Friday, February 27, 2009

New PAC to Keep Politicians Accountable



Progressive bloggers have banded with the union SEIU to form a political action committee that will pressure Democrats to actually be ... liberal, reports the New York Times.
Accountability Now, set to officially launch today (though it has been in the works, at various levels, for some time), is working with state bloggers to recruit and cultivate progressive candidates on the state level.
The name pithily sums it up: the organization will work to make politicians accountable to their constituents rather than the corporate interests so firmly entrenched in Washington. By cultivating new candidates, the organization threatens the taken-for-granted incumbency enjoyed by many in Congress (e.g. the Ned Lamont strategy).
The coalition includes MoveOn, the Service Employees International Union, DailyKos, ColorOfChange.org, Democracy for America, 21st Century Democrats and BlogPAC. Glenn Greenwald at Salon and Jane Hamsher at Firedoglake are also involved.
Greenwald wrote in a July 14, 2008, post in Salon:
Conveying to Democrats that you will support all of them no matter what they do, no matter how egregiously they trample on your values, only ensures that they will ignore your political priorities and values even more. ... Only by attaching a serious price to their enabling of these extremist, destructive policies will their behavior change.
If they are rewarded with greater control and greater comfort for doing what they've been doing, then it's just guaranteed that they'll continue to do the same thing. Only if they suffer losses and have their power threatened from this behavior will the behavior change.
From the Accountability Now PAC Web site:
Accountability Now is an organization built around a single guiding principle: Challenging the institutional power structures that make it so easy, so consequence-free for Congress to open up the government coffers for looting by corporate America while people across the country are losing their jobs and their basic constitutional rights while unable to afford basic health care.
Washington, D.C., is a town that operates on one principle -- maintaining incumbency. There is no higher orthodoxy in D.C.: Thou shalt not challenge an incumbent.
Accountability Now believes that members of Congress in both parties need to hear from their constituents and that nothing focuses the mind of a politician on listening to citizens better than a primary.
Accountability Now will target members of Congress who sell out the interests of their constituents in favor of corporations.
By recruiting progressive candidates who are tapped into the needs and interests of their constituents, the organization hopes to give [Barack] Obama more of an opportunity to stay true to his campaign promises:
Accountability Now will help create the political space needed to enable President Obama to make good on the many progressive policies he campaigned on -- such as getting out of Iraq, ensuring access to affordable health care for every man, woman and child, restoring our constitutional liberties and ending torture.

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