Although it’s been off the air for more than a decade, the Phil Donahue Show was revived in Petaluma Monday, with its charismatic host ruminating on everything from extraordinary rendition to war by default and why criticizing the status quo is patriotic.
Donahue hosted a national syndicated talk show for nearly 30 years and is considered one of the country's most well-known and respected broadcasters, amassing 20 Emmy awards during his career. On Monday, Donahue stopped at to campaign for Norman Solomon, who is running to replace Rep. Lynn Woolsey in in the new Second Congressional District that extends from north of the Golden Gate Bridge to the Oregon border.
“Our mission is to change the country and to get away from the 'don’t mess with Texas, you gotta be tough to win' attitude,” Donahue told the audience.
“Most of the people in this country agree with us, and they are tired of the war, of Wall Street, which is flicking its cigar on the people and the corporate media, which is only concerned about money,” he said.
Click on the right to see a short video excerpt of Donahue speaking on Monday
Donahue said he got to know Solomon after reading his 2005 book “War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death,” which inspired him to produce a documentary titled “Body of War.”
“I was just really impressed by his book, the points that it raised that I didn’t appreciate before,” Donahue told Petaluma Patch, adding that he had opposed the Iraqi invasion from the beginning and that it had cost him his job at MSNBC. “The pressure to sit down and shut up is enormous.”
Norman Solomon has made his opposition to the war one of the central tenets of his campaign, along with a pledge to not accept any donations from corporate Political Action Committees (PACs). On Monday, Solomon took an opportunity to once again speak out against the Dutra asphalt plant and criticize a to throw out a suit filed by the city of Petaluma and a coalition of nonprofit groups.
“We heard the scientific evidence and it’s an open and shut case,” Solomon said, calling on other Congressional candidates to take a stand on the issue. Only two other candidates have taken a position on the asphalt plant--Tiffany Renee and Andy McCaffrey, while Jared Huffman and Susan Adams have said that it's not appropriate for congressional candidates to comment on a city issue.
"As a Congressional leader, I would ask Mr. Solomon how he would alter a decision that can only be impacted on a local level," Adams said in an interview with Patch Monday. "Sometimes it's better for the federal government to stay out of local issues unless it's asked for help. The fact that Solomon, who has never held elected office, is raising this issue points to where his strengths are not."
The Petaluma visit is part of a four-day jaunt through District 2 for Donahue, which includes stops in Humboldt and Mendocino counties.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of the story incorrectly stated that no candidates have taken a position on the Dutra asphalt plant. Three candidates voiced their opposition, including Tiffany Renee, Norman Solomon and Andy McCaffrey. Petaluma Patch regrets the error.