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Battle of the Sackses

(A convincing argument. - promoted by desmoinesdem)

The reasons Christie Vilsack will run and win in the new 2nd

1)  She wants it.  She's made that pretty clear.  And the 2nd is her only viable option to Congress. Running in the 1st would be worse, running in the 3rd would be mutually assured destruction for her and Boswell.  The only other real option is the 4th and while she would be a hero for taking on King, it would be very tough to win and even tougher to hold.  Which district would you want to represent if you were her?

2)  Money won't be a problem.  She is married to the sitting Ag Secretary and is BFFs with the Clintons.  This is regardless of whether the DCCC supports Loebsack, which is an open question (it is not the same analysis as supporting Boswell because Loebsack is newer and the Dem will win the general regardless).

3)  She has a base in the 2nd.  Her husband ran up big margins in far SE Iowa during his Gubernatorial campaigns.  She still has a lot of connections down there.  Not only that, but Loebsack has been remarkably weak in those counties (Henry, Jefferson, Des Moines, Lee, Wapello, etc) and there are still a lot of Democrats down there.  Loebsack has no base.  Johnson County would be the closest thing to it and Iowa City  would obviously be the big prize in a primary, but she could compete there.


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The Public Option

I’ve been following the healthcare debate very closely.  Perhaps more closely than any issue…..ever.  It has definitely been a wild ride, both frustrating and hopeful.  I know that many Progressives are frustrated with Obama about this (including Mrs. desmoinesdem).  I blame the Senate filibuster rules mostly. Well, I blame the Republicans ultimately, but I just assume they oppose everything at this point, so they are just an irrelevant annoyance.  

Obama has never said anything except that he would prefer the public option be included.  However, he rightly won’t let HCR die in its absence.  Remember when the Clintons bestowed their HCR bill on Congress and it blew up in their face?  He may have over learned that lesson, but we are going to have a meaningful — even historic — bill at the end of the day.  Here are my thoughts on the public option debate in the context of the wider HCR debate:

1) A health care bill without a public option is still a huge achievement for progressives.

2) The public option is a relatively minor part of the health care bill if it is the watered down version.

3) Fighting for the public option has done a lot of good, even if we don’t get it.

4)I don’t think that failing to get the public option is a result of Obama not being Progressive enough, I think it is a result of not setting the terms right in the first place.  I can deal with mistakes…..a betrayal would have been much worse.

5)We probably get more out of trading a weak, ineffective public option for Medicare buy-in, Medicaid expansion etc., than we would have gotten for fighting to pass it.

6) This battle has been epic. We didn’t get everything we wanted, but we got a lot in the grand scheme of things.  The absolute worst result, both politically and policy-wise would be NOT passing a bill.  

I could see Obama revisiting healthcare in a second term (or a subsequent Dem in the medium term) and having this bill in place is a much better jumping off point than where we had to start this time.

Why Marriage Equality is Here to Stay

(I think this is why Bob Vander Plaats and others have pushed for the unworkable "governor executive order to end gay marriage" scenario. - promoted by desmoinesdem)

The short of it is because Republicans have ZERO chance of taking back the Senate anytime soon.  I’ve felt since the ruling that it probably would never get overturned.  I got curious today and decided to investigate further.  So I started to think like a social conservative (it was scary) and tried to find any feasible way for this to pass the Lege in the near future.  

It will not pass in the 2010 session according to both the House and Senate leadership.  So the Repubs best hope is for a successful election in 2010 to make it possible.  It is in the realm of possibility that Repubs take back the House.  I really don’t think they will, but there are a lot of competitive races that could flip in a good year for them.  I could even see an amendment passing that chamber in the next couple sessions with “six-pack” help.  Incidentally, there are quite a few Republican-held seats that could flip for us in a good year as well.  I think redistricting will help us in 2012 too, but that is for another post.

The Senate is a different story.  There are precisely 4 competitive Democrat-held Senate districts that are up for re-election in 2010.  Those are, with 2006 results:


Rich Olive                       Democrat            11224

James Kurtenbach          

Republican          11162


Bill Heckroth                   Democrat            11902

James Kurtenbach          

Republican          10556


Staci Appel                     Democrat             12827

Julian Garrett                  Republican            12055


Becky Schmitz                Democrat              10362

David Miller                    Republican             10178

Source: Iowa SOS Website

Even if Republicans pull off all four of these races they will still be down 28-22.  I tend to think that Olive and Schmitz are safe.  Schmitz especially after the Hanson victory, which is half her district.  I don’t know much about Heckroth.  I currently reside in Appel’s district and that is going to be a dog fight I’d wager.    I’m going to do everything I can to help her (and you should too).  

That means that in all likelihood (and I trust Gronstal won’t budge, he tends not too)  That a constitutional amendment cannot possibly pass the Senate until AFTER the 2012 election.   We’ll have a guy named Obama at the top of the ticket that year and will hopefully improve down ballot organizing from ’08.  I like our chances.

My prediction is that it never even gets put to a vote.  Based on the above, the EARLIEST it could come up would be 2016.  I’m confident it would be soundly defeated by then if that were the case.  The polls already show it about even.  

My other prediction is that Republicans will go all out on this issue and thus alienate a whole generation of Iowans who are turned off by their bigoted agenda. I think this has already happened to an extent with Bush and company, but it will be a real problem for them in the future.  

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The New Organizing Institute’s Mock Campaign Election Supersizes DC Politics

WASHINGTON, DC – July 7th, 2009 – Young progressive organizers from across the United States join the New Organizing Institute’s BootCamp to learn and engage their peers in the newest wave of campaigning – New Media.

The 60 participants, selected from over 600 applicants, are charged with creating and executing a simulated campaign for Mayor of DC. The difference between normal DC campaigns and the New Organizing Institute’s mock campaign is the candidates’ are comic book superheroes.

One of those superheroes is “The Atom.” Members of The Atom for DC Campaign work diligently to create a website, Facebook page, Myspace, and twitter account for their superhero featured in DC comics. In the following days the six campaign staffers for The Atom will create and execute their campaign strategy to attempt win the online election to be held on Friday, July 10th, from 7a.m. EST to 6p.m. EST at

“This is another example of how young progressives are on the cutting edge of online organizing through social networking sites, and sophisticated outreach tools,” said NaveenMalik. “Our website integrates YouTube videos we created, in addition to a constituent database that allows us to target our e-mail and social network campaign with the hopes that our content will go viral.” (Visit:

In addition to The Atom for DC Campaign, staffs for opposition superhero candidates prepare to make their case. To take a candidate “viral” staff members work to increase the number of website views, friends on Facebook and e-mail signups through their websites.
“The candidates may be fake, but the issues are real and we encourage DC residents to join our online election on Friday, “ said Judith Freeman, Executive Director for the New Organizing Institute.

The New Organizing Institute ( – runs the only progressive advocacy and campaign training program focused on cutting-edge online organizing techniques (e.g. writing effective emails, engaging bloggers, leveraging social networks, utilizing video), political technology (e.g. using data effectively, progressive technology infrastructure), and the intersection with field and management of these areas of new organizing.


P.S. Check out the HILARIOUS videos from The Atom at: