Blue Dogs And Their Allies At The DCCC Wouldn't Try To Elect A Right-Wing Republican Over A Populist Democrat, Would They? Meet West Virginia
Last month we warned that Center Forward, the Blue Dog PAC, was running TV ads for Republicans. The one above is innocuous enough because the conservative Republican being lionized with $100,000 worth of free advertising, Todd Platts, is retiring and the nutcase Republican running in Pennsylvania's 4th CD (York and Adams counties plus part of Harrisburg and the West Shore), to replace him, Scott Perry, is running on a deranged repeal-Obamacare platform. (He's also running on a platform to prevent voters from finding out that in 2002 he was convicted of falsifying reports to the state Department of Environmental Protection.) Platts is a hard-core conservative but he voted against the Paul Ryan's budget meant to kill Medicare.
The last ad campaign Center Forward did was a million dollars worth of TV spots just north of the 4th CD to try to save corrupt conservative Blue Dog Tim Holden. The ad was ineffective and had no impact at all and didn't prevent Holden, a longtime incumbent, from being routed by progressive newcomer Matt Cartwright. This new ad is being run to save the necks of 4 more vulnerable Blue Dogs, John Barrow (D-GA), Ben Chandler (D-KY), Joe Donnelly (D-IN)-- who's running for the U.S. Senate-- and Mike McIntyre (D-NC). All 4 are likely to lose in November. Grassroots Democrats don't want them because the four of them usually vote with the Republicans, and Republican voters don't want them because they have actual Republicans to vote for instead.
The Blue Dog ad buy, though, includes three Republicans, the retiring Platts plus a sociopath from Kansas fully owned by the Koch brothers, Tim Huelskamp, and, most disturbing, David McKinley (R-WV). The idea is that Platts, Huelskamp and McKinely are somehow "moderate" and voted against killing Medicare when Ryan tried to do it in his budget. But when the budget was first voted on April 15, 2011 every Democrat voted NO (even the Blue Dogs) and they were joined by 4 Republicans-- Ron Paul, Denny Rehberg (who's now campaigning for the Senate in Montana based on opposing Ryan's plan), McKinley (who is also trying to campaign on being an anti-Ryan Medicare) and supporter) and Walter Jones, the only actual moderate Republican in the House. Platts and Huelskamp voted with Ryan. This year when the House voted for Ryan's budget again at the end of March, every Democrat again voted NO and they were joined by 10 Republicans-- Joe Barton (R-TX), Jimmy Duncan (R-TN), Chris Gibson (R-NY)-- likely to lose his reelection bid to Julian Schriebman-- Ed Whitfield (R-KY), Justin Amash (R-MI), Jones, Rehberg, Platts, Huelskamp, and McKinley. (Ron Paul was away from Congress stealing Romney delegates that day.)
So why did the Blue Dog PAC pick the 3 Republicans but not, say, Gibson or Duncan or Whitfield? Duncan has no serious opponent (not in the August 2 primary nor in the general) and Whitfield doesn't either. (Whitfield's Democratic opponent lists "praying in Jesus' Name to the God of Creation" as his #1 attribute.) But the Blue Dogs were very careful with their targeting and they picked McKinely to help because he's the only Republican pal of theirs in actual trouble in the general-- and in trouble from a populist, Sue Thorn. McKinley is petrified that West Virginia seniors are wise to what the Ryan budget would do to Medicare and he's running against it. The Blue Dog PAC is hostile to the pro-family/pro-worker/pro-consumer/pro-environment ideas that are behind Sue Thorn's campaign so they're giving McKinley a boost across the aisle. So far Blue Dog backers among the corrupt Inside-the-Beltway Democratic Party Establishment, particularly Steny Hoyer and Steve Israel, have been silent on Blue Dog efforts to reelect McKinley. The DCCC has adamantly refused to help Thorn, despite WV-1 being a traditionally Democratic district in which Thorn took significantly more primary votes this year than McKinley did, 49,203 for her, 36,107 for him. The DCCC wasted a fortune in 2010 trying to elect a horrifyingly conservative corporate shill in the district, Mike Oliverio. He was rejected by Democratic voters-- who sat out the elect rather than vote for someone that reactionary. But now that there's a real Democrat in the race-- one who can win the seat back-- Israel and the DCCC are studiously ignoring the district as though it were some far right bastion of congenital Republicanism. They're starving her campaign of funds and letting the Blue Dogs get away with running ads for McKinley. This is where real Democrats should step up to the plate for Sue and tell the DCCC to stop functioning as the BDCCC-- the Blue Dog Congressional Campaign Committee.
Blue Dog-backed Republican McKinley & populist Dem Sue Thorn
And just so you don't get the idea that McKinely is some kind of a moderate or even a mainstream conservative, his Progressive Punch lifetime voting score on crucial roll calls is a 5.10, more conservative than radical right freaks like Allen West (R-FL), Scott Garrett (R-NJ), Connie Mack (R-FL), Mike Coffman (R-CO), Lou Barletta (R-PA), Paul Broun (KKK-GA), Jeff Flake (R-AZ)... you get the idea. McKinley is an extremist who feared seniors in his district and made, basically, one good vote. Here's his record on support for Big Oil-- a zero-- his record on equality for the LGBT community-- a zero-- his record on government spying on U.S. citizens-- a zero-- his record on women's Choice-- a zero-- his record on education-- a zero-- his record on tax breaks for the rich-- a zero... getting the picture?
Reached early this morning, Sue Thorn was very clear about what she stands for and what McKinley stands for and the stark contrast between them:
"I’m running for Congress because people in the 1st District of West Virginia wanted a real Democrat to run, a representative who would fight for working people. Standing up for the middle class doesn’t mean voting against a bad bill once. As Congresswoman for WV-01, I will stand up for the middle class with every single vote.
"My opponent is an extreme, far-right Republican who has consistently voted for the interests of the wealthy CEOs that finance his campaigns over the middle class interests of the working people of West Virginia. Our country’s roads and bridges are falling apart, but McKinley and the rest of the House Republicans give tax breaks to the top 1% instead of investing in a jobs program rebuilding our infrastructure. We have military families on food stamps, but they vote to allow military contractors to become war profiteers instead of supporting our veterans. They claim to support seniors, but then vote to slash safety net programs our seniors rely on, such as Meals on Wheels, and vote against closing the Medicare Part D “donut hole” that’s forced many seniors to choose between food and medicine.
"My opponent shows his allegiance to his corrupt campaign backers with every vote he makes. Time and time again, he has voted to make sure the gap between the rich and poor in this country keeps growing, and the middle class keeps falling farther behind. In Congress, I will vote to protect people, not profits."
If you'd like to help Sue get her message out in northern West Virginia, we've added her to our ActBlue page.