Friday, December 21, 2007

Why I am Supporting Donna Edwards Against Al Wynn

Al Wynn could be worse. He votes with the Democrats more than 98% of the time, and shows up for 19 out of 20 votes. He lost my vote, however, when he defected on Net Neutrality, and he was badly wrong on the Iraq war when it started. As disastrous as the war has been, his failure to understand the importance of the Internet in the future of America may be the more worrying of the two votes.

He is charged by Free State Politics with ineffective support
of requests from constituents. His effectiveness rankings in the Congress are bad:
2007 ranked 91
2006 ranked 410
2005 ranked 373
The improvement in 2007 is presumably due to the Democrats being more effective in general, and his increasing seriority. However, while his seniority goes back to 1992, he is ranked less effective than relative newcomer Chris van Hollen. He holds no important leadership roles in the Democratic party in the Congress in spite of 15 years there. The Congressional Black Caucus Monitor rates him as an "underachiever".

Open Left writes:
Al Wynn's contributor list should give you a great list of the defenders of the status quo. Right-wing insiders include Walmart, AT&T, US Chamber of Commerce, Sallie Mae, Nuclear Energy Institute, National Restaurant Association, First Edison, Bellsouth, Raytheon, Northrup Grumman, Bechtel, NFIB, and even Republican Billy Tauzin, the guy who wrote the prescription drug benefit and then accepted a job lobbying for the health industry. (He does also get contributions from Democrats.)
So we have a not very effective Congressman, with some really bad votes behind him, who is indebted to a bunch of big organizations. I think we can do better.

Donna Edwards is a young, vigorous lawyer. She has taken leave from her job as Executive Director of the Arca Foundation to run for Congress, but while there she led the Foundation to focus significantly on "Media and Democracy", and thus would bring expertise and interests to the Congress that are much needed as we continue in the Information Revolution. Her environmentalist credentials have gained her the support of the Sierra Club, Clean Water Action, The League of Conservation Voters, and Friends of the Earth. Again we need environmental activists in the Congress to help the United States overcome the Bush legacy and take a leadership role in international environmental affairs.

Donna Edwards clearly shares the fundamental Democratic values of concern for the little guy and recognition of the need for government to serve the people (little "d" democracy); she too will be a dependable vote for the Democratic Party in the House. However, she will also be a vigorous Representative, who can be expected to quickly gain leadership positions, and who will provide intellectual leadership in two critical areas:
  • How the United States changes in response to the Information Revolution while protecting our core values, and
  • How the United States can lead the world again in protecting the environment.
Her recent endorsement by two major unions added to her earlier endorsement by the National Organization for Women make me sure i am right. So does the fact that the Washington Post endorsed her last year.

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