Wednesday, November 14, 2012

House Foreign Affairs Committee-- Another Leadership Battle


Sherman (with the tefillin) & Engel (with the flag) may also be pro-American

Sherman beat Berman-- and he beat him convincingly (mostly, no doubt, because most of the new district had been part of Sherman's old district. The San Fernando Valley district gave Sherman 111,914 votes (61%) and gave the more senior Berman 72,979 (39%). The two congressmen were so-so garden variety moderates. Neither joined the Progressive Caucus or the New Dem Coalition, but Sherman was more populist on economic issues, less a friend of Wall Street and more a Fair Trade rather than a Free Trade guy. But where the two congressmen are tweedledee and tweedledum is on Foreign Affairs. Both are Zionist AIPAC shills on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, where Berman was the chairman and then the ranking member. Three on the worst warmongers in the country, John McCain, Lindsay Graham and Joe Lieberman, as well as a shitload of far right Republican congressman like Ed Royce, Darrell Issa, Buck McKeon, Mary Bono Mack, Dan Lungren, even dangerous psychopath Wally Herger, all endorsed Berman. That probably helped defeat him.

So now Sherman, currently the ranking member on the Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade, would like to be the ranking member of the whole committee. [The chairman of that subcommittee, racist hatemonger Ed Royce, is running for the chairman of the committee. He and Sherman don't get along well.] Sherman is up against another lockstep Likkud-oriented Zionist, Eliot Engel (NY), ranking member on the Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere.

What's odd about this Democratic leadership battle-- which will decided next week in the caucus-- is that Republicans have inserted themselves into the intraparty dispute. and the Republicans, predictably, are opposing Sherman and backing Engel. And who's leading the interference? Ed Royce, of course.
“If Sherman wins the chair and so does Royce it could make for an interesting dynamic in the committee,” a House Republican aide told The Hill, unprompted.

Royce and his office declined to comment. But in joining a majority of California's Republican congressional delegation in supporting Berman last month, he said that “in every measure of a legislator, from his command of the issues, to his effectiveness, Howard stands head and shoulders above the rest"-- an indirect jab at Sherman.

A third candidate, American Samoa Del. Eni Faleomavaega, has also announced his intention to run for the top Democratic spot.

Engel, well aware of Berman's positive reputation as a low-key champion of bipartisan compromise, has sought to portray himself as being cast from the same mold. Sherman, by contrast, is widely seen as being more abrasive.

“I have worked with Mr. Royce for a number of years on the committee. We're friends. We have reached out to each other, we've talked about the possibility of the two of us being respective leaders on the committee of our parties,” Engel told The Hill in a phone interview. “And I have no doubt that should he be the chairman of the committee, that I would work very well with him. And I think that's important, to have someone at the helm as the leading Democrat who works with people, who doesn't come with any kind of antagonisms.”

That's “one reason why I think it would be much easier and smoother for me to be the ranking member.”

Engel said he has also had a good working relationship with Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.), who is running against Royce to take over the panel from term-limited Chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.).

Sherman, for his part, pointed out that the other party doesn't get to vote in leadership races.

“I have worked cooperatively with many Republicans on the Foreign Affairs Committee including Rep. Ed Royce and Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen,” Sherman told The Hill in a statement. “However, I am not seeking support from Republicans in my efforts to become the ranking Democratic member on the Foreign Affairs Committee.”
It should be interesting to see if Democrats will allow the GOP to pick Democratic ranking members of committees now. Berman and Engel were supporters of the corporate "free" trade agenda. On October 12, 2011 only 31 Democrats went along with the horrific GOP Colombia Free Trade Agreement and 158 opposed it. Sherman was one of the Democrats fighting the bill. Berman and Engel joined Boehner, Cantor and Ryan in backing it. Berman and Engel also pushed the Panama Trade Agreement, which Sherman voted against.

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