I just finished this week's LeftAhead podcast with Mike and Lynne, where we officially endorsed Jamie Eldridge for the Fifth Congressional Race. I pre-wrote my own reasons, which I'll post below, but I do want to say ahead of time that I will still report all facets of this race. Since the MSM isn't going to be covering this as it should, someone needs to.
Anyway, here's what I wrote.
Just like at the start of the Lt. Governor's primary race, I came out in initial favor of the 'anti-progressive' candidate. I liked Deb Goldberg for a long time then - and I liked Niki Tsongas for a long time now, too. Yet, I've never met a flirt I've ever been compatible with - and Niki Tsongas isn't going to be the first. I really like her, as a person. She certainly has a bit of a charm about her, but "charm" isn't what this race is about. It's about what's best for the Fifth Congressional District and the entire United States of America.
Barry Finegold, Donoghue and Meceli aren't the right choices either. All of them lack the clear and cohesive vision, backed by powerful, fearless - and progressive - leadership on the most important issues facing America. Will the country ever, for example, enact a true Universal Health System if candidates like Donoghue were elected throughout the country? She's already conceded defeat on a universal system, Republicans and DINOs have no reason to make a compromise look anything like reasonable if we've conceded everything from the start.
Don't get me wrong, this endorsement isn't a deduction: I haven't looked at each candidate and found them incompatible. Eldridge has come to be the clear choice of his own volition, proving to me in person just why voters in the fifth district ought to have him as their Representative. In fact, you can just look at his contrast with Donoghue to understand why. While Donoghue is talking about how we'll never get a Universal System and how we need to give in to the special interests to bring more coverage, Jamie Eldridge fought for a better system already. The resulting Mass Health Care bill isn't something that has come close to meeting his approval, but leadership like his helped bring us one giant leap forward to actual Universal coverage. He didn't go in there with a glass-half-full attitude and was able to bring about some sort of compromise that no one - at the time - thought possible. It's progress, something Eldridge has consistently strived for.
Matt Stoller of mydd.com had a post asking people who they thought was the best, most progressive, candidate in the Fifth Congressional District. Stoller is right in saying that this seems to be a golden opportunity to elect one of the few actual progressives in Congress. Jamie Eldridge is that person. He was first elected under the Massachusetts Clean Elections law, the only candidate to take advantage of that bill before Tom Finneran destroyed it. He's been a clear and strong leader on gay rights - including saying he'll be the man to replace Marty Meehan as a national voice for ending the horrible, discriminatory Don't Ask, Don't Tell. Most importantly, he believes in the progressive movement - as the vast majority of my readers do, as evident by his policies and actions. He'll never be the Democrat to toe the DLC line. He'll never be a DINO. He'll never be weak and back down, like so many Democrats across the country just did by re-authorizing Bush's blurnder in Iraq, without any time lines. If Jamie Eldridge can stand up to Tom Finneran, he can stand up to any member of the DLC. If Fifth Congressional voters are smart - and I suspect they are, as evident by the excitement generated by Eldridge's grassroots campaign - they'll vote for for the best choice, Jamie Eldridge.