I came here last week to ask you to join me in defending Harry Reid from the attacks of the right. And it’s important to do that because our party needs us to stick up for each other.
But it’s not enough to defend. I used to always say that I was tired of life in the minority in the Senate because I was tired of just stopping bad things from happening, I wanted to make things happen that reflected the hopes and aspirations of the people I cared about.
So now we have this Democratic Majority which a lot of folks fought and scrapped and gave their all to build – so I know I’m not alone here when I say: it’s time to go on offense–not just fight back but lead the fight for what’s important.
We are not going on offense for petty political reasons, not partisanship for politics’ sake, but because there are lives at stake here and a failed policy in Iraq to turn into something that makes sense morally and militarily.
But something stands in the way, and I don’t mean President Bush. To no one’s surprise, he vetoed the money for our soldiers and a new course in Iraq. Long ago he doubled down with the Wolfowitzes and the Perles and the Cheneys and the Rumsfelds of the neoconservative movement. Yes, the Congress voted to set a deadline to change course in Iraq, hold squabbling Iraqi politicians accountable, and give our troops the money they need. And yes, the American people are clamoring for this change. The President vetoed it, anyway.
But the President couldn’t remain in his ideological bunker without a whole host of enablers. It is Republican Senators who are blocking a change in course in Iraq and enabling the President; many who claim to be “independent” are in fact acting as a big roadblock to a real change of course.
But just as last year you defeated the Rubber Stamp Republicans, now it’s time to take on these Roadblock Republicans and show them the pressure a committed American public can put on them. And maybe, if we put enough pressure on the right places, they’ll rethink supporting the President over the change of course our troops deserve.
So, we’re announcing a new kind of activism campaign, one not easily done without the new progressive infrastructure provided by our friends and partners at ActBlue. It’s a combined fundraising/email campaign, where you can already contribute to the defeat of some key Republicans, and then let them know what you are doing and why. When you speak in the language of grassroots pressure, I assure you they will hear what you say.
We’re targeting four Senators with this at first. The first three I’ll mention are already top races for 2006. Those are Senators Coleman, Sununu, and Collins, all from states that voted for me in 2004 and want change in Iraq today. But our fourth might be the most important of all: Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. The other three are great targets, but going after McConnell is getting to the heart of the matter. McConnell has been a bulwark of the GOP leadership and if we can distract, or even defeat him, with a tough electoral challenge in 2008, we’ll send a clear message that – just as Jim Webb defeated the supposedly undefeatable George Allen — no Senator is safe if they defend a broken policy rather than stand for change.
So go to this page we set up with ActBlue and contribute to ActBlue’s Democratic Nominee fund in those four states. Then–and this might be the most important part–follow the link to a page we set up where you can type in a message to be delivered to each Senator you contributed against with a subject line designed to get their attention: “I just contributed against you.” And, since it’s for whoever the Democratic nominee may be, it can help recruit the best candidates in a race, like Kentucky, where a Democrat may have felt like they’d be at too much of a financial disadvantage. And the Senators you target will know all of this, so when they get your message, they’ll feel your pressure.
The time for the Democratic Party to play defense is over; it’s time to go on offense and force the change of course that America needs. This President continues to be stubborn and wrong; we must stubbornly remain in this fight because we are right — and we’re not about to sit around and let others dictate our future anymore.
And let them know that this is only the beginning. We’re going to fight this fight as long as necessary to get our country back on track.
Cross posted on the Huffington Post.