Live Chat: Blue America Welcomes Fred Johnson (D-MI)

One of the sharpest candidates running for the House this year is Dr. Fred Johnson in western Michigan, for a seat being abandoned by the ever-ambitious twitterer Pete Hoekstra. In April Fred did a great guest post at DWT on education and societal priorities-- well worth reading. Today, Blue America's latest endorsed candidate, he's joining us for a live blogging session below in the comments section.

Before we get into the reasons we've endorsed Fred for the seat, I want to mention that he gave us an autographed copy of a book he wrote with Tayannah Lee McQuillar, Tupac Shakur: The Life And Times Of An American Icon which we will be giving away to a randomly selected donor today. To qualify for the drawing, please give any amount-- there is no minimum-- at the Blue America PAC page. You might be interested in knowing that all the money donated through this page this weekend will be put towards campaign advertising on Michigan blogs.

A former marine and a genuine progressive, Fred is well positioned to take advantage of the rapidly changing demographics and political identifications in the district. 2008 saw a huge jump in the Democratic vote throughout the district. This was delivered primarily through the top-notch voter registration and GOTV efforts of the Campaign for Change. The district now has a whopping 45,000 first time voters, who can deliver this seat to Fred in November. Despite the fact that conventional wisdom calls this a safe Republican district, it is very much worth noting that Senator Levin won here with 53% of the vote, and President Obama fell just short, at 48.5%. This district is turning purple rapidly, and 2010 can complete the process.

To give you a sense of Fred's priorities, here's a statement he gave me soon after I first met him this spring:

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Blue America Welcomes Alan Grayson For A Discussion Of American Policy In Afghanistan

Alan Grayson has been a big Blue America fave ever since we first met up with him in January, 2008. He was our first endorsement that year and one of our most celebrated victories, having beaten an entrenched, useless incumbent in a traditionally Republican district in central Florida. Since being elected, Alan has been a progressive leader, primarily in financial regulations through his committee position on House Financial Services. But he also was one of 32 Democrats in the House who stood up to demands from the Obama Administration that a supplemental war budget be approved last June.

It was a ballsy move, especially for Democrats in Republican-leaning districts, like Alan, Eric Massa and Carol Shea-Porter. I doubt Alan ever wavered from his commitment to the voters in his district to not approve any more supplemental budgets. But you can ask him yourself when he joins us for a live blogging session here at C&L, 3pm PT (6pm back East). Alan will be helping us launch a new Blue America Initiative to help draw attention to the situation in Afghanistan and figure out what progressives can do to effect change.

Alan is prepared to work even harder this year to head off an escalation of war in the 8th year of occupation of the country. "We are using a 19th century strategy to fight a 14th century opponent, " he told me yesterday. "Does anyone seriously believe that the best way to defend our borders is to send a quarter of a million Americans 10,000 miles beyond them?" He also told me he thinks we can change Obama's mind and turn this thing around. "He's too smart," said the congressman, "to let someone else's war ruin his presidency."

And with Republican Tim Johnson of Illinois promising to introduce legislation to withdraw American troops, an idea that some other Republicans, like Walter Jones (R-NC) and Ron Paul (R-TX) seem to be embracing, Alan is ready to work across the aisle -- as he has been doing with his crusade to force an audit on the Federal Reserve -- and help focus more Democrats and more Republicans on what he calls "the senselessness of war without end."

If you haven't visited it yet, today is launch-day for Blue America's new ActBlue page, No Means No!. We're asking anyone who can afford to, to contribute-- even if it's just a few dollars-- to the Democrats who have already shown their willingness to draw a line in the sand and not break their pledge. Today, everyone who donates-- regardless of how much-- will have their name put in a hat and 6 random winners will get the new book by New York Senate candidate Jonathan Tasini, The Audacity of Greed. Jonathan donated the books for this event and he autographed each one.

Meanwhile, please take a look at the first segment in the BraveNewFilms movie, Rethink Afghanistan, something that every member of Congress needs to see-- at least as much as the briefings from the Pentagon and spy agencies.




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