Obama's old Senate seat must remain with the Democrats

This diary is not only an appeal for money on behalf of my friend, Illinois State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias, who is running for United States Senator from Illinois, it is also a plea on behalf of the Obama agenda in Congress. We can ill afford to lose even one seat in either chamber of Congress. And symbolically, we need to retain the seat once held by President Barack Obama.

Donate today directly to the campaign here, or donate on Act Blue here.

And what is my role in the campaign? I am an unpaid volunteer for Alexi Giannoulias. I plan on making phone calls on behalf of Alexi, knocking on doors, planting yard signs, writing and advocating on his behalf.

I first met Alexi in late 2005. On November 22, 2005, I received a phone call from Alexi. He was starting his campaign for Illinois State Treasurer then and I was the first grassroots group he called to enlist support.

Here is a quote from my book, Mr. and Mrs. Grassroots: How Barack Obama, Two Bookstore Owners, and 300 Volunteers Did It, concerning the phone call.

And along comes Alexi GiannouliasOn November 22nd I received a telephone call from Alexi Giannoulias. He said, “My name is Alexi Giannoulias and Barack Obama gave me your telephone number. I’m running for Illinois State Treasurer and Barack thought you might be willing to help.” I was taken aback. If true, I was honored that Obama thought so highly of Michelle and me. I had to find out. I was not sure about the Obama connection, so I had to check Giannoulias out with Shomon. I told him I would get back to him. He left his phone number.

It was true. As I detail in the book, the next couple of months were a struggle for us and for Giannoulias. His petitions were challenged by the regular Democratic Party, and an attempt was made to knock him off the ballot. Many of the petitions my grassroots group had collected were challenged. That was because an assumption was made that there must be something wrong with them. What could a small, grassroots group know about collecting petitions to place candidates on the ballot. But we had learned long ago to dot all the i's and cross all the t's and not take short cuts. It reminded me of the title of one of my favorite book titles, If You Haven't Got the Time To Do It Right, When Will You Find the Time To Do It by Jeffrey J. Mayer. But we found the time to do things right and did things the right way.

Alexi remained on the ballot.

I have watched Alexi grow as a politician during these years and more importantly, I have watched him grow into a generous, caring, and passionate human being. He cares deeply about the plight of the poor and down-trodden. And I will point out, he is a true progressive.

And what I truly love about him is his fighting spirit. He is a fighter and I want him in my corner every time. And he will answer all the questions about the bank. Just ask him.

But I will tell you that these questions are raised by his political enemies who view it as an opportunity to bring him down and divert attention away from the real issues facing this nation.

Republicans would rather discuss these things, because they have nothing to discuss when it ccomes to the burning issues. After all, the republicans have decide to beome the "Party of No."

But as I told you, he is a born fighter and won't go down. And it is in that spirit he will fight for you too. Again, to donate. Click here at the campaign web site or here at Act Blue. Help Alexi fight so he can fight for you.

Chicago City Hall Examiner and The Chicago Grassroots Political Examiner.

John is the author of a book pulished by The Elevator Group Mr. and Mrs. Grassroots: How Barack Obama, two Bookstore Owners, and 300 Volunteers did it. Also available an eBook on Amazon.

Make Congressman Heckler Pay

This low-clash trashy behavior of Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) during tonight's address is outlandish. While the President was dispelling the lies by the right regarding whether undocumented people in this country would be covered under health reform (they are not), Wilson took it upon himself to scream out:

"YOU LIE"

...at the President of the United States. You can let your feelings be known about Wilson's behavior by doing this:

Drop some scratch in the kitty for his opponent Rob Miller at Act Blue:

http://www.actblue.com/entity/fundraiser s/19079

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Twittering for Dollars

This is pretty cool:

Through a new program launched by ActBlue, an online fundraising group launched in 2004 that channels online donations to Democratic candidates, Democratic supporters can make donations by tweeting the amount and the candidate or party committee they want to give it to.

Donors with ActBlue accounts can tweet their donations in the following format: "donate $amount @candidate via @actblue"...and the money will go to the candidate or committee of one's choosing (assuming that candidate has registered through ActBlue. The Democratic National Committee, for instance, already has one).

This isn't likely to bring in millions for the Democratic Party, but it is important nonetheless as a further indication of what is to come. The Democratic success in 2008 followed in no small part the small-dollar donor revolution that poured hundreds of millions of dollars into the campaigns of Democratic candidates around the country. Whether it was the countless millions that went into the campaign of Barack Obama or the close to $5,000 the Netroots raised in small contributions to draft Tom Udall to run for the Senate in New Mexico -- an election he ended up winning by more than 22 percentage points -- internet fundraising made a huge difference for the Democrats. So, again, while this program might not the tool that will help the Democrats sustain their successes in recent cycles, it is an important harbinger of the technological advances in the coming years that will make it increasingly easy for the grassroots to play a large role in growing and sustaining the Democratic Party.

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Deep Thought

Reading this reminds me of a remarkable fact: The Republicans still don't have an answer to Act Blue, which has provided the infrastructure that has enabled nearly $100 million in contributions to flow to Democratic candidates in the past five years. The GOP still hasn't figured this one out?

By the way... This post initially came in the form of a tweet I put up about an hour ago. If you'd like to follow my on Twitter, where I have been posting stuff much more regularly in the last few weeks, here's my feed.

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Next week in Cambridge - The Progressive Revolution



If you happen to live in the Boston area, be sure to check out this excellent book event next week!

Reading Liberally Cambridge and ActBlue are hosting an talk with Mike Lux.  Lux will speak about his new book, The Progressive Revolution, and will take questions from the audience.

March 11, 7 PM
The Democracy Center
45 Mt. Auburn St, Cambridge MA
More info and RSVP at http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=54 225604059

I hope to see you there!

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