ACTION ALERT: Mission Accomplished. Democrats In; Rumsfeld Out. What’s Next?
November 9, 2006
FCNL & Moveon.org & PFAW & True Majority & Progressive Majority
he midterm elections this week were, more than anything else, a referendum on the failed US war and military occupation of Iraq. The people of this country have spoken. The voters in this country are saying they will not sacrifice the lives of their loved ones for a failed war in Iraq. Across the country, 76 new progressive activists were elected to office. Here are some more steps you can take to promote progressive change for peace.
After the Elections: Negotiating the Next Steps in Iraq
Friends Committee on National Legislation
Washington (November 8, 2006) — The midterm elections this week were, more than anything else, a referendum on the failed US war and military occupation of Iraq. The people of this country have spoken. The voters in this country are saying they will not sacrifice the lives of their loved ones for a failed war in Iraq.
The results of this congressional election will force a change in US policy in Iraq. But what kind of change?
The president today accepted the resignation of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. But changing the Secretary of Defense will not change the administration’s policy. The stated policy remains: “victory in Iraq.”
The problem is not the people in office, the problem is the policy. At a press briefing Wednesday afternoon, President Bush acknowledged the need to “adjust” US implementation of his policy in Iraq, and then added he still believes the US can still “win” a military victory in Iraq. The president has not accepted that his policies have made the US part of the problem, rather than part of the solution in Iraq.
The US still has 150,000 military troops in Iraq. The violence is escalating and spreading throughout the region. The president is planning to ask Congress next February, according to press reports, to approve another “emergency” supplemental appropriation of $160 billion in funding for the US war and military occupation.
Now it's up to Congress to demand that the president change course in Iraq. The goal should be to end the US war and military occupation in Iraq. That goal will have to be embraced by both parties to be successful. Congress and the president need to accept the reality that no possible outcome will be a victory for anyone in Iraq. The best that can be done now will be to limit the damage, reduce the lethality of the conflict, and prevent a failed state by removing one of the biggest problems there, i.e. the US military presence.
The mid-term elections will send new leadership to Congress. But neither the Democrats working alone nor the Republicans working alone will be able to force a change in US policy toward Iraq. Bipartisan cooperation will be essential to exercise congressional power sufficient to check the misguided executive branch.
We at FCNL believe Congress needs to develop a strategy to withdraw US military forces and to end the US military occupation. Withdrawal of US military forces is a necessary, prior condition for ending the war, but it is not a sufficient condition. Members of Congress from both parties have spoken out against the current US strategy in Iraq. To be successful, any new congressional initiative will have to be a bipartisan effort for a US policy that:
1. Sets a date certain for US military withdrawal;
2. Brings the armed Iraqi nationalist resistance to the negotiating table;
3. Simultaneously starts up a regional process – including Syria and Iran -- to support and stabilize Iraq; and
4. Provides US underwriting for Iraqi-led reconstruction.
As Quakers we're opposed to all funding for war. But we know that Congress will continue to pass “emergency” supplemental appropriations for the US war and occupation in Iraq. At a minimum, members of Congress from both parties should condition any additional funding for the Iraq war on this four-point plan for an expeditious US military withdrawal.
Friends Committee on National Legislation
245 Second St. NE, Washington, DC 20002-5795
email@example.com * http://www.fcnl.org
phone: (202)547-6000 * toll-free: (800)630-1330
We Won: Let's Celebrate
We're organizing nationwide Big Ol' Grassroots Election Parties. Can you host a party in your area? Thanks to you, we won. And as a fellow citizen — I don't have the words to thank you for bringing our country back.
MoveOn members worked so hard to make this happen. You made over 7 million calls to voters (and millions more to members) — getting people to the polls one by one. You gave over $27 million. And you raised the issues that powered the election — especially Iraq, which some pundits told Democrats to steer clear of.
We've held a lot of parties this year. Movie parties. Calling parties. Positive agenda parties. We thought this weekend, it'd be a good idea to just hold party parties. It's time to celebrate together. Want to host one at a local bar, restaurant, or in your home this Saturday? Just sign up here:
To host, you'll just need to find a space. If you host at home, folks will bring food and drink. If you host somewhere public, you just need to get the space and greet the folks.
Sherrod Brown — who read MoveOn petitions on Iraq on the House floor — is the new Senator from the formerly red state of Ohio. Richard Pombo, who led a crusade to kill the Endangered Species Act and called the Environmental Protection Agency "jackbooted thugs," is out of a job. The abortion ban in South Dakota failed. Laws to raise the minimum wage passed. And with a historic sweep of 28 (and counting!) seats, Nancy Pelosi is now the first woman Speaker of a Democratic House.
It's hard to remember now, but there was a time not too long ago when all the pundits were saying that this kind of sweeping change was impossible. You didn't listen to them. Your eyes were focused on today's Washington Post headline: "A Voter Rebuke for Bush, the War, and the Right."
Together, we did it without lies. Without playing to fear. We did it by reaching out, person to person, to folks who wanted a change. This morning, we got an email from MoveOn member Chris N. that just about sums it up:
When I called, it was late in the evening and the woman I was talking to had less than an hour to get out and vote.
I told her who I was and why I was calling and asked if she had voted yet. Long pause. She told me that she knew this was an important election, and that she had criticized others for not voting, knowing how important it was that we find a new direction.
Then she told me about her work, and taking care of her young child after work. About how the polls close so early that working moms have a very hard time voting. "Can't they allow the polls to stay open later for us to vote," she asked me. I told her, why not go down there and show the poll workers what real life is like, what being a working mother is like, and bring your child with you.
She said she'd do it. I was happy for her and for the rest of us whose country's direction lies in the hands of voters, single mothers trying to make ends meet and still exercise their power to vote.
And then I got this phone call, later tonight. She had found my caller ID and called me back. "Hi," she said, "this is the lady you talked to wanting to go vote. I was the one who was talking about my baby and it being 6:21 — 40 minutes til closing. I just wanted to say that I did make it, and thanks for the encouragement."
That's how we won our democracy back.
It'd be easy to get too satisfied with the moment we're in. We've helped win a landslide election, but we haven't yet gotten one more person health care, powered one more car with clean energy — or brought one soldier back from Iraq (though Rumsfeld's resignation today is good news).
We've got a lot to do. We'll have to make sure Democrats truly fight for the voters who elected them. And the Republicans have left us with a big mess to clean up — here at home and around the world.
For today — and at the parties this weekend — let's celebrate. Again, you can host a party — which really just means finding a space for it to happen in — here:
Then, let's roll up our sleeves, and get to work making this country live up to the promise of America. And thanks again, so much, for everything you've done.
– Aaron, Adam G., Adam R., Ben, Carrie, Catherine, Daniel, Dave, Eli, Erik, Ilyse, James, Jenn, Joan, Justin, Karin, Laura, Marika, Matt, Nita, Natalie, Noah, Patrick, Randall, Tanya, Tom, and Wes and the whole MoveOn.org Political Action Team
November 8th, 2006
P.S. Have other stories like Chris's to share? Or thanks that you want to send to other MoveOn members? Just reply to this message, and we'll read and highlight your responses.
MoveOn.org Political Action is entirely funded by our 3.2 million members. We have no corporate contributors, no foundation grants, no money from unions. Our tiny staff ensures that small contributions go a long way. If you'd like to support our work, you can give now at:
The Radical Right's Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day
People for the American Way
WASHINGTON, DC (November 8, 2006) — Election Day was a rough one for the Religious Right and its political allies, and a good one for Americans who embrace the mainstream progressive values that have been under attack in recent years. Americans made it clear that they have had enough of the corruption and corrosion of constitutional principles that unchecked power has brought us. Voters are bringing checks and balances back to our political system.
Joining the new Democratic majority in the US House of Representatives — and apparent majority in the Senate — are a lot of exciting progressive leaders who will help bring a new day to Washington. No longer will the White House or Republican leaders be able to operate as a one-party government without accountability. And statehouses across the nation are welcoming new progressive leadership and majorities.
Radical Right organizations’ claim to speak for Americans’ values was exposed as fraudulent. Favored candidates like Rick Santorum and Ken Blackwell were sent packing by huge majorities. Voters in South Dakota derailed the Religious Right’s strategy for overturning Roe v. Wade by rejecting the nation’s most extreme anti-choice law. Missouri voters embraced a stem-cell initiative in the face of the most apocalyptic rhetoric from Religious Right leaders.
Arizonans rejected an anti-gay constitutional amendment. Voters in Oregon rejected radical limits on government’s ability to raise money for public services. Voters in six states passed increases in the minimum wage.
Of course any election brings disappointments. Some great candidates didn’t quite make it. And a number of damaging anti-gay ballot initiatives passed — though with much smaller margins on average than in the past.
There are hugely hopeful signs that the pendulum in American public life is swinging back from the far-right extremes. Young voters, who are solidly progressive, turned out in record numbers. Huge numbers of religiously observant Americans voted for Democrats, reversing a 14-year trend and cutting in half the Republican advantage from just two years ago.
And it’s no wonder. Polls show that a lot of “progressive” policies are actually very mainstream — majorities of Americans oppose overturning Roe v. Wade and support legal protections for gay and lesbian couples, stronger environmental protection in spite of some economic costs, a federal increase in the minimum wage, guaranteed health insurance for all, even if it means higher taxes, and effective diplomacy as the best way to ensure peace.
People For the American Way will work hand in hand with our members, activists, and allies to bring accountability and mainstream values back to the center of our public life.
People For the American Way • 2000 M Street, NW, Suite 400 • Washington, DC 20036
Telephone: 202-467-4999 or 800-326-7329 • firstname.lastname@example.org
Seize the Mandate for Peace in Iraq
Matt Holland / TrueMajority Online Director
The news just came in that Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, one of the key architects of the debacle in Iraq, is finally stepping down. Experts said this would *never* happen, because Rumsfeld was so close to President Bush. Your overwhelming rejection of Rumsfeld-Bush war in Iraq yesterday changed all those rules though.
HERE's WHAT's NEXT:
Even President Bush has realized that things have to change in Iraq. Starting now, we'll push the newly-elected Congress to Bring our Troops Home. Dozens of peace and community groups are launching a new post-election campaign this week called “Mandate for Peace.” SIGN ON NOW to get this rejuvenated campaign off to a big start.
Even President Bush has realized that things have to change in Iraq. Starting now, we'll push the newly-elected Congress to Bring our Troops Home. Dozens of peace and community groups are launching a new post-election campaign this week called “Mandate for Peace.” to get this rejuvenated campaign off to a big start.
Send this petition to:
* Petition to Your Congressperson
We insist that the newly elected Congress, in its earliest days in office, pass legislation requiring the prompt removal of all US troops from Iraq and discontinue funding for military purposes in Iraq except the safe withdrawal of all US forces.
Additionally, Congress should:
- Make real its existing stated commitment to no permanent US military bases in Iraq.
- Support an Iraqi-led reconciliation process to shape a peaceful post-occupation transition.
- Investigate and punish companies engaged in illegal war profiteering.
- Commit significant funds to the reconstruction of Iraq, under the control and direction of Iraqis.
- Provide funding for full benefits, adequate healthcare, and other support for returning servicemen and women.
- Make every effort possible to ensure the peaceful resolution of conflicts with Iran and North Korea."
The media are paying more attention now than ever before -- let's take advantage of it!
TrueMajority members have been calling for this resignation for years, and have sent tens of thousands of calls and letters, despite the odds against success. This is an historic moment; let's make the most of it.
We're working on this with Iraq Veterans Against War, Peace Action, Gold Star Families for Peace, Code Pink, Global Exchange and many others. Make this the moment the beginning of the end of the Iraq nightmare.
76 Progressives Elected across the Country
Yesterday's election was truly historic and Progressive Majority continued to build on our winning track record. Across the country and across the ballot we did what we said we would do — we won — and we proved, once again, that progressive values are winning values.
In all, we elected 76 progressives to office in eight states — spanning from California to Pennsylvania. And there are nine races still too close to call.
That brings the total number of progressives we've helped elect to 185 in just three short years!
Building a Progressive Majority:
* Flipped control of the Wisconsin State Senate.
* Worked with Take Action Minnesota to turn out key communities of color and take over the Minnesota State House.
* Bolstered Democratic majorities in both the Colorado and Washington state legislatures
* Elected three new progressives to statewide office, including Secretaries of State in California and Ohio.
* Elected six County Commissioners in some of the toughest counties in the country
* Flipped control of the Phoenix Union High School District in Arizona, the 5th largest school district in the country.
Take a look at how Progressive Majority took over Wisconsin:
* Jim Lehman, a former teacher, who was outspent by the conservative business community 2 to 1, won by focusing on people not corporations.
* Kathleen Vinehout, a dairy farmer, won by highlighting the difficulty her neighbor farmers have in obtaining health insurance.
* Jim Sullivan won against his neo-conservative opponent by moving away from wedge issues to champion progressive issues, like improving public education.
* Pat Kreitlow, former news anchor, won against the pro-gun incumbent by delivering a common sense agenda that focuses on healthy communities.
Click here to learn more about these or other candidates.
Other historic victories include:
* Derek Kilmer was elected to the Washington State Senate in the 26th District. Derek was Progressive Majority's top-tier candidate for the State House in 2004 — this year we worked to move him up to the senate, making him our first successful "pipeline" candidate!
* Chris Marr was elected to represent District 6 in the Washington State Senate, and in doing so became the first Democrat elected there since 1938!
* Doug Milliken was elected Arapahoe Colorado County Treasurer, the first Democrat to win countywide in 44 years and the first Democrat to be elected Treasurer in the county since FDR was President!
Yesterday, we elected 76 progressives to the following seats:
* 46 State House of Representatives
* 13 State Senate
* 8 Countywide Offices
* 4 School Board Candidates
* 3 Statewide Offices
* 2 Higher Education Board Members
For complete results of all of Progressive Majority's candidates, visit our website at www.ProgressiveMajority.org
Thanks to you, progressives are making a difference at every level of government!
Up and down the ballot, with some of the highest turnout we have seen in recent memory for a mid-term election, voters stood up for change. I'm excited to say that voters stood up not just for change that will last two or four years — but for a new generation of elected officials who can sustain our wins into the future.
Progressive Majority candidates are not career politicians — they are community leaders passionately dedicated to improving peoples' lives and communities. They will make a
Gloria A. Totten is President of Progressive Majority