IA-Sen: New ad against Grassley, and maybe new challenger

The Progressive Change Campaign Committee and Democracy for America have produced a new television commercial, which asks which side Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa is on:

Click here to donate to help keep this ad on the air in Iowa and Washington, DC.

Speaking of which side Grassley’s on, Monday’s Des Moines Register reports on his massive campaign contributions from health industry interest groups. Thomas Beaumont’s story was based on numbers compiled by Maplight.org.

Meanwhile, Representative Bruce Braley confirmed on Friday that he is running for re-election in Iowa’s first Congressional district (PVI D+5). I consider him likely to run for U.S. Senate when either Grassley or Tom Harkin retires. (Harkin comes up for re-election in 2014.)

Rumors persist that a prominent Democrat will join Bob Krause and Tom Fiegen in challenging Grassley next year. Some people have been talking about Barry Griswell, the retired CEO of the Principal Financial Group. It was news to me that Griswell is even a Democrat; he has donated to politicians from both parties in the past. Al Swearengen of The Iowa Republican blog speculates that Fred Hubbell is the mystery candidate. Hubbell currently chairs the Iowa Power Fund Board, to which Governor Chet Culver appointed him. From his official bio:

Fred S. Hubbell was a member of the Executive Board and Chairman of Insurance and Asset Management Americas for ING Group. Mr. Hubbell retired from ING Group’s Executive Board effective April 25, 2006. Mr. Hubbell was formerly Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Equitable of Iowa Companies, an insurance holding company, serving in his position as Chairman from May 1993 to October 1997, and as President and Chief Executive Officer from May 1989 to October 1997.

Like Griswell, Hubbell could be a self-funding candidate, but unlike Griswell, he has a consistent history of supporting Democrats. Charlotte Hubbell, Fred Hubbell’s wife, serves on the state’s Environmental Protection Commission.

UPDATE: Hubbell told Iowa Independent he’s not interested in running against Grassley.

Help send me to Netroots Nation!

I want to go to Pittsburgh. Not for the G20 summit, not to see the best team in football’s opener, not simply to visit a emerging hub of the green economy.

I want to go to Pittsburgh for the fourth annual Netroots Nation convention. But I need your help. I try not to ask for too much from this community but I need to ask for some help again.

From August 13-16 Pittsburgh will be hosting this years Netroots Nation, I want to be there to appear on a panel, attend other awesome panels, meet you all and do the whole Netroots Nation experience.

I need your help to get there. Democracy for America is running a scholarship competition to help make the costs of attending more affordable. They will be selecting 10 winners from the final round  judged by a variety of factors, but one of them is public support. You can help me win a scholarship by voting for me. It will take less than a minute and I’d really appreciate your help.  Just click here. That will take you to a page where you can either log into your existing DFA account (if you have one) or create a new one, then it takes you to a page where you can write a quick comment of support and click on “voice support” to officially support me. If you want to read my application click here.

It costs money for DFA to provide these scholarships, if you can send them some money to help out with the cost.  It helps send 30 people to Netroots Nation who might not have been able otherwise. It was built out of kid oakland’s original chicago voices effort. So any donations you could send them give a great bang for the buck and help send some great people to Netroots Nation.

Thanks so much for all that you do and for any votes that you could give me.

Sí se puede!

FL-18 – Ties That Bind

(Cross-Posted at MyDD, Open Left, and Daily Kos)

This weekend, we saw once more that no matter what happens in Iraq, there is no end in sight to this war unless we demand it.

For the people of Congressional District 18 in South Florida, getting out of the war in Iraq is a top priority.

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For years, George Bush and his cronies – like my opponent, Republican Ileana Ros-Lehtinen – said that American troops would redeploy from Iraq when the Iraqi people asked us to.  Last Saturday, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki asked us to leave.

The out-of-touch Washington Republicans responded strangely, with George Bush speaking of “time horizons.” John McCain flip-flopped on his original position, and said that he knew better than Iraq’s democratically elected prime minister what the Iraqi people really wanted.

Bush-Republican Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, my opponent, says nothing. Her silence is deafening.  For years, she has rubber-stamped President Bush’s failed Iraq war strategy unquestioningly.  Now she stays quiet, and doesn’t even mention Iraq on her website.

Ros-Lehtinen and President Bush

W’s Brother, Jeb Bush, was Ros-Lehtinen’s first campaign manager – in 1989

Ros-Lehtinen’s incumbency allows her to be the ranking member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.  From that position, she forces her right-wing agenda into every element of our country’s foreign policy.

Ros-Lehtinen Uses Her Voice to Silence Other Women Who Need Help

Ros-Lehtinen is a leading proponent of the global gag rule, which denies millions of women at home and around the world access to life-saving affordable health care and sex education they require.

On the Foreign Affairs Committee, Ros-Lehtinen is the senior disciple of the Bush Doctrine of senseless, pre-emptive war in Congress.  She remains smug and unrepentant for her lockstep support of the war.

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Annette at the Democracy for America-Miami Memorial Day Service

I believe it is time for Iraqis to take responsibility for the security of Iraq and to bring our troops home. The war in Iraq is costing American taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars a day. That is money we desperately need here at home to invest in our schools, bring down health care costs, protect Social Security, and work towards energy independence. I will stand up for these priorities in Congress.

We can end this war. I am proud to be a Democrat, and I am proud to endorse the Responsible Plan to End the War in Iraq. After years of a mis-guided war, Democrats must lead the way.

Ros-Lehtinen rubber-stamps Bush’s Iraq policy every step of the way, and she joins McCain in wanting a war in Iraq without end. I attended Netroots Nation last weekend, and I felt the real desire for change across the country.  Change is more than a cliché in 2008.  It’s obvious that our country is going in the wrong direction, and that more of the same is not enough to put our nation back on the right track.

I’ve out-raised Ros-Lehtinen in the first two quarters, and my district is the most Democratic and most progressive of the three  seats at play in South Florida.  I am honored by the great support I’ve received from my community, and also from the Netroots.  I am honored to have been endorsed by Democracy for America and, as of yesterday, Blue America

After seven years of failed policies, we are in a recession, health care costs are rising, and we are in a war without end. I know America needs a new beginning. We need greater investment in renewable energy, an end to subsidies for the big oil companies, and affordable health care for children and seniors.

I am a successful small-business owner, and I have a business plan to win this campaign.  We are focused and disciplined, and I will defeat Ros-Lehtinen this November.

I ask for your continued support as I take on a 18-year incumbent with a long record of voting against families and against our men and women in uniform.

Thank you, and I welcome any questions and comments,

Annette Taddeo

Better Democrats: Vote Ed Fallon for All-Star

Democracy for America’s 2008 Grassroots All-Stars vote is underway and we have a chance to use the voting to push for a endorsement of progressive Democrats running in tough primaries. Specifically Ed Fallon.

Ed is a progressive Democrat running against Bush Dog Leonard Boswell. Ed ran for governor in 2006 and won the district in the primary. We have done great work for Mark Pera and Donna Edwards campaigns against Bush Dogs. Now with a extra netroots boost Fallon can beat another Bush Dog!

First lets take a look at Boswell from the great Bush Dog profile that David Kowalski did at OpenLeft.

Boswell has had a terrible voting record on important legislation.  He was among the minority of House Democrats to authorize the use of military force in Iraq (AUMF).  Boswell also voted for the PATRIOT Act, the creation of the Department of Homeland Security, a draconian immigration bill that never made it through the Senate, and No Child Left Behind.

It is important to understand that Leonard Boswell is no coward.  He believes in this stuff.  Boswell served 20 years in the military rising from a draftee in 1956 to a Lt. Colonel when he retired in 1976.  Boswell served as an assault helicopter pilot for two tours of duty in Vietnam earning 2 Bronze Stars and 2 Distinguished Flying Crosses.  He ran an ad attacking his 2006 opponent Jeff Lamberti under “national security” for being soft on immigration and soft on crime.

Now who is Ed Fallon?

I attended Marlboro College in Vermont for two years, after which I traveled the world for six years. In the mid 1980s, I attended Drake University, where I received a degree in religious studies.

From 1986 to 1992, I worked in the peace movement.

From 1993 to 2006 I served in the Iowa Legislature, representing residents of downtown Des Moines, the surrounding neighborhoods and the City’s northeast side. My focus as a lawmaker was to champion the needs of constituency groups treated unfairly by government or neglected by the majority of policy makers.

In 1998 I helped found 1000 Friends of Iowa, a land-use and anti-urban sprawl group. I served as executive director for 5 years.

In 2006, I ran for governor in a four-way Democratic primary, receiving 26% of the vote — far more than the 5-10% pundits predicted.

In 2007, with my partner, Lynn Heuss, I co-founded I’M for Iowa: an Independence Movement for Iowa, which addresses many of the same issues raised in my gubernatorial campaign. For the last year, Lynn and I also worked as consultants with John Edwards’ campaign for president.

I am an accomplished musician on many instruments and I speak French and Spanish. I was raised Catholic and consider myself staunchly ecumenical. I lived in the inner-city of Des Moines for 20 years and now reside in the historic Sherman Hill neighborhood. I am an avid gardener and for many years grew much of my family’s food on land reclaimed from a clay parking lot. I also established a community garden in the inner-city and I maintain strong connections to my father’s farm in Ireland, where I organized the planting of 25,000 oak trees in 1999.

My passion for justice inspires me and my life is committed to working for progressive reform, both within and outside the political process.

And why is he running?

While Leonard Boswell is an honorable man who has served with dignity, I feel his positions on many key issues are wrong.

Boswell accepts donations from PACs and lobbyists. Of the $600,167 he raised between February and September 2007, 73% came from PACs. During my 14 years as a state representative and when I ran for governor, I refused donations from PACs and lobbyists and won’t accept them in my congressional campaign either.

In 2003, he voted for the Iraq War and has continued to support additional funding with no timetable to bring the troops home. I opposed Bush’s war from the start and believe we need a more diplomatic approach to foreign policy, not just in Iraq but throughout the Middle East.

In 2005, Boswell voted to provide $14 billion in tax breaks and incentives for oil and gas companies. He also supports greater use of coal. I have been a leader in the fight against government handouts to big business. I support a moratorium on new coal-fired power plants and have helped lead efforts in Iowa to fight global warming.

Boswell voted for No Child Left Behind. I have always spoken against this unfunded, ineffective mandate, and believe NCLB should be repealed, or at a minimum severely overhauled.

Boswell supported the Patriot Act, and in August 2007, voted for a bill to increase unwarranted surveillance on the American people. Iowa’s other Democratic Congressmen, Bruce Braley and Dave Loebsack, voted against it. I have a long track record of fighting for civil rights and personal liberties.

In November 2007, Boswell joined Congressmen Steve King and Tom Latham – both Republicans – to vote for a NAFTA-like trade agreement with Peru. I am a vocal opponent of NAFTA and other so-called “free” trade agreements and believe in fair trade that protects American jobs, our environment, and workers’ safety.

Boswell is fairly conservative and old, therefore he has had some tight races. But although Fallon is slightly to the left of the district he is young and energetic and so claims that he “couldn’t win” are over the top. Fallon will kick off his official campaign tomorrow and the primary is June 3rd. If Iowa progressives can rally around him and if he gets a extra boost from the national people-powered movement then he has a real shot at winning. Both Donna Edwards and Mark Pera have never been elected to anything but they are both running real credible campaigns and have a great shot at victory. Ed on the other hand already has represented parts of the district and has run a state-wide campaign that won this district. He already has a base of support and is known, however Boswell will have a lot of money from his insider friends and so we will need to fight back. Getting DFA to support him is a great first step.

Vote Ed Fallon for All-Star