Back in 2006, when the head of the Democratic National Committee Dr. Howard Dean was putting the 50 State Strategy into use, the co-founder of the Los Angeles chapter of the Progressive Democrats of America decided to take out "a Republican" of her own. Only it was a Bush Democrat that she decided to run against, and so with only three months of campaigning, Marcy Winograd got 38%% percent of the vote and her opponent, Congresswoman Jane Harman was re-elected in the fall as the Democrats regained the House. Four years later, Winograd is once again running against the Blue Dog Harman in an election cycle that promises to be one that is anti-incumbent. The two Democrats differ on a number of issues including foreign policy concerning Israel and have differed in the past on civil liberties.
Jane Harman was first elected to Congress in the 36th district in 1992 and served until 1999 when she did not run for re-election in 1998. She then regained her old seat in 2000 election and has been in Congress ever since. The 36th District has aCook PVI score of D+12 making it a solid Democrat district. Obama carried the district which includes areas of West and Southwest Los Angeles by 64% in the 2008 general election.
Harman does vote Democratic on some issues, like voting no to Stupak, voted yes to the Senate Jobs Bill, voted yes to Waxman-Markey, and has a good record on GLBT issues(yes on ENDA, no on DOMA and vocally against DADT for years). Her record also have some glaring negatives in it, which is one reason why Winograd is running against her again. First and foremost, Harman has been a foreign policy hawk up until this year due to her primary challenge. Talking Points Memo said it best:
Rep. Jane Harman (D-CA), usually a reliable supporter of the military adventure du jour, yesterday broke sharply with President Obama on Afghanistan
Firedoglakehas weighed in and said that Winograd and her 2010 campaign has been the cause of this citing Winograd's better fundraising this time around and very public positions for withdrawal from Afghanistan. Back in 2007-2008, an interest group named U.S Campaign to end the Israeli Occupation gave Harman a rating of negative 5, one of the lowest ratings of that time. Harman did vote for the war in Iraq back in 2002. Harman apparently doesn't support withdrawal from Afghanistan however, since she voted No to H. Con Res. 248introduced by Kucinich to withdraw troops from Afghanistan.
Harman also has a very spotty record on civil liberties. She voted in favor of FISA in 2008, voted multiple times for the Patriot Act, voted at least twice to ban flag burning, and she introduced a very bad bill in 2007 called H.R 1955. It would have made the Internet less free for people to speak their minds and could have possibly labeled those crazy Truthers as terrorists. Personally I am embarrassed that we have liberals spouting of that nonsense, but they are far from a national security threat.
Winograd has been compared to Donna Edwards by the folks at Crooks and Liars. Winograd in addition to her organizing with Progressive Democrats of America, co-founded L.A Jews For Peace.She has done some labor activism and has been a school teacher for many years too.
Winograd has jobs as her top priority under Issues. She says:
We need a Green New Deal: federal investment in public and private sector jobs, similar to the Works Progress Administration under the New Deal: massive federal stimulus in energy retrofits, infrastructure repair, solar and wind power.
She clearly knows that we need to invest on a massive scale to put people back to work and her invocation of the WPA is the right idea. We do need a new version of it pronto. More details of her "Green New Deal can be found here. She also would repeal free trade agreements that outsource jobs. Winograd was attackedin a letter by Henry Waxman back in January because she believes Israel has to obey international laws in regards to the Palestinians. A post by TomP showed her response which was quite good.
"Like you, I am intimately aware of our Jewish history. On my mother’s side, my great-grandparents escaped the Russian Pogroms to make a better life for themselves in Europe. On my father’s side, my great-grandparents were killed in the Jewish Holocaust of Nazi Germany. Because of our collective experience with persecution, it behooves us to stand in opposition to persecution anywhere and everywhere, rather than sanctify reductionist state policies that cast all Jews as victims who can only thrive in a segregated society. Furthermore, we must stand in explicit opposition to the Israeli persecution of the Palestinians; the brutal blockade of Gaza, an act of war by international standards, denying children clean water, food, and medicine."
Winograd stands for true progress in our foreign policy regarding the Israelis and the Palestinians. We can not tolerate that Israel acts as an apartheid state with little outrage about that. If Iran had acted like Israel does with its policies, there would be outcry fro the left and the right about oppression. Israel also refuses to sign the Non-Proliferation Treaty, something not even Iran would do. In contrast to Harman, who dropped her support of a resolution condemning the Armenian Genocide of 1915, Winograd would recognize that Turkey committed genocide against Armenians. This has gotten Winograd support from the Armenian community in Los Angeles and an endorsement.
Winograd has until now and June 8, the date of the primary to try and use the anti-incumbent mood of 2010 against Harman. It looks like it could be tough for her since they don't seem to differ that much on jobs, which will be a huge issue. In any other year, Harman's hawkishness would be a huge minus against her. I don't think your average primary voter is going to care about that this time. In fact, they might see her as being better on national security. Winograd's best shot is to frame her Green New Deal in the best possible way and and do the best job she can on selling it as the Jobs solution. If Harman doesn't seem to have any answers on jobs, then that could be the impetus for Winograd to be the one who can finally represent how the district really is.