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50 Blogs for Feingold Action Team
“It's time to stand up - not to cheer, but to fight back.”
--Senator Russ Feingold, On Executive Power. (Daily Kos, 2006-02-02)

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Poll: What do you like most about Russ Feingold

Say you're at a party and the topic turns to the 2008 Presidential elections. What are the 5 things you'd tell your friends first about the Senator? What's the first thing you'd say? What news item originally got you interested in the movement to draft him for President? Why did you click to this post?

It's difficult to condense the experience of following the Senator's battles in Washington into "5-Easy-Bullet-Points", but getting an accurate read of the landscape is important as we roll into close to two years of presidential primaries.

Let us know what you think. Take the poll now.

Here are a few of the items to choose from:
  • Opposed to Iraq War from the beginning
  • Fighting for Universal Health Care, rated 100% by APHA
  • Defender of public educaion, rated 91% by NEA
  • Leader in fight against Bush's Torture Policies
  • Keep Church and State separate: 0% rating by Christian Coalition
  • Introduced bill to censure George W. Bush
  • Fought hard against the Patriot Act
  • Adamant supporter of Fair-Trade, 25% CATO voting record
It's entirely possible that we missed some fairly obvious and significant items on the poll, which is why starting the discussion is so important. After you take the poll, please feel free to give feedback, either here or at the National site.

Your participation is important in our campaign to urge Senator Feingold to run in 2008, so please take a minute to let us know what you think, and take the poll now.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Ohio's Sherrod Brown wins Progressive Patriot Contest



As Senate races go, this one is hardly a barn-burner: Sherrod Brown will soundly kick the ass of your average corrupt Republican, Mike DeWine this November. While Brown is comfortably ahead, we learned in 2004 that it's important not to take Ohio for granted. Also, it's nice to see that the lefty blogosphere has recovered from the Hackett/Brown imbroglio to such an extent.

Congratulations to Sherrod Brown and thanks to Russ Feingold for furthering the discussion and getting resources out on the ground. Remember, remember the seventh of November.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Announcing the "50 Blogs for Feingold Patriot Action Team"

Here's something fun and easy we can do to help the good Senator fight the good fight: vigorously participate in on-line activism as a "Patriot Action Team."

As noted in an earlier post, the Progressive Patriots Fund, Russ Feingold's Leadership PAC, has created a pretty cool community action system. We've set up a community therein, hereby christened the "50 Blogs for Feingold Patriot Action Team." (Yes, yes, I know that's a mouthfull, but the only workable acronym I could come up with was M.O.O.N.B.A.T., which seemed counterproductive.)

So, what, not-to-put-too-fine-a-point-on-it, can we do? Well, you're reading a pro-Feingold blog, so you might be interested in clicking the picture and joining in on the current campaigns. There is a petition for Single-Payer (Universal) Healthcare and a (potentially nasty) letter to Bush on his regieme's illegal wiretapping program. Point, click, type, click and you're good to go.

Also, if you have a blog, we'd be thrilled if you could help us spread the word by putting the button on your pages. For the artists out there, I'd be thrilled to make available alternative logos via our free image repository.

To paraphrase Howard: working together, we can make a lot of noise. To further paraphrase Howard: "Yeehaw!"

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

The Latest Progressive Patriots Contest

Senator Feingold has a new "Pick a Progressive Patriot" contest, where voters choose from a field of Senate candidates, and Russ gives some fundraising support to the candidate who wins.

Usually I vote in these things on an ideological basis, i.e. "Which candidate do I like the most?" But this time, control of the Senate balances on such a knife-edge that it makes sense to be a little practical and a little rigorous.

In short, I was looking for the race that was the most money-starved and the most competitive at the same time. Now, let me let the disclaimers fly:
  • Just about any time you apply math to politics, you have to make assumptions and decide how you want to weigh things. I picked one of an infinite number of models, and make no claim that it's "right."
  • For poll results, I used Chris Bowers' numbers from the MyDD Senate Forecast 2006 where possible and from Pollster.com otherwise (except Mississippi which is apparently broken on pollster)
  • For the money results, I used the most recent (June 30, 2006) data available from opensecrets.org.
  • It's unlikely that I transcribed all these numbers without one or more typographical errors. If you spot one, please leave a comment.


State Democrat Poll Dist.
Money Dist.
Score
MO McCaskill 0.2
2.56
63.89
VA Webb 1.2
16.50
11.46
TN Ford 0.4
.67
4.17
MT Tester 3
4.40
0.49
MS Fleming 37
172.29
0.13
OH Brown 4
1.78
0.11
RI Whitehouse 3.2
.72
0.07
ME Bright 40
70.15
0.04
CT Lamont 7.4
2.16
0.04
MD Cardin 7.2
1.94
0.04
UT Ashdown 42
53.37
0.03
NV Carter 12.8
4.48
0.03
WY Groutage 33
29.12
0.03
PA Casey 9.8
1.81
0.02
AZ Pederson 8.8
1.39
0.02
TX Radnofsky 20
6.58
0.02
MN Klobuchar 11.6
1.17
0.01

For the nerds: Poll distance is simply a positive number representing the difference of the two candidates polling numbers. Money distance is how many dollars the Republican has for every dollar the democrat has. So, for example, Lott has $172.29 for every $1.00 that Fleming has (DSCC, where are you?!?). The score function is simply the money distance divided by the poll distance squared.

So, enough methodology spam. What's it all mean?

Claire McCaskill is runing neck and neck in Missouri. She's being outspent by $2.56 for every dollar she has. She could certainly use a little nudge from the Progressive Patriots Fund.

Jim Webb is running neck and neck in Virginia, and being outspent by $16.50 for every dollar he has by his opponent, who shall remain ignominous. He, also, could use a little nudge.

Harold Ford, Jr in Tennessee. is outspending his opponent by 23 cents on every dollar, and running within a half a percentage point. This is a historically astonishing result.

There's a lot more to say about this, but I'm going to close for the moment with one final point. The MyDD Senate Forecast has the Republicans maintaining control of the Senate by 51-47-2 (or 51-48-Lieberman, if you prefer). A win in any of the above three races would make it 50-49-Lieberman. If Lamont also wins, it'd be 50-50. Things are close folks, very, very close.

Take Action: No More Illegal Wiretapping!

The Progressive Patriots Fund, Russ Feingold's Leadership PAC, has created a pretty cool community action system. Just yesterday, we set up a community to act as a conduit for the "50 Blogs for Feingold" project. Let's get active and make our voices heard.

Push Bush on his Illegal Warrantless Wiretapping Program

Customize your own message on this topic and show your support for Russ by sending it through the PPF system.
President George W. Bush
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear President Bush,

The court recently declared your domestic warrantless
wiretapping program to be illegal and unconstitutional.

I believe that we can fight terrorism while protecting our
rights and freedoms, and that's why I agree with Senator
Feingold: we need to bring this program back within the law.

You don't run this country, Mr. President. We the people do.
Wehave spoken on this issue and you continue to disregard
our wishes. Thus, you've forced us to teach you a hard
lesson come Election Day. I'll take great joy in delivering
you a Democrat-controlled Congress on Janurary 3.

Maybe you'll start listening then.

Sincerely,
Your Name

Plus, you'll get free stuff! Yes, yes, it's true. You'll get this carefully crafted message back from the White House:
From: comments@whitehouse.gov
Sent : Tuesday, September 19, 2006 9:02 PM
To : haus...@hotmail.com

We've identified this mail as junk. Please tell us if we were right or wrong by clicking Junk or Not Junk

On behalf of President Bush, thank you for your
correspondence. We appreciate hearing your views
and welcome your suggestions. The President is
committed to continuing our economic progress,
defending our freedom, and upholding our Nation's
deepest values.

Due to the large volume of e-mail received, the
White House cannot respond to every message.
Please visit the White House website for the most
up-to-date information on Presidential initiatives,
current events, and topics of interest to you.
In order to better receive comments from the
public, a new system has been implemented. In
the future please send your comments to
comments@whitehouse.gov.

Thank you again for taking the time to write.
While reading this moving response, you can almost hear ol' W. telling you that he "'preshiiates" your insights. And this line: "The President is committed to continuing our economic progress, defending our freedom, and upholding our Nation's deepest values" is priceless, isn't it?

So, act now and Push Bush on his Illegal Warrantless Wiretapping Program

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Article Review: "Meet the Next President"

Well, after a long trip halfway around the world at 12 miles per hour, I'm back. I, for one, am curious as to whether a) my fingers still work, and b) I can still speak English. Let's see, shall we?

Bill Sammon of the Washington Examiner wrote an article yesterday on Russ in his "Meet the Next President" series, which is available here. Here are a few of the more zippy bits:
  • Russ admits to an occasional urge to say "I told you so" on his vote against the Iraq War Resolution, but adds "Yeah, but I was taught it’s impolite to do that.” He continues to say that the electorate "...would strongly prefer a candidate who had the judgment that’s right in the first place."
  • More on the IRW: "I just had this sick feeling that people were buying into this out of fear, rather than rationality..."
  • "Feingold says Clinton, the early favorite for the Democratic presidential nomination, is 'absolutely' too timid on the Iraq war issue. "
  • “He is, I think, the one Democrat who can say he’s 100 percent pure,” says columnist David Yepsen of the Des Moines Register.
  • Russ is getting a bit more expressive on whether he'll run. To wit: "And I don’t know if I’m going to run, but I guarantee you, I wouldn’t choose not to run because I don’t think I can defeat [Hillary]. If it was one-on-one, given the issues that I’ve taken, I think I’d have a shot. It would be an upset, but I’ve been out there in many, many states and people are looking for an alternative"
  • A funny bit on his nay vote on the USA-PATRIOT Act: "'When I went down to the well, I didn’t know what they were going to call it,' he says. 'Then I saw that it was being called the USA Patriot Act. So I gulped a bit and realized I was going to be the only one who voted no.'"
  • On Warrantless Wiretapping: "I believe what the president did here was an impeachable offense."
Well, the fingers work (even the tricky Ctrl-C, Ctrl-V combos!), and I'm pretty sure I've made it through this post without inadvertently lapsing into Swahili or anything. Perhaps by tomorrow I can even generate some (gasp!) original text!