I've Had Enough

If there is a political ad that speaks to me, it is this spot from Blue America PAC on behalf of Marcy Winograd's campaign down in the CA-36. I have certainly had enough. The right holds no monopoly on anger, they just get the media coverage. We need to better channel our discontent and elect true progressives to office. I hope Marcy Winograd and Bill Halter in his Senate bid do pull out victories in their upcoming primaries.

The Los Angeles Times has more on the race in the CA-36.

The candidate, trailed by a volunteer, is knocking on doors in Mar Vista — down Beethoven Street, across Lucille Avenue, along Greenwood Avenue and on. The June 8 election is just weeks away. There is much ground to cover.

"I'm Marcy Winograd, and I'm running for Congress," she says, over and over again. Her blue jacket is spotted with rain. "I'm a grass-roots Democrat who believes in jobs and bringing our troops home."

Winograd is challenging Rep. Jane Harman, a wealthy eight-term incumbent, in the Democratic primary for the 36th Congressional District. Her Marina del Rey campaign headquarters buzzes with activity. Volunteers man phones. Tables are stacked with slick mailers exhorting voters to "imagine sending a teacher, anti-war leader, and healthcare champion to Washington to be your voice in Congress."

Though it is unusual for a sitting member of Congress to face a robust primary challenge, Winograd has taken on Harman before; she ran against her on an antiwar platform in 2006 and won nearly 38% of the vote.

Allan Hoffenblum, whose California Target Book handicaps races in the Golden State, calls the contest "an ideological battle for the soul of the Democratic Party" — a liberal challenger taking on a more conservative incumbent.

"If it was an open seat, she very well could be a real contender," Hoffenblum said. "But against a well-known, well-funded incumbent, it would be a real shocker" if Winograd won. "It's not the suburbs of San Francisco."

Still, Winograd is forcing Harman to work "a bit more than she might like to be working on her reelection," said political scientist Sherry Bebitch Jeffe, a senior fellow at USC. "It would be nice if [Harman] could just hang out in Washington….But she's been around. If someone can move an incumbent to do that, that's OK."

Winograd cofounded the Los Angeles chapter of Progressive Democrats of America. She has been endorsed by the International Assn. of Machinists and Aerospace workers, United Teachers of Los Angeles and Democracy for America. Actor Ed Asner has taped messages on her behalf.

"I will put Your Street before Wall Street," her website declares, front and center. "Jane Harman votes for Wall Street."

Until recently, Harman has largely ignored her challengers. The three political mailers she has sent to voters so far make no mention of Winograd or the other Democrat on the ballot, manufacturing operations engineer David C. Moore.

I'm pretty tired of waging "an ideological battle for the soul of the Democratic Party." There has to be a better way.

Feeling bored? Helpless? Excited? Energetic, perhaps? Then you should help Marcy Winograd!

So I was sitting around my house today, putting off doing my Latin homework, when it hit me - instead of just opening the fridge a dozen times and checking my facebook a hundred times, I could be putting this time to good use! And I did. I started doing some online phonebanking for Marcy Winograd's campaign for Congress in California's 36th district. If you're bored, feeling helpless and alone amidst a sea of political currents fighting against you, excited about the upcoming primaries and election, overcome with energy you need to spend on something, or feeling any other emotion, this is for you! Marcy has been a member of the Netroots for years and is a firebrand progressive. Since she's running against a corrupt Blue Dog (Jane Harman), this is one of the best races in the country for progressives to get involved in. I live in Pennsylvania, yet I'm still able to help Marcy's campaign, because of a neat online phonebanking tool that has been set up. Follow me below the fold to learn how you can help, too. The way this tool works is that you email Bill ( bill (at) winogradforcongress.com ) from the campaign and tell him that you want to do some online phonebanking. Then he sets you up with an account, you get a script, and you go onto the website that he tells you to go to. There you'll find a place to go that gives you phone numbers and a place where you can record each person's response. It's a very simple process and if you've got ten or fifteen spare minutes on your hands, then you'll be able to make at least a couple of calls. It's a great and easy way to contribute to the campaign without literally /contributing/. And in case you don't know who Marcy Winograd is or why she's worth supporting, just take a look at these:
We need a Green New Deal that would fund jobs both in the public and private sector to develop renewables in solar and wind, build light rail in all the major metropolitan areas, particularly sprawling Los Angeles, and repair our aging infrastructure. Let the bursting levees in New Orleans serve not as a harbinger of dark days but as a warning that unless we fix our ports, our bridges, our water and sewage treatment facilities, we will find ourselves in a world of hurt. Google "Top Ten Green Jobs of the Future" and you’ll read about the need for organic farmers, solar panel installers, wind turbine developers, energy-efficiency builders, waste recyclers, mass transit engineers, hydrologists, urban planners, electric and hybrid car manufacturers, and drought-resistant landscapers. Notice, the words "defense contractor" were not listed. War is NOT a Green Job
If you're not convinced, just talk to her next time she posts a diary here! Marcy ran against Harman in 2006, and with only three months of campaigning she got about 40% in a primary. Now she's running a full primary campaign with a lot more resources, and she's got a good chance of winning. So, please, do your part toward electing "better Democrats." Marcy Winograd is among the best.

Can Cheryle Jackson End the War in Afghanistan?

Add Illinois to <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-naiman/can-arlen-specter-end-the_b_388604.html">Pennsylvania</a> as states where there is a contested Senate primary in which the war in Afghanistan has become an issue. The <em>Chicago Tribune</em> reports that the two leading contenders for the Democratic nomination for Barack Obama's former seat in the Senate have staked out diametrically opposed positions. A Tribune <a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/elections/chi-poll-senate-14-dec14,0,5398298.story">poll</a> last month reported that Alexi Giannoulias and Cheryle Jackson were the leading contenders for the Democratic nomination. On Afghanistan, the <em>Tribune</em> reports that Cheryle Jackson wants to end the war, while Giannoulias supports it: <blockquote>"It is time to take care of America again and time to bring our troops home," said Democratic Senate contender <a href="http://www.cheryle2010.com/">Cheryle Jackson</a>, a former president of the Chicago Urban League. "Until we stop spending hundreds of billions on wars, we will not have the focus or money to solve the challenges we face at home."</blockquote>

There's more...

Pelosi Makes the Right Move On Harman

It looks like Jane Harman will not become the chair of the House Intelligence committee:Because Pelosi is kicking Jane Harman off the Intelligence Committee. Harman is, of course, Jewish and very rightwing on Israel.

So now Nancy, whose views on Israel aren't very far from Harman's (although she is decidedly in favor of negotiations and the two-state solution) is a Peretz enemy. Today he actually compares Nancy to Bella Abzug (in my opinion, a compliment) which is a terrible slam coming from Peretz because Abzug was, oh the humanity, a liberal Jew who was a moderate on Israel.

Why am I telling you all this. I'm telling you this because everyone needs to know that Marty Peretz and his neocon buddies in the media are now all going to be bashing Pelosi nonstop. Pelosi will get attacked viciously for this, but it is the right move. It isn't the right move because Harman is extremely right-wing on Israel. There are two other major pressing reasons that Harman should not be the chair. The first is that Harman is under investigation for illegally trying to use AIPAC in order to become the chair:Did a Democratic member of Congress improperly enlist the support of a major pro-Israel lobbying group to try to win a top committee assignment? That's the question at the heart of an ongoing investigation by the FBI and Justice Department prosecutors, who are examining whether Rep. Jane Harman of California and the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) may have violated the law in a scheme to get Harman reappointed as the top Democrat on the House intelligence committee, according to knowledgeable sources in and out of the U.S. government. The second reason is that the Democratic chair of the Intelligence committee should not be supporting Bush's illegal wiretapping program. Here is Harman defending the program on Fox News last year:HUME: And outline, if you will, your concerns about those briefings.

HARMAN: All right. Well, first of all, the program we were briefed on in a very closed environment in the White House, with no staff present, on a basis that we could not discuss it with anyone, was basically a foreign collection program. I still support that program. And I think the leak of that program to The New York Times and maybe elsewhere compromises national security... Harman is a Blue Dog, but that should not disqualify anyone from holding a committee chair. She is also not a wingnut. Outside of issues relating to national security and foreign policy, where she clearly is a neocon, she is basically a run of the mill Democrat--perhaps even in the liberal mainstream. However, the credibility of the new Democratic Congress is at stake here, and we can't have Democrats illegally winning committee chairs through lobbyist influence so they can support unconstitutional wire-tapping programs on Capitol Hill and on Fox News while accusing the New York Times of treason. Harman's seat, CA-36, is not key to our majority in the House, and anyway it is a very blue seat where she survived a strong primary challenge this year from Marcy Winograd.

Democrats won this election largely on a rejection of Bush's foreign policy and on the impact of corruption / unethical behavior in several key districts. Harman, unfortunately, sports both of those negatives. She could very well have an illegal relationship with AIPAC in an attempt to increase her own influence, and she supports one of the overtly illegal portions of Bush's foreign and national security policies. Given this, I think it was not only absolutely correct for Pelosi to deny her the Intelligence chair, and to remove her from the committee altogether, but that it was almost certainly the best thing Pelosi has done over the past ten days. Democrats need to make it loud and clear that we will not have the same relationship with lobbyists that the Republican majority had, and that we are in fact willing to stand up to Bush's foreign and national security policies. This accomplishes both of those goals in one fell swoop.

Pelosi is going to get hammered by some segments of the press for doing this. I think we need to support her decision both loudly and clearly. We are not going to be able to drain the swamp all at once, but as with LA-02, this is a step in the right direction. It should be recognized and applauded.

Update: It would appear that there are serious concerns about about the potential replacements for Harman as well. That is not acceptable either. It is going to take a long time to drain this swamp. Ugh.

Tips for the Establishment: How To Defeat Movement Candidates

In a brilliant post over at Dailykos, mcjoan provides what should have been the obvious solution to all those various Democratic incumbents and establishment favorites who have recently become threatened by the progressive movement in Democratic primaries. Instead of demonizing and spewing bile toward the progressive movement, you will find victory easier to come by and unity easier to achieve if you do what all good politicians do: listen to your constituents. During her primary fight with Marcy Winograd, Jane Harman braved the lion's den by posting a diary and listening to readers on Dailykos during her primary, thereby showing her opponents and the progressive movement respect. By way of stark contrast, Joe Lieberman his supporters have treated their opponents with nothing but disdain, insults, and threats Seriously, could you even imagine Joe Lieberman posting on a major blog, especially after everything he and his supporters have said about the blogosphere and the netroots? There is no respect there at all. Further, while Joe Lieberman turns even further to the right and attack opponents of the Vietnam war, Jane Harman steps up and becomes an outspoken critic of Bush on intelligence matters. As mcjoan writes:A good Democrat, Senator Lieberman, is loyal to his party and to his ideals. This can be achieved when the Democratic representative respects dissenting views and does not operate from a sense of entitlement.

A good Democratic representative respects the will of his constituents even when he disagrees with their views. He listens and responds. He explains his views and respects those that oppose him. He does not accuse his constituency of undermining the security of the nation because they disagree with him and the Republican president.

A good Democratic Senator does not accuse his fellow Senators of imperiling the nation's security by opposing the president. There are many examples of good Democrats who disagree with the Democratic base on the Iraq Debacle. One of them is your Congressional colleague Jane Harman, once ironically known as the "Joe Lieberman of the House." It is clear now that that labeling Harman as that is false and unfair. Would that we could have called you the Jane Harman of the Senate. It was not to be. There is, I believe, an important reason for this difference in approach. Joe Lieberman and his most outspoken supporters in the punditry rose to power within the Democratic Party and the media by distancing themselves from progressive Democrats through repeated Sista Souljah moves, by endlessly playing the electability card (despite repeatedly losing elections), and by constantly closing Daou's triangle by adopting the stance the media loves above all else: the "I Yousta be a liberal" stance where a Democrat explains why Republican complaints about Democrats are all true. What Lieberman and his supporters cannot stomach is that these same attacks against progressives that brought him to media stardom now serve as the core rationale for why the people-powered progressive movement wants to bring him down (I mean, who would have ever thought that being demonized causes you to dislike the person doing the demonizing?). They also can't seem to stomach that you have to earn power among voters by listening to them, having responsive constituent services, and by actually representing their hopes and dreams. The reason Lieberman's supporters are demonizing rather than listening is because manipulating the corporate media through demonizing members of their own party is the only path toward power that they understand.

It is a relief to me that Jane Harman showed she was not that type of politician. Whatever conservative, liberal or otherwise positions she may hold, she is not willing to demonize and sell-out her own constituency in the corporate media in order to further her own power within the national political discourse or Washington D.C. Other establishment types threatened by the progressive movement should follow Harman's path. The days when you gain power by adopting the "I yousta be a liberal" stance are over. It is time to listen to your opponents and your constituents and show them that you respect them. Do not facilitate Republican narratives about them. Do not demonize them. Take Harman's path (and not just by posting a diary on Dailykos), and not only will you prevent most primary challenges from ever becoming as serious as Ned Lamont's has become in Connecticut, but you will also have a more unified Democratic Party and an activist base that is much more willing to help you out when the going gets tough against Republicans in general elections. Take my advice: if you feel threatened by the progressive movement, then open up talks with them. If you continue to take an aristocratic, demonizing approach, then expect a lot more campaigns like the Connecticut Senate primary in the future, along with a more divided Democratic Party, and a less energetic activist base.

I leave the choice up to the establishment.

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