As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


Ron Shepston is a friend, and I've just signed on to be the netroots coordinator for his Congressional campaign. He's an avionics engineer, a Vietnam-era veteran, and a Daily Kos diarist who stepped up to contest a seat in CA-42 that was unopposed in 2006. Rep. Gary Miller is a complete slimeball and it's great that he'll have some competition this year. And it's all the better that he's showed some leadership and become the first California Congressional candidate to endorse the Repsonsible Plan to end the war in Iraq.

George Bush or the next President must give the order to prepare a plan to leave. Generals implement orders. From General Franks to General Petraeus, they have all attempted to plan to wage a war and occupation they didn’t want to wage. As a veteran, I know that generals have few choices – they could do their best to execute their orders, or leave the service.

Generals don’t get far by being negative so they will always look for a way to succeed. It’s no surprise that General Petraeus can sound positive in the face of such a daunting occupation. It’s part of his job [...]

When Darcy Burner first asked if I wanted to be part of the effort to create the plan I immediately said “yes”. I was grateful for the opportunity to be involved in something this important to the future of America, Iraq and in fact, the world.

The Responsible Plan will not only end the war but change the conversation around national security. As Darcy Burner put it in her op-ed in the Seattle Times, it became endlessly frustrating waiting for the elites in Washington to come up with a plan to end this war. So she built it herself, and is assembling a group of leaders that will enter Congress with a mandate for change.

This plan presents a set of actions that Congress can take to convert our current military approach in Iraq to a more effective civilian one that addresses the root problems we face. It proposes using the full strength of our nation to achieve our goals and strengthen our country, and includes measures to rebuild the military, expand the capabilities of the State Department, and keep our promises to returning veterans.

We can do all of these things and save hundreds of billions of dollars that can then be used here at home addressing our growing list of urgent needs: economic stimulus, affordable health care, better schools, improvements to infrastructure. Ever wondered why there is so little federal money to replace the aging and dangerous Highway 520 Bridge? Taxpayers in my congressional district alone have sunk roughly $1.5 billion into funding the war so far — money that now can't be spent here at home.

The national media like to say that Iraq is off the table, but voters in the 8th Congressional District don't seem to have gotten that memo. The voters I talk to understand that this war is undermining our country. Five years is long enough, and $3 trillion is too much; as a nation, we simply cannot afford this misguided war any longer.

Ron Shepston is at the forefront of this effort, and I invite you to support him with a donation so he can keep this message going. He's in a contested primary against a carpetbagger from Montebello, and considering that the primary will have low turnout, he needs some help from his friends. Getting a solid progressive like this as the nominee has benefits even if he doesn't win - a nominee appoints members of the California Democratic Party and enhances efforts to change the party from within. We need more people like Ron Shepston in public life. I'm proud to be part of his campaign.

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