Prologue: Adventures in Santa Monica

June 19, 2006 at 7:26 pm | In do something, politics | 1 Comment

I’ve got a bunch of LA pictures to post later. Consider this a prologue.

I met this guy in Santa Monica but forgot to take his picture. Thanks to Google and Flickr, here’s someone else’s picture of Jerry Rubin, selling his peace stickers.

Photo Credit:

Jerry “Peace Activist” Rubin legally changed his name so it would show up that way on the ballot when he ran for some office (or maybe it was so he wouldn’t be confused with the other Jerry Rubin).

I was wearing Eric’s Harvard Dems shirt and he asked me about it; I expected him to yell at me for being a Democrat but instead he said “good for you” and then proceeded to launch into a tirade against Ralph Nader. Apparently Rubin launched a hunger strike in 2004 to protest Nader’s candidacy. In his mind, Nader should have been helping elect President Kerry — then giving him hell once he was in office. Sounds good to me.

Activist Goes on Anti-Nader Hunger Strike:

SANTA MONICA, Calif. — A peace activist who once fasted for 63 days to protest movie violence and war toys is launching another hunger strike to persuade Ralph Nader to abandon his presidential bid.

Jerry Rubin, 60, said he plans to consume only liquids from Saturday until Nov. 2 if Nader doesn’t take a meeting with him.

“I know Ralph Nader and I don’t think he’s doing the right thing,” Rubin said Saturday. He said the consumer advocate’s campaign is dividing the progressive political movement.

Many believe the votes Nader received in Florida in 2000 would have gone to Democratic candidate Al Gore (search) had Nader sat out the election. Gore lost the state — and the national election — to George W. Bush (search) by 537 votes.

Rubin is often confused with now-deceased “Chicago Seven” defendant Jerry Rubin. He legally changed his name to Jerry Peace Activist Rubin to avoid confusion with the 60s radical.

The peace activist is no stranger to hunger strikes: In 1988, he broke a two-month fast with a bite from a giant pizza topped with a pepperoni peace sign that he then left for “Rambo” star Sylvester Stallone.

He again fasted in 1997 to persuade movie production company Dreamworks SKG to abandon plans to relocate its headquarters to wetlands. He collapsed after 26 days, but Dreamworks abandoned the idea, saying it could not reach a satisfactory financial agreement.

Damn kids

June 15, 2006 at 12:04 am | In politics | Comments Off on Damn kids

19-year-old Chris Jackson has been writing a blog called the Ford Report dedicated to electing Rep. Harold Ford, Jr. the next Senator from Tennessee for almost a year. On Tuesday, in a post entitled “Blogging For Bryant & NRSC Running Deficit Of Ideas; Resorts To Lying,” Jackson observed:

Once again, Blogging for Bryant and the NRSC are lying to Tennesseans by playing the liberal card on Congressman Harold Ford Jr.

However, the people of Tennessee are not going to bite. They know Harold Ford Jr. is a moderate Democrat who has it right when it comes to energy independence, balancing the budget, Iraq, securing our ports, family values, as well as many other pressing issues.

Instead of putting forth their own agenda and new ideas that will help the people of Tennessee and this nation move forward and get ahead in life, all the Republicans want to do is play the politics of destruction by continually attacking Harold Ford Jr.

They know they are running a deficit on ideas and know they can’t run on their own merits, so they go negative against the frontrunner.

On Wednesday, Republicans fired back, making ample use of scare apostrophes:

The National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) issued the following statement in response to Harold Ford’s “unofficial” blog’s preposterous charge the NRSC is “lying” about Ford’s liberal record:

“Congressman Ford has realized his record is too liberal to win statewide in Tennessee and thus his minions have resorted to calling those who bring attention to it ‘liars.’ Whether he is proud of it or not, Mr. Ford’s record is what it is, one well suited for a Memphis congressional district or statewide in Massachusetts, just not for Tennessee,” said NRSC spokesman Dan Ronayne. “It is unlikely Tennesseans will be electing someone to the left of Ted Kennedy and Hillary Clinton no matter how loudly and falsely Ford and his allies object.”

Certainly a coup for a blogger to provoke that kind of response from the NRSC. (I should really be attacking Dreier more often, apparently!) Interestingly, the NRSC quotes the following as “evidence”:

Presidential Support

  2001 2002 2003 2004 2005
Harold Ford 38% 46% 34% 41% 35%
Hillary Clinton 61% 67% 47% 61% 31%
Ted Kennedy 66% 64% 47% 59% 26%

(Member Profile, “Harold Ford,” Congressional Quarterly Website,, Acessed Febraury 1, 2006)
Quite intriguing, actually. What’s the deal with Hillary and Ted? Unfortunately, the Congressional Quarterly (which was, incidentally, “Acessed Febraury 1, 2006”. Damn kids interning at the NRSC this summer can’t spell!) is subscription only. Quite elitist, I’d say. My guess is it has something to do with comparing Senators to Congressman; the House of Representatives passes crazy legislation by comfortable margins all the time, legislation that even the President opposes. The Senate is a little more reasonable.

Lacking CQ, I’ll have to settle for a nifty website called Progressive Punch instead. Here are their rankings:

That means Harold Ford, Jr. is 149th out of about 200 Democrats. Sounds pretty moderate to me.

One final note of disappointment. My Congresswoman back home, Rep. Jan Schakowsky, got beat for the number one most liberal spot by someone named Raúl M. Grijalva from Arizona.

Good time for some strategic redeployment (i.e. get the troops out. now.)

June 13, 2006 at 6:38 pm | In Iraq | Comments Off on Good time for some strategic redeployment (i.e. get the troops out. now.)

So says Eric Alterman:

You know, with Zarqawi dead, —not that he was ever what they said he was or couldn’t have been gotten before— and a new cabinet in place —not that it can be expected to last— and Bush’s popularity on an uptick —not that it exceeds the poll’s margin of error— and Rove off the hook —not that he did not deliberately blow a CIA operation, waste millions, and endanger the lives of patriotic Americans— now would be a great time to declare victory and get the hell out of there. I don’t know when Bill wrote that, but there’s never been a more precipitous time to pull out. Democrats would be silenced and there’d be some complaining on the left and right —even some from me— but still, it’d be a political masterstroke. And it’d save a gazillion lives, so I’d happily take political consequences. Here is one “strategic redeployment” plan. Here’s another one.

Another blog covering this race

June 11, 2006 at 11:42 am | In CA-26, Cynthia Rodriguez Matthews, David Dreier | 4 Comments

And I thought I was alone. Turns out there’s yet another blog covering the race in CA-26:

In 2004, Dreier outspent Matthews 50 to 1 yet received the lowest percentage of the vote during any of his elections since 1980. 2006 is the year to remove him from Congress. Click here, here and here to remind yourself of some of the reasons David Dreier must go.

Nice to see someone with a healthy sense of optimism for once. As for me, a redesign of Matthews’ website would really, really make me happy. Hmm…

$40k Push Poll?

June 9, 2006 at 8:44 am | In CA-26, David Dreier, ethics reform, Russ Warner | 2 Comments

So far, this is the most intriguing of answers to my question about how the Warner campaign lost it. I wonder where I can get another source on this (from the comments on my MyDD diary):

Wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t heard it myself, but Wes Clark – here in Vegas for the YearlyKos – claimed that Dreier put $40K into a last minute push poll to eliminate Warner

Not terribly surprised if it is true. Matthews is about as an inept as they come. I know quite a few Dems who held their nose and voted for Dreier after hearing the hate she spewed on John and Ken in 2004.

by Estlin on Fri Jun 09, 2006 at 03:16:02 AM EST

(Emphasis added.) How detailed are campaign finance records? Would $40,000 show up as an expenditure if they’re following the rules?

CA-26: An Election Day Mystery

June 8, 2006 at 6:48 pm | In CA-26, Cynthia Rodriguez Matthews, David Dreier, Russ Warner | 3 Comments

[cross-posted at Daily Kos, MyDD and Calitics]

A week ago, I wrote a diary here asking for suggestions for starting a new blog to cover the race in CA-26. Two nights ago, I watched and reloaded, slightly disbelieving the preliminary results in the Democratic primary in CA-26, David Dreier (R-Closet)’s district. Russ Warner, endorsed by Gen. Wesley Clark, ran on a moderate platform of “protecting the middle class, promoting small business, and supporting our troops, honoring our veterans.” Clark came to the district, raised money for Warner, and even recorded a robocall for him. Warner was supposed to be the best chance in awhile to defeat Dreier, a tough prospect considering Dreier’s power as Rules Committee chairman and the Republican registration advantage in the district (46% R to 35% D).

Meanwhile, Cynthia Rodriguez Matthews, who came out of the closet during the 2004 election and challenged Dreier to do the same ran again. Matthews gave Dreier the closest margin of any reelected congressman in California in 2004 (54-42), thanks in no small part to the anti-Dreier activism of two radio hosts surrounding immigration. Yet Matthews had raised only $516 as of mid-May and $5,361 as of June 1. Her website is a nightmare. Watching the election from afar, I pretty much wrote her off.

So what were the results on election day?

Cynthia Rodriguez Matthews                 12,836   47.0 
Russ Warner                                10,308   37.8 
Hoyt Hilsman                                4,172   15.2 

That was, to say the least, unexpected. So now I pose the question to you: what happened?

I’m trying to decide if a comparison with CA-50 makes sense (of course that was a special election, not a primary). In assessing Busby’s loss, Matt Stoller argues that Bilbray ran to the left of Busby, who ran as a moderate and highlighted the “Culture of Corruption,” but didn’t really motivate the base. Kos sounds the same message, writing:

As I travelled the country extensively on my book tour I heard the same points over and over again, in city after city. Regular activists out in the states understand these concepts. But the DC bubble politicians and consultants simply don’t get it.

The “culture of corruption” is a nice secondary theme to weave into our broader narrative, but it can’t be the message on which we pin our 2006 hopes.”We’re better managers” won’t inspire our troops to head to battle.

This will be a base election. Inspire and motivate.

See Montana Democrats like Gov. Brian Schweitzer and Jon Tester for a taste of how that’s done. The corruption message helped MT Dems take over the governor’s mansion and legislature in 2004, but that was just a sub-thread of their broader message.

They, and others like Paul Hackett would’ve won CA-50.

Maybe Warner lost because, despite his big name endorsement, he didn’t motivate the base. Or maybe it was just the low turnout due to other factors. Or an inexperienced campaign staff. Whatever the reason, it was quite an upset, and something of a mystery.

Post mortem?

June 7, 2006 at 6:00 pm | In CA-26, Russ Warner | 1 Comment

There’s a few comments below lamenting Warner’s defeat. Does anyone have insight into what happened with the campaign? I’m reluctant to try to do a post mortem right now considering how far off I was (just scroll down and you’ll see). Maybe this will be a much more personal blog after all.
Posting this for posterity:


“First, I would like to thank all of my supporters who worked so hard in this campaign. We kept it positive and focused on the issues. I learned a lot during this election, and I am looking forward to 2008.

I remain committed to taking back the House this year. I have faith that we can do it, and I will be dedicated to supporting those Democrats who can win in November.

Over the next few days, my family and I will take some time to rest, reflect and regroup. Then, it’s time to get busy again. I hope the great group of volunteers who worked with me on my campaign will stay committed and have faith. Together, we can work together for change.”

Polls Closed

June 6, 2006 at 8:48 pm | In CA-26, Russ Warner | 2 Comments

Polls closed half an hour ago. The Warner camp says exit polls have Warner taking an early lead. Here’s a picture of the Warner rally (along 210), which I hear got a lot of support from passing motorists:


Woah, woah

June 5, 2006 at 9:12 pm | In CA-26, David Dreier, do something, ethics reform, Russ Warner | Comments Off on Woah, woah

I got a little carried away (see below), what with some free time on my hands, a working Internet connection, and a couple days of blogging to catch up on. This is from my walk through Claremont, up Harvard Ave:

And here’s a summary of all of the posts below.

Election Day Tomorrow

June 5, 2006 at 8:59 pm | In CA-26, David Dreier, Russ Warner | 1 Comment

Tomorrow is Election Day! Go vote!

And if you’ve got some time:

If you are going to be in CA June 6 come by campaign headquarters for Russ Warner in Rancho Cucamonga, 10064 Foothill Boulevard, between Haven and Archibald. We can use all the help we can get.

Map of 10064 Foothill Boulevard, Rancho Cucamonga, CA

Google MapsYahoo! MapsMapQuest

warner sign.jpg

Most of my blogging has focused on David Dreier and Russ Warner, and that’s not just because Gen. Wesley Clark has his back. Both will almost certainly be their party’s nominee for November. Nonethless, there are other Republicans, Democrats, and independents running, including Democrat Cynthia Matthews, who came shockingly close to unseating Dreier in 2004. Here’s the complete run down, from the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin:

Continue reading Election Day Tomorrow…

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