CNN interviewed me about Alan Grayson and his health care speech:
"What happened was his floor speech and the fact that he didn't back down set a new standard for how Democrats deal with Republican hissy fits," said David Dayen, a liberal blogger who often writes on the Daily Kos Web site. "He's been a hero to Democrats since his term started, but now he's a hero on health care."
To be sure, Grayson already had shown he was a different kind of freshman congressman before the "die quickly" speech, having forcefully taken Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke to task in what was an instant YouTube moment at a House Committee hearing less than a month into the job.
He also held up a vote on global warming legislation until he secured a $50 million hurricane research center in his district -- a move more characteristic of the chamber's longtime lawmakers. And he's won liberal support for his steadfast support of ACORN, even as many Democrats voted to defund the community organizing group, and for his forceful anti-war stance.
But it was the late-night diatribe last week -- presumably seen by no more than a few dozen C-SPAN viewers before going viral -- that netted Grayson more than $500,000 from 5,000 donors around the country. It's also garnered a media tour worthy of a national celebrity peddling a tell-all book, appearing on a bevy of cable and national news programs to amplify his attacks on Republicans.
The writer goes on to add the concern trolling from Republicans that Grayson's honesty won't play in his swing district. That seems to miss the point that Grayson has pretty much always been an outspoken leader, and it didn't just start up during that health care speech. This is the ad that won him election in that swing district.
That's not a meek, mushy message. You can find 10 Democrats to touch war profiteering, maybe. It's an issue that can open a politician up to "you don't support our troops" or "you don't want to protect America" or any number of attack. And he carried this to victory, because it was a truthful message and a populist one.
Grayson won, by the way. The Republicans smelled blood in the water, ramped up their hissy fit, and then had to back down. They did so because they knew it wouldn't be successful. Alan Grayson backed up his words. And so they had nothing. The boasts of how they're going to beat him in November are also just words. They have nothing for that either, not even a candidate.