ONTD Political

Alan Grayson: Gutsy Hero or Suicidal?

11:41 pm - 10/03/2009
Grayson Not Worried About Future: "Whether You're Democratic Or Republican, You Want A Congressman With Guts"

Is Alan Grayson the Democrats' Joe Wilson? After stirring up a media firestorm with his statement on the House floor that Republicans want sick people to “die quickly,” Rep. Grayson drew frequent comparisons to the South Carolina legislator who shouted “You lie!” at President Obama.

Like Wilson, Grayson became an overnight sensation—an instant hero to his party’s base, and Public Enemy No. 1 to the opposition. Unlike Wilson, however, Grayson offers no apologies. In fact, he's gone on a media blitz since his initial speech to amplify his incendiary arguments.
He returned to the House floor to denounce the estimated 45,000 annual deaths due to lack of insurance in America as a “holocaust.” On CNN, he called Republican lawmakers “knuckle-dragging neanderthals" who “should apologize to America.”

The NRCC recently launched an entire Web site devoted to attacking Grayson, while Florida GOP Chairman Jim Greer labeled him “the laughing stock of the House of Representatives.”

There’s no reason to back down, Grayson says, because he’s right—and the right’s wrong. “There's a fundamental difference: They're lying about our bill and we’re telling the truth,” Grayson said in an exclusive interview with The Daily Beast. “There is no moral equivalence between truth and lies.” So much for the post-partisan era.

But Grayson differs significantly from Wilson in one key respect. The South Carolina Republican is in what has, at least until now, been fairly solid GOP terrain. Grayson, on the other hand, won election last year by beating a four-term Republican, thanks in no small measure to Obama’s coattails. His district twice voted for George W. Bush for president. He’s a liberal in center-right territory—and Republicans are licking their chops at the prospect of making him a one-termer.

“Everyone wants to make these comparisons with Joe Wilson but Joe Wilson is in an incredibly Republican district,” a spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee, John Randall, told The Daily Beast. “[Grayson] may be able to bring in national money, but that money won’t convince people that don't agree with him.”

The NRCC recently launched an entire Web site devoted to attacking Grayson, www.alandisgrayson.com, while Florida GOP Chairman Jim Greer labeled him “the laughing stock of the House of Representatives.


“I'd be very surprised if Congressman Grayson wins reelection,” a Republican consultant based in Florida, Randy Nielsen, told The Daily Beast.

While he might look vulnerable on paper, Grayson does start the race for reelection in 2010 with one big advantage: He’s rich as Croesus. A defense lawyer who successfully sued defense contractors in Iraq on behalf of whistleblowers, he amassed a personal fortune of $31 million, making him one of the wealthiest members of Congress. His latest outburst will only fuel donations from liberals cheering him on. Thus far, anyway, his campaign war chest has helped scare off any big-name Republican challengers.

The chairman of the Democratic committee for Lake County, Florida, Nancy Hurlbert, told The Daily Beast that she thought Grayson would ultimately benefit from the national attention by exciting the base that elected him.

“We don't profess any idea that this is going to be easy, but certainly there is an opportunity that he can cash in on some of those Democrats who weren't sure he'd be the person they thought he'd be when they sent him to D.C,” Hurlbert.

Grayson himself sees little political downside to his belligerence.

“Whether you're Democratic or Republican, you want a congressman with guts,” he said, adding that his office has received an “overwhelmingly positive” response from constituents. “People like it when you tell the truth. It doesn't happen often enough around here.”


Health care isn’t the only liberal banner Grayson has taken up. He also blasted GOP efforts to defund ACORN. Noting that their legislation called for cutting funding to "any organization" that had been charged with breaking various laws, Grayson quickly pointed out that the language would apply to nearly all major defense contractors as well, tapping the expertise he gathered on the subject during his days as a lawyer suing on behalf of whistleblowers.

“I saw the worst side of the war,” Grayson said. “I saw contractors cheating the troops, literally killing the troops, feeding them poisoned water, electrocuting them. I saw contractors cheating the taxpayers and undermining the mission. I felt that as much good as I was trying to do—and succeeding in doing—I could do more in Congress.”

His experience also helped make Grayson one of the most virulently anti-war activists on Capitol Hill. He’s called for a complete withdrawal from Afghanistan, even as President Obama considers sending thousands of more troops to the region.


"It's a lot more important that we defend our own borders than try to manipulate micro-policy on the other side of the world,” he said. “I remember what happened to President Johnson in Vietnam. I wouldn't want to see Afghanistan become Barack Obama's Vietnam.”

But Grayson doesn’t wear ideological blinders. He’s found common cause in his anti-war stance with Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), who Grayson talks to often and says has “been right about the war as long as anybody else has.” Both men have also made a top priority of taking on the Federal Reserve and the Troubled Asset Relief Program.

“We are a government of checks and balances and those checks and balances have to apply to the Federal Reserve like everything else—it doesn't make any sense that they can operate like they do in the dark with literally trillions of dollars,” Grayson said.
apocalypsos 4th-Oct-2009 11:45 am (UTC)
www.alandisgrayson.com

... oh, witty. *eyeroll*
lyssie 4th-Oct-2009 06:26 pm (UTC)
The problem is that my brain tends to parse that as 'Alan, D, is Grayson' which just makes me o.O and wonder when he has time to put on the Nightwing costume and go saving people in Gotham and angsting on roofs.
veidt 4th-Oct-2009 12:59 pm (UTC)
The difference between the two is that Grayson was trying to make a point. Joe Wilson behaved like a belligerent little child by shouting out in the middle of the president's speech.
omgangiepants 4th-Oct-2009 01:00 pm (UTC)
Yes.
jaded110 4th-Oct-2009 01:02 pm (UTC)
I love Grayson and would vote for him again and again if I lived in Florida.
supernovadiva 4th-Oct-2009 01:14 pm (UTC)
wow go grayson.
(no subject) - Anonymous - Expand
jwaneeta 4th-Oct-2009 05:18 pm (UTC)
You make an excellent point.
layweed 4th-Oct-2009 02:26 pm (UTC)
Jim Greer is hardly qualified to call anyone "the laughing stock of the House of Representatives".
danceprincess20 4th-Oct-2009 02:35 pm (UTC)
Amen. I know a handful of people pretty involved with the Republican party around here and none of them can stand him. Apparently he's just a total asshole in person too (they were at a McCain event and he tried to steal seats from the kid who was singing the national anthem and said something nasty to my friend's mom when she told him he couldn't do it. He was angry he wasn't sitting with the Governor and the former governors).
rreactiontime 4th-Oct-2009 02:28 pm (UTC)
He's absolutely right--and it's nice to see a Congressman with some guts, telling the truth despite the fact that it might hurt his chances of getting reelected. I hope his voters appreciate that, and I think that they will.
danceprincess20 4th-Oct-2009 02:33 pm (UTC)
Exactly. He lives in a district that he barely won and for him to stand up and say what he believes is great to see.
gmth 4th-Oct-2009 02:59 pm (UTC)
Wait wait wait, isn't Jim Greer the guy who had a shit fit about the Obama "stay in school" speech? How does he get to call anyone else a laughing stock?
___closetome 4th-Oct-2009 03:09 pm (UTC)
I sense him becoming another ontd_p boyfriend.
Anthony Weiner's my Congressman, are you jealous?

Edited at 2009-10-04 03:10 pm (UTC)
evilgmbethy 4th-Oct-2009 07:19 pm (UTC)
I am jealous! But I have the amazing, bow-tied, bike-riding Earl Blumenauer and I really like him. It's nice to be represented by a real progressive, isn't it?
erunamiryene 4th-Oct-2009 04:24 pm (UTC)
“Whether you're Democratic or Republican, you want a congressman with guts,” he said, adding that his office has received an “overwhelmingly positive” response from constituents. “People like it when you tell the truth. It doesn't happen often enough around here.”

FUCKING WORD, ALAN GRAYSON. Can you spread that common sense to other public servants, please? Please? I'll bake you cookies.

And since he's firmly in right wing territory, I'd be willing to bet that the GOP aren't going to take him seriously, and are just going to wait around for him to go down. Which I don't think is going to happen, honestly.
moonshaz 4th-Oct-2009 05:30 pm (UTC)
FUCKING WORD, ALAN GRAYSON. Can you spread that common sense to other public servants, please?

THIS. In neon lights, 20 feet high!

Edited at 2009-10-04 05:30 pm (UTC)
evilgmbethy 4th-Oct-2009 07:24 pm (UTC)
“Whether you're Democratic or Republican, you want a congressman with guts,” he said,

This is so true. My aunt went to the DNC last year and had a bus driver the whole time who was a self-described "die-hard Republican." But he ended up coming around to liking Obama after Obama's convention speech. Why? He said it was because Obama "sounded tough."

Democrats need to sound tough. All that simpering talk of bipartisanship is not gaining them respect or ground.

Also, fucking LAWL at Republicans really clutching their pearls at Grayson. You'd almost think that all of them didn't regularly engage in rhetoric equally as vicious. Fucking cretins. You have to give them credit for being SO GOOD at whining. Though, I wish more Democrats would speak up and use tough language and be very, very sure of themselves. I don't like that the lack of tough Democratic voices makes it easier for the right to single guys like Grayson out for attack.

Also, attention Rahm fangirls: Alan Grayson is what an actual BAMF Democrat looks like. Rahm would not be the one to talk tough like Grayson. He'd be the one behind the scenes telling Grayson to apologize.
get_baaaaack 4th-Oct-2009 08:01 pm (UTC)
I don't know who Alan Grayson is, I just know I'm in love with him.
squidb0i It's nice to see Dems with spines.5th-Oct-2009 03:58 am (UTC)
Grayson is a freakin' hero.
noir_aya 5th-Oct-2009 05:19 am (UTC)
Grayson's such a BAMF right now, amirite?

Stay fierce and tough Grayson! The Dems need more BAMFS like you on their side.
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