Alan Grayson: the Democrat Who Punches Back, Enraging GOP Hacks and Tea Party Billionaires
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What happens in Florida's 8th District may send the Democratic Party a strong message for 2012. As Markos Moulitsas of Daily Kos wrote in a mid-September fundraising letter on Grayson's behalf, "If a hard-nosed progressive can win in a [previously] Republican district in a tough year for Democrats, then we not only keep a progressive leader in Congress, but we prove America wants Democrats who stand up to Republicans."
The forces publicly arrayed against Grayson are considerable. But his backers are most fearful of a darker threat, a subtle, coded subtext -- one that embodies politics, ideology, religion, culture and personality -- the old, familiar charge of "cosmopolitanism." That is: "He's not like us; he's not one of us." In ethnically diverse, heavily Jewish South Florida, a campaign theme like that would be laughable. However, in more homogeneous Central Florida, with the help of the area's dominant daily, the Orlando Sentinel (which endorsed Webster in the GOP primary), it could be effective.
On August 23, Grayson raised an additional $261,000 with a local and national "money bomb" drive on the Internet. Still, the next evening, within minutes of Daniel Webster's victory in the Republican primary, Webster had heard from Republican Party officials in Washington, pledging whatever resources it would take to beat Alan Grayson. "This is a target seat," Webster told his election night supporters in the gymnasium of his megachurch. "If the Republicans don't take this seat, they can't take the Congress."