Progressive values control the state and national agenda

The post-election pundits claim the national election results were a clear call for “bipartisanship” and governing from the “center”. In looking at this concept more closely, one has to ask whether such conclusions are based on any measure of fact or are simply the fantasies of more delusional characters who think the Democrats have been in the play at all during the past six years in Washington.
Implicit in that analysis is that both parties were not only engaged in the process, but were motivated by their polar opposites. The fact is that since the Republicans took over both the Executive as well as the Legislative branches of government, the Democrats haven’t even been able to participate in the process of governing. No Democratic bills have gone to hearing; there were no oversight hearings in which Democrats have been represented proportionately on these panels. In other words, the right-wing extremists have tried to rule as a one-party country, a process finally ending with the clear and unequivocal rejection of such anti-democratic efforts that lie exclusively at the hands of this White House and the out-going Republican-controlled Congress.
Here in California, the similar claim is that the people of California also want bipartisanship and more centrist leadership. Yet, how does one reach that conclusion when Schwarzenegger virtually ran his re-election campaign as a Democrat? Running around the state with democrats, signing the global warming measure, the increase in the miminum wage measure and easing the cost of some prescription drug costs for seniors—-all measures he opposed until this year.
So what really gives here–and how should progressives be responding and defining ourselves in the weeks and months ahead?

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The Work We Have To Do

Cross-posted on Governor Phil
Tuesday’s election results were not what we wanted. And electing Arnold Schwarzenegger over Phil Angelides will not move this state forward as a leader for the nation. This we know. What is less clear, and what we must sort through now, is why we got the results we did.
There will be a lot of theories as to what caused Phil’s loss. Certainly there were a variety of factors, not the least of which is going up against a celebrity incumbent Governor who can summon an admiring gaggle of print and tv journalists with the snap of his fingers. But we also must confront the brutal facts of our own weaknesses, and the weaknesses of this campaign, if we want to learn anything from this experience and prepare for the fights ahead on the road to 2010.
At the top of the list for California progressives is figuring out the language and the narrative around taxes. We tried to push this on Governor Phil, but Phil’s own website still invoked conservative frames of “tax relief” when discussing his economic plans. As this race showed, relentless anti-tax attacks are about the only thing left for Schwarzenegger-style Republicans to beat us on. It is very easy for them to steal all of our other progressive issues and win over Democrats (minimum wage, environment, education.) We can expect the next moderate Republican candidate, who I predict will be newly elected Insurance Commissioner Poizner, to follow this formula in the future.

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The short version of our election analysis

No question November 7th was a tidal wave in national politics and for progressives, a good day indeed. Actually, it was a good day for America. We have hopefully seen the fall of arrogant,corrupt, right-wing extremist leadership in this country and the future can only be seen, at least at this moment, as bright.
California’s election night was a mixed bag. As the rest of the country is trending blue, we found ourselves with an election that was so controlled by millions of dollars—from Schwarzenegger to several of the key propositions, that we can’t help but believe we MUST take the money out of the process to get California back to the work and the will of the people.
In a nutshell, then:
Speak Out California helped educate our state’s voters-especially about the down-ticket races that got far less media attention the the Governor’s race or the ballot initiatives. It’s important that the hotly contested races on which Speak Out California focused—Lt. Governor, Secretary of State and Controller resulted in victories for John Garamendi, Debra Bowen and John Chiang.
Money still talks way too much in California elections—look at the numbers—big business invested heavily in Schwarzenneger and thwarting progressive policies that would lead to better health care, energy independence and clean elections. Superior funding resulted in victories of profit over the public good.
We need to better coordinate our efforts to insure we keep California Blue and Progressive. Too many of our voters were fooled by the power of money over principle. Too many of the key constitutional races were far closer than they should have been. California must lead the nation—and as Bill Clinton said, “Embrace the Future”
We must do better…….

Moral clarity

This is a mailer from the John Doolittle campaign, a Republican running in the 4th Congressional District…

Click on it to see it and the other pages full size.
It’s tempting to not respond, to say this kind of thing, like the dirty robocalls the Republicans are using all across the country, are such sleazy insults both to the candidates and to the voters that these tactics deserve no response. A lot of stories on negative tactics have been written in the past few weeks that have made it sound like these levels are being sunk to by both sides in equal proportion, but that simply isn’t true: the right is using slimeball desparation tactics far, far more frequently than the left. To accuse a 26 year Air Force pilot who has flown missions in Vietnam, Grenada, Panama, Lebanon, Libya, various places during the Cold War and Iraq after the first Gulf War, and whose kid is headed over to Iraq for his fourth tour of duty in a month, of Nazi sympathies is so profoundly disgusting that it’s hard to think of what response might do it justice.
Maybe so, but people who disagree with this kind of tactic have gone too long in not answering things like this…

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Get Out The Vote!

Election Day is just hours away now, but that is still plenty of time to get out and talk to more voters, reminding them to go to the polls or turn in their absentee ballots on Nov. 7.
Throughout the state, the Democratic Party and the California Labor Federation are organizing volunteers to support progressive candidates and get the word out about the good, the bad and the ugly on statewide propositions.
>> Click here to find a labor office near you!
>> Click here for a list of Democratic Party field offices!
Remember, it is now too late to mail absentee ballots. If you still have one in your possession, you’ll have to drop it off sometime before Tuesday to your county registrar, or to any polling place on Tuesday.
>> Click here to look up your county elections office, and to find your polling place!
Voting is your chance to have a say in who represents you and what laws govern you. Don’t let this opportunity to participate in your democracy pass you by!

Awesome GOTV in CD4

First on the way up Friday night we met these guys…

They weren’t exactly with us on many issues, but we had a nice chat anyway. It’s always suprising how much common ground opposing sides can find if everyone’s willing to just talk, not argue. We stayed with The Amazing Julia Rosen from

The man himself, Lt. Col. (ret) Charlie Brown. It’s astonishing that a candidate this good could possibly lose against a pile of corruption like Doolittle, but that’s how bad things have gotten (and also indication of just how far a little race baiting will still get you in some parts of our state, unfortunately)…

The big crowd was definitely into him and Ohio superstar gate-crasher Paul Hackett…

There’s more good stuff in the CA elections flickr pool.

Whose government is it, anyway?

Dear Progressive California Voter:
Chances are you stopped paying attention to the barrage of increasingly shrill ads on TV a long time ago, and are making up your mind based on far more reliable information. You’ve studied the sample ballot and checked out Speak Out California’s Voter Guide, and the various candidate and initiative websites. You’ve discussed issues with your friends and mulled things over.
Now it’s time to get out there and vote. And encourage your like-minded friends to get to the polls. Better yet, get in touch with campaigns you are supporting, and spend a couple hours between now and Tuesday night helping with turnout.
This is an election for the history books. War and Peace. Global warming. The future of our state’s schools, roads, and infrastructure. Races that will decide the direction of our state, and whether we move forward or continue to be exploited by the powerful special interests that dominate in Sacramento and Washington.
The Bush-Rove machine claims they have every California voter’s private preferences and shopping habits sliced and diced, and are targeting their voters like you wouldn’t believe. Don’t let them drown us out.
Wake up next Wednesday morning knowing you had a hand in saving our planet and reclaming the precious vestiges of our democracy. As Ben Franklin said, the Founders gave us a democracy–if we can keep it.

McClintock and Strickland–Too Extreme For California-Failing to Protect Consumers

The deeper we dig into the records of both Lt. Governor Candidate Tom McClintock and Controller Candidate Tony Strickland, the more we see their consistent approach of turning their backs on consumers to protect their big corporate sponsors.The records of these two are so shockingly devoid of any concern for the health and well-being of the community that we want to make sure you have all the information necessary to see just how dangerous these two stealth- radical- fringe candidates really are.
As Lt. Governor, he would be empowered to appoint up to 5 members of the Committee that will oversee Prop 71-the bond measure passed overwhelmingly by the people of California to actively pursue stem-cell research here in California. This would give McClintock, as Lt. Gov. the opportunity to sabotage this important work!
For more on this story, check out the excellent article at the California Progress
Our own post today on McClintock and his clone,Strickland, comes from the Consumer Federation of California, one of our leading consumer watchdog groups in the state, and Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety—the go-to group for all car-related consumer issues.
Candidates in Neck-and Neck Lt. Gov. and Controller Races
Have extreme anti-consumer records on safety, consumer issues
Consumer groups warn that candidates McClintock and Strickland, who have received last-minute millions in their tightening races for Lt. Governor and Controller, have records of opposing consumer protections including popular mainstream auto safety and other pro-consumer measures enacted in California, often with overwhelming support.
“McClintock and Strickland are both out of step on issues that Californians overwhelmingly support,” said Richard Holober, Executive Director of the Consumer Federation of California. “On issues ranging from protecting the
public from defective products to stopping phone companies from ripping off
consumers, they consistently voted for big business and against consumers.”
On auto safety issues, McClintock voted against measures enacted in California to:
Require that kids be restrained in child safety seats
Establish graduated licensing for teenagers
Prohibit leaving children unattended in vehicles
Require that air bags that inflated in a crash be replaced with air bags that
meet federal safety standards
Tighten the lemon law regarding vehicles with life-threatening safety defects
Restrict hands-on cell phone use while driving
Establish the Car Buyer’s Bill of Rights
Both candidates also voted for legislation that would have increased access to “alcopops” among underage teenagers, that was vetoed by Gov. Schwarzenegger. Several of the most important auto safety/consumer protection bills McClintock opposed had passed with overwhelming bi-partisan support and were signed into law by Republican governors. Strickland, who has been in office a relatively short period of time, has a similar voting record, with a few exceptions. “Their records on auto safety issues are very troubling, because vehicle crashes are a leading cause of death and injury among California’s children and adolescents, and they opposed laws that have been effective in reducing that toll,” said Rosemary Shahan, President of Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety.
For specifics on McClintock’s extremist record on auto safety issues, click “more”

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McClintock and Strickland–Too Extreme for California–Threatening Our Working Families

Here is the third in a series of discussions and reasons why Lt. Governor candidate Tom McClintock and Controller Candidate, Tony Strickland are too extreme for our state and need to be defeated in the coming election by voting for John Garamendi for Lt. Governor and John Chiang for State Controller. Not only are Garamendi and Chiang eminently more qualified for these positions, but they share our values for a California that honors hard work and is fair to working people, as contrasted with the extremist Bush administration mentality espoused by McClintock and Strickland that believes Corporate America can do no wrong and should not be accountable to taxpayers or their own employees.
Our friends at the California Labor Federation have supplied us with the following information about the voting records of these two right-wing extremists who believe corporate profits should trump people and any sense of responsibility of good corporate citizenship.
Their comments follow here :

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