Saturday, May 12, 2012

If Only DC Lobbyists Were The Electorate, The New Dems Would Be Kings Of The Hill


Democratic voters eliminated most of the Blue Dogs over the course of the last election cycle and a half. Most of them were defeated at the polls or were forced by the threat of defeat into retiring. This year, the worst of them who were left after the Blue Dog Apocalypse-- Dan Boren (OK), Heath Shuler (NC), Dennis Cardoza (CA) and Mike Ross (AR)-- are retiring. And two more-- Tim Holden and Jason Altmire, both of Pennsylvania, were defeated in primaries last month. Of the dreck that's left, Joe Donnelly decided to take a Hail Mary shot at a Senate seat and 2 are almost sure to lose in November: John Barrow (GA) and Larry Kissell (NC). Three others, Leonard Boswell (IA), Ben Chandler (KY) and Jim Matheson (UT), have, at best, a 50-50 shot at returning to Congress in 2013. And many Blue Dog fellow travelers-- those who don't call themselves Blue Dogs but always vote the Blue Dog line-- like Mark Crtiz (PA), Bill Owens (NY), Kathy Hochul (NY) are in bad shape for reelection. New Blue Dogs Steve Israel has been recruiting, like Hayden Rogers (NC), Brendan Mullen (NC), Clark Hall (AR), Leonard Bembry (FL), and Rob Wallace (OK), have virtually no chance to win, despite the immense sums of money the DCCC is wasting on them.

The end of the ConservaDems? Don't be silly. The congressional wing of the Democratic Party is, despite Nancy Pelosi and despite a more focused Progressive Caucus, very much under the control of thoroughly corrupt corporate Democratic careerists, particularly Steny Hoyer, who is making his move on the Speakership to Joseph Crowley, head of the New Dems (read DLC). If Crowley survives his Ethics Committee investigations-- which he probably will, the committee being Capitol Hill's biggest joke, he stands to rise even further in the party leadership. Like Hoyer, he's all about aggregating big money for compliant members willing to help him build his power base. And most of the Blue Dogs have migrated over to Crowley's New Dems. As I've said before, the New Dems are basically the Blue Dogs without the KKK accoutrements. Blue Dogs currently in the 42 member New Dem caucus include John Barrow (GA), Adam Schiff (CA), Mike McIntyre (NC), Jim Cooper (TN), David Scott (GA), Kurt Schrader (OR), Jason Altmire (PA), and Loretta Sanchez (CA). It also includes aspiring House leaders-- Crowley (NY), Allyson Schwartz (PA), Ron Kind (WI), Rick Larsen (WA), Jim Himes (CT), Karen Bass (CA), Jared Polis (CO) and there are 3 members seeking Senate seats: Shelley Berkley (NV), Martin Heinrich (NM), and Chris Murphy (CT).

Yesterday a particularly ignorant-- although not atypical-- Politico writer described this essentially conservative group, which specializes in working with Big Business for cash, as having politics that "range roughly from far left to slightly left of center." The article was another slimy Crowley puff piece in the slimiest of DC trade papers and it is filled with misinformation about what the New Dems essentially are all about. The New Dems, the article asserts, "are gunning for a host of battleground seats in suburban America that could tip the House back to their party this fall."
“When we win back the House, it is going to be because of the linchpin, which is the New Democrat Coalition,” said the group’s chairman, New York Rep. Joe Crowley. “That is going to be the focus of the appeal-- not only to Democrats but to independent voters.”

The New Dems’ formula for survival in an increasingly polarized Capitol Hill: tack left on social issues but veer toward the center on business-- and economic-oriented policies that could appeal to independent and moderate voters.

Yes, many-- though not all-- of it's members accept basic Democratic values like equality and Choice but that isn't what the group is about. The group is about cold hard cash-- corporate cash-- and playing footsie with Big Business to get it. This is the "Free" trade wing of the Democratic Party, for example. You know how people say the Republican Party is not your father's GOP because it's gone so far to the right? Well, the New Dems is your father's Republican Party. As a group their biggest obsession is lowering the corporate tax rate. If the Democrats make a Grand Bargain with the GOP in December-- one that sells out Social Security and Medicare as many people expect-- it will be largely put together by New Dems, flush with cash from their corporate donors.
New Dems say their political profile will be key in several competitive House races this fall, and several of the group’s top endorsements are in races that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has pinpointed as prime pickup opportunities this November.

Among them are Ami Bera of California, Brad Schneider of Illinois, Denny Heck of Washington state, Joaquin Castro of Texas and Florida candidates Val Demings, Keith Fitzgerald and Pat Murphy. Former Reps. Bill Foster of Illinois and Dan Maffei of New York are also backed by the New Dems.

“I think there is a rising interest in the message of groups like the New Dems who are saying, ‘We need to stop the partisan bickering, put the differences aside and find that common ground,” said Schneider, a businessman who in March fended off a primary challenge from Ilya Sheyman-- a candidate backed by national progressives.

The New Dems’ political arm has endorsed 20 current candidates and has raised $1.4 million this election cycle, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. The New Dems also boast of their ties to the DCCC, where three of the four national chair positions are held by New Dems. They include Crowley, the national finance chairman; Pennsylvania Rep. Allyson Schwartz, the national chairwoman for recruiting and candidate services; and Puerto Rico Del. Pedro Pierluisi (D-Puerto Rico), the national chairman for community mobilization.

DCCC Chairman Steve Israel of New York is a former New Dem member, and a handful of other New Dems have taken key roles at the DCCC.

...While Blue Dogs primarily come from rural and Southern United States, the New Dems hail from suburban and exurban areas-- which, Democrats believe, will be the battleground in House races this fall. And so while redistricting has dramatically weakened the Blue Dogs’ prospects, New Dems say redistricting actually has helped because their geographical strengths are in areas where it was more difficult to distort district lines, Crowley said.

“The success of the Democratic Party in the fall elections, I think, squarely is linked to the success of the New Democrat Coalition,” Crowley said. “Overall, the absence of a similar entity of the Republican Party is what I think is going to be problematic for them in the future.”

Last cycle the New Dems PAC, which is run by radical right Blue Dog Jason Altmire, gave over $700,000 to candidates. Most of it was wasted on conservatives who lost because they voted with Republicans and against Democrats, like Walt Minnick (Blue Dog-ID), Allen Boyd (Blue Dog-FL), Bobby Bright (Blue Dog-AL), Jim Marshall (Blue Dog-GA), Lincoln Davis (Blue Dog-TN), Chris Carney (Blue Dog-PA), Ann Kirkpatrick (AZ), John Adler (NJ), Travis Childers (Blue Dog-MS), Frank Kratovil (Blue Dog-MD), Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (Blue Dog-SD), Earl Pomeroy (Blue Dog-ND), Kathleen Dahlkemper (Blue Dog-PA), Ike Skelton (MO), Harry Mitchell (Blue Dog-AZ), Bob Etheridge (NC), Deborah Halvorson (IL), Suzanne Kosmas (FL), Betsy Markey (Blue Dog-CO), Glenn Nye (Blue Dog-VA). And none of their recruits won either. This is the perfect group for Beltway Broderists looking for Democrats to be more like Republicans.

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