Tom Hayden’s article on the neo-con’s organized effort to discredit the anti-war movement underscores the need for those of us working towards an end to the war in Iraq to get involved, specifically by participating in a peace rally this October 27th. I agree. What Mr. Hayden leaves out, however, is the importance of money in ending this war. Ultimately, this war is all about money, and it’s going to take money to end it – lots of it.
Darcy Burner is Congressman Dave Reichert’s (R-WA) opponent. Reichert has been a loyal supporter of Bush Administration foreign policy (and nearly everything else on Bush’s agenda) since he took office in 2004, and he needs to be defeated. Although Darcy has never held public office, she nearly beat Reichert last November, and she can win this time around, but it’s going to take some serious coin. So far she’s raised a half-million, but that represents a small fraction of the amount needed to ultimately get the job done.
Recently, Darcy recruited General Paul Eaton (who used to be in charge of training the Iraqi military) to lead a task force on developing a responsible exit from Iraq. It is now a foregone conclusion that our occupation of Iraq will continue in full force until the end of the Bush presidency. It will then be up to Congress and a new president to begin the risky and experimental operation of withdrawing our forces. A detailed and workable plan needs to be ready, and nobody else seems to be developing it. In January of 2009, we need to not only have that plan in hand, but we also need a Congress committed to getting the job done.
It’s going to take money – lots of money.
The 8th Congressional District in Washington State, my District, has never elected a Democrat to Congress. Each election we seem to get a little closer. The Burner/Reichert race will be one of the most expensive and high profile contests in the nation. George Bush already made a trip to Washington this year to appear at a fund raiser for Reichert (Even so, Darcy raised more money than Reichert for the quarter). In 2004, Reichert ran against local progressive talk show host Dave Ross. Two months before the election, Ross was leading in the polls, then the National Republican Congressional Committee (RNCC) attack ads came, and the election was lost. It was the same story in 2006. Darcy had the audacity to suggest a modest increase in the cap on wages subject to FICA taxes for the purpose of shoring up Social Security (an actual solution to an actual problem!). The glossy attacks soon arrived in every mailbox with a block of type taking up most of an entire side of an oversized postcard screaming DARCY BURNER WANTS TO RAISE YOUR TAXES! Even if one were to read beyond that, and of course most don’t, there was no mention of the fact that 95% of all wage earners already earn less than the FICA ceiling (which presently stands at $97,500). Nevertheless, the damage was done; message delivered: DARCY BURNER WANTS TO RAISE YOUR TAXES! Again, the election was lost, although it took an extra week of vote counting to determine the winner.
One would think it would be easy to defeat a Bush Republican in 2008. Here’s the problem. Reichert is very well liked. Politics aside, he’s genuinely a nice guy. I’d even go so far as to say decent. I’d trust him with my kids. But he can’t be trusted to lift one finger to end this war or prevent another. He gained notoriety for his work leading the Green River Task Force and ultimately, though it took decades, gets credit for finally getting his man, serial killer Gary Ridgeway. Prior to his election to Congress, Reichert was popular and effective as King County Sheriff. He’s amiable, good looking (chicks dig him), and is in great shape – I’m talking totally ripped. Except for the silver hair, he looks more like a Seattle Seahawk safety than a politician. But he’s wrong on the major issues, especially his support for Bush’s war. By wrong, I mean he doesn’t represent the views of the majority of 8th District voters. As we all should by now be painfully aware, being right on the issues isn’t sufficient to win an election.
It takes a pile of money. And it takes a great candidate. The 8th District Democrats are halfway there. We have a great candidate. This is a local race for national office, and it’s going to take a national effort. The day Al Franken announced he was running for the Senate, I sent $100 to his campaign. I ask that someone in Minnesota return the favor. I ask for you progressive bloggers out there to please visit darcyburner.com, watch her videos, and learn why people such as Joe Wilson, General Wesley Clark, General Paul Eaton, Firedoglake’s Jane Hamsher, and others are supporting Darcy.
Then contribute some money. It might help save lives.