$9000 In Under 24 Hours

Cegelis posts on her fundraising over at Kos

Generally she makes some good points. I’d say one quibble is that if you have a broad donor base, the larger money should follow–and in fact, that is what Christine is trying to do is show she can raise money and do it well. From there, money begets money. So a quibble, not an argument. On her Act Blue page it says nearly $32,000 raised with an average donation of about $70. That’s pretty impressive.

Beyond being an interesting Illinois race (hello–Peter O’Malley a little activity beyond the district), this kind of race isn’t reshaping politics, but it’s demonstrating new techniques and showing a lot of success. What is different from last cycle is we are still 9 months out of the primary and over a year from the general election. For those that were following blogs and on-line activism back in 2003, Dean was just catching on at this point in the cycle and now we are seeing a variety of candidates getting big responses.

There are some downsides to this in many cases, but I think it certainly moves power closer to the grassroots.

The Buck Stops Somewhere

Sigh, Rich got there first, but this was a beautiful bit on The Blagorgeous response to questions about the PWS contract

Gov. Rod Blagojevich refused to answer questions Wednesday about half a million dollars in state contracts that went to a firm with family connections to the Illinois Department of Transportation.

Meeting with reporters at a bill-signing in Chicago, Blagojevich would not discuss the deal that gives $522,000 to PWS Environmental Inc. The company’s president, William Mologousis, is the brother-in-law of IDOT’s director of finance and administration, Robert Millette.

“I’m going to … leave those questions to the people who are responsible for them,” Blagojevich said, ignoring follow-up questions about whether he is responsible for the department.

Hey look over there…..

What Daley Does Get (and something he’s completely ignorant on)

Daley gave an interview with Novakula: The Dark Prince off the record giving Novak an excuse to avoid most substance and rail against Democrats but two things come through at the end.

The first, is where Daley is clueless–he complains Dems don’t have an energy plan and are simply obstructing which ignores both plans to move towards energy efficiency. Daley himself has been somewhat innovative on these things with the roof gardens an example of an effective policy. Fine, no one ever accused him of being a national policy wonk.

The best bit though comes in this line:

And later, in an almost word-for-word repetition of his 1995 comments, Daley told me: ”We are a Washington party. We have no farm system. The Republicans do, and we don’t.”

This isn’t surprising, nor should it be surprising that the last four Presidents who weren’t VP first, were Governors and it’s especially problematic then when Dems aren’t building a strong state party system. While there is some hope that Dean is building stronger state centric efforts, the lack of a grassroots and local infrastructure is still killing the party nationally.

Medicaid Cuts Very Unpopular

The Kaiser Foundation just released a poll on one of the most pressing state policy issues–Medicaid. The results are stunning in that the level of support for the program is higher than I would have expected, but then again, many, many people interact with the program on some level:

Washington, DC– Perhaps surprisingly given years of debate about Medicaid, frequent references to the program as the ?Pac Man? of state budgets, and periodic calls for reform, public attitudes toward Medicaid are remarkably positive, and opposition to cuts is reasonably strong, according to a new public opinion survey released today by the Kaiser Family Foundation.

While two-thirds of the public think their state has major budget problems, a substantial majority are reluctant to cut Medicaid to balance state budgets, and a majority think the federal government should maintain (44%) or increase (36%) federal spending on Medicaid; only 12% of the public prefer seeing federal funding of Medicaid cut.

Attitudes Towards Medicaid

Nearly three-quarters (74%) of adults say Medicaid is a ?very important” government program, ranking it close to Social Security (88%) and Medicare (83%) in the public?s mind, equal to federal aid to public schools (74%), and above defense and military spending (57%). About 8 in 10 Democrats (82%) and Independents (79%) view Medicaid as an important government program, while fewer, but still 6 in 10 Republicans (61%) express that view.

A majority of Americans (56%) report having some interaction with Medicaid, either having been enrolled themselves at some point (16%) or knowing a friend or family member who has received health coverage or long-term care assistance through the program (40%). Additionally, if they needed health care and were eligible, nearly 8 in 10 Americans (78%) say they would be willing to enroll in Medicaid. This view is consistent across different party identifications.

“We expected Medicaid to be relatively unpopular with the public, much like welfare was. But we found that Medicaid ranks closer to popular programs like Medicare and Social Security in the public?s mind. The fact that so many Americans have had some kind of contact with Medicaid themselves or through family and friends is one factor that could help explain this result,” said Mollyann Brodie, Ph.D., Vice President and Director of Public Opinion and Media Research for the Foundation.

Phil Hersch for the Tour? Hmmmm…

Long time Trib Sports Correspondent Bonnie DeSimone is writing for the Boston Globe so it looks like Philip Hersh is anchoring the Trib coverage with a good helping of AP coverage.

Mainly I’m disappointed because I think DeSimone gave some fo the best feel to cycling coverage in big newspapers, but with Google news alerts, I won’t miss much of it.

Beyond OLN’s site for listening every day starting Saturday, the Austin American-Statesman site provides one ofthe better hubs for different cycling news sources.

And, unfortunately, Lance punching bag Gilberto Simoni won’t be making the race….

Buy Democracy Bonds

The new Democratic National Committee web site is up and running and while there are some kinks to work out, it’s designed to increase interactivity. There’s a midwest blog I’ll link to soon.

They’ve renamed the blog from Kickin’ Ass which I believe is a mistake, but hey.

Finally, they are advertising a new program to your right for individuals to buy Democracy Bonds which are monthly contributions to the Party. I highly recommend them so take a look.

There’s also an ad for the Downing Street Memo which I haven’t covered, but the good folks at DFA are.

David Gill Runs again in Illinois 15

The District I grew up in–except then it was Ed Madigan before hsi rather unillustrious period as Secretary of Ag.

Gill, 45, said Thursday he is actively raising money in hopes of tripling the $101,000 he raised in his first bid against Johnson.

Federal election reports show Gill with $7,500 in the bank, but he says he’s collected nearly $20,000 in the months since that was reported. Johnson reports having more than $240,000 in his war chest.

Gill’s off to a decent start, but he needs more than just to triple the 2004 total. I believe Renner ended up at $400,000 raised and still didn’t have enough to close the deal. In addition, getting name recognition early is vital so you can show a decent shot in the last 4 months–a key to getting real national support.

To help himself, Gill should shoot for a DFA endorsement which helps with both grassroots support and fundraising in the initial stage. I think this is an uphill race, but hope to see a good surprise.

His web site is here

I’ll link up to the blog next time I update links (which will be soon–I have some others to do).

Hacks Attack Obama

The eternally breathless and utterly silly Peggy Noonan attacks Obama’s column on Lincoln

What’s wrong with them? That’s what I’m thinking more and more as I watch the news from Washington.

A few weeks ago it was the senators who announced the judicial compromise. There is nothing wrong with compromise and nothing wrong with announcements, but the senators who spoke referred to themselves with such flights of vanity and conceit–we’re so brave, so farsighted, so high-minded–that it was embarrassing. They patted themselves on the back so hard they looked like a bevy of big breasted pigeons in a mass wing-flap. Little grey feathers and bits of corn came through my TV screen, and I had to sweep up when they were done.

This week comes the previously careful Sen. Barack Obama, flapping his wings in Time magazine and explaining that he’s a lot like Abraham Lincoln, only sort of better. “In Lincoln’s rise from poverty, his ultimate mastery of language and law, his capacity to overcome personal loss and remain determined in the face of repeated defeat–in all this he reminded me not just of my own struggles.”

Oh. So that’s what Lincoln’s for. Actually Lincoln’s life is a lot like Mr. Obama’s. Lincoln came from a lean-to in the backwoods. His mother died when he was 9. The Lincolns had no money, no standing. Lincoln educated himself, reading law on his own, working as a field hand, a store clerk and a raft hand on the Mississippi. He also split some rails. He entered politics, knew more defeat than victory, and went on to lead the nation through its greatest trauma, the Civil War, and past its greatest sin, slavery.

Barack Obama, the son of two University of Hawaii students, went to Columbia and Harvard Law after attending a private academy that taught the children of the Hawaiian royal family. He made his name in politics as an aggressive Chicago vote hustler in Bill Clinton’s first campaign for the presidency.

You see the similarities.

While Obama didn’t grow up in desperate poverty, he certainly didn’t grow up wealthy and priviliged as Noonan is trying to say in the above, he was able to attend Columbia and Harvard because he was an excellent students. His grandparents, who raised him after his early childhood were employed as a furniture salesman and in a bank and lived in a small apartment.

But more to the point is the whole context:

In Lincoln’s rise from poverty, his ultimate mastery of language and law, his capacity to overcome personal loss and remain determined in the face of repeated defeat–in all this, he reminded me not just of my own struggles. He also reminded me of a larger, fundamental element of American life–the enduring belief that we can constantly remake ourselves to fit our larger dreams.

Obama’s struggles include losing a father he never really knew, but also came from modest means and struggled as a person with a very uncommon background with no one to really relate and in fact, he says Lincoln’s background is even more improbable. It isn’t written as an exact comparison and only and idiot would take it that way. All of which explains her drivel.

Unlike most of the people who populate the US Senate, the House and the Presidency, Obama is an outlier, he didn’t come from a powerful family with a political background, or incredible wealth, and he didn’t get in to college on a legacy admission–he got in on merit. And for those of us who grew up spoonfed on Lincoln in Central Illinois, it is that characteristic one learns to respect the most. Lincoln was that guy who wasn’t supposed to succeed and yet he did. Barack Obama wasn’t supposed to achieve what he has, but he has. Trying to belittle him as just another Senator from a family of privilege and power or comparing his accomplishments to the President who depended on legacy admissions and connections simply shows how completely out of touch with reality Peggy Noonan is.