Young Electeds

Young Electeds

by digby

Watch that Youtube and then read this from Howie Klein:

I brought a 33 year old first time candidate with me to the [People for the American Way 30th anniversary] event, Dr. Lee Rogers, the Democratic opponent of right-wing carbuncle Buck McKeon. A few days before I asked him to come I had suggested his campaign to a DC mover-and-shaker... who laughed in my face. He vomited back a liturgy of statistics proving, in his limited mind, that McKeon was untouchable and that no Democrat, let alone a first time novice like Rogers, could possibly beat him. It didn't matter to him that Obama, albeit narrowly, won the district in 2008 and that the demographics are shifting precipitously away from the old white base that McKeon has used to prop up a long out-of-touch career. All that mattered were the Cook PVI (R+7) and that McKeon had beaten (unknown, hopelessly underfinanced) Democrats in 2010 (62-38%), 2008 (58-42%), 2006 (60-36%), etc... back into pre-history.

I imagine Lee hears a lot of this nay-saying. In fact, one of the things I admire about him is his positive spirit in the face of this kind of Insider negativity. The DCCC hasn't rushed to help him, despite McKeon, being one of the most heinous Republicans in the country, who, for example, has declared that there will be no defense budget next year unless Obama backs off implementing Don't Ask Don't Tell. He's the incredibly corrupt chairman of the House Defense Committee but in this case he's letting his Mormonism get in the way of protecting America and the hefty legalistic bribes he rakes in from defense contractors and arms manufacturers.

As I suspected he would be, Lee, a steel-nerved surgeon, seemed really moved by the presentation from the Young Elected Officials. I had introduced him to Alisha, an old friend, before the event and he had spent some time talking with her about how she-- the first African-American elected in Newt Gingrich's old Cobb County stomping ground, at 23 years old age-- had managed to overcome the heavy odds against her. "I was inspired," he told me yesterday "meeting Alisha and hearing how she and Angie overcame adversity, like age, to defy the political pundits and pollsters going on to win those races. It proves two things-- working harder than the other candidate makes a difference, and the voters can sense when an incumbent is arrogant with power. These two attributes are advantages to challengers, especially young ones with fresh ideas in this climate of gridlock partisanship. The basic definition of American democracy is liberty and justice for all, and this PFAW event helped me to realize that we still have many fights ahead of us." We sure do-- and if you'd like to help Lee overcome some of the obstacles he's have to overcome to succeed in replacing McKeon, you can do that on this Blue America ActBlue page.

I was at the ceremony too and I can tell you that this was a very inspiring moment. I don't know how much residual "hope and change" optimism in out there at the moment, but this certainly tapped into it. With the outside pushing hard through OWS and these young progressives pushing hard from the inside, you feel as if maybe there might be a chance.

Oh, and in case you think the older folks don't have anything to say on all this, get a load of the formidable Norman Lear:

Over the past several decades, the power-grabbing right has built a powerful infrastructure of radio and TV networks.

They've built think tanks, colleges and law schools.

And funded political groups that prepped the way for the Supreme Court, in Citizen's United-- to grant Corporations the right to provide any amount of financial backing to a candidate or a cause just like any other average citizen.

And all of it carried off with an air of holier-than-thou sanctity-- no less apparent than Pat Robertson's when he told me my arms were too short to box with God.

And now, as frightening as it is, where do we find that holier-than-thou sanctity most apparent in politics today?

Among the seven candidates attempting to prove in every debate we have seen that they are the right kind of Christian to be the Republican candidate for the Presidency of the United States.

In light of the circumstances we liberals and progressives have succumbed to, it is hard to remember that we-- not the right-- WE are the spiritual heirs to those Americans who struggled to end slavery and segregation-- to end child labor and win safe conditions and a living wage for workers.

And WE are the spiritual heirs to those who conceived of and fought for just about every bit of social legislation in the last century, legislation that everyone, left and right, now take for granted-- and that resulted-- until not that many years ago-- in the most flourishing, hopeful and empowered middle class in the history of nations.

Say what you will about liberal Hollywood, but this is one guy who put his money and his time where his mouth is and went out and created an institution for the long haul to fight the religious right and preserve the constitution. He deserves all the accolades he received that night. If only there were more like him.