I love all our Blue America candidates. Some, however, are a little further along in their evolution towards being... the next Elizabeth Warren or the next Alan Grayson or the next Donna Edwards. After all, that is what we're looking for in candidates. Not John, not Digby, not Jacquie and not yours truly is looking for a candidate we can-- or have to-- tell what to do. I've had hot-under-the-collar disagreements with Donna, with Ted Lieu, with Joe Sestak... but those are people with the brains and the moral fiber to make up their own minds on issues and when they come to a different conclusion about how to proceed... I'm all ears-- well all ears and mouth. If we wanted robots, we'd look for a version of Marco Rubio.
The Blue America House candidates have certain things in common, of course. That's how they got on our list in the first place. Everyone believes in the right of women to exercise control over their own health and bodies without interference from the government. Likewise, everyone believes in equality of opportunity regardless of race, religion, country of origin, sexual preference, gender. Everyone favors peace. Each one is a fighter who will stand up to the bullying from the oligarchs and the puppets of the oligarchs in Congress (like, oh... say Wall Street whore Chuck Schumer or Debbie Wasserman Schultz).
That said, I want to mention that some of the candidates who are far along the road, perhaps because of experience, are state Sen. Pramila Jayapal (WA), Zephyr Teachout (NY), Nanette Barragán (CA), state Rep. Joseline Peña-Melnyk (MD), and former Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter (NH). You might have noticed each is a woman. Some have endorsed Hillary and some have been consigned by Madeleine Albright a place in hell; but all are strong, effective and dedicated progressives with records to show why they merit support in their runs for Congress.
We'll come back to them in a moment. I want to take a look at a very personal column Frank Bruni penned for the NY Times Wednesday, Feminism, Hell and Hillary Clinton. I never knew Bruni is gay but he wrote that he is and he seemed offended that there might be an expectation from a gay version of Madeleine Albright that he either vote for a gay nominee or be consigned to hell. Just as the Times was publishing Bruni's column, openly gay Republican Ben West, was announcing his candidacy for the seat held by right-wing Blue Dog Kurt Schrader in an Oregon district that stretches from Portland's southern suburbs through Salem and west to the coast from Manzanita to Yachats. Even though Schrader is one of the very worst Democrats in Congress-- an NRA and Wall Street shill for example-- I suspect Bruni would never vote for West who-- except for his sexual preference-- is a garden variety Republican crackpot. He's running on all the crazy anti-human nonsense Republicans run on. He told the media that he wants "to be very clear that I am much more than a gay man and I’m not defined totally by my sexuality." And that's a good thing.
There are a batch of openly gay Republicans running for Congress this year, including Studboi 1 (AZ), Dan Innis (NH), Chrys Kefalas (MD) and Jacquie Atkinson (CA). I'm going to assume that Bruni wouldn't vote for any of these conservatives, regardless of their sexual preference and that he wouldn't vote for gay conservative Democrat and egregious Wall Street whore Sean Patrick Maloney (NY) either. "Will there be,"he asked in his column, a 'special place in hell' for me if I, as a gay man, don’t support him or her?... I’ll go to the barricades for that imagined gay [presidential] candidate if he or she has talents I trust, positions I respect and a character I admire. If not, I’ll probably go elsewhere, because being gay won’t be the sum of that person, just as womanhood isn’t where Clinton begins and ends." He wrote that he, like many of us, is trying to understand's Albright's idiotic statement.
There’s a weird strain of thought swirling around Clinton’s campaign: that we should vote for her because she’s a woman. Or that she’s inoculated from certain flaws or accusations by dint of gender. Or that, at the least, there’s an onus on forward-looking people who care about gender inequality to promote her candidacy.Anti-Semitism is real and it's deadly and were Bernie to win, he'd be the first Jewish president, something that would have been unimaginable not that many years ago. He doesn't bring that up and neither do his surrogates.
I care about gender inequality, and I don’t buy it. It’s bad logic. It’s even worse strategy. People don’t vote out of shame. They vote out of hope.
Perhaps that was among the lessons of Clinton’s defeat in New Hampshire on Tuesday, where she lost to Sanders among all women by at least seven percentage points, according to exit polling, and among women under 30 by more than 60 points.
Clinton is on sturdy ground, morally and tactically, when she mentions a double standard for women. So are her surrogates. Actually, there are so many double standards that you couldn’t fit them in a column eight times the length of this one, and she has bumped into plenty, including, yes, the fuss over her raised voice.
But the argument that she’s somehow not a full-fledged member of the establishment because she’s a woman-- as she contended during the most recent Democratic debate-- is nonsense. On that night, she also echoed a past statement to CBS News that she “cannot imagine anyone being more of an outsider than the first woman president.”
Really? Anyone? Off the top of my head I can think of a person who might quibble with that. His name is Barack Obama.
Carol Shea-Porter was an excellent Member of Congress when a Republican wave swept into her district. It's looking like she'll win back her seat this year though, against the same crackpot teabagger. She brought up a good point this morning in a phone conversation: "Even though the House of Representatives does not look very representative when it's not even 20% female, that is not the reason I am running for Congress. I am running again because extremist Republican Rep. Frank Guinta repeatedly votes against what I have always called 'the bottom 99%,' and I have always voted FOR that bottom 99%. His position on women does say it all though: no abortion, not even to save a woman's life."
Let me suggest you take a look at this 90 second video author and activist and Bernie surrogate Marianne Williamson just cut:
Yesterday I was chatting with Marianne about the congressional candidates Blue America and her organization, Sister Giant, are working with for the online progressive summit mentioned in the video. Many of the candidates who are participating are women, from Pramila Jayapal in Washington state to Carol Shea Porter in New Hampshire. But they haven't been invited to participate because they are women. They were invited to participate because they have accomplishments worth sharing and ideas worth supporting.
"I agree with Martin Luther King, Jr.," she told me, "when he argued that the problem with incrementalism is that the status quo co-opts every small change for its own purposes. I think-- and yes, I believe this is in large part because I am a woman-- that passion, and a yearning for the possible, and longing for a more beautiful world -- are the most potent drivers of real change. I guess you could say I agree with Gloria Steinem when she said women get more radical when we get older-- and that's why I'm for Bernie!"
Again, whether you back Bernie or you back Hillary-- or are happy with either-- we are eager to get these incredible candidates into office. This is the kind of messaging we like seeing from our candidates-- Pramila's latest e-mail: "Anyone who knows me will tell you I’m a fighter. When I see people being mistreated or see that the system’s rigged to favor the elites, I don’t stand by or wait for easy solutions. I feel compelled to jump into action-- to stand up boldly for what’s right, and take on the important fights even when they’re not easy (and if you’re anything like me, you know they’re never easy). Now, I'm taking the fight for progressive values to the House of Representatives." Congress desperately needs the perspectives of women like her and like Carol. Please tap the thermometer: