You've all seen the ads on blogs all over the sphere for weeks, and today is the day for the Alan Grayson Money bomb.
In the 2006 cycle the candidate who attracted the most support from Blue America donors was Ned Lamont, with his campaign that served notice on the Democratic Establishment that the grassroots was unwilling to just eat up whatever crap it was served up from Inside the Beltway hacks. Blue America raised over $77,000 for him in our first year in action. The following cycle, saw another inspiring progressive primary challenger, Donna Edwards, attract the most donors and the largest amount (almost $65,000). It may be too early to tell but it looks like 2010 cycle will mark the year of Alan Grayson. It's still only 2009 but Blue America has already raised over $30,000 for him without having even made an official endorsement! We've been collecting contributions for him at No Means No, a page dedicated to members of Congress who voted against Obama's supplemental war budget in June, and at Getting Grayson's Back, a page dedicated to standing up for him when he gets GOP noses out of joint by telling the truth about their health care obstructionism.
Today Blue America is joining a netroots money bomb effort on behalf of Grayson, urging our community to band together and answer the Inside-the-Beltway and Villager mentality that says there's no room for a plainspoken truth-teller like Grayson in Congress. Nevermind, they tell you, that he studied economics at Harvard, then worked as an economist, then studied law at Harvard and then successfully pursued war profiteers and Bush cronies in Iraq-- even before being elected to Congress in a Republican district and becoming the scourge of banksters and assorted evil-doers dragged before the House Financial Services committee. No, to the Villagers, he's all about "outlandish rhetoric;" he's "the left's Michele Bachmann;" he's "pugilistic" and a "wing nut."
I actually think that's just fine. "Pugislitic, outlandish rhetoric" by a super smart, self-made millionaire, economist/lawyer is just what the doctor ordered in the Democratic Party. Indeed, I think we should put him and Michelle Bachman on a program and send them around the country for a series of Lincoln Douglas debates.
Grayson is throwing the Overton Window wide open and showing the Democrats how to appeal to average people in this populist era --- from the left. He's almost the only one. Of course the establishment doesn't like or understand it, but that's to be expected. They don't want to upset Real America by being too hot. (Liberals, you see, must always be cool or they'll scare the rubes.)
Grayson gets that this is a hot moment and it demands hot rhetoric. Politics as they've been played for decades are changing. We are now a realigned country of two polarized parties with different worldviews where a more parliamentary style of governance is going to reign. The days of Tip and Ronnie sharing a scocth after work are long over. But it's also a hot moment in history. Something is happening in this country and around the globe. The near collapse of the financial system and this dreadful recession have exposed the disgusting income inequality that was kept hidden beneath a pile of credit card bills and home equity lines for decades. People are feeling it and seeing it for the first time and they are demanding that it change. The Republicans are pulling out their old well worn playbook and blaming the liberals and the government for this (and it is partially responsible) while the Democrats appear to be blaming ... nobody. That is a mistake. This is is a blaming moment too.
Sadly, the Democrats seem to only be able to speak to this in wonkish, elitist terms, believing that (the illusion of) technocratic competence is what people desire and they are dismissing the anger and betrayal that's bubbling up from beneath. The systemic problems of inequality, job loss and lowering living standards in this country are not being addressed by the left and unless they are, it's very likely that people will turn to the right, which always has an easy set of answers to these kinds of questions. And they're not answers any of us are going to like.
Grayson gets this moment. He makes people uncomfortable. He shakes up their cozy little world and exemplifies what to them is the more frightening future -- one in which the left empowers the average voter to demand something more than symbolic change. Who knows what might happen?
Today Blue America is asking you to go to the Alan Grayson Money Bomb page, CongressmanWithGuts.com and donate to a congressman who might just show the Democratic Party how to talk to ordinary Americans in this new populist era. And if we're lucky he won't be alone for long and this will lead to other Democrats realizing that they can do the same thing.
He'll be live blogging with John Amato at Crooks and Liars this morning at 9AM, PT (noon in Orlando). Ask Grayson if he's willing to debate Michelle Bachman. (I confess, the idea gives me a real chuckle.)