Sunday, April 29, 2007



I ran into an old friend at the California state Democratic convention yesterday. He had just been talking with Charlie Brown. "Don't give me any 'I told you so's' but I'm coming around on Charlie Brown, he said sheepishly." He and I had been arguing for months about Charlie's electibility. When he looked at Charlie it was all numbers and theory. CA-04 has an R +11 Cook Partisan Voting Index rank. Bush beat Kerry 61% to 37%. The district is almost 84% white. Since 1994 the incumbent Republican, John Doolittle, had always won by better than 60%, culminating at 65% in 2004. I looked at it differently.

Charlie Brown and his family are the very best of CA-04, people every descent man and woman could easily relate to and identify with. The incumbent and his wife are mired in outrageous and horrifying scandals, from bribes, influence peddling and money laundering to direct complicity in a Marianas Islands scheme cooked up by Tom DeLay and Jack Abramoff and involving sexual slavery, forced abortions, and inhumanity incomparable to anywhere else in territory ruled by the United States-- and all in the name of the Republican Party's vision for a future union-free America. I look at that race and I see one that in 2006 was incredibly close, with even Republicans sickened by Doolittle's excesses, a race where the incumbent tumbled from 65% to 49% and where an incumbent who had just spent barely $900,000 on re-election in 2004 had been forced to spend nearly two-and-a-half million dollars in 2006.

And, if you've been reading DWT in the last few weeks, you've seen the steady drip, drip, drip of scandal drowning Doolittle and his corrupt wife, Julie, and their circle of crooked business associates.

My friend, after meeting Charlie and Jan Brown, has come around. Irwing had never met him before either. Down in San Diego he got to meet plenty of elected officials and candidates. Afterwards, I asked him who impressed him most. He didn't hesitate for a moment: "Charlie Brown and Michael Wray." That's the other guy I wanted to mention today. Michael wants to run for congress in another "hopelessly"-- albeit far less hopelessly-- red district: CA-50. This was the northern San Diego district that was formerly home to Randy "Duke" Cunningham, currently a resident of the federal penal system. The voters replaced Cunningham with his crony, Brian Bilbray, another corrupt, right-wing extremist, an ex-lobbyist, no less!

CA-50 is only half as red as CA-04. Bush beat Kerry 55% to 44% and Cunningham hadn't been able to muster 60% in 2004. His opponent, moderate ex-Republican Francine Busby, took 36% of the vote that year. Two years later-- after Cunningham's guilty plea and incarceration-- she won 43% of the vote against the Cunningham clone, Bilbray. She wasn't able to close the deal with the voters. Michael Wray, a former Busby campaign worker, feels he can do better. For one thing, he isn't an ex-Republican; and his perspective is never apologetic or tentative. He's a thoughtful and proud progressive Democrat with a vision for how to win in CA-50 and how to keep winning.

Michael is a rocket scientist-- a real one. When we were chatting before the formal interview I did with him on film, he mentioned a different perspective on the Iraq war I hadn't thought about. He had been working with other scientists on a fusion project funded by the U.S. Navy. Like hundreds of other important scientific projects, it was scrapped by the Bush Regime so more resources could be poured into the futile occupation of Iraq. In the world of science, you're either moving forward or you're falling behind. This is another legacy of George Bush, his venal Regime and Rove's desperate tactic of making this dunce a "war president."

So anyway, the same new believer in Charlie Brown was also skeptical about a Democrat running in CA-50. "Only someone who's already been elected to a local office would have a chance," he said. Do I ever disagree with that! What about someone who's never even run for anything but who conducts a grassroots, common sense campaign? My friend snorted in disdain-- like he used to do when we'd talk about Charlie. DWT is going to follow Michael Wray as he makes his choices and as his campaign unfolds. I hope you'll stick around and watch it with us. Meanwhile, I'll leave you with one thought: this is his uncle:

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At 9:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"In the world of science, you're either moving forward or you're falling behind."

Yes, Howie! BushCo. has set back the scientific effort in the US big time. In every which way. Need I mention stem cell research, as another example? And, more....


At 11:18 PM, Blogger thehim said...

Nice. There's no reason to think that the momentum in '06 has slowed any. I'd love to see that district swing blue.

At 12:24 AM, Blogger Jimmy the Saint said...

Damn!! How can you not vote for a relative of Link Wray?

At 7:20 PM, Blogger Randy G said...

I'm ecstatic that somebody with spunk is stepping up in the 50th. I observed and helped Busby from both afar and up close (as did many of my local L.A. activists), and the more I saw, the less impressed I was. I was hardly surprised that she lost twice to Bilbray.

At 11:42 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a personal friend of Michael Wray, I can certainly endorse him as a great candidate that is rooted strongly in traditional Democratic principles, and pragmatically knows what needs to be done in this district to represent us all at large here. I'll let him speak for himself on his positions on issues, that he will champion in his campaign, but I don't see him as a person that will back down from an issue simiply because the beltway wants him to. He will battle for issues that he feels are important and that his constituents feel are important! I think we would all be "liberated" with a rocket scientist like Mike in Washington speaking for us!

At 12:11 AM, Blogger macromayhem said...

I'm excited to hear more...

This is a great way to start!

At 4:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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