Monday, June 19, 2006

Will Blog for $$$

Dan Riehl reports: Gov. John Corzine (D-NJ) paid Jerome Armstrong's Political Technologies LLC $24,000 in 2005 and paid another $15,000 to blogger Matt Stoller.

The "Kosola" or "Kosiburton" scandal keeps expanding.

Here's a Columbus Dispatch column from last October about how Sherrod Brown participated in the Armstrong pay-for-play blog scheme. They were "paying $3,500 a month [!] to a blogger who writes entries on and oversees the other site,"

$3,500 x 12 =
$48,000 a year
... in OHIO!

Man, that's a lot of pajamas in your mama's basement.

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Crank at Red State has more on Jerome Armstrong.
NRO has the full 2003 FEC complaint against Armstrong.

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Like payola involved paying DJ's to play records, "blogola" would involve paying bloggers secretly to shill for politicians.

Or "Kosola," some are calling it, because it chiefly seems to involve Kos. And his sorta-partner, Jerome Armstrong of (Which is reassuring, because no one's offered me dick.)

Yeah, I guess we shouldn't be too hard on sellouts, considering we haven't even had the chance to sell out yet.

Which is why you should VOTE FOR SEN. GEORGE ALLEN! A Senator that Virginia can TRUST! Senator Allen -- and his lovely wife, Susan -- are fighting for the issues that matter most to YOU, the people of Virginia! But they need your help, friends. Won't you give generously to support this courageous American hero who is fighting for your values?
What? Why are you looking at me?

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A Democratic blogger from Hopewell Junction has launched a campaign to unseat longtime incumbent state Sen. Steve Saland, R-Poughkeepsie, in the 41st District.

Brian Keeler, a founder of two interactive Web sites focusing on politics and journalism, announced his bid for state Legislature at a press conference ...
And of course he gets an endorsement from Kos:
We are all part of a movement that has, over the past two years, begun flexing its political muscle. We are a people-powered movement, using technology to aggregate the masses to bypass the entrenched media and political establishments. ...
Cut the grandiose narcissistic blather, Markos, you pimp, and tell us about the candidate!
Which brings me to NYBri, or Brian Keeler. As a long-time, valued member of this community, Brian has shown the values that we'd all love to see in office. ...
My job is to create an infrastructure to support the emergence of new progressive leaders, and then to support their efforts. Brian is Exhibit A. He has emerged, now let's support his efforts.

Visit his website If you live in the area, join the effort and volunteer. Everyone can contribute to Keeler's campaign. A simple $10 sends the message that we all believe in people-powered politics. That we all believe in a world where good progressives can run and be supported by regular people, not corporate or special interests.
In the wake of the play-for-pay revelations, we must now wonder: Does "valued member of this community" mean "NYBri's been getting a cut of the action" or what? I'm looking at Bri's bio and wondering how an MFA from Chapel Hill and nine years of little theater qualifies him for public office. But I guess Reagan was just an actor, right?

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Jerome Armstrong is a paid consultant for Warner, right? OK. That might explain why, earlier this month, in the middle of an interview with HuffPo, Jerome suddenly started shilling for Warner:
The movement around Dean's candidacy within the Democratic Party was a key component to the revitalization of the progressive agenda. ... blah,blah,blah .... There's no choice but to change the course of what we are doing in Iraq, and that's not an issue of debate among Democrats.

But if we are going to really change the direction of this nation, it's going to be through winning over many of those that have been voting Independent and Republican this decade. I want a proven turn-around artist in this regard, and Mark Warner stands out among the other potential '08 contenders. He's someone that's not only changed the map and won with the backing of those types of voters, but he's turned that mandate into progressive solutions for the problems that Virginia faced.

You have to know a little bit of Virginia politics to understand how full of crap Armstrong is about this. Virginia governors are term-limited, so there's never an incumbent seeking re-election. In 2001, Mark Warner got elected because he outspent his GOP opponent Mark Earley by a 2-to-1 margin, in a year when the dot-com boom had gone bust and the economy was in the toilet.

Warner is a likable, friendly guy with a big made-for-TV smile. But a "proven turnaround artist" who's "changed the map"? No. Warner got 70% margins in the liberal DC suburbs of Northern Virginia, but the key to his 2001 election was a massive get-out-the-vote effort among black voters in Richmond and Norfolk. Even then, he only won 52% statewide. So the myth that Warner is beloved by blue-collar "NASCAR Dads" who normally vote Republican is ... well, a myth.

Is Warner a "turnaround artist"? Did he engineer a partisan realignment in Virginia. No. Virginia still has 2 GOP Senators and went 54% for Bush in 2004. The state has a Democratic governor now because the 2005 GOP candidate, Jerry Kilgore was a lousy candidate with a Gomer Pyle voice (to put it charitably) who ran a monumentally stupid campaign. The Virginia GOP has been hampered in recent years because of a number of Northern Virginia Republican legislators who keep voting for tax increases, thus muddying the message on Issue #1.

But Armstrong is an L.A. native who doesn't know squat about Southern politics, and apparently nobody in the national media knows anything either, so this stuff just gets ignored. It's evidence of two things the national media don't want to admit: (a) the Democratic Party's loss of the South is permanent, and (b) nobody knows how to reverse it. Occasionally a fluke like Warner or John Edwards will crop up, and the media will get excited, but the long-term trend hasn't changed and isn't going to change anytime soon.

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Pretentious argle-bargle
If there is anything the Democrats need more of, it's vague, high-flown nonsense. And Jerome Armstrong delivers it by the truckload:
Ten years from now, the Democratic Party will have fully broadened its election strategy beyond the battleground mentality that dominates strategic thinking today. Democrats will be a national party, leaving no uncontested race anywhere in the nation, and will have rebuilt a party infrastructure down to the precinct everywhere in the nation. The Democrats will have regained their majority status as the governing party, and the mapchanger approach to elections will have been the reason.
You've got your hip-waders handy, I hope, because there's more of this manure:
Democratic Party officials and politicians have been under the powerful sway of a cabal of media and polling consultants in DC, whose principle contribution seems to be an extension of this battleground mentality into decisions over campaign expenditures, advocating that the majority of funds be spent on polling and media in a strategic manner that rewards their services with increased profits.
Uh, Jerome ... "principle" is a noun. You want the adjective, "principal." Or just say "chief." I understand that "chief" doesn't have the polysyllabic quality desired by a master of argle-bargle, but you're less likely to misspell "chief."

But isn't it true, Jerome, that you are urging candidates to spend their funds in such a way that it "rewards YOUR services with increased profits"? But there's no conflict of interest, eh?

Armstrong continues:

In order to begin the mapchanger process, and really reform the Democratic Party, progressives must organize online in a manner that takes control of the Democratic Party at the precinct level. This 'trickle up' strategy will yield results by creating a state-based power that dictates the party strategy from within the Democratic Party establishment.

Yes, the Democratic Party has a problem with branding. Yet if we can rebuild the party across the country, at this very local level, the message and branding problems will be much easier to address.
Who is Jerome Armstrong? On what basis does he issue these flat assertions? I Googled around and haven't found any answers. (E-mail me.) Armstrong's involvement in politics seems to date from 2001. Prior to that he was a Peace Corps volunteer and a grad student at Portland (Ore.) State. Oh, yeah, and a hustler of worthless stocks.

So far as I know, it was on the basis of his computer skills that Armstrong got connected to the Dean machine. He has been successful at turning the Internet into a fund-raising tool for Democrats. But in terms of winning tough elections in swing states -- much less "deep red" states, as he envisions -- I don't get any impression Armstrong's got the mojo working. As a matter of fact, I think he's shamming. I think he's way over his head, and shoveling out this pretentious argle-bargle to con people into thinking he knows what he's talking about.

Democrats who listen to this guy .... Well, wait until Nov. 8, I suppose.

6/19: Kos pay-for-play scam
6/12: Tin foil: The new fur
6/11: How not to win (Kos video)

6/9: The ultimate losers hit Vegas