Alan Grayson has been a big Blue America fave ever since we first met up with him in January, 2008. He was our first endorsement that year and one of our most celebrated victories, having beaten an entrenched, useless incumbent in a traditionally Republican district in central Florida. Since being elected, Alan has been a progressive leader, primarily in financial regulations through his committee position on House Financial Services. But he also was one of 32 Democrats in the House who stood up to demands from the Obama Administration that a supplemental war budget be approved last June.
It was a ballsy move, especially for Democrats in Republican-leaning districts, like Alan, Eric Massa and Carol Shea-Porter. I doubt Alan ever wavered from his commitment to the voters in his district to not approve any more supplemental budgets. But you can ask him yourself when he joins us for a live blogging session here at C&L, 3pm PT (6pm back East). Alan will be helping us launch a new Blue America Initiative to help draw attention to the situation in Afghanistan and figure out what progressives can do to effect change.
Alan is prepared to work even harder this year to head off an escalation of war in the 8th year of occupation of the country. “We are using a 19th century strategy to fight a 14th century opponent, ” he told me yesterday. “Does anyone seriously believe that the best way to defend our borders is to send a quarter of a million Americans 10,000 miles beyond them?” He also told me he thinks we can change Obama’s mind and turn this thing around. “He’s too smart,” said the congressman, “to let someone else’s war ruin his presidency.”
And with Republican Tim Johnson of Illinois promising to introduce legislation to withdraw American troops, an idea that some other Republicans, like Walter Jones (R-NC) and Ron Paul (R-TX) seem to be embracing, Alan is ready to work across the aisle — as he has been doing with his crusade to force an audit on the Federal Reserve — and help focus more Democrats and more Republicans on what he calls “the senselessness of war without end.”
If you haven’t visited it yet, today is launch-day for Blue America’s new ActBlue page, No Means No!. We’re asking anyone who can afford to, to contribute– even if it’s just a few dollars– to the Democrats who have already shown their willingness to draw a line in the sand and not break their pledge. Today, everyone who donates– regardless of how much– will have their name put in a hat and 6 random winners will get the new book by New York Senate candidate Jonathan Tasini, The Audacity of Greed. Jonathan donated the books for this event and he autographed each one.
Meanwhile, please take a look at the first segment in the BraveNewFilms movie, Rethink Afghanistan, something that every member of Congress needs to see– at least as much as the briefings from the Pentagon and spy agencies.