Let's Put Donna Edwards in the House

I put this up late in the afternoon yesterday, so I'm bumping it again for morning readers. This is a significant primary. Matt

I just threw in $25 to Donna Edwards via the Blue Majority page, which is the new name for the netroots page from last cycle.  She was just added today, along with Charlie Brown.  I would hope, as you consider your political giving this cycle, that you consider her race worthy of your resources.

One of the most significant primary challenges we had last cycle was Donna Edwards against Al Wynn, for a whole host of reasons.  I just got done reading Death by a Thousand Cuts, which is ostensibly about the elimination of the estate tax in modern America.  Really, though, like many of the great modern political books, Death by a Thousand Cuts is about how the ideological right builds its coalitions and how the left simply does not fight back.  The key strategy, whether on NAFTA, health care, the estate tax, the Bankruptcy Bill or net neutrality, is to solidify right-wing business interests - Chamber of Commerce, NFIB, NAM, ATR, Business Roundtable, etc - and then use their network of think tanks, policy organizations, PACs, and grasstops to wedge parts of the Democratic coalition.  Legislative victories for the powerful follow.  We've seen this again and again; it's why many of us are in politics, on the blogs.  We ask ourselves the question, 'Ack, why did the Democrats vote for XYZ?!?!'  Well, one reason is because of people like Al Wynn.

In the fight over the estate tax, Wynn was cited as a key figure in this strategy.  The estate tax was the single most progressive tax there is, so normal criticisms from rich corporations won't work to broaden the coalition.  But having a CBC member like Wynn, along with a variety of other members, helped to mask the right-wing essence of the idea.  Wynn likes to talk about how the estate tax hurts small businesses in his district, which was roughly the same rationale he used to pass the bankruptcy bill, and the same rationale he uses to support energy legislation, telecom-friendly legislation, and defense contractor-friendly legislation (such as his original support for the war).  You can see Wynn's allies in his PAC donations, which even after he ostensibly moved left after he 'learned his lesson' from Donna in 2006, are obviously right-wing.  He's not just getting cash from your standard financial services companies, he's pulling in cash from Walmart and the US Chamber of Commerce.  That's stunning.  That's a brazen 'I haven't changed' moment.  

Getting people like Wynn to support corporate-friendly policies has been a lynchpin of right-wing power, which means that Donna Edwards's challenge to Wynn is both critical and systemic.  This is not a normal primary challenge, this is a clash of two systems of power, of influence, and of ideas.  It's not a surprise that the Chamber is already weighing in on this race, for Wynn.  This primary was critical in 2006, when her underfunded campaign, which was dismissed in DC because she did no polling, no TV, and only a bit of direct mail, nearly toppled Wynn, who was seen as invincible.  It's even more critical now.  Donna is a real, legitimate candidate.  She is going to raise a lot of money, and she's going to fight for values and ideas that actually are progressive.  We lost in 2006, and we see what that got us - a Democratic Party that is only responsive when it's convenient for them.  We can't afford this kind of Democratic party, and we must support people like Donna in our movement to change it.

The choice here, in the primary, is so stark it's almost unbelievable.  Wynn, aside from getting cash from the US Chamber and Walmart, is one of 26 signatories to the letter encouraging the Presidentials to attend the CBC Institute's Fox News debate.  He's an opponent of net neutrality.  And though he repudiated his Iraq vote, he is still bringing in Harold Ford Jr. to kick off his campaign, an event at which Ford said we'd need to be in Iraq for a long time, a sentiment Wynn came very close to endorsing.

I'm a progressive because I believe in ideas, but I also believe, strongly, that we must give our ideas power through our force of argument, activism, and resources.  We need to build a better country, and the vehicle we have and will use is the Democratic Party.  As we've seen over the past four months, this Democratic Party isn't entirely ours.  Sometimes we're going to get greatness and investigations, a Congress that will do its job.  Sometimes we're going to get complete flaccidity sparked by fealty to silly people like Stuart Rothenberg and Kenny Baer.  But ultimately, we must give our own ideas force by making the argument that we're not going to go away, that our people are going to be in office, and that it is our ideas that must be taken seriously by the political system.

Donna Edwards has just been added to the Blue Majority page. I put $25 down for her campaign, which brings my total donations to Donna this cycle at $50.  I hope you'll join me.

Update [2007-6-11 17:52:26 by Matt Stoller]:: EMILY's List stands for 'early money is like yeast' for a good reason. I know it's not always fun to put up money now, when there's no horse race feeling to these contests. But it is the most important cash you can give. This is when a few thousand dollars can hire that critical staffer to help start a field organization, as opposed to October 2008, when a few thousand dollars will get thrown into the giant sucking television budget of a million. More to the point, if we want our ideas in Congress, we need to fight for them, and that means putting up cash when it makes a difference. Early cash helps unlock other money, like labor cash, who might be on the fence about who to endorse. It can help establish that critical sense of 'legitimacy', which is an ephemeral but critical quality in politics. Giving early to key races like this now is a sign of maturity and seriousness in politics; it's why the US Chamber and Walmart each wrote a check to Wynn a few months ago. They were making a statement that Wynn is their guy. We need to make that statement about Donna.

Tags: Al Wynn, Blue Majority, Donna Edwards, harold ford, MD-04 (all tags)

Comments

19 Comments

I'm in for sure

I donated to her campaign last cycle and would be happy to do so again.

by desmoinesdem 2007-06-11 12:48PM | 0 recs
Re: Adding Donna Edwards to the Blue Majority Page

I gave her $25 yesterday, primarily because of the sorry, assed, bogus Harold Ford, Jr.  This individual speaking that we should stay in Iraq!  This guy need to have a f'n "R" next to his name, for real...

by icebergslim 2007-06-11 01:08PM | 0 recs
Re: Adding Donna Edwards to the Blue Majority Page

  There.  You inspired me to make the largest political donation of my life (a whole $10).  I've never even made an out-of-state donation before.

by cilerder86 2007-06-11 01:12PM | 0 recs
How did Charlie Brown get his name???

I know you all want to know, it is actually a funny story. Last fall I was lucky enough to shoot Matt Stoller interviewing Charlie Brown -- check it out.

What I love about this page is the deference to local bloggers. In CA, we all love Charlie Brown and he is on a first name basis with a ridiculous number of the local netroots. With national support to fund, I'm sure we'll all be walking precincts again (it is a four hour round-trip train ride for me, but it was great to see two mydd'ers checking out precinct kits when I got there).

by Bob Brigham 2007-06-11 01:12PM | 0 recs
We better get on the ball and start funding

where we have an inherent, natural advantage or any 'victory' now or in 2008 or 2010 will be fleeting.

We need to start funidng OUR infrastucture yesterday.  And not to sound ass-kiss, but good, prog bloggers need to be paid enough to at least stay in the game.  Something tells me (because our side are not made up of mouthbreathers and can read) the netroots will grow more and more important for the foreseeable future.

by jgarcia 2007-06-11 01:16PM | 0 recs
Re: Let's Put Donna Edwards in the House

Edwards sounds awesome, but I gotta say I am more excited about Charlie.  Like blogswarm says, we have a great relationship with Charlie and his team out here last year.  I spend many a weekend out volunteering for Charlie last cycle and with a little more netroots help he can make up those last 3 points.

by juls 2007-06-11 01:33PM | 0 recs
Re: They always do it

Check it out.  A couple weeks ago I was reading "Rendezvous With Destiny."  FDR was complaining about businesses funding a combination of northern Republicans and southern Democrats to hamstring him.  That was after the Republicans got two of the biggest election spankings in US history (and the biggest back-to-back shellacking) ever in 1930 and 1932.  

FDR did just what you suggest,  Worked to replace conservative Democrats with people that were elected because they backed FDR.  The result was that 1934 was the start of the progressive legislation and not the end.

Ideally in 2008 we win 20 seats from the Republicans and turn 20 seats from the Heelots (from Walter Brennan, IIRC, in "Meet John Doe").  My gut reaction is that we are likely to do just that if the backers of Obama, Edwards, and Hillary start lobbing more bombs at the Heelots and fewer bombs at each other).  It might also be a good idea to target conservative Democrats with big bank accounts and big ambitions to at least bring them down to size.  Rob Andrews (NJ-1) fits that description to a T.

by David Kowalski 2007-06-11 01:47PM | 0 recs
I'm In

$30 for Edwards
$10 for Brown
$5 for BlogPAC
$5 for ActBlue

Best fifty I have spent since...well, never mind, but it sure feels good.

by Arthurkc 2007-06-11 02:03PM | 0 recs
Re: I'm In

Awesome.  It's smart money well spent.

by Matt Stoller 2007-06-11 04:54PM | 0 recs
Re: Let's Put Donna Edwards in the House

The Wynn/Edwards race seems to me to be a good reflection of the new reality in politics. The old reality was one where Karl Rove was an unbeatable genius, Bush's approval rating was through the roof (when viewed from today's prospective), and democratic politicans refused to go empty handed in the minority so they carried water for the other side.

Today's reality is different; 2006 was clearly a rejection of the direction that Bush and GOP governing were taking this country. Al Wynn, Joe Lieberman, Fox News and every single one of the republican candidates for President, except Ron Paul, simply could not comprehend that the election was a complete rejection of the system they had become so comfortable with. When such a scenerio occurs, in a democratic country there is only solution to this problem: kick the bums out.  

by bjschmid 2007-06-11 02:24PM | 0 recs
Re: Let's Put Donna Edwards in the House

Thanks for helping out Donna, everyone.  

One interesting note about Wynn's campaign kickoff which was noted in the comments on FSP:

Doug Gansler nor Jack Johnson can remotely be called "progressives."  And Peter Franchot, well, he may be a liberal, but loyalty has never been a strong suit.

What I think is more interesting is who wasn't there -- O'Malley, Van Hollen or pretty much anyone from Montgomery County other than Franchot.

Wynn is in trouble -- he twisted a lot of arms to come to this event, and not very many did.

And this is from a very active resident of the district.  Van Hollen controls the money and O'Malley might as well control the state party as Governor.  There is a good chance Donna will get lots of support from Moco pols, but if she could get O'Malley or Van Hollen's endorsement, whether direct or indirect though non-support of Wynn, it would be a big deal.

by andy k 2007-06-11 02:32PM | 0 recs
Re: Let's Put Donna Edwards in the House

Thanks Matt,

 You convinced me to donate money to a political campaign for the first time in many years. I don't even have a real job, being a college student, but I do intend on using $25 of the meager $200 I get weekly to support Donna Edwards. Please continue to recommend netroots heroes for donations, the only place I trust to tell me who's a great progressive candidate to donate to is mydd.com, no joke. I pay very close attention to politics, but I never have the inclination to donate to an organization or candidate unless I see a request here on mydd.com. Thanks Matt.

by theantidesi101 2007-06-11 04:37PM | 0 recs
Re: Let's Put Donna Edwards in the House

That's a high compliment, I will try to use that trust wisely.

by Matt Stoller 2007-06-11 04:53PM | 0 recs
Re: Let's Put Donna Edwards in the House

The actblue page mistakenly says MA-04, not MD-04

by liberalminded 2007-06-11 07:04PM | 0 recs
Celebrate Donna's birthday

For people in the DC area, I just got a message about a fundraiser (suggested donations starting at $50) on June 28:

Friends of Donna Edwards invite you to a Birthday Party and Reception with Donna Edwards in support of her bid for Maryland's 4th Congressional District

Thursday, June 28, 2007
Mott House
122 Maryland Ave, NE
Washington, DC 20002
6:00PM - 8:00PM

Send in your RSVP to Adrienne@DonnaEdwardsforCongress.com

by KCinDC 2007-06-11 08:59PM | 0 recs
Re: Let's Put Donna Edwards in the House

So what you're saying is "Better Democrats, please."

Do any of these "progressives" play poker?  Because the ones running this party really suck at playing poker.  Pathetically suck at it, and I'm sick and tired of my party getting their ass handed to them by the likes of Goodling and Sampson and Schlomanzki (whatever, I don't care if I spell the lying little trolls name right or not, he doesn't rate the respect) and Gonzales and Inhofe and Bush, you know, gutless, lying, useless twerps.

So if Donna can call a bluff and not shit her pants in the process I may toss her some coin.

by Duckman GR 2007-06-11 09:20PM | 0 recs
Re: Let's Put Donna Edwards in the House

We're in for $50. No eating out this week.

by anothergreenbus 2007-06-12 05:29AM | 0 recs
Re: Let's Put Donna Edwards in the House

Duckman,

No, what we're saying is that Donna is from the Democratic wing of the Democratic party, unlike Wynn, a liebermanesque Rethug in Dem's clothing.  Also unlike Wynn, who is in the pocket of the cable and telecom companies and supports privatizing the internet (which the feds funded with our tax dollars and those oft-maligned elitist academics designed and built), Donna strongly supports Net Neutrality.  

I happened to have a conversation about Net Neutrality with her at a political event in the 2006 primary, and not only is she on the right side of this issue, but she's a smart, charismatic winner of a candidate.

If you like a free press in the only place it exists anymore, that is, on the internet, you'd better support Net Neutrality. And Donna Edwards.

(just threw her some coin myself:) )

by ananke 2007-06-12 05:34AM | 0 recs
Re: Let's Put Donna Edwards in the House

The recent antics of some of the Democrats: caving to an unpopular president, secret trade deals, trying to gut state carbon dioxide standards, etc. as me really disenchanted right now.  

I have come to the conclusion that the way to reform our country is to is not just to defeat Republicans.  We have to hold Democrats to a standard, too.  I fully support this effort to take out Wynn.  And we shouldn't stop at Wynn.  Someone needs to go after Charlie Rangel and John Dingell, too.

But we should also put more effort into assistanting progressives that are already in office like Carol Shea-Porter.

by TheUnknown285 2007-06-12 07:22AM | 0 recs

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