Sunday, January 01, 2012

Happy New Year-- And Now The Fight For Congress Starts For Real


If you've ever contributed to a candidate or signed a petition, you were probably inundated with desperate pleas for helping dozens of candidates beat their deadlines-- midnight yesterday-- for campaign fundraising. We'll have plenty more deadlines between now and the crucial 2012 elections in November. Many of the races pit a worthless corporate Democrat against an even more worthless corporate Republican. Blue America has endorsed, and will continue finding, progressive candidates who do not fit into that catastrophic mold. Our candidates are fighting for ordinary working families and defending them against the special interests that have
virtually bought up both political establishments. That willingness by our political elites-- I should say "that eagerness"-- to sell themselves to corporate bidders is the real DC "bipartisanship" ... and the root of everything that's wrong in our political system today.

I want to share an e-mail one of our most dedicated blue-collar, New Deal candidates, John Waltz, sent to voters in his Kalamazoo-based district yesterday. He offered five reasons why people who can afford to should consider contributing to his campaign. It'll give you a better idea of the kind of men and women Blue America is backing:
1. I am an Iraq and Afghanistan veteran. As we wind down these wars, we need to have more members of Congress that have served so that the VA is properly funded and we do not repeat any of the mistakes we made post-Vietnam.

2. Fred Upton has been in Congress for over 20 years. He was a back-bencher until recently when he aligned himself with special interests in DC. He is the number 1 enemy of the Earth, according to the Los Angeles Times, and has taken more money from lobbyists than anyone else in Congress.

3. My dad worked at GM for 30 years; I'm a UAW baby. I am from Kalamazoo and I know the people. We are Democrats; Barack Obama won with 60 percent of the vote in 2008.

4. Fred can't get it done. In the limited time he has been in "leadership," he starred on the failed "super-committee," and Congressional approval has dropped below 10 percent to almost zero under his "leadership." Now he's taking another starring role on some sort of genius committee to decide whether or not to raise taxes on working people. Fred needs to go.

5. It's time we elect people to Congress that will go to Washington DC with the express purpose of passing legislation that will move our country beyond this self-imposed period of futility. It will take someone with a clean slate; someone that is not bought and paid for by special interests. I will make you proud.

So, Happy New Year! Be safe, be wise, eat some black-eyed peas, and help me beat Fred Upton. Please contribute whatever you can to make that happen! We are only $5,000 shy of meeting our quarterly goal with less than 24 hours to make it happen. With your help I know this goal will be easy to beat.

Blue America had a goal for John's campaign too-- and we were only $200 from it. Can you help us get beyond that one? And we don't really care about any arbitrary deadlines except the first Tuesday in November, 2012. Here's the place.

Reid picked Kerry for the Super Committee despite his great wealth. Boehner chose Upton because of it. Both had their tasks, and, thank God, both failed. The Super Committee was a super bad idea, another brick in the road our elites are using to pave a road to Austerity for us. As David Atkins pointed out on New Year's Eve, Austerity may be a terribly ineffective policy if you want to reduce deficits, "as it weakens the middle-class tax base and long-term economic growth. But as a way of raking more money out of the middle class and into the pockets of the super-wealthy parasitic brigands, it's fantastic policy." Fortunately for us, Kerry and Upton and the rest of the congressional cutthroats couldn't agree exactly how to screw the middle class, so the whole thing fell apart... this time.

The Center for Responsive Politics did an analysis of the personal wealth of the dozen appointed members, whose median net worth is $1.2 million-- nearly 13 times larger than the net worth of the average American family. They were charged with deciding which programs should be axed so that their own class-- and the even higher classes who finance their careers-- can continue to enjoy scandalously low tax rates and loopholes.

As a whole, the Democratic members of the supercommittee are less wealthy than their Republican counterparts, according to the Center's research-- with the exception of Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), who is the richest member of the U.S. Senate.

Kerry, who is married to philanthropist Theresa Heinz, had a minimum net worth of $183 million in 2009, the most recent year for which data is available. Lawmakers are only required to disclose their assets and liabilities in broad ranges, so he might be worth as much as $295 million.

The median American family, meanwhile, had a net worth of $96,000 in 2009, according to the Federal Reserve Board.

Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), who was the 25th richest member of the U.S. House of Representatives in 2009, ranks as the wealthiest GOP politician among those on the debt supercommittee. His minimum net worth in 2009 was $7 million and his maximum net worth was $26 million, according to the Center's research.

Upton's career has always focused on exactly one thing: special privileges for the very wealthiest in society, like his own family, the western Michigan plutocrats who inherited Whirlpool and offshored and outsourced almost all the jobs to low-wage countries, destroying much of the Midwest industrial base as they did so. That's who John Waltz is going to beat next November-- with our help.

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