Salon Radio: Jane Hamsher

What are the short-term and longer-term plans for Accountability Now and Strange Bedfellows?

Published August 15, 2008 6:00PM (EDT)

(updated below)

The Accountability Now money bomb from last week raised close to $175,000 (once offline checks are counted), which means that, combined with the $350,000 raised for the prior Blue America FISA/telecom immunity campaign, the total amount raised in just the last couple of months around civil liberties and constitutional issues is in excess of $500,000. Today, I spoke with Jane Hamsher about the impetus behind the new organization, why the campaign has resonated so strongly, and what the organization's short-term campaigns and longer-term strategies are.

The discussion is roughly 35 minutes, and a transcript will be posted later today. The Steny Hoyer version of the Iran ad that Jane and I discuss -- aimed at several of the more than 200 co-sponsors of the war-justifying House Resolution 362 -- can be seen here.

UPDATE: The transcript is here.

The interview can be heard here.

Glenn Greenwald: My guest today is somebody whose accomplishments are quite numerous -- in fact, too numerous to list all of them in a single podcast. She's the producer of many Hollywood films, including Natural Born Killers, the author of a book about her experience making that film. She's also the co-creator, or the creator of the website -- the political blog -- Fire Dog Lake, and most recently, and it's the topic we're going to be discussing, she's one of the founders of Accountability Now and the Strange Bedfellows coalition, and that of course is Jane Hamsher - Jane, thank you for taking the time out from your many accomplishments to join me today.

Jane Hamsher: It's good to be here, Glenn. The check's in the mail.

GG: Good, I'll be waiting for that. Speaking of that, we had what we called a money bomb last week for the new organization that both you and I helped to create, which is Accountability Now, and the coalition that we formed, the Strange Bedfellows Coalition, for people across the ideological spectrum who are devoted to defending civil liberties and core constitutional protections, and most of all, bringing back accountability to our Beltway political class.

That money bomb generated, I guess at the end of the day, close to $170,000 - $175,000, depending on what the offline contributions are. And with the prior fundraising campaign, that was similar under the Blue America PAC, which raised in excess of $350,000, the total raised for this campaign is well in excess now of half a million dollars. Can you talk about what your view of the money bomb is, what your reaction to it is, and what your thoughts are going forward about this campaign?

JH: Well, it was an experiment, really. We'd never tried anything like that before. My first experience with fund-raising, my first big experience with fund-raising happened during the Ciro Rodriguez race in Texas. It was a primary race at the 2006 House election, and it was on the heels of Alito being nominated to the Supreme Court, and people were really upset about choice, and Ciro Rodriguez had a very good choice record, and he was running against a Democrat who was very anti-choice. So I think we raised about $30,000 for him, but that was after months of exhorting people, say, let's go, with post after post after post. So it was incredible that in one day we took in $170,000 over something. It so far outstrips anything we've ever been able to do to date in one single blast that I'm knocked out.

GG: Right.

JH: I'm really excited about the potential. And nobody had ever done anything like that before on our side. The money people who were also involved in it had something similar to it for Ron Paul, but that was very different - that was with a presidential candidate who had the forum of the presidential debates on network television. We're operating far under that kind of visibility. So, the enthusiasm for the people, for the project was really astonishing.

GG: That was one of the things that was striking to me is obviously there are political, national political campaigns like the Obama campaign, the Ron Paul money bombs, Hillary Clinton's campaign, that have raised exorbitant amounts of money online, but I'm not really aware of any issue advocacy group, and certainly not a new issue advocacy group, that has been able online to raise anything close to several hundred thousand dollars, let alone in excess of half a million, or $150,000 in one day. Certainly not from small donors as we did. So I found the amount pretty extraordinary as well, both the one day money bomb total and the couple of months of fundraising there that have taken place prior to that.

What do you think accounts for how strongly that campaign has resonated and how much money has been raised in a fairly small circle, as you say, online, in such a short amount of time.

JH: Well I think the 2006 election was seminal in people's thinking. At the time you'll probably recall, when the Democrats got the majority, people really wanted to give them the benefit of the doubt. They really wanted to give them a chance and say, okay guys have the majority that you wanted, you've got the subpoena power that you wanted - let's see you go. And the disappointment from that, that the war did not even slow but rather accelerated, that there was no subpoena power that was actually enforced, things just across the board did not get better was really acute.

And the only thing that really seemed to accrue to the Democrats' credit was the fact that they didn't let retroactive immunity for the telecoms go through. And so when that happened, and to make matters worse, Obama voted for it, I think people really felt that the hopes that they had that this was going to be something new and different, that was really going to be transformative with an Obama administration, the seed was planted that that wasn't going to be enough. People felt that he was only going to be as good as we helped him to be, and he was going to need some help in that; this was an effort that could give it to him. So, and I think the Obama campaign was surprised, too, I have to say. I think that they were surprised that the online community was so ardent on this particular issue.

GG: Right, and that of course generated a lot of media and sort of created the issue that Obama had alienated a substantial portion of his base in a fairly intense way. Now, obviously one of the challenges in a two-party system is that if there's significant dissatisfaction with both parties, even where one party is mildly better, your options are somewhat limited.

I mean, you can continue to support the party with which you have a great deal of dissatisfaction, in this case the Democratic Party. You can essentially work against your own interest by supporting a third party, thereby helping the party that is even less favorable to your positions. Or you can try and create some hybrid approach, where you're not working against your own interest by just creating a third party that helps the worse party, but you're also not mindlessly supporting the same party that has created such dissatisfaction.

And I see Accountability Now and what we're doing with Strange Bedfellows, as an attempt to create that hybrid. Can you talk about how you see that approach? Obviously, you're not in a position where you're advocating the people who are dissatisfied with Democrats go and support a third party, and you're also not advocating that they go and keep mindlessly supporting every Democratic incumbent. So talk about how you see that middle ground, finding some hybrid strategy to redress what is obviously the very significant disappointment that people - understandably so - have with the Democratic Party.

JH: Well, I think there's a real systemic problem in Washington DC that we saw manifest in the FISA issue, which is that the Democrats and the Republicans coming together to give George Bush and the telecoms exactly what they want. That they, for a variety of reasons, saw this as in their best interests regardless of what party that they were in. And if you look back to the 2006 election, the most successful thing that blogs were able to do, the most influence we were able to have over the process, was in primary challenges, even if they weren't ultimately successful. Ned Lamont's primary challenge to Joe Lieberman really awakened the DC establishment to the idea that you could run as an anti-war candidate, and it wasn't going to take the party down. And so Democrats across the country started saying, coming out from underneath their rocks and saying, yeah, I'm anti-war. And it really helped the Democratic majorities in 2006 to come about I think. Not that they were ultimately effective at doing anything about it. But it really did have an influence on the election.

The other thing that happened shortly after the election was that Ellen Tauscher came out and started talking about how the...

GG: She's essentially a Blue Dog incumbent Democrat from California, representing a much more liberal district than her voting record would indicate.

JH: Yeah, she came out and basically said that the liberals and the chairmanships of the committees were going to have to be reigned in. And people online went crazy, and said, primary challenge - and she backed down real fast. The next thing you know, she was part of the out of Iraq caucus, and was taking a lead on much more liberal issues. Likewise Al Wynn, who had gotten a real primary challenge from Donna Edwards, in Maryland, backed off a lot of his excessive corporatism. Not that it did him any good in the end, because Donna Edwards beat him this cycle. But we know for a fact that primary challenges wake people up.

So, the best thing it seems that we can do, is to support primary challenges. Now, what's the problem with that? Well, there aren't that many good ones, 'cause it's really difficult to beat an incumbent, and frequently the best people in a community, the people who are best poised to launch a primary challenge, won't do it because they don't think that they'll get the support. So, our task as I see it, with accountability now, or one of our many tasks, is to connect with those people and offer them this support that an online community can bring, and raise their profile such that they can make meaningful primary challenges to these entrenched power that keep working against the interests of the people they represent.

GG: Now, primary challenges are obviously an effective way to change behavior, both in terms of the targeted incumbent - that's proven true empirically, you've just given examples - and it's also effective in changing the behavior even of people who aren't immediately targeted by virtue of the threat that they might be, and you gave an example with Ellen Tauscher as well.

Let's talk a little bit about the Democratic Party leadership in Congress, the Steny Hoyers, Rahm Emanuel, Nancy Pelosi, and friends. There's one line of thinking that I essentially endorse, which says you can remove incumbents and replace them with better Democrats but, as long as you're continuing to do nothing but increase Democrats' margin by supporting Democrats, just different Democrats, House leadership may not like it if you target their incumbents, they don't like it, it has a lot of harm, but as long as you're basically doing things to keep up the Democrats' margin in the House, you're not really going to change the mind-set of the Democratic leadership. To do that, essentially you need to target some of their incumbents not just when you're able to recruit credible and viable primary challengers, but even in some cases when you aren't, and of course we've been doing that with Chris Carney, we're going to continue to do it with John Barrow.

Talk about that fairly controversial approach, that is running ads and bringing to the attention of various constituents negative aspects of what their congressman or congresswoman is doing when the incumbent is a Democrat and doesn't have a primary challenge, and doing that might actually risk weakening the incumbent and even possibly causing him to lose in a general election. What are you thoughts on that?

JH: I find it kind of amusing that people would lay the blame on us for that. For instance, if we went in and we did advertisements about our issue, FISA, and criticized Chris Carney cozying up to the telecoms, and voting to give them immunity for their crimes, and took out ads that highlighted that issue in his district - if they had effect, if people actually agreed with us, that Chris Carney shouldn't be doing this, then maybe Chris Carney shouldn't be doing this, right? Maybe it's Chris Carney's decision to do this in the first place that cost him the election, and not us bringing it to the attention of his constituents. That's just seems to be simple to me. It's like, if you flip it, it's like, well he should be able, because he's a Democrat, he should be able to do anything in his district and we should just let him do that, as long as he can hold the seat. And it's like, well, no. That just doesn't make any sense.

GG: Right. And I mean that's the mind-set that has led, I mean, if you're Nancy Pelosi and you're Rahm Emanuel and you're Steny Hoyer, what you are thinking about is how to maintain and then increase the margin of your majority in the House. And right now, if you're them, the most rational way to go about doing that is to essentially ignore progressives, ignore trying to change the debate on national security and try and increase your margin of victory by electing as many Blue Dogs as possible, transforming as many red seats into blue seats as you possibly can.

And to do that, what you do is you do what they did on FISA, you do what they've done on the war - you essentially go along with the Republican or what is the neo-conservative right-wing agenda on national security and civil liberties issues because you quote-unquote "take those issues off the table", and then you have a better chance - in their minds - of electing more Democrats because there's no price that they think they pay when they support the right's agenda in those issues. And I don't see how anybody has a proposal for changing that behavior without making it clear that there is a price that Nancy Pelosi and Rahm Emanuel and Steny Hoyer will pay if they continue to do that - which is some of their incumbents may actually be jeopardized, not only by primary challengers, who will maintain their majority, but by losing in the general election. If you don't attach a price to, that price to their behavior, what possible reason would they ever have to change their behavior?

JH: Well, I have a slightly different view. I do understand the impulse to have as many people - if you're the majority party, to have as large a majority as possible, because then you don't have to hold every last vote. Whether you're Republican or Democrat, the larger your majority is, the more people you can lose in a vote and still carry your agenda.

What I object to is the trashing of the brand that's happening really in both parties by leaderships that decide that they're going to do what benefits them personally without any thought of public service. The Ron Paul Republicans and the majority of the country both agree that they don't want any more wars, and yet here we've got John McCain and George Bush getting us into another one. And nobody on the Democratic side is really saying anything about this at this point, right? Have you heard the Democrats come out and go, no, let's not have a war with Russia. It doesn't work out very well, right? Iraq was kind of a disaster. And you're just not hearing that, and what they're allowing to have happen - look at their approval ratings for Congress. People hate them. They don't think that they're doing a good job. They're sitting there and they're calculating how to get more seats, and they're determining their agenda based on their own personal benefit, and the acquisition of power without regard to what it means to be a public servant.

And I think that that is the real problem, and what we're trying to do is change that perception. No, you actually do have an obligation to be a civil servant and represent the people who elect you, and I just think that consciousness has been lost.

GG: Right. And at the very least, even if you don't change that consciousness, what you can do is you can change the formula or their calculus so that even if all they do care about is remaining in power, if you can threaten their ability to do that, that is, remain in power, then you can actually have an impact on what it is that they do. If it's not because you've changed their minds about what they ought to be doing with their position, then you've at least changed their minds about how best to stay in power, and either way you affect the behavior.

JH: I do agree, but I do think that what we're talking about doing is recruiting people who do have a sense that this is a public service.

GG: Clearly.

JH: ...that consciousness in Congress.

GG: Right.

JH: Whether that's going to change the leadership's position about what they're doing or not, remains to be seen.

GG: Let's talk a little bit specifically about the kinds of campaigns we've been pursuing, and the kinds that we are planning and intending to undertake. And I think the discussion we just had kind of reflects the dual track that we are on and intend to stay on. I mean, on the one hand, you want to get much better people into Congress than the people who are currently there. And that comes from recruiting the right candidates, not just ones who can win, but the ones who once in office will do things that make the winning meaningful.

But then the other thing is there's a power structure that already exists, that isn't going to change very rapidly, no matter how successful the recruitment efforts are, and finding a formula to incentivize them to change behavior, is just as important in terms of what we're doing. So, right now there's about $500,000 that's been raised, probably seventy - eighty thousand dollars something like that has been spent on things like the multi-media campaign against Chris Carney, ads against Steny Hoyer and John Barrow, ads in the Washington Post and other ad campaigns that we've written about and shown.

JH: We did robo-calls in Hoyer's district.

GG: Right. Robo-calls in Hoyer's district. So, let's talk about, and that's a lot of money, $400,000, and can make a big impact if spent the right way. So talk about...

JH: I think we spent a bit more than that, but there's still quite a bit left.

GG: Right, just over 500, probably 520, 530, what ever the final amount is, it's probably around 400 that remains. So let's talk about what the current plans are, short term and long term. Short term meaning between now and November, longer term meaning how we're going to use that money to create an enduring campaign and enduring organization that can change things in a more fundamental way, and in a longer term way. Talk about the kinds of things we've been discussing.

JH: Well, I think there's getting ready to launch a couple of ads - and you can talk to the issue more - against Republicans and Democrats that we've targeted who we think are not doing a very good job of representing where the country is right now.

GG: Right. Now, part of the short term goals we have between now and November, of course - one of the ideas that we began with, was that it was important to target some incumbent Democrats who deserved defeat. The problem of course is that in this year, this very Democratic year, there aren't very many Democratic incumbents who are actually vulnerable.

JH: Yeah, well, they're not vulnerable, they're all sitting rather well. they're poised to benefit from the national mood that's tired of Republicans. So there really aren't any vulnerable Democrats.

GG: Yeah, I mean there are a couple who are potentially vulnerable, Chris Carney, John Barrow, which is way we've selected them, but just about every Congressional analyst will say they're more likely to win than not.

JH: Barrow we targeted in the primary because he could potentially be vulnerable there, but he's a Democratic plus two district, he's not going to lose.

GG: Right. And there'll be a substantial African-American, increase in African-American voting in that state as a result of Barack Obama...

JH: His district is heavily African-American, yes.

GG: Right, and Chris Carney probably is vulnerable because he's in a plus 10 Republican district, though his opponent thus far hasn't done much to suggest there that he's posing a credible threat, though, since Chris Carney is, was one of the leaders of the effort to get the FISA bill passed, we targeted him and likely will continue to if we see that there's a real chance that there's a reason to do so.

But, one of the things that we are planning on doing now and you alluded to this earlier, is, there is a resolution that's pending in both the House and the Senate, that essentially is further to the right on Iran than even the Bush administration thus far has been. In fact, the resolution is designed to demand that the Bush administration take additional steps to be more belligerent to Iran, and most notably it demands that the administration order what is in essence a naval blockade in the Persian Gulf of that country, which, by every measure of international law is an act of war. I mean, it's essentially a resolution literally demanding that the United States undertake an act of war against Iran.

And it has, incredibly, 250, or more now, co-sponsors in the House, roughly half Democrats, half Republicans. And what this really illustrates beyond just the issue of Iran and whether this resolution will pass, is what you alluded to earlier, namely that there is no real national security debate in this country. You can look at polls, and polls will say Americans are afraid of being too belligerent with Iran, they don't think that even their nuclear intentions, even if you assume they're as extreme as one might suggest, warrant the United States attacking Iran or going to war with Iran. Negotiations and diplomacy are far and away the preferred course of action with regard to how Americans think Iran should be dealt with.

Yet here you have a bipartisan majority in the House, lending their names to a resolution that would essentially demand an act of war against Iran. That is the sort of disparity and lack of accountability between how our political class acts on a bipartisan basis, and how the American population thinks that our political class ought to be behaving. So the ad campaign that we prepared and targeted Steny Hoyer, and Republican incumbent Ileana Ros-Lehtinen in Miami, and likely several other who are co-sponsors of this resolution, is really designed to impact that debate. Not just the Iran debate, but the broader national security debate, to try and inject ideas that simply are excluded from the way in which we talk about national security.

Talk about what you think the effect of those kinds of ads can be. I see the full-page FISA ad that we took out on the day or the day before the Senate vote, as being similar. They're not necessarily aimed at defeating specific incumbents, though they can have that effect, if they're targeted the right way, but they're really designed to start changing how these issues are talked about. Give me your views on those kinds of ads and what they can achieve.

JH: One of the things that we in the blogosphere get stuck doing is being reactive. We're essentially dealing with people's enthusiasm for a story, and that doesn't come up often until it's too late to do anything about it. With this particular set of ads, you, Glenn, alerted everybody to the fact that this was going to be coming up and we decided to be proactive, and, let's raise the issue now, when something could potentially be done about it. With enough advance notice that people could start looking at it. And it may or may not have any effect on the final vote; with 250 co-sponsors there's probably a lot of political cover for it within the House.

We've got Steny Hoyer, who is probably in no danger in his district in this election. He is running against a Ron Paul Republican, Collins Bailey, who is actually much better on the war and on FISA than Steny Hoyer is, but Steny Hoyer has a district in which he could potentially be challenged meaningfully in 2010. So, let's start softening him up now. Ileana is running against a great candidate, Annette Tadeo in Florida, who has essentially been screwed over by the DC establishment. She, because Debbie Wasserman Schultz out of Florida was in charge of the D-Trip's Red to Blue Program. Annette got left off because Debbie is very ambitious within the Florida political pantheon and didn't want to alienate powerful Cubans within the state. So Annette has nonetheless done incredible fund-raising, is a fantastic candidate, and was recently endorsed by Emily's List. Yea, Emily's list. So we wanted to be able to highlight the war-mongering that Ileana was doing because it's not getting a lot of attention. And raise her profile into the national level, so the race can get the attention that it needs.

GG: Right. Now, what I think the discussion thus far has highlighted is the difficulty in creating a strategy that can work in an immediate way. There's a desire for immediate results - we raised all these hundreds of thousands of dollars, now what are we going to do with it to change things. Given the invulnerability of most, if not all, Democrat incumbents, combined with the fact that in a presidential race, it's difficult to do things to generate lots of media attention - I think what we've decided that the bulk of our efforts would be spent much more wisely on a longer term campaign that's designed to actually recruit into the process, and to make viable, challengers to some of these horrible incumbents, who are probably more vulnerable than people think.

One of the leading ones is Steny Hoyer who represents a district that has a very large progressive and African-American base which is widely out of step with what Steny Hoyer does in Washington, and he is ripe for a real primary challenge. And there are a lot of Democrats like that, including ones in leadership who probably are a lot more vulnerable than people think. And if there were a campaign, an organization, an infrastructure designed to identify in a very public way potential challengers, doing robo-calls in these districts and saying, we're looking for a credible primary challenge to your congressman or congresswoman because they're so out of touch for these reasons. You have a favorite council member or state senator or state representative that you think would be a potent primary challenger, contact us, put us in touch with them.

So that the campaign is very public, we're actually searching in a public way, for primary challengers now. We have partners with us, working on that, so that there's a very serious amount of money behind that effort, so that we can actually identify and target eight to ten or even twelve, fifteen Democratic incumbents and potentially Republicans as well if they're worth putting into that mix. Then you can start talking about truly changing behavior, because the threat that one of those incumbents will end up on the list, targeted by an enduring campaign that has lots of money behind it, and real infrastructure, and in a coordinated way making primary challengers and new people entering the political process viable - that can really change behavior in a way that moves beyond just, well, one particular candidate is afraid of a primary challenge and therefore is voting better into, you know, the Democrat caucus and leadership itself is now worried about having a lot of their incumbents rendered vulnerable and therefore they're much more attentive to the need to placate their base or think about these issues in a broader way.

And that's the campaign that we're now in the process of developing. Give your thoughts on that campaign and why you think it can be effective.

JH: Well, dial back a little bit to the Ned Lamont race. It was the first time we ever really mobilized to get behind a candidate, and it was kind of the little engine that could campaign, where we really didn't know what we were doing, and it was kind of a mess. And yet Ned was great, and it got raised to the level of the national debate, and really had a lot of achievements that we talked about earlier.

Nobody wanted to be Joe Lieberman after that. Nobody wanted to be targeted like that. That's how Ellen Tauscher found Jesus, right? But the much scarier thing for political incumbents happened in 2008, when Donna Edwards defeated Al Wynn. Because what happened was, all of the progressive groups in Washington DC got together - SCIU, They Work For Us, Emily's List, Planned Parenthood, MoveOn - they all came together, pooled their money and made a very targeted campaign against Al Wynn on behalf of Donna Edwards.

And they took him out. That scared the crap out of House members, of everybody in the Democrat establishment. They were enraged that people would have the temerity to get together like that, and take out an incumbent. And Al Wynn was - any bill the corporate establishment wanted, Al Wynn was there. He was Mr. Bankruptcy bill, right? And they made an example out of Al Wynn. We took part in that Blue America, our PAC, raised $64000 for Donna this cycle. We raised quite a bit for her last cycle too, I'm not sure what the exact number is. But we were a part of that.

So, there's tremendous appetite this cycle for 2010 for groups coming together again to do the same thing. SCIU has their accountability project, MoveOn is already casting around. PFAW has their Young Elected Officials program. There are a lot of people looking to get into 2010 in a big way.

It's going to be a matter of finding candidates. But we'd like to find 12 races or so, where we have candidates that we identify and we'll say, we'll give you support, we'll help train your Internet people, we'll help you to look at how you can fund-raise online and how you can raise your profile, and see if they do a good job. And if they raise money and if they put together a great campaign, isolate, say, three of them and do a Donna Edwards-type effort like the one Steve Rosenthal ran out of They Work For Us that put a million and half dollars into her campaign. She beat Al Wynn by 18 points. So, we'd like to do that again - it was a very, very, very successful tactic.

GG: Now, one of the problems in all of that process, and even the groups that you just identified, has been the lack of a focus on issues such civil liberties and constitutional rights, and rule of law, and even though those issues under the Bush administration, just due to the sheer radicalism, have been somewhat elevated in terms of how they debated, there really isn't any true political movement behind those issues. Talk about the gap in the advocacy of those issues and how you perceive Accountability Now being able to fill that gap.

JH: Well, if you look at that coalition of groups, it's not that they don't care about civil liberties, but that really isn't what they're organizing around. The unions very much want to get EFCA passed, which will obviously benefit working people and the middle class, and that's important to us as well. You've got Planned Parenthood and Emily's List, which care very much about choice, you've got MoveOn, which cares about a variety of issues - largely it does a lot of work on getting us out of the war. And so all of these things don't really highlight civil liberties. So we would like to be a voice in that mix, pushing those particular issues, and I think we can be an effective one because if you can bring money to the table, you get your issues cared about. And then, we can do that now.

GG: Yeah, I think that's the key. I think that using this money to create a foundation for an organization, which is what it's done, that enables us to affect the debate on those issues in a way that hasn't been happening before. Targeting incumbents who have been jeopardizing those political values: people like Chris Carney who are out in front of eviscerating the Fourth Amendment, or Democratic leadership that perceives that it can be indifferent to those issues. And then working in coalitions with other groups when it makes sense to do so -- to target bad incumbents that we dislike from the perspective of our issues, and recruiting good ones that can threaten bad incumbents on these issues, I think is the really most effective mix for how to start changing behavior with regard to these civil liberties and the constitutional issues that have had a very large constituency among the citizenry, as evidenced by the large response we got to our campaign, but has had very little representation in the political front, in terms of groups that have made those issues their top priority and have created ways to go about changing political behavior to reflect what that political agenda is.

To me, that's how I see what it is that we're doing. Obviously we'll keep formulating specific ad campaigns, and campaigns against specific incumbents and longer term plans as well, and I'm sure we'll both be writing about those things as we do it, and I will put the ad up, the newspaper part of the ad for the Iran debate up on the blog when this podcast is posted, and we'll continue to keep people informed.

I think the key is that we've raised an enormous amount of money that will enable this organization to begin on a very firm footing, that announces its arrival in a way that will be taken seriously, and now it's up to us to create the strategy that keeps people excited, that generates additional support and that enables it to be effective, not just for the next couple of months, but on a long-term basis.

JH: Let's also just say that one of the reasons that we're focusing on Democrats in this particular coalition, is because Democrats hold the power right now. But I want to make it clear that this isn't exclusively Democrats. If you're talking about somebody like Tom Coburn, who I believe is up at the next cycle. You can't take Tom Coburn out with a Democrat in Oklahoma, but you may be able to take him out in a primary with a Ron Paul Republican - somebody who is anti-war, who's anti- wasteful government spending, who's pro- civil liberties. We really do want to work in a bipartisan way to replace people in both parties who are establishment whores, basically...

GG: The assault on these issues has been bipartisan in nature, so the solution needs to be bipartisan in nature as well. As you say, the focus in the short term is on Democrats, though even not the exclusive focus - we're running ads against Republicans - but the focus has been on Democrats because that's who has the power in Congress. But there are ways to affect Republican behavior as well, and I think our attitude is, that whatever works in terms of promoting our ends will be strategies that we intend to pursue.

JH: Absolutely.

GG: Alright Jane, well, thanks for very much, I'm sure we will have you on again as we keep developing strategies and implementing campaigns. I appreciate your taking the time.

JH: Thanks so much, Glenn.

[Transcript courtesy of Thames Valley Transcribe]

By Glenn Greenwald

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