Greetings. This is my first visit to Daily Kos, and I look forward to spending the next hour with you to exchange some ideas and views. I know how the netroots pitched in for Jon Tester and Jim Webb last year, and I would like to win your support in my race to represent Idaho in the U.S. Senate.
Live blogging is an extension of my earlier campaigns where I have worked with constituents and shaken hands across Idaho. My style is to meet Idahoans and listen to their concerns where they work, live and play. In one campaign for Congress, I took 22 different jobs – for one week each - over 8 months. I worked in a nursing home, picked apples, worked on a logging crew, served in a restaurant, and so on. Last year I shook 22,209 hands in all 44 counties of Idaho in a short amount of time.
As I sit in my office in Boise, I am reflecting back on the one of the deadliest months of the Iraq War. We have reached a point in this conflict where President Bush will only change course when his focus groups indicate he can no longer accuse Americans of being "chicken hawks" or his "swift boating" of congressmen won’t stick.
As a former US Army officer in military intelligence, I know that we can withdraw responsibly from Iraq. President Bush unwisely rejected the recommendations of the Iraq Study Group. When he had a chance to unite our country on a bi-partisan basis he chose division over unification. He chose to escalate the war rather than work toward ending it.
Therefore, we are not conducting a war based on principles of national security or defense. We are conducting a war of crass politics in order to protect a president’s legacy. This is politics at its worst, and the precious lives of our brave men and women are at stake.
This situation is emblematic of what’s gone wrong with Congress over the past 7 years. The executive branch has not been held accountable for anything. The old Congress was complicit in undermining our privacy and freedoms.
My philosophy of public service has always been "do right, risk consequences." In 1991, while serving my first term in Congress, I put my job on the line with a vote of conscience to support the Hamilton/Gephardt Amendment calling for increased diplomacy and sanctions before we went to war in the Persian Gulf. That was an early and clear example of putting what I felt was the right policy ahead of my political aspirations.
It is unclear in my race for the US Senate in Idaho whether the incumbent Senator will seek re-election. I don’t think he will, but I have no firsthand knowledge. We are told we must wait for that announcement. Regardless, Larry Craig has been a rubberstamp for this delusional policy in Iraq. He has asked no tough questions and demanded no answers. Clearly, we need a new direction no matter who I face in 2008.
My State of Idaho is in transition. Conventional wisdom about Idaho remaining a red state is dead wrong. I feel strongly about this because I have seen the power of democracy work firsthand on these very pages. And I have felt the energy of Idahoans who are fighting to regain their state. The future of our nation is in our hands, but only if we act.
I am ready to act. I am committed to changing the direction of our state and our nation. Together we can make history together. We can follow Colorado and Montana. We can build on the successes in Idaho in the ’06 cycle, when voters elected six new Democratic state legislators (with others coming close) and many local officials. We can tune out the negativism of conventional wisdom and put our shoulders to the wheel.
I look forward to hearing from you. I ask for your support and I hope you will visit www.laroccoforsenate.com.