This One Could Surprise People

The most appealing things about the Dean tenure's 50 state strategy was the idea that you never know what might happen in any campaign so it was best to be prepared and at least nominally support candidates everywhere just in case the brilliant electoral prognosticators in DC might not always know ahead of time who is and isn't "unelectable." (I can't help but think that if these people were so damned good at picking winners, we wouldn't find ourselves on the brink of electoral disaster quite as often as we do.) So, it's been left to the progressive netroots and grassroots to try to give some of these candidates a little support to make up for the fact that the party refuses to even spend a penny to help them out. (In fact, they pretend they've never heard of them when publicly asked about it.)

Aside from the important work of spreading the good word and building movement politics for the long term, sometimes, unexpected things happen. For instance, Blue America candidate Billy Kennedy, who is challenging the intellectually challenged Virginia Foxx in NC-05, may just pull this thing out, despite the fact that the DCCC has behaved as if the loony Republican is impossible to beat. In fact, the major newspaper of the district, the Winston-Salem Journal, which normally endorses Republicans, came out for Kennedy this past week-end and made a very good case for his election:

U.S. Rep. Virginia Foxx, a Republican from Watauga County, has not achieved any great accomplishments for the residents of the 5th Congressional District, and has angered and embarrassed many with her sometimes wild statements that seem designed to provoke. It’s time for a fresh, progressive voice in the 5th District. We believe that Democrat Billy Kennedy, a Watauga farmer and carpenter who says he’ll work to reverse the high rate of unemployment in the district, is that voice. He’s the best candidate in the Nov. 2 election for the 5th District.

“I’d like to make Congress work,” Kennedy, 52, recently told the Journal. “I believe with the bickering going on, they’re not solving problems.”

We endorsed Foxx, 67, in the Republican primary as she ran against an opponent less qualified than Kennedy. Her constituent service is strong, we noted, and we’ve occasionally praised her on this page, as when she sponsored a bill that tweaked the federal tax code so that troops stationed overseas can invest their income in individual retirement accounts.

While fiscal conservatism is good, Foxx, who is finishing her third term, has been too tight with the federal purse strings. For example, she does not support the Blue Ridge Parkway Protection Act, which would allocate $75 million over the next five years to preserve land along the parkway. Foxx has said she’d normally support such a measure, but not in the current economic times. But the parkway, a major cash cow of the state’s tourism industry, brings in more money in a single year-- $2.1 billion dollars, through 17 million visitors-- than the cost of the entire act. U.S. Sen. Richard Burr, a Republican who also touts fiscal conservatism, realized that when he crossed the aisle to sponsor the protection act with Sen. Kay Hagan.

Then there are Foxx’ statements, which reflect a viewpoint far to the right of many of her constituents. Foxx, a former college educator and graduate of UNC Chapel Hill and UNC Greensboro, said on the House floor in January that the federal government “should not be funding education.”

Last November, she said on the floor that “I believe that the greatest fear that we all should have ... to our freedom comes from this room, this very room, and what may happen later this week in terms of a tax-increase bill masquerading as a health-care bill. I believe we have more to fear from the potential of that bill passing than we do from any terrorist right now in any country.” (In July of 2009, she had said the Republican version of the health-care plan is “pro-life because it will not put seniors in a position of being put to death by their government.”)

In April 2009, she suggested to students at North Surry High School that tobacco was no worse than Mountain Dew. That same month, she said on the House floor that it was a “hoax” that Matthew Shepard’s 1998 killing in Wyoming had anything to do with him being gay.

Continue reading »



Yes, Billy Kennedy Can Beat Virginia Foxx And Rid Congress Of Its Worst Hatemonger

Crossposted from DownWithTyranny

Billy Kennedy has long been one of Blue America's shining stars, one of the endorsements Digby, John and I are most proud of. Needless to say, Debbie Wasserman Schultz and the DCCC wrote him off as unelectable and have told Democratic donors not to give anything to his campaign. They have struggled on in the most all-American, Outside-the-Beltway grassroots campaign and have made tremendous gains against loathsome bigot Virginia Foxx is a northwest North Carolina congressional district. While the DCCC wastes millions of dollars on unreelectable Blue Dogs like reactionary Bobby Bright, Blue America managed to put up a homemade ad for Billy Kennedy that drove Foxx insane. The ad we ran-- and want to run again:

Help us get this ad back up on the air and give Billy a chance to retire Congress' most hateful member. The DCCC has told all the Inside-the-Beltway LGBT groups not to bother, so, of course, none of them are going after the most bigoted member of Congress. You can contribute here. And instead of paying attention to Inside the Beltway corporate shills like Wasserman Schultz, this is what the biggest newspaper in NC-05, the Winston-Salem Journal editorialized when they endorsed Billy Kennedy this weekend:

U.S. Rep. Virginia Foxx, a Republican from Watauga County, has not achieved any great accomplishments for the residents of the 5th Congressional District, and has angered and embarrassed many with her sometimes wild statements that seem designed to provoke. It’s time for a fresh, progressive voice in the 5th District. We believe that Democrat Billy Kennedy, a Watauga farmer and carpenter who says he’ll work to reverse the high rate of unemployment in the district, is that voice. He’s the best candidate in the Nov. 2 election for the 5th District.

“I’d like to make Congress work,” Kennedy, 52, recently told the Journal. “I believe with the bickering going on, they’re not solving problems.”

We endorsed Foxx, 67, in the Republican primary as she ran against an opponent less qualified than Kennedy. Her constituent service is strong, we noted, and we’ve occasionally praised her on this page, as when she sponsored a bill that tweaked the federal tax code so that troops stationed overseas can invest their income in individual retirement accounts.

While fiscal conservatism is good, Foxx, who is finishing her third term, has been too tight with the federal purse strings. For example, she does not support the Blue Ridge Parkway Protection Act, which would allocate $75 million over the next five years to preserve land along the parkway. Foxx has said she’d normally support such a measure, but not in the current economic times. But the parkway, a major cash cow of the state’s tourism industry, brings in more money in a single year-- $2.1 billion dollars, through 17 million visitors-- than the cost of the entire act. U.S. Sen. Richard Burr, a Republican who also touts fiscal conservatism, realized that when he crossed the aisle to sponsor the protection act with Sen. Kay Hagan.

Then there are Foxx’ statements, which reflect a viewpoint far to the right of many of her constituents. Foxx, a former college educator and graduate of UNC Chapel Hill and UNC Greensboro, said on the House floor in January that the federal government “should not be funding education.”

Last November, she said on the floor that “I believe that the greatest fear that we all should have ... to our freedom comes from this room, this very room, and what may happen later this week in terms of a tax-increase bill masquerading as a health-care bill. I believe we have more to fear from the potential of that bill passing than we do from any terrorist right now in any country.” (In July of 2009, she had said the Republican version of the health-care plan is “pro-life because it will not put seniors in a position of being put to death by their government.”)

In April 2009, she suggested to students at North Surry High School that tobacco was no worse than Mountain Dew. That same month, she said on the House floor that it was a “hoax” that Matthew Shepard’s 1998 killing in Wyoming had anything to do with him being gay.

She issued a quasi-apology for the Shepard statement, and she and her spokesman have sought to explain the other statements by contextualizing them. But the fact remains that she has continued to make such statements, the worst of which was comparing the potential danger of the health-care bill to terrorism. She’s positioned herself so far to the right that, even if her party regains a majority in the House with this election, it’s doubtful that she’d gain any power.

That said, Foxx will be hard to beat. Her district, which stretches from the mountains to Winston-Salem, is heavily Republican. She has more than $1 million in campaign money. Kennedy, making his first run for office, has raised about $240,000
.
But Kennedy, a graduate of what’s now Rhodes College in Memphis, says he has a good chance of beating Foxx. He’s getting his message out through canvassing and calling, supported by a small but dedicated core of volunteers working Facebook and Twitter. The 5th District has one of the highest rates of job losses of any district in the country, he said, and people want a candidate who will work hard to create jobs.

“I worry about the middle class getting squeezed. People are suffering,” he recently told the Journal. “They’re worried about losing their homes. People are hurting and they want solutions.”

Kennedy says he’s a good listener, a man who can work with Republicans to solve problems. He’s more even-tempered than Foxx. He says he wants to concentrate on creating jobs and improving education, rather than wedge issues such as gay rights. He wants to take away profit motives to ship jobs overseas by giving tax incentives to companies that hire and keep American workers. Tax incentives for new technology will help as well, he said, as will putting more money into alternative forms of energy. He realizes that money for efforts such as the Blue Ridge Parkway Protection Act is money well spent.

Kennedy said that he sees running for office “as a chance to serve others.”

The Journal endorses Billy Kennedy for the 5th District congressional seat.

So far our ad has only run in the suburbs of Winston-Salem. Help us raise the money we need to run it across the district between now and election day. Think of how sweet it would be on November 3 to wake up without Virginia Foxx's brand of rancid hatemongering in Washington. And the DCCC will not lift a finger to help. Will you? Here. We can do this!



Earlier today we asked you to consider helping us get our Virginia Foxx ad on TV in northwestern North Carolina. Several people have asked me to contrast Foxx with the Democrat running for the seat she presently occupies, Billy Kennedy, one of the first candidates endorsed by Blue America this year. Rather than go over old ground or republishing one of the half dozen posts we've done on Billy and his campaign, we called him and asked him about how he differs from Foxx on the issue foremost in the minds of ordinary American families-- getting the economy back on its feet again. "Let me get this straight," he started... "if the Republicans have their way, they would take us back to the worst economic policies of the last century by keeping tax cuts for millionaires. I say we just can’t afford it. We have work to do." He sent me this video of his opponent spewing her lies on the floor of the House and asked me to share it today:

Virginia Foxx is great at talking about lowering taxes and controlling government spending, but her rhetoric is just revisionist history. Here are a few of the facts:

• In June 2001, the first of the Republican tax cuts was signed. Three years later, there were 600,000 fewer jobs in our economy.

• The tax cuts at the high end have not produced any jobs. In fact, in Virginia Foxx’s own district, unemployment in Western NC’s 5th district has gone from 5.1% the year Virginia Foxx was elected to 11.2% in 2010. Of the past 12 presidents, the top six in terms of job creation were all Democrats.

• It’s no coincidence that 84 percent of the debt incurred since 1980 has been under Republican Presidents. Republican presidents haven’t balanced a budget in the past 34 years.

• Congressional Republicans’ plan to permanently extend the millionaires’ tax cuts would add $4 trillion dollars to the deficit over the next ten years, doubling the deficit, and irresponsibly leaving the bill for our grandchildren to pay.

Goal ThermometerIf the tax cuts for millionaires are left to expire, as few as 1-3% of small businesses would be subject to higher taxes, including Rep. Foxx, the wealthiest member of the NC delegation in Congress. But under her plan the rest of us are left holding the bill. Americans must make tough choices, she’ll say, but the sacrifices won’t be made by her or her wealthy pals.

If Congress keeps coddling the nation's wealthiest few, this will mean an astronomical $830 billion give-away to these millionaires! We must put an end to the increasing government debt - which has been growing steadily since the 1980’s."

What you don’t get with Virginia Foxx is the complete truth. She will tell you what you want to hear-- even at the expense of the working people she supposedly represents.

There are several ways you can help Billy beat Foxx today. One would be to hit the thermometer and donate to the Blue America ad campaign our PAC is running against Foxx as of today. The other would be to donate directly to Billy's campaign here.



Would You Like To Help Retire Hatemonger Virginia Foxx? by Howie Klein, crossposted at DWT


It's very nice that Illinois Republican Rep. Aaron Schock works out in a gym and wears lavender blouses and chartreuse belts, and it's a step forward-- I think-- that California Republican Rep. David Dreier no longer even bothers to pretend and is basically "out" Inside the Beltway, having discarded the closet everywhere except in the suburban L.A. district he rarely even visits and has no real connection to. Both of these gay closet cases, however, along with a dozen others, vote against gay equality time and time again-- from opposing protecting the LGBT community from hate crimes to opposing ending Don't Ask Don't Tell and ENDA.

As recently outed homophobic state Senator Roy Ashburn (R-CA) explained when asked why he voted against all issues regarding equality for gay people, Republican closet queens live in terror of being outed. "I was hiding," he told California journalist Patt Morrison. "I was so in terror, I could not allow any attention to come my way. So any measure that had to do with the subject of sexual orientation was an automatic 'no' vote. I was paralyzed by this fear, and so I voted without even looking at the content. The purpose of government is to protect the rights of people under the law, regardless of our skin color, national origin, our height, our weight, our sexual orientation. This is a nation predicated on the belief that there is no discrimination on those characteristics, and so my vote denied people equal treatment, and I'm truly sorry for that."
One day Dreier and Schock will give similar interviews. Virginia Foxx never will.

As far as I know, Virginia Foxx isn't gay. Her anti-gay voting record-- the most virulently anti-gay voting record in Congress-- is fueled by pure, unmitigated hatred. Dreier, Schock and all the GOP closet cases voted against the hate crimes bill named for Matthew Shepard, but only Virginia Foxx managed to take to the House floor and spit on Shepard's memory while his mother sat in the visitor's gallery:

Foxx is a sick cookie no matter how you look at it. Her bigotry and hatred know no bounds. Aside from her jihad against the LGBT community, she has consistently voted against ordinary working families, and bears a particular animus against public education. She was one of only 13 Members of Congress this year to vote against a bipartisan resolution to support the goals and ideals of the National School Lunch Program, against recognizing that our pupils deserve access to high-quality, safe and nutritious meals in school. 155 Republicans, including the entire leadership, voted for it. Foxx and a dozen radical right antisocial nihilists were the only NO votes.

Today Blue America began running television spots in Foxx's northwestern North Carolina district. She was chosen for this distinction in an open vote of Blue America contributors. And she won by a landslide. Here's the ad we made, which started running today:

I hope you like it. I hope you like it enough to keep it running in Forsyth County and help us spread it west through Yadkin, Wilkes and Iredell counties all the way to Watauga and Ashe. Replacing a reactionary, narrow-minded hater and bigot like Foxx with an enlightened man of the people like Billy Kennedy would be a giant step, not just for North Carolina but for the whole country. The cost is fairly reasonable to run these ads in the Winston-Salem suburbs-- the most expensive ad market in the district-- and that's what we're doing right now. Let me give you an idea about some of the prime time spots we've bought so far and what we've paid:

Goal ThermometerThe Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC: $25.50
The Daily Show w/Jon Stewart on Comedy Central: $23.80
Morning Joe on MSNBC: $13.60
Anderson Cooper 360 on CNN: $59.50
American Morning on CNN: $28.05
The Ed Show on MSNBC: $25.50
Countdown w/Keith Olbermann on MSNBC: $25.50
The Colbert Report on Comedy Central: $23.80
Hardball w/Chris Matthews on MSNBC: $8.50

Can you help us keep the ad running? One of the things that makes Blue America different from other PACs is that every cent donated goes on the air. There are no commissions and no rake-offs. Everyone is a volunteer, and no one charges any expenses to the contributions. The ads were made by people who believe in Billy Kennedy and are outraged by Virginia Foxx's politics of divisiveness.

If you donate $25.50, that means another airing of the ad on Rachel's or Keith's show. And we'd like to expand the buy, in terms of time, geography and... we'd even like to put it on Fox (don't worry, we don't advertise on Glenn Beck's hate talk show), HGTV and the Weather Channel! Please consider donating here. You can also send a check made out to Blue America PAC to PO Box 27201, Los Angeles, CA 90027.



We'll Make An Ad For The Worst Republican You Know-- Just Tell Us Who

Two progressive political action committees, Blue America and Americans For America, have teamed up to do a series of video ads highlighting the worst the GOP has to offer. Last week we unveiled our first in the series, highlighting Sarah Palin, Rand Paul and John Boehner (above). Yecchhh, huh? Many say there are even worse-- or, at least, just as bad. Would you like to vote on who we should include in the next video in our series?

This week we're considering five more-- and there'll be others between now and November, of course. First up, though are five especially unsavory Republicans, 4 House incumbents-- Michele Bachmann (R-MN), Ken Calvert (R-CA), Virginia Foxx (R-NC), and Steve King (R-IA)-- plus one challenger for an open seat, Karl Rove protégé and disgraced ex-U.S. Attorney Tim Griffin.

Here's how you vote: just make a donation on the page dedicated to the culprit of your choice. If you click on the picture below, you go directly to their page. Because we're progressives and not conservatives, a one dollar donation equals the same single vote as a one hundred dollar donation. Now, one of the great aspects of this is that each one of these exceptionally bad Republicans has an exceptionally good Democrat running for the seat. Believe me, that isn't easy to find. I mean, Republican John Boozman in Arkansas, for example, is just terrible but his Democratic opponent, Blanche Lincoln, is just as bad. We won't be offering any Hobbesian choices like that. In Arkansas, to stick with that state as the example, the woman running against Griffin is state Senate Majority Leader and proven progressive Joyce Elliott.

So, we're happy to announce that all of the money raised through this little contest will be used to help voters understand that there's a difference between the Republican and the Democrat running for the seat that gets the most votes. Who do you think is the worst of the worst?

Michele Bachmann:


boehner

Ken Calvert:


boehner

Virginia Foxx:


boehner

Tim Griffin:


boehner

Steve King:


boehner



Live Chat: Blue America Welcomes Billy Kennedy (NC-05)

When I first heard North Carolina farmer/carpenter Billy Kennedy-- an actual progressive, non-Blue Dog, real-life Democrat-- was going to run against lunatic fringe hatemonger Virginia Foxx, I was very excited and I realized that Americans from all over the country would be interested in this race. There are few members of Congress as bigoted and contemptible as Foxx. But as I've gotten to know Billy a bit I realize that regardless of how awful Foxx is, he'd make a truly exceptional, classic Representative of the people.

He sounds, refreshingly, like a real life, common sense American, rather than like some politician. If there's some good stuff coming out of the Tea Party movement-- once you wade through all the psychotic racism and extremist rhetoric-- you find the kind of populism many of us crave, including Billy. Believe me, this just doesn't appeal to progressives and Democrats alone-- Billy on the stump:

“The bank bailouts didn’t help keep homeowners in their homes. It only helped the banks who are still paying outrageous bonuses. The mortgage crisis is not over, and keeping families in their homes needs to be a priority.”

When the House passed HR 4626 this week-- a bill to end the anti-trust exemption for Insurance monopolies (which Foxx, predictably, voted to kill-- Billy had a clear response that anyone, even people without law degrees, could understand:

The insurance companies spend most of their waking hours trying to figure out how to avoid paying for people’s medical expenses so they can boost their profit margins. They get away with massive premium price increases and benefits cutting because they have virtually no competition. This is because they enjoy an anti-trust exemption which allows them to engage in price fixing and collusive activity.

The result? By 2008, according to the American Medical Association, a single health insurer controlled 30% or more of the health insurance market in 90% of the metropolitan markets in the country. And, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, health premiums have gone up by 131% for family coverage from 1999 to 2009.

If we are serious about promoting competition among insurance companies to hold down costs, the repeal of the anti-trust exemption is a no-brainer.

People get that and when Blue America announced a couple of days ago that we would be endorsing Billy's candidacy today, there was an immediate outpouring of grassroots contributions that stunned John, Digby and I. We're hoping to give his campaign a boost today with the chat at below in the comments section. But even announcing it has inspired Democrats who still believe in (real) Hope and (real) Change. When Billy explains healthcare reform by saying "It’s not fair for people to work all their lives and then loose everything when they are sick," people who hear him know he's going to go to Washington and work for ordinary North Carolina families, not for the kinds of wealthy and powerful vested interests Virginia Foxx is always catering to (when she isn't demagoging against gay people, public education and regular working families in her own district).

There aren't going to be any clearer choices between an advocate of people-oriented good government and an advocate of maintaining the status quo on behalf of the wealthy powerful special interests than the race in NC-5 between Billy Kennedy and Virginia Foxx. Foxx doesn't think her wealthy backers should be forced to pay taxes to educate a bunch of poor people's children. Billy has a very different perspective on the role of government in a healthy society:

“America needs a vibrant middle class and successful small businesses to survive. The middle class depends on quality public education available for all and jobs that pay a living wage... People have been benefiting from government programs for a long time in this country and still are. What would our Fifth District be like had the rural electric cooperatives not been started by the government? The government is our common wealth, our school systems, secure banking, police and fire departments, roads and water systems belong collectively to us all. And it’s our responsibility to manage our collective wealth wisely.

"No one makes it all on their own. We all benefit from successful government programs. Virginia got her BA, MA and ED from our outstanding public North Carolina Universities and she’s been on the dole ever since. She’s been living off the N.C. taxpayers, gaming the system and now she wants to deny the same opportunity she had to everyone else. Just last weekend she said that she didn’t believe that federal funds should be used for education.

"I went to college with the help of federal programs. Last year’s federal stimulus money went to our colleges and local schools supporting, and in some cases saving teaching positions, in this tough economy. Students don’t get a second chance; you can’t abandon them. If their basic educational needs are not met, they become economically disadvantaged, costing us all more in the end. Countries with higher literacy rates have more developed and thriving democracies. Investing in education is money well spent. We need an educated workforce to compete. We need good jobs. We need to be leading the world in new technologies, green technologies. We need to promote these new green technologies with tax credits at the state and federal levels. We need to renew our manufacturing base. Bring the work back home."

NC-5 in northwestern North Carolina isn't exactly prime territory for an outspoken Democrat running a grassroots campaign. Not only does the district have a horrifying PVI of R +15, the DCCC is ignoring the race entirely-- which explains why there isn't a Blue Dog running, and Billy's campaign is a 100% people-powered effort. Boone, Mount Airy (the model for Andy Griffith's Mayberry), and the Piedmont suburbs of Winston-Salem only gave Obama 38% of its vote in 2008, while re-electing Foxx with 58% of the vote. But between a Tea Party candidate campaigning against Foxx from the right and Billy's plain-spoken on the ground outreach, the anti-incumbent wave building nationwide this year could unseat an entrenched Republican in a red district, which is just what Alan Grayson and Eric Massa did with our help last year. Please consider contributing directly to Billy's campaign here at the Blue America page.




Paid for by Blue America PAC, blueamerica.crooksandliars.com, not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee.