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:

Continue reading »



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.



Live Chat: Blue America Welcomes Beth Krom (D-CA)

This year the DCCC has decided to spend virtually all of its resources playing defense. They're not spending money on replacing out-of-step, obstructionist Republicans -- not even vulnerable ones like John Boehner, Paul Ryan, Thaddeus McCotter and John Campbell -- but on saving the worthless hides of the mistrusted Blue Dogs who vote most frequently with the GOP and who have opposed most of the president's Change Agenda -- reflexive reactionaries like Travis Childers (MS), Bobby Bright (AL) and Walt Minnick (ID). So once again, it's up to grassroots and netroots organizations like ours -- who helped find and support progressives the DCCC ignored, like Alan Grayson, Donna Edwards, John Hall, and Carol Shea-Porter -- to work toward making Congress a more receptive place for progressive values and ideas that put ordinary working people before wealthy corporate interests. And today we want to introduce you to one of those candidates, Orange County activist Beth Krom. She's joining us live in the comments section below.

Beth is a proven, intrepid, can-do progressive -- a former mayor of Irvine and current City Council member of that city-- who is running for the Orange County seat, CA-48, currently help by one of the most ridiculous of all California Republicans, "Birther Amendment" author John Campbell. The district used to be solidly red but has been changing -- and rapidly. Old style pundits and prognosticators may not have noticed -- they're better at reporting what happened than predicting what's happening -- but districts like Beth's have undergone profound demographic changes. In 2008, in fact, Obama narrowly won the 48th, which helped him run up a 67-31% statewide vote against John McCain.

A dedicated environmental activist, she first ran for City Council in 2000 to stop an international airport from being built at Orange County’s former El Toro Marine Base. Within the first two years she served, a countywide initiative was drafted and passed that rezoned El Toro for park and open space use. Today, where the airport was proposed, the Orange County Great Park is being developed. The park is the missing link in, what will be, once restored, the longest urban wilderness corridor in America, extending from the ocean at Crystal Cove to the Mexican border. When we talked with Beth about the importance of smart growth, open space preservation and balanced planning, she pointed out that "buildings don’t make communities; people make communities."

Beth is exactly the kind of candidate we would like to see replacing a careerist clown and partisan hack like Campbell. Profoundly anti-environmental -- yet representing one of the most beautiful stretches of seacoast in America -- Campbell is every irresponsible developer's fondest dream. Beth has a very different vision for Orange County and for America.

As we experience the “shock and awe” that has gripped the nation in the wake of the worst offshore oil spill in human history, it’s important to consider that our thirst for oil has led to policies that place our entire ecosystem at risk.

When everything is out of balance, we feel the effects on a daily basis. An economy out of balance, a health-care system out of balance and a planet out of balance, reflect public policies that are out of balance. There are no perfect solutions, but ignoring our problems will only lead to greater challenges in the future.

Politics is not about the black and white, it’s about the thousand shades of gray. It takes smart, courageous politicians to advance the kind of policies that will inspire change and help to move our country forward.

We think Beth can win and we think she'll bring a tremendous improvement to Congress and to Orange County is she does. If you can, please consider giving her a hand at the Blue America ActBlue page.



Blue America Welcomes Doug Tudor (FL-12)

Tudor-GreySuit-a_380b7.jpg

In 2008 Doug Tudor was the Democratic nominee in an impossible race against an entrenched, powerful incumbent, multimillionaire Adam "Howdy Doody Nimrod" Putnam. An outspoken grassroots progressive, Doug ran without the backing of the DCCC and with the animus of the Florida powerbroker Debbie Wasserman Schultz. And yet... Doug did as well against Putnam as any of the losing Democratic candidates-- other than Joe Garcia-- that the DCCC and Wasserman Schultz did back. Conservative Democrat Christine Jennings got boatloads of DCCC-inspired cash and wound up with 37% of the vote. Conservative Democratic incumbent Tim Mahoney, a Rahm and Debbie special, raised over $3 million and barely managed to break 40%. And although the netroots had to force Wasserman Schultz' hand, she eventually backed Annette Taddeo and Raul Martinez-- with hundreds of thousand of dollars-- and each got 42% of the vote on election day. Doug-- with nothing but grassroots support-- and a budget of $109,851 (against Putnam's eye-popping $2,054,571) wound up with 43%. Imagine if he had had Democratic Party support! (As Chris Bowers reported yesterday, the DCCC spent over $14 million on Blue Dogs and other conservatives who vote against Democratic initiatives as a matter of course.)

Well, with Putnam leaving Congress in the hopes of plaguing Florida consumers on the way to a gubernatorial run in the future, the DCCC did decide to pump some money into FL-12, but instead of helping Doug, they got railroaded into backing Blue Dog Allen Boyd's handpicked corporate shill-- and fellow Blue Dog-- Lori Edwards. Lori is the only non-incumbent Blue Dog that caucus has backed so far this cycle. They gave her a lot of money and introduced her to all the worst and most corrupt corporate lobbyists who buy votes from congressmembers with no ethics and then claimed they had to endorse her because she has so much money and Doug doesn't. (She's taken in an unimpressive $176,451 so far and has virtually no backing on the ground.)

Today Doug is being officially endorsed by Blue America and he will join us for a live blog session at Crooks and Liars at 2:30pm (11:30 am, PT). Last week, after his first debate with Lori Edwards, I made a case for his candidacy here but today we get to hear directly from Doug why he deserves support from the progressive community.

Doug's military record is a real inspiration, even for an old peacenik like myself, and I urge you to look it over carefully to help you gage what kind of a man we're talking about. But what has brought him to Blue America's attention is where he stands on the issues that are most important to us. Like I said, he's happy to answer questions on all the issues we're concerned with. Here are some direct quotes Doug has given me in interviews over time:

On the Economy: “During the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, the federal government has to take the lead. Now is not the time to limit spending nor is it the time to talk about reducing the debt created by 30 years of Reaganomics.”

“The Federal Reserve needs to be audited, and the Congress needs to fully assume its role as the overseer of the Executive Branch’s regulatory functions.”

“I support reinstating Glass–Steagall provisions which prohibit banks from owning other financial companies.”

On Iraq: “It’s way past time to declare victory and come home. Like most things the Bush Administration did, the mantra of “We’ll stand down when they stand up” is absolutely backward. The Iraqi government will stand up once we stand down. Bring the troops home now.”

On Afghanistan: “We need to remove our forces and use counter-terrorism tactics instead of counter-insurgency. Only the Afghan government can successfully prosecute a counter-insurgency campaign.”

On Energy Policy: “People need to understand that America’s reliance on fossil fuels is a national security issue, where countries hostile to America can control our ability to determine our own future. Renewable and clean energy will allow us to control our own destiny, as well as creating innumerable jobs and supporting industries.”

“I support Cap and Trade, and I am not afraid to call it Cap and Tax. I believe we need to Cap (limit) carbon emissions and Tax (fine) polluters. If someone pollutes by littering we fine them. Why shouldn’t we do the same with industry and other major polluters?”

On Equality: “I support marriage equality and the Employee Nondiscrimination Act. I would advocate to rescind and vote to rescind Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and the Defense of Marriage Act.”

Doug is a state leader of Operation Free, an organization of veterans who have been emphasizing the relationship between unsustainable energy and environmental policies and unjustifiable wars. Take a look and please consider making a contribution to Doug's campaign here:



Blue America Welcomes Bill Hedrick (D-CA)

We've been having a tough time finding even very progressive candidates willing to think for themselves on Afghanistan and not just go along with Obama and the Pentagon. Bill Hedrick, as you can see from the above video, is not one of those. Maybe it's because so many of his children are or have been serving in the military overseas, but Bill has a very clear vision of America's role in Afghanistan-- and it sure isn't as an occupier or as a nation-builder. We'll talk with Bill about that below in the comments section as Blue America formally endorses him in his race for the congressional seat currently held by one of the most corrupt men-- according to, of all sources, Fox News-- in the U.S. Congress, Ken Calvert.

Bill Hedrick has been a public school teacher in Riverside County, California for 35 years. And his wife is a public school teacher too. Bill is also serving his 5th term as president of the Corona-Norco School Board, one of the biggest in the state, responsible for over 50,000 children. In 2008 he stepped up and ran against Calvert. But a school teacher running against an entrenched favorite of Wall Street? The DCCC had no interest in helping-- and they didn't. Outspent 5-1, Bill ran an effective grassroots campaign and came closer to dislodging a Republican incumbent than any other Democrat in the country who didn't actually do it. Bill spent $191,461 and Calvert spent $1,150,432. Bill received 123,890 votes and Calvert edged him with 129,937.

This year is different... kind of. Sensing a winner, the DCCC has given Bill their blessing-- but not much else-- and certainly no money. So for Bill, it's all about volunteers and grassroots tactics again. But that makes sense for someone with deep roots in the community anyway. He told me that the big issue in CA-44, a Republican-leaning district that Obama won in 2008, is jobs and that almost all the other issues flow from that overarching one. Sometime he seems frustrated that the Democratic Party, Inc in Washington isn't getting it when it comes to the pain real people are feeling in the heartland.

The national Democratic Party needs to focus more on stimulus that supports small business recovery and job creation. In a region like this small businesses are the economic engines of recovery and job growth. The big banks aren't lending. I think the president is moving in the right direction but what we need is an infusion of money for community banks with an obligation that they will make loans to small, local businesses. Calvert voted for Bush's massive Wall Street bailout twice, a bailout with no accountability. I opposed that last time and, believe it or not, found some commonality-- on that-- with the Ron Paul folks who were also opposed.

Calvert has also been a big supporter of so-called "free trade," which is not how I see the economic future of this country and is exceedingly unpopular in this district. We've been hemorrhaging jobs. This district used to be a manufacturing area-- steel, light industry... but no more. NAFTA and policies like that sent the jobs overseas and those jobs never came back. Many in the Tea Party movement out here have stopped talking about all that anti-immigrant stuff and started focusing on the real problem: the old fashioned extreme greed that maximizes profits no matter what the cost to everyone else. People are starting to wake up to the fact that companies that became successful in America and because of America have been off-shoring jobs and have no loyalty to our country, our workers or our interests.

Calvert always claims to be an "independent voice for Riverside County;" it's baloney. He never differs from his party. I will do what's best for my constituents even if it's at odds with party policy. We need an emphasis on community banks, not Wall Street. We need job creation here and we seem to be stuck in policies that create jobs in China. We need policies that encourage manufacturing in the United States.

That's why Blue America is so enthusiastic about Bill's campaign. No one has to twist his arm to do the right thing. He decided to get into national politics because he sees the need to do the right thing. He's like the polar opposite of a Blue Dog. He has every intention of joining the Congressional Progressive Caucus and when he talks about being at odds with his party, it isn't because their policies aren't conservative and special interest-oriented enough; it's because they're too conservative and too oriented towards special interests. Bill has been and continues to be a man who analyzes the problems this country is facing through the eyes of everyday American working families, not through the eyes of the political and business elites that run both parties in DC. We need more Democrats like Bill Hedrick. Please consider contributing to his campaign, volunteering here and getting the real story on Ken Calvert (and by all means examine the official police report on his arrest for lewd conduct with a prostitute in a public park). In fact, if you have some time, here's the Fox News special on corruption in Congress, well worth watching beginning to end. Calvert's astounding section begins at around 25 minutes in.



The DCCC sent out an exceptionally well-done clip today pointing to the difference between Obama's vision of Hope and the Republican vision of failure. Please take a look at it. There's no doubt that the Republicans are on a mission to not just obstruct, but to undermine-- everything, from health care reform to the economic recovery and even to the safety of the nation itself. The clip puts forth a strong message, a compelling message. But it just isn't bipartisan enough. After all, it isn't only Republicans who want the single most important piece of Obama's change agenda-- substantive health care reform-- to fail. Plenty of Democrats get the exact same huge handouts from the exact same Medical-Industrial Complex and Big Insurance lobbyists and CEOs. And they will do anything to prevent single payer health care from passing-- or even being brought into the discussion!

I've got the full story up at DownWithTyranny, but John called from the airport and asked me to remind everyone to please consider helping out with the Blue America initiative to save the public option. As John keeps pointing out, health care reform isn't really a Republican vs Democratic issue; it's an issue for the welfare of all American families-- which is why a staggering 83% of Americans want the public option.

Blue America has launched this new campaign to persuade senators who routinely take a great deal of money from Big Insurance to work for their constituents, not for their campaign contributors. We are working with Brave New Films to put together a series of TV commercials that we will start running next month in Arkansas, home of two anti-reform Democrats, Blanche Lincoln and Mark Pryor. Please read more about the plan-- and consider helping us put it into effect-- here at our Blue America page.




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