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Claudia Wright: The Right Left Choice

by Josh Loftin
- Posted // 2010-05-12 -

The liberal wing of the Democratic Party takes a page from the tea party playbook and attacks their own.

Last Saturday, the spanking of incumbents was a bipartisan affair. As is well-known, Republican Sen. Bob Bennett lost in convention and, unless he decides to pursue a difficult write-in campaign, his career is over. Within an hour of Bennett's loss, Utah Democrats forced Rep. Jim Matheson, a five-term Congressman in a Republican-leaning district, into a primary with upstart Claudia Wright.

How upstart is Wright? She became a candidate after responding to a Craigslist ad, placed by oil-lease monkey-wrencher Tim DeChristopher, seeking a challenger for Matheson. That ad spawned the “Citizen’s Candidate” group, led by mostly progressive party activists. She is a retired school teacher who has never run for office. She had, prior to the May 8 convention, less than $10,000 in donations, while Matheson had $1.4 million and counting.

Oh, and she’s a lesbian. In Utah.

Wright’s victory -- because just forcing Matheson into a primary is a victory -- happened partially because of Utah’s unique caucus system that gives power to a small minority of active political participants. In the Republican Party, the arch-conservative base had a lot of power this year. On the Democratic side, that influence went to the vocal cadre of environmentalists, health-care reformers and gay rights activists who are all frustrated with the Blue Dog Matheson.

However, Utah's frustrated liberals are not alone. In multiple states, moderate Democrats and especially the Blue Dogs who voted against health-care reform, are receiving serious electoral heat.

In Ohio, Rep. Zach Space, another Blue Dog Democrat who voted against health-care reform, has multiple union groups urging their members to “Skip The Space” in November. One local leader told Politico that “he can’t have a pass” on his health-care vote.

In Arkansas, Democratic Sen. Blanche Lincoln is facing a serious challenge from former Lt. Gov. Bill Halter, who has received millions from unions and MoveOn.org.

Other efforts have not succeeded as well, although unions are working to send a message. In North Carolina, local union leaders are trying to form a third party to challenge three Democrats who voted against health-care reform.

In some ways, the NC First Party sounds a lot like what people expected from the Citizen’s Candidate group. Many initial supporters of the group, in fact, questioned the decision to run their candidate within the Democratic Party and not through a third party. The argument for an intra-party challenge, which seemed insane at the time and now looks prescient, was that they had a good chance of forcing Matheson into a primary.

After the win, Wright’s candidacy is attracting national attention from progressive groups such as Planned Parenthood and Emily’s List, and they have also received calls from unions, campaignmanager Michael Picardi said.

“We have gotten many hits from PACs around the country that some consider liberal, but I don’t,” Picardi said. “There is a lot of national interest.”

Rep. Jim Matheson’s office did not respond to a request for comment.

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REPLY TO THIS COMMENT
Posted // May 19,2010 at 21:35

I too am excited to vote for Claudia, it's high time we have real representation!

 

Posted // May 20,2010 at 17:51 - Try this piece of Political Satire Morgan Tea Bagger Philpot fibs his Scout's oath Boy am I embarrassed. After Chipper read my editorial, “Philpot Doesn’t Stand a Chance,” he called me up and bitched me out because I failed to include Morgan Philpot’s law school degree as reason to vote for him. Seems Mr. Philpot got his attorney’s merit badge at Ave Maria Catholic Law School in Michigan, now relocated in the sun soaked city of Naples, Florida. But once again I am confused because the information Chipper yelled at me suggests that Ave Maria is really a Law Seminary. Regardless of its liturgical implications, I wonder if Morgan’s studies qualify for him a double major, thus making Morgan eligible for two merit badges. Evidently Ave, as distinguished alumni refer to their former school, recently are taken to calling its law school a “religious” institution in order to avoid a law suit by some disgruntled former professors. In fact, I think they are calling them bad names by referring to them as “ministerial employees,” whatever that means. In the law suit, the school (besides calling their professors bad names) is absolutely insisting they are entitled to “ecclesiastical abstention.” I am not an expert on ecumenical law but this suggests to me that their employees should be abstaining from groping the choir boys and isn’t that a good thing? Looks like I am going to have to call Chipper back up but, because of the time change between Salt Lake City and Kuala Lumpur, I’ll have to wait. Regardless of the lawsuit’s outcome I feel Morgan is entitled to two merit badges. If I was his Scout Master I would also make him an “Order of the Arrow,” member since he is into cheerful service and brotherhood. Given Morgan’s propensity to forget about “birth control,” he would thus have a lot more common with our very own Gayle Ruzicka, President of the Eagle Forum. You may remember the Eagle Forum but if you have forgotten, they arrived on our shores before the Pilgrims ran aground on Plymouth Rock, so they are the forefathers of our Tea Party. Both groups want to return us to the paradise of the late 1700’s sans spiffy hats. I really do not want to talk anymore about the Eagle Beagles but would like to return to Morgan and the Boy Scouts, specifically the Boy Scout Oath and the sacred Scout Laws that Mr. Philpot and I once abided by. My memory is a little sketchy on the specifics and I doubt Chipper is even going to answer the phone today so here goes. “Boy Scout oath: On my honor I will do my best, to do my duty to God, and my country and to obey the Scout laws (12 step program for adolescents), to help other people at all times, to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight.” I know Chipper is going to disagree but I feel Eagle Scout Morgan was fibbing a few of his lines in that oath. First, the part about a scout’s duty to ones God and country says that: “Natural resources are another important part of America's heritage worthy of your efforts to understand, protect, and use wisely.” As a member of Utah’s “conservative” caucus Morgan has been doing the exact opposite. You would think all scouts would want to fight Global Warming, drilling in the Arctic and Tar Sands, in any way they could as well as legislating for clean air and water. You would think that would include supporting our duly elected President Barack Obama too. Secondly, the part about helping people out at all times would mean Morgan would be for Universal Health Care, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, LGBT civil rights and Immigration Reform with Amnesty for immigrants who were exploited by many people and businesses for years. All this writing about Morgan has me waxing sentimentally for the Boy Scouts. I do not know about Mr. Philpot but I want to leave my campsite cleaner, safer and stronger than when I got here. I think Morgan’s former 3 finger salute has become a one finger salute. Too bad, but I bet Chipper is going to disagree. %uFFFC

 

REPLY TO THIS COMMENT
Posted // May 13,2010 at 21:38 "Matheson's office did not respond to a request for comment..?" NO WAY, THAT'S IMPOSSIBLE; THAT GUY IS SO IN TOUCH WITH ALL OF HIS CONSTITUENTS. Ignoring it won't make it go away, congressman; not even close.

 

Posted // May 20,2010 at 17:59 - Sorry I seem to lose paragraphs can't help it but at least I made the font smaller. The Eagle Philpot has landed Utah Republican insider and state party conservative party hack, Morgan Philpot, should be easy to beat in the 2nd Congressional general election by either Claudia Wright, the front runner, or Jim Matheson the incumbent. After the hysteria generated by the Tea Party Frankenstein has subsided, folks in Utah will wake up and realize we must move forward as a state and as a nation. The “Little House on the Prairie,” return to our roots dream is attractive but certainly not realistic. So far about the only thing Morgan has done that has impressed me is that he became an Eagle Scout. Admittedly I am jealous because I only made it to Life Scout before by family moved to Fort Wayne, Indiana and the troop there was run by rabid christian fundamentalists. But before that, I was a member of Troop 1-out of Ardmore, PA, and the first Boy Scout Troop in America. Our jamborees used to be at Valley Forge. Maybe if Morgan were to become elected we could go back to wearing those spiffy hats and costumes that everyone was wearing at Valley Forge; since he wants to return us to the late 1700’s. For myself, if we are going backwards we might as well go all the way. For me, having seen the movie “Jeremiah Johnson,” with Robert Redford (and shot at Sundance Resort), a part of me wants to leave civilization behind and move to the Rocky Mountains. Wait a minute, I just realized I am in the Rocky Mountains. But on the blue tarp side of the continental divide. I do not know about you but I would not want to live along the Front Range. Besides the population density, the Front Range is the headquarters of the Focus on Family group. You know the one whose co-founder is in the news cavorting with male prostitutes. Good thing that sort of thing does not happen in Utah (Idaho does not count). But I seem to have digressed from Morgan and I do apologize. I guess I have not done my homework because I am on his website now and see he was a sponsor of the Carson Smith Special Needs Scholarship which created an educational voucher program. I guess our underfunded public school system was not doing its job. Oh, and I see he is for guns. I am too but I am for reasonable laws that prevent guns from falling into the wrong hands and for those who own guns to be better stewards. Was Morgan a part of a bill this last legislative session that wanted to do away with the Federal background checks on weapons bought and sold in Utah? Furthermore, thanks to Morgan and his friends my Utah Concealed weapon’s permit is no longer valid in many other states because our permitting process is too dangerous and lax. I see also that he is still using that same “grass roots,” message he had back in 2000. I guess the meaning of “grass roots,” is pretty subjective these days. Did everyone see his cake with the words “Grass Roots,” on it at a recent fund raiser? I guess I am going to have to look that phrase up again because I am a little confused. Another thing I am confused about is the statement on Morgan’s website: “his real life struggles and experiences uniquely qualify him to serve the families of Utah as the next congressman from the second district.” Wow, and at 38 years old too! Truly impressive since most of the 30-40 year olds I know are clueless when it comes to local, federal and international issues. Compared to Claudia and Jim this guy is just a kid that made eagle scout.

 

Posted // May 20,2010 at 17:48 - Check out this one: Morgan Tea Bagger Philpot fibs his oath Boy am I embarrassed. After Chipper read my editorial, “Philpot Doesn’t Stand a Chance,” he called me up and bitched me out because I failed to include Morgan Philpot’s law school degree as reason to vote for him. Seems Mr. Philpot got his attorney’s merit badge at Ave Maria Catholic Law School in Michigan, now relocated in the sun soaked city of Naples, Florida. But once again I am confused because the information Chipper yelled at me suggests that Ave Maria is really a Law Seminary. Regardless of its liturgical implications, I wonder if Morgan’s studies qualify for him a double major, thus making Morgan eligible for two merit badges. Evidently Ave, as distinguished alumni refer to their former school, recently are taken to calling its law school a “religious” institution in order to avoid a law suit by some disgruntled former professors. In fact, I think they are calling them bad names by referring to them as “ministerial employees,” whatever that means. In the law suit, the school (besides calling their professors bad names) is absolutely insisting they are entitled to “ecclesiastical abstention.” I am not an expert on ecumenical law but this suggests to me that their employees should be abstaining from groping the choir boys and isn’t that a good thing? Looks like I am going to have to call Chipper back up but, because of the time change between Salt Lake City and Kuala Lumpur, I’ll have to wait. Regardless of the lawsuit’s outcome I feel Morgan is entitled to two merit badges. If I was his Scout Master I would also make him an “Order of the Arrow,” member since he is into cheerful service and brotherhood. Given Morgan’s propensity to forget about “birth control,” he would thus have a lot more common with our very own Gayle Ruzicka, President of the Eagle Forum. You may remember the Eagle Forum but if you have forgotten, they arrived on our shores before the Pilgrims ran aground on Plymouth Rock, so they are the forefathers of our Tea Party. Both groups want to return us to the paradise of the late 1700’s sans spiffy hats. I really do not want to talk anymore about the Eagle Beagles but would like to return to Morgan and the Boy Scouts, specifically the Boy Scout Oath and the sacred Scout Laws that Mr. Philpot and I once abided by. My memory is a little sketchy on the specifics and I doubt Chipper is even going to answer the phone today so here goes. “Boy Scout oath: On my honor I will do my best, to do my duty to God, and my country and to obey the Scout laws (12 step program for adolescents), to help other people at all times, to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight.” I know Chipper is going to disagree but I feel Eagle Scout Morgan was fibbing a few of his lines in that oath. First, the part about a scout’s duty to ones God and country says that: “Natural resources are another important part of America's heritage worthy of your efforts to understand, protect, and use wisely.” As a member of Utah’s “conservative” caucus Morgan has been doing the exact opposite. You would think all scouts would want to fight Global Warming, drilling in the Arctic and Tar Sands, in any way they could as well as legislating for clean air and water. You would think that would include supporting our duly elected President Barack Obama too. Secondly, the part about helping people out at all times would mean Morgan would be for Universal Health Care, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, LGBT civil rights and Immigration Reform with Amnesty for immigrants who were exploited by many people and businesses for years. All this writing about Morgan has me waxing sentimentally for the Boy Scouts. I do not know about Mr. Philpot but I want to leave my campsite cleaner, safer and stronger than when I got here. I think Morgan’s former 3 finger salute has become a one finger salute. Too bad, but I bet Chipper is going to disagree. %uFFFC

 

REPLY TO THIS COMMENT
Posted // May 12,2010 at 13:18

I am so excited to vote for Claudia! Finally a candidate that will actually listen to us!

 

Posted // May 12,2010 at 16:18 - Okay, Willie. I can dig that, though it was a bit abstract. And I believe that you're legally blind and told you it's not hard to make me into an idiot. See? I make fun of your giant font, you tell me you're blind, I am an ass. Good luck with those operations and stay away from propane laden barges. That kind of stuff is seriously frowned upon these days. You outta stick around a while. You're kind of fun.

 

Posted // May 12,2010 at 15:12 - Believe it or not I am currently legally blind so I type in 24 font and often forget to reduce the type. The connections are: 1) The discrimination issue of sexual identity 2) The Tea Party hysteria and it's relationship to stress 3) Morgan Philpot will stress people out over the concept of a Lesbian elected to congress 4) Matheson's attack dogs using Claudia's sexuality to slander her I will reread MWG when I get my vision back (at least 2 more operations. Propane on barges, I always loved that idea!

 

REPLY TO THIS COMMENT
Posted // May 12,2010 at 12:24

Writting in 2008 before the Tea Party was formed by the republican party, Sapolsky wrote and spoke about the very same stressors that are fueling anti-government sentiment. I know I can't cover everything in one essay but I'm trying to get people to think about the issues and discover new ways of learning. Watch PBS, subscribe to the TED lectures series, take classes or read more widely and you'll see where I come from.

Plus before I write a book I'm experimenting-and learning. What can I say I'm a scholar.

marquisdevauban(dot)wordpress(dot)com

 

Posted // May 12,2010 at 14:59 - Hey Willie! I'll have to answer your response here because, while I received your note via e-mail, I just don't see it here on this post. I'm sure it'll pop up later and make me look stupid, which isn't difficult. Look, Willie, I am not offended by anything you wrote. You couldn't offend me if you tried. I simply didn't understand the correlation between your note and the blog you posted it to. There was no similarity between the two subjects. And the huge font you used sucked. Honest to goodness crazy people usually post like that. Now let me tell you how impressed I am that you recognized the source of my handle. Not hard to do but you're the first to mention it. In regards to your words, though, you should review Hayduke's attitude and behavior in the MWG. It is his attitude that prompted me to adopt his name to play here in digital land. Cheers, scholarly one!

 

 
 
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