Blue America has decided to lend a hand to the grassroots campaign going on in Utah's second congressional district on behalf of intrepid progressive Claudia Wright. Claudia will face Blue Dog Jim Matheson June 22. We need to move forward and get this ad on TV immediately. If you don't have time to read the rest of this post but want to help, you can do it by clicking on this link-- and for as little as $5 get the ad up on CNN.

Yesterday I was shocked that one of the Inside-the-Beltway publications, The Hill, actually took note of Claudia's challenge to Matheson. They rarely do that and kind of function as a part of the company town incumbent protection program, just like the shills at the DCCC, who are, of course, fully backing Matheson despite his penchant for habitually crossing the aisle to vote with Republicans.

Rep. Jim Matheson (D-Utah) had never been challenged in a primary before this year, in which he’s fighting off a political newcomer who could make him the latest incumbent casualty.

Retired schoolteacher Claudia Wright gained traction in Utah’s 2nd district on a strongly progressive platform, while trying to paint the five-term Blue Dog Democrat as inaccessible and out of touch with constituents.

She had never sought elected office and got on the ballot by capturing 45 percent of the delegates’ votes at the state party convention last month. She needed 40 percent to qualify.

Matheson got 55 percent of the delegates’ votes but needed 60 percent to avoid the June 22 primary.

University of Utah political scientist Matthew Burbank said the convention outcome shows this election will be, more than anything, a referendum on Matheson, who may have alienated his base with his “no” vote on healthcare reform.

...Matheson holds a hefty fundraising advantage, with well over $1 million raised compared to Wright’s roughly $25,000.

But Wright argues her lower fundraising numbers belie her campaign’s appeal, given her performance at the state party convention. She said her campaign is refusing to take corporate political action committee (PAC) money, and is instead relying on the media and volunteers going door to door to get out the word.

“Old-style politics, shoe leather and person-to-person, trying to get them to come our way: That’s what we’ve been doing since day one,” Wright said. “We’ve got volunteers across the state who have been doing all of that ... It’s the only way to do this.” ... Matheson’s campaign did not respond to requests for comment.

The average Blue America contribution is $45.00 and it's how we raised all the money we've been able to put into campaigns to help elect progressives like Alan Grayson, Donna Edwards, Carol Shea-Porter, Jeff Merkley, John Hall, Hilda Solis, Steve Cohen, Gary Peters, and many others-- as well as to help progressive champions who haven't gone all the way (yet), like Marcy Winograd, Ned Lamont, Doug Tudor, Darcy Burner and Coleen Rowley. But I tried something new this time-- basically because we had no time. I went to every wealthy gay person I know and begged for the money. It was an exercise in humility. But I'm bad at it and I came up blank. Either they're already donating directly to her campaign or they didn't want to take a chance on a longshot candidate. It doesn't matter how good she is, how gay she is, how bad he is... just that she's not a likely winner. Of course her primary challenge has already gotten Matheson-- who voted with the GOP to table the Hate Crimes Bill-- to vote to repeal DADT (and to even show up at a Gay Pride event-- first time ever-- in Salt Lake City last week). So... I'm putting in the full legal amount I can donate personally and, anyone got $45 they wanna chip in?

Actually, Jacquie's put together a whole menu of spots you can buy with the prices on a special ActBlue page. So that ad up top is what you get to put on the cable TV programs you pick for that price shown next to it. It's kind of fun. Take a look-- and do what you can. Oh, and here's a link to the live chat we did with Claudia last month at Crooks and Liars.



Blue America Welcomes Eric Massa For A Talk On Afghanistan

Last night two of the blogosphere's brightest lights posted on the difficulties Obama is facing when it comes to turning around U.S. Afghanistan policy. Digby, who recounted a 1964 conversation between McGeorge Bundy and President Lyndon Johnson about the futility of American policies in Vietnam, seemed aghast that "Democratic strategist" Donna Brazile was on CNN yesterday seemingly reading some leftover talking points from Karen Hughes about the need to stay in Afghanistan and "get the job done." Then last night Daily Kos' most prescient Afghanistan blogger, Meteor Blades, highlighted the controversy over Andrea Mitchell's report on the 500,000 troops needed to do the job in Afghanistan.

But as Rep. Eric Massa (D-NY), our No Means No guest today, asked me this morning, "What is the job?"

Blue America's friendship with Eric Massa goes back to the very beginning of our PAC and he was one of the first candidates we ever supported. Ultimately it was his character that moved us to endorse him, although his championing of issues impacting the real lives of working families (like "fair trade" over so-called "free trade"), his dogged support of single-payer health care, and his spot-on analysis of the war in Iraq based on experience as a Naval officer are what first drew us to him. He came close in 2006 and he triumphed in 2008-- in one of the only districts in New York that Obama didn't win! Obama tool 48% in NY-29 while Massa scooped up 51% against a multimillionaire incumbent and Bush tool.

In June, Eric was one of only 32 Democrats to vote against the supplemental war budget -- of the 90 who had pledged to vote no. It was an incredibly courageous political act, particularly in a district with a daunting R+5.48 PVI (one of the most Republican districts in the country represented by a progressive Democrat). This morning Eric told me in no uncertain terms that he would "continue to vote against any supplemental."

We're not going to fund any wars in a way that no one knows about. The Republicans gave the wealthiest Americans the largest tax cut in history and then launched two wars without any idea of how to pay for them. It was the most fiscally irresponsible action they could take-- and they took it.

Eric is fired up and full of fight, as always. He loves his job and told me he's absolutely committed to it. "I'm in the right place in my life doing the right job for the right congressional district. And I'm just getting started." Right now, you hear the lifelong military man in him when he says he's very supportive of what he calls "the president's strategic pause to formulate whatever strategy his administration will implement (in Afghanistan)."

For instance, is this about fighting the Taliban or fighting al-Qaeda -- two distinctly different groups -- or is it about creating a democracy, or is it about protecting the Afghan people? These are very different missions that require very different resources. And until we know what we're doing, we cannot begin to get it done. The first thing a military officer asks is 'What is the mission?' And as of right now, that is a very legitimate question."

As progressives and men and women of common sense, we should demand a strategy that turns the destiny of Afghanistan over to the Afghans so we can get out of there as soon as possible. If the condition of our departure is creating a Jeffersonian democracy, then we are on a fool's errand.

Eric is joining us now (in the comments section) as part of our ongoing series on Afghanistan policy at Crooks and Liars. As MoveOn mentioned in the mailing this morning, "U.S. policy in Afghanistan has reached a pivotal moment. President Obama is poised to make a critical decision about the Afghanistan war in the next few weeks. And there's a big debate happening right now about what to do. Pro-war advocates both inside and outside the administration -- including John McCain and Joe Lieberman -- are calling for a big escalation. The general in charge of Afghanistan is expected to request tens of thousands more troops, and that may just be the beginning. They're cranking up the pressure for an immediate surge."

Eric Massa is in a unique position to help us figure out a progressive strategy for dealing with this dilemma. He's adamant that if the President asks for more funds for the war, he do it through a normal budgetary process that includes a "clearly articulated strategy with an end game. The Republicans say they're all about fiscal responsibility? Then they should agree we should apply those concepts to wars."

Please take a look at Blue America's No Means No! page and consider donating to Eric and any or all of the 32 other Democrats who have already done the right thing by voting no on the supplemental budget 3 months ago and who we will be counting on to help end the occupation of Afghanistan in the coming months.



MoveOn jumps into the Blue America "Standing Up For The Public Option" fundraiser.

Goal Thermometer

MoveOn has generously joined in on our Standing Up For The Public Option fundraiser and it's helped keep the thermometer rising. When last I looked we were over 300,000 dollars and over 5000 donors. I can't wait to wake up and see where we are next. (I wrote this post at 11:15 PM Thursday)

Howie Klein adds:

UPDATE: MoveOn.org Joins The Battle

If you've noticed that our thermometer is going through the roof today, that's because MoveOn is in the process of sending out a request to their millions of members to join the effort to thank the Democrats in Congress who have drawn the line in the sand for a robust public option and real health care reform beyond the siphoning of public money that the insurance companies and their congressional shills want.

I was watching MSNBC and CNN yesterday and all I was hearing was that progressives supporting the public option are left to the left. WTF does that mean? When Bush used reconciliation to pass his massive tax cut for the rich bill, the media didn't say that it was a right to the right position. We get tarred for having a brain.

And now Terry McCauliffe of all people has said that he's for the public option and is offering to do a fundraiser for anyone who endorsers it in Virginia. Wow.

Not Larry Sabato has worked with Terry McAuliffe to do a major fundraiser for any Virginia candidate who makes the pledge (an effort probably worth six figures).

Terry McAuliffe? Wow! That's an effort! In fact, I'm going back on the Blue America page and donating some more.

And a new poll shows 77% percent of Americans still support the public option.

Yet, while the issue continues to be hotly debated in the halls of Congress, a new poll by Survey USA finds that the idea is as popular as ever amongst the American public:

More than three out of every four Americans feel it is important to have a “choice” between a government-run health care insurance option and private coverage, according to a public opinion poll released on Thursday.

A new study by SurveyUSA puts support for a public option at a robust 77 percent, one percentage point higher than where it stood in June.

The SurveyUSA poll finds similar results to several other polls that also show that the public option is very popular, a fact that some members of Congress consider to be a detriment.

Yes, I'm a 77%er...

Jane adds:

The House Dems have 77% of the country behind them. Conrad and Bayh have WellPoint and Blue Cross behind them, and messy financial ties to boot. Will they join with the Republicans to filibuster a Democratic health care bill? Because as Kagro X says, that is very much what they are saying they will do.

I guess we will see.



I think Blanche Lincoln needs another round of ads, don't you? Please help

Blue America's first push at Blanche Lincoln proved very worth while. As Greg Sargent reported, we forced her to write an op-ed in which she shifted positions on the public option. We raised almost 28K and ran our first ad for two weeks in heavy rotation on CNN, MSNBC and all the major cable networks in Arkansas. With Max Baucus delaying the Senate Finance Committee bill for as long as he has, Blanche is now shifting back to her old position. Haven't you noticed that you never see Lincoln appear on television to express her POV? She's up for re-election, hence with her keeping a low profile.

Howie Klein explains:

Lincoln reacted quickly, making noises that sounded like she might take the side of her state's working families for a change, instead of the big Insurance companies that buy her fealty. But, alas, they were only noises. Yesterday one of our friends in Hot Springs forwarded us a form letter she got from Lincoln's office. As though it were written by a real Democrat, it acknowledges that there's a problem. But the conclusion is very disappointing, some of it coming straight from Insurance Industry Talking Points that are routinely parroted by anti-health care fanatics like Mike Pence (R-IN), Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Paul Ryan (R-WI):

While I support government programs like Medicaid, Medicare and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP, or ARKids First,” as it is known in Arkansas) that provide coverage for specific vulnerable and hard-to-insure populations, I do not support moving America to a nationalized single-payer or “government-run” health care system. Instead, in health care reform I will ensure Arkansans and Americans will have the freedom of choice to keep their current insurance plans and current doctors or choose another plan that better meets their needs.

Well, it's time to see if we can raise enough money to run a second wave of our ad. The next one will be the ad I have embedded in this post. It was #3 called "Bailout" Please donate here if you can.

She's also doing some town halls and we can use the good people of Arkansas to go there and represent Blue America and C&L.

Here's her schedule.

Lincoln will travel the state throughout the annual congressional work period. The following is Lincoln’s schedule of events around the state for August 11-15:

Tuesday, August 11—Little Rock, Malvern

9:10 a.m., Keynote address, Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce/Associated Industries of Arkansas Seminar, “Connecting Your Business with China.” Lincoln will join the State Chamber/AIA, Arkansas Economic Development Commission, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Arkansas World Trade Center, and business and community leaders to welcome the Chinese Ambassador to the United States. Capital Hotel, 111 W. Markham Street, Little Rock.

12:00 p.m., Speak, Lions Club of Malvern. Western Sizzlin Steak House, 621 Martin Luther King Boulevard, Malvern.

Wednesday, August 12—Little Rock

9:00 a.m., Speak, “Jobs for Arkansas” Business Aviation Forum at Dassault Falcon Jet. Lincoln will join Governor Beebe, Senator Pryor, Dassault Falcon employees, and other community and business leaders to discuss the importance of Arkansas’s aviation industry. Dassault Falcon Jet Company, 3801 East 10th Street, Little Rock.

Continue reading »




Paid for by Blue America PAC, blueamerica.crooksandliars.com, not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee.