REP. STEVE KAGEN (D-WI) ASKS A SIMPLE QUESTION: HOW MUCH DO WE NEED CHANGE IN WASHINGTON?
In 2006, when right wing kook Mark Green gave up his Wisconsin congressional seat (WI-08, Green Bay and the northeastern part of the state, which gave Bush a comfy 55% in 2004 and has a PVI of R+4) to make a doomed run for governor, conventional wisdom said the Democrats should pick some Blue Dog Republican-lite schweinehund. But this is Russ Feingold territory and Hoyer and Emanuel don't have much sway in the Forward state. Democrats nominated Dr. Steve Kagen, a thorough progressive, to go up against heavily favored John Gard, far right Speaker of the Wisconsin State Assembly, in a district controlled by the GOP for 94 of the last 100 years and which includes the hometown of American fascist Joe McCarthy and the national headquarters of American fascism, the John Birch Society (Appleton). Steve beat Gard 141,598 to 134,990 and has gone on to rack up a solidly progressive voting record, resisting blandishments from Hoyer and Emanuel to come over to the Dark Side and vote like they do, basically, for the "generous" special interests. Steve's tenure in Congress has been notable for keeping arm's length from the special interests and for actually representing the interests of the middle class families of his district. But Gard is back to try again this year.
Even though Gard's political mentor is serving prison time after being convicted on corruption charges, the GOP is investing heavily in his race since, sadly, they see him as their future. Even in the midst of the slimy campaign of lies and distortions Gard is running against him, Steve has shunned the idea of moving right. Last week he again voted independently of Democratic Party leaders Hoyer and Emanuel to oppose the occupation of Iraq and to oppose warrantless wiretaps and retroactive immunity for special interests, all of which Gard favors.
After his votes last week, we were able to persuade Steve to do a quick guest post for us:
WHY I VOTED AGAINST LETTING THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION SPY ON YOU
-by Congressman Steve Kagen, MD
How much do we need positive change in Washington? Last week, more than one person warned me that if I cast a vote to protect the nation by protecting the Constitution, I would pay a political price.
At issue was HR 6304, a bill that continued the Bush-Cheney administration's claims for unchecked executive power by granting legal immunity to those that cooperate with its warrantless domestic spying program. Under the proposal, companies were protected from lawsuits for both past and future invasions of our privacy if they said Administration officials told them it was legal to spy on U.S. citizens.
I take seriously my sworn duty to protect America and guaranteeing that our intelligence community has the tools it needs to defend national security without forfeiting the rights we have always cherished. If that means putting the Constitution first and my political party last, that's an easy decision.
How much do we need positive change in Washington? Any more questions?