Wednesday, December 11, 2013

I'd Vote No, What About You?


There's a last minute, rush/rush-end-of-the-world vote scheduled for Thursday in the House, presumably Friday in the House of Lords, for the Frankenstein's monster of a "compromise" that Establishment shills Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Patty Murray (D-WA) reached Tuesday. The Budget Deal sucks. Can progressives stick to their values and principles and defeat it? Probably not. It's either this or the Republicans will shut down the government again. The discussion Tuesday night between Chris Hayes and Bernie Sanders about the deal was depressing. Bernie found solace in the fact that at least the Republicans didn't get to cut Social Security and Medicare-- which is why so many of them actually will vote NO.

I don't think there are many in Congress on the Democratic side of the aisle who will stick with Raul Grijalva's expression of principle. (I would.) He said right after Murray and Ryan get done with their circus act Tuesday night “I strongly oppose a budget deal that asks federal employees to endure another pay cut, ends an important economic lifeline for out-of-work Americans, and preserves unfair corporate tax giveaways. Congress should pass a budget deal that invests in jobs and the economy. American families should not be hurt in the process.”

I guess the best deal progressives can get out of this shit deal is to somehow force a vote on extending unemployment. Pelosi seems to have signaled she'll do that, although, who knows where she really is on anything anymore! Murray didn't get that into the deal with Ryan but it's wildly popular with voters-- even with Republicans-- and I imagine there are at least a couple dozen Republicans who would cross the aisle and vote for it rather than hand the Democrats a potent campaign issue next year IF those Members weren't lucky enough to get free re-election passes from Steve Israel this year.

I was sickened yesterday when I tuned in MSNBC and saw one of the richest Members of Congress, Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal-- net worth over $53 million dollars-- talking about the need to compromise away the lives of the millions of working families who will be hurt by this budget agreement among the wealthy political elites on behalf of their even wealthier financiers. 1.3 million unemployed workers-- who are treated by conservatives as if they chose to be unemployed rather than forced into unemployment by the ideologically-motivated conservative economic agenda. "If," say conservatives, "there are no more benefits, they'll take lower paying jobs than the ones we killed.' Except they don't admit their policies killed those jobs and they are wrong about lower paying jobs even being available.

This map shows you which states those 1.3 million unemployed workers are who will lose benefits if Congress goes home without extending them. Are there enough Replublicans in political jeopardy that predicts a House majority were Pelosi to offer a motion to recommit that forces a vote of extending unemployment. The simple answer is YES. If every Democrat-- even the fake ones like Barrow and Matheson and McIntyre-- stick with the caucus, there will be more than enough House Republicans who would be too scared to vote against the wishes of their districts. So, basically, this isn't true in the real low-info Confederate districts where they get all their opinions from Hate Talk Radio and Fox, but it is true in districts where you can't win without independent voters. Right-wing crackpots like Louie Gohmert (R-TX), Diane Black (R-TN), Doug Collins (R-GA), Kevin Brady (R-TX), Steve Scalise (R-LA), Randy Neugebauer (R-TX), and Tom Graves (R-GA) are among 28 Republicans, for example, mostly in the South, with PVIs of between R+20 and R+32. They don't need one single independent or Democrat to win reelection. I would estimate, very conservatively that there are 75 Republicans in that live-boy/dead-girl-category. They don't care what Democrats or independents think, not nationally and not even in their own districts. As long as they keep the Limbaughized base happy, their careers are safe.

On the other hand, there are around 50 Republicans in districts where they have no choice but to appeal to independents and even Democrats in they expect to be reelected. Many of these Republicans are the ones with the safe passes from Steve Israel promising that the DCCC will not challenge them (very convenient for Israel who sits in the unsafest of districts himself and needs the same protection from the NRCC for himself. In any case, here are two dozen Republicans-- more than enough-- who would be in jeopardy of losing their seats next year if they voted against extending unemployment insurance. Next to each name is the percentage of votes Romney won in their district last year:
Gary Miller- San Bernardino, CA- 41%
David Valadao- Central Valley, CA- 44%
Frank LoBiondo- Atlantic City, NJ- 46%
Chris Gibson- Northern Hudson Valley, NY- 46%
Mike Coffman- Aurora, CO- 47%
Rodney Davis- Champaign, IL- 49%
Tom Latham- Des Moines, IA- 47%
Joe Heck- Las Vegas suburbs, NV- 49%
Peter King- Long Island, NY- 47%
Michael Fitzpatrick- Bucks County, PA- 49%
Fred Upton- Kalamazoo, MI- 50%
Jeff Denham- Modesto, CA- 47%
Dave Reichert- Seattle suburbs, WA- 48%
Ileana Ros-Lehtinen- Miami-Dade, FL- 47%
Erik Paulsen- Minneapolis suburbs, MN- 49%
Scott Rigell- Hampton Roads, VA- 49%
John Kline- Minneapolis suburbs, MN- 49%
Michael Grimm- Staten Island, NY- 47%
Richard Hanna- Utica, NY- 49%
Tom Reed- Southern Tier, NY- 50%
Jaime Herrera Beutler- Vancouver, WA- 50%
Patrick Meehan- Delaware County, PA- 50%
Frank Wolf- McLean, VA- 50%
Sean Duffy- Wausau, WI- 51%

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