Sunday, October 18, 2015

Corrupt Corporatists Steve Israel And Debbie Wasserman Schultz Declare Fratricidal War Against Progressives


Steve Israel, de facto head of the DCCC (and the most outspoken member of their recruitment committee) and with a new title Pelosi invented for him, Chair, Policy and Communications, is making noise again. His war against progressives is multi-faceted and never-ending. Although Pelosi, when giving him his new job, said that he "has consistently proved the depth of his wisdom and the strength of his strategic vision in making our case to the American people," she overlooked the fact that under his catastrophic chairmanship, the DCCC-- largely because of him and only him-- managed to lose a net of 8 seats in a year when Obama won the country and a much smarter DSCC chairman just about swept the field and won tough races in Florida, Hawaii, Indiana, Massachusetts, Missouri, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin. Israel's incompetence and/or lame strategy cost the Democrats CA-10 (Denham), CA-21 (Valadao), CA-25 (McKeon), CO-06 (Coffman), FL-10 (Webster), IL-13 (Davis), MI-01 (Benishek), MI-06 (Upton), MI-11 (Bentivolio), MN-02 (Kline), MN-06 (Bachmann), NV-03 (Heck), NJ02 (LoBiondo), NJ-03 (Runyan), NJ-05 (Garrett), NY-11 (Grimm), NY-19 (Gibson), NY-22 (Hanna), NY-23 (Reed), NY-27 (Collins), NC-08 (Hudson), NC-11 (Meadows), NC-13 (Holding), OH-06 (Johnson), OH-16 (Renacci), PA-06 (Gerlach), PA-07 (Meehan), PA-08 (Fitzpatrick), PA-12 (Rothfus), PA-15 (Dent), TN-04 (DesJarlais), VA-02 (Rigell), WI-07 (Duffy) and WI-08 (Ribble). [bolded districts were won by Obama as Israel's depth of wisdom and strength of his strategic vision were leading the Democrats to another defeat.]

In 2014 Israel led the DCCC to an even more disastrous year by following his same lame playbook. He lost a net of 13 seats, primarily conservaDems who he had counseled to vote with the GOP at every opportunity, like Ron Barber (Blue Dog-AZ), Joe Garcia (New Dem-FL), John Barrow (Blue Dog-GA), Brad Schneider (New Dem-IL), Dan Maffei (New Dem-NY), Pete Gallego (Blue Dog-TX), Nick Rahall (Blue Dog-WV). 3 other right-wing Democrats-- Bill Owens (New Dem-NY), Mike McIntyre (Blue Dog-NC) and Jim Matheson (Blue Dog-UT)-- knew they would be defeated and retired, their seats all going to Republicans. Israel's only victories were for right-wing Democrats Gwen Graham (Blue Dog-FL), Brad Ashford (Blue Dog-NE) and Pete Aguilar (New Dem-CA), Aguilar the only one likely to retain his seat in 2016.

So yesterday Chairman Strategic Vision lashed out at progressives again in an interview with Alex Brown for the NationalJournal, denouncing them for fratricide for daring to side with working people against the corporate TPP. Neglecting to mention that on June 12 a preliminary TPP vote narrowly passed the House (219-211, only 28 wretched excuses for Democrats voting in favor, Israel railed against Democratic allies, saying "We have to stop the frat­ri­cide. It’s hard enough to go up against Shel­don Ad­el­son and the Koch broth­ers. Our mem­bers shouldn’t have to go up against Shel­don Ad­el­son, the Koch broth­ers-- and [mem­bers’] friends."
The “friends” Is­rael re­ferred to are the labor and pro­gress­ive groups that have gone after the 28 Demo­crats in the House and 13 in the Sen­ate who voted to pass Trade Pro­mo­tion Authority in June. That meas­ure lim­its Con­gress to an up-or-down vote on the Trans-Pa­cific Part­ner­ship, a 12-na­tion trade deal that will land on Cap­it­ol Hill early next year. TPP has been a key pri­or­ity of the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion, but is op­posed by most Demo­crats.

The AFL-CIO has been among the most vo­cal op­pon­ents of the deal, run­ning ads against Demo­crat­ic sup­port­ers like Rep. Ami Be­ra and hold­ing protests in the dis­tricts of oth­ers. The group also cut off cam­paign fund­ing for Demo­crats during the TPA fight, a move os­tens­ibly aimed at fo­cus­ing re­sources on the trade battle but one that was per­ceived as an im­pli­cit threat to would-be sup­port­ers.

Mean­while, pro­gress­ive groups like Demo­cracy for Amer­ica have tried to line up primary chal­lengers to pro-trade Democrats. “We will not lift a fin­ger or raise a penny to protect you when you’re at­tacked in 2016, we will en­cour­age our pro­gress­ive al­lies to join us in leav­ing you to rot, and we will act­ively search for op­por­tun­it­ies to primary you with a real Demo­crat,” the group’s chair, Jim Dean, said in a statement fol­low­ing the vote.

...“It’s ab­so­lutely ab­surd to ask any­one who cares about in­come in­equal­ity... to ig­nore a very clear be­tray­al like this vote for fast-track au­thor­ity,” said Demo­cracy for Amer­ica’s Neil Sroka. “They’re liv­ing in a fanta­sy­land if they think organ­iz­a­tions like ours are just go­ing to ig­nore these votes.”

Sroka ad­ded that elect­or­al vic­tor­ies are hol­low if they only em­power Demo­crats who vote with the oth­er party. “Democrats would be best served by vot­ing like Demo­crats and ac­tu­ally stand­ing up and fight­ing for work­ing fam­il­ies,” he said. His group will be ur­ging al­lies not to give to the DCCC or any oth­er or­gan­iz­a­tions that may end up fund­ing trade sup­port­ers.

DCCC Chair­man Ben Ray Lu­jan was care­ful not to call out any Demo­crat­ic al­lies, and he said out­side groups are free to use their re­sources as they please. But he did re­mind labor that Demo­crats have been their strongest al­lies on a num­ber of polit­ic­al is­sues. “I’d en­cour­age our friends in labor that, as we look for part­ner­ships down the road and we ad­voc­ate to make sure that people get a fair wage for a hard day’s work... those are is­sues that as Demo­crats we share with labor,” he said.

That sen­ti­ment isn’t new. In June, Minor­ity Whip Steny Hoy­er said he had “urged our friends in labor to have re­spect for the de­cisions of mem­bers.” He lis­ted off is­sues like collect­ive bar­gain­ing and the min­im­um wage where Democrats have worked to boost labor’s goals.

...Ad­ded Sroka: “If Demo­crats fail to re­take the House, they need to ser­i­ously look at [trade] as one of the reas­ons they failed to do it... If Ami Be­ra is de­feated, it’s not be­cause progress­ives didn’t stand up and de­fend Ami Be­ra. It’s because Ami Be­ra took a vote that makes it im­possible for anyone who cares for work­ing fam­il­ies in this coun­try to support him.”

Not­ably, Rep. Debbie Wasser­man Schultz, who heads the Demo­crat­ic Na­tion­al Com­mit­tee and voted for TPA, said she has heard noth­ing about such a back­lash-- an is­sue on which every oth­er mem­ber of the House seems to have an opin­ion. She said she met re­cently with labor lead­ers, in­clud­ing the AFL-CIO, without it com­ing up. “I’ve hon­estly not heard any threat what­so­ever to any Demo­crat re­lated to the trade deal,” she said. “I have a hard time com­ment­ing on something that I haven’t heard.”

Still, many of the oth­er mem­bers in her caucus say the fo­cus should be on win­ning the House-- not a single trade vote. “I have com­mit­ted to mak­ing sure we win back the ma­jor­ity, and that starts with re­turn­ing in­cum­bent Demo­crats in swing dis­tricts—in­clud­ing those that I some­times dis­agree with,” Kildee said. “Ob­vi­ously, I think this is im­port­ant to labor, and I think they should take a strong po­s­i­tion. … But I think we should fo­cus on the long-term battle as well as the short-term battle.”
Wasserman Schultz, a congenital liar, is very much aware that labor is helping recruit a strong Democratic candidate to run against her in a primary next year, presumably Tim Canova, a professor of law and public finance at Nova Southeastern University.

A Sanders supporter, Canova has been critical of Wasserman Schultz's performance as chair of the DNC, including her role in limiting the presidential debates. "It’s bad for Democrats and bad for the country, but she’s apparently decided that it’s good for her own career to hitch her wagon to Hillary Clinton-- but it’s a wagon filled with a lot baggage and broken promises to American workers.

"People are just tired of being sold out by calculating and triangulating politicians. Wasserman Schultz has become the ultimate machine politician. While she stakes out liberal positions on culture war issues, when it comes to economic and social issues, she’s too often with the corporate elites. On too many crucial issues-- from fast-tracking the Trans-Pacific Partnership to the war on drugs and medical marijuana and mass incarceration, to her support for budget sequestrations and austerity-- Wasserman Schultz votes down the line with big corporate interests and cartels: Wall Street banks and hedge funds, Big Pharma, the private health insurers, private prisons, Monsanto, it goes on and on. It’s easy to say you’re for doing something about climate change and the environment, for pay equity, raising the minimum wage, or getting money out of politics, but it’s mostly just talk when you’re taking so much corporate money at the same time. That’s why the TPP is so insidious. It will shift the costs of environmental protection, health and safety and labor standards from corporate wrongdoers and wealthy investors to the taxpayers who have been taking it on the chin for so long. In many ways, Wasserman Schultz no longer has a choice. She’s become an establishment machine politician who has to turn her back on taxpayers, working folks, students and the elderly poor, unfortunately it’s all to line the pockets of the same corporate interests that are funding her campaigns. In today’s politics, the worst have no convictions, which may explain all their flip-flops on big issues, from Hillary Clinton on Keystone Pipeline to Wasserman Schultz’s indecision on the agreement with Iran. After playing Hamlet for weeks and blocking a DNC resolution, she finally came around to support the Iran agreement, but only when it became pretty clear she would have lost her post as DNC chair, a message apparently delivered in person by vice president Biden. It must be exhausting to have to constantly answer to wealthy campaign donors and corporate lobbyists when making these decisions."

As of now, there is still no primary challenger for Steve Israel... but we haven't given up looking. As soon as one does decide to run, he or she will be on this page, along with the other progressive House candidates that Blue America is supporting.

UPDATE: Democratic Leaders-- The Worst Leaders Ever

As Marty Yglesias explained to Vox readers Monday morning, the Democratic Party is losing on every level except the White House level-- and isn't even talking about what to do about it-- or even recognizing there's a problem. "Leaders like Wasserman Schultz and Israel are so concerned about their own narrow careerist agendas that the party is like a useless, unattractive (anti-attractive) pile of stinking garbage. As he wrote, "70 percent of state legislatures, more than 60 percent of governors, 55 percent of attorneys general and secretaries of state are in Republicans hands. And, of course, Republicans control both chambers of Congress."
Not only have Republicans won most elections, but they have a perfectly reasonable plan for trying to recapture the White House. But Democrats have nothing at all in the works to redress their crippling weakness down the ballot. Democrats aren't even talking about how to improve on their weak points, because by and large they don't even admit that they exist... The GOP might be in chaos, but Democrats are in a torpor.
The Democrats will never win back Congress with anti-leaders like Wasserman Schultz and Israel in placed. Pelosi has become less than useless and the Senate Democrats are about to elect Wall Street's #1 shill in politics-- Chuck Schumer-- as leader... without so much as a challenge.

Labels: , , , , , , , , , ,


At 7:16 PM, Anonymous SadOldVet said...

This article contains a very large number of words to express surprise and disappointment that corporately owned democrats remain owned by the 1/10th of 1%ers. Will you be surprised when President Hillary remains in the pocket of Wall Street?

At 7:38 PM, Blogger DownWithTyranny said...


At 1:44 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a union member and former local officer, the only time we heard from Democrats in the past 20 years was to ask us for money. Too many of our members are FOX Republican voters, and such attempts by Democrats are seen by these members as proving what they hear on FOX. Despite Federal law already controlling how the local donates funds, they pushed through an addition to our by-laws which prohibits any political contribution whatsoever.

The members have a good motive for such a push, as we've seen nothing beneficial coming from either party. Much of our work has been outsourced, and our wages and benefits are under attack. Why spend our hard-earned dollars on phonies who will sell us out once the election is over?

It thus doesn't surprise me that several unions face revolt over endorsements of Hillary despite the memberships being more aligned with Bernie. He's the only realistic hope of representation working people have, and we certainly know it!


Post a Comment

<< Home