If you’re a Democratic partisan, a party person — and I know you’re out there — one of the most effective electoral acts one party can do to another is to defeat the other party’s leaders in their home district. This not only embarrasses the other party, since the spotlight is always on these races when they heat up. It also takes a key player off the chessboard — removes a rook, or god forbid, a queen.
And if you’ re a progressive Democrat, you want to replace the Republican you’re removing with a progressive, not some DLC flack or NeoLib leadership go-along. It’s a double win.
In this election, progressive Democrats have this opportunity twice. There are viable races against House Armed Services Committee chairman Buck McKeon (CA-25) and Mr. 1% Bodyfat himself, House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan (WI-01). These opportunities don’t come often. I say embrace them.
These men aren’t schlubs; they’re House chairmen (and one is being positioned for the throne in 2016). Here’s Howie Klein of DownWithTyranny and BlueAmerica (via email; some added emphasis):
This morning Barney Frank wrote a letter for the Blue America PAC backing up our strategy of trying to take out GOP leaders. We’re after House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan and House Armed Services Committee chairman Buck McKeon.
These are not like the hapless backbenchers and clowns the DCCC is trying to defeat. And their opponents aren’t corrupt, reactionary New Dems and Blue Dogs that Steve Israel is so enamoured of. This are genuine villains and founts of catastrophic policy agendas and their opponents are straight arrow, independent-minded progressives, respectively Rob Zerban and Lee Rogers.
Both are districts Obama won in 2008 and both are districts the DCCC has told Beltway insiders and state parties are unwinnable. Local media in both districts are starting to realize the DCCC is up to something unsavory.
And from Barney Frank’s letter:
You have a chance today to push back against Ryan by helping to elect two new progressive House members, Rob Zerban and Lee Rogers. Rob is running against Ryan in his Wisconsin district — Ryan remains on the ballot even though he is running to be Vice President. Lee Rogers is running against House Armed Services Chairman Buck McKeon in California.
By donating today, you can help provide needed funds to Rob’s and Lee’s campaigns while getting a chance to win a rare quadruple platinum record award for the B-52s album, Cosmic Thing.
Blue America has set up a special web page to raise money for Rob’s and Lee’s campaigns—- Healthcare, Not Warfare — A Cosmic Thing.
Your donation can really make a difference. Both Rob and Lee are running in districts that President Obama won in 2008 and which he is likely to win by bigger margins next month.
Now my take — Until things fall apart a whole lot more than they have, third parties aren’t viable force-extenders. I’m a long-time believer in primaries within the Democratic Party instead, and for progressives within the party to flex some muscle.
I now want to emphasis that last point. I said in this interview with Matt Filipowicz (near the end) that the Democratic Party (office-holders, not voters — a vital distinction) works like a dysfunctional family. Every child has a enabling role, including the child who cries at night and says “This isn’t right.” That child (the progressive in this metaphor) is the one that enables all the other go-alongs to say, “Yes, we really do have a conscience — just look at Dennis” and then do not a single thing differently.
To break this cycle of dependency — in which progressives always lose — and start racking up some actual wins, I think progressives need to do two things:
(1) We do need to elect more real progressives to Congress.
But (2) those progressives who do get in must declare open rebellion against the DLC-NeoLib (and BlueDog-enabling) leadership. If they don’t, they’ll just be the child to says “This isn’t right” and has zero other effect.
No more Ms. Nice Progressive. No more Mr. Collegiality. You’re in to win, not play nice. They’re in to stop you; how nice do they play? Open rebellion.
In fact, I have a name for this group — the Democratic Open Rebellion Caucus — and they’re taking membership applications now. Just declare your rebellion and you’re in. You can break the cycle of loss and progressive dependency. Rebel openly and proudly. Believe me, your fans and your voters will love you for it.
I’m serious. Open progressive rebellion is a vital aspect of an effective progressive coalition. We’re doing our part, here in the bleachers. Please, Mr. & Ms. Progressive Office-Holder — do yours. The measurable isn’t trying — it’s effectiveness, actual winning.
To follow or send links: @Gaius_Publius