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Anybody would be better: an ongoing series

By Owen Paine on Saturday January 14, 2006 06:27 PM

Number two on our hit list (of course Hillary is number one): Blue Dog Jane Harman can be had.

Last time as a very pliable and well-financed incumbent member of Orthrus' junior-head party, she won in a dog-trot (2 to 1) over a literally zero-financed token elephant act. But recall it was just a couple of cycles ago that she barely nosed out then one-term Republican Kuykendall to retake "her seat". The tally: 48% to 47%.

Her district has a take-away "prog" base large enough to pull her under -- if they're willing to walk away.

"The beach-lined district, which includes Los Angeles International Airport, tends to be fiscally conservative but socially liberal. Democratic and Republican registration is almost equal... roughly a fifth of voters register with third parties or decline to state their affiliation."
Wammo! Run a peace green type -- maybe a celebrity -- is Brad Pitt available? -- and she's history.

All you Left Democrats -- there's only two possibilities; either the Democratic Party can be turned into something useful, or it can't. If you think it can, then Job One has gotta be to get rid of dedicated NSA spy backers and all-too-open friends of war in the Middle East like Harman.

Do a little Googling on "jane harman" and iran to see what this Blue Dog stands for.

Comments (1)


Marcy Winograd is the upstart progressive Democrat surging forward to upend incumbent Congresswoman Jane Harman in the 36th Congressional District in Southern California. Winograd is the progressives' dream candidate: longtime organizing and grassroots activism, pre-2003 anti-Iraq war credentials, fighting against a Blue Dog Democrat who, when running for governor in 1998, proudly accepted the mantle of "Best Republican in the Democratic Party." Fortunately, she lost that race to the uninspiring Gray Davis, but that led her back to the House, where she squeaked by in 2000.

Winograd ran a Democratic headquarters on the west side of LA in 2004, registered thousands of voters, conducted swing state trips for GOTV, has been a strong voice for voter protection, was voted Democrat of the Year in 2004, and is president of Progressive Democrats of LA. She has paid some serious Democratic dues, peripatetically supporting local progressive Democrats in their races for City Council, mayor (Villaraigosa), assembly, secretary of state and governor.

Harman still harkens back to her close race in 2000 as the reason she should be immunized from any Democratic challenge from her left: after all, she says, there is a heavy defense industry presence in the district, and she barely beat her Republican challenger that year.

But things have changed profoundly since that close race. Yes, the defense industry remains a presence, but the Democrats in California turned her competitive district into a safe haven for any Democrat -- and indeed, moved the district well to Harman's left -- by acing out the wealthy Republican strongholds of Rolling Hills and Palos Verdes [now the home of a very upscale Trump development], and adding in the liberal bastions of Mar Vista, Palms and the heavily union harbor area of San Pedro, where Harry Bridges is an icon. John Kerry won in the 36th, 60-40.

Harman has repeatedly voted for the Iraq war, and only with Bush's ratings sinking has she made noises about wanting some kind of exit strategy. On Meet the Press on February 12, Harman -- one of the only Democrats in the world who was briefed about Bush's unlawful domestic spying -- claimed she could not reveal what was going on, and that it didn't occur to her to question the legality of the program, since after all, all she got were the "operational details" and she was helpless -- Harvard law degree in hand -- without her staff in the briefing room. Indeed, she was more upset that the NY Times (belatedly) revealed the story than she was about the encroachment on our civil liberties, and was eager to retroactively make the surveillance OK with the legislative branch.

Harman is also pro-business, voting for the anti-consumer bankruptcy bill.

Winograd, on the other hand, is not one to accept the "go along to get along" approach to governing and making laws. Her emphasis will be anything but keeping Bush's secrets from leaking, and hanging with the good old boys who let the Halliburtons of the world run rampant and unchecked. She is not an anti-defense at all costs wingnut, but can't help but perceive that our outspending the rest of the world combined is both excessive and counterproductive, both for domestic items (e.g., education, universal health care, truly fixing social security), and to get a better handle on the root of many problems abroad, such as poverty that can actually be rooted out.

When people meet and hear Winograd, they are amazed and delighted at her energy, enthusiasm, charisma, determined optimism, and willingness to take on this Harman/Goliath not for any personal objective, but to make a "take back the House" goal a meaningful one, not merely one of counting heads.

Given the change in the demographics of the District, and the buzz that is developing around Winograd's candidacy -- in unprecedented fashion, she was able to block Harman from receiving the party's pre-endorsement in advance of the state convention -- this is a winnable race. She needs the resources and the volunteers, and whether or not you live in California or the 36th, check out winogradforcongress.com, and let's knock out the west's congressional Joe Lieberman and send a message to the party establishment that we do, indeed, want to take back the House, but with feeling, with a worthwhile and focused cause, and with the motivation to restore the party to days when it had its own soul, not one transplanted from the Republican party.

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