23 May

The DNC ignores Wisconsin, ignores, lies to, hangs up on rank-and-file. WTF?

The O’Leary: Classic Democratic Party fail.

Wisconsin – In what can be seen as a narrative-changing poll, Greenberg Quinlan Rosner (on behalf of the labor-backed “We Are Wisconsin”) released a poll showing the lead for Gov. Scott Walker in the Wisconsin recall elections shaved down to three points. What’s more, it shows an advantage for Democratic challenger Tom Barrett among Independents, suggesting that if the Democrats can get their base to show up, that could be the difference between a narrow win, and a narrow defeat. Also of interest: Barrett’s pollster (Fred Yang, of Garin-Hart-Yang) also claims that his polling has the race considerably closer than the recent public polling (which gave Walker a lead ranging from 5-9 points). He also explains why: he argues that those polls were conducted before the recent media campaign which sought to rough up Walker in advance of the recall election on June 5th.

Just imagine for a moment that Howard Dean were still the Chairman of the DNC. What do you suppose his priority would be right now? If you said the Recall Elections in Wisconsin set for 2 weeks from today (June 5th), I’m fairly certain you’d be correct.
Keep in mind that Governor Dean was the guy who brought the Party from its recent low point after its crushing defeat in 2004 to its recent high point with amazing victories in 2006 and 2008. He won by urging Democrats to behave like Democrats and employing a 50-State strategy. Howard Dean understands that what Democrats stand for is by and large more popular than what Republicans stand for, and that when we dare to be bold, we will win more often than not.
Why would Dr. Dean be dedicating himself to Wisconsin now?
What is the current DNC doing in this regard?

The answers to those questions and more over the imaginary fold.

Why would Howard Dean by all be in Wisconsin if he still headed the DNC?
Because he possesses political acumen, i.e., savvy and common sense. And because he is someone that cares about us common folk.
Wisconsin has been taken over by the worst forces we’ve seen in American politics in quite some time. Dr. Dean would recognize this opportunity to remedy that situation and build tremendous support and momentum for the Party going into the November elections.
We are familiar with Scott Walker, a virtual paid agent of people like Charles and David Koch, and a hard-core devotee of the ALEC agenda. Although he was not elected on a platform of destroying hard-won collective bargaining Rights, that’s where he and his cronies went immediately, no matter what the People of the State had to say, no matter what the Open Government laws of Wisconsin dictated.
Scott Walker and his legislative cronies behaved like the tin-horn dictators they are, brazenly ramming through bad policy without care or conscience.
Among horrible Republican governors with horrible Republican legislatures, Scott Walker took the lead in pushing the Right-wing “Tea-party” agenda bent on destroying Public services and enriching its benefactors with the ruses of “job creation,” and “austerity.” (It’s not really austere to give out huge tax breaks to those who need them least in the face of budget deficits.)

Sadly, in the context of State government, people like Walker who are not afraid to be brazen and unyielding can do real harm to real people’s lives and a lot of damage to the proper functioning of good government. And so they have.
But happily, those good folks who structured the State government in Wisconsin foresaw such a possibility and allowed for the People to recall dishonest and/or dishonorable Public officials operating counter to the Public interest.

All things being equal, recalling Walker shouldn’t be too tough. Aside from the damage he’s been doing and the dishonesty he’s shown, his policies are failing, and to top it off, he’s under criminal investigation for his role in a government corruption scandal in the “John Doe” case. (He established a legal defense fund from campaign contributions, which would be illegal were he not being criminally investigated.)

But all things are not equal. We are living in post Citizen’s United era, and Walker is the poster boy of the moneyed, extremist Right Wing. His coffers runneth over with their big bucks. He’s been blanketing the airways for months now as a result, lying about how great his policies are working out, and what a threat “Big Government Union Bosses” are.

The forces of the Right are all in for this election, and from their point of view, they’re doing the right thing.
It’s just like why Mr. Potter (It’s a Wonderful Life) wanted the Bailey Building and Loan so badly, to crush the only force left that could resist him. I could blame people like the Koch Brothers (Mr. Potter’s real-world counterparts) for a lot, but their reasoning in backing Walker whole hog is prescient.
And that is because this recall election is about a whole lot more than Wisconsin and they know it. People like Howard Dean know it. I know it, and if you’re reading this diary on The Daily Kos, it’s likely you know it too.

Walker is running a template here. If he gets by here and now, it doesn’t end in Wisconsin, it begins in Wisconsin.
This is where the rubber hits the road. This is the power of money vs. the power of the People. It’s the core values of the Democratic Party vs. the radical agenda that has taken hold of the Republican Party.
This is the foundation of the American vision of democracy which Lincoln explained so brilliantly and succinctly at Gettysburg: “…government of the People, by the People, and for the People…” vs. the Law of the corporate-dominated jungle: “He who has the gold makes the Rules.”
This is a battle for the soul of our Nation. The RNC sees it and they are all in.
The DNC does not see it. The DNC refuses to listen. The DNC is becoming a real problem.

We found out last week that the Democratic National Committee now led by Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz refused a request for $500,000 by the Wisconsin Democratic Party needed for the critical “ground game,” the GOTV effort needed to overcome Walker’s money advantage going into the recall election.
Half a million dollars could do much for that effort, but it is a fairly small amount for a major party’s national committee, chump change really (in relative terms).
It seemed like it had to be a mistake, an oversight perhaps. It got some national attention, and a week ago rank and file democrats began to contact the DNC, urging the powers that be there to correct the error. A petition was begun, over a hundred thousand signatures collected and fairly quickly.
But still no money. The DNC gave a tepid statement of support. The Chairwoman would visit (eventually). No money.
So we called and faxed and e-mailed and tweeted again and again to find out WTF was going on. And to express outrage, and to request, beg for, demand that they act. And to explain why this was so important. To threaten to pull ongoing support. Etc.
I took it upon myself to call often, and I found out from DWS’s office that meetings were going on. They were getting our message, loud and clear, they said, financial support was imminent, the Chairwoman was involved, their support would be comprehensive, etc. etc. They said.
By the end of last week Wassserman-Schultz’s office assured me that an announcement would come within 24 hours enumerating the DNC’s high level of support.
Over the week-end, word was that they were going to spring for $2 million. It turned out though that this was not the case, the $2 million was money already promised by the Democratic Governor’s Association.
So I called back today to ask WTF (again), and to express frustration. But with today’s contact, I am no longer just frustrated. I am appalled.
The people in Debbie Wasserman’s Schultz’s office lied to me, they hung up on me, and they will not return phone messages. They’re hearing from us loud and clear alright, but they’re not at all interested.

To be honest, I don’t care about the way I’ve been treated, though this is a great indication of what they think of their rank-and-file voters, you know, the people who vote for, work for, and contribute to their candidates.
I have a very thick skin, so I could care less about how their rudeness affects me. All I want is for the DNC to go all in to support the Democratic candidates in the Wisconsin Recall elections, as the RNC are supporting Scott Walker and his cronies.
At the very least, they need to send the funds needed for the ground game requested by the Democrats in Wisconsin.
But as of this writing, there is nothing.

I have to say that the calls to the DNC continue. Ground-level workers continue to pass our messages along, but to no avail. In fact these workers are feeling the way the callers are feeling, frustrated and at a loss to explain what the Hell is wrong with those at the other end of the messages.
At this point, they are simply cutting their own throats because: a) They are pissing off a lot of people, and not just in Wisconsin. These calls are coming in from all over the Nation. And,
b) Wisconsin is a swing state. If we win, this election could provide a huge boost to Obama’s campaign in Wisconsin, and in fact all over the Midwest in states like Ohio, Iowa, Michigan and Indiana where similar dynamics are going on. Or if lost, the momentum which could have been gained could turn into a drag. Excitement turning to despair. Tailwinds turning into headwinds.
And this goes for Congressional elections as well.
Do these people at the DNC really want to win? Can they be this penny-wise and pound-foolish? Can they really hold their rank-and-file in such contempt?
Could they really be missing the forest for the trees in such historic fashion?

What we need to do with all of this now is to join with Wisconsin more than ever. We need to compensate for the lack of National leadership by contributing what we can financially, doing phone-banking GOTV work from afar, and by spreading the word in every which way possible.
We are all Wisconsin at this point!

And when the dust clears we will need to do something about the DNC, that’s for damn sure. I’m sorry, but this thing just isn’t working.

What I’d ask Debbie Wasserman-Schultz is why she feels she’d be popular in Wisconsin among Democrats right about now.
I don’t know about you folks on the ground there, but personally, I’d tell her to stay the fuck away unless she was coming with a big, fat check.
And BTW Chairwoman, if you finally decide to deliver the goods, don’t wait until the week before the election to do it!

On the plus side though, by winning this election despite the DNC, we would prove to be true the (somewhat ironic) words of Barack Obama in 2008.
We are the change we’ve been waiting for!


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If the DNC won’t publicly support the recall of Walker and help fund the recall effort, what in heaven’s name would they support.

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