Hats Off to Alan Grayson

Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL08) gets it. You don’t deal with radicals by meeting them in the middle or fudging your critique to avoid being attacked. You will be attacked anyway, so come out swinging.

We saw perfect evidence of that yesterday when Grayson summed up the Republican obstructionist health agenda quite succinctly:

Republican Health Care Plan
1. Don’t get sick
2. If you do get sick, DIE QUICKLY

On cue, the G”NO”P bully brigade threw a temper tantrum:

“That is about the most mean-spirited partisan statement that I’ve ever heard made on this floor, and I, for one, don’t appreciate it,” (Rep. John) Duncan said.

“It’s fully appropriate that the gentleman return to the floor and apologize,” said Rep. Marsha Blackburn, another Tennessee Republican.

Oh fer chrissakes, call the WAAAAAAAmbulance. Death panels, anyone? God forbid someone ever give them a taste of their own medicine.

Now here’s what’s so amazing about this story. Traditionally, Dems under attack would cave to such demands, issue an apology, perhaps cry and nothing will change except the public continues to see them as sissies. But not this time. Sensing an opportunity to hammer home his point, Grayson dug in:

My favorite line: “We should care about people, even after they’re born.” Brilliant. Now that is what a fighting progressive sounds like!

What’s so remarkable about Grayson? According to the Cook PVI, he’s from a R+2 district (Charlie Cook remains the authority on district leans despite using faulty assumptions in his 2010 predictions, pointed out yesterday by Chris). He would’ve been one of the GOP’s ripest targets even if he had kept a low profile; now Grayson has a very large target on his back.

Grayson will now prove to be an important litmus test: how do outspoken progressives in purple districts fare? Is one really harmed irrevocably by standing strong and attacking the far right, as conventional wisdom would have you believe? Or will the opposite turn out to be the case?

It’s up to activists like us to get Alan Grayson’s back, and see he is rewarded for his courage. You can donate to him here.

-Jeremy

P.S. In case you were wondering, this is what carrots look like.

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