No One Can Ever Get A Straight Answer Out Of Adam Kinzinger (R-IL)
We talk a lot about how "ex"-Blue Dog Steve Israel, chair of the DCCC has set about sabotaging progressives so that he can try to restock the Democratic Caucus with reactionary Blue Dogs and New Dems. Reactionary and-- more important to a player like Israel, whose #1 admirer calls him (affectionately) "reptilian"-- corrupt... that's what he's looking for in candidates, He wants sleazy candidates with a loose sense of ethics-- like himself-- in Congress, not independent-minded, good government types. IL-16, a district Obama won in 2008 (50-48%) and will win again in November, is another district being ignored, rather than targeted, by Israel. Freshman lunkhead and slacker Adam Kinzinger, a favorite of Eric Cantor's and Paul Ryan's, but someone with no discernible accomplishments to his name, is the Republican. The Democrat in the race is grassroots progressive Wanda Rohl and Steve Israel has prohibited the DCCC from helping her win the seat. Tuesday Kinzinger made use of that fact when the two debated at WCMY in Ottawa.
The most heated moment in the debate came when a question was asked about campaign finance reform and an amendment to the infamous Citizen’s United decision. Wanda answered the question stating she would definitely support an amendment and she thinks campaign spending has gotten out of control. Rather than answering the question, Kinzinger went on the offensive, attacking Wanda for reaching out, not to corporations and secretive SuperPACs like the folks who are funding his career but to the DCCC. He started yammering about how, in the earlier months of her campaign, she tried to get the DCCC (i.e., the Democratic Party) to help support her challenge. You'll notice that Kinzinger's top source of campaign funds-- even more than Wall Street (#2)-- is from "Leadership PACs," in other words, Republican Party operatives.
But he tried claiming that the only reason Wanda isn’t taking money was because money wasn’t being offered and the party didnt support her. It's a barely concealed secret that young Adam and closet case Aaron Schock have "a thing" and that Schock has been able to get right-wing PACs and leadership committees to come to Kinzinger's aid, enough so to beat respected 10-term incumbent Don Manzullo in the primary. Was he insinuating that Wanda needs a boyfriend like Aaron Schock too?
Wanda addressed Kinzinger’s concern by explaining that, after a lot of thought, it was a more righteous path to not accept special interest money, as strings are always attached. Most voters sense that, which is why most voters, even most Republican voters, agree that Citizens United should be overturned. All big money contributions have strings attached and are basically legalized bribes, but Kinzinger tried to make the wild accusation that she was calling all of her colleagues running as Democrats “corrupt.” I suspect many people listening to the debate wanted to urge Kinzinger to stop acting like he doesn't know what it is like to have answer for the money put into his pockets, a guy who has voted along party lines 91% of the time. Considering his pockets are stuffed by the Koch brothers, Eric Cantor, banksters and corporations that would be a hard sell as a "coincidence." Kinzinger, whose campaign has raised $1.7 million (which 44% of which is funded by PACs), never did answer the question. Maybe it is because Kinzinger’s "good friend" in the House, Aaron Schock (and prospective Republican candidate for governor in 2014), received a complaint and admitted soliciting Eric Cantor for $25,000 to help Kinzinger’s campaign during the primary. No wonder Kinzinger was quick to change the subject as soon as he could!
Why wouldn’t Wanda, a grassroots citizen's candidate want to ask for support from Democratic organizations like the DCCC when she is running as a Democrat, albeit an independent, progressive one? As we saw above, Young Adam's biggest source of dough has been party committees and ideological SuperPACS. Wanda is new to the game and wanted advice from the DCCC, or at least from what she imagined the DCCC would be. The fact of the matter is that Democratic leadership decided to relegate her district as a “throwaway” to the Republican Party. Wanda is too progressive for the DCCC and upper echelons of the Establishment and she doesn't want to be beholden to them the way Kinzinger is to the GOP.
Wanda saw that the DCCC was busy supporting Steve Israel-brand New Dems and Blue Dog candidates who serve the Beltway status quo rather than the folks back in their districts. Wanda is dissatisfied with the leadership of national Democrats and that's part of the reason she is running-- to change that status quo. Wanda also made the point that there are many organizations that have offered the campaign money and are frustrated with the fact that she has refused. There are worse things she could have done than reach out to a Democratic organization such as the DCCC for help... perhaps say move into a district to run for office because you knew you wouldn’t win in your previous home district (as Kinzinger did). Yet Kinzinger went on to attack Wanda for taking to the campaign trail on her own without help of powerful groups the way he does? That is a bizarre and confusing tactic.
Kinzinger and Wanda had differing views on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Kinzinger kept referring to them as Obama’s wars (shows the grasp Republicans have on reality) and how we need to stay engaged in those countries or Al Qaeda would “triple in strength.” He compared the U.S. occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan-- which he claims is helping them achieve democracy-- to the crushing of Nazi Germany in WWII. So another Democracy-at-the-end-of-a-bayonet Republican.
Kinzinger tried to flex his record as this great “job creator.” But there's as much substance behind that as there is to Paul Ryan's winning record of marathon running. He was bragging about the recent legislation he cosponsored with reactionary Democrat Lipinski, Jr., a notorious corporate whore who almost always votes with the Republicans-- the so-called American Manufacturing Competitiveness Act. The bill is an empty gesture, basically creating a committee that will give reports to the president up until 2018. If Kinzinger is really that concerned about manufacturing in the district, he would not have called the struggles of those losing their outsourced to China jobs at the Bain owned Freeport, IL Sensata plant a “distraction.”
Kinzinger job creation legislation goes no further then pushing for deregulation and drilling for oil and lower taxes on already under-taxed millionaires and billionaires. Kinzinger has voted against every jobs bill brought before the House. So serious about stimulating job creation? Not a chance. He loves to tell constituents he supports targeted infrastructure projects but he was a lockstep vote against President Obama's stimulus proposals. Kinzinger supports free trade over fair trade agreements so that his corporate donors can send more jobs overseas without the regulation and working conditions they have to abide by over here.
Kinzinger has plenty of friends among the "too big to fail" banks and bought right into the dangerous ideology that has caused a moral hazard to the rest of the American economy, if not the world economy. He says that regulation is the problem when it was deregulation that created the economic meltdown we have been climbing our way out of. In spite of that, he still wants to repeal the Dodd-Frank Financial Regulation legislation that helped protect us from these types of abuse of power by the greed-obsessed financial predators. Kinzinger apparently slept through the history lessons that explained how regulation was put in place after the failures of the private sector. When companies became too powerful, they neglected their social responsibilities by paying horrible wages, creating horrible labor conditions, and polluting the planet. Regulation came into place because of the labor movement of the early 20th century and the EPA was formed because of rampant pollution (the same pollution he instinctively votes for). We have already tried giving Big Business the opportunity to self-regulate; they failed... again and again and again.
Citizens in the district young Adam moved into might be wanting him to start answering questions and stop hiding behind Republican talking points. He uses laughable Fox and Hate Talk Radio scare tactics like “socialized medicine” to frighten voters, and then cautiously circles back and claims to support Medicare, though, of course, not socialized medicine! It's hard to understand how he can twist himself into the kind of pretzel it takes to "support" Medicare and Paul Ryan's senior death panel budget at the same time... but whatever gets votes from the lo-info GOP base, right? He's apparently still fighting Manzullo-- and thanks to the DCCC's writing off of IL-16, doesn't even have to transition to more moderate stands. If you'd like to help Wanda's campaign, you can do so here at a page we use to send DC Dems a message while helping give grassroots candidates hope.