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[FDL is so pleased to welcome Victoria Wulsin back for a chat.  Please stop by in the comments and give her a big FDL welcome, but be polite and stay on topic.  Any off-topic conversations should be taken to the prior thread.  With that, please join me in welcoming Dr. Wulsin! -- CHS]

Let's welcome Doctor Victoria Wulsin back for her second Blue America live blog session. Her first one is archived here and you will get a great idea of just what an incredible candidate — and person — she is. Last year, of the 30 men and women our community supported in House races, we donated more money to Vic than to anyone else running, over $27,000 plus hundreds of radio spots our PAC placed independently.

Vic came very close to winning the election — in an area renowned for corrupt Republican vote counting overseen by the most egregiously corrupt Secretary of State in the nation (now out of office). Within days of the election I was urging her to consider running again. I was overjoyed last week when she announced she would do it. We spent some time on the phone Thursday and Friday and I'm firmly convinced that as good a candidate she was last year, she's supercharged this year! This is a very smart woman who knows how to learn from experiences.

Another big factor her supporters can feel optimistic about is how the fast-learners are now being joined by more and more Americans in their disdain for the Bush Regime and the rubber stampers like Mean Jean Schmidt who enable it and prop it up. Last year Vic got to 49% with virtually no assistance from Inside the Beltway. It was all grassroots and netroots. This year the grassroots and netroots are as fired up as ever — more so — and a more enlightened Van Hollen-led DCCC is already interested in Vic's campaign. Paul Hackett has told people he isn't interested in running for the seat and there doesn't appear to be any viable competition for a seat Vic needs only a couple thousand more votes to win.

Of course she is far better known throughout the district too, and she's starting from a powerful base of volunteers. Emily's List has already jumped into the campaign and when Rove was illegally urging the GSA to disregard to Hatch Act and come to the aid of vulnerable Republican incumbents, Schmidt was right on the top of his list. Interestingly, she may be as endangered from disgruntled Republicans as she is from Democrats and independents.

Even the Republican-leaning local media has been more evenhanded in their coverage of Schmidt lately. The Cincinnati Enquirer covered Schmidt's incomprehensible viewpoint on the treatment of wounded American vets at Walter Reed, as did the local TV stations.

Of course, the best case for the election of Vic — other than Vic herself — is Mean Jean. Many people in the area are still concerned that she's still promoting the importation of nuclear waste into the district, just upriver from Louisville and Cincinnati.  "Radioactive exposure is permanent," Dr. Wulsin reminds me. "She thinks it's a jobs program."

But it's nutty attitudes like this that discourage real jobs from coming to OH-02. The Batavia Ford factory is closing; that's real jobs. Will employers want to locate somewhere that has a national laughing stock as a representative who is trying to import nuclear waste that could be a threat to their own families and employees?

Almost every answer I got to my questions to Vic was informed by her public health background. We talked about the tragedy at Virginia Tech and last week's tragedy at the Supreme Court and in both cases she was talking to me about health and healing. "There's no such thing as a 'partial birth abortion.' …Abortion isn't a good method of family planning. They should be legal, safe and rare. Education for women and for men is very important as are the accessibility of birth control pills, contraceptives, clinics where the patients aren't stigmatized."

When I asked her about Virginia Tech her immediate response was to talk about the warning signs that were so clear in the shooter and how society refused to deal with them. There was no support system. Gun control is a very tough issue in her district but she isn't ducking it. She feels that society has to distinguish between guns people are entitled to for recreation and self-defense — especially in rural areas where there isn't ready access to law enforcement — and guns for mass destruction. On the campaign trail she gets the feeling that half the NRA members she talks to agree with her. "People with untreated mental illnesses and with impaired judgment should not have guns; that's a challenge but not impossible."

And speaking of not ducking a tough issue, Vic, who campaigned against the war and occupation of Iraq in 2006, says she plans to hit on that issue even harder this year. "We can't solve their civil war. We should bring our troops home and as soon as possible." Similarly she feels she needs to talk to people in the district about the Constitution and how it has been under threat. "The level of miseducation, much of it from outlets like Fox, is unbelievable." She feels a need to talk with people in southwest Ohio about habeas corpus and why that's important to every single one of us.

I know these issues are important to every reader of this blog. And I know from the outpouring of dedication and generosity last year that lots of us understand why it's important to help a woman like Victoria Wulsin get into Congress where she will be a force that is a part of creative and fresh solutions, instead of a festering sore on the ass of every problem that we face like… well, you know who. I'd like to urge you to join me in donating to Vic's campaign and moving her from the bottom of our list towards the top.

24 hours from when this story was posted I'm going to put all the names of the people who have contributed into a bag and pull 12 out. Each of the 12 will get a copy of the new book by Jeffrey Feldman, Framing the Debate, a book about the power of communication in contemporary progressive politics. Jeffrey has autographed each book in an effort to help us raise some funds for Vic's campaign. If you already have a copy, just add .01 to your donation as a sign you don't want us to send you another.