Monday, September 30, 2013

New Hampshire: Why Blue America Has Endorsed Carol Shea-Porter But Not Anne Kuster


New Hampshire has two House districts. The first district, represented by Carol Shea-Porter, is most of the eastern part of the state, including Manchester, Portsmouth and Dover. The second district, represented by Anne Kuster, encompasses the western and northern parts of the state from Nashua and Concord to Keene and Dixville Notch. NH-02 is strongly Democratic with a PVI of D+3. Obama beat McCain there 56-43% and beat Romney 54-44%. Last year Kuster beat the Republican incumbent, mainstream conservative Charlie Bass 168,954 (50%) to 151,858 (45%). NH-01 is a true swing district with a PVI of R+1 and Obama beat McCain 53-46% in 2008 and beat Romney last year 50-48%. Last year Carol Shea-Porter beat radical and deranged Tea Party incumbent Frank Guinta 171,356 (50%) to 158,482 (46%).

Last year Blue America endorsed both women. This year we're only endorsing one. Carol Shea-Porter has lived up to her promise to be an independent voice for working families. Anne Kuster has been a disappointing shill for Wall Street and corporate interests who does whatever she's told by Steve Israel and the DCCC. She's been a disgrace to the state and to the grassroots progressives who championed her and got her elected. Over the summer, she quit the Progressive Caucus and joined the corrupt, corporate-oriented New Dems (the Republican wing of the Democratic Party).

Kuster dodged a bullet when former House Speaker Bill O'Brien decided to move to Massachusetts and take a job there instead of running against her. Her opponent is some no-name ex-state senator. Carol Shea-Porter will face off against Guinta again in a very tough rematch. A local blogger explained why Shea-Porter has earned support from progressives and grassroots Democrats:
1)  Carol Shea-Porter is a staunch defender of Social Security and Medicare. Her likely opponent, Tea Party era Congressman Frank Guinta, voted to end Medicare by turning into a voucher system, and campaigned on abolishing Social Security.

2) Carol Shea-Porter worked hard in Congress to make the Affordable Care Act law. Her likely opponent, Tea Party era Congressman Frank Guinta, supports a government shutdown unless the Affordable Care Act is defunded.

3) Carol Shea-Porter, more than any member of New Hampshire’s federal delegation, stood up for the President’s commonsense plan to reduce gun violence in the wake of twenty murdered children at Sandy Hook Elementary. Her likely opponent, Tea Party era Congressman Frank Guinta, is the recipient of over $67,000 in NRA money.

4) Carol Shea-Porter has spent much of her third term in Congress highlighting the cruelty of the sequester and advocating for its repeal. Her likely opponent, Tea Party era Congressman Frank Guinta, voted for the sequester.

5) Carol Shea-Porter accepts no corporate PAC money for her campaigns, and relies on small dollar grassroots support. Her likely opponent, Tea Party era Congressman Frank Guinta, is under FEC investigation because he either can’t or won’t prove that $355,000 of money that went into his campaign was from his own bank account.

It’s rare to find a real grassroots-based progressive champion in Congress who also represents a tough district. Carol Shea-Porter is one.
So far there are only two incumbents on the Blue America Worthy Incumbents Act Blue page, Mike Honda and Carol Shea-Porter. Please consider contributing to her campaign. Meanwhile, you might be interested in reading an OpEd she penned for the Concord Monitor on Friday. It affords the reader a look at one of Congress' most dedicated champions of working families:
One of the most critical responsibilities of a legislative body is to keep the basic functions of government operating. Unfortunately, in the next few days, we may see Tea Party Republicans force a government shutdown. This will happen even though polling indicates almost 60 percent of the population opposes shutting down the government to defund health care reform.

The Affordable Care Act is a law that passed both houses of Congress, was signed by President Obama and upheld by the Supreme Court. Whether you agree or disagree with the law, the thing to do now is to fix the things that need fixing and make sure that we’re improving access to health care while reducing the costs. Rather than work together, congressional Republicans are engaging in what Charles Krauthammer refers to as a “suicide mission” to shut down the government, even though a shutdown would hurt the economy. They are ignoring the warning from the National Chamber of Commerce, which said, “It is not in the best interest of the U.S. business community or the American people to risk even a brief government shutdown that might trigger disruptive consequences or raise new policy uncertainties washing over the U.S. economy.”

Forcing the government to shut down due to ideological extremism would stop or delay many vital governmental functions. It would stop pay to all federal employees, including our military, limit veterans’ access to benefits and prevent new enrollees from getting Social Security checks. It would hurt our economy. All of this nonsense would actually increase the budget deficit. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has projected that repeal of the Affordable Care Act would only increase the deficit, clearly not a good solution to our budget challenges.

This is an irresponsible ploy. We should be focused on finding common ground instead of holding the government hostage to Tea Party extremism. Former senator Judd Gregg recently wrote that, “Most Americans these days are simply ignoring Republicans. And they should. The self-promotional babble of a few has become the mainstream of Republican political thought. It has marginalized the influence of the party to an appalling degree.”

It’s worth noting that it really is the Tea Party driving this crisis. Most Republicans have acknowledged they don’t have the votes to defund Obamacare in the Senate and that trying to shut the government down doesn’t make sense. Republican Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina said shutting the government down over Obamacare was “the dumbest idea I’ve ever heard.” Sen. John McCain does not support the idea. The Tea Party Republicans in the House are obsessed with repeal fever anyway. Last week, they voted for the 42nd time to repeal all or parts of the Affordable Care Act. We haven’t passed a budget or a jobs bill, but we’ve found time to indulge in 42 futile and unnecessary votes.

We don’t have much time left for silly political games. The last thing our economy needs is another shock to its system from a government shutdown.

Instead of having an ideological fight that was settled in the last election, we should be debating jobs bills, improving our education system, and making the investments in science and infrastructure that we so desperately need. We need to reform the tax code so we can promote business growth and employment. We have environmental problems to solve, and so many other issues need our attention. I stand ready to work with my Republican and Democratic colleagues on finding common ground and getting things moving here in Washington. Let’s just hope the Republican leadership is willing to ignore the Tea Party flank and work across the aisle, for the good of Americans everywhere.

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