Fallon calls on Boswell to back Obama

A little more than two weeks before the Democratic primary in Iowa's third Congressional district, Ed Fallon has challenged Congressman Leonard Boswell to shift his support as a superdelegate from Hillary Clinton to Barack Obama.

It's a shrewd move for several reasons.

First, Iowa's third district went for Obama in January, as yesterday's press release from Fallon underscores:

Fallon says, "Even though Hillary Clinton finished behind Barack Obama and John Edwards in the Third Congressional District, Congressman Boswell continues to ignore the will of the majority by saying he will cast his superdelegate vote for Clinton."

Fallon worked with John Edwards through the Iowa Caucuses and then endorsed Barack Obama in February. Fallon says, "Both Obama and Edwards are people whose principles reflect my belief that we need to get big money out of politics and stand up to the special interests to accomplish real change in this country. It's time to come together and focus on defeating John McCain in November."

As I've written before, Fallon yard signs are often seen in the same yards as the Obama "HOPE" signs, while Boswell's yard signs are frequently paired with Hillary signs.

Any further publicity that aligns Fallon with Obama, and Boswell with Clinton, can't hurt the challenger and may even sway some undecided Democrats.

Second, Obama is coming back to Des Moines this Tuesday for a victory rally on the night when he is expected to win a majority of the Democratic Party's pledged delegates. This will surely be a big media event.

Fallon spoke at a Nation for Change rally supporting Obama in Des Moines last month. Whether or not Fallon is able to address the crowd this coming Tuesday, Obama's visit may generate some media coverage about which prominent Iowans are supporting Obama, and which are still with Clinton.

Third, since Boswell has rejected all invitations to debate, Fallon will not have many more opportunities to trip up the incumbent before the June 3 primary. Challenging Boswell to back Obama is a way to shift the media narrative.

Speaking of debates, Boswell has said he could not spare the time for them because he is too busy working on the farm bill and other legislation. But Congress has already sent the farm bill to President Bush and is likely to be in recess during the last week in May. It's too bad that Boswell can't be straightforward about his reasons for not debating Fallon.

A final note before I end this post: after trying for more than a week, I have so far been unable to get any comment from Boswell's campaign or his Congressional office on whether Boswell was the Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee who on May 8 supported a Republican effort to add the Senate version of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (which includes retroactive immunity for telecommunications companies) to the fiscal 2009 Intelligence authorization bill.

I am still trying to get someone who works for Boswell to confirm or deny this speculation and will bring you up to date on this soon.

  • Fallon's a hypocrite

    Why should Boswell debate Fallon? He has proven himself to be a shape-shifting hypocrite. He is just looking for attention anyway. Boswell would debate any real democrat that ran against him. Unfortunately, Fallon doesn't qualify. Fallon should take some time to work on his white papers and go sell his wares in the Green Party. That is where he truly belongs.

    • why is it that Boswell supporters

      can never defend his many important votes with the majority of House Republicans, against the majority of House Democrats?

      Fallon would fit right in the House Progressive Caucus.

    • What's wrong with the Green Party, really?

      Don't use the Green Party as an insult.  The Ten Key Values of the Green Party are almost identical to those of the progressive Democrats who are almost constantly ignored by the Democratic Party leadership.  Internationally, Green parties have done a lot of great things for the world.  If you have a problem with the electoral strategies of the Greens in the US, go ahead and criticize them.  But don't act as if they're some monolithic sabotage machine, or that endorsing the man who made sure that your car doesn't explode on impact means you're responsible for the bombing of Iraq.

      It is simply sickening that you'd call a man a traitor on past occasions, for not going along with the "my party, right or wrong" crowd, especially when the evidence shows that the choice of Lieberman was dead wrong.

      Rather than throwing stones at a man who simply thought we could do better than a Gore/Lieberman ticket, why don't you work for changes to the electoral structure that would eliminate the spoiler effect entirely, like the implementation of Instant Runoff Voting?  Improving our democracy goes beyond voting Democrat.

      And before you attack me as a traitor as well, I voted for Al Gore, after caucusing for Bill Bradley and serving on the platform committee in 2000.  Right now, I'd like to see a man elected in IA-3 who actually fits that platform.  I would hope you would too, if you're a "real Democrat."  I'm pretty sure that if you actually look at Boswell's voting record, you'll see that it's not him.

      So, what's more important to you?  Party loyalty in a destructive and flawed system, or true representation of your constituents?

      • I supported Bradley in 2000, then voted for Gore

        as well. In retrospect, Bradley was a big disappointment. He has not been engaged in any progressive causes I know of since losing that primary. I would just support Gore from the beginning if I had it to do over again.

        I agree with you that the problem with the Greens is their electoral strategy, not for the most part what they stand for.

        They need to focus on taking over the Democratic Party by winning primaries in solid Democratic districts, just like how the religious right gained influence with the GOP by getting true believers elected in solid Republican districts.

        • That would keep the two party system intact

          I don't think changing the Democratic party would address the larger problem that a two party system excludes many people and opinions from the process.  I would much rather see something similar to other party systems in the world where various parties form coalitions to gain support, which gives more power to the people and the individual politicians rather than a handful of party leaders.

          The problem with this is that the system is stacked against third parties and our current laws turn them into spoilers.  A system of preferential voting where one could cast second choice votes for Democrats or Republicans if they preferred a third party candidate, would help eliminate the spoiler effect.  Instant Runoff Voting is used in elections throughout the world, including San Francisco.

          Even pursuing a strategy of electing candidates at lower levels is difficult to pursue for a  third party because ballot access is often only granted to "major parties."  That status is determined by results in gubernatorial or presidential elections, where the spoiler effect is more of an issue.  Even winning a mayoral race in a large city is not enough.

          I don't know about you, but I feel like third parties are a great thing for democracy once you remove the spoiler effect.  

  • Fallon's got a point...

    Boswell supporting Clinton, after the Iowa caucus results, would seem terribly out of touch with his constituents.

    Considering that Fallon's grassroots campaign has forced Boswell to do some "representative" things he has never done in all his years in Congress, Boswell would be smart to just come out and endorse Obama. ASAP!

    Boswell supporting Hillary now would be a very willful act of misguided loyalty to that same beltway insider machine we all want remoived from power, and one more bit of evidence he is out of touch with his Iowa constituents and more concerned about his DC friends.

    He needs to reassure Iowans he's not one of those insiders.  The the real question everyone has to resolve, "IS BOSWELL ONE OF THOSE INSIDERS?"

    Boswell has a chance here to prove he's still an Iowan, not a beltway insider who's lost touch with his roots.

  • This isn't the only thing that Boswell is out of touch with his constituents on

  • Lose-Lose for Boswell

    Boswell can't win in this situation. If he endorses Obama, not only is he giving in to Fallon, he's not showing loyalty and he alienates his sizable Hillary/Boswell constituency.

    If he sticks with Hillary, he gives Fallon big political ammo  right up until the primary--plus he alienates the Obama people. Very shrewd strategy from Fallon.

  • Yard signs

    I was actually in Des Moines today, visiting my brother who lives near Drake.  I was surprised to see that there actually were a couple of houses with Obama and Boswell signs.  The number of Fallon signs in total in that area definitely dwarfs the number of Boswell signs, which isn't a total surprise.

    • well, the Drake area

      is probably one of the strongest for Fallon in the whole district. He better be winning the yard sign war there!

      • Definitely

        I absolutely agree.  Still, it's stunning to see so many yard signs for one candidate and very few for another.  There were also a ton of signs for Tyler Reedy, and those seemed to be on every other lawn.  I thought my neighborhood was active!

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