Blue Majority: Dan Seals for Congress (IL-10)
by Matt Stoller, Wed Sep 26, 2007 at 03:36:13 PM EDT
The next addition to the Blue Majority page is Dan Seals, who is running in Illinois's 10th district against Republican Mark Kirk. The district is one of the bluest in the country held by a Republican, going for Kerry over Bush in 2004 by 53-47. Seals ran a hard race in 2006, and had a heart-breaking and narrow loss. Running for office is incredibly difficult; you must work 14 hour days for months, with almost no income, no sleep, limited family time, and no exercise.
You have to beg for money from anyone you've ever met, and you get yelled at by activists on both sides. Meanwhile, voters are looking to be persuaded that they can trust you, and while your arguments make sense to you and your staff, you can never tell if voters believe you. It is incredibly difficult, and almost everyone loses their first time out. A successful political movement helps not just those who win, but those who take risks and lose, because without risk-taking, change cannot happen. And that's why we're in this. Seals gave up his career, his family life, and his privacy in 2006, and we're going to make sure that he, like Eric Massa, Darcy Burner, and Charlie Brown, gets to finish the job.
As for Kirk, it's pretty simple why this guy has to go. He's considered a 'moderate' Republican by many anonymous strategists in insider publications, because apparently in DC, up is down. Sometimes he breaks with his party when we don't need his vote, but the reality is closer to the video above, where Kirk ran away from an Iraq veteran so he wouldn't have to answer questions about his stance on the war. The camera man is an AAEI organizer named Josh Lansdale, who also happens to be an Iraq vet. I wrote this episode up in July.
Kirk likes to portray himself as a moderate Republican, and he even went to the White House earlier this year to talk about Iraq with George Bush. In fact, The Hill reported that Karl Rove came down on Kirk hard for leaking this 'confrontation' to the press, and Kirk has quieted down.
Josh is an organizer for AAEI, and his goal is to stop the war by getting members of Congress to come out on Iraq. In this case, he went to the event trying to get Kirk to go on the record with what he said in the White House and what his current position is on Iraq. Does he support a withdrawal? Does he support timelines? Where is he on the surge? People who attended the event said that Kirk was wishy washy, but Josh couldn't get a direct report. This episode took place at an event where Kirk keynoted eight local Chambers of Commerce coming together. Josh had bought a ticket online, but was not allowed to attend, with organizers claiming the event had been sold out as they were selling tickets nearby. So Josh eventually had to find Kirk out back, with this video camera.
The district, blue and getting bluer, is going to eat Kirk alive on Iraq, and he's pushing extremely hard to be perceived of as moderate. He's even going so far as to propose 'bipartisan' solutions with Bush Dog Democrat Dan Lipinski, as Kos noted earlier this month.
The Lipinski-Kirk plan calls for a phased withdrawal similar to the one that U.S. Gen. David Petraeus outlined on Monday. Under the plan, one troop brigade would return to the U.S. in December and three more would be removed in the spring, without replacement. It would provide for troop levels in July 2008 of about 130,000, which is equal to "pre-surge" troop levels.
Got that? We'd simply hit the "reset" button, taking 10 months to get us back to the pre-surge status quo. And somehow, this "bipartisan" bill (which Bush will announce this week anyway) is supposed to be a solution to anything?
Nope, it's two endangered congressmen -- one a Republican, the other a Lieberdem -- clinging together for dear life in the face of an unpopular war that they in reality support. Their actions don't change the facts on the ground (the surge was always unsustainable for the long haul). It does nothing to end a conflict in which a solution is far beyond our grasp.
We've already got Lipinski in our cross-hairs, and it's going to be tough to take down the Chicago Democratic machine. But wouldn't it be sweet if our response to Kirk and Lipinski's bipartisan shill plan to keep troops in Iraq indefinitely was a bipartisan response of getting rid of both of them?
Yes, it would. Please throw a few coins to Dan Seals for Congress on Blue Majority.