Bernie, He's Progressive Enough
Grayson had a clear vision about this. Watch the clip; it'll answer all your questions about makes someone a Democrat worth supporting. (And yes, he endorsed Jon Ossoff and has been raising money for him from his own supporters.)
The vetting process for Jon Ossoff was shorter than normal for a Blue America candidate. I never met him in person and spent a couple of hours on the phone with him over 3 calls. He wrote a guest post for DWT. He checked out OK. And, no he wasn't going to be the next Pramila Jayapal, Alan Grayson, Ted Lieu, Elizabeth Warren or Raul Grijalva. But he was't going to be a Blue Dog or New Dem and his instincts were pretty good across the whole spectrum of issues we talk with our potential endorsees about. He's pro-choice and opposes discrimination based on all the things conservatives use as excuses to demonize people. On economic issues... he checked out OK, as good as you're going to get in the South, at least as good as his mentors, John Lewis and Hank Johnson. As for the other Democratic congressman in Georgia, David Scott... Ossoff is ten-thousand times better. Find me a more progressive Democrat in the South (in Congress) than Jon Ossoff; I can't think of one.
I suppose if it wasn't a winnable special election that could significantly put a check on Trump's legislative agenda, we might have dragged it out longer before endorsing Ossoff. But he really is good enough and under the circumstances, absolutely good enough. You know, we don't dwell on social issues any longer. We want to talk about economic issues. But we ask about stuff like LGBT rights and women's choice first. And if you don't pass muster there, you never get asked the economic questions.
So I read with interest yesterday, the piece by Reid Epstein in the Wall Street Journal about how Bernie's not sure about Ossoff yet. Good for him! There are a lot of candidates looking for help from Bernie. Bernie should make sure the ones he backs live up to his standards. In an interview Tuesday in Louisville he responded to a question from Epstein that "he didn’t know much about Mr. Ossoff, a 30-year-old former House staffer. Mr. Sanders said he isn’t prepared to back Democrats just because of a party label. 'If you run as a Democrat, you’re a Democrat,' he said. 'Some Democrats are progressive and some Democrats are not.' Asked if Mr. Ossoff is a progressive, Mr. Sanders, an independent who challenged Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential primary, demurred. 'I don’t know,' he said." I like the honesty. Bernie, if you see this, believe me, Ossoff is good enough-- and I don't mean "better than a Republican." The guy's got his heart in the right place. You just endorsed Tom Perriello in Virginia. Ossoff is so much better than him that it isn't even close.
Sanders’s progressive test lies largely on economic issues, not social or cultural ones.Blue America took a pass on Heath Mello. Anti-Choice is the end of a coversation for us and we never get to find out about all the other wonderful stuff about candidates. Meanwhile, thank God Bernie is on his way to Montana to campaign with Rob Quist, which isn't his job... but no one from the DCCC is doing anything to help.
He plans to campaign Thursday in Nebraska with Heath Mello, a former Nebraska state senator who in 2009 sponsored legislation requiring women to look at ultrasound image of their fetus before receiving an abortion.
At the time Mr. Mello called the proposal a “positive first step” toward reducing the number of abortions in Nebraska. It became law months later.
Eight years later Mr. Mello remains opposed to abortion, said Nebraska Democratic Party Chairwoman Jane Kleeb, who said abortion hasn’t been an issue in Mr. Mello’s campaign for Omaha mayor.
“Voters know he’s pro-life but we have a lot of pro-life Democrats in our state,” Ms. Kleeb said. “It’s not the single issue people vote on anymore.”
Mr. Sanders called himself “100% pro-choice” and said that if Mr. Mello wins his May 14 election against an incumbent Republican it will energize Democrats to seek office in other conservative states.
“If this fellow wins in Nebraska, that would be a shot across the board, that in a state like Nebraska a progressive Democrat can win, that will give hope to folks in other conservative states that perhaps they can win as well,” Mr. Sanders said.
Mr. Perez said the Democratic Party platform supports abortion rights but doesn’t require its candidates to do so. “If you demand fealty on every single issue, then you know it’s a challenge,” he said.