"Ex"-Blue Dog Steve Israel Is Trying To Use The DCCC To Lard The House Democratic Caucus Up With Blue Dog And New Dem Conservatives
Friday DCCC chairman, Steve Israel, fresh from having joined the GOP in a vote against nuclear safety regulations, announced a "Grassroots Day of Action" for today, as though he has the slightest concept of what grassroots politics is even about.
Israel-- who is reeling from the Beltway buzz which says his obsession with helping conservatives take over the caucus and his jihad against progressives will now cost the Democrats any chance they had to win back the House-- picked 15 districts to orchestrate a campaign against GOP (/Blue Dog) efforts to keep the Bush tax cuts for the very wealthy in place at the expense to ordinary working families. And Israel sounds fine when he explains it:
“With 100 days until Election Day, Democrats are mobilizing voters nationwide to unmask House Republicans’ latest plan to protect millionaires over the middle class,” DCCC Chairman Steve Israel said. “Volunteers are phone banking and going door-to-door to ensure that voters across the country know that Republicans are choosing top-down economics that give tax breaks to millionaires instead of strengthening the middle class. This election is about whose priorities are better for the middle class and we’ll take that message neighbor-to-neighbor and house-to-house.”
But when you examine the districts, you see his actual motivation. First target on the list isn't even an incumbent. He's targeting presumed GOP front-runner Jonathan Paton-- it's a 4-way GOP primary-- in order to help conservative corporate shill Ann Kirkpatrick, who was already rejected by Democrats in 2010 for voting with the GOP too much and who is now facing a vigorous, if-- thanks to Israel's efforts-- underfunded, primary challenge from Navajo progressive activist Wenona Baldenegro. The DCCC didn't even have the respect or courtesy to wait until after the primary before endorsing the wretched Kirkpatrick.
Similar situation in Israel's second pick, AZ-2, a new district where a primary will determine if Israel's Republican-leaning fake Democrat, Ron Barber, is the nominee or if progressive state Rep. Matt Heinz represents the party against Republican Martha McSally. Again, Israel is heavily supporting Barber, the New Dem-endorsed shill, who immediately after winning the special election joined the GOP to try to gut every environmental bill ever passed and then joined the Darrell Issa witchhunt against Eric Holder. Israel doesn't care... but Democratic primary voters in AZ-2 sure do.
And this is the pattern of Israel's picks-- 15 districts... how many progressives is he assisting in his Grassroots Day of Action? Well, I count just 3: Mark Takano in Riverside County (CA-41), Ann Kuster (NH-2) and Betty Sutton in an incumbent vs incumbent match-up with scandal-plagued teabagger Jim Renacci in OH-16. The rest of Israel's packs are a pack of his kind of conservaDems, Blue Dogs and New Dems. Here are winnable districts with progressives being studiously ignored by Israel, each of which completely fits into the public criteria:
IL-13- David Gill, progressive
FL-9- Alan Grayson, progressive
NC-10- Patsy Keever, progressive
VA-7- Wayne Powell, progressive
CA-25- Lee Rogers, progressive
FL-7- Nick Ruiz, progressive
NH-1- Carol Shea-Porter, progressive
NY-23- Nate Shinagawa, progressive
PA-16- Aryanna Strader, progressive
WV-1- Sue Thorn, progressive
WI-1- Rob Zerban, progressive
CA-39- Jay Chen, progressive
TX-16- Beto O'Rourke, progressive
OH-15- Pat Lang, progressive
MI-11- Syed Taj, progressive
MI-3- Trevor Thomas, progressive
See the pattern? Most of those progressives can be found here and the rest can be found here-- in case you'd like to help real Democrats. Here's the memo the DCCC sent out to Democratic candidates. And here's a Center for Politics analysis of the House races that guesses that Israel's lame strategy will probably only pick up 6 seats, rather than the 25 needed to take back the House. And it gets worse than that:
A Democratic majority, but a Republican speaker?
If Democrats were to win the House, it would probably only be by a seat or two, giving Democrats perhaps a bare majority: 218-217. Such a victory would probably be delivered, in part, by victories by Democratic incumbents in conservative districts, such as Reps. Hochul, Mark Critz (D-PA) and Jim Matheson (D-UT), among others. Would all of them vote for a Democrat for Speaker of the House, particularly if that Democrat was the liberal Nancy Pelosi?
Critz voted for Pelosi for speaker in 2011, but Matheson, for instance, voted for conservative Rep. Heath Shuler (D-NC), who is retiring. So did other endangered Democrats, such as Reps. Larry Kissell and Mike McIntyre (NC). If they survive races where they most likely distanced themselves from President Obama and the national Democratic Party, those Democrats would face immense pressure to elect a more moderate Democrat as speaker, to vote for a Republican or even to switch parties.
There is some historical precedent here: House Speaker James Beauchamp “Champ” Clark (D-MO) managed to keep his job after the 1916 elections, despite Democrats failing to win a House majority that year (a handful of third party representatives allowed Clark to keep the speakership).
On the flipside, what if Democrats got to 216 or 217 seats? It seems likelier that the Republican caucus would hold together on a leadership vote, but depending on who was elected from what district, that too could be a rather dramatic vote.
Yes, Steve Israel, much worse than Rahm Emanuel who may have been horribly shortsighted and in the pocket of the banksters... but at least he was a good tactician. Israel has all his drawbacks and he's a moron and a loser.
UPDATE: And Here's The "Grassroots" Ad The DCCC Is Running For Their ConservaDem Candidates