Chris Van Hollen, chairman of the DCCC, is more the kind of guy who reaches out to the grassroots than his odious predecessor, the Democrats’ version of Tom DeLay, uber-insider Rahm Emanuel. Unlike Emanuel, CVH has regular conference calls with grassroots and netroots Democrats and solicits information from many diverse sources.
On recent conference calls he has been adamant that Democrats have a golden opportunity to pick up a southern California congressional seat because of the ethics mess of CA-42′s rep., Gary Miller, has made for himself.
CA-42, an Inland Empire district where Los Angeles, San Bernardino and Orange County meet, is very Republican. Only 37% of votes cast there in 2004 went for Kerry and last year the extreme right-wing incumbent ran unopposed. A great many people commute back and forth to work and spend an awful lot of time in miserable traffic being brainwashed by Hate Talk radio.
Progressives and anti-war activists in Southern California have been even more determined than the DCCC that Miller’s days of free rides were over. Netroots activists recruited a fellow blogger, Ron Shepston, a Kossack, and we’re really proud to welcome him to Blue America for a chat this morning. (For background, here are a dozen excellent blog posts about this race.)
I spoke with Ron a few days ago, who’s still figuring out how to juggle a full-time job, a family life and his campaign. He lives in Silverado in the foothills of the Cleveland National Forest, not far from Mission Viejo.
He reminds me a little of Charlie Brown, probably because he’s an Air Force vet who served in the Vietnam War. He’s 60 years old and he supports impeachment and an end to the occupation of Iraq… now. He’s very much a “won’t back down” kind of guy– the opposite of a mealy-mouthed, overly cautious apologist for Republicans.
“The facts,” he said, “warrant impeachment hearings. We have to do the right thing. Without a doubt the facts warrant the process.”
In honor of one of the only candidates to have the cajones to come on here and say it in plain English, the first 20 people who donate at least $30 to Ron’s campaign today at Blue America get a free “Impeach Cheney” cap.
His position on Iraq is also straight forward. He thinks it’s a complicated situation but our presence is “only making things worse… The American people don’t want this war and Democrats should be leading the country, not following the politics of fear.” And Ron’s own website gets right to the point on page one. No shilly-shally beating around the bush:
Defending Rule of Law under the Constitution.
Honoring—not needlessly sacrificing—troops.
Supporting fiscal responsibility: Americans deserve decent medical care and pensions—not huge budget deficits.
Making policy based on facts—not fantasies.
Working for the district—not big contributors.
Too radical and liberal for Orange County? Ron doesn’t think so at all. “There are plenty of Republican voters who are excited about having a decent candidate running against Miller. People in the district don’t feel he represents them. He seems to help his developer friends and doesn’t bring much to the district…People here are angry about the assault on the Constitution.”
Update: “Impeach Cheney” hats, get ‘em while they’re hot — 10 left, free with a $30 donation!