Saturday, July 07, 2007



I have a dream. I don't know how realistic it is, but it doesn't seem completely crazy. My dream is that my country will elect a superb leader, one who is wise and sharp and compassionate and educated, who understands what America needs and works effectively towards those goals. I dream that we pick the best among us one day, not the worst or someone for whom we can say, well at least he (or she) isn't as bad as... the worst.

A few months ago I met Donna Edwards on a small island off the coast of Georgia. I had spoken to her many times on the phone but we had never met before. Of all the people I've talked to on behalf of Blue America, she's the one who I am certain would best fulfill that dream. But Donna Edwards isn't running for president. She's a candidate in the Democratic Party for the congressional seat of Maryland's 4th district, the one now held by Al Wynn. We've talked with Donna before and she came close to winning the nomination last year-- many say she did win the nomination until some "missing" ballot boxes were found the next day.

One year ago-- this very week-- Blue America first started raising money for Donna's campaign. Between June 13, 2006 and the September 12th primary 160 of us donated $6,600 towards Donna's race. Next year, name recognition will not be the problem it was for her last year. This year the 38,126 voters she galvanized are ready for a second shot. Wynn's 49.7% victory is unlikely to count for much in 2008. Today Donna will be joining us for a live blog session at Firedoglake at 2pm, EST. In anticipation, more than 60 of us have already contributed to her campaign at our Blue America ActBlue page. I hope after you get to know her a bit you'll share my dream and feel moved to contribute as well.

Donna reached and surpassed the 6-figure goal she set for herself for the quarter that ended last week. But that is far from what this campaign is about for her. "It's about getting people energized and invested so they reach out to their friends and neighbors." Donna is the classic grassroots activist trying to hold an incumbent-- who has long forgotten where he comes from and why he was first elected-- accountable. After the scare Wynn got last year he's tried to mend some of his most egregious ways-- at least on the surface. He's gone from being a big war booster, for example, to claiming he's against it now. No one is buying the new-time religion. "Voters," Donna told me last week, "should have some expectation that their representative isn't going to be blowing in the wind and that it isn't going to take pushing him up against the wall, electorally, to get him to do the right thing and represent the interests of the district."

Al Wynn may be running around like a chicken without a head telling anyone who will listen that "I got the message." But he hasn't. He still supports a repeal of the estate tax and he still supports the bankruptcy bill. He says he's all about global warming all of a sudden but he's a major proponent of the nuclear energy lobby. Suddenly he says he supports universal health care but in the last session his proposal for health care was to augment a Republican agenda item called "associated health plans" which is nothing more than a boondoggle for insurance companies.

You don't have to look too far to find the real Al Wynn and to understand, despite the talking points, what he does stand for. A reformed crook? I don't think so. A born-again progressive? Sure, just like Joe Lieberman. (Lieberman hasn't endorsed him-- at least not yet-- but another Lieberman-type, DLC chairman Harold Ford, is Wynn's biggest name backer.

And Wynn certainly isn't stepping up in any leadership capacities for the issues that are important to working men and women. That's a stark contrast to what we have every reason to believe we'll get from Congresswoman Edwards. "Wynn may talk a good game but he's offered zero leadership and what I want voters to know about me is that they get someone who has a commitment to health care because I know what it is to go without it. When you don't have health care it's something you think about everyday."

Right down the list of the issues that are important to the real lives of the real people who live in the 4th CD, Donna is offering the real deal. Her son Jared is a college sophomore now. She told me, "I have a commitment to quality public education because I've raised my 18 year old and paid the kind of attention to his education that all parents want for their children... I have a commitment to promoting peace and diplomacy because it's what I've been doing in my whole working career and is what the ARCA foundation is about."

When I contacted Donna on the phone a few days ago, she had just done a drawing for campaign donors in her district. The 5 winners got the opportunity to go with Donna to a local screening of Michael Moore's new film, SiCKO followed by a dinner discussion about the movie. A very different way of engaging voters than having the reactionary DLC chairman come in to the district to announce his support for a basket of confused and hollow items.

Before I turn the discussion over to you and to Donna, I want to mention one last thing. We all know how Wynn has disgraced himself by championing the Fox News CBC debate and the interests of his big telecommunications donors who oppose a free Internet and net neutrality. Donna would be a very different kind of representative. "The Internet," she told me, "has been the great equalizer. It's enabled people to expand their voices, get information that they wouldn't have had access to otherwise, and be creative with their own views and expression. I don't see allowing these big communications conglomerates to determine what we hear and see and have access to on the Internet.

That's important to me, which partially explains why Donna's election, in just seven month, is my top electoral priority right now. I urge you to join me on the Blue America page to send a message loud and clear to Democratic Insiders like Wynn, Ford, Lieberman and the others who have forgotten what Democratic values are all about. Let's work with Daily Kos, MyDD, Atrios, Swing State Project and local Maryland bloggers to give Donna the ammunition she needs to send a loud and a clear message to the faithless Democrats, like Al Wynn, who have muddied the reputation of our great party and made it collaborator with the Republicans on Bush's toxic agenda.

Here's Donna at an NAACP-sponsored debate-- not one of Al Wynn's Fox News debates. Even though she's attacking corporate whore Wynn, her opponent, doesn't the corporate whore she's sitting next to look more than a bit uncomfortable? That's because the corporate whore sitting next to her is Steny Hoyer and almost everything she says about Wynn is just as true for Hoyer.

Labels: , , ,


At 1:43 PM, Blogger Nate said...

Good job Howie. You got Donna Edwards up to 4th "Hottest Candidate of the Week" on the front page of ActBlue.


Post a Comment

<< Home