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BLUE AMERICA Update: We Buy Postcards and More…


Every Saturday at 2PM (East Coast), Blue America features a live chat with a progressive candidate for Congress — right here on Firedoglake. 

The next few weeks look really exciting: Charlie Brown (CA), Dave Mejias (NY), Victoria Wulsin (OH), Jerry McNerney (CA)– four Democrats in a row aiming to help retire 4 of the absolute worst Republican rubber stamp corporate shills in the entire country: John Doolittle, Peter King, Mean Jean Schmidt, and Dirty Dick Pombo.

But before we proceed into a future with no Pombos and no Mean Jeans and No Doolittles and no Peter Kings, I thought it would be a good idea to look at how some of the men and women we’ve helped out so far have been progressing.

Last night this great-looking photo arrived from Rick Penberthy. His campaign has printed up and mailed out just over 10,000 cards, completely paid for by Blue America community members. Since we got together with Rick on July 8th, he has been endorsed by several labor unions including the AFL-CIO. The best news for Penberthy however comes from the Pasco County, the biggest and fastest growing county in the district, where the registrar of voters confirmed that over 10,000 new voters have registered as Democrats since the 2004 election.

If you’ve had the impression that John Laesch is a hands-on kind of guy who grabs the bull by the horns and confronts issues directly, you won’t be surprised to learn that he marched into Denny Hastert’s campaign office to personally challenge him to a debate on immigration. After all, it was Hastert, and only Hastert, who single-handedly killed a House/Senate compromise on the explosive issue. Hastert is very frightened of John and hasn’t answered the challenge. The last thing Hastert wants is for residents of IL-14 to make a side by side comparison between the athletic, energetic, quick-witted, Laesch, bristling with earnestness and integrity and the slothlike, ponderously gluttonous Hastert who is a posterboy for dishonesty, corruption and badly conceptualized, failed policies.

Of course, Hastert isn’t the only Bush-enabler afraid to be seen side-by-side with his opponent.

Joe Lieberman, another rubber stamp Republican (or whatever he’s calling himself these days), just piulled out of an agreed-upon debate with Ned Lamont that had been scheduled for August 6th on the local ABC affiliate. Apparently Holy Joe thinks his shot to win is to depend on multiple robo-calls to every voter in Connecticut "from" Bill Clinton between now and the August 8th primary. Lieberman has also bailed out of his scheduled Al Franken interview on Air America.

You may have noticed that last week I let loose on John Edwards a little for his use of the DCCC in "his" candidate selection process. It was big of Edwards to kind of admit he was wrong at least about one thing — he had left out fellow North Carolinian Larry Kissell. After a flood of e-mail and phone calls he’s remedied that and he’s added Larry to his contest.

July 28th was the one year anniversary of Larry’s opponent, Robin Hayes’ doing the most perfect demonstration of rubber stamp Republicanism in the history of this Congress. 365 days earlier, a teary-eyed Hayes was beaten down by DeLay and Blunt and Boehner and provided the reactionary forces of bad trade policy with the one-vote margin they needed to pass CAFTA, depriving untold numbers of working families in his own district with opportunities for employment. According to Larry "we’ve yet to get a single straight answer from Mr. Hayes on why he changed his vote on CAFTA. It still seems that every time the Congressman talks about his vote he changes his story.

Local North Carolina bloggers have started a campaign to get people to donate $7.28 to Larry’s campaign as a protest against Hayes’ and Bush’s abysmal trade policies. (Never too late!) Alternatively, if you’re in Raleigh next Saturday (August 5th), by all means join Congressmen Brad Miller and David Price at a Kissell for Congress statewide rally/BBQ, 6PM at the Kerr Scott Building on the State Fairgrounds.

Although we haven’t had Donna Edwards on for a chat yet, we did look at her campaign and we managed to raise over $3,600 for her in her primary battle against Democratic corporate whore Al Wynn. Good news since then: Donna has been endorsed by Future PAC, the first national political action committee developed by African-American women to support progressive African-American women candidates at the federal, state, and local levels by creating a network of support and funding. Last week Congressional Quarterly did a story explaining how Donna’s primary against Wynn is very much like Ned Lamont’s battle in Connecticut against George Bush’s and Ann Coulter’s favorite Democrat, Joe Lieberman.

You may have noticed that one of the candidates we have started raising money for but who hasn’t joined us for a Saturday session yet — though we hope he will — is Admiral Joe Sestak. Christy and I did some preliminary work on him last week and today Joe demonstrates again how a fighting Dem does politics. Basically the Philadelphia Inquirer story looks at how Sestak handles the Inside-the-Beltway consultants.

Consultants pressed him, for example, to abandon his call to set a deadline to withdraw from Iraq within a year, saying that many voters wouldn’t agree. "He declined. A candidate ‘should be a leader,’ shaping public opinion rather than following it, Sestak said… Sestak says he is his own chief architect. Paraphrasing what he says was John F. Kennedy’s conclusion after the Bay of Pigs fiasco, Sestak said, ‘Never trust the experts. Listen to them, and then do what you think is right.’"

And when the Democratic professional consultants, who have so blurred the meaning of the party so many people don’t even know what the difference between a Democrat and a Republican is anymore, "warned him about other damage-control problems lurking in what they considered dangerously specific position papers… Sestak wrote them himself." That’s exactly what has drawn so many grassroots Democrats and Independents to Joe’s banner.

I was going to leave it at Joe today, but I just got a thank you note from Steven Porter, the Pennsylvania progressive taking on humongous rubber stamp Republican Phil English. This is a campaign the DCCC is completely ignoring. Why? Is it because Porter is too independent minded for Rahm Emanuel? Is it because he is siding with fellow Pennsylvanian Jack Murtha on the approach to Bush’s occupation of Iraq? Is it because Steven isn’t a corporate whore and will never be a corporate whore? The latest poll in PA-03, by the largest newspaper in the district, the Erie Times News shows Porter beating English 58.4% to 41.6%. Is there something wrong with the DCCC? Even the registration in the district now favors Democrats, 46%- 44%. Porter is worth backing.

…I think Rahm’s leaving this one up to us though.

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Howie Klein

Howie Klein

Howie Klein spent much of his life wandering around the world living in places like Afghanistan, Nepal, Holland and Morocco. He moved backed to America when Richard Nixon resigned and promptly helped start the first punk rock radio show in the country and then a DIY punk rock record label. His adventures in the music business ended a couple of years ago when he retired as president of Reprise Records. He began blogging almost immediately, starting Down With Tyranny. Jane taught him html while he held one of her dogs at a party. He is a raw foodist, lives in L.A., swims and hikes every day, thinks Howard Dean could be a president as great as FDR and will never be completely happy until Bush and Cheney are behind bars.