Monday, November 28, 2011

Joseph Crowley-- A Good Place To Draw That Line In The Sand?


The gang's all here-- that's Crowley on the left, Satan on the right

I was on the phone with some friends back East Monday and we were talking about working on a primary campaign against corrupt ConservaDem Joseph Crowley of Queens. Crowley is a Rahm-like bag man for the New Dems whose modus operandi is basically to go to corporate lobbyists and agree to get progressive legislation buried or watered down in return for the pay-offs that have led to inside-the-caucus political power for himself. I would describe him as a mini-Steny Hoyer without the charm. His lifetime ProgressivePunch crucial vote score is a mediocre 83.53 but it's his behind the scenes wheeling  and dealing that makes him such an odious character. In 1999 he was one of the movers and shakers on the Democratic side who backed ending Glass-Steagall for Wall Street. And, although that was one of the primary reasons for the collapse of the financial system and the ensuing catastrophe for the economy, Crowley hasn't blinked. The Finance Industry has rewarded him handsomely for selling out his Queens constituents in Woodside, Jackson Heights, East Elmhurst and College Point and the ones who live in neighborhoods in the East Bronx like Throggs Neck, Morris Park, Co-op City and Pelham Parkway, people who would never think of voting for a Republican-- but who, in effect-- get much of the same greed-and-selfishness agenda. Since he sold out his constituents in the debate over Glass-Steagall, the Finance Industry has funneled a hefty $3,229,109 directly into his political career in the form of legalistic bribes. He's used that money to build up his own political power inside the Democratic Party, exactly what Wall Street wanted him to do with it.

But one of the guys on the call remembered a particularly horrible vote by Crowley-- Bush's Bankruptcy Act, S 256. It passed the House on April 14, 2005, 302-126. Most Democrats voted against it and every single Republican voted for it. But 73 Democrats, mostly the worst Blue Dogs and corporate whores, voted with the Republicans to give it that glowing "bipartisan" patina. Joseph Crowley, a Member of the House Ways and Means Committee, where he regularly undermines the interests of the 99%, is one of the Democrats who was not subsequently defeated for reelection after crossing the aisle that day to vote with the GOP, with Wall Street and with the 1% against American working families. Instead he managed to worm his way into the House Leadership and is now the Democrats' Chief Deputy Whip and a Vice-Chairman of the DCCC.

The bill, whose purpose was to make it more difficult for consumers to file bankruptcy, was originated in the Senate and the lead sponsor was deranged Iowa Republican Chuck Grassley. It was co-sponsored by a gaggle of Republican corporate whores like Jim DeMint, Orrin Hatch, Jeff Sessions and David Vitter (who, during the debate, was talking on his cell phone with a high priced call girl about what color diapers he would be wearing that night) as well as by two of the sleaziest corporate Dems in the upper chamber, Ben Nelson and Tom Carper. The banksters spent millions in lobbying and bribes (campaign "contributions") and it was widely considered their greatest victory against the American people at the time.

Yes, douche bags play guitar too

Sleazy legislators like Crowley who supported it parroted the banksters' lies that passage would reduce losses to credit card companies, who would then pass on the savings in the form of lower interest rates. The first half was true; credit card company losses decreased. But the rates charged to customers not only didn't decrease, they increased while the insatiably greedy credit card company profits went through the roof, a cut of which was given to the corrupt Members of Congress (like Crowley).

Pelosi led the progressives against the bill. Hoyer led the conservative and corrupt Democrats in favor. There were no Democratic tribunes for working families who voted for the bill-- but most of the dreck in the Democratic caucus, like Hoyer and Crowley, did. The other day I used this bill as an example of why North Carolinians who have to decide between redistricted David Price (who voted with the Republicans against working families) and Brad Miller (who, as always, voted to protect working families and against this bill, should choose Miller. Here are some of the noteworthy Democrats who crossed the aisle that fateful April day:
Melissa Bean (IL), the Chamber of Commerce's favorite Democrat, defeated for reelection
Dan Boren (Blue Dog-OK), George Bush's favorite Democrat, retiring next year
Leonard Boswell (Blue Dog-IA), with minimal support from the base, he's likely to be defeated in 2012
Allen Boyd (Blue Dog-FL), defeated for reelection
Dennis Cardoza (Blue Dog-CA), retiring next year
Jim Cooper (Blue Dog-TN)
Jim Costa (Blue Dog-CA)
Henry Cuellar (Blue Dog-TX)
Harold Ford, Jr (Blue Dog-TN), defeated in a Senate run, now a bank lobbyist
Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (Blue Dog-SD), defeated for reelection
Tim Holden (Blue Dog-PA)
Steve Israel ("ex"-Blue Dog-NY), current DCCC chair, recruiting conservative candidates just like himself
William Jefferson (LA), sentenced to 13 years in prison for bribery
Ron Kind (WI), New Dem slime, almost exact replica of Crowley
Jim Matheson (Blue Dog-UT)
Mike McIntyre (Blue Dog-NC)
Bob Menendez (NJ)
Collin Peterson (Blue Dog-MN)
Mike Ross (Blue Dog-AR), retiring next year

Crowley is also on the House Foreign Affairs Committee and he was one of the 81 Democrats who voted to authorize Bush to attack Iraq 126 Democrats (and 6 Republicans) voted against the unprovoked aggression, which turned out to be one of the worst and most costly foreign policy blinders in American history-- costly for the taxpayers, but very profitable for the arms industry, which, of course, has rewarded Crowley very nicely. With their biggest bucks reserved for Republicans, arms dealers have bestowed a tidy $82,500 on Crowley for his support of their business interests.

Crowley has never had a serious opponent for reelection and, in fact, he was selected congressman in a very sleazy backroom deal with his predecessor, Tom Manton, who announced his retirement after the filing deadline and then, as head of the Queens Democratic Party, handed Crowley, a former staffer and a crony, the Democratic nomination. Crowley doesn't live in Queens; he lives in Virginia with his family. He badly needs a primary from someone who does live in Queens (or the Bronx) and who is more than just a Democrat in name.

UPDATE: How Does A Lowlife Like Joe Crowley Grab Political Power?

Are the two parties different? Sure-- but not in terms of the relationship between money and power. They're both horribly corrupt, corrupt beyond salvation. Let Tom Ferguson explain:

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At 11:26 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My question is: Why are all these ignorant jackasses smiling? Were a few more women and children just killed in Iraq? When it comes to evil these worthless pricks went all in.

At 8:25 PM, Blogger Murdoch Matthew said...

The substantial part of your complaint is that both parties are horribly corrupt. That's beyond dispute. They will be until money can be gotten out of political campaigns. Merely denouncing elected officials who have to navigate a tainted environment is just ego gratification.

Joe Crowley represents a district with a large footprint in the Bronx, not a progressive area, and very disparate parts of Queens. Good luck getting your real Democrat elected there. Where will he or she get their organization, their volunteers, their financing? Do you know anything about elections?

Yes, I've been disappointed with some of Crowley's votes in the House. He's not as bad as our senior senator, often called the senator from Verizon and Israel. But as head of the Democratic Party in Queens, Crowley has promoted and supported truly progressive local candidates. We now have a group of elected officials in Jackson Heights, Corona, and Woodside who work together in the NYCity Council and the State Assembly for the good of the neighborhoods. All with Crowley's help and blessing.

Yes, the Queens Democratic Party is allergic to primaries, which are expensive and divisive. The Manton-Crowley trick was repeated when Ivan Lafayette, a long-time very progressive state assemblyman, retired -- after the filing deadline. We didn't know his named replacement, Michael DenDekker, but Mike has proved splendid locally and state-wide. He's progressive, he's effective, he works with others -- and he was a party pick.

Crowley, like many, has his family near him in Washington. He is no stranger in his district -- we see him riding his bicycle in Queens streets frequently. He's present here when he's needed.

Yes, the system is corrupt, more corrupt the higher you go. So far our new US Senator, Kirsten Gillibrand, seems the sort of Democrat you call for -- but she hasn't run for reelection yet. Given the pervasive corruption of the system, working for good people locally or whenever they appear is what one can do. You can also appeal to the better nature of people like Crowley, who vote progressively when it's politically possible. Or you can call names from your safe blogging haven.


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