Thursday, January 11, 2018

Reaching Across The Aisle For The Benefit Of Working Families, Not To Surrender To Rightists


As though our politics isn't right-wing enough, and isn't controlled enough by Big Money and rigged against working families, there's a new group intern calling itself The Centrist Project, "the only national organization working to recruit and elect independent candidates to office." I got a press release from them celebrating their Colorado affiliate, Unite Colorado announcing "its first wave of independent candidate endorsements for state legislature." This has been catastrophic in Maine and allowed insane people like Tea Party crackpot Paul LePage to win his state's governorship-- twice, in 2010 with 37.6% of the vote and in 2014 with 48.2% of the vote. Most Mainers didn't want LePage either time but these lunk-headed "independent" morons made sure he was able to slip into office and get in position to do tremendous damage.

Nick Troiano, the Centrist Project's Executive Director, told Colorado Politics: “For the first time in Colorado’s history, there is a credible, competitive and coordinated slate of independent candidates running to put the people before the parties."

...This announcement comes on the heels of a well-known Democratic Colorado state senator, Cheri Jahn, dropping her Democratic affiliation and becoming the first independent to serve in the state senate.

...In 2018, the Centrist Project will rename as Unite America in February and continue its work across the country to recruit and support credible and competitive independent candidates.

The organization has already endorsed independent Governor Bill Walker of Alaska in his re-election campaign and independent State Treasurer Terry Hayes of Maine in her bid for Governor. Additional endorsements will follow in the coming weeks.

The Centrist Project is closely following other declared and potential independent candidates for Governor and U.S. Senate, including State Senator Bob Krist of Nebraska, Greg Orman of Kansas and Neal Simon of Maryland. The list is growing, and expect more.
When forthright progressive Alan Grayson campaigned for Congress in Orlando the first time, convention wisdom from the stupidest and least effective imbeciles in politics-- the DCCC-- said only a GOP-lite centrist could win in red Orlando, which hadn't elected a Democrat to Congress in decades. Grayson beat their horrible GOP-lite centrist in the 2008 primary and then went on to oust Republican incumbent Ric Keller 172,854 (52%) to 159,490 (48%) while the DCCC leadership scratched its balls and made chimpanzee sounds. Grayson won despite following none of the DCCC's idiotic advise about running one of their embarrassed-to-be-a-Democrat campaigns. He ran as a progressive and he governed as a progressive.

On a local TV station anchor Greg Warmoth invited him on his show in 2015 to defend Obamacare:
Greg Warmoth: Hi folks, and welcome back to Central Florida Spotlight. Today, I’m joined by Congressman Alan Grayson, an Orlando Democrat from Florida’s 9th Congressional District with a reputation for speaking his mind, and being very clear about his position on the issues. Congressman, thanks for joining us again today. With that intro, would that be accurate?

Alan Grayson: Thanks. You know, I speak my mind because who else’s mind would I speak, right? It’s got to be my mind, nobody else’s.

GW: Having that outspoken nature, has that gotten you good publicity? Bad publicity? The publicity you want?

AG: I don’t think that much about it, but I do think people appreciate someone who’s a straight talker. That much is clear. I think that voters are entitled to know what’s on your mind. If you’re going to ask for their vote, they need to know what’s honestly on your mind, what you’re going to do for them. And people know that, when I make a promise, I’m going to keep it.

GW: Let’s talk about what happened [in Congress recently]. Congratulations on being re-elected, by the way.

AG: Thanks-- by a double-digit margin, in a very bad year for my party.

GW: That’s my next point.

AG: Yes.

GW: It was not a good year. Republicans are now solidly in control. How will you reach across the aisle?

AG: The same way that I have [reached across the aisle]. Slate magazine said that I was the most effective Member of Congress, Democratic or Republican, in the past two years. And I passed more amendments on the Floor of the House of Representatives, controlled by Republicans, than anyone [else], either Democratic or Republican. Over thirty amendments in the course of two years.

GW: It was not a good run for the Democrats. A lot of your fellow Democrats are not back in Washington now. [Was that] a wake-up call?

AG: No, I don’t think so. I think the other side successfully vilified the President and made it seem like the President had been ineffective, when in fact the country is better off than it was when it was on the precipice of a Great Depression six years ago. And now we have 10 million people who have health coverage who didn’t have it a year ago. So there was a lot that was accomplished, but the Republicans, without putting forth any positive program of their own, nevertheless vilified the President, and they did so successfully.

GW: Let’s talk about that, Obamacare. Some would call it successful, from your vantage point. Others would say it’s nothing but an expensive way of forcing people into health care, and yet there’s a gap with millions of people still uninsured.

AG: Well, let’s look at some of the things that have been accomplished. There are 40 million people who had a pre-existing health condition and couldn’t get private insurance. Now they can. We have 170 million women in the population; they used to have to pay more for their health coverage, because they are women. Now they don’t have to pay more for their health care any longer. We have dramatically expanded Medicaid in those states that were open to it, and we’ve put, as I said earlier, 10 million people in a position where now they can see a doctor when they’re sick, and before, they couldn’t afford to do so. I think those are very important accomplishments. If you can show me someone who has been forced to buy health care, I’d like to meet that person. I think that’s a bum rap.

GW: You had that outspoken moment on the Hill with your sign, the Republicans’ [healthcare] plan. I saw you smile when I brought that back up. It became a viral moment for you.

AG: Oh, without any question, sure. And the reason why it was is because it hit on a deep truth. Republicans need to learn that you can’t fight something with nothing. And one of the most offensive elements of their continuing obsession with repealing Obamacare is the fact that they want to replace it with nothing. We need to make health care universal in this country. We need to make sure that sick people can see a doctor. We need to make it affordable. We need to make it comprehensive, so that it actually covers the things that you need to have covered.

GW: You’ve also worked with taxes. How are you going to ensure the extension of certain tax provisions?

AG: I think that’s one of our big accomplishments, one of my big accomplishments… . I passed nine bills in the last week [of the Congressional term], unchanged from the form that I had submitted them, in a Republican-controlled legislature, to dramatically extend middle-class tax cuts for Americans. Let me give you an example: a lot of people don’t realize this, but as of [Dec. 31, 2014], we were facing repeal of the tax break that you get on your taxes because [in Florida] we have state sales taxes but not income taxes. That was going to end as of December 31st. I extended that. Let me give you another example. Do you own a home?

GW: Yes.

AG: Okay. Do you pay mortgage insurance?

GW: No.

AG: Okay. Many people do. There is a deduction for mortgage insurance that was due to lapse, expire on December 31st. I extended that for a year.

GW: That’s the PMI?

AG: That’s right. We passed a total of nine of these that I introduced back in January, after I lobbied heavily with the Republican majority in order to get them extended. The Republicans were initially resistant; they wanted to have tax cuts only for businesses. Eventually they relented, and we saw nine of those passed in the order that I introduced them back in January, unchanged word for word. That was a tremendous accomplishment.

I mention these things as often as I can because I’m trying to make a point: You can be a Progressive, and you can win. Not just win elections, but also make the world a better place.

You won’t find me feeling sorry after a bad election. You will find me scratching and clawing, with all ten fingers, to improve the lives of ordinary people, any way that I can.
Winning as a progressive isn't something the DCCC knows anything about. In fact, they oppose it at every twist and turn and are doing so again this cycle. These candidates are running as progressive Democrats and almost none of them are being supported by the DCCC. In many cases the DCCC is opposing them with "ex"-Republicans and with wretched GOP-lite conservatives pretending to be Democrats.

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At 8:56 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wish Alan Grayson luck. His voice has been missed in the House. I welcome his return, and hope that he recognizes that for now that is his place. He won't be able to go anywhere else until the DINO-Whigs no longer control the Party.

Another long-missed voice is Dennis Kucinich. He recently announced a run for the Ohio Governorship. Let's hope that OH voters have had enough of that liar Kasich and the riff raff who he lets trample the voting rights of the people.

At 5:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Centrist Project"? Could they have come up with a worse name?

Not sure about a national conversion from the maine and Colorado chapters. There are 32 states who either don't want any progressives or have been inoculated against them by gerrymandering... but anything is better than nothing. Perhaps after another 10 million eschew ever voting for democraps again after they ratfuck the nation again, this new group may attract more and more to the point of filling state and local chambers with good people. DC is another matter, but if we never start building, nothing will ever get built.

So, DWT, answer me this. Is it worse to try and fail; or to surrender to the money and fail.
So far, your answer is to surrender and fail. Even if all your BA candidates win (only 1 in 4 has a prayer) and the democraps retake both chambers, their leadershit will still be in place; their corruption never in question (in fact, they'll use their swelled ranks to demand more and bigger bribes to not do anything progressive -- remember 2009); thus, their service to the money will not change.

So.. again.. I ask you whether it is better to fail while build something from the ground up that MIGHT some day make a positive difference, or to fail annually bwo surrender to the current status quo while pretending to try to make a difference?

At 6:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If only AG was actually honest about obamneycare -- that it is an insurance bailout and has dick to do with CARE.

But there is no such thing as a pure pol. About all you can realistically hope for is 66.6%.

And AG couldn't win a statewide race in FL. That's why he's talking in the wilderness today.

At 5:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The past 40 years has only proved, iteratively, that when someone (good intentions or not) reaches across the aisle, he/she will have only a bloody stump left.


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