Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Alan Grayson-- In The Proud Tradition Of Lawton Chiles


When Schumer calls Democratic donors to demand they not help fund Alan Grayson's campaign for the open Florida Senate seat, he never says, "We need another Wall Street whore like me, not someone with a record of holding banksters accountable like that damn Elizabeth Warren." No, he never says that. Instead he says, "Grayson is not electable in a purple state like Florida. We need someone more middle of the road... and have I got the boy for you." That would be "ex"-Republican spoiled brat Patrick Murphy, who has spent his two terms in Congress voting with the GOP-- even to authorize the Benghazi witch-hunt committee, as well as to eradicate all the hard-fought efforts to rein in Wall Street through Dodd-Frank, to weaken the Affordable Care Act and to support the Keystone XL Pipeline.

And this is what Schumer is trying to foist off on Florida Democratic voters? Sure, it's what Schumer promised his Wall Street patrons. So he yammers on with a bunch of Beltway conventional "wisdom" about how only a Republican-lite candidate can win in a tight election, "wisdom" that has been proven wrong over and over and over. In fact, just last week it was proven wrong in one of Oklahoma's deep red districts when progressive Democrat Cyndi Munson beat GOP wingnut Chip Carter for Governor Mary Fallin's old seat, despite Carter's immense financial advantage and despite Carter's endorsements by Fallin; both the Oklahoma wingnut senators, James Inhofe and James Lankford; and the entire Oklahoma GOP establishment. Campaigning unabashedly on women's choice, LGBT equality and stopping a Republican tax giveaway to the wealthy, Munson beat Carter 53.7-46.3%. Schumer would have never even allowed her to be nominated.

As Grayson explained two years ago in a video about faithless Democrats who back the Republican agenda, "If you have two Republicans wanting to run against each other, one with an 'r-e-p' next to his name and the other one with a 'd-e-m', it's a tremendous disservice to the public... If you run as a Democrat there are certain things that you should stand for. You should stand for justice; you should stand for equality; you should stand for peace... The voters deserve an actual choice on the ballot." That is anathema to party bosses like Schumer, Rahm Emanuel, Chris Van Hollen, Steve Israel and Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

In the middle of last month Grayson sent out a fascinating and educational letter to his supporters about progressive Florida Governor LeRoy Collins-- "Liberal LeRoy," as he was known to his opponents-- the first governor of Florida to serve two consecutive terms in office (1955-1961). He was the first governor from the South to promote the moral necessity of ending segregation. Even Jeb Bush referred to him as "the greatest governor of Florida."

Over the weekend, Michael Barbaro, writing in the NYTimes, warned Jeb that if he wants to knock out Trump tomorrow he'll have to channel the grace and sharp edged wit of his old nemesis, beloved former Florida Senator and Governor Lawton Chiles.

Theatrics have failed Mr. Bush at times. During a dramatic 1994 exchange in Tampa, he dared the sitting governor of Florida, Lawton Chiles, to look into the eyes of Mr. Bush’s business partner, who sat a few feet away in the audience, and repeat an attack on the two men’s ethics.

“I know you don’t respect me, but I know you respect Armando Codina,” Mr. Bush said. “Can you look him in the eye and say that we’ve done anything wrong?”

Mr. Chiles, deploying his Southern drawl and a gift for outmaneuvering opponents, looked toward Mr. Codina, smiled and reflected on the businessman’s wisdom in hiring the son of an American president.

“I think,” Mr. Chiles declared, “he made a good business decision when he took you on as a partner.”

The audience broke into loud laughter. A few days later, Mr. Bush lost the election.

Also over the weekend, Grayson sent out a similar letter to the Collins letter, this time about the more recent Florida progressive icons, Lawton Chiles, one of his personal heroes and someone Schumer would never have approved even getting the nomination-- "too liberal for Florida." Grayson began by reminding voters that he carries "the torch for a great tradition in Florida-- real Democrats, progressive Democrats, who win."

I don’t want children to go to bed hungry. And I want them to get the care that they need to make it to adulthood. I share those concerns with Lawton Chiles.

As a Senator in 1972, Chiles helped pass the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (the WIC Program). That program has helped millions of poor mothers and infants. It supplied sustenance to many a hungry belly. (Or, as George W. Bush might say, it “put food on their families.”)

Lawton Chiles once said, “To be a successful state, we must nurture successful children.” So as a Governor in 1992, Chiles established in 1992 Florida’s Healthy Start program, for prenatal and infant healthcare. Sadly, we live in a country that is 47th in the world-- yes, 47th!-- in avoiding infant mortality. But in the next six years after Chiles’s program began, Florida’s infant mortality rate dropped 20 percent. How many people are alive and healthy today, simply because Lawton Chiles was a Real Democrat with a heart?

...By the way, Chiles wasn’t only a leading liberal on nutrition and healthcare. Also civil rights, conservation and tax reform. That’s a legacy I want to honor and continue in the Senate.

Lawton Chiles would have opposed-- no, despised-- the current effort by my Republican opponent, Rep. Ron DeSantis, to shut down healthcare for women. Tea Party poster boy DeSantis has attacked me for wanting “to keep the tax dollars flowing to Planned Parenthood” and “even celebrating that organization.” What I celebrate is the fact that poor women can get the care that they need to stay healthy, and avoid a painful, terrible death. Like Lawton Chiles, I don’t want to see more women suffer from cancer and AIDS, and I want see children who are cared for.

...There are some folks who will try to sell you on the lie that Florida doesn’t elect Real Democrats. They don’t know jack about Florida, or our history. In fact, the opposite is true, as Gov. Howard Dean often has reminded us: Give the voters a choice between a real Republican and a Democrat pretending to be one, and they’ll choose the real Republican, every time. You don’t have to take my word for it; just ask our Republican Governor Rick Scott, or our Republican Senator Marco Rubio.

They say that a Real Democrat can’t win. I say that a Real Democrat can’t lose, and that Lawton Chiles proved that. In his nearly 30 years of public service, Chiles never lost an election! As a State Representative from my region in Central Florida, as a three-term U.S. Senator, and then as two-term Governor, Chiles was literally unbeatable. (In fact, Chiles beat Jeb Bush in the race for Governor in 1994. He was the last Democrat to win that race.)

I’m running for the Senate as a Real Democrat, not a Fake Democrat like my primary opponent Patrick Murphy. Just as Lawton Chiles was, I want to be a champion against hunger, a champion for health, a champion against discrimination, a champion for the environment-- a Progressive Champion! And I need your help to do it.

Courage in the Chiles tradition,

Rep. Alan Grayson

Candidate for the U.S. Senate
Please consider making a contribution to Grayson's campaign, anything you feel comfortable giving. There is no such thing as a contribution that is too small. Give what you can here. The alternative is a Senate increasingly filled with Republican-lite Schumer allies and Wall Street lackeys like Patrick Murphy.

UPDATE: PPP looks at Florida Senate primary

Polling has already shown Grayson would beat whichever sociopath the GOP throws at him, but what about the primary? With Schumer doing all he can to undermine and sabotage Grayson and bolster right-of-center Patrick Murphy, how are Democratic primary voters coming down? PPP surveyed Democratic primary voters across the state between September 11 and 13th. Despite Schumer and despite the SuperPAC money Murphy's father and his father's friends are pouring into the race, Grayson leads 33-27%.

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