C&L Live Chat with Marcy Winograd, Blue America Candidate for CA-36

Blue America is very proud to be endorsing Marcy Winograd for Congress today. She's our first challenger for the election cycle-- and our first endorsement in 2010. We didn't play eeny meeny miny mo to decide she would be our first candidate. For us she's a model candidate-- the kind of leader we're looking for to represent working families and progressive ideals in a Congress where neither gets taken seriously when push comes to shove. Let me quote from the opening lines of a flier her Jobs Not War campaign sent out to voters in CA-36 yesterday:

I live my life as a progressive. As an educator, I work to strengthen public education. As a human rights advocate, I promote peace and protection of innocent civilians caught in the middle of war and occupation.

We endorsed Marcy in her first run against virulent warmonger and Blue Dog Jane Harman, the second richest member of Congress (after Darrell Issa) in 2006. We've had a lot of time to get to know her. And the better we've gotten to know her, the more we like her, not just as a person-- which is surprising meaningful-- but as a potential leader of the Donna Edwards sort. Like Donna, Marcy is more than just a political job seeker with a package of consultant-tested positions. Like Donna, she's been a movement progressive, a community activist, and a grassroots leader-- a co-founder of the Los Angeles chapter of PDA and a tireless worker for the ideals progressives aspire to.

Marcy's race is about more than just replacing a notorious Blue Dog with a progressive voter in Congress. Sure, Harman was the Bush Regime's favorite House member-- and even publicly bragged that she is "the best Republican in the Democratic Party"-- but what enthuses us so much about Marcy has nothing to do with Harman. It's all about Marcy. From the occupation of Afghanistan to comprehensive universal healthcare she has been on the frontlines formulating progressive approaches and strategies. John and Digby and I are relieved that when Marcy is in Congress, none of us are going to have to call her up and twist her arm-- or even hold her hand-- about voting the right way. It's more likely she'll be calling us and telling us who the nervous nellies are who need... bolstering.

You can read the rest of this post at DownWithTyranny but more important, please join us in the comments section here at C&L for a free wielding q&a with Marcy. If you like what you here, please consider joining us in donating to her campaign.

Let's Kick Christopher Shays "Off The Fence" Already

Few of the rubber stamp Republican senators are as likely to be defeated in November as Oregon's Gordon Smith, someone who just spent 5 years voting for every single item on the Bush-Cheney agenda followed by 6 months of trying to convince Oregon voters that he's a "moderate," an "independent voice," and-- unbelievably-- kinda almost a Democrat. Back in June he was laughed off the air with a short lived ad that attempted to cash in on Barack Obama's huge popularity in his state.

There's no Republican in the House who has tried this exact same tactic more forcefully than Chris Shays of Connecticut. Shays is the last Republican member of the House from the 6-state New Hampshire region and his Connecticut congressional district has a PVI of D+5, the bluest district in America represented by a Republican.

Like his close ally, Joe Lieberman, Shays has managed to stay in office by persuading Democrats that he isn't really that Republican. His voting record, however, paints a very different picture. When Bush and the Republicans needed his vote-- no matter what the harebrained scheme they were pushing, he was always there for them. Take Iraq, for example. "Mr. Moderate" participated in 63 roll calls regarding Iraq since he voted 4 times on October 10, 2002 to authorize the use of force there. And "Mr. Moderate" voted against the Bush-Cheney agenda in Iraq exactly... 3 times, once to require competitive bidding on oil contracts when Cheney was caught trying to steal all of Iraq's oil, as did more than 4 dozen other Republicans, once to turn an Iraqi reconstruction grant into a loan (which was supported by 84 Republicans), and once on an inconsequential and unsubstantive budgetary matter. This week Shays, who is co-chairman of McCain's pointless Connecticut operation (he is polling just 36% against Obama) released an ad, very much like Gordon Smith's, trying to capitalize on Obama's immense popularity in Connecticut. Take a look-- and then consider donating to Blue America endorsee Jim Himes' campaign to replace him.

And Senator Obama's response? "In this race, the good people of Connecticut should know that Barack Obama supports Jim Himes and believes Himes is the candidate who will bring the change American families need to Washington."

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.

10 House Races Heading In One Direction

And it's not good for the Republican party.

CA-04 — OPEN (Doolittle) — Solid Republican to Likely Republican
CO-04 — Marilyn Musgrave — Lean Republican to Toss Up
CT-04 — Chris Shays — Lean Republican to Toss Up
IL-10 — Mark Kirk — Lean Republican to Toss Up
NM-02 — OPEN (Pearce) — Likely Republican to Lean Republican
NY-29 — Randy Kuhl — Lean Republican to Toss Up
NC-08 — Robin Hayes — Lean Republican to Toss Up
OH-01 — Steve Chabot — Lean Republican to Toss Up
VA-02 — Thelma Drake — Likely Republican to Lean Republican
WA-08 — Dave Reichert — Lean Republican to Toss Up

And wait till they get some of that sweet Obama money.

We have some solid Blue America candidates running in some of those races. Your help can push it even further into the Democratic category. I'm just sayin'...

Al Wynn Resigns From His Seat

From the press release:

Dickstein Shapiro LLP is pleased to announce that Congressman Albert Wynn (D-Md.) will join the firm's Public Policy & Law Practice as partner, upon completion of his work in Congress. Congressman Wynn will focus his practice on legal, legislative, and regulatory counseling.

Wynn, who lost his primary challenge to Blue America candidate Donna Edwards, will leave the house in June rather than serve the remainder of his term. The Maryland governor will have to hold a Special Election for Wynn's seat, that we hope Donna will be able to take.

Another Republican Calling It Quits--Jim Walsh (NY-25) To Retire

The Post Standard (Syracuse):

Rep. Jim Walsh said today he plans to retire from Congress at the end of his term in January 2009, ending a 20-year career in the House of Representatives.

"It's time to go," Walsh said in an interview this morning with The Post-Standard.[..]

Walsh had grown increasingly weary of attacks on his stand on the Iraq war, which almost cost him a re-election bid in 2006. He defeated Democrat Dan Maffei, of DeWitt, by about 3,400 votes. It was the closest election of Walsh's career.

After returning to Congress last year, Walsh opposed President Bush's troop surge in Iraq and later decided that he would support efforts for a gradual withdrawal of U.S. troops.

Walsh just narrowly held on to his seat in the last election. This sets up Democrat (and Blue America candidate) Dan Maffei very nicely. Howie has more...

Anyone Want To Help Make Rahm Accountable?

Instead of a candidate today, Firedoglake is doing something different in the Blue America slot. We'll be discussing the Rahm Emanuel-Tom Tancredo alliance and how to deal with it. The leader of Illinois biggest immigrants' rights coalition (130 organizations), Josh Hoyt of the Illinois Coalition of Immgrant and Refugee Rights will be our guest. Many of us met him at Yearly Kos and know he's a dedicated fighter. Speaking with him for an hour on the phone just now made me certain that for those of us who want to make Emanuel feel accountable have a great ally in Josh.

We'll be starting at FDL at 2pm (EDT/11am PT).

Blue America Welcomes Dennis Shulman (NJ-05)

Our Blue America guest today is Rabbi Dennis Shulman from northern New Jersey. He joins us at 2pm (EDT) over at Firedoglake to answer questions for a couple of hours. He's a really remarkable guy. I got him to talk a little about his opponent, New Jersey's most reactionary congressman, Scott Garrett. "Garrett is is a social conservative who has an 87% voting record with George Bush. The 13% is more conservative than Bush... on issues of immigration, on issues of voting rights authorization, which was really out of step with anything approaching the feelings of this district. He advocates "intelligent design" in the public schools. He's 100% against gun control, 100% against stem cell research, 100% against a woman's right to choose, 100% against anything involving gay issues... but for wiretapping, for retroactive immunity for phone executives, etc. And he's been able to do this because he's been able to keep a low profile. Most people in this district would be appalled to learn how he has misrepresented us in the Congress."

Rabbi Shulman has an extraordinary life story which partially centers around a "can do" personality of a blind person. And aside from being a blind rabbi, he is also a blind drummer. He studied drumming with Joe La Barbera, one of the world's greatest. When I prodded him about who his favorite all-time drummer is he went back and forth between Max Roach and Gene Krupa, ultimately settling on Krupa. And his favorite song?

The first thing that comes to my mind is "Take the A Train" by Duke Ellington. Every time I play it as a drummer, I hear something new in it. It's the complexity of the rhythm... I mean I hear something new in it every single time. In some ways it's kind of how I read the Torah. Everytime I hear that song-- or read the Torah-- there is something new in it.

He asked me to find the version with Ella Fitzgerald performing in Japan. This is the closest I came:

Blue America Welcomes Mark Schauer (MI-07)

Today's Blue America candidate in Mark Schauer in south central Michigan, leader of the Democrats in the State Senate. Mark is taking on radical right extremist Tim Walberg, a Bush Regime tool. He'll be over at Firedoglake today, doin' some live blogging from 2pm 'til 4pm, EDT. Even though he's only 46 years old Mark just became a grandpa. He's tends to spend more of his free time reading than listening to music. His iPod has books and he listens to them when he walks his dogs in the morning, But once I got him talking about music, I saw some real passion there. When we talked on the phone the other day he told me, "One of my heroes is Johnny Cash. I loved all of his music throughout an incredibly long career. He spoke to the American people; his heart and soul were transparent in his music. One of his early hits was "Get Rhythm", a song that's in my head a lot that's sort of about keeping a good attitude and working hard and just fighting through things and keeping youself going. It's sort of an anthem for me. Campaigning is like a marathon-- you've got to keep up your energy and stay focused on why you're doing it. Another one that's been a bit of an anthem for me in my senate district is 'Going to Jackson.' The song is about the push/pull of a hot, fiery relationship but for me its always about the community of Jackson which I represent."

Please surf over to FDL and hear what Mark has to say about the issues and his campaign. And if you want to help him out, our Blue America Page is open 24/7.

Blue America Speaks With Randi Scheurer

If you drive north out of Chicago towards Wisconsin you'll hit the 8th congressional district, currently held by a semi-Democrat. I say "semi-Democrat" because Congresswoman Melissa Bean calls herself a Democrat and votes for the Democratic leadership and helps make the dream of corner offices and close in parking spots a reality for Nancy "Off the Table" Pelosi, Rahm Emanuel and Steny Hoyer. Unfortunately, when it comes to core issues, Ms. Bean has a distinct tendency to support the Bush Regime and to tend to the interests of corporate contributors before the interests of her constituents. She's an official Blue Dog and a Bush Dog her voting record is execrable.

Today Blue America is welcoming Randi Scheurer, a citizen activist-- not a professional politician-- to Firedoglake for a 2 hour blog session 1pm- 3pm, Central Time (11am- 1pm on the West Coast). Randi is very plainspoken about the issues. When we asked her when troops should start coming home from Iraq, her answer was a firm "tomorrow." If you don't have the time to come chat with her at FDL, please consider making a donation to her campaign on our Blue America page.

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