Steve Israel's Inversion Therapy Turning The House Democratic Caucus Republican
Chris Cillizza's question in the Washington Post yesterday was self-explanatory: Think this Congress is bad? Just wait. Even worse? Worse than Pennsylvania crackpot Mike Kelly hauling his immense torso up onto podium to claim that the implementation of a new mandate that insurers offer coverage for contraceptive services is as bad as the Pearl Harbor and the Sept. 11 attacks against our country? Worse than that? (Timely to suggest that you read about Kelly's Democratic opponent, Missa Eaton here and contribute to her campaign here.) Worse than Iowa sociopath Steve King, whose racism, hatred of immigrants, gay and women's equality is legendary in far right circles, but who is now on a crusade to legalize dog fighting? Worse than that? (And you can contribute to his opponent, Christie Vilsack here.) Worse than the 17 so-called Democrats who voted with the Republicans this week to force women in Washington, DC who have been raped or were the victim of incest to bear their attacker's child? Worse than that? (And you can help defeat them by just stopping any contributions to the DCCC, which uses virtually all the money they spend on candidates to help fund conservatives' election campaigns.)
Early yesterday Boehner was crowing how "the House will pass the Job Protection and Recession Prevention Act (H.R. 8) to stop [what he calls] the president’s small business tax hike. As NBC News reports, 'unlike Republicans, Democrats aren’t unified on this issue.' In fact, Democrats are increasingly defecting from President Obama’s plan to impose the largest tax increase in American history and put more than 700,000 jobs at risk. It is a virtual replay of two years ago, when widespread disagreement amongst Democrats helped pave the way for a bipartisan agreement to stop all the tax hikes, as Republicans had called for."
What he's talking about are all the conservative Democrats and the corporate shills in the caucus (the Blue Dogs and New Dems) who reflexively cross the aisle to vote with the Republicans on key issues like this. Debbie Wasserman Schultz brags that this is her Big Tent strategy. The DCCC goes out of it's way to undermine progressive candidates so they can elect more Blue Dogs and New Dems and uses almost all the money they sucker out of progressive donors to bolster the campaigns of the anti-Choice, antigay, anti-consumer, anti-worker, anti-environment incumbents who Boehner and Cantor count on to make their hideous policies look "bipartisan." They're always laughing that the deranged bills they send to the Senate can't possibly be one-sided and insane, not when, wonderful Democrats like Mike McIntyre, Larry Kissell, Jim Matheson, Heath Shuler, Dan Boren, Joe Donnelly and Mike Ross are voting with them. And Joe Donnelly, who has voted over 75% of the time with the GOP on substantive roll calls in the current session-- more than several Republicans!-- was eased into the Democratic Senate nomination in Indiana with some nice sleight of hand by the party bosses. Jim Matheson voted with the Republicans against the Democrats even more frequently than Donnelly! And he's on the Frontline list of spending priorities for the DCCC. There's an inverse relationship between party loyalty and the DCCC's commitment to spending big bucks on reelection!
Yesterday the House voted on the plan keep in place tax cuts for all income-- for everyone-- below $250,000. The Senate passed that bill last week. The House voted it down. As expected, all the Republicans (minus Tim Johnson) jumped off the cliff together. Less expected was that 19 reactionary, anti-family Democrats joined them. Mostly it was just the regular suspects-- a bunch of Blue Dogs and New Dems who see the world basically the same way the Republicans do. The final vote was 170-257. Here are the Democrats who voted with the Republicans against tax breaks for the middle class:
John Barrow (Blue Dog/New Dem-GA)
Sanford Bishop (Blue Dog-GA)
Dan Boren (Blue Dog-OK)
Leonard Boswell (Blue Dog-IA)
Ben Chandler (Blue Dog-KY)
Gerry Connolly (New Dem-VA)
Jim Costa (Blue Dog-CA)
Mark Critz (Blue Dog-PA)
Henry Cuellar (Blue Dog-TX)
Joe Donnelly (Blue Dog-IN)
Larry Kissell (Blue Dog-NC)
Dave Loebsack (IA)
Jim Matheson (Blue Dog-UT)
Mike McIntyre (Blue Dog/New Dem-NC)
Jerry McNerney (CA)
Bill Owens (New Dem-NY)
Collin Peterson (Blue Dog-MN)
Mike Ross (Blue Dog-AR)
Tim Walz (MN)
All the bolded names are on the DCCC's Frontline list, the incumbents who will get the lion's share of the expenditures-- $1 to $2 million each-- during the election. So, more than half the culprits are on that list. A friend of mine in Congress called me to commiserate about it after the vote. I asked him why Israel doesn't punish them by cutting their funding and giving it to more loyal Democrats who need the money instead. He laughed and told me that Israel was actually telling these Members to vote against the bill. "He didn't learn a damn thing from that Blue Dog Apocalypse you're always writing about," he said. "The DCCC actually sent us all a memo after the election talking about what geniuses they are because they didn't lose 100 seats! Israel and Hoyer think voting against these kinds of bills makes these people stronger... no matter how much evidence to the contrary they're shown." I haven't seen Debbie Wasserman Schultz on TV yammering about her Big Tent today but the White House did forget to mention the 19 conservaDems who voted with the GOP in the statement they released last night after the vote:
House Republicans tonight voted to extend the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest few and shower millionaires and billionaires with a $1 trillion tax cut that will inevitably be paid for by gutting investments in critical programs needed to create jobs and strengthen the economy. At a time when we need to make tough choices to reduce the deficit, we can't afford another massive tax break for the wealthiest two percent of Americans. We’ve tried this approach, and it didn't grow the economy or strengthen the middle class. And we certainly can't afford to raise taxes on 25 million middle class families like the Republican plan would do. The President called for a bill that would extend tax cuts for 98% of Americans and ensure taxes don't go up by an average of $2,200 for the typical family at the beginning of next year. He will continue to call on Republicans in the House to stop holding the middle class tax cuts hostage and the House needs to follow the Senate's lead and get this done.
None of these 19 are on the Blue America page. The candidates who are will never vote to raise taxes on working families and let the wealthy get off scott free.