Steve Israel's Ignored WA-08, so Jason Richie Will Use Own Strategy to Beat Loathsome Dave Reichert

Blue America’s last endorsement of the 2014 cycle is Jason Ritchie, the candidate running for the seat currently held by conservative Republican Dave Reichert in a swing district that stretches from the suburbs south and east of Seattle all the way out to Wenatchee and Ellensburg.

Obama won the district both times, by almost 15,000 against McCain and by close to 5,000 against Romney. Both of Washington’s Democratic senators, Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray, also won WA-08.

It’s one of the likeliest districts for a Democratic take-over in the country, but Steve Israel has taken it off the table and the DCCC is not contesting it or helping Jason in any way. There hasn’t been a single poll other than the one above, Reichert refuses to debate and he’s raised $906,389 to Jason’s $133,323.

We’re asking you to consider chipping in whatever you can to help Jason, a stalwart progressive, with his field operation and Get Out The Vote efforts.

Reichert is a GOP hack and votes like a zombie— backing the Tea Party in their demands to shut down the government, suing President Obama and 54 votes cast for wiping out the Affordable Care Act. Reichert, who wants to eventually run for governor, has a clear record as a cog in the Republican Party obstructionist machine. We feel that once Steve Israel is gone from the DCCC, WA-08 will be a natural battleground for the Democrats and we are impressed that Jason has talked about the need to mount a two-cycle strategy for taking back the district.

“We're running a strong field operation with over 260,000 voter contacts to date,” he told us this week. “Win or lose, I'll be back in 2016 and we're building the infrastructure, identifying the voters, and organizing to win now and in the future. This is a purple district. This is a winnable district— but I need your help in order to make that potential a reality.”

One of the most important planks in his platform has been his advocacy on behalf of students and their families who have become mired in debt while seeking an education. While Germany has just passed legislation to guarantee free university education for all qualified students, in America college is becoming more and more out of reach for the children of the working class.

“40 million U.S. citizens currently owe more than $1.2 trillion in student debt,” says Jason. “7 out of 10 college students graduate with a student loan debt that averages $29,000. These debts often prohibit young people from buying their own homes or investing back into our economy.” He wants to go to Congress to do something about it.

If we are serious about generating an economic stimulus, we can get money back into the hands of millions of Americans by simply allowing them to refinance their student loans. I would support the House version of Elizabeth Warren’s Bank on Student Loan Refinancing Act (Senate Bill 2292), which would have allowed people with student loans taken out prior to 2010 to refinance at 3.86%. This is dramatically lower than the 7.5% that most student loan recipients currently pay.
 
Partisan Republicans like Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell blocked this legislation from a vote in the Senate. When it does pass, I'll co-sponsor the House version and I'll fight for its passage into law.

People shouldn't have to go bankrupt to afford a college education. Republicans refuse to stand up for the millions of people with student loans paying outrageous interest rates. I'll make fighting for student debt relief a priority.

There will be no more new Blue America candidates this cycle. Let’s give Jason a strong welcome on our ActBlue list.



Why Blue America Is Taking A Time Out

For the rest of this week, you are likely to be bombarded with hysterical, desperate spam from the DCCC, DSCC and their myriad candidates…ugh.

The New Dems and Third Way candidates from the Republican wing of the Democratic Party have been instructed to send out as many as 5 e-mails per day leading up to Monday, the last day of the FEC's first quarter. So we're not going to send any more e-mails out 'til after that circus is over.

Today, though-- we're offering to send a $1,000 check from our PAC to whichever House candidate our members prefer. You tell us who.

Just go to the regular Blue America page and contribute-- any amount-- to whichever candidate or candidates you would like to see get the extra grand. The candidate that gets the most contributions (not necessarily the most cash) gets the PAC check. Clean and easy!

We want to know who you're feeling so far this cycle. We're not going to make any pitches.

All the candidates on this page have been vetted as Blue America '14 candidates and are worthy of your vote and dollars.

Digby, John and I write about them all the time. You can search our sites for posts to learn more about each of of them.

Or just contribute to the one you already know enough about to want to see win in November.

Thanks,

Digby, John, Howie



Open seat in California--Let's turn it BLUE!

Friday morning the PCCC officially endorsed Lee Rogers and Washington Post columnist Greg Sargent, under the eye-catching headline, "A Dem Candidate Who Would Expand O'Care And Social Security," went beyond the Beltway conventional wisdom/claptrap and got to the heart of why the race in the Santa Clarita, Antelope and Simi Valleys (CA-25) is so important for progressives.
Yesterday, GOP Rep. Buck McKeon, a longtime member of Congress and chairman of the Armed Services Committee, announced his retirement. The move could pave the way for an interesting experiment, one that could provide a glimpse into how progressive policies play in a swing district that’s already very difficult for Democrats.

The Democrat vying for the seat is Dr. Lee Rogers, who not only aggressively embraces Obamacare, but wants to expand it to achieve “universal” coverage, and even wants to expand Social Security. In an indication of what this candidacy might look like, the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, which supports Rogers, notes that he champions “Medicare access for all,” and in a PCCC email going out today, Rogers says: “I’ll fight to allow people to buy into Medicare. I’ll push for Medicare to negotiate drug prices to lower costs. And I promise to help bring us closer to universal healthcare coverage.”

…Make no mistake, this one will be a steep climb for Dems. Dave Wasserman of the Cook Political Report doesn’t think Rogers has a shot, because a big chunk of the district is made up of Latino voters among whom turnout could drop off in a midterm election. “This district has unique voting patterns that more or less doom his candidacy from the start,” Wasserman says.

However, it could still be an interesting test of progressive messaging at a time when public worries about inequality and declining economic mobility seem to be rising. ”If he gets more than 45 percent than he got in 2012, maybe that’s a sign his message was effective,” Wasserman says.

Whatever his chances, the race is worth watching, partly for the simple reason that Rogers’ support for expanding Social Security is a relative rarity among Dem candidates. The issue is emerging as an increasingly important issue for progressives, one central in the debate over whether the Democratic Party should embrace a truly economically progressive platform. It’ll be interesting to see how expanding Social Security (and Obamacare) play politically, given that many Dems have shied away from such positions-- even as there is strong public support for protecting social insurance and the safety net.
In the past, we've written about DCCC Chairman Steve Israel's "mystery meat" candidates. Israel warns candidates to not take controversial stands on big issues, especially not progressive stands. When I asked one freshman who ran as a progressive and then joined the Wall Street-financed New Dems and started a distinct pattern of voting against the progressive agenda she ran on, she was very frank and told me she had followed the DCCC's instructions to freshmen "100%" and that that was how they told her she could be reelected (in her D+3 district that Obama won with 56 and 54% in 2008 and 2012).

Friday, when Israel was crowing about McKeon's resignation in a press release, he didn't even mention Rogers' name, even though Rogers beat McKeon in the Antelope Valley in 2012-- the fastest growing third of the district and an area McKeon had never previously lost-- and even though many members of the California House delegation have been Rogers' most vocal and persistent champions.

Israel: “Congressman McKeon is getting in a crowded line of Republican moderates who are abandoning John Boehner’s broken Congress so that they don’t have to defend their party’s indefensible priorities to the voters. Congressman McKeon’s retirement puts yet another Republican-held seat into reach for Democrats, as he joins the likes of Tom Latham, Jon Runyan and Frank Wolf and others in rejecting the irresponsible behavior of their party. In this competitive district, Democrats will stand behind a candidate who is dedicated to working across the aisle to solve problems for hardworking California families and who will put a premium on creating jobs and growing the middle class. Meanwhile, Republicans are already facing yet another divisive primary where they will compete in a brutal race to the right.”

Buck McKeon, a "moderate?" Only in a topsy turvy Beltway universe where "ex"-Blue Dog Steve Israel could be head of the DCCC. McKeon is a radical right ideologue whose political positions are very extreme across the board. He was the financial go-to person in the Mormon jihad against LGBT equality in California. He has consistently and unwaveringly voted against women's rights, against unions, against economic security for working people, against basic human rights, against environmental sanity.

Sargent's point is well-taken. What would happen if grassroots Democrats like Rogers-- and like the rest of the Blue America endorsed candidates-- who espouse the actual values and principles of the Democratic Party, were the ones who were financed by the DCCC, instead of the conservatives Israel has dug up? For one thing, voters would have a real choice on election day, something conservative Democrats like Israel fear to the core of their being.

Please join us today in reaffirming Blue America's three-year old determination to turn CA-25, not just blue, but PROGRESSIVE. You can do that by contributing to Lee Rogers' campaign here.

We are all in this together,
Howie, for Digby, John and the Blue America team



Aside From Steve Israel, Where Does Empty Suit Pete Aguilar Get His Campaign Money?

In 2012 Steve Israel's empty suit candidate lost to TWO Republicans in a D+5 district!

Redlands’s unelected Mayor, City Councilman Pete Aguilar, has never actually ever done anything well. In fact, most people regarded him as an unaffiliated conservative or a Republican until Steve Israel encouraged him to run for a nice blue congressional seat as a Democrat.

Under Aguilar's leadership, once thriving small businesses in Redlands have been killed by the Wal Mart Aguilar’s administration attracted and now much of the city’s north side is in Detroit-like poverty. 34 year old Pete, simply put, is a failed politician who has never held a job other than at the expense of taxpayers. He's been on the Redlands City Council since 2006 and works part-time as a banking lobbyist.

It also seems as though he doesn’t even crack jokes too well. As you see below, he felt it would be funny to dress up as a 19th century settler-- on his facebook page-- but instead looks like a pedofile. I guess the Redlands city council doesn’t have much going on if he can do this while in his office (probably on the phone with a Wal-Mart manager, life-coach or the Spanish language tutor the DCCC found him in case he's forced into having to participate in a Spanish language debate).

Steve Israel wants this loser to go to Congress and represent a district (CA-31) that is one of the most economically distressed districts in California. And how does Israel think he will get him there? FAR RIGHT REPUBLICAN MONEY! And that’s no joke!

Just take a look at half a dozen of Pete’s max out donors ($5,200) as evidence of Aguilar’s far right strategy to make it to Capitol Hill:

Max Out Donor 1: Jack Dangermond

In addition to maxing out to loser Pete Aguilar, billionaire Jack bundled $45,000 for the NRCC and was one of the state's biggest donors to Ken Calvert and to former Redlands congressman Jerry Lewis. Now isn’t that ironic; he seems attracted too the confluence of conservatism and corruption.

Max Out Donor 2: Stephen Matich

In addition to maxing out to loser Pete Aguilar, Stephen donated thousands and thousands of dollars to California right-wing Republicans Kevin McCarthy, Paul Cook and Ken Calvert. His family has also contributed thousands more to Aguilar-- as well as to half conservative Republicans all over southern California-- not to mention Bush, McCain and Romney.

Max Out Donor 3: John Mirau

In addition to maxing out to empty suit Pete Aguilar, John donated thousands to Republican conservatives Jerry Lewis and Paul Cook.

Max Out Donor 4: Barbara Morris

In addition to maxing out to loser Pete Aguilar, Barbara donated $5000 to Georgia Tea Party extremist Tom Price and $5,000 to the Republican National Committee. I hope she got a good seat at their convention!

Max Out Donor 5: Barry JoLette

In addition to maxing out to loser Pete Aguilar, Barry donated thousands to GOP Establishment hacks John Campbell, Kevin McCarthy and Ed Royce.

Max Out Donor 6: Carol Baker

In addition to maxing out to loser Pete Aguilar, Carol donated thousands to the RNC the NRCC, the NRSC, as well as to John Boehner, Jerry Lewis, Mitt Romney, and $900 to the Exxon Mobil PAC. So I guess we know who Pete wants to protect in Congress…

So let’s see, un-elected mayor Pete Aguilar has taken max out donations-- just this cycle (more last time when he raised Republican money and lost)-- from billionaire bankers and oil executives whose total donations (so far in the 2014 cycle) in already in the tens of thousands of dollars.

That is disgusting and pathetic, and yet again shows how Steve Israel is an incompetent moron, and Pete Aguilar is a perfect recruit for him. This duo really is good at bad jokes.

If we do this, we embarrass this want-to be comic, unelected mayor, Pete Aguilar worse than he already is publicly embarrassing himself.

Maybe Redlands can have a Pete Aguilar comedy club after he loses. Steve Israel can be their opening act!

Let’s get Eloise the money she needs to get on the way towards helping save the ordinary working families of the Inland Empire. Please give what you can today.



Deep Blue District Finally Gets Candidate it Deserves

Every once in a while a grassroots leader emerges who is not only smart, hard-working and philosophically aligned with Blue America, but whose very life embodies the progressive American Dream.

Eloise Reyes is one of those leaders. To spend time with her is to be inspired anew at the promise of what America used to mean and can mean again.

Eloise Reyes will commit to preserving the very best of the American promise. She knows how valuable it is. She's lived it. Please give what you can to help get her into Congress. Thank you.
Eloise grew up in Colton California, the daughter of a Mexican immigrant mom and a Mexican American Dad (who didn't know he was a US citizen as a child!) They were poor people who raised up a bunch of kids who became lawyers, police officers, business owners, public servants and college professors. All those kids worked in the fields alongside their parents, they studied hard and made their way into America's middle class. Eloise became a lawyer, establishing her own private practice while devoting herself to long hours of pro-bono work with Legal Aid for many, many years. She became successful and gave back by becoming a committed grassroots activist working to make life better for her community and her country.

Eloise benefited from a strong family and a strong society that went out of its way to offer opportunity and security to people like her --- and she's committed to making sure that society is available once more to future generations.

Eloise is running for congress against a cookie cutter Democrat named Pete Aguilar who is backed by the DC establishment --- a Democrat so inept that he came in third in California's jungle primary to two Republicans in this deep blue district in the last election. The result was that the progressive majority had no Democrat on the ballot for congress when they cast their votes for President Obama in massive numbers. Why the DCCC thinks it's a good idea to back someone who couldn't do better than that in a presidential year remains a mystery, but they are doing it. And Pete Aguilar could lose this seat again.

This seat can be won by a Democrat next time quite easily --- if the right Democrat is on the ballot.

This is a deep blue district and if the party succeeds in getting their malleable, empty suit (who doesn't even speak Spanish!) on the ballot to face the incumbent Republican, it's just as likely that the progressives in this district won't bother to vote. But they will vote for Eloise Reyes, who is extremely popular and known to be committed to the progressive values of her community. She is someone the people in California 31 relate to as one of them --- because she is one of them.

And she is one of us, too. Here's Eloise on the Chained-CPI:

I grew up in a family where everyone did their part to make ends meet. My brothers, sisters and I all worked the onion fields alongside our parents to help pay for our school clothes. I understand what it means to work your whole life, pay into Social Security and expect to live out your final years without having to make critical choices between food or medicine or rent.

It’s simply wrong to try to balance the budget on the backs of our seniors, veterans and the disabled. I’m running for Congress to make sure that never happens to anyone in San Bernardino, Upland, Redlands or anywhere else in America. Whether it’s a Republican or a Democrat who proposes it, "chained CPI" is just another way of saying "benefits cuts"-- and I will always hold Congress accountable when it comes to keeping the promises we have made to our seniors.

Imagine what it would be like to have Democrats like Eloise in congress, leaders who would step up and proudly declare their opposition to cuts to the very programs that allow working Americans like her parents and her to take chances in their lives, change jobs, start businesses, get advanced degrees, knowing that their risk is mitigated by a society that provides some minimum level support if and when you become too old or sick to work.

Eloise Reyes will commit to preserving the very best of the American promise. She knows how valuable it is. She's lived it.

Blue America is proud to endorse her for the congressional seat in California's 31st district and we hope you'll join us by donating what you can to her campaign here.

We are all in this together,
Digby, for Howie, John, and the Blue America team



Blue America Endorses Paul Clements In Michigan

Last week, MoveOn and PPP polled some of the swing districts where the DCCC protects Republican incumbents. The results were breathtaking, especially for media folks who only get their information from Cook and the DCCC. Blue America candidates are on target to beat long-time Republican incumbents and one of the strongest showings was from first-time candidate, Paul Clements, who's running against Fred Upton in western Michigan. Upton is underwater in terms of his constituents' approval. Only 34% approve of his job performance. 53% disapprove. And if the election were held today, only 38% would vote for him, while 51% would vote for a Democrat. While that's really good news for Paul Clements, even better news is that when voters are told that Upton voted for and backs the Tea Party government shut down, his re-elect numbers really go south. Only 36% of those polled say they would vote for him. 56% say they would vote for his Democratic opponent.

Also last week, Paul Clements introduced Bill McKibben, America’s leading activist on climate change, to an audience of thousands in Kalamazoo. This is important because Kalamazoo is the biggest city in Michigan's 6th district, and in 2014 this district will be ground zero in the fight for action on climate change.

This part of Michigan has been represented by Fred Upton for 20 years but when he was first elected he ran as a mainstream conservative. Once Boehner appointed him to head the House Energy and Commerce Committee he transformed himself into a climate science denier and anti-environment zealot: Upton authored and passed through the House a bill to stop the Environmental Protection Agency regulating greenhouse gasses, he tried to stop federal support for clean energy technologies, and the L.A. Times named him Congress’s #1 enemy of the earth.

Clements got into the race because he sincerely believes we need stronger action on climate change. (There is also Upton’s denial of science on antibiotics, his cutting food stamps amidst rising hunger in his district, his votes against women, workers, seniors, the middle class, African Americans, immigrants, and LGBT equality, his vote to shut down the federal government …) Clements is highlighting that Upton changed his views on climate change to get the Energy and Commerce Committee chairmanship-- just one more example of Upton selling out, but in this case literally selling out all of humanity.

McKibben’s talk is the keynote of a 20-event series Clements has helped to organize to raise awareness and understanding of climate change-– the science, the politics, and what each of us can do. Upton is one of the most vulnerable Republicans in Congress but Steve Israel has protected his seat in the past and continues to do so today. Clements environmental series is a key step in building the coalition to defeat him in 2014.

In just the last 3 months, the American Chemistry Council and the American Petroleum Institute spent $340,000 in ads for Upton, and there will be much more where that came from. Defeating Upton will show that to deny climate science is, in political terms, a losing proposition.

Clements needs your help. Blue America is endorsing him for Congress because of his overall progressive vision, as well as for this opportunity to replace Congress' most toxic anti-environment crusader. Please consider contributing to his grassroots campaign here. This is a very winnable race if Paul can compete with the flood of corporate cash Upton has been sucking up.

We are all in this together,

Howie, for Digby, John and the Blue America team



FEC Quarter Ends Today; Should You Care?

Today's the end of the FEC fundraising quarter and I want to refer you to a post yesterday you may have missed about real bipartisanship, bipartisanship based on compromising that genuinely works for both sides, not compromise based on a combination of opportunism, bribery and one side betraying core values.

Some Members of Congress-- virtually all the Republicans, all the New Dems and every single Blue Dog for example-- finance their political careers by taking legalistic bribes from special interests like Wall Street banks, armaments makers and/or Big Oil. Blue America has been encouraging a new model, one based on congressmen and senators who represent actual citizens and citizens who in turn chip in to help with those Members' campaigns. Our primary avatars for this model has always been Alan Grayson in the House and Bernie Sanders in the Senate.

Like I said, this weekend is another quarterly FEC deadline. You probably got dozens of e-mails from all kinds of phony-baloney Democrats begging for help, primarily ones like Patrick Murphy, Sean Patrick Maloney and Ann Kuster who have worked for the bad guys all year and have only earned your scorn. Instead we'd like to ask you to consider making a contribution to Alan Grayson's campaign. He continues to super-serve ordinary working families, not big, wealthy corporations and their lobbyists.

This week he offered an amendment to an offshore drilling bill that would have guaranteed each state the right to make the ultimate decision about drilling. He put together a coalition of environmentally concerned Democrats and states rights-oriented Republicans, including some of the most right-wing Members of Congress. Big Oil panicked and put pressure of the GOP House leadership to get some of the Republicans to change their votes. Some did-- but not enough. But Big Oil had an ace in the hole: Blue Dog John Barrow (GA), the House Democrat they gave the most money to last year. He and fellow Blue Dog Jim Matheson (UT) were the only Democrats to vote against Grayson's amendment Friday. The amendment lost by one vote... by one vote in a House where Republicans have a 33 vote margin. No Democrat has been able to do anything like that... except Alan Grayson.

Big Oil, Big Finance, the Military Industrial Establishment have every Republican and a good solid chunk of Democrats. We have Alan Grayson. Let's make sure we keep him in Congress. The other names on that page have been vetted with Grayson in mind. We want to find him a team who will be there fighting for the same values and principles, instead of more like John Barrow and Jim Matheson.

UPDATE From Congressman Grayson

To whom does Haliburton give money?

Not me.

Here's how Congress works for most of the Members: they sit in their offices, they cross the street to the Floor of the House to vote every once in a while, and, while in their offices, corporate lobbyist after corporate lobbyist comes to kiss their rings. They kiss that ring with their lips, and, with their hands, they hand over the language that they want inserted into a bill that will help their cause.

Then, after the Members of Congress do the bidding of their corporate masters, they walk across the street to the party HQ, pick up the phone, and ask those same corporations to raise tens of thousands of dollars for their campaigns.

These corporations aren't bankrolling my campaign, because I don't do their bidding. I rely on you. If you want me to keep fighting and keep legislating in the public interest, I need your support before the important June 30th deadline.

Even $5 and $10 contributions, if enough people make them, can determine a race. You can help Alan here.

We ran this amazing video of Grayson already but I want to run it again... it's that good:

And here's another clip that should blow minds-- especially inside the DC Democratic Establishment. "We need more Democrats who are Democrats... As Howard Dean said years and years ago, 'You can't beat a Republican by being a Republican.' Nobody's fooled by that. If the public has a choice between a real Republican and a fake Republican running as a Democrat, they'll choose the real Republican every time. So it's actually self-defeating." He just devastated Steve Israel's entire DCCC strategy:



Are Blue Dogs Boehner's Ace In The Hole Against Teabagger Defections In His Own Caucus?


It shouldn't surprise anyone that the corporately funded-- albeit greatly shriveled-- Blue Dog caucus is working with Wall Street shills John Boehner and Paul Ryan to shred the social safety net for the poorest Americans. This week, after Heath Shuler-- one of the Blue Dogs who has voted more frequently on substantive issues with the GOP than with the Democrats-- went on another of his whiny attacks against Nancy Pelosi, the most corrupt member of the Blue Dog hierarchy, Mike Ross started publicly hinting the Blue Dogs are going to join the GOP jihad against the middle class.

The Blue Dogs were decimated in the November elections as Democratic voters sat on their hands and helped defeat over half the caucus. They lost another member yesterday when California conservative corporate shill Jane Harman announced her retirement from Congress. Among the Blue Dogs defeated in November were many of the ones who voted with Boehner as a default position-- slimy right-wingers like Jim Marshall (GA), Allen Boyd (FL), Bobby Bright (AL), Travis Childers (MS), Glenn Nye (VA), Gene Taylor (MS), Harry Mitchell (AZ), Frank Kratovil (MD), Walt Minnick (ID) and Lincoln Davis (TN). Most of the rest of the defeated Democrats were conservative Blue Dog allies like Michael McMahon (NY), John Adler (NJ), Suzanne Kosmas (FL), Ann Kirkpatrick (AZ) and Ike Skelton (MO). Blue Dog candidates for Senate like Charlie Melancon (LA) and Brad Ellsworth (IN) were soundly beaten and the House challengers backed by the Blue Dogs, like Lori Edwards (FL) and Chad Causey (AR) were all thoroughly thrashed by teabagger sociopaths running as Republicans.

Blue Dogs have an ace in the hole with former caucus member and new DCCC chairman Steve Israel-- who has already been strutting around Washington declaring himself "Rahm without the filthy mouth," meaning he'll be doing everything in his power to keep progressives out of primaries while bolstering anti-Choice, anti-gay, anti-immigrant, anti-union conservatives like Ross, Shuler, Jim Matheson (UT), John Barrow (GA) and the rest of the Blue Dog left behinds. The Blue Dogs are raising a huge warchest from shady lobbyists and corporate sources with which to shoe horn conservatives into Democratic primaries, guaranteeing that voters have no choice between a conservative Republican and a conservative Democrat. Blue America fights that here and could use whatever help you can afford.

The 26-member Blue Dog Coalition met Monday in New York with former President Clinton to discuss ways to move a centrist political agenda through a divided Congress. Clinton advised the group on ways to handle the situation and discussed budget, housing and energy policy, Rep. Jim Matheson (D-Utah) said.

“One of the reasons we invited President Clinton was he had to work with Republicans after the ’94 election,” Ross said.

He said that even though the coalition lost half its members in the most recent election, it might have more clout this Congress.

That’s because Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) could have trouble winning the support of some Tea Party-backed freshmen. The Blue Dog Coalition could provide needed votes to move centrist bills through the chamber, Ross said.

“Blue Dogs have always been about bringing people to the middle,” Ross said. “If we can play a role … we are all about that.”

Coalition member Rep. John Barrow (D-Ga.) told reporters that the Blue Dogs would be looking to partner on ways to reduce burdensome regulations and lessen the negative impact of the Dodd-Frank financial reform act.

Blue Dogs are wrestling to find the right balance between cutting spending and investing to create jobs. Democratic leaders have argued that cutting $32 billion in spending this year could harm the economic recovery.

The Blue Dogs will be focused this year on restoring fiscal discipline while looking to “jumpstart our economy and put people back to work,” Ross said.

Clinton told the group that he believes government should foster innovation to provide the economy with a “new game-changer that creates new types of jobs,” Matheson said.

Ross is hoping to provide the votes Boehner needs when nascent shreds of populism pull teabaggers away from the anti-family, Wall Street agenda that is shared by the Blue Dogs and Republicans of the Boehner-Cantor-Ryan ilk, the architects and strong arms behind Bush's TARP Wall Street bailout.



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!



Blue Dogs have no loyalty or shame. Case in point: AZ's Gabby Giffords

Media error

Rep. Gabby Giffords is the perfect example of why Democrats in Congress should shun Blue Dogs.

Howie Klein explains:

Giffords is looking like the point of the Blue Dog spear being thrust into the House progressive infrastructure. As we pointed out over the weekend, despite Pelosi's efforts to tamp it down, the Blue Dogs are going on the warpath against progressive Democrats, using Henry Waxman's interview with The Hill as an excuse. One thing we can always be sure of inside the Democratic Caucus-- well, two, actually: Blue Dogs will always put self-preservation above the party’s principles, and the DCCC will do whatever it can to help them get re-elected.

Giffords is emblematic of the tragic turn the House Democratic Party has taken. Over the weekend she launched a $350,000 ad buy in the Tucson media market that slams the principled stand Grijalva took against SB1070-- throwing him directly under the bus in order to make herself look sufficiently xenophobic for the bloodthirsty Know Nothing mobs. As you can see in the ad, she makes a solemn vow to fight “these groups” who have protested this unjust law by boycotting the state. “These groups” include Latinos, liberals, and citizens across the country who know an injustice when they see one. She's directly targeting Grijalva, Arizona's most progressive leader and the Congressman who most consistently stands up for those who are hurt by the right wing’s agenda.

We hear that other campaigns, pollsters, donors and politicians joined Grijalva's staff in futile attempts to show Giffords the obvious-- Democrats using other Democrats as punching bags is bad news for everyone. And when DCCC leaders, such as Vice Chair Wasserman Schultz, were approached with the argument that Giffords should not run the ad for obvious reasons, the argument fell on deaf ears. (Instead, they’re rewarding her behavior with close to a million dollars in independent expenditures.) It’s bad enough when so-called Democrats habitually vote against our agenda to save their seats, often with DCCC prompting. Now they're spending Democratic money to hurt real Democrats to save their seats.

Rep. Raul Grijalva is one of the true heroes in Arizona. He stood up against Arizona's odious and racist SB 1070 law when it was passed when most politicians remained silent. Howie, Digby and myself are supporting Grijalva's re-election bid because of his spine so we started an Act Blue page called: One America. We've raised over 4,000 dollars for him so far. Please pitch in if you can. The racism and xenophobia that we are witnessing is emblematic of the tried and true race-baiting tactics that the extreme right revels in and and it's seeping in to Democratic campaigning now too. Unfortunately for this great nation, our history is littered with this intolerable technique at the expense of minorities that live here. It's sad and embarrassing. The way to battle this kind of cancer is to point it out and expose it to the sunlight. Like all malignant ideas, bringing light to darkness always has a cleansing effect.

Howie talked to Grijalva before we started to run these stories and his latest quote nails the situation perfectly:

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