Thursday, February 25, 2016

Note To Steve Israel And Chuck Schumer: The Word Progressive Actually Has A Meaning


When then-DCCC head Steve Israel was asked by a reporter for the Omaha World-Herald how he felt about his conservative recruit, Brad Ashford, a Nebraska Republican state senator, getting into Congress as a Democrat and voting far more with the GOP than with the Democrats, Israel responded:
"It doesn't concern me, it doesn't faze me, it doesn't bother me."
No, it wouldn't. Israel is now Pelosi's head of House Democratic messaging and he, along with other unscrupulous DC party bosses, have admitted they want to entice Bernie's grassroots supporters into contributing to candidates like Ashford and the other garbage candidates who the DCCC-- like "former" Republicans Monica Vernon in Iowa, Mike Parrish in Pennsylvania and Mike Derrick in New York-- and DSCC-- "former" Republican Patrick Murphy-- recruit on a regular basis.

It's especially galling to watch these conservatives using the word "progressive" to describe themselves during primary season. It's linguistic fraud. It isn't popular in Democratic primaries for a candidate to run as a conservative even if that's what they are. You keep seeing Hillary Clinton, who-- after she was finished campaigning for Richard Nixon, Barry Goldwater and Nelson Rockefeller and was no longer a student at Wellesley College, where she was president of the Young Republicans-- switched to the Democratic Party but was always a conservative Democrat. She felt fine sitting on the Board of Walmart and later telling her Senate colleagues that marriage equality should be off the table because marriage MUST remain "between one man and one woman," and now accepting millions and millions of dollars from Wall Street banksters and K Street lobbyists. That's the behavior conservative Democrats share with Republicans. But not something they want to highlight during primary season. So they called themselves "progressives."

Steve Israel, who hates progressives far more than he hates Republicans, encourages even the most conservative Democrats stuck in a primary battle to make the word meaningless by using it over and over and over until voters are confused or even turned off. It's what conservative Democrats did to the word "liberal." Yesterday and the day before I got letters from the frantic and desperate Patrick Murphy campaign-- horrified that Alan Grayson's polling lead in the Florida primary has continued to grow-- asserting that Murphy is a progressive. Patrick Murphy-- the one who has one of the most right-wing, anti-working family voting records of any Democrat in Congress? Who voted for the Keystone XL Pipeline half a dozen times? Who voted to create the Benghazi witch-hunt Committee to destroy Hillary Clinton? Who voted for oil drilling off Florida's pristine beaches? Who has worked in the House Financial Services Committee on behalf of his Wall Street financiers to undermine and sabotage Dodd-Frank? Yes, that Patrick Murphy. He actually tried making the case that he's a progressive and Alan Grayson isn't! Chuck Schumer told him it would be good politics. They even dragged poor, old, increasingly senile Harry Reid into it!

Patrick Murphy, Harry Reid, Chuck Schumer

I noticed the other day when Chris Matthews' conservative lobbyist wife endorsed Wall Street-friendly establishment Democrat Chris Van Hollen for Senate against progressive icon Donna Edwards, she (Kathleen Matthews) kept referring to herself as a "progressive." But she isn't a progressive. She's an upper class conservative who's pro-Choice. Progressives are tribunes for working families. Democrats like Kathleen Matthews have contact with working families when they hire them as servants.

The misuse of the word "progressive" bothered me enough so that I asked some of the Blue America candidates if they're finding this phenomena in their own races. Tim Canova, who's running for the seat Debbie Wasserman Schultz drew for herself when she was in the Florida state legislature, didn't need me to ask twice. He Referred to an article at the Huffington Post by Zach Carter who wrote that the Canova-Wasserman Schultz primary "could well reveal more about the Democratic Party than any other contest in this cycle, including the one for president... It’s a test of whether progressive ideas or corporate money are more central to the Democratic Party’s future." And earlier today he told me that his "is a truly progressive agenda-- to rebuild our country, provide jobs and educational opportunities for all, and force the wealthiest corporations to start paying their fair share in taxes. As head of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), Wasserman Schultz recently reversed President Obama’s long-standing ban on corporate lobbyist donations to the DNC. This opens the door to the same corporate interests that have been funding her own campaigns-- the Wall Street banks, huge corporations, and big alcohol and private prison companies. That’s why she keeps voting to deregulate Wall Street, fast-track terrible trade deals that threaten our public health, jobs and the environment, and continue with a disastrous war on drugs, privatized prisons and mass incarceration. I am proud that our campaign is different.  We don’t take a penny of corporate money and we never will.  And when elected, we will not owe any favors to corporate special interests."

Alex Law in South Jersey has a similar race against an even more overtly conservative opponent. "Donald Norcross," he reminded us, "has voted with Republicans more than any Democrat in the entire New Jersey delegation. His first vote in Congress was for the Keystone XL Pipeline. He has voted against the President by going against the Iran Deal and the refugee bill. He has consistently sided with his campaign donors Monsanto and Lockheed Martin through his votes on GMO labeling and defense contracts. He has voted to extend the Patriot Act, voted to support unfair lending practices to minorities, and has refused to take a stand for campaign finance reform. Mr. Norcross is not a progressive. But, now that our campaign has been successful, he has tried to make voters think he shifted to the left by supposedly supporting a $15 an hour minimum wage. The problem is, not only does his plan take 10 years to do it, it also includes clauses that give huge, sellable tax credits to companies that act early. Which means, Mr. Norcross essentially wants poor and middle class tax payers to bribe corporations for their raise. Our campaign is truly progressive. We endorsed Bernie Sanders as soon as he announced he was running. We support sustainable energy, campaign finance reform, LGTBQ rights, health care for all, and many other progressive issues. We proudly support #blacklivesmatter. This campaign has awakened a progressive spirit here in South Jersey by knocking on tens of thousands of doors and making tens of thousands of phone calls. We have been supported by over a thousand individual donors chipping in when they can because they are saying collectively with us, 'Enough is enough!' Mr. Norcross is not a progressive; he has been more conservative than many Republicans. For him to say or imply otherwise is so thoroughly misleading, he should be ashamed."

Mike Noland is a state senator with a somewhat different situation. A longtime progressive with an impeccable record, he's running for an open blue congressional seat in the 'burbs west of O'Hare, through Schaumburg out to Elgin and Carpentersville. He's considered one of the most pro-union legislators in Illinois and for obvious reasons-- he's had to work his entire life. He started by shining shoes at the age of 7, working all throughout high school and driving a limo at night while attending law school. All of this is in sharp contrast to his opponent, Raja Krishnamoorthi, who enjoyed the privilege of financial support all throughout his academic career and then went to work for a multi-national law firm, Kirkland and Ellis. K&E’s clients include BP, Bain Capital, and United Airlines. Raja was an attorney of record for United Airlines during their bankruptcy. As part of the settlement, United cut over 58,000 jobs and the pensions of its employees. That's not what progressives do-- not ever. As a member of the general assembly Noland has voted multiple times to raise the minimum wage in Illinois. As someone who has worked minimum wage jobs himself, he supports a national minimum wage of $15 per hour. Meanwhile, Raja supports a $10.10 minimum wage that would leave thousands of low wage employees still living in poverty.

Raja tries claiming he's a progressive too but he can't deny he was the co-author of a paper praising the virtue of privatizing important public services stating doing so is "just a matter of math." Mike, on the other hand, has consistently fought to protect essential government sector jobs for teachers, first responders and health care providers through Medicaid. An especially telling and deep contrast between Mike and his opponent is Mike's steadfast opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Mike has recognized since the beginning that the TPP would be bad news for American workers and said so publicly. Raja, on the other hand, trying to appeal to his corporate base, only recently, followed along, reluctantly stating his opposition to TPP while ignoring the fact that just a few years ago he said that he supported the President's fast track authority. Voters in the 8th district must wonder if the "R" in Raja stands for Republican. As for Mike, he told us that "when you’ve got as strong a progressive record as I have you really don’t even have to call yourself one. Those who know you, know." Blue America endorsed Mike, as well as Alex and Tim and you can find them on this page.

We're also seeing this in a district north of Chicago where Brad Schneider, a conservative New Dem who was defeated in 2014, when Democratic voters in the district stayed away from the polls in droves to protest his Republican-lite record, is trying to pose as a progressive for his primary fight against Nancy Rotering, the progressive mayor of Highland Park. A couple hours ago Rotering said "While in office my opponent, Brad Schneider, voted against President Obama 37% of the time, more than almost any Democrat in Congress, yet he calls himself a progressive. He even voted with Republicans repeatedly to delay and undermine Obamacare. And he also claims to be a champion for gun control, yet shied away from dozens of opportunities to take a stand."

Nanette Barragán has a similar situation. She's running for an open blue seat in L.A.'s South Bay and has a corrupt conservative state senator running against her, Isadore Hall. "I stand by my progressive values," he said when we asked her, "not because it’s easy or popular, but because I believe that as a public servant, it is my job to move my community forward, no matter the political cost. While I was fighting to protect our community from special interests in an oil industry trying to take advantage of us, my opponent abandoned his heavily polluted district in exchange for hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations from the oil and tobacco industries."

Alan Grayson hasn't been holding back against the self-proclaimed DC bosses on both sides of the aisle, the ones with their hands on the Wall Street money taps. "Barack Obama was not born in Kenya," he wrote today. "Hillary Clinton did not kill Vince Foster. Bernie Sanders does not hold an Israeli passport. And it is so, so pathetic that the corrupt, inept bureaucrats who call themselves our 'leaders' have to stoop so low as to make the same kind of baseless smirches against me. Just today, they tried to put it out there that I’m not a “real” progressive. Excuse you?"
I’m fighting a political life-and-death struggle against a Democratic Party D.C. Establishment that has betrayed progressive principles over and over and over again, over my very loud objection. (No wonder they don’t love me.) Look at what they’ve done:
The Democratic Establishment killed the public option.
The Democratic Establishment refused to punish the banksters.
The Democratic Establishment wasted billions of dollars on bailouts.
The Democratic Establishment keeps pushing for Social Security benefit cuts.
The Democratic Establishment opposes Medicare for All.
The Democratic Establishment implemented huge tax cuts for multinational corporations.
The Democratic Establishment has shipped millions of jobs overseas.
The Democratic Establishment has taxed union benefits, and refused to put EFCA up to a Senate vote.
The Democratic Establishment has collaborated in the destruction of affirmative action.
And that’s just off the top of my head.

Look at their appalling sell-out record. Then look back at mine. You’ll see a Congressman who not only cares about working people, but gets good things done for them. Who actually delivers for progressives, and for our progressive principles of justice, equality and peace.

And them? Liars, losers, fakers and sellouts.
Let's not let them and their media lackeys drive this guy out of Congress with their shameless piles of lies, smears and distortions. Please tap on the thermometer:
Goal Thermometer

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