I don’t know if the Saxby Chambliss race is making much news where you live, but down here in Alabama, Georgia being our next door neighbor and all, it’s rolling thunder. I’ll admit freely that I simply wasn’t tuned in to the Chambliss / Cleland battle six years ago. Learning about it later made my skin crawl. Chambliss intentionally smeared the name and record of a veteran who lost three limbs in Vietnam by accusing him of “breaking his oath to protect and defend the Constitution” and running a 9/11 themed ad that essentially equated Cleland with Osama bin Laden. It is of use to note that while Cleland was losing limbs in Vietnam, Chambliss was sitting home with a “bad knee.”
My friend and VetVoice blogger RockRichard has put up a great piece on Saxby Chambliss’ history of working against veterans’ issues. It is a long and distinguished record, including voting against the new GI Bill, voting against funding for veterans’ health care, and opposing funding for equipment and armor for troops. Check out Richard’s piece for the gories. I knew I didn’t like Saxby Chambliss when I heard about the disgusting tactics he used against Max Cleland. Seeing his record on veterans’ issues, especially on this Veterans’ Day, makes me like him even less.
Chambliss is again running against a Vietnam veteran: Jim Martin. Their battle has come down to the wire and is going into a run-off, as neither candidate reached the 50% + 1 threshold needed for victory in Georgia. Chambliss, however, had more votes than Martin and both candidates are pulling out all the stops to try and sway the voters of Georgia to pull them above that magical 50% line. In Chambliss’ case, this means pulling in the big GOP dogs, including John McCain and Mike Huckabee. It can be no surprise that the Chambliss campaign has also invited Sarah Palin, though she has yet to confirm. And Chambliss is falling back on tactics of old, running another 9/11 themed ad.
For Martin’s part, he is utilizing the Obama campaign’s ground troops, which made major in roads in the deeply red state of Georgia, causing McCain to win by only 5 points. And while a visit by the President-Elect is unlikely, simply putting out ads linking himself to Obama may be enough right now. Bill Clinton campaigned for Martin in the primary, but I have not seen any indication that he will do so in the run off. But Martin is not on his own, he has an entire country of progressives who can mobilize to put Saxby Chambliss down like a tired old dog.
How can you help? Make a donation to Jim Martin’s campaign. Travel to Georgia to knock on doors or make phone calls. (Note to the Martin campaign: there are energetic progressives all over the country willing to make phone calls on your behalf.) If you’re a Georgia resident, please get to the polls on December 2 and cast your vote for Jim Martin. The Obama campaign gave us a new model to follow. Let’s use it to get Jim Martin elected.
As we mentioned yesterday, Sen. Stevens (R-AK) was convicted on all seven counts in his corruption trial: “found guilty of accepting a bonanza of home renovations and fancy trimmings from an oil executive and then lying about it,” according to ABC News. There are a couple of things that fascinate me, in a train wreck sort of way, about this story.
First, Stevens is blaming his wife for this. Of course, right? All along, Stevens has said that his wife handled the finances and he just assumed everything was OK. Nevermind that he apparently had conversations directly with the owner of the construction company, VECO, and sent some of the employees thank you notes. Here’s my favorite line from the ABC article:
Stevens said he had no idea he was getting freebies. He said his wife handled the business of the renovation.
There it is. Blame it on the little woman.
Here’s the other great part of this story: Stevens isn’t going to drop out of the Senate race, even though, as a convicted felon in AK, he probably cannot vote in his own Senate race. The rules are a little murky here and there’s some question on whether he can vote before the judge sentences him … wacky … but the point is that he’s going to run after he’s been convicted of seven counts of fraud. And recently, because AK is a little nuts (sorry, folks, you are), he’s been slightly ahead in that race (like by one percentage point). Let’s hope that Alaskans come to their senses and don’t elect this guy.
This story is just too crazy. I can’t wait to see what happens next.
Update: MSNBC is reporting that McCain has done the right thing and called for Stevens to step down. It’s good to see a glimpse of the old McCain.
Sometimes, I am frighteningly naive. Yes, I was actually shocked recently to read that the Alaska Senate race pitting Mr. Under Indictment Stevens against his Democratic opponent Mark Begich was a dead heat. Maybe now that he’s been found guilty of all seven felony charges, he might drop some in the polls? Lawd ….
On the Chris Matthews Show last night, Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, (R) Minnesota, suggested that all members of Congress should be vetted to see who is anti-American in a stunning attempt to resurrect the ghost of Joseph McCarthy. Drawing a line between liberals, leftists and anti-Americanism, Bachmann went on to say that, “What I would say is that the news media should do a penetrating expose and take a look. I wish they would. I wish the American media would take a great look at the views of the people in Congress and find out if they are pro-America or anti-America.” Here’s video of the exchange.
After her appearance on Hardball, bloggers began calling for those outraged by her comments to donate to her opponent for her Congressional seat in MN-06, Elwyn Tinklenberg. A campaign called, “Time to kick Michele Bahman (sic) out of Congress,” was established and as of the time I write this, it has received $30,490 from 701 donors, killing it’s $10,000 goal. If you would like to contribute, visit ActBlue.
is one of the good guys. He’s running for Congress in Virginia’s Fifth District. Tom’s opponent, Virgil Goode, is running a despicable ad against him. The ad shows Tom with a beard, in a darkened image, obviously in an attempt to make him look ethnic (Muslim?) and scary. The ad attempts to paint Tom as the most liberal guy ever to run for office down there and so lenient on immigration that we all better run for the hills. For illustration purposes only, and certainly not to advertise for Virgil Goode, here’s the ad:
If you’re so inclined, head over to Tom’s site to help him fight this kind of nasty politics from the Goode campaign.
Update 11/5/08: It appears that Tom has beaten Goode. While we have yet to see a major news outlet declare for Tom, the evidence was strong enough for Tom to declare victory. A source familiar with the race called me last night to confirm that the seat went to Tom.
Update 11/6/08: For those taking me to task for not watching Tom’s ads, here’s my reply:
One of these days, folks will realize that there’s a difference between ads telling the truth and simply stating fact and attack ads: distorting truth and telling falsehoods.
Goode has done some extraordinary things: holding a fundraiser on 9/11 (Tom and his staff were packing care packages for our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan);and fussing that there are too many Muslims in Congress (there’s one, Keith Ellison, and we are a nation which believes in the freedom on religion); just to mention two.
Tom has also done some extraordinary things: he helped force Liberian dictator Charles Taylor from power (before he ever ran for any office); and he has organized against the genocide in Darfur by, among other things, founding 24hoursforDarfur.org; just to mention two. I’ll take Tom’s record.