Saturday, July 29, 2006

Canvassing Keene

There's not a huge amount to say about today's "Democratic Reunion" canvassing event in Keene except that it was good. ("Good" - now there's some razor-sharp writing for you. I guess the other thing to be said is I'm exhausted.)

I didn't think to count, but there were maybe 8-10 just regular people there plus a few people from campaigns - in particular Molly Kelly's state senate campaign and several staffers from the Hodes campaign. We were giving out the generic Democratic party doorhangers but were really focusing on literature for Hodes and Kelly (we were also distributing literature from Governor Lynch, but I think the prevailing feeling was that we didn't need to try too hard to sell him). I'm glad we were focusing on candidates rather than trying to sell the Democratic party in some generic way; it gave the day more purpose and was something that I anyway could do with more conviction than being like "look, there are six bullet points on this doorhanger! which one would you like to discuss?"

We went out in groups of 2 and 3, and were going to the homes of people identified as Democrats or leaning Democratic. In truth, we didn't end up talking to all that many people, late saturday morning being what it is. And hardly anyone seemed much like they were just leaning Democratic - maybe that was luck of the draw, or maybe it was a reflection of what's happening with independent voters in general (fingers crossed). Instead, almost everyone I talked to wanted to talk about how they wished they could get rid of Bush right now, how much they hated him. One little old lady said she wanted to "give him a kick in the fanny." Those criticisms of Bush provided the perfect entry to point out that Bass is a reliable vote pushing Bush's agenda, and that they could take a lot of power away from Bush by helping to take down the Republican majority in the House.

The only person I walked away from unsure of how they'd vote was a man who is clearly one of those people who takes suspicion of politicians as a point of pride, a sign that he's sharper and smarter and less easily fooled than most. I dutifully chuckled at his unbelievably stale jokes about how you know politicians are lying because their lips are moving, etc etc, and reiterated that Paul Hodes is a very good guy - this guy seemed like one of those oft-referred-to people who vote based on their gut reaction to a candidate rather than anything about the policies, so no point going there.

However, I came away from that interaction with one nice thing: I had not yet heard the nickname "Charlie Basstard."

It was miserably hot - one woman who initially said she didn't need any information on the candidates because she knew she was voting a straight Democratic ticket looked at my wiping sweat away to keep it out of my eyes and said she'd take the literature because I was out in this hot weather. It's not like I was on commission, but it was sweet nonetheless. At least my red red sunburn didn't develop its fully coloring until later, because I don't think it would've looked good against my pale pink shirt. As it is, I'm left with a square neckline imprinted on me. Lurvely.

There's no big point here. I recommend canvassing highly - it was great to see both volunteers and campaign staff out doing this, it was genuinely fun talking to people, I feel like maybe, maybe we could've at least laid the groundwork for making some kind of difference come November. What more could you want?

In other news, Republican corruption continues:

More sleaze from Doug Lamborn. Rick Renzi is named one of the most corrupt reps in Congress. John Hostettler cited w/ gun at airport. Conrad Burns calls firefighters lazy. J.D. Hayworth's supporter spews hatred.

Jim Talent thinks opponent should file on time, even during the weekend her compliance director dies tragically. Michael Steele compares stem cell research to the Holocaust.
John Doolittle's connections to Abramoff and Delay become problematic. People continue to say no to Richard Pombo.

Brian Bilbray a target of a criminal investigation. And Marilyn Musgrave is one of the 10 worst members of Congress.

Against It Before He Was for It.

Imagine that. Charles Bass voted to raise the minimum wage.

After voting against raising the minimum wage something like seven times in a month, Charlie Bass voted to raise it.

A day after his representatives were quoted saying that, in calling for a raise in the minimum wage, Paul Hodes was "attacking a problem that doesn’t exist," Charlie Bass voted to raise it.

What possibly could have changed his mind so quickly?

Could it be the fact that House Republican leadership tied an increase in the minimum wage to a reduction in the estate tax, to better protect the transmission of wealth from one generation to the next for the very richest Americans? Might that be what made it ok for this "moderate," "independent" Republican to support inching up pay for the hard work of the lowest-paid Americans?

All those votes against raising the minimum wage? That's
because those votes were on "Democratic gimmicks" that would have hurt people. It's a good thing Republicans don't get gimmicky with their bills:

The minimum wage vote came after House Republican leaders scrambled to respond to appeals from Republicans in the Northeast and the Midwest who said they needed to dilute escalating Democratic attacks and were worried they would be pounded in the August recess by labor groups. Some Republicans said they would have preferred that the wage increase be tied to legislation other than the estate tax cut, with a health initiative for small businesses one popular alternative.

But Republican leaders seized on the opportunity to advance the estate tax plan, and advocates of a wage increase went along. “It could have been done differently,” said Representative Peter T. King, Republican of New York, “but it is done.”

This does look like a vote of principle on Bass's part. It's just a shame that the principle in question is obedience to his Republican party masters and service to the very wealthiest Americans, with no consideration for the hard-working poor.

"I Think It's an Issue of Morality, Decency, and Fairness"

That's Paul Hodes speaking about the minimum wage in the Nashua Telegraph. Hodes has pledged to donate any pay raises he receives as a member of Congress to charity until Congress approves an increase in the minimum wage; he also advocates regular increases to keep up with inflation.

You know what? What Charlie Bass's people have to say on this issue isn't even worth talking about. All they seem to be able to do is try to make this a partisan issue, as if people making a decent living for hard work is some dirty gotcha trick the Democrats are trying to pull on poor Charlie.

While the minimum wage has not changed since 1997 (good thing prices haven't gone up since then on anything like, oh, say, gas):

During the same period, congressional pay has gone up $31,000 or about 20 percent, Hodes said.

The minimum wage should be $6.50 to $6.75 an hour and go up annually in step with the general rate of inflation, Hodes said.

Someone now earning the bare minimum receives $206 for 40 hours a week, before taxes, and that’s still only a third of the average monthly rent in New Hampshire of $626.

“It’s wrong, it’s unconscionable and it’s got to change. I will not vote for a congressional pay raise until Congress raises the minimum wage,” Hodes said.
The notion that this could be a partisan issue is just sick, and Charlie Bass seems to be trying to spread that kind of sickness.

I'll close by repeating Hodes' words again:
“I think it’s an issue of morality, decency and fairness.”

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Bass and Bush, Sitting in a Tree

K-I-S-S-I-N-G.

CNN in 1999:

Rep. Charles Bass spoke briefly after Bush, urging the crowd to vote for the Texas governor.

"This is our opportunity to change the leadership of the White House," he said. "There’s only one candidate who has a real vision for the country in the 21st century and has the experience as governor of Texas to make things happen," Bass said, adding later, "George Bush will not let us down."

Associated Press 2000:

McCain later crossed into New Hampshire to support the re-election of Rep. Charles Bass, one of Bush's earliest supporters.

Bass has been with Bush from the beginning, so it's only right that he should reap the benefits of those juicy Bush poll numbers today. Wouldn't you agree?

One of Life's Great Mysteries.

How does Dante Scala get any actual work done for all the time he must spend on the phone with reporters?

(I could've put more links in there, but I'm lazy.)

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Ouch.

You just have to figure this doesn't feel like the kind of publicity Charlie Bass wants his name getting:

A Nashua man faces a slew of felony and misdemeanor charges in the wake of his Saturday arrest for allegedly holding his girlfriend against her will, assaulting her, and attempting to rape her, police said.

Charles E. Bass, 44, of 58½B W. Hollis St. was taken into custody around 3 p.m. Saturday after uniformed officers responded to his home on a report of a domestic dispute, police said.

There they learned that Bass – not U.S. Rep. Charles Bass – had assaulted his girlfriend, who lives at the same address, police said. The unidentified girlfriend was treated for minor injuries at a local hospital.
It sort of gives the cliche about "when did you stop beating your wife" questions a new level.

Although given how out of touch with the district Rep. Charles Bass (as opposed to the other one) seems to be, he may not even know this happened.

Still "Coming Soon"

Bass's website, that is.

I'm just keeping an eye out is all.

Mmmm....brie.

A story in the Concord Monitor on the opening of a new specialty food store in Concord mentions Paul Hodes

Paul Hodes, a Democratic candidate for Congress, Concord lawyer and Dickey's friend for 10 years, stopped in after a campaign event with Sen. Joe Biden.

"I'm always interested in small business,"said Hodes, while trying a brie from Vermont sheep. "Keith is a sample of a small business entrepreneur who makes New Hampshire very special."

This story is published the same day the Nashua Telegraph has a letter to the editor beginning
No doubt Congressman Charles Bass bills himself as a supporter of the safety net for impoverished seniors and disabled, but his actions speak otherwise. I e-mailed the following letter (which should be self-explanatory) to him on April 29. There has been no reply
Nice contrast. Paul Hodes stops by local businesses; Charlie Bass can't even be bothered to send out a form letter in response to a constituent letter from April.

It's also good to see Hodes getting this kind of coverage that could help raise his name recognition among people who aren't necessarily following politics actively.

And next time I'm in Concord, I'll have to stop by that store.

NH and the Presidential Primary

Both NH-02 Progressive and The Yankee Doodler have touched on the recent proposal to blunt New Hampshire's first-presidential-primary status, with the former pointing out the shocking (just shocking) lack of Union-Leader coverage of Paul Hodes' opposition to this change, and the latter suggesting that we take a moment to contrast the Democratic party's "crimes" against New Hampshire - threatening first-primary status - with the Republican party's, you know, crimes against New Hampshire - phone-jamming, anyone?

An editorial in the Nashua Telegraph does give Hodes' position on the matter, closing

Democratic congressional hopeful Paul Hodes called the recommendation a misguided attempt to fix a system that’s not broken.

He said New Hampshire’s primary is important, partly because it allows independents to vote, unlike Nevada’s caucus.

“Putting another contest closed to independents before the New Hampshire Primary is an insult to the voters of New Hampshire and a loss for independent-minded voters who vote for the person and not the party,” he said.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Bar-Exam Eve

DavidNYC of Swing State Project and Daily Kos put the NH-02 Congressional race, and Paul Hodes, on the radar for the blogosphere.

Tomorrow he's taking the bar exam. I won't wish him good luck, because I'm sure he doesn't need luck. But I'll wish him a calm and clear mind, and no more than a minimum of anxiety.

Bureaucracy is Teh Suck

(NB: Not a political post, but it’s my blog so thppttt.)

So I had new employee orientation today. One of those things where you sit in a room all day long listening to people explain fascinating things about risk management and diversity, and as your prize you get your ID. Starting, of course, at 8:15 in the morning.

Well, I’m not what you’d call fully moved in to the new apartment yet, or really moved in at all. Many of my boxes reside at the apartment, but my furniture still lives in a storage unit 8 miles away. But then again, I was not up for waking up at 5 to drive in time to be there at 8:15 in the fucking morning.

My mother suggested getting a hotel room. That seemed like a cop-out to me. Besides, I just paid way too much for a plane ticket and I’m broke. I figured no reason I couldn’t camp out in the new apartment. I had brought the sofa mattress over already, and that’s ok to sleep on. I’d work on unpacking some stuff and then, since I wouldn’t have internet, I’d get a lot of work done whilst eating a great deal of junk food. It sounded like a fabulous evening.

Yeah, well: Backing up. I’d called National Grid (formerly Granite State Electric) on Wednesday to get the power turned on. It was already on, they said, and would be switched into my name on Friday. Thursday when I first got into the apartment I flipped all the switches and it was indeed on. Don’t remember whether I did Friday or not. Anyway, the crucial thing to understand here is that when I got here yesterday evening, as daylight was fading, the power was not on. I went into the basement by the light of my cell phone and flipped all the breakers. Nothing. I called National fucking Grid and explained the problem. The woman sent me out to look at my meter, to see what color tag it was wearing. Oops. Wrong color tag. She’d tell them to come fix it, she said, and would put in the order for that evening since it was supposed to be on Friday, but she couldn’t guarantee anything. Certainly it would be at least an hour.

I took the remaining daylight to put the legs on the desk/table thing I got from Ikea. In my bag of tools I found a candle and some matches, and the AAA battery needed to make the wee flashlight in my purse work again. Then I remembered the women’s road safety kit my mom gave me for my birthday a few years ago. The lantern in it hadn’t seemed to work, so I’d put a little flashlight in. Went out and found that, replaced its batteries. Then I fiddled with the lantern thing for a while and managed to make it work. So, a candle, two small flashlights, a small lantern. I could make this work.

Clearly I wasn’t eating the soup and salad I’d brought for dinner, so I went into town for dinner. Maybe the power would be on when I got back. Not so much, as it turned out. I couldn’t decide whether to have the shades up, to let in any possible light, or down, to keep the neighbors from wondering why the hell I was wandering around in the dark with a flashlight. I shifted boxes around, I pawed through them to see if I could find my big flashlight or any more candles. Found a couple of votive candles and a candle lantern. I burned my thumb on one candle, right on the underside of the joint. I made the bed. I hung the shower curtain. I checked in all the closets to be sure no one was lurking there. I didn’t believe it for an instant, but then again it’s not the sort of thing you want to wake up in the dark wondering about. It goes without saying that the glass I had the one candle in broke from the heat. I turned on the computer and managed to poach about 30 seconds of wireless connection off someone. Enough to load Daily Kos, so I got to read the front-page stories, but then I was left staring futilely and forlornly at the titles of the diaries. *sigh*

I tried to work, tinkered with a few phrases in my chapter. Gave up on that, went and assembled my étagère by candlelight. The shower curtain I’m ambivalent about, but I’m glad I spent the extra $10 on the slightly nicer étagère.

Spent this morning and early afternoon learning so much about “this incredible institution and how each of us contributes to its lasting greatness.” The woman running the orientation was straight out of a movie, specifically a movie that you leave going “the satire was a little over the top.” Chirpy as fuck. For instance, on the subject of the snow sculpture at the annual winter carnival: “we didn’t have a lot of snow this year, but by gum we did it anyway! They trucked snow in.” Or, turning us over to one of the day’s many speakers, “take good care of them, they’re really nice!” as if we’d said a word beyond our names. And upon telling us where we were going next “does that sound like a plan?” Does it sound like we have a choice?

Valuable lessons learned: The “people services” department of HR “works on the front lines. People services used to be called employment, but we call it like we see it.”

“In summary, everyone is a risk manager.”

Once I recover from several straight hours of being treated like I’m just unbelievably stupid, I just need to get my furniture to the apartment, unpack, pick and hang curtains for the windows (a task made more difficult by the fact that the shades are a dark green, shooting my thoughts about colors all to hell), get a living room rug, unpack some more, give up on unpacking and jam a lot of boxes full of random stuff I’ll never need or want but can’t get rid of into closets, finish my dissertation, finalize my syllabus, and get my ASA presentation ready. In the next 2 weeks. While being gone for the weekend.

Yup, I’ve got things under control.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Ok, I Didn't Know Hodes Was THAT Good.

From the Concord Monitor:

Before zipping off to his next event, Biden promised many more visits. "You're going to be able to make an assessment whether I'm real or I'm phony."

If the comments of some on Main Street are any indication, Biden will need those visits. "I talked to him for 15 minutes yesterday," said Dave Rinciari. "That was someone else," said Paul Audet, who was sitting nearby. That, Audet said, was Paul Hodes.


I mean, I suspect Hodes' politics to be better than Biden's. But that his schmoozing is on par with Mr. Sunday Morning Talkshow's? That surprises me. (In a good way.)

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Cash-on-Hand Competitiveness: Hodes at #5

DavidNYC has put up a great measure over at Swing State Project. He's taken the cash-on-hand numbers for CQ's top 50 House challengers and "divided challenger CoH by incumbent CoH to arrive at a "competitiveness" percentage."

Rather fabulously for us, Paul Hodes is fifth on the list, with 98%. He joins 8 other Democratic challengers in the top 10 of this list.

It's a really interesting list and worth looking at the whole thing - this seems like a valuable measure that should be taken into wide consideration.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Flag-Burning Amendment (Better Late than Never Edition)

I missed this Valley News piece when it came out at the end of June, but I haven't seen that anyone else has blogged it so I figure it's worth putting up.

The key bit:

In New Hampshire, Hodes, a Concord lawyer, said through his campaign manager that he would have voted against the measure. (Bass and U.S. Rep. Jeb Bradley supported the flag amendment last year, and U.S. Sens. Judd Gregg and John Sununu, both R-N.H., voted for it Tuesday.)

“His belief is that flag burning is offensive and disrespectful, especially to veterans, but where do you draw the line?' said Hodes campaign manager Dana Houle. “What about people who burn the Constitution, or the Bill of Rights, or the Bible, or the Quran? Instead of arguing about flag burning, what Congress should be doing is holding President Bush accountable for not having a plan for Iraq.”

Bass, meanwhile, "has co-sponsored each bill on flag burning during his tenure in the House, his office said."

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Oh, Paul Hodes is GOOD!

My lease started today. I can’t get all my stuff in my car or carry it all by myself, but I wanted to see the place since I’d taken it sight unseen from the college. I was also concerned about the way that, when it comes to blogging about Paul Hodes and NH-02, The Yankee Doodler and Keener at NH-02 Progressive have been kicking my ass this week. (I’m not competitive in the sense of wanting to win anything, but, you know, I’d rather not be the one who clearly belongs on the short bus.)

So I got up at 7:30 this morning (this is literally the middle of the night for me) drove up, got the apartment key, and took a couple loads of stuff from storage to the apartment, but there was this one other thing. I’d read in the Concord Monitor that Paul Hodes was going to be at a booth at Market Days in Concord for a while this afternoon. It seemed like a good opportunity to see him in action and maybe say hi and introduce myself if I was in a relatively outgoing mood, so, crazy as it was, I went down to Concord between carloads of boxes.

The street was blocked off for Market Days and lined with booths including all your standard fair food, which was really exciting for me. And then down the street there comes Paul Hodes and a couple of staffers. Well, I had no choice but to just go over and say hi – however much I might generally like to lurk in corners, this was why I was there.

He was talking to someone, so I went to a staffer and said hi and I’d like to volunteer at some point. They were super friendly and started taking my information for that, and then Paul Hodes is done talking to whoever, and comes and shakes my hand and – this is the impressive part – when I said my name, he asked if I was Laura from Daily Kos. Seriously, he’s talking to random person in the middle of the street, and he can put that together!

I talked to him for just a minute but he was lovely. Then I went by his campaign office, and let me assure you that if you have contributed to his campaign or are thinking about doing so, they are not wasting your money on interior decoration.

There’s absolutely no doubt that volunteering for this campaign will not only be a good thing to do for all those high-minded reasons, it will be a fun thing to do as well.

Really, the only down side to this little excursion is that the fresh-cut fries and the lemonade were both kind of sub-par.

"Coming Soon"

Someone in Bass's operation has apparently noticed that his campaign website was two years out of date; most of the content has been taken down and they've put a "coming soon" page up.

Too bad. I was wondering if we could make it to August without them figuring that one out.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Hmmm...

The Concord Monitor got it out of the logical order, so I'll put it in order for them

Market Days:

Main Street Concord's 32nd annual Market Days and Summer Music Festival will be held tomorrow through Fridayfrom 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. The event will include shopping, food and a variety of musical performances. For more information, call 226-2150 or log on to mainstreetconcord.com.

A Democratic booth

will be set up during Market Days tomorrow through Friday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Main Street. The schedule is as follows: Paul Hodes, tomorrow at noon, Thursday at 1 p.m. and Friday at 3 p.m.; Sen. Sylvia Larsen, Thursday from 5 to 7 p.m. and Friday from noon to 2 p.m.; and the Hon. Rev. Bob Williams, Thursday at 10:45 a.m.

My thinking is this: If I go check that out, it's an easy post requiring only that I go to Concord. Not to mention the food and shopping...

What They Said.

NH-02 Progressive and The Yankee Doodler have been leaving me in the dust (I'm blaming the cat for sleeping on my arm while I'm trying to type), so I'll just give some of their highlights.

Keener finds that, unlike Sen. Sununu and all of the candidates for governor of NH, Charlie Bass not only supports a de facto national ID and database (from whence just a short step to tracking chips implanted at birth?), he actually cosponsored the bill calling for it.

The Yankee Doodler finds Bass supporting the apparently-indefinite existence of Gitmo, and notes his Bush-bestowed nickname of "Bassmaster."

What's fascinating about the Tom Curry story in which Yankee Doodler finds the Bassmaster nickname is that it finds Bass cuddling up to Bush:

“I was there at Odiorne Point in New Castle, N.H. when he set foot in the state for the first time as governor of Texas, contemplating a run for president, and I urged him to run,” Bass recalled in an interview in the House lobby right after the roll was called late Tuesday afternoon.

“We subsequently spent many months campaigning together, and we both suffered terribly when he lost the (2000) primary in New Hampshire” to McCain, Bass said.

Yet just six weeks ago, Curry found Bass seemingly prepared to distance himself from the president:

Asked whether Bush will campaign for him in his district, Bass said, “That will be my choice” and then let out a loud laugh. “I haven’t made up my mind yet.”

It will certainly be interesting to see how he makes up his mind.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

New Hampshire and the Iraq War

It's worth occasionally taking stock of what the Iraq war is doing to the country as a whole, and to New Hampshire.

According to the Washington Post's "Faces of the Fallen," 2,533 American service members have died in the Iraq war, and another 314 in Afghanistan. Seventeen men from New Hampshire have died; eleven from the second congressional district, ten of those eleven in the Iraq war, one in Afghanistan. I encourage you to go to the Faces of the Fallen site and look at their pictures and contemplate the human cost of this war.

Then there are the financial costs. The National Priorities Project provides a wealth of data on this. $315.8 billion for the entire US; $2,819 per household; $1,065 per person; $2379 per taxpayer; $10.18 million per hour; $244 million per day.

New Hampshire has paid $1.3 billion. The second district?

Alstead 1.8 million
Bethlehem 1.7 million
Chesterfield 4 million
Concord 37.6 million
Dublin 1.7 million
Easton 0.3 million
Fitzwilliam 2.2 million
Franconia 0.8 million
Gilsum town 0.7 million
Harrisville 1.1 million
Hinsdale 3.2 million
Jaffrey 5.4 million
Keene 18.2 million
Marlborough 2 million
Marlow 0.7 million
Nashua 98.1 million
Nelson 0.6 million
Peterborough 6.1 million
Richmond 1.2 million
Rindge 6 million
Roxbury 0.3 million
Stoddard 0.8 million
Sugar Hill 0.6 million
Sullivan 0.8 million
Surry 0.8 million
Swanzey 6.6 million
Troy
1.8 million
Walpole 3.5 million
Westmoreland 2.1 million
Winchester 3.4 million

That's not everywhere in the district, and it's $214.1 million.

These are potential financial trade-offs for New Hampshire as a whole. For what New Hampshire taxpayers are paying for Iraq, we could have

121,913 People Receiving Health Care or
25,045 Elementary School Teachers or
162,185 Head Start Places for Children or
484,199 Children Receiving Health Care or
11,890 Affordable Housing Units or
110 New Elementary Schools or
153,802 Scholarships for University Students or
22,593 Music and Arts Teachers or
32,457 Public Safety Officers or
3,459,617 Homes with Renewable Electricity or
66,773 Port Container Inspectors

And, never forget, the lives of seventeen men.

So what does Charlie Bass have to say about the Iraq war? Well, he's proud of having gotten $103.6 million in defense contracts for New Hampshire in 2004.

According to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committe (DCCC):

  • Rep. Bass voted to continue awarding contracts to Halliburton even if the Pentagon's own audit processes found that more than $100 million of their contractor's costs in Iraq were unreasonable. No surprise that Halliburton gave Bass $2,000.
  • Rep. Bass opposed expanding access to the military's TRICARE health insurance program to thousands of Reservist and National Guard members, even though 20 percent of all Reservists do not have health insurance, and 40 percent of Reservists aged 19 to 35 lack health coverage.
  • Rep. Bass voted against granting a bonus to grant a $1,500 bonus to every American service member serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, including National Guard and Reserve forces.
Bass has repeatedly voted more funds for the war, most recently on June 13. On July 20, 2005, he voted to stay in Iraq essentially indefinitely. As The Yankee Doodler brilliantly showed, Bass was ready enough to criticize a war lacking "a clear strategy for victory," "control by Congress," or "a viable plan for what happens at the end of three years" -- when that war was under a Democratic president. On Iraq, it's yes vote after yes vote and silence on his websites, as the human and financial costs continue to rise.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Bass Fundraising Numbers

According to the Union-Leader, Bass "will report about $450,000 on hand after raising about $200,000 in the quarter."

Never minding those "abouts," let's do the math on that. At the end of the last quarter, Bass had $301,000 on hand. That means that, if he raised $200,000 this quarter, he spent $51,000. That seems to be going past the point of frugality to laziness - as already implied by his outdated website. Is he just taking the voters of New Hampshire for granted?

Meanwhile, it seems worth reiterating the significance of the fact that Hodes has raised so much from New Hampshire. It shows that he's not just running to win. He's running to represent New Hampshire.

It also shows that he's learned the lessons of past campaigns. In a debate with Katrina Swett in 2002, Bass was able to say that "What she has is good campaign literature and a lot of money - most of which comes from out of New Hampshire." Not only will he not be able to say it this time around, he just may have to answer to that charge himself.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Yippee! Hodes Second-Quarter Fundraising!!!

DavidNYC at Swing State Project breaks his pledge not to blog until after he takes his bar exams to report that Paul Hodes raised $343K in the second quarter and has $443K cash on hand.

David breaks it down
Hodes more than doubled his 1Q numbers, by a fat margin. It also brings his cycle-to-date total to over $604K. What's more, Hodes has already raised more from New Hampshirites than anyone else in NH-02 ever has - including Charlie Bass. Over half of Hodes' contributitions - $325K - have been from local sources, and we're still four months away from election day.
He also does the math suggesting that Hodes' campaign is being "pretty frugal."

I have nothing really to add to any of this except sweeeeeeet!!!!!!!

Bass Votes Against Minimum Wage Hike

Today, the House of Representatives held - and passed - a symbolic vote supporting a raise in the minimum wage. The symbolism comes from the fact that it's a nonbinding "motion to instruct conferees"
urg[ing] House-Senate negotiators to include a minimum wage boost, from the current $5.15 an hour to $7.25, in jobs covered by a job training bill under discussion.
The Seattle Post-Intelligencer continues
Sixty-four Republicans, many moderates from northern and northeastern states, joined Democrats in backing the non-binding resolution.
That is, they joined all the Democrats who voted. Those 64 Republicans included targeted incumbents such as Randy Kuhl (NY-29, challenged by Democrat Eric Massa), John Sweeney (NY-20, challenged by Kirsten Gillibrand), Jim Gerlach (PA-06, vs. Lois Murphy), Curt Weldon (PA-07, vs. Joe Sestak). They included total wingnuts like Geoff Davis (KY-04) and Michael Bilirakis (FL-09).

They didn't include Charlie Bass. No, this moderate Republican doesn't support - not even symbolically support - raising the minimum wage from $5.15 an hour, where it's been since 1997, to $7.25 an hour (and seemingly only for those jobs covered by the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Improvement Act) which still isn't exactly going to catapult current members of the working poor into massive wealth.

It's really awesome that he's such a good friend to the working people of New Hampshire. But then, it's not like he's raising money from the anything people of New Hampshire, as we just learned, so maybe he just doesn't feel that responsible to them.

Monday, July 10, 2006

"Silly Season Issues" from the House GOP Leadership

Four years ago, the following exchange took place in a debate between Charles Bass and challenger Katrina Swett:

Swett: "Mr. Bass, I have a very simple question for you, why have you repeatedly opposed efforts to close the Bermuda loophole?"

Bass: "Well, Katrina, this is one of those campaign season issues- I call them silly season issues - that the Dems are using all across the country in every single campaign."

That Bass sure doesn’t have much use for “silly” campaign season issues, does he? Why, he's even got a name for them!

So what does this supposedly-moderate Republican have to say when it’s his own party resorting to such laughable tactics?

An article in Saturday’s New York Times details the unhappiness of some moderate Republicans in the House of Representatives over their own party’s recently-announced “American Values Agenda.”

These “American Values” shouldn’t come as any surprise to anyone who has paid the slightest bit of attention to politics over the last few election years:

Besides a potential series of votes on family tax breaks, the legislative lineup for the weeks ahead included initiatives that would prohibit any government from using federal money to confiscate guns during emergencies; ensure that local governments do not have to pay damages or lawyer fees in court battles over public expressions of religion, and protect the Pledge of Allegiance from being found unconstitutional.

The agenda also includes a measure to ban human cloning and one requiring that those performing late-term abortions inform women seeking the procedure that the fetus could feel pain and could receive anesthesia. House Republican leaders also plan a vote on a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage, even though it could not be adopted in this Congress because it has already been rejected by the Senate.

How surprising that the Republicans would be cynically playing to their very wingnuttiest base, even if it involves throwing some of their own under a bus. The Times article quotes a few moderate Republicans sticking their heads out from under the bus to oppose this strategy:

"It was stupid and gross," said Representative Christopher Shays, Republican of Connecticut. "They have this obsession to satisfy conservative Republicans who will probably be re-elected no matter what happens. They get job satisfaction, but they are making it more difficult for me to win my race."

Representative Mike Castle of Delaware is also critical, as is Jonathan Stevens of the Republican Main Street Partnership.

But how are Shays and Castle actually going to vote on these measures? Shays was reportedly

so upset by the leadership's agenda that he skipped a meeting of House Republicans rather than risk losing his temper over the initiatives.

I guess he wasn’t willing to stand up against this agenda in private – what’s he going to do for the public record? And does he oppose it only strategically, because it makes it difficult for him to win his race, or can we look forward to him leading an attempt to re-assert the tradition of moderate Republicans he supposedly represents?

As for Bass, it would hardly be fair to condemn him for not speaking out against this “silly” tactic in the Times article, since there’s no reason to believe they asked him for comment. And it’s unlikely he’d have done so on his campaign website, since that hasn’t been updated in two years. His official House website has had a few items added, but this one hasn’t made it. But how will he be voting on these issues? And more to the point, will he be condemning the campaign season silliness of his own party’s leadership as he mocked Democratic issues four years ago?

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Huh. Guess the web really isn't Bass's forte.

It doesn't look like Bass's official House website has been updated for a while, either, at least not past the front page. On the front page are some items about flood assistance and the theft of veterans' data, which would be recent, but if you go any deeper, things get pretty stale.

For instance, the press releases section stops at November 2005. Columns and op-eds stop at September 2003. Statements and testimony stop July 14, 2004. The issues section is similarly dated.

It's not that he's not showing up for his job - but the only way to really tell based on his website is by going to the legislation section, which uses the Congressional Record internet search and is therefore not dependent on his operation to be updated. That's how I can tell that he most recently introduced the following, on 6/26/06:

H.CON.RES.436
Title: Congratulating Donald Andrew Hall for his selection by the Librarian of Congress as the 14th Poet Laureate of the United States and for his great accomplishments in prose and essays focusing on New England rural living, baseball, and how work conveys meaning to ordinary life.
Without doing a comprehensive survey of how often other members of Congress update their websites, it's hard to know exactly how lazy Bass and his people are being on this, but I looked at a few other House sites. Sherwood Boehlert, Christopher Shays, John Olver, Rush Holt, Richard Neal, and Bob Ney (to give a bipartisan sample) all have basically up-to-date sites. Nancy Johnson's site is a little behind, but not quite as badly. It's difficult, therefore, to escape the conclusion that Bass isn't all that interested in keeping his constituents up to date on what he's doing. And while showing up for votes and introducing important poet-recognizing resolutions is an important part of the job, so is disseminating information, being open, being responsive. On those counts, Bass seems to be uninterested in representing New Hampshire's second district.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Some Irony.

This may be Alanis Morissette-style irony rather than, like, Socratic irony, but it's recognizable as some form of the concept.

In the 1994 election in NH-02, Democratic incumbent Richard Swett
had a moderate voting record, but Bass attacked him for voting with Clinton 90% of the time and for supporting Democrats when his vote really mattered; Bass ran a TV spot of Swett and Clinton embracing. (From The Almanac of American Politics 1996, by Michael Barone and Grant Ujifusa)
To put that in context, I'm having trouble finding New Hampshire-specific polls for Clinton in 1994, but national polls were putting his approval ratings between 44% and 50% in late June of that year. By contrast, Bush's most recent national approval levels have been between 35% and 41%. And as of May 1, 2006, a University of New Hampshire poll put his approval in New Hampshire at 30%. (Nationally, he seems to have edged up about 3 points since early May, so if New Hampshire is consistent with that, we can give him 33% now...)

So, has anyone got footage of Bass and Bush embracing? Because apparently that would make a good TV spot.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Contribute to Bass online.

Really. Go for it. I'm no fan of Charlie Bass and his 85-91% party unity scores or his steadily declining scores from the League of Conservation Voters (down from 45% to 33% since Bush has been president) or his 0% rating on the Drum Major Institute's Middle Class voting record (thanks DavidNYC).

But if you want to contribute money to his campaign, I'd encourage you to go to his website and attempt to do so by clicking the "contribute" link at the top of the page. And while you wait for it to become evident that it's a dead link, take that time to ponder exactly how interested he is in campaigning to represent you, or in the job of representing you itself.

Monday, July 03, 2006

"That Was So Much Fun, I Wanna Do It Again!"

I'm trying to decide whether it's more nice to know that Charlie Bass is so excited about his sixth term in Congress that he's trying to run for a second sixth term now that his first sixth term is like 3/4 over, or whether it's more sad to know that he apparently hasn't updated his website in two years.

He writes:

Dear Friends:

I want to thank those of you who have supported me over the past years and shared your friendship. It has been an honor and a privilege for me to represent New Hampshire in the United States House of Representatives for the past ten years and I hope you will allow me the honor again for a sixth term.

My campaign will be based on my record as a strong independent voice for New Hampshire. Together we can appeal to our best hopes and focus on what we can accomplish for New Hampshire and the nation. I hope you will join me.

Thanks again for your support.
Sincerely,


It's not just a one-time oversight, either.

Emphasizing his Work for New Hampshire, It�s Citizens and Values, Bass Announces Reelection Campaign

Congressman Charlie Bass reviewed his record of accomplishment on issues of importance to New Hampshire residents such as special education, health care, and reinvigorating the economy as he announced his decision to seek a sixth term More

So does that mean he doesn't want a seventh term? Has he decided he's going to adhere to the six-term limit proposed in the Contract with America, which The Yankee Doodler points out Bass signed onto when he was first elected?

Does it mean that the issues New Hampshire and the nation are facing haven't changed in the past two years? Because the issues statements on Bass's site sure haven't changed - no mention of Iraq, but he's real proud of that recent campaign-finance bill he supported!

Has he mastered time travel? Because if so, I just can't wait to go see him campaigning with President Bush on 10/29/04 or Senator McCain on 10/30/04!

Or does Bass really just not care enough to update his website, any more than he cares about actually being the independent he claims he is?