Blue America Welcomes David Segal (D-RI)

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.



Blue America Proudly Welcomes Back An Old Friend--Give It Up For Alan Grayson

Alan Grayson is one of Blue America's oldest friends, and someone we are always so proud to be able to say we had even a small part in electing. The Orlando area freshman is unquestionably the most inspiring and beloved Democrat in the entire House. I'm not exaggerating. He's a courageous straight shooter willing to laugh in the face of clownish bullies like Michele Bachmann and Eric Cantor. Freshmen don't have much power but there is no Democrat anywhere who the GOP would like to take out more than Grayson. He's the one who always holds up the mirror and makes them-- and their corporate paymasters-- stare directly into their own vapid, lifeless eyes.

John and Digby and I couldn't be happier to bring Alan back for another Blue America round here at Crooks and Liars. When we polled our PAC's donors for who our first incumbent endorsee for 2010 should be, it wasn't even close. In fact, Alan is the only incumbent on the Blue America endorsement list so far this year. Tomorrow is Alan's money bomb day. Let's make sure part of the money that propels him to a second term is money that comes from his oldest and most loyal friends in the blogosphere and not just from Johnny-come-latelies like Howard Dean (above) and Dennis Kucinich (below).

Now let's repair to the comments section below and find out why anyone would want to have someone as entertaining as Eric Cantor removed from the public forum and, more important, what progressives can do about Afghanistan and about turning Obama's first step in healthcare reform into the long distance run it needs to be. And, please, let's make Alan's money bomb something that old line pols like Steny Hoyer and Rahm Emanuel take notice of. Contribute here.

His 'money bomb' info is here.



What's Up With Debbie Wasserman Schultz?

Debbie Wasserman-Schultz is one of those politicos that I can't figure out. She was absolutely great taking down Chris Shays, terribly frustrating talking to Ed Schultz about impeachment, and now, she's downright infuriating with her refusal to assist fellow Democrat Annette Taddeo over incumbent Republican Ilena Ros-Lehtinen, an even more heinous betrayal considering that Wasserman Schultz has a leadership position in the DCCC, whose job it is to -- get this -- increase the number of Democratic seats in Congress. AmericaBlog:

DavidNYC reports that leading House Democrat, Debbie Wasserman Schultz (DWS), still won't help Annette Taddeo's campaign. It's ludicrous. Taddeo's opponent is the Bush-loving, right winger Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. It's especially galling considering DWS has a leadership role in the DCCC -- and may even try to run that organization in the next cycle. So, you'd think supporting all Democrats running for Congress, especially those in her home state, wouldn't be a tough call for DWS. But, it is. (Also, it should go without saying that supporting all Democratic House candidates should be THE main criteria for anyone in DCCC leadership.)

It's not like DWS is lacking funds. Besides her own campaign account (where DWS is sitting on over half a million with no real opponent this year), she has a leadership PAC, Democrats Win Seats PAC (DWS PAC, get it?). Check out her list of expenditures here. She's managed to contribute to a lot of House candidates across the country and to groups like the Ohio Democratic Party. But, she can't help Annette? What's up with that? If DWS wants to be a Democratic leader, DWS needs to help all Democrats -- and not put her friendship with a Republican ahead of party loyalty. That's not too complicated, is it?

Since Wasserman Schultz is a no-show on trying to turn this seat for the Democrats, won't you consider donating to Annette Taddeo's campaign through Blue America? At least we're committed to getting more and better Democrats in Congress.



Jean Schmidt Is A Lying B****!

Well, duh. But this time, it's one of her fellow Republicans talking her down.

TPM:

Every now and then we like to check in on the latest antics surrounding GOP Rep. Jean Schmidt -- the Ohio Republican who called Jack Murtha a coward on the House floor. And boy oh boy, her latest doesn't disappoint.

Schmidt is now enmeshed in a bitter feud with another Ohio Republican, who's so furious with her that he called her a "lying b----" and a "despicable person" who would "sell her mother" -- and expressly told us we could print that!

The issue? GOP State Rep. Tom Brinkman, who founded an anti-tax government watchdog group, is charging that Schmidt's House staffers frequently work on her campaign for re-election.

"You can quote me anywhere you like. Jean Schmidt is a lying b----," said Brinkman, who lost his primary challenge to her this year by a 58%-40% margin, in an interview with Election Central. "She would sell her mother to promote herself. She is a despicable person. She will go any length possible to win, to get what she wants."

Yikes!

Schmidt is running against Blue America's Victoria Wulsin. Please help if you can in her campaign against the ethically-challenged Mean Jean.



Open Thread Victory Style!

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

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

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

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

And finally as TRex sez:

- "Subpoena Power....Activate"

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

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

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

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



C&L Video Contest: Blue America needs you!

Today marks the first day of a special Blue America video contest at Crooks and Liars. I'm looking for videomakers, animators and flash designers who want to be part of the Blue team and help take Congress back from the rubber stampers. Rickie Lee Jones and Tom Maxwell and Ken Mosher, formerly of the Squirrel Nut Zippers, put together a campaign theme song, "Have you Had Enough."

Media error

And you can read all about how the song came about here. Mike McIntee has been doing yeoman's work in turning out dozens of customized videos for our campaign.

One of the last ones he did was for Angie Paccione's challenge to right-wing extremist Marilyn Musgrave. take a look:

What we're looking for today is a similar approach, but one that also emphasizes the latest outrage in the Republican Culture of Corruption that ties these rubber stamp incumbents into the Republican leadership's cover-up of the Foley-Predatorgate scandal.

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Tancredo gets his "Hate" on

Tancredo.jpg Remember when Joe Klein recently said:

Rove has shown a positive genius for organizing campaigns around poisonous trivia. He will question the patriotism of Democrats (and, once again, be aided by those on the noisome left who believe that the U.S. is a malignant, imperialistic force in the world). He will deploy an ugly, stone-throwing distortion of Christian "values," especially against those Democrats who choose not to discriminate against homosexuals. And if things get really desperate, he will play the race card, as Republicans have ever since they sided against the civil rights movement in the 1960s.

Southern Poverty Law Center

On the ground floor, a United States Army brass band commemorated the victims of 9/11. One level up, not far from the museum's permanent Confederate Army exhibit, the state chapter of the League of the South (LOS), a neo-Confederate hate group, hosted a barbecue in honor of Colorado Congressman Tom Tancredo, head of the House Immigration Reform Caucus and likely contestant in the 2008 GOP presidential primary. Proceeds from the $15 per-plate fundraiser went to Americans Have Had Enough!, a South Carolina-based non-profit coalition for which Tancredo serves as honorary chairman.

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