Why It's Not All Gloom And Doom Around Here


A few years ago Blue America's list of endorsed candidates had the biggest success rate of any PAC recruiting and endorsing candidates. We beat NARAL, the Sierra Club, the Human Rights Campaign and the League of Conservation Voters that year-- not to mention the NRA and Club for Growth. I laughed when I read the stats. Blue America isn't about picking candidates who will make the PAC look good. Blue America is about endorsing and working with the candidates-- like unlikely winners Donna Edwards, Alan Grayson and Elizabeth Warren-- who will fight for the legitimate aspirations of working families.

Last year, for example, we worked hard to elect Eloise Reyes to Congress in the Inland Empire. The DCCC had their own candidate, corrupt conservative Pete Aguilar. Aguilar won-- and promptly joined the New Dems and ran up one of the worst voting records of any Democrat in Congress. ProgressivePunch-- whose CEO argued with me when I told him how terrible Aguilar would be before the election-- gave him an "F" this year and, according to their algorithm, shows his crucial vote score for his one term to be less progressive than all but 10 Democrats, 2 of whom (reactionary Blue Dogs Gwen Graham and Brad Ashford) are leaving Congress in January.

Meanwhile, Eloise took stock of her loss, learned the appropriate lessons from it and one week ago absolutely clobbered one of the most corrupt conservative Democrats in the California state legislature, Chevron Cheryl Brown, beating her decisively and spectacularly catapulting herself into a position where she can do a lot of good for the working families she represents (who Brown had ignored). We count that as a big Blue America win, even though it isn't something you'll read about in the Washington Post or NY Times or hear about on MSNBC.

Eventually, all the progressive groups came around and endorsed state Senator Pramila Jayapal for an open seat in Seattle and we all worked to raise her the money she would need to win a tough primary and then the general election. Blue America was the first to endorse, and encourage her compelling leadership style, and emphasize it to other national progressives, some of whom whined about how it was "unfair" to take sides because the other candidates were good too. Last week Pramila made history, as the first America with South Asian roots to win a congressional seat.

When Nanette Barragán, a small town mayor and environmental activist, decided to take on the entire stinking California Democratic Party establishment by challenging their handpicked conservaDem candidate to fill a deep blue seat in one of Los Angeles' poorest congressional districts, Digby, John and I invited her to dinner, got to know her and Blue America became one of the first national PACs to endorse her and help make her case and raise her the money she needed to beat the "impossible" odds she faced in beating the establishment-- impossible odds she overcame to win a jaw-dropping victory last week.

Blue America didn't look for candidates who were likely to win; we looked for candidates who had a reasonable chance to win-- with help-- but who would likely be great legislators. We look forward to seeing Ruben Kihuen (NV), Jamie Raskin (MD), Carol Shea-Porter (NH)-- along with Nanette-- and possibly Doug Applegate (ballots in his tight race against arch-villain Darrell Issa are still being counted today) take eventual leadership roles in a House Democratic minority that sorely lacks cohesive and inspiring leaders.

And this was a good year for Blue America in terms of helping build a progressive, activist Democratic bench on the state legislative level. Aside from Eloise, we helped elect Marcia Ranglin-Vassell and Mike Connolly, both of whom beat powerful, entrenched corrupt Democrats to win seats, respectively in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. Stanley Chang-- like Eloise, a 2014 Blue America congressional candidate-- came roaring back this year and beat the last remaining Republican in the Hawaii Senate-- and in the reddest district in Hawaii! Justin Bamberg, our Berniecrat candidate in South Carolina, was reelected and Wenona Benally, another 2014 congressional candidate, introduced to us by Raul Grijalva, won a hard-fought Arizona congressional seat last week. And our Berniecrat legislator in Colorado, Joe Salazar, not only won his state House seat but was already leading the Denver mass anti-Trump protests this weekend.

But before we say thanks for helping make this possible with your generous contributions, I want to point to one more victory-- an old one. When Sheldon Adelson suddenly struck in 2014 in the open CA-33 seat, pouring hundreds of thousands of dollars into a last minute sneak attack, then-candidate Ted Lieu went to Steve Israel at the DCCC for help in responding. Israel flat out refused-- not one dime, not one nickel to answer Adelson's half million dollar SuperPAC. So Blue America did it instead. Ted won, was elected congressional freshman class president, has been one of the most outspoken and successful bipartisan advocates on a series of crucial issues, from cyber-security to peace and climate change, and this weekend was in the news again, standing up against Trump’s "crazy shit", urging concerned Americans to follow him in becoming a supporter of the ACLU, while other congressional Democrats just cower in fear or plot personal career advancement. Ted Lieu-- one of Blue America's best ever investments!

So, from the bottom of our hearts, we want to thank the mind-boggling generosity of the Blue America members who gave-- and then gave again and again-- and helped progressive champions get into office where they are needed more than ever. And, fyi, right now we're busier than ever recruiting progressive candidates to run for what could be a really good 2018 cycle.



DuWayne Gregory-- Ready To Turn Long Island Blue Again


Republican Peter King has been in Congress since 1993 and his Democratic neighbor and crony, Blue Dog Steve Israel, has seen to it that he would have no serious challenges from the DCCC. With Israel himself finally retiring, there were hopes that the DCCC would finally take on King, an outspoken Trump supporter. The Democrats have their best candidate for the seat in living memory, DuWayne Gregory, the respected and well-liked presiding officer of the Suffolk County legislature.

The Long Island South Shore district has moved significantly east into blue Suffolk County and is no longer safe Nassau territory for Republicans. In fact two-thirds of the voters now live in Suffolk-- and many of them don't know very much about Peter King. There was every expectation that once DuWayne Gregory became the official Democratic Party's candidate the DCCC would come in and help him get the message out about who King is. After all, Obama won the district twice, 51-48% against McCain and 52-47% against Romney. And the district-- the most Hispanic on Long Island-- is bluer now than it was then.

In 2014 Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand won both counties with gigantic landslide margins and this cycle Chuck Schumer's reelection campaign is expected to do just as well. It looks like Hillary will beat Trump very substantially in the New York suburbs, Nassau and Suffolk counties included. More Democrats than Republicans voted in the presidential primaries and polling shows enthusiasm for Trump since the primaries has all but evaporated. But Steve Israel has persuaded the DCCC to once again take a hands-off policy towards his old pal Peter King.

Needless to say, he hasn't persuaded Blue America and we've endorsed DuWayne Gregory with great enthusiasm and urge all of our members to consider contributing to his strong grassroots campaign here.

Friday we spent some time talking with DuWayne and I want to share some of his unvarnished thoughts with you:

"Ever since I announced my run for Congress people have asked me why do you want to run and why do you think you can beat Peter King? The answer for me was simple for two reasons. First, I strongly believe we need new leadership in Washington. Secondly, the decision to run, specifically, against Peter King was a personal decision for me. I take the responsibility of holding public office seriously. It is an awesome responsibility to have the ability to have a positive impact on people's lives. I also believe because of the oath of office we take we represent all residents of our district and not just the ones who voted for us or who we personally agree with. Peter King has violated this rule, in my opinion. I don't begrudge anyone with a more conservative set of principles than myself, but I do begrudge abhorrent values. 

"My decision to run was due in large part because of my son Julian, who is gay. When district lines changed I took it upon myself to research my Congressman's voting record on LGBT issues and was astonished at how narrowed minded his voting history has been: he voted against gay couples adopting children in Washington DC; supported a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between a woman and a man; voted against expanding hate crimes to cover LGBT victims; voted against protecting LGBT members from being discriminated at work etc. As a LGBT parent Peter King does not understand the fear that a parent has, because of the same bigotry that is displayed with a voting record like his. I will never forget the day my son Julian came out to me while we were going to get ice cream. He was 12 years old! I immediately told him that I loved him and want him to be happy, but in my mind I was worried about how less accepting people will respond. People like Peter King who wrongly think gays make a choice regarding their sexual orientation. People like the shooter in the Orlando club massacre where my son was just two weeks prior. 

"So I made a choice that our country and my Congressional district needs new leadership and one less voice against equality in America. We deserve to have a representative that will work to protect my son just as fervently as all other children without bigotry or hate. It is Peter King's job to work to protect all people from harm and discrimination regardless of religious or personal beliefs. As an African-American I know hate all to well and to think my protection and safety would be sacrificed by an elected official because that person didn't approve I find appalling and dereliction of duty. The oath that public officials take does not ask them to protect only certain segments of the country, the one's they agree with, but all citizens of our country."

 

It's time for grassroots Democrats to take our fate into our own hands and stop allowing corrupt party bosses like Steve Israel and the jokers at the DCCC determine who does and who doesn't get into Congress. Voters on Long Island need to know that Peter King has endorsed and fully backs his pal Trump. If the DCCC won't help DuWayne Gregory get that message out-- and the message about who DuWayne is himself and what he wants to accomplish in Congress-- let's do it ourselves. It's worked in the past and it can work this time as well. Please consider contributing what you can to DuWayne's campaign here.



Who Decides Who The Candidate Will Be-- Locals Or The DCCC?

Just when we thought the DCCC was finally going to cave and support a real Democrat for Congress, they discovered yet another way to lose in California's newly-blue 25th District. This time, it is Beverly Hills lawyer Brian Caforio, who has absolutely no idea what issues are even important to the people in the district. He lives in Orange County.

Instead of supporting Lou Vince, the grassroots-backed candidate who has been endorsed by the local Democratic clubs (as well as by Blue America), the DCCC has parachuted in a wealthy lawyer because he claims to be able to raise large amounts of money. Sounds like a perfect fit for Steve Israel’s DCCC. No surprise, when the DCCC hatched this scheme, they neglected to talk to a single local activist and unsurprisingly, this week, the Simi Valley Democratic Club and the North Valley Democratic Club, two of the largest clubs in the district, voted unanimously to endorse Lou Vince over Caforio, the DCCC having already pressured Maria Gutzeit to get out of the race.

Please help show the DCCC that they should be fighting Republicans, not progressive Democrats. To make sure Lou has the support he needs to win this June, every contribution made to Lou Vince’s campaign this week (up to $5,000) will be matched.

And, to add insult to injury, the “we don’t get involved in contested primaries” DCCC Western Regional Political Director actually sent Lou an email to say he was making calls to California Democratic Party delegates to encourage them to not submit their pre-endorsement ballots for Lou. He wants to be able to funnel DCCC money to Caforio and Lou winning the CDP endorsement would dash those hopes.

We at Blue America know that Lou is the best bet for taking the Simi Valley/Santa Clarita/Antelope Valley district. A police lieutenant and a veteran, Lou matches the profile of the district perfectly. The hard-working families of the area have already made it clear that they don’t like carpetbaggers. Last cycle, Tony Strickland outraised Steve Knight 5 to 1 and claimed he was the chosen one. Yet, Steve Knight trounced Tony Strickland in the general election because Strickland was a carpetbagger, just like Caforio.

The stakes could never be higher for CA-25. The Porter Ranch gas leak is inside the district and Steve Knight has been noticeably absent. Knight and his Republican Neanderthals want to do away with the EPA, the very agency that should have prevented this disaster. Rather than supporting an agency that keeps us all safe, Knight wants to get rid of it and allow corporations to self-regulate. I think we’ve all seen how well that has worked for Porter Ranch.

While Knight stays cozy in DC, the DCCC has scripted Caforio to hit the issue, claiming he cares about our health and the environment. Problem is, he doesn’t even know what the other environmental problems are in the area and there are plenty. In fact, Ed Begley Jr. and Climate Hawks Vote leader RL Miller, two of the most important environmental activists in California have endorsed Lou because of his environmental stances.

Yesterday Lou told us that:

"The 25th district has numerous environmental issues due to years of Republicans pushing through the agenda of the developers who bankroll their campaigns. The Porter Ranch disaster is just the latest case in a long line of environmental damage that needs to be undone. While Steve Knight continues to have a minimal visibility on the issue, another one of my opponents has been seeking to profit politically from the disaster. With no connection to the district at all, he believes that by snapping some pictures with an unpopular Congressman that he 'knows' the environmental issues. Yet, he hasn’t said a single word about the upcoming Chiquita Canyon Landfill Expansion, which will site the largest dump in the United States within 500 feet of an elementary school in a primarily Latino community. Where is Bryan Caforio on Chiquita? Where was Bryan Caforio 2 months ago? The answer is: ‘not in the 25th District.’”

If Bryan Caforio wins the primary, the DCCC will undoubtedly lose in the 25th District once again, a long pattern of bungling for them. It’s not often we have a candidate like Lou run for an office who could truly have a huge impact on the House floor. Having a former cop stand on the House floor and call for criminal justice reform would be a powerful ally for all progressives in the chamber. Not to mention having a Marine veteran calling for common sense gun measures. Lou certainly has the credibility to speak out on those issues.

This is our chance to get a true blue progressive in the House and show the DCCC that it is the grassroots that really matter and that they should start fighting Republicans, not progressive Democrats. That’s why we want to make sure Lou has the support he needs to win this June and why us here at Blue America have decided to “go all in for Lou.” We will be matching every contribution made to Lou’s campaign on this page this week up to $5,000.



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.



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.



Time For House Democrats To Find New Leadership


Enough of this crap

All the House Democratic leaders, from conservatives like Steny Hoyer, Steve Israel, Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Joe Crowley to "liberals" like Nancy Pelosi, Jim Clyburn and Xavier Becerra, are working to round up votes inside the caucus to back Obama's plan to bomb Syria. Pelosi became leader of the Democrats because she stood up to Bush and Democratic Leader Dick Gephardt when they asked Congress to approve plans to attack Iraq. Most Democrats joined Pelosi against that war-- and that ended Dick Gephardt's political career. That was a very different Nancy Pelosi than the one leading House Democrats today.

On the other hand, we still have plenty of Democrats in the House strenuously opposing the war arguments-- Alan Grayson, Raul Grijalva, Barbara Lee are three excellent examples. Pelosi announced last week that she has no intention of ever being Speaker again. The vultures waiting in the wings-- Hoyer, Wasserman Schultz, Crowley-- to take over the leadership of the House caucus would all be catastrophic for the Democratic brand and for grassroots values that make someone a Democrat instead of a Republican.

It's time to start thinking about electing a leader of the House Democrats who is NOT a conservative and who is not a pillar of institutionalized Beltway corruption.

The way WE can help that process along is to elect more progressives to Congress who will not be beholden to the Steve Israels, Steny Hoyers, and Debbie Wasserman Schultzes. It's imperitive that we help elect people who will be open-minded about electing caucus leaders like Grayson, not yesterday's stale leftovers like Hoyer and Wasserman Schultz. A grassroots progressive in Oklahoma, Tom Guild, is an independent thinker and is going to have an open mind. "Syria is a basket case," he told us, "with heartbreaking tragedies piled one on another. The [Assad] government is evil and much of the opposition is affiliated with enemies of the United States. We should tread carefully and make sure we are not drawn into another war without end. American cannot be the world’s policeman, and we have paid a heavy price trying to do so."

Nick Ruiz, a professor who once ran as a Green, is the progressive Democratic candidate in the Orlando area running against GOP warmonger John Mica, also gave us a position just before Obama announced he would ask for a congressional vote before attacking.

"Why not conference and engage the Syrian leadership and factions-- and Iran, along with Russia and China for good measure? Before drones and Tomahawks, bombs and killing; as an alternative to the stereotypical language of violence that the world is so tired of hearing. Let's talk about it; not naively, but intensely; let's argue about what's happening in Syria, with the Syrian leadership and rebellion, their neighboring ally Iran, and advocates of sovereignty: Russia and China. We get it. We understand boundaries and sovereignty. And we ought to thoroughly understand rebellion, having been borne of it... The world's interests are better served with an eye toward de-escalation, rather than aggravation and aggrandizement... My vote would be NO on assaulting Syria.

"As Democrats we know better than to fight unjust wars; we do not leave the poor defenseless, nor erode civil rights or ignore social injustice. We helped to define these vital, democratic concepts in the modern era. When our leaders change for the worse, and seek to lead us toward the lowest common denominator, then we should thank them for whatever good they've done in the past-- but must tell them 'No, we will not follow you there, and further, you will not lead us any longer.' It is a crucial time when one must have the good sense to choose new leaders. But it's now true: that time is upon us."

As the other, better-known, progressive political leader from the Orlando area, Alan Grayson said, "Nobody wants this, except the military-industrial complex." We need a new generation of leaders to represent the Democratic Party, not the money-driven Establishment shills who have more in common with their Republican House colleagues than they do with grassroots Democrats.

Please consider supporting the 2014 Blue America candidates for Congress.

As you can see, we've recently added three new ones, Tom in Oklahoma, plus Danielle Adams in North Carolina and Paul Clements in Michigan. Clearly, Washington needs new leadership-- leadership that is rooted in the Democratic grassroots. Electing candidates like this to Congress is a healthy first step.



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:




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