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Democracy For The Southern Adirondack/Tricounty Area
Thursday, November 09, 2006
Tricounty DFA Post Election Update: "A Thumpin' "
Hello Everyone;

This is a very different message than the one I sent the day after the 2004 election. Then I wrote the following to you all: "Bruce Springsteen said a couple of nights ago that 'the country we carry in our hearts is waiting.' It will have to wait a bit longer."

It is waiting in our hearts no more, the America we once knew, and dreamed of for 14 long years, and really, since 1968, is returning, alive and well. Tuesday we completed the first great step we began in DFA and the Democratic Party to, as Governor Dean said almost three years ago, "Take Back America."

We took back the House of Representatives, the Senate (pending any recounts), six governor mansions, including ours in Albany, 275 legislative seats and ten state legislative chambers.

And most of all, for everyone here locally, we took our congressional seat away from Miami Mob Boss John Sweeney and placed it into the care of Kirsten Gillibrand. She is going to Congress, and he is no doubt going back to DiCarlo's Gentleman's Club for lap dances and cheap liquor. We all seek our level, I guess.

This whole turn around began when Governor Dean stood up at the annual Winter DNC meeting in February 2003 and threw down the famous challenge that electrified all of us, "What I want to know..." And picked up Paul Wellstone's mantle, the Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party. Everyone and everything in DFA began at that moment. It was one of the great turning points in American History.

And as I also wrote two years ago, "To all of you, my highest regards for everything you have done: traveling, canvassing, phoning, writing, giving and giving and so much more. Your enthusiasm, intelligence and hard work has been a humbling and deeply rewarding, even transforming experience."

"Many thanks to all of you."

And my apologies for not sending this out yesterday-- I started to, but was simply too tired to do it.

In This Update:

1. "A Thumping"
2. Victory #2: Rumsfeld Resigns, Adult Supervision Restored
3. Right Wing Already Spinning
4. The Future
5. The Very Major Implications Of New Hampshire
6. Fish Heads
7. Save Signs
8. Friday Night Progressive Film Fest
9. Important Electric Car Story Likely To Be Missed

1. "A Thumping"

Like many of you I watched George Bush's Press Conference yesterday with as much amazement as satisfaction. For once, he got it right. "W" and his minions took a "thumpin'."

I am a little worried about what Joe Liebermann may do. The Republicans did not support Schlesinger in Connecticut at all. How come? Was there some sort of quid pro quo? I, for one, would not be surprised. In the last weeks of his campaign Joe sounded more like a Republican every day. If he doesn't vote with Democrats, remember, you heard it here first.

Whatever happens, we have the house, and if my instincts are right, the laser printers are already grinding out copies of subpoenas dated January 2007.

2. Victory #2: Rumsfeld Resigns, Adult Supervision Restored

One victory quickly followed another-- we will no longer have to hear Don Rumsfeld constantly answer his own questions. It's clear the grown-ups are now back in charge in the White House and the neocons and their jejune fantasies of empire are being sent packing. Daddy Bush's old hands are now surrounding junior. They may not drive the car where we want, but at least it won't be over a cliff.

Robert Gates will replace Rumsfeld. He was involved in covering up Iran-Contra, and as Dick pointed out to me today, the White House obviously wants to get this through the Senate this year before questions can be asked by the new Senate next year, which is why this happened so fast.

3. Right Wing Already Spinning

The right wing and the DLC types are already spinning this as some of conservative victory, even though we know it all started with progressives and the American people want real change. See Bill Safire's column in the Times today:
or Media Matters:
Fighting this message and controlling public perception of what has happened is the next immediate challenge.

4. The Future

The next challenge after that is the races that will be coming soon enough, because some jobs weren't finished this year. I particularly want to salute our State Senate Candidate, Tim Merrick, and our 112th Assembly District Candidate, Hudson Falls Mayor Dave Carter.

One of the great things about politics is you get to meet new people and make new friends, and I think I speak for all of us when I say we made great new friends in them and their teams this year, and look forward to supporting them in the future.

These races demonstrate that in taking our region permanently from red to blue, that much remains undone. Below the marquee races, the results here were mostly grim. In fact, they could be interpreted as a bloodbath: the Republicans swept all the local state legislative seats. They took both Saratoga County Treasurer's and County Clerks races. Good candidates like Ed Burkhardt for Granville Assessor or David Strainer for Queensbury Town Supervisor were defeated, although there were isolated bright spots, like Patti Southworth, who won election to the Ballston Town Board.

These are good people, good candidates, with good ideas and important and badly needed agendas for reform, like Preston Jenkins' for the badly mismanaged Saratoga County Treasurer's office, and it's distressing to see them go down.

Looking at the election from top to bottom, it's clear that, at the foundations, this is still Republican territory. By and large, the great majority of voters here voted straight a Democratic ticket through Gillibrand, and then went up and voted a straight Republican ticket for all the rest.

So much, much work needs to be done: building our local political institutions of all kinds. Building party. Building community and new social networks. That's how we educate for change and make people feel comfortable with Democrats and progressives, how we give them a new sense of identity and belonging.

5. The Very Major Implications Of New Hampshire

There's hope for those races in the future, too. I think the most interesting thing that happened Tuesday and most relevant to us here in upstate NY is what happened in New Hampshire with the election of DFA activist Carol Shea-Porter to Congress. Even less than a month ago her chances were not taken seriously. In fact she was ridiculed by many in the media. New Hampshire had always been seen as seen a rock-ribbed Republican bastion, just like here. She had almost no money. She was essentially blown off by the Party. But she had good people, she had the grassroots, she had DFA and she is now on her way to Congress.

Beyond her, on the state level, New Hampshire is now all Democratic: Governor's mansion, both houses of the legislature. And both seats in the House. One party government for the first time since 1874 -- 132 years-- a complete wipe out for the Republicans, right down to the lowest levels.

I think it is clear that this is the long term legacy of the Dean For America campaign and the brilliant field program run by people like DFA Executive Director Tom Hughes. DFA Versions I & II flipped New Hampshire for good by "rewiring" that state's socio-political networks. In less than four years that state went from red to blue thanks to the right strategy and tactics.

Many of you have heard my analysis of how our region is in fact the West New England or West Vermont region of New York. Our area is so similar to blue states Vermont and New Hampshire it's startling, and we, too, can take our home blue as they did.

6. Fish Heads

Anyone who doubts the need for serious change at the local level need only look at the Post Star cover article today on the clear threat leveled yesterday against supporters of Charter Reform in Saratoga Springs. Fish heads wrapped in newspaper were left on their doorsteps.

This may seem funny, but it is not. It's a deeply serious matter. We need to understand the proper context: this is a clear allusion to the mafia. The mob was once very powerful and really scary in Saratoga, with gangsters like Legs Diamond and Lucky Lucianno always hanging around. In fact they simply owned Saratoga in the 30s and 40s.

That little bit of history tells you all you need to know about the character of the people who did this. In fact, it's exactly the kind of intimidation tactic John Sweeney would probably appreciate and shows there are a lot more thugs we need to worry about around than him.

That's not the kind of country we want to live in. Everyone, all of us, no matter what persuasion, should be able to express our opinions and make our political decisions without any hint of fear, intimidation, retribution or revenge.

Although this was not a DF-GGF issue (it's really a bit outside our area) if I may ask everyone's indulgence for a personal note, I would urge my good friends there not to be discouraged by Reform's defeat yesterday. With enemies like this, you must not give up, any more than we gave up to Bush, Rove and Sweeney.

They are exactly the same people. You will win, too.

7. Save Signs

I've heard from all the campaigns and they are asking everyone to save items like their lawn signs. These things are damnably expensive. A cardboard and wire lawn sign costs about $4.50 each, the ribbed plastic ones about $9 each. So please take them in, hold onto them. If you see a forlorn one by the side of the road, for God's sakes stop, get out and put it in the trunk. If you have four signs, it's like a $20 contribution.

If you have just yours, keep it. If you have a bunch, we will figure out how to get them back, but let's not let them get wasted.

8. Friday Night Progressive Film Fest

The Rockhill Bakehouse Cafe in downtown Glens Falls continues it's Friday Night Progressive Film Festival this week at 8pm with:

Nov 10 SHADOW COMPANY *PREMIERE* (2006) Nick Bicanic & Jason Bourque 86 min.
This year thousands of private soldiers will be deployed in conflicts worldwide. These individuals, known as private security contractors, are changing the face of modern warfare.
But to those at home, their world and influence remains a mystery. Who are these security contractors ? What do they do ? Why do they do it ? Shadow Company, by Nick Bicanic and Jason Bourque, is the groundbreaking feature-length documentary that reveals the origins and destinations of these modern-day mercenaries.

9. Important Electric Car Story Likely To Be Missed

Finally, not everything that's important happens in politics, not even in an election season. GM is supposedly developing a new electric car. This is great news, for GM is coming around.,0,6347599.story?coll=la-home-business

Again, many thanks to all of you! See you all soon,

Larry Dudley

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