Friday, March 11, 2016

Does Anyone Still Feign Surprise When A Blue Dog Finally Comes Out As A Republican? Joe Baca's Running Again-- As A GOPer


Joe Baca was one of the worst members of Congress when he was in Congress-- a corrupt, conservative Blue Dog and NRA shill. Although he voted with the Republicans against core progressive values and principles virtually all the time, there is such an utter lack of party discipline that he was able to cross the aisle with complete impunity. No one really doubted that his political raison d'être was maintaining his position as a member of the Houses two biggest founts of bribery-- the Agriculture Committee and the Financial Services Committee. He was using congressional funds to enrich and promote his large ethics-free family and was widely known as a big sexist slob. Latinas in the House complained about his abusive behavior. But... conservative Democrats can do no wrong.

He had been first elected in 1998 and was defeated by Democrat Gloria McLeod, who he referred to as "a bimbo," in 2012 when anti-NRA crusader Michael Bloomberg dumped over $3 million worth of ads into the race against Baca. Two years later he stumbled around an adjoining district, CA-31, but was defeated in the primary. A sleazy coked up, New Dem, Pete Aguilar, won that race and Baca is running for the seat again-- this time as a Republican. Yes, he's a Republican now. Like all the Blue Dogs he always voted with the Republicans anyway, so why not? It's what Blue Dogs always do. After they suck immense amounts of resources out of the Democratic Party they eventually joining the GOP. The crackpot, right-winger who is the current governor of Georgia, Nathan Deal, started out as a Blue Dog before switching to the GOP. Dozens of Blue Dogs have become fence jumpers. It's what they are.

Baca claims his switch was caused by his "core Christian values." On switching, he also mouthed some GOP claptrap about being pro-growth and pro-business. "I’ve always been very conservative in nature... [it's] how I voted the majority of the time I was in office," he said. No kidding! You'd think House Democratic would have noticed. But... people like to forget that one of Pelosi's top lieutenants, failed DCCC head Steve Israel, was also a Blue Dog before joining the House leadership and he took it on himself to always protect his fellow Blue Dogs, spending millions and millions of DCCC dollars to try to keep them from being flushed down the toilet. (The vast majority of Blue Dogs have been flushed down the toilet.)

So now Baca is running against Aguilar. There's no good outcome in that race, but it'll cost the DCCC more money to help one corrupt conservative from defeating another corrupt conservative.

But, as we saw earlier this week, the biggest Blue Dog action this cycle is a challenge by progressive former state legislator Dave McTeague to Blue Dog chairman Kurt Schrader. Usually, the only way we get rid of Blue Dogs is when they're taken out by Republicans (or become Republicans). The opportunity in Oregon should be cherished and McTeague should be supported-- Blue America has endorsed him-- just as Tim Canova's campaign to oust New Dem Debbie Wasserman Schultz should be cherished and supported. (Blue America endorsed Tim too.)

Yesterday Thom Hartmann wrote about how important it is for real Democrats to work to drive DINOs from power inside the Democratic Party. His target was the very visible Wasserman Schultz. Who, outside of Oregon and DWT's readership, has even ever heard of Kurt Schrader?
[S]he should have resigned months ago, and she probably shouldn't have ever held the position in the first place. Not just because she's repeatedly and blatantly attempted to tip the scales in Hillary Clinton's favor during the Democratic primary, but also because, based on her words and her votes, she is exactly the type of so-called "centrist" corporate Democrat that the party needs to rid from its ranks.

To start, she's right now co-sponsoring a bill that would gut the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's payday loan and car loan regulations, basically protecting loan sharks from regulations at the expense of low-income Americans. Never mind the fact that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is one of Barack Obama and Elizabeth Warren's major progressive achievements to reign in financial abuses.

She also just lifted the ban that President Obama himself put in place that bans lobbyists from donating to the Democratic National Committee, and her lifting of that ban officially ended one of the few remaining rules that stem the tide of corporate money into the Democratic Party.

In the most recent omnibus spending bill, she voted for one provision that prevents the Securities and Exchange Commission from writing rules that would require corporations to disclose political spending to shareholders. In the same bill, she voted for another provision that would make it impossible for the IRS to create rules to curb special interest donors from forming "social welfare organizations" to hide political spending.

Schultz was one of the 28 Democrats who voted for fast-tracking the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and she received $300,000 from interest groups backing the trade deal, presumably for that vote, according to the American Prospect.

Just after the Democratic party lost the House and Senate catastrophically back in 2014, Wasserman Schultz voted to eliminate that part of Dodd-Frank that had prevented big banks from using deposits to speculate in financial derivatives.

Not to mention the fact that even though 58 percent of people from both parties in Florida support legalizing medical marijuana, Debbie Wasserman Schultz still opposes legalizing medical marijuana. She says it's because marijuana is a gateway drug, but it might have more to do with the tens of thousands of dollars she's gotten from the alcohol industry since she's been in Congress.

That's just a glimpse at Wasserman Schultz' voting record, and it shows a pattern of voting for pro-corporate legislation and for legislation that opens our political system to even more political spending and corruption.

On defense and national security, she's supported Republican ideas like extraditing NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden back to the United States to be arrested and prosecuted because he "jeopardized millions of Americans,"and she voted to extend the Patriot Act.

But even if she did support truly progressive and Democratic causes, she's not even particularly good at rallying the party that she's supposed to be leading.

She even recently alienated part of the Democratic base when she told the the New York Times that young women aren't supporting Hillary Clinton because there's "a complacency among the generation of young women whose entire lives have been lived after Roe v. Wade was decided."

Back in 2014, before the Republicans took control of both chambers of Congress, Debbie Wasserman Schultz successfully depressed the Democratic base by telling Politico, "I'm not going to confidently predict that Democrats will take the House back." With that kind of leadership, Democrats didn't just not win the House, they also lost the Senate.

Considering her positions, though, she's probably more comfortable with a Republican-controlled Congress than a truly progressive Democratic Party.

Debbie Wasserman Schultz isn't the only Democrat-In-Name-Only (DINO) in the Democratic leadership. But as the DNC Chair, she is the highest-ranking DINO in the party.

Even if Bernie Sanders doesn't get the nomination, progressive Democrats need to stand up and challenge the corporate DINOs who currently run the party, like law professor and real progressive Tim Canova is doing with his primary challenge in Debbie Wasserman Schultz' district.

It's time to restore the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party, and we should start with the chair.

This cycle the 4 worst DINO incumbents with viable progressive primary challengers are Wasserman Schultz (FL), Kurt Schrader (OR), Lacy Clay (MO) and Donald Norcross (NJ). You can find their opponents-- respectively Tim Canova, Dave McTeague, Maria Chappelle-Nadal and Alex Law-- by tapping the thermometer below:
Goal Thermometer

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At 3:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had the misfortune to have Useless Joe represent me. He sent out an annual statement bragging about getting a Post Office and a local park named for prominent Hispanics, and getting a couple of commemoration bills through the House. He did nothing of substance otherwise.

His two useless sons will likely also switch parties soon, as they have used up their Democratic Party assets in losing bids for state and local office.

At 6:22 PM, Anonymous wjbill said...

I continue to hope Sinema does the same in AZ so at least there could be a clear challenge to her brand of corporatism.


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