Live Chat: Blue America Welcomes Beth Krom (D-CA)

This year the DCCC has decided to spend virtually all of its resources playing defense. They're not spending money on replacing out-of-step, obstructionist Republicans -- not even vulnerable ones like John Boehner, Paul Ryan, Thaddeus McCotter and John Campbell -- but on saving the worthless hides of the mistrusted Blue Dogs who vote most frequently with the GOP and who have opposed most of the president's Change Agenda -- reflexive reactionaries like Travis Childers (MS), Bobby Bright (AL) and Walt Minnick (ID). So once again, it's up to grassroots and netroots organizations like ours -- who helped find and support progressives the DCCC ignored, like Alan Grayson, Donna Edwards, John Hall, and Carol Shea-Porter -- to work toward making Congress a more receptive place for progressive values and ideas that put ordinary working people before wealthy corporate interests. And today we want to introduce you to one of those candidates, Orange County activist Beth Krom. She's joining us live in the comments section below.

Beth is a proven, intrepid, can-do progressive -- a former mayor of Irvine and current City Council member of that city-- who is running for the Orange County seat, CA-48, currently help by one of the most ridiculous of all California Republicans, "Birther Amendment" author John Campbell. The district used to be solidly red but has been changing -- and rapidly. Old style pundits and prognosticators may not have noticed -- they're better at reporting what happened than predicting what's happening -- but districts like Beth's have undergone profound demographic changes. In 2008, in fact, Obama narrowly won the 48th, which helped him run up a 67-31% statewide vote against John McCain.

A dedicated environmental activist, she first ran for City Council in 2000 to stop an international airport from being built at Orange County’s former El Toro Marine Base. Within the first two years she served, a countywide initiative was drafted and passed that rezoned El Toro for park and open space use. Today, where the airport was proposed, the Orange County Great Park is being developed. The park is the missing link in, what will be, once restored, the longest urban wilderness corridor in America, extending from the ocean at Crystal Cove to the Mexican border. When we talked with Beth about the importance of smart growth, open space preservation and balanced planning, she pointed out that "buildings don’t make communities; people make communities."

Beth is exactly the kind of candidate we would like to see replacing a careerist clown and partisan hack like Campbell. Profoundly anti-environmental -- yet representing one of the most beautiful stretches of seacoast in America -- Campbell is every irresponsible developer's fondest dream. Beth has a very different vision for Orange County and for America.

As we experience the “shock and awe” that has gripped the nation in the wake of the worst offshore oil spill in human history, it’s important to consider that our thirst for oil has led to policies that place our entire ecosystem at risk.

When everything is out of balance, we feel the effects on a daily basis. An economy out of balance, a health-care system out of balance and a planet out of balance, reflect public policies that are out of balance. There are no perfect solutions, but ignoring our problems will only lead to greater challenges in the future.

Politics is not about the black and white, it’s about the thousand shades of gray. It takes smart, courageous politicians to advance the kind of policies that will inspire change and help to move our country forward.

We think Beth can win and we think she'll bring a tremendous improvement to Congress and to Orange County is she does. If you can, please consider giving her a hand at the Blue America ActBlue page.



End of the Quarter for Connie Saltonstall

Connie Saltonstall wrote a post over at Howie's place telling us why Bart Stupak should be ousted from Congress. Yes, he voted for health care in the end, but not before dragging woman's right through the mud with the help of the Catholic Bishops.

Mr. Stupak’s dogmatic insistence on inserting his own religious views into the legislative debate and threatening to deprive his constituents of needed healthcare reform eroded people’s trust in him. Throughout the debate there was the sense that our Congressman let us down and that sense has not disappeared with the change in his vote. For me and so many of his constituents, he crossed the line with his grandstanding.

Digby writes:

Howie Klein notes that today is the day you receive all those desperate emails for end-of-the-quarter donations from the Democratic party committees --- and that the money will almost certainly be spent on preserving the seats of Blue Dogs who vote against everything you care about. It's more than a little bit frustrating.

But there's something you can do about it. You can Send the Democrats A Message They Can Understand.

As I wrote yesterday, Stupak got punk'd by the lobbyist for the Catholic Bishops --- a Republican ally to such a degree that they were willing to deny millions of the working poor access to health care in order to help the GOPs cynical obstructionist agenda. Stupak was either too stupid to see it or too cynical himself to care. Either way, his behavior should not be rewarded.

Please feel free to donate any sum you can to Connie's campaign. She's showed real courage to try and take on a anti-choice incumbent Dem like Stupak. Good for her.



Bill Halter to primary Blanche Lincoln: Blue America News

Good times, good times. Blue America PAC was out in front of the entire blogosphere when we targeted Blanche Lincoln as being a major obstructionist to health-care reform in America. We made our decision to raise and spend a ton of money to highlight how she was a typical ConservaDem who was more interested in keeping the health insurance industry rolling in cash than helping Americans in the struggle with health care. You can see all three ads that we ran with your help against her here: Campaign For Health Care Choice.

Howie Klein interviewed Lt. Governor Bill Halter before we started our ad campaign back in June of 2009 to see if he was interested in running against Blanche and he told Howie he wasn't at that time, but I think he sees his opening now.

Howie has much more:

Blue America has been busy all year letting Arkansas voters know that Blanche Lincoln may have a "D" next to her name but when it comes to the key issues that impact ordinary working families and pits their interests against Big Business and Wall Street, she was, in effect, a dependable Republican shill. Politics for her has become cultivating K Street and then fast-talking the Democratic base back home. We helped make that more and more difficult for her. And now, with her approval ratings the lowest of any member of the Senate and with a virtual certainty of defeat at the hands of any Republican, she has a real primary on her hands.

This morning Lt. Governor Bill Halter declared the would enter the May 18th primary against her. (Next week is the deadline for filing.) I spoke with Halter a few months ago and he said he had no intention of running. I feel certain he didn't. But as Lincoln's approval in the state collapsed, he has come to realize that he is the only chance the Democrats have to hold onto the seat.

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Blue America just added Bill to our Send The Democrats A Message ActBlue page, in case you'd like to help him get his campaign message out. Blanche has raised over $7 million so far and has over $5 million on hand much of it from the sleaziest special interests in Washington (and Arkansas).

We've added him to our new: 'Send The Democrats A Message They Can Understand' and you can send him donations there.

Right now Blue America is working on interviewing him again so we can find out as much as we can for you on where he stands on the issues.

Kos writes:

Blanche Lincoln responds to Halter's candidacy:

“I’m excited about today and I’m excited to be an Arkansas Democrat. I’ll file for re-election and continue fighting for Arkansas every day here at home and in the United States Senate. I know that I am the target of both political extremes but that’s what makes this campaign so important to all of us. This Senate seat belongs to Arkansas, not to outside groups that are angry I don’t answer to them.”

Yup. Extremists like the League of Conservation Voters. Extremists like the Democratic Party (and the Obama Administration).



Blue America Welcomes Back Two Old Friends, Joe Sestak And Ned Lamont

Yesterday Arlen Specter was back at his old media home, Fox News, singing a new tune, dancing the Lieberman shuffle, calling the GOP "a party of obstructionism." Well, he's got that right; they are. And until consistent polling showed that a right-wing extremist, Club For Growth head Pat Toomey, would kick his ass from Chester to Erie and from Waynesville to Carbondale in the Republican primary, Specter was very much a part of that obstructionist machine. Staring into the eyes of political mortality, Specter cut a deal with the White House to jump the fence and "become" a Democrat. He made the purely opportunistic switch on April 28. And here he was two weeks later on Meet The Press letting Pennsylvania voters know exactly what kind of a "Democrat" he would be:

Today he was calling his old colleagues obstructionists on the exact same issue for doing precisely what he was doing, although he has also bragged about how he will also vote with Republicans against Employees Free Choice. (The only difference is that he takes even more in thinly-veiled bribes from the Medical-Industrial Complex--$4,266,393, the most of any member of Congress who didn't run for president-- and Big Insurance--$1,058,655-- than most of them do.) Oh... and there's one more difference: Admiral Joe Sestak. Joe Sestak's constant pressure on behalf of working families has pushed Specter away from his unswerving support for his corporate donors. Petrified of being defeated in the Democratic primary, Specter sounds like he's almost a Democrat.

It was in the spring of 2006 that Blue America first started following Admiral Sestak as he sought, successfully, to dislodge another corrupt Republican barnacle obstructing progress in Washington, Curt Weldon. He was one of the first candidates our PAC ever endorsed and we have been immensely impressed by something that has distinguished Rep. Sestak from almost all the other members of Congress we've worked with. He is a critical thinker who seems to relish a debate of ideas. We don't always agree on every single issue but he never gets all brittle and uptight when challenged and he is always eager for input and eager to go through the thought processes that led him to make a decision. If there's one thing I've learned since starting Blue America, it's that no one is buying a member of Congress with an endorsement and no member of Congress will agree with you on every single vote. (Barney Frank once famously said even you wouldn't agree with you on every single vote.) What we do look for is someone with a sterling character who is open-minded, courageous and with inherently progressive sympathies. That's why we've continued to support Joe Sestak and why we asked him to come over to Crooks and Liars today for a live chat. He'll be joining us this afternoon at 3pm (PT), 6pm back in Pennsylvania. And he's bringing along another ole Blue America friend, Ned Lamont.

When I spoke to Rep. Sestak on the phone last week about the health-care debate, he was very forceful. "I'm going to have a very difficult time if I'm asked to vote for a bill that doesn't have a public option," he began. "I support a public option so that individuals are no longer stuck in insurance markets with no choices and no competition to bring down costs... I want to end unfair rationing by insurance company executives, like the small business owner who came into my District office because to complain about not being able to purchase insurance for herself or her employees because she had ovarian cancer ten years ago... As vice-chairman of the small business committee, I understand the need to reduce health care costs for small businesses. Only 62% of all small firms (less than 200 employees) offer health insurance, as compared to 99% of large firms. When they do offer insurance, it costs roughly 18% more than for larger employers."

You can find the rest of Specter's real health care record at DownWithTyranny. Meanwhile, please join us in the comments section below for our chat with Joe Sestak and Ned Lamont. After you've heard them out, if you'd like to sign up as a volunteer or donate to Rep. Sestak's election fund, you can do it on his website.



Blue America's new Campaign For Health Care Choice: Targeting Blanche Lincoln on the Public Option

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As you've probably noticed, I've been very upset with the way the health-care debate is headed. Kathleen Sibelius did a good job defending the public option and of exposing some of the lies being used the medical industry and their cohorts in Congress.

I think we can all agree that single payer is the way to go, but since it was never made a priority by our representatives, we are left to fight for a solid and robust public option. We know that the obstructionist Republican Party will never get behind any meaningful reforms so Blue America has to go after members of the Democratic Party in the Senate and call them out for selling Americans health care down the drain.

For weeks I've been working on an action so we could get busy defending the best option we have and I think we've come up with a great idea. We are going to target Blanche Lincoln first with TV ads, with the help of Robert Greenwald's Brave New Films, and expose her actions to her constituents in Arkansas. This will be the first play because she is up for re-election in 2010 and has already received the second most money from the HIC of any Senator.

Digby writes:

Watching the health care debate unfold is frustrating and predictably enervating. These kinds of debates are often followed by a deepening of public apathy and a sense that government can't help solve the big problems. And this plays into conservative hands since they are the ones who want to stoke that belief so that the citizens don't get it into their heads that they can get an equal shake with those who think they own this country.

We can't let that happen with health care. It is just too important on every level, for individuals, business and the country at large. It's time to get involved. To that end Blue America is launching a campaign to raise money to run some television ads. We've got to get these wavering Democrats off the fence about a public plan choice or this thing is going to fall completely apart before it even starts.

Perhaps it's not surprising that Lincoln is showing so much compassion for the poor insurance companies. She's taken hundreds of thousands of dollars from them over the years. In fact, she's already received $14,500 from insurance companies for her 2010 campaign, the second highest of any senator up for re-election next year. And the only reform they support is reform that will get the taxpayers to pay the overpriced premiums for the 47 million uninsured without having to change their ways. The fact is that insurance companies are not in any danger of going out of business because of the public plan choice unless they continue the kind of practices that have brought us to this crisis.

Please go to our Blue America Act Blue Page a to give what you can

Howie Klein writes:

Digby's been writing TV scripts for a whole week to try to salvage health care reform from the tender mercies of Democrats who have grown worthless to working families after millions and millions of dollars in legalized bribes from the Medical-Industrial Complex and the Insurance Giants. Robert Greenwald is standing by with a camera crew ready to start shooting. The first batch of ads are going up on TV in Arkansas and, man, do we need help. We have a new Blue America Page that I want to urge you to visit today.

Perhaps it's not surprising that Lincoln is showing so much compassion for the poor insurance companies. She's taken hundreds of thousands of dollars from them over the years. In fact, she's already received $14,500 from insurance companies for her 2010 campaign, the second highest of any senator up for re-election next year. And the only reform they support is reform that will get the taxpayers to pay the overpriced premiums for the 47 million uninsured without having to change their ways. The fact is that insurance companies are not in any danger of going out of business because of the public plan choice unless they continue the kind of practices that have brought us to this crisis.

Digby has finished several excellent scripts and we've begun the casting process. Please join us and support Blue America in its fight to save the public option. Idiots like Joe Lieberman are saying the fight over health insurance is for "universal access," but that's a lie.

Access doesn't do anything if the health care sucks. Lieberman should have said the fight is for universal health care for all if he was a human being instead of a shill for the HIC. We will not let them get away with this garbage.

Blanche Lincoln is the first one up on our radar, but we're sending a signal to the rest of the cowardly, corporate influenced Democrats that we are coming. Please help us save health care.

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