PA-13 Primary Is Less Than A Month Away-- What Happens To The Money We Contribute?
Pennsylvania state Seantor Daylin Leach was one of the first congressional candidates Blue America endorsed this election cycle. He's right up our alley: thoroughly progressive-- and aggressively so-- compassionate, smart, persuasive… and with a record of accomplishment in the legislature that goes beyond promises. So far this cycle 943 Blue America members have contributed $22,462.68 to Daylin's grassroots campaign-- an average of $23.72. And he needs that kind of support to compete with the candidate of the Philly Machine, anti-Choice/anti-education fanatic Brendan Boyle, and against the ethically-challenged Beltway Establishment candidate Bill Clinton and Steny "K Street" Hoyer are raising boatloads of cash for, Marjorie Margolies-Mezvinsky.
The end of the quarter FEC filing shows that Daylin has $654,202 on hand for the May 20 primary. Although most of that money is committed to Daylin's Get Out The Vote effort, his campaign has reserved $272,000 in cable and broadcast buys in the two-week run-up to the primary. The video above is the first of a series of ads and almost one in ten of those ads are being paid for by Blue America contributors. (Thanks and please keep that coming!) In PA-13, the Democratic primary will determine who goes to Congress. And what progressives want to hear is messaging like Daylin's:
"I've never been afraid to take on bullies like Governor Corbett and the NRA. In Congress I'll protect Social Security and a woman's right to choose. I'll fight for good schools and great jobs and to put Wall Street crooks in jail."So, aside from reminding voters that he's been an unwavering champion for Choice and for women's rights in the legislator, he is also subtly reminding voters that Boyle has been fanatically opposed to Choice. And, by bringing up Social Security, he's not only reminding voters that he wants to expand Social Security and protect cost of living adjustments for retired people, he's also reminding voters that Marjorie Margolies not only lost her seat in 1994 because she tried raising the retirement age and cutting back on cost of living adjustments, but that it was Bill Clinton himself who slapped her down in no uncertain terms for trying that typical GOP trick.
If you go to http://www.margoliesforcongress.com/ you come upon a Phildadelphia Inquirer story from June, 1994, "Social Security Curbs Proposed Marjorie Margolies-mezvinsky Is Touting Major Changes. Her GOP Foe, Jon Fox, Opposes The Plan." Voters in PA-13 should read it carefully because Margolies is a candidate who remains eager to cut Social Security and other benefits for working families. She sounds like a garden variety Republican, although the Republican that beat her in 1994 was more a defender of Social Security than she was-- and the way she disappointed the Democratic base and kept voters away from the polls is why she was really defeated that year. Her proposal to cut back on Social Security for retired Americans was even too conservative for Bill Clinton, who pointedly told her that "we do not deal with a problem like the deficit by (creating) income stagnation among the elderly."
Calling it the first fruit of last year's conference on entitlement spending, U.S. Rep. Marjorie Margolies-Mezvinsky announced legislation yesterday that would raise the retirement age for Social Security recipients and limit their cost-of-living adjustments.In 1994 Democratic voters had no choice but to protect Social Security by sitting on their hands and letting a Republican defeat Margolies. This year, that won't be a problem because Daylin Leach is going to beat her in a primary less than a month away. "When we started this campaign, a little over a year ago," he told us "it was always my intention to tell my story, to let people know who I am and where I came from, and how that affects everything I have done in the state Legislature. I needed help once, and I fight for those who need help now… We have all seen what the far right is doing to working families across America. I've led the fight against these measures designed to create a greater rift between the rich and everyone else, to keep working families down, and to maximize corporate profits at the expense of the very fabric of our democracy. That is why elections like mine are so important. We need leaders in Congress who are not afraid to take on the tough fights, to take on the extremists and the corporate interests that fund them, and have a proven record doing just that."
Margolies-Mezvinsky, who is seeking re-election, said the proposals would ensure Social Security's solvency and keep her pledge to control the costs of politically sensitive entitlement programs.
Social Security officials predicted in April that the trust fund would go broke in 35 years because of demographic shifts that would leave fewer workers supporting more retirees.
Margolies-Mezvinsky's proposal is a political gamble for the freshman Democrat, who is already in the doghouse with many constituents because of her 11th-hour switch last year in favor of President Clinton's budget bill and tax increases.
The current legislation, which Margolies-Mezvinsky is sponsoring with Minnesota Democrat Timothy J. Penny, would raise the retirement age to 70 by the year 2013-- beginning in 1999 and increasing the age by four months annually.
The retirement age currently ranges from 65 for those born before 1938 to 67 for those born after 1959. Those who retire earlier get reduced benefits.
The proposal would give only the bottom 20 percent of Social Security recipients the full cost-of-living adjustment, which is tied to the Consumer Price Index. Other recipients would receive a flat cost-of-living adjustment equal to that for recipients at the 20th percentile.
Margolies-Mezvinsky had made Clinton's attendance at December's entitlement conference at Bryn Mawr College a condition for her support of his budget. The budget increased taxes for affluent workers and for single Social Security recipients with incomes over $34,000 and couples with incomes over $44,000.
Although Clinton attended the conference, he said there should be only minor unspecified changes in Social Security. "We do not want to deal with a problem like the deficit by (creating) income stagnation among the elderly," Clinton said.
White House officials could not be reached for comment yesterday.
Social Security is among the touchiest issues for Congress, due in part to the lobbying strength of the American Association of Retired Persons, which claims 33 million members.
"They're not opposed to this," Margolies-Mezvinsky said. "We've been working with them so that we get their input."
But Martin Corry, AARP's director of federal affairs, said he was unaware of any contact between his group and Margolies-Mezvinsky since December.
He said AARP would oppose any form of "means testing" such as Margolies-Mezvinsky's proposal on cost-of-living adjustments.
"Changing the retirement age to age 70 is really premature," he added. ''There may well be changes in the retirement age, and they can be done gradually. I've seen nothing to suggest it needs to go to 70."
Republican Jon D. Fox, who will face Margolies-Mezvinsky in November, said he opposed her proposal, as well as another Democratic plan to increase payroll taxes.
Fox said he would have to study the issue further before making a proposal of his own.
"I'm going to be coming out in this campaign with proposals dealing with the protection of Social Security," Fox said in a telephone interview. "I'll be getting back to you on them."
Margolies-Mezvinsky said she did not know how the proposals would play in her largely Republican Montgomery County district.
"My feeling is it's the right thing to do. I think that what happens when you get to Washington is you see people saying to their constituents what they want to hear rather than what they need to hear."
Contributing here will help make sure that TV stays on the air between now and May 20. Canddiates like Daylin Leach don't come along everyday; candidates like Brendan Boyle and Marjorie Margolies-Mezkinsky, unfortunately, do.