Sunday, March 12, 2006



In researching a story I did yesterday called "By The Numbers, Which Republicans Are Most Vulnerable To Defeat in November?" I came across Jan Schneider's name. I remembered her for two reasons: I sent her campaign a check in 2004 and she came tantalizingly close to unseating Cruella de Harris in Florida's 13th CD. Knowing that Harris would be ending her political career either in a women's house of detention or in a futile and doomed race for the U.S. Senate, I got all excited when I saw Schneider is running again. She had to have built up quite a bit of name recognition in the district and with any luck and some help from the DCCC... Oops. I checked immediately.

And there it was, as clear as day: Rahm Emanuel's renegade DCCC already has a designated shill ready to wreck Schneider's chance to successfully turn the district blue. One look at Christine Jennings' website told me all I needed to know: no passion, no positions beyond universal platitudes... Rahm Emanuel puppet. So I called Jan to ask her what's up. Take a look at her website first and compare in to Jennings'.

"It's very uncomfortable for me"-- and I could hear the palpable pain in her voice-- "to be fighting the Democratic Party because I've been a Democrat all my life." (Perhaps that Jennings is a convert from the Republican Party adds to a feeling of abandonment by the Democratic hierarchy.) When she started telling me what the DCCC has been pulling on her it reminded me of what the Inside-the-Beltway power elitists had done to Paul Hackett and what I had just watched them do to Dave Lutrin in another congressional district just down the road.

Steny Hoyer called her funders and told them not to contribute. I remember a lot of real Democrats-- you know people, not careerist scum who just happen to be having careers inside the Democratic Party structure but could just as easily at this point have careers in the Republican Party structure-- were sickened to see the exact same Rove-like manipulations pulled off by Schumer, Reid and Emanuel when they drove grassroots hero Paul Hackett out of the race they had lured him into. Hoyer also told the local party DECs to get Jan out of the race (as they had done in Lutrin's race, although the local party feigns neutrality-- which they are legally bound to be-- in primary contests). And what about Emanuel? This had his fingerprints all over it. Was he doing anything. "He lied to Kerry and Boxer. He told them both that this was a targeted race with no primary." Both did fundraisers for Jennings. (Kerry, who has been going around the country helping Emanuel-endorsed candidates, claims, in his phony mealy-mouthed way, that he never endorsed Jennings.) I have no idea-- at least not one I want to speculate about-- how Boxer could let herself be used like this.

I asked her why she thinks they don't like her. "I'm too independent-minded for them. And she has more money. But the last time we were in a primary she spent over half a million dollars and I spent $146,000 and I wound up with 48% of the vote and she got 38%" (in a 4-way race which included 2 further left candidates). Right now the DCCC propaganda is trying to emphasize the inevitability of a Jennings primary win (which everyone believes-- except the people in the 13th CD). One way they do that is to constantly point out how Jennings raises a lot more money (although $305,000 of her $400,000 total was money she put into the campaign herself). And even with that sleazy worm Hoyer calling her funders and trying to convince them to not donate to Schneider, she has raised around $70,000 so far.

Another DCCC propaganda tactic is to put out releases like this one (from the Congressional Quarterly): "Jennings is preferred by House Democratic strategists. She has received contributions from political action committees linked to Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) chairman Rahm Emanuel of Illinois and Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland.
Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., who is well-known in national liberal political circles, attended a fundraiser for Jennings in December. Jennings’ campaign also is backed by Democratic Reps. Robert Wexler, who represents the southeastern 19th District, and Allen Boyd, who represents the northern 2nd District."

Beyond comparing a thoughtful, instinctually progressive like Schneider to a candidate with no issues beyond vague generalities like mom and apple pie, just look at the accomplishments of these two women. Schneider is an accomplished attorney and author who graduated with honors from Brown University and did postdoctoral work at Columbia University and Yale (where she earned a Ph.D and a law degree. Jennings went to high school and then became a bank teller and was able to thrive in an environment where kissing up is all that matters, eventually becoming a bank president. She was tailor-made for Rahm.

Jenning's platform, as best as anyone can make out, is simply, "If you want change, vote for a Democrat." I'm sure there might be a couple of districts where that could work, although I think this Emanuel strategy of letting the Republicans just do themselves in, is fraught with danger (and not for Republicans). Rahm Emanuel may be a lowlife sleaze-meister but do you wanna believe he's as filthy and as accomplished in the dark arts as Rove? Someday, but not yet.

You may think I sound pretty harsh towards a fellow Democrat. First of all, I'm holding back some of the worst charges because they're too horrible to make without more proof-- which I'll have before I publish them-- and second of all, I'm a progressive who is less likely to throw up from the Democrats than from the Republicans. I was too young to vote for Republican John Lindsey for Mayor of NYC when he ran against the Machine troll Abe Beame but I volunteered for him and realized there was more to the kind of governance I wanted than knee-jerk party-line support of Democrats. I went door to door for Lindsey, who later, as Mayor, switched to the Democratic Party.

Today Joe Trippi and Dan Walter announced they are working with Jan Schneider to help win the 13th Congressional District. I'm sure that's going to mean a lot more than an endorsement from DWT but I am opening an ACT BLUE Page for Jan today and I hope you'll join with me in telling Rahm Emanuel and the other Inside-the-Beltway
power-mongers that democracy means letting local Democrats decide who they want to represent the party. That's why we have primaries. Who does Rahm Emanuel think he is? Boss Tweed? Tom DeLay?


At 10:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


You are a warrior in the struggle that Dems need to understand. I am just starting to get it, but now that I do, I am going to promote your web site and message all over the place.

I agree with Steve Clemons who says us "insurgent" Dems need to stand and fight to bring the party back to its roots.

Third parties will not work, but having a wing of this party can do a lot to right the ship! We need to stand up and be counted within our own party.

Over and over it is proven that being GOP lite just does not work. We need to harken back to our populist beginnings. That is where our strength and power lay.

At 7:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Howie -

OUTSTANDING post. I just linked over here from firedoglake, and hope you will continue your focus on this DCCC pattern (which is also a DSCC pattern to more or less the same extent).

So Mr. Hoyer is part and parcel of this game, is he? Mr. 'K-Street Democrat' wannabe, and HAVA cosponsor... What an outrage. And Nancy Pelosi HAS to be backing these two and their methods, doesn't she? [Boy do I pity Howard Dean having to pretend to respect Emanuel and Hoyer... I'd be FURIOUS if I was him.]

Have you addressed the FL-16 CD race yet? For an eye-opening and very honest account, if not, see Carol McLean's website for her "Report on the Highland County Democrats' Hoedown" -- it's on the second page of her site, after a blunt account of her non-relationship with the DCCC. She's facing another Republican-turned-Democrat "recruited" by Emanuel:

Boxer and Kerry came out against the impressive, dedicated Christine Cegelis in the IL-06 as well (by fundraising for her opponent). They COULDN'T have been ignorant about the participants in that race. They're playing the leadership's game, for all they are worth...

And THANK YOU Joe Trippi, for sending out that mailing on Jan's behalf. I hope that helps a lot. [But don't be hesitant about clearly SEPARATING the national House Democratic Party and the national Senate Democratic Party actions, from those of Howard Dean at the DNC, in such mailings. If Howard starts getting all the donations, his power to confront the insiders will grow.]

Funny how the mass media, with all their yearning to do stories about Democratic Party "conflict" never manage to cover any of the REAL news, like these fundamentally anti-democratic methods being employed by the House "leadership" ["Insider Gatekeepers" is more like it].

At 7:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for covering the underdogs/progressives. The DCCC "strategy" saps voter interest, trust and local control. We don't get real reps. We end up with pharm reps, or insurance reps, like Lieberman, who is no better than Nancy Johnson (R-CT). They gut Medicare and contribute to the rising cost of healthcare by catering to the pharmaceutical companies, for starters.

At 9:38 PM, Blogger Steve Bates said...

As a longtime Dem whose status is quickly mutating from "frustrated" to "exasperated," I really appreciate your post, DWT. If genuinely progressive/liberal/populist Dems (choose your favorite word; I know they're not all the same) don't retake the party, we will have no voice in what is left of the struggle for the survival of our nation.

What is happening to Schneider, and what happened to Hackett, are regrettably typical these days. When Democratic leadership figures like Hoyer discourage fundraising for more independent Democratic candidates in favor of their own stable of tame candidates, the DP loses, and so does America.

I am as committed to the Democratic Party as I am able. But I draw the line at supporting, for example, the DCCC when they actively discourage liberal or independent or moderate candidates. I don't want a party of Joe Liebermans, or of any other DINO's. The DCCC can do without my money until they change their tune.

The Yellow Doggerel Democrat

At 9:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why doesn't anyone have the balls to come out and say what's obvious" Rahm Emanuel is a dual citizen whose allegiance is to Israel first, the USA second.

The Dems aren't doing Israel's bidding, altho' Haillary is trying hard.

Emanuel will only support policies that support the current corrupt Israeli government.

Stop making it sound like it's something else. It isn't.

At 6:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am just curious, what continues to make Jan the best candidate. Afterall, hasn't she lost to Harris twice by about the same margin? What makes this time different?

At 7:18 PM, Blogger DownWithTyranny said...

Mr. or Ms. Anonymous, thanks for asking and welcome to DWT. It's a reasonable question, of course. Here's my take. Challengers rarely beat an incumbent on the first try, although Jan came closer to beating Harris than any other Democrat came to beating any other Republican in the whole state. Her contest against Harris was one of the handful of Democratic challenges across the country that came within striking distance. And it usually takes more than one try to win. Without the national tsunami effect very, very few challengers ever win on their first try. Meanwhile, Jan has built tremendous name recognition and, as you know, Harris has bowed out of the race and may well be indicted by November. Now, Jan has even more compelling reasons why she thinks she can win this time and I heartily recommend you give her website a look-see. (There's a link to it in my original post.) Thanks again for stopping by and thanks for the question. I hope I answered it adequately.

At 6:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's very encouraging to see how many true Democrats out there aren't happy with the DCCC's arrogant interference in the primary process. Anyone who takes a close look at Jan knows that she is the much better candidate and has the right to compete to be the nominee.

It's happening in districts all across the country. It's important to support Jan and send a message to the beltway crowd that it's the people who matter most in the Democratic Party.

Do whatever you can to help out Jan Schneider - and spread the word.

At 12:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kudos to DWT!
I sense kindred spirits here :)

I'm an FL-13 voter and have supported Jan Schneider since 2002. She is the genuine article. A lifelong Democrat, yes. But clearly not a Party Animal nor, could she fit the mold of a 're-tread' Dem, made-to-order candidate like Ms Jennings.

There is honest, in-depth substance to this lady. Not only does she know and fully understand the issues that affect us all, she truly feels them to her core.

The FL-13 (primary & general) ought to be all about substance and the issues. Not about form and platitudes.

At 12:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Jan and her troops are in-the-trenches, pounding pavement today (Thursday 4/6/06) through this Sunday evening @7:00 P.M. gathering as many voter petitions as they can.

I know they would appreciate all help.

Pls visit the URL and help Jan spread-the-word.

At 10:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jan Schneider Featured Guest on "The Colbert Report"

Jan Schneider, Democratic Congressional Candidate for Florida's 13th District appeared  with Norman Ornstein of the American Enterprise Institute on Comedy Central's Colbert Report with Stephen Colbert. The topic was campaign finance.

Watch Jan's Colbert Report Video Now (4 min. 51 sec.)

In 2004 Jan won the Democratic Primary on a modest budget, against an opponent with nearly four times the money. She went on to give the best showing of any Democratic candidate running against an incumbent in Florida. Jan nearly beat Katherine Harris in 2002 and 2004 with less than 1/10th of Harris' campaign money.

At 11:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Join Jan Schneider's Fight Against DCCC Prostitution of Our Primary-Election Process

"We must rally from our grassroots-up... and not bow-down to Beltway Big-Shots !"

What's going-on here?
Watch Jan's segment on The Colbert Report (4 min. 51 sec.)...
The 2006 Primary ought to be all about "our" voters, their preference and the issues ! (Period)

But Jan Schneider cannot be bought.  She will not play that politics as usual game we all know about and detest.  As a result, Jan's (true) grassroots campaign to represent all the people fairly... while owing nothing to those political back-scratchers, big-business interests or the super-rich... is under attack.

Jan would disinfect Katherine Harris' (open seat) because Harris is running against Senator Bill Nelson.

Don't we already have enough to worry about from the neo-cons and far right?

The DCCC is seriously meddling in your local primary-process... officially or otherwise.  The inside-the-Beltway-Big-Whigs in-power right now - through their agents - are actively supporting and promoting dissention in Florida's 13th Congressional District... your district !
Did you know that they are working to corrupt what ought to be your right to be free to decide the primary for yourself... without such unethical outside interference?

Their actions create dissent and disunity... at precisely the time we Dems must be united... for the good of District 13 and the future of our Nation.

Don't sit-back and help them sell you out !

Tell Jan how you feel about this:

Pass The Ammunition

Florida's 13th Congressional District includes Sarasota,
Manatee, Charlotte, DeSoto and Hardee County areas.

Vote In The Primary - It's Yours !

Primary Election Day - September 5, 2006

Jan Schneider (D) would disinfect Katherine Harris' (R) chair in the U.S. Congress (FL-13)

Wish To Contribute?

Campaign Website:

At 7:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We have many instances in Florida's congressional districts where candidates who appear to be well funded and former Repugs show up to run as Dems. This is insurance for the Repugs so that if the electorate comes to their senses and votes Dem they have a puppet in there who can turn Repug. It's the oldest trick in the book and the DCCC falls for it every time because they only look at money. We do have an exception in District 24 where former Repug Clint Curtis became a whistleblower against Tom Feeney on vote rigging and has jumped into the race to sound the alarm about election theft. He has seen the light and became a Dem to vote for Kerry. Go to and be prepared to read a story that will make your hair stand on end. Better yet go to and read the whole sordid mess. Of course Clint will never hear from the DCCC because they don't want to admit the Repugs are rigging the machines.
Dear Jan Schneider perseveres through all their crap and is smart as a whip. She was in law school with the Clintons. Give these grassroots Dems your support even if it is $2. We've got to beat our own party machine.

At 12:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

While it's nice that Jan has the base excited, the base isn't enough to win this district -- as evidenced by two previous losses.

I'm from NY, like DWT, so I might not know what it's ACTUALLY like in FL13, but if a progressive-liberal can't GOTV enough to win after two failures, perhaps the district needs a different approach.

I don't mean to ruffle the feathers of any idealogues on this thread but it's not pragmatic to try the same thing three times and expect a diferent result. It's actually psychotic by definition.

Perhaps this Red State district needs a Moderate-Liberal to get some peelers from the exasperated Republicans who are intellectually honest enough to see wrong-track but might be averse to voting for a progressive liberal they already voted against twice.

Put in a new face, slightly different message and I do think the Dems would get some unhappy Republican votes enough to win because Jan clearly can't get enough Dem votes solely to win.

At 12:38 PM, Blogger DownWithTyranny said...

Andrew-- a couple of corrections. Howie (DWT) was born in Brooklyn and moved away in 1969. I live in Los Angeles now, although I'm answering you from Manhattan at this moment. Three Down With Tyranny members, our West Palm-based Art Department (Adam, Sadie and Sophie) are Floridians. Like you none of us live in FL-13. All of us have spent time talking with Jan.

But the big mistake in your comment involves your assessment of Jan's chances to win in what you call a "red state." Even Jeb Bush refers to it as a "purple state," electing Democrats and Republicans. This district leans Republican but Jan came the closest of ANY Democratic challenger in the entire state of Florida to dislodging a Republican incumbent. The biggest fallacy in your reasoning is to insist that a Democrat who loses against an incumbent can't win in a re-match. That, actually is the opposite of what we should expect. It's more likely that someone trying who has tried before will win than an unknown quantity.

Your other mistake is to assume that Jan isn't a "liberal-moderate." That's exactly what she is. Her opponent is a conservative who would be representing Big Business interests, not consumers and workers. For progressives Jan is the only choice.

At 4:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Howie, FL-13 is not a progressive district.

Open your eyes - Jeb quoting Obama's purple state aphorism is like Justice Roberts telling Sen. Boxer on the Judiciary Committee that "Roe v. Wade is the law of the land" - the parenthetical implicit is of course not once I'm done with it."

Jan's opponent is not as liberal as you or I might like, but she will caucus with the Dems she will lend her voice to oppostion or change and reality in DC, she will decide the chairmen of committees!

I'm an ultra-liberal. But I also know that we don't live in a country that elects ultra-liberals. And Jan has proven again and again that FL-13 isn't a district that elects progressives even.

It's sad. But in many districts the only way to get enough votes to be first past the post is to hug the center.

The reason the center has shifted to the right isn't because we haven't elected liberals, it's because when they were in power, Democrats didn't do a good job of connecting liberal ideology with true american values - Republicans did. And lied through thier teeth to do it. But to move it back leftward doesn't take electing liberals, it takes winning the messaging war and that takes years.

IN the short run, if Dems don't start winning, yes, any dem, the republic will fall. It's dire. I'm going to hold my nose and volunteer my tail of for crummy dems. You can thank me when I've save the country.

At 10:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ms. Binky, sorry, but I've got to agree with Andrew. We can't afford to miss out on this district AGAIN - the candidate who lost, came close, but couldn't pull it off.

Republican voters who may vote for a dem won't vote for a dem they just voted against.

The cognitive dissonance would be too harsh. Meet these poor saps, stumbling out of thier sleepwalking like zombies, halfway. With a new face. With a new message and these GOP votes that would have made the difference last time, they'll fall for the Dems.

I hate it, but Andrew is right. Take it from somebody who might never forgive myself for my Nader vote in 2000 -- sometimes we need to win more than anything else.

At 10:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello Andrew, Brian and all,

A guy I've known for at least six years wrote a short piece about Jan Schneider on DailyKos last December (2005). I vote in FL-13 as does he.

Here's the link:

I am not a die-hard baseball fan, but I wonder if anyone of us would ever have heard the name "Babe Ruth" if he were allowed two swings at the ball.

At 12:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ms Binky, your logic is astounding. The Babe Ruth metaphor is so flawed I was literally ROTFLMAO.

If Babe Ruth's first two seasons were failures, if he was unable to win games as a pitcher, then no, Babe Ruth wouldn't have had his contract renewed. Most definitely not.

At 12:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

With regards to Jan Schneider. The only reason why Schneider made a strong showing against Katherine Harris in 2002 and 2004 was that her opponent was Katherine Harris. The most corrupted and controversial person in the State of Florida. Schnieder would have been a sacrificial lamb had she had a less controversial Republican opponent.

The Republican Nominee in the Florida-13 is a wealthy car dealer who will have a lot of money but a Conservative Ideology.
Jennings can compete against Buchanan in the money battle and appeal to some Republican voters


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