WASHINGTON — Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) is jumping into the race for U.S. Senate, running for the seat being vacated by retiring Democratic Sen. Herb Kohl…. “I’ve decided to run for the U.S. Senate because I believe Wisconsin families need a senator who will work hard to deliver results for the middle class — a leader with the courage to do what’s right, no matter how tough the odds or how powerful the special interests we have to fight,” she said in her message…. Baldwin is the only openly gay woman in Congress. If she wins her race in 2012, she will become the first openly gay person to serve in the U.S. Senate.
When Barack Obama was elected President in November, 2008, many of us on the Left were overjoyed. Finally, we thought, a committed Progressive voice in the White House. Finally, someone who will walk the walk instead of merely talking the talk. Yeah, well…that was then, and this is now, when those of us naive enough to think that “Change We Can Believe In” would be exactly that are roundly kicking ourselves. The 2012 election cycle will likely present us with a choice between the Anti-Everything candidate and our current spineless, ineffectual President…or, as one wag put it, “an Armageddon-style struggle between the Ungodly and the Irrational.” Right…once again, Progressives will face the choice of holding our noses and voting for the lesser of two evils, or being complicit in allowing the bigger, truly Evil candidate to win the keys to the Oval Office.
Now, though we Progressives may think that we’re stuck in a bit of a quandary, but there is a way out, albeit indirectly. Our hope of a Progressive President may have been dashed, so what we’re left with is working to elect Progressive candidates farther down the ballot. If Progressives can organize sufficiently [insert cat-herding joke here], there’s an opportunity to get some excellent candidates on the ballot. Of course, the Left will likely never have as much money as the Right and the Far Right (thank you, Citizens United), but what’s lacking in financial resources might possibly be made up in shoe leather, elbow grease, and passion. It will mean starting small, but with candidates like Tammy Baldwin, the possibilities are there.
What I’m really looking forward to are the predictions of Armageddon from the haters on the Far Right who think that having a Lesbian in the Senate will bring plagues and hordes of locusts upon the land.
Last week, former Wisconsin Rep. Mark Neumann announced he would be running to secure the GOP nomination. During his career, Neumann has made several controversial remarks about gays, once saying, “If I was elected God for a day, homosexuality wouldn’t be permitted, but nobody’s electing me God.”
So, yeah…we need to just face up to reality and admit that Barack Obama is in reality a moderate Republican- and a spineless one at that. That doesn’t mean all avenues are closed off to Progressives. Russ Feingold would once again be an excellent candidate for public office, but he’s opted out this time around. His new PAC may be one of the best bets for helping to fund and organize Progressives in 2012.
In the meantime, I for one look forward welcoming our new, FABULOUS Gay overlords…. ;-)