With hope and change turning bitter over the past year, here is a story that might change that flavor a bit for you. I just got back from a fundraiser for Marcy Winograd, a Democratic challenger to Jane Harman in her Los Angeles, CA district. We had Gore Vidal and Marcy speak. Ed Asner was there, as well as the guys from Blue America and Crooks and Liars, which was a special treat.
I was impressed with Marcy's speech which pretty much took up the mantle of progressives everywhere: jobs not taxes, single payer at least for California and other familiar positions. Have to say, given her speech and the people she collected in the room, she has a fighting chance.
The fundraiser was held in a huge Brentwood house (Sheinbaum residence) with sprawling grounds. Since it was dark, I could not see the views, but I would guess they were appropriate for a mansion of this size. Inside various pieces of art decorated the walls. The hosts were very welcoming and kind.
This being a rare outing for me, I hardly knew anyone there. Later introductions showed a lot of the crowd to be leaders of the progressive movement in West Los Angeles. The only real pre-speech conversation I hadwas with this ex-Navy man who later turned out to be with Gore Vidal. His general political orientation was all to the left of mine, but not as far as Che Guevara, I guess.
Festivities started with a gentleman singing a song about how we needed real Democrats and Marcy was the one. The generally older crowd tapped along and people got into an agreeable mood. Gore Vidal was introduced, sitting in a wheelchair.
Gore is a real character with a sharp tongue and quick wit. He obviously is a raconteur and told a couple of stories from FDR and JFK times, both of whom he appeared to have known personally. The fact that he showed up to support Marcy made me sit up a little.
Gore introduced his friend, the Navy chap I had chatted with before and man, he brought a different perspective from Gore. He talked about how the morale in the armed forces was low because of what most servicepeople viewed as unjust wars and how the executive was breaking the armed forces.
Next came Marcy. When you look at her, she looks about thirty. So when she reminisced about the '70s, it showed that progressives age more gracefully. Now, I had never listened to her speak and was impressed with her firm voice, great delivery and the content of the speech itself, which was short and sweet. She talked about how building infrastructure at home was so much more important than those uncertain missions in Iraq, Afghanistan and now Pakistan. She then hit every issue of concern to progressives, from single payer to energy and came out vehemently on our side. No waffling there at all, which was very refreshing.
Then they did a raffle of some paintings and dinners with Ed Asner and stuff. Clearly the evening was starting to wind down. The room was filled with, in my count, about a hundred people. Since the suggested donation was $125, minus the volunteers, the money raised was probably about $10,000.
I came away impressed with Marcy. First, her speech showed her on the progressive side on all the important issues, a huge contrast from Jane "the moderate" Harman. Second, she had the visible support of progressive causes around the southland. And last, her ability to have the backing of people like Asner and Vidal spoke to me.
Given that this is Los Angeles, a primary fight like this probably needs about $0.5 million funding. Since Marcy made the decision to not take money from corporations, and if these fundraisers were her only means of support, that would mean about 50 such fundraisers, a difficult task between now and the primary. So clearly other funding has to kick in.
This is where you come in. You saw what Baucus did to healthcare. You have seen the petulance of Lieberman. Go to Blue America or directly to Marcy's website and make a donation. If you can't afford that, just leave a comment of support. She needs to know that we are listening and encourage her.Let's give progressives like Marcy a real chance and kick self-styled moderates like Harman out of power. This is your chance to send a message. Will you?