Sunday, August 27, 2006



If you've checked the Blue America ActBlue page in the last couple of days, you may have noticed a new addition. That ain't no candidate's face the second from the top. No, it's the graphic symbol that our sometime art director, Adam, did to represent our "campaign" theme sung by Rickie Lee Jones, Tom Maxwell and Ken Mosher, "Have You Had Enough?"

If you look at the totals, you'll notice that so far our netroots efforts at Firedoglake, Crooks and Liars and DWT have aggregated nearly $170,000 for our candidates. The median donation is around $30. That's what the power of a lot of dedicated, idealistic people can do. Much of that total is due to the concerted efforts we make every weekend at our candidate forums, where our communities come together with a different progressive Democrat each Saturday at 2 PM (est) to hear about the races and ask questions of the candidates. (All are archived here and I would encourage you to read through the exciting, fascinating sessions.)

But something else came out of one of the sessions. We were talking with Larry Kissell (NC-08) when fellow Tar Heel, Tom Maxwell made a contribution and later offered to lend his considerable musical talents to our efforts. Discussion later revealed that he was one of the key songwriters from the late, great Squirrel Nut Zippers. He and his partner in MaxwellMosher, Ken Mosher (another SNZ alum) offered to write and record a song for our campaign to clean up Congress. Another dedicated progressive musician, Rickie Lee Jones, joined them to record the song. All three have written about why they became involved.

Now it's getting played on some radio stations and online and it's working its way around the blogosphere. Mike McIntee, a supporter of one of our favorite candidates, Coleen Rowley (MN-02), has gone ahead and used the song for a little video. It's a hoot:

A John Laesch supporter is doing another one as we speak. A Jerry McNerney supporter who works as a dj is doing a re-mix with soundbytes from Dirty Dick Pombo. We love all that stuff. And Blue America has a plan for a next step too. And that's why we started the PAC. The PAC allows us to raise and spend as much money as we can, not for candidates per se but to get our 30-second spots on the radio. Unlike the full song, the 30-second spots don't say "It's time to throw the rascals out." They are geared towards each specific district and each mentions the local rascal that it's time to throw out, be it Kline in Minnesota, Brown-Waite in Florida, Doolittle in California, Kuhl in New York or Mean Jean Schmidt in Ohio.

The PAC wasn't easy to set up. My bank manager resisted for weeks, actually telling me that the bank didn't want anything to do with-- he said couldn't have anything to do with-- embarrassing President Bush! And there's so much paperwork! But now it's set up and ready to collect and disburse contributions. Do you want to help? Well, the obvious way is to send some dough, either at that link or by check to Blue America, P.O. Box 27201, Los Angeles, CA 90027. But there's something else we need from you.

Because we're an official PAC now, the FEC doesn't allow us to coordinate anything with any of the campaigns. If you live in one of the districts for one of our candidates, we need volunteers who will help us figure out which local radio stations will be most effective. Suggestions and ideas for a grassroots endeavor like this are not just welcome; they are crucial. Meanwhile, send your friends and family and colleagues to our MySpace page to listen to the song and download it and read more about it.


At 9:01 PM, Blogger dave said...

Howie, this is fucking great! Kudos to you and the PAC...

At 9:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is how you win elections!


At 9:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't normally email video clips but this one was great. As a DC resident I am doubly pained by lack of representation and the rubber stamp congress. Way to go guys! I will try to make a contribution to your pac.

Gabi in DC

At 10:46 PM, Blogger ivyleaves said...

I canvassed for Jerry McNerney this weekend and one of the latina voters said that 107.3 FM is the station for Spanish-speakers in that district (which is gerrymandered in 3 counties). I talked to several completely turned-off and disspirited voters bitter about the 2004 elections.

At 10:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A shot to the gut that provokes a laugh. In short, brilliant work!

If politicians had the sense to go with creative advertising like this more often, maybe more people would pay attention to politics.

At 10:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

nice one howie. congrats.

At 2:38 AM, Blogger low-tech cyclist said...

This Marx Brothers fan was hoping "Why a PAC?" was the name of the PAC!

I liked the clip - of course, "Put a Lid On It" is one infectious little tune. I'll toss some moolah in the hat for "Have You Had Enough?"

At 3:25 AM, Blogger Hieronymus Braintree said...

That was actually quite fantastic. It's like watching a movement finally finding its voice.

At 3:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

When great talents coalesce for badly needed reform, it's like a desert oasis.

Thank you, all of you, for a most tasty jug of water!

At 5:59 AM, Blogger Phoenix Woman said...

I sent the link to Janet Robert at Air America Minnesota -- and you can, too! manager AT air1americaminnesota DOT com

At 6:47 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the nice comments!

Howie, I'm in. This song needs to be the one virus that makes people feel better.

At 7:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great work--and great re-working of a SQZ tune. RLJ's phrasing is terrific, and the bouncing-ball device and retro graphics are the perfect delivery system.

One problem, though, and I urge you to get it fixed if possible: The ad flashes a graphic saying "2,600 U.S. Casualties." This is incorrect; it's based on a misunderstanding of the term _casualty_ that's characteristic of the rhetoric of pompous right-wingers who don't know what they're talking about, but I thought was less prevalent on our side.

A _casualty_ is a soldier who has been written off the active strength of a military unit. This means dead soldiers, yes, but it also means wounded, captured, and missing personnel as well. In short, if we're talking casualties, the total for U.S. forces in Iraq necessarily includes the horrifying number of people who've been incapacitated with wounds. According to Iraq Coalition Casualty Count (, today's figures stand at: killed 2,628; wounded 19,323. So if you can revise the ad, it should really say: "22,000 U.S. Casualties."

At 8:01 AM, Blogger B. Muse said...

Howie, I'll spread this around with my diaries about Larry. I'm sorry I hadn't seen this. I didn't know if you had seen the diaries about the DCCC Vice Chair's visit to Charlotte to speak with Kissell supporters, but it looks like there's something brewing. Here's my Kos diary that should give you any links you need and I have some great pictures that you are welcome to if you need any. Thank you for ALL you do for ALL of the Blue America challengers.

At 12:34 PM, Blogger truthsurfer said...

Thank you a million times over...may the PAC g*ds bless you with many shiny gold coins, and may November be the start of a new Democratic Progressive era!

We will stand with you and get our friends and family involved.


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