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Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Late Nite FDL: Thank You

It looks like Henry Cuellar is going to take the Democratic nomination in Texas 28, but I just want to say how brave, how inspirational the participation of everyone on this site and across the blogosphere has been in the Ciro Rodriguez race.

It took Rove, Reed, Norquist and the College Republicans 20 years to gain power. We like to think of the Presidency of George W. Bush as an aberration of the Florida vote in 2000 but that doesn't take into account the ground war that the Republican party has been waging since the 80s. The extreme right wing of the GOP gained power because they put up extreme right wing candidates in every race and backed them to the limit, win or lose. And they did it virtually unnoticed by the American public until eventually, they prevailed.

We did that in this race. We sent a very loud, long message to the Democratic party about what we're willing to fight for. It's extremely difficult to defeat an incumbent and we took a race that wasn't even close in January and made it competitive. That's huge.

As much as we look for a hero to ride in on a white horse and deliver us all from this mess that's not going to happen. Many count on Bush to eventually screw things up so badly that the electorate simply jumps ship but that doesn't ever seem to happen either, no matter how bad it gets. The sad, hard truth is that the GOP has gamed the system so thoroughly that we're going to have to challenge it brick by brick from the bottom up and that's going to take a lot of commitment, a lot of patience and a lot more time than many will comfortably admit. But that is the reality of the situation we're in.

Wyonate supplies this Chomsky quote:
"John Hamilton, who drove from Ithaca to see Chomsky, stood up to ask a question during the question-and-answer period following Chomsky's speech. "My question is, what do you find hopeful?" Hamilton said.

"I think one should be very optimistic for the reasons I just mentioned," Chomsky said. "The large majority of the population already agrees with the things activists are committed to."
The talking heads would have you believe that we're so far out of the mainstream that we're just marginal, angry extremists. In point of fact we only seem extreme when measured by the yardstick of those they themselves have allowed to dominate the debate.

Cuellar is an example of the latest GOP tactic -- run a Republican as a Democrat in a district that will never elect a Republican. He represents a creeping cancer within the party that has to be fought if we're not going sit back and let it be overtaken by the GOP too. We had to draw a line in the sand and actively show them we're willing to challenge them on that front. We did that. It was important. We showed up for the fight.

There are no quick fixes. We're not going to be able to match overnight the ground game that was put in place by the right over the past twenty years and beyond. The Ciro Rodriguez race may be a short term defeat, but it's a necessary part of a long game. Thanks to everyone who showed up, who contributed, who took part in the battle. Thanks to Kos and Atrios and MyDD and the Swing State Project, to Tracy Joan and all the people in the Rodriguez campaign, and especially to Redd and all the people here at FDL.

You're my heroes.

Update: By special request, our Act Blue page -- where you can give to Ned Lamont.

Uupdate II: Email from Ciro:
"As far as I am concerned we are in a run-off. We will be picking up our signs from the polls and re-using them in thirty days. Until we know exactly what happened today in Webb County, this race is not over.

I wouldn't be here if I hadn't gotten the support of the online community. It's been overwhelming to see how people can make a difference, and make things happen by coming together, even if it an hour of blockwalking, a few phone calls or $20 and $40 dollars at a time. We must have the final word in who our leadership will be, not the
special interests, and we must keep up this fight. I want to think the thousands who have given their time and resources to push this campaign forward.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for each and every kind word, dollar bill and one cent.
Update III: Gilliard, via email:
Let's understand two things:


All we can do is give them a fighting chance. That's it. We can give them the resources, but that's it. How they use it is up to them.

Two, EVERY race is a learning lesson. Rodriguez was going to get blown off the map without that money. Please, please keep that in mind. This way, we made this a race.

Look, we've moved a lot faster than the GOP has or can. We've done in two years what took them 20 to do.

We will win races, but it will take time. It may well take until 2008 or 2010. Because it took the conservatives from 1964 to 1980. So if we win in 2006, great. But this is a marathon, not a sprint. One race is just another fight, it isn't the war, it isn't even the battle.

So, we did a lot more than anyone else was going to do. And that's it.
Update IV: Bowers:
I'd like to point out that Texas apparently has an open primary system, where Republicans can actually vote in a Democratic primary, and vice versa. Given this, Ciro almost certainly won the day among registered Democrats, and at the very least would have forced a runoff in a closed primary. As someone who has always been an advocate of clsoed primaries, I submit this election as Exhibit A. As disgusting as it sounds, if Cuellar wins the Democratic primary without a run-off, it will be because of the Republican vote. I love it when Republicans select the Demcoratic nominee! Someone please tell me again why we should have open primaries.