Congressman Grayson's clip above is positively existential. It's hard to believe it's coming from a Member of Congress. Of course, it's hard to believe there's a Member of Congress of Alan Grayson's calibre. And I get the feeling there are an awful lot of people in the Orlando area who know just how lucky they are. On the other hand, Alan has drawn a veritable circus sideshow of opponents, each one fringier and more insane than the other. Tomorrow is primary day in Florida and we'll be watching with interest as a small number of disheartened and disillusioned Republicans pick over the 4th and 5th tier candidates hoping for the nomination-- from Patricia Sullivan who (publicly) claims Sarah Palin as a role model, Dan Fanelli who proudly (and publicly) flies his racist flag for everyone to see, to the kook, Ross Bieling, whose platform is impeaching President Obama and the hate talk radio guy, Todd Long, who was found passed out drunk one morning in front of a local elementary school to a state legislator, Kurt Kelly, who disgraced himself last month by interpreting Rep. Grayson's efforts to bring the troops home to safety as wanting them to die and then to the feeble fave of the Establishment, Dan Webster, who's best known for pushing a radical religious agenda that has included ending the right of divorce and introducing the legislation that started the whole tragic Terri Schiavo debacle. And on top of that the Florida TEA Party has nominated Peg Dunmire, someone even nuttier than that crew -- well, not nuttier than Fanelli -- running as well.
And then there's Alan Grayson, probably the most beloved and effective champion of ordinary working families of any Member of the House. Today's the climax of a moneybomb his campaign launched a few days ago. Blue America has our own goal for Alan's campaign, an even $50,000. As you can see from the thermometer on the right, we're more than two-thirds there. I hope you watched the video up top. It knocked me out. Here's some of what Orlando's greatest gift to America had to say:
There are two groups in this country right now. I call those groups Us, and Them.
We want more jobs, better schools, better health, better pensions, and we want to keep our homes. We want not just jobs but jobs that mean something, jobs that pay a decent wage. We want to live a good life.
And then there's them. They simply have one goal and one goal only. And that is to destroy the government. They're not conservatives. They're anarchists.
I don't know why they want anarchy. In fact, they don’t know, either. Even they don't know what kind of inner darkness causes them to seek wars without end, to burn the planet, to welcome poverty for so many, to leave the old and the sick helpless, to cheer oil in the Gulf. I've spoken to enough of them to be able to tell you that they themselves don’t know why.
But that's what they want. So, now we have to decide who is going to run this country. Is it Us, or is it Them? And what's at stake is the future. The future in a country that my five children will live in, that your children will live in, that you'll live in for the rest of your life.
Are we going to have a country with a decent middle class life for everyone-- jobs, health care, roads, schools? Or, are we going to have poverty, cheap labor, helplessness and hopelessness? The choice is yours.
I think President Obama feels much the same way. I wish he had the guts to say it the way Alan Grayson does. Please, if you only contribute to one campaign this year, it's Alan Grayson who has earned that honor. Please join us below in the comments section to participate in a love blogging session with Congressman Alan Grayson.
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:
Ed Schultz just loved our anti-Boehner campaign and featured Blue America's Beat Boehner actions for almost 13 minutes. I think we can all agree that Boehner is an out-of-touch corporate shill who sides with Big Business over his constituents every time. Howard Dean came on to back up our assertions about Boehner and then Ed topped off the segment by interviewing one of our newest endorsees, Justin Coussoule, who is now running against the bronzed up Minority Leader. He is making his network debut too, and I think he comes across well.
Ed Schultz was very excited about our Boehner campaign yesterday and opened his show with a long segment on the subject. He's absolutely right about John Boehner being the poster boy for the out of touch Republicans who are offering up nothing but non-sequitors as the answer to our problems.(You'll notice that Ed said to send him a email if you want to see the ad every day on his show. You can do that here.)
Big Ed liked our BeatBoehner billboard and TV ad. And we like his framing... a lot. Why can't the DCCC, demoralized, clueless and on the verge of losing its ass, dump Wasserman Schultz and let Schultz run the operation! There's nothing I have to even write about this. Schultz says it all-- everything! It's a 13 minute clip and there's not a minute of it you should miss. Ed's intro, Howard Dean's insight and Justin Coussoule's national TV debut are absolutely essential viewing.
Watch it here...
...and then consider helping us keep the ad on TV or even moving it from cable TV to broadcast TV. This ad is targeted in Butler county.
We are really excited by our latest effort and we hope you'll throw in a few dollars. And it's great to see that Big Ed gets it. Big Time.
(The thermometer on our page isn't updating for some reason. We've raised 3,082.00 so far and not only 295.00. Keep the funds coming and thanks.)
14. The golfer-in-chief's post birthday round at Andrews Air Force Base this weekend was upstaged -- by his Dream Team style pickup game with the likes of Grant Hill, Shane Battier, LeBron James, Magic Johnson, Dwyane Wade and Carmelo Anthony. And lest you think President Obama is the only politician whose rounds are scrutinized, the Blue America Political Action Committee took on House Minority Leader John Boehner, who plays to a 7, with a billboard near Boehner's Cincinnati area neighborhood that asks, "When was the last time you golfed 119 times in one year?" Boehner's office said the number 119 is false but FOXnews.com reports he does have a glass filled with personalized tees for visitors to his office. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi even grabbed a few.
Golf is a big part of Boehner's persona. He golfs with a seven handicap. A glass cup just outside his Capitol office sports personalized tees that Boehner hands out to visitors. Even House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) collected a handful of them before she met with the Ohio Republican before a joint event earlier this year.
Fox says we spent 80,000 on the billboard. Hmmm, they didn't ask anyone of us to verify that.
I want one of those Boehner golf tees. Do you think Boehner will send me one if I ask? Why don't you call his office and ask for one too, especially if you live in his district.
(New John Boehner ad. New John Boehner ad. New John Boehner ad.) You can see how much his golf habit costs him. How much do you spend just on your groceries?
Since our Beat Boehner Billboard has been such a hit with Ohio, the media and all of you, we've produced an ad with the help of Americans for America PAC. It's running in Boehner's district (OH-08) on Monday and we want to raise enough money to keep it running for as long as we can.
It's time we started taking the fight to these Corporate /Lobbyist/shills that dress up as Congressmen and wear embarrassing tans like John Boehner does. Check out his appearance on Meet The Press this Sunday:
Boehner makes a complete fool of himself because he refuses to answer Gregory's questions which ask him if tax cuts pay for themselves. Of course he can't be honest.
MR. GREGORY: That's not the question, Leader Boehner. The question...
REP. BOEHNER: And the people that the president wants to tax...
MR. GREGORY: ...is, are tax cuts paid for or not?...read on
And he admits to wanting to raise the retirement age to 70. This is the GOP working for you except they are working against you. It's too bad conservative activists believe failed Bush policies are the way to go. The more money Blue America raises, the more action items we can produce.
Let me interject a few words before we let Russell speak for himself and run away with the show. In 1821, extolling the virtues of the still young Republic, Secretary of State John Quincy Adams, noted that we do not go "abroad in search of monsters to destroy." That was then. And, besides, he never said we don't search them out domestically. Not that we have to search very far. Yesterday Rep. Joe Sestak pointed out Pat Toomey's motley monster picks. Our own Blue America contest, There's A Republican For That, is turning up some real doozies too. In fact, we got a lot of incredible recommendations even over and above the obvious monsters like Michele Bachmann, Sharron Angle, David Rivera and, obviously, Pat Toomey. One name that came up over and over again was Georgia firebrand Paul Broun. My friend Bertis, who lives in Athens, Georgia, in the heart of Broun's district, suggested I look into the gung-ho progressive Democrat running against him, Russell Edwards. So I did.
I called Edwards and asked him if, like so many white Southern Democrats, he would metastasize into some kind of a reactionary Blue Dog voting with the Republicans against the interests of ordinary working families if he wound up getting elected to Congress. I was more than happy with his answer and asked him to write a guest post for us, introducing himself. If you like what you see below, please consider donating to his campaign through ActBlue.
My name is Russell Edwards, and I’m the Democratic Nominee for U.S. Congress from GA’s 10th District. I’m facing off against incumbent PaulBroun, Jr., one of the most dangerous politicians in the nation according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Luckily, Broun, Jr. is also a pitiful fundraiser and only has a little over 130k cash on hand. In our first quarter, we raised over 100k and are closing on him fast.
GA’s Tenth includes Athens and Augusta-- two Democratic strongholds-- along with a smattering of rural NE GA. There are strong pockets of African-American communities, helping to explain the fact that Democrats Michael Thurmond and Thurbert Baker have carried the 10th every time they have run for statewide office. Broun, Jr. won in a special election in 2007 in what the Athens newspaper called “the greatest political upset in GA history.”
Since Broun’s victory, he has fought hard to be the most embarrassing politician in America. Here’s a short vid of his greatest hits. [The video is up on top of the page.]
I am a progressive Democrat and have no plans to join the Blue Dog Caucus should I be elected. They have done absolutely nothing to help me, and I’m not courting them with talk about more tax cuts for the wealthy. I’m speaking candidly about how my District should fight to create jobs and support our schools. Issues that are important to build a strong middle class and ensure every one has a chance to live a life of dignity and respect.
The Blue Dogs perhaps lost me forever during the health care reform debate. During that time, Broun Jr. was a key apparatchik in the Republican fear-mongering machine. He told full rooms of senior citizens that “if they pass this bill, they’re going to give your grandmother narcotics until she catches pneumonia and dies.” At the same time, I launched my own forum series that focused on the need for reform and how best to achieve it. How could I possibly have sided with Broun Jr. and so many Blue Dogs who voted against the final health care reform bill? To me, it was clear the abuses of the private health insurance industry had to be reigned in. These companies were denying insurance to battered women, claiming the abuse they received was a pre-existing condition for Christ’s sake!
Growing up, I came to realize the importance of helping those in my community who were unable to help themselves. I saw the truth that people suffer everyday in our country often for reasons outside their control. Today, it seems the Blue Dogs have strayed too far from empathy-- comfortable to gain as much power as possible through corporate fundraising dollars. Why else would one vote against a bill banning pre- existing conditions? And don’t even give me that weak tea that you voted against it because it didn’t do enough-- your campaign contributions deceive you.
As I mentioned Thursday night, it looks like Henry Waxman has come to much the same conclusion. And by the way, that report Russell referred to above from the Southern Poverty Law Center... it's worth reading their whole statement on why they see Paul Broun as "an enabler" of violence and terrorism:
A medical doctor who makes house calls only to avoid "bureaucratic encumbrances," far-right U.S. Rep. Paul Broun took over Georgia's 10th Congressional District after the death of Charlie Norwood in 2007. Since then, Broun has become a pal of the antigovernment Patriot movement, warning in apocalyptic terms of a coming socialist takeover by Barack Obama and his allies.
This April 19, 15 years to the day after the Oklahoma City bombing, Broun is scheduled to join several Patriot leaders at the Second Amendment March in Washington, D.C. On the agenda that day with Broun are Stewart Rhodes of the Oath Keepers, a group that suspects the government has plans to round up Americans and put them in concentration camps, and Gun Owners of America's Larry Pratt, a fan of militias who has been criticized for ties to white supremacists.
Broun says gun rights are necessary to "prevent treason in America."
Fearmongering and fundraising with Paul Broun
Saying Broun is a fierce critic of the president would be an understatement. Broun has alleged that a civilian reserve corps that Obama proposed, and the Bush administration endorsed, might be used to establish a dictatorship. "We can't be lulled into complacency. You have to remember that Adolf Hitler was elected in a democratic Germany," Broun said in 2008.
A "birther," Broun has openly questioned Barack Obama's citizenship. When asked by a radio host whether Barack Obama was a U.S. citizen or a Christian, both established facts, Broun responded, "I don't know." Broun also calls Cuba's former dictator Fidel Castro Obama's "good buddy."
Last year, Broun told his constituents that the health care bill was the work of a "socialistic elite"-- referring to Obama, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid-- who might use a pandemic disease or natural disaster as an excuse to declare martial law. "They're trying to develop an environment where they can take over," he said. "We've seen that historically." At a 2009 town hall, he called Pelosi "a domestic enemy of the Constitution."
So far, Broun's legislative work has been scant. In 2009, Broun voted against a climate-change bill, calling the concept of manmade global warming a "hoax" perpetrated by the scientific community. In 2009, he proposed legislation proclaiming 2010 "The Year of the Bible." Earlier, he introduced the "Military Honor and Decency Act" that would ban sales of pornography on military installations. The bill has gone nowhere.
Athens has a proud musical tradition and the most famous musicians from their are undoubtably REM. The band members have not just contributed to Russell's campaign, they're co-hosting a fundraising event for him as well. It's like Hollywood! Maybe Broun can counter with Ted Nugent or get Bound For Glory to come down from Minnesota-- unless they're too busy working to reelect Michele Bachmann.
Big Ed loved our Beat Boehner Billboard yesterday and gave it a nice shout out.
Ed Schultz: And check out this billboard, no wonder the tan man is crying about going back to work.
I want to show this billboard near Dayton, Ohio and it's pretty aggressive and I think it's funny as could be. It shows John Boehner with a golf club, Beat Boehner.com. When was the last time you golfed 119 times in one year? Bob, that's a classic, isn't it?
CINCINNATI -- A billboard along Interstate 75 is getting a lot of attention for attacking House Minority Leader John Boehner.The billboard asks the question, "When was the last time you golfed 119 times in one year?" while showing a picture of Boehner golfing. The billboard also includes the address of a website, BeatBoehner.com, which boasts a picture of his opponent, Democrat Justin Coussoule.
Coussoule himself found the billboard to his benefit. "My first thought was, that's a big billboard, you can't miss it. But then second, it gets the discussion going and it's good for our campaign," he said.
Boehner's campaign denied the allegation on the billboard.Campaign spokesman Cory Fritz issued a statement saying, “Congressman Boehner held seven golf events last year, not 119. He did hold 119 events in the District and across the country to benefit conservative candidates, including receptions, meet-and-greets, rallies, speaking engagements, breakfasts, lunches, and dinners, but only seven were golf outings. Any assertion to the contrary is false.”
The media is all over it back at home for Boehner and he's being forced to answer how many times he actually golfs. We never said that he held 119 golf events. Notice how they change the subject? He's spent more money playing golf than most American households make in a year.
The billboard was paid for by donations to the Blue America political action committee, said Howie Klein, the PAC's founder and treasurer. Klein said the ad was targeted toward people who live in Boehner's district.
Klein described Blue America as a progressive political action committee that supports candidates who are for the American family. He said Blue America opposes candidates who are "whores and prostitutes" for corporations, a category in which he placed Boehner. Klein said Blue America planned more billboards and television ads in the coming months.
Boehner's campaign remained undeterred. In a statement, his office said, "Being Minority Leader means John Boehner has a bigger platform to push for the priorities and values of the people of the Eighth District of Ohio. If that makes him a bigger target for folks outside of Ohio who disagree with those priorities, so be it. It goes with the territory."
Despite all of the problems facing Ohio families, according to Golf Digest Magazine, Congressman Boehner finds time to play about 100 rounds of golf a year – most with special interest lobbyists. He says he pays special attention to the lobbyists he meets on the golf course, bragging “...if someone I’ve gotten to know on the golf course comes into my office with a good argument, I tend to want to listen,”— Golf Digest, October 2005
By all public estimations, House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) is a pretty good golfer.
He should be, given the $82,998 his political action committee has spent on golf outings so far this year, according to Federal Election Commission filings.
The golf events this year sponsored by Boehner’s Freedom Project political action committee have stretched from April until October, from Florida to Ohio. And the minority leader doesn’t hold his events at worn-out municipal courses. The most recent outing was a $20,921.34 event at the plush Robert Trent Jones track in Gainesville, Va., an invitation-only private club that was once also home to the Professional Golfers Association's President’s Cup.
Two progressive political action committees, Blue America and Americans For America, have teamed up to do a series of video ads highlighting the worst the GOP has to offer. Last week we unveiled our first in the series, highlighting Sarah Palin, Rand Paul and John Boehner (above). Yecchhh, huh? Many say there are even worse-- or, at least, just as bad. Would you like to vote on who we should include in the next video in our series?
This week we're considering five more-- and there'll be others between now and November, of course. First up, though are five especially unsavory Republicans, 4 House incumbents-- Michele Bachmann (R-MN), Ken Calvert (R-CA), Virginia Foxx (R-NC), and Steve King (R-IA)-- plus one challenger for an open seat, Karl Rove protégé and disgraced ex-U.S. Attorney Tim Griffin.
Here's how you vote: just make a donation on the page dedicated to the culprit of your choice. If you click on the picture below, you go directly to their page. Because we're progressives and not conservatives, a one dollar donation equals the same single vote as a one hundred dollar donation. Now, one of the great aspects of this is that each one of these exceptionally bad Republicans has an exceptionally good Democrat running for the seat. Believe me, that isn't easy to find. I mean, Republican John Boozman in Arkansas, for example, is just terrible but his Democratic opponent, Blanche Lincoln, is just as bad. We won't be offering any Hobbesian choices like that. In Arkansas, to stick with that state as the example, the woman running against Griffin is state Senate Majority Leader and proven progressive Joyce Elliott.
So, we're happy to announce that all of the money raised through this little contest will be used to help voters understand that there's a difference between the Republican and the Democrat running for the seat that gets the most votes. Who do you think is the worst of the worst?
Rhode Island's first congressional district, the eastern and northern parts of the state, including most of Providence, is an open seat this year because of the retirement of Patrick Kennedy. It's one of the safest Democratic districts in the country and McCain barely managed to scrape together a third of the vote. In 2008 Kennedy was re-elected with almost 70%. It's safe to say that whichever Democrat wins the September 14 primary will be the next Rhode Island congressman. There are 4 Democrats running: today's guest and the newest Blue America endorsee, state Rep. David Segal, Providence mayor David Cicilline, conservative businessman Anthony Gemma, and Bill Lynch, the Establishment candidate, a former Democratic Party state chairman and the brother of the state's Attorney General.
There are no actual John Barrows or Bobby Brights or Parker Griffiths among the Democrats. And although David Segal stands head and shoulders above the rest on every single policy issue without exception, the reason Blue America has decided to endorse in this race has more to do with his leadership potential. Everyone is always telling John and Digby and I that we need more Members like Alan Grayson in Congress. They don't grow on trees-- but we found one.
David Segal is one of us. He was elected to the Providence City Council in 2002 as a Green, and is now a lefty Democratic state Rep for Providence and East Providence. He has a very clear path to victory and he can win-- and if he does, he'll be among the strongest voices for progressives in the halls of the Capitol.
David's worked on the meat-and-potato issues: Jobs, the environment, housing, progressive taxes, all with success. He's successfully pushed for expanded renewable energy, more affordable housing, against predatory lending, and for foreclosure prevention measures.
But he's never shied away from the really controversial issues: He's been a vocal leader on criminal justice reform, standing up for the rights of immigrants and for gay rights, and has pushed as hard as one can from the state level against war spending. He's an ardent supporter of gay marriage, and was the sponsor of the last year's bill, which was passed over the Governor's veto, to allow gay partners to plan each other's funerals.
He's a co-sponsor of marijuana decriminalization, and just convinced the Governor-- after two years of vetoes-- to allow a bill to become law that ensures due process for people on probation.
He's sponsored the "Bring the Guard Home" legislation, and his first act on the City Council was to pass a resolution against the war in Iraq.
But, most importantly, he's an organizer at heart, who is committed to joining the Progressive Caucus-- and making it function better. Here's an excerpt from an interview with David Swanson:
"[I]n Rhode Island I've tried to develop alternative structures for legislators to lean on when the leadership makes such threats. I am the lead organizer for our progressive caucus. I founded a political action committee to support members of our progressive caucus so that if funding from sources dries up at leadership's request because something was done to offend them, that we would have at least some, some degree of money to fall back on to help fund our campaigns nonetheless. We funded ten, twelve races relatively modestly in the last cycle and hopefully we'll be able to do something in the forthcoming cycle."
Last week, many of us were disappointed as 148 Democrats, including Patrick Kennedy, joined Boehner, Cantor and 158 other Republicans to vote for more unjustifiable billions of dollars to throw down the Afghan sewer. The disgraceful supplemental demanded by the Military Industrial Complex passed 308-114, more Republicans voting for Obama's proposal than Democrats! Among the candidates running in RI-1, only David Segal came out publicly to say he would have voted NO.
I've been against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan since the beginning. My first act on the Providence City Council in Providence was to sponsor an antiwar resolution in 2003, which of course was not going to end the war in its own right, but it was an opportunity for Providence to assert the negative impact of the war on the city’s ability to function-- to fund municipal services and education.
I don’t think there’s any indication that we’re preventing future terrorism by keeping our presence in Afghanistan right now. The CIA’s made it clear that the drone attacks there present a real risk of destabilizing the Pakistani government, which possesses nuclear armament and should be a grave concern to all of us.
I think that it’s unfortunate but it’s the case that our involvement in Afghanistan is effectively a quagmire right now; there is no neat and tidy way to get out and tie it all up in a bow wrap everything up and leave it neat and pristine and I think it’s time to recognize that and bring the troops home.
I am the only candidate in the Democratic primary for CD 1 in Rhode Island who has pledged that the only Afghanistan war funding I will approve is the funding necessary to safely and expeditiously bring our troops home.
That's the kind of straight forward answer we always look for from our candidates and it's part of the reason we endorsed Segal today, why we've asked him to join us below in the comments section for a chat and why we're asking you to dig deep and help him run his grassroots campaign, a campaign that accepts no corporate contributions. And it's also why Segal has also been endorsed by the PCCC, PDA, DFA, the
Rhode Island American Federation of Teachers & Healthcare Professionals and why we'll be hearing some interesting endorsements this week from other organizations that will comes as a bit of a shock to the Democratic Establishment.