NDN Blog

NDN Press Release: On immigration, Mr. President, we need more than words

Earlier today I released the following statement to the media:

"In this time of deep partisanship in Washington, there has been one issue on which the President, Senator McCain, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, the Catholic Church, the Chamber of Commerce, numerous labor unions and many other grassroots groups were able to find common cause and work together: the McCain-Kennedy approach to comprehensive immigration reform that passed the Senate with broad bipartisan support in 2006.

Based on various news accounts, the President and his Party appear to be walking away from this broad and deep coalition, abandoning a smart, tough and sensible approach to immigration reform. Floating a brand new approach to immigration reform, the President and his Party have stepped backward and devised a new path that will do much more to please their partisans than solve this important problem. 

We hope that on this vital national issue of immigration, the President doesn't follow the lead of his Party, but rather leads it and the nation to a comprehensive solution this year. While his speech today was one we welcome, the President needs to publicly distance himself from the plan being floated by Senate Republican leaders, and say right now that he intends to pick up where we left off in 2006 - with the McCain-Kennedy approach that has already passed the Republican-controlled Senate. Anything less will show that the President, despite his passionate rhetoric today, is simply not serious about passing comprehensive immigration reform this year.   

Years of work went into crafting the McCain-Kennedy approach. It has made great progress through Congress. It has a deep and broad coalition behind it. Democratic Congressional leaders in both chambers have made it clear that passing this bill this year is a very high priority (see video from our recent event with leaders from both chambers reiterating their support). The new and flawed Republican approach being floated will unravel this coalition, and deal a severe blow to those hoping to pass comprehensive immigration reform this year.

The Republicans lost power in 2006 because their government did not produce the results it had promised and had left many important challenges unmet. At NDN, we believe the American people sent a clear message to Washington to stop playing politics and start focusing on solving a daunting set of 21st century challenges. On this issue of immigration reform, once again the Republicans seem to be on the verge of listening more to their partisans than the American people, and are in the process of walking away from a good and sensible bipartisan solution to a difficult national challenge."

The Emerging Political Agenda from the Bottom Up

The bar just keeps getting higher when it comes to all the innovative ways new tools are being used in politics, and now, government. I’m referring to two very recent developments where average people are given opportunities to contribute their own ideas on what to  do about issues for a candidate, and for a sitting governor.

The first is Obama’s new feature on his campaign website where he gives people the opportunity to submit their ideas about what to do about the national health care problem. The ideas, and the supportive contributions, can take many forms: a written idea blurb, a written personal story, a video that sheds light on the issue, or a recorded audio message that people can  make with any computer with a microphone, which is most decent ones. The audio contribution was something I had not seen done before. But taken all together, the package opportunity is different too.

This appears to be just the beginning of many other tool rollouts for Obama. Healthcare is just the first issues of many that will soon appear but also the website indicates that there will be opportunities to collaborate in other ways too. Collaboration, after all, is the essence of the new power of what is called Web 2.0.

Then there’s Deval Patrick’s morphed campaign site. The new governor of Massachusetts, who rode the new tools and much bottom-up energy to his election victory, is now trying to harness them in governing. His nascent attempt gives residents a chance to propose and support issues that the governor should take up and try to enact.

It’s very early days in both these efforts, but they are telegraphing a trend that is bound to pick up steam in the months ahead. If this country is truly going to take on the new challenges of the 21st century in effective ways, then people in politics will need to tap into the creativity and brainpower of millions of Americans who have been shut out of politics and governing – until now.

Peter Leyden  

NDN Press Release: Statement on Presidential Campaign Fundraising

I released the following statement to the media earlier today:

"Today’s announcement by Barack Obama that he has raised $25 million shows that Democrats are clearly ahead of Republicans in adapting to the new opportunities and realities of 21st century American politics. 

It appears that the collective Democratic field has raised about 50 percent more than the collective Republican field.  When the official FEC filings come out next week, there is little doubt that Democrats will far exceed Republicans in the number of people who have donated as well.

No matter how you measure it - money raised, sign-ups on social networking sites, people at events, downloads on YouTube and of course as the recent Pew poll showed, party identification - Democrats are structurally ahead of the Republicans in mastering the new politics of the 21st century. 

The 100 dollar revolution that started in 2003 continues to radically change American politics.  A combination of more states voting earlier in the primary process and an acceleration of the adoption of new tools that are making it easier for people to participate in politics will mean that by late February of 2008, tens of millions of Americans will have voted, donated, volunteered, blogged, signed up or taken some sort of action on behalf of a candidate. 

There also should be little doubt that effectively managing and tapping into the new prominence of average people in our 21st century politics is going to be one of the most critical tests of our political leaders.  

Another measure of how Democrats are better adapting to the new realities of the 21st century is the historic diversity of the Democratic Presidential field: Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Bill Richardson, John Edwards, Chris Dodd, and Joe Biden look like the diverse America of the 21st century."

MySpace Primary: Social Networking Gone Wild

Social networking is going to play a big role in the politics of this cycle, but I think having a primary on MySpace might be going a bit far. We’ll see.

The MySpace primary seems to me to be gimmicky at this point, and I hope that does not turn off political people from the idea that social networking tools can be a powerful way to do what politics has always been about – connecting up people and their “social networks” of family and friends behind a campaign or candidate.

I made that point in an interview I did today around the breaking news. Separate the importance of social networking from the potential relevance of the MySpace primary. They should be evaluated on their own terms as two separate things.

There is no question that social networking will be big in politics – not the least because it is a critical medium to reach the Millennial Generation, that increasingly important young constituency.

There are a lot of questions about how a MySpace primary will fare in a real-world primary world. But you never know. I could be wrong….

Peter Leyden   

Google & Echostar Partnership: a first step towards buying political ads on satellite TV?

As television audiences become increasingly segmented through technologies such as cable, DVRs, and satellite TV, a broadcast-only strategy of reaching viewers just doesn’t work anymore. Satellite TV subscribers, for example, are among the most difficult for political advertisers to reach because ads can only be bought nationally on the non-local channels.

Simply put, while a political advertiser can buy ads on popular cable channels such as TNT, TBS, and A&E by buying through their local cable company, it’s been impossible to buy ads on those very same stations on satellite networks.

Today’s announcement by Google and Echostar could change this dynamic. Google announced today that it will sell TV ads on the 125 stations distributed by Echostar Communications’ DISH network.

The TV ads will work much like Google’s online search ads do – advertisers specify how much they’re willing to pay, and through an automated auction, the ads with the highest price are selected. What’s more, just like in the online search ads, advertisers can choose by geographic region:

Mr. Desai said the television ad system would work much like Google’s existing online and offline advertising systems. EchoStar would make some unspecified amount of air time available to Google’s advertisers. Advertisers or agencies would upload video spots to the system along with their desired target audience or network and would specify the price they are willing to bid for the air time.

Google’s ad system would then select the winning ads and play them on the air. Using information collected by EchoStar’s set-top satellite boxes, it will be able to give advertisers a report showing how many people viewed any ad and whether users tuned it out in the first few seconds.

Google will also use information collected by EchoStar to deliver the ads to their target audiences more precisely, the companies said.

Advertisers will not be able to designate specific households, but will be able to choose individual networks like ESPN or MTV and a time of day. Alternatively, they could choose a demographic group or geographic region, and Google’s system would schedule the ads across a variety of networks.

This is still a pilot program, but it could be the beginning of a significant change in political TV ad buying.

How Close Did We Get to a Kerry-McCain Ticket?

MyDD blogger and intrepid reporter Jonathan Singer interviewed John Kerry yesterday and you won't want to miss what Massachusetts' Junior Senator said about John McCain. 

Jonathan Singer: There's a story in The Hill, I think on Tuesday, by Bob Cusack on the front page of the paper talking about how John McCain's people -- John Weaver -- had approached Tom Daschle and a New York Congressman, I don't remember his name, about switching parties. And I was wondering if you could talk a little bit about what your discussions were with him in 2004, how far it went, who approached whom... if there was any "there" there.

John Kerry: I don't know all the details of it. I know that Tom, from a conversation with him, was in conversation with a number of Republicans back then. It doesn't surprise me completely because his people similarly approached me to engage in a discussion about his potentially being on the ticket as Vice President. So his people were active -- let's put it that way.

Singer: Okay. And just to confirm, you said it, but this is something they approached you rather than...

Kerry: Absolutely correct. John Weaver of his shop... [JK aswers phone]

John Weaver is McCain's chief political strategist, his Karl Rove essentially.  Wonder how this news will play wth GOP primary voters.

Responding to Tancredo

Today, Congressman Tom Tancredo (R-CO) entered the race to become the next President of the United States. His participation in this campaign guarantees that we will hear more about his policies, which include deporting 12 million people, and we will hear more rhetoric proposing an America whose definition omits a key element of the past that we at NDN hold dear: the value of immigrants.

Today, Congressman Tancredo has given the Hispanic community a reason to stand up and be heard: to silence the xenophobic nature of conservatives like Tom Tancredo and their allies in the Republican Party. Tom Tancredo and others want to take this country towards a future that denies its past and its foundation.

Now we must challenge all presidential candidates to come to the table (or return to the table as in the case of Senator John McCain) and repudiate such positions so we can work towards a responsible, comprehensive solution.

Newt Gingrich Wants to Take us to War with Iran

Has this guy read a newspaper in the last 5 years?  It's like it's 1998 and he's addressing the Project for a New American Century.  Nobody can rest until Gingrich and his ilk are thoroughly discredited.  We know what happens when we let neocons test drive our foreign policy. 

PS

This video was posted by Gingrich's own people.  That's right, it's not oppo research.  Wow.

John McCain Leads Coalition of the Delusional

John McCain was in Baghdad this weekend with Senator Lindsay Graham to brag about how well the surge is going.  They capped off the trip by taking a "three minute drive across the Tigris river from the green zone" to walk through a market.  Accompanying the Senators were 100 heavily armed soldiers, 3 Blackhawk helicopters, 2 apache helicopters and a partridge in a pear tree.  NBC's Tom Aspell, who reported the story from Baghdad, told Imus that with similar military protection "even Paris Hilton could ride a bicycle in a bikini through Anbar province."  After you get that image out of your head, look for Ret. Gen. Barry McCaffery's reasoned analysis of what is really going on in Iraq today.

Tancredo is in.

Congressman Tom Tancredo (click here for his campaign website) officially announced his candidacy for President today. From his statement:

While we fight around the world to defend our nation, we are entrenched now in a struggle here at home to define it. The crisis of illegal immigration threatens not only our economy and our security, but our very identity...The great tradition of American assimilation has broken down. The melting pot has cracked, and our Founding ideals are leaking through....For too long Americans have been force-fed candidates who ignore or mock their valid concerns about the security of our borders, the enforcement of our immigration laws, and the survival of our national heritage. That ends today.

Reminder: Tancredo drew fire from Governor Jeb Bush (and many others) after saying that Miami resembled a Third World Country.

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