Reports from the Field/Battleground Updates - The Kerry Campaign in Wisconsin

William, Scott and I are heading to Wisconsin to help Kerry win the Presidency and take this country back from the special interests. This will be our daily Blog. It is my intention to file reports on our activities every single day from 10/17/04 – 11/03/04. This will be our “Report from the Field”, if you will. Here you can find out what kind of exciting activities we are up to in Wisconsin. You can also get our take on how the campaign is fairing in this great state.

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Another Wisconsin Newspaper comes out for Kerry: Milwaukee's Shepard Express

Vote Like Your Life Depends On It

Then there is the question of jobs. George Bush is the first president since Herbert Hoover--in the early 1930s--to have fewer Americans working at the end of his term than when he started. Other presidents have had wars, recessions and other catastrophes, but they still managed to guide the economy uphill, except for George Bush. In contrast, the Clinton administration created 23 million jobs over the course of eight years.

Given what's at stake--perhaps your life--it is clear that we can't take the chance on four more years of George Bush. John Kerry is the clear, positive choice for president. (Click here for full endorsement)

- Shepherd Express - 413 N. 2nd St. #150Milwaukee, WI 53203


Blogger Robert L. Leonard said...

Published on Saturday, October 30, 2004 by The

Progressive Populist

The End of an Error?


As this editorial is written, the general election campaign is approaching its final week. By the time most readers get this issue in the mail, the election will be decided -- or at least the ballots will have been cast.

We are cautiously optimistic that John Kerry will be elected president. Polls show the race is tight, with the Democrat leading narrowly in battleground states. That means the contest likely will be decided by the strength of party organizations and their affiliates. Progressive groups, including labor unions and the America Votes coalition, appear to be well-positioned to get out the Democratic vote.

Republicans will get out their votes, too, but they also have engaged in widespread voter suppression programs, from officials who nit-pick voter rolls to eliminate likely Democratic voters, to dirty tricks, such as registering voters and then throwing away Democratic registrants in Nevada and Oregon, and perhaps other states, according to media reports. Republicans have been pretty open about their determination to keep African Americans from voting, where possible. Democrats have assembled legal teams to be prepared to contest Republican vote shenanigans around the nation.

If you see electoral fraud, call the national vote fraud hotline, toll-free, at 1-866-OUR-VOTE (687-8683). To find out how to preserve an honest count after the election, contact Nick Biddle of "Save the Election," phone 541-385-5998 or email

Ralph Nader's quixotic rerun for the presidency has not done him any credit this year. Journalist David Corn reproaches his former mentor elsewhere in this issue, but I note that Ralph has spent most of his campaign just trying to get his name on state ballots. It may be proof of unfair ballot access laws that he had so much trouble gaining petition signatures that he had to rely on Republican operatives to help him in several battleground states, but in the process he has alienated many of his natural allies in the progressive movement. It's hard to figure out what good he accomplished.

In the end, the 1% to 2% of the vote that Nader can expect to draw probably won't have much real impact on the election. His showing might surpass the margin of victory in one or two key states, which risks setting up another four years of bitter recriminations. That will only prove that some fundamentalists on the left would rather accept the greater evil of George W. Bush Vol. 2 than vote for what they consider a lesser evil. Already, progressives who have joined the Democratic coalition are being denounced as sellouts while Naderites are framed as scapegoats if Kerry loses. Meanwhile, Bush signs another $148 billion tax break for corporations ...

We would rather advance progressive interests when we can. Kerry has compiled a solid liberal voting record -- if not the leftist record that George W. Bush depicts -- and he will advance a progressive agenda in the White House, particularly if he can welcome Nancy Pelosi's election as House speaker and Tom Daschle's return as majority leader in the Senate.

Democrats have a fair shot of recapturing the Senate, where the GOP now has a 51-48-1 majority (with the independent caucusing with the Dems). Dems figure to pick up a seat in Illinois, where state Sen. Barack Obama (D) should beat imported Maryland blowhard Alan Keyes (R) by more than a two-to-one margin, but Republicans probably will pick up Georgia. Dems hope they can hold onto South Carolina, where GOP Rep. Jim DeMint's support for a national sales tax and "free trade" rules that have decimated the state's textile industry undermines the state's GOP trend. If Democrats can also hold vulnerable seats in Florida, Louisiana, North Carolina and South Dakota and pick up Republican seats in Alaska, Colorado and Oklahoma, which recent polls suggest is possible, that would give Dems a 51-48-1 majority. Kentucky also is in play after widespread reports of (R) Sen. Jim Bunning's erratic behavior gave state Sen. Dan Mongiardo (D) a lead in some polls. Dems also are mounting longer-shot challenges in Pennsylvania and Missouri. And we can always hope that New Hampshire voters will choose Doris "Granny D" Haddock over (R) Sen. Judd Gregg.

A return to Democratic Senate majority would put progressives and populists such as Tom Harkin into the catbird seat in Agriculture, Carl Levin at Armed Services, Paul Sarbanes at Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, Kent Conrad at Budget, Daniel Inouye at Commerce, Science and Transportation, Jeff Bingaman at Energy and Natural Resources, Ted Kennedy at Health, Education, Labor and Pensions and Patrick Leahy at Judiciary. Considering that the next president could fill three or four Supreme Court openings, as well as hundreds of lower-court seats, control of the Judiciary Committee could be critical.

Thanks to the gerrymandering of House districts, particularly a ruthless shift in Texas districts ordered by Majority Leader Tom "The Hammer" DeLay to oust half a dozen veteran Texas Dems, a change of power is a longer shot in the House. The GOP now holds a 227-205 majority (plus a D-leaning independent and two GOP vacancies, in Florida and Nebraska). The progressive website as of Oct. 17 ranked two races as leaning toward takeaways for the Democrats and 18 tossups, including 13 seats now held by Republicans. Kerry pollster Stanley Greenberg, in an Oct. 22 briefing reported by The American Prospect (, said Democrats were up by 5 points over Republicans in generic congressional favorability ratings, indicating "a significant majority of voters wanting to vote for change."

If Democrats take 12 vulnerable Republican seats, they would take over the House majority. Then members of the Progressive Caucus in line for House committee chairs include George Miller (Calif.) at Education, Barney Frank (Mass.) at Financial Services, Henry Waxman (Calif.) at Government Reform, Bennie Thompson (Miss.) at Intelligence, Tom Lantos (Calif.) at International Relations, John Conyers (Mich.) at Judiciary, Nydia Velazquez (N.Y.) at Small Business and Lane Evans (Ill.) at Veterans' Affairs.

Kerry has focused on bread-and-butter issues that should appeal to middle-class Americans. Bush has shamelessly tried to scare voters into voting for him because al Qaeda has not managed to follow up its 9/11 attacks in the US mainland yet. (Why should al Qaeda trouble themselves? Bush already has suspended the Bill of Rights in the US, alienated our European and Arab allies and sent more than 150,000 troops to Iraq to remove the secular dictatorship of Saddam Hussein -- who for all his faults kept the lid on Islamic radicals.) But Bush's scare tactic seems to be working on US voters.

In the debates, Kerry put himself back in contention as he first assured voters he would protect them from terrorists, but also spoke of raising the minimum wage, equal pay for equal work and restoring after-school programs to help working women and families with young children. Kerry pointed out that Bush's tax cuts not only have not generated the jobs Bush promised, but they contributed to job losses by encouraging investment in multinational corporations that outsource jobs -- so workers actually subsidized the export of their own jobs. On health care, Bush proposes mainly to limit lawsuits against health care providers -- which amount to less than 1% of health costs. Kerry proposes tax credits and subsidies to encourage businesses to provide health insurance for employees and let citizens buy into the same health program as Congress members and other federal employees. It's at least a good start.

Kerry would be open to more progressive legislation, but Democrats would do well to get modest reforms through a Senate that likely will be obstructionist next year, whichever side wins on Nov. 2. However, the difference between having Nancy Pelosi and Tom Daschle reconciling bills instead of Tom DeLay and Bill Frist is enough reason to support your local Democrat in House and Senate races.

© 2004 The Progressive Populist

November 1, 2004 at 8:43 AM  

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