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Money shot

Nancy Goldstein - Raw Story Columnist
Published: February 8, 2006

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Twenty bloggers. Seventeen states. One question: If you had $200 to invest politically, where would it go?

True confessions: when I queried folks, I told them that I, like so many disenchanted progressives, had sworn off giving money to the Democratic National Party in the wake of the Alito/judicial nominations debacle. And I asked them to consider where they'd spend their hard-earned dough with that in mind.

It's important to go beyond saying no. We need to let folks out in the blogosphere - and among our elected officials - know what we DO still believe in and where we WILL still continue to spend our political dollars.


Bloggers appear alphabetically, by the name of their blogs.

Jessamyn at Abada Abada (Bethel, VT): I'd give my $200 to the local community action office. They help people who are really stuck get food, shelter and other sorts of assistance with dignity. Giving $200 to any of the big money politicians or political parties would just be a tiny drop in the big administrative overhead bucket and would encourage more junk mail, junk email, junk phone calls, pandering, and influence purchasing. Keeping my money within the boundaries of my small town is our best chance of being able to stay a small town, all the rest is just details.

Blogenfreude at AgitProp (New York, NY): If I had $200 and was going to do something political with it, I would send it to whatever organization keeps Howard Dean's mouth working. With Hillary, everything sounds fine until she opens her mouth and a flag burning amendment falls out. Schumer? The Repugs barely notice. I want Dean to keep opening his mouth to speak truth to power. If a politician lies, Dean calls them a liar, not a "colleague." If they are Abramoff-connected, he points that out. And when Dean opens his mouth, the media notices. Maybe if he speaks enough truth, the masses will hear him.

Nikki Strickland at Alenda Lux (Alpharetta, GA): The decision to give money is getting harder. My husband and I went to some Dean gatherings; we gave more money there than we've given elsewhere. I miss having that kind of candidate. I'm resigned to giving money or time to PACs rather than parties. My ideal place to give? Some dream party lead by Marcotte and McEwan where people tell the damn truth. The DNC gets no love until they straighten up, which doesn't seem likely. Kerry is making noise now, but he has nothing left to lose. Enough playing it safe. Women's issues aren't special interests and homosexuals can't wait on equality. We (the progressive party of my delusional dreams) should be the party of equality and justice, but we're the party of milquetoast platitudes.

Right now, there isn't a candidate to whom I'd donate. The 2006 races will heat up soon; maybe I'll find someone worthy. Now I'd give $200 to reproductive rights and social justice groups - The Georgia Justice Project, Planned Parenthood. I'm adopting my friend Rusty's POV: People can affect local politics. Perhaps then, local action will spread statewide, then national. Politics suck under Dear Leader and his dirty cabal, but we must keep hope alive.

Shark-Fu at Angry Black Bitch (St. Louis, MO): This bitch is a true believer...a liberal by choice and not default. A bitch is rich in time, but not in money. And this year, my time and money is going towards voter education.

With so many traditional liberal organizations throwing in the towel and pissing everyone off, a bitch is concerned that voter apathy will only grow. And a bitch has no intention of giving up without a fight! Our fellow citizens need to be educated about the vote and inspired about the democratic process. Voter education is not just about registering voters. Citizens need to know their rights, why their vote matters and how everyday life is connected to the ballot.

40 years ago, the Voting Rights Act was passed to ensure that all Americans were protected in their right to vote. This bitch's hard earned money is going to support the NAACP National Voter Fund ... my energy and time is going to help educate and register my fellow citizens ... and my hope is that educated and inspired voters will turn out and take our government back this November! Remember chil' educated voter is a liberal voter (wink)...

Kathy at Birmingham Blues (Birmingham, AL): I'll take my $200 and give it to the Leading Edge Institute here in Alabama. The Institute's mission is "to inspire, prepare, and empower the young women of Alabama to lead our state to a more equitable and prosperous future." Community leaders and activists connect with college women from around the state to mentor them, develop their leadership skills, and expose them to the most serious challenges facing our state and some of the most innovative solutions. Informed, involved, and impassioned women can change the world, and I'd like to see it start right here.

Karsh at Black Gay Blogger (Atlanta, GA): If I had $200 to give these days, without a doubt it would go to the Black AIDS Institute. The Institute's commitment to self- preservation is extremely important in the Black community and even more so in the Black gay community. Politically speaking, the Institute not only helps to fund clinics, but also speaks to the causes of adequate sex education, AIDS testing, and most importantly, information. They make sure the information is out there for people to learn and to aid in understanding it. They go where the problems are. That is very important in this day and age.

Matt Ingwalson at ColoradoLib (Denver, CO): If I had a $200, I would give it to Bill Winter in CD6. He is simply one of the most inspiring politicians out there. His life story is beyond reproach. His credibility is ironclad. His message is clear. And he's running against Tom Tancredo, one of the worst congress people in history. It's early in the election cycle and it's important to show the powers that be that Winter is a viable candidate. Helping him raise money now will make a big impact in November.

Graeme Anfinson at Holding North Dakota's Breath Until It Turns Blue (Fargo, ND): I would give my hard earned $200 dollars to an activist group rather than the Democratic Party these days. I think that they get more done.

I was very envious watching the Canadian elections. They have the option to vote for the New Democrats when the Liberals took them for granted. In our winner take all system, our options are limited. Who are we supposed to vote for, Republicans? Some Democrats, like Russ Feingold, are doing good things and I would consider donations to individual Democrats, but I think donating to the DNC is pretty much pointless.

Gen. JC Christian, patriot, at Jesus' General (East Washington, WA): I'm a liberal and damned proud of it. The national Democratic campaign committees aren't going to see a penny from me, because I'm not going to enable their addiction to losing, Republican-lite strategies.

Americans are more progressive than they think. They want universal health care. They believe in a woman's right to control her own body. They believe that gays deserve equal treatment under the law. They oppose an imperialistic foreign policy. And they want a clean environment. We lose on these issues only because the Democratic Party leadership is afraid to lead. The Party cowers before the GOP's spin.

That's why targeting my primary election contributions against two very red Democrats representing blue constituencies. Joe Lieberman and Henry Cuellar have to go. Replacing them with Ned Lamont and Ciro Rodriguez will put the fear of God into the Party.

My post primary contributions will go to 527's like Moveon. I trust them far more than the party to do the right thing.

Lindsay Beyerstein at Magikthise (New York, NY): $20 to the Haven Coaliton, the "underground railroad" for women who come to New York for abortions from out of town. They're going to be awfully busy.

$20 to the Center for Authentic Journalism, providing independent progressive coverage of Latin America.

$20 to the Investigative Fund, earmarked for Southern Exposure's Gulf Coast Reconstruction Watch.

$20 to the ACLU: $20 for reproductive rights, $20 for PATRIOT-Act/ domestic spying/privacy issues.

$20 invested at interest until Russ Feingold declares his bid for the 2008 nomination.

David Neiwert at Orcinus (Seattle, WA): I'm going to be spending my political dollars two ways: 1) Donating to individual candidates who demonstrate the strength and courage required to win, not just at the ballot box, but in formulating policy. People with backbone, who are unafraid to play the hardball game that conservatives have foisted upon us. 2) Donating to specific organizations involved in progressive causes, but again, selected with care.

Pam Spaulding at Pam's House Blend (Durham, NC): I plan to give my $200 to EqualityNC, because we need to make sure a marriage amendment doesn't succeed here. We have to fight the redneck bigots in the Tar Heel statehouse (Dems, thankfully, are in control of our General Assembly for now). Our national Democratic leadership is equally to blame for this need because the party has relied on the punt position of "let the states decide" on whether to ban or allow same-sex marriage.

This has allowed state after state to pass Constitutional amendments with feeble, uncommitted opposition from elected Dems at the local level, means gays and lesbians are now second-class, taxpaying citizens in those states.

And that's why my $200 will go to a grassroots equality organization here in my state instead of the Dems.

Amanda Marcotte at Pandagon (Austin, TX): With $200 to give to a political cause, I'd give it to Planned Parenthood, because they are the gold standard in what I look for in a progressive organization. They not only talk the talk but walk the walk, arguing for better reproductive health care in the political realm while actually providing it at low cost around the country. As a bonus, they represent how effective preventive, government-subsidized health care can be. They are so good at what they do, they are a consistent target for right wing attacks and budget cuts, and need all the help they can get. To maximize the amount of value on the dollar, I'd give it to one of the workhorses of progressive activism.

Robin Marty at The Power Liberal (Minneapolis, MN): If I had $200 dollars to give to any political group, my donation would go straight to Americans United. No one could have imagined that the face of our court systems could move so dramatically to the right, taken over by a group who believe that there should be no separation of church and state. AU can never get enough recognition for its tireless fighting against faith based-initiatives and policies like the "Super Justice Sunday" political church orgies. Plus, they deserve a little moolah for having so much fun tracking the right's fear of the "blatant homosexual propaganda" lurking in children's cartoons.

Trent Dlugosh at Proud Liberal (Sioux Falls, SD): This is easy for me to answer. I would give my $200 to Russ Feingold in a second. I was just sick when Tim Kaine was chosen to give the response to the State of the Union. Feingold is the only consistent voice we have in the Senate. His continued opposition to the Patriot Act is a true act of patriotism. He has been consistently articulating what most of the Democratic base truly believes about the war in Iraq and social issues at home. When he talks he comes off as very thoughtful and in control as opposed to the way Dean comes off or even Kerry or Gore. My sincere hope is that Feingold runs for President so that the American people finally have a real choice instead of a "lesser of two evils" situation.

Susie Madrak at Suburban Guerilla (Philadelphia, PA): I'm going with a dark horse here: Progressive Democrats of America. I really like this new organization, which has been doing all kinds of behind-the-scenes lobbying on the Hill for progressive legislation. (They're a lot like, only more, um, aggressive.) A lot of the Dean and Kucinich people gravitated here. There's a lot to like: They're decentralized, truly diverse and effective. They don't apologize for being progressives, and they intend to put an anti-war Democrat on the ballot in every Congressional district. They're as far from the Beltway-insider consultant culture as you can get. I recently met one of their advisory boards, and came away very impressed.

I'd sleep well, knowing they had my $200.

Bert Caradine at That Colored Fella (Oak Park, IL): TCF joins the legion of those Lefties frustrated with the DNC currently, but for more personal, selfish reasons. We were told DNC Chair Howard Dean planned to reach out to those Progressives who fueled his maverick Presidential run, by hiring them as one of the four 'operatives' to be placed in each state. I sent in my resume with references and passionate cover letter, and never heard a word.

As far as your query as to how I would spend $200, it would go directly to the Mayoral candidacy of Jass Stewart, who TCF has already made a contribution. Like me, he's a Progressive Gay Black Man who I believe epitomizes the diversity and depth of our collective ideology.

Wes Flinn at Walk In Brain (North Adams, MA): To whom would I give $200, if I had it lying around right now? Deval Patrick. I live in Massachusetts, for cryin' out loud, and it's high time we had a real progressive Democrat in the Corner (Governor's) Office. My second choice? Anything for which Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer needs money.

Kevin Drum at The Washington Monthly (Irvine, CA): As I told Nancy, I've been voting for Democrats for 30 years, and the Democratic Party has been righteously fucked up the entire time. It'll take more than Alito to get me pissed off enough to abandon them.

But still, I'll play along: if not the DNC, who would I contribute $200 to? There are plenty of worthy interest groups around, but I just can't get excited about yet another hundred dollar contribution to NARAL or Greenpeace. What I really want to do is kick the Republican Party out of power. Or, failing that, I'd at least like to annoy the hell out of them and get some childish personal satisfaction out of the deal.

And what could possibly give me more personal satisfaction than to contribute to the defeat of the loathsome Tom DeLay, a man so arrogant that he redrew the boundaries of his own district to include more Democrats because he thought he could never lose? Hah! Bastard's not looking so invulnerable anymore, is he?

So that's that; my hundred bucks goes to Nick Lampson, Democratic candidate for Congress in the 22nd congressional district of the great state of Texas.
Godspeed, Nick.

brownfemipower at Woman of Color Blog (Ypsilanti, MI): We are waiting for them to save us. We are waiting for Dean to remember his anti-war base. We are waiting for Clinton to run again and Kerry to stop making an ass of himself and Lieberman to stop being so fucking scary. We are waiting for them to save us. Meanwhile, we forget that it took the Christian Right fifty years of grass roots base building to finally win every branch of government. Where would we be if the last six years progressives had been base building? Incite! Women of Color Against Violence recognizes the power of base building and has been mobilizing accordingly. Incite! recognizes that it's not that there's no difference between candidates, it's that the system is a lot more broke than we thought it was. Incite! believes that we must save each other from them - and that's why I would give my $200 to them.


Nancy Goldstein can be reached at [email protected]. Her next column will appear on Thursday, February 23rd.


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