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View Diary: Strange bedfellows indeed: Lessig/Mayday PAC and right-wing extremist Jim Rubens (47 comments)

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  •  As a Mayday PAC contributor and a progressive, ... (3+ / 0-)
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    DocDawg, VelvetElvis, TRussert

    As a Mayday PAC contributor and a progressive, I think the selection was brilliant. It's an excellent strategy, one that you've clearly failed to grasp. Your entire commentary is based on a gross misunderstanding of Mayday's tactics, despite repeated explanations by Lessig in the media and statements on the Mayday website.

    The goal of 2014 is not simply to elect reform candidates. Realistically, what are 5 reformers going to do for us? It certainly won't be enough to secure majority support. The goal is to prove that the public will vote on this issue. If Rubens can beat Brown because of messaging around money in politics, it will prove that an anti-reform position is a risk. And that changes everything.

    The Mayday PAC is not endorsing Rubens against Jeanne Shaheen. They are endorsing Rubens against Brown on the basis of one issue. And is Rubens really a bigger crackpot than Brown? Sure, Brown's messaging may be more slick but do you really believe that he would be friendlier to the liberal agenda? This brings me to my final complaint against your message. Why do you insist on rounding everyone up and pinning a neat little label on them? Are people not more complex than to be sorted into two categories? When one contributes to the Mayday PAC, they are given an option to have their donation support a Republican or a Democrat. An overwhelming majority of us said that it didn't matter. So you can dissect your map into red and blue territories but you really don't know who we are politically. And that is because the Mayday PAC isn't red or blue. We are reform. You must step outside that narrow little partisan box to understand Americans coming together in support of America.

    •  I appreciate your thoughtful criticism, (3+ / 0-)
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      poco, puccinigirl, jackietreehorn

      particularly because most of the criticism I receive from Mayday partisans (yes, I said that) is not of the thoughtful sort. Thank you. Well worth an (I hope) equally thoughtful response.

      Speaking sincerely, I really do get the 'brilliant strategy' thing perfectly well (it has been explained to me at great length, and repeatedly, by some of its very architects, who I greatly appreciate for being willing to speak candidly with me). Really, though, I got it even before it was explained. This isn't exactly rocket surgery; it's just first semester Political Science 101 (and I do not say that disparagingly). But, of course, to 'get' something isn't necessarily to buy into it. I do get it, and I don't buy into it.

      Why? Certainly not because I like Brown. Good lord, the man's a three-faced prevaricating sack of...something...and I am anything but a Republican. And I get that, in a Bizarro World sort-of way, Mayday's endorsement of Rubens was actually intended as a sop to Democrats -- not because Shaheen needs the help against Brown (she certainly doesn't), but rather because Mayday's move was intended as a shot across Republican bows, as well as those it is taking across Democratic ones right now. Check, got it: strategy!

      But it's hardly "brilliant;" I'd give it a 'clever' at best (and only on one of my good days). While I am certainly not one to sneer at the remarkable semi-grassroots dollars-per-hour speed record that Mayday was able to rack up, still one has to say that twelve million dollars (or, as Dr. Evil would put it, "twelve MILLION dollars!!!") is hardly going to have Republicans quaking in their boots. That's little more than the tab for a nice lunch on the Koch brothers, for cryin' out loud. They have far more than enough air-cover from their own PACs to shield them from any popgun attack Mayday can launch against them. Brown certainly understands that, which is why his own response to Mayday was crickets. Mayday has slipped itself into a chair at the grown-ups table while no one was looking, but its feet still don't touch the floor and its nose is resting on the linen. "And don't forget, we'll be back in 2016!" is a pretty thin phonebook with which to gain it more elevation at the table. That's what every wannaPAC says, and 98% of them turn out to be wrong. The rational response to that by any well-oiled Republican is "Great. Have your people call my 2016."

      My (limited) understanding is that at last count...and the last time anyone credible cared to publicly poll on Rubens was a long time ago...Rubens was polling about 7-8% among NH Republicans. With luck, and a favorable wind, Mayday's support might manage to bump that up to, what, 9%? Ten, tops? Or, on the distinctly off chance that lightning strikes, maybe 15%. Nine days isn't a long time to swing an election, starting from a dead stop. You can't spend $2M that fast and spend it to good effect, unless of course you spend it all on really good private detectives (and I'm sure Brown has already been detectived to death). So maybe Mayday raises a pimple on Brown's nose, and makes its donors feel good by calling it The Mayday Bump.

      But the point of explanation of where I'm coming from here, this: for such a minuscule benefit, what's the cost? The cost is huge...much, much more than merely $2M. The cost is Lessig forcing himself, via Mayday, to have to say "We're proud to endorse walking sack of human excrement Jim Rubens." There's only three kinds of people in the world with respect to this: those who know that's a lie and think that's great (you), those who know that's a lie and were raised to believe that lying is wrong (me), and those whose response would be "Lessig who?" and don't care either way.

      Finally, regarding the need to work with people we don't like. Absolutely; I couldn't agree more. The death of bipartisan effort in America is a huge chunk of what's wrong with this country. But while compromise and bipartisan effort frequently require one to hold one's nose, they don't, can't, and shouldn't ever require you to stuff someone else's excrement in your mouth and ears...that's going a mite too far. Moral compromise, like everything else, has to have its limits, or else its neither moral nor a compromise, but rather just desperate craven capitulation. My personal value system, working from the facts presented in this diary (as well as more I'm collecting for later use), compels me to feel very strongly (obviously) that endorsing Rubens goes way over the moral compromise limit line that I'm at all comfortable with. I accept that you and I (as well as several other people and I) differ on this point. I guess that's what makes a horse race.

      I don't know whether its correct or not to say that Rubens was the only Republican that Mayday could find to work with (nor do you). But I would argue that if it is correct, then that should have argued strongly that the whole strategy needed rethinking, and the situation on the ground warranted a different approach. That's how wars are won: by long, dedicated labor crafting an intricate, brilliant strategy, and then, immediately following the first shot, tearing that strategy up and winging it from there. "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines."

      Beneath the beam that blocked the sky, none had stood so alone as I - and the Hangman strapped me, and no voice there, cried "Stay" for me in the empty square. (The Hangman, Maurice Ogden)

      by DocDawg on Sat Aug 02, 2014 at 01:12:38 PM PDT

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      •  The Only Issue (3+ / 0-)
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        DocDawg, jackietreehorn, TRussert

        I appreciate your reply and I think you made a much stronger case for your position. It's fair that you point out the time crunch, which absolutely worries me. I also understand why you object to making a "moral compromise" but I don't view it that way. Jeanne Shaheen is pro reform and, were I a New Hampshire resident, she would get my vote. If she did not support reform, I would vote for Rubens. Let me explain why.

        I consider the current role of money in politics to be an obstacle so big, none of the other issues that I care about can overcome it. Because I accept this premise as truth, I have chosen to become temporarily myopic when it comes to my vote. This is not a decision that I take lightly and it is in no way easy to swallow.

        I've chosen Campaign Finance Reform, not as my #1 issue, but as my only issue. I'm about as far left as a person can be. But if my choice is between a Republican who supports reform and a Democrat who doesn't, I don't care if that Republican opposes abortion and marriage equality or operates their own personal oil rig. That Republican has my vote.

        It's not an easy decision, to check my ego for the greater good. And doing so does not mean I'll change my values or stop caring about my favorite lefty causes. It is for the love of those causes that I've made this decision. Until we knock down the wall of money, progress will never break through. If need be, I'm willing to lose a battle (or a few) in order to win a war.

        I realize that, once we achieve reform, I'll still have a lifetime of political disappointment to look forward to. But defeat is acceptable when it occurs on a neutral playing field. As long as we live in a country where legislation can be bought, none of our values are safe.

        So, when Lessig says, "We are proud to endorse...", I don't think it's a lie. Mayday PAC is proud to endorse a reformer over an obstructionist. That's all it means. Because at the moment, to us, that is the only issue.

        •  Well said. Thanks. (1+ / 0-)
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          You and I continue to disagree on almost every point (except, certainly, the top point of the importance of getting big money out of politics). But I am most grateful to you for engaging with me so thoughtfully on this. Please consider making DKos your home away from home!

          Hopefully we'll both end up being pleasantly surprised by Mayday.

          Man is timid and apologetic; he is no longer upright; he dares not say 'I think,' 'I am,' but quotes some saint or sage. (Ralph Waldo Emerson) Wait...what?

          by DocDawg on Sat Aug 02, 2014 at 04:03:40 PM PDT

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          •  Three Cheers for Thoughtful Debate (2+ / 0-)
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            TRussert, DocDawg

             I, too, am grateful that we were able to have a respectful exchange of ideas. I understand that my resolve may appear harsh to some (worthy of my German ancestry). But I believe you understand that it is based upon the very best intentions.

            It's not unusual for two bright, conscientious people to want the same thing and disagree on the path toward achievement. If we all approached problems in the same way, the odds of finding solutions would be slim.

             Let's hope that at least one of us has chosen a viable strategy. I can live with being wrong, so long as someone manages to win this fight. I look forward to seeing how it all plays out.

          •  I'm sensing from your comment (0+ / 0-)

            ...that you are giving Mayday longshot odds of surprising success.

            What kind of longshot odds are you giving? From my experience, 20 to 1 is the sweet spot (in terms of value) in betting on a Super Bowl winner in August.

            I'm just trying to properly evaluate your optimism for Mayday.

          •  Amazing (1+ / 0-)
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            See< you can be rational and objective at the same time! It absolutely suits you much better than  the half truths and misleading start to this topic.
            I realize you are convinced that you really do get this Lessig/MaydayPac methodology, but based upon your comments, even your rational ones, you clearly are not grasping what MayDayPac is about.
            Perhaps this will help.
            1- MayDayPac is NOT about any specific candidate, it is completely and totally about Campaign Finance Reform, which happens to require political candidates for becoming law.
            2-Why even make CFR an issue? What's the big deal?
            If you are happy with your elected officials taking your tax dollars to reward Banks, corporations, and wealthy minority special interests for their campaign contributions, then MayDayPac is not for you.
            3-If you believe  selling out American jobs to foreign countries, accompanied by legislation that makes the US less competitive just so corporations and investors can reap a better ROI, all at the expense of American workers and the middle class, then again, you are right. MayDayPac is a fools errand.
            4-If you agree that the American voter has no viable voice in government and their individual votes are meaningless, MayDayPac is not for you.
            The point is DrDawg, no matter the criticism, no matter the odds, MayDayPac is DOING something to restore Democracy to this country. You may not agree how it's going about it, you may find ways to belittle it that are amusing for your readers here, You can scoff at Larry Lessig since you seem to thin his ideas here are somehow flawed, you can relegate this David vs. Goliath movement as impractical and doomed before it starts, but no matter what you say, MayDayPac is DOING something more than just talk. It is action in progress, not a whole lot dissimilar to our Founding Father's taking on another Goliath, and whom the odds were heavily stacked against.
            Now this may all seem  impractical and useless effort to you, but as you said, maybe, just maybe we might all end up being pleasantly surprised by MayDayPac. If that happens, you will directly benefit as a Citizen
            How ironic would that be? You may not support this movement, but at least allow it the chance to succeed or fail on it's own.

      •  Jeez, I can't stand US electoral policies, (1+ / 0-)
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        strategies and tactics. Simply awful. For an outsider and foreigner who comes from a country where you vote for a party and are pretty sure that what the party says is it stands for and sticks by, it's unbelievably mysterious. Alone the thought that you have to go from house to house to convince people to vote is actually a huge emotional burden for me.

        That alone is depressing. May be I will learn it one day, understand, accept and go along with the efforts. But so far, it turns me off every time I make the slightest move to try to support or understand it. Me ... to dumb for those conditions. Plain and simple.

        Sorry, I had to get that off my chest.

        We know a hell of a lot, but we understand very little. Manfred Max-Neef

        by mimi on Sat Aug 02, 2014 at 07:44:30 PM PDT

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