I don’t often (or ever, really) bring up the CA state Bar on this site, but they are a major player in Sacramento. But I thought I should point out that Jeff Bleich, the new (since 9/29/07) president of the California State Bar shares some of our values. In his inauguration speech (PDF) he spoke of increasing pro bono work by attorneys, and his resume reads well. He’s the Vice-Chair of the CSU Board and was appointed Director of the White House Commission on Youth Violence by President Clinton. He gives to a wide range of Democratic candidates, from DiFi (ugh) to Kerry and Edwards.
And oh yeah, he actively supported the campaign of a challenger to Congressman Tom Lantos in the 2004 Democratic Primary, Ro Khanna. In the video, you’ll see him talking about Mr. Khanna, an attorney who was recently honored with the SF Democratic County Central Committee’s Trailblazer Award, and the problems with Rep. Lantos.
While I understand the hesitance to challenge Rep. Lantos, as many assume he will retire soon, he’s been getting more and more Lieberman-esque in his golden years. He chairs the House Foreign Relations Committee, and has been a bad vote, and a bad voice on a wealth of issues regarding the so-called War on Terror. And, oh yeah, he told the Dutch that they can’t complain our gulag-esque prison camp in Gitmo because they didn’t protest about Auschwitz enough. As Lucas so aptly pointed out in that post, the leaders Rep. Lantos was talking to weren’t even alive during the Holocaust. And, oh yeah, the Netherlands had already been conquered at the time of the opening of Auschwitz, and many were fighting to protect minorities (see The Diary of Anne Frank). Mr. Bleich was dead on when he said that Lantos no longer properly represents the district. See the flip for my “Why Primaries Are Important” List.
I’ve said a lot about the subject of primaries, but here are some of my thoughts, and here is my cutesy Top 5 list.
Top 5 Reasons Primaries are Important
1) Primaries get the grassroots growing and are great training grounds for new leaders.
2) Primaries are, in many CA districts, the only real election at all. Voters should get the chance to vote where it means something.
3) Primaries get people to register in a party (yay, more registered Democrats).
4) We get a real debate in places where that is frequently missing. Electeds should be held accountable to their constituents to explain their views.
5) Primaries force electeds to be more responsive to their constituents and to better represent the interests of those constituents. (Calitics 3/6/2007)