Let me interject a few words before we let Russell speak for himself and run away with the show. In 1821, extolling the virtues of the still young Republic, Secretary of State John Quincy Adams, noted that we do not go "abroad in search of monsters to destroy." That was then. And, besides, he never said we don't search them out domestically. Not that we have to search very far. Yesterday Rep. Joe Sestak pointed out Pat Toomey's motley monster picks. Our own Blue America contest, There's A Republican For That, is turning up some real doozies too. In fact, we got a lot of incredible recommendations even over and above the obvious monsters like Michele Bachmann, Sharron Angle, David Rivera and, obviously, Pat Toomey. One name that came up over and over again was Georgia firebrand Paul Broun. My friend Bertis, who lives in Athens, Georgia, in the heart of Broun's district, suggested I look into the gung-ho progressive Democrat running against him, Russell Edwards. So I did.

I called Edwards and asked him if, like so many white Southern Democrats, he would metastasize into some kind of a reactionary Blue Dog voting with the Republicans against the interests of ordinary working families if he wound up getting elected to Congress. I was more than happy with his answer and asked him to write a guest post for us, introducing himself. If you like what you see below, please consider donating to his campaign through ActBlue.

My name is Russell Edwards, and I’m the Democratic Nominee for U.S. Congress from GA’s 10th District. I’m facing off against incumbent PaulBroun, Jr., one of the most dangerous politicians in the nation according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Luckily, Broun, Jr. is also a pitiful fundraiser and only has a little over 130k cash on hand. In our first quarter, we raised over 100k and are closing on him fast.

GA’s Tenth includes Athens and Augusta-- two Democratic strongholds-- along with a smattering of rural NE GA. There are strong pockets of African-American communities, helping to explain the fact that Democrats Michael Thurmond and Thurbert Baker have carried the 10th every time they have run for statewide office. Broun, Jr. won in a special election in 2007 in what the Athens newspaper called “the greatest political upset in GA history.”

Since Broun’s victory, he has fought hard to be the most embarrassing politician in America. Here’s a short vid of his greatest hits. [The video is up on top of the page.]

I am a progressive Democrat and have no plans to join the Blue Dog Caucus should I be elected. They have done absolutely nothing to help me, and I’m not courting them with talk about more tax cuts for the wealthy. I’m speaking candidly about how my District should fight to create jobs and support our schools. Issues that are important to build a strong middle class and ensure every one has a chance to live a life of dignity and respect.

The Blue Dogs perhaps lost me forever during the health care reform debate. During that time, Broun Jr. was a key apparatchik in the Republican fear-mongering machine. He told full rooms of senior citizens that “if they pass this bill, they’re going to give your grandmother narcotics until she catches pneumonia and dies.” At the same time, I launched my own forum series that focused on the need for reform and how best to achieve it. How could I possibly have sided with Broun Jr. and so many Blue Dogs who voted against the final health care reform bill? To me, it was clear the abuses of the private health insurance industry had to be reigned in. These companies were denying insurance to battered women, claiming the abuse they received was a pre-existing condition for Christ’s sake!

Growing up, I came to realize the importance of helping those in my community who were unable to help themselves. I saw the truth that people suffer everyday in our country often for reasons outside their control. Today, it seems the Blue Dogs have strayed too far from empathy-- comfortable to gain as much power as possible through corporate fundraising dollars. Why else would one vote against a bill banning pre- existing conditions? And don’t even give me that weak tea that you voted against it because it didn’t do enough-- your campaign contributions deceive you.

As I mentioned Thursday night, it looks like Henry Waxman has come to much the same conclusion. And by the way, that report Russell referred to above from the Southern Poverty Law Center... it's worth reading their whole statement on why they see Paul Broun as "an enabler" of violence and terrorism:

A medical doctor who makes house calls only to avoid "bureaucratic encumbrances," far-right U.S. Rep. Paul Broun took over Georgia's 10th Congressional District after the death of Charlie Norwood in 2007. Since then, Broun has become a pal of the antigovernment Patriot movement, warning in apocalyptic terms of a coming socialist takeover by Barack Obama and his allies.

This April 19, 15 years to the day after the Oklahoma City bombing, Broun is scheduled to join several Patriot leaders at the Second Amendment March in Washington, D.C. On the agenda that day with Broun are Stewart Rhodes of the Oath Keepers, a group that suspects the government has plans to round up Americans and put them in concentration camps, and Gun Owners of America's Larry Pratt, a fan of militias who has been criticized for ties to white supremacists.

Broun says gun rights are necessary to "prevent treason in America."

Fearmongering and fundraising with Paul Broun

Saying Broun is a fierce critic of the president would be an understatement. Broun has alleged that a civilian reserve corps that Obama proposed, and the Bush administration endorsed, might be used to establish a dictatorship. "We can't be lulled into complacency. You have to remember that Adolf Hitler was elected in a democratic Germany," Broun said in 2008.

A "birther," Broun has openly questioned Barack Obama's citizenship. When asked by a radio host whether Barack Obama was a U.S. citizen or a Christian, both established facts, Broun responded, "I don't know." Broun also calls Cuba's former dictator Fidel Castro Obama's "good buddy."

Last year, Broun told his constituents that the health care bill was the work of a "socialistic elite"-- referring to Obama, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid-- who might use a pandemic disease or natural disaster as an excuse to declare martial law. "They're trying to develop an environment where they can take over," he said. "We've seen that historically." At a 2009 town hall, he called Pelosi "a domestic enemy of the Constitution."

So far, Broun's legislative work has been scant. In 2009, Broun voted against a climate-change bill, calling the concept of manmade global warming a "hoax" perpetrated by the scientific community. In 2009, he proposed legislation proclaiming 2010 "The Year of the Bible." Earlier, he introduced the "Military Honor and Decency Act" that would ban sales of pornography on military installations. The bill has gone nowhere.

Athens has a proud musical tradition and the most famous musicians from their are undoubtably REM. The band members have not just contributed to Russell's campaign, they're co-hosting a fundraising event for him as well. It's like Hollywood! Maybe Broun can counter with Ted Nugent or get Bound For Glory to come down from Minnesota-- unless they're too busy working to reelect Michele Bachmann.



We'll Make An Ad For The Worst Republican You Know-- Just Tell Us Who

Two progressive political action committees, Blue America and Americans For America, have teamed up to do a series of video ads highlighting the worst the GOP has to offer. Last week we unveiled our first in the series, highlighting Sarah Palin, Rand Paul and John Boehner (above). Yecchhh, huh? Many say there are even worse-- or, at least, just as bad. Would you like to vote on who we should include in the next video in our series?

This week we're considering five more-- and there'll be others between now and November, of course. First up, though are five especially unsavory Republicans, 4 House incumbents-- Michele Bachmann (R-MN), Ken Calvert (R-CA), Virginia Foxx (R-NC), and Steve King (R-IA)-- plus one challenger for an open seat, Karl Rove protégé and disgraced ex-U.S. Attorney Tim Griffin.

Here's how you vote: just make a donation on the page dedicated to the culprit of your choice. If you click on the picture below, you go directly to their page. Because we're progressives and not conservatives, a one dollar donation equals the same single vote as a one hundred dollar donation. Now, one of the great aspects of this is that each one of these exceptionally bad Republicans has an exceptionally good Democrat running for the seat. Believe me, that isn't easy to find. I mean, Republican John Boozman in Arkansas, for example, is just terrible but his Democratic opponent, Blanche Lincoln, is just as bad. We won't be offering any Hobbesian choices like that. In Arkansas, to stick with that state as the example, the woman running against Griffin is state Senate Majority Leader and proven progressive Joyce Elliott.

So, we're happy to announce that all of the money raised through this little contest will be used to help voters understand that there's a difference between the Republican and the Democrat running for the seat that gets the most votes. Who do you think is the worst of the worst?

Michele Bachmann:


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Ken Calvert:


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Virginia Foxx:


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Tim Griffin:


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Steve King:


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Blue America Welcomes Tarryl Clark in Her Race Against Michele Bachmann

Hard to say who the worst member of Congress is. But there are few short lists that would exclude narrow-minded and extremist Minnesota religious fanatic Michele Bachmann. However, today isn't about Bachmann. You want Bachmann, you go to DumpBachmann; no one does it better. At the time of the 2008 election, Bachmann was just as odious as she is today. Blue America didn't get involved in that race though because her opponent simply seemed... "better than Bachmann." That standard is too low for us.

And today we're going to meet state Senator Tarryl Clark (below in the comments section), a hard working leader with a proven track record who would be a great candidate whether she were running against Michele Bachmann, or just some garden variety Republican.

People say this suburban/exurban district mostly north of the Twin Cities is too red for a Democrat. But that isn't true. Bush won it in 2004 with 57% and 4 years later McCain took 53% but, the district has also voted to elect Amy Klobuchar to the Senate-- and against Mark Kennedy, the kook who represented the district before Bachmann. And in the 15th senatorial district near St Cloud, the part Tarryl represents-- and which was a GOP bastion before she came along-- the vote totals in that 2006 race were very interesting. Because she knows what it means to work hard and work smart, and with a very committed Wellstone-style of campaigning, Tarryl outpolled everyone on the ballot:

Clark 15581 (56.30%)
Klobuchar 14980 (53.45%)
Pawlenty 14307 (51.1%)
Wetterling 13082 (46.81%)
Bachmann 12542 (44.88%)

MN-06 has the most devastating unemployment rate in Minnesota and the worst foreclosure crisis in the state. But Bachmann has neither understood nor been sympathetic to her constituents finding themselves in a jam because of the vicissitudes of an economy buffeted by disastrous conservative ideological experimentation. She has not only not contributed to finding solutions to these very real problems, she has tried to capitalize of politicizing them.

Tarryl's reaction, as a state legislator, has been the exact opposite. Instead of running around the country and ranting and raving at tea parties, she proven herself an effective leader for the people she represents, working to secure the funds to upgrade the facilities at Saint Cloud State University, working to ensure Central Minnesota’s nursing homes are paid fairly, working to establish a special law enforcement unit to fight gang activities in Central Minnesota.

Tarryl’s been a champion for issues including early childhood and higher education, health care, serving veterans, protecting Minnesotans from predatory lenders, and investing in the local communities that make America strong. Because of that her colleagues elected her to serve as the Senate’s Assistant Majority Leader. Bachmann's colleagues have recognized her as a clown and have tasked her with going on Fox to stir up divisiveness and animosities.

Tarryl’s record of results on reducing unemployment:

• Created 22,000 jobs with last session’s bonding bill

• Helped small businesses add new jobs with Angel Investor Tax Credits

• Authored the Central Minnesota Bioscience Initiative to bring jobs in the biotech industry into the 6th district

• Authored economic development bill that improved workforce development (job training) and expanded the Small Business Growth Acceleration Program, and entrepreneur and small business development grants.

Tarryl’s record of results on reducing foreclosure:

• Authored legislation to protect seniors from predatory lenders and reverse mortgages

• Helped families in keep their homes with the MN Subprime Borrowers Relief Act

• Authored legislation to reduce the burden of property taxes on middle class families

Tarryl is the newest member of the Blue America family. If you can volunteer for her campaign, there's a sign up form here and if you can help the campaign financially, she's on the Blue America endorsed candidates list.



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.




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