[FDL welcomes Dr. Victoria Wulsin, candidate for OH-2, to our Blue America series.  Dr. Wulsin is chatting with everyone in the comments about her campaign, so please stop by and give her a great FDL welcome.  Thanks!  — CHS]

Nationally speaking, southwest Ohio's congresswoman Mean Jean Schmidt had her moment in the national spotlight in November of 2005 when her obscurity came to an end as she lurched into a shocking and psychotic rant on the House floor, accusing respected and decorated war hero Jack Murtha of being a traitor and coward.

Embarrassed, the GOP leadership made her take a time-out. In the aftermath she cemented her place into the Republican Extremist Hall of Shame and she wound up forever on our Schmidt List. But in OH-02, it isn't about a "moment in the national spotlight." They've been stuck with this embarrassment full time. Christy begged asked me to look into her opponent in the upcoming election to be certain if the race was something we could get solidly behind.

I knew absolutely nothing about Victoria Wulsin. And now I can tell you she is positively one of my favorite candidates running for Congress from any district.

Her story is breathtaking and her prescriptions for what's ailing America are exemplary but I want to start someplace else entirely. When I've mentioned Doctor Wulsin to other people who know her– people in the district, Howard Dean, Sherrod Brown– they beam with enthusiasm. It goes beyond the realm of "good candidate" and into the realm of "terrific person."

After interviewing Vic about how to approach America's looming health care catastrophe — and being completely wowed by the depth of her knowledge and her passion on the subject — I threw her a curveball. I asked her if she has a favorite musician. Did she ever! She went from talking about Brahms' Fourth Symphony and Beethoven's Seventh to quoting Bonnie Raitt, the Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin and Bruce Springsteen. And then she sang "The Times They Are A Changin'!" And she actually sang it well.

"Dylan spoke for my generation," she told me. Mine too. I felt a real connection with her beyond agreeing that Jack Murtha had a far better solution to the disaster in Iraq than Mean Jean Schmidt.

"People might get the idea that I'm just an academic — a doctor and a professor — but my passions extend beyond helping out in the public realm. I love to play games with my kids and their friends. I love to go camping with my family. I'm a wife and a mom."

And she's a mensch.  And how about this? Vic was a housemate of Ned Lamont's at Harvard when they were college students. Her boyfriend was Ned's roommate!

The day after I spoke with her she was having breakfast with Jesse Jackson and after that Howard Dean was coming over to her house for lunch. A day or two earlier she had driven to Adams County with Paul Hackett and some of her volunteers to help an injured iron-worker and his family re-build their storm-damaged home.

Victoria Wulsin is a strong and intelligent woman with a common sense progressive approach. I liked her approach and her completely mainstream, all-American positions on every single issue facing the country. But as a doctor and a very experienced public health expert, her views on health care are more than tangential to her campaign — and to the reasons why it is important for all of us to do what we can to help elect her.

After doing her undergrad honors thesis on the British Healthcare Service, living in London, she spent many years in East Africa working for the Red Cross and for USAID and as the regional advisor for Aids and child survival in Kenya.

For me, if you want to solve the situation in Iraq, you look for an expert like Jack Murtha or Wes Clark, not to chickenhawks like Bush and Cheney and that catastrophic crew. And if you want to start the process of solving the healthcare crisis in America — how about people like Dr. Howard Dean and Dr. Victoria Wulsin instead of botton-line-only-motivated-corporations and the pols they buy?

"Helping to rebuild the health infrastructure in Rwanda," she told me, "gives me an experience of getting results working with diverse factions and being able to stay focused on what's best, not only for the people, but for future generations. One of the weaknesses of our government has been the failure to look forward into the future. Are they even contemplating Global Warming? Budget deficits? The consequences of the occupation of Iraq? Bush and his cronies had two goals. One was to topple Saddam Hussein and the other had to do with getting control of the business opportunities in Iraq. His 'vision' is very short-sighted."

A major part of how Vic looks at herself is as a parent.

"I'm not working just for today. I'm thinking about the future of our children. Biologically I have 4 kids; my organization takes care of 8,000 orphans in Africa. I'm running for Congress for America's 55 million children."

Can Vic win? It's a tough district. And we all know what Paul Hackett accomplished there last year. He came close in a special election. He's a friend and neighbor of Vic's and on her advisory committee. And this year is building in a strong Democratic sweep in Ohio, from top to bottom.

Ted Strickland, the Democratic candidate for governor is wiping the floor with Ohio's arch-criminal Secretary of State, Ken Blackwell and our own Blue America Senate candidate, Sherrod Brown has a solid lead over rubber stamp Republicrook Mike DeWine. Yesterday's Washington Post reported that the GOP has already lost Ohio's "security moms," married women with children.

Still OH-02 is a rough district. Bush got 64% of the vote against Kerry. But now Bush's approval rating in the district is down to 41%. That's good news. But there's better: Mean Jean Schmidt's approval rating is 33%. "People here want change," Vic told me. "They're ready for government to be pro-people."

If you're ready for our government to be pro-people too, there are several ways to help Vic Wulsin move it in that direction. The campaign needs volunteers and you can sign up here. And, of course, the campaign needs cash. Mean Jean Schmidt can get all she needs from the Big Corporations who's puppet she has been in DC. Vic needs to depend on those whose interests she will be fighting for: ours. Please consider our Blue America Act Blue Page. And, as a little incentive, the first 25 contributors will get a rare Bob Dylan CD that has never been sold to the general public: LOVESICK, a 9-song promo that Sony did for Victoria's Secret.  (If you are not interested in receiving the CD, please add $.01 to your donation.)

[I never do this with one of Howie's posts, but this is one race in which I'd love to see our Democratic candidate kick some serious butt.  If you need added incentive to help out the Wulsin campaign, here it is:


Crooks and Liars has the Countdown report on her despicable action from the floor of the House.  (And, because it's Saturday, here's the SNL spoof of Mean Jean's idiotic ranting.)  It's not the only reason to support Dr. Wulsin by a long shot — Dr. Wulsin is a fantastic person, a committed progressive, and has worked on the issues that lift up vulnerable children by providing access to healthcare, among other things, for years, and that's just for starters.  But getting Mean Jean out of the House just to raise it's fashion quotient with Mr. Blackwell is reason enough for me.  (Kidding…mostly.)  Please consider volunteering for the Wulsin campaign if you live anywhere in or near the OH-2.  Thanks!  — CHS]

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.