We are! OK, I know Joe Sestak isn’t the most progressive of progressives (especially when it comes to the war in Afghanistan), but next to Arlen Specter, Sestak is practically Bernie Sanders! And Bill Halter might not be a true progressive either, but if he can get Blanche Lincoln out of the Senate from the left, that’s good enough for me today.
The truly progressive candidate in the Kentucky Senatorial primary, Jack Conway, did win! In fact, with 226,773 votes, he garnered more than Rand Paul, the guy who’s gotten all the headlines (with 206,159 votes) or his losing opponent, Trey Grayson (124,238 votes). The other Democrat in the race, Dan Mongiardo, who lost to Conway even got more votes that Rand (221,269)! I’d say that bodes well for November, even if the media (Keith Olbermann included) likes telling us that Democrats vote in larger numbers than do the Republicans in primary elections in Kentucky, but always lose in the general.
Howie Klein of Down With Tyranny joined me for the first hour tonight to look at last night’s results, and point us in the direction of some other great progressive challengers to incumbent Republicans and/or Blue Dog Democrats in upcoming races.
Howie and DWT, along with John Amato at Crooks & Liars and Digby at Hullabaloo, runs the Blue America PAC. They actively seek out truly progressive candidates to help. They also have a special Senate election ActBlue page to help Sestak, Halter, Conway, and Elaine Marshall (in NC).
And Gotta Laff from The Political Carnival joined me to play and talk about her latest special edition “Blunt” video.. This one in honor of Elena Kagan and the “controversy” surrounding her sexual orientation, “Do I Look Like a Lesbian?”
It’s the first big primary day of the 2010 midterm elections. The two races we’ll be most interested in are the two Democratic Senate primary contests in Pennsylvania and Arkansas.
In Arkansas, Lt. Gov. Bill Halter is challenging incumbent conservadem Blanche Lincoln. In Pennsylvania, Congressman Joe Sestak is running against Senator Arlen Specter. Tonight, we’ll hear the interview I did with Sestak on Friday, and we’ll also reach out to Will Bunch, senior writer at the Philadelphia Daily News to get his take on the contest as we wait for the polls to close.
My pal Howie Klein at DownWithTyranny.com has a few great primers on primary day: Happy Primary Day and Will Democratic Voters Dump Conservative Hacks Arlen and Blanche Tomorrow?
Another huge primary contest comes up on June 8 in California, when progressive challenger Marcy Winograd takes on incumbent Blue Dog Jane Harman. She’ll be with us at the beginning of the show (6pm ET) and will take listener questions at 800-795-1159.
We’ll also get an update on where the oil spewing from the floor of the Gulf of Mexico is headed from Dr. Jeff Masters, director of meteorology and co-founder of Weather Underground. Follow Jeff’s blog here.
What a way to end the week! Today was a strange, strange day.
The stock market went over the cliff because some trader typed the letter B instead of M and traded billions instead of millions of futures of something, Joe Lieberman introduced legislation to strip citizens of their citizenship, it was the “National Day of Prayer” (in a country founded on the idea of separation of church and state), the UK held an election and nobody won, and the floor below the Gulf of Mexico is still spewing an oil geyser that could threaten our country’s coastlines and millions of people’s lives and livelihoods for generations to come. Yes, I’d say it qualifies as a Strange Day of The Doors magnitude.
And we wrapped up the week with a visit from Howie Klein of Down With Tyranny who filled us in on the primary results from this past Tuesday, and the three coming up a week from Tuesday in Pennsylvania, Kentucky and Arkansas… and we did talk a bit about the hypocrisy of George Rekers, the homophobic homosexual co-founder of the Family Research Council who hired a “luggage carrier” from the male prostitution site RentBoy.com.
And on that note, I wish you a happy weekend. Talk to you Monday… Radio or Not!
Well, we’re still not quite sure. We do know that he’s got big balls! He’s the Lt. Gov of Arkansas, and he’s mounted a primary challenge to incumbent CoservaDem Senator Blanche Lincoln and, for that, I love him. But before I jump on the Halter bandwagon and sing his praises, I want to know a bit more about him.
Some groups are painting him as a “progressive populist” and helping him raise lots of money, while others are proceeding a bit more cautiously. Howie Klein of DownWithTyranny is working hard to get the real scoop on Halter. So far, he’s come up with conflicting opinions from people who’ve worked closely with him. DWT today asks “Is Bill Halter a Progressive We Can Trust?” with a guest commentary by Lara Bergthold who, in 2004 worked with Halter when she served as National Political Director for General Wesley Clark’s presidential bid. She says, “A conservative Democrat who consistently and loudly touted his pro-military, pro-business beliefs running as a progressive populist? It’s been a couple years since I’ve lived in Arkansas, but the definition of what makes someone progressive sure has changed.”
Howie Klein is still waiting for an interview with Halter in order to decide whether or not to add him to Blue America’s Send The Democrats A Message fundraising page. He’ll come back on the show as soon as he speaks with him to give us his thoughts. (BTW, I have an interview request in too…)
We moved on from Howie to a conversation about the sad state of labor in the US. The executive council meeting of the AFL/CIO is going on this week in Orlando, as union leaders plot their strategy for the 2010 elections. In an interesting related move, the AFL/CIO today backed out of their support of Lincoln, and pledged $3 million in support to Bill Halter! I spoke with Amy Dean, author of A New New Deal — How Regional Activism Will Reshape the American Labor Movement about the challenges facing labor unions in today’s political climate.
And finally, my friend and former Air America colleague Jack Rice joined me to talk about his recent trip to Haiti. He’s posted some amazing video on his site, and drove home the need for people to remember that the tragedy continues there, long after the cameras have departed.
We also talked a bit about the fact that Chile suffered an even more powerful 8.8 quake, yet America seems to have little interest in the tragedy unfolding there. Perhaps we have earthquake/disaster fatigue. But we need to keep those people in our thoughts and hearts. The Nation has a great piece today on ways to help out the people of Chile.