Today our special Blue America guest is Judy Feder from northern Virginia, from McLean out past Winchester, who is running against 14-term backbencher Frank Wolf. Judy is one of the more articulate of our candidates– Jane had lunch with her and was impressed enough to introduce me– and I’ll be happy to let her speak for herself, while I tell you a little something about Congressman Wolf.
Like almost all Republicans– especially the ones in districts that have changed from red to purple– Wolf is now claiming to be a "moderate" and an "independent voice." (The district used to be a GOP bastion and in 2001 Mark Warner lost VA-10 by 9 points while winning the governorship. Four years later Tim Kaine won by 4 points; quite the swing. And in 2006 Jim Webb defeated incumbent wingnut George Allen here, giving him his margin of victory.
Two months ago The Economist did an excellent account of the district and why, like much of exurban America, it is no longer a GOP bastion.) But let’s take a look at how Wolf’s definition of "moderate" (which, of course, is reinforced by a lazy corporate media) stacks up against reality. Let’s take an issue that has been in the headlines lately… Iraq.
Since the October 10, 2002 Resolution Authorizing the Use of Force in Iraq, which Wolf enthusiastically voted for, there have been 63 roll calls regarding Iraq and, to his credit, Wolf hasn’t missed a single vote. Unfortunately Mr. Moderate Independent Voice voted all 63 times with Bush and Cheney. You may find that startling; it defines an utter and contemptible rubber stamp, not a moderate and not an independent voice.
And lest you think Wolf is just a McCain-like warmonger but challenges Bush on other items on the Regime’s toxic agenda, let’s look at another issue that’s been in the news lately: the welfare of our country’s military veterans. Virginia’s much-admired junior senator, Jim Webb, co-sponsored a bipartisan bill that passed both houses of Congress overwhelmingly, 256-166 in the House. It updates the GI Bill, giving Iraq and Afghanistan veterans a chance to get a higher education. Wolf was one of the die-hard extremists to vote against it. But he is consistent. Since late 2002, there have been 24 roll calls regarding the well-being of our vets. Wolf voted against their well being all 24 times.
He says he supports the troops but he means he supports the corporate war profiteers and, of course, George W. Bush. He voted in favor of torture, in favor of retroactive immunity and warrantless wiretaps, for a constitutional amendment to ban abortion (even though the district supports Choice by a wide margin) and against the relief bill for victims of predatory lenders in the mortgage crisis that is even more acute in VA-10 than in much of the country.
After the Republicans lost the far redder Mississippi district a few weeks ago, Wolf’s congressional neighbor, Tom Davis, who is wisely retiring of his own accord, sent a now famous "dog-food" memo about the Republican brand to all his colleagues. He cited the district right next door to his own, VA-10, as a seat that is in jeopardy due to a toxic political environment for Republicans. The Democrats could hardly have found a better candidate to take advantage of this situation.
First off, people in the district know Judy well, mostly because she ran in 2006, holding Wolf to a 57% win, his closest call since his freshman year in 1982. She has been building on that base for the past year and a half. She told me on the phone a couple of days ago:
This is a district that is really ready for change. They want new leadership in Congress. After 27 years Frank Wolf is clearly not representing them and they know I will.
On issues important to the district, like affordable healthcare, Frank Wolf is either not engaged– or standing in the way.
As a congresswoman, neither of those descriptions will fit Judy. A nationally recognized expert in health care policy, Judy did a guest post for DownWithTyranny on the subject a couple of months ago. From her campaign bio:
Judy Feder’s three decades of health policy experience will make her an invaluable leader in transforming how Washington does business. She began her career researching ways to make health care more affordable. A widely published scholar, Judy worked at the Brookings Institution and Urban Institute before joining the faculty of Georgetown University in 1984.
In 1988 she served as Staff Director of the Congressional Pepper Commission, the bipartisan commission on comprehensive health care. In 1993, she was appointed to the Department of Health and Human Services, where she worked to expand health insurance coverage, manage Medicare and Medicaid effectively, and assure the safety of food and drugs.
Judy is a professor and, from 1999 through 2007, was Dean of Georgetown University’s Public Policy Institute. Her combination of scholarship and government experience have made the Institute one of the nation’s most respected training grounds for public policy leaders. Her graduates are tackling the nation’s most complicated policy challenges– from health reform in the Congress to military intelligence in the Pentagon.
I hope you’ll stick around and get to know Judy a bit. She’ll be with us for a couple of hours answering questions about the campaign. If you’d like to donate to her campaign, you can do it at our Blue America page. Please keep in mind that this weekend brings to a close our contest with Air America and if you add one cent to your donation to Judy– and for any candidates you like– they will be a step closer to winning the Air America check.