You may have noticed that lately, the noisy right-wing Hate Machine has decided to take a little energy out of their stream of hatred and calumny usually reserved for Nancy Pelosi, to focus it on Keith Ellison (D-MN). After all, Keith, a very outspoken and articulate co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus and only 49, will be in Congress long after Pelosi, 73, retires. Sean Hannity has declared a right-wing crusade against Ellison and spends an inordinate amount of energy smearing him. We've tried to have Keith's back. And today at 1pm (Central Time), 11am on the West Coast, Keith will be joining us for a live chat here in the comments section (below). Please join us there for the conversation.
The other co-chair of the CPC, our old friend Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ), is very enthusiastic of Keith's ability to give a voice to regular working families. "Keith, above all, isn't posturing," he told us. "He deeply believes in and relentlessly fights for progressive values and equality for all. I enjoy his friendship and admire his drive and consistency. He is a real person for these unreal times, and I support him every chance I get."
Like Grijalva and Alan Grayson, Keith has been a tireless fighter against the Boehner-Obama Chained CPI scheme. He seems almost hurt that Obama would play for the other team on something so absolutely crucial for working Americans.
"You worked hard. You earned it. And Republicans want to dismantle it.
"Years ago when people talked about retirement, we thought of it like a three-legged stool: the pension from your job, money you saved, and Social Security.
"But pensions are disappearing, and savings are down. And now, the last leg standing is being whittled away.
"In an effort to bring the GOP to the table, President Obama has proposed a budget that changes the way cost of living adjustments are calculated for people on Social Security, using a method called the 'Chained CPI.' Plain and simple, this would be a benefit cut, forcing the most vulnerable Americans to dig even further into their savings.
"It’s never been more important to keep our promise to American families, and that’s why I’m standing up for Social Security."
Last week, Keith was one of the Democrats fighting conservatives trying to raise the cost of borrowing money for a college education. The job plan for student loans is part of the Republican's class warfare-- making them less affordable for the children of the working and middle class. "College," Keith reminds us, "is the gateway to the middle class. Yet student debt is skyrocketing and is crippling the ability of our young talent to be successful. And Republicans are only trying to make it worse. This week I voted against a proposal that would have charged students up to 8% interest on their loans, and parents up to 10.5%. Are we a nation that values corporate profits more than economic opportunity? Why would we choose to sentence our students to a lifetime of debt instead of getting rid of subsidies for Big Oil, or tax breaks for corporate jet owners? We have a responsibility to provide affordable education and I will continue to fight for our students."
Last year Steve Israel made Keith one of the 4 national chairs at the DCCC-- in charge of Community Outreach. He's not looking for conservatives and reactionaries to restock the very elderly and jaded House Democratic caucus. Helping push him further up the congressional ladder is going to mean a less conservative Democratic caucus that's adopts wrong-headed right wing points of view on all too many crucial issues. Keith's newest bill, a tiny tax on financial transactions, isn't something the puppets of the plutocracy are comfortable with. That's not holding Keith back-- not even a little:
"Some people say we can't afford to pay for the things we need-- health care for our families, an excellent education for our kids. I've introduced a bill that would allow us to invest in our economy, while charging only a fraction of a percent to the very Wall Street corporations that caused our economy to crash in 2008.
"A small tax on financial transactions-- which many have called the Robin Hood Tax-- would also reduce harmful market speculation or 'high speed trading.' The UK has one, the EU has proposed one, and now it's our turn. That's why I'm fighting to invest in the things our economy needs to grow, while curbing the things that put our economy at risk."