Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Will Democratic Constituency Groups Finally Start Holding Conservative Democrats In Congress Accountable For Their Bad Votes? Ask Kathleen Rice


I was born in NYC and my parents moved to Nassau County when I was a kid so they could raise me and my sisters in the suburbs. That's a typical story for folks who live in Nassau County today. My folks moved to Valley Stream first and then out to Roosevelt, both of which are in NY-04, the Nassau County district represented by conservative New Dem Kathleen Rice. And Rice, a former Nassau County District Attorney, has a similar story. Her NYC family moved out to Long Island when she was a child as well.

Rice, who had just run as the conservaDem against progressive Eric Schneiderman for New York Attorney General, was hand-picked by Steve Israel to run for the seat Carolyn McCarthy was giving up. The district runs from New Hyde Park and Westbury in the north down through Hempstead, Franklin Square, Uniondale, Baldwin, Rockville Centre and Wantagh to the Five Towns and Long Beach in the south. The PVI is D+3 and Obama beat McCain 55-44% in 2008 and then beat Romney 56-43% in 2012. Last year Rice beat her Republican opponent, Bruce Blakeman, 85,294 (52.7%) to 76,515 (47.3%).

NYS Governor Andrew Cuomo appointed her to the scandal-plagued Moreland Commission that was created to whitewash his own egregious corruption. Just the kind of Democrat shady Establishment types crave! So it should surprise no one that Rice has come out in favor of the job-destroying TPP and Fast Track. The New Dem Caucus is ground zero for Fast Track support among Democrats, and last week it was Rice and fellow wishy-washy New Dem Suzan DelBene (WA) who "buckled under pressure" and flip-flopped, going over to the Wall Street position. The AFL-CIO started running an ad in Nassau County (above) that asks, "Why should we ever trust Kathleen Rice again?"

Maybe a better question the AFL-CIO should be asking itself is why did it ever trust Kathleen Rice to begin with? Or any Blue Dogs or New Dems. These Wall Street-backed DINOs are not the friends of working families, and unions should stop propping them up entirely. Rice's ProgressivePunch crucial vote score is an unsatisfactory 72.72, one of the worst scores of any New York Democrat; it has earned her an "F" rating. The AFL-CIO and other Democratic constituency groups that identify with a progressive agenda should just stop backing transactional conservatives like Rice when they first run. Once they get into Congress, even the AFL-CIO can't hold them accountable for voting with Boehner and McCarthy. You'll never find a Wall Street-oriented Democrat like Rice on the Blue America page of endorsed House candidates.

It's satisfying to see unions finally stepping up and slamming conservative Democrats who back GOP policies that harm the financial security of their own members-- the way they did with New Dem shithead Ami Bera last week. (Blue America is planning a similar approach to reactionary Blue Dog Jim Costa if he goes through with his pledge to vote for Fast Track.)

The AFL-CIO is spending over $100,000 on TV-- which started yesterday-- to make sure working families in Nassau County know about Rice's perfidy. And next Monday evening union members, Working Families Party members, MoveOn activists and Sierra Club and Food and Water Watch members are planning protests in front of Rice's district office, just the way progressive groups rallied against TPP and Pelosi's push to shove it down Democrats' throats
today. Meanwhile, The Hill is keeping a whip count of which Congressmembers are on Wall Street's side and which are siding with working families and their own constituents.

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