A couple of years ago, Glenn Greenwald got together with Markos Moulitsas and Jane Hamsher and discussed how we can get a more progressive Congress. That conversation is still worth reading, because it contains a lot of home truths, like this one from Kos:
So, we’re not going to go after representatives, congressmen, that are conservative just because they are quote “conservative.” We’re going to look at those districts, with representatives that elected officials that have lost touch with their constituents, and not providing their constituents service, are not voting in a way that helps the well-being and the welfare of the people who are in those districts. So, it’s not a left versus right sort of thing; it’s really more of a corporatist versus populist approach to governance. We think that elected officials should represent their constituents and not corporate interests.
Around that time, Greenwald and Hamsher announced Accountability Now, a PAC that intends to fund primary challengers for corporatist Democrats. They were recently part of a successful effort to recruit a credible primary challenger for the Senator from Wal-Mart and Tyson, Blanche Lincoln.
But that’s it — one recruit. When you look at Charlie Cook’s map of the Senate, you can see why. Of all the toss-up states, Arkansas and Pennsylvania are the only ones where the incumbent is arguably too conservative for the state, and Specter already has a declared, credible primary opponent.
There are plenty of opportunities in the other 34 races, like David Vitter in Louisiana, or the open seat in Indiana, where Democrats are going to need a good candidate. But that’s not Accountability Now’s mission — they recruit primary challengers. And no doubt we have some Stupaks that need to be primaried, but does anyone still think the main problem is in the House?
Hamsher and Greenwald picked a hard target, one that will require many cycles and a lot of dogged effort — it should have been called “Accountability at Some Future Point”. When I see long-term projects like that, I assume that the founders realize the problem they’re trying to solve isn’t going to be fixed quickly, and that they won’t freak out the first time they don’t get exactly the outcome they desire.