Thursday, November 29, 2007



There are 30 candidates we've endorsed up at Blue America. I want to see every one of them get elected. Do I think some are better than others? Out of 30? How could it be otherwise? And right now, the ones I'm most concerned about are the true blue progressives running against reactionary and/or corrupt Democrats in primaries. That's why you've seen a lot of posts at DWT about Donna Edwards (MD), Mark Pera (IL), and John Laesch (IL). After the primaries, there will be a lot more time and energy being put into the important races where grassroots progressive Democrats are fighting wingnuts-- cases like Andrew Rice v Inhofe, Rick Noriega v Cornyn, Dennis Shulman v Garrett, Himes v Shays, etc.

But today I want to write about a special election coming up to fill the seat being abandoned by Denny Hastert in IL-14. If you read DWT with any frequency, you know that we have endorsed John Laesch again this year and that we're very enthusiastic about him as a candidate. We feel he can win in a tough district and, more important, he will make a great congressman, someone who will stand and fight and not just go along with the herd.

Democrats who stand and fight and who are grassroots-oriented and progressive and strongly against the war and, worst of all, not willing to go along with the herd... those are the born opponents of Rahm Emanuel. And he does what he can to nip them in the bud. In IL-14 he has a shill Blue Dog running against John in the primary, Bill Foster, someone who waxes eloquently about a pre-emptive strike against Iran and about working with the Blue Dogs, the putative Dems who have conspired with the Republican minority all year to keep most progressive legislation from passing. Just what we need; NOT!

Yet there is an undercurrent of anti-Laesch feeling in some parts of the blogosphere. Distortions and Establishment memes have circulated that, in some circles, have become "conventional wisdom." Laesch can't win; Laesch is nasty; Laesch has no support in the district; Laesch can't raise money; Laesch isn't ready for prime time. I've known John for a couple of years, online and in person. There is no better candidate anywhere running for Congress. There is no one more like Paul Wellstone anywhere that I've found. John is a natural and principled leader. He scares a lot of people. He doesn't scare Democrats in IL-14.

A guy like John, straight from the unwashed masses, will never be readily accepted by the Inside the Beltway crowd or those who still buy into their distorted vision of power. To someone like Rahm Emanuel-- who has never fought a Republican and who only knows no-holds-barred against progressives as a means to power-- John is the enemy. To the Democratic Party of IL-14, John is part of salvation. If you want to question his legitimacy, ask why all the county chairs taking a position have endorsed him and back him strongly. Here's a list of the counties that make up IL-14 and the names of the Democratic Party chairpersons who have endorsed John.

Kendall- Jim Birch
Whiteside- Lowell Jacobs
Henry- John Sovanski
Lee- Jerry Sheridan

Also part of the CD are Elgin Township (John Hamilton), Wayne Township (Laura Fletcher), and Winfield Township (Susan Lubonavich). Like the county chairs, they all support John. Democrats on the ground want a winner and they see that winner in John. In Bill Foster they find someone who is unpersonable and "clunky." Bob Steffen, an elected Precinct Committeeperson and the Chair of the Dundee Township Democratic Party sums up the whole congressional district's leadership opinion:
I support John because he is bright and understands the issues.  He has the best viewpoint to represent our district.

But that isn't the only local leader worth listening to. Jerry Sheridan: "John Laesch was the first Democrat with the courage to take on Denny Hastert. He has stayed with us and is always a welcome face in Lee County where he's built lasting friendships. I trust his judgment and the ideas he has for America." And this Monday Jim Swanson of Progressive News Daily hosts John on his broadcast.

Glenn Hurowitz sent me an advance copy of his brilliant new book, Fear and Courage in the Democratic Party. I'm not sure if I'm supposed to quote from it yet or not but I want to share a few lines with you that relate perfectly to the race in IL-14.
"Trim your sails," said Barack Obama.

"I can't make a mistake," said Hillary Clinton.


The spineless Dem is rising again.

The Potomac jellyfish just won't die. Democrats have nominated equally butter-boned candidates before. You'd think they'd have learned: these Gumby donkeys lose and lose. It should be obvious: fear of your own convictions, of your own hopes and dreams, not to mention those of your followers, just isn't that fetching. And crumbling into a quivering mass of blow-dried coiffure, $1,000 suits, and vague bromides in the face of determined right-wing attacks doesn't just lose elections. It allows extremist Republicans to start wars, attack basic rights, and imperil the planet while making their own backers richer and Democrats weaker.

Yet so many Democrats still believe that a Politics of Fear is the only path to victory. Some of the country's smartest and most talented politicians remain slaves to this creed of cowardice... Is caution [and surrender] really the only way Democrats can have a shot at winning?

The answer, thankfully, is no... courage works

And courage is what John's campaign is about. Even his worst detractors aren't saying he's spineless or a blow-dried gumby in a $1,000 suit. John's a former military intelligence analyst stationed in the Middle East. He makes a living as a union carpenter. He knows how to fight for regular folks against Establishment special interests whether those special interests are represented by the Rahm Emanuels of the world or the Dick Cheneys. If you want change, real change, you won't get it by just more sheepish Democrats. We need better Democrats. Like John Laesch. If you've never donated to a political campaign before, do it today. It's easy and you'll be proud of yourself for doing something to save your country from more of the kind of crap the Insider are shoveling our way. Do it here.


The Booman Tribune has asked every Democrat running for office to answer some simple, straight forward questions about the issues Americans care about most. I suggest you click the link above if you would like to see a series of answers as close to perfect as you're liable to see from anyone in any race.

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At 1:01 AM, Anonymous Bil said...

A vet... Wellstone...Progressive... ran stronger against Planet Hastert in Il 14 in 2004 than anyone before (IL14 now has REALLY had ENOUGH of Hastert and what used to be the Republican Party).

Have you had enough!
Vote John Laesch IL14

At 11:47 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Howie - I bet I know John Laesch even better than you. I've seen this man at work - and he does work hard to build a base of support.

He was inspired by Sen. Paul Wellstone. That shows in how he builds from the grassroots. Yesterday I walked into the campaign office unannounced. At noon on Wednesday there were 12 people hard at work. They were focused. They know what they are doing. Doesn’t that feel like a Paul Wellstone operation?

I'm old. I knew Sen. Paul Simon. In John I see the same dogged determination to what's right rather than what's politically expedient. In John I see what Paul Simon did best - he used those enormous ears to listen, to pay attention and to understand. So does John.

I have seen John argue with a voter who disagrees with him. He doesn’t back down. He doesn’t pander. He tells them exactly where he stands. Those people – one guy I’ll never forget – come away respecting him. Paul Simon would be proud.

I also see someone this time who learned from his 1st campaign. He's surrounded himself with aggressive, dedicated people who have the experience and the ability to inspire others.

If you have any respect for Sen. Paul Simon [someone I revere] or Sen. Paul Wellstone [who would have made a fabulous President], then supporting John with a donation will be like endorsing their legacy.

At 1:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I met John Laesch almost a year ago. He worked on forming an environmental group for Kendall county. I am not someone who is in to politics, but what I can tell you is John has a fresh approach to all the issues important to me and my family.

Robert Veach

At 7:26 PM, Anonymous cando said...

I have been supporting John for several months. He was one of my favorite candidates at the YearlyKos Convention because he's knowledgeable, he speaks well and he's interested in people. I really like his ad.Go John.

At 2:11 AM, Blogger poe said...

I too met John at at YK in Chicago. In a field of some very impressive candidates, he really stood out for my husband and me. He's exactly the kind of Democrat we need in D.C. I've sent him a few bucks and will happily do so again.

Anyone know the timing of the special election?

At 6:32 AM, Blogger DownWithTyranny said...

Poe, it hasn't been officially announced yet, but people are assuming it will be Feb. 5-- the same day as the state primary.

At 12:00 PM, Anonymous Scott said...

Except for not bringing up "alternative" energy, which is the way to go for this country, he sounds just like me and my friends on the issues.

At 12:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've had enough! of John Laesch and won't be supporting him for garbage man. He doesn't support our troops so I don't support him.


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