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Enough is enough. In my short political life, I have gained an incredible amount of enlightenment. There are entities that will do everything in order to maintain their power, even at the expense of democracy. Why?

It is quite simple: the string pullers think they have the intellectual corner on what is best for our country, my country. They will block funding, media, and do what ever they can to keep our voices silent. One area they have not controlled is here in the blogoshere.

Like many of you, I am mad as hell and I'm not gonna take it any more! I made a pledge in Washington less than a week ago, a pledge to back my band of brothers. I will not try to talk Maj. Hackett back to political life, but I will share my experience in how the party works in recruiting and dismissing possible candidates.

When we 40 veterans showed up on the Mall of our capital, we represented a new rise of populism. The vast majority of the Veterans for a Secure America were not recruited by the DCCC or DLC; we stood up on our on hind legs and looked over the battlefield and saw that our country needed our service once again. We figured out how to run for office on our own. We gained political clout very quickly and in less than six months, offered the voters real choice. We have solutions, plans, and ideas, and we will share them. The Democratic Party has been busy reacting to Republican control, and now we 52 are on the attack, on our own, without our strings being pulled by the party machine. I'm sure there are some who believe that we are threatening the authority of the Democratic leadership now in control. Paul Hackett led this effort last summer, and the swelling of support for his senate run put the light on him. He was alone then, but now there are 52 of us.

The Veterans for a Secure America is one group of 52, but there are many others in our court. Over the last two or three years we have seen a progressive uprising. The principles of these groups represent the new challenge to the established party. Promoting leadership for the people by the people puts all career politicians on notice. Promoting a government of the people will redirect our country away from government controlled by money.

Major Hackett was in a battle some of us are also are experiencing: the battle of principle over money. Many of us veterans have not raised great sums of cash, because we're focusing on reaching voters with the issues, and not focusing on pandering to the wealthy few. Money buys access and access provides control.

We happy few believe in the Constitution and have defended it with our lives. We see the freedom it guarantees in jeopardy. Freedom is why our ancestors came to this county and freedom is what we fought for to give our children and grandchildren. It is this freedom that we will fight for, even within our own party.  The people of Ohio needed to be the ones to choice who they wanted to be their Senator and who will fight for their freedom, not Washington.

They can stop the big money, but they can't stop the voters from supporting the candidate of their choice.

Originally posted to Jeff Latas on Tue Feb 14, 2006 at 09:45 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Great post! (4.00)
    but what district are you in?

    "The most heroic word in all languages is revolution." -Eugene V. Debs

    by monkey6079 on Tue Feb 14, 2006 at 09:47:47 AM PST

    •  Kolbe's (4.00)
      8 Look at tags. And read Mr. Latas previous diaries on dKos, particularly those about his son, also a veteran, in his case of the current Iraq war. This is a fighting Dem. Support him.
    •  I'm running in AZ-8 (4.00)

      It's time we take back our country!

      Jeff Latas for Congress Candidate for US Congress, Arizona District 8

      by Jeff Latas on Tue Feb 14, 2006 at 09:50:29 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Good luck Jeff! (none)
        The Democratic party leadership surrounded by loser consultants have lost election after election and have zero track record of success.

        Instead of supporting open democratic primaries and encouraging many candidates and allowing Democratic party voters to decide who best to represent them, these DC politicians use backroom machinations as they are afraid of losing their patronage system. They don't really care if they are a permanent minority as long as they get to share in the looting of the taxpayer.

        What is interesting is that unlike the Repubs that play to their base at all times and as a result engender unswerving loyalty even when there is clear evidence of corruption and abuse, the Dems leadership always stomp over their base by wanting to move to the "center". The electorate are no dummies. They would always prefer the real deal in comparison to Repub-lite. They prefer candidates with courage of conviction than weather vanes.

        As the recent MyDD polls and other polls show, there is no "center" in America today. The electorate is deeply divided. There is no way in hell any Democratic candidate will ever get the Repubs to vote for them. So, in my opinion the only way Dems get elected is by playing strongly towards their base and getting them energized and excited to go out and vote. And by the way as these polls show the majority of independents support liberal positions.

        Since the Dems DC leadership are afraid of standing up to the Repub slime machine and actually taking the fight to the political opposition, they are quite happy acting tough with their base who have behaved in an incredibly masochistic manner over the past few election cycles. These DC leaders are quite happy winning "safe" Dems seats and playing their patronage games.

        Please keep up the good fight despite the DC crowd. You may be pleasantly surprised at the electoral outcome by playing to the base.

        •  Great comment, (none)
          my thoughts exactly.

          Here in the Indiana 9th, we're also fighting an uphill battle, with the party leadership making no effort to hide their support for our Blue Dog primary opponent.

          It's interesting that our party leaders profess their support for real campaign finance reform, for helping take the big money out of politics, but then make the ability to raise big bucks from big donors the only criterion for viability.

          "Eyes on the prize"? (as more than one pro-DSCC poster has said)  

          This idea has gotten us Democrats who then voted for the war in Iraq, the Bush tax cuts for the rich, "free trade" agreements that ship our jobs overseas, a Patriot Act they didn't even bother to read, etc., etc.

          We need a new prize, and that prize is revitalizing our democracy.  Let's not be afraid of primaries.  Let's really work to make our politics about ideas more than money.  Let's try to give the 50% of citizens who don't vote a reason to get involved.  And let's believe that our progressive ideas are the right way for America-- in every district, rural, urban, and suburban.  

          by mtullius on Tue Feb 14, 2006 at 11:46:06 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Recommended (none)
    Good luck and thank you for serving!
  •  Power to the People (none)
    Power to Principle!
  •  Veterans (none)
    Mr. Latas,

    I hope that you will continue to wield the mantle of leadership in this.  I have joined the fight, and you have my support.  Please let me know if there is something that I can do to help you.

    Also, if you can edit the tags, please change to AZ-08 (no 0 right now), as I use that to follow you here.  (Not that there aren't other ways.)

    •  Want to host a house party? (none)
      Hey smokeymonkey,

      I've been reading your posts and have been wondering why you would support Giffords.  It seemed like you were from your previous posts, but I'm glad that you've come over to Jeff's camp.  I have been working on his campaign for a while.

      We've got an issues research team working to gather info right now.  You could help there and if you would like to host a house party to help us raise money, I'm your man.  At risk of getting inundated (i can only hope) with phone calls for house parties, the fundraising hotline is (520) 551-7303.

      •  House Party (none)
        Oh, you don't want to party at my house...  

        Regarding Gabrielle Giffords, I was considering writing something more specifically supporting Jeff, but I was actually waiting to get some response from her after my last email.  No response.  Actually, way back when Kolbe first announced he wasn't running, I started looking for possibilities.  I naturally looked to leaders in the state house and senate from this region.  Giffords jumped out.  When she resigned the senate seat not long after and responded promptly to my first few emails, I thought, cool.  However, she definitely has the "too close to the money" problem.

        On the Latas side:  great issues page on the website, sensitive to more than just political issues (see previous diary on animal shelters), and is unimpeachable in terms of his commitment to the country's security (father and son veterans).  Giffords is cute, but not that cute.

    •  Thanks (none)
      Thanks for the blog on your site. I like your "step up" campaign. I wouldn't mind doing something similar in my new fund campaign, 50/2000. 2000 donors, $50. I like Dean and this was a great way he got the roots to support him. Thanks again, I'll add AZ-08 to the tag.

      Jeff Latas for Congress Candidate for US Congress, Arizona District 8

      by Jeff Latas on Tue Feb 14, 2006 at 10:23:56 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Paid Political Assasins (none)
    I saw the Band of Brothers event on the news. Max Cleland said, "When the paid political assasins come after you, and they will, you can lean on your brothers and sisters."

    What he didn't tell you was that the paid political assasins work for both parties. Hang in there, Col. Latas!

  •  Glad to have you. (none)
    And my condolences to all -- with whom I frequently disagreed -- who feel they have unfairly had their candidate taken from them.

    But I just want to go on record as saying that quite apart from the differences I had with the Hackett campaign and many of its supporters, I've never been wild about the philosophy or the strategy of putting such an emphasis on running veterans for office because they're veterans.

    I'm sure I'm in the minority here. And while I can certainly appreciate the unique perspective that veterans can bring to politics, I've been less than satisfied with this movement, because I view it as an emphasis on form over substance, and I reject the rejection of "policy bullshit" and "wonkery" that it supposedly represents.

    I'm more than happy to take what time I can to evaluate these candidacies individually -- in fact, my position demands it. But I'll just take this opportunity to put these candidates on notice that there's still a significant portion of the blogosphere that's going to want to hear more about how your experience will affect what you plan to do in Washington, and less about the mere fact that you've had that experience.

    You don't need to answer me, and you certainly don't need to defend yourselves -- and neither do fans of these candidates need to do so. Certainly not for my benefit, anyway. I just feel that the time is rapidly approaching when we'll have to differentiate this strategy from gimmickry, and would hate to see Democrats with good chances at winning the seats they seek be caught flatfooted when that time comes, hoping that their status as veterans will carry them through.

    Republicans don't actually care if you're a veteran. They only care if you've got that R after your name. So if anyone's counting on votes from red-leaning voters because they've served their country, the sooner they realize that it's going to take something more, the better.

    I'm sure that all of these candidates are preparing to make their positions on issues of substance crystal clear, or have already been doing so for weeks. But it's hard to break through, even on a blog like this one, and really be heard. So that part is going to have to be up to all of us here: to pay attention to what they're really saying, and focus less on the perceived benefits of their status as vets. And that includes calling them on it if they're not up to snuff.

    That is all.

    •  Fully understand (none)
      All I can ask is that you go to the candidates' Web sites. I entered this race to make change and not to promote my veteran status. In the time we now live, that status has given us a toe hold, but only a toe hold. As we climb the ladder of polictical credibility, our veteran status will be less important and we must rely on our conviction in other areas where our expertise will shine. Mine is understanding how oil has had great impact on our country and the importance of achieving energy independence. Go to my site,  Jeff Latas for Congress, and compare me to the others running. If you live in my district, express your choice by voting.

      Jeff Latas for Congress Candidate for US Congress, Arizona District 8

      by Jeff Latas on Tue Feb 14, 2006 at 10:18:48 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I'm backing this candidate... (none)
      because of his progressive ideals, not his military background.  Although I think that the military background will help appeal to the many voters in the district with military ties (2 large bases in the district), I look for what candidates positions are.  I read Jeff's website last summer sometime and thought that it sounded good.  When I met him in December, I was very impressed.

      By comparison, when Giffords announced, I read her website but there was no issues page.  Then I went to see her in December and she wouldn't answer a simple question about her positions.  I asked them to her face in a relatively private way what were her positions on immigration (biggest issue in the district) and impeachment (personal curiosity) were.  She told me that she would have someone from her campaign call me in January.  I still havn't heard from them.  So because she didn't answer me when I asked her directly, I asked her publicly after she gave a small platitude filled statement.

      When she asked if there were any questions I was the only one to raise my hand, so she reluctantly called on me and I said "Those platitudes are wonderful, but what's your position on immigration?"  She fumbled for a bit saying that she supports the McCain-Kennedy bill and I pressed her saying well, what would YOU do.  She got frustrated and then someone yelled out "How many signatures do you need?"  That effectively let her off the hook.  I didn't know her from Eve and still don't know her positions.  I was only trying to find out, but If she can't even answer a question from a partisian (from her party!), how can she think she's got thick enough skin to handle being a congresswoman?

      By the way, I was just as agressive when I met Jeff in December.  He however gave me an answer about what he would do about immigration.  Check his website for more info about his positions.

      •  Is it me???? (none)
        ..or is members of the DCCC and the DLC behind this move by Paul Hackett?

        I am so sick of the DLC and we are seeing that insidious muck translate into the candidacy of that do-nothing, bags always packed former state senator who should be in Houston with Mr. Right Stuff.

        Jeff, your candidacy will be hallmark in Southern Arizona politics.  We have been seeking someone like you from the day one.  We had Mo Udall, you sir are cut from the same cloth.  You tell it like it is and put the people, not the political machine first.  I know some of the people you have in your campaign and I can say you do have some of the best people who can help you win.  Thay are doing this from their heart.  They don't ask for money, they don't want fame, all they say is that they want you to win.  You have some great technical help there and they will pay off in the end.  All they, and myself ask is that you keep on telling the truth and don't give up.  The papers are waaaay behind in covering you (because their political reporters do not have a clue) it isn't because of you.

        Keep up the fight.

        Let's grow some balls Democrats!

        by NCC1701 on Tue Feb 14, 2006 at 01:05:09 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Mr. Latas (none)
    Stay in the race until the last vote is counted.  I'm very happy to be a supporter.

    "We need a war to show 'em that we can do it whenever we say we need a war." -- Fischerspooner

    by bink on Tue Feb 14, 2006 at 10:28:13 AM PST

  •  you rock jeff (none)
    best of luck in your race.  thanks for this post; i'm recommending it.
  •  Kinda Like Eating Your Young (none)
    Am completely against restricting candidates to only those anointed by the Democratic Leadership. The decision on who represents the people in the Ohio should have been left to the people of Ohio.

    IMO, cheering on the DC Dems in this instance is completely against the objectives of the grassroots movement. Only allowing DC anointed candidates to run for election means grassroots candidates need not apply. The DLC types will bring in their own candidate and by any means necessary sabotage the more progressive candidates we would prefer to represent us.

    I also think that this move was stupid. It makes the entire Fighting Dems initiative look like a sham and veterans, willing to represent the Democratic Party, just a disposable commodity.

    I am not against Democratic voters now supporting Brown that would be against our interests. I am against being a cheerleader for the actions of the DC Dems, that, also, would be against the interests of the grassroots movement.

  •  From another diary on this topic: (4.00)
    Paul Hackett will be the Republican's poster boy to show that Democrats hate veterans.

    This is so unfortunate. Poll after poll shows that Americans believe that the Republicans have the edge over Democrats when it comes to national security.

    The hacking of Hackett will only serve to strengthen that erroneous view.

  •  Hacking Hackett (none)
    Jeff, I'm with you as we all are. There are more than 50 of us, Vets running for Congress that have stepped up. We weren't recruited by the Democratic leadership, were were recruited by our friends and constituents, the people from our Hometowns and Districts, and as much as we want the support of the Democratic Party and all of its leadership we are prepared to go it alone. The real foe is the Republican Leadership in Congress and if we stick to our guns we can change the direction of Congress and this nation when we are elected next November. Remember at times like these Congress needs Courage! John Courage TX-21
  •  Great to hear the voice of a Fighting Dem, Jeff!! (none)
    kThe latest count, even taking off Paul Hackett, Bryan Lentz and David Ashe, is 62 Fighting Dems!

    See the "Muster Roll" page of Fighting Dems here:

    I posted my thoughts on Hackett's exit here:

    Picking off the Fighting Dems One by One???

    Glad to see it from the mouth of one of guys in the trenchees. It is a mighty battle and we have to climb over the barriers elected by our own party to reach the trenches facing our real enemy. But we shall prevail!


    •  I'm with you (none)
      I say Charge and lets start climbing! Let's see if the party is willing to follow.

      Jeff Latas for Congress Candidate for US Congress, Arizona District 8

      by Jeff Latas on Tue Feb 14, 2006 at 06:06:43 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

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