Tuesday, June 20, 2006



North Carolina has 13 congressmen. Six are Democrats and they all seem pretty safe bets for re-election in November. All 7 Republicans have Democratic challengers but two are already poised to defeat powerfully entrenched GOP incumbents. What these two races have in common is that their opponents are both far right loons and Bush rubber-stamps. Let's take a quick look at each of them and the districts.

Robin Hayes represents the 8th CD, the south-central part of the state including Cabarrus County at the tip of the old textile corridor-- devastated by Bush's "free trade" policies-- and east to Fayetteville with parts of Charlotte, kind of a swing district, although Bush scored 54% in 2000 and 2004, about what Hayes has been getting since he was first elected in 1998 Hayes is most famous for breaking down and weeping like a 9 year old girl after DeLay, Blunt and other Republicans forced him, on the floor of the House, to vote against his constituents interests to break a 214-214 tie for some hideous trade policies that wreaked further havoc and despair on North Carolina's textile industry. He is generally a posterboy for weak-charactered rubber stamp irresponsibility. His voting record is positively abysmal; he ties for the absolute worst congressmen on every single issue facing corporate subsidies, education, human rights and civil liberties, and everything concerned criminal and civil justice. No one in the entire House is worse than Hayes on these issues. He gets a flat zero on his votes on all of these-- and doesn't have a decent voting record on any other issues either.

Charlie Taylor's voting record is about the same. Where he stands out, however, is in the corruption department. This is his 8th term representing the 11th CD, the extreme western end of the state, the heart of the Great Smokey Mountains. It's a rural district, overwhelmingly white, somewhat poorer and more Republican than Hayes' district. The only city is Asheville. Kerry did considerably better than Gore had 4 years earlier. Taylor's weakest point is that he is widely considered to be the most corrupt politician in contemporary North Carolina. A member of Jerry Lewis' criminal Appropriations Committee, he is a major self-server and has been caught up in scandal after scandal, far beyond his involvements with taking tainted money from DeLay and Abramoff. Two counties in his district threatened to garnish his congressional salary because he refused to pay his property taxes and he owns a bank that loans cronies money that never gets paid back and gets written off (after portions are kicked back to the slippery congressman).

The two men opposing these two weak and disgraceful Republicans are as different as night and day from each other. One, Heath Shuler is a flashy favorite son being lavishly pushed by the DCCC. He fits their model perfectly: down the center moderate and totally uncontroversial. He's best known-- and was recruited by DCCC Chair Rahm Emanuel because-- he is a former NFL quarterback (for the Washington Redskins). His website could have been put together by Emanuel himself: slick and very light on issues beyond studied support for mom and for apple pie. His positions are standard Democratic Party fare, much of it pabulum. Although you can quickly see he's a gun supporter, you'd be hard-pressed to find out that there's a war in Iraq, let alone how he feels about it (although he honors our veterans). I hope he wins because there is no comparison between him and Taylor. If you live in the district, please vote for Heath Shuler. If you have some spare change you're willing to contribute to a campaign for someone who will work positively to make North Carolina and America a better place to live... go to the next paragraph.

Larry Kissell was not the DCCC candidate. He's a genuine grassroots candidate with an independent mind of his own. He doesn't plan to go to Congress to take orders from an authoritarian nitwit like Rahm Emanuel or anyone else. The DCCC candidate withdrew from the primary and the district rallied behind Kissell, who's very different from Robin Hayes-- and far better suited for the 8th CD. A 27-year veteran of the textile industry and an educator and a deacon of the First Baptist Church, Kissell's website leaves nothing for guess work on how he feels-- and what he wants to do about-- all the major issues facing North Carolina citizens. When Kissell talks about "values," it isn't empty rhetoric crafted to hoodwink strangers into voting for him. Kissell's Main Street values (not Wall Street values) are what informs and drives his desire to help his neighbors and his nation to do better.

This is not some right of center Democrat who will go to Washington and cause progressives to tear their hair out ala Lieberman or Zell Miller or Henry Cuellar. On the other hand, Inside-the-Beltway elitists like Emanuel are already tearing out their hair, reading stuff like "We staged our way into Iraq in one year, there is no reason we can't stage our way out in one year. My position is out of Iraq by the end of 2006." Reading Kissell's detailed, straight-forward essays on why he's running and what he plans to do in Washington make you feel this is truly a good man-- not an ambitious politician-- and one who you know you could trust to make the right decisions for his neighbors and for us all. You don't have to vote for Larry Kissell just because he's better than the Republican; you can vote for him because he'll make a great legislator imbued with compassion, strength, humility and wisdom.

I suspect any assistance the DCCC plans to put into North Carolina between now and November will go entirely to Heath Shuler. That leaves Larry Kissell to depend on plain citizens who believe in the promise of a better society. If you live in the district you can volunteer here. If you want to be part of a coast to coast movement of people contributing $5 and $10 and $20 increments to buy into an American dream of the "ordinary people" who are the backbone of this nation putting their collective foot down to Bush and his rubber stamp congressmen (and to Democrats cut from the same cloth), please click here on the DWT ACT BLUE Page.

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At 5:01 AM, Blogger B. Muse said...

Hi DWT - this is a great post. Thanks for stopping by BlueNC. NC bloggers have really been busy. I've been working for three months blogging about Larry, jumping up and down trying to get attention. A commenter on MyDD and DKos going by RANT has been on the case from the beginning. There are others, but we are all in-state "Larry" supporters. (I didn't start out that way....I was going to stay objective...yeah, right!) I can't tell you how gratifying it is to see the diaries going up and positive comments being made about Larry Kissell. Thank you for this amazing post. I post under The Southern Dem at BlueNC, MyDD and DKos and have a blog with that name. I look forward to seeing you out and about.

At 7:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good post. I'm in the 11th and I appreciate your honesty about Heath, i.e., no sugar-coating. Yes, I'll vote and work for him but I am under no delusions that he is a progressive. He has declared that he is a proud Blue Dog Democrat. Steny Hoyer was one of his first big fundraisers.

Now, Kissell is a candidate that many of us in Western NC can get behind enthusiastically, without any rationalizing. Kissell is very deserving of of the netsroots support

At 4:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The DCCC strikes again. They are veryreluctant to endorse Larry Kissell. They are afraid of Larrry since he is not a marionette for the DCCC. Larry will not be a rubber stamp like Robin Hayes. If you want true represenation in Washington, Larry is the only logical choice.

At 7:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The DCCC has a vote on their website which ends on Aug 23rd. These candidates will get their attention for the next quater financially. Heath Shuler is on the list. We need to vote for him and write in Larry Kissell.

At 6:15 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is no way to write in a candidate on NC ballots this year



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