| You already know the basics: Travis Childers supports withdrawing our troops from Iraq in 12 to 18 months, a timeframe that every serious analyst acknowledges is safe and reasonable. Large majorities are in favor of withdrawal, so it's especially heartening to see a Democrat in a red district embrace this stance. And it's one of the many reasons we're supporting him.
But a Childers win will reverberate far outside MS-01 when it comes to Iraq. Other potentially vulnerable Democrats in conservative areas will be able to look at this race and conclude that if Childers can succeed in an R+10 district running (at least in part) on Iraq withdrawal, they can, too.
This is crucial because Dems are planning to vote on withdrawal once again this year. I think we know Bush won't budge, but DCCC Chair Chris Van Hollen says nuts to that:
"There are some people who would say, 'OK, why are you going through this exercise again, if the president is going to veto this?' We have a responsibility to do everything we can to follow through on the changes we say we want made," Van Hollen said. "I think it is a question of demonstrating where you stand, and what you will do, and continue to push to do, if you are elected in November."
Van Hollen gets it - it's about sending the right message. Childers can help send that message with his own vote, but just as importantly, he can also help make it a lot louder by giving fellow Democrats the courage to take the right stand on Iraq. Remember, only six Democrats hold seats as red or redder than MS-01. A Congressman Childers would offer a whole lot of Dems a whole lot of breathing room.
What's more, I think Childers has figured out a devastatingly effective way to sell his position to voters:
He said he's amazed more people on the campaign trail haven't asked about a national debt of more than $9 trillion.
"We're spending our money, folks, in Iraq. We need to be spending our money in America.
"We need to help young people get homes. We need to address the mortgage crisis."
By linking withdrawal from Iraq with a populist appeal that addresses deep concerns about the economy, Childers knocks Republicans back on their heels with a one-two punch. This goes right at core GOP weaknesses, and I think it's an approach that can play in many districts.
But all of this only matters, of course, if Childers gets elected - which is why we need to do everything we can to help him. Thanks to the generosity of the Swing State Project community, we've raised an impressive $1,300 so far. That puts us an even $1,000 away from original goal. But we really have very little time here. The election is only two weeks away, and money received by a campaign in the final week is more difficult to deploy strategically.
So I would really like to see us hit our target by Monday, May 5th. Can we add another $200 today? Let's do it for Childers - and for our troops.
Update (James): Actblue seems to be have had a few server issues this morning, although things seem to be working fine now. If you have trouble accessing our fundraising page, please try again a little bit later.