!!!!

Now I know there are many other great local progressive people who did not get on the as yet unofficial state central committee list, including Jeanne Carritt, Andrea Sterling, Nancy Galloway (possibly), Tom Soloman and Don Schiff.  These people are now our dear friends and I would gladly give up my seat for any one of them.  Because we are all in this for the long haul, maybe the rest of our lives . . . because we all know that the country is ours too and we can take it back.

As Rosie the Riveter says: “ WE CAN DO IT.” And “WE ARE.”

Rosietba

And one more thing:

Linda Lopez -- if you come to this site and read it -- I am one voice speaking out for myself:  I AM A BIG FAN!!!! You have really gone to the fight for us and with us. We greatly need you, your brains, your gentle political way!!

Thanks to all . . . the work has just begun!

See you on Thursday nite at the DFNM meetup for a bit of a celebration!

April 5, 2005 at 10:50 AM in DFNM - Albq, Local Politics, Sound Off! | Permalink | Comments (1)

Sound Off: "Centrist Democrats"

From Terry Riley:
We just passed some of the most encouraging platform resolutions in our Bernalillo county central commitee as did Santa Fe, Taos, and Los Alamos.  I was really feeling good until I read this story from the Washington Times.

The actions of our county and state committees will reach the national party in a couple of months, though I am sure that the word has reached them already.  I think that we should work outside the normal channel as well as we are inside the normal channel. 

I believe that we should all write e-mails to Dean and to the DNC highlighting our agenda and pointing to the error of the "centrist Democrats."

What do you think?

April 5, 2005 at 09:03 AM in Democratic Party, Sound Off! | Permalink | Comments (4)

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Sound Off! State of the Union Follies

Trio2

So did everyone enjoy watching liar, liar, pants on fire do his freedom and liberty for all bit last night? I know many of you probably couldn't stomach the spectacle and filled the time reading "Bush On the Couch" or some other political tome that dissects the pathology at the heart of the current administration. But some of us couldn't help ourselves and felt compelled to tune in.

My first reaction was to wonder when exactly it happened that right-wing Republicans became hysterically attached to freedom, justice and liberty. Then it dawned on me: when the WMD excuse for the occupation of Iraq went down the tubes, they needed something to cover over the real reasons they found Iraq so attractive. I mean, you can't just ask American freedom-lovers to rally behind controlling the largest oil reserves left in the world and grabbing land for (at last count) twelve military bases smack in the middle of the oil reserves, now can you?

Didn't you just love the courageous and mature display of purple fingers in "support" of the Iraqi voters? I wondered if it dawned on these people that the Iraqi people got to vote despite the Bush administration's dedication since the fall of Baghdad to keep them from doing so anytime soon. We went from plans to have the thieving Chalabi rule, to the Bremer rule, to a handpicked "coalition" concept to finally having to succumb to the preferences of al Sistani when he got tens of thousands of Shia into the streets demanding it.

The high point of the speech to me, however, was the news that Laura Bush would be tackling the problems of gangs in the old US of A. Who knew she had the street smarts to convince gang members to refrain from their untidy practices? I have to admit, folks, it made me feel safer. Phew.

Then there was the push for destroying Social Security, clothed in the "I care so much" rhetoric that always pops out when Bush decides the people need to see how compassionate the king is. It was a welcome, if minor miracle that a buncha Dems actually provided some vocal "Noooo Nooooooo's" when Bush was citing some of his most blantant lies about the CRISIS. The CRISIS! Hmmm. I wonder why the king offered next to no details about his plan to transfer more wealth to Wall Street? Despite his reticence, the devils in the details are already coming out in force, and I'll be covering them here in the coming days. It'll take alot of ink.

Finally, did anyone else notice Senator Lieberman acting like a jack-in-the-box last night? He seemed eerily determined to be the first one to jump out of his seat and applaud wildly every time Bush paused between focus-group lines. The topper was when he RAN up to Bush after the speech and engaged in a sloppy kiss with George, Dubbie holding Lieberman's head in a smoochy grasp. Ah the grand drama of theater. Even if it's of the absurd variety. The upside-down, inside-out world of Alice reigns again. Hookah anyone? --Barb

February 3, 2005 at 10:22 AM in Sound Off! | Permalink | Comments (2)

Monday, January 31, 2005

Sound Off! Now Hear This. General Quarters! General Quarters! This is not a Drill!

Commentary by Eric & Sonja Elison:

In the Navy, the sounding of General Quarters is at once an alert to danger, and a command to prepare for action. As the 109th Congress opens, and the inauguration process is concluded, ours is a Nation in peril. We must roll out of our racks; hit the deck running, and man battle stations. This is not a drill!

Senator Robert Byrd, (D- West Virginia) rightly described the danger in his book Losing America (Norton Publishing, 2004) The nation is being led by an ill-equipped, reckless President; a President whose support was gained through appeals to fear, hate, greed, and piety; a President who like many before him, is grasping for more and more power.

The President is aided by a Congress ruthlessly ruled by his own party. A Republican Congress that can no longer be described by even the most deluded of observers as “conservative.” A radical Congress, willing to give up its power, and diminish the checks and balances that have served our Republic so well. A Congress that sits on its hands as young men and women die in Iraq. A Congress that allows the country to sink deeper in a quagmire in which the lives of our children, the fortune of our nation, the well being of our most vulnerable, and our reputation as a just Nation is lost.

Chief Justice William Rehnquist recently confirmed the warnings sounded by Sen. Byrd. In his year-end Annual Report on the state of the Federal Judiciary, the Chief Justice warned us of the danger associated with attempts by the Congress and Executive Branch to limit the power of the Courts. This warning is all the more noteworthy considering it may be the last report from an ailing Chief Justice appointed by Ronald Reagan. But these are not the only indicators of peril.

Emboldened by the electoral illusion of victory, Right Wing ideologues are pushing radical agendas; agendas that attack individual Freedoms, and erode Civil Rights. Disciples of political philosopher, Leo Strauss, seek to legislate mandatory adherence to Order, and Virtue as defined by hypocrites who would be kings. (http://www.alternet.org/story/15935)

Recently a warning came from James Dobson. Abandoning non-partisanship, he threatens to go after Democratic Senators if they don’t support Bush’s judicial nominees. In 2005, using his Focus on the Family organization, Dobson plans to raise $170 Million, much of which will be brought to bear against the Democrats in careful code words, that when deciphered will be understood as hate-laced, deceptive attacks against Democrats, and those that support individual liberties, and the exercise of free will.

Corporations and the wealthy paid over $400 million in the last election to continue to gain influence, and access to the Executive and Legislative Branches. The right-wing wealthy, who President Bush describes as his base, is deploying its forces from K Street offices. Unlike our Army in Iraq, the K Street forces have been significantly reinforced through a draft. Rep Billy Tauzin (R - LA), ever the patriot, entered the draft willingly. He drew a good draft number. No basic training will be required for Tauzin. He demonstrated his ability to deliver a windfall to the drug companies by inserting language that prevents the Federal Government from negotiating Medicare drug prices. Unconcerned about appearances, Tauzin will lead the Pharmaceutical forces and reportedly draw over $2 million a year from his paymasters.

Corporate-controlled media empires, such as Fox and Sinclair Broadcasting, are playing a key communication role in right-wing attacks. Led by Fox’s Rupert Murdoch, and Roger Ailes, and Sinclair’s David Smith, they are helping to coordinate the creation and dissemination of propaganda, emanating from Right-Wing Think Tanks, Corporate-funded PR initiatives, the Republican Party, and the Executive Branch itself.

The Government Accounting Office, recently cited violations of Federal Law by the Administration in the production of propaganda “News stories.” In one instance, propaganda extolled the wonderful benefits of the Administration’s sham of a Medicaid Drug Bill. In another production, the propaganda promoted drug enforcement policies against importation of drugs from Canada. Most recently it was revealed that in the run up to the election, the Administration paid nearly a quarter of a million dollars to conservative columnist, and TV Talk show host, Armstrong Williams, to promote the virtues, and benefits of the woefully under-funded “No Child Left Behind” Act. Other conservative personalities such a Michael Savage, Rush Limbaugh, and Bill O’Reilly make millions by appealing to base instincts in their listeners. The right wing media outlets are appealing to powerful emotions of hate, fear, and avarice in their listeners as they work constantly at creating division in the populace along the cultural fault lines of Guns, Gays, and God.

The organization and behavior of right wing radical forces can be variously described as corporatist, fascist, theocratic, and autocratic. Regardless of what label you place on the interaction and cooperation of these forces, there is no escaping the impact of their efforts on the United States. As we begin the 109th Congress, and the second term of President Bush, the citizens of this great country must heed the warnings that are sounding. Liberty and Freedom are under assault. Our Liberty, our Freedom is in peril. All citizens must stand against these threats. Citizens must call for the preservation of the Separation of Powers, the Independence of the Judiciary, and the Preservation of Civil Liberties. To remain inactive through either apathy or false patriotism will imperil our ship of State.

The authors are organizers of New Mexico Democratic Friends: a grassroots organization working to promote progressive policies that contribute to the Common Good. You can email them at NMDF@comcast.net. Their next meeting is scheduled for February 12th.

January 31, 2005 at 10:26 AM in Sound Off! | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Caroling: Not Ready for Prime Time!

Bells From Mary Ellen Broderick:

Last night was the DeanCorps or DFACorps caroling event. What fun we had! It was a small group, but the voices were huge -- even if our singing wasn't exactly ready for prime time! Two sets of jingle bells for accompaniment helped. One of our group members brought a whole family of beautiful people from Guadalajara, Mexico. They were our Hispanic singing contingent, and shared some wonderful traditional Mexican carols, some of them playful and funny.

Nance Crowe deserves a big thanks for organizing this event. We really had fun, and spread some loving cheer to those less fortunate. We started at the Albuquerque Rescue Mission, where the homeless were just finishing their dinner and getting ready to load into school buses to take them to a shelter across town. The homeless men and women smiled big and sang along! We gave out Hershey kisses, which were devoured and sometimes stashed away for later.

Next we went to the Dismas House. Here were folks just out of jail and living in a halfway house. Again the carols lifted the spirits! Hershey kisses passed around. Noel ... Oh Come All Ye Faithful ... Silent Night ... and of course We Wish You a Merry Christmas! Our next and last stop of cheer was Barrett House, for battered women and children. Standing next to their very pretty Christmas tree, the singers sang all the usuals, the kids loved it and one ended up wearing one of the caroler’s Santa hats for keeps.

What fun. What simple good fun. To bring joy to these people, to reach out and touch their lives -- it was such a wonderful experience and brought joy in return to us. After the singing was complete, we went over to Nance Crowe’s house and ate the best posole I have ever had, with tamales and chili rellenos and all the fixings.

I could not help but keep thinking about the wide variety of folks we had seen tonite, all wanting to sing and have some candy. What I saw were many sweet, sweet souls just down on their luck, or who took a wrong turn, or who had been born into bad situations, or were mentally ill, or who had served their country and been changed forever. The common thing was that they all seemed to be poor, tired and hungry.   

At the end of the night, all I could think was how lucky and fortunate I am. Plenty of clothes, shelter and a warm bed every nite, plenty of food -- maybe more than all the people I saw tonite have altogether as belongings.

I am blessed and I am a liberal. I wish I could do more. New Year's resolution for 2005 is that I AM going to do more for the less fortunate.

It very well may be me one day.

December 21, 2004 at 05:03 PM in Sound Off! | Permalink | Comments (0)