Monday, April 08, 2013

Corrupt, Corporately-Owned Pols Steve Israel And Joe Crowley Recruit Candidates Who Will Smile And Leave The Politics To Them


The ideal Steve Israel candidate-- against progressives on over 75% of roll calls

The Paul Kane investigative journalism DCCC press release in Sunday's Washington Post, Democrats push problem solvers in House races reflects a meme Steve Israel started massaging in 2011. It might have never crossed Kane's mind but it's how the corporate wing of the Democratic House caucus, the Blue Dogs and New Dems-- keep in mind that Israel is an "ex"-Blue Dog and his sidekick Crowley is an "ex"-New Dem-- have managed to grab power in the House. In 2012 the DCCC put virtually all their recruitment energy and, later, their money behind Blue Dogs and New Dems. The freshman class is significantly further right than the caucus as a whole. In fact most of the freshmen-- 27 of them-- have ProgressivePunch crucial vote scores even lower than the conservative Israel's 72.22: Denny Heck (NV- 66.67), Beto O'Rourke (TX-66.67), Dina Titus (NV- 66.67), Filemon Vela (TX- 66.67), Elizabeth Esty (CT- 64.71), Tulsi Gabbard (HI- 64.71), John Delaney (MD- 61.11), Suzan DelBene (WA- 55.56), Michelle Lujan Grisham (NM-55.56), Julia Brownley (CA- 50.0), Pete Gallego (TX- 50.0), Joe Garcia (FL- 50.0), Gloria Negrete McLeod (CA- 47.06), Ami Bera (CA- 44.44), Bill Enyart (IL-44.44), Patrick Murphy (FL- 44.44), Brad Schneider (IL- 44.44), Cheri Bustos (IL- 38.89), Bill Foster (IL- 38.89), Annie Kuster (NH- 38.89), Dan Maffei (NY- 38.89), Sean Patrick Maloney (NY- 38.89), Scott Peters (CA- 38.89), Raul Ruiz (CA- 38.89), Kyrsten Sinema (AZ- 38.89), Ron Barber (AZ- 33.33), and, worst of any Democratic freshman, Ann Kirkpatrick (AZ- 23.53).

There are a couple ways to look at this. Before we take in the scope of the nonsense the DCCC has been pushing out to naive Beltway reporters like the Post's Kane, let's look at the reality, which was summed up over the weekend in a clear-eyed, if painful, OpEd in The Hill by Senator Bernie Sanders, Chained CPI: An economic, moral disaster. Bernie asks how many congressional candidates won last year by running on an Austerity Agenda and specifically, how many backed these three planks:
1. That Social Security cost-of-living adjustments are too generous. Social Security should be cut over the next two decades by more than $1,000 a year for 85-year-old widows living on $1,200 a month.

2. That benefits earned by disabled veterans as a result of losing their arms, legs or eyesight in Iraq and Afghanistan are too generous. Disabled veterans’ benefits should be cut over the next 15 years by more than $1,400 a year.

3. That working families and the middle class don’t pay enough in taxes. We need to enact an across-the-board tax increase that disproportionately hurts workers making between $30,000 and $40,000 a year.
Correctly, he says none did-- not even the single Blue Dog elected, Pete Gallego; not even lifelong Republican Patrick Murphy; not even the most aggressively anti-working family corporate shills like Ann Kirkpatrick, Scott Peters and Bill Foster. And yet these are the Democrats Israel and Crowley are counting on to back the Obama-Boehner "compromise" to begin the great unraveling of Social Security through Obama's catastrophic Chained CPI scheme.

Bernie concludes by reminding them that "There is a reason why every major organization representing senior citizens, working families, veterans and women is strongly opposed to the chained CPI. They understand, as do the vast majority of Americans, that working families have suffered enough during this recession, and that it is time for the large corporations and the wealthy to play a significant role in reducing the deficit." Will these organizations help primary Democrats who back Chained CPI. The Ann Kirpatricks and Annie Kusters of the world are counting on them not doing that.

Meanwhile the DCCC is trying to define this whole struggle in an entirely different way. Their candidates from 2012 and the garbage they're trying to recruit for 2014 are above politics; they're just good citizens, problem-solvers. And they just leave the grubby politics in the capable-- if greasy-- hands of party bosses like Israel, Crowley and Wasserman Schultz, all members of what Etzioni termed America's permanent conservative party and what we at DWT refer to as the Conservative Consensus.

When Kane interviewed one of the DCCC candidates they steered him to, he found the exact same thing I find when I talk with them-- and I talk to all of them-- namely that they don't know anything about anything. These days, when I talk to a candidate I can always tell they were recruited by the DCCC because they have no idea what Chained CPI is and little idea about any of the biggest political issues of the day-- and even less interest in discussing anything substantive outside of memorized generalities. They are pro-Choice and pro-marriage equality this year though. Kane got stuck with the guy defeated Blue Dog Patrick Murphy was hocking for his old PA House seat on twitter last week, Kevin Strouse.
He’s a smart, young former Army Ranger-- good qualities for any aspiring politician. But what party leaders really like is that Strouse doesn’t have particularly strong views on the country’s hottest issues.

Immigration? Tax policy? “Certainly I have a lot of research to do,” Strouse acknowledged in an interview Thursday as he announced his candidacy in a suburban Philadelphia House district.

Strouse’s candidacy reflects an emerging Democratic strategy for taking back the House from Republicans after the tea party takeover of 2010.

The best way to defeat the conservative, ideologically driven GOP, Democrats say, is to field non-ideological “problem solvers” who can profit from the fed-up-with-partisanship mood of some suburban areas. These districts will offer some of the few competitive House campaigns in the country.

“You pick your strategic high ground and force them to fight on it,” said Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.), who as chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has begun a particularly early effort at traveling the country and working the phones to lure Strouse and others like him into races.

Israel’s approach is a variation on the model used by then-Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.), the campaign committee chairman in 2006 when Democrats took over the House in George W. Bush’s “six-year itch” midterm. Emanuel sought out centrists and conservatives to run in rural districts, particularly in the South.
It isn't part of the press outreach from the DCCC to explain that most of Rahm's recruits were quickly defeated after following DCCC advise to vote with the Republicans on key issues. That alienated the Democratic base that had elected them and brought on the Great Blue Dog Apocalypse of 2010. That is looking like the kind of fate that 2010 losers like Kirkpatrick, Maffei, Foster and Titus, who managed to get back into office in 2012, will face again in 2014. And Strouse, who I haven't talked with personally-- and already know there's no need to (thanks Mr. Kane)-- is headed right in that direction.
Strouse introduced himself last week as a candidate who knows how to “solve problems” and who “got the job done” protecting the nation.

“I’ve thrived in situations where there’s a fair amount of chaos,” Strouse, a graduate of Columbia University and Georgetown’s master’s program in security studies, said in a telephone interview.

Strouse only recently became a registered Democrat. “I took with pride that I was working in these nonpartisan organizations,” he said of the Army and CIA. Eventually, he became shocked by “the degree to which the Republican Party moved to the right” on social and fiscal issues.

He does not yet have deeply ingrained policy prescriptions. On gun control, he favors instituting a universal background check, but on taxes he said he is still studying what levels of higher revenue taxation he would support for a broad budget deal.

In his discussions with Democratic leaders, Strouse said they focused on his background. “They’ve just liked the bio,” he said.

...In his pitch to the candidate, Israel gave Strouse encouragement but also delivered some tough-minded warnings: how he would need to raise millions of dollars, how his opponents would come after him, how the father of two children under 3 would lose his privacy.

Israel has been busy finding other candidates with similar problem-solving appeal.

In a district stretching from the New York suburbs up past Albany, Democrats are backing Sean Eldridge, 26, an investor married to Chris Hughes, the co-founder of Facebook. Eldridge runs an investment fund in the Hudson Valley and his political background is limited to advocacy work on issues such as same-sex marriage.

In Tallahassee, Gwen Graham announced her bid this week for a northwest Florida district. The daughter of former senator and governor Bob Graham (D), Gwen Graham’s campaign presents her as a “consensus builder” with the “skills to solve complicated problems.” Her work as legal adviser for the local school board and school superintendent is her best credential in public service.
If you've been following along here at DWT, you may recall I talked with that one last week and came away thinking how perfect she was for Steve Israel. Israel admits his boneheaded strategy is dependent on "liberal mega-donors," most of whom have as little interest in issues like Chained CPI as Israel and his bozo recruits do. That's why Blue America is asking policy-driven candidates exactly where they stand on exactly that issue. Here's what they tell us.

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At 2:17 PM, Blogger Phil Perspective said...

What happaned to Tulsi Gabbard and Beto O'Rourke?

At 12:23 AM, Blogger TheDailyLmo said...

Marriage Equality has joined mom & apple pie & kissing babies as, must-have, political fashion accessories. Why is DWT always refusing to hold Obama accountable for the DCCC?


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