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It's quite a leap for an Obama surge voter to be expected to turn out for a reactionary Blue Dog who virtually always votes against their interests-- like, let's say, John Barrow (D-GA). Today's Washington Post looked at these surge voters and what they found augurs poorly for Blue Dogs in general, and for Blue Dogs in primaries like Barrow in particular. Keep in mind that Obama won GA-12 (a stretch of eastern Georgia from Augusta to Savannah) 54-45%, after a narrow Bush win in 2004. And a week from this Tuesday, Barrow faces popular African-American former state Senator Regina Thomas. In the 2008 primary Obama endorsed Barrow, who had promised to support healthcare reform. Barrow was one of reform's most treacherous opponents-- voting against healthcare in committee, in countless procedural votes, and all three times when it ultimately mattered-- and this year the silence from the White House has been deafening.


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The loyalty many blacks feel to Obama does not always spill over to other Democratic candidates... Cornell Belcher, a Democratic pollster, warned that not even politically engaged black voters like Kendrix are necessarily going to turn out for Democrats in the fall. "These are Obama voters. These are not Democratic voters," he said. "They are leaning toward Democrats in their views, but these surge voters are not a part of the traditional Democratic voting bloc. That's the big X factor here. We can't turn surge voters out by two weeks of black radio."
Largely ineffectual party organizations like the DNC/OFA, DCCC and DSCC are running around like chickens without heads, wasting money trying to persuade Obama surge voters that dependable John Boehner supporters like Barrow-- as well as Travis Childers (Blue Dog-MS), Bobby Bright (Blue Dog-AL), Frank Kratovil (Blue Dog-MD), Glenn Nye (Blue Dog-VA), Joe Donnelly (Blue Dog-IN), Charlie Melancon (Blue Dog-LA), Brad Ellsworth (Blue Dog-IN), Scott Murphy (Blue Dog-NY), Betsey Markey (Blue Dog-CO) and even non-Blue Dog reactionaries like Suzanne Kosmas (FL), John Adler (NJ), Ann Kirkpatrick (AZ), Harry Teague (NM), Tom Perriello (VA), Michael McMahon (NY), and Larry Kissell (NC)-- merit support. Their spurious case is that although these congressmembers have consistently voted against the interests of working families, some through corruption (like Kosmas and Adler), some through ideology (like Childers, Ellsworth and Bright), some through cowardice and confusion (like Kissell, Perriello and Markey), and others, like Barrow, from a combination of all these factors, African-Americans should do the knee-jerk shuffle down to the polling places and vote for them again. If it doesn't work, and it looks like it won't, Democrats in the House could well be giving up their primo parking spots and corner offices to make way for Speaker Boehner and his team. Career criminal Darrell Issa is already promising to hire a team of investigators to tie up the presidency for the second half of what is likely to be Obama's single somewhat wretched term.

Is there anything Americans can do to prevent this national calamity? Clearly, following the lead of clueless and compromised Inside the Beltway Democrats, many of whom are as corrupt and venal as the Republicans, is the wrong way to go. A week from Tuesday Barrow faces a day of reckoning in the Georgia primary. In November-- with a disillusioned and listless Democratic base-- his brand of Republican-lite conservatism will have no chance against a real Republican. That can be staved off with a defeat on July 20 and a victory for a progressive champion like Regina Thomas. Obama surge voters have far more reason to vote for her than even for the sketchy Obama! (Blue America is running cable TV ads for her now, and we have a page that allows you to pick the program and the town you want to see ads run on, ads that cost as little as $4 and $8 a spot.) Defeating one Blue Dog in one district-- even as reprehensible a cur as Barrow-- isn't going to save Democratic majorities in November. Going on the offense may, although Debbie Wasserman Schultz at the DCCC is preventing that by monopolizing virtually every cent the DCCC has in her sordid incumbent protection racket.

Yesterday Blue America hosted a fired-up and brilliant Democratic candidate, Dr. Fred Johnson, ex-marine and current professor, in a live blogging session at Crooks and Liars. While looking at his responses to questions, I tweeted this: "If anyone wants to hear what a smart, fearless Democratic candidate in a red district sounds like: http://bit.ly/..."

By all means go back and read the transcript. This is exactly the kind of race progressives need to get involved with. First of all, Johnson-- unlike conservatives like Barrow and the lot listed above-- is a smart, working-family-oriented problem-solver. Second, he is exactly the kind of candidate who will inspire Obama surge voters to come to the polls, not stay away from them. Michigan's Second Congressional District has been thought of as a deeply red hellhole. It isn't, and this year the seat is open as the lame incumbent tries for higher office. But where Gore only managed 38% in 2000 and Kerry 39% in 2004, Obama surge voters left McCain with a meager 51% victory in 2008. And if Republicans keep screeching on behalf of their Big Oil contributors about drilling for oil in the Great Lakes-- the source of drinking water for 40 million Americans-- the kinds of environmentally friendly independents who determine winners and losers in MI-02 are not going to vote for Republicans in November. Johnson's response to a question by Digby about Republicans wanting to drill in the Great Lakes was unambiguous and forthright, leaving no doubt whatsoever where he stands on the issue, even if corporate shills on both sides of the aisle-- what better pair of posterchildren for this than Louisiana crooks David Vitter (R) and Mary Landrieu (D)?-- do all they can to confuse the issue and try coming across on both sides of it. Fred Johnson:

I talk about the windpower potential of the lakeshore with voters all the time. There is some NIMBYism out there, and I am cognizant of the local concerns relative to tourism. However, we have to get serious about this, or Big Oil will definitely come after the Lakes. I'm continually amazed that as a vast body of water is being destroyed by Big Oil there are still those who behave as though the threat from drilling was an issue that needed further study. We must become energy independent. We must start as soon as possible. We must begin the process of transitioning from fossil fuels to alternative energy sources and support the President's efforts to build a "Green" economy.

Drilling in the Great Lakes IS NOT THE SOLUTION TO ACHIEVING ANY OF THOSE AIMS IN THE SHORT OR LONG TERM. Further, suggesting such a thing only serves to validate the extent of Big Oil's influence in government. Enough!!!

And Fred is far more than a package of answers to policy questions. The man is an inspirational figure who inspires confidence because of his instincts and the way his mind works. In response to a question about the book he wrote on Tupac Shakur's life, he talked about examining "the social and historical contexts of the period that inspired the music, dictated the method and degree of the music's impact, and determined where, and to what, extent Tupac's bold lyrics and his occasionally misguided behavior made him such a powerful representative of the realities and struggles existing in urban America from the late 1980s through the mid-1990s."
Writing Tupac's biography reinforced my already acute awareness of the need to continue the fight against poverty, homelessness, joblessness, and the despair among young people. It also presented a grim opportunity to compare how the actions of Wall Street criminals in the 1980s had wreaked havoc on the economy and working people just as the “Street's” criminals have done in the 21st century. What was especially interesting was discovering the extent to which right wing ideologues had been intentional and relentless in their steady prosecution of an over three decade assault on the middle class, working families, and America's most cherished democratic institutions for the benefit of moneyed special interests. Their methods of distorting truth, destroying the nation's manufacturing base, and distracting people from the urgent issues of the day with endless debate on cultural controversies, and the overall attempt to shrink and hobble the federal government so that it literally has great difficulty responding to catastrophes like Hurricane Katrina or the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico are not new. Tupac, in his own way, knew about them and he, at least, had the guts to challenge those in power.
The DNC, DCCC and DSCC may be hopeless, but Democrats and progressives can make headway despite them. Supporting candidates like Regina Thomas and Fred Johnson is a vital component of accomplishing that. Both of them-- as well as progressive opponents  to other worthless hacks, from Michele Bachmann and John Boehner to Tim Griffin and Virginia Foxx-- are on this page. Anyone there you'd care to help win a seat?

Extended (Optional)

Originally posted to downwithtyranny on Sun Jul 11, 2010 at 03:43 PM PDT.


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