Saturday, October 19, 2013

Why Exactly Does Steve Israel Insist The DCCC Fight With One Arm Tied Behind Its Back?


In 1994, the Republican slime machine went after the wrong Foley-- purposefully

Tom Foley, age 84, died Friday at his Washington, DC home. He was elected to Congress in 1965, succeeded John Brademas as Majority Whip in 1981, then Jim Wright as Majority Leader in 1987 and then Wright in 1989 as Speaker of the House. He is survived by his wife of 45 years, Heather, who was at his bedside when he died. Wife, you ask? Don't be stunned. As part of the GOP plan to take over the House in 1994 and install Newt Gingrich as Speaker, RNC Chairman Lee Atwater, started a baseless and vicious whispering campaign that Foley was gay. (How ironic that 1994, the year of that smear and Foley's shocking reelection defeat-- first Speaker since the Civil War to be defeated in his district-- the Republican Party elected another Foley, Mark Foley of Florida.)

President Obama remembered him yesterday by remarking that "For thirty years, Tom Foley represented the people of Washington’s 5th district with skill, dedication, and a deep commitment to improving the lives of those he was elected to serve.  Tom’s straightforward approach helped him find common ground with members of both parties, eventually leading to his election as the 57th Speaker of the House." Anyway, the Republican campaign against Tom Foley was vicious and determined and got so out of control that Foley actually had to publicly deny he was gay. It didn't do any good in a small-town, rural, Church-going district like his. He lost. And Newt Gingrich, one of the most divisive, small-minded Speakers in history, followed him to the big chair.

Compare that to the way the DCCC coddles GOP leaders. When a clean cut, all-American West Point graduate came back from serving in Iraq and Afghanistan and ran against Boehner, the DCCC not only refused to support him, they worked to defeat him and publicly humiliated him. No one has dared run against Boehner since. Mission accomplished. Steve Israel refuses to run candidates-- or back candidates who are running anyway-- against any top Republican leaders or committee chairmen, even though several of them are in districts Obama won, like Fred Upton (Energy and Commerce), Buck McKeon (Armed Services), Paul Ryan (Budget), John Kline (Education and Workforce), Darrell Issa (Witch-Hunting), Mike Rogers (Intelligence). These should be easy two-cycle pick-ups but you never get to a second cycle without a first. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen's district is now so blue that Obama beat Romney last year 130,020 (53%) to 114,096 (47%)-- his best performance in any "red" district anywhere in America. Steve Israel's (and Debbie Wasserman Schultz's) reaction is to make sure that there is no Democratic candidate running against her.

It is mathematically impossible for the Democrats to take back the House as long as Pelosi insists on keeping Israel as DCCC chair. It can't be done as long as he grants immunity to the likes of endangered Republican incumbents like Ros-Lehtinen, Paul Ryan, Fred Upton, Buck McKeon, Darrell Issa, Joe Pitts, Mike Rogers, Jaime Herrera Beutler, Charlie Dent, John Kline, Pat Meehan, Erik Paulsen, Peter King, etc-- all of whom are in districts Obama won in 2008 and/or 2012-- and all of whom have no 2014 DCCC effort towards unseating them. I ran a large corporation that was pretty lenient with employees. A congenital failure like Steve Israel wouldn't have lasted there for a week.

Instead of going after GOP policy-makers, he spends his time-- and wastes DCCC money-- on pushing centrists like the freshmen who joined the United Solutions Caucus, founded by two Republicans, Bob Pittinger (R-NC) and Patrick Murphy (D-FL). This week, Murphy, was happy to send out a press release giving cover to some of his Republican colleagues-- ALL of whom had voted to shut the government down and who voted to keep it shut down for over two weeks-- because a few of them didn't vote to throw the country into default. Is that what passes for a GOP moderate these days? That's some accomplishment, Patty boy!
As co-founder and co-chairman of the bipartisan United Solutions Caucus, Congressman Patrick E. Murphy (D-FL) joined with 15 fellow caucus members to release the following statement in regards to the bipartisan budget deal reached in the Senate to immediately reopen the federal government and avoid default. The United Solutions Caucus has been meeting regularly during the shutdown to engage in bipartisan discussions on possible solutions to the crisis. Joining Murphy in sending this statement were Reps. Eric Swalwell (D-CA), David Joyce (R-OH), David Valadao (R-CA), Joe Garcia (D-FL), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Beto O'Rourke (D-TX), Ann McLane Kuster (D-NH), Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), Scott Peters (D-CA), Daniel T. Kildee (D-MI), Grace Meng (D-NY), Ami Bera (D-CA), and Joaquin Castro (D-TX).

"We the undersigned, as Members of the bipartisan United Solutions Caucus, endorse the plan announced today by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and urge it come to the House Floor expeditiously.

"The United Solutions Caucus is composed of first-term Members of both parties, determined to work together across the aisle to solve problems. During the current crisis we have kept these lines of communication open and discussed possible ways forward.

"The legislation announced by Majority Leader Reid and Minority Leader McConnell is supported by both Democrats and Republicans, and it would end the current crisis. No legislation can be all things to all people, but we cannot let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Passing this bill today also will not stop the honest debate between Members of Congress about important budgetary issues.

"Therefore, it is in everyone’s best interest for the legislation authored by Majority Leader Reid and Minority Leader McConnell to come to the House Floor without delay. Let the House work its will and provide our country an opportunity to move forward."
Murphy somehow forgot to mention that most of the Republicans in his United Solutions Caucus actually voted against the deal and were more than willing to see the U.S. default and the economy collapse. These are all Republicans in Murphy's little caucus he tried sweeping under the rug so no one would notice:
Andy Barr (R-KY)
Mark Meadows (R-NC)
Tom Rice (R-SC)
Luke Messer (R-IN)
George Holding (R-NC)
Randy Weber (R-TX)
I ran this by a few Democratic congressmen who did actual work trying to solve the problem Murphy's caucus helped create. One was fuming and reminded me that the list of half a dozen Murphyites was only a small piece of a terrible story. "It’s worse than that," he said. Every Republican 'Solutioner' voted to cause the shutdown, and to perpetuate it for two and a half weeks. They all deserve the blame. Those six below are just the bitter-enders." He then sent me a copy of Murphy's latest fundraising letter, blaming "both sides" for the Republican government shutdown.
I am thankful that we found common ground and were able to reopen the government, avoid a default, and get back to the business of the American people.

  Our economy, almost a million government workers, and the seniors, veterans, and other Americans who count on them all paid a high price for this shutdown. One of the reasons I ran for Congress was because I saw too much of the blind partisanship and brinksmanship that took place in the last few weeks, leading to the federal government being shuttered for 16 days and taking our country to the brink of default.

  I am hopeful Congress will come together to reach a long-term, responsible budget deal-- we cannot afford more manufactured crises. Please join me in urging all members of Congress to put partisanship aside in the coming long-term budget negotiations-- we need common sense solutions to avoid another harmful shutdown.
"This is Patrick Murphy’s pathetic take on the shutdown," wrote his colleague. "Nevermind the facts that every single one of his Republican 'United Solutions Caucus' friends voted for the shutdown, and every Democrat voted to end it." That's calling out a false equivalency, a specialty of United Solution quasi-Democrats like Murphy, Kyrsten Sinema, Anne Kuster, John Delaney, Pete Gallego, Scott Peters, Tulsi Gabbard and Ami Bera.

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At 11:03 AM, Anonymous Citizen Tom said...

Howie - I've followed for years your observations about the DCCC's refusal to support challengers to prominent Republican congressional leadership, and have long since ceased donations to party committees in either house for this very reason - I support only individual candidates, and then only on the merits of their policy positions and voting records rather than their party affiliation alone - I guess I'm not a "team player" :)

A thought occurs to me, though - perhaps revealing a desperate hope that Steve Israel isn't just blatantly in the tank for the other side, or perhaps outright denial :) - that there is a deeply hidden method to this seeming madness.

Nancy Pelosi is an incredibly talented and intelligent legislator and dyed-in-the-wool Democrat, and I find (hope?) it hard to believe that she would engineer these seeming political failures out of at best a sense of across-the-aisle comity, and at worst a betrayal of the party from from within - there has to be a grander strategy at work here.

Damned if I can figure out what it is, though.

At 12:22 PM, Blogger DownWithTyranny said...

Tom, I've thought about it a lot too-- and talked with a lot of people about it who know much more than I do about the personalities involved. It would be wrong to over-think this. Pelosi kind of had her hand forced on appointing Israel-- it was either him or the even worse and more detestable Wasserman Schultz, who Pelosi hates. The real question is, does the fact that she RE-appointed him after his disastrous performance in 2012, show she's losing her grip and sharpness?

At 9:18 PM, Anonymous Citizen Tom said...

Let's ask her.


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