Wednesday, September 12, 2007

LYNN WOOLSEY TAKES A REAL LEADERSHIP STAND-- TELLS PROGRESSIVES TO TAKE ON REACTIONARY INCUMBENTS

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Unlike Insider Democratic leadership figures like Steny Hoyer and Rahm Emanuel, Lynn Woolsey (D-CA) is serious about ending the occupation of Iraq and bringing our troops home and she's serious about supporting core Democratic values. How serious? According to today's Hill, on a conference call organized by the Network of Spiritual Progressives Rep. Woolsey urged progressives to "go after Democrats" who vote with Bush on key issues. “I’d hate to lose the majority, but I’m telling you, if we don’t stand up to our responsibility, maybe that’s the lesson to be learned.”
The activists strongly criticized House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) for failing to meet with them and not doing enough to stop funding the war. Moran [Virginia Congressman Jim Moran was also on the call] pushed back, arguing that Pelosi’s heart was with them but that she was constrained by political reality within the House Democratic Caucus and the Senate.

“We’ve got too many risk-averse members,” Moran said. “[Pelosi] really is trying. She doesn’t have the votes; she doesn’t even have the complete support of some of the leadership [referring to surreptitious war supporters Hoyer and Emanuel].

“If you heard the caucuses that are not public and could hear the arguments that she makes to sway some of the conservative members, I think you’d be much more impressed with her.”

Ever since the voters gave the Democrats the majority in the House, individual Democrats-- including even the most reactionary Blue Dogs-- have tended to move in a more unified direction. The Congressional Quarterly Party Unity scores among Democrats has tended to go up. At the same time, Republican unity has been collapsing, even among their most die-hard extremists.

Let's take a look at the dozen most reactionary non-freshmen Democrats and the dozen Republicans who are the least extremist. According the Progressive Punch's meticulous scoring, the two dozen most right-of-center Democrats and least extremist Republicans (again, freshmen excluded) are:
DEMOCRATS (in order of how often they vote with the Republicans)
Gene Taylor (MS) 69/73- the only exception but he is in reality a Republican inside the Democratic caucus
Bud Cramer (AL) 86/60
Collin Peterson (MN) 85/63
Dan Boren (OK) 75/54
Ike Skelton (MO) 90/75
Allen Boyd (FL) 90/67
Mike McIntyre (NC) 84/74
John Tanner (TN) 83/74
Jim Marshall (GA) 72/65
Jim Matheson (UT) 75/66
Tim Holden (PA) 90/79
John Barrow (GA) 71/65

REPUBLICANS (most extremely vulnerable to defeat for rubber stampism)
Christopher Shays (CT) 66/77
Rodney Alexander (LA) 84/97
Ron Paul (TX) 84/68 (the only significant GOP exception, complicated by a presidential run)
Chris Smith (NJ) 59/72
Mike Castle (DE) 66/77
Wayne Gilchrest (MD) 52/75
Dave Reichert (WA) 70/80
Tim Johnson (IL) 66/79
Frank LoBiondo (NJ) 62/73
Jim Ramstad (MN) 73/70
Charlie Dent (PA) 73/81
Jim Gerlach (PA) 71/70

The first number represents the party loyalty rating for the 2006 session and the second number represents the loyalty rating for the 2004 session. Notice that Democrats have gotten far more loyal while Republicans have abandoned their party positions much more frequently.

Now, back to Congresswoman Woolsey's suggestion. In the current session of Congress, the Democrats with the lowest loyalty scores are
Gene Taylor (MS)- 69 in a solidly Republican district (R+16)
John Barrow (GA) -71 in a swing district (R+2)
Jim Marshall (GA)- 72 in a Republican district (R+ 8)
Heath Shuler (NC)- 73 in a Republican district (R+ 7)
Jason Altmire (PA)- 74 in a swing district (R+ 2)
Dan Boren (OK)- 75 in a Republican-leaning district (R+ 5)
Jim Matheson (UT)- 75 in a solidly Republican district (R+ 17)
Joe Donnelly (IN)- 76 in a Republican-leaning district (R+4)
Brad Ellsworth (IN)- 76 in a Republican district (R+8)
Nick Lampson (TX)- 78 in a solidly Republican district (R+14)
Chris Carney (PA)- 79 in a Republican district (R+8)
Melissa Bean (IL)- 81 in a Republican-leaning (R+5)
Harry E. Mitchell (AZ)- 82 in a Republican-leaning district (R+4)

I suspect a primary challenge to someone like Gene Taylor would be fruitless and even if we could defeat him in a primary, we would be handing the district to a much worse-- as hard as that is to believe-- Republican. Far better to concentrate on Republican-leaning districts (or Democratic districts, though, as you see, there are none on this list) and back strong primary opponents to reactionary Democrats in them. Jane Harman has been acting more like a Democrat since her unpleasant primary last year. Even Ellen Tauscher has been behaving better just because of a credible threat of a primary. Al Wynn has done a 180 degree turn to try to blunt Donna Edwards' powerful challenge. Last week we talked with Mark Pera, the progressive challenger to Bush Dog Dan Lipinski. That's the exact kind of race we should be working in. It's a solidly Democratic district and Lipinski votes with the Republicans far too frequently. On top of that, his loyalty score is in the bottom third of Democrats. You can give Mark's campaign a boost at our Blue America page if you're so inclined.

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6 Comments:

At 3:07 PM, Anonymous me said...

Woo Hoo! Hooray for Lynn Woolsey!


Regarding the argument in favor of Pelosi, I don't buy it, not for a second. She should push and push hard, and if the conservative cons remove her from Speakership, let them do it and live with the consequences. You can bet the entire country would howl and back Pelosi 100%

But she doesn't have the guts, thinks her Speakership is more important than the good of the country. I disagree.

 
At 3:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why is it that Pelosi keeps getting a pass on stopping the war, impeachment, and subpeonas? Every list of dog Democrats who do nothing omits her. Why?

She could stop the war by not allowing appropriation bills to make it to the floor. She doesn't need votes for that. She is the speaker.

She had no constitutional right to take "impeachment off the table." She's bound by the constitution, goddammit. She doesn't have the RIGHT to take impeachment off the table.

She has stopped Conyers from doing anything about the subpeonas that Bu$hCo thumbs their nose at. She says there MAY be a vote at the end of September or October. WTF?

All this from our "leader" who claimed that the most important thing about being in the majority was "subpeona power." What a crock of shit! She hasn't done one goddamn thing to stop the runnaway train of Bu$hCo corruption. Is this leadership, or leadershit?

Get that worthless bitches name on the bad list, or don't bother with a list at all. She is a do-nothing politician, waiting for . . . what?

 
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