Tag Archives: accountability

Issa’s double standard marches on

I’m proud to work with the Courage Campaign on the IssaWatch project where this was first posted.

Darrell Issa continues this week to apply a wildly different standard of disclosure to himself as compared to the Obama Administration. Issa’s request for a wide-ranging document release from the Department of Homeland Security concerned alleged politicizing of FOIA requests didn’t devlier what he was looking for, so he’s now refocusing and expanding the request. As the Hill reports, Issa is

asking for copies of e-mails between key White House officials. He is also seeking a series of interviews with top-level staff at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) as part of his probe into the Obama administration’s transparency.

Last week, Issa requested that 180 agencies send him records showing how fast they respond to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. He also asked the agencies to explain why some FOIA requests are delayed more than others.

Using the issue as cover, Issa recently called for in-depth tracking of all people and organizations that submit Freedom of Information Act requests. Ostensibly intended by Issa as a way to avoid politicizing the process, it would provide a shocking amount of tracking information to the federal government, and is part of a broader trend by Issa to chill dissent and citizen oversight.

In lodging a complaint over Homeland Security’s responsiveness, Issa wrote:

This directive is inconsistent with your pledge to identify and produce documents expeditiously, and it raises questions about the Department’s commitment to the President’s effort to create an ‘unprecedented level of openness in government’

The tone and content of this objection is particularly odd, however, given that Issa himself has consistently rejected such calls for openness out of his own office. He has declined to publicly post the letter he sent to industry groups and conservative think tanks soliciting agenda items for the Oversight Committee. He has resisted releasing the responses he’s gotten from the letter, agreeing only to release them in mid-February with spin added by his office and leaving CREW to seek the letters on their own. Odd that, if Issa is sincerely concerned about transparency as a way to address concerns of politicizing government, he would be so deeply opposed to being open about his own dealings.

Further, Issa’s concerns about alleged politicizing of government doesn’t seem to fit with his angry response to President Obama’s suggestion that Congress make its lobbyist ties public. Rather than welcome the opportunity for citizens to have more information about who’s influencing their elected officials, Issa turned bitterly defensive. He lashed out at Obama for not being perfect either, and tried his best to make the case for lobbyist confidentiality. If Issa is concerned about politicizing the process and wanting more transparency, it’s odd that he would attack even the notion of improved lobbyist disclosure.

If Darrell Issa is serious about a more open, less political government, he needs to provide the model himself. He can’t just talk the talk, criticizing the Obama administration for not being responsive enough to him specifically- he has to walk the walk by taking ownership of his own actions and applying the same standards to his own office. He owes it to the country and his constituents.

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Apologize, Meg!

Rather than come clean with the public about her mistreatment of her former housekeeper, Meg Whitman lied to cover it up. When attorney Gloria Allred caught her in a lie, Whitman still refused to apologize. Whitman even stooped so low as to wrongly accuse the housekeeper, Nicky Diaz Santillan, who she employed for nine years and said was a “member of her extended family,” of stealing her mail.

At a time when voters are desperate for their leaders to be accountable for their actions, Whitman has failed miserably to live up to the standards by which we should hold anyone running for elected office. She’s blamed Nicky, Jerry Brown, his allies and others, but has never once admitted any wrongdoing or taken any responsibility for her own actions.

Today in front of Whitman’s East LA office, a group of domestic workers joined SEIU United Service Workers West (USWW) President Mike Garcia, Assemblymember Hector de la Torre and State Senator Gil Cedillo to call on Whitman to open tomorrow night’s debate with an apology to Nicky and the people of California for the mistreatment and hurtful allegations she directed at Nicky, and the lies she told in an attempt to cover up the scandal.

The domestic workers, on behalf of millions of Californians who live in the shadows because of exploitation and mistreatment from the Meg Whitmans of the world, demanded that Whitman own up to her mistakes immediately.

Julia Moreno, who worked as a live-in maid for 25 years:

Everyone who works hard in California deserves to be treated with dignity, but Meg Whitman thinks she can use people when it’s convenient and then turn her back on us when we need help.

The domestic workers also unveiled a new petition demanding that Whitman apologize, and allowing Californians to stand in solidarity with Nicky and all exploited workers. The petition, which can be found at www.ApologizeMeg.org, will remain live until Whitman finally does the right thing and apologizes to Californians for her actions.


SEIU USWW President Garcia:

Whitman has blamed everyone else for her own mistakes, going so far as to accuse her housekeeper of being a felon who would steal the family’s mail, and Meg Whitman needs to apologize for this accusation. We’re demanding that in the last debate before Election Day Meg Whitman apologize to Nicky, the Latino community, and all voters in California.

Latino leaders Cedillo and De la Torre said that elected officials bear a special responsibility to the public, and Whitman’s actions – and the subsequent lies she told to cover them up – raise serious questions about her fitness for any public office, much less Governor.

The mistreatment and accusations Nicky suffered at the hands of billionaire Whitman are unfortunately all-too-common obstacles immigrant workers face. Lelis Juarez, who spoke at today’s press conference, is a housekeeper who is owed over $3,000 in back wages by her former employer.

We are here today on behalf of Nicky and all the people who live in the shadows so that their families can have a better life. The fact that Meg Whitman, a billionaire, was willing to cheat Nicky out of her hard-earned money shows she has no idea what it’s like for people like us who earn just enough to scrape by. If Meg Whitman can’t even treat those who work in her home with respect, dignity and compassion, how do you think she’s going to treat California workers if she becomes Governor?

It’s been nearly two weeks since Nicky came forward to bravely tell her story. It’s past time for Meg Whitman to issue a public apology for the hurt she’s caused Nicky and so many others. Join the call for Whitman to apologize at www.ApologizeMeg.org.

Who Else is Los Angeles Paying $200+ an Hour?

We recently reported that we’d found private contractors working for the City of Los Angeles who earn Bell-like salaries. We’ve done a little more digging on the City’s website and easily found ten more City contracts that clearly reveal that the rates charged by private contractors are far higher than any public employee would ever receive for the same job.

A few examples:

The rate for a private Structural Engineer is $257 per hour.

The rate for a private engineering Project Director is $287 per hour.

The rate for a private Geologist is $225 per hour.

Some of our critics have correctly pointed out that these fees are what contracting companies charge on behalf of their employees, not necessarily what the workers themselves make. But this argument misses the bigger picture.  

First, we have no way of knowing how much the individual worker makes because private contractors are neither accountable to the public, nor compelled to reveal their inner workings, the way the City is. (Want to see how much public employees make? Just click here or here.)  

Additionally, no matter who gets the money in the end, the City is still paying private contractors huge sums that are several times greater than those paid to public workers, even when you include health, retirement and other benefits. To use an earlier example, the rate for a computer consultant for engineering behemoth CH2MHill, Inc. is $260 an hour, whereas the rate for a top-earning Senior Systems Analyst II employed by the City is just $60 an hour. Ideally we’d hear a compelling reason for the discrepancy in pay, but we may never get to the bottom of it because, again, private contractors are not required by law to reveal their practices.

Second, and more importantly, the City is not overseeing these private contracts. The City’s public database of contracts is woefully incomplete and Controller Wendy Greuel recently released an audit in which she explicitly stated that “the City is lacking the essential controls and oversight necessary to ensure that hundreds of millions of dollars expended through contracts are really the most efficient and cost-effective use of taxpayer dollars.”

Greuel’s report found that in one-third of cases, no review was ever performed “to determine whether outsourcing was the most cost effective and efficient option.” (Not insignificantly, that statement doesn’t mean that in the two-thirds of cases where reviews were performed, outsourcing was the most cost effective and efficient option.)

In sum, the widespread use of private contractors by the City of Los Angeles is a practice that makes a mockery of the concept of public accountability. Even in the case of Bell, the officials’ outsized salaries were a matter of public record, even if that record was overlooked. When it comes to private contractors, the record doesn’t even exist.

Why is Bank of America Not Paying Any Taxes on $4.4 Billion in Income?

( – promoted by Brian Leubitz)

Around this time every year, Californians scramble to finish doing their taxes and pay what they owe to the government.

But not everyone is paying their fair share. Forbes Magazine recently analyzed the tax returns of the top 25 U.S. companies and found out that they’re not paying much in taxes. In fact, corporations such as Bank of America, General Electric and Citigroup will not be paying ANY taxes this year — they’re actually getting money back from the government. Forbes explains:

How did Bank of America not pay any taxes on $4.4 billion in income? Because of deductions like $860 million in tax-exempt income, $670 million in low-income housing credits and a $600 million loss on shares of foreign subsidiaries. With a provision for credit losses of $49 billion, Bank of America probably won’t be paying taxes for a long time.

After taxpayers bailed out Bank of America to the tune of $45 billion and helped boost their income to $4.4 billion, Bank of America is using every possible tax loophole to get out of paying their fair share.

Editor’s Note: Please see the flip…

Bank of America isn’t alone in using tax loopholes, shelters and other shell games to get out of paying taxes. A study by the U.S. Government Accountability Office found that two out of every three U.S. corporations paid no federal income taxes from 1998 through 2005.

In California, state legislators and Governor Schwarzenegger have made it even easier for corporations to use state resources, yet not pay a penny for them. Every year, California gives away $14.5 billion in tax breaks to corporations. Since 2007, Governor Schwarzenegger has signed into law numerous corporate tax breaks, exemptions and credits that will cost the state an estimated $3 billion a year. Three tax breaks, passed as part of the 2008 and 2009 budget deal, will benefit a very small number of extremely wealthy corporations. According to Jean Ross at the California Budget Project :

Nine corporations will receive tax cuts averaging $33.1 million each in 2013-14 due to the adoption of elective single sales factor apportionment. Eighty percent of the benefits of single sales factor apportionment will go to the 0.1 percent of California corporations with gross incomes over $1 billion.

Under existing law, it is nearly impossible to track how much of California’s budget is lost to corporate tax subsidies, what companies are getting the subsidies, and if those subsidies are creating jobs. Many of these tax expenditures are permanent and never reviewed. Companies are permitted to take taxpayer money and run – relocating jobs in other states or countries.

And guess who has to make up what corporations squirm out of paying? You, me and every other working person out there. When corporations don’t pay their fair share, the burden of funding schools, public safety, parks, libraries and infrastructure like roads and bridges falls on the rest of us.

California is facing a $20 billion budget shortfall. The state has cut every vital social service to the bone, and we’re facing more cuts to our schools, police, firefighters, medical clinics, roads and other services we depend on every day. Even though we are paying our fair share in taxes, middle class families are getting less in return and are bearing the brunt of the state’s drastic budget cuts.

$14.5 billion a year could go pretty far in filling the budget hole, if we got rid of corporate tax loopholes. The California Labor Federation is sponsoring a package of four bills  to increase transparency and accountability of public spending on corporate tax expenditures. They are:

AB 2564 (Swanson) – Corporate tax breaks are not included in the budget, making it difficult to track their true cost. This bill requires that an analysis of all tax expenditures show up in the budget so that legislators can review tax expenditures and budget allocations at the same time.

SB 1391(Yee) – Companies that receive tax subsidies and fail to meet the intended purpose and goals required by the Legislature should pay the state back the tax subsidies received. This bill allows the state to recapture, or “clawback,” tax breaks given to a business to create jobs if that company decreases employment in California.

SB 1272 (Wolk) – Tax expenditures should be regularly reviewed for their effectiveness. This bill requires every new tax subsidy to state public policy goals and measures of effectiveness, and each subsidy will sunset after 5 years.

AB 2666 (Skinner) – This bill will create a publicly accessible database that would display the names of all applicants for economic development subsidies, their stated intended purposes, the number of jobs created, their wage rates and benefits. Illinois has adopted such database, providing more information to policymakers and the public to assist in holding recipients of tax expenditures accountable to taxpayer goals.

Click here to learn more .

Sara Flocks is public policy coordinator at the California Labor Federation. Email her at [email protected].

Let’s Work Together for a Stronger CDP

As we get ready for the State Democratic Party Convention that starts this Friday, I am reminded of what Alan Cranston said over 50 years ago: The Democratic Party should be about electing Democrats, first and foremost.

Times have changed since the days of Alan Cranston, but our party’s priority must remain the same – electing Democrats.  

Unfortunately, June 2010’s Open Primary Initiative could bring back the 1950’s when open primaries allowed Republicans to dominate Democratic primaries and the California Democratic Party was ineffective and weak. We must begin this weekend to build an organization dedicated to defeating this ballot measure. If we fail, we could lose our hard-fought legislative majorities and allow the Republicans to decimate our gains in education, health care and public policy.

Our very existence as a political party is challenged. We must get ready soon if we are to be successful.

That’s why we must improve the things about our party that work, and fix those that don’t. One thing that clearly works is the phenomenal power of internet fundraising and developing more small to medium dollar contributions.  As Controller, I’ve been working to broaden our fundraising base in this way, and helped us raise more than $80 million over my term.  But we can still do better.

If every delegate turned to 10 of his or her friends and got each of them to donate $100 to our party, we would have nearly $3 million to devote to party building activities and have 30,000 additional donors to help us grow stronger.

Something we need to fix is how our money is used to support candidates. Along with the Chair of the Assembly Accountability Committee Hector De La Torre and CDP First Vice-Chair Alex Rooker, I’ve proposed reforms of CDP bylaws that will maximize our resources and guarantee that money raised for an election cycle is spent in that election cycle.

It’s called Common Sense CDP Finance Reform, and will make sure that our money is spent electing Democrats, not sitting in elected officials’ fundraising accounts. The bylaws change is being considered by the Rules Committee and the companion resolution is before the Resolutions Committee this Friday.

If elected, I plan to push for an open process that shows our donors how the party spends, and plans to spend, the money they contribute. I will do this by working with fellow Finance Committee members to produce a series of budget projections to anticipate three scenarios:  exceeding our fundraising goals, meeting our fundraising goals, and a bare-bones projection just in case the party falls short.

This transparency will not only allow members to see clearly how our party spends its money, it will allow us to better plan for and be prepared for whatever may happen in the upcoming elections.

The County Democratic Central Committee in Los Angeles has been using this approach for a number of years successfully, and I will work to implement this procedure in my second term.

Thank you, California Democrats for my four years as your State Party Controller. I am asking for your vote this weekend, and hope to serve you for another four years.

They Work For Us

When I saw the headline New Coalition Aims To Keep Dems In Check I wasn’t sure what to think. Would this be a right-leaning organization designed to keep us from going off a left cliff, or was it, well, the good guys?

Markos put my mind at ease in this front page post:

They Work For Us is led by Steve Rosenthal, former labor organizer and head of ACT. Its members include SEIU, the United Steelworkers, MoveOn, the American Association for Justice (formerly the American Trial Lawyers Association), and this little ol’ website (I’m on the board).

More on They Work For Us over the flip…

They Work For Us was formed to hold Democrats who don’t heed the message voters sent on November 7 accountable.

What message is that? One of economic populism. Look at the issues of greatest concern to the organization:

– a living wage for all workers
– more domestic jobs
– retirement security
– sound corporate governance
– access to affordable health care
– keeping jobs here instead of shipping them overseas

And how will those that stray be held accountable?

Democrats who don’t hew to this agenda could find themselves facing well-funded primary opponents _ an aggressive strategy to counter moderate and conservative blocs within the party.

And lookie here who’s first on their list of targets:

#1. Ellen Tauscher, CA
Throughout her congressional career, Ellen Tauscher has accepted more than $2 million in campaign contributions from business PACs and has voted for reforms that strip the rights of consumers in favor of big business, including voting to reform the country’s bankruptcy laws in favor of banks and credit card companies and restricting access to the courts.

As Markos says, this new coalition demonstrates just how mature our movement has gotten. Glad we have them on our side in the Tauscher fight.

2006 Progressive Congressional Challenger Memo

(Part 2 of the MyDD/Courage Campaign Survey – promoted by SFBrianCL)

Today The Courage Campaign and MyDD have released their candidate memo laying out recommendations to progressive challengers this fall based on the results of the two polls we conducted in CA-50 studying the reasons for Francine Busby’s loss on June 6.

Our results from those polls can be found below:
Why Francine Busby Lost
Republicans Divided On Iraq, Accountability.

What we’ve discovered is that the lessons learned in CA-50 should be able to travel from district to district throughout the nation.
In a nutshell:

– Promise to hold Bush accountable
– Pick fights, do not shirk from them, to demonstrate toughness and credibility on the accountability issue
– Do not run from the war, run TOWARD it, but make it about oversight, not withdrawal.
The candidate memo can be found in its entirety over the fold.

(cross-posted at The Courage Campaign and MyDD)

by Chris Bowers, Rick Jacobs, Matt Stoller and Joel Wright

To: Democratic Congressional Challengers

Re: CA-50 Post-Special Election (Busby-Bilbray) Polling Memo

Fall Election Environment Overview:

This fall, you will face a grotesque political environment, one that requires strategic knowledge, great courage and fortitude to successfully navigate. Facing low approval ratings, Republicans will introduce you to the voters as a flip-flopping, gay-loving, liberal terrorist coddler who wants to cut and run from Iraq, all at the behest of self-absorbed Hollywood moguls and liberal elites.

The establishment Democrats have proven ineffective at combating this positioning, introducing empty slogans like `Together we can do better' that no one repeats or remembers, and policy proposals that few voters believe Democrats are capable of enacting. Most of the polling and advice you'll get from DC insiders and journalists will largely rehash bad information, false choices and irrelevant answers to poorly framed questions. If you take their advice, you will not make significant headway in convincing voters you are best to represent them. And when you lose, it'll be you who ran a bad campaign, not "them." Just ask Francine Busby how that works.

Perhaps worst of all, you will probably face some form of October surprise from the Republicans and your opponent: a game-changing event or message stream. And you will be blind-sided because establishment Democrats will be caught off-guard. Again. And you and your campaign will pay the price of their failure.

Realistically, when it comes to developing a winning position and messaging, you are on your own. Or rather, you are on your own, except that the voters – Democrats, Republicans, and Independents alike – agree with the outrage that you feel towards the political system and agree that Republican leadership is the problem. Yet, voters will only vote for change if they know you can deliver on that change once elected.

So far, few believe that will happen, as our data in CA-50 show.

Why CA-50 matters to you and your campaign:

Francine Busby and the DCCC spent more than $5 million on a nationalized Congressional race in California's 50th District. As the Democratic contender in the only partisan federal race so far this year, she was the Petri dish for testing Beltway techniques and messages. She ran on the national party's first semester message of "the culture of corruption" against a former Congressman turned lobbyist in a district where her predecessor is in jail for taking millions of dollars in bribes from defense contractors. A conservative, heavily military district where Dianne Feinstein won in 2000 and where Barbara Boxer lost by less than one percentage point in 2004, she ran as a "bi-partisan Democrat who would go to Washington to clean house and accomplish a seven point policy plan." She dodged the Iraq war as if it were a bullet aimed directly at her. In short, she played by the national insider rules.

And Francine Busby lost. The national committees and insiders have moved on. Her campaign team has simply moved out, taking the blame for doing what they were told by the `experienced' Beltway consultants.

Focus on this: Francine Busby lost a race to Brian Bilbray, a Republican lobbyist and former member of Congress, someone about as "inside" as it gets. Even though Busby ran on the culture of corruption line and Cunningham sits in jail with a mere 6% favorability in the CA-50, and, further, even though few voters believed that Bilbray had credibility on standing up to Bush on immigration, she lost. We know this because we polled extensively in the district this summer to find out why an extremely well funded national campaign utterly failed. Given that this was the only Congressional election so far this year between a Republican and a Democrat, we wanted to learn some lessons. This is the only data set on the only Federal partisan election that has happened in 2006 so far. It is very much worth understanding.

What happened in California's 50th?

California 50th is a right-leaning district, though not overwhelmingly so (John Kerry got 44% of the vote in 2004). The seat was open because Duke Cunningham resigned and ultimately went to jail in the midst of a bribery scandal. Democrat Francine Busby's messaging was therefore focused on the then national message of "the culture of corruption." She ran a policy-heavy campaign, proposing what she asserted was the `toughest' ethics legislation out there, while at the same time attacking Bilbray for his lobbying work. Republican Brian Bilbray focused his campaign on a hard-right message of cracking down on illegal immigrants.

Surprisingly, neither message worked. In an open-ended question, less than 4% of voters cited Republican corruption as a reason for voting for Busby. Similarly, Bilbray voters did not believe that Bilbray had the ability to divert from the Bush agenda and crack down on illegal immigrants. In fact, both candidates were largely undefined to the electorate, despite a highly agitated voter pool seeking change. While there was high Democratic turnout, Busby lost because independent voters did not believe that she could deliver on her policy promises and did not believe she was substantially more ethical than Bilbray. So, in large numbers, they either stayed home or voted for third party candidates.

Busby's lack of definition as a candidate and lack of message credibility allowed Bilbray to solidify his voter base, even though that base evidenced a substantial amount of dissatisfaction with the Republican Party and President Bush.

Lessons for Candidates Around the Country

The obvious problem with Busby's messaging was that she dodged Iraq as though it were a bullet aimed at her head. According to all available polling information, Iraq is consistently the number one issue on voters' minds. The absence of Iraq as an issue in the campaign is one likely reason why turnout was so low in CA-50. This in contrast to record breaking turnout in the Connecticut primary, in which messaging strategy did focus on the war. To the extent Busby discussed the situation in Iraq, it was in the context of a vague withdrawal plan rather than as a challenge to Bush and Republican war strategy.

In our research, we asked respondents in California's 50th a series of questions about Iraq and the political impact of the war situation. The findings were stunning, and reveal a deep split in the Republican base vote.

– 63% of Republican voters believe that Bush has made some or a lot of mistakes in Iraq.

– 34% of Republican voters believe that Bush has definitely or probably not told the truth about the situation in Iraq.

– 34% of Republican voters believe that Bush should probably or definitely be held accountable for the situation in Iraq.

– 40% of Republican voters believe that the Democratic Party is more likely to hold Bush accountable for mistakes in Iraq.

While the country is open to the idea of partial or total troop withdrawal, according to our data in CA-50 existing withdrawal messaging loses badly to Republican `cut and run' counter-attack messaging. This suggests that voters are seeking a set of actors in Congress who will tell the truth about the war and hold Bush accountable for mistakes. This is in contrast to an immediate end to the conflict and /or yet another withdrawal plan that Congress cannot enact. Voters intuitively understand that Congress doesn't run the military, and that regardless of the outcome of the 2006 election, Bush will be in charge of the military until 2009. As such, framing the election as a choice between rival Congressional military plans sacrifices the credibility of Democratic candidates who can only legitimately promise to hold hearings, restore congressional oversight of military matters, locate and identify blame, and serve as a check on a widely disliked and distrusted President.


Candidates should run aggressively on accountability and the war in Iraq. Here are six specific `rules of thumb' we recommend you use for planning purposes.

Iraq must be central in your campaign and you must blame Republicans for it Ignoring Iraq, downplaying its significance, or accepting Bush's framework by not blaming leaders is a sign to voters that you are weak, unlikely to bring change, and not addressing the main issue of the day. Regardless of how you approach the policy going forward in Iraq, the key trait that voters seek is a willingness to hold failed leaders accountable for the debacle. Be willing to uncover the truth, place blame, and demand consequences.

1. The debate on whether Bush is a competent, trustworthy President is over. He is considered among Republicans, Democrats, and Independents a leader who makes mistakes and then won't tell the truth about those mistakes. This is not about competence. This is about massive failure of leadership with no end in sight.

2. Republicans cannot run against Bush and Iraq. Voters do not think that Republicans are willing to hold Bush or other administration figures accountable for those mistakes, so Republican Congressional dissent on the war is unlikely to help Republicans. But dissent will, in fact, work to Democratic candidates' advantage. It shows strength and, most importantly, principle and personal values.

3. `Terrorism' scares only work in the absence of strong accountability messaging, since Republicans are no longer trustworthy on issues of war and peace. Voters know Republicans will let mistakes slide and they want accountability in the face of that.

4. Oversight beats withdrawal. Journalists or other messengers who frame politics in terms of a need to have an alternative plan in contrast to Bush are insulting voters, and should be taken to task aggressively for framing false choices and misrepresenting the role of Congress. Congress primarily serves as military oversight, not military policy. Voters know that.

5. Pick a fight, any fight. Voters need to be convinced that Democrats can credibly challenge Bush. Whether the fight is over de-funding Cheney's personal staff, attacking John Bolton's confirmation, impeachment hearings, or stopping war profiteering with a new `Truman Commission', Democratic candidates must demonstrate strength through aggressive confrontation where the term "accountability" is more than just an abstraction or corporate lingo. It must be made real through a fight you plan to pick.

6. When presented with squeals from journalists and Republicans over your fight, a resolute willingness to not back off in the face of criticism is key. Your willingness to hold Bush accountable must be made real. For example, demand that the president and the party in power come to account for having squandered lives, security and treasure while enriching CEOs of major corporations such as Halliburton.

Here's a real-world example of this dynamic from US history: Harry Truman became vice president because as a US Senator, he had the backbone to demand that major figures in the American economy either give back money stolen in the provision of shoddy materiel for World War II, or go to jail for treason. In sum, whatever fights you pick, whether specific local issues or national ones, our poll shows that accountability regarding Bush, Congressional Republicans and your opponent is crucial to building the credibility you need in order to break through with a majority vote in November. Democrats, Independents and even many Republicans want this to occur. Do it.