Friday, September 28, 2012

Get A GOP Committee Chairmanship And Win a Free Pass To Reelection From Steve Israel


Blue America isn't counting on the DCCC-- we're running this ad in dozens of  WI-01 newspapers

This is a list of the current chairmen of the House's standing committees. The bolded chairmen represent districts that Obama won in 2008 and is expected to win again in November.

Agriculture- Frank Lucas (R-OK)
Appropriations- Hal Rogers (R-KY)
Armed Services- Buck McKeon (R-CA)
Education and the Workforce- John Kline (R-MN)
Energy and Commerce- Fred Upton (R-MI)
Budget- Paul Ryan (R-WI)
Financial Services- Spencer Baucus (R-AL)
Foreign Affairs- Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL)
Homeland Security- Peter King (R-NY)
House Administration- Dan Lungren (R-CA)
Intelligence- Mike Rogers (R-MI)
Judiciary- Lamar Smith (R-TX)
Natural Resources- Doc Hastings (R-WA)
Oversight and Government Reform- Darrell Issa (R-CA)
Rules (R-CA)- David Dreier (R-CA)/Pete Sessions (R-TX)
Science, Space and Technology- Ralph Hall (R-TX)
Small Business- Sam Graves (R-MO)
Transportation and Infrastructure- John Mica (R-FL)
Veteran's Affairs- Jeff Miller (R-FL)
Ways and Means- Dave Camp (R-MI)

We've been making the point all cycle that, for various reasons, "ex-Blue Dog/New Dem Steve Israel-- founder of the ultra secretive let's-all-us-insiders-be-friends-and-get-rich-together Center Aisle Caucus (which pledges to never try to defeat fellow members-- has had a strict hands off policy when it came to targeting powerful senior Republicans. If the Democrats don't take back the majority--  in the light of a likely Obama landslide against Romney and voter rejection of GOP extremism and obstructionism-- it will be because of Israel's blundering. He may well be the reptile Nancy Pelosi boast he is, but his reptilian instincts have only been brought to bear against progressive Democrats and a few unheralded, powerless  Republican backbenchers and assclowns.

In 2010 the Republicans were very serious about taking over the House, far more so than Israel is today. The NRCC-- their version of the DCCC-- suited up for total war early on and they decided to not just go after weak struggling freshmen who had won in the Democratic wave year of 2008, many of whom had come in on President Obama's coattails, but to also go after very senior Democrats, some of whom had been in office "forever" and who were powerful, heavily-financed committee chairmen. So it wasn't just backbencher weak links like freshmen Ann Kirkpatrick (AZ), Travis Childers (MS), Suzanne Kosmas (FL), Bobby Bright (AL), Michael McMahon (NY), Harry Teague (NM), and Kathy Dahlkemper (PA), but also powerful old warhorses like John Spratt (SC), the Budget Committee Chairman, first elected in 1982 and Ike Skelton (MO), the Armed Services Committee Chairman, first elected in 1976.
These two powerful chairman easily outspent their GOP opponents:
John Spratt ($2,497,633)- Mickey Mulvaney ($1,510,414)
Ike Skelton ($3,107,552)- Vicky Hartzler ($1,351,176)

But there was something else these two races had in common. McCain had beaten Obama in each district the year before. In SC-05 McCain won with 53% (while Spratt beat his Republican opponent 62-37%) and in MO-04 McCain won with 61% (at the same time Skelton beat his Republican opponent 66-34%). Astounding numbers! So what changed? What made popular local politicians like Spratt and Skelton, both of whom used their committees to bring home the bacon to the district, suddenly so vulnerable? There were several factors, of course, but one was that the NRCC actually went after them and went after them for real.

Their replacements as committee chairs have been nothing short of tragic for the United States. These are the people who are coming up with the destructive ideas and legislation that has been causing so much misery in this country-- and that voters expect Democrats to protect them from. Paul Ryan took over as Budget Committee chairman and Buck McKeon took over as Armed Services Committee chairman. Interestingly, each is from a district Obama won-- albeit narrowly-- in 2008. Obama beat McCain 49-48% in CA-25 (McKeon's district) and Obama beat McCain 51-48% in WI-1 (Ryan's district). The two Republican incumbents will also easily outspend their Democratic opponents this year. But the real tragedy is that the defeatist DCCC refuses to target either of these powerful-- yet extremely vulnerable-- incumbents. Ryan and McKeon could both be beaten and replaced by progressive Democrats Rob Zerban and Lee Rogers. But, unlike a surging NRCC in 2010, a mealy-mouthed and very creepy DCCC, led by careerist and corporate whore Steve Israel, more concerned about electing conservative Democrats than about taking out odious Republicans, has convinced itself that it can't win in either of these districts. The DCCC is dead wrong.

McKeon is on the verge of defeat-- with or without the DCCC-- based on local politics. And in Wisconsin, Ryan has come to symbolize the national discontent with an anti-social, reactionary, right-wing vision that mixes up the interests of struggling American working families with the demented precepts in Ayn Rand novels enjoyed by adolescents with stunted intellectual growth.

So does it matter that the DCCC refuses to take on powerful Republicans? They made sure that there wouldn't even be an opponent for Boehner this year by sandbagging and sabotaging Justin Coussoule, the Democrat who ran against him in 2010. And they're furiously ignoring Wayne Powell's valiant-- albeit uphill-- efforts to unseat Eric Cantor this year. But taking on McKeon and Ryan are jobs the Democratic grassroots should demand of the DCCC. For whatever Byzantine reasons Nancy Pelosi thought she had to appoint an "ex"-Blue Dog like Steve Israel to head the committee, she should replace him before it's too late and the country is relegated to another two years of heinous Republican congressional domination. Recently another poll was released showing that more than half the voters now understand that the House Republicans are deliberately hamstringing efforts to resuscitate the economy in order to bolster their chances of defeating President Barack Obama. It isn't only Boehner and Cantor who are responsible for that agenda. Republican committee chairs like Ryan and McKeon are carrying it out. They must be stopped. But Steve Israel is blocking attempts to stop them. 

Look at that list up top. How many of these Republican policy makers do you think the DCCC is targeting? Exactly one, a pathetic loser, Dan Lungren (whose new district would have been won by Obama 51-46% and who heads the least important committee on the whole list, a powerless, internal housekeeping committee). The GOP heavies-- Ryan, McKeon, Rogers, Upton, Kline, Issa, King, Camp, Mica... Steve Israel might have never heard of any of them. Except Peter King; we know Israel heard of him because they made a deal long ago to help keep each other in Congress. They have contiguous Long Island districts and have exchanged neighborhoods so King would have  more Republicans and Israel would have more Democrats. And America gets stuck with two exceptionally bad entrenched congressmen. But other than King, there's been a lot of speculation about why exactly Israel is protecting all the GOP heavyweights. Is the fix in from his Wall Street donors? Is he just a gutless wonder? Who knows the motivations. The results, though, are sickening.

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