Thursday, February 23, 2006



For me-- way out here in California-- Christine Cegelis' campaign has become a parable for the survival of democracy within the Democratic Party. But I know it means a lot more than a parable for activists and concerned democrats (and Democrats) in Illinois' 6th congressional district. I first heard about Cegelis from Howard Dean a few years ago, who said she was an exemplary and inspiring candidate and who was impressed that she took on one of the most entrenched members of the GOP power elite, powerful and uber-hypocritical Henry Hyde. Cegelis scored an incredible 44% of the vote against Hyde in 2004 and, in the process, has built up a wonderful grassroots following. Her clear and pointed, well-thought out positions on the important issues have further endeared her to people looking for a change from Bush and the Republican congress and all of their disastrous (and self-serving) policies. Sounds like a dream candidate for the Blue Team, right?

Not according to DCCC boss, Rahm Emanuel. Instead of welcoming the hard-working and dedicated Cegelis as a neighbor, and offering DCCC assistance to help her close the very attainable 7% gap between herself and the Repugs, Emanuel went on an emotional, irrational and-- much to the relief of Republicans (the major beneficiaries of Emanuel's unseasoned, divisive, heavy-handed "leadership")-- destructive rampage against her, doing all he could-- and he is a very, very vicious politico (especially when it comes to fighting progressives and grassroots Dems)-- to make her withdraw and to derail her campaign. He eventually recruited someone from outside the district, a decent Iraq war vet, to run against Cegelis and started a huge Inside-the-Beltway Power Elite drumbeat to make it seem that the Democratic nomination was all wrapped up-- as the power-mongers have done for the Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Ohio senate seats and for dozens of House seats across the country. But, as sometimes happens in a real democracy-- something about which Emanuel has no clue-- his efforts backfired inside the district (where people like the idea of voting and choosing their own candidates).

Cegelis and her fired-up supporters redoubled their efforts and her campaign has been going strong. I know that Jim Dean and DFA are not seeking disputes with gutter-figher Emanuel but progressives from around the country have been urging them to help Cegelis overcome the "inevitability" drumbeat Emanuel has been trying to use to bolster the prospects of his hand-picked puppet. And yesterday DFA took the leap and enthusiastically endorsed 4 progressive Democrats for Congress, including Christine Cegelis. As a DFA member, I was very proud to be standing up and taking a stand against the Inside-the-Beltway hegemonists. The endorsement was simple and to the point: "A long-time resident of Rolling Meadows, Christine Cegelis lives and works in Illinois' 6th Congressional District. As a Dean Dozen candidate in 2004, Christine came within just a few points of toppling 30-year Republican incumbent Rep. Henry Hyde. This year Hyde is retiring and Christine's running again in a tough Democratic primary. The DCCC is behind another candidate, but Christine has earned the support of DFA groups across Illinois." She has also earned the endorsement of DWT and we have set up an ACT Blue Page for her that we help you will consider donating to.

Her campaign website is exactly what I love to see from a candidate and it is exactly why so many people are so enthusiastic about her. She's the kind of person who inspires excitement and hope that a real change could come and that it won't just be politics as usual. She's a people's candidate and I implore you to look into her candidacy and lend a hand. She has two fights on her hands-- first Rahm Emanuel and the Inside-the-Beltway power elite and after she shows him Democrats prefer democracy, she will face a garden variety right-wing hack. DWT will be with her throughout.


At 9:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great post! I am one of Christine's local volunteers, an an active DFA member, and it is so cool to see someone from so far away be such an enthusiastic supporter.


At 10:27 AM, Blogger DownWithTyranny said...

Thanks for the comment Chris! I like your point of view! Here in California there are several candidates fighting off DCCC interference, particularly Jerry McNerney (who could rid us of the Pombo scourge) and Brett Wagner (who was poised to beat Elton Gallegly before Emanuel stuck his nose into the race). And although the DCCC now supports Francine Busby down in CA-50, she is a true grassroots progressive who was simply too strong for Emanuel to take on (although he did try for a while).

At 10:40 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for illustrating so very well the situation out here in good ol' IL-6 and urging folks everywhere to support Christine Cegelis.

As a volunteer on the Cegelis campaign currently and during the last cycle, I have seen firsthand the movement and infrastructure that has been and continues to be built under Christine's watch. She has energized and increased the numbers of our Democratic base and has inspired everyday folks to abandon apathy in favor of activism. Not only are her values soundly progressive, she has an extensive background in international business and technology and understands what our nation faces in a changing globalized economy.

Perhaps most importantly, Christine LISTENS. To her supporters, to her handlers and staff, to people who are more qualified than herself on certain subjects and issues and, MOST IMPORTANTLY, Christine LISTENS to the people of the 6th District. She engages people in our community EVERYDAY and LISTENS to their concerns.

She is a humble person and knows that she doesn't have all the answers or the power to do everything herself. She knows the importance of delegating and has put quality people on her staff with a variety of specialties and strengths. The renewed vigor, enthusiasm, organization and efficiency in that office is testament to Cegelis' leadership.

Recently, on the NPR program "848", Tammy Duckworth made the statement that she decided to run because she "saw a distinct lack of leadership in the district". This coming from a candidate who does not live in the district (she has lived in a neighboring district for just 3 years), does NOT reach out to the local community (and when she does, she is usually late by an hour or more), has NOT built a base of grassroots support, and has raised virtually no money from people inside our district.

Rahm Emanuel and the DCCC are banking on a Duckworth win by media blitz and are shoveling loads of cash into her campaign. They have already sent out FIVE incredibly expensive mailers (two in one day!) and have made two TV ads.

Duckworth is also banking on endorsements by popular Democrats like Senator Barack Obama. In fact, Obama's photo and quotes have been plastered all over her mailers and he speaks for her in one of her new TV ads. Yes, Duckworth has shown THAT MUCH of a lack of leadership in rallying support that she has to rely on a media darling like Obama to gain support. It's pathetic, if you ask me and plenty of other IL-6 voters.

Meanwhile, Cegelis continues to rack up grassroots support, continues to engage the voters, and continues to collect endorsements from progressive groups.

Over here in the Cegelis camp, we have a saying: Duckworth shows up in our mailboxes and on our TV's. CEGELIS shows up EVERYWHERE!

Please, I urge everyone out there who cares about furthering progressive values and sending a message to the Democratic machine that the PEOPLE count: SUPPORT CHRISTINE CEGELIS TODAY!!


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