Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Will Pennsylvanians Let NY Greaseball Chuck Schumer Pick Their Senator Today?


Few people remember Joe Biden's Senate record. But I'm one who does. "Corporate whore" comes rapidly to mind. Biden was a right-of-center establishment Democratic who represented Wall Street interests while painting himself as a man of the people who road Amtrack. Outside of Delaware-- where he was a sentaor from 1973 'til 2008-- no one ever bought the hype back then, though Politico, which wasn't around then, does today. Biden's presidential bids never got off the ground. Biden's innate conservatism led him to the Republican Party, although his dislike of Nixon inspired him to register as an independent. The boss of his law firm was a Democrat and eventually, in his late 20s, Biden slipped into the Delaware Democratic Party. He won his first Senate election, an upset, against GOP incumbent Caleb Boggs, by 3,162 votes, running on a progressive platform. After a short time, he pivoted away from progressive stands and towards the very establishment, very status quo positions that have kept him from ever breaking through politically. His anti-consumer bankruptcy bills on behalf of predatory credit card companies are his top legislative achievements.

Now Biden is busy working with Chuck Schumer to make the Senate more Wall street-friendly, less progressive and less open to nay form of the kind of populism he's faked for his whole political career-- basically, his whole life. He's been the establishment's happy warrior in the ugly Democratic Party campaign against independent-minded Joe Sestak in Pennsylvania. Media buffoons never stop talking about how Biden is from Scranton, which is true, but he hasn't lived there since he was 9 years old. The establishment is using his status as son of Scranton in a vicious anti-Sestak campaign in favor of the Machine's worthless puppet candidate, Katie McGinty, who was recruited by Chuck Schumer when Sestak refused to pledge personal allegience to the power-mad Schumer.

The two other right-of-center Wall Street whores Biden has gotten behind this cycle are Schumercrats Ted Strickland in Ohio and "ex"-Republican Patrick Murphy in Florida, Wall Street's #1 priority for a Senate seat for 2016. As soon as Biden had given up on running for president himself, Schumer was all over him to help him elect more conservative Democrats to the Senate.
Within weeks, incoming Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) was at the Naval Observatory for breakfast, talking over the details. Not long after, he returned with Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee chair Jon Tester (D-Mont.) for a 90-minute briefing on their top races.

“He was a man of the Senate, cared about the Senate, and we said, ‘We really need you to be our point guy,’” Schumer said. “And he has been.”
That's meant campaigning against progressives for Schumer's weak and corrupt batch of Wall Street-backing establishment shills. Patrick Murphy may be the worst Democrat running this year-- if you count the rich, spoiled GOP brat as a Democrat at all-- but Wall Street is all in on him and Biden got dragged into it by Schumer, promising presidential library contributions from banksters and from Murphy's crooked parents. Today Pennsylvania Democrats will pick between a man they know and respect and the puppet candidate of the machine. Obama has a generic ad he's cutting for the Schumercrats like McGinty. Paul Kane, in yesterday's Washington Post seems to be one of the only Beltway journalists to have figured out the destestable Schumer is pulling all the strings from behind the curtain. Here's how he described a scene with a criminal state Senator in Philly:
Katie McGinty has never been elected to anything, and her name is not well known to Pennsylvania voters. So last week, at a bustling transit stop in West Philadelphia, the unlikely Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate was relying on a local power broker to sell her to his dubious constituents.

A friend with a bullhorn beckoned commuters as state Sen. Vincent Hughes (D) insisted that McGinty would prevail in Tuesday’s Democratic primary on the strength of endorsements from powerful party leaders, including President Obama.

“There’s a crystallization, largely in the African American community, around Katie as they see folks like myself and others come out in support of her,” Hughes said.

...In Pennsylvania, the feud is more about personality than policy: Democratic leaders despise Sestak, who never stopped campaigning for the Senate after losing narrowly to Toomey six years ago.

“I don’t think anybody would call Joe Sestak paranoid if he said the Democratic Party was out to get him,” said John Fetterman, the mayor of Braddock and the third Democrat in the race.

The dispute has turned into a roughly $10 million brawl for the nomination that is likely to leave the victor broke and in desperate need of a strategy to unify the Democratic ranks against Toomey and his $10 million campaign war chest.

Polls showed Sestak, 64, with a large early lead. Now the race is neck and neck, but no one is sure whether McGinty, 52, can marshal her momentum and financial edge to overcome the reservoir of goodwill that Sestak has established during his years-long, nonstop campaign.

...McGinty has run in just one previous race, finishing a distant fourth in the 2014 Democratic gubernatorial primary. Her commercials tend to feature others talking about her-- in one recent ad, Obama’s voice made up almost the entire audio-- rather than the candidate explaining her policy proposals in her own voice.

McGinty has been willing to throw elbows. She has accused Sestak of contemplating cuts to Social Security benefits, because he once said nice things about a bipartisan debt-reduction plan known as Bowles-Simpson. And she has twisted his 2009 vote in favor of a proposal to tax Wall Street bonuses into an allegation that he supports unlimited bonuses for bank executives.

Still, it’s a measure of their deep dislike for Sestak that party leaders are backing such an unproven candidate in such a critical race.

In addition to helping McGinty’s campaign raise money, Democratic leaders have helped build an outside coalition of support that includes the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, Emily’s List, labor unions and environmental groups. All told, the outside groups have so far spent an additional $4 million on McGinty’s behalf.

“This has become a campaign that is driven by Washington, D.C.,” Sestak said in an interview with the Washington Post.

For his part, Sestak says he tried to mend fences with party leaders. He says he considered their recommendations for his new campaign manager and fundraising chief. But he says he just couldn’t take it when he was given a direct order by a senior Democrat: “Sestak, whenever I tell you anything, the only answer is yes.”

In the interview, Sestak declined to name the party boss in question, but in earlier talks with local media, he made clear that it was Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.).

DWT has been reporting this for over a month. What we didn't know until we read Kane's piece though is that Philly political machine bosses, like Hughes and Robert Brady, are angry at Sestak because he refused to pay the traditional "walking around money" (half a million) to their machine the last time he ran. Kane implies Schumer and Biden are planning the same kind of treatment against Grayson and on behalf of Wall Street errand boy Patrick Murphy. HuffPo seems to have noticed what Schumer is up to as well, although none of the mainstream media is reporting about the explicit and aggressive threats to Bernie from Schumer to not interfere in the Senate races. In an interview, John Fetterman, the third candidate in the Pennsylvania Senate primary-- the real progressive in the race-- told Michael McAulife, the DSCC lied to him about remaining neutral in the race and letting Pennsylvania Democrats decide on their own. Schumer and his vile sock-puppet, Jon Tester, have spent close to $2 million boosting McGinty as of last night.
“They reneged on that promise, clearly, in a big, big way,” Fetterman said. “That’s the only conversation that we’ve had in Washington with the elites or the establishment.”

Fetterman is not especially surprised. He’s the sort of outsider whose ideas about inequality and belief in the need for fundamental change have long alarmed cautious, triangulation-prone party leaders who now worry that Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is making overly bold promises that he can’t possibly deliver. But Fetterman is also exactly the sort of candidate who, if he can win, would give Sanders a better chance of passing things like a $15 minimum wage, universal health care and free public college. And right now, not only are Democratic Party leaders not helping, they’re standing in the way... “I wanted to be a true progressive option in a race of more centrist and kind of traditional Democrats,” said Fetterman, who has endorsed Sanders.

...In the context of 2016, Fetterman’s policy aspirations are not that different from those of many left-leaning Democrats. He backs a $15 minimum wage, a woman’s right to choose, immigration reform and tighter gun laws, although he’s a gun owner.

It’s the way he approaches those issues that puts him at odds with party leaders in Washington who have cast themselves as reasonable compromisers against Republicans who are unyielding obstructionists.

Fetterman believes standing in the way can have its place.

“I’m the only candidate in this race that’s proud to say I have litmus tests for any Supreme Court nominee that I would vote for, and first and foremost of those is repealing Citizens United,” he said, referring to the 2010 court decision that paved the way for unlimited corporate spending in campaigns.

He also doesn’t believe in compromise for compromise’s sake when he views the other side as entirely unreasonable.

“This idea that you can compromise with crazy or unreasonable-- that’s not compromise, that is appeasement, and that doesn’t help anybody move it a long,” Fetterman said.

“When the other side is espousing these views that have no room for compromise, and they’re absurdist-- we don’t argue about the science of the camera that’s recording me, we don’t argue about the science of our iPhones, but why are we arguing about the science of climate?” he said. “It’s just because someone’s gut says if it snowed last week, I don’t have to worry about it-- you can’t really compromise on that.”

He allows that the divide in the country is especially broad right now, as seen in the rise of both Trump and Sanders. He sees both candidates as opposite sides of the populist coin, with Trump tapping into the destructive, dark side of populism embraced by so many in the tea party.

“This tea party, angry mindset-- they’ve just become performance artists. How many more dozens of times are they going to repeal Obamacare? How many dozens of more times are they going to scream and yell about transgender [people] using bathrooms, or that the world will spin off its axis if we grant marriage equality? The only marriage that I saw fall apart after [the Supreme Court upheld marriage equality] was Josh Duggar’s,” he said.

He also takes the unpolitician-like position of not claiming to have all the answers, including how to bridge the gaping divide. But he promises to try.

“[I’m] not guaranteeing an outcome other than to say I guarantee to work hard to achieve that outcome,” Fetterman said.

He especially can’t guarantee the outcome of this election.

One of the biggest hurdles he points to is the spending in the race, which makes his chances of taking the step up especially slim. Party insiders are determined to advance McGinty, and the combined spending on her behalf by the DSCC and other outside groups exceeds $4 million. That’s on top of almost $3 million spent by her own campaign. Sestak’s campaign and a super PAC backing him have spent about $3.5 million.

Fetterman has only raised about $600,000, and state news coverage of the contest has been dominated by the battle between the better-known Sestak and the party’s choice, McGinty.

“The money in my race has had massive, massive influence,” Fetterman said. “It’s not about ideas, it’s not about experience, it’s not about debates, it’s about how much money can you bring in from outside forces and just carpet bomb the airwaves with television ads.”

In a large state like Pennsylvania, the barrage has left very little room for Fetterman, whose polling numbers have ranged from the single digits to the mid-teens.

At the same time, neither Sestak, who generally leads, nor McGinty are getting support above the mid-30 percent range in spite of all their spending.

Fetterman still sees a chance to make up the difference by Tuesday’s election, in which he may be able to count on many Sanders supporters swinging his way while Clinton backers split between McGinty and Sestak.
Blue America has been rising money for Fetterman but our real hope to stop the complete conservative takeover of the Senate Democrats is in the race in Maryland today, where Donna Edwards may be able to beat establishment shill Chris Van Hollen today, and in Florida, where Grayson is still ahead of Murphy and beating him significantly in the race for small donor money. Only 10% of Murphy's campaign money comes from small contributions. Nearly 60% of Grayson's does. Please consider contributing to our Senate candidates here:
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