Saturday, October 31, 2009

Progressives for Dede Scozzafava

Below are two videos to further show liberals and progressives in our district that Dede represents our values and beliefs. The first is an ad put out by Common Sense praising Dede Scozzafava as the “best choice for progressives.” The ad will be up until the special election next Tuesday.

"Dede supports President Obama’s efforts to stimulate our economy. Dede supports organized labor’s drive to expand membership. And Dede is the only candidate for Congress who supports marriage equality. Dede Scozzafava: the best choice for progressives.”

The second ad is Dede accepting the Margaret Sanger Award from Planned Parenthood. Scozzafava, as many of you know was on the board of Planned Parenthood. She will protect the rights of women to have control over their own bodies and have abortions.

Are You Pro-Choice? Then vote for Dede Scozzafava!

This is a great piece to read on Dede Scozzafava by Kate Harding at We need to stick to our liberal principles and pull one out for a woman's right to choose. It is such an important issue in NY-23 and all pro-choicers should vote for Scozzafava regardless of party affiliation! We couldn't have made the case better ourselves.

A woman's right to choose a losing candidate?

Daily Kos calls NARAL's endorsement of a pro-choice candidate with weak chances "a waste of donor money"

However, here are two things I believe in fervently and will defend strenuously: Reproductive freedom and the right of all citizens to vote however they damn well please without being bullied and shamed by those who disagree. (Yes, even the ones who voted for Nader in 2000.) Kos does not appear to be quite as passionate about either of those things. He's currently going after NARAL Pro-Choice New York for supporting a moderate Republican with a 100 percent pro-choice track record in New York's 23rd congressional district special election next week, instead of a moderate Democrat who's weaker on choice. Why would anyone be surprised or angry about a pro-choice organization (it's right there in the name!) supporting the more pro-choice candidate? Well, there's another candidate, "conservative party teabagger Doug Hoffman," in the mix, and the race is now thought to be strictly between him and Democrat Bill Owens, with Republican Dede Scozzafava poised only to siphon off in-between votes from both sides. The fear is that she'll get too many votes that might otherwise have gone to Owen, and the scary wingnut will win. Hence the probably deeply felt, yet completely disingenuous headline, "NY-23: NARAL Working for Right-Wing Victory."

"I don't want Hoffman in office! Good lord, no!" Mary Alice Carr, NARAL New York's vice president of communications, told me on the phone this afternoon. She says she finds it "hilarious" (in a lolsobby kind of way) that bloggers on Daily Kos, including the man himself, are going after them for supporting a candidate who actually holds some progressive values (Scozzafava has also voted twice in favor of gay marriage), as opposed to a Democrat who's more conservative. How conservative? Well, here's how one liberal blogger described Bill Owens in a recent post:

The "Democrat" isn't even a Democrat -- he was a registered independent when selected by the district's Democratic county chairs for the special election. On social issues, he's pro-choice, but opposes gay marriage. On health care, he opposes a public option but doesn't have the balls to say so, so he talks all squishy like claiming he has no "litmus test" on the issue. He's a Lieberdem Blue Dog, and would strengthen the part of the Democratic caucus that is actually theproblem, rather than the solution.

After further considering the differences between the candidates, that blogger concluded, "So it's official, I'm rooting for the Republican to win."

And that blogger was Markos Moulitsas.

After being called out on that, Kos said in a follow-up post, "I clearly have no love for Scozzafava in that post, so only an idiot would construe that as an 'endorsement.' An endorsement implies love for the candidate being endorsed." Oh, OK. So that means you must not now be endorsing Bill Owens, per se, seeing as you also have no love for him, right? You're not endorsing anybody. You just believe NARAL is obligated to abandon their candidate (now that she's no longer leading) and officially endorse one who is not as pro-choice, because otherwise it's a "nice waste of donor money"?

Actually, as it turns out, NARAL donors are generally interested in supporting the most pro-choice candidates, not just getting behind anyone with a D after his name who might win. (Go figure!) Says Carr, "This is when our donors give us more, because we stand for something, we have a principle. If they want to give to the Democrats, they can give to the Democrats." And many of them do as well, of course. "We're not idiots," she adds. "We get it. The vast majority of our candidates are Democrats. But there comes a time when the Republican is better." Furthermore, voters she talks to are grateful to be informed that, party platforms aside, voting for the Democrat in this case is not voting for the best candidate on choice. "What we do is so important, because the assumption is that the Democrat is the default pro-choice candidate, and when that's not the case, it's our duty to call it out. That's why we exist. We're a watchdog. That's our job."

The bottom line, she says, is that NARAL is "not an arm of the Democratic party." Scozzafava "has a record of standing up for these issues, so she's going to get our support." And one reason the Republican has earned that support is because she's never bowed to pressure to abandon the progressive causes she believes in, even when it would have been politically expedient. Similarly, NARAL New York has no intention of switching its endorsement. "Now more then ever, when she's being attacked for this position, yeah, we're going to be there to stand up for her," says Carr. "Kudos to her for not flipping on an issue just because it got tough -- for saying this is who I am, this is who I've always been."

"We have a Democratic majority in congress, but we do not have a pro-choice majority," Carr points out. "The party platform doesn't matter, because they'll still give us anti-choice Democrats. We've got to get back to standing for something, or what are we doing here?"

That's what's really at the heart of this dust-up: Whether it's more important to stand for something and lose or compromise and win -- when "winning" means installing someone who "would strengthen the part of the Democratic caucus that is actually the problem, rather than the solution." Kos casts the former choice as political naivete and self-sabotage. But you know who was really successful with that strategy, albeit gradually? The Christian right who, by refusing to vote for Republicans who didn't take the hardest possible anti-choice line, moved this country so fucking far to the right on reproductive freedom, pro-choice groups are now wasting half their time fighting off every-sperm-is-sacred definitions of "personhood," instead of actually being able to improve women's access to reproductive health services.

The commentariat at Kos is offering up a bunch of predictable disdain for single-issue voting, but single-issue voting on moral values is a big part of why things are the way they are now, why so many of our Democrats are barely recognizable as liberals, let alone progressives, and so many of the conservatives holding office are downright batshit -- conservatives kept voting their values while we kept compromising ours.

Besides which, reproductive freedom is much more than a single, limited issue. Remember how I said I've never had an abortion and have no reason to expect I'll ever need one (barring a tragic diagnosis during pregnancy)? My point there was not to separate myself from those who have or will, but to establish that whether abortion is available to me is only a very small concern. Many people in the same position conclude that based on that alone, it's an issue that can be back-burnered with no important consequences. But whether abortion is available to women in general is amajor concern for me, precisely because it's about the definition of personhood -- i.e., whether a woman, not a fetus or zygote or ovum or sperm, counts as a full human being in this country. Whether a woman has a right to control her own body and her own future. How the hell is that not a core progressive issue -- especially when many "pro-lifers" are not just opposed to abortion but contraception, the very thing that's saved me and millions of couples from ever having to consider an abortion? When we elect Democrats who are wishy-washy on choice, we end up with few left in congress who will stand up for the personhood of women, no matter the political cost. And meanwhile, the right continues to chip away at women's access to legal medical services that can preserve a host of other personal freedoms, ever more successfully.

Like I said, I've never voted for a potential spoiler candidate myself. I can respect a pragmatic decision to vote against a candidate you abhor rather than for the one who best represents your own values (even if that's not saying much); I've made that choice more than once. But I cannot respect bullying people who make the choice to vote their principles, regardless of the outcome. Hell, maybe if progressives had banded together a while back and sent a message to Democrats that we won't support candidates who are anti-choice or weak on choice, period, even if it means we get a government we can't stand for a while (especially when we were going to get that anyway), we would now have a congress that has both a Democratic and a pro-choice majority. Who knows? What I do know is, I am sure not going to condemn anyone who fights for progressive beliefs and progressive candidates, even when those candidates are freakin' Republicans. And even when they're probably going to lose. As Carr put it, "If Scozzafava goes down, at least she goes down standing for something. And we stand with people who stand with us."

    Wednesday, October 14, 2009

    Scozzafava Tailspin Sends Campaign South

    Second Siena Poll Out Soon... Scozzafava Campaign Contemplating Next Move

    The Politico had a story today about Dede's Cash Crunch that gives us some important insight into the political dynamics of NY-23. If the Politico story is true, and we assume it is because there has been literally zero push back from Dede's camp, then we must begin to reevaluate our support for Dede for fear that Doug Hoffman may actually squeeze through a victory with a narrow 36-34% victory. The problem with Dede's campaign is really unfortunate. Of course we will know more very shortly with the details of the second Siena poll due out in just hours.

    However, over the last several days we have seen the Scozzafava campaign in a serious tailspin, committing so many political fouls that it may not be possible for her to recover. Perhaps an independent streak is not enough to overcome the countless and inexcusable political errors Team Dede chalked up this week. First, there was the American Spectator story titled, "Losing it Over Scozzafava," that dropped a bombshell on the New York Republican establishment which Scozzafava failed to effectively respond. The piece stated that,
    According to Republican National Committee sources, a poll on the 23rd District race paid for by the NRCC and due to be released on Monday has been withheld due to a poor showing by the Republican candidate... and an NRCC claimed the poll was being reviewed for 'margin of error issues.'
    Talk about failing to bat down one of the most incredibly devastating stories of the campaign that need to be put to rest quickly. Second, Scozzafava's message got completely muddied when she received the endorsement from an unknown conservative Congressman from Texas and then in the same breath touted an endorsement from the teachers union. (By the way, what was that guy's name again and which way does Scozzafava really want it?) Does Dede want to be beholden to the right wingers in Texas or to the interests of hardworking New Yorkers? No one is sure anymore... All signs show that the Scozzafava campaign has fallen victim to political desperation when it begins taking an endorsement and talking points from the former head of the ultraconservative Republican Study Committee. Now Dede is reportedly rejecting the Senate Finance health care reform after saying she was for the reform.

    A lack of campaign resources and a classic political squeeze from the left and the right have severely damaged the prospects of Republican Dede Scozzafava... While initial polling showed Scozzafava leading Democratic attorney Bill Owens and Conservative Party nominee Doug Hoffman, Owens has caught Scozzafava in recent private polling, and Hoffman continues to gain strength, making him a considerable factor in the contest and a growing problem for Scozzafava down the stretch. GOP insiders have grown extremely nervous about the race. They worry about Scozzafava's poor fundraising, lack of a compelling message to Republican base voters and weak polling in the crucial Syracuse media market, which makes up about 30 percent of the sprawling district.
    Then there was this follow-up piece, "RINO on the Run," by Robert Stacy McCain that invited the argument that maybe Hoffman has the momentum to shake this race out with a narrow victory given the near parallel positions between Owens and Scozzafava.

    With that said, we are looking forward to the numbers and may have to reevaluate what is best for our district given these new circumstances. It looks like Dede may be over before we even see her final fundraising numbers.

    Tuesday, October 6, 2009

    Scozzafava Successfully Infiltrates the Republican Apparatus

    The Left Finally Cracks Into the National GOP Establishment and Dede Scozzafava is Already Turning All the Right-Wing Animals Loose on Themselves!!!

    It took years for one of ours to finally infiltrate the National Republican Party apparatus and wreak civil war within the GOP. Call it the Socialist Watergate of 2009, but with Scozzafava as the Republican nominee in NY-23 we will finally have the keys to the National Republican Party -- and with it -- almost certain access to all its ugly organs of operation

    From the very beginning Draft Dede is proud to say that we were supportive of Scozzafava's candidacy. At first we lobbied and advocated for her switch over to the D column. However, it soon became obvious to the left how much better it would be to have one of our own on the inside of the GOP. When Dede wins, she will carry our water and also give us greater insight into the broader internal workings of the right-wing nuts running the corrupt partisans, otherwise known as the Republican House Caucus (talk about a self-inflicted wound).

    Dede Scozzafava, a wolf in sheep's clothing. This could be one of the greatest "Alinksy" coup's of all time. It is truly the radical, "keep your friends close... keep your enemies closer," kind of pick-up we could only have dreamed of at this point in the Obama Administration. If it is true as Antonio Gramsci once said, that "base determines superstructure," we will have a social loyalist who can share it all with our movement, a movement that will ultimately and methodically destroy the party of Bush and Cheney. And heads are already rolling on the right!

    Just today former Republican Rep. Chris Choccola, a right-wing hack from the Delay era and current leader of the Club for Growth, wrote this in today's Washington Examiner:
    Let's be clear about Scozzafava's record. She has not just left the Republican fold a time or two, or even a handful of times. She is the most liberal Republican in the New York Legislature, and undoubtedly would be the most liberal Republican in Congress... This all goes to a larger point. If Scozzafava wins, what kind of 'victory' would that be for the GOP?
    At least this wing nut gets it. At least Choccola understands that this would be a "real victory" for the left. And the Susan B. Anthony wasn't far behind either. Their radical Christian brand of denying women's rights in the name of social justice has always been a laughable endeavor, but their public appeal was also a desperate cry for help and a clear sign that the Republican Party is self-imploding because of just one little special election in the middle of no-where New York. President Marjorie Dannenfelser pleads that their entire movement is all on the line:
    Recent political developments in New York have set a potentially dangerous precedent that could damage the pro-life cause nationally... Dede Scozzafava, the GOP Candidate, is so bad that she has accepted the Margaret Sanger Award for championing the pro-abortion cause from abortion industry giant Planned Parenthood. Even the Daily Kos, which has long promoted ultra-radical pro-abortion rhetoric, has endorsed her because it did not find the Democratic challenger Bill Owens to be radical enough. Her candidacy is a disgrace to the Republican Party and to pro-life activists nationwide... If Dede Scozzafava wins, she will become the 'poster girl' of pro-abortion Republicans everywhere and more will follow. We need to crush this trend before it begins or our pro-life movement suffers a setback and countless babies will suffer the ultimate punishment.
    So naturally, a Scozzafava victory in November would shatter the dreams of House Republicans in 2010, and would further drive a wedge into their chances of re-taking political control over our new government. 

    NY-23 should be the political case study of the year for those who want to see how to camoflage our political agendas in the cloak of the GOP and then truly mangle their agenda at each and every turn. This critical race represents the rarest of opportunities to turn the Republicans into a party of great irrelevance. What a blow to the head-scratching, bigoted, schizophrenic losers. After NY-23 they will all be asking themselves which way is right and which way is left. That is when we strike at the very heart of their capitalistic and chauvinistic agendas. 

    Dede is our cloak and dagger, the hidden crown jewel who will have legitimized access into the egos and personalities that run the Republican Party and its dirty corporate interests. Whether they know it or not, Dede is the GOP's own albatross. Maybe that is why Markos Moultisas was onto something when he endorsed Dede, or maybe he was just taking a page out of Saul Alinsky's Rules for Radicals. Either way, we'll take Dede in NY-23, and either way the GOP is totally helpless.

    Sunday, October 4, 2009

    Crucial Financial Reports Coming Soon...

    The Hill newspaper put out a story just recently about the pressure of the upcoming FEC reports on candidates across the country

    Interestingly enough, the paper listed the battle in NY-23 as one of the eight most important races to watch this quarter. Candidates will file their financial reports by October 15th. The file will show how much money each campaign spent and how much they have raised for the final 2-3 week push before the big vote on November 3rd. The story reads:
    Party officials often use fundraising totals to gauge how much or how little to support a candidate. A strong report can give a candidate access to major donors around the country but a weak report can doom a slumping campaign to obscurity... With a month to go before Election Day, Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman has the most to gain with a stellar report. If he is not seen as a serious candidate because of a weak fundraising performance, the race could largely revert to a contest between the two major parties. The NRCC and the DCCC have each spent more than $100,000 on the race so far, but the amount of money Assemblywoman Dede Scozzafava (R) and attorney Bill Owens (D) raise will show just how many positive spots to expect in the next month. The lower the numbers, the more the race will be in the hands of Washington strategists, who are more than likely to take shots at the other party than to build up their own candidates.
    In the end, all the numbers are relative. If one of the three candidates in NY-23 makes a breakout performance in fundraising and cash on hand for the final weeks of the campaign you can expect to see a steady rise in advertisements and presumably poll numbers/support.

    We are going to take an estimated guess now of what the candidates should raise and what we think they are going to raise below.

    Since Owens has already put out two positive ads introducing himself to voters we here at Draft Dede think that Owens has likely already raised a fair amount of cash (thanks to national Democratic leaders including Vice President Biden).  Owens has likely spent at least $150,000 already and will need at least another $300,000 cash on hand as of the October 15th filing deadline to remain competitive and rise in the polls.

    Dede Scozzafava didn't go up with her own positive spot until after the filing deadline, which leads some insiders to speculate that fundraising has been less than stellar. However, if Dede can have raised at least $350,000 by the deadline she should have enough cash to flood the airwaves and TV's of NY-23 voters. Dede should be able to outperform her opponents in fundraising since she has a fundraising base from her time in the NYS Assembly, because she has good name ID in the district, and because their are more Republican and sympathetic Democrats out there to give her high dollar contributions (i.e. $1,000 + checks). If Dede fails to reach expectations (especially since she is the most attractive candidate who is leading all the public polls), her opponents and national donors will surely see a weak report as a major blow to the Scozzafava campaign. Unfortunately for Dede she has more to lose if the public financial intake is lower for her campaign compared to the other candidates. Another troubling problem Scozzafava might have is if her brother Tom Scozzafava, folks involved with Hacketts, or Seaway Valley Capital are listed on her reporting list. We are told that this could become a troubling issue for Scozzafava in the mainstream press because of the influence that those parties could put on Scozzafava if she were the next congressman from NY-23. 

    The wildcard is Doug Hoffman who has been lining up endorsements and PAC contributions by the day. No one expects Hoffman to outraise Scozzafava or Owens, precisely because he is a third party candidate. That said, if Hoffman expects to be competitive he will need to raise at least $175,000 to make a major splash in the race. Hoffman is also a wildcard because he has the ability to self-finance part of his effort. Some who are closely following the race say that Hoffman has already committed to putting in 100 to 200K. If Hoffman were able to come through on October 15th with more than $225,000 then that could be a major problem for Scozzafava. 

    Our expectation on the reports are as follows:

    -  Owens: $350,000 (including $25,000 from himself)
    -  Scozzafava: $425,000 (including $25,000 from herself)
    -  Hoffman: $165,000 (including $100,000 from himself)

    These numbers are no small deal because if one candidate outperforms it could be a major momentum shift in the campaign, and with only 2+ weeks before the vote candidates with a weaker performance might very well be kissing their congressional dreams goodnight.

    Friday, October 2, 2009

    Scozzafava Takes Another Left Hand Turn


    In another stunning rebuke of the National Republican Party, Dede Scozzafava again signaled her interest in governing with us on core economic issues. So for all of the Democrats who think Dede is off base with our party's platform on economic justice issues, and for those out there who think that voting for Scozzafava is a vote against Obama and for the House Republicans, take a look at Dede's real record, her words, and her actions in the Assembly.

    It was reported in today's Adirondack Daily Enterprise that:
    Scozzafava said she would have voted for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act... [even though] she doesn't think all of the stimulus money is being used for such worthwhile purposes... When asked about cutting spending and earmarks at the federal level, however, Scozzafava said earmarks are beneficial if used correctly... "People love to hate it, but they love to want it," Scozzafava said... 
    Scozzafava said she won't sign the pledge [Americans for Tax Reform's Taxpayer Protection Pledge that most Republican Members of Congress sign] because the income tax is just one form of tax... Scozzafava also discussed charges that she voted to raise or extend taxes 190 times while in the Assembly.  The large majority of those votes, she said, were 'home rule' votes giving a county the authority to impose an additional sales tax.  These need to be extended every two years...
    Dede has been attacked by both Hoffman and the Club for Growth on her economic record. That should tell every voter out there something important, mainly that Dede is really in line with the Democratic Party on economic and fiscal issues and will help push Obama's agenda through Congress. What is disappointing is that Bill Owens has also attacked Dede for her views on the economy, which are more in line with the Democratic Party than Owens' are. When election day comes around we here at Draft Dede are beginning to really believe that a vote for Owens could be a vote for Hoffman. Democrats need to rally to Dede to make sure we have an Obama ally in the House representing NY-23.

    Thursday, October 1, 2009

    Most Liberal Blog in USA Endorses Scozzafava

    A Few Items for Democrats to Cheer About in NY-23

    First, the most liberal blog on the Internet, The DailyKos, today endorsed Dede Scozzafava for NY-23.  To our knowledge, it is the first time in the history of DailyKos that they have sided with a candidate with an R at the end of their name.  Kos supported Obama, Pelosi, Reed, and hundreds of other liberal Democrats since its existence.  They also support left of center policy positions such as abortion-on-demand, higher taxes for social programs, gun control, giving more control to the United Nations, increased support for welfare programs, gay marriage, expanding the cap on the federal deficit, etc.   DailyKos writes:
    She's been willing to raise taxes when budgets require it, and is to the left of most Democrats on social issues (including supporting gay marriage)... So it's official, I'm rooting for the Republican to win. As a congresswoman, she could either move even more to the left to properly represent her progressive-trending district and be a pain in the side of the GOP caucus (they have nothing like our Blue Dogs), or Democrats can field a real Democrat to challenge her in 2010.
    The DCCC is taking notice of the race on a number of important levels.  I think there might be evidence that the DCCC has been e-mailing our last post all over the place... According to our records (see below) e-mail links to our last post have been viewed from around the country (presumably the DCCC has been trying to verify whether the rumors are true that Dede pitched Scott Murphy on switching parties after November 3rd).  There might even be evidence of an e-mail sent from the DCCC to the executive office of the presidency yesterday, as well as the national headquarters of Planned Parenthood, the NY Working Families Party, and a local ACORN office.

    Maybe the rumors are true?  We report.  You decide.

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