Blue America Welcomes Tammy Baldwin

Every time I see Wisconsin Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin on TV, I forget she's a politician. She doesn't come across as one. She comes across as a friend or a neighbor who you turn to for good advice, someone who respects all points of view and doesn't have a mean bone in her body. Is she too nice to be in the polarized Senate? Her House colleagues think she's just right. And I suspect China doesn't either. Last week she even introduced a bill with Wisconsin Republican freshman Reid Ribble to shield American manufacturers from unfair trade practices in low wage Asian countries. "American manufacturers deserve our full support in combating China's relentless pattern of international trade law violations," Baldwin said. "The simple fact is China cheats."

And Wisconsin senior Senator Herb Kohl, who is retiring and has endorsed Tammy as his replacement, telling voters in his state that Tammy has strong convictions, a strong personality and "a tremendous drive to achieve things... she's going to be a model senator, a standard of what we look for... the highest and best kind of public servant."

Tammy is best known in Congress as one of the most dedicated and persistent fighters for economic justice. This month she got a great deal of press coverage when she introduced the Buffett Rule in the House. But on a day to day basis, she was working behind the scenes pushing legislative solutions for real people with real problems, usually efforts that didn't get noticed by the public. One of her colleagues on the House Energy & Commerce Committee told me that during the debate over health care reform she would never let up on a provision to allow young adults to stay on their parents' health insurance policies until they turn 26. I asked her what made her come up with that and what kind of push back she got from the Republicans on the committee?

Health care has always been a very personal issue for me. I was raised by my grandparents-- my mother was too young to raise me when I was born-- and they were there to take care of me. As a young child, I came down with a serious illness. Something like spinal meningitis. Though I made a full recovery, I had to spend three months in the hospital and many more after that in recovery care. But my grandparents, who had always relied on their family health insurance-- a good plan for the time-- came to soon learn that granddaughters are not considered dependents. Wife, yes. Daughter, yes. But no coverage for me, they were forced to pay out of pocket. And then to top it off, I was a child with a pre-existing condition.

So, I’m proud to have worked to ensure that more young people have access to insurance and affordable care. This includes the amendment I offered in committee to expand coverage for young adults, and also the work we did to eliminate pre-existing conditions for children, and soon adults. It also means that I’m a target. Let me tell you: the health insurance giants aren’t too fond of you when you take stances like these.

And the three corporate lobbyists masquerading as Republican candidates, Neumann, Thompson and Fitzgerald, have an entirely different vision than Tammy's. It's dark and it's based on Ayn Rand's Law of the Jungle politics. Only the strong survive. When I asked Tammy if her progressive vision is something that will work outside of Madison, in places like Waukesha and Ozaukee counties, she didn't miss a beat.

I’ve fought for Wisconsin values and the middle class, and these just aren’t issues in Madison. I’ve had constituents in Beloit who’ve suffered as manufacturing jobs were shipped overseas to places like China.

I traveled much of the state over the summer during our state senate recalls and as I went from Ozaukee county to Eau Claire and all across Wisconsin people told me about the same struggles they were facing: making ends meet, finding work, and taking care of their children. So, this fight-- this campaign-- is about their struggle. I’m fighting so that they can have a little extra at the end of each month to save for their daughter’s college fund. And to make it easier for that the single dad in Appleton to find meaningful work so he can quit that second job and stay home with his son a few more hours each day. That’s something that resonates and people can relate to whether I’m in Dane County or Waukesha County.

If Tammy wins in November, she will be the first woman ever elected to the United States Senate from Wisconsin. And she'll be the first openly LGBT senator ever... from anywhere. Blue America has only found three candidates this cycle we're enthusiastic enough about to endorse for the Senate: Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Tammy Baldwin. What a team! Please consider contributing what you can at the Blue America ActBlue Senate page. And please join us for a live discussion with Tammy at 1pm today (CST) in the comments section below.



Blue America Welcomes North Carolina Secretary Of State Elaine Marshall

Blue America tends not to endorse in primary races between Democrats unless one is really excellent and one is clearly abysmal. This year we've taken stands against Blue Dogs Jane Harman, John Barrow and Lori Edwards and against anti-Choice fanatic Bart Stupak by endorsing, respectively, Marcy Winograd, Regina Thomas, Doug Tudor and Connie Saltonstall. But when it came to the North Carolina Senate race we were in a quandary. We really like the current Secretary of State, Elaine Marshall, but one of her primary opponents, Kenneth Lewis, is also an excellent choice. The conservative in the race, Cal Cunningham, currently trying to appeal to Democrats with a laughable and inauthentic feint to the left, is being pushed by Inside-the-Beltway powerbrokers, particularly Robert Menendez and the DSCC. We'd rather not interfere and just leave it up to North Carolina voters. But because of unfair DSCC campaign practices against Elaine we invited her over for a Blue America blogging session today at 6:30pm, EST/3:30, PT.

It's important to keep in mind that there's no incumbent in the country more in peril than Republican Senator Richard Burr of North Carolina. Burr prides himself on being part of the lunatic right fringe-promising voters earlier this year:

“…it is impossible for any candidate to get to the right of me.”

Yesterday, with Burr pouting and playing games that jeopardize the well being-- and the security-- of every American, including conservative ones, Elaine Marshall suggested he grow up and do his job, when he walked out on an Armed Services Committee meeting just out of spite, using a foolish procedural measure to delay testimony from Adm. Robert Willard, Commander of the U.S. Pacific Command; Air Force Gen. Kevin Chilton, Commander of the U.S. Strategic Command; and Gen. Walter Sharpe, Army Commander of U.S. forces in Korea. These men have more on their minds than partisan petulance from half-wits like Richard Burr.

“Senator Burr and his Republican colleagues need to grow up,” said Marshall. “The health care vote is over, they lost and it’s time to move on to other business. This is one more example of how Washington needs people who will get things done, not people who will stand in the way.”

Burr is the alarmist idiot Senator who has taken millions from Wall Street banks only to proudly tell his wife to take all their money out when the stock market plummeted last year. Hence the nickname, “Bank Run” Burr. He’s up for re-election in November and finds himself with an approval rating of 35% in an anti-incumbent year and leading Elaine by a mere 41-36%, a number that can easily be evened out once the May 4th primary is settled.

I've spent some time following the race and talking with Elaine on the phone. She's feisty, progressive, and refreshing rather like the standard boxed Southern Conservadems we’re used too. Elaine is a populist and not only does she talk a good game, she’s spent a career taking on Wall Street fraud and risky business in the state legislature and as Secretary of State. In fact, her office released figures that she helped return over $130 million from Wall Street scams to the people of North Carolina just last year. "I don't have to promise you what I think can do. I can show you black and white, book and page, my accomplishments. I think that is going to be crucial in this election…”

America voted for change in 2008, and… a lot of people are unhappy because they aren’t seeing it. They look at Washington and they see a lot of politicians and business interests standing in the way of the change they voted for." Richard Burr is clearly one of those politicians.

North Carolina is a prime pick-up for both Democrats and progressives in 2010 and an opportunity we cannot pass up. The state has been trending blue, going for Obama and ousting their Republican Senator Liddy Dole last year; this is a winnable race. The Senate has been where good legislation goes to die this session and we need to elect more bold progressives to the chamber. Elaine is the candidate and she’ll be taking your questions in the comments section below.

Please consider contributing directly to her campaign here.



Help Blue America Pick A Senate Candidate

As a follow-up to the very successful Blue America House contest two weeks ago, we're starting a week long Senate competition today. You can vote for the candidate of your choice on our dedicated Blue America contest page and whether you give $1 or $10 or a thousand dollars, it counts as a vote for the candidate (or candidates) or your choice.

Crooks & Liars asked each campaign to submit an ad that could be used with the donations we collect this week. Texas, and especially the Houston area, was struck very hard by Hurricane Ike and the Noriega campaign has essentially diverted all its energy and resources towards the recovery efforts and Rick himself is on Army National Guard duty where he is a Lieutenant Colonel. We had to excuse them from creating an ad in the midst of all the chaos and turmoil there. How about taking a look at each one of the other ads and visualizing helping to put them on TV? And while you're at it, visualize a U.S. Senate without John Cornyn, Susan Collins, James Inhofe, Gordon Smith, and Ted Stevens.

Andrew Rice:

Mark Begich:

Jeff Merkley:

Tom Allen:



Blue America Welcomes Jeff Merkley

Last week I invited Southern California DWT readers to come meet Oregon's Senate candidate Jeff Merkley in Los Angeles and promised John and Digby would be there too. Digby couldn't come herself but D-Day joined John, the incredible Hopelettes, and an enthusiastic bevy of wonderful progressive friends and neighbors (and me) in welcoming Jeff to town. Next time I promise to post the invitation here at C&L too. (Hint: keep your September 9 lunch hour open.) Meanwhile, we had a great time with Jeff, who showed us exactly why everyone is saying he'll be the closest thing to Paul Wellstone the Senate has seen after he ousts Bush rubber stamp Gordon Smith in November.

Anyway, Smith has taken immense amounts of special interest money from every corporation looking for an easy mark. While gas prices have been going through the roof, he scarfed up $293,325, and voted for every initiative Big Oil has ever wanted-- everything that has led to out of control gas prices. While the real estate market was plummeting, Smith took in $733,462 from the real estate industry, $317,071 from lobbyists and another $518,630 from investment companies-- that's over a million and a half reasons for him to join the GOP deregulation jihad that has made sure the federal government would have neither the will nor the means to protect consumers and workers from the excesses of out-of-control predatory capitalism. Please give us a hand in raising some funds for Jeff to fight this attempt by corporations to continue to buy our democracy. Here's Jeff talking about how he'd like to handle the Iraq problem; it'll give you an idea about why we're so excited about him replacing Smith:



Congressional Races Update

Mark Kirk (R-IL10): "if we see Obama, there's a shoot-on-sight order". He meant to say Osama, but how many times will we see this mistake from a Republican?

Darcy Burner (WA-08): Darcy is catching up big time on Republican incumbent Dave Reichert. The latest poll has her within 6 points. Reichert knows he's in trouble and has called in the "heavyweights" of the Republican Party to help raise funds, including Gingrich and Boehner. You can fight by donating to Darcy's Blue America account here.

Nancy Boyda (KS-02): The latest polls show Boyda comfortably leading both challengers Ryun and Jenkins.

And finally, in NM-01 and 02, Robert Novak of all people, recognizes that the Republicans are going to have a tough time of it:

New Mexico-1: "This could be a very bad year for Republicans in New Mexico"Together with the likely loss of the U.S. Senate seat, both GOP-held house seats are in danger.

In the Albuquerque seat being vacated by retiring Rep. Heather Wilson (R), Republicans have the benefit of a strong candidate in Bernalillo County Sheriff Darren White (R), but they have the disadvantage of demography and a bad political environment. Democrats have nominated Albuquerque City Councilman Martin Heinrich (D).[..]

Considering only the candidates, White has the edge, but the political landscape seriously favors Heinrich. Bush's name and the GOP brand are dirt in New Mexico.[...]

Because we expect a strong Democratic tide, White's strengths look likely to be wiped out by a Democratic surge. Leaning Democratic Takeover.

New Mexico-2: This is the "Republican district" in New Mexico, but it could be represented by a Democrat next year. In 2004, Bush took 58 percent of this district, which covers the Southern half of the state, but the GOP might have nominated the wrong candidate.

I think we may have cause to celebrate much come November.



Disenfranchising Indianan Nuns Gives Oklahoma GOP Ideas

Isn't that just like the GOP? Others hear about not letting 80 and 90 year old nuns vote and they shake their heads and say, "that's awful." But the GOP--in this case the Oklahoma State Senate GOP majority--see it as opportunity.

Down With Tyranny:

All through history, the political left has agitated to expand the franchise. The left worked and fought yo abolish the rules that only allowed white Christian male property holders the right to vote. The political right fought to prevent poor people from voting, to prevent Jews, Blacks, women, young people... And a few weeks ago the rightist Supreme Court gave the thumbs up to a Republican scheme to limit voting in Indiana. We saw the first results of that ruling today.

About 12 Indiana nuns were turned away Tuesday from a polling place by a fellow bride of Christ because they didn't have state or federal identification bearing a photograph.[..]

Tonight I got a notice from Andrew Rice alerting me that the Oklahoma Senate had prevented the Republicans from doing the same thing in his state. All of the GOP senators voted to restrict voting rights and all the Democrats voted to prevent them from shrinking the franchise.

The vote was 24-23 for the bill, but it takes 25 votes to pass a bill in the 48-member Senate. All 24 Republicans supported the plan, while 23 Democrats voted against it.

Democrats said the proposal was meant to help Republicans and would deter the elderly and other citizens from voting because they may not have identification readily available.

Ford said the bill is needed to guard against voter fraud.

Voter fraud is something the GOP gets hysterical about, like welfare fraud. And like welfare fraud the GOP turns reality on its head. They will wreck hundreds of thousands of families' lives because a few dozens people or even a few hundred people may have committed fraud to the tune of some thousands of dollars-- while corporate welfare goes out to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars. I can't say that there has never been any voter fraud. But I can say the kind of voter fraud the Republicans talk about it nearly nonexistent or, at worst, extremely rare. Republican voter fraud, electronic voter fraud, voter suppression... now we're talking about hundreds of thousands of voters. Read on...

Andrew Rice is one of Blue America candidates. If you'd like him to help us breakthrough the GOP juggernaut and deliver more and better Democrats, you can donate to his campaign here.



C&L's Late Nite Music Club with Harold Melvin and the Bluenotes

I hope you had a chance to meet our newest Blue America candidate, Jim Neal, this morning; the transcript is here at FDL. A couple weeks ago he told me that when he made his final decision to take on Elizabeth Dole for a senate seat once held by Jesse Helms, he was listening to Harold Melvin and the Bluenotes. I put together a little clip with some random images and the music but it's really the music I wanted to talk about tonight. When the Philly dance sound hit in the 1970s this group, which had been around a long time, just took off like a rocket with... Teddy Pendergrass as the frontman. Their biggest hits were "If You Don't Know Me By Now," "The Love I Lost," "Don't Leave Me This Way," "Bad Luck," and, of course, "Wake Up Everybody." Harold Melvin, who was almost as old as John McCain-- but not that old-- died in 1997.



Susan Collins needs to apologize!

Collins has a very troubling man---Director of Internet Strategy, Lance Dutson running her operation. Jamie highlighted his post here...FDL responded in a press release....

I'm deeply offended that Senator Collins would speak about professional women in such a degrading and offensive manner," said Hamsher. "It is well beneath the dignity becoming a sitting Senator to engage in such coarse and misogynistic rhetoric."

Christy Hardin Smith, featured FDL blogger, said: "The sexist undertones used on Sen. Collins' blog are appalling ? the use of "fem-blog" is erroneous and dismissive. Citizens in this country have a right -- an obligation -- to hold those who ask us for our votes accountable. Women have just as much right as men to speak up for their country and their families, whether Senator Collins likes that or not."

Tom Allen can use your support....Full release below the fold:

Continue reading »



Open Thread Victory Style!

As the House seats keep getting counted, we are constantly adding to a stronger majority. Senate is still very much in play and many on the right are already conceding control to the Democrats. Just think of what we have done:

- We have fought back against the ultra-funded GOP machine. All their money could not top us this year!

- All the gerrymandering that Republicans thought would save them proved futile this day.

- We over-came the dirty tactics of the GOP and their robo-calls, voter intimidation, "poll watchers" and everything else they threw at us!

And finally as TRex sez:

- "Subpoena Power....Activate"

This is our time and it is just starting. The netroots are growing strong and becoming a greater influence in the political landscape of America. Blue America did a great job also. We will have the final tally's on all our candidates some time tomorrow. Plus we have this great piece of information from Howie:

UPDATE: HAVE YOU HAD ENOUGH WINS A GRAMMY Oh, it wasn't a Grammy. Salon says it was the #2 political video after the Michael J Fox stem cell one. Coolio! May I recommend, in light of the victory building in KY-03, that you watch the one Mike did for John Yarmuth (81% of precincts counted and Yarmuth holds a 50.3- 48.5% lead of Northup). Their review: "This great ad, which uses the Squirrel Nut Zippers' "Have You Had Enough?" and a charming Rickie Lee Jones vocal, has been recut and reused in about 18 Democratic races across the country (here, in John Laesch's unlikely effort against House Speaker Dennis Hastert). It's catchy retro stylings made voting against the GOP House seem not only fun but incredibly cool."

Another great accomplishment that must be passed on to the readers of Crooks and Liars, as well as Firedoglake and DownWithTyranny.

And finally, as Kos said earlier today "Today is the End of the Electronic Voting Machine". It wasn't just a bunch of "crazy liberals" screaming about problems this time. It was EVERYONE. There will be calls for major changes in the way we practice our power to vote, and those calls will come from every political stride.




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