OFA should be ashamed of itself for supporting a putrid Blue Dog like Jim Matheson in Utah

Blue America must be shaking Jim Matheson up since we threw our support behind Claudia Wright in the upcoming primary. I know, you're thinking, could a progressive win an election in the state of "Big Love?" I think she has a chance to beat out a terrible Blue Dog, but in the end we're still sending a powerful message to the Dems. The culture to support an incumbent by Congress is very problematic for a variety of reasons. At times it's a smart play, but as we've seen with this White House, when they support a Joe Lieberman for example, they get nothing in return except for headaches.

Jim Matheson is a terrible Blue Dog who votes with Republicans to recommit bills all the time. As an example, he voted to recommit the hate crimes bill which was a favorite target for Tony Perkins and the Focus on the Family's of the extreme religious right. Luckily they lost and the bill passed.

And since we backed Claudia, Matheson suddenly stands up on the floor of Congress and demands the repeal of DADT. You see a pattern here, right?

OFA is also putting out the call to arms in support of Matheson:

Down with Tyranny:

Wednesday night Obama's inexperienced and astoundingly incompetent political team struck again. This time OFA head Mitch Stewart, who reports to conservative Democratic shill Tim Kaine at the DNC-- a bastion of people power under Howard Dean, now, once again, a failing cog in the corporate machine-- sent out an emergency letter to Utah Democrats begging Obama to help save the mangy ass of anti-healthcare, anti-Choice, anti-gay, anti-environment, anti-reform corporatist and Blue Dog Jim Matheson, whose support has been crumbling as Tuesday's primary nears. With Claudia Wright surging and Matheson panicking, OFA asked Democrats to forget Matheson's putrid voting record-- not putrid by GOP standards; he's one of the original Boehner Boys-- and remember that there was one vote sometime this year where Matheson voted with Obama:

President Obama needs us to elect strong allies who will help him continue his fight for change. This week, one of those allies-- Utah Rep. Jim Matheson-- needs our help. The primary election is June 22nd, so there's no time to lose. [Please kick me if I vote for Obama in 2012, even if the GOP runs Palin or Romney.]

Rep. Jim Matheson stood with the President in support of the Recovery Act in 2009-- creating or saving 25,000 jobs in Utah and helping millions more around the country. He fought hard for the recovery-- and was a major reason we all won this huge victory for families and small businesses. Now, we need your help to fight for him.

Can you help us get the word out? With our Neighbor to Neighbor tool, you can easily make calls from home to voters in Utah's 2nd Congressional District.

Yes, we do expect OFA to do the same thing for John Barrow because Blue America's Regina Thomas is running well in Georgia. In this time of unrest on the progressive side I think Blue America has stood tall and we're holding as many Blue Dogs accountable as possible. It took the conservative movement decades to carve up their party and we've been underway helping to elect as many progressives as we can because our policies actually would help Americans and their families instead of Big Corp.

Digby writes:

That OFA message is terribly misleading. The stimulus was the only vote Matheson took in support of the president's agenda. This makes it sound as if he's been a stalwart supporter and it's just ... a lie. If there's one thing we should demand of the White House and Party if they intervene in primaries (which they shouldn't do in the first place) it's that they don't pull that crap on their own voters. They can make the case that Matheson has seniority or that he's more likely to beat the Republican if that's what they think, but this is really dishonest. He is not an ally of the president unless the president is ready to concede that he's working behind the scenes with Republicans to tank his own agenda. (Well ...)

I hope the membership of the OFA is savvy enough to do their own research although you can't blame them for trusting the Party and the White House not to lie to them in quite this way. Who would guess that they would try to elect someone who repeatedly votes with the Republicans over someone who will vote with the Democratic majority most of the time? To anyone who doesn't subscribe to conspiracy theories, it just doesn't make sense.

It is possible to win Utah and Georgia and Blue America did a great job in 2008. I didn't endorse a presidential candidate and neither did Blue America:

Although pressured to do so, Blue America didn't endorse anyone in the presidential primary-- or even in the general election-- last time around. In the primary we didn't feel there was anyone really worth endorsing enough to take our efforts and resources away from helping elect now Congressmembers Alan Grayson, Gary Peters, Carol Shea-Porter and Donna Edwards...

As Digby sez, please Send a Message to the Democrats.



Getting to Blanche. President Obama scolds Blanche Lincoln over her cowardly stance

There's a reason Blue America PAC targeted Blanche Lincoln over the summer: She's a ConservaDem who is up for reelection and was standing with the health-insurance industry over average working Americans. Our Campaign For Health Care Choice action raised enough money to blanket the state of Arkansas with ads that demanded she vote for change in our health care system. If you can, please continue to donate.

During Obama's conference with Senate Democrats yesterday, Lincoln whined to the president like a good little neo-Republican and asked him to moderate and bow down to Republicans. Have you ever heard of such a thing being said from a party member to its own president?

In one key exchange this morning, Obama rebuked pleas from Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) that he moderate his agenda and work with Republicans to ease the current state of economic uncertainty.

Lincoln described a constituent who she said was "extremely frustrated because there was a lack of certainty and predictability from his government for him to be able to run his businesses."

She asked: "Are we willing, as Democrats, not only to reach out to Republicans, but to push back in our own party for people who want extremes, and look for the common ground that's going to get us the success that we need not only for our constituents, but for our country, in this global community, in this global economy?"

Wow, I didn't know trying to fight for the public option and the best possible health care system is considered extreme in her mind. See, we're the bad guys and not the idiots who littered the town-hall meetings flinging racial insults and bizarre conspiracy theories around like they were candy. Rahm uttered his stupid remark behind closed doors, but conservatives are out front with their lunacy. President Obama then calls out Blanche.

From there, Obama turned to a more pointed critique of Lincoln's argument. "If the price of certainty is essentially for us to adopt the exact same proposals that were in place for eight years leading up to the biggest economic crisis since the Great Depression -- we don't tinker with health care, let the insurance companies do what they want, we don't put in place any insurance reforms, we don't mess with the banks, let them keep on doing what they're doing now because we don't want to stir up Wall Street -- the result is going to be the same," he said. "I don't know why we would expect a different outcome pursuing the exact same policy that got us into this fix in the first place."

Middle class Americans, Obama said, "are more and more vulnerable, and they have been for the last decade, treading water. And if our response ends up being, you know, because we don't want to -- we don't want to stir things up here, we're just going to do the same thing that was being done before, then I don't know what differentiates us from the other guys. And I don't know why people would say, boy, we really want to make sure that those Democrats are in Washington fighting for us."

It's doubtful that Obama has really learned his lesson about these Senate "moderates". But it's good to see him finally drawing a line.

This is the type of argument from Obama that a lot of Democrats, and not just progressives, have longed to hear. While a united Republican opposition has clearly slowed down his legislative agenda, it has been the conservative Democrats in the Senate who have punctured enormous holes in it.

The White House has largely coddled these four or five Senators, at least in public, in hopes of gradually winning over their support. The White House declined to criticize Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.) for holding up health-care reform over a public option --- even while lashing out at former Democratic National Committee chairman Howard Dean when he said the bill should be stopped because it lacked the public plan.



Even as Obama begins to cave on real health insurance reform Blue America will push back

I wrote some nice words about Kathleen Sibelius the last few days because she was able to articulate the phony arguments against a vibrant public option, but it looks like the administration is pulling her back.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Sebelius said that President Barack Obama does not want to drive health insurers out of business, but make them more competitive by offering working families and small businesses the option of a public plan without the high overhead costs of marketing, administration and profits. "I think there is a lot of understanding that the private market has really failed to provide affordable coverage to Americans," Sebelius said. The industry has had "a lot of opportunities" to get rid of coverage restrictions and other unpopular policies, Sebelius said, and really "hasn't served Americans very well."

However, Sebelius stressed that Obama is open to compromise on the shape of the public plan, which doesn't have to be run by the government. She spoke positively of a compromise idea that envisions consumer-owned nonprofit cooperatives, like rural electricity or agriculture co-ops. They would get started with seed money from taxpayers but then compete without government control. The plan by Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., may end up in a health overhaul bill to be unveiled by the Senate Finance Committee this week.

---

But White House senior adviser David Axelrod said Obama is not likely to budge on his demand for a public insurance option. Axelrod said Obama isn't wedded to the public plan being either entirely funded or run by the government and is open to "variations on the theme."

Sibelius also said on NPR that the single payer plan is off the table. We knew that already, but for her to articulate it this way is awful. The fact that she says members of Congress didn't understand the health care debate just shows how either how frakkin' stupid they all are or how corrupt. They knew what they were doing when they torpedoed Clinton's plan and it was led by the Jim Cooper's in Clinton's Congress.

I'm still doing my fundraiser as we speak, but I'm also going to focus on putting pressure on all the crummy Democrats like Blanche Lincoln so that the ball is not dropped. Sure, I need to still raise funds, but I think this Blue America action is very important at this time.

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We are raising money fast for our Campaign For Health Care Choice, and we plan to push on with your help. It's so saddening that with Americans voting out the teabagging republicans in astounding numbers---President Obama is allowing the debate to get away from him. We don't need the teabaggers votes or input since they already destroyed the global financial markets and everything else in their path. Their allegiance is not to the American people, but to the corporate donors that occupy the Health Care Industrial Complex.

Scarecrow writes:

So let's see. On Monday, in a highly publicized speech, the President tells the AMA that he wants a public option that "keeps the insurance companies honest." The leading expert on the public option, Prof. Jacob Hacker (and many others -- e.g., here, here, and here), explain why Conrad's co-op proposal is not a substitute for the public plan because it doesn't achieve the President's objectives.

But AP reports that Obama's HHS Secretary, who had already tried to give away the store, says Obama is now willing to abandon the position he took the day before? And she says the industry will blink? Are these people serious?

Yes it would seem they are very serious. That's why we are turning up the heat.

And we are always screwed by the media on everything policy wise. Whenever a republican talking point comes on the scene, they swallow it whole. Ezra Klein outTweets David Gregory because Mr. Meet the Press instantly adopted their talking points. Why would he so easily accept a falsehood? He doesn't have to worry about health care insurance I'm sure.

You can see their republican ties when as Digby writes: Cokie's Law Is Still On The Books.



What Obama's non-ideological position means

Digby wrote a wonderful post based on EJ's Dionne's column about meeting with barack Obama the other day -- Obama Goes To China:

It has been my experience and reading of history generally that politics is rarely a gentlemanly debate about the public good but is rather a struggle between competing interests. And ideology is usually what binds these interests together through common values and worldviews. In our system those interests have historically formed coalitions within the two political parties which fight it out before the public. I'm sorry that's unpleasant, but it's usually the best humans can do short of killing each other.

But perhaps change is upon us and for the first time in history we will have a functional one party government of earnest like-minded public servants dedicated to the betterment of the people. (We have had a functional one party government of like-minded public servants dedicated to the continuation of the ruling class and the status quo many times, so that much is certainly possible.) But everybody calmly sitting down together and agreeing on "what works" would be a first

The way I look at it now is that Obama has admitted that he's not ideological. At the moment when liberals were at their strongest point in a very long time, Obama wants little to do with progressive ideology. The Conservative swine that have almost destroyed America are salivating at the chance to get back up to the plate for a few more hacks and maybe close their eyes and hit the ball a long way.

They attempted that by nominating Sarah Palin for VP. The Villagers went gaga, and in the moments after she left the Republican convention, she was a huge nationwide hit. She knocked it out of the park. A grand slam. The media couldn't ask any follow-up questions and she was whisked off to "IAin'tTalkingToYouVille." Conservatives rejoiced. We have a new hero who will lead us to salvation. Even if her political positions are as wacky as Joe the Plumber. It's all about the brand, the package, the shiny new chrome wheels on a broken down car. "Boy, those rims are awesome."

However, reality set in quite quickly. Charlie Gibson asked her simple questions that left her gobsmacked. Katie Couric asked some rudimentary questions like, What do ya read Sarah? She was dumbfounded. "What do I read?" I read, a you know, things..."

America was horrified. She went back for a second shot at the plate and struck out again with Katie the ratings loser. Kind of like Casey at the bat. She whiffed on three pitches and helped sink the Republican Party's shot at the White House. Sure, there were other reasons why the lost; however, as EJ writes:

But Obama's anti-ideological turn is also a functional one for a progressive, at least for now. Since Ronald Reagan, ideology has been the terrain of the right. Many of the programs that conservatives have pushed have been based more on faith in their worldview than on empirical tests. How else could conservatives claim that cutting taxes would actually increase government revenue, or that trickle-down economic approaches were working when the evidence of middle-class incomes said otherwise?

Now you understand why the Evangelical movement embraced the conservatives, beyond just the surface affinities. It's all about faith and they have plenty of it. Faith in religion is quite a different thing than having faith in a governmental philosophy that is a failure. It doesn't add up. It can't no matter how much faith one has. Faith applied to our daily lives can have a very positive impact because it can affect the way we live, feel and interact with one another, but not when it meets a number crunching free market economy. The numbers don't have feelings or emotions, they just are.

Digby responds:

Obama is empowering the Republicans and the Blue Dogs with this fiscal responsibility rhetoric and perhaps he believes they will reward him by acting in good faith. And maybe they will. Or perhaps he thinks he can jiu-jitsu the debate in some very clever way to actually bolster social security and enact universal health care. But it's a big risk. I believe that all this talk about "entitlements" and fiscal responsibility will make it much tougher to sell universal health care and easier to dismantle some of the safety net at a time when many people have just lost a large piece of their retirements, their jobs and their homes. It's very hard for me to understand why they think it's a good time to do this.

I know it's probably right that we give him a chance before we completely go postal about this, but I also know that if this were a Republican saying these things I'd certainly be doing everything in my power to oppose it. But then that's the beauty of the Nixon goes to China gambit, isn't it? It neatly shuts down the most fervent opposition. That's why it's so frightening. He might just get it done.

As I see it, if Obama does govern without any form of ideology -- or as EJ calls it, "Audacity Without Ideology" -- then it is up to us to fill the void once his time is done. If he's successful (and I sure hope he is), what might happen is something different in a way. There are many people who do not follow politics as closely as we do, who just live their lives, and might identify with a particular party because their friends are Republicans even though they do even know the party platform. In the end they might just turn into a new kind of independent -- one who leans left, but doesn't identify with liberals because Obama hasn't made the case. Their votes will be up for grabs and their votes will dictate the outcome of many more elections.

We progressives need to make our case and succeed in grabbing those votes so that the right kind of politics will win out in the end. Even if Obama doesn't present himself in a way that highlights the intellectual bankruptcy of conservatism, we will be here to do just that.



Chris Carney, Comcast and Warrantless Wiretaps

Blue America has been asking for donations to help in our nonpartisan campaign to hold members of Congress accountable when they vote against the Constitution. For the past two weeks we've been running TV spots, radio spots and newspaper ads in Chris Carney's northeast Pennsylvania congressional district to make sure his constituents know that he is behaving like a Republican rubber stamp, not like the Democrat they thought they elected in 2006. Today the ACLU, as well as Senators Chris Dodd and Russ Feingold issued strong statements showing what a complete sham the "compromise" the Republicans and a handful of reactionary Democrats have worked out. On top of that, as Glenn Greenwald explained yesterday, Comcast-- Carney's #2 campaign donor-- is protecting him from his own constituents by censoring the debate and refusing to allow the Blue America ads to run (although all the radio ads, 7 full page newspaper ads and the non-Comcast TV ads have all been running). Listen to the Blue America radio ad that has been running all over Carney's district.

I'm sure you can guess which side of this battle John W. McCain is on. If you would like to stand with Blue America, most congressional Democrats and Barack Obama in preventing warrantless wiretaps on American citizens and preventing retroactive immunity for criminal allies of the Bush Regime please consider even a $5 or $10 contribution to the Blue America vs Retroactive Immunity fund today.



Late Night Music Club with Jason Joseph

Last night, instead of sitting home and making a music clip for the Music Club, I ventured out into the world. I went to check out a scene at the best Irish bar in L.A., Molly Malone's on Fairfax. Every Monday chanteuse Adjoa Skinner

hosts an evening of cool and interesting new talent. She reminded me of a how I image Arianna Huffington must have been when she was in his 20s-- if Arianna was a brilliant singer and songwriter as well as... well, you know. Anyway, her first guest was Wainwright and he totally blew me away with his powerful and poignant alt/pop songs. Wainwright brought up another guy, Jason Joseph to play piano and sing with him and then Jason did his own set. I'll tell you how good Jason Joseph is-- I asked him to work on a song for the Blue America candidates. That good! Here's one he sang, "One Man," last night and dedicated to Barack Obama:



Join in: Tell Elizabeth Dole To Stop Racist Attack Ads Against Barack Obama

This is a great idea. It appears that the Republican nominee for the presidency---John McImpotent, can do nothing to pull the racist attack ads against Obama in NC:

"The television advertisement you are planning to air degrades our civics and distracts us from the very real differences we have with the Democrats," he wrote. "In the strongest terms, I implore you to not run this advertisement."

As usual the press will praise him for standing up to their Rovian tactics while nothing is done to stop them. So it's up to Liddy Dole to get these pulled. Jane writes:

Who's the most senior member of the NC GOP? Well that would be Liddy Dole. NC Democratic Party Chair Jerry Meek has sent a letter to Dole saying "without a doubt, you could halt this ad with a simple telephone call." Dole is up for re-election this year (and will be running against either Kay Hagen or Blue America candidate Jim Neal).

She can stop the racist attack ads against Obama, and we're asking her to send this letter:

Dear Chairwoman Linda Daves,

I disapprove of the content of the North Carolina Republican Party's recent advertisement "Extreme". I feel that it resorts to a type of negative politicking that betrays the best interest of North Carolinians.

I call on you, as Chairwoman of the North Carolina Republican Party, to immediately stop airing this advertisement. Failure to do so will reflect negatively on all North Carolina Republicans, and would necessitate that I return the Party's contributions to my campaign to disassociate myself from the vitriol which you appear to embrace.

We'll be working with NC bloggers (including Pam Spaulding) to deliver the petition to Dole's office. You can cosign here.

Yes, it's an excellent idea and I'm very happy to be supporting Jim Neal in NC along with the rest of my Blue America colleagues. (Crooks & Liars, Firedoglake, Digby, Down With Tyranny )

If you can throw a few bucks his way while you're at it---that would be very cool. But please cosign if you have the chance.




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