OFA should be ashamed of itself for supporting a putrid Blue Dog like Jim Matheson in Utah

Blue America must be shaking Jim Matheson up since we threw our support behind Claudia Wright in the upcoming primary. I know, you're thinking, could a progressive win an election in the state of "Big Love?" I think she has a chance to beat out a terrible Blue Dog, but in the end we're still sending a powerful message to the Dems. The culture to support an incumbent by Congress is very problematic for a variety of reasons. At times it's a smart play, but as we've seen with this White House, when they support a Joe Lieberman for example, they get nothing in return except for headaches.

Jim Matheson is a terrible Blue Dog who votes with Republicans to recommit bills all the time. As an example, he voted to recommit the hate crimes bill which was a favorite target for Tony Perkins and the Focus on the Family's of the extreme religious right. Luckily they lost and the bill passed.

And since we backed Claudia, Matheson suddenly stands up on the floor of Congress and demands the repeal of DADT. You see a pattern here, right?

OFA is also putting out the call to arms in support of Matheson:

Down with Tyranny:

Wednesday night Obama's inexperienced and astoundingly incompetent political team struck again. This time OFA head Mitch Stewart, who reports to conservative Democratic shill Tim Kaine at the DNC-- a bastion of people power under Howard Dean, now, once again, a failing cog in the corporate machine-- sent out an emergency letter to Utah Democrats begging Obama to help save the mangy ass of anti-healthcare, anti-Choice, anti-gay, anti-environment, anti-reform corporatist and Blue Dog Jim Matheson, whose support has been crumbling as Tuesday's primary nears. With Claudia Wright surging and Matheson panicking, OFA asked Democrats to forget Matheson's putrid voting record-- not putrid by GOP standards; he's one of the original Boehner Boys-- and remember that there was one vote sometime this year where Matheson voted with Obama:

President Obama needs us to elect strong allies who will help him continue his fight for change. This week, one of those allies-- Utah Rep. Jim Matheson-- needs our help. The primary election is June 22nd, so there's no time to lose. [Please kick me if I vote for Obama in 2012, even if the GOP runs Palin or Romney.]

Rep. Jim Matheson stood with the President in support of the Recovery Act in 2009-- creating or saving 25,000 jobs in Utah and helping millions more around the country. He fought hard for the recovery-- and was a major reason we all won this huge victory for families and small businesses. Now, we need your help to fight for him.

Can you help us get the word out? With our Neighbor to Neighbor tool, you can easily make calls from home to voters in Utah's 2nd Congressional District.

Yes, we do expect OFA to do the same thing for John Barrow because Blue America's Regina Thomas is running well in Georgia. In this time of unrest on the progressive side I think Blue America has stood tall and we're holding as many Blue Dogs accountable as possible. It took the conservative movement decades to carve up their party and we've been underway helping to elect as many progressives as we can because our policies actually would help Americans and their families instead of Big Corp.

Digby writes:

That OFA message is terribly misleading. The stimulus was the only vote Matheson took in support of the president's agenda. This makes it sound as if he's been a stalwart supporter and it's just ... a lie. If there's one thing we should demand of the White House and Party if they intervene in primaries (which they shouldn't do in the first place) it's that they don't pull that crap on their own voters. They can make the case that Matheson has seniority or that he's more likely to beat the Republican if that's what they think, but this is really dishonest. He is not an ally of the president unless the president is ready to concede that he's working behind the scenes with Republicans to tank his own agenda. (Well ...)

I hope the membership of the OFA is savvy enough to do their own research although you can't blame them for trusting the Party and the White House not to lie to them in quite this way. Who would guess that they would try to elect someone who repeatedly votes with the Republicans over someone who will vote with the Democratic majority most of the time? To anyone who doesn't subscribe to conspiracy theories, it just doesn't make sense.

It is possible to win Utah and Georgia and Blue America did a great job in 2008. I didn't endorse a presidential candidate and neither did Blue America:

Although pressured to do so, Blue America didn't endorse anyone in the presidential primary-- or even in the general election-- last time around. In the primary we didn't feel there was anyone really worth endorsing enough to take our efforts and resources away from helping elect now Congressmembers Alan Grayson, Gary Peters, Carol Shea-Porter and Donna Edwards...

As Digby sez, please Send a Message to the Democrats.



Blue America has decided to lend a hand to the grassroots campaign going on in Utah's second congressional district on behalf of intrepid progressive Claudia Wright. Claudia will face Blue Dog Jim Matheson June 22. We need to move forward and get this ad on TV immediately. If you don't have time to read the rest of this post but want to help, you can do it by clicking on this link-- and for as little as $5 get the ad up on CNN.

Yesterday I was shocked that one of the Inside-the-Beltway publications, The Hill, actually took note of Claudia's challenge to Matheson. They rarely do that and kind of function as a part of the company town incumbent protection program, just like the shills at the DCCC, who are, of course, fully backing Matheson despite his penchant for habitually crossing the aisle to vote with Republicans.

Rep. Jim Matheson (D-Utah) had never been challenged in a primary before this year, in which he’s fighting off a political newcomer who could make him the latest incumbent casualty.

Retired schoolteacher Claudia Wright gained traction in Utah’s 2nd district on a strongly progressive platform, while trying to paint the five-term Blue Dog Democrat as inaccessible and out of touch with constituents.

She had never sought elected office and got on the ballot by capturing 45 percent of the delegates’ votes at the state party convention last month. She needed 40 percent to qualify.

Matheson got 55 percent of the delegates’ votes but needed 60 percent to avoid the June 22 primary.

University of Utah political scientist Matthew Burbank said the convention outcome shows this election will be, more than anything, a referendum on Matheson, who may have alienated his base with his “no” vote on healthcare reform.

...Matheson holds a hefty fundraising advantage, with well over $1 million raised compared to Wright’s roughly $25,000.

But Wright argues her lower fundraising numbers belie her campaign’s appeal, given her performance at the state party convention. She said her campaign is refusing to take corporate political action committee (PAC) money, and is instead relying on the media and volunteers going door to door to get out the word.

“Old-style politics, shoe leather and person-to-person, trying to get them to come our way: That’s what we’ve been doing since day one,” Wright said. “We’ve got volunteers across the state who have been doing all of that ... It’s the only way to do this.” ... Matheson’s campaign did not respond to requests for comment.

The average Blue America contribution is $45.00 and it's how we raised all the money we've been able to put into campaigns to help elect progressives like Alan Grayson, Donna Edwards, Carol Shea-Porter, Jeff Merkley, John Hall, Hilda Solis, Steve Cohen, Gary Peters, and many others-- as well as to help progressive champions who haven't gone all the way (yet), like Marcy Winograd, Ned Lamont, Doug Tudor, Darcy Burner and Coleen Rowley. But I tried something new this time-- basically because we had no time. I went to every wealthy gay person I know and begged for the money. It was an exercise in humility. But I'm bad at it and I came up blank. Either they're already donating directly to her campaign or they didn't want to take a chance on a longshot candidate. It doesn't matter how good she is, how gay she is, how bad he is... just that she's not a likely winner. Of course her primary challenge has already gotten Matheson-- who voted with the GOP to table the Hate Crimes Bill-- to vote to repeal DADT (and to even show up at a Gay Pride event-- first time ever-- in Salt Lake City last week). So... I'm putting in the full legal amount I can donate personally and, anyone got $45 they wanna chip in?

Actually, Jacquie's put together a whole menu of spots you can buy with the prices on a special ActBlue page. So that ad up top is what you get to put on the cable TV programs you pick for that price shown next to it. It's kind of fun. Take a look-- and do what you can. Oh, and here's a link to the live chat we did with Claudia last month at Crooks and Liars.




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