Let me interject a few words before we let Russell speak for himself and run away with the show. In 1821, extolling the virtues of the still young Republic, Secretary of State John Quincy Adams, noted that we do not go "abroad in search of monsters to destroy." That was then. And, besides, he never said we don't search them out domestically. Not that we have to search very far. Yesterday Rep. Joe Sestak pointed out Pat Toomey's motley monster picks. Our own Blue America contest, There's A Republican For That, is turning up some real doozies too. In fact, we got a lot of incredible recommendations even over and above the obvious monsters like Michele Bachmann, Sharron Angle, David Rivera and, obviously, Pat Toomey. One name that came up over and over again was Georgia firebrand Paul Broun. My friend Bertis, who lives in Athens, Georgia, in the heart of Broun's district, suggested I look into the gung-ho progressive Democrat running against him, Russell Edwards. So I did.

I called Edwards and asked him if, like so many white Southern Democrats, he would metastasize into some kind of a reactionary Blue Dog voting with the Republicans against the interests of ordinary working families if he wound up getting elected to Congress. I was more than happy with his answer and asked him to write a guest post for us, introducing himself. If you like what you see below, please consider donating to his campaign through ActBlue.

My name is Russell Edwards, and I’m the Democratic Nominee for U.S. Congress from GA’s 10th District. I’m facing off against incumbent PaulBroun, Jr., one of the most dangerous politicians in the nation according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Luckily, Broun, Jr. is also a pitiful fundraiser and only has a little over 130k cash on hand. In our first quarter, we raised over 100k and are closing on him fast.

GA’s Tenth includes Athens and Augusta-- two Democratic strongholds-- along with a smattering of rural NE GA. There are strong pockets of African-American communities, helping to explain the fact that Democrats Michael Thurmond and Thurbert Baker have carried the 10th every time they have run for statewide office. Broun, Jr. won in a special election in 2007 in what the Athens newspaper called “the greatest political upset in GA history.”

Since Broun’s victory, he has fought hard to be the most embarrassing politician in America. Here’s a short vid of his greatest hits. [The video is up on top of the page.]

I am a progressive Democrat and have no plans to join the Blue Dog Caucus should I be elected. They have done absolutely nothing to help me, and I’m not courting them with talk about more tax cuts for the wealthy. I’m speaking candidly about how my District should fight to create jobs and support our schools. Issues that are important to build a strong middle class and ensure every one has a chance to live a life of dignity and respect.

The Blue Dogs perhaps lost me forever during the health care reform debate. During that time, Broun Jr. was a key apparatchik in the Republican fear-mongering machine. He told full rooms of senior citizens that “if they pass this bill, they’re going to give your grandmother narcotics until she catches pneumonia and dies.” At the same time, I launched my own forum series that focused on the need for reform and how best to achieve it. How could I possibly have sided with Broun Jr. and so many Blue Dogs who voted against the final health care reform bill? To me, it was clear the abuses of the private health insurance industry had to be reigned in. These companies were denying insurance to battered women, claiming the abuse they received was a pre-existing condition for Christ’s sake!

Growing up, I came to realize the importance of helping those in my community who were unable to help themselves. I saw the truth that people suffer everyday in our country often for reasons outside their control. Today, it seems the Blue Dogs have strayed too far from empathy-- comfortable to gain as much power as possible through corporate fundraising dollars. Why else would one vote against a bill banning pre- existing conditions? And don’t even give me that weak tea that you voted against it because it didn’t do enough-- your campaign contributions deceive you.

As I mentioned Thursday night, it looks like Henry Waxman has come to much the same conclusion. And by the way, that report Russell referred to above from the Southern Poverty Law Center... it's worth reading their whole statement on why they see Paul Broun as "an enabler" of violence and terrorism:

A medical doctor who makes house calls only to avoid "bureaucratic encumbrances," far-right U.S. Rep. Paul Broun took over Georgia's 10th Congressional District after the death of Charlie Norwood in 2007. Since then, Broun has become a pal of the antigovernment Patriot movement, warning in apocalyptic terms of a coming socialist takeover by Barack Obama and his allies.

This April 19, 15 years to the day after the Oklahoma City bombing, Broun is scheduled to join several Patriot leaders at the Second Amendment March in Washington, D.C. On the agenda that day with Broun are Stewart Rhodes of the Oath Keepers, a group that suspects the government has plans to round up Americans and put them in concentration camps, and Gun Owners of America's Larry Pratt, a fan of militias who has been criticized for ties to white supremacists.

Broun says gun rights are necessary to "prevent treason in America."

Fearmongering and fundraising with Paul Broun

Saying Broun is a fierce critic of the president would be an understatement. Broun has alleged that a civilian reserve corps that Obama proposed, and the Bush administration endorsed, might be used to establish a dictatorship. "We can't be lulled into complacency. You have to remember that Adolf Hitler was elected in a democratic Germany," Broun said in 2008.

A "birther," Broun has openly questioned Barack Obama's citizenship. When asked by a radio host whether Barack Obama was a U.S. citizen or a Christian, both established facts, Broun responded, "I don't know." Broun also calls Cuba's former dictator Fidel Castro Obama's "good buddy."

Last year, Broun told his constituents that the health care bill was the work of a "socialistic elite"-- referring to Obama, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid-- who might use a pandemic disease or natural disaster as an excuse to declare martial law. "They're trying to develop an environment where they can take over," he said. "We've seen that historically." At a 2009 town hall, he called Pelosi "a domestic enemy of the Constitution."

So far, Broun's legislative work has been scant. In 2009, Broun voted against a climate-change bill, calling the concept of manmade global warming a "hoax" perpetrated by the scientific community. In 2009, he proposed legislation proclaiming 2010 "The Year of the Bible." Earlier, he introduced the "Military Honor and Decency Act" that would ban sales of pornography on military installations. The bill has gone nowhere.

Athens has a proud musical tradition and the most famous musicians from their are undoubtably REM. The band members have not just contributed to Russell's campaign, they're co-hosting a fundraising event for him as well. It's like Hollywood! Maybe Broun can counter with Ted Nugent or get Bound For Glory to come down from Minnesota-- unless they're too busy working to reelect Michele Bachmann.



Getting to Blanche. President Obama scolds Blanche Lincoln over her cowardly stance

There's a reason Blue America PAC targeted Blanche Lincoln over the summer: She's a ConservaDem who is up for reelection and was standing with the health-insurance industry over average working Americans. Our Campaign For Health Care Choice action raised enough money to blanket the state of Arkansas with ads that demanded she vote for change in our health care system. If you can, please continue to donate.

During Obama's conference with Senate Democrats yesterday, Lincoln whined to the president like a good little neo-Republican and asked him to moderate and bow down to Republicans. Have you ever heard of such a thing being said from a party member to its own president?

In one key exchange this morning, Obama rebuked pleas from Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) that he moderate his agenda and work with Republicans to ease the current state of economic uncertainty.

Lincoln described a constituent who she said was "extremely frustrated because there was a lack of certainty and predictability from his government for him to be able to run his businesses."

She asked: "Are we willing, as Democrats, not only to reach out to Republicans, but to push back in our own party for people who want extremes, and look for the common ground that's going to get us the success that we need not only for our constituents, but for our country, in this global community, in this global economy?"

Wow, I didn't know trying to fight for the public option and the best possible health care system is considered extreme in her mind. See, we're the bad guys and not the idiots who littered the town-hall meetings flinging racial insults and bizarre conspiracy theories around like they were candy. Rahm uttered his stupid remark behind closed doors, but conservatives are out front with their lunacy. President Obama then calls out Blanche.

From there, Obama turned to a more pointed critique of Lincoln's argument. "If the price of certainty is essentially for us to adopt the exact same proposals that were in place for eight years leading up to the biggest economic crisis since the Great Depression -- we don't tinker with health care, let the insurance companies do what they want, we don't put in place any insurance reforms, we don't mess with the banks, let them keep on doing what they're doing now because we don't want to stir up Wall Street -- the result is going to be the same," he said. "I don't know why we would expect a different outcome pursuing the exact same policy that got us into this fix in the first place."

Middle class Americans, Obama said, "are more and more vulnerable, and they have been for the last decade, treading water. And if our response ends up being, you know, because we don't want to -- we don't want to stir things up here, we're just going to do the same thing that was being done before, then I don't know what differentiates us from the other guys. And I don't know why people would say, boy, we really want to make sure that those Democrats are in Washington fighting for us."

It's doubtful that Obama has really learned his lesson about these Senate "moderates". But it's good to see him finally drawing a line.

This is the type of argument from Obama that a lot of Democrats, and not just progressives, have longed to hear. While a united Republican opposition has clearly slowed down his legislative agenda, it has been the conservative Democrats in the Senate who have punctured enormous holes in it.

The White House has largely coddled these four or five Senators, at least in public, in hopes of gradually winning over their support. The White House declined to criticize Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.) for holding up health-care reform over a public option --- even while lashing out at former Democratic National Committee chairman Howard Dean when he said the bill should be stopped because it lacked the public plan.



Buyer’s Remorse

Like a lot of people, I get a certain amount of ‘junk mail’ in my email inbox, some of it wanted, like the various eclectic, innocuous but interesting things such as A Word A Day and The New Zealand Week and my second favourite aviation newsletter, AVWeb. I even – god help me – knowingly subscribe to a few of the more rabid rightwing websites just to keep myself informed about whatever the other side is foaming at the mouth over today. (Think I’ll just mention them in passing without giving any the benefit of a link, however). Sometimes I sign an on-line petition or make a donation and inevitably end up with endless newsletters soliciting more money and more signatures from me, like from BoldProgressive.org – which the other day sent me yet another plea, this time to help defeat Republican Olympia Snowe who opposes the public health insurance option.

So over my morning toast and coffee, I read BoldProgressives’ article on Nancy Randolph, who with her husband were a modestly well-off married couple from Maine, and had paid for what they had thought was excellent health insurance… until Mr. Randolph was diagnosed with cancer and the insurance company denied him coverage. He died, and the couple ended up in bankruptcy. Heartbreaking, gut-roiling stuff. And my heart truly does go out to Nancy Randolph, hers is a terrible tragedy made so much worse by knowing it was preventable. But there was one small point that bothered me...

Nancy Randolph voted for Republican Olympia Snowe.

In the clip, Nancy explains she voted for Snowe because she thought the senator would be ‘independent’. What, she didn’t notice the great big R beside the candidate’s name on the ballot? She didn’t notice how ‘independent’ a certain senator from a nearby New England state has been?

Far, far too many people in this country have either voted Republican, or worse, didn’t vote at all, because they didn’t think all those issues progressive have been so annoyingly vocal about for years would ever affect them. They’re hardworking middle class folks with decent jobs at good pay; why should they worry WalMart threatening their workers with violence if they dare to unionize? They’ve kept themselves in decent shape, watched their diet, exercised, stopped smoking, been responsible for their health and the worst medical problem they’ve had to deal with has been a bad cold or a sprained ankle, why should their hard-earned taxes go into paying for treating someone else’s kid with paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria… whatever the hell that is? They’ve been upstanding citizens responsible and financially prudent, just as the conservatives have always claimed they should be, been loyal employees for stable companies and managed their pensions and modest investments carefully, saved up to put their kids through college. So why should they care about other people who weren’t as sensible, why should they care about tuitions skyrocketing and universities cutting back on such rubbish as the arts or adult education? Why should they worry about companies that go under from mismanagement, why should the government imposing regulations on the banks and investment firms that have done such a good job of safeguarding their retirement? They’ve been conscientious about donating to proper charities, like their church or Girl Scouts or those little brown kids in far away countries, but resent one penny of their tax money being used to help deadbeats or drug addicts or criminals in prison or single mothers or high school dropouts – those people get what they deserve… don’t they?

It’s not even like Olympia Snowe is on the same level of revulsion and incompetence as is Mean Jean Schmidt or Michele Bachmann or Sarah Palin, either. Snowe has earned her respected reputation, rarely missing a vote. She and fellow Republican Maine Senator Susan Collins went against her own party to vote to acquit Clinton, adamant his perjury didn’t warrant his being hounded from office. She’s angered the GOP enough times for them to have accused her of being a RINO, and she has shown genuine bi-partisanship in the past. Her reluctant opposition to the current attempts at health care reform has not been as dogmatic and irresponsible as all too many of her colleagues’, either. As Republicans go, this country can and has done a hell of a lot worse than Olympia Snowe, some of them even being our own Blue Dogs… haven’t we? We can live with a compromise, better we get a little something rather than nothing at all… right? Right?

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Blue America's Alan Grayson Wins Florida Primary

Congratulations, Alan! Great news from a great progressive candidate.

Down With Tyranny:

(Tuesday) Florida had its congressional primaries and with about 93% of the vote counted it's looking like Donna Edwards may soon have a strong progressive with a reform-minded agenda working with her in Congress. (Oh, there's still the general election in November... but Keller barely managed to hold onto his party's nomination against Todd Long who's getting 47% of the Republican vote.) AP has called the race for Grayson but says it's too close to call on the GOP side. [..]

Which ad do you think will be most effective in the general election?

or this?

Both of them are hard to resist. Please consider donating to our Blue America ActBlue page so he can keep running the ads.



Jean Schmidt Is A Lying B****!

Well, duh. But this time, it's one of her fellow Republicans talking her down.

TPM:

Every now and then we like to check in on the latest antics surrounding GOP Rep. Jean Schmidt -- the Ohio Republican who called Jack Murtha a coward on the House floor. And boy oh boy, her latest doesn't disappoint.

Schmidt is now enmeshed in a bitter feud with another Ohio Republican, who's so furious with her that he called her a "lying b----" and a "despicable person" who would "sell her mother" -- and expressly told us we could print that!

The issue? GOP State Rep. Tom Brinkman, who founded an anti-tax government watchdog group, is charging that Schmidt's House staffers frequently work on her campaign for re-election.

"You can quote me anywhere you like. Jean Schmidt is a lying b----," said Brinkman, who lost his primary challenge to her this year by a 58%-40% margin, in an interview with Election Central. "She would sell her mother to promote herself. She is a despicable person. She will go any length possible to win, to get what she wants."

Yikes!

Schmidt is running against Blue America's Victoria Wulsin. Please help if you can in her campaign against the ethically-challenged Mean Jean.



Congressional Races Update

Mark Kirk (R-IL10): "if we see Obama, there's a shoot-on-sight order". He meant to say Osama, but how many times will we see this mistake from a Republican?

Darcy Burner (WA-08): Darcy is catching up big time on Republican incumbent Dave Reichert. The latest poll has her within 6 points. Reichert knows he's in trouble and has called in the "heavyweights" of the Republican Party to help raise funds, including Gingrich and Boehner. You can fight by donating to Darcy's Blue America account here.

Nancy Boyda (KS-02): The latest polls show Boyda comfortably leading both challengers Ryun and Jenkins.

And finally, in NM-01 and 02, Robert Novak of all people, recognizes that the Republicans are going to have a tough time of it:

New Mexico-1: "This could be a very bad year for Republicans in New Mexico"Together with the likely loss of the U.S. Senate seat, both GOP-held house seats are in danger.

In the Albuquerque seat being vacated by retiring Rep. Heather Wilson (R), Republicans have the benefit of a strong candidate in Bernalillo County Sheriff Darren White (R), but they have the disadvantage of demography and a bad political environment. Democrats have nominated Albuquerque City Councilman Martin Heinrich (D).[..]

Considering only the candidates, White has the edge, but the political landscape seriously favors Heinrich. Bush's name and the GOP brand are dirt in New Mexico.[...]

Because we expect a strong Democratic tide, White's strengths look likely to be wiped out by a Democratic surge. Leaning Democratic Takeover.

New Mexico-2: This is the "Republican district" in New Mexico, but it could be represented by a Democrat next year. In 2004, Bush took 58 percent of this district, which covers the Southern half of the state, but the GOP might have nominated the wrong candidate.

I think we may have cause to celebrate much come November.



Chris Carney, Comcast and Warrantless Wiretaps

Blue America has been asking for donations to help in our nonpartisan campaign to hold members of Congress accountable when they vote against the Constitution. For the past two weeks we've been running TV spots, radio spots and newspaper ads in Chris Carney's northeast Pennsylvania congressional district to make sure his constituents know that he is behaving like a Republican rubber stamp, not like the Democrat they thought they elected in 2006. Today the ACLU, as well as Senators Chris Dodd and Russ Feingold issued strong statements showing what a complete sham the "compromise" the Republicans and a handful of reactionary Democrats have worked out. On top of that, as Glenn Greenwald explained yesterday, Comcast-- Carney's #2 campaign donor-- is protecting him from his own constituents by censoring the debate and refusing to allow the Blue America ads to run (although all the radio ads, 7 full page newspaper ads and the non-Comcast TV ads have all been running). Listen to the Blue America radio ad that has been running all over Carney's district.

I'm sure you can guess which side of this battle John W. McCain is on. If you would like to stand with Blue America, most congressional Democrats and Barack Obama in preventing warrantless wiretaps on American citizens and preventing retroactive immunity for criminal allies of the Bush Regime please consider even a $5 or $10 contribution to the Blue America vs Retroactive Immunity fund today.



Disenfranchising Indianan Nuns Gives Oklahoma GOP Ideas

Isn't that just like the GOP? Others hear about not letting 80 and 90 year old nuns vote and they shake their heads and say, "that's awful." But the GOP--in this case the Oklahoma State Senate GOP majority--see it as opportunity.

Down With Tyranny:

All through history, the political left has agitated to expand the franchise. The left worked and fought yo abolish the rules that only allowed white Christian male property holders the right to vote. The political right fought to prevent poor people from voting, to prevent Jews, Blacks, women, young people... And a few weeks ago the rightist Supreme Court gave the thumbs up to a Republican scheme to limit voting in Indiana. We saw the first results of that ruling today.

About 12 Indiana nuns were turned away Tuesday from a polling place by a fellow bride of Christ because they didn't have state or federal identification bearing a photograph.[..]

Tonight I got a notice from Andrew Rice alerting me that the Oklahoma Senate had prevented the Republicans from doing the same thing in his state. All of the GOP senators voted to restrict voting rights and all the Democrats voted to prevent them from shrinking the franchise.

The vote was 24-23 for the bill, but it takes 25 votes to pass a bill in the 48-member Senate. All 24 Republicans supported the plan, while 23 Democrats voted against it.

Democrats said the proposal was meant to help Republicans and would deter the elderly and other citizens from voting because they may not have identification readily available.

Ford said the bill is needed to guard against voter fraud.

Voter fraud is something the GOP gets hysterical about, like welfare fraud. And like welfare fraud the GOP turns reality on its head. They will wreck hundreds of thousands of families' lives because a few dozens people or even a few hundred people may have committed fraud to the tune of some thousands of dollars-- while corporate welfare goes out to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars. I can't say that there has never been any voter fraud. But I can say the kind of voter fraud the Republicans talk about it nearly nonexistent or, at worst, extremely rare. Republican voter fraud, electronic voter fraud, voter suppression... now we're talking about hundreds of thousands of voters. Read on...

Andrew Rice is one of Blue America candidates. If you'd like him to help us breakthrough the GOP juggernaut and deliver more and better Democrats, you can donate to his campaign here.



Late Night Music Club with Tom Petty

(Blogged by Howie Klein) Tomorrow's Blue America congressional candidate is Dan Maffei from an upstate New York district that encompasses all of Syracuse and goes right into the suburbs of Rochester. You can find out about all the political aspects of Dan's race against rubber stamp stamp Republican incumbent James Walsh tomorrow at Firedoglake at 2pm (EDT). Tonight has nothing to do with politics per se. I asked Dan why he's using Tom Petty's song "I Won't Back Down" as his campaign theme song. Dan is a big Petty fan and he loved "Free Fallin'" when he was in college but the choice of "I Won't Back Down" wasn't just about his own personal battle for this congressional seat.

Dan is like a walking advertisement for the beauty and liveability of his area of the country, an area hit hard by bad economic policies that have depopulated once thriving communities as "Free Trade" extremists like Bush gave tax breaks to American companies for exporting union jobs to China and other slave-labor countries. Progressives in areas all over America in small cities and towns that have been economically devastated by terrible policies and agendas of greed and selfishness are fighting back and they really and truly will not back down.



A C&L Happy New Year

cl_logo1a.gif Happy New Year!!!!

For 2007---I'm going to keep exposing the media smears as best as I can and just echo Duncan's words:

And, I suppose this is as good a time as any for my occasional reminder as we enter the silly season. Ads appearing on this site by candidates are paid ads and do not imply any support or endorsement by me. I actually don't expect to get behind one candidate or another, though that could change, especially if suitcases filled with money appear on my doorstep. I'll try to do my best to avoid at least some of the food fight once it begins, though I'm human and have opinions and happen to write a blog about politics, so I imagine I'll get sucked in at times.

I'll definitely give my opinions about the policies candidates support and the way they try to deliver their message. And, of course, I'll be busy trying to push back against unfair media smears of any of the candidates. But, again, the fact that I praise or defend candidate X does not mean I've joined their team.

Bob Somerby nails the Authenticity narrative perfectly:

Which of the hopefuls is most authentic? We have an answer to that: STFU! If we Democrats have an ounce of sense, we’ll steer the discussion toward serious topics—topics which are less subjective. In the past fifteen years, the public has generally agreed with Dems on the vast range of major issues. For that reason, Republicans wants to talk “authenticity”—and so does your script-reading press corps...read the entire post...

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