Republicans In Swing Districts Posture Against Government Shut Down They Voted For
The reddest district in America is TX-13 (the Panhandle, Amarillo, Wichita Falls), Mac Thornberry's district. Democrats don't even bother fielding candidates there. Romney beat Obama 184,104 (80%) to 42,521 (19%), Obama's worst performance in the whole country. The PVI is R+32. There are 51 districts with PVIs of R+17 or more. Every one of them elects very right-wing Republican congressmen. Jim Matheson, a conservative Blue Dog Democrat, keeps winning in the reddest district supporting a Democrat, UT-04. The PVI is R+16 and Obama only took 30% against Romney while Matheson beat his Republican opponent, Mia Love, 119,803 to 119,035. There are 4 other Democrats hanging on in several other overwhelmingly red districts-- Nick Rahall (WV-03 with an R+14 PVI), Mike McIntyre (NC-07 with an R+12), John Barrow (GA-12 with an R+9), and Collin Peterson (MN-07 with an R+6). After that we're looking at Democrats winning in more competitive R+4, R+3 and R+2 districts. Democrats have shots in districts that red if they can capture independent voters. Of the dozen districts with R+1 PVIs, Democrats hold 5 and Republicans hold 7. Among the 9 evenly split districts, Democrats hold 6 and Republicans hold 3.
Aside from Gary Miller's accidental win, the most Democratic district a Republican won in last year was David Valadao's win in CA-21, a D+2 district which Obama won with 55% against Romney's 44%. With only a couple of exceptions, Republicans only win in blue districts when the DCCC screws up recruitment badly or when Steve Israel or Debbie Wasserman Schultz allow GOP friends of theirs to run with no opposition, which happens frequently. There are no Republicans in D+16, D+14 or D+12 districts-- or even in D+3 districts.
In that context, it's easier to understand the dilemma faced by the Republicans who don't have R+32 districts like Mac Thornberry. The Republican base alone won't elect a Republican without significant support from independent voters in almost two dozen GOP-held districts. But, stepping out of line-- crossing the aisle-- for the congressmen who represent these districts could trigger primaries from extremists who might lose general elections but could win primaries. That why we hear Republican congressmen in blue or swing districts like Peter King (R-NY), Mike Fitzpatrick (R-PA), and Charlie Dent (R-PA) loudly proclaiming against the Tea Party shut-down-the-government strategy while still voting for it. Those three ran to the mics at every opportunity and denounced the stupidity and futility of shutting down the government-- and all three voted to do it twice.
So did Michael "Mikey Suits" Grimm of Staten Island (NY-11). His Staten Island district-- with a sliver of south Brooklyn-- has a PVI of R+2. And Obama beat Romney 52-47% last year, the same margin by which Grimm beat unsupported Democrat Mark Murphy. This year the DCCC found themselves a stupid and corrupt enough conservative hack, City Councilman Domenic Recchia, that they will enthusiastically wage a real battle for Grimm's seat. Both times the House voted to shut down the government, Grimm dutifully went along with the GOP and voted AYE. But that isn't what he tells his constituents back home. He didn't join the only two Republicans to actually muster the cajones to vote NO on Saturday, Chris Gibson and Richard Hanna, both, like Grimm, New Yorkers. But he was quoted saying, "The circus created the past few days isn't reflective of mainstream Republicans-- it projects an image of not being reasonable. The vast majority of Republicans are pretty level-headed and are here to govern." Grimm added that the “far-right faction” of the party “represents 15 percent of the country, but they’re trying to control the entire debate.” Michael Grimm-- whose first meeting with Speaker Boehner after he was elected was to request a rule change that would allow Members to pack heat on the floor of Congress-- was a Marine and then a rogue FBI agent who joined the Mafia. But he didn't have the courage to stand up to this "far right faction" representing 15% of the country, what GOP strategist Nicolle Wallace described as "Sarah Palin's burn-the-house down conservatism" on Morning Joe Monday. I wonder if the DCCC had recruited a viable candidate instead of Recchia, Grimm would have done what Hanna and Gibson did when push came to shove.
And when King tried pushing back against the radicals-- claiming he had almost double the 17 "moderates" he needed-- Grimm abandoned him. The "moderates" who backed him were Louie Gohmert (R-TX), Paul Broun (R-GA), Michele Bachmann (R-MN), Phil Gingrey (R-GA), Mike Rogers (R-AL), Joe Barton (R-TX), Steve King (R-IA)... oh, not "moderates," bomb-throwing radicals.
One swing state Republican who voted to shut down the government and voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act 42 or 43 times is Buck McKeon, the last Republican hold-over left in Los Angeles. Next year-- if he doesn't retire-- he'll be facing off against progressive Democrat Lee Rogers, a nationally renowned surgeon and spokesperson for the American Diabetes Association. After McKeon's vote to shut down the government last night, Rogers told us that "Shutting down the government because you want to kill a healthcare law that you've failed to repeal 41 times, that has had 2 elections since it's been passed, that goes into effect on the same day of the shut down is nothing more than a hostage-taking tactic. And the hostages are us! People in our district care about in creating jobs, having affordable and quality healthcare, and stopping the Cemex mine in Santa Clarita. I don’t think that any of what McKeon does in Washington helps to accomplish these goals. Instead of helping the economy, it’s votes like these and his past support of sequestration that hurt businesses in our district. I believe you send a representative to Washington to make the government work for you, not to shut it down." Please help Rogers replace McKeon in Congress next year. You can do it here.
|Only Steve Israel's willful incompetence could save Grimm and King|