Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Winning at Any Cost

I tried to post a comment on Rick's blog to no avail. So here's my comment to his post on IL-06 fundraising numbers...

Rick, I'm really disappointed in this post.

How exactly does this help get Democrats elected in November or contribute to this race? Christine's put the infrastructure in place to get her message out. She won't be carpet bombing the district with media and mail, but instead will reach thousands of people in the district directly. Surely you know this. You said you hesitated to post this. Yet you chose to post anyway. What is the purpose? What constructive end can this lead to but helping those intent on undermining her campaign?

Cegelis raised more money in Q4 than in Q3 despite the entire weight of the DCCC working to force her out of the race. She raised more money in January 2006 than ever before, and she's the sixth highest fundraiser on ActBlue, with only one candidate - Paul Hackett - having raised more money through their service. She has over 2000 donors in her network, and hundreds of volunteers - and most importantly - the organization to mobilize them in a coordinated fashion.

You are just as aware of this as I am, yet you chose to portray her cause as hopeless when you know it is not. You even portray Lindy Scot as better positioned, even though he has no organization in place, no campaign staff, doesn't even have an office, and the majority of his funds come from his own personal loans. Cegelis debt, as you must be aware, is owed to no one but herself, effectively giving her $40K more on hand than the $185 you give her credit for.

I'm tired of those who "don't have a dog in this fight" feigning neutrality. If you are going to back a candidate, as I have, then take a stand and quit with the passive/aggressive posting. Take the lead from those residents of the district that feel so strongly about the candidates in the race that they council voting Republican should one of them win. The depth of feeling is that strong in my district. The seeds of animosity were not planted by Cegelis, and the venom you speak of has been directed both ways. Calling Cegelis' chances of victory "absent a miracle" is nothing more than the venom you decry served in polite wrapper, and only serves to fuel the divisivness you claim to want no part of.

Infrastructure costs money and takes time to build. Paid unearned media doesn't win primaries, but is easy to buy. All the money spent on media and paid canvassers is not equivalent to a person who's hosted the candidate in their living room, or a neighbor talking to their neighbor about a candidate they like - or a candidate they don’t.

If all we are interested in as a party is winning at any cost - willing to give up our core Democratic values and undermine a candidate who sparked a Democratic rebirth in DuPage - then we are a party that stands for little more than the same old same old, and who's seats in Congress have been sold off to the highest bidder. No honest change will ever be accomplished in Washington as long as we allow ourselves to judge candidates and base our party's support on nothing but a candidate's bottom line and how large their contributor network. You know how easily manipulated this can be and how quickly doors can be opened - or closed. I'd rather our party judge candidates on the content of their character and their potential as a Congressperson than back candidates based on how "electable" they appear or how deep their friend's pockets.

Christine is a candidate of character and great potential. She raised two kids in the district, she works in the district, she started a business in the district, and she's worked closely with the major employers in the district. She knows the issues first hand because she's one of us. She's a real progressive and a solid Democrat who's positions are well developed and on the record. She's running not only for herself, but for her neighbors, and to lay the infrastructure for Democrats who may run after her. She holds her fundraisers in the district in people's homes and local restaurants, not Chicago law firms, and would never think of holding a fundraiser at a lobbyist firm in DC; especially when ethics and the corrupt influence of money in politics is abundantly on display by the majority party.

Can you really support a candidate who doesn't understand what the bankruptcy bill entails, what the underlying structure of NCLB entails, or who thinks depleted uranium is not an issue since we're not using it on our own troops? Are you really willing to believe fundraising is more important than having deep ties to the community and willing to sacrifice honest interaction with residents in order to buy more media? Are you cynical enough to put an attractive bio and electability ahead of deep ties to the district and first hand understanding of key issues?

Do you want to win this badly? As a leader in the local party who has worked very hard to advance the Democratic cause locally I can only hope what your answer is.

Sigh. Truly disappointed.