Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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August 15, 2006
By: Paul Glastris

DEADBEATS AND ALL-STARS....In the Washington Post today, E.J. Dionne notes that Democrats have a problem: the big money donors who contributed millions of dollars to the party during the 2004 race have largely disappeared now that the election was over. As Rahm Emanuel put it, "they walked off the field."

But what about the Democratic politicians themselves, many of whom are in line for powerful committee chairmanships if they take control of the House in November? Surely Democratic House members hate being in the minority enough that those in safe seats are burning through their cell phone minutes to raise money for challengers trying to knock off incumbent Republicans.

You might think that. But you would be wrong. Or, at least, youd be wrong in a lot of cases.

Through a congressional source, weve obtained an internal scorecard showing which House Democrats have been the most diligent at dialing for dollars on behalf of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and which have been the least diligent. The DCCC sets fundraising goals for each member based on committee assignment and whether the member stands to become a committee or subcommittee chair should the Democrats win the majority. Each member is then expected to contribute to the team in three ways: by paying dues directly to the DCCC (which the committee then spends on TV ads in competitive districts); by holding fundraisers that benefit the DCCC; and by directly giving to or raising money for Democratic challengers through a program called Red to Blue.

You can read the results in the two lists below, which also show how much money each member has in his or her campaign bank accounts. As you can see, there are some real heroes, like Reps. Mike Thompson (D-Ca) and Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla), who have raised millions for their fellow Dems. And there are serious laggards, like Reps. Pete Stark (D-Ca) and Jim Moran (D-Va), who have not only raised little or nothing for others but havent even paid their own dues.

Technically, these deadbeats have until the end of the year to meet their quotas. But given that theres this election thing happening in November, maybe itd be a good idea for these folks to start picking up the phone, you know, now.

Paul Glastris 1:07 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (37)

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Marcy Kapture repesents my old home town. She's as useful as teets on a boar. No wonder she is in the deadbeat column.

Posted by: Keith G on August 15, 2006 at 1:30 AM | PERMALINK

Wow ! Debbie rocks !

(as usual)

Posted by: Fifi on August 15, 2006 at 1:33 AM | PERMALINK

Demo Phil Angelides is having trouble raising money in his race against Arnold.

Breaks my heart.

Posted by: Frequency Kenneth on August 15, 2006 at 1:38 AM | PERMALINK

Is there any 'correcting' for the relative wealth of the particular district? I mean, does Conyers represent a particularly poor section of Detroit, while Wasserman has Palm Beach?

(I have no idea if I'm even anywhere close on those guesses, and too lazy to look'em up.)

Posted by: Robert Earle on August 15, 2006 at 1:59 AM | PERMALINK

I've been cutting way back on giving Dems. money since 2000, but I would dig deep if I thought Charlie Rangel would be Chairman of Ways and Means! He's one of few that I can respect!

Posted by: R.L. on August 15, 2006 at 2:09 AM | PERMALINK

I never cease to be amazed at how corrupt, arrogant, and unscrupulous Republicans have become... or how timid, incompetent, and worthless Democrats are.

We've all heard of the "Greatest generation". Well, true to form their kids have helped run the greatest nation in the history of the world straight into the ground.

Even sadder, few of them will ever suffer the consequences of their actions (crippling debt, the destruction of America's military, the end of America's prestige in the world, not to mention the impending destruction of the world through Global Warming).

With so many from the "Worst Generation" retiring to Florida, we can only hope that Global Warming hurries up and drowns some of them before they die of semi-natural causes (Viagra-induced heart attacks or venereal diseases) and are interred in their luxury crypts those ironically appropriate monuments to wasteful self-indulgence that convey the core attitude of that generation: "f#@k the grand kids, we're taking it with us."

Posted by: Augustus on August 15, 2006 at 2:10 AM | PERMALINK

Honest and hardworking Congressmen can have an enormous influence on the fortunes of the party.
However, individual members are really a team of one. (The tactical and criminal genius of Delay was enforcing party discipline on the GOP caucus) You would think after 12 years of Republicans rubbing salt in the wounds of the minority, as well as breaking all manner of Congressional rules, the Dems would be going all out to win back the House. Instead you get members raising money only for their own reelection.
The grassroots and party apparatus will have to do the heavy lifting.

Posted by: movement Dem on August 15, 2006 at 2:26 AM | PERMALINK

Don't suppose you have the numbers for the rest of them?

Posted by: Steve Brady on August 15, 2006 at 3:19 AM | PERMALINK

There aren't any real "ritzy" areas of Detroit proper, and I doubt he represents Grosse Isle or Grosse Pointe (those are the money burbs). Both Birmingham and Bloomfield are far from eight mile so he has no fundage coming in from there. If I find myself flush I will donate to conyers campaign because even though he does not represent my district (fucking McCotter-R) he is definitely one to keep around. My guy is worth his weight in cat shit.

Posted by: Eric Paulsen on August 15, 2006 at 3:48 AM | PERMALINK

Pretty sad state of democracy when reps are rated by this kind of measure.

Posted by: lou on August 15, 2006 at 7:40 AM | PERMALINK

>Pretty sad state of democracy when reps are rated by this kind of measure.

My thoughts exactly. It's hard to feel sympathy for politicians, but y'know at least the more concientious ones gotta be thinking "Fucknuts, I came here to do *real* work. My staff's *summary* of tomorrow's legislation is 200 pages and here I am brownnosing over the phone when I need to be looking at it".

And we wonder why estate tax repeal isn't just laughed right out of Washington. Well, one dollar one vote really applies here.

Earnest Policy Wonk: "Sir, the estate tax only affects about 1000 families a year."

Politician: "Yeah, but I meet every damn one at the fundraisers".

Posted by: doesn't matter on August 15, 2006 at 8:31 AM | PERMALINK

Eric Paulsen on August 15, 2006 at 3:48 AM: There aren't any real "ritzy" areas of Detroit proper..

Conyers represents Hamtramck, Highland Park and parts of Detroit and Dearborn...None of which can be considered wealthy areas.

It would be interesting to see a matrix containing more than just fundraising ability as a measure of a politician's effectiveness...You know, bonus points for a person who actually reads legislation or votes/publicly supports policy issues that jibe with the party platform. Something like that.

Posted by: grape_crush on August 15, 2006 at 8:43 AM | PERMALINK

Moran is my rep. Mr. "earmark the shit out of it..." He's a bad apple Democrat, for sure.


He's the Donkey poster-boy for fair redistricting laws. But he's got a great head of hair and no one will oppose him in the primaries with that sort of clout and war chest.

Posted by: daniel on August 15, 2006 at 9:12 AM | PERMALINK

Even a Democrat representing the Grosse Pointe suburbs, as Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick does, can hardly expect to get any funds from the largely Republican residents of those towns.

That said, EVERY Democrat has access to a regional and national donor base by virtue of their power and seniority within Congress. I'm sure Debbie Wasserman Schultz raises plenty of money in Florida outside of her district, and many of those deadbeat reps could do fundraisers among Democrats in their region who may currently have entrenched Republican representatives.

Posted by: Brittain33 on August 15, 2006 at 9:22 AM | PERMALINK

I'm no fan of big money, special interest politics. It's far easier for politicians to form their opinions at fundraisers rather than by canvassing their constituents.

But when these are the groups who make all the effort, lay all the groundwork and contribute all the money, it would be at least refreshing to hear a Representative say "These are the people who show up. These are the people who contact me, who talk to me and share their views. These are the people who seem to care how I vote."

It would be nice to hear these Representatives explain why they backed a SIG who backed them, and challenge the rest of their constituency to make their voices heard. Otherwise, who's grumbling?

Posted by: wishIwuz2 on August 15, 2006 at 9:25 AM | PERMALINK

Stupak's in the same boat as Conyers. The district is Democratic because it covers the entire U.P., where there isn't a lot of money. He does represent some areas where some are wealthy in the northern lower peninsula, but they're rock solid Republican.
In Emmet county, tip of the northern lower, there was a popular county commissioner who'd been re-elected several times. Then she announced she was a Democrat. Lost big time next election.

Posted by: sal on August 15, 2006 at 9:41 AM | PERMALINK

Yeah, but the DCCC wants more than the total resources of some of those alleged "deadbeats" -- so f**k 'em.

Blood from a stone.

Posted by: Scorpio on August 15, 2006 at 9:47 AM | PERMALINK

I was going to make some sort of comment about how sad it was that we've resorted to measuring the worth of a Congressman by how much money they raise. Weep about corruption, call for public financing of elections, roll credits, etc.

But then I noticed that my own DINO Congressman, Big Al Wynn is essentially the worst deadbeat of all. I live in a Congressional district where a lipstick-wearing goat stands a better chance of winning an election than a Republican, so naturally, our Democrat Congressman hoovers up money from the Telecom Industry, lines his pockets, and votes like a Republican on all key issues.

So as a public service announcement to any readers in PG or Eastern Montgomery County, MD, I present to you the answer to our prayers: a serious liberal primary challenger in an election year when incumbents are falling like flies.

Vote early and often.

Posted by: ajl on August 15, 2006 at 9:53 AM | PERMALINK

OT: From a thread at Firedoglake: George Galloway speaks on Israel, Lebanon, and thrashes Sky News...Well worth the watching.

Posted by: grape_crush on August 15, 2006 at 10:07 AM | PERMALINK

Wow my congressman is an All-Star (Mike Honda). His district is no wealthier (CA-15) than his colleagues and neighbors -- Zoe Lofgren, Anna Eshoo (lots of Google money here), Tom Lantos, Pete Stark, Lynn Woolsey, Ellen Taushcher and Nancy Pelosi. I think he is just working harder on fundraising than his neighbors.

Posted by: kathyp on August 15, 2006 at 10:22 AM | PERMALINK

I have to say its a novel argument that our problem is that our elected officials spend too little effort raising campaign cash.

And, second, despite all the different sets of numbers, it seems pretty clear that "All-Star" status is directly and solely determined by the "$ Raised for DCCC column"—which makes little sense. Sure , "Red-to-Blue" might be a separate program that is considered separately, and I can see why the candidates own cash on hand might be ignored, but its pretty clear that the dues aren't considered, either.

Posted by: cmdicely on August 15, 2006 at 10:33 AM | PERMALINK

Mike Thompson is in the pocket of Big Wine.

Posted by: moriarty on August 15, 2006 at 10:43 AM | PERMALINK

What does "Red-to-Blue $ Raised" mean? Are these dollars raised for Democratic challengers? Or does it mean something else?

Posted by: b on August 15, 2006 at 10:44 AM | PERMALINK

How disgusting. Can we have a new political system?

Posted by: bellumregio on August 15, 2006 at 10:44 AM | PERMALINK

Well this is just pathetic. Senior members of Congress like Conyers and Stark, who have the ability to raise money regardless of where their districts are (there is no restriction on where you can raise money or from whom), should not be allowed to chair committees or subcommittees next Congress. Period!!! If you are going to do so little to help get the majority you shouldn't be allowed to enjoy the spoils. And I like where both these guys come out on issues.

The sooner the Dems and their interest groups learn there is no I in team the sooner we will start winning.

Posted by: jmnyc on August 15, 2006 at 11:14 AM | PERMALINK


Those of you "represented" by Al "I occupy space" Wynn won't be surprised to see that he's on Mr. Drum's deadbeat list. But you have an alternative in September's primary! Check out Donna Edwards.

Posted by: sglover on August 15, 2006 at 11:20 AM | PERMALINK

Are you sure you should be posting this? Isn't this kept internal so the GOP doesn't get the numbers?

I mean, sure, it's newsworthy, but if you're trying to actually help democrats win, I'm not sure airing out fundraising numbers publically is good tactics.

Posted by: john on August 15, 2006 at 11:21 AM | PERMALINK

Red-to-blue is a special fund for challengers taking on Republican incumbents. I bet that DWS raised a lot of money for Ron Klein who is challenging her neighbor, Rep. Clay Shaw. But even Klein doesn't have $4 million on hand, so she must be doing more for other candidates. I can't cease to be amazed at how much she raised.

Posted by: Brittain33 on August 15, 2006 at 12:02 PM | PERMALINK

This scoring is ridiculous, like universities that rank faculty solely on the amount of grants they pull in, regardless of whether they are worth a damn as educators.

Calling the least successful Dem fundraisers "deadbeats" is moronic.

Posted by: Disputo on August 15, 2006 at 1:51 PM | PERMALINK

Until we can get some sort of alternate campaign funding program in place, fundraising abilities are going to matter. There is no point blaming minority party congress members themselves for this - unless we do take back government and they don't do anything about the system.

Posted by: EmmaAnne on August 15, 2006 at 2:08 PM | PERMALINK

We [rightly] castigate Repukes for being owned and operated by & for the interests of their contributors, whether corporate or the super-wealthy -- the real ruling class.
AND we hyperventilate -- and again, rightly so -- when some of our Dem "leaders" sell us out -- and we swear we'll never give them a penny again.
But now we -- and AGAIN, rightly -- judge these same players on how well they play the fundraising game -- the clearly necessary fundraising game.
So what's wrong with this picture? How do we resolve these contradictions?
The fault lies in us, not in our stars.
If we want OUR candidates to have the necessary funds, but don't want them to sell out to commercial interests and the real elite -- the heirs and shareholders who own more than half of all the wealth in the country -- then WE have to step up to the plate. All of us.
In the long run, we have to fight for real campaign finance reform. And in the meantime, we HAVE to fill that funding gap ourselves.
We've been, to our credit, doing so -- giving big bux in a hurry when necessary to the Dean and the Lamonts, thru their own net appeals, and thru Kos and Atrios and the like. But this is just a start. We have to go much further -- dig deeper; harass our friends and family and acquaintances; run our own little baby fundraising events.
They've got the money -- but we've got the numbers. But that works only if we work it.
This is not about the politicians. It's about us.

Posted by: smartalek on August 15, 2006 at 2:10 PM | PERMALINK

I miss voting for Honda. He's a nice guy.

But he's been around a fair bit more than Anna, so has a bit more experience (which counts in the numbers) as well as contacts.

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Posted by: Timmy on August 15, 2006 at 6:56 PM | PERMALINK

You could be the greatest legistlator the world has ever known but if you are not busting your ass to raise money for other Dem candidates you really are missing the point. Democrats will not be able to legislate or investigate anything unless they are in the majority and this is probably their one shot for the next decade. WTFU

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