If you're not from Chicagoland you probably haven't heard of John Atkinson (yet). If you do live around the Windy City there's a chance you remember the full page ad (above) from last year, which ran in the Tribune, the Sun-Times and the Southtown Economist. The ads were put together and paid for by John and his wife Bonnie; I'm figuring they cost between $25 and $30,000. But they didn't work, Lipinski still bragging to this day-- and using Republican talking points in the process-- that he not only voted for the anti-Choice Stupak Amendment but that he was one of only 33 Democrats to cross the aisle and vote with Boehner against healthcare reform a year ago this month. Lipinski's ignoring the ads was part of the impetus that has made John throw his hat into the ring in seeking the Democratic nomination for the seat currently held by Lipinski, one of the most corrupt and reactionary Democrats in Congress.

This weekend, John officially registered with ActBlue and he's looking like a progressive and principled candidate for sending a Democratic Establishment that countenances corporate shills and bigots like Lipinksi a good strong message. You can contribute to his campaign at the Blue America Democratic message page.

President Obama won Illinois' 3rd CD with 64% of the vote, about 5 points better than either Gore or Kerry did. It's a solid Democratic district and there is no reason the party needs to keep nominating a Republican-lite shill like Lipinski, whose politics are more in tune with his home in Tennessee than with Cook County. The 3rd has one of the highest concentrations of Muslim-Americans of any district in the country and yet Lipinski, who never shuts up about super-serving Polish-Americans and other ethnic groups represented in the district, has been silent about the plight of Muslim-Americans unfairly targeted by Republican bigot Peter King in his McCarthy-like Homeland Security hearings. The day after King began his anti-Muslim hysteria, I asked John Atkinson if he would be handling this situation differently than Lipinski. He graciously agreed to write a guest post for us:

Representative Peter King (R-NY)-- in the latest example of his Party's relentless pursuit of a narrow ideological agenda-- has found yet another way to distract this new Congress from focusing on the issues that really matter to American families and businesses. Instead of working together to create jobs, pass a responsible budget, address growing concerns about our dependence on nonrenewable resources and foreign oil, the Republican leadership in the House of Representatives is spending their time investigating what they're calling "The Extent of Radicalization in the American Muslim Community and that Community's Response."

Unfortunately, these hearings aren't just a waste of taxpayer dollars, the King hearings are an affront to our hard-working, patriotic Muslim American neighbors; and an embarrassment to anyone who believes in the American principles of fairness and religious freedom. We have Muslim Americans dying in defense of our country, teaching our children, healing our sick, serving in Congress, and living next door. They are our friends and our fellow citizens. And, according to law enforcement officials, they are on the front lines of homeland security, working hard to identify and stop those who are or may be engaged in terrorist activities.

It is outrageous enough that Peter King and his Republican colleagues are leading the charge against our Muslim American neighbors. Something is deeply wrong in this country when we begin drawing lines to separate us from each other. We deserve leaders who will bring us together-- black and white, gay and straight, people of all religions and no religion at all, people of every language and every ethnicity-- to help us work together to meet the challenges that confront us all.

There is no question that extremism is a threat to our security-– but extremism is not limited to any single group. On the day before Peter King opened these hearings, law enforcement officials arrested a neo-Nazi in a plot to murder 1500 Martin Luther King Jr. Day marchers in Spokane, Washington. And on the day the hearings opened, police arrested five people, including the head of the Alaska Peacemakers Militia, an anti-government "Patriots" group, in a plot to murder judges and state troopers. (Source: Southern Poverty Law Center, http://www.splcenter.org/blog/2011/03/11/the-screaming-hypocrisy-of-peter-king/#more-6017)

Mr. King, why aren't we investigating "The Extent of Radicalization in the "you name the group" Community and that Community's Response"? Because, Mr. King, in America it is not OK to indict a whole community of people because of the illegal actions of a few.

There have been times in our history when we look back and we know that our leaders, who claimed at the time to be acting in the interest of national security, got it horribly wrong. This is one of those times.

Blue America is getting to know John but my guess is that he's a very good prospect for an early endorsement. Like I said, right now you can help launch his primary campaign at our Sending the Democrats A Message page.

What Has Bobby Bright Earned?

Crossposted at DownWithTyranny

This is from his own ad; he's braggin'-- he even uses a 2 decades old photo of the vain Boehner

You may have noticed a building antipathy here at DWT towards reactionary Democrat, Bobby Bright. Before he started his campaign ads, Bright had already marked himself out as the single most reactionary Democrat in the House. His ProgressivePunch score-- a dismal 19.83 (out of 100)-- is not just the lowest Democrat's score; it's also lower than two conservative Republicans'! Bright has shown his fealty to Boehner on every single contentious issue that has come before Congress in the past two years. In fact, when SCHIP came up for it's final vote only two Democrats crossed the aisle to vote against health care for needy children and Bright, of course, was one of the two. He has been sure to noisily vote against a woman's right to Choice (and, like Christine O'Donnell, he's even been against contraception), against equality for the LGBT community, against health care reform, against Wall Street reform, against energy legislation... You name it-- if Barack Obama was for it, Bobby Bright was against it. And that's been the theme of his reelection campaign, a reelection campaign that the latest polling shows he might be winning.

His ads and campaign statements target and demonize Nancy Pelosi, while building up... John Boehner. He's flat-out declared he won't vote for her as Speaker, the minimum Democrats have required of their candidates. This hasn't stopped the clods at the DCCC from spending more on Bright than on any other Democratic incumbent, close to a million dollars so far with more coming-- enough money to have shored up the shaky seats of real Democrats like Alan Grayson, Raúl Grijalva, John Hall, Mary Jo Kilroy and Carol Shea Porter or to have won races by cash-starved progressive challengers Ed Potosnak, Bill Hedrick, Billy Kennedy, Joyce Elliott, Beth Krom and Justin Coussoule. If the Democrats lose the majority-- or if its close enough to matter-- it is widely assumed in Washington that Bright will jump the fence if he's reelected and officially join the party he's always supporting anyway.

But the stupid, incompetent Republicans haven't figured out how to beat him. They're busy calling him a Nancy Pelosi pawn in the white suburbs of Montgomery, where he-- and his reactionary politics-- are quite popular. So Blue America decided to point out his record to some other of Bright's constituents. Yesterday, we began a massive, targeted radio and TV campaign in just 4 counties, the 4 counties where Barack Obama did best in 2008, the 4 counties most badly effected by Bright's anti-family votes, the 4 counties that make it hard for a Democrat to win district-wide without landslide victories: Lowndes, Bullock, Barbour and Butler. When the African-American precincts in and around Montgomery were gerrymandered into the 3rd CD, the 2nd was left as a hopeless Republican bastion. It's a freak of nature that even a throwback Democrat as far to the right as Bright could have ever won the seat. He won it 144,368-142,578... but with massive support from the African-American voters in Lowndes, Bullock, Barbour and Butler counties, voters whose interests he has consistently ignored since being elected. Obama only won 36% of the vote in Alabama's 2nd CD but he won landslides in Lowndes County (5,447 to 1,807) and Bullock County (4,001 to 1,389) and ties in Butler and Barbour counties. This is the radio ad some local actors have made for us:

It was paid for by a single targeted contribution. No general Blue America PAC money was used to make it or to put it on the air. And we're aware that not everyone thinks it's sage to help defeat a Democrat in a perilous election like this. But what exactly does Bobby Bright bring to the table? What good would saving his seat do? He's already announced he won't vote for Pelosi (which means he won't vote to organize the House for the Democrats). He votes with the GOP on every contentious issue. He works within the Democratic caucus to destroy or water down every single piece of progressive legislation he can get his hands on. And he denigrates the Democratic brand with his framing, making it seem toxic to even be a Democrat. Yesterday when Crisitunity at SwingState reported on our I.E., he offered that "This has to be one of the weirdest IEs of the cycle: Blue America is spending in AL-02 of all places, and they're spending $48K against Bobby Bright. I guess they hate Blue Dogs just that much." Well... it isn't really about Blue Dogs per se. We even helped raise some money for one, Mike Michaud (ME) when he worked on the public option and we've been fair to moderate Blue Dogs who break from the pack and do good things from time to time, like Patrick Murphy. This is about Bobby Bright and that should be clear to anyone who bothers to look at his record and his political framing. When Democrats passed the DISCLOSE Act in the House, to stop the flow of foreign money into American elections, something they knew would be a boon for the GOP and a disaster for Democrats, Bright was one of the Blue Dogs to cross the aisle and vote with the Republicans. He is one of only five Democrats-- each a reactionary-- who has been endorsed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the funnel for millions of yuan, dinars and rubles being used to pervert our country's political system.

If you'd like to help us with this ad, you can do it here. Otherwise, consider helping keep progressive champions like Alan Grayson and Raúl Grijalva in office or help progressive House challengers like Bill Hedrick, Ann Kuster, Justin Coussoule, Ed Potosnak, Billy Kennedy and Joyce Elliott or Senate challengers like Elaine Marshall, Joe Sestak and Jack Conway.

This is a Democratic Party ad that was released this morning. Does it get you angry at Republicans? It should. But every single thing it says about Republicans, it also says about Bobby Bright (upon whose reelection efforts the DCCC has thus far lavished $1,128,188.33):

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