Arizona Eagletarian

Arizona Eagletarian

Friday, August 24, 2012

Guest blog -- Ask Andrei

This guest blog post was written by Arizona Democratic activist Randall Holmes


On Wednesday, August 22, I received a robocall from Andrei Cherny, inviting me to participate in a "town hall" conference call with Andrei and former Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard to discuss Andrei's campaign in the Democratic primary for Arizona's 9th Congressional District, so of course I did. Also in the Democratic primary are former state senator Kyrsten Sinema and current Arizona Senate Democratic Leader David Schapira.

Participants were encouraged to push *3 to get the opportunity to ask questions, so of course I did. Soon, a screener came on the line to ask me for my name and city, and the nature of my question.

Unfortunately, I was a little flustered and didn't have a lie prepared, so I told the truth: that I'm Randall from Tempe, and that I wanted to ask Andrei about any polling for the race that he's heard about (non-Dem polls put Andrei a distant thrid), and how he feels about some of the ad mailers sent to voters by "independent" expenditure committees.

Sadly, my turn didn't come up before the end of the call. I'm sure Andrei and Terry would gladly take my question if they had the chance. Fortunately, there was a feature that allowed participants to leave a voicemail after the end of the call, so of course I did.

I said that I think of Andrei and Terry as friends, and I'm hoping they agree that we're going to need all Democrats on board for the general election, and that we all have to support our nominee, whoever he or she may be. I'm a pragmatic progressive Democrat, and I'll support any Dem in a general election - corporate, DLC (www.dailykos.com), Blue Dog, whatever - if it means taking back the House, electing Nancy Pelosi as Speaker, and controlling the committee chairs and the agenda for Obama's second term.

I always cling to the hope that all Democrats will keep our eyes on the prize and support a progressive nominee, although that's not always the case. My first choice for AZ09 is David Schapira, who I think will fight the hardest of the three candidates for the interests of the average working Arizonan. But, if Kyrsten pulls it out, I'll support her. And if the polls - or the voting machines - are wrong, and Andrei somehow ekes out a victory in the primary, I'll support him, because it's not about him (or me) - it's about the future of our district, our nation and what we laughingly refer to as "human civilization."

However, many of my friends will hold a grudge, and will not support a candidate who they don't feel they can trust, and who they think secured the nomination through Lee Atwater/Karl Rove-style tactics. Some of my fellow Dems often ask me, "Well, if you don't like our nominee, what are you going to do - vote for the Republican?" No, I'm voting for the Democrat, but many Democrats will skip that candidate's line on the ballot, or worse - stay home. While the conventional wisdumb says that our 2010 defeat was a reaction to our "too-liberal" policy initiatives, the fact is that too many Dem voters abstained, because they felt our initiatives weren't liberal enough.

Now to the point. My mail box is being polluted every other day by postcards from something called the "Progressive Independent Committee" (words have no meaning anymore), attacking Kyrsten Sinema, and only today (Wednesday 8/22) I received a scurrilous piece of crap telling lies about David Schapira. I don't know how "independent" they are, but they're definitely not progressive. They haven't sent anything attacking Andrei. Hmm.

I've received a couple of pieces from Kyrsten (also a friend) repeating one of the lies about David, and I'm disappointed in her for stooping to repeat it, but at least she has the brass to put her own name on it.

Now, here's a new one for the digital age: A week or so ago, there were some interesting posts on Facebook, looking like they were from David's supporters and sliming Kyrsten. David immediately asked the offenders to cease and desist - if they were actually his supporters - as he has insisted on running a positive campaign. Indeed, he has scrupulously followed the 11th Commandment: "Thou shalt not speak ill of thy fellow Democrat."

However, a closer look at the "people" posting the attacks seemed to indicate that they were fake personae, set up with identical personal bio info on their "info" or "about" pages that also exactly matched that of someone, who when asked, admitted to being an Andrei supporter. It's circumstantial evidence, but when combined with Daily Kos stories about Andrei's 2002 campaign for California Assembly, it fits a pattern:



Incidentally, while googling for that last link, my search turned up a wealth of good reading:

It's hard not to laugh at the "strategery" and "tacticalistics" of some of the consultants and political operatives who have way too much influence in our party and our campaigns. I like to call them what we called the weasels in the Bush Administration: "Mayberry Machiavellis." But they do serious damage to our cause, and often cause more damage than they're worth.

By the way, there seems to be some confusion lately around the definition of the word "progressive." It's used as an epithet by the corporate tea party media, as well as some of our corporate Democratic Mayberry Machiavellis. In my personal dictionary, "Progressive" means favoring Human Progress from Feudal Servitude to Civil Democracy, balancing the rights of the individual (Liberty) with the rights of the community (Democracy). That's it. No more, no less.

We're trying to build a majority coalition that can actually save the world for the kids, and in order to do this, we have to win friends and influence people. We don't have to agree on everything, but our friends crapping in the punch bowl tends to spoil the Party, and give us all a bad name.

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