Instant Upgrade To Congress Within Grasp

We're entering the last few weeks on the dash to election day. Now is when candidates need financial resources the most.

I want to say a few words about one of the candidates Blue America has endorsed: Carol Shea-Porter of New Hampshire, who has always run grassroots campaigns and always eschewed corporate PACs, even when she was in Congress and lobbyists were interested in giving that kind of money to her. We've known her as long as Blue America exists, a full decade. We endorsed her first run for Congress in 2006 when, despite spiteful sabotage from Rahm Emanuel and the DCCC, she defeated GOP incumbent Jeb Bradley.

When we first met Carol she was a grassroots activist running on an anti-war platform. And a full decade ago she was already peppering her speeches with the not yet commonly used term, living wage.

Those issues frightened Rahm and he recruited a conservative establishment Democrat, Jim Craig, to run. Although Craig had the backing of the DCCC machine and spent $381,290 against her, (more money than she spent in the primary and the general election combined) she kicked his ass because she knew how to run a grassroots campaign and he-- like almost all DCCC candidates-- didn't. She beat him 54-34%.

The DCCC immediately wrote off the district and Rahm called Democratic contributors and told them she had no chance and not to waste their money-- a common DCCC tactic they still use against progressives today. But despite Bradley outspending her almost 4 to 1, she beat him in November 100,899 votes (51%) to 94,869 votes (49%) and beat him again in a rematch two years later, this time with a 54-46% margin.

I was reminded about what a kook Guinta is when I watched the Wells Fargo House Financial Services Committee hearings on Thursday. A member of that committee, Guinta has managed to extort $1,103,948 from the Wall Street interests he's supposed to be protecting the public from. He was, by far, the most unhinged member of the committee when it came to questioning Well Fargo CEO John Stumpf.

Guinta's agenda is unchanging when it comes to Wall Street-- less regulations and a freer hand for banksters like Stumpf to rip off their customers. He aggressively advocates wrecking the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and has voted against it over and over and over. Thursday he asked Stumpf-- no fan of the CFPB by any stretch of anyone's imagination-- how many CFBP agents had been embedded with Wells Fargo. When Stumpf said he didn't know the number of agents, the deranged Guinta invented a Breitbart-worthy conspiracy theory on the spot, accusing Stumpf of plotting with the CFPB to withhold the information from the committee. The other members just rolled their eyes with embarrassment and breathed a sign of relief when Guinta's time expired. And, yes, he's solicited-- and taken-- substantial bribes from Wells Fargo's PAC.

There are virtually no issues on which Guinta hasn't managed to dig himself into a hole that pits him against his own constituents. Carol correctly points out that even on something as important to voters as Social Security, Guinta's crackpot privatization ideas are just plain dangerous to ordinary retirees and future retirees. Without naming him, she said that:

"Republican politicians claim they want to preserve Social Security, they actually don’t... Social Security will have problems paying at today's rate around 2034, but it can be fixed if the Congress would do what Reagan did in 1983-- fix it. Raise the cap to make Social Security sustainable. Right now, people who earn under $118,500 pay tax on every single dollar they earn. People who earn over that do not pay on every dollar, just the first $118,500. It is not fair for lower-income people to pay on all of their earnings while the wealthy pay only on the first $118,500."

Like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren-- and anyone serious about protecting Social Security benefits-- Carol advocates scrapping the cap so that the wealthy pay their fair share. Guinta wants to just turn Social Security over to Wall Street and let the chips fall where they may-- while his campaign donors make billions in fees and commissions off American workers' contributions.

Guinta barely survived his primary challenge, edging Rich Ashooh 26,229 (46.5%) to 25,580 (45.3%). The latest poll of the district, released this week, shows that most voters dislike Guinta, who has a negative favorability rating (26-47%), with fully 31% rating him as "very unfavorable." And those people plan to vote against him in November.

In a head-to-head matchup, Carol beats him 50-39% and in a five-way vote that includes third party candidates, she's still way ahead, 44-34%. Short version: very good investment if you're thinking about contributing $5.00 or even $500.



Blue America Welcomes Paul Hodes (D-NH)

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Today Blue America is hosting an old friend here at Crooks and Liars, Representative Paul Hodes. Paul first came onto our radar in 2006 was he was campaigning-- successfully, as it turned out-- against entrenched incumbent Charlie Bass in New Hampshire. Blue America endorsed him and has been gratified to see him consistently standing up for working families in the House of Representatives. He was one of the Democrats who put his foot down and refused to vote for the Wall Street bailout, TARP. He believes, firmly, that the government has to watch out for Main Street and for American consumers by reigning in the excesses of Wall Street. "I voted against the Wall Street bailout because I didn’t believe we should bail out the big banks while middle class families are hurting across America. I'm working-- fighting-- for tougher regulations on credit card companies, mortgage lenders, and big Wall Street banks so Wall Street’s greed will never be able to hurt middle class families again." When AIG's irresponsibility, unregulated avarice and gambler's instincts got them in trouble and they came looking for money from the government, it was Rep. Hodes who pointed out that to American taxpayers AIG "stands for arrogance, incompetence and greed."

Today, he's asked us to let our readers know that he'd like anyone who was considering donating to his campaign during this live blogging session, instead donate to the No on 1 campaign in Maine. Paul isn't a frightened, mealy-mouthed congressman tiptoeing around equality with a "separate but equal" non-solution for marriage rights. You don't hear him talking about domestic partnerships. He favors equal rights under the law for all couples regardless of gender. "The legislation passed in New Hampshire," he reminds us, "will ensure that all Granite Staters have equal rights under the law. And the law is consistent with the spirit of New Hampshire expressed in our state motto ‘Live Free or Die.’ Marriage equality gives equal justice to New Hampshire residents. I will continue to work for those same principles as a US Senator and I am a proud co-sponsor of the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act."

Please join us in the comments section below and let's talk with Paul about why he's demanding a timeline in Afghanistan and a public option in the health care reform bill-- and anything else you'd like to ask someone who's been serving in the House and wants to move over to the Senate.




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