Saturday, January 12, 2008



When you think "change," is THIS what pops into your head?

All eyes that aren't focused on the looming recession and the war without end the Bush Regime's policies are leaving us, are focused on the presidential primaries and caucuses that will determine who will replace him one year from now. It's unlikely that any of the pathetic pygmies running to personify a third George Bush term can beat any of the Democrats seeking their party's nomination. In fact, the lead GOP contender-- McCain this week-- is thoroughly reviled by a great many Republicans, not because his voting record isn't far right enough-- it is-- but because they consider him an asshole and a phony-- he is-- and because he opposed torture and supported Bush's pro-corporate immigration policies. Among the Democrats, Hillary is no longer seen quite as inevitable as she was viewed before her third place finish in Iowa and close call in New Hampshire. But between Romney's and Giuliani's implosions, Huckabee's inability to catch on beyond the narrow confines of the evangelical crusade tents and the Chuck Norris fan club, and Frederick of Hollywood's long, long snooze, next November I expect her to beat McCain. OK, can we move on to something else now?

That something else, to me at least, are the races for the seats in the Senate and House. After the debacle of the current pathetic and anemic Democratic-lead Congress, it has become as clear as day that it isn't, after all, more Democrats that is needed. It's better Democrats. And that takes us back to the primaries. Three states have crucial ones coming up this winter, coming up real fast in fact: Illinois and Maryland on February 5 (Super Tuesday, presidentially speaking) and Ohio, one month later on March 4th. Illinois' and Maryland's primaries are expected to far exceed normal turnout for a congressional primary because of enthusiasm for the presidential candidates on the same day, especially in Illinois where Obama and Hillary have rabid support. Each of the three states has at least one race pitting a better Democrat against a status quo reactionary Insider.

And in Illinois there are actually 4 such races! DWT and Blue America have taken a position on 3 of them, the most of any state. We are urging this community to support John Laesch (IL-14), Mark Pera (IL-03) and Randi Scheurer (IL-08). All three are extremely difficult races. Randi and Mark seek to oust entrenched Republican-lite (actually not all that lite) Melissa Bean and Dan Lipinski, each of whom has abandoned basic Democratic Party values time and again to vote with the worst reactionaries in Congress to rubber stamp the toxic Bush agenda, internationally and domestically. Voting for Lipinski and Bean is like voting for a Republican. Just as tough is John Laesch's race against an Insider-backed millionaire, Blue Dog Bill Foster for the seat long-occupied by resigning disgraced crook Denny Hastert. Laesch came closer to knocking him off last year than anyone else in his congressional history and, in the process, has built a viable progressive machine in northern Illinois. Now he has to face a big-spending Rahm Emanuel hack and opportunist. I can't think of a more important race in the entire country on February 5.

But there is one of equal importance-- the only high visibility primary in the state of Maryland. Last year Donna Edwards seemed to have beaten corrupt, corporate stooge Al Wynn in MD-04-- until some last minute voting boxes were suddenly found, all full of Al Wynn ballots. He managed to keep his seat. Donna is way better known in the district now-- and so is Wynn. The Insider Establishment, lead by Bush collaborators Steny Hoyer and Nancy Pelosi-- with Emanuel pulling their strings from behind the curtain as always-- is desperate to keep their boy Wynn in office. But Donna has put together an energized coalition of labor, environmentalists, reformers, women, anti-war activists, and supporters from the grassroots and netroots. Of all the races February 5 this is probably our best shot at a victory.

Any of these progressives getting into Congress will send a shock wave, a much-needed shock wave, through the party establishment and a message that the Democratic Party is a people's party, not a vehicle for special interests and careerists. On top of that, both Laesch and Edwards, especially, promise to be genuine progressive leaders and actual agents of change (unlike, say Huckabee, Flip Flop, Obama, Hillary... even Bush.)
Bush said Friday he doesn’t take it personally when Democratic and Republican presidential candidates embrace change as a major campaign theme.

“Oh, listen, if you're running for office, you can't run for office and not say, ‘I'm an agent of change,’" Bush told NBC News’ David Gregory. “That's just American politics. If I were running for office at this point I'd be saying, ‘Vote for me, I'm-- I'm gonna be an agent of change.’"

Yes, well he's talking about Obama and McCain and Hillary and Romney-- but if he thinks Donna Edwards and John Laesch are in that category, he's in for a big, big surprise. Both will be more than just good, solid progressive votes in Congress-- votes for the people and against the special interests. Each is an idea person and each is a tough and persistent fighter. I fully expect Laesch to whip the near moribund Progressive Caucus into shape and make it a real force in Congress, a counterweight to the Insider power elite represented by Emanuel and Hoyer.

And then there's Ohio one month later. The most crucial race is in the legendary second CD, an uber-Republican district represented by far right crazy-woman Mean Jean Schmidt. Dr. Victoria Wulsin nearly beat her in 2006 and she's poised to finish the job this year. But the Republican establishment has a trick up it's sleave-- a lifelong millionaire Republican, Steve Black, claims he is now a Democrat and wants to run against Mean Jean. Black has hired Emanuel DC hack John Lapp (an ex-DCCC Rove type slash and burn expert in the most vicious and vile kinds of negative campaigning). So far Lapp's main contribution to Black's campaign is a ridiculous and almost lurid ad claiming Doctor Wulsin isn't a doctor-- and this is based on his sexist overlooking of the fact that she got her medical license under her maiden name before she was married. Look at the ad; it's the reason a wealthy Republican shill thinks Democrats in OH-02 should nominate him to be their candidate. Hopefully Democrats in southwest Ohio will tell Black and Lapp where to go.

The other congressional primaries in Ohio are in the third CD to take on incumbent Michael Turner and the Democrats running are David Esrati, Jane Mitakides, and Charles W. Sanders.; the seventh CD (Dave Hobson's old seat) where Bill Conner, Sharen Neuhardt, Jack Null, Thomas Scrivens, David Woolever, and Richard Wyderski are the Democrats running; the tenth CD where disgruntled Democrats Joe Cimperman, Thomas O’Grady, Rosemary Palmer, and Barbara Ferris are challenging incumbent Democrat Dennis Kucinich; the 12th CD, where Democrats sense Pat Tiberi may be vulnerable and the race has drawn 4 hopefuls: Aaron Dagres, Marc Fagin, Russ Goodwin, and David Robinson; a similar situation in the 14th, where Steve LaTourette actually is vulnerable and will have to face either Bill O’Neill, Dale Blanchard, or John Greene; the 16th CD-- open because of the departure of Ralph Regula-- where both the DC and local Democratic establishments are firmly behind John Boccieri but where a last minute entry by Mary Cirelli throws a spanner into their plans; and a quixotic primary in OH-18 where reactionary freshman Zack Space is being challenged by Mike Pitrone.

The Blue America endorsed candidates, John Laesch, Randi Scheurer, Mark Pera, Donna Edwards, and Vic Wulsin can all use some help. If you have some spare money you want to put towards a better America, it will do a lot more good on any of these races than throwing it into the huge pots being collected by Clinton and Obama. You can donate at the link at the beginning of this paragraph and keep in mind, even $5 and $10 donations add up and help fight the well-heeled candidates bought and paid for by the special interests whose main interests are to screw the rest of us.

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At 11:46 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

Maryland's primary is February 12th.

At 12:32 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Hi Howie, welcome back! Correction: Maryland votes on 2/12.

At 12:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't forget that Rep. Steve Cohen of Memphis is being primaried in TN-9 by DLC, Harold Ford picked Nicki Tinker.

At 5:06 PM, Blogger Eureka Springs, AR said...

Welcome home, Howie. Hope your vacation was excellent. I sure did miss Blue America and Rahm chasing.

At 8:39 AM, Blogger Ashley said...

This is the most ludicrous thing that I have ever heard. First of all, have you read any of Black’s positions on his website? He is very CLEARLY a democrat. And yes he was once a Republican but you have to give the guy credit for changing parties and dealing with the jerks in the Democratic Party who continue to tear him down and come up with one absurd, ridiculous story about him after the next. I have and always will be a Democrat and I find it appalling that people in our party spend their time and energy lying and smearing candidates in our own party.

Last I checked John Lapp and Rahm Emanuel were both Democrats. Lapp did an amazing job in ’06 to put Democrats in Congress. It’s really sad to see that as usual the democrats are continuing to pick part their own party. As for Rovian tactics- I think you are thinking of the wrong candidate. Vic Wulsin is smearing Black and is the one who has developed a viral website against him. Black had nothing to do with the stupid video which anyone with half a brain would realize. Vic has a lot more enemies who do not want to see her in Congress.

I do have one questing through, if Black is truly not a true threat, then why is Wulsin wasting her time smearing him??? She’s threatened and she should be. Black has the courage to not only change parties but to stand up and fight for the district- something that Wulsin cannot do. She’s already lost twice. The last time in a year that democrats took back Ohio. The voters have spoken- they do not want her to represent them. She’s too far left and too unconnected to the world outside medicine. She is completely unelectable in the super conservative OH-02.


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