Ann Kirkpatrick Makes The Case Well: Why She Doesn't Deserve To Be Re-Elected
A vote to bail out foreign bankers will defeat her in 2010
Last year there were few primary races anywhere in America with as marked a contrast between an excellent candidate and a completely unqualified one as in the race for the open seat in Arizona's vast 1st CD. Howard Shanker was the progressive grassroots candidate and the Establishment mediocrity was now Congresswoman Ann Kirkpatrick. As a member of Congress Kirkpatrick has proven what was obvious to any observer-- residents of AZ-01 still have the least effective representation of anyplace in America.
Like other right-wing, corporate shills, Kirkpatrick calls her abysmal Republican voting record "independent." "Independent of Democratic principles and values" would be a better way to describe it. As this morning's CQPolitics explained:
Kirkpatrick was one of eight House Democrats who opposed a bill (HR 1664) to limit the payment of bonuses to employees of companies that receive federal aid under so-called “bailout” legislation. She was one of three Democrats who voted against a bill (HR 1728) aimed at overhauling mortgage lending practices and curbing what supporters describe as “predatory” lending practices-- but which opponents described as over-regulation.
Basically whenever it comes to a choice between working families and her big corporate donors, Kirkpatrick crosses the aisle and votes with the GOP in favor of the corporate special interests that have devastated the country's-- and her constituents'-- finances. Washington observers consider her to be one of the most dimwitted and ineffective members of Congress and a complete waste of a seat. The only positive thing we've ever heard about her from anyone was that she dresses neatly every day and that she's not a crook like her predecessor, Rick Renzi-- although she does tend to vote almost exactly like him.
Renzi's still waiting trial on multiple corruption, fraud and money-laundering charges but Kirkpatrick is carrying on his tradition of unresponsive and incompetent representation for Arizona. "She's definitely the weakest member of the delegation," one staffer told us today. "She was well-financed though and the DCCC was pushing her."
The upside of the DCCC push is that she owes them-- big time. The party never asks her to compromise her "independence" and let's her vote with the GOP whenever she likes-- which is almost always, at least when it comes to contentious, substantive legislation. But this week is different. This week, Kirkpatrick is being forced to vote for a $108 billion bailout for European bankers. It's a vote most observers in Arizona politics say will cost her her seat. But this is one the powers inside the Democratic Party-- particularly Rahm Emanuel, Obama's Karl Rove-- are demanding. Kirkpatrick doesn't have the nerve to defy him.
She joined the reactionary Blue Dog caucus as soon as she was elected and claims to be against massive government spending programs. Although Emanuel has attempted to wrap this one up in pretty bows and disguise it as support for our troops and for the car industry, the $108 billion bailout for foreign banks has caused John Shadegg (R-AZ), Trent Franks (R-AZ), Jeff Flake (R-AZ), to join Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) in opposing the bill.
The Republican party has been targeting her as a tool of Nancy Pelosi. It isn't true and it hasn't stuck. But with her vote for the European bank bailout that Pelosi is pushing this week, it will stick-- and stick hard enough to defeat Kirkpatrick in 2010. Sources close to state Rep. Bill Konopnicki, the NRCC's #1 choice to run against her, say that if Kirkpatrick votes for the bailout, as expected, Konopnicki will jump into the race because it's an issue he can win with, easily.
Randy Pullen and his family have donated many thousands of dollars to Arizona Republicans and Pullen has recently become the treasurer of the RNC. The Pullen family is very confident that Kirkpatrick has no chance to survive a vote for a foreign bank bailout, which they also feel will take down two other Arizona Blue Dogs, Harry Mitchell and Gabby Giffords, both of whom are likely to follow Emanuel's lead into what looks more and more like a Democratic Party Suicide Pact.
“We have three districts, two of which are Republican districts that are held by Democrats, one of which is a slightly Democrat district that is held by a Democrat, but it’s a very conservative district,” Pullen said, referring to Arizona seats held by Democrat Reps. Gabrielle Giffords, Harry Mitchell and Ann Kirkpatrick, all of whom will be Republican targets in 2010.
“We have some opportunities, I think, in Arizona.”
Giffords has drawn an early challenger, while Mitchell will face the winner of what is so far a two-way primary. Arizona Republicans hope to woo State Rep. Bill Konopnicki, who flirted with a bid in 2008, to run against Kirkpatrick.
“I hope he does (run). I think he’ll be a great candidate,” Pullen said of Konopnicki. “I think he held off last time because he realized it was just a really tough environment for Republicans in 2008.”
Pullen said he had spoken with Konopnicki several times, and that he expects a formal decision within four or five weeks.
Here's a message on this that went out to bloggers in Arizona today. They didn't even bother mentioning Kirkpatrick-- as though she were just another Republican:
UPDATE: Late Breaking News
Jane Hamsher reports that Kirkpatrick may have been frightened into standing up to Emanuel and voting "no" tomorrow. Blue Dogs who don't will suffer at the polls next year. And Emanuel knows he's starting to lose them. So what's his latest strategy? We hear he's turning to vulnerable Republicans and telling them he can get the DCCC to "go easy" on them next year if they vote for the Supplemental tomorrow. It's one thing if he makes a deal with Vern Buchanan in Florida or Chris Smith in New Jersey, but we're hearing that he's offering to protect Republicans who have been slated as major DCCC targets, like Thaddeus McCotter (R-MI), Bill Young (R-FL), Leonard Lance R-NJ) and Charlie Dent (R-PA). Watch tomorrow to see if any of these characters cross over and vote with Team Emanuel to bail out European bankers.
And speaking of Rahm, there was a passage I read this morning in Charles Pierces' book, Idiot America by an angry Minnesota congressman:
If there be in our midst one low, sordid, vulgar soul... one tongue leprous with slander; one mouth which is like unto a den of foul beasts giving forth deadly odors; if there be one character which, while blotched and spotted all over, yet raves and rants and blackguards like a prostitute; if there be one bold, bad, empty, bellowing demagogue, it is the gentleman from Illinois."
Fits to a t, huh?