Wednesday, April 24, 2013

EMILY's List Up To No Good Again-- In L.A... And In Hawaii?


Sen. Brian Schatz, City Councilman Eric Garcetti-- too progressive for EMILY's List

On election day eve, late summer 2008, long after mail-in ballots had been sent in, EMILY's List sent out a bizarre message to its members in Tennessee. They withdrew their endorsement from the corrupt, conservative Democratic woman they had recruited and backed all year, Nikki Tinker, a cog in the Harold Ford political machine who was taking on progressive incumbent Steve Cohen, a 100% pro-choice ally. Tinker, was the quintessential candidate of the new EMILY's List: conservative, Blue Dog, corrupt to the bone, allied to Big Business... but she stepped over the line as her campaign turned more and more virulently anti-Semitic and upset EMILY's List's Jewish donor base in the Northeast and on the West Coast. Cohen, meanwhile had been endorsed by progressive women's groups like the National Organization for Women (NOW) and by Planned Parenthood and was way ahead in the polls.

EMILY's List's unendorsement of their candidate had no impact. But Tinker's vile ads did. Cohen won with 79.34% against Tinker's 18.64%. Before Tinker let loose with her barrage of vicious, racist, Republican-like negative ads Cohen was only leading with 65%. Negative ads work with Republican voters, not so much with Democratic voters. "It says Memphis has come a long, long way and that people who were counting on racial voting to prevail are thinking of a Memphis that doesn't exist anymore," Cohen said. "The people of Memphis are more sophisticated voters that deal with issues and someone's record and not simply race."

In the race for L.A. mayor, EMILY's List, predictably, picked the more conservative and sleazy candidate, ex-Republican Wendy Greuel, while progressive women's groups like NOW are backing proven ally and pro-Choice stalwart Eric Garcetti. No one expects anything more from EMILY's List. They back conservative, pro-choice women. But what people do expect is that they refrain from the gutter politics that have gotten them in trouble in the past. Yesterday many of us found this shady mailer from EMILY's List attacking Garcetti by objectifying women:

As Wendy Greuel and her allies unleash unwarranted attack after unwarranted attack on Garcetti, Los Angelenos have grown more and more angry, angry at Greuel and angry at EMILY's List. Garcetti, who was in a dead heat with Greuel after the first round primary has now pulled ahead by double digits. EMILY's List never learns that the Republican strategies it uses in Democratic primaries don't work among Democrats. They didn't work for Nikki Tinker and they're failing to work for Wendy Greuel. And they won't work for EMILY's List's latest conservative recruit, New Dem Colleen Hanabusa, who's running against progressive Senator Brian Schatz.

Hanabusa, an opportunist burning with ambition, was first elected to the House in 2010. She joined the conservative, Big Business-aligned New Dems and ran up a mediocre record as a backbencher with little to no influence. Rather than follow the trail being blazed by fellow congresswoman Mazie Hirono, a progressive champion, Hanabusa stuck to a path to nowhere started by much-disliked right-wing former Democratic Congressman Ed Case. Yesterday she announced she will give up her House seat to run for Brian Schatz's seat in the Senate.
Hanabusa had been considering primary challenges to either Schatz or Abercrombie. A source close to her campaign said Monday that Hanabusa had decided on a Senate campaign and was informing close allies.

A primary between Schatz, 40, and Hanabusa, 61, would evoke generational as well as political fault lines within the Democratic Party. Schatz, a progressive, has the potential to build seniority in the Senate over a generation. Hanabusa, a more traditional liberal, will contend that her experience prepares her to have an immediate impact.
By "traditional liberal," they mean corrupt conservative. The only mark Hanabusa has made in Congress, other than being a lap dog for K Street and a predictable New Dem, was pioneering a way around ethics rules to make money personally from her campaign. Hanabusa "collected significant amounts of money in interest from personal loans she made to her campaign. In addition, her campaign reimbursed her husband thousands of dollars in expenses."
“With the interest rates Rep. Hanabusa is charging for loaning her own campaign money, she could be confused for a loan shark,” said CREW Executive Director Melanie Sloan. “Most Americans open a savings account when they want to earn a little interest on their money. Instead, Rep. Hanabusa is making a killing by investing in her own campaign.”

Campaign records show Rep. Hanabusa made two loans to her campaign committee, totaling $125,000, in 2006. Since then, she has charged more than 9% interest on these loans, resulting in over $30,000 in interest payments. At the end of the 2010 election cycle, less than $3,000 of the principal on these loans had been repaid. Additionally, campaign records show that Rep. Hanabusa’s campaign committee reimbursed her husband, John Souza, almost $9,000 for food and other expenses during the 2010 cycle.
A few weeks ago, I called Honolulu City Councilman Stanley Chang when I saw he had filed the paperwork to run for Hanabusa's 1st district seat. I was excited that someone was going to offer her a primary challenge. He told me that it was an open secret in Hawaii that Hanabusa would not be running for reelection but would try to climb the political greasy pole, either by running against Governor Neil Abercrombie or against Senator Brian Schatz, both progressives. Since being appointed to Congress, Schatz has run up a 94.12 ProgressivePunch crucial vote score, the 11th best in the Senate, almost as good as Mazie Hirono's 96.30. Schatz and Hirono are both co-sponsors of Tom Harkin's bill to take Chained CPI off the table. Hanabusa is keeping her mouth shut on where she stands on Chained CPI. Schatz is exactly the kind of Democrat EMILY's List thrives on attacking and smearing. We'll be watching.

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