Sunday, February 26, 2006

Pennacchio v. Bloggers

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I heard Chuck Pennacchio speak last week in State College. After the speech, I asked Pennacchio a question that had been bothering me for the past few weeks:

"Progressive blogs like Daily Kos and MyDD have had a serious impact on the fundraising efforts of progressive candidates like Ned Lamont in Connecticut, Paul Hackett in Ohio, and Ciro Rodriguez in Texas. I have not noticed a lot of support for you on the blogs. In fact, Daily Kos has called you 'not a viable candidate [link2].' Why do you think this is the case?"

Before Pennacchio could respond, a women in the front of the room, who I believe was affiliated with the Pennacchio campaign in Centre County, belligerently interrupted

"But they lost, they lost THEY ALL LOST. Every one of Kos' candidates LOST."

This was a statement of fact. Each of the 15 candidates that Kos raised money for in 2004 lost their respective elections. However, these candidates were progressives who were not expected to win and would probably not have come close to victory were it not for Kos). To the woman I responded,

"Be that as it may, wouldn't someone (gesturing toward Pennacchio) with very little cash on hand like $100,000 from progressive supporters?"

Again, she exclaimed,


Clearly--at least in my estimation--this is a moot point. It is not as though Kos and other bloggers cursed the candidates to which the directed reader contributions. Pennacchio is sorely in need of any money that he can get. I love that he only accepts ethical contributions, but when his campaign organizers shun money from the very people who ought to support him, something is amiss. In any event, Pennacchio decided it was time to interject (this is a paraphrase of his response):

"I think that I have had success with many bloggers. I have received endorsements from Chris Bowers at MyDD, and the Booman Tribune, among others. The reason that some blogs don't support me is because they are influenced by push polls showing Casey in the lead based on name recognition. I also don't think a lot of what Daily Kos writes is very insightful." Pennacchio then looked at me and with the most honesty I have ever seen in a politician's eyes and said, "But write to them. Let them know."

I was not aware that Bowers had supported Pennacchio, but I don't think that all of MyDD has--correct me if I am wrong. Pennacchio's response seemed like a good one. His biggest problem is name recognition. According to Zogby, most of those who hear what Pennacchio has to say would vote for him. However, I do think that much of Kos' writing is insightful, and I doubt that Kos has not heard about the aforementioned Zogby poll. I can forgive Pennacchio for not being a huge Kos fan, especially when Kos has the power to fundraise for him but refuses to do so, but clearly Pennacchio needs to actively pursue the netroots if he wants to earn our contributions.

Pennacchio asked me to write, so that is what I am doing. I support him tooth and nail, but if Pennacchio wants solid netroots support he will need to pursue it himself. So, here is my suggestion to you Dr. Pennacchio:

Write an open letter to Daily Kos, Mydd, Americablog, Eschaton, Crooks and Liars, and all the other popular progressive blogs. Explain who you are, what your fighting for, and why Pennsylvanians will support you over Casey and Santorum. Ask for their support. Indeed, actively pursue it. You challenged me to become an active citizen, and I challenge you to become an active candidate. Matt Brown, a progressive candidate for Senate from Rhode Island, recently held a conference call with bloggers discussing his background and politics. He even wrote a diary for Daily Kos. I implore you to do the same.


Pennacchio held a conference call with 10 Pennsylvania bloggers [listen here] exactly one year ago today according to Young Philly Politics. I think it is imperitive that Pennacchio try again. This time he also needs to go after the national blogs as well.


At 12:00 PM, Blogger Aldon Hynes said...

Full Disclosure: I am working on the Ned Lamont campaign. We are reaching out aggressively to bloggers around the country. As a matter of fact, I regularly search for anyone that is writing about Ned to go out and visit their blogs. That is how I found this blog post.

Matt came to my house to meet with Ned Lamont, Tom Swan, our campaign manager and other prominent bloggers.

Ned has posted on the Connecticut blogs early on and we expect him to post on national blogs as well.

It is going to be a tough, uphill battle, just as Chuck has an uphill battle. But we will use every tool available, blogs, boots on the ground and any other innovative ideas that come along.

In my mind, part of being a progressive is trying to return our government to a government of, by and for the people. This includes reaching out to people on blogs and people in diners and having open and honest discussions about the issues that our nation faces. I hope Pennacchio can do the same.

At 12:48 PM, Blogger Shlomo Boudreaux said...


Thanks for the thoughtful comment. If it were not for major national blogs like Daily Kos and Mydd, I would never have heard of Ned Lamont. To be honest, I still am not fully briefed on his positions beyond being the progressive alternative to Lieberman. I've grown tired of Lieberman's republican-lite behavior (voting for the bankruptcy bill, for cloture on alito, hanging out of Fox News) as I am sure you have as well. At this point I would support almost anyone else.

Unfortunately, supporting anyone else is how those of us in PA became stuck with Casey as the frontrunner. Supporting anyone but X is a dangerous approach to politics, but fortunately I have heard some good things about Lamont.

It's great to hear that Lamont is reaching out to the blogs. I wish Pennacchio would do more of the same.

I agree with you on being progressive. For the past few days at work, I've been wearing my "Chuck Pennacchio: A REAL Democrat" pin, and talking to every employee that I can. The amazing thing is that when people hear about what Pennacchio stands for, they support him over Casey. They just have no idea who Chuck is before I mention him. It is going to be an uphill battle, but we have plenty hope.

Have you read Chris Bowers' excellent post "The Ultimate Validation of Pregressive Ideals" (
It's a marvelous essay on the meaning of being progressive, defining progressivism through actions rather than words.


At 10:56 PM, Blogger nr davis said...

This blogger is in big, fat political love with Chuck Pennacchio. How people can choose Bob "Santorum-Lite" Casey over an actual progressive candidate makes my head spin. But that explains why the Dems are spiralling downward.

Bless you, Shlomo, for standing tough behind Chuck.


Natalie Davis
Another Blogger for Pennacchio
All Facts and Opinions

At 1:06 AM, Blogger Shlomo Boudreaux said...


Thanks for the support. As I commented over at Fact-esque, nothing is more detrimental to a grassroots campaign than pessimism. If everyone who approved of Pennacchio believed in Pennacchio, he would have an army of supporters.

Big, fat, political love? Well, its just rare that I actually believe in a politician.


At 12:06 PM, Blogger DaveyD said...

Chuck Pennacchio has actually posted his own diaries on KOS and MyDD many times in the past as have his supporters. The problem is that on Kos every time someone posts something in support of Chuck a little gang of shills for Casey attack them and argue that there's no way Chuck can even win the primary. My question is, if they're so confident Chuck can't win in May, why do you they feel the need to squelch any support for his campaign? is where most of the bloggers who support Chuck have gone. Most of us just got so damn tired of the hostility of from the DNC lackeys at Kos.

At 2:58 AM, Blogger Shlomo Boudreaux said...


I was not aware that Pennacchio had posted diaries on both Daily Kos and MyDD--thanks for pointing that out. When I have searched for Pennacchio diaries on both those sites, typing "Pennacchio" into the intrasite search engines for "Diaries By" returned no results. After reading your comment I looked up "Pennacchio" in the more generic search category of "Diaries."

You are right: Pennacchio did write many diaries for both sites, but I have not seen any written since August of 2005. Do you know if he has written any for Kos or Mydd since that time? If not, do you know why he stopped?



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