Why Tauscher Is a Target

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Hockey fans used to joke that Wayne "the Great One" Gretzky won so many MVP awards (nine overall) that the National Hockey League should have changed the award's name from the Art Ross Trophy to the Wayne Gretzky Trophy–and given it to the second-most-valuable player each year.

Likewise, perhaps instead of labeling Sen. Joe Lieberman as the Most Disliked Democrat by the liberal blogosphere–no one else in Congress is probably even close–perhaps there should be a Joe Lieberman Award given to the second-most-disliked Democrat by the so-called net roots.

A strong nominee for that award would be Rep. Ellen Tauscher from California's Bay Area. Tauscher has been sarcastically labeled the "most popular Democratic congresswoman" on the popular Daily Kos site and identified as worthy of replacement by a more "progressive" Democrat. The National Journal has called her "the net-roots No. 1 target for '08's primary season."

So why is a Democrat with a perfect 100 percent NARAL Pro-Choice America rating, a 100 Children's Defense Fund rating, and a 96 NAACP rating so unpopular? Her vote for the Iraq war didn't help, though she has been critical of Team Bush and the issue of weapons of mass destruction since the summer of 2003. But Tauscher's past support of free trade and globalization–popular issues with her region's tech industry–has turned her into a target. Even a vote against the Dominican Republic–Central American Free Trade Agreement failed to put her in good standing with liberal bloggers.

Tauscher's unpopularity–as well as her unexpected turn on CAFTA–is yet another sign of how poisonous free trade is right now in the Democratic Party and an indication of what a big issue globalization will be in 2008. "It's not the kind of issue you are going to see on the Daily Show," says Doug Muder of Nashua, N.H., a devoted "Kossack" who uses "Pericles" as his nom de plume, "but we have an opportunity to change some global rules to defend workers."