The Most Important Primaries Of 2018

If you've been with Blue America for enough years, you'll remember the excruciating battles we backed for Donna Edwards, Beto O'Rourke and Matt Cartwright when they took on corrupt old conservative Democrats in, respectively, Maryland, Texas and Pennsylvania. All three, running as reformers and progressives, prevailed. But there is nothing in politics more difficult, no task more painful-- and few as important-- as taking on an entrenched incumbent of one's own party.

Each of those districts was solidly blue and the only possible accountability for bad behavior could come in the form of a primary. No Republican was ever going to beat Al Wynn in Prince George's County (D+28), Sylvestre Reyes in El Paso (D+17) or even Tim Holden in northeast Pennsylvania (D+4).

All three had become untreated cancers on the Democratic Party but the institutional party circled the wagons around each to ward off the reformers. It was very painful for each of them, especially Matt and Donna who were screamed at and lambasted by the Democratic Party leadership. Pelosi and Hoyer raised money for the incumbents and spread malicious and malevolent lies about the challengers. 

Blue America is backing progressives in a dozen primary races, but they're not primaries against incumbents; they're primaries among challengers vying for the nomination to beat a Republican. In an ideal world, every Blue Dog, every New Dem and every unaffiliated conservaDem would have to justify themselves to their voters every two years in issues-based primaries. But this year we've only found 4 so far that we've gotten involved with-- in other words, plausible races against exceptionally bad Democrats by exceptionally good Democrats.

These are the four races:

• FL-23, Tim Canova taking on Debbie Wassermann Schultz
• TX-29, Hector Morales taking on Gene Green
• IL-03, Marie Newman taking on Dan Lipinski
• NY-14, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez taking on Joe Crowley

Crowley, perhaps the most overtly corrupt Democrat in Congress, was the head of the Wall Street-owned New Dems before he was tapped by increasingly feeble-minded Pelosi and Hoyer to run the party after they're gone. It's almost impossible to imagine anything worse happening to the Democratic Party.  Although... Debbie Wassermann Schultz taking over the party-- once a distinct possibility (she's now more likely to take over a prison block)-- might be worse.

Lipinski is just a garden variety Blue Dog: anti-Choice, homophobic, xenophobic, and a pawn of his corporate donors. He's a co-chair of the House Blue Dog caucus and votes far more against crucial progressive legislation with the Republicans than with the Democrats. Gene Green, who represents an impoverished 77% Hispanic district in East Houston, including some of the most polluted areas of America, polluted, we should note by Green's campaign contributors, whose interests he diligently serves.

Dislodging the Republicans from control of the House is everyone's first priority. Getting rid of corrupt Democrats who make the party less attractive to voters who hate the Republicans and who perpetrate the myth that the Democrats can never be better than the lesser of two evils, should also be a priority.

Please consider contributing what you can to the special page Blue America has set up specifically to raise funds for progressive challengers to the worst of the congressional conservaDems. I hope there will be more before the cycle concludes, but this is a pretty impressive group so far.

Hector Morales, for example, is a school teacher in Houston who thinks it's time to hold Green accountable for the pollution that has been making school children in his district sick year after year. "After sitting in Congress for 25 years representing special interests," he told us, "it is beyond time to replace this corporate shill with someone who will always place the people first and will not make a career out of being a member of Congress. We can and will do better in March when we defeat Gene Green in the Democratic Primary for the 29th Congressional District of Texas."

Upgrading the Democratic Party is as essential and banishing the GOP from control of the House. It will help break a cycle where the voters go back and forth on which party is really the lesser of two evils.



The Philly Suburbs Are In Political Turmoil

As we've explained before, political science professor Mary Ellen Balchunis is just too progressive for Steve Israel (Blue Dog-NY), Ben Ray Lujan (DCCC chair) and Nancy Pelosi who used to be from San Francisco but now represents some alternative universe. Mary Ellen isn't, however, too progressive for the Democrats who actually live in the Philly suburbs in Delaware, Montgomery, Chester and Berks counties.

They laughed when the DCCC tried to insert some Wall Street outsider, Bill Golderer, as "their" candidate. That's why Mary Ellen beat him in the primary-- beat him, in fact quite decisively, 51,525 (74%) to 18,276 (26%). And this despite a very aggressive sabotage campaign against her... by the DCCC! While telling institutional donors not to contribute to Mary Ellen's campaign, they helped Golderer raise the $351,551 he spent against her in the primary (and even added in another $14,500 against her-- $14,500 that unaware contributors gave the DCCC to be used against Republicans, not against progressives).

As soon as the votes were counted showing Mary Ellen's stupendous win, the DCCC packed up its tents and decided PA-07 was no longer one of the "top 10 congressional targets in the country." They started investing money in deep, deep red districts; in Utah, Colorado, Indiana, New Jersey, where they have right-wing Blue Dogs and New Dems running with virtually no chance of winning. Their hatred for progressives and progressive ideas is so blinding, they have adamantly refused to help Mary Ellen's campaign-- and determined to see her lose to sad sack GOP backbencher incumbent Pat Meehan. Does this make any sense to you? Will you help her show the DCCC (again) who the Democrats in PA-07 want to have representing them in Congress?

Hillary and Bernie split the counties that make up PA-07. They also split the affections of Mary Ellen, who is an old friend of Hillary's and a supporter of the same progressive agenda that made Bernie so beloved to the Democratic Party grassroots, much of which Hillary has now embraced as well, she says. This past Monday, Hillary was back in the Philly suburbs, campaigning with Mary Ellen in her hometown, Haverford... despite Pelosi and her conservative DCCC henchmen still purposefully ignoring the PA-07 race.

"I was first inspired by Hillary Clinton in 1992," Mary Ellen told us, "when I was teaching a class on State and Local Government, and our textbook discussed Governor Clinton of Arkansas appointing his wife, then  Arkansas First Lady Hillary Clinton, to chair a committee to improve education in their state. The Clintons viewed education as a key to economic development and I was impressed by how Bill and Hillary worked together as equals. I was honored to have Hillary lecture to my students and sign my textbook. One of my students asked her what her focus would be if she were to become First Lady of the United States. Hillary said she would work to help our children and she has more than lived up to that promise with her steadfast advocacy for children and families. Perhaps the most inspiring moment was when Hillary was working on the 1996 Baby Bill to extend maternity stays from 24 hours to a minimum of 48 hours at the same time my students were working on the issue. When the bill was  being signed, Hillary invited me and my two year old daughter to the Rose Garden signing ceremony. We were both part of the 24 hour 'McBirth' deliveries. In my classes, I teach by involving students. My classes have worked on reducing the time that rape kits sit on shelves, reducing sexual assaults on college campuses, bringing awareness of the problem of human trafficking, amongst others. Hillary inspired me to go further, saying: 'I know Mary Ellen Balchunis has just one of the best Women in Politics class in the nation.'"

Hillary seems to get it-- she needs progressives in Congress to help her pass the ambitious agenda Bernie and Elizabeth Warren helped her put together to run on. It's heartening to see her backing good candidates and not just the garbage the DCCC insists on backing. Mary Ellen is a values-driven fighter, not some kind of careerist hack. Hillary needs people like Mary Ellen Balchunis in Congress if she's going to get anything worthwhile done.

This is the kind of crucial race where the progressive grassroots can pick up the slack from a corrupted and conservative DCCC refusing to do its job. Please consider joining Blue America in supporting Mary Ellen Balchunis's race against Paul Ryan rubber-stamp, Pat Meehan in a district where Hillary is leading Trump by over 20 points! Let's use that opportunity to win back Joe Sestak's old House seat while the DCCC wastes their resources on a pack of Blue Dogs in districts far out of grasp. And, by the way, Joe Sestak, has been campaigning very actively for Mary Ellen in the district and helping her raise money as well.



Why Bao? Lou Correa's Record Proves He's Not A Democrat

Northern Orange County-- Anaheim, Santa Ana, Orange-- includes a deep blue congressional district in which Obama beat Romney 61-36%. It's an open seat and the primary yielded up a Democrat vs Democrat general election contest. Our candidate is Garden Grove Mayor and Berniecrat Bao Nguyen and his opponent is a former state legislator who had made a name for himself in Sacramento as the most right-wing Democrat in state government, Lou Correa.

Bao was endorsed by Blue America as well as by other progressive groups from PDA, DFA, and the SEIU to the Sierra Club, the Mexican American Bar Association PAC and the Nurses Union. Meanwhile Correa was endorsed by both the Blue Dogs and the New Dems, although in the long list of organizations that have endorsed him, he names neither group. After all, the two make up the Republican wing of the Democratic Party in Congress and CA-46 isn't that kind of district. So Correa tries his best to downplay where he stands and what kind of a record he's built for himself.

In a majority Latino district, Correa isn't just keeping it quiet that the joined the New Dems and Blue Dogs, but also that he voted against SB-60, which would have made drivers licenses available for all qualified Californians regardless of immigration status. His vote was a complete betrayal of the Hispanic population. Nor is that the only time he voted with the Republicans against working families-- far from it.

Although Correa claims when he campaigns that he's committed to affordable higher education, that sure isn't what his record shows. When Assembly Speaker John Perez proposed AB-1500 and 1501, the Middle Class Scholarship Act, to provide scholarships covering 60% of fees and tuition at all California State colleges and universities for families with household incomes of under $150,000, Correa crossed the aisle and voted with the GOP again. Perez took the unusual step of going on the record and single out Correa for killing the bill.

"Today was an opportunity for the State Senate to join the Assembly in approving tax fairness for California businesses and college opportunity for middle class families. Unfortunately, even though most Senate Democrats supported the Middle Class Scholarship Act, we could not reach agreement with Senator Lou Correa (D-Santa Ana) or Senate Republicans that would achieve the two-thirds vote necessary... It is disturbing that Senator Correa and so many Republicans would refuse to stand up for the middle class and instead continue to support a tax giveaway that favors out-of-state companies over our own." In a disturbing pattern that defines Correa's life, he pocketed campaign contributions from International Paper-- which vehemently opposed the bill-- 10 days before he voted against AB-1500, and more loot three weeks after the disgraceful vote.

If killing the Middle Class Scholarship Act wasn't bad enough, Correa also helped kill a 2014 attempt by Democrats in the legislature to raise the minimum wage. Although 63 of his fellow Democrats were co-sponsors of the bill, he claimed he voted with the Republicans against it because it was too long and he didn't know what it meant. It's almost as though he was already practicing to be a New Dem or Blue Dog!

He also worked with the GOP to restrict women's access to family planning and abortion services and to push the NRA's agenda. Planned Parenthood gave him a big fat ZERO rating and labeled him anti-Choice. He's actively supported loopholes to make sure assault-style military weapons would wind up in California neighborhoods. Again, Correa's sick record is not what Orange County Democrats and independents (nor even Republicans) want to protect society from gun massacres. 

I bet you could guess he's also an environmental disaster, right? You'd be guessing right. California's League of Conservation Voters says he has the worst environmental record of any Democratic elected official in the state. He always sides with special interests to protect corporate polluters, consistently failed to protect the state's water sources from lead and contamination, and voted against ensuring Californians have a right to clean, safe and affordable water. Year after year the California League of Conservation Voters (CLCV) gave him the worst rating of any California Democrat.

Sounds like a nightmare? The Democratic Establishment loves Correa. Steny Hoyer's PAC gave him $20,000, the most of any 2016 candidate. And the state party has endorsed him as well. And then Democrats wonder why voters don't find enough clear differences between the two parties and feel less loyalty towards the Democratic Party.

Please help Bao overcome the heavy odds he faces-- the way he did in the primary-- and let's help him win a victory in November that will send a message to establishment Democrats.



The Republican Wing Of The Democratic Party

Steve Israel says he's stepped down, but he still has his hand up Ben Ray Lujan's bottom part.

puppet.jpeg
Credit: @WMXDesign

When I was growing up I always thought Labor Day picnics marked the beginning of the election season. Now it seems to be the beginning of the final stretch of a campaign that's been raging for a year. We hope no Blue America members are focussing solely on the presidential race. Congress makes up a co-equal branch of government and if President Hillary is going to accomplish anything worthwhile-- or if President Trumpanzee is going to be kept in check-- we will need more progressives in the House and Senate. Today we want to take a look at the House and the candidates worth supporting... and the worst of the candidates worth avoiding.

It's not that hard to figure out who the dozen worst House Democrats were this session. ProgressivePunch keeps track of all the votes and in a category called "crucial votes," which doesn't include any routine stuff like naming post offices, they rate every member on how he or she voted during 2015 and 2016. From horrible to even more horrible this is the worst of the worst among Democrats. (It's worth noting that there are 5 Republicans whose records aren't as bad as some of these Democrats!)

• Sean Patrick Maloney (New Dem-NY)
• Pete Aguilar (New Dem-CA)
• Ami Bera (New Dem-CA)
• Jim Cooper (Blue Dog-TN)
• Scott Peters (New Dem-CA)
• Dan Lipinski (Blue Dog-IL)
• Jim Costa (Blue Dog-CA)
• Kyrsten Sinema (Blue Dog-AZ)
• Collin Peterson (Blue Dog-MN)
• Gwen Graham (Blue Dog-FL)
• Brad Ashford (Blue Dog-NE)
• Henry Cuellar (Blue Dog-TX)

In terms of the House, that's the heart of theRepublican wing of the Democratic Party-- and, predictably, every last one of them is a Blue Dog or a New Dem. In fact, most of the Blue Dogs are also New Dems.

These are where Boehner and Ryan get their votes to make horrible GOP proposals "bipartisan." These are the "Democrats" who want to kill Wall Street reform and gut Elizabeth Warren's CFPB, for example. From this list comes the climate change deniers, the homophobic fanatics, the anti-Choice throwbacks, the TPP supporters and anti-healthcare kooks... the "Democratic" votes for almost any cockamamie proposal the Koch brothers and the extreme right come up with. Ryan knows he can always count on Henry Cuellar for anything-- even more so than many members of his own party-- and that if he can't count on gay right-wing lunatics like Kyrsten Sinema and Sean Patrick Maloney to vote with him to penalize the LGBTQ community, at least they'll always be there to help him give Wall Street a free hand to pillage the American people. These are the members with their hands out for special interest money from Big Oil, Big Pharma, from the pay day lenders and the most contemptible banksters and polluters.

But how do we know about candidates who haven't been accruing voting records in Congress, the newbies running for the first time? Who will be the next batch of candidates for the Republican wing of the Democratic Party-- all of whom the DCCC is trying to pass off as solid Democrats, even calling some of them "progressives" to trick voters who are too busy to learn the details on the garbage candidates the DCCC is offering this year. Well, it turns out there is a way-- we can just dig a little and look to see who the Blue Dogs and New Dems are endorsing.

A candidate has to go to these organizations and ask for an endorsement and prove that they fit in and will be make-believe Democrats likely to help the NRA or the anti-Choice groups or the science deniers... any of the standard GOP fare, but most of all-- first and foremost-- that have to be Big Business-friendly and pro-Wall Street.

So far 19 Democratic candidates for the House have been endorsed by the New Dems and/or the Blue Dogs. Very few of them advertise that on their websites or mention it to voters in their districts. They just tell big campaign donors. Most of them hope to keep it hidden until after November. But we want to share the list with you... so you can use it when you decide how to vote (or not vote) in November. This year's worst House candidates:

• Lou Correa (CA)- Blue Dog and New Dem
• Lon Johnson (MI)- Blue Dog
• Isadore Hall- New Dem
• Darren Soto- New Dem
• Gretchen Driskell (MI)- Blue Dog
• Brad Schneider (IL)- Blue Dog and New Dem
• Shelli Yoder (IN)- Blue Dog
• Josh Gottheimer (NJ)- Blue Dog and New Dem
• LuAnn Bennett (VA)- New Dem
• Matt Heinz (AZ)- New Dem
• Salud Carbajal (CA)- New Dem
• Pete Gallego (TX)- Blue Dog and New Dem
• Gail Schwartz (CO)- Blue Dog
• Val Demings (FL)- New Dem
• Monica Vernon (IA)- New Dem
• Kim Myers (NY)- Blue Dog
• Tom O'Halleran (AZ)- Blue Dog
• Emily Cain (ME)- New Dem
• Doug Owens (UT)- Blue Dog

A bit of good news is that in two cases, bad Democrats can still be defeated without a Republican winning. Both are in California Democrat vs Democrat races and both are in the L.A. area. Garden Grove Mayor Bao Nguyen is running for the seat the Blue Dogs and New Dems are trying to capture with Lou Correa and Nanette Barragán is running against New Dem Isadore Hall. For the rest of these, you'll have to make up your own mind if you want to vote for a fake Democrat likely to vote around half the time with the GOP on crucial issues or skip that line on your ballot. It can be a tough call for a lot of people. One thing, though, shouldn't be tough-- no matter how you decide to vote, don't give anyone on that list of 19 conservaDems any money. Instead, please support Bao and Nanette and the other vetted progressives on the Blue America endorsement list. All of these candidates have won their primaries and will be facing conservatives in November and almost all of them are being ignored-- or worse-- by the DCCC.



Are Blue Dogs Boehner's Ace In The Hole Against Teabagger Defections In His Own Caucus?


It shouldn't surprise anyone that the corporately funded-- albeit greatly shriveled-- Blue Dog caucus is working with Wall Street shills John Boehner and Paul Ryan to shred the social safety net for the poorest Americans. This week, after Heath Shuler-- one of the Blue Dogs who has voted more frequently on substantive issues with the GOP than with the Democrats-- went on another of his whiny attacks against Nancy Pelosi, the most corrupt member of the Blue Dog hierarchy, Mike Ross started publicly hinting the Blue Dogs are going to join the GOP jihad against the middle class.

The Blue Dogs were decimated in the November elections as Democratic voters sat on their hands and helped defeat over half the caucus. They lost another member yesterday when California conservative corporate shill Jane Harman announced her retirement from Congress. Among the Blue Dogs defeated in November were many of the ones who voted with Boehner as a default position-- slimy right-wingers like Jim Marshall (GA), Allen Boyd (FL), Bobby Bright (AL), Travis Childers (MS), Glenn Nye (VA), Gene Taylor (MS), Harry Mitchell (AZ), Frank Kratovil (MD), Walt Minnick (ID) and Lincoln Davis (TN). Most of the rest of the defeated Democrats were conservative Blue Dog allies like Michael McMahon (NY), John Adler (NJ), Suzanne Kosmas (FL), Ann Kirkpatrick (AZ) and Ike Skelton (MO). Blue Dog candidates for Senate like Charlie Melancon (LA) and Brad Ellsworth (IN) were soundly beaten and the House challengers backed by the Blue Dogs, like Lori Edwards (FL) and Chad Causey (AR) were all thoroughly thrashed by teabagger sociopaths running as Republicans.

Blue Dogs have an ace in the hole with former caucus member and new DCCC chairman Steve Israel-- who has already been strutting around Washington declaring himself "Rahm without the filthy mouth," meaning he'll be doing everything in his power to keep progressives out of primaries while bolstering anti-Choice, anti-gay, anti-immigrant, anti-union conservatives like Ross, Shuler, Jim Matheson (UT), John Barrow (GA) and the rest of the Blue Dog left behinds. The Blue Dogs are raising a huge warchest from shady lobbyists and corporate sources with which to shoe horn conservatives into Democratic primaries, guaranteeing that voters have no choice between a conservative Republican and a conservative Democrat. Blue America fights that here and could use whatever help you can afford.

The 26-member Blue Dog Coalition met Monday in New York with former President Clinton to discuss ways to move a centrist political agenda through a divided Congress. Clinton advised the group on ways to handle the situation and discussed budget, housing and energy policy, Rep. Jim Matheson (D-Utah) said.

“One of the reasons we invited President Clinton was he had to work with Republicans after the ’94 election,” Ross said.

He said that even though the coalition lost half its members in the most recent election, it might have more clout this Congress.

That’s because Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) could have trouble winning the support of some Tea Party-backed freshmen. The Blue Dog Coalition could provide needed votes to move centrist bills through the chamber, Ross said.

“Blue Dogs have always been about bringing people to the middle,” Ross said. “If we can play a role … we are all about that.”

Coalition member Rep. John Barrow (D-Ga.) told reporters that the Blue Dogs would be looking to partner on ways to reduce burdensome regulations and lessen the negative impact of the Dodd-Frank financial reform act.

Blue Dogs are wrestling to find the right balance between cutting spending and investing to create jobs. Democratic leaders have argued that cutting $32 billion in spending this year could harm the economic recovery.

The Blue Dogs will be focused this year on restoring fiscal discipline while looking to “jumpstart our economy and put people back to work,” Ross said.

Clinton told the group that he believes government should foster innovation to provide the economy with a “new game-changer that creates new types of jobs,” Matheson said.

Ross is hoping to provide the votes Boehner needs when nascent shreds of populism pull teabaggers away from the anti-family, Wall Street agenda that is shared by the Blue Dogs and Republicans of the Boehner-Cantor-Ryan ilk, the architects and strong arms behind Bush's TARP Wall Street bailout.



What Has Bobby Bright Earned?

Crossposted at DownWithTyranny

This is from his own ad; he's braggin'-- he even uses a 2 decades old photo of the vain Boehner

You may have noticed a building antipathy here at DWT towards reactionary Democrat, Bobby Bright. Before he started his campaign ads, Bright had already marked himself out as the single most reactionary Democrat in the House. His ProgressivePunch score-- a dismal 19.83 (out of 100)-- is not just the lowest Democrat's score; it's also lower than two conservative Republicans'! Bright has shown his fealty to Boehner on every single contentious issue that has come before Congress in the past two years. In fact, when SCHIP came up for it's final vote only two Democrats crossed the aisle to vote against health care for needy children and Bright, of course, was one of the two. He has been sure to noisily vote against a woman's right to Choice (and, like Christine O'Donnell, he's even been against contraception), against equality for the LGBT community, against health care reform, against Wall Street reform, against energy legislation... You name it-- if Barack Obama was for it, Bobby Bright was against it. And that's been the theme of his reelection campaign, a reelection campaign that the latest polling shows he might be winning.

His ads and campaign statements target and demonize Nancy Pelosi, while building up... John Boehner. He's flat-out declared he won't vote for her as Speaker, the minimum Democrats have required of their candidates. This hasn't stopped the clods at the DCCC from spending more on Bright than on any other Democratic incumbent, close to a million dollars so far with more coming-- enough money to have shored up the shaky seats of real Democrats like Alan Grayson, Raúl Grijalva, John Hall, Mary Jo Kilroy and Carol Shea Porter or to have won races by cash-starved progressive challengers Ed Potosnak, Bill Hedrick, Billy Kennedy, Joyce Elliott, Beth Krom and Justin Coussoule. If the Democrats lose the majority-- or if its close enough to matter-- it is widely assumed in Washington that Bright will jump the fence if he's reelected and officially join the party he's always supporting anyway.

But the stupid, incompetent Republicans haven't figured out how to beat him. They're busy calling him a Nancy Pelosi pawn in the white suburbs of Montgomery, where he-- and his reactionary politics-- are quite popular. So Blue America decided to point out his record to some other of Bright's constituents. Yesterday, we began a massive, targeted radio and TV campaign in just 4 counties, the 4 counties where Barack Obama did best in 2008, the 4 counties most badly effected by Bright's anti-family votes, the 4 counties that make it hard for a Democrat to win district-wide without landslide victories: Lowndes, Bullock, Barbour and Butler. When the African-American precincts in and around Montgomery were gerrymandered into the 3rd CD, the 2nd was left as a hopeless Republican bastion. It's a freak of nature that even a throwback Democrat as far to the right as Bright could have ever won the seat. He won it 144,368-142,578... but with massive support from the African-American voters in Lowndes, Bullock, Barbour and Butler counties, voters whose interests he has consistently ignored since being elected. Obama only won 36% of the vote in Alabama's 2nd CD but he won landslides in Lowndes County (5,447 to 1,807) and Bullock County (4,001 to 1,389) and ties in Butler and Barbour counties. This is the radio ad some local actors have made for us:

It was paid for by a single targeted contribution. No general Blue America PAC money was used to make it or to put it on the air. And we're aware that not everyone thinks it's sage to help defeat a Democrat in a perilous election like this. But what exactly does Bobby Bright bring to the table? What good would saving his seat do? He's already announced he won't vote for Pelosi (which means he won't vote to organize the House for the Democrats). He votes with the GOP on every contentious issue. He works within the Democratic caucus to destroy or water down every single piece of progressive legislation he can get his hands on. And he denigrates the Democratic brand with his framing, making it seem toxic to even be a Democrat. Yesterday when Crisitunity at SwingState reported on our I.E., he offered that "This has to be one of the weirdest IEs of the cycle: Blue America is spending in AL-02 of all places, and they're spending $48K against Bobby Bright. I guess they hate Blue Dogs just that much." Well... it isn't really about Blue Dogs per se. We even helped raise some money for one, Mike Michaud (ME) when he worked on the public option and we've been fair to moderate Blue Dogs who break from the pack and do good things from time to time, like Patrick Murphy. This is about Bobby Bright and that should be clear to anyone who bothers to look at his record and his political framing. When Democrats passed the DISCLOSE Act in the House, to stop the flow of foreign money into American elections, something they knew would be a boon for the GOP and a disaster for Democrats, Bright was one of the Blue Dogs to cross the aisle and vote with the Republicans. He is one of only five Democrats-- each a reactionary-- who has been endorsed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the funnel for millions of yuan, dinars and rubles being used to pervert our country's political system.

If you'd like to help us with this ad, you can do it here. Otherwise, consider helping keep progressive champions like Alan Grayson and Raúl Grijalva in office or help progressive House challengers like Bill Hedrick, Ann Kuster, Justin Coussoule, Ed Potosnak, Billy Kennedy and Joyce Elliott or Senate challengers like Elaine Marshall, Joe Sestak and Jack Conway.

This is a Democratic Party ad that was released this morning. Does it get you angry at Republicans? It should. But every single thing it says about Republicans, it also says about Bobby Bright (upon whose reelection efforts the DCCC has thus far lavished $1,128,188.33):



Blue Dogs have no loyalty or shame. Case in point: AZ's Gabby Giffords

Media error

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:

Continue reading »



Live Chat: Blue America Welcomes Beth Krom (D-CA)

This year the DCCC has decided to spend virtually all of its resources playing defense. They're not spending money on replacing out-of-step, obstructionist Republicans -- not even vulnerable ones like John Boehner, Paul Ryan, Thaddeus McCotter and John Campbell -- but on saving the worthless hides of the mistrusted Blue Dogs who vote most frequently with the GOP and who have opposed most of the president's Change Agenda -- reflexive reactionaries like Travis Childers (MS), Bobby Bright (AL) and Walt Minnick (ID). So once again, it's up to grassroots and netroots organizations like ours -- who helped find and support progressives the DCCC ignored, like Alan Grayson, Donna Edwards, John Hall, and Carol Shea-Porter -- to work toward making Congress a more receptive place for progressive values and ideas that put ordinary working people before wealthy corporate interests. And today we want to introduce you to one of those candidates, Orange County activist Beth Krom. She's joining us live in the comments section below.

Beth is a proven, intrepid, can-do progressive -- a former mayor of Irvine and current City Council member of that city-- who is running for the Orange County seat, CA-48, currently help by one of the most ridiculous of all California Republicans, "Birther Amendment" author John Campbell. The district used to be solidly red but has been changing -- and rapidly. Old style pundits and prognosticators may not have noticed -- they're better at reporting what happened than predicting what's happening -- but districts like Beth's have undergone profound demographic changes. In 2008, in fact, Obama narrowly won the 48th, which helped him run up a 67-31% statewide vote against John McCain.

A dedicated environmental activist, she first ran for City Council in 2000 to stop an international airport from being built at Orange County’s former El Toro Marine Base. Within the first two years she served, a countywide initiative was drafted and passed that rezoned El Toro for park and open space use. Today, where the airport was proposed, the Orange County Great Park is being developed. The park is the missing link in, what will be, once restored, the longest urban wilderness corridor in America, extending from the ocean at Crystal Cove to the Mexican border. When we talked with Beth about the importance of smart growth, open space preservation and balanced planning, she pointed out that "buildings don’t make communities; people make communities."

Beth is exactly the kind of candidate we would like to see replacing a careerist clown and partisan hack like Campbell. Profoundly anti-environmental -- yet representing one of the most beautiful stretches of seacoast in America -- Campbell is every irresponsible developer's fondest dream. Beth has a very different vision for Orange County and for America.

As we experience the “shock and awe” that has gripped the nation in the wake of the worst offshore oil spill in human history, it’s important to consider that our thirst for oil has led to policies that place our entire ecosystem at risk.

When everything is out of balance, we feel the effects on a daily basis. An economy out of balance, a health-care system out of balance and a planet out of balance, reflect public policies that are out of balance. There are no perfect solutions, but ignoring our problems will only lead to greater challenges in the future.

Politics is not about the black and white, it’s about the thousand shades of gray. It takes smart, courageous politicians to advance the kind of policies that will inspire change and help to move our country forward.

We think Beth can win and we think she'll bring a tremendous improvement to Congress and to Orange County is she does. If you can, please consider giving her a hand at the Blue America ActBlue page.



Enter the Blue America Contest to fight against the new Blue Dog Think Tank

Who let the Dogs out_d1bb3.jpeg

Who Let the Blue Dogs Out? (Woof!) It was Rahm Emanuel, as everyone knows. Well, the Blue Dogs have now joined with K Street lobbyists to set up a shop that promotes their half-witted ideas.

Howie Klein writes:

Blue Dogs are often most reviled for crossing the aisle and voting with Republicans on key issues like healthcare reform and financial reform. Last November, when 39 Democrats voted against healthcare reform, for example, 25 were Blue Dogs. And when the reconciliation changes came to the House March 25, and 32 Democrats voted with the GOP, 25 were Blue Dogs.

Next week it will be one year since the House passed a hate crimes prevention bill that included the LGBT community. Seventeen Democrats crossed the aisle of bigotry and voted with the Republicans.

--

...yesterday six of the most notoriously corrupt K Street lobbyists, including conservative ex-congressmen Bud Cramer (AL) and Charlie Stenholm (TX), formed a new corporately oriented anti-family organization called the Blue Dog Research Forum. Their goal will be to continue pressuring the Democratic caucus to move farther and farther right and to give up on ordinary working families and accept GOP and Big Business guidelines when formulating legislation.

In a letter to Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (D-S.D.), who co-chairs the Blue Dog Coalition, Cramer and Stenholm wrote that they were establishing the organization to “ensure there will always be a forum in Washington to mark that middle ground when it comes to issues affecting the country’s fiscal health.”

The group’s goal is to be an incubator for policy ideas affecting the economy, such as energy, health care, tax policy, national defense and entitlements.

The research forum takes its name from the 54 fiscally conservative Democratic Members who have emerged as a powerful voting bloc on major legislation, but no current lawmaker has been involved in setting it up, according to Cramer, an original Blue Dog and president of the new research forum.

“They actually legally cannot dictate control or dominate what happens here,” Cramer said. “We can involve them. We can involve any Member in the policy forums we will carry forward, and we hope to be able to do that.”

However, as the lobbyists quietly set up the organization over the past several months, they have kept Blue Dog leadership generally informed. And Cramer, who now lobbies at Wexler & Walker Public Policy Associates, said the Members have been supportive so far.

Blue America set up an ActBlue page a while ago called BadDogs, which is there to support progressive primary challengers against Blue Dogs. And now we're running a contest for anyone who donates to the BadDogs page.

Digby explains:

Blue America has a fundraising campaign devoted to ousting these Bad Dogs and Howie has made an offer you can't refuse:

Today, in honor of the attempt by some of the shadiest lobbyists on K Street starting a new Blue Dog think tank to push the Democratic House caucus even further right and to divorce it entirely from the interests of ordinary working families, Blue America is going to give away a genuine RIAA-certified double platinum record award for "Who Let The Dogs Out?"

The award, which of course, can't be purchased, was given to a Baha Men supporter who gifted it to the Blue America PAC to be used to help raise funds to rid America of the scourge of corporate-oriented conservatism inside the Democratic Party. "We already have a Republican Party for that," explained a Blue America spokesperson. "Shouldn't the Democratic Party represent regular working families who don't hire lobbyists and spend millions of dollars to shape legislation to rip the rest of us off?"

Blue America answers, double yes on that rhetorical question and is offering the double platinum award today. Actually tomorrow morning there will be a drawing among all donors to the Blue America Bad Dogs page on ActBlue. To qualify all you have to donate is $1.00 at this website

The contributions can go directly to progressive candidates Regina Thomas, Marcy Winograd or Doug Tudor, all fighting reactionary Blue Dogs-- respectively John Barrow, Jane Harman and Lori Edwards-- with strong ties to unsavory corporate lobbyists. Or the donations can go into the Blue America PAC where it will be used in efforts to defeat Blue Dogs in primary elections.

You can join the drawing here.

I don't know about you, but I'm sick of Blue Dog Democrats standing in the way of real progress and supporting the GOP and Big Business over working-class families in America by lying and calling their bloc "centrists". Nonsense. They are conservatives. And as you would imagine, the southern Blue Dogs are the very worst. Please join in the contest.



End of the Quarter for Connie Saltonstall

Connie Saltonstall wrote a post over at Howie's place telling us why Bart Stupak should be ousted from Congress. Yes, he voted for health care in the end, but not before dragging woman's right through the mud with the help of the Catholic Bishops.

Mr. Stupak’s dogmatic insistence on inserting his own religious views into the legislative debate and threatening to deprive his constituents of needed healthcare reform eroded people’s trust in him. Throughout the debate there was the sense that our Congressman let us down and that sense has not disappeared with the change in his vote. For me and so many of his constituents, he crossed the line with his grandstanding.

Digby writes:

Howie Klein notes that today is the day you receive all those desperate emails for end-of-the-quarter donations from the Democratic party committees --- and that the money will almost certainly be spent on preserving the seats of Blue Dogs who vote against everything you care about. It's more than a little bit frustrating.

But there's something you can do about it. You can Send the Democrats A Message They Can Understand.

As I wrote yesterday, Stupak got punk'd by the lobbyist for the Catholic Bishops --- a Republican ally to such a degree that they were willing to deny millions of the working poor access to health care in order to help the GOPs cynical obstructionist agenda. Stupak was either too stupid to see it or too cynical himself to care. Either way, his behavior should not be rewarded.

Please feel free to donate any sum you can to Connie's campaign. She's showed real courage to try and take on a anti-choice incumbent Dem like Stupak. Good for her.




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