Congresswoman Tsongas interviewed by DaTechGuy 1/2013

On the day I promised my wife I would abandon the internet until we got home from Hampton Beach my congresswoman decided to call it quits.

Having imprinted the 3rd Congressional District with the indelible mark of her family’s public service, U.S. Rep. Niki Tsongas will step away from Congress at the end of her current term to help nurture her family’s next generation.

First elected in 2007 to a congressional seat her husband Paul wielded to great effect, Tsongas has made a name for herself as a fierce advocate for women in the military, veterans benefits, and health care. Her recent bids for re-election have been forgone conclusions, but Tsongas said in a statement announcing her decision that the time has come to move on.

“I am so grateful to those who have been there since day one, and to the many great Americans who I have met along the way, all of whom have served as my inspiration and support,” Tsongas said. “I have learned in life that there is a time for endings and for new beginnings. After much thought, I have decided that this is one of those times.”

Tsongas, who is 71, has three daughters and two grandchildren, with another expected imminently. She said she plans to spend more time “enjoying and celebrating” them after her term expires at the end of 2018.

Now I’m a big fan of spending one’s golden years with the children and grandchildren and in that sense I completely agree with Congresswoman Tsongas’ decision, but I couldn’t help notice how this announcement contrasts with a story in the very same paper just four months ago:

REP. NIKI Tsongas put to rest growing rumors that she’s be retiring from Congress in 2018, when her present two-year term is up.

“I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I’m not going anywhere but to work. I’m happy, healthy, and committed to helping my constituents on issues that are so important to them,” said Tsongas, who represents the 3rd Congressional District.

Asked to explain the persistent rumors, Tsongas said, “I think it is age-driven. I’m 71 and some people might be thinking I’m going to retire. But that’s not something I’m thinking about.”

So the question on the floor is this:  What changed in the 107 days between April 23rd and August 9th that converted the story of  Niki Tsongas retirement from a rumor to be quenched to a reality to be celebrated?

Might I be so bold as to suggest that the congresswoman , who has been covered and interviewed by this blogger, just might have seen this post:

 Sunday, even after the GOP fell on it’s face over Obamacare and the White House was playing musical staff Nancy Pelosi is reportedly saying stuff like this

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said Sunday it was “unimportant” for Democrats to win back a majority in the lower chamber in the mid-term elections, The Hill reported.

“That’s so unimportant. What is important is that we have the lively debate on a better deal,” Pelosi told Fox News host Chris Wallace on “Fox News Sunday” when asked about the chances Democrats had to win back the House in 2018.

What does that tell you?  It tells me that no matter how bad things look for the GOP the American people have decided that the Democrats are worse.

Now perhaps it’s huberis to think that Congresswoman Tsongas first heard about Minority Leader Pelosi’s declaration here but I suggest it would be naive to discount this story from the Congresswoman’s calculations.

Or  to put it another way, in April when Nancy Pelosi was talking Democrats taking congress, and the prospect of a committee chair and the power that comes with it was there, Congresswoman Tsongas was all about working for the people of the 3rd district.  Once it became clear that even an outside chance of  such a prospect meant staying in congress until she was closer to eighty than seventy, enjoying one’s golden years with the grandchildren while one is healthy enough to enjoy them trumped another guaranteed lustrum or two in the congressional minority.

FYI here is the interview with Congresswoman Tsongas that the image at the top came from

Closing thought,  Interesting that the Democrats didn’t ask her to resign early and generate a winnable special election in a deep blue state that they could tout isn’t it?

A quick Layoff bleg update. Yesterday was the scheduled end to my layoff bleg and I’m sorry to say we didn’t manage half of the goal I had set although we did manage to raise enough to get me a paycheck this week and next week. This will make August a very lean month.

So if you are inclined and at all able I would ask you to hit DaTipJar at this time even if we don’t make the goal another $315 will mean a full paycheck for August 25th.

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Just got off the NRCC conference call here is a quick summery of what went on:

Andrew Clark Digital press secretary welcomed us

Digital director Gerrit Lansing came on briefly to say The NRCC is winning because we are on offense, anxious to hear the ideas from those on the calls (twitter & new media folk).

I like that, more offense, less defense

Next came NRCC Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR)

How we are staying on offense:

1. We are finding terrific recruits

2. Exceeding budget on fundraising

3. Timing, Historically 6th year is a bad year for a party, but “We have to make our history it doesn’t make itself.”

Stepping up on digital outreach. Being aggressive in the creative approach (in addition to traditional media & shoe leather)

some predict 2-7 seats & I’d like to do more.

Then the congressman took questions: (answers are condensed summaries I was typing as I went along I include my own comments on the answers after them).

Question (DaTechGuy): In the immigration bill what are we doing to make sure the grass-roots are not angered by Immigration Bill and stay home as they did in 2012?

A: Those decisions are made across the hall but We’re not going to pick up the senate bill and move that. House will use different procedures than senate.= and will address border security.

I would have like more along the lines of “this isn’t going anywhere” myself.

(Tom Dougherty:) What is the NRCC and the RNC doing to ensure the GOTV effort & boots on the ground will be a larger part in 2014?

A: To the extent allowed under the law we will partner with those efforts and learn from our mistakes, that will be the key to success. You have to do the boots on the ground and reach out. Building up and proofing out systems in 2014 to use in 2016.

A good idea, there are some systems in NH that Andrew Hemingway is working on at the NH Republican leadership group that look really good, I hope they look into it.

(NRCC Kim Gardner): Not so sure we do as good a job selling to our own base how will that be addressed?

A: Good point, many competitive voices out there on what may work. We try to help our members try to articulate our viewpoints. 99% are on the same page of the goal of repealing Obamacare. Repealed 1099 and other items in the law. Sent 3 bills to delay individual mandate & corporate mandate & keep IRS off as enforcement agent. Always need help to articulate the message.

At this point the site NRCC was mentioned to highlight top targets 7 up there at the moment.

(DaTechGuy): To what degree can we include Conservative Bloggers & radio get involved in spreading the word in local races (debates etc)?


A: It’s important to seize every opportunity to highlight every point where the dems are off and Pelosi is back in charge we are the only blocking force. We’ll feed you info & answer questions when we can and provide info via that redzone site.


Glad to hear we are in the loop

Bail of Any plans or strategies to reach out to the Youth vote?

A: Get up with the right people and the right content to use them to reach out to the younger voters. It’s their future on the line and young people ought to be furious about what’s going on.

This shouldn’t be a hard sale for people graduating from college with high debt and no job

This was a short but informative call, looking forward to more such calls in the future.  Engaging the new media this way is EXACTLY the right way to go.

Update:  Tom’s last name misspelled, corrected.

A congressman’s first duty is to get re-elected

Sam Rayburn

I’ve Always known how to count

Tip O’Neill

Yesterday in the National Journal review Josh Kraushaar looked at five congressional races in battle ground states that the GOP is defending. What he saw speaks loudly:

In Colorado’s 6th:

Coffman found his solidly Republican district redrawn into a suburban Denver battleground—and then proceeded to act as if his political fortunes hadn’t changed one bit.

In Florida 18th:

Thanks to redistricting, West moved to a new district that’s slightly more Republican but filled with the type of environmentally-minded moderates that bristle at his confrontational approach. Nonetheless, West has proven to be a national tea party star,

Iowa 3 features a race between two sitting members of congress:

In a sign of how the political winds have shifted, Boswell has distanced himself from the president, most recently siding with Republicans (and 17 Democrats) to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress.

As does Ohio 16

Sutton’s playbook is similar to the Obama campaign’s against Romney—portray the Republican as a corporate type out-of-touch with the middle class, while using his support of the Ryan budget as a cudgel. But Renacci is betting that Sutton’s support for the administration’s policies on energy and health care are bigger vulnerabilities.

Take a look at the examples above, in every case the Republican when faced with a more left leaning district has not compromised or backed away. Meanwhile in Iowa the incumbent Democrat is moving away from the president.

Let’s be blunt: The people with something to lose see a downside to standing with the president and see no downside in opposing him. Why do you think Nancy Pelosi is telling her members to stay the hell away from the Democrat Convention?

So stop listening to a MSM that has no skin in the game and take up the cry

“Ride right through them, they’re demoralized as hell”!

When I start seeing Democrats in these swing districts pivoting to Obama, then I’ll believe otherwise.

Update: If you won’t believe me will you believe Politico?

Since he won his seat in 1974, Waxman has never received less than 61 percent of the vote — in fact, his friends say, the last time he was seriously contested was in 1968, when he was elected to the California Assembly. Through the years, Waxman has used his deep well of campaign cash almost exclusively to aid fellow Democrats.

But in an interview, Waxman said he would be directing nearly all his money toward his own reelection this time around.

Waxman is worried? Think about the net effect. How many races in the last five decades got a boost from Waxman’s funds that won’t this time around?

Update 3: Dan Riehl says go get him!

Update 4: Should have said National Journal instead of Review, corrected

Update 5: Instalanche, thanks Glenn, speaking of House races these stats from Ma-3 might surprise you and check in this evening for a sequel post that I’m just finishing up now on NV-3.


The DaTechGuy Fundraiser is in progress, our goal is $3000 and any help would be appreciated before I run out of snappy comebacks to convince readers to kick in.

For details click here for the progress check the thermometer to the right and to kick in hit DaTipJar”.

At the Keith Fimian HQ running in va-11 here in Fairfax

The HQ front door

It is a beehive of activity, people are in and out and excited. In the half hour I’ve been here workers have been in and out and in and out. The candidate has a debate tonight and time and preparation are being devoted to nailing it down.

Signs of the times, lots of activity at the Fimian HQ

Even as I was preparing to pack up a man named Joe Van Dalsum came in and picked up a sign as well.

Joe Van Dalsum at the Keith Fimian HQ

I talked to the campaign mgr Tim Edson and the story is the same, a democrat running from his record and playing the attack card and very little national polling to try to hide the decline so to speak.

Well you can’t hide voter enthusiasm and they have it here.

It is crunch time for the DaTechGuy / Robert Stacy McCain road trip to hit districts in NY and Penn.

We are at least $300 short from being able to do this and that doesn’t even count any meals or hotels.

If we can get the last $300 $275 $250 $190 $165 $135 the road trip is on. If we can’t the road trip is off. I’m in no financial position to do this at a deficit.

So if you would like to see us hit some districts consider hitting DaTipJar to finance the trip and lets see if we can make it.

Consider how much of a difference its making in MA-3 and Marty Lamb because we were there. Could that happen in your district?

If not. Well Stacy can find a last min flight and I have plenty to do around here.

Remember when everyone told us that democrats should run on their records supporting Obamacare and the president when the people were screaming otherwise in polls?

I’m sure the leadership said they would stand behind them.

Apparently as the Cyberleader once told Miss Hartigan “That would be classified as a lie” as politico reports:

Facing a perilous political environment that has left the House Democratic majority in jeopardy, Van Hollen told reporters in a briefing at the National Press Club that the party faces a series of difficult decisions about which candidates to invest in this fall — and whom to leave behind

“At the end of the day, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee will look at races we can win,” Van Hollen said.

And in the same breath he insists the democrats will retain the house.

So to all you democrats who thought it would be a good idea to let Obamacare pass and to all you blue dogs who pulled a Fishbait Miller thinking that Pelosi and co would save you, I have one word.


A wheel of fish award for you!

Update: Who would have guessed the first death panel from obamacare would be a political one for ailing democratic members?

Bill Gunn appeared on local public access TV this Wednesday:

Shortly after the interview I spoke with him myself:

During the hearing on the Health Care Bill he was in the congressional galleries and at one point shouted out “Kill the Bill”. For saying aloud what the great majority of the American people were thinking he was charged with “disruption of congress” so Bill will be in Washington from Sunday the 22nd through Saturday the 28th working at the Greater Capital Hill food bank to settle that charge.

Hopefully the next time he he arrives in Washington it will be to help to first de-fund and then repeal that bill.

…compares the two districts Ma-01 and Ca36 and their candidates Bill Gunn in Ma01 and Mattie Fein in CA36 and the respective coverage or lack thereof in the local papers in the communities they serve:

This year however there are some similarities. The economic slowdown is affecting the families of Southern California just as much as the workers of the Bay State and in both districts, indeed all over the country candidates are emerging to challenge the status quo.

In CA36 Republican Mattie Fein has taken up the mantle. In Ma01 Republican Bill Gunn is mounting the challenge. Their situations are similar.

But it is the differences that that tell the real story.

When local newspapers are less interested in reporting their local news then bloggers 3000 miles away you know you have a problem.

Stacy has a brief blub at the American Spectator and Ed Driscoll gives advice to A whopper jr Newsweek.

Doing the job the main stream media is is paid for but apparently chooses not to I spent 15 minutes talking with Republican Candidate for Ca-36 Mattie Fein:

On The Torrance Daily Breeze’s decision to not cover the campaign:

“I’m Concerned, this isn’t about looking for favorable coverage, it’s about looking for fair play. There are serious issues in the district and the voters deserve the issues on the table.”

The Irony of the Daily Breeze belittling her concerns over Harmon’s purchase of a Whopper Jr Newsweek while otherwise ignoring her campaign is not lost on her.

On Jane Harman Ducking her:

Jane Harman said she understood that the seat she has held for 16 years is not an entitlement but has ducked our attempts to debate her and avoided town hall meetings within our own district. We have also sent a letter to the Torrance Daily Breeze about sponsoring such debates, we have not received a reply.

Mattie Fein Ca 36 in my Fedora Photo Robert Stacy McCain

On the Issues in the District:

Jobs is the issue, people are concerned about their jobs and the job situation of their families and friends. We have also heard from Democrats who have expressed concern about Harmon’s rough relationship with the speaker and its effects on the district

On how she has been received:

We are very excited by the response we have gotten at events from the voters. Democrats, Republicans and undeclared voters are in the district are ready for change

Shades of Ma-01. A democratic district with an incumbent who has held office for nearly two decades and a dynamic candidate (Bill Gunn) shaking things up. The difference? The local papers don’t leave the coverage of the race to bloggers 3000 miles away.

Update: Photo added courtesy of Robert Stacy McCain. How bad is it when my fedora has more of a presence in a California congressional race than the local paper?

Four on an Island
1st District Candidate Bill Gunn held a standout in Fitchburg Yesterday at the intersections of Bemis Road, Summer Street and John Fitch Highway.

It was a hot day to be out but Bill’ supporters were undeterred and they greeted the passers by:

Waving to the passers by

And posed for the blogger in the hat:

And explained their support

A candidate has to be pretty good to get a young guy to spend his birthday holding a sign on a traffic Island in Fitchburg. Let’s see what the candidate has to say.

You don’t often see a candidate with his motorcycle do you?

Bill Gunn Ma-1 on his way to the next event

I’ll wager that’s not the a shot you see every day of a congressional candidate.