Thursday, March 03, 2016

Progressives Betrayed By The Establishment... Again


As progressive champion Alan Grayson continued to pull ahead of Republican-lite Congressman Patrick Murphy in polling for the Florida Senate primary, Obama weighed in with an endorsement. He's certainly entitled to his opinion, parroting the exact Chuck Schumer talking points he hands out to all the stooges he gets to endorse his corrupt conservative little Schumercrat: "a tireless champion for middle-class families," a sad joke on the American people. It came three days after Grayson endorsed Bernie in the presidential race, but I don't think that's the primary reason. I'll tell you why in a minute, but first a little background.

We've talked about Patrick Murphy's ultra-conservative voting record and his odious role on the House Financial Services Committee as Wall Street's errand boy against the middle class for 3 years and I'm not going to rehash that again. I just want to pick out a few votes that were specifically aimed at President Obama himself.

On September 9 at 4:55 in the afternoon, the House passed a resolution condemning President Obama's rescue of Beau Bergdahl from the Taliban. It passed 249-163, every Republican plus 22 conservative Democrats voting for it. Two Blue Dog Democrats, John Barrow (GA) and Nick Rahall (WV) joined 92 Republicans as co-sponsors. Two months later, Democratic voters in their districts stayed away from the polls and both right-wing Democratic shitheads were finally defeated, although, not in primaries-- but to even worse Republicans. Among the disloyal 22 Democrats who voted to condemn Obama was, of course, Patrick Murphy. He always crosses the aisle to vote with his old pals the Republicans-- yes, he was a lifelong Republican and maxed out to Mitt Romney's campaign against President Obama-- on showy legislation like this. Three other conservaDems were defeated 2 months after the vote, like Barrow and Rahall-- Pete Gallego (Blue Dog-TX), Mike Michaud (Blue Dog-ME) and Joe Garcia (New Dem-FL); a 4th Blue Dog, Utah's Jim Matheson, wisely retired rather than face certain defeat at the polls. Murphy managed to skate under the radar, using the vote to bolster his image in West Palm Beach as an "independent."

Safely reelected, Murphy continued in his role of being one of the biggest boosters of the Keystone XL Pipeline in Congress, voting for it every single time Boehner brought it up. Many other right-wing fake Democrats did as well. But in May, 2013, he did something even many of the most right-wing Democrats in the House couldn't bring themselves to do. Long before their primary battle began this other Keystone vote-- with Murphy voting with the Republican polluters and Grayson voting with the Democrats and environmentalists-- brought the two men's approach into focus-- for those who pay attention to House votes. Grayson offered a resolution challenging the constitutionality of the GOP plan to take the decision-making for Keystone XL pipeline out of President Obama's hands. "The Keystone XL Pipeline deal is an earmark to a foreign corporation, plain and simple," Grayson said. "House Republicans claim to have been incredibly keen on ridding our legislative system of Congressional earmarks-- yet here they are-- hypocritically sneaking one in for a foreign corporation. They seem to believe that the 'no earmarks' rule does not apply to them. That’s just unacceptable." Only 19 Democrats voted with the GOP that day, Murphy, of course being one of them. No other Florida Democrat, not even paid-off sleaze bag Joe Garcia, voted to strip President Obama of his decision-making power; just Murphy-- who Chuck Schumer and Wall Street are now determined to reward with a Senate seat!

In May, 2014, Murphy was still not thinking about running for the Senate. He was just trying to show Republicans he was still one of them, despite the "D" next to his name. So on May 8 as the sun was setting over DC, the Republicans were desperate to find a few Democrats willing to make their vicious plan to establish a witch hunt to use against Hillary Clinton look bipartisan. Most of the usual suspects who vote with the GOP on everything passed on that one. It was really toxic for Democrats to vote to establish the Benghazi Committee, which was so obviously a partisan attack against the Obama Administration in general and Hillary Clinton in particular. When the vote came up, it passed 232-186, every Republican voting YES and every Democrat voting NO... except for 7 fake Democrats, Murphy included. Four of the 7-- Ron Barber, John Barrow, Mike McIntyre and Nick Rahall-- were driven out of Congress at the next election. But Murphy skated by again, along with Blue Dog extremists Kyrsten Sinema (AZ) and Collin Peterson (MN).

Obama killed Regina's political career when he endorsed his own ideological enemy John Barrow

One more thing before I get into the why of the Obama endorsement. By 2008, no one considered reactionary Georgia Blue Dog John Barrow an actual Democrat. He was voting with the Republicans more frequently than a dozen Republicans were! That year progressives in Georgia felt they had finally found a candidate who could beat him in a primary, highly respected and accomplished state Sen. Regina Thomas, once Deputy Majority Whip of the Georgia House and in synch-- unlike Barrow-- with every issue Obama was presenting to the American people. When Obama endorsed Barrow and recorded a radio spot for black radio stations heralding him as a hero of working families, it was a knife right into the heart of Regina's campaign-- the ultimate betrayal. Of course, no one who remembered Obama's fulsome endorsement of Joe Lieberman against Ned Lamont could have been that surprised.

Aside from the radio spot that was played exclusively on black radio, Barrow's spots from the primary were all repetitions of GOP talking points scapegoating immigrants, railing against the "death tax," boosterism for the Bush/McCain perspective on wars in the Middle East. Obama's ad said "We're going to need John Barrow back in Congress to help change Washington and get our country back on track." Back in Washington, Barrow voted against virtually every proposal Obama made to Congress. By the way, Hillary Clinton endorsed him too-- against the African-American woman state senator. Barrow's ads from that primary have all been "disappeared" from YouTube, but this one will give you an idea of who Obama and Hillary were endorsing:

OK, now to the why. Ready for the stench of corruption? The banksters made no secret of their fury at being targeted and held accountable by Bernie and Elizabeth Warren. They were very publicly threatening to withhold funds from Democratic senators and from the DSCC. Stories about it ran in the NY Times and Wall Street Journal.
Big Wall Street banks are so upset with U.S. Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren's call for them to be broken up that some have discussed withholding campaign donations to Senate Democrats in symbolic protest, sources familiar with the discussions said.

Representatives from Citigroup, JPMorgan, Goldman Sachs and Bank of America, have met to discuss ways to urge Democrats, including Warren and Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown, to soften their party's tone toward Wall Street, sources familiar with the discussions said this week.

Bank officials said the idea of withholding donations was not discussed at a meeting of the four banks in Washington but it has been raised in one-on-one conversations between representatives of some of them. However, there was no agreement on coordinating any action, and each bank is making its own decision, they said.
Their demands were simple: they wanted their own man to replace Harry Reid as head of the Senate Dems. Reid was found beaten to a pulp, nearly dead and immediately announced he was resigning and that Chuck Schumer would take over, even though he wasn't in-line for the job and there had been no vote. And they wanted pro-Wall Street Democrats (i.e.- Schumercrats) as the party's nominees in 2016 who would balance the anti-Wall Street faction. Schumer swore to deliver Patrick Murphy-- the banksters' first choice, to whom they have given more funding than any non-incumbent running this cycle ($872,350 so far). The other Wall Street-friendly crooked nominees approved by Wall Street: Chris Van Hollen (MD), Ted Stickland (OH), Tammy Duckworth (IL), Catherine Cortez Masto (NV) and Katie McGinty (PA). Here are the campaign contributions from the Finance Sector to their all-time favorite Members of Congress:

Ever wonder why the government stinks?

And then there's the question of who, exactly, is financing a presidential library being built in Chicago. A top Biden staffer has been sharing that, off-the-record, with Capitol Hill staffers and we hope to have more on that sad, sad news very soon.

In fairness, here's the statement the Grayson campaign made after the Schumer-engineered announcement was made yesterday: "These endorsements are a last-ditch effort by the DC Establishment to try to blunt our large and growing command of the race. It comes as no surprise that these moves are made just two days after Rep. Grayson became the first major statewide candidate in the country to endorse the anti-Establishment candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, for the Presidency. They come just one day after a new poll shows Rep. Grayson with a double-digit lead, winning among men and women, every age group, and whites, blacks and Hispanics. The anti-Democratic Party Establishment is desperate to drag Grayson’s opponent, their do-nothing, dirty errand boy for Wall Street, over the finish line. But Florida voters in both parties are fed up with egregious manipulation by outside forces to dictate our candidates. These arrogant Empire-Strikes-Back efforts by the Democratic politburo will be no more successful than the similar failed attempts by Republican party bosses. This is the year when the voters decide."

Obama was also manipulated into endorsing the pathetic establishment Senate candidate in Ohio, Ted Strickland, the same week that every newspaper in the state has started endorsing his opponent, PG Sittenfeld. I asked PG's communications director, Dale Butland, why he thought Obama would endorse a conservative loser like Strickland. "It’s no surprise that the Democratic establishment-- which has long been in Gov. Strickland’s corner-- would be getting mighty nervous about the momentum that’s been building around PG’s campaign. And the endorsement they engineered in Washington today was clearly designed to counter the endorsements PG’s recently received in Ohio from respected political figures like former Gov. Dick Celeste-- and respected Ohio newspapers like the Cleveland Plain Dealer and Akron Beacon Journal. "But no endorsement-- no matter who it comes from-- can change Ted’s A+ rating from the NRA-- or the fact that he voted against background checks, a ban on assault weapons, and every other common sense gun safety measure that was ever put in front of him. So when PG wins the Democratic Senate nomination on March 15, we’ll look forward to working with the President to defeat Rob Portman in November."

Back to Florida for a moment. The Democratic Progressive Caucus of Florida was aghast that Schumer and Wall Street "got to" Obama and persuaded him to back a Republican reactionary lightly disguised as a Democrat over one of the most effective progressives in our lifetimes. Caucus president Susan Smith:
"As someone who worked hard to help President Obama win Florida in 2008 and 2012, I am profoundly saddened and disappointed by his apparent lack of trust in Florida Democrats to choose our own U.S. Senate nominee. In fact, poll after poll has shown that Florida Democrats tend to prefer Alan Grayson over former Republican Patrick Murphy.

"As much as it breaks my heart to see President Obama attempt to put his thumb on the scale for Patrick Murphy, it's even more worrisome that the president seems to have done so with bad information. Patrick Murphy has said he wants to look at cuts to Social Security, and he supported the so-called Bowles-Simpson plan that would have cut benefits for the vast majority of Social Security recipients.

"Patrick Murphy was a Republican until he decided to run for office in 2011, and before he decided to run for Senate, he voted like one. It's one thing if the President is willing to look past Murphy's support for the Republican's Benghazi witch hunt and the Keystone XL pipeline, but it is another thing entirely to make an endorsement based on bad information. I hope the President will read up on Murphy's real record and reconsider his decision to throw the weight of the White House behind someone who will do Wall Street's bidding."
I contributed to Grayson, Sittenfeld and to Donna Edwards today, to show my disdain for the Democratic establishment and to do my bit, once again, to help elect a progressive and non-corrupt U.S. Senate. I hope you'll do the same... by tapping on the thermometer below:
Goal Thermometer

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At 10:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, that's our Obama, alright. Way way way better than even the 'best' Republican, but still the same Obama who had his name added to Democratic Leadership Conference (DLC) letterhead before the 2008 primaryies, but had it removed after he was told he'd lose the progressive vote if he stayed identified with the Wall-Street-loving non-Democratic wing of the Democratic party DLC.

Rank-and-file Democrats need to see their own party establishment in the same kind of light Republicans have begun seeing their own establishment - as one of the two central cogs in the problem that is total rigid oligarchic control of our economy and foreign policy.

At 3:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I remember laughing at the former Republicans who said they didn't leave the GOP, but the GOP left them. I also scoffed at the 'hardcore' lefties who said the Democrats had turned into a center-right party. But now I finally see that those lefties were correct. I'm not leaving the Democratic Party, the Democrats left me.


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