He's gonna regret this someday

We all make mistakes, but it’s not every day that someone makes an move which will haunt him for his entire career.

William Meyers confirmed in an interview with Iowa Independent that he plans to run for Congress as an independent. He came in third in Tuesday’s primary in the fourth district with about 13 percent of the vote.

His campaign website has already been reconfigured to promote him as an “independent voice for Iowa”:

The fight isn’t over! A choice between Greenwald and Latham will once again leave the majority of 4th district residents without a voice in Washington, D.C.

The time is long overdue that WE, the majority, have someone just like us representing our best interests instead of the special interests.

Join me after the jump for my take on why this candidacy won’t help anyone, least of all William Meyers.

Speaking to Iowa Independent, Meyers complained that the primary campaign was rigged against him:

“People will say that I could get a voter list form the secretary of state’s office,” Meyers said. “But I was denied access to the central committees of certain counties, which cut me off from party activists who could have helped get my name out to voters.”

“It was crooked the way the party treated me,” he continued.

He has made similar allegations at this blog, as have some of his supporters.

I am sympathetic to the idea that all Democratic candidates in a primary should be invited to party events and should be able to communicate with party activists.

Naturally, members of a county central committee are more likely to support someone they’ve known and worked with for years, like Becky Greenwald, than a newcomer to Iowa Democratic politics like William Meyers.

But if I were running the committees, I would bend over backwards to avoid even giving the appearance of favoritism.

The favoritism shown to Representative Geri Huser in the Democratic primary in House district 42 is one reason I am donating only to individual candidates this year and not to the Iowa Democratic Party. It wasn’t right for the IDP (on instructions from the House Democratic caucus) to refuse to sell Matt Ballard access to the Voter Activation Network when he was running against Huser. If he could afford to buy access to the voter database, he should have been able to.

So, even without knowing all the details of what occurred, I sympathize with Meyers and understand why he is angry.

However, his remedy harms all Democrats and the chance for us to make progress on important issues in the next Congress, and that is unacceptable.

Beating Tom Latham will not be easy, but it is doable. IA-04 is a swing district that now has a slight Democratic voter registration advantage. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has included it among its “red to blue” targets.  Greenwald’s fundraising is likely to be strong. EMILY’s list may get involved on Greenwald’s behalf too.

Meyers worked the district hard and won over many voters. Instead of urging his supporters to back our nominee, he claims that Greenwald would be no better than Latham and adds this insult:

“She doesn’t have any real ideas,” he said. “She’s just saying what she’s been told to say by the party, and we are already represented by a rubber stamp. I don’t want to elect someone like that again.”

Greenwald has accomplished a lot in her career and has put her time and energy into helping Iowa Democrats win elections. But to Meyers she’s just a dumb woman who has to be told what to say. He is in effect echoing the Republican talking points that have been used to undermine and discredit other women candidates for Congress.

UPDATE: Meyers has asked me to retract the above statement, since he has never called Greenwald a “dumb woman.” Bleeding Heartland readers can make their own judgments about what is implied when someone says a woman has no ideas and just says what the party tells her to say.

Even if Meyers’ ludicrous assertion were true, and Greenwald would just do what party leaders told her to do, what would be better for our country? Electing someone who will help President Obama get his agenda through Congress, or electing someone who would obstruct Obama’s agenda?

If Meyers truly finds himself unable to support Greenwald, he could do something constructive like help some good Democrat get elected to the state legislature. Doing campaign work, either as a volunteer or a paid staffer, is one of the best ways to “pay your dues” and lay the groundwork for a future campaign.

For some reason, Meyers would rather burn bridges with the party activists he would need if he ever wanted to run again:

“I’m part of a new generation of Democrats,” Meyers said. “I’m willing to stand up and do what I think is right, so I’m not concerned about my political future. Doing an integrity check on my party is a good thing that will make it stronger in the long term.”

How will running as an independent do an “integrity check” on the Democratic Party? All that will do is give every Democrat in this state an excuse to ignore what Meyers has to say.

Look, there’s no shame in losing your first run for office. It happens to some of the best, like Tom Harkin. Meyers should take his cue from Peter Teahen, the 30-something Republican who came up short in the second district primary on Tuesday. He sounds ready to endorse Mariannette Miller-Meeks, even though he only lost that primary by a little more than 100 votes after a hard-fought campaign.

Meyers learned tips on running a campaign from Democracy for America’s Night School, but his current course is not what DFA had in mind when it set out to train grassroots activists.

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  • it's too late...

    remember those emails from fallon’s 06 campaign manager that helped tube his otherwise respectable chances against boswell… meyers has a website – i think ramona cunningham has a better shot of getting her old job back at cietc than william does getting elected.

  • Fallon - Nader - 2000

    For all the good that he has done, Fallon was never able to recover from that mistake.

    Meyers generated some dedicated support in this primary, and I can easily see him running for state legislature or county supervisor.  But this independent campaign will torpedo any future efforts of his.

    • Exactly right!

      And as I said before–Fallon’s support of Nader didn’t cost us anything! Gore still won Iowa (though it was razor-thin) and Fallon has little reach outside the state.

      This has the potential to cost us a House seat, and more if Latham runs for Gov or Senate down the road.

      • arguably

        the support for Nader in states that Gore won narrowly (WA, OR, MN, WI and IA) cost Gore time and money that he could have spent in Ohio and Florida.

        But I take your point.

        I would love to see Latham retire from Congress to run for governor. I think Culver would dispatch him with little trouble.

    • Too early to say never. The comparison isn't quite right.

      If I remember correctly, Fallon has only attempted two statewide runs since he left the statehouse, so I think it’s a  little early to say he “was never able to recover.”  I think that with a Democrat in the White House in 2010, Fallon will face far less resentment when he runs again.

      Also, just because his history was out there, doesn’t mean Boswell had to bring it up.  He ran a disgustingly dirty campaign and completely ignored all the important issues.  It’s the sort of issue that only turns enough people off when your opponent keeps pushing it out there as a wedge.  

      However, a completely independent run like Meyers is pursuing is not the sort of thing people tend to forgive on their own.  It is a far more egregious insult to the primary voters.  Fallon made the endorsement because Gore made a poor selection of V.P., and not because he disagreed with an action of the voters.  It doesn’t matter whether future opponents remind the public of Meyers’ choice, because the voters won’t forget.

      The Fallon comparison works in that it shows how a misstep now can become a major obstacle in the future, but it fails when you consider how much worse it would be for Meyers to run as an independent, and how unbelievably difficult it would be to get past that.

  • Fallon

    When a democrat wins the White House doesn’t matter.  Alot of us are madder than Hell at Ed Fallon for supporting George Bush in 2000.  I for one will never vote for Fallon.  Granted Gore carried Iowa.  But the Bush/Nader idoits forced Gore to spend money and time in safe states like Washington, Oregon, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Iowa.  Time and money that could have been spent in Ohio, West Virginia, Arkansas, New Hampshire, and Tennessee.  I won’t mention Florida as it was already stolen before the election started.

    In 2006 at our caucus in Dallas County.  A Fallon supported asked me if I would look at Fallon.  I said no way.  He asked me why and said if Fallon was that stupid to support Bush in 2000 he is too damn dumb to be governor.  The Fallon staffer said he didn’t he supported Nader.  I replied with Nader/Bush it was the same thing and Fallon can go to Hell.  Harry Truman used to tell republicans to go to Hell.