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Howie Klein

Howie Klein

Posted: September 12, 2010 10:19 AM

Goal ThermometerI wish getting to the top of that thermometer meant Justin Coussoule triumphs over the evil that is John Boehner. But that isn't what it means. It means we have enough money for another week of cable TV ads-- like this one or this one-- ads that Blue America and Americans For America volunteers made to help focus some attention on who John Boehner actually is. We know our efforts are minuscule compared to the $4,504,493 Boehner's campaign has collected so far this year. And we've begged the DCCC and the DNC for help. We could have been begging the NRCC and the RNC. They flatly refused every time. Even apart from the serious problem sleazy sugar industry shill and DCCC power-behind-the-throne Debbie Wasserman Schultz has with veterans and with progressives, the DCCC is determined to spend all the money they suck out of concerned Democrats on the actual Blue Dogs who have voted most frequently against the Democratic agenda and crossed the aisle to vote with Boehner-- reprehensible anti-Choice, antigay, anti-reform, anti-healthcare conservatives like Frank Kratovil (Blue Dog-MD), Bobby Bright (Blue Dog-AL), Walt Minnick (Blue Dog-ID), Travis Childers (Blue Dog-MS), Mark Critz (Blue Dog-PA), Harry Mitchell (Blue Dog-AZ), and Chris Carney (Blue Dog-PA). Financial help for Alan Grayson? Not. One. Dime. Financial help for Justin Coussoule? Well, they don't even invite him to Democratic events down the road from his own home.

Thank God for independent-minded Members of Congress like Alan Grayson, Barney Frank, Raul Grijalva, Henry Waxman, Bob Filner, Earl Blumenauer, Mary Jo Kilroy and Betty Sutton and for organizations like the AFL-CIO, DFA, Vet-PAC and People For the American Way, who have endorsed Justin and have been trying to help him get his message across. Today I realized there are two more organizations out there swinging away for Justin. I did know that President Clinton posed for a photo with Justin and his wife Amanda when they both graduated from West Point and that he's seeing them again this week. What I didn't know is that the HRC Legacy PAC had endorsed and is working on behalf of Justin's campaign. On the same day they endorsed Ted Strickland for governor, they also backed Justin:

The second candidate we are endorsing is the one who we as an organization are most firmly committed to electing: Justin Coussoule. Admittedly, up until two months ago I did not know who Coussoule was, nor did I know that he was actively campaigning against GOP Congressman John Boehner, champion of corporate interest. People who are politically tuned in have said that there is no way that a Democrat could win against Boehner, in a district where in the past 153 years there have been only six democrats elected to office. Despite their doubts, my principles compelled me to learn as much as I could about Coussoule-and the more that I learned about him the more I came to believe that he has a real chance against Boehner.

It is not going to be an easy campaign, but I know that the HRC Legacy PAC team will commit every resource to electing Coussoule to office. In her 2008 campaign suspension speech, Hillary Clinton said, "Now the journey ahead will not be easy. Some will say we can't do it. That it's too hard. That we're just not up to the task. But for as long as America has existed, it has been the American way to reject "can't do" claims, and to choose instead to stretch the boundaries of the possible through hard work, determination, and a pioneering spirit."

I believe that we must go forward with that determination and pioneering spirit that Secretary Clinton referenced, and if we do, we will be able to get Coussoule's message of substantial change out to the voters in Ohio's 8th District. We strive to make sure that even if the Democrats do lose seats in November, we will bring to light which man truly represents the American values of his district.

It is with that flexibility of mind, and commitment to the future that HRC Legacy PAC travels to Ohio in two months in order to support this historic campaign and guide both Strickland and Coussoule to victory.

See you in Ohio!


That came as a pleasant surprise. And so did this powerful ad from the Sierra Club:


UPDATE: NY Times Opens Its Eyes And Finds... Boehner Land

My favorite Boehner video ever (see below) is the one where Boehner, caught illegally handing out bribes on the House floor from Tobacco lobbyists has no choice but to admit it-- and then immediately launches into an attack of these kinds of practices, practically sniveling that THEY MUST BE STOPPED! This is typical behavior one would expect from an untreated alcoholic like Boehner... but maybe not the kind of behavior you'd want from a potential Speaker of the House.

House Democrats were preparing late last year for the first floor vote on the financial regulatory overhaul when Representative John A. Boehner of Ohio and other Republican leaders summoned more than 100 industry lobbyists to Capitol Hill for a private strategy session.

The bill's passage in the House already seemed inevitable. But Mr. Boehner and his deputies told the Wall Street lobbyists and trade association leaders that by teaming up, they could still perhaps block its final passage or at least water it down.

"We need you to get out there and speak up against this," Mr. Boehner said that December afternoon, according to three people familiar with his remarks, while also warning against cutting side deals with Democrats.

That sort of alliance-- they won a few skirmishes, though they lost the war on the regulatory bill-- is business as usual for Mr. Boehner, the House minority leader and would-be speaker if Republicans win the House in November. He maintains especially tight ties with a circle of lobbyists and former aides representing some of the nation's biggest businesses, including Goldman Sachs, Google, Citigroup, R. J. Reynolds, MillerCoors and UPS.

They have contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to his campaigns over the years, provided him rides on their corporate jets, socialized with him at luxury golf resorts and waterfront bashes and are now leading fund-raising efforts for his Boehner for Speaker campaign, which is soliciting checks of up to $37,800 each, the maximum allowed.

Some of the lobbyists readily acknowledge routinely seeking his office's help-- calling the congressman and his aides as often as several times a week-- to advance their agenda in Washington. And in many cases, Mr. Boehner has helped them out.

...His business-friendly reputation was enhanced through the weekly powwows he organized on Capitol Hill nicknamed the Thursday Group, a gathering of conservative leaders and business lobbyists whom he relied on to help push the party's legislative agenda. The Thursday gathering was disbanded after a Republican power struggle that cost him his leadership position.

But he continued to routinely meet with business leaders, particularly in his role as chairman of the Education and the Workforce Committee, and returned to power as House G.O.P. leader in 2006. Several of the onetime Thursday regulars, along with some newcomers, are among the close-knit group that routinely call on Mr. Boehner's office for client matters, write checks to his campaign and socialize with him.

That tight circle includes Mr. Isakowitz; Bruce Gates, a lobbyist for the cigarette maker Altria; Nicholas E. Calio, a Citigroup lobbyist; and two former aides, Marc Lampkin and Sam Geduldig, both now financial services lobbyists.

The tobacco industry is particularly well represented, with both Mr. Gates and John Fish, a lobbyist for R. J. Reynolds, maker of Camel cigarettes, in the group. People affiliated with those companies have contributed at least $340,000 to Mr. Boehner's political campaigns, with Mr. Gates being the top individual donor among the thousands during Mr. Boehner's political career, according to a tally by the Center for Public Integrity.

While many lawmakers in each party have networks of donors, lobbyists and former aides who now represent corporate interests, Mr. Boehner's ties seem especially deep. His clique even has a nickname on Capitol Hill, Boehner Land. The members of this inner circle said their association with Mr. Boehner translates into open access to him and his staff.

"He likes to bring similarly minded people together to try to advance legislation or oppose it," said Drew Maloney, a lobbyist at Ogilvy Government Relations. "That is how you get things done."

One lobbyist in the club-- after lauding each staff member in Mr. Boehner's office that he routinely calls to ask for help-- ticked off the list of recent issues for which he had won the lawmaker's backing: combating fee increases for the oil industry, fighting a proposed cap on debit card fees, protecting tax breaks for hedge fund executives and opposing a cap on greenhouse gas emissions.

...In June, with the prospects for a Republican takeover of the House rising, Mr. Boehner moved to accelerate his fund-raising effort, starting what he called the Boehner for Speaker campaign. The idea was to use his high profile to draw large donations that would be mostly allocated to help elect other House Republicans.

He turned again to the same group of lobbyists, former aides and friends during a July meeting at the headquarters of the Republican National Committee.

"The wave is there, there is a rebellion in the country, and we have good candidates," Mr. Boehner told his supporters, one of the lobbyists present at the meeting recalled. "But I don't want to miss this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity because we have not raised enough money. They might be able to stop us with a wall of money."

Mr. Calio of Citigroup was among the first to write a large check. So far, a party spokesman said, the campaign has raised nearly $2 million. Mr. Boehner has helped raise millions more in the last six weeks for Republican House candidates across the country and the party, appearing at more than 40 fund-raisers.

The Boehner for Speaker campaign offers donors who give the maximum amount special perks, like "meetings with Leader Boehner and much much more."


boehner

If you'd like to help Justin Coussoule put a stop to this, please click on the little picture above. The DCCC isn't going to do it for us, believe me. Then kick back and watch the Orange Man who would be Speaker.

 

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