Can you say “Democrat civil war”? How about “progressive civil war”? Howard Dean and brother Jim, the founder and chairman respectively of the progressive PAC Democracy for America, have declared war on…Rahm Emanuel.
Yes, you read that right. The PAC founded by Howard Dean — the former Democratic governor of Vermont, one-time presidential candidate, and ex-chairman of the Democratic National Committee — has unleashed an angry fundraising email dedicated to electing leftist city council candidates opposed to the notorious Rahm “Rahmbo” Emanuel, the progressive mayor of Chicago and Obama’s ex-White House chief of staff. The letter is signed by Jim Dean.
The email in its entirety reads (with all the bold print in the original):
One of the most important elections of 2015 is right around the corner — and Democracy for America is in the thick of it, defending progressive champions against a notorious corporate Democrat.
That notorious figure is none other than Rahm Emanuel. As mayor of Chicago, Rahm has unleashed an unprecedented attack on working families, especially the poor and people of color. Here are just a few of the terrible things Rahm has done as mayor:
• He closed more than 50 public neighborhood schools, primarily in African American and Latino neighborhoods.
• He closed half of Chicago’s public mental health clinics, leaving many of the poorest and most in need without access to quality, affordable care.
• He attacked unions, including cutting pension benefits while using tax dollars for corporate subsidies.
• He refused to hire more police officers to combat the city’s crime problem, citing budgetary constraints.
• He broke his promise of openness, fighting efforts at increased transparency, ignoring community input, and micro-managing the press.
Seven Aldermen — John Arena, Toni Foulkes, Leslie Hairston, Rick Munoz, Roderick Sawyer, Nick Sposato, and Scott Waguespack — have taken the lead in fighting Rahm’s corporate agenda. Now Rahm is coming after them, using millions of dollars in a Super PAC funded by large corporations to try and defeat these seven progressive Aldermen. Rahm’s goal: replace them with cronies who answer only to him and his wealthy backers, rather than to the people.
If Rahm Emanuel wins the mayoral election in February (or a runoff in April), he will have no unified opposition on the City Council. He will be able to kneecap progressive power in Chicago — just as progressives are winning important victories in cities like Los Angeles, New York, Seattle, and more.
That’s why DFA is endorsing these seven Alderman candidates — who we’re calling the Chicago Seven — and we need your support to defend them and defeat Emanuel.
Chicago DFA members have put out a national call for help to support these seven Alderman candidates under attack from Rahm Emanuel. Will you come to their aid? Stand with the Chicago Seven by chipping in $3 or more today!
DFA is making a significant investment in defending the Chicago Seven. With your help, we are launching a major field campaign in these seven wards. We’re recruiting friends, family, and neighbors, launching phonebanks, and canvassing neighborhoods.
This is a grassroots, people-powered operation — in stark contrast to the top-down, big money, negative campaign that Rahm Emanuel is leading against these progressives.
With your help we can send a strong message to Rahm Emanuel and leaders across America that progressives reject the agenda of privatization, public school closings, and stagnant wages for working families. We will show that we fight for an economy that works for everyone — and that we will hit the streets and the phones to defend those elected officials who stand with us.
We have less than a month to go before the first round of elections. These seven Alderman candidates need your help today to defend themselves against Rahm Emanuel’s attacks. Please chip in $3 or more to help DFA build a people-powered campaign to re-elect the Chicago Seven!
The whole world is watching. Thank you for helping win this important election.
Jim Dean, Chair
Democracy for America
Got that? Rahmbo is “notorious,” anti-working family, anti-poor, and oh by the way, he hates “people of color.” Translation: Rahm is a racist. And Howard Dean thinks the audience that has seen American Sniper is filled with angry people?
Well. Nothing like a little left-wing fratricide. And note the reference to “defending the Chicago Seven” in reference to these progressive candidates. That would be a clever wink to those radical left-wingers of yore, the original “Chicago Seven” who, for those who came in late, were tried and sentenced to five years in the slammer for their behavior at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago. For those inconvenient things like conspiracy with intent to riot, and teaching good like-minded eager progs how to make an incendiary device and so on. The trial was a circus, with Black Panthers leader Bobby Seale — originally an eighth defendant but separated out from the seven — calling the judge a “fascist dog,” a “pig,” and a “racist.” Among other things. Though they were all convicted, the charges were later reversed on appeal. As it played out, no one went to prison or even paid a fine.
So if you’re running a campaign to raise bucks for seven Democrats in Chicago, naming your selections after people accused of inciting to riot and trying to blow up Chicago is, but of course, a compliment. Ya gotta love it.
The real question here is what this means for the future of the Democrats — in 2016 and beyond. It might presumably have an impact on carrying Illinois, with Chicago the home of President Obama, for the eventual Democratic nominee. But most interestingly, with all the attention paid to splits in the Republican Party, it spotlights a serious crack in the foundation of progressive unity that could spread outward from Chicago.
Rahmbo, make no mistake, is being accused here of not being progressive or left-wing enough. It takes no political genius to hear the rumblings inside the left of antipathy for Hillary Clinton. The “Chicago Seven” hero — make that heroine — of 2016 being Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren.
Can the man labeled in this fundraising appeal as the “notorious” Rahm survive his challenges in the primary election scheduled for next month? Can the Vermont outsiders help fund the new Chicago Seven with enough contributions to thwart that corporate toady Rahmbo? We’ll know next month.
But make no mistake. You might say that what happens in Chicago won’t stay in Chicago. One suspects the Clintons are paying close attention.
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