DuWayne Gregory-- Ready To Turn Long Island Blue Again


Republican Peter King has been in Congress since 1993 and his Democratic neighbor and crony, Blue Dog Steve Israel, has seen to it that he would have no serious challenges from the DCCC. With Israel himself finally retiring, there were hopes that the DCCC would finally take on King, an outspoken Trump supporter. The Democrats have their best candidate for the seat in living memory, DuWayne Gregory, the respected and well-liked presiding officer of the Suffolk County legislature.

The Long Island South Shore district has moved significantly east into blue Suffolk County and is no longer safe Nassau territory for Republicans. In fact two-thirds of the voters now live in Suffolk-- and many of them don't know very much about Peter King. There was every expectation that once DuWayne Gregory became the official Democratic Party's candidate the DCCC would come in and help him get the message out about who King is. After all, Obama won the district twice, 51-48% against McCain and 52-47% against Romney. And the district-- the most Hispanic on Long Island-- is bluer now than it was then.

In 2014 Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand won both counties with gigantic landslide margins and this cycle Chuck Schumer's reelection campaign is expected to do just as well. It looks like Hillary will beat Trump very substantially in the New York suburbs, Nassau and Suffolk counties included. More Democrats than Republicans voted in the presidential primaries and polling shows enthusiasm for Trump since the primaries has all but evaporated. But Steve Israel has persuaded the DCCC to once again take a hands-off policy towards his old pal Peter King.

Needless to say, he hasn't persuaded Blue America and we've endorsed DuWayne Gregory with great enthusiasm and urge all of our members to consider contributing to his strong grassroots campaign here.

Friday we spent some time talking with DuWayne and I want to share some of his unvarnished thoughts with you:

"Ever since I announced my run for Congress people have asked me why do you want to run and why do you think you can beat Peter King? The answer for me was simple for two reasons. First, I strongly believe we need new leadership in Washington. Secondly, the decision to run, specifically, against Peter King was a personal decision for me. I take the responsibility of holding public office seriously. It is an awesome responsibility to have the ability to have a positive impact on people's lives. I also believe because of the oath of office we take we represent all residents of our district and not just the ones who voted for us or who we personally agree with. Peter King has violated this rule, in my opinion. I don't begrudge anyone with a more conservative set of principles than myself, but I do begrudge abhorrent values. 

"My decision to run was due in large part because of my son Julian, who is gay. When district lines changed I took it upon myself to research my Congressman's voting record on LGBT issues and was astonished at how narrowed minded his voting history has been: he voted against gay couples adopting children in Washington DC; supported a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between a woman and a man; voted against expanding hate crimes to cover LGBT victims; voted against protecting LGBT members from being discriminated at work etc. As a LGBT parent Peter King does not understand the fear that a parent has, because of the same bigotry that is displayed with a voting record like his. I will never forget the day my son Julian came out to me while we were going to get ice cream. He was 12 years old! I immediately told him that I loved him and want him to be happy, but in my mind I was worried about how less accepting people will respond. People like Peter King who wrongly think gays make a choice regarding their sexual orientation. People like the shooter in the Orlando club massacre where my son was just two weeks prior. 

"So I made a choice that our country and my Congressional district needs new leadership and one less voice against equality in America. We deserve to have a representative that will work to protect my son just as fervently as all other children without bigotry or hate. It is Peter King's job to work to protect all people from harm and discrimination regardless of religious or personal beliefs. As an African-American I know hate all to well and to think my protection and safety would be sacrificed by an elected official because that person didn't approve I find appalling and dereliction of duty. The oath that public officials take does not ask them to protect only certain segments of the country, the one's they agree with, but all citizens of our country."

 

It's time for grassroots Democrats to take our fate into our own hands and stop allowing corrupt party bosses like Steve Israel and the jokers at the DCCC determine who does and who doesn't get into Congress. Voters on Long Island need to know that Peter King has endorsed and fully backs his pal Trump. If the DCCC won't help DuWayne Gregory get that message out-- and the message about who DuWayne is himself and what he wants to accomplish in Congress-- let's do it ourselves. It's worked in the past and it can work this time as well. Please consider contributing what you can to DuWayne's campaign here.



Blue Dogs have no loyalty or shame. Case in point: AZ's Gabby Giffords

Media error

Rep. Gabby Giffords is the perfect example of why Democrats in Congress should shun Blue Dogs.

Howie Klein explains:

Giffords is looking like the point of the Blue Dog spear being thrust into the House progressive infrastructure. As we pointed out over the weekend, despite Pelosi's efforts to tamp it down, the Blue Dogs are going on the warpath against progressive Democrats, using Henry Waxman's interview with The Hill as an excuse. One thing we can always be sure of inside the Democratic Caucus-- well, two, actually: Blue Dogs will always put self-preservation above the party’s principles, and the DCCC will do whatever it can to help them get re-elected.

Giffords is emblematic of the tragic turn the House Democratic Party has taken. Over the weekend she launched a $350,000 ad buy in the Tucson media market that slams the principled stand Grijalva took against SB1070-- throwing him directly under the bus in order to make herself look sufficiently xenophobic for the bloodthirsty Know Nothing mobs. As you can see in the ad, she makes a solemn vow to fight “these groups” who have protested this unjust law by boycotting the state. “These groups” include Latinos, liberals, and citizens across the country who know an injustice when they see one. She's directly targeting Grijalva, Arizona's most progressive leader and the Congressman who most consistently stands up for those who are hurt by the right wing’s agenda.

We hear that other campaigns, pollsters, donors and politicians joined Grijalva's staff in futile attempts to show Giffords the obvious-- Democrats using other Democrats as punching bags is bad news for everyone. And when DCCC leaders, such as Vice Chair Wasserman Schultz, were approached with the argument that Giffords should not run the ad for obvious reasons, the argument fell on deaf ears. (Instead, they’re rewarding her behavior with close to a million dollars in independent expenditures.) It’s bad enough when so-called Democrats habitually vote against our agenda to save their seats, often with DCCC prompting. Now they're spending Democratic money to hurt real Democrats to save their seats.

Rep. Raul Grijalva is one of the true heroes in Arizona. He stood up against Arizona's odious and racist SB 1070 law when it was passed when most politicians remained silent. Howie, Digby and myself are supporting Grijalva's re-election bid because of his spine so we started an Act Blue page called: One America. We've raised over 4,000 dollars for him so far. Please pitch in if you can. The racism and xenophobia that we are witnessing is emblematic of the tried and true race-baiting tactics that the extreme right revels in and and it's seeping in to Democratic campaigning now too. Unfortunately for this great nation, our history is littered with this intolerable technique at the expense of minorities that live here. It's sad and embarrassing. The way to battle this kind of cancer is to point it out and expose it to the sunlight. Like all malignant ideas, bringing light to darkness always has a cleansing effect.

Howie talked to Grijalva before we started to run these stories and his latest quote nails the situation perfectly:

Continue reading »



OFA should be ashamed of itself for supporting a putrid Blue Dog like Jim Matheson in Utah

Blue America must be shaking Jim Matheson up since we threw our support behind Claudia Wright in the upcoming primary. I know, you're thinking, could a progressive win an election in the state of "Big Love?" I think she has a chance to beat out a terrible Blue Dog, but in the end we're still sending a powerful message to the Dems. The culture to support an incumbent by Congress is very problematic for a variety of reasons. At times it's a smart play, but as we've seen with this White House, when they support a Joe Lieberman for example, they get nothing in return except for headaches.

Jim Matheson is a terrible Blue Dog who votes with Republicans to recommit bills all the time. As an example, he voted to recommit the hate crimes bill which was a favorite target for Tony Perkins and the Focus on the Family's of the extreme religious right. Luckily they lost and the bill passed.

And since we backed Claudia, Matheson suddenly stands up on the floor of Congress and demands the repeal of DADT. You see a pattern here, right?

OFA is also putting out the call to arms in support of Matheson:

Down with Tyranny:

Wednesday night Obama's inexperienced and astoundingly incompetent political team struck again. This time OFA head Mitch Stewart, who reports to conservative Democratic shill Tim Kaine at the DNC-- a bastion of people power under Howard Dean, now, once again, a failing cog in the corporate machine-- sent out an emergency letter to Utah Democrats begging Obama to help save the mangy ass of anti-healthcare, anti-Choice, anti-gay, anti-environment, anti-reform corporatist and Blue Dog Jim Matheson, whose support has been crumbling as Tuesday's primary nears. With Claudia Wright surging and Matheson panicking, OFA asked Democrats to forget Matheson's putrid voting record-- not putrid by GOP standards; he's one of the original Boehner Boys-- and remember that there was one vote sometime this year where Matheson voted with Obama:

President Obama needs us to elect strong allies who will help him continue his fight for change. This week, one of those allies-- Utah Rep. Jim Matheson-- needs our help. The primary election is June 22nd, so there's no time to lose. [Please kick me if I vote for Obama in 2012, even if the GOP runs Palin or Romney.]

Rep. Jim Matheson stood with the President in support of the Recovery Act in 2009-- creating or saving 25,000 jobs in Utah and helping millions more around the country. He fought hard for the recovery-- and was a major reason we all won this huge victory for families and small businesses. Now, we need your help to fight for him.

Can you help us get the word out? With our Neighbor to Neighbor tool, you can easily make calls from home to voters in Utah's 2nd Congressional District.

Yes, we do expect OFA to do the same thing for John Barrow because Blue America's Regina Thomas is running well in Georgia. In this time of unrest on the progressive side I think Blue America has stood tall and we're holding as many Blue Dogs accountable as possible. It took the conservative movement decades to carve up their party and we've been underway helping to elect as many progressives as we can because our policies actually would help Americans and their families instead of Big Corp.

Digby writes:

That OFA message is terribly misleading. The stimulus was the only vote Matheson took in support of the president's agenda. This makes it sound as if he's been a stalwart supporter and it's just ... a lie. If there's one thing we should demand of the White House and Party if they intervene in primaries (which they shouldn't do in the first place) it's that they don't pull that crap on their own voters. They can make the case that Matheson has seniority or that he's more likely to beat the Republican if that's what they think, but this is really dishonest. He is not an ally of the president unless the president is ready to concede that he's working behind the scenes with Republicans to tank his own agenda. (Well ...)

I hope the membership of the OFA is savvy enough to do their own research although you can't blame them for trusting the Party and the White House not to lie to them in quite this way. Who would guess that they would try to elect someone who repeatedly votes with the Republicans over someone who will vote with the Democratic majority most of the time? To anyone who doesn't subscribe to conspiracy theories, it just doesn't make sense.

It is possible to win Utah and Georgia and Blue America did a great job in 2008. I didn't endorse a presidential candidate and neither did Blue America:

Although pressured to do so, Blue America didn't endorse anyone in the presidential primary-- or even in the general election-- last time around. In the primary we didn't feel there was anyone really worth endorsing enough to take our efforts and resources away from helping elect now Congressmembers Alan Grayson, Gary Peters, Carol Shea-Porter and Donna Edwards...

As Digby sez, please Send a Message to the Democrats.



Blue America has decided to lend a hand to the grassroots campaign going on in Utah's second congressional district on behalf of intrepid progressive Claudia Wright. Claudia will face Blue Dog Jim Matheson June 22. We need to move forward and get this ad on TV immediately. If you don't have time to read the rest of this post but want to help, you can do it by clicking on this link-- and for as little as $5 get the ad up on CNN.

Yesterday I was shocked that one of the Inside-the-Beltway publications, The Hill, actually took note of Claudia's challenge to Matheson. They rarely do that and kind of function as a part of the company town incumbent protection program, just like the shills at the DCCC, who are, of course, fully backing Matheson despite his penchant for habitually crossing the aisle to vote with Republicans.

Rep. Jim Matheson (D-Utah) had never been challenged in a primary before this year, in which he’s fighting off a political newcomer who could make him the latest incumbent casualty.

Retired schoolteacher Claudia Wright gained traction in Utah’s 2nd district on a strongly progressive platform, while trying to paint the five-term Blue Dog Democrat as inaccessible and out of touch with constituents.

She had never sought elected office and got on the ballot by capturing 45 percent of the delegates’ votes at the state party convention last month. She needed 40 percent to qualify.

Matheson got 55 percent of the delegates’ votes but needed 60 percent to avoid the June 22 primary.

University of Utah political scientist Matthew Burbank said the convention outcome shows this election will be, more than anything, a referendum on Matheson, who may have alienated his base with his “no” vote on healthcare reform.

...Matheson holds a hefty fundraising advantage, with well over $1 million raised compared to Wright’s roughly $25,000.

But Wright argues her lower fundraising numbers belie her campaign’s appeal, given her performance at the state party convention. She said her campaign is refusing to take corporate political action committee (PAC) money, and is instead relying on the media and volunteers going door to door to get out the word.

“Old-style politics, shoe leather and person-to-person, trying to get them to come our way: That’s what we’ve been doing since day one,” Wright said. “We’ve got volunteers across the state who have been doing all of that ... It’s the only way to do this.” ... Matheson’s campaign did not respond to requests for comment.

The average Blue America contribution is $45.00 and it's how we raised all the money we've been able to put into campaigns to help elect progressives like Alan Grayson, Donna Edwards, Carol Shea-Porter, Jeff Merkley, John Hall, Hilda Solis, Steve Cohen, Gary Peters, and many others-- as well as to help progressive champions who haven't gone all the way (yet), like Marcy Winograd, Ned Lamont, Doug Tudor, Darcy Burner and Coleen Rowley. But I tried something new this time-- basically because we had no time. I went to every wealthy gay person I know and begged for the money. It was an exercise in humility. But I'm bad at it and I came up blank. Either they're already donating directly to her campaign or they didn't want to take a chance on a longshot candidate. It doesn't matter how good she is, how gay she is, how bad he is... just that she's not a likely winner. Of course her primary challenge has already gotten Matheson-- who voted with the GOP to table the Hate Crimes Bill-- to vote to repeal DADT (and to even show up at a Gay Pride event-- first time ever-- in Salt Lake City last week). So... I'm putting in the full legal amount I can donate personally and, anyone got $45 they wanna chip in?

Actually, Jacquie's put together a whole menu of spots you can buy with the prices on a special ActBlue page. So that ad up top is what you get to put on the cable TV programs you pick for that price shown next to it. It's kind of fun. Take a look-- and do what you can. Oh, and here's a link to the live chat we did with Claudia last month at Crooks and Liars.



Primary Season: Next Up -- NC Runoff + Georgia, Utah & Oklahoma

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[Moment of triumph for Arkansas progressives- Joyce Elliott beats Robbie Wills]

The U.S. Senate would have been considerably less reactionary-- and less a vehicle for wealthy and corrupt corporate interests-- but Blanche Lincoln won a close reelection race last night. There isn't a lot we know about Bill Halter and I doubt he would have turned out to be some kind of a progressive knight in shining armor but there is one thing we do know about him: he's not Blanche Lincoln. His first priority was never going to be to kill the Estate Tax or try to undercut Democrats at every turn-- from Social Security and health-care reform to Employee Free Choice. Lincoln has had a disgraceful and hackish career even when she was just a slimy Blue Dog in the House using another name (Blanche Lambert). Watching her seamlessly transition to K Street would have been more than natural. But, alas, she'll still be forcing the Senate Democrats to water down every bill and make each even less family friendly and more in line with her corporate donors' avaricious self interest. Unless-- as is very likely-- she loses in November to corporate shill GOP slob John Boozman.

There was some excellent news out of Arkansas as well. Proven progressive leader Joyce Elliott beat conservative hack Robbie Wills in the second C.D. (Little Rock) and will now face Karl Rove crooked protege Tim Griffin. Please give her a hand (and whatever you can afford). She's a Blue America endorsed candidate and you can donate here. She'll need the help. If she wins in November she'll be the first African American elected from Arkansas since the mid-1800s.

But there's no getting around the tremendous loss last night in California's 36th district, where voters decided to give reactionary warmonger Jane Harman another term instead of doing the sensible thing and electing Marcy Winograd. We'll just have to learn to fight harder and smarter.

But primary season is far from over and there are still plenty of messages Inside-the-Beltway Democrats need to hear. The next key races coming up to focus on are the North Carolina Senate primary that pits progressive champion Elaine Marshall, the front-running, against an ambitious but unaccomplished empty suit being pushed by Bob Menendez. That comes up June 22 and yesterday Durham Mayor Bill Bell endorsed her. This past weekend the National Federation of Democratic Women announced she has been selected as the Outstanding Democratic Woman Elected Official for 2010. Former opponent Ken Lewis, the guy who came in third, not only endorsed her -- he joined her campaign as chairman! Please consider adding your support here.

That same day, the 22nd, Utah Democrats have the most exciting and meaningful primary they've had in my memory when progressive champion Claudia Wright faces struggling Blue Dog incumbent Jim Matheson. Matheson has asked the voters to look at his record and she is responding to that challenge.

"Matheson has shown little if no leadership in his 10 years in office and the Second District deserves better" Claudia told us. "I believe he voted for the repeal of DADT simply due to the fact that I am in this race... [and] the fact that he attended the Grand Marshal Reception for Pride the weekend, something he has never done, shows he is pandering the base." Matheson appeared like a fish out of water at the reception unable to interact with anyone there. He left before the annual Pride Awards were presented and skipped the actual parade at Washington Park entirely. Claudia was given the opportunity to address Pride, and took part in the Pride Parade and was welcomed with rousing applause at every turn.

"I also question the timing of his introducing the two wilderness bills this last month, one of which trades land destroyed by off road vehicles and snowmobiles at the Snowbird Ski Resort for pristine wilderness." she said. And at a press conference on Monday, she questioned his statement last week "that we need to look at safety issues when it comes to deep water oil rigs," as too little too late. "He has been on the Subcommittee for Energy and Environment for ten years, where has his leadership been?" Energy companies know exactly where-- and have been very grateful.

Following a successful fundraiser Monday evening, Claudia is now heading out on her Wright Way Tour throughout the sprawling Second District to meet with voters and tell them of her pledge to revisit them each month from DC to share ideas and issues with them, something Matheson doesn't seem to believe it-- and certainly doesn't do.

And that brings us to July, a month with two important races for anyone interested in taking the Democratic Party back from corporately funded conservative Blue Dogs. Both races pit proven progressive state legislators against 2 of the most reactionary Democrats in Congress, John Barrow and Dan Boren. In GA-12 we see a re-match with former state Senator Regina Thomas, except this year Barrow doesn't have the support of President Obama like he did when he lied his way back into office in 2008. Although Barrow is running a well-financed media campaign, Regina has a grassroots operation and the power of constituent rage over Barrow's attempt to undermine health-care reform and other initiatives backed by President Obama and the constituents who Barrow has routinely ignored in favor of his country club friends who vote for the Republicans anyway.

The following week (July 27) anti-health care fanatic Dan Boren is facing Oklahoma state Senator Jim Wilson, a health-care reform champion. It is also a classic battle between an outrageously corrupt and entrenched incumbent and a reform-minded clean-government type. Like Matheson, Boren has wormed his way onto natural resources committees where he's in line to get tremendous bribes -- disguised as campaign contributions (he's the #1 House member, including Republicans, on the payroll of Big Oil in this cycle!) -- and sabotage effective regulation of the predatory corporate instincts of his paymasters.

You can help us defeat Matheson, Barrow and Boren-- and replace them with Claudia Wright, Regina Thomas and Jim Wilson-- at Blue America's Blue Dog page.



Live Chat: Blue America is Proud To Welcome Utah Democrat Claudia Wright

Political punditry will never be the same if Claudia Wright is elected to Congress from Utah's sprawling second congressional district. The district encompasses the whole southern part of the state, the whole eastern part of the state and a nice chunk of Salt Lake City and its southern metro area, from Millcreek and Murray down to Sandy. Almost 60% of the district's population lives in the Salt Lake City area; the rest of the huge district is mostly beautiful park land. It's also Utah's relatively "progressive" district with a PVI of R +17-- which sounds pretty dismal until you look at the first CD (PVI of R +22) and the third district (PVI of R +26). McCain "only" won 57% of the vote in the 2nd (64% in the first and 67% in the 3rd). But the second has been sending a Democrat to the House since 2000-- sort of.

The congressman from the second is reactionary Blue Dog Jim Matheson, son of two-term Governor Scott Matheson, and he pretty much always votes with the Republicans on important issues. He first got elected by attacking Democratic presidential candidate Al Gore for his health-care reform proposals. Needless to say, Matheson was an eager aisle crosser when it came to the recent votes on health-care reform. And three weeks ago Democratic activists in his district -- despite a parachute jump in by wheeler/dealer Steny Hoyer-- were eager to deny Matheson the Democratic Party endorsement. They forced him into an open primary with today's Blue America endorsee, Claudia Wright.

Inside-the-Beltway pundits and political "pros" insist that Democrats only win in red areas like UT-02 by running on Republican talking points. Ignoring the outstanding campaigns run by working family champions -- from Alan Grayson (D-FL) and Carol Shea-Porter (D-NH) to Dave Loebsack (D-IA) and Mary Jo Kilroy (D-OH), each of whom ousted an entrenched Republican incumbent in a "red" district -- the conventional wisdom is that only corporate shills like Jim Matheson can win in places like Utah. We know conventional wisdom is wrong and ignores the reality of the district. And so does Claudia:

Mr. Matheson and the party wasn't prepared for the reception he got at the mass meetings we had last March. He had no idea how angry he made his constituents. He was booed and jeered... The party has misread its membership and misread the fact that we are witnessing a political realignment, not just here in Utah, but across the country. The alignment is shifting right to left and top to bottom. A Large number of delegates at our convention were actually moderate Republicans who are now more at home with our party than they are with the extremist right of the Republican Party. Grassroots candidates like myself agree with tea partiers in that we need to get corporate money and special interests out of politics so that our representatives are accountable to their constituents and only their constituents.

Claudia is running as a full on champion of working families and her campaign platform is about the issues that most concern real people, not the nonsense manufactured by Republican propaganda puppets like Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Michael Savage and Sean Hannity to persuade voters that hating each other is more important than electing people who will help protect them from powerful predatory special interests and the politicians (and media outlets) they own.

While the banking bailout may have been necessary, handing over billions of dollars of taxpayer money with no strings attached doesn't serve the interests of working families. We gave all this money to big banks so they could give enough credit to small businesses to jump-start employment but the banks used that money for their own purposes rather than what it was meant for. That's what I mean by "no-strings-attached;" it should have been a requirement that that money be used to loosen up credit for small businesses. There needs to be much more oversight of Wall Street than what is being proposed in the new legislation Congress is working on.

I'd like to ask you to consider two things now. Surf over to our comments section below to meet Claudia and also please consider making a contribution to her campaign through Blue America's ActBlue page. In fact everyone who donates to Claudia's campaign this weekend (offer ends Sunday at midnight, PT) will have their name entered in a contest to win an autographed copy of Al Franken's book The Truth AND an autographed copy of the Al Franken DVD God Spoke; the winner gets both.



Roxanne Conlin-- Is She The Democrat Most Likely To Paint A Red Seat Blue In 2010?

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The ideologically-based media and the corporately owned media have been diligent in painting a decidedly one-sided anti-Democratic picture going into the November Midterm elections. They hope the conventional wisdom that they've created-- that this is a wave year for Republicans-- will become a self-fulfilling prophesy. This isn't borne out by the facts-- Republicans are as untrusted and unpopular as ever, for example, and as the economy recovers from Bush-Republican financial and economic policies (and deprecations), Democrats look more and more attractive to ordinary Americans. What is clear, on the other hand, is that 2010 will be a bad year for incumbents, particularly conservative ones.

Last weekend in Utah, ultra-conservative Republican Senator Robert Bennett saw his political career come to a screeching halt at the hands of deranged teabaggers. At the same time, one of the most conservative Democrats in Congress, Blue Dog Jim Matheson, was denied the Democratic Party endorsement-- with corporate shill Steny Hoyer in the room pleading with delegates to vote for him-- by an openly lesbian progressive Democrat, Claudia Wright. Mormon-dominated Utah hasn't exactly been fertile soil for progressive values or the Democratic Party, but progressives and Democrats stand to make gains all over the country. And the Blue America guest today, Roxanne Conlin of Iowa, may well be the best shot the Democrats have of turning a red Senate seat blue.

She's also the best shot Iowa Democrats have of taking that seat back from the conservatives in living memory. She's a trial attorney whose life's work has been standing up for ordinary American families against predatory corporations, the kinds of predatory corporations that have financed Chuck Grassley's political career. Conservative barnacle Grassley was first elected to political office in 1958. How old were you then? He's been gulping from the public trough-- with no interruption-- for 52 years. Even if the media doesn't, wily old Grassley does understand that 2010 is shaping up to be an anti-incumbent year, not an anti-Democratic year. And this will be the first time Grassley has ever faced a strong Democratic opponent and the first time he's run with a registration disadvantage. Iowa Democrats overtook Republicans in 2006, increased their share of voters substantially in 2008 and go into 2010 with around 100,000 more registered voters than Republicans.

Grassley, who may be personally liked by-- or at least familiar to-- most Iowa voters, is increasingly seen as kind of senile and bizarre, making inappropriate comments, about "pulling the plug on Grandma" and crazy stuff like that, as though he had Tourette's syndrome. One of K Street's best friends and widely viewed as a senator whose vote is always up for sale to the highest paying corporate interest, Grassley actually failed to keep pace with Roxanne's grassroots fundraising in the first quarter! The 28 point spread between Grassley and Roxanne in January has shrunk to a 9 point advantage for the 30 year incumbent.

So far all this momentum for Roxanne has come with no help from Washington, no TV ads, nothing but grassroots, on-the-ground, old style retail campaigning. She's visited all 99 of Iowa's counties, even the ones that vote for Steve King! She's already beating Grassley among women voters. And what does she talk about? Real issues with a real impact on people's lives. And that's bad news for Grassley. He may not remember, but he was the one who stuck a little provision into Bush's Medicare Part D giveaway for Grassley's Big Pharma campaign contributors that guaranteed that the federal government could not negotiate for fair prices for senior citizens. This is one of Roxanne's favorite points. She told me that when someone buys Zocor (20mg) through the VA (where the government does negotiate, they pay $127.44 annually. Vets were lucky Grassley didn't do to them what he did to seniors. Seniors buying the same Zocor through Medicare Part D pay $1,485.96, thanks entirely to Chuck Grassley and the other conservative corporate shills in the Senate. If you buy your Protonix (40mg) through the VA, the government gets you a nice deal-- $214.53/year. The Chuck Grassley price is a stunning $1,148.40. No wonder the pharmaceutical industry loves him. He's responsible for transferring billions of our dollars into their coffers. He gets a cut, too; they've given him $549,180 over the years.

Roxanne looks forward to getting into the Senate and changing this-- as well as the ban on drug importation, another reason the Big Drug companies love Grassley so very, very dearly. She's also eager to debate Grassley on his ardent backing for corporations that ship American jobs overseas. He has a long and sordid voting record she wants to talk with him about. In 2005, for example, he voted against an amendment (along with every Republican and a few conservative corporate Dems) that would repeal tax incentives for domestic companies that move their manufacturing plants to offshore locations and use the resulting revenue to reduce the federal deficit and debt by $3.2 billion from 2006 to 2010. The year before, he voted against prohibiting American tax dollars from being used to ship jobs outside the country. The amendment Grassley voted against would have: limited the ability of civilian agencies to award contracts to companies that would use offshore workers, prohibited the privatization of jobs when contractors would take the work overseas, and require states to certify that they will not use federal funds for services performed outside the United States, eliminated tax advantages for companies that move factories overseas to make goods that are shipped back to the U.S. market, and prohibited companies from deferring taxes on income earned from these “runaway” manufacturing plants. Again, Grassley and every single Republican voted against it-- joined by 4 DLC corporate freaks, John Breaux, Ben Nelson, Zell Miller and Max Baucus. 2004 was also the year Grassley voted against an amendment that would have struck $39 billion in tax breaks on overseas income. The amendment would have provided for an immediate 9% tax deduction for domestic manufacturers. And in 2003 there were three more votes along the same lines: helping wreck the middle class by rewarding corporations for shipping American jobs overseas. If Roxanne can make this case stick-- get Iowa voters to focus on Grassley's voting record-- he's toast. Let's help her get the message out.



Live Chat: Blue America Welcomes Back Marcy Winograd, CA-36

Marcy Winograd was Blue America's first endorsed challenger for 2010. That's because we were looking for a progressive leader, not someone who leans in a progressive direction. Marcy's not a leaner. She's a leader -- and not the kind of corrupt ward healer à la Steny Hoyer, Rahm Emanuel or Chuck Schumer that sadly passes for a "leader" among Democrats -- because of what's in her heart, her soul and her brain. She doesn't command respect and admiration because of an ability to bundle cash from special interests but because of her intellect, her character and her passion.

We asked her back today because she was the first Democrat to stand up beside Raul Grijalva and denounce the xenophobes and bigots in Arizona. Monday is the first day of absentee voting in California. More and more frequently, elections are being won and lost based on absentee and early voting. In CA-36 approximately a third of the voters will vote by mail. And among older voters that number skyrockets to close to 40%.

Last week Marcy asked Jane Harman, the Blue Dog who currently holds the seat, to join her in calling on businesses and residents of the 36th District to boycott Arizona convention facilities and hotels in an effort to reverse anti-immigrant legislation. Harman ignored her and Marcy pressed on on her own.

"If Arizona is allowed to enact laws that promote racial profiling, other states may pass discriminatory laws, as well. That would be a travesty of justice, not only for immigrants summarily stopped and searched for citizenship papers, but for all of us who value civil rights and equality under the law... Rather than passing discriminatory state laws that scapegoat immigrants, we should support federal legislation for comprehensive immigration reform."

Winograd's immigration platform calls for the following:

• a path to earn citizenship for an estimated 10-12 million undocumented immigrants

• an end to brutal immigration raids and detentions in secret jails

• passage of the Dream Act to award citizenship to immigrants who graduate college

• no national ID cards

• no guest workers' programs

• repeal of unfair trade agreements that worsen unemployment in home countries

Like mine and like so many of ours, Marcy's family came to the U.S. from Eastern Europe to escape discrimination and seek a better life. "America," she points out, "is a land of immigrants and we must never forget our rich cultural heritage or the contributions of immigrants who pay sales taxes and often wage taxes while performing much-needed labor."

That video up top is the one-minute version of what will be a 30-second spot Blue America plans to run. When you donate to the Blue America PAC, it will help us get it on television. If you donate to the Winograd campaign, it will help them run their grassroots-oriented campaign, like the phone-banking Marcy talks about below. You can do either-- or both-- at the Blue America '10 page.



Enter the Blue America Contest to fight against the new Blue Dog Think Tank

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Who Let the Blue Dogs Out? (Woof!) It was Rahm Emanuel, as everyone knows. Well, the Blue Dogs have now joined with K Street lobbyists to set up a shop that promotes their half-witted ideas.

Howie Klein writes:

Blue Dogs are often most reviled for crossing the aisle and voting with Republicans on key issues like healthcare reform and financial reform. Last November, when 39 Democrats voted against healthcare reform, for example, 25 were Blue Dogs. And when the reconciliation changes came to the House March 25, and 32 Democrats voted with the GOP, 25 were Blue Dogs.

Next week it will be one year since the House passed a hate crimes prevention bill that included the LGBT community. Seventeen Democrats crossed the aisle of bigotry and voted with the Republicans.

--

...yesterday six of the most notoriously corrupt K Street lobbyists, including conservative ex-congressmen Bud Cramer (AL) and Charlie Stenholm (TX), formed a new corporately oriented anti-family organization called the Blue Dog Research Forum. Their goal will be to continue pressuring the Democratic caucus to move farther and farther right and to give up on ordinary working families and accept GOP and Big Business guidelines when formulating legislation.

In a letter to Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (D-S.D.), who co-chairs the Blue Dog Coalition, Cramer and Stenholm wrote that they were establishing the organization to “ensure there will always be a forum in Washington to mark that middle ground when it comes to issues affecting the country’s fiscal health.”

The group’s goal is to be an incubator for policy ideas affecting the economy, such as energy, health care, tax policy, national defense and entitlements.

The research forum takes its name from the 54 fiscally conservative Democratic Members who have emerged as a powerful voting bloc on major legislation, but no current lawmaker has been involved in setting it up, according to Cramer, an original Blue Dog and president of the new research forum.

“They actually legally cannot dictate control or dominate what happens here,” Cramer said. “We can involve them. We can involve any Member in the policy forums we will carry forward, and we hope to be able to do that.”

However, as the lobbyists quietly set up the organization over the past several months, they have kept Blue Dog leadership generally informed. And Cramer, who now lobbies at Wexler & Walker Public Policy Associates, said the Members have been supportive so far.

Blue America set up an ActBlue page a while ago called BadDogs, which is there to support progressive primary challengers against Blue Dogs. And now we're running a contest for anyone who donates to the BadDogs page.

Digby explains:

Blue America has a fundraising campaign devoted to ousting these Bad Dogs and Howie has made an offer you can't refuse:

Today, in honor of the attempt by some of the shadiest lobbyists on K Street starting a new Blue Dog think tank to push the Democratic House caucus even further right and to divorce it entirely from the interests of ordinary working families, Blue America is going to give away a genuine RIAA-certified double platinum record award for "Who Let The Dogs Out?"

The award, which of course, can't be purchased, was given to a Baha Men supporter who gifted it to the Blue America PAC to be used to help raise funds to rid America of the scourge of corporate-oriented conservatism inside the Democratic Party. "We already have a Republican Party for that," explained a Blue America spokesperson. "Shouldn't the Democratic Party represent regular working families who don't hire lobbyists and spend millions of dollars to shape legislation to rip the rest of us off?"

Blue America answers, double yes on that rhetorical question and is offering the double platinum award today. Actually tomorrow morning there will be a drawing among all donors to the Blue America Bad Dogs page on ActBlue. To qualify all you have to donate is $1.00 at this website

The contributions can go directly to progressive candidates Regina Thomas, Marcy Winograd or Doug Tudor, all fighting reactionary Blue Dogs-- respectively John Barrow, Jane Harman and Lori Edwards-- with strong ties to unsavory corporate lobbyists. Or the donations can go into the Blue America PAC where it will be used in efforts to defeat Blue Dogs in primary elections.

You can join the drawing here.

I don't know about you, but I'm sick of Blue Dog Democrats standing in the way of real progress and supporting the GOP and Big Business over working-class families in America by lying and calling their bloc "centrists". Nonsense. They are conservatives. And as you would imagine, the southern Blue Dogs are the very worst. Please join in the contest.



Blue America Welcomes Our Old Friend Regina Thomas (GA-12)

History will remember this week as the one in which a tremendous stride was made down the road towards universal healthcare. But reactionary Georgia Blue Dog, John Barrow, was on the wrong side of history. A stranger to his own district and out of touch with its people, he voted twice in committee and 4 times on the floor of the House against healthcare reform. He voted against the bill last Sunday, causing an explosion of anger among Democrats back home. And then he arrogantly voted against the Senate reconciliation on Thursday evening, one of only 32 conservative Democrats to cross the aisle and voted with the GOP. But voting with the GOP is his default position on most everything. Does that make sense?

Barrow was driven out of his own Athens-based district when it was gerrymandered to make a home for another Republican. He fled to Savannah, which has a strong Democratic base-- a base he has studiously ignored while courting the wealthy (Republican) power structure. Although GA-12 leans Democratic-- Gore won there with 52%, Bush and Kerry were in a virtual dead heat and Obama won with 54%-- Barrow consistently votes as though it were a deep red district and he's been one of the worst-voting Blue Dogs-- but, only when it matters; he supports Democrats when it comes to naming post offices or honoring sports teams.

Today Blue America is honored to formally endorse former state Senator Regina Thomas, a strong advocate for working families with a long record in her district and in the state capitol. Regina will join us in the comments section (below) at 2pm (EST/11am on the West Coast). She offers her neighbors in eastern Georgia a far different outlook than John Barrow. Regina's perspective on governance is pure FDR-- the government is there to protect us from forces outside of our own control, whether that be foreign enemies or domestic predators. If Barrow's #1 concern is holding down taxes for the powerful and immensely rich transnational corporations that have financed his political career, Regina's concern is that the rich and powerful pay their fair share so that the society that has enriched them continues to prosper and thrive for everyone.

Although Barrow often votes against Democratic initiatives-- and has done so with far more frequency since Obama was inaugurated-- Regina was still surprised he so blatantly voted against the interests of his own constituents this week when he, once again, joined the GOP in opposing healthcare reform. She told me she couldn't believe he "had the nerve" to do it. She drew an interesting parallel to the one place where Barrow does support Obama: war spending.

"The cost of the Afghanistan occupation and war is astounding-- and very harmful to our country. The Congressman from GA-12 did not hesitate to vote yes-- to send more troops to Afghanistan which equates to billions of dollars. And those dollars can be more usefully spent on providing health care for 119,542 in this district; or the money could be used to hire 11,946 public safety officers; or we could keep Music, Art and PE in our schools by hiring 7,727 teachers; or we can provide 94,664 scholarships for our college students, or 87,834 Pell Grants, Or how about if we provide 3,888 affordable housing units in the 12th district, or give 265,922 children health care? Another way to look at that cost is to think about how we would benefit as a society if 66,278 children were to attend Head Start... we need more teachers; we can in one year hire 8,040 Elementary School Teachers in the 12th CD. This district needs a Representative who is committed to standing up for democratic principles. Part of "Yes, We Can," means we can provide 366,568 homes with renewable Electricity for one year. There are many, many things that should be done for this area. But we have a congressman who caters to big Corporations, the Insurance Industry and K Street lobbyists. He votes for them, not for the families in the 12th District.

See that video up top? This is the first in a series Blue America is rolling out. Regina hasn't seen it yet and is seeing it for the first time today, just as everyone else is. Turning it into a TV spot will be our PAC's first political independent expenditure of 2010. When you contribute to Regina on our ActBlue page, please also consider making an extra donation to the PAC so we can get the spot all over TV in Savannah, Augusta and all points in between.




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