My experience working for Gretchen Clearwater's campaign
here in southern Indiana (9th CD) has been eye-opening. We've been scorned, attacked, ridiculed, ignored, etc.-- but not by Republicans. Oh, no-- that's the treatment we've gotten from some of our Democratic brethren. The state party
has endorsed our primary opponent
and refuses to even list our website (although the DCCC does
, as do most of the county websites in the district). Several bloggers who claim to be progressives have told us to, in so many words, shut up and sit down. But the candidate I work for (as a volunteer, mind you) is not the shut-up-and-sit-down type. She's a fighter. She stands up for what she believes. Now, the conventional wisdom says that the Indiana 9th is a "conservative" district, that only a moderate-to-conservative candidate can win. The conventional wisdom is flat wrong. I'll tell you why below the fold.
The conclusion I've come to is that many liberals lack confidence in the rightness of their beliefs. They think that, sure, they and their friends all think the way they do, but people "out there" are too unsophisticated to grasp the solutions which seem obvious to us. It's a particularly disturbing kind of elitism.
This is hogwash. If you consider yourself a liberal or progressive person but don't think that our views are the same, by and large, as the views of Middle America, you need to reevaluate your beliefs. I believe that regular people all over this country believe in "progressive" values:
-they want a job that isn't going to be shipped overseas thanks to unrestricted "free" trade
-they want health care for themselves and their families
-they want to see America become energy independent
-they want justice to guide American foreign policy
-they want justice in our economic policies, not favoring tax cuts for the rich at the expense of programs for the poor and middle class
-they support the concept of a fair day's wage for a fair day's work
These are liberal, progressive values. They better reflect American values than the neocons' cons. Now of course there are some "cultural issues" where some people disagree. But the pocketbook issues are more important to most voters. If we don't believe this, we shouldn't be Democrats. People in Middle America don't want muddled moderates who don't seem to stand for anything, who would prefer to never talk about issues. They want people with the courage to stand up and stand tall.
They want people like Gretchen Clearwater. Everywhere we've gone in the 9th district (and I've gone with Gretchen to Bloomington, Nashville, Columbus, Madison, Jasper, Sellersburg, just to name a few) we've found people eager for a fighting Democrat. If more people believed that such a message can resonate, we might have the money to get our message out even more widely.
We could use any help that the netroots can give. Read about the campaign at the main page here, and my campaign blog here. And please, if you can, donate via ActBlue. And spread the word!