As we were entering Politicon a couple months ago, we passed David Frum and I introduced him to Randy Bryce. I didn't have to say anything more than his name before Frum asked if they could get together in Washington to speak and asked if Randy would appear in a movie that was being shot about him. He was excited, very excited; he knows how to read the zeitgeist. A couple nights ago Randy and I were leaving a restaurant when we ran into Al Franken. "Al," I said, "let me introduce you to Randy Bryce." Franken got so excited, he couldn't stop talking and he invited Randy to come visit him in Washington and offered to write a contribution check for his campaign. Nice! He also knows how to read the zeitgeist.
But it isn't always that way. Also at Politicon I ran into a Republican Party TV personality, Bill Kristol, whose dad, Irving, was known as the "grandfather of neoconservatism." I offered to introduce him to Randy too-- don't ask why why; I have no idea-- and he smugly demurred and launched into the silliest Beltway nonsensical perspective I've ever heard on the race-- every hackish truism about why Randy has no chance against the sitting Speaker of the House, pure backward-facing DC punditry. He apparently lost any ability to read the zeitgeist-- if he ever had it to begin with.
See that little graphic up top? That's the current polling margin of victory of Randy over Ryan after one positive line is read from both their biographies. And Randy is just getting started to introduce himself to voters in the southwest Wisconsin district that stretches from the suburbs south of Milwaukee into Racine and Kenosha, across notorious Waukesha County, over to Janesville and almost as far as Beloit on the Rock River, a Democratic stronghold Ryan had the Republican legislature gerrymander out of the district to protect himself.
Anyway, what those numbers in the graphic say is that Bill Kristof is wrong-- Randy Bryce can beat Paul Ryan. It won't be easy and Randy will never match the $11,150,271 war-chest Ryan reported to the FEC on June 30. But Randy doesn't need to match him to beat him. He just needs enough to get his message out. Ryan can spend $11 million or $20 million or $40 million; it won't matter if Randy has what he needs to effectively communicate his message and his vision. And so far, that's going great. His introductory video has people across the district talking about the possibility that Bill Kristol can't grasp.
This week, Blue America is pitching in with a contest. We're giving away a guitar signed by all the members of Green Day to one person who contributes to Randy's campaign here at the NoTrump.NoKKK.NoFascistUSA page-- any amount.
When I sat down to write this letter 190 people had contributed $3,933. That's an average of $20.70-- and that's how a grassroots campaign works. Randy isn't sucking up to special interests for big PAC checks. He's been clear, for example, that he's taking no money from Big Oil or from Wall Street.
This is how he contrasted himself with Paul Ryan right from the very beginning of his campaign: "Speaker Ryan," he wrote, "lost touch with us years ago, focusing more on power and political party then on the people of our communities. And we see it in his actions in DC everyday:"
--Instead of fighting for a Single Payer Health Care system that will ensure that all of us can be healthy and receive treatment, Speaker Ryan is working on taking health care away from up to 32 million Americans, while giving huge tax cuts to billionaires and millionaires.
- --Instead of Fighting for Working People and lifting the economic floor by fighting for a $15 minimum wage, investments in our workforce, and support for organized labor and tax fairness, Speaker Ryan has presided over the erosion of our economy across Southeastern Wisconsin over the past 20 years, as unfair trade deals, the loss of manufacturing jobs and failure to jumpstart the industries of the future have hollowed out our economy.
- --Instead of committing our country to reversing Climate Change, investing in renewable energy, and protecting the environment, Speaker Ryan is standing in the way of progress, applauding as the US retreats from an international commitment to preserve our planet.
- --Instead of defending Women’s Health Care and Reproductive Rights, Speaker Ryan wants to strip away a woman’s right to choose, and access to basic health care like mammograms, cancer screenings and birth control.
- --Instead of committing to real Campaign Finance Reform that empowers people-- like overturning the destructive Citizens United decision, standing up to cynical voter suppression efforts, and increasing participation in our democracy-- Speaker Ryan is defending a damaged status quo that coddles corporations, the rich and the powerful.
- --Instead of pursuing Comprehensive Immigration Reform, Speaker Ryan has accepted a broken system that continues to tear families apart and goes against everything our country stands for and has sat idly by while our neighbors-- his constituents-- right here in Southeast Wisconsin live in fear of deportation.
And the description of himself is like a description of all of us and all of our families: "I’m a father and a son. I’m a veteran and a cancer survivor. I’m a working person and have spent my career building and growing Southeastern Wisconsin with my own two hands. So ask yourself this: who do you trust to fight for you, your family and our communities-- someone who has been working the iron for the past 20 years; or Paul Ryan, who has been in Washington, DC for the past 20 years, working for Wall Street and the big corporations."
If you go to the NoTrump.NoKKK.NoFascistUSA page and contribute to Randy's campaign, you'll be automatically entered in the contest for the signed Green Day guitar. The real prize, though, is not an autographed guitar; it's repealing and replacing Paul Ryan. The guitar is nice; helping to save our country from Paul Ryan and his cronies and campaign donors is much, much nicer. Don't you agree? Please give what you can.