Democrats mourn loss of Bay Area organizer

Local Democrats are mourning the loss of Amy McGonagle, who was the Bay Area’s regional field director for the Obama campaign last year and most recently had been a community organizer and scheduling director for Ro Khanna’s congressional campaign.

Amy McGonagleMcGonagle, 35, of Fremont, died Monday.

“I was deeply saddened by the news that the life of a key campaign staffer was cut tragically short this week,” Khanna said by email Wednesday. “Amy McGonagle was a bright and vibrant young person who regularly inspired and lifted the spirits of the entire Ro for Congress family. She was one of the first people to join my campaign, and we continue to benefit from her contributions first as a community organizer and later as director of scheduling every day. My thoughts and prayers are with Amy’s family and friends during this terrible time.”

As Obama for America’s Bay Area regional field director, McGonagle had supervised two offices, managed and trained dozens of volunteers and directed get-out-the-vote efforts including phone-banking to mobilize voters in seven battleground states.

She blogged in July 2012 about her battles with “a severe nerve disorder—one known for the constant and unbearable pain it causes” that had necessitated two brain surgeries. “Thanks to our President, I cannot be denied health insurance because of my medical history, unless the Republicans repeal the Affordable Care Act,” she wrote.


Watch Mitt Romney’s speech at CPAC today

2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney today addressed the American Conservative Union’s 40th annual Conservative Political Action Conference.

“Of course, I left the race disappointed that we didn’t win. But I also left honored and humbled to have represented values we believe in and to speak for so many good and decent people. We’ve lost races before, and in the past, those setbacks prepared us for larger victories. It is up to us to make sure that we learn from my mistakes, and from our mistakes, so that we can win the victories those people and this nation depend upon.”

“Romney was so shocked and exhausted on election night, his address to CPAC today felt like the real concession speech,” Ari Shapiro, who covered the presidential campaign for National Public Radio, posted on Facebook today. Shapiro will be talking about that later today on NPR’s “All Things Considered.”


The Obama-Romney lunch at the White House

Oh, to have been a fly on the wall. (Well, maybe not a fly, given President Obama’s moves.)

Here’s the official readout from the White House:

This afternoon, President Obama and Governor Romney visited for an hour over lunch in the Private Dining Room adjacent to the Oval Office. Governor Romney congratulated the President for the success of his campaign and wished him well over the coming four years. The focus of their discussion was on America’s leadership in the world and the importance of maintaining that leadership position in the future. They pledged to stay in touch, particularly if opportunities to work together on shared interests arise in the future. Their lunch menu included white turkey chili and Southwestern grilled chicken salad.


Want tickets to Obama’s re-inauguration?

With the presidential election only a week behind us, members of Congress are starting to take requests for free tickets to President Barack Obama’s second-term inauguration on Monday, Jan. 21, 2013 in Washington, D.C.

Some – including Reps. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland; George Miller, D-Martinez; Anna Eshoo, D-Palo Alto; and Jackie Speier, D-San Mateo – already have pages on their websites at which you can request tickets in a lottery system. The rest of the Bay Area’s delegation will have similar pages up soon; you must request tickets from your House member, or from one of your state’s two U.S. Senators.


10 observations at the end of this election week

1.) One party’s strategy this year involved getting far more people to vote, while another’s seemed to involve having fewer people vote; the more democratic approach prevailed.

2.) Meg should’ve told Mitt: Money helps, but it ain’t everything.

3.) It’s not just W who calls Karl Rove “turd blossom” now; a lot of rich, anonymous donors must be clamoring for their money back.

4.) You can read, watch or listen to your news from whatever outlets you want, but eventually reality comes crashing in.

5.) Picture an empty chair, on which sits a binder full of women who ride horses and carry bayonets; now think of in whose favor all of these campaign memes worked.

6.) A slow adjustment, with small changes marking the way from old to new, is evolution; an overnight change is more like mutation.

7.) When a party leader talks tough – even in the heat of battle – about picking up 25 seats, and in the end only picks up seven, there are consequences.

8.) Even 40 years of incumbency can’t save a candidate from himself.

9.) Don’t mess with Jerry Brown.

10.) Donald Trump is an a—hat.


3 things for the GOP to consider in California

1.) Learn to choose better battles.

Every cycle, the National Republican Congressional Committee tells us that Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Stockton, is among the nation’s most vulnerable House Democrats; every cycle, he proves otherwise. In 2008, with a 1-point voter registration disadvantage, he won by 10 percentage points; in 2010, with a .32-point voter-registration disadvantage, he won by 1.1 percentage points; and this year, with a 12-point voter-registration edge, he won by 8 percentage points. Instead of pouring resources into the campaign of a 25-year-old with no job experience, perhaps the GOP should’ve looked for greener pastures.

2.) Your navel-gazing is near-sighted.

California Republican Party Chairman Tom Del Beccaro’s statement last night indicates he believes Romney and Republicans failed to “make the case, at every level, for tax reform and to successfully articulate that a welfare state can’t succeed and the true engine of growth is a vigorous free enterprise system.” I’m sure some Democrats will disagree with the philosophical underpinnings of that argument, and that’s not a debate I’ll get into here. But what Del Beccaro failed to address was that the GOP clearly lost big among Latinos, Asian-Americans, African-Americans and young voters – that is, most of this nation’s future electorate. If his party can’t find platform that appeals to these blocs, and an effective way of explaining it to them, it’ll continue to wane even further. Already I see some GOPers sniffing that Obama won without a mandate, but the fact is, he won the popular vote by at least about 2.7 million and – if Florida were to stop counting votes now (and where have I heard THAT before?) – he’d win there too, meaning he carried every battleground state except North Carolina.

3.) Who has the mandate?

Gov. Jerry Brown has the mandate. He won it in 2010 when he beat out the candidate who spent a record $142 million of her money to no avail. He won it again last night with a resounding 8-point victory for Prop. 30, his tax hike for K-12 and higher education. And it seems voters are tired enough of gridlock in Sacramento that they may have handed Democrats two-thirds majorities in both houses of the Legislature – another mandate, of sorts, for Brown’s agenda. The moral of this story: Don’t mess with Jerry.