Monday, February 15, 2016

How Do We Wind Up With "Democrats" Voting Against Workers' Rights? Have You Heard Of The DCCC?


Don't you just hate it when Democrats betray core progressive values and team up with Republicans to make the lives of working families tougher? That doesn't just happen suddenly, by chance. The Members of Congress who do that are almost always products of the corrupt, conservative DCCC. Last week, for example, 2 very right-wing Democrats, Blue Dogs Brad Ashford (NE) and Collin Peterson (MN), teamed up with 106 Republicans to demand that the Department of Labor not move forward with a new regulation expanding workers' access to overtime wages.

Two especially heinous Republican freshmen, Cresent Hardy (NV) and Steve Knight (CA), eager to raise money from the Chamber of Commerce, wrote a letter to Labor Secretary Tom Perez, filled with standard conservative claptrap holding back the legitimate aspirations to a decent life for American workers. In fact, the progressive Democrat running for the seat Knight occupies in southern California, Lou Vince, told me Knight's role in this makes him "wonder who he thinks he's representing because it isn't the hard-working families of the 25th District. This country has a middle class because of the availablilty of overtime and hard-fought rights that the labor movement earned for every American. As a congressman, the only people I will represent are the residents of my district, not the corporate special interests Steve Knight fights for. His only motivation is getting more contributions for his campaign from K-Street and Wall Street."

Cresent Hardy-- in a district that backed Obama over McCain 56-41% and then Obama over Romney 54-44%-- is considered extremely vulnerable this year, especially because of his lockstep support for anti-worker legislation the GOP has been pushing. His opponent is state Senator (and Majority Whip) Ruben Kihuen, who told us today that "It's no surprise that Congressman Hardy is leading another fight to hurt worker's rights. He got into politics to end prevailing wage and has said unions are, 'somewhere between a mob and gang.' His actions and votes directly hurt working families and we must throw him out of office in November. Nevadans and Americans deserve better than an all out assault on workers. I proudly helped beat back an all out-assault on worker's rights here in Nevada and I will continue the fight to expand the middle class in Congress."

You have the right to expect these kinds of a reactions from Democrats, right? But not the kind of Democrats that the DCCC recruits in their effort to mold a less working family-oriented party that is more responsive to (bribe-giving) business and corporate interests. Democrats have a brand new numerical advantage in Knight's district and Lou, a local elected official and a former policeman, is the perfect candidate to turn it blue. But Steve Israel and Ben Ray Luján, who run the DCCC, have no interest in that and instead recruited some wealthy out-of-towner who has been completely rejected by the California Democratic Party. In response, Luján wrote the district off and is refusing to contest it. You wonder why the Democratic Party has gone from have an 83 seat majority to being down by 59 seats under the terms of corrupt conservatives Rahm Emanuel, Chris Van Hollen and Steve Israel?

In Nevada, the DCCC is looking to defeat Hardy but they don't want to offend the multimillionaire socialite, Susie Lee, who claims to be some kind of Democrat and is running against Ruben in the primary. So they're just sitting on their hands.

But what about the two "Democrats" who joined the Republicans to demand the new overtime rules not be approved? Well, let's start with Brad Ashford. His Progressive Punch lifetime crucial vote score is an astounding-- for a Democrat-- 35.29, the second worst for any Democrat in the House. In fact, this session 3 Republicans-- Walter Jones (NC), Justin Amash (MI) and Chris Gibson (NY)-- are voting more frequently for progressive initiatives than Ashford is. That isn't surprising since Ashford began his political career as a conservative Republican. He was elected to the Nebraska state Senate in 1986, just another happy anti-union Republican. In 1994 he was defeated in the Republican primary for a congressional seat. In 2014 he was recruited by "former" Blue Dog Steve Israel to run as a Democrat for the seat of one of the least popular Republicans in the country, Lee Terry. According to the Omaha World-Herald, Nebraska Democrats see Ashford as a wolf in sheep's clothing. Joseph Morton begins a profile on the congressman by mentioning he "votes largely along a party line. But it’s not his party." He votes very consistently with the GOP. What more could one expect if you recruit a Republican? "He voted," wrote Morton, "for legislation to authorize the Keystone XL pipeline. He voted to ease employer mandates in the new health care law. He voted to roll back Wall Street regulations. Ashford says people should hardly be surprised at his willingness to cross the aisle. He was, after all, a Republican for many years."
“I am for ratcheting back a lot of the regulation and letting businesses grow, not unfettered, but at least trying to unleash their ability to do business more productively,” Ashford said. “And that’s what I’ve always believed. So I don’t think I ever tried to hide that.”

That hasn’t stopped a lively discussion on Ashford’s Facebook page about the rightward tilt of his votes.

A sampling of comments:

“Is it too much to ask for the rare Democrat elected in this state to vote like the Democrat we fought to elect?”

“Usually takes more than a month for me to give up on someone. Apparently the congressman is a rare breed. Win my faith back. I dare you.”

“I just hate him for fooling me during the election process into thinking he was something better than Lee Terry. He is even worse, that wolf in sheep’s clothing!”

...While much has been made about his decisions to switch parties multiple times during his career, Ashford said his positions have been consistent over the years.

He said it’s the parties that have shifted, generally tilting further away from the middle.

Voting with Republicans hasn’t necessarily endeared him to Republicans, however-- at least not those in charge of defeating him in 2016.

...Rep. Steve Israel, D-N.Y., the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in the last election cycle, downplayed any consternation among Democrats about Ashford’s early propensity to vote with the GOP.

“It doesn’t concern me, it doesn’t faze me, it doesn’t bother me,” Israel said. “He’s doing what he should do for his district. ... Every single vote he casts, from naming post offices to deciding whether to commit U.S. troops, his first priority has to be his district. Over the course of two years, there will be moments where he votes with Democrats. There will be moments he votes with Republicans.”

So no heartburn?

“The only thing that would cause me heartburn would be if he doesn’t come back in two years,” Israel said.
Do you ever contribute to the DCCC? It may interest you to know that a friend of mine who works there told me they are prepared to spend $6 million to save Ashford's seat. That's a lot. Last cycle they spent $1,089,513, while Pelosi's House Majority PAC spent another $432,895. But this year Ashford has alienated Democrats and has made little headway among Republicans; he's highly unpopular and it's going to cost a lot more to keep him in office-- but for what? So he can continue voting with the Republicans? How stupid are Steve Israel and Ben Ray Luján? Could someone tell me if there's another explanation that I'm missing?

And speaking of having to spend ungodly amounts to prop up an unpopular right-wing Democrat, Ashford's partner in crime in this effort is another consistent GOP supporter, Minnesota Blue Dog Collin Peterson. Peterson, who votes almost as frequently against against core Democratic values as Ashford does. And, at least as far as I know, Peterson never even was a Republican. Last cycle he was barely reelected-- 130,546 (54%) to 109,955 (46%) against a barely-known Republican. And it came at a heavy price. The DCCC was forced to spend $3,611,284 on his worthless ass, while Pelosi's House Majority PAC kicked in another $332,439. So $4 million wasted on someone who basically only votes with the Democrats when it comes to naming post offices.

If you'd like to help Ruben Kihuen and Lou Vince win their congressional races, despite the DCCC, please contribute here. Unfortunately, neither Peterson or Ashford has a primary opponent... at least not yet.

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At 10:37 AM, Blogger cybermome said...

GREAT article !! A lot of people will be surprised


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