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December 13, 2006

Congress: the Progressive List
Posted by Lorelei Kelly

Here is the post from last week that I skipped because technology failed me while I was in New Orleans:  But first my weekly rant:

This article at Oneworld  makes the depressing case that the Dems will not change much on defense--that their ideological clinginess will keep those monster Cold War weapons programs in the budget.  Has anybody else noticed the over the top  Lockheed Martin, "We Never Forget Who We Work For" ads lately?  I can almost see the slobber on my TV set after they play.

One more thing and I'll hush.  I was at an event last week that included a Defense Department speaker who was asked about the future of the military in peace and stabilization type missions (the implication being that today's military is lacking and or not really interested).  He said that we need to "incentivize" these new missions so the defense industry would be interested.  Um.  WHAT?!!!!  How about telling these corporations--who live on the taxpayer's dime--to do what you tell them to do?  hmmmm...civilian oversight. What a concept.  Keep in mind, World War II was won and the Air Force was created through a helpful partneship between industry and government.  Where is that corporate patriotism today? Skiing in Aspen, I suppose.  Or maybe clipping the topiary on the Fairfax County farmette.  You can bet its somewhere they can forget who they are working for.

Okay, back to my post. We need to continue to make the case that last month's election were a progressive victory. My fellow political junkie Darcy Scott Martin  recently sent me a list of victorious candidates categorized by progressive potential. I'm going to be keeping an eye on these folks and hopefully finding an angle on their national security (I'm not kidding about the wiki ) platforms. Will they be new strong voices or, will they take the path of least resistance and stay away from the issue? Approximately a third of the newly elected members coming in are full fledged progressives.  They are:


Yvette Clark, replacing Major Owens, the New York City councilwoman from Brooklyn is gonna’ be fabulous.

Bruce Braley and Dave Loebsack in Iowa, taking their delegation from one Democrat to majority Democrat in one fell swoop.  Both candidates actively support radical change in Iraq and entirely new budget priorities.

Carol Shea-Porter and to a lesser extent Paul Hodes, who swept out the entire New Hampshire delegation.  Shea-Porter is an antiwar activist who built her campaign one grassroots handshake at a time.

Out in CA, Jerry McNerney, alternative energy engineer is pretty much the antithesis of his predecessor, Richard Pombo.

John Yarmuth, the Kentucky editor who owned the alternative weekly is the most liberal candidate ever fielded against Anne Northup and he was successful, maybe a lesson on what it takes to get progressives to vote.

Gabby Giffords, in southern AZ, who ran a more moderate campaign, but has affiliated with progressive efforts in the past.  The most anti-war candidate lost the primary.

John Hall in New York, who played anti-nuke concerts in the 1980s, was definitely the most progressive candidate in the primary.  Good thing he could self-fund until he won the primary, because Emily's List was spending to support a once-Republican woman to take on Sue Kelly.

Keith Ellison, replacing Martin Sabo in MN, who converted to Islam in college and will be the first person of color in the MN delegation.

Mazie Hirono in Hawaii is actually replacing a less progressive Democrat, Ed Case, who supported the war and then foolishly took on Senator Akaka.

Steve Cohen took Harold Ford, Jr.s, seat, which has the numbers to support a uber-progressive, which Ford was not.

Paul Sarbanes didn’t get that much attention in the election cycle. In the primary, he outpaced most in fundraising and had a great name for the ballot.   However, the folks at 21st Century Democrats, who have redirected their mission to now only support visionary candidates, loved Paul, and that pretty much seals it for me.

Phil Hare, replacing long-time progressive Lane Evans in central Illinois, has served in Lane Evans' district office for years, so many hope he is cut from the same cloth.

Nancy Boyda, who knocked off Jim Ryan in Kansas, left the Republican party and started protesting the Iraq war on the street corner.  She received WAND's endorsement last time, so she clearly has an open mind on quite a few progressive issues.  Jettisoned those DC professionals who worked for her.

Peter Welch in Vermont, taking Bernie's place.  Vermonters complain that he compromises too much, but for God's sake, we are talking about Vermont, progressive by anyone else's standards.

SECOND CATEGORY: WAIT AND SEE: Because how folks position themselves in campaigns can be very different than what happens when they get to town.  People to watch:

Betty Sutton came out of a large primary to win the nomination in Sherrod Brown’s seat in OH.  However she still had a challenger in the general, so we haven’t heard much but campaign rhetoric from her.

Chris Murphy, young energetic guy just beat Nancy Johnson in CT, from a Democratic district, can come out fighting.

Patrick Murphy, young energetic guy (I see a pattern here), just beat Mike Fitzpatrick in  Philly suburbs.  Got good union message and a district that will tolerate liberalism.

Albio Sires, a Cuban American who ran as a Republican 20 years ago, now has a strong record of public service as a Democrat, now holds Bob Menendez old seat in NJ.

Ron Klein, finally knocked off Clay Shaw in Florida, probably will hold that seat easily so can be his own man.

Kathy Castor, once she won the primary, she didn’t have to have much platform at all, the seat in Florida is Democratic enough to let her do anything.

Tim Mahoney: really, Mark Foley did better than he should of as the name still on the ballot.  Mahoney is going to have to immediately show the Florida district that he is the man for them.

Tim Walz, who knocked of Gil Gutknecht. No one expected this win, so we really don' know what he will want to do, but he wants to get out of Iraq and he is a school teacher.

Kristen Gillibrand, who knocked of Sweeney in New York, ran an uphill battle all the way, but now that she is in, she should be able to keep that seat and will be able to stretch a bit more.

Hank Johnson, replacing Cynthia McKinney, represents a district that is willing to allow anything, but he’s no Cynthia.

Jason Altmire, uh oh, another young energetic guy who beat Melissa Hart in the Pittsburgh area, this district won't be quite as liberal as some others, but he could be ready for fresh ideas.

Steve Kagen, who picked up the seat in Wisconsin, ran a pretty much self-funded campaign as a doctor and pushed universal healthcare heavily, so I don't really know how he stands on other issues.

THIRD CATEGORY: People who will be covering their %^$&@#%:

Every new Indiana member:
Brad Ellsworth
Baron Hill
Joe Donnelly

North Carolina's Heath Shuler
Admiral Joe Sestak, PA – good on the Iraq war, but remember, he is a retired Admiral
Ed Perlmutter, CO
Zack Space, OH – beat the more conservative candidate in the primary, but not with his blazing liberal views
Harry Mitchell, AZ
Nick Lampson, TX (Lampson and Space are probably the most endangered freshmen among the Dems)
Mike Arcuri, NY
Charlie Wilson, OH
Chris Carney, PA (I would put him on the endangered list, but I think he is going to be conservative enough for this Don Sherwood district)


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Lorelei, Thank you sooooo very much for moving on this. Keep it up and you may replace Heather as my very favorite DA contributor. This is great.

I assume that you're tied in to pdamerica,org and peacemajority,org (although their peace ratings are 404'ing right now).

The fact that you and Heather are of the female persuasion is not lost on me. (Nothing gets by me.) Opinion: The males and male wannabes of this country have guy-thinged us into an unholy mess and we need people that listen and people that care to get us out of it. That means people of a different gender.

And thank you for that "he's no Cynthia." The Honorable Cynthia McKinney has been a true progressive champion of the environment, peace, 9/11 truth, MLK truth, and so many other necessary movements. She has been done in by the forces of evil, for the second and last time, and God bless you for recognizing her. She first came to my attention when she sided with Sergeant Kevin Benderman who refused to return to Iraq to kill children, and subsequently served time in the Fort Lewis stockade. (I sent something to the Bendermans and got that peace tribute from Japan, with an Origami dove, that I posted recently. Lovely people, Kevin and Monica Benderman.) A couple of days ago, after McKinney introduced the impeachment bill, I went to her website and told her how much I esteem her and expressed the hope that she would stay in public service somehow. I urge other true progressives to do likewise. She needs to be on the web (HINT).

Finally, we shouldn't use the phrase "peace and stabilization" in the same sentence with the "Defense" department. The US military, any military, is totally oriented toward blowing things up and killing people, not peace and stabilization. The Lancet estimates that twenty percent of the 650,000 Iraqi deaths, many of them below the age of fifteen, were caused by coalition forces. That's why they have to be incentivised to do something (to them) weird like peace. Forget it. We need Dennis Kucinich's proposed Peace Department for that.

We need to focus on economic development and stability through the Millennium Development Goals. According to the Borgen Project, that will solve the world's problems!

One comment praises "9/11 truth" and the other the "Borgen Project". Careful, Lorelei, or soon the LaRouchies will show up.

I differ with Lorelie Kelly's assessment of the winning Dem House candidates. I looked at the 29 who won Repub seats on 5 issues - Iraq, terrorism, Social Security, health care and income taxes - and found that 18 or 62% took predominantly progressive positions. If you would like to see my analysis, send me an email at

What's your group's position on amnesty for illegal immigrants presently in this country? What about the totalization agreement with Mexico on social security?

A couple of days ago, buy tramadol online after McKinney introduced the impeachment bill, I went to her website and told her how much I esteem her and expressed the hope that she would stay in public service somehow. I urge other true progressives to do likewise. She needs to be on the web (HINT).

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