by Tina Shannon
Dear Fellow Progressive Democrats,
Do you think it is important to participate in this election?
We progressives are just beginning to find our voice. People are starting to want to hear what we have to say. Here in Beaver County the regular Dems invited us to their Annual Fundraising Banquet even though we bring no significant monetary resources. We were invited to participate in the One Nation coalition of labor, the NAACP & community leaders that took 4 buses to the October 2nd rally in DC. Our public events to discuss important issues are well attended.
To continue building in Beaver County, in the 4th Congressional District, we must use our growing strength to help stop the far-right from taking power in this election. All the races are close. If our effort makes the difference, we can build a stronger progressive movement. If we help the 2 Democratic labor candidates for State Representative get elected then we have a relationship with them as they move into power.
Pat Toomey is to the right of Bush. Toomey & Corbett are test cases for Tea Party politics. We might be disappointed that we haven’t made as much progress as we wanted for health care, peace, jobs, and the environment. But we must ask ourselves; do we want to be ruled by the likes of the Tea Party? If we do the work that prevents the Tea Party from gaining ascendancy in our country it may feel like the status quo goes on like usual. But we will have made a tremendous contribution by building the foundation for future progress.
In any other year, it wouldn’t be working. In any other year, Pat Toomey — former derivatives trader, congressman and president of the anti-tax group Club for Growth — wouldn’t be getting away with it. In any other year, his long-standing efforts to privatize Social Security, his radical approach to taxes and spending, his courting of fringe politicians, the millions of dollars he spent purging moderates from the Republican Party, his unabashed corporatism and his voting record — which is, statistically speaking, to the right of the late Jesse Helms — would render him unelectable in a state like Pennsylvania.
Last year, in fact, many Republicans thought that the case. In April 2009, William Parker, founder of the Pennsylvania Club for Growth, begged him to bow out of his challenge to Sen. Arlen Specter: “Pat can’t win the general election,” he wrote in a letter to Republicans. But Toomey pressed on, and not long after Parker wrote that letter, Specter switched parties. Without a serious primary challenge, Toomey was free to reinvent himself: No longer was he a rigid ideologue; instead, he morphed into a “mainstream,” “center-right” businessman who simply wants more jobs and less government.
That this rebranding might succeed is a testament to the times in which we live: 2010 is, after all, the year of the Tea Party, of Christine O’Donnell, of Sharron Angle, of Rand Paul. The year in which Glenn Beck’s paranoia can draw tens of thousands to the National Mall, and revanchist politicians speak openly of repealing the sacraments of the New Deal. This is the year in which anxiety over the economy has poisoned our relationship with rationality.