The "Draft Warren" movement is a waste of progressive energy

At least three progressive Democratic groups (Democracy for America, MoveOn, and the Progressive Change Campaign Committee) are mobilizing liberal Democrats to support U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren for president. The idea is to make sure the 2016 campaign includes a strong voice for economic populism. In a statement released yesterday, Democracy for America’s executive director Charles Chamberlain said one of the group’s "top priorities will be ensuring that the battle for the Democratic nomination is a contest, not a coronation." I’ve enclosed their full press release after the jump.

There’s a first time for everything, and I believe this is the first time I’ve disagreed with DFA’s strategy. Warren has consistently said and continues to say that she is not running for president. I don’t believe she is open to changing her mind, unless Hillary Clinton surprises everyone by not running. Instead of wasting time trying to draft a candidate who doesn’t want to seek the presidency, progressive groups should wait until the field is set and then support the contender who most closely aligns with their interests.

Although I would certainly consider caucusing for Warren if she did run for president, progressives need her to be focused on her work in the Senate, not on raising money for a hopeless Democratic primary campaign. Warren can be a strong voice, not only against bad language Congressional Republicans try to sneak into legislation, but also against Obama administration shortcomings on personnel and policy. Everyone has a role to play, and we need outspoken liberals in the Senate, especially with Tom Harkin retiring.

Finally, it’s hard to disagree with Governor Howard Dean’s contention that “Hilllary Clinton is by far the most qualified person in the United States to serve as President.” The only Democrat who even comes close is Vice President Joe Biden, who said this week that he will decide whether to run again “at the end of the spring or early summer.” Clinton has the highest name recognition and sky-high favorables with almost every key Democratic constituency.

I understand the concept of a candidate like Warren pushing Clinton to the left during the primaries, but let’s get real: a Harvard professor turned senator from Massachusetts, in the middle of her first term, is not going to be elected president, even with the “Big Blue Wall” propping her up. Whereas Clinton would go into the general election as the front-runner against almost any conceivable Republican nominee.

Any relevant comments are welcome in this thread.

UPDATE: A Bleeding Heartland reader shared an e-mail that some former Barack Obama campaign workers received this morning. The Ready for Warren Presidential Draft Campaign PAC is urging “Obama alumni” to sign a petition calling on Warren to run for president in 2016. I’ve enclosed that message at the end of this post.  

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IA-04: Democracy for America endorses Jim Mowrer

Democracy for America announced this morning that it has endorsed Jim Mowrer, Representative Steve King’s Democratic challenger in Iowa’s fourth Congressional district. I’ve posted the official statement after the jump. The progressive advocacy group Howard Dean created after his 2004 presidential campaign has 1 million members across the country, including 9,589 members in Iowa. Some of them may be more likely to volunteer for Mowrer knowing he has DFA’a backing.

The group’s endorsement should also help Mowrer raise more money from inside and outside Iowa—although he’s done quite well in that department already, raising more money than King the last three quarters. Recognizing the strong campaign Mowrer is building, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee already flagged IA-04 as an “emerging race” despite the uphill climb for any Democrat in this district.

Democracy for America has previously endorsed five other Democratic U.S. House candidates, including Staci Appel in Iowa’s open third district.

UPDATE: I missed this last week; Mowrer informed supporters that his three-year-old son suffers from a rare degenerative neurological disease. Healing thoughts to the whole family.

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IA-Sen: Democracy for America endorses Conlin

Democracy for America, the organization Howard Dean created after his unsuccessful presidential bid in 2004, has officially endorsed Democrat Roxanne Conlin in her campaign against U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley. Blog for Iowa’s Trish Nelson posted the e-mail blast DFA sent to its supporters. Excerpt:

We need to restore a civil political dialogue in Iowa and Roxanne Conlin is exactly what Iowa needs after 30 years of Chuck Grassley. She’s a fighter who will stand up for Iowans, like she did as Assistant Attorney General and U.S. Attorney. When an Iowa teacher was fired for being pregnant, she took that woman’s case all the way to the state Supreme Court – and won.

Roxanne will go the extra mile and it’s that work ethic that is going to earn her the votes to win in November. Now, we need to provide her with the resources to fight back against one of the Senate’s most entrenched Republicans.

Democracy for America has more than a million members, and as of Tuesday morning, the organization had already raised more than $14,000 for Conlin’s campaign. She can use the help, because Grassley has a big cash on hand advantage.

While looking around the DFA site I noticed a lot of support for Francis Thicke’s campaign for secretary of agriculture among DFA’s Iowa members. That network could become an important source of volunteer energy for the Thicke and Conlin campaigns.

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Two job listings for talented activists

Periodically I post job listings at Bleeding Heartland, so please let me know of any progressive or environmental organizations hiring in Iowa (desmoinesdem AT

Democracy for America is hiring “public option field organizers” in 12 states, including Iowa. This is a short-term position but does include health benefits. You can read more about the position and apply here.

I learned today that the I-WILL coalition (formerly known as the Sustainable Funding Coalition) has a one-year position available:

Iowa’s Water and Land Legacy campaign seeks a qualified campaign manager or consulting firm to oversee a statewide ballot campaign from November 2009-November 2010.  The coalition supports a proposed November 2010 constitutional amendment to establish Iowa’s Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund.  Candidates should have extensive campaign experience-ballot campaign experience preferable, along with experience in fundraising and managing vendors.  Ideal candidate will possess significant skills in coordinating and facilitating decision-making for large, diverse coalitions; ability to relate to diverse organizations and interest groups.  Salary is commensurate with experience.

For a complete position description or to apply, e-mail resume by and cover letter by September 30 to: Iowa’s Water and Land Legacy, attn: Rosalyn Lehman, 303 Locust St, Ste 402, Des Moines, IA 50309 or

Speaking of jobs, take heart, college students: the Des Moines-Ames metro area is supposedly the best in the country in terms of number of job-seekers per job available.

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A new ad against Grassley, and maybe a new challenger

UPDATE: Hubbell told Iowa Independent he’s not interested in running against Grassley.

The Progressive Change Campaign Committee and Democracy for America have produced a new television commercial, which asks which side Chuck Grassley is on:

Click here to donate to help keep this ad on the air in Iowa and Washington, DC.

Speaking of which side Grassley’s on, Monday’s Des Moines Register reports on our senior senator’s massive campaign contributions from health industry interest groups. Thomas Beaumont’s story was based on numbers compiled by

Meanwhile, Representative Bruce Braley confirmed on Friday that he is running for re-election in Iowa’s first Congressional district. I consider him highly likely to run for U.S. Senate when one of our current senators retires.

Rumors persist that a prominent Democrat will join Bob Krause and Tom Fiegen in challenging Grassley next year. Al Swearengen of The Iowa Republican blog speculates that Fred Hubbell is the mystery candidate. Hubbell currently chairs the Iowa Power Fund Board. From his official bio:

Fred S. Hubbell was a member of the Executive Board and Chairman of Insurance and Asset Management Americas for ING Group. Mr. Hubbell retired from ING Group’s Executive Board effective April 25, 2006. Mr. Hubbell was formerly Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Equitable of Iowa Companies, an insurance holding company, serving in his position as Chairman from May 1993 to October 1997, and as President and Chief Executive Officer from May 1989 to October 1997.

Charlotte Hubbell, Fred Hubbell’s wife, serves on the Environmental Protection Commission.

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