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From Jonestown to Daly City: Jackie Speier to Take On AIPAC/Tom Lantos?

speier_265×288.jpgIt looks like Jackie Speier might be taking on Rep. Tom Lantos in CA-12, a district that covers northern San Mateo County and parts of San Francisco.

Stoller calls Lantos “one of the worst and most dangerous members of Congress with regards to Iran and Israel and one of AIPAC’s top allies“:

You can expect AIPAC to dump money into this race, and for the antisemitism card to be used aggressively and repeatedly by older right-wingers rich and insecure Jewish men and defense contractors. Younger progressive Jews like me are willing to step up and organize on behalf of less insane representation for our community, as we did against Lieberman in 2006. I did enjoy being called a Hezbocrat during the Lebanon invasion, which took place during the Lamont-Lieberman race, as well as seeing Moveon and its mostly Jewish staff attacked by the American Defamation League’s Abe Foxman because someone on an open forum they run made an antisemitic comment.

This might be one opportunity to organize again, this time more explicitly against AIPAC, though I’d need to learn more about the district and the race before doing so.

I met Speier a couple of years ago briefy when John Roberts was up before the Senate for confirmation and I drove to Santa Barbara and attended a benefit just to let Ron Wyden know that I didn’t think he should vote for him. (I know, I know, it was meaningless, Roberts was obviously going to be confirmed anyway, but it was something I wanted to do.)

Anyway, I was impressed with Speier:

She’s the California State Senator who took Ahnold down recently after he vetoed her bill to cut the use of supplements among high school athletes. She thought “that’s weird,” did some checking, and found out about his lucrative contracts to endorse said supplements. His polls then started their big tank-aroo.

But Speier is also a notable character in California history, having been one of the assistants to Congressman Leo Ryan when he went to Guyana in 1978 to investigate rumors about the People’s Temple. Speier was shot along with Ryan and left to die on the tarmac for 22 hours by Jim Jones’ death squad. Part of her thigh was blown away and she sipped Rum to kill the pain. (Gotta love her for that.) She still carries some of the bullets.

Speier is a solid progressive who comes down right on a lot of issues, from the environment to prison reform to gay rights. She’s also a tough customer. Lantos is an entrenched incumbent, but if Speier decides to run, he’ll have a fight on his hands.

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Jane Hamsher

Jane Hamsher

Jane is the founder of Firedoglake.com. Her work has also appeared on the Huffington Post, Alternet and The American Prospect. She’s the author of the best selling book Killer Instinct and has produced such films Natural Born Killers and Permanent Midnight. She lives in Washington DC.
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