Saturday, September 15, 2007

Netroots Pose Problem for Democrats in 08

Jeanne Shaheen is the top choice of Democratic leaders to take on John Sununu in 2008. She's seen as having a great chance to knock Sununu off next year:

If Shaheen is the nominee, it would create a rematch of the 2002 contest, which Sununu won 51-47 percent. Since then, the political landscape in New Hampshire has changed, and initial polling has showed Shaheen leading Sununu. Republicans, including the free-market Club For Growth and the centrist Republican Main Street Partnership, have already rallied behind Sununu. One GOP strategist said Sununu is highly vulnerable if the contest is only about Iraq. "If the issue becomes the issue of taxes then the advantage shifts a little bit to John Sununu," the strategist said.
It ought to concern Democrats that having landed a top challenger against a targeted Republican incumbent, the first reaction from the Netroots is disappointment and disillusionment. From Open Left:
[T]o be perfectly frank, I feel like Shaheen is one of the many, many Democrats who first helped lead the party into simultaneous minority and pro-war status back in 2002-2003, but who is now capitalizing on the favorable electoral stage that was prepared mainly by the progressive movement during four years of intense guerilla warfare against conservatism from 2003-2006. While the Jean Shaheen’s and Rahm Emanual’s of the party were supporting things like the Bush tax cuts, the pre-emptive invasion of Iraq, and legislation to support Terry Schaivo, it was the netroots who were doing the bulk of the heavy lifting in opposition to Republicans. I feel like they are capitalizing on what we rightfully earned, and both dissing us and preparing to destroy all of our work in the process. They are pretenders to the new Democratic majority.
Jane Hamsher at FireDogLake uses the occasion to slam Rahm Emanuel:
Rahm supported the war and didn’t want Democrats to talk about it during the last election. He thinks immigration — which desperately needs addressing as a matter of conscience and has the added benefit of splitting the Republican party into little splinters every time it comes up — should not be addressed until a new President’s second term. After the last election people said the thing they care about most is seeing corruption addressed, and as Kagro X noted, Nancy Pelosi said the most important thing about gaining majority status was getting subpoena power. Now Rahm has decided to render that limp and useless as well.

Rahm then has the arrogance to run around and crow about orchestrating the Democratic victory in 06 as if my dog could not have done a better job, considering all the money he dumped into loser races and the way he ignored those that probably could have inched to success had they had just a little bit more help from the DCCC.

I think we’re all a bit tired of cleaning up Rahm’s messes (watch the YouTube above and remember, this is the guy who’s in charge of Democratic messaging for the House). And yes, it is irritating to watch them all ride in and take advantage of a favorable electoral stage that was set in the wake of their open hostility to those who were doing all the heavy lifting to set it.
A big reason the Democrats won the Congress in 2006 was that the prevailing attitude on the Left was: whoever it takes to win. It led the Netroots to back Jim Webb, Heath Shuler, and a host of more moderate-to-conservative candidates. Now things seem to have changed.

If the Netroots imposes purity tests in 08 -- and there's every sign that they intend to do so -- it will be a big crimp in the plans of people like Rahm Emanuel.

Update: Don Surber also has some good commentary on Democrats' fear of MoveOn in 08.

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