cross-posted at Blue Hampshire
On Sunday I attended a Vets BBQ at the Sweeney VFW post in Manchester, NH to support the re-election of Carol-Shea Porter (D-NH) to the US Congress from the first district. An overflow crowd, they even ran out of hamburgers, greeted CSP and her guest in NH that day, Congressman Chet Edwards (D-TX) from the 17th district which includes the village of Crawford which is currently missing the idiot that is currently and woefully living in the White House, most woefully.
The two have become fast friends in DC as Congressman Edwards, Carol's new BFF down there, is the chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction and VA (MILCON/VA). He came to NH to see what's up first hand. He was impressed with the turnout at the event, so was I.
Carol's remarks were brief and focused on the outrage that NH is currently the only state in America that does not have a full service VA hospital. Follow me below the fold for all the remarks because as Carol told us all in attendance: "There is no excuse."
Edwards begins his introduction of Carol with a great anecdote which contains a really harsh and stark truth about the business of politics, bonus points to the Congressman. As I said earlier many people showed up for the BBQ. That surprised me especially on such a beautiful day when there have been many, many wash-out weekends this summer. I also noticed that it wasn't the typical VFW crowd you would expect either. People were there from a variety of age groups, some brought their kids and many were younger. We even had an RFK grandson in attendance.
And I want to just say that one person can make a difference. I carry a very heavy burden on my life. I want you to know that when I was 26 years old, I had the gall to run against a former economics professor of mine for Congress ...
I lost by 115 votes to a guy named Phil Gramm. I don't want you to have the burden that I've felt since 1978. At least my credibility ought to be good because everything I said about him turned out to be true ... My point is this, if I had had a meeting like this on a Sunday afternoon like this and this many people had gotten one extra person to go to the polls Phil Gramm ladder never would have become law.
No argument there, Congressman Edwards. There is certainly an urgency in every race from Obama on down in this cycle, but the down ballot races that don't get the attention they deserve may very well be close all across the country. In 2006, Carol was swept into office against incumbent Jeb Bradley on the crest of a throw the bums out mentality. But this year Democrats all over the map have to hold those seats and they have to hold these seats on the record. It's only been a couple of years and the record is not as strong and clear as it could be with Bush and the Senate filibuster blocking just about everything that Democrats were sent to Washington to do. It's not going to be a tidal wave in this district this time around. And that could be true all over the country.
Carol then took to the mic:
When I first got to DC you know I realized that the Veteran's Hospital has been closed for years now as a full service hospital. Nobody did anything about, why not? What do I have to do to bring it back? So I took a look down the list and said, "who do I have to talk to?" And I found Chet. And I ran up to Chet and said, "Chet, you are my new best friend." He's your best friend too, because he works very, very hard for Veterans.
He's worked with me, he's come to see what we're talking about. We've met with the veterans and he's going to carry that story back to Washington.
There's just no excuse for not having either a full service hospital or equivalent care in your own community. (applause)
There's also no excuse that our Congressmen and Senators knew this and stayed silent. There's just no excuse...
If you signed up to serve your country from NH why shouldn't you receive the same benefits as someone from Massachusetts? Or Connecticut? Or from Iowa? What wrong with us? We deserve the same treatment. (applause)
Carol tells us that it isn't solely nobility that motivates her to act like a "squeaky wheel" on this issue in DC. No, she's got "a dog in this fight too," as the spouse of a veteran she is directly affected by this outrage and judging from the remarks on Sunday Carol is personally invested in the well being of veterans around the state and in her district.
Far beyond the hot-button issue of the VA and health care in NH Carol talks about why this fight is so important to all the citizens of this country.
I checked with my husband and when he signed his papers, he didn't check whether he was a republican or a Democrat. He was an American going to serve his country. So we cannot discriminate and we cannot allow one party to hold back on treatment, opportunity and honoring commitments to the veterans. We have to serve each other.
Carol brings home the point that commitments made long ago effect the nation as a whole today. As a member of the Armed Services committee in the Congress she knows that America faces plenty of threats all over the globe today. She tells us that the new generation coming up judges the quality of care against the desire to serve. And I really agree with that statement.
We don't rely on a draft to staff our armed forces today. We rely on a professional, volunteer army to meet our needs. After 8 years of George Bush, the recent Walter Reed scandal, a generation of cutbacks in services across the boards and the heightened state of readiness required to meet our current needs in America today, no issue is more symbolic of our government's intention to honor those commitments made to every one that served than veteran's health care and the sorry state of the VA in NH today.
pictured are Carol and Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) in Kuwait
We need them ... We need people to sign-up for the Armed services. We need them to look at how we treat our veterans and say, "Yes. I trust America that should I be wounded or should I be killed they'll take care of my family and they will take care of me. They won't break that sacred promise."
And so the young are looking to see what we do right now and if we truly honor our commitments.
The answer here from me is: Yes we do. We must ... Keep up the good work and we will make sure that veterans today and tomorrow have what we promised them yesterday. Thank you very much.
Carol then saved the best for last after wishing Mike Lopez a Happy Birthday and thanking Jim Craig ("one class act") for emceeing the event. When talking about the importance of sending Bob Bruce to the governor's counsel she says:
We have someone who is running for executive counsel, Bob Bruce, who also comes from the people. And so I appreciate you looking at his record and his concern for all of us. His slogan goes along the line of "send your neighbor." And that's the best thing you could do. Send one of us. Fill all of these positions with somebody that knows your story because we are one of you.
You know my slogan: Running for the rest of us. Thank you for the honor of serving you in Washington. And I would ask that you send Democrats up and down the ticket because it's not the fact that we're Democrats. It's that we're holding the American agenda right now. We're the party that has come together to say that we have to save the middle-class and fix the country
Democrats and other people will be very well served by Democrats in Washington and in NH.
The lighting sucked at the VFW so my apologies for the poor quality of the video and pics in this diary, but the audio is clear as a bell and the remarks were pretty sweet. I hope you enjoyed the show.
So where is the urgency to support a great candidate like Carol Shea-Porter in her re-election bid this year? Well may you ask.
While the Obama race is vital to the future of the country so too are the down ballot races that will determine the climate and ultimately the success President Obama can expect once he gets sworn into office. NH-01 has been targeted as a Republican pick-up by Freedom Watch who I predict will be the new swift-boaters in this cycle. They've already been running ads smearing Carol's position on offshore oil drilling and Brian Larsen from PoliticsNH.com told me on Sunday that they've just announced their third ad buy in the state targeting both Carol and Paul Hodes. By no means is Carol's re-election to the Congress going to be a slam dunk and in preparation for my "re-emersion" into NH politics I came across a very disturbing website that I think holds the playbook for the ugliness that may see unfold in NH's first district in the coming weeks.
Democrats are far outstripping Republican fundraising efforts from the top to bottom all over the country with some exceptions and nowhere is this more apparent than in down ballot races like Carol's.
"There's a good chance 527 groups will dominate Republican rescue efforts in congressional races this year," said David Wasserman of the Cook Political Report."
"It's clear the NRCC is outsourcing their attacks to right-wing smear organizations. We have been anticipating this activity for months and have been preparing our candidates with the tools they need to respond effectively," said DCCC spokesman Doug Thornell.
With the Democrats holding a money advantage, the GOP’s best hope may be that independent outside groups like Freedom’s Watch throw a lot of money into congressional races. As of now, however, the Democrats look to pick up significant numbers of additional seats.
And just in time I found a website called The Real CSP, link withheld for obvious reasons. I don't know who or what really is behind this scum that passes for political education but let's just look at one egregious example. Under the heading "Deserting out Troops" the website claims: "Shea-Porter put partisan politics above the needs of troops and commanders on the ground by voting for a Democrat-sponsored bill mandating extension of troop deployments overseas. (House Roll Call 795)"
But if you look at govtracks.us for HR 3159 you'll see a summary from Project Vote Smart and that CSP was a co-sponsor of the bill that provides the following:
- Mandates that before a member of the regular armed forces be redeployed to Iraq, he or she must be given a period of rest at least as long as the duration of his or her most recent deployment [Sec. 2 (a)].
- Mandates that before a member of the armed forces reserve be redeployed to Iraq, he or she must be given a period of rest at least three times as long as the duration of his or her most recent deployment [Sec. 2 (b)].
- Exempts special operations forces and forces used to facilitate deployments [Sec. 2 (c)].
- Allows the President to waive the rest period requirements in order to meet a threat to national security if the President certifies the necessity of the deployment to Congress within 30 days [Sec. 2 (d)].
- Allows the rest requirement to be waived for members of the Armed Forces who voluntarily request mobilization [Sec. 2 (e)].
So she votes for passage of the HR 3159 on the next vote Roll Call 796, unlike 190 Republicans in the Congress, and the website/smear campaign would lead you to believe that she does not support the bill, which she voted for and co-sponsored. Ya know, that kind of "deserting the troops" Unreal. All rightey, looks like we've got our work cut out for us.
DownwithTyrrany also reports that Wal-Mart is targeting Carol in her race.
But you're not going to find Carol Shea-Porter on the lists of congressmembers who take special interests money and then vote for them instead of for her constituents. Her predecessor, Jeb Bradley, always did-- and now those same big special interests are back shoveling money into his campaign, trying to help him reclaim his old-- their old-- seat. Carol's voting record is clear as a bell; she votes in the interests of her constituents. Period. She doesn't have millions of dollars in corporate money hanging over her head as an incentive-- or a threat-- to vote for special deals for corporations.
This election in NH's first is not going to be any kind of pretty. Without credible media voices debunking these kinds of scurrilous charges attack ads and misleading ad campaigns to put in kindly can sway voters. Mud sticks, especially if you throw enough of it.
We hold the American agenda in this election and Carol holds it everyday for the people of NH's first. Get out there to support a great public servant and in so doing we'll be supporting each other.
To donate to Carol's re-election campaign click here, but don't bother if you're a DC lobbyist - she doesn't take your money.
It's going to get tres not jolie out there before this one is over, kids. So get out there. She needs you now. We need each other now - more than ever.
This diary is another in the continuing guerrilla vlogger series. I'm not associated with the campaign in any way shape or form and most importantly I speak only for myself when blogging. I do all these vlogs as a citizen journalist, as in I'm not paid. I do everything with an ordinary mini-DV, a PC, Movie Maker and free tools available on the web. Thanks for reading.