Blue Dog Howl

by digby

It looks like Marcy Winograd lost the floor fight against Blue Dog Jane Harman for the California party's endorsement in a typically chaotic process --- and strongarmed by the crusty old curmudgeon John Burton. But she put up a good fight.

Dday liveblogged the whole thing and concluded with this:

…The final count was 599 for Harman, 417 for Winograd. This means that Harman will receive the state party endorsement. Party Chair John Burton says “I do not believe the volunteers were bribed, couldn’t see, whatever.” He adds, “Next time organize in your own caucus and win it… how many people think Siskiyou County should vote on who should be the Congressman in Los Angeles?” A bit gratuitous.

In a statement, Jane Harman said, “My opponent’s attempt to thwart the will of Democrats from the 36th CD was correctly viewed as a corruption of the process. I am pleased that delegates from throughout the State have affirmed what the delegates who have worked with me and who know me best have decided.”

…I just talked to Marcy Winograd about this. She said that she was pleased to have substantial grassroots support for her challenge, though she came up short. In the future, she would prefer to see a less chaotic process – there was some concern that entire regions of delegates were not counted at all. As for John Burton’s comments, chiding Winograd from the dais, she called them “inappropriate.”

This is really all interparty kabuki and doesn't mean much. The fact that Winograd even got a floor vote is a testament to Harman's weakness. She is after all, a very powerful incumbent and nationally known figure in the party. They always hang together against grassroots threats.

What matters is the primary vote. LA Progressive puts it this way:
Harman vs. Winograd is the quintessential battle of opposites; conservative vs. progressive, corporate donations vs. grassroots donations, power broker vs. people power, special interests vs. people’s interests, war vs. infrastructure, war vs. jobs, war vs. education, war vs. housing, war vs. health, war vs. the environment, and on…

This contest means the difference between reelecting an entrenched incumbent politician who supports militarism and corporatocracy or electing an inspired organizer and educator who’s dedicated her life to the local community and the community at large.

Lila Garrett, radio host, progressive icon and convention delegate summed it up for me this way:

“Winograd vs. Harman is not just another ho-hum congressional election. It’s a battle to define the Democratic Party. If it is represented by a permanent war economy fed by a policy of permanent war, secret government, authoritarian rule – that’s Harman. It it’s a party whose first priorities are peace, universal education, healthcare, employment and dignity – that’s Winograd.

They [Harman and Winograd] are polar opposites. Let the Democratic party be defined by this election. Then let those of us who care what our party stands for decide whether to remain Democrats or move on. It has come to that.”

I'm a believer in staying and fighting rather than "moving on" to quixotic, third party politics, but I agree with the rest. If Winograd wins this race it will send shockwaves through the Democratic establishment. Harman is considered untouchable, but as is demonstrated by the vote at the convention, she's on the run.

But Harman is one of the wealthiest members of congress. She can flood the zone with her own cash if need be. Winograd, on the other hand, is dependent on contributions from like minded individuals who would like to have some representation in congress that answers to the people rather than corporations, defense contractors and lobbyists.

You can donate a couple of bucks here to support her effort.