Thursday, January 10, 2013

Republican Main Street Partnership Now Accepting Applications From Blue Dogs


Can you read who paid for the shindig? Everyone who attended lost

Before he supposedly "quit" the Blue Dogs to pursue a leadership post in the House Democratic caucus, Long Island corporate whore Steve Israel had founded-- along with Republican Tom Johnson-- the Congressional Center Aisle Caucus. It's the most secretive caucus in the whole Congress and absolutely impossible to get a list of the 47 members (which eventually grew to 60). I've tried and I've had congressional staffers try. No one gives out that list. It was David Broder's favorite group in Washington and he pimped it to the public more about it than anyone else. "Applicants for membership," Broder wrote admiringly, "aren't admitted unless they recruit companion members from the opposite party. Caucus members avoid lightning-rod issues and focus only on areas that most likely would produce agreement. Under one unwritten bylaw, members never engage in political campaigns against other members." Having the Chairman of the DCCC, whose job is to increase the number of Democrats in Congress by defeating Republicans as the founder and co-chair is... very convenient for Republicans. Israel certainly prevented the DCCC from going after Republicans from Center Aisle-- even Republicans who represent Democratic-leaning districts-- once he took over as DCCC Chair. Powerful conservative Boehner-ally Dave Camp (R-MI), for example, was given a free pass to reelection even though Obama beat McCain there 49.6- 48.6%. But Israel ignored the district, the same way he ignored Fred Upton's district (won by Obama in 2008, 53.1- 45.2%) and all the districts represented by his old colleagues from Center Aisle. Free passes are so awesome-- especially for powerful committee chairmen like Camp (Ways and Means) and Upton (Energy and Commerce) who can then devote all their resources and energy to helping their Republican colleagues beat Democrats in other districts.

This week, former Ohio Republican Congressman Steve LaTourette, now-- just days after stepping down-- a K Street lobbyist, took over running a similar group, the Republican Main Street Partnership. The first thing he did when taking over was remove the word "Republican" and offer an invitation to Blue Dogs and other right-wing, pro-corporate Democrats to join-- just like Israel's Center Aisle. The House Members currently part of the Main Street Caucus are a pretty motley crew (although not one was seriously challenged for reelection by the DCCC since Israel took over):
Ken Calvert (R-CA)
Dave Camp (R-MI)
Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV)
Charlie Dent (R-PA)
Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL)
Mike Fitzpatrick (R-PA)
Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE)
Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ)
Jim Gerlach (R-PA)
Chris Gibson (R-NY)
Michael Grimm (R-NY)
Richard Hanna (R-NY)
Jamie Herrera Beutler (R-WA)
Lynn Jenkins (R-KS)
Bill Johnson (R-OH)
Adam Kinzinger (R-IL)
Leonard Lance (R-NJ)
Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ)
David McKinley (R-WV)
Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA)
Pat Meehan (R-PA)
Timothy Murphy (R-PA)
Erik Paulsen (R-MN)
Tom Petri (R-WI)
Tom Reed (R-NY)
David Reichert (R-WA)
Jim Renacci (R-OH)
Scott Rigell (R-VA)
Jon Runyan (R-NJ)
Aaron Schock (R-IL)
Mike Simpson (R-ID)
Steve Stivers (R-OH)
Lee Terry (R-NE)
Pat Tiberi (R-OH)
Fred Upton (R-MI)
Greg Walden (R-OR)
Ed Whitfield (R-KY)
Frank Wolf (R-VA)
This was LaTourette's statement (in full) Tuesday:
“Earlier today, the Board of Directors voted in favor of changing the name we do business under to simply the ‘Main Street Partnership.’

“While we have changed our name, we have not changed our values or our mission. We will continue to be a right of center organization and continue to represent the governing wing of the Republican Party.

“Partisanship has become deeply poisonous to the process in Washington over the last few years.  As someone who just left Congress, I understand this more than most.

“We at Main Street understand that to begin to turn back this tide and to begin to restore the American people’s faith in Washington we must celebrate-- not attack-- those on both sides of the aisle who are willing to work together to find solutions to the serious challengers we face as a country.

“While we remain Republicans, we are committed to reaching out to fair-minded members of the Democratic Party. We understand that bipartisan compromise-- by it’s very definition-- means working with members of the other party.

“Compromise doesn’t mean surrendering-- it means success. Compromise is not an act of political cowardice-- indeed it is the exact opposite, it is an act of incredible political courage.

“We need more voices in Washington willing to put the best interests of the American people above petty partisanship. That is what we have done at Main Street over the years and that is what we will continue to do.

“We look forward to working with our centrist Republican members in the months and years ahead and engaging fair-minded independents and Democrats who want to help do what is right for this country.”
LaTourette told Yahoo News that he plans to begin recruiting Blue Dogs and other right-wing Democrats (New Dems) in the coming months. "The goal," he said, "is to try and fill the void that is the middle. The American political system is like a doughnut: You've got sides, but you don't have anything in the middle, and it would be my goal to work with Republicans and Democrats who want to find the path forward to getting things done and compromise."

There are only 14 anti-family reactionaries left in the tattered and decimated Blue Dog caucus and LaTourette is welcome to them. According to the ProgressivePunch lifetime crucial votes scorecard, there are only 8 "Democrats" left in Congress who vote more frequently with the GOP on key issues than with their own party. From bad to worse:
Mike McIntyre (Blue Dog-NC) 45.92%
Jim Matheson (Blue Dog-UT) 43.35%
Jim Costa (Blue Dog-CA) 43.18%
Henry Cuellar (Blue Dog-TX) 40.55%
Collin Peterson (Blue Dog-MN) 40.37%
Ann Kirkpatrick (D-AZ) 39.57%
Bill Owens (New Dem-NY) 38.04%
John Barrow (Blue Dog-GA) 37.64%
LaTourette may also find happy hunting among the newly elected Democrats who rushed to join the pro-Big Business New Dems in the 113th Congress: Ami Bera (CA), Joaquin Castro (TX). John Delaney (MD), Suzan DelBene (WA), Elizabeth Esty (CT), Bill Foster (IL), Joe Garcia (FL), Denny Heck (WA), Derek Kilmer (WA), Dan Maffei (NY), Sean Patrick Maloney (NY), Patrick Murphy (FL), Scott Peters (CA), Brad Schneider (IL), Juan Vargas (CA), and Filemon Vela (TX).

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