Better Democrats: Vote Ed Fallon for All-Star

Democracy for America’s 2008 Grassroots All-Stars vote is underway and we have a chance to use the voting to push for a endorsement of progressive Democrats running in tough primaries. Specifically Ed Fallon.

Ed is a progressive Democrat running against Bush Dog Leonard Boswell. Ed ran for governor in 2006 and won the district in the primary. We have done great work for Mark Pera and Donna Edwards campaigns against Bush Dogs. Now with a extra netroots boost Fallon can beat another Bush Dog!

First lets take a look at Boswell from the great Bush Dog profile that David Kowalski did at OpenLeft.

Boswell has had a terrible voting record on important legislation.  He was among the minority of House Democrats to authorize the use of military force in Iraq (AUMF).  Boswell also voted for the PATRIOT Act, the creation of the Department of Homeland Security, a draconian immigration bill that never made it through the Senate, and No Child Left Behind.

It is important to understand that Leonard Boswell is no coward.  He believes in this stuff.  Boswell served 20 years in the military rising from a draftee in 1956 to a Lt. Colonel when he retired in 1976.  Boswell served as an assault helicopter pilot for two tours of duty in Vietnam earning 2 Bronze Stars and 2 Distinguished Flying Crosses.  He ran an ad attacking his 2006 opponent Jeff Lamberti under “national security” for being soft on immigration and soft on crime.

Now who is Ed Fallon?

I attended Marlboro College in Vermont for two years, after which I traveled the world for six years. In the mid 1980s, I attended Drake University, where I received a degree in religious studies.

From 1986 to 1992, I worked in the peace movement.

From 1993 to 2006 I served in the Iowa Legislature, representing residents of downtown Des Moines, the surrounding neighborhoods and the City’s northeast side. My focus as a lawmaker was to champion the needs of constituency groups treated unfairly by government or neglected by the majority of policy makers.

In 1998 I helped found 1000 Friends of Iowa, a land-use and anti-urban sprawl group. I served as executive director for 5 years.

In 2006, I ran for governor in a four-way Democratic primary, receiving 26% of the vote — far more than the 5-10% pundits predicted.

In 2007, with my partner, Lynn Heuss, I co-founded I’M for Iowa: an Independence Movement for Iowa, which addresses many of the same issues raised in my gubernatorial campaign. For the last year, Lynn and I also worked as consultants with John Edwards’ campaign for president.

I am an accomplished musician on many instruments and I speak French and Spanish. I was raised Catholic and consider myself staunchly ecumenical. I lived in the inner-city of Des Moines for 20 years and now reside in the historic Sherman Hill neighborhood. I am an avid gardener and for many years grew much of my family’s food on land reclaimed from a clay parking lot. I also established a community garden in the inner-city and I maintain strong connections to my father’s farm in Ireland, where I organized the planting of 25,000 oak trees in 1999.

My passion for justice inspires me and my life is committed to working for progressive reform, both within and outside the political process.

And why is he running?

While Leonard Boswell is an honorable man who has served with dignity, I feel his positions on many key issues are wrong.

Boswell accepts donations from PACs and lobbyists. Of the $600,167 he raised between February and September 2007, 73% came from PACs. During my 14 years as a state representative and when I ran for governor, I refused donations from PACs and lobbyists and won’t accept them in my congressional campaign either.

In 2003, he voted for the Iraq War and has continued to support additional funding with no timetable to bring the troops home. I opposed Bush’s war from the start and believe we need a more diplomatic approach to foreign policy, not just in Iraq but throughout the Middle East.

In 2005, Boswell voted to provide $14 billion in tax breaks and incentives for oil and gas companies. He also supports greater use of coal. I have been a leader in the fight against government handouts to big business. I support a moratorium on new coal-fired power plants and have helped lead efforts in Iowa to fight global warming.

Boswell voted for No Child Left Behind. I have always spoken against this unfunded, ineffective mandate, and believe NCLB should be repealed, or at a minimum severely overhauled.

Boswell supported the Patriot Act, and in August 2007, voted for a bill to increase unwarranted surveillance on the American people. Iowa’s other Democratic Congressmen, Bruce Braley and Dave Loebsack, voted against it. I have a long track record of fighting for civil rights and personal liberties.

In November 2007, Boswell joined Congressmen Steve King and Tom Latham – both Republicans – to vote for a NAFTA-like trade agreement with Peru. I am a vocal opponent of NAFTA and other so-called “free” trade agreements and believe in fair trade that protects American jobs, our environment, and workers’ safety.

Boswell is fairly conservative and old, therefore he has had some tight races. But although Fallon is slightly to the left of the district he is young and energetic and so claims that he “couldn’t win” are over the top. Fallon will kick off his official campaign tomorrow and the primary is June 3rd. If Iowa progressives can rally around him and if he gets a extra boost from the national people-powered movement then he has a real shot at winning. Both Donna Edwards and Mark Pera have never been elected to anything but they are both running real credible campaigns and have a great shot at victory. Ed on the other hand already has represented parts of the district and has run a state-wide campaign that won this district. He already has a base of support and is known, however Boswell will have a lot of money from his insider friends and so we will need to fight back. Getting DFA to support him is a great first step.

Vote Ed Fallon for All-Star

  • Fallon is a loser

    Sorry guy.  All Fallon did in the legislature was make people mad.  He didn’t get anything done besides do-nothing symbolism.

    If there’s anything the Iowa Caucuses showed, it’s that we want actual change, not just symbolism.  We want people who can build bridges, not burn them down day after day after day.

    Boswell has done a lot for the 3rd.  He’s effectively scared off any Republican challenger, because he keeps winning and winning.  Making this a targeted seat again only lessens the amount of money we have to win seats away from Republicans.

    Expand the House.  Go Boswell.

    • I totally disagree

      First, Boswell vastly underperformed the top of the ticket in 2006. We need a new candidate Democrats can get excited about.

      Second, Boswell is likely to retire when IA loses a CD after the 2010 census. We would be better off with a new incumbent in that seat–gives us a better chance of holding on to the redrawn seat.

      Third, even if Ed loses the primary, having him in the race has already improved Boswell’s voting record and will probably further improve Boswell’s voting. We’ve seen this after Jane Harman and Ellen Tauscher were unsuccessfully primaried.

    • The reason he wasn't able to get anything done

      Is because the people that are in the system (mostly all in lobby/corporate pockets) didn’t like his newfangled ideas.  They basically ostrasized(sp?) him and made it so that he didn’t have any friends around there.  The only thing he had left was a bully pulpit to lecture people about what is wrong in this state.  

      He stood up for the things he believes in, and if you think he’s a loser because he wouldn’t give up his progressive values, then that’s really crappy in my opinion.

  • There's a spectre haunting this race...

    It’s not my district, so perhaps it’s not my place to say anything but I’m a little concerned by the unintentional consequences this might have.

    It bothers me that the prospect of a primary fight has Republicans licking their chops in a race where (until now) they’ve had trouble even recruiting a candidate. Take a look at blogs like Cyclone Conservative…he’s practically drooling over the possibilities.

    It bothers me that this primary fight has the potential to get uglier than a bucket of rattlesnakes. If this descends into; “You’re an accordion-playing, East Village Des Moines, gay-marriage loving, out-of-touch liberal” and “Well, you’re a washed up old smoky-room political machine hack who soaks up PAC money like a sponge and wouldn’t know change if it kicked you in the pants” could we end up writing the storyline for the Republicans in November ourselves?

    It also bothers me that the possibility exists that even if Fallon wins, Boswell may not step aside and might try to flank Fallon with some kind of Lieberman-esque third party run. A run which would almost guarantee a Republican victory…

    Sorry for the long comment, but I just thought I’d share some of the fears that keep haunting me whenever I think about this race.

    • I don't share your fears

      Boswell would not run as an independent if he lost the primary.

      Also, I am not convinced that tough primaries are a bad thing. The Democrats had a tough gubernatorial primary in 2006, while Republicans united around Nussle early. Culver still beat Nussle by a much larger margin than most people were predicting.

      The 3rd district leans D, especially in a presidential year when Democratic turnout will be high.

      Also, in the worst-case scenario, Democrats would still hold the U.S. House of Representatives. If we were in the minority and struggling to win back enough Republican-held seas, I might feel differently.

      Finally, anyone who opposes this challenge needs to explain how we hold on to the 3rd district after the 2010 census. As I wrote in my front-page post, it seems likely that Boswell would retire in 2012. We are better off getting a new incumbent in the seat before we have to defend a redrawn district.

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