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Accountability Now — Democracy “Headache”

Ferdous Al-Faruque/ ABC News

Markos is here in DC and we did the media rounds yesterday — CNN, ABC, AP, US News, NBC, the New York Times, the Huffington Post — talking about Accountability Now and our Primary Project. (No, we didn’t do Drudge, but got the lucky link anyway.)

It was really hard to get people away from the idea that we’re attempting some kind of party purge rather than trying to neutralize the influence of corporate lobbyist money and beltway "groupthink" on Washington DC, which really doesn’t have an ideological identification.

It’s insider vs. outsider, not left vs. right. And despite the fact that we’ve worked with Republicans on FISA and the initial Accountability Now money bomb, and told everyone we’d be willing to get involved in a GOP primary, we were consigned to a Democrat vs. Democrat story. We’re working within the Democratic party right now because they’re in power and that’s where the money is flowing, but that doesn’t mean the political landscape will remain static or that getting involved in Republican primaries won’t make sense in the future.

But hey, you’ve got to start breaking that frame somewhere.

We introduced people to our new Executive Director, Jeff Hauser (who some may remember when he ran Dennis Schulman’s campaign). We have also begun reaching out to state and local blogs asking them to identify leaders in their communities they think we should be aware of so people will be telling us what they want and need in their own communities, not vice versa. And we’ll be closely watching the voting patterns of House members to see if they’re more concerned with representing lobbyists than the interests of their communities, and we ultimately hope to match up great challengers with communities that think they’re not being well served by their representatives. Markos will be polling and publishing all the results on Daily Kos for everyone to see and Nate Silver will be analyzing the data. It’s going to be a very transparent process.

Some think this is a "headache":

YELLIN: You know, some Democrats like to say they can be their own worst enemies. Well now a liberal group of Democrats is organizing and raising money to target some of their own. They say they’re worried about keeping certain Democratic members of Congress honest.

[VIDEO] MARKOS: If you’re an elected official and you’re representing your constituents, you have nothing to fear.


YELLIN: That’s Markos Moulitsas, the founder of the Daily Kos. He’s one of the most powerful liberal bloggers and a leader in the progressive movement. Moulitsas is worried about his own party, and he’s warning Democratic lawmakers not to be influenced by powerful corporate lobbyists.

[VIDEO] MARKOS: This whole town is sort of an incumbent protection racket.


Yellin: Now he’s teaming up with other progressive bloggers [shows DFA, MoveOn, 21st Century Democrats,, SEIU logos] as well as several liberal groups and a powerful union to keep Congressional Democrats honest. His plan? Raise enough money to support liberal challengers who have a good shot at taking down certain incumbent Democrats in next year’s primaries. The group dismisses charges that they’re hurting their own party, which for the first time in 14 years controls Congress and the White House.

[VIDEO] HAMSHER: A healthy primary market within the Democratic party – we think it’s good for the people and we think it’s good for the party.


YELLIN: Now the Democratic National Committee has no comment and the political arm for House Democrats says – look – they’re just committed to electing more Democrats to the House.

Wolf, this is just a headache the Democrats do not need.

I understand the confusion — when people hear names like Chris Bowers, John Aravosis, Joe Sudbay or Glenn Greenwald they think "liberal." But over time I hope our actions will force people to think outside of the "sports teams" vision of politics and understand we’re not looking at the red team or the blue team but the people in the stands. It’s going to take a while to break away from the idea that what’s good for a party’s DC establishment is also good for the rank and file, but I think it will happen.

The kind of transparency and speed that online communication facilitates makes it easier to connect the dots, understand which lobbies are peddling interest and see who’s responding with votes and having their campaign coffers fattened. And when Washington "group think" is horribly at odds with what people in a particular district believe, it’s something that polling can quickly discern. These problems are hardly specific to the Democratic party, and we’re definitely willing to apply the same yardstick to members of both parties.

Here is the Accountability Now website, where you can stay up to date on what we’re doing.

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Jane Hamsher

Jane Hamsher

Jane is the founder of Her work has also appeared on the Huffington Post, Alternet and The American Prospect. She’s the author of the best selling book Killer Instinct and has produced such films Natural Born Killers and Permanent Midnight. She lives in Washington DC.
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