Blue America Contest: It's 'May Senate Primaries' Time

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Blue America just started a new, fun contest. We're trying to make the Senate a more progressive place to live in. So, it's time for The May Senate Primaries and we need your help.

Digby:

Although Blue America does occasionally work on the Senate (hi Blanche!), we mostly concentrate on electing better Democrats to the House. However, that doesn't mean that when an opportune moment arises we aren't in there trying to help, especially when it comes to sending a message to the Party that it needs to be philosophically coherent and stop supporting any right wing conservative who deigns to put a "D" after his or her name.

One of those moments is upon us, or I should say a whole month is upon us. There are five crucial Senate primaries in May-- North Carolina, Ohio, Arkansas, Pennsylvania and Kentucky. Each pits a more progressive grassroots candidate against a more conservative Establishment candidate, respectively Elaine Marshall vs Cal Cunningham, Jennifer Brunner vs Lee Fisher, Bill Halter vs Blanche Lincoln, Joe Sestak vs Arlen Specter and Jack Conway vs Daniel Mongiardo. If any of them, much less all of them, happened to win it would be a seminal moment for the Democratic Party. And we'd like to pitch in a little bit and do our part.

Howie Klein sent me an email:

So... what could these candidates-- in the words of Barenaked Ladies-- do with a million dollars? Well, they could start to match the huge influx of corporate cash the Supreme Court has guaranteed would flow into the campaigns of corrupt Wall Street shills like Richard Burr (NC), Rob Portman (OH) and other conservative corporate suck-ups for starters. So Blue America has an idea for a little contest. We don't have a million dollars to deploy yet but we do have something no Wall Street banksters have. We have a genuine RIAA-certified Barenaked Ladies multi-platinum award for STUNT.

We're going to give it to the campaign that gets the most votes at the Blue America May Senate Primaries page. A vote is a donation to your favorite candidate-- whether one dollar of one-hundred dollars. The candidate with the most votes gets the award disc to auction or to give away to one of their donors.

So, please take a look at the page and make a contribution-- no matter how small-- to either Jennifer Brunner (OH), Jack Conway (KY), Bill Halter AR), Elaine Marshall (NC) or Joe Sestak (PA). It'll be too late in November if, for example, Kentucky voters are forced to choose between Rand Paul and Daniel Mongiardo, two conservatives or between Arlen Specter and Pat Toomey, two Republicans indebted to Big Business.

Do we want the Ben Nelson's of the world controlling the direction of the country?



Blue America's new Campaign For Health Care Choice: Targeting Blanche Lincoln on the Public Option

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As you've probably noticed, I've been very upset with the way the health-care debate is headed. Kathleen Sibelius did a good job defending the public option and of exposing some of the lies being used the medical industry and their cohorts in Congress.

I think we can all agree that single payer is the way to go, but since it was never made a priority by our representatives, we are left to fight for a solid and robust public option. We know that the obstructionist Republican Party will never get behind any meaningful reforms so Blue America has to go after members of the Democratic Party in the Senate and call them out for selling Americans health care down the drain.

For weeks I've been working on an action so we could get busy defending the best option we have and I think we've come up with a great idea. We are going to target Blanche Lincoln first with TV ads, with the help of Robert Greenwald's Brave New Films, and expose her actions to her constituents in Arkansas. This will be the first play because she is up for re-election in 2010 and has already received the second most money from the HIC of any Senator.

Digby writes:

Watching the health care debate unfold is frustrating and predictably enervating. These kinds of debates are often followed by a deepening of public apathy and a sense that government can't help solve the big problems. And this plays into conservative hands since they are the ones who want to stoke that belief so that the citizens don't get it into their heads that they can get an equal shake with those who think they own this country.

We can't let that happen with health care. It is just too important on every level, for individuals, business and the country at large. It's time to get involved. To that end Blue America is launching a campaign to raise money to run some television ads. We've got to get these wavering Democrats off the fence about a public plan choice or this thing is going to fall completely apart before it even starts.

Perhaps it's not surprising that Lincoln is showing so much compassion for the poor insurance companies. She's taken hundreds of thousands of dollars from them over the years. In fact, she's already received $14,500 from insurance companies for her 2010 campaign, the second highest of any senator up for re-election next year. And the only reform they support is reform that will get the taxpayers to pay the overpriced premiums for the 47 million uninsured without having to change their ways. The fact is that insurance companies are not in any danger of going out of business because of the public plan choice unless they continue the kind of practices that have brought us to this crisis.

Please go to our Blue America Act Blue Page a to give what you can

Howie Klein writes:

Digby's been writing TV scripts for a whole week to try to salvage health care reform from the tender mercies of Democrats who have grown worthless to working families after millions and millions of dollars in legalized bribes from the Medical-Industrial Complex and the Insurance Giants. Robert Greenwald is standing by with a camera crew ready to start shooting. The first batch of ads are going up on TV in Arkansas and, man, do we need help. We have a new Blue America Page that I want to urge you to visit today.

Perhaps it's not surprising that Lincoln is showing so much compassion for the poor insurance companies. She's taken hundreds of thousands of dollars from them over the years. In fact, she's already received $14,500 from insurance companies for her 2010 campaign, the second highest of any senator up for re-election next year. And the only reform they support is reform that will get the taxpayers to pay the overpriced premiums for the 47 million uninsured without having to change their ways. The fact is that insurance companies are not in any danger of going out of business because of the public plan choice unless they continue the kind of practices that have brought us to this crisis.

Digby has finished several excellent scripts and we've begun the casting process. Please join us and support Blue America in its fight to save the public option. Idiots like Joe Lieberman are saying the fight over health insurance is for "universal access," but that's a lie.

Access doesn't do anything if the health care sucks. Lieberman should have said the fight is for universal health care for all if he was a human being instead of a shill for the HIC. We will not let them get away with this garbage.

Blanche Lincoln is the first one up on our radar, but we're sending a signal to the rest of the cowardly, corporate influenced Democrats that we are coming. Please help us save health care.

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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.



Please Vote In Our Blue America "Red to Blue" Contest

Saturday morning Crooks & Liars joined with our partners at FDL, Digby's Hullabaloo and DownWithTyranny to announce a week-long competition among some of our Blue America House candidates. We're offering $5,000 to candidate who gets the most votes from the readers of the four blogs. These are all candidates who are not on the DCCC's Red to Blue list.

All you have to do to vote is to stick at least one dollar (no more than $2,300) in the pot of the candidate you like best. A dollar counts as one vote; $2,300 counts as one vote. If you give one dollar a hundred times it counts as one vote. But, yes, you are welcome to vote for more than one candidate and that does count.

Since Saturday morning there have been 293 donors and Russ Warner, who's running against L.A. area Bush rubber-stamp David Dreier is way out in front. Russ' supporters have tossed in over $3,000. Altogether over $7,500 has been raised for the 9 candidates so far, aside from Russ, Debbie Cook (CA), Annette Taddeo (FL), Dennis Shulman (NJ), Larry Joe Doherty (TX), Alan Grayson (FL), Barry Walsh (IN), Sam Bennett (PA) and Jared Polis (CO).

We asked Democratic Party bosses Rahm Emanuel, Steny Hoyer, Chris Van Hollen, and Debbie Wasserman Schultz to each match our $5,000 check to the winner. None of them have... responded yet. Don't forget to vote! Winner will be announced next Saturday.



Blue America Contest: Help Us Pick The Candidate

Today's the first day of a week-long Blue America contest, I'd like to invite you to participate in. Some of our candidates have been endorsed by the DCCC's Red to Blue program, which makes it easier for them to access institutional Democratic money-- big donors, labor unions, single-issue groups, incumbents, etc. And some haven't. Blue America wants to spotlight nine of our House endorsees this week who may eventually wind up in the program but who need campaign cash to compete effectively now. These are the nine:

Sam Bennett (PA-15)- Lehigh Valley
Debbie Cook (CA-46)- Orange County
Larry Joe Doherty (TX-10)- northern Austin to Brenham and Katy
Alan Grayson (FL-08)- Orlando
Jared Polis (CO-02)- Boulder and Westminster out to Eagle County
Dennis Shulman (NJ-05)- northern New Jersey from Bergen and Passaic around to Warren County
Annette Taddeo (FL-18)- Miami-Dade from Miami Beach and Coral Gables down to Key West
Russ Warner (CA-26)- northeast L.A. suburbans from Rancho Cucamonga to Arcadia
Barry Welsh- (IN-06) east central Indiana centered on Muncie

We're counting votes at a just launched new ActBlue contest page. Whether you donate a dollar or $20 or $2,000 to the candidate, of your choice, it counts as one vote-- although you can certainly vote for as many candidates as you'd like. The candidate who gets the most votes gets a $5,000 Blue America check. The winner will be announced on Saturday, September 6th.



Blue America: Holding Rahm Emanuel Accountable: UPDATED

(The Accountability Moment) Updated: Here's some pics from ICIRR folks that have joined Blue America. And here is an audio report from Chicago Public radio on Joshua Hoyt's reaction...Many of you have probably heard that Rahm is backing the extreme right wing Tom Tancredo and his hateful stance on immigration. C&Lers have made their voices heard loud and clear on this issue and understand the need for good border security, but with a comprehensive---humane plan in mind. We're human beings after all. The Republicans need a wedge issue to run on like they did in the '04 election with "gay marriage" and now they've picked--Immigration. Because as you know they're stealing all our jobs, plan to blow up our malls and will be illegally voting...<snark> I've been following the Voter ID bills (Indiana is coming up and Kevin Drum has some important graphs) and immigration will be the major reason the Republicans give to try and scrub the voter rolls to steal as many elections as they can. Have they produced any illegals that have actually voted? It's all a straw man story, but you know that already.

After the blowback from the base around comprehensive immigration reform (and the loss of any hope of splitting the powerful growing Latino voting bloc) they are going back to the tried and true. Vote suppression and bogus accusation of voter fraud. They've been doing it for years and now that they've had access to the DOJ and trained a whole new generation of Monica Goodlings, I have no doubt they've devised some great new techniques.

Rahm's play feeds into the Voter ID/fraud meme and it is truly disheartening to see so we at Blue America have decided to send Emanuel a message.

We've joined with the ICIRR (Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights)

PROGRESSIVE BLOG PAC JOINS WITH IMMIGRANT’S RIGHTS GRASSROOTS TO DEMAND ACCOUNTABILITY FROM RAHM

Blue America PAC supports Chicago immigrant grassroots in Cong. Emanuel’s home district, in a fight for the soul of the Democratic Party on immigration issue

PAC launches ads in Spanish, Polish, and Korean press in Congressman Rahm Emanuel’s district

Chicago November 15, 2007 — The Blue America PAC is joining today with ICIRR (Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights) and Chicago grassroots immigrant groups to demand accountability from Congressman Rahm Emanuel. The PAC is funding ads and robocalls calling on Emanuel to:

“Stop being afraid to fight for immigrants, and start acting like a real leader.”

And no matter where you’re located, you can join the Accountability for Rahm campaign with a donation at Blue America’s Accountability Moment.

Digby has a wonderful post explaining it all

So why in the world do Democrats believe that they'll benefit from a new enforcement only bill so harsh that it even calls for legal family members who help an undocumented worker to get a year in jail for doing it? This isn't like welfare reform at all. There's no "taking it off the table." This is an issue that hits directly at the largest and fastest growing new voting bloc in America.

The report documents how Hispanics have gone from a group trending Republican to a group overwhelmingly Democratic; one whose percentage of the American electorate has increased by 33 percent in the last 4 years; and one poised, because of the structure of the Electoral College, to determine who the next President will be in 2008.

Telling these people to suck it up, as Carville and Greenberg, in their ever more desperate quest to recover the aging "Reagan Democrat" are doing by urging Democrats to pass legislation virtually designed to suppress their vote, is nothing short of political malpractice. It is the equivalent of the Republicans telling the Christian right to stay the hell out of politics back in the 1980's....please read on




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