(Why) Is #dontGo important?

I have been struggling for the last couple of days with the question of whether #dontGo is important. I am genuinely undecided. Here is some thinking on the positives, but also why it is not nearly enough and we need to keep our eye on the ball.

#DontGo is really important because Republican activists are feeling energized. There is something to fight for. This is new. People are chatting. But that doesn't make a movement.

#DontGo also changes the focus to Congress. The Democrats' strategy right now is to focus everything on Bush and the Presidential race. If Congress and its single-to-low-teens is the focus, even for a little, that helps Republican Congressional candidates.

But these are defensive actions. Republican candidates are coming to town and getting local press for fighting for something. That's great, but it is defense.

Where is the offense?

The only robocalls I know of are going into Colorado because Mark Udall skipped a vote. I asked Tom Cole about more ... and he ducked. I have not seen stories of people crashing townhalls demanding House Democrats do something.

Where are the existing groups? The American Family Association has a 3.3m email list and has emailed on this issue. Have they sent something out about charging townhalls? No. What about Newt Gingrich, American Solutions, and their 1.5m? No.

In general, it is not clear what exactly #dontGo would do to put points on the scoreboard. There are three options.

First, Congress could pass a bipartisan energy bill in September. There are now bills in bvoth the House and the Senate that would suffice, although the House bill is substantially better. We need Nancy Pelosi's buy-in to bring stuff to the floor. And to do that, we need to pressure Democrats. And no one is doing that.

Second, Congress could just let the OCS and shale ban expire. This is the premise of the "Energy Freedom Day" proposals. Some argue that this is better than a bipartisan bill. Here, we need either 40 votes in the Senate against a Continuing Resolution or a majority in the House willing to block legislation that contains an extended OCS ban.

Third, we can polarize the environment on this issue.

What I don't understand is how #dontGo is directly on the path to any of these. We need to actually win something. This is improtant. And I see more motion than movement.

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I'm not agreeing with the

I'm not agreeing with the media's coverage but I think I can help explain it:  Republicans are still perceived as the party in power, and the party in power can understandably have a hard time getting coverage for a protest ("Why are you protesting when you're in charge"). 

Some Thoughts

Soren, great insight, as always.  You say #dontgo is currently "more motion than movement," that "[W]e need to actually win something."  Let me ask you this:

Do you think #dontgo can be transformed into, or at least spark, a movement?  If so, what do you believe it would take to do so?

Light bulb over Congressmen's heads

Even if #dontgo putters out I see it as a moment when Washington GOP politicians saw how online tools helped them get their message out. Until last Friday things like Twitter and Qik were abstract to Congressmen. Some knew they were there, but they were toys. Live online video, microblogging, and internet radio allowed the Congressmen to bypass the MSM and even C-SPAN to reach their audience. A lot of people discovered Twitter because of the #dontgo protest. Because of this event I expect to see more experimenting with online tools.

That all may be true

But one of the big proponents of #dontgo David Davis (TN-01) just lost his primary to a GOP challenger who hammered him on his ties to big oil. Davis is the first incumbent beaten in TN since 1956. The press release he issued Wednesday about his heroic role in the "revolt" didn't help him.  Neither did hanging out on the House floor on election day yesterday.


We may want to rethink this.



Works for me

He lost to another Republican. That's as good a situation as we could have. One guy poking 'Blinky' in the eyeball while the other guy beats a Dem in an election.

Lets have more of that action I say.

He could only lose to another Repub...

...in the primary. Fact is he lost while hollaring "Drill Now" to a candidate who said Davis was in the pocket of big oil. That's not what should happen in a deep red district if that 70/30 poll is accurate. I hope it's not a case of a ginning up a poll to bolster the argument. Delusions don't help us win. 



Not sure TN 1 is a good model

1. It is one of the few one party R districts in America. A Dem literally has not won the seat in a century

2. Davis was a freshman who had accomplished little prior to the primary  

3. This was a replay of the 2006 primary with fewer candidates. Evidently the votes who went to candidates other than Davis and Roe in '06 went against the incumbent. The "Big Oil" shrtick may have been a proxy for being tied to special interests and not working the district hard.

4. If Davis was wanting on other points, hollering "Drill Now" late in the game wasn't gonna help. Remember, we are 90 days out from the General Election., so this has time to sink in. If Davis was a sudden convert to this issue weeks before the primary , it might not have appeared quite as sincere 

There isn't anyone who isn't a sudden convert.

Repubs were trying to adjourn all summer while Dems pushed thru their agenda. Then when Pelosi ends the session for the summer so members can go home and talk directly to the voters and not so inconsequently campaign for their jobs we suddenly have an issue that requires immediate atttention in DC? I think these guys would be better off taking their case directly to their constituents where they aren't emphasizing their powerlessness in a dark building without any cameras or microphones allowed. Repeating discredited talking points about Chinese drilling 50 miles off the FL coast doesn't help. Nobody's gonna bring up that sour crude two miles down in a hurricane alley until oil hits $400 a barrel. And if we're still fueling our transportation industry primarily on oil by then we're screwed. We might as well ask the Saudis and Russians where they'd like our army to fight for them. Those MIAIs and F-22s don't run on corn squeezings or soybean oil.

When was the last time a Dem won in IL-14? Never as far as I know. Illinois is supposed to be the land of Lincoln outside of Chicago. Now Hastert's seat is held by a Dem, Bill Foster, a Fermi Lab scientist who beat the only candidate Repubs could find who had enough money to self finance, Jim Oberweis a perenial candidate who already lost primaries for governor and the US senate. Foster's next rousing stemwinder will be his first, the guy is so softspoken you can't hear him in the first row. But Oberweis is horrible. Everybody hates him. He comes off as a meanspirited 8th grade prick  I've heard the NRCC even told their donors not to give him a penny, the seat's a lost cause.   





so a weak candidate lost an election?

well, it's not like that's a novel event?