Alan Grayson: Why we need him back in Congress

Republicans like to refer to former Florida congressman Alan Grayson as “stupid.” If you put “Alan Grayson is stupid” in Google, you will get 2,140,000 hits—everything from Fox News to right wing blogs all declaring that Grayson is the equivalent of a dimwitted buffoon.  But we all know that Republicans inhabit an Orwellian World where the top 1% income earners are job creators, Elizabeth Warren is a tool of Wall Street, and Barack Obama is an African born socialist.

A long time ago, Karl Rove, Dick Armey, and the Koch Brothers discovered that repeated lying is an extremely effective method for duping working families into voting against their best interests, and they and the rest of the Republican Party have never looked back. They spend a lot of time branding Grayson as stupid because they are afraid of his impressive intelligence. They are also afraid of his blunt, colorful, yet truthful characterizations of their policies. Grayson is running for Congress again, and they don’t want him back in office.

Alan Grayson’s impressive bio and resume 

The following biographical information on Grayson is distilled from a September 2010 article in the Jewish Daily Forward and from Wikipedia.

Grayson’s immigrant grandparents came from Silesia and Lithuania early in the past century, and it was his father who changed the family name to Grayson. Grayson grew up in high-rise public housing in the Bronx. His parents were a public school teacher and a principal, and both were active in the United Federation of Teachers union.

In 1975, Grayson graduated from Bronx High School of Science and worked his way through Harvard College as a janitor and night watchman. He graduated in 1978 in the top two percent of his class, summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa, with an A.B. in economics. After working three years as an economist, he returned to Harvard for graduate studies. In 1983, he earned a J.D. magna cum laude from Harvard Law School and a Masters of Public Policy from the John F. Kennedy School of Government. Additionally, he completed the course work and passed the general exams for a Ph.D. in government.

After earning his J.D., he clerked for some judges then started his own law firm specializing in government contracts. He brought the only successful prosecution of those who profited illegally from the Iraq War. In 2006, a Wall Street Journal reporter described Grayson as “waging a one-man war against contractor fraud in Iraq” and as a “fierce critic of the war in Iraq” whose car displayed bumper stickers such as “Bush lied, people died”

Grayson then made his fortune as the first president of IDT Corporation (International Discount Telecom), which pioneered competition and discount pricing in the long-distance telecommunications industry and became a $2-billion-a-year Fortune 1000 company.

Unlike many Democrats, Alan Grayson is a true progressive. Also, as a Harvard trained economist, he understands the world of business, the cooked books of Wall Street and the backroom deals of the Fed. In one famous congressional hearing, his probing and knowledgeable questioning caused a defensive Ben Bernanke to break out in a sweat. So, naturally, the right wing has pulled out all the stops to brand him as “stupid.” To have Grayson back in Congress is dangerous for the 1%.

An articulate spokesman for working families

A recent edition of Bill Maher’s “Real Time” featured a panel of three Republicans and one Democrat, but the Democrat was Alan Grayson. The panel was mocking and belittling the Occupy Wall Street movement but Grayson eloquently schooled them and the audience on its meaning.

Yves Smith of Naked Capitalism had this to say about Grayson’s October 2011 appearance:

The efforts to discredit OWS are intriguing and reveal a deep-seated sense of vulnerability among the powers that be. Despite the high level of press coverage, relatively few people have yet to participate in these gatherings. But this effort is applying pressure on the deepest fault line in American society, is not going away and continues to gain ground. Even if OWS does not mature into a political force, it is already having an impact, by shifting the nature of discourse and unearthing rotting corpses that the top 1% and their allies in the chattering classes hoped to keep buried: the fact that ordinary citizens have been on the wrong side of the greatest transfer of wealth in history, and virtually all of their supposed protectors stood by or had their hands in the till. No wonder those at the top of the food chain feel so threatened.

Alan Grayson does an effective job of kneecapping one of these typical attacks, this one from P.J. O”Rourke:

Although the media keeps pushing the idea that the message behind Occupy Wall Street is unclear, it took Grayson just seconds to explain what Occupy Wall Street is about. To the delight of the audience, he continued to knock holes in the standard Republican arguments coming from the other guests.

For these reasons and a host of others, we need Alan Grayson back in Congress.