Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Holding Their Feet to the Fire

A new Texas progressive blog has been launched with the objective to place some well deserved kicks to some behinds in Texas, including some Democratic asses to get them moving again in a progressive direction.

The blog Feet to the Fire.

One of their first posts - The candidate left out in the cold, a report on the lack of support that Janette Sexton's campaign for state representative received despite early promises from Democratic office holders and leaders. The post is duplicated at Brains and Eggs.

With no previous political experience but inspired by Howard Dean's campaign and call to challenge the Republicans everywhere, she took on long established Robert Talton, a GOP power-broker in Austin. Despite his radical Right Christian views and his becoming the leading spokesman for Texas homophobia and despite his being a multiple award winner of Texas Monthly's top ten worst legislators in Austin, he may have gone unchallenged except for her entry into the race. (Attorney Rick Molina, who doesn't live in the district but who has a very loose sense of where he really lives, may have run but instead choose another seat in a special election race in which district he also didn't live. He is next going to claim a Pasadena residency for a local race there on which his residency claim I am told will finally be challenged.)

Full disclosure, I worked on Janette Sexton's campaign by creating her successful but limited fund-raising letters and placing half of her signs. I also prepared her list of phones to be called and an analysis of vote objectives for each precinct.

Since I was with her from the beginning of her campaign, which she decided on in November 2004 just after Bush's reelection, I can testify to the calls of support and endorsement her early entry initially received from some Democratic leaders and the unreturned calls and emails and silence later. I was also shocked when told she had been told not to expect help and support or endorsements from Democratic office-holders who had to work with Talton and the Republican majority.

One correction to PDiddie's article: of her $13,000 campaign she financed $8,000 out of her savings as a technical writer, a temp writer at the beginning of the campaign. Talton outspent her ten to one.

Her outspokenness for progressive causes and her willingness to not blindly support long established local Democratic Party leaders put her on the outs with the leadership of one of the three local Democratic Clubs. Recently this club voted not to help her reduce her campaign debt.

Added: another dos centavos.


Anonymous said...

possibly helpful in the future:

They Work for Us

by kos
Mon Jan 22, 2007 at 09:34:23 AM PST

Today, a new organization was born, They Work For Us.

Looking to instill discipline among Democrats, a coalition of labor, trial lawyers and liberal groups is launching lobbying and campaign organizations this week to keep Democratic lawmakers from straying on populist issues.

Democrats who don't hew to this agenda could find themselves facing well-funded primary opponents _ an aggressive strategy to counter moderate and conservative blocs within the party.

They Work For Us is led by Steve Rosenthal, former labor organizer and head of ACT. Its members include SEIU, the United Steelworkers, MoveOn, the American Association for Justice (formerly the American Trial Lawyers Association), and this little ol' website (I'm on the board).

The first three targets? Three Democrats we already know and love -- Ellen Tauscher, Al Wynn, and Henry Cuellar.

This is a potent alliance, and one that will have real muscle as we look to target not "conservative" Democrats, but Democrats who are out of step with their districts (a key and important distinction). This is no lame-brained Club for Growth clone -- an operation obsessed with ideological purity without regard to electoral realities.

Rosenthal said the new coalition would not single out members with moderate to conservative constituencies. Instead, it will target lawmakers who coalition organizers believe are out of step with their voters.

"We're not trying to force people to the left of their districts," he said. "We want to make sure that Democrats primarily represent their districts."

They Work For Us will give challengers the sort of heft that challengers often lack against entrenched (and oftentimes corrupt) incumbents -- especially those in "safe" Democratic districts. Rosenthal is one of the nation's top organizers and fundraisers. We all know and love what MoveOn can deliver. SEIU, the Steelworkers, and other member unions have cash, boots, and organizers. Daily Kos is a megaphone, one of the nation's premier progressive media outlets. The trial lawyers have money. It's like the Super Friends of progressive politics.

We, as a movement, are becoming more sophisticated. More organized. We're forging new alliances. We're working smarter. We're growing up.

And if all goes well, we won't need self-funding millionaires like Ned Lamont to hold Democrats accountable. There's a finite number of class-acts like Lamont with the financial means to fight the tough primary battles. With They Work For Us, courageous primary challengers will have immediate, substantive, significant support.

Gary said...

Yeah, I had just read about that and already Cuellar is complaining he represents his district and not outside liberal interests.

If he represented his district he wouldn't be the top Texas target.