CALIFORNIA DEMOCRATIC PARTY GETS THE BALLS TO BITCH SLAP RAHM EMANUEL INSIDERS-- ENDORSES JERRY McNERNEY TO RUN AGAINST POMBO
I was at a gathering of progressives recently and 3 national progressive leaders were addressing the room. They were on a raised dais and they were all witty and brilliant and obviously dedicated. One of them seemed to speak a teensy weensy bit disparagingly about "pre-2000 Democrats." The 3 progressive leaders were pre-2000 Republicans, now staunch Democrats. I have to admit I felt a twinge of resentment-- just a twinge, I swear-- but then I remembered: I wasn't born a Democrat either!
Just the way Stan's dad Randy declared that the whole Marsh family would henceforth be Mormon, my grandpa, the family patriarch, one day declared we were no longer Socialists but Democrats. I was even younger than Stan, so I didn't understand-- but I grew up a Democrat. There were no Republicans where I grew up-- unless they were in the closet. But I always remembered feeling proud that when my party ran candidates, the yard signs always proudly, boldly said DEMOCRAT; the Republican candidates never used to mention their party affiliation on their signs.
When I got to college-- a state University-- I met people from all over the state and there were some Republicans, though not many. In fact I was president of the Young Democrats on the campus (until I changed it-- much to the chagrin of DC-- into an SDS chapter) and I recall we had lots of members and the Young Republicans had like 10, 9 nerdy guys with pimples and a girl. (I just checked the yearbook.) I didn't hate them. They were kind of beneath contempt; the 9 nerdy guys were all very pro-War in VietNam but-- like Cheney-- they were on all student deferments.
After college I went to live abroad until Nixon was removed from Washington and there were no Republicans I ran into in Afghanistan or Nepal or Sri Lanka, nor in the meditation center I worked in for 4 years in Amsterdam. I didn't really get to interact with any until I sold my little indie record company to CBS in the early 80s. There was one there; he was a complete dick and the worst person I ever met and a coke freak and I learned a lot from him, like what to never do to an artist or an employee. (The first minute I ever met him he said to me, "I never had a problem with Richard Nixon. Did you?")
I'll tell you how committed I am to the Democratic Party. Aside from never once in my life having voted for one for anything-- and I never missed any election since I was 18, even when I had to ride down from the Hindu Kush to Kabul to find the American Embassy and vote there once-- I even held back the puke I felt rising in my craw to pull the lever in 2000 for the Democratic ticket (which was hard to do for me, considering Gore's two horrible choices: his censorship postergirl wife Tipper and his corrupt, moralistic hypocrite of a VP nominee, Joe Lieberman). I've grown up since then. I will never ever vote for a Lieberman again. No. Matter. What. Luckily for Holy Joe I don't live in Connecticut-- and lucky for the even-worse-the-Lieberman Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee's putative senatorial nominee in Pennsylvania, Bob CaseyI don't live in PA either-- but in California, although I am helping to raise grassroots contributions for their progressive Democratic opponents, Ned Lamont and Chuck Pennacchio.
I just got back from a weekend in San Francisco where I picked up the Bay Guardian. There was a frontpage story on Pete McCloskey and his somewhat quixotic Republican primary campaign against what many people consider to be the post-DeLay U.S. House of Representative's absolute worst congressman, Richard Pombo. [Look, I don't want to get anyone angry at me who thinks that Bob Ney (OH), Jerry Lewis (CA), Duncan Hunter (CA), John Doolittle (CA), Katherine Harris (FL), Rahm Emanuel (IL), Pete Sessions (TX), Charles Taylor (NC), Curt Weldon (PA) or any number of evil doers in the House is as bad or even worse than Pombo; when it gets to measuring how horrible these people are, a point or two one way or the other barely registers. These are the worst of the worst, the absolute bottom of the
Anyway, you may have noticed I stuck a "Democrat" on that list: Rahm Emanuel. If you're a DWT regular, you know I'm no more a fan of his than I am of his GOP mirror image, Tom DeLay. Emanuel is part of this story-- more so than Pete Sessions or Katherine Harris or Bob Ney. You see, Emanuel's DCCC has taken the extraordinary step of anointing a weak, former Republican, Steve Filson, who has nothing much to say beyond "Pombo is bad," in the midst of a spirited Democratic primary that features an exemplary grassroots, progressive candidate, massively favored by Democrats throughout the San Joaquin Valley (CA-11), Jerry McNerney.
Emanuel and his henchmen-- like Steny Hoyer and the agendaless, desperate-to-be-the-first-woman-Speaker-please-let-me-Rahm-I'll-do-anything Nancy Pelosi-- have been trying to make Filson's candidacy seem inevitable. But, unlike in many districts where their tactics have worked, Democrats in the 11th CD are too independent and feisty for them and have only pushed back harder against the anti-grassroots, anti-progressive, Inside-the-Beltway Democratic power elite. Filson's pathetic candidacy, despite all the big name Beltway-ites behind him, just has not taken off. McNerney just keeps getting stronger and stronger.
And today something really healthy for the 11th CD and for the California Democratic Party happened. The State Democratic Party Convention told Rahm Emanuel, Nancy Pelosi, Ellen Tauscher and all the other power-for-power's sake Democrats to go screw themselves, voting overwhelmingly to endorse Jerry McNerney. Party rules-- not the ones Emanuel ignores by declaring war on grassroots candidates everywhere in the country, but California Democratic Party rules-- require 60% of the delegates' approval to endorse a candidate in a contested primary. 75% of the delegates voted to endorse McNerney, making it unclear whether or not Emanuel and Tauscher will tell their puppet candidate to pack it up now.
"I am very honored to receive the endorsement of the California Democratic Party. This is the culmination of campaigning tirelessly over the last two years and working to establish strong relationships with party leaders throughout the district," said McNerney. The California Democratic Party endorsement follows significant endorsements for McNerney from the 2-million member California Labor Federation and SEIU's California State Council, representing another 600,000. These are people seriously committed to defeating Pombo and who don't want some out-of-touch DC power brokers telling them what to do. This didn't come from Rahm Emanuel; listen to it. This kind of hard-hitting attack is how Pombo is going to be retired, not by following Emanuel's namby-pamby playbook that confuses voters and makes people unsure about the differences. Yes, Tom DeLay and protégées like Richard Pombo are grotesquely corrupt but what about Emanuel and his protégées? Yes, Pombo votes against consumers at every opportunity, but what about Emanuel? (He's not nearly as bad as Pombo, of course, but bad enough to make some voters stop and think and then say, not without reason, "they're all the same. Politicians in DC don't care about people like me.")
I'm going to say something sacrilegious now (which is why I wrote that big intro establishing some kind of Party bona fides for myself). I would just as soon support Pete McCloskey, where he to beat Pombo in the Republican primary, as unlikely as that is, as I would support a boss-backed shill like Steve Filson were he to win the Democratic primary, also unlikely. With today's brave and forthright action by the California Democratic Party, it is more likely than ever that a true blue Democrat, a grassroots and progressive one-- with crystal clear differences between himself and Pombo for voters to consider-- will be able to take Pombo on mano a mano and with support of all real Democrats.
May I recommend that we all show some support for Jerry's McNerney's campaign today-- and for the brave stand of the California grassroots in the face of Emanuel and the Beltway Insiders-- by donating $10 or $20 or whatever you feel like, directly to Jerry's fund-raising efforts through ACT BLUE.
MONDAY EVENING UPDATE: THE OTHER ENDORSEES
Aside from Jerry, other non-incumbent congressional candidates endorsed at the Democratic Party Convention Sunday include Charlie Brown who has positioned himself to credibly battle John Doolittle in one of the most seriously gerrymandered Republican districts in the state (CA-04). Similarly, if less dramatically, the Convention endorsed Russ Warner, who already has pathetic GOP closet queen David Dreier (and his lover/over-paid chief of "staff") shivering in their boots over in CA-26. Louie Contreras got the official nod to take on Jerry Lewis who is, if anything, probably even more corrupt than either Pombo or Doolittle, just better and sneaking around and hiding it (CA-41). Over in CD-45 David Roth is the pick to take on GOP rubber-stamp and lightweight Sonny Bono's ex-wife (not Cher).
Bill Falzett got the go-ahead to take on Herger in CA-02, as did Bill Durston in CA-03 to take on the odious right-wing imbecile Dan Lungren. Neither T.J. Cox (CA-19), Steven Haze (CA-21), Jill Martinez (CA-24), Roberto Rodriguez (CA-25), Jim Brandt (CA-46), nor Jeeni Criscenzo (CA-49) had primary competition in their races to oust, respectively Radanovich, Nunes, reluctant Elton Galleghy Buck McKeon, bigoted right-wing psycho Dana Rohrbacher, and Darrell Issa.
Sharon Beery was endorsed over Ronald Carter to contest the open Republican seat in CA-22. Florice Hoffman got the nod over Christina Avalos to try to unseat Edward Royce (CA-40). Steve Young will face off against John Campbell in CA-48 again. Of course one of the Democrats big heroes, Francine Busby, got the nod to take on the Republican lobbyist scum they nominated to take Cunningham's seat. And there was no endorsement in the crowded field of candidates eager to challenge one of the GOP's arch-crooks, Duncan Hunter.
Oddly, there is no Democrat challenging Ken Calvert in CA-44, although he has been implicated in some of Randy "Duke" Cunningham's more nefarious plots, including a very suspicious trip to Saudi Arabia with some extremely crooked bribers.