Who In Congress Really "Gets" Jesus' Message Of Compassion And Peace?
This week Blue America is teaming up to help Alan Grayson raise some money for his campaign in the Orlando area. He has a newly redrawn district (FL-09) that would have to be called "very, very blue." Under the new boundaries Obama would have beaten McCain there, 60-39%. The legislature made it so overwhelmingly Democratic not to give Grayson a safe home, but to make the districts around it safe for a batch of weak GOP incumbents, like Daniel Webster, Sandy Adams, and John Mica. Under normal circumstances, the 9th would be a safe home for Grayson. But with the Supreme Court wrecking the entire campaign finance regulatory system, there is no longer such a thing as "normal." Last cycle, the extreme corporate right poured more dark cash into Grayson's race than in any House race in America. His constituents were inundated with nonstop TV and radio ads against him unlike anything any other incumbent experienced. And they've started early this year-- even before they've picked a GOP opponent. That will happen on August 26.
The most likely opponent, though, is Hate Talk radio host Todd Long, a virulently anti-consumer insurance company lawyer who was permanently barred from Orlando's Millennia Mall for outlandish behavior and who was arrested after being found passed out on a sidewalk, stinking drunk in the gutter next to an elementary school 200 miles from his home. He's been trying, unsuccessfully, to win a Republican primary since 2007. With an incredibly weak Republican field, this looks like it could be his year though. And he's certainly trying to prove his bona fides with the most radicalized hate-filled part of the GOP base-- an almost sure path to winning a Republican primary these days. Here he is, at a candidate interview with the editors of the notoriously anti-Grayson Orlando Sentinel going full bore anti-Semitic against the Jewish Grayson:
Amanda Terkel broke the story at HuffPo this week.
Grayson is Jewish. He told the Huffington Post that because of his religion, he has "had to deal with religious innuendo from opponents since the beginning." He pointed to 2008 ads by Ric Keller -- then the incumbent congressman in Florida's 8th congressional district -- that ended with "Ultra-liberal Alan Grayson is not one of us."
"This is really going a step beyond that," Grayson said in an email. "Long clearly is trying to make religion one of the main issues, and perhaps the main issue, in this race (which is ironic, because Long claims to be a strict Constitutionalist, and Article VI, paragraph 3 of the Constitution specifically states: 'no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.')"
"I'm shocked that anyone would stoop so low," added Grayson. "Bigotry and prejudice should have no place in politics."
Long's campaign did not return a request for comment.
This was even too much for the Sentinel which, pointedly, did not endorse Long and opted for some barely known also-ran with virtually no shot of coming in first or even second in the GOP primary. But the part of Long's bizarre anti-Semitic diatribe that fascinated me was his assertion that Grayson "doesn't believe in any of the biblical values, doesn't believe in treating people well, doesn't believe in uniting the country, doesn't believe in solving problems ." I honestly cannot name another congressman who was more in synch with Jesus' most essential teachings than Alan Grayson. I mean, what did the Prince of Peace say about wars? Was anyone in Congress more devoted to peace than Grayson? What did Jesus say about healing the sick, feeding the hungry, clothing the impoverished? Basically, Grayson did little else but work on these very issues! Unless Long is talking about some bizarre religious rites, like snake handling or whatever his crazy supporters are into, anyone examining Alan Grayson's record would come up with the opposite conclusion-- he's the most Christian-- or Judeo-Christian (or just plain ethical) Member of Congress in recent memory. Words matter; Todd Long is going to learn that if he finally does wind up as the Republican nominee.
Now back to what I was saying in the beginning about Blue America helping Grayson raise some campaign money to fight off this kind of garbage and bigotry. We don't have any antisocial billionaire criminals like the Koch brothers or Macau Mob figure Sheldon Adelson to call on for our candidates. But we do have rock'n'roll memorabilia. And Alan is asking his supporters which piece of memorabilia he should accept as a gift-- a gift from us to his campaign... and a gift he can give away, a gift he will give away to one of his supporters. There's stuff from Eric Clapton, Green Day, Sinatra, The B-52s and The Cult. These are the items:
1 - A Green Day guitar autographed by all 3 members of the band-- a blue Squier Stratocaster.
2 - The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) Platinum Award to Eric Clapton and B.B. King for Riding With the King.
3 - The RIAA's Platinum Award to Frank Sinatra for The Very Good Years. This plaque hung in the office of Reprise Records, the company that Sinatra started.
4 - The RIAA's Multi-Platinum Award to the B-52's for Cosmic Thing.
5 - a rare, framed, numbered art print by famed rock artist Rick Griffin for the Cult's "Wildflower" song, released in 1987. Griffin and all of the band members signed the print.
So this week Grayson is asking everyone to decide which item they'd most want to see him give away. You can vote here-- not for a candidate, for either Green Day, Eric Clapton and BB King, The B-52's, Rick Griffin and The Cult or for Frank Sinatra. And if you want to contribute to Alan's campaign (and be in on the drawing for the item that gets the most votes... here's the place.