(Photo is left to right: Bill Winter, former Sen. Max Cleland, and Jay Fawcett.)
[Bill Winter and Jay Fawcett joins us today for discussion in the comments. As always, keep the discussion on topic and polite -- these are guests at FDL, and we'd appreciate it if everyone would give them a good welcome. -- CHS]
Today we’re being joined for a live discussion by two Fighting Dems from Colorado, Bill Winter and Jay Fawcett. And today these two national security experts are fighting two of the most extremist Republicans running for House seats anywhere in the country, the KKK’s favorite candidate Tom Tancredo and James Dobson’s favorite candidate, Doug Lamborn. There aren’t measurement instruments finely tuned enough to find any discernible differences from these two xenophobic fanatics.
Let me start with Bill Winter’s race to unseat Tancredo in CO-06, Denver’s southern suburbs, where Bush got 60% of the vote in 2000 and 2004 and where the Columbine massacre took place in 1999. It’s a district filled with white, upper middle class subdivisions and sprawling suburbs. It’s rich and it’s Republican, although even here national concerns have begun stirring the complacent inhabitants. And some people are even starting to feel embarrassed about being represented by an extremist and racist when they thought they were voting for a mainstream conservative. Tancredo is so extremist that he can barely be called a rubber stamp Republican. Of course when it comes to serving the interests of Big Business he’s a total rubber stamp, but on social issues he’s far to the right of Bush and other right wing Republicans. He once proudly referred to himself as member of Colorado’s "crazies" in the state legislature, today he’s one of only 4 congressmen to vote against the violence against women legislation, one of only 11 to vote to deny aid to Katrina victims, and one of a handful to try to scuttle the renewal of the voting rights act. Like I said, he’s the KKK’s favorite congressloon. Oh, and he has also pledged to completely eliminate public education. Got the picture?
Bill Winter is a 6’3"/230 pound ex-marine who enlisted right out of high school, served for 4 years and then enlisted in the Navy, which helped send him through college. He wound up with a law degree from Catholic University in Washington, DC. He’s not the kind of man who will be intimidated by Republican hot button manufactured issues.
"I’m a patriot and a marine," Bill told me last week, "and I’ve got 10 years of service that says I can disagree with any president I want any time I want to. And you don’t have to be a veteran to exercise that right because the Constitution guarantees it for everyone."
But can he win in such a heavily Republican bastion?
Tancredo has 85% name recognition… but only 44% of his constituents think he should be re-elected. "If the Democratic Party would take Tancredo on, a ham sandwich would beat him," insists Bill. The DCCC isn’t doing that. On the other hand, the grassroots and netroots are firmly behind Bill. He won Russ Fiengold’s PAC endorsement and Mark Warner’s Map Changer, both voted for online. (As a mark of his character I want to point out that when Warner came to Denver to host a fundraiser for Bill as part of his "prize" for winning, he invited fellow Democratic challengers Ed Perlmutter, Angie Paccione and Jay Fawcett to share the spotlight with him and urged everyone to donate to their campaigns. To me that says a lot about the essence of this man.)
I always ask our candidates how they stand on protecting minorities, guaranteeing women’s right to choice, reforming the political system that makes politicians into corporate prostitutes for Big Business and about getting us out of Iraq. Bill had all the right answers. I especially liked his direct answer about Iraq: "Murtha or sooner!"
South and west of Bill’s district, and completely dominated by Colorado Springs, is CO-05, being vacated by conservative Republican Joel Hefley. A bitter and viciously divisive Republican primary vomited up this Lamborn character, who is so extremist that Hefley has refused to endorse him and has been encouraging Republicans to look closed at the Democrat, Jay Fawcett. If they look closely enough CO-05 will have a Democratic congressman in January, although the district is even more Republican than CO-06. Bush took 66% in 2004!
Jay is an extraordinary candidate and yesterday I did a piece on him as part of a series at Taylor Marsh’s blog about why America will be safer if we elect men like Jay and Bill and take back Congress. Rather than repeat Jay’s national security credentials and his proposals for solving some of America’s most pressing problems, I’d like to urge you to read the piece on Taylor’s blog.
Jay’s served at or worked in each of the 5 bases in the district. When he retired– as a Lt. Colonel– from the Air Force in 1998 he had seen 20 years of military service, including as an air liaison office for the Army in Operation Desert Storm. His leadership role in the Air Force and his keen, analytic mind have prepared him– as few legislators are prepared– to ask all the right questions if he should get into Congress and that body decides to fulfill it’s constitutional oversight responsibilities.
He told me that there are 6 over-all topic voters bring up to him all over the district when he’s out campaigning. Healthcare is the first he mentioned, like almost every candidate I’ve spoken to this year. In CO-05, with its heavy concentration of military vets, there is a great feeling of betrayal from Bush and his rubber stamp Congress, which extends beyond healthcare into all matters impacting on the lives of our country’s military veterans. Jay says another issue which comes up as frequently is the deteriorating educational system which Bush has severely undermined with his unfunded mandates. And in Colorado, where Nature is a way of life– and livelihood:
"Environmental issues are not about tree huggers and spotted owls. It’s a multi-billion dollar a year business here," Jay told me, "and the debate between ‘pro-growth’ advocates of sustainable growth is a big local issue. Development and the availability of water is a huge issue in Colorado."
With Tancredo right next door, the immigration issue (their gay marriage 2006 hot button) is big this year.
"Immigration does not equate to invasion. The Bush Regime has fallen down on border security… they’re very aware that they are taking in a great deal of tax money from immigrants that they’ll never have to pay out, although state governments are forced to pay for services."
The last of the 6 issues, though certainly not the least, is terrorism.
"It’s all about intelligence, intelligence, intelligence. It’s not about occupying countries; it’s about finding terrorists and killing them… [Here at home] we should start by implementing the 9/11 Commission recommendations. If my son had a report card like theirs [the Bush Regime's], he’d lose his X-Box."
Something tells me that if Colorado voters are wise and independent enough to send men like Bill Winter and Jay Fawcett to Washington to represent them, Bush will be losing a lot more than his X-Box.
Our pals at PoliticsTV traveled out to Colorado to augment our report on Jay and Bill with some video footage. You can click on each name and get to know our candidates even better. And for more on these races, keep up with Tancredo Watch and SquareState.net.
If you live in Colorado, please consider volunteering for Bill’s campaign and Jay’s campaign and wherever you live, you can help at the Blue America Act Blue Page. In fact, the first 30 people who donate to both Jay and Bill today at the Blue America page will get a 2-disc set of the June Carter Cash’s hits collection, Her Life In Music, which includes several songs with hubby Johnny Cash.