Rush Holt: ‘nuclear fucking physicist’

A reader writes:

Hey – you may want to pass this on to John Cole & Co. to add to the Balloon Juice ActBlue page.  As much as I may want to see divided government come out of this upcoming election, it would be an absolute tragedy for any person who gives a crap about civil liberties or the problems with the War on Terror if Rush Holt lost his job, almost to the point where I’d personally rather see the Dems hold on to the House than see Holt taken down.  In fact, I’m thinking of convincing the wife that we should make a donation to his campaign myself, which would be only the second political donation I’ve ever made (Ron Paul 2008 was the other one). 

Holt, in addition to being an extremely reliable liberal vote on domestic policy, is also a nuclear fucking physicist, who is one of the few true liberals on the intelligence committee and has aggressively spearheaded just about every single attempt to protect civil liberties in the War on Terror era.  The fact that he’s on the Intelligence Committee is also essential because he gives civil libertarians a real voice of credibility on these issues – no one can claim that someone who sits on the Intelligence Committee (he also chairs the Intelligence Oversight Panel) is unaware of or cavalier about the extent of the threats we face.

I’m not very familiar with Holt, but this is a pretty strong endorsement. His congressional website is here. His homepage is here. If you’re in Jersey’s 12th district, you might even consider getting a bumper sticker:

sticker

Holt was also one of a few Congressmen who wrote a letter urging President Obama to advocate lifting the Gaza blockade. He also pushed hard to force the Pentagon to require the videotaping of military interrogations – and won. Indeed, the more I dig into Holt’s record on secrecy, domestic surveillance, and other matters of civil liberty vs. the security state, the more I agree with the reader: Holt looks like one of the few very strong voices in the House on civil liberties issues, and we should definitely work to keep him in his seat where he faces a pretty tight race against GOP challenger, Scott Sipprelle.






46 replies
  1. 1
    joe from Lowell says:

    Holt sounds great.

    I like the requirement that the military videotape interrogations. It’s similar to the bill Barack Obama got passed when he was a state senator, requiring the taping of interrogations and confessions in homicide cases.

  2. 2
    jacy says:

    He should win just for the fact that his name is Rush Holt.

    Rush Holt, Rocket Scientist!

    Only thing better would be if is name was “Race Bannon.”

    (and I will ignore the fact that that your reader once donated to Ron Paul)

  3. 3
    Bulworth says:

    I interned with Rush Holt for seven months in 2000, his first term in office. He wasn’t on Intelligence then, but glad he is now. His first re-election campaign was his toughest, although I’d assumed his seat was more or less safer now. Hope that’s still right, but in this teabagger climate you can never be too sure.

  4. 4
    WereBear says:

    @jacy: Haz a happy with the Jonny Quest reference.

    Awesome bumper sticker.

  5. 5
    Breezeblock says:

    I wish I was in Holt’s district. Instead I’m stuck with “Hot” Rod Frelinghuysen, who won’t even debate his Dem opponent.

  6. 6
    Tom Hilton says:

    IIRC, Rush Holt has been very good and very outspoken on voting rights issues (voter suppression, the Diebold thing, etc.). Definitely worth keeping in Congress.

    Edit: more here.

  7. 7
    Schad says:

    Not sure whether he’s the best target for cash, though…Nate Silver rates his odds of reelection at 99.3%.

  8. 8
    Broken says:

    He fucks nuclei?

  9. 9
    katherine says:

    I’m fortunate to live in Rush Holt’s district, but I’m quite nervous about election day. The race is extremely close and in traditionally democratic areas like Princeton, there are at least as many lawn signs for his opponent as for him.

  10. 10
    TomG says:

    No offense Schad, but I don’t know who Nate Silver is, nor why the reader would have sent E.D. the letter if Holt’s seat were that secure.
    We do need more scientists in Congress – more of ANY job other than “lawyer” or “career politician”.
    Too bad I can’t vote for Holt. I live in NY, we (again!) have pretty lousy choices in November. (except for Kristin Davis as a protest vote perhaps)

  11. 11

    I live near Princeton, and yes, Rush Holt is one of the best people in Congress right now. He’s certainly smarter than most of the idiots in DC (I mean on the side of the Repubs and the media class). If he loses, it’ll be a tragedy.

    To all those who want to sit this one out because you didn’t get your pony…if people like Holt lose, WE ALL LOSE. Get off your ideological purity soapbox and think, for God’s sake!

  12. 12
    mds says:

    @Schad:

    Not sure whether he’s the best target for cash, though…Nate Silver rates his odds of reelection at 99.3%.

    With a poll showing a 51-46 margin? In a Dem-leaning district that Holt hasn’t had that small a margin in since his initial election in 1998 (pre-census)? In a midterm “wave year” when Silver is predicting that House Dems could lose anywhere from 80 to 462 seats? Doc Holt should have already put this one away, using his dynatropic voterizing ray. Still … if it actually comes to the point where Holt gets voted out, we are royally fucked. So it might be a better idea to contribute to your stock of dry goods and ammunition instead.

  13. 13
    John Arbuthnot Fisher says:

    Rush Holt has been my congressman since 1998, and I do not think I have ever admired or respected a politician as much as I do him. Being born in 1987, it was perfect timing that he became my congressman just as I was becoming politically mature. He’s the only Quaker in Congress, and possibly the only person with a conscience. He’s brilliant, articulate, ideologically sound, humble and an all around good guy. To this effect…

    In 2003, I was down in D.C. for a youth conference on defense, intelligence and diplomacy issues, and one afternoon we had the opportunity to more or less wander around the Hill, and I was determined to get to the right office building and (hopefully) meet Congressman (I should actually say Representative – he insisted on being called Representative, not Congressman) Holt. I eventually found his office, but one of his assistants informed me that he was in a meeting, and that I was more than welcome to wait. Maybe some people would have just left, but I wanted to stick it out for a little while.

    Several minutes later, he comes out of his office and waves me in. Waves me in. I was pretty thrilled. I guess the assistant had told him of my presence (and the reason I was in D.C.), and he insisted on speaking with me even as he had to leave the building for another meeting. So you know what he suggests? That I walk with him to the meeting. As a big fan of The West Wing, and an even bigger dork, I pretty much shit my pants. Here I was, someone who always looked older than their age, all dressed up, doing a walk and talk with a member of Congress – someone who didn’t know any better could have thought I was a young staffer, and the deluded and fantastical prospect of such mistaken identity had me bursting with excitement. We walked to his meeting and on the way, talked about nuclear proliferation. It was one of the most, if the not the most, memorable experience of my life. He treated me with incredible dignity and respect, and I will never forget it.

    I recently moved out of the district, into a neighboring town just barely outside the gerrymander. I’m now stuck with someone I absolutely hate, one of the most despicable members of Congress, Chris Smith. However, I haven’t officially changed my voter registration. Initially, I wanted to retain it in the old district (where my father still lives and where I do maintain some semblance of legal residence) just to vote for Holt. But then I thought, Smith is in a D+2 district, maybe at some point soon someone would run a credible campaign against him. On third thought, I’m definitely keeping my existing registration. Smith is going to cruise this year, as always, and while I think Holt will ultimately win fairly comfortably (he’s always been disliked in eastern Monmouth County, which has a lot of banksters and sympathizers), every vote will help. I’ll also find a way to send him some money, and I would encourage everyone else to do so as well. He’s a great man, and Congress will be a much lesser place (if that’s even possible) without him.

  14. 14
    TR says:

    I live in the area, and yes, Holt is awesome, and yes, his opponent is making a surprisingly strong challenge.

  15. 15
    Steve says:

    Rush Holt is a star. More people should know about him.

  16. 16
    hatmandu says:

    Holt was my congressman up until two years ago. To reiterate what others have said, there is no politician I respect more. If he loses, it’s a crying fucking shame. Would love to see “Senator” Holt someday.

  17. 17
    Don says:

    No offense Schad, but I don’t know who Nate Silver is, nor why the reader would have sent E.D. the letter if Holt’s seat were that secure.

    Nate Silver is Nate Fucking Silver and if I have to pick between trusting his prognostication versus whether Some Reader’s concern is valid… I’ll trust Silver.

    I think we should support rock stars like Holt regardless; his having the money to run ads communicating his good work is worthwhile even if a race isn’t close. But really, the fact that a constituent is worried isn’t an indicator that there’s really a reason to worry. Keeping your supporters concerned enough to show up on election day is just good politicking.

  18. 18
    Don says:

    Here’s Nate’s numbers on Holt. Looks like a comfortable and consistent lead.

  19. 19
    katherine says:

    Nate’s numbers are very comforting, but the latest Monmouth University poll has Holt up by 5% with a 3.9% margin of error, so I’m still quite nervous. There are very few politicians I’ve been proud to vote for and Rush Holt is definitely one of them.

  20. 20
    gnomedad says:

    The bumper stickers should just read “Vote Rush!” in hopes of capturing some clueless ditto-heads.

  21. 21
    John Arbuthnot Fisher says:

    One additional item: I think at one point (unsurprisingly to me), Holt had the honest balls to say that taxes and government spending are critical components to prosperity, and indeed they may actually induce economic growth! You can imagine how Republicans reacted. I believe this video is now featured prominently in U.S. Chamber of Commerce ads, so keep up the good work Sully! We need more Tea Party venture capitalists in Congress, rather than people like Rush Holt.

  22. 22
    Ailuridae says:

    Holt is likely quite safe but it is also worth donating to him (if you have the means) even if he has a 15% chance of losing. He’s the absolute goods and is the only chance the Dems have to run a candidate for Senate to succeed Lautenberg who isn’t directly tied into Wall Street (although he still is a New Democrat Coalition member)

  23. 23

    Rush Holt: ‘nuclear fucking physicist’

    Because nobody else has done it:

    Fucking atoms, how do they work?

  24. 24
    ruemara says:

    I support more scientists in congress. Maybe they can figure out what’s wrong up there. Sadly, not with money. Maybe next pay cycle. Let’s keep the margins huge, say 0% to 100% for our guys.

  25. 25
    urizon says:

    Holt is a really good guy. One of the best progressive voting records in the House.

  26. 26
    urizon says:

    @Breezeblock: God, Frelinghuysen is a total douche. I remember the vote for the Clean Water Enforcement Act back in ’88 (I worked for NJEF years ago), when Frelinghuysen was in the Assembly. He was screaming on the floor of the State House that NJEF were “eco-terrorists” and “loony, leftists librerals,” etc. Then, when it came time for the vote, Frelinghuysen abstained and the bill passed 70-0. He doesn’t even have the guts to stand by his own warped convictions.

  27. 27
    Schad says:

    @katherine:

    The key is that he’s sitting at 51%, in a poll with very few people undecided; that’s generally a fairly safe lead, unless the poll is seriously overestimating his support (and given that Holt has been considered more than a five-point favourite, that seems unlikely).

    The other issue is that he’s in the NY/NJ/PA media market, where advertising is hellishly expensive…a couple thousand dollars doesn’t go particularly far there, whereas it might have far more of an impact in a district where ad buys are cheaper.

    None of which is to say that he isn’t deserving; rather, if this is triage, there are other candidates in more desperate need of treatment.

  28. 28
    EFroh says:

    That is a fucking awesome bumpersticker. *covets*

  29. 29
    JasonF says:

    Bill Foster (IL-14) is also a nuclear physicist, though Republican Randy Hultgren is (sadly) the favorite to take the seat in November.

  30. 30
    mantis says:

    Steve Holt!

    Oh, wait, wrong guy. Nevermind. Steve Holt!

  31. 31
    Arclite says:

    Glenn interviewed Rush a while back

    http://www.salon.com/news/opin.....08/05/holt

  32. 32
    mds says:

    @JasonF:
    Bill Foster is a particle physicist, which is not actually the same thing as a nuclear physicist.

    @That Other Mike:
    Rush Holt is a nuclear physicist, which is not actually the same thing as an atomic physicist.

    @Voice In My Own Head:
    Cindy Regal is an atomic physicist, which is not actually the same thing as an econophysicist.

    Etc.

    Hey, what about some scratch for Foster? It sure would be nice to hold Denny Hastert’s old district, and as JasonF indicates, he’s actually in trouble.

  33. 33
    ChrisB says:

    I’ll second all the positives about Rush Holt.

    And he can pronounce “nuclear fucking physicist” correctly.

  34. 34
    MattR says:

    @Breezeblock: Waves from another part of New Jersey’s 11th.

  35. 35
    mantis says:

    @mds:

    Rush Holt is a nuclear physicist, which is not actually the same thing as an atomic physicist.

    He’s also not a rocket scientist, but it’s a cute bumper sticker.

    Most “rocket scientists” are in fact aerospace engineers.

  36. 36
    NJSteven says:

    I’m in Holt’s district and have been doing some volunteering (phone calls) on his behalf. I was shocked to see this race was even close, and I’m still confident he’ll win, but we should not take it for granted. He really should have a higher profile with progessives; I’ve always felt he might actually be the best Congressman in the country, kinda like the Russ Feingold of the House.

  37. 37
    Linda says:

    Rush was my congressman in 2003 when he voted against the invasion of Iraq. I was so proud. A few years later, I got to meet him, shake his hand and thank him for his courage (oh, yeah, and for being right!). Great moment for me.

    I live in the 7th now, my rep is another in a long line of Rs who vote the party line. Democrat Ed Potosnak is running for the seat. If you think that Rush is secure, then go throw Ed some love (http://www.edpotosnak.com/).

  38. 38

    As long as this is a love fest for Holt, I’ll chip in he’s a grad of my alma mater, Carleton College. And he’s been kick-ass, but not getting very far unfortunately, in pushing back against the FBI for hounding Bruce Ivins to death and for re-opening the investigation.

  39. 39
    Larry Richards says:

    Living as I do in Rush Holt’s district, if there is a bigger do-nothing, empty suit in Congress I pity his poor constituents. Holt revels in his “nuclear physicist” image, all the while doing nothing to create jobs in Central New Jersey, provide socioeconomic assistance to the City of Trenton, seek out new pockets of innovation, or assist struggling small businesses. If you love arrogant Congressmen of this ilk so much, take him. Please! New Jersey needs no more of Rush Holt’s “leadership.

  40. 40
    Larry Richards says:

    Living as I do in Rush Holt’s district, if there is a bigger do-nothing, empty suit in Congress I pity his poor constituents. Holt revels in his “nuclear physicist” image, all the while doing nothing to create jobs in Central New Jersey, provide socioeconomic assistance to the City of Trenton, seek out new pockets of innovation, or assist struggling small businesses. If you love arrogant Congressmen of this ilk so much, take him. Please! New Jersey needs no more of Rush Holt’s “leadership. In fact, similar to Barack Obama, he personifies what’s wrong with so-called “liberal” Democrats.

  41. 41
    kent says:

    Bill Foster is a particle physicist. Unlike rumored, he is recently endorsed by 2 major news papers (Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun Times) and now up by 10 points to win the race. Check out his campaign website http://www.billfoster.com and contribute.

  42. 42
    E.D. Kain says:

    @John Arbuthnot Fisher: Thanks, John. Didn’t realize he was a Quaker. Even better. Sounds like a really great guy all around which is, uhm, pretty rare in that neck of the woods. Not Jersey, I mean, but Congress.

  43. 43
    brantl says:

    @Tom Hilton: No, actually, Holt has kind of sucked on this. He’s never learned the problems with the technology currently in place and he’s consistantly behind the best thinking on this, yet he continually crusades for faulty solutions. Otherwise, he’s not so bad.

  44. 44
    Lex says:

    I don’t live in Rush Holt’s district, nor his state for that matter. And just to make things interesting, I’m a Republican. But I have been involved in a number of matters pertaining to touch-screen electronic voting machines, and Holt was one of the few congresscritters who grasped the importance of the issue early, talked about it often and took a leadership role in rationally addressing the risks and dangers of that technology.

    His record on civil liberties, national security and related issues is sterling. On a very basic level, Rush Holt gets what being a major-league American citizen is all about, and when people like him are serving in Congress, the whole country is better off and safer.

    Y’all who can, please vote for him.

  45. 45
    FFG says:

    Let me be the voice of reason (or at least the other side). Unfortunately, Rush is an abysmal Congressman and I reside in his district. I can appreciate that Rush is one of the top 5 most liberal voices in congress (much more liberal than his district), and thus he and I fundamentally disagree on most political points. So while I do not expect to find much we agree on politically, I do expect him to be intellectually honest and I expect him/or his staff to read the bills and be knowledgeable about what is in them. On this score he and his staff fail this test miserably (he still has no idea about the magnitude or impact of the taxes buried in the health care law and his support of the oil drilling band was the height of un-informed science at its worst). Said a different way; if he was working in the private sector and could not find time to read and understand his work, he would be fired, no?

    Given that our political opinions are on different sides of the aisle, I expect the constituent services portion of his office to be professional (after all he is a “fucking rocket scientist”) and one area where we might be in agreement. Unfortunately Rush fails even this simple test. For example, when I need something from a Congressman (say as simple as getting a pass to tour Congress or for a friend to take a Whitehouse tour), I know I need to call a Congressman from another state (and I regularly have done so) becuase his office cannot handle the task.

    Finally when the Senior Democratic Leadership (in private) refer to Rush a “Dolt” and a “moron” (as they have often), I think it is fair to say that we have a lousy congressman. If your own leadership thinks you are second-class, you probably are.

    Given that before congress his prior job was at Princeton’s PPL reactor, maybe that explains why we still do not have practical fusion as an energy source yet.

    After 12 years, it is time for new blood.

  46. 46
    Lex says:

    Given that the #2 House Democrat is Steny Hoyer, I don’t know that I would put a lot of stock in what “Senior Democratic Leadership” have to say about anything, including whether or not the sky is blue.

    Not that Republican leadership is any better. Just sayin’.

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