Monday, November 04, 2013

Worst DCCC Chairman In The History Of Forever


Last week DCCC staffers were eager to push out a story by Shira Center and Emily Cahn in Roll Call, House Democrats Pull Pages From The Rahm Playbook. By "House Democrats" they meant Steve Israel, the DCCC's incompetent and clueless chairman, and by "the Rahm Playbook," they meant steamrolling over progressives and grassroots candidates in favor of conservative candidates-- including a few Republicans willing to switch parties.
The Chicago mayor served as chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in 2006, when his party beat long odds to win the majority for the first time in more than a decade. This cycle, Democrats face a similarly tough challenge: picking up seats in 17 districts on a map drawn to give the GOP an advantage.

To accomplish this, DCCC Chairman Steve Israel has sought to emulate his former mentor with relentless recruitment, an incessant focus on messaging and Emanuel’s aggressive style-- minus a few four-letter expletives.

The two Democrats have a lot in common. Former aides note their shared religion, gregarious public personas, all-in approach to wooing candidates and their soundbite-driven quests to drive messaging.
And although they do mention that Israel tried to learn at Rahm's feet, what they didn't mention was what a huge year 2006 was for Democrats in general. Consider that over on the Senate side, where Rahm had no involvement, Democrats pretty much swept the field-- exception being another Emanuel/Israel crooked conservative, Tennessee Congressman Harold Ford, Jr., the one high profile less for the DSCC. Democratic challengers beat GOP incumbents George Allen (VA), Rick Santorum (PA), Mike DeWine (OH), Jim Talent (MO), Conrad Burns (MT) and Lincoln Chafee (RI), as well as picking up the Jim Jeffords' open seat in Vermont.

And Emanuel was at the helm of the DCCC that year. “Rahm, for his part, taught the importance of early recruiting and an aggressive mindset, and I’ve tried to replicate that,” boasted Israel, who failed miserably in 2012, while Obama won and the DSCC, which had a far more difficult task, again swept the field.
Emanuel was known for his persistence and personalized approach to recruitment. He reportedly called one reluctant prospect from his daughter’s ballet recital to help alleviate his concerns about family life in Congress. One former aide described Emanuel’s recruitment approach as a “lack of boundaries.”

Israel often boasts that he started calling future recruits on election night 2012. After the president’s State of the Union address, he immediately emailed potential recruits to say it would be better if they were there. He hosts weekly recruitment meetings at 8 a.m.

Now in his second term as chairman, Israel calls his an “asymmetrical recruitment strategy”-- tailoring his approach to the circumstances of each prospective candidate. Instead of relying on unpredictable local delegations to persuade candidates to run, Israel brings a current member with a similar life situation into the process: young families, competitive districts, retirees or a policy interest.

Emanuel was also famous for picking unconventional-- and often controversial-- candidates. He recruited pro-gun, anti-abortion-rights Democrats in hopes of putting more conservative districts in play. He also publicly picked sides in primaries, and his selections often angered Democrats.
Unmentioned by the naive youngsters writing for Roll Call was that virtually all of Emanuel's conservative recruits were swept out of office once Democratic voters caught on to what crap Rahm had foisted on them. The Rahm recruits started voting with the Republicans and ruining progressive legislation in committees. By 2010, the disappointment level among grassroots Democrats was so huge that they simply stayed away from the polls in drove, letting almost all of Rahm's recruits lose their seats. In contrast, many of the grassroots candidates Rahm tried to defeat in primaries but who beat his weak conservative shills, are still serving in Congress, like Jerry McNerney (CA) and Carol Shea-Porter (NH). Also important to remember is that many of the conservative Rahm recruits lost in the 2006 election, like Christine Jennings (FL) and Tammy Duckworth (IL).

Rahm is rightfully given credit for recruiting and engineering victories for these dozen candidates: Only two weren't defeated, Heath Shuler who saw the polling and realized he'd rather retire than be kicked out of office, and Joe Donnelly, who also read the polls but decided to try a Hail Mary pass and run for Senate. A crazy teabagger beat incumbent Dick Lugar and then promptly self-destructed, leaving Donnelly as the most astonished and unlikely member of the U.S. Senate. The Great Blue Dog Apocalypse of 2010, which handed the House over to the Republicans, was entirely brought on by the Rahm Playbook.
Harry Mitchell (Blue Dog-AZ)
Tim Mahoney (Blue Dog-FL)
Joe Donnelly (Blue Dog-IN)
Brad Ellsworth (Blue Dog-IN)
Nancy Boyda (Blue Dog-KS)
Mike Arcuri (Blue Dog-NY)
Heath Shuler (Blue Dog-NC)
Zack Space (Blue Dog-OH)
Jason Altmire (Blue Dog-PA)
Chris Carney (Blue Dog-PA)
Patrick Murphy (Blue Dog-PA)
Nick Lampson (Blue Dog-TX)
All of these Rahm recruits were awful Members of Congress and Rahm's strategy was thoroughly discredited-- except by Rahm's corrupt DCCC staff and… one very reptilianPrincess: Long Island.

And many of Israel's worst recruits so far are indeed right out of the Rahm Playbook. Take Jennifer Garrison (please) in OH-06. She is quintessential Steve Israel, a total loser, despised by Ohio Democrats-- she's nicknamed "Ohio's Sarah Palin"-- and is best known for her extreme homophobia, her anti-Choice fanaticism, her vote in the state legislature against raising the minimum wage and for her cozy relationships with the NRA and Big Coal. And, like Rahm, Israel has been discouraging progressives and trying to make sure conservatives get the Democratic nominations, interfering in primaries to an even worse extent than Emanuel ever did. In CA-31, for example, he endorsed Pete Aguilar the empty suit who lost to TWO Republicans in 2012, losing a completely blue district to a far right Republican, Gary Miller. This year Israel refused to even meet with the progressive in the race, Eloise Reyes, who is likely to win the primary and become a congresswoman.

And all the while, Israel refuses to take on vulnerable GOP policy-makers like Fred Upton, Mike Rogers, Buck McKeon, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Darrell Issa, John Kline, Paul Ryan, John Mica… even though polling shows that Democrats could beat them. People often ask me if I think Israel is a worse DCCC Chair than Emanuel was. Perhaps Emanuel edges Israel in terms of intelligence, corruption and evil, but when it comes to sheer incompetence no one gets anywhere near Steve Israel.

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At 12:58 AM, Anonymous ap215 said...

I like this article there's no question Rahm & Steve have different styles but Rahm was worse he constantly butted heads with Howard Dean on how to spend the money & handle his recruits & he's not making any friends in his homestate as mayor he's a hardhead & hopefully he'll disappear from politics forever.


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