CHRIS CARNEY-- A DEMOCRAT GONE BAD, REALLY BAD
Chris Carney-- worse than Joe Lieberman?
This weekend Pennsylvania Congressman Chris Carney said his personal choice for the next president of the United States would be Republican Senator Chuck Hagel (NE). On substantive matters Hagel and Carney have very similar voting records: extreme right. Let me come back to that in a moment though. Carney's endorsement of the right wing Republican-- someone who has supported abolishing Roe v Wade, who has voted for every single Bush judicial nomination, regardless of how extreme, who opposes equality for minorities, who has never met a corporate subsidy he didn't embrace, who is always wrong on the environment, fair taxation, education, medical care, etc-- comes just as the DCCC is urging grassroots Democrats to contribute money to Carney's re-election campaign.
While Carney was cutting down a potential Democratic presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton ("Certainly we are not Hillary Clinton. We don't govern like she does."), DCCC Chair Chris Van Hollen had prioritized Carney's re-election. Interviewed by Brett Lieberman for the local Patriot News Carney and Van Hollen tried to make a case for his re-election. (The full and unedited version of the story appears on the Pennsyltucky Politics Blog.) Carney is a master triangulator, demonizing the Democratic Party and Democratic values at every turn.
"I'm not beholden to (Republican leader) John Boehner. I'm not beholden to Nancy Pelosi. I'm beholden to the people of the 10th district," he said.
But that independence has also angered some of the liberal groups that helped raise money and work to elect Carney.
"There's a lot of people in the blogosphere who would like him to lose his seat as a lesson for candidates who come in and lie to us and try to get our money.....he lied to us," said Howie Klein, a blogger on the progressive Firedoglake Web site.
"I think that would be shooting ourselves in the foot," said U.S. Rep. Chris Van Hollen, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. "It would be self-defeating for people who helped Chris Carney to turn their backs on him now because the fact of the matter is he's been a very effective member of Congress."
"These are independent members of Congress...does that mean sometimes they are not going to vote exactly the way the democratic leadership wants to go on an issue, yes, but that's why their constituents elected them," Van Hollen, D-Md., said.
Klein's group planned to stay quiet despite Carney's having what they viewed as one of the worst records in Congress until he allied himself with what Klein calls "a bunch of horrid homophobes" and voted against the hate crime bill that he said the congressman promised during the campaign to support.
"It makes many of our contributors says what difference is it if we had Sherwood in there," he said.
The group's Blue America PAC that raised $545,000 for progressive candidates wants Carney to refund $8,210 raised for him.
Carney denied misleading the group and said it was naïve on their part to think he would vote 100 percent in sync with their views.
You may have read about Blue America's dispute with Carney. When he was running for office he lied to us about his stance on key issues and 722 of our members contributed to his successful campaign against Republican incumbent Don "The Choker" Sherwood. As soon as Carney was elected he started voting just the way Sherwood would have. We were astounded that we helped elect an out-and-out, across-the-board reactionary. But we know better than to think just because you donate some money to a candidate they'll vote your way. We just watched with dismay as Carney's voting record got worse and worse and worse with each passing week. It was soon clear he was headed right for Joe Lieberman country. On contested substantive matters he was almost always with the Republicans. But it wasn't until the Hate Crimes bill came up for a vote-- a bill he had specifically promised to support-- that we decided to go public. Because then it was a matter of character as well as values. Carney had lied to us. While 2 dozen mainstream conservative Republicans crossed over and voted for equality with the Democrats, just Carney and 13 of the most reactionary and homophobic Democrats voted against the bill.
Now anyone who decides how to vote based on getting fancier offices and better parking spots for big-time Democrats like Pelosi, Emanuel, Hoyer and Van Hollen, might want to consider supporting Carney despite his atrocious voting record and his constant tearing down of the Democratic Party. But if you're the kind of Democrat for whom issues matter, a vote for Chris Carney is like a vote for Don Sherwood... only without the choking.
There is no progressive running against Carney. There are progressives running against other reactionary Democrats in primaries. We're always adding to our Blue America list of progressives and we invited you to support the men and women listed there. A progressive challenging a Democratic reactionary incumbent right now is Donna Edwards (who is opposing the corrupt corportae tool Al Wynn in Maryland). Other progressives locked in primary races against reactionaires and opportunists include Victoria Wulsin (OH-02), Angie Paccione (CO-04), John Laesch (IL-14), and Darcy Burner (WA-08). And crusading progressive Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) is being challenged by the odious and right-wing/DLC Harold Ford Machine in Memphis. Can you think of splitting $10 between these worthy progressives who won't just be run-of-the-mill Democrats who are a little better than rubber stamp Republicans?