Wednesday, September 27, 2006



Today Blue America's featured live guest is Angie Paccione, a progressive candidate for Congress from Colorado's great plains. She'll be joining us at Firedoglake at 5:30 PM (EST, 3:30 PM in Colorado).

Last week I saw a very disturbing movie called Jesus Camp. You can read my reactions and thoughts at the link. But one thing I have been pondering ever since, was who the hell is bat-shit crazy enough to buy into this severe form of mass psychosis? My interview with Angie Paccione was a little later on Sunday than I had wanted it to be because she was at church. A lot of Americans go to church on Sundays and Angie descrbed herself to me as "a born again, spirit-filled, evenagelical Christian, one who believes in living it, not legislating it." I think most Christians who see Jesus Camp will be revolted by many of the scenes: like teaching little children to worship a cardboard cutout of George Bush or the scene defending indoctrination and brainwashing or the scene lamenting that American children don't love their religion as much as suicide bombers from other religions and are willing to die more readily for those who manipulate religion for political ends. I mean who could relate to this crap?

Marilyn Musgrave (CO-04) is considered to be one of the most fanatic, off-the-wall extremists in the entire spectrum of far right loons running around in Congress. She was even endorsed by the KKK! This weekend, the widely read Coloradoan published a pre-election profile of their district's congresswoman. "Protecting traditional marriage is the most important issue Americans face today, Rep. Marilyn Musgrave said Friday, as she called on social conservatives to support candidates like herself who oppose same-sex marriages. Speaking at the Family Research Council's 2006 Values Voter Summit, Musgrave, a Fort Morgan Republican, said she agrees with those who say legalized gay marriage would destroy religious freedoms... The Colorado District 4 House member is sponsoring legislation that would amend the U.S. Constitution to ban same-sex marriages. Colorado Sen. Wayne Allard is pushing a similar bill in the Senate. Neither measure has won enough votes to go to the states for ratification."

The cult gathering at which she spoke seeks to recruit mostly feeble-minded people obsessed with a pseudo-religionist mania to work for Republican candidates. Musgrave "urged participants to get involved in politics and elect leaders who share their world view."

Angie Paccione is a normal American. She is secure in her faith and has no problem telling people in her conservative district that she supports marriage equality and, like most Americans, and like most Coloradoans, doesn't have the same set of priorities as Musgrave. "It's one more example of how out of touch she is with Colorado. Holy smokes, we're at war, we've lost nearly 3,000 people and thousands more are maimed. We have over 46 million Americans without health insurance. Weld County, one of her counties, led the country in mortgage foreclosures. You think they care about the federal marriage amendment? This is a fear campaign. [Same-sex marriage] is a civil issue. The churches can decide what they want to sanctify." Angie supports marriage equality and compares the discrimination faced by gay couples to the discrimination faced by her parents, one of whom is white and one of whom is black.

Angie has spent her entire life building bridges. An educator, former professional basketball player with a Ph.D, she is the much respected Chair of the Democratic Majority Caucus in the Colorado House of Representatives. She looks forward to joining the Congressional Black Caucus and providing the impetus necessary to push through the long-stalled New Homesetad Act, crucial to revitalize devastated rural communities like the ones that dot Colrado's 4th CD, the Great Plains part of the state.

Unlike most of the Democrats we've been talking with at Blue America, Angie feels her race overwhelmningly revolves around local issues. "It's not the national sentiment alone that the district is feeling. There's a unique and very specific 'Musgrave fatigue' factor. People are just tired of her; I hear it from farmers, from ranchers, from small businesspeople, from Republicans, Democrats, independents... they're tired of her ineffectiveness in Congress... People see how she has marginalized her effectiveness with her extremism."

And "extremism" is no exaggeration. Musgrave has the most far right voting record of any of Colorado's representatives and, in fact, except for two other fanatic maniacs, Virginia Foxx (R-NC) and Cathy McMorris (R-WA), has the most reactionary voting record of any woman in Congress-- even worse than Mean Jean Schmidt!

Interestingly, Angie thinks the district would let Musgrave slide on the extremism if she could ever get anything constructive done in Congress. But she's failed... consistently. Picking a nasty public fight with GOP pork barrel king Don Young (R-AK) she was able to guarantee that her sprawling rural district got no help with much needed highway projects. And that was just in Musgrave's first term. While she spent virtually all her time obsessed with the private lives of gay Americans, Colorado's Eastern Plains have been in the midst of a catastrophic drought, a major calamity for ranchers and farmers. While Ken Salazar, the state's Democratic Senator was able to get the Republican-controlled Senate to pass a $4 billion agricultural relief bill, he watched helplessly as Musgrave badly bungled the whole thing in the House while the GOP leadership rejected it. Musgrave's hostile relationship with Speaker Hastert is probably what killed the relief effort.

"People here know how tied she is to special interests and they've become acutely aware that she isn't doing her job... 200 wells were shut down; that means no growing and no harvesting... and no health care premiums. I know how to fight for the people I represent," Angie told me, who, unlike Musgrave, has a legislative record of major accomplishment

And Musgrave's 2 terms haven't only meant health care problems for farmers and ranchers. She's another Republican who talks about supporting the troops but then screws them with her votes. "She voted against healthcare for national guard and reservists," Angie explained. "We have to hold these incumbents accountable when they say they support the troops and then vote against adequate armor and healthcare. Just wearing a yellow ribbon isn't what I call supporting the troops."

So can Angie win? In 2004, even before Musgrave fatigue had sunk in, Stan Matsunkaka came close. Angie has raised far more money than he did, over a million dollars, almost all of it from within Colorado-- and 85% of it from people donating less than $100. All the recent polls show a deadheat within the margin of error. "The code of the West, says Angie, "is 'live and let live,' not 'my way or the highway.'" She's an extraordinary candidate and she would be great for Colorado and great for America. She should all do our part at the Blue America ActBlue Page. First 20 donors today get a signed copy of the new book by Judah Freed, GLOBAL SENSE, of which Thom Hartman wrote: "Freed asked himself, what would Tom Paine write today? The result is a provocative, inspiring essay that offers fresh hope for liberty."


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