Monday, November 23, 2015

How To Learn What's In A Congressman's Heart And Soul-- Let's Take Rubio And Loebsack


That's Matrco Rubio's first national TV ad and it shows clearly he's not ceding any ground to Trump or Cruz when it comes to fascist bent the Republicans have been increasingly adopting in recent weeks. He's going all the out with a tried-and-true, simplistic scaremongering strategy in the slick 30-second spot, A Civilizational Struggle.
"What happened in Paris could happen here. There is no middle ground. These aren't disgruntled or disempowered people. These are radical terrorists who want to kill us, because we let women drive, because we let girls go to school... There can be no arrangement or negotiation. Either they win or we do."
Has a certain appeal that should do well among Republican primary voters. The scaremongering and appeal to those kinds of base, primitive instincts normally work less well among Democrats. Recall, though, how we mentioned last night that corrupt conservative New Dem Pete Aguilar (CA) bragged about his San Bernardino constituents being so dumb that he had to vote against showing a sense of humanity towards the thoroughly-vetted Syrian refugees fleeing Daesh terrorists. In that same post last night we re-published an open letter from Bob Lord to another craven and cowardly New Dem, Arizona reactionary Kyrsten Sinema. It's worth going back and re-reading, especially if you're one of her constituents from Mesa and Tempe and the parts of Chandler and Scottsdale she represents.

Bob Lord isn't the only Democrat disappointed to have found out his Democratic congressperson has the character of a use-up tissue. Jonathan Freeman is from southeast Iowa, an area represented by Democratic centrist Dave Loebsack, a man who we've watched grow increasingly conservative and increasingly less courageous since he was first elected in 2006, running as a progressive against long-time Republican incumbent Jim Leach. Freeman, a HuffPo contributor, who has always supported Loebsack, explained why he won't be voting for him again.
Once upon a time, this great nation welcomed refugees and immigrants by the thousands. Great-grandparents on both sides of my family came to this country in search of better lives. A hundred years ago, they faced plenty of discrimination (if not outright abuse), but they raised our family to be contributing members of society. Eastern Europeans-- and more specifically, Jews-- were one of the "Syrians" of the day, mistrusted and feared by many "native" Americans.

Well before Donald "Someone's Doing the Raping" Trump, plenty of others have stated any number of silly things about immigrants and refugees. But the recent vote in the US House of Representatives on HR 4038, the American Security Against Foreign Enemies Act, is a disgrace to the 47 Democrats who voted for it and should be nothing short of appalling to the friends and family of every American does not originate here-- which, by my calculations, means everybody except Native Americans.

Now, it's not surprising that Congress would do something disgraceful or appalling-- that's why their popularity tends to hover at 10-14 percent. My own Congressman is a very nice fellow named Dave Loebsack, a college professor who rode the Democratic wave into office in 2006 by beating a 15-term veteran, Jim Leach, whom many considered a good guy. Congressman Loebsack-- or Dave, as he likes to go by-- is not the greatest politician, which is definitely not a bad accusation in today's hyper-political environment.

Given Dave's "aw-shucks" approach, it was more than a little surprising six months ago to see that he voted to gut some of the provisions of Dodd-Frank, a signature piece of Democratic legislation. He even told me when we bumped into each other how he figured that many people in our home district were not happy with him because of that vote. But my surprise at that vote pales in comparison to the shock, disappoint, and even shame of Congressman Loebsack's vote this week supporting right-wing Republican efforts to stop the few Syrian refugees being allowed into the United States from finding safety from their imploading land.

The United States has a tremendously rigorous process to admit refugees, one that requires jumping many bureaucratic hoops over the course of many, many months. Since 9/11, roughly three quarters of a million refugees have been admitted to our country; less than five individuals have had ties to terrorism. But the reaction to the current refugee crisis that we are seeing from politicians and sadly, our fellow citizens, has nothing to do with facts. It has everything to do with fear.

An America of fear-- whether driven by misinformation, ignorance, or racism-- is neither the America I grew up in nor love. This is America at its worst: an America that imprisoned its fellow countrymen for being of Japanese or German decent; an America that turned away Jews on the SS St Louis so that half of them could be slaughtered in concentration camps. This is an American reacting from a place of emotional weakness, and Congressmen Loebsack voted for it.

Over the years, I have supported Dave by voting for him in every election and occasionally donated to his campaigns not much, but something. The bottom line is that while I did not always agree with him, I always believed that in his heart of hearts, Dave and I shared a common set of Democratic values. After the vote this week, I am confident that Dave does not hold my Democratic values-- and I have serious doubts that he holds any American values at all. I will be hoping that a true Democrat runs against Dave in his primary, and in that event, they will have my vote and support. Since nothing thrills me more than voting, I refuse to let Dave's reprehensible vote stop my voting. Just because Dave has chosen to abandon his values does not mean I will do the same-- in fact his actions will encourage me to write in "None of the Above." Perhaps others can try the same-- let's see what we can change together.
IA-02 is a pretty Democratic district. The PVI is D+4 and Obama beat McCain 57-41% in 2008 and beat Romney 56-43% in 2012. Last year, when the Iowa Democratic Party was all but wiped out Loebsack managed to hold onto his seat with 142,566 votes (52.5%) against Mariannette Miller-Meeks' 129,157 (47.5%). Next year he'll be facing state Senator Mark Chelgren of Ottumwa who beat Democratic incumbent Keith Kreiman in 2010 and whose district is entirely inside IA-01 (Davis, Jefferson, Van Buren, and Wapello counties). Although IA-02 has a Democratic registration advantage (160,562 registered Democrats to 136,215 Republicans), the 182,047 independents decide elections there.

As Nick Kristof wrote in his NY Times OpEd, The Statue of Liberty Must Be Crying With Shame, this weekend, "as anti-refugee hysteria sweeps many of our political leaders, particularly Republicans, I wonder what they would have told a desperate refugee family fleeing the Middle East. You’ve heard of this family: a carpenter named Joseph, his wife, Mary, and their baby son, Jesus." Yes, "particularly Republicans"... but not exclusively so. Loebsack was one of the 47 Democrats-gone-bad, but one of only 5 who, along with Janice Hahn (CA), Marcy Kaptur (OH), Louise Slaughter (NY) and Rick Nolan (MN), purports to be a progressive.

Labels: , , ,


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

OK, so here's the thing about Dave. He's not an especially smart man, despite being a college professor. He's a nice man, for the most part, but he's not a man of character. He is fairly easily led around by people who are more sure of themselves. He has gone inside the DC Dome and, as you mention, has been swinging slowly right in recent years. Like your interviewee, I always thought his heart was in the right place. Now, I'm not so sure. Even so, I do not regret helping him defeat one of the authors of Gramm-Leach-Bliley in 2006. I'll still take a wavering liberal over a Rahm Center Aisle Caucus sonofabitch any day. Also the counties you mention are entirely within the 2nd Congressional District, not the 1st.


Post a Comment

<< Home