Saturday, July 30, 2016

The Case Against Corrupt Conservative Joe Garcia... In Miami-Dade



I first met Miami Democrats Annette Taddeo and Joe Garcia at around the same time-- 2008. They were two of the three Democrats running for blue-trending congressional seats in Miami-Dade who were sabotaged by then DCCC Red-to-Blue chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz. She moved swiftly and effectively to cut off their legs and back her GOP cronies, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and the Diaz-Balart brothers. The DCCC's Red-to-Blue committee only has one job: defeating Republican incumbents and replacing them with Democrats. As chair, Wasserman Schultz made it clear she was on the other side. Eventually Pelosi and Chris Van Hollen felt enough pressure for enraged Democratic donors to fire Wasserman Schultz, although it didn't stop Obama from eventually replacing Tim Kaine with Wasserman Schultz as the head of the DNC, a grievous error which has helped make the Democratic Party into the failed and corrupt pig-sty it is today.

But back to Garcia and Taddeo. They both campaigned as progressives but were both--largely because of Wasserman Schultz's efforts against them-- defeated. Annette went back to the private sector and was elected chair of the Miami-Dade Democratic Executive Committee in 2012 and then ran for Lt. Governor on Charlie Crist's ticket in 2014. Garcia got a minor position in the Obama Administration's Energy Department and then ran against the scandal-enmeshed Republican David Rivera in 2010 (losing) and again in 2012 (winning). Garcia, unfortunately turned out to be as corrupt as Rivera and was defeated in 2014. Now he and Taddeo are running in a very tight primary against each other to see who the Democratic nominee to face Carlos Curbelo, the lobbyist who beat Garcia in 2014, will be.

Although Garcia campaigned as a progressive, his one term in Congress showed him to be a putrid conservative, first joining the New Dems and then establishing a very consistent Republican-lite record, one of the worst in Congress. When I called him in 2013 and asked him why he was voting against the issues he had campaigned on, he said he had to because of the district and that if he was reelected he would be a better progressive and even join the Progressive Caucus. Blue America refused to endorse him in 2014 and this year you can contribute to Annette Taddeo's campaign here.

Patrick Murphy and his network of banksters, corrupt relatives and Saudi corruptionists are, of course, backing Garcia.
Murphy and Garcia were consistently holding hands and skipping across the aisle together to vote with their Republican pals against Wall Street reform. But voting for the GOP's war against the modest reforms in Dodd-Frank were far from the only instances where crooks like Garcia and Murphy saw opportunities to please rich campaign contributors by voting against Democratic priorities and Democratic values. Like Murphy, once Garcia got into Congress, he abandoned any pretense of progressive politics, joined the Wall Street-owned New Dems and started voting consistently with the worst, most right-wing elements of the Democratic Party. And like Patrick Murphy, he voted again and again and again for the Keystone XL Pipeline and worked with conservaDems (again, like Murphy) and the GOP to delay and sabotage the Affordable Care Act. He was quickly a total disappointment to his supporters and soon got involved with a series of his own ugly scandals and in 2014, the FL-26 voters dumped him unceremoniously for Curbelo. Garcia and Murphy support warrantless spying on American citizens and opposed the Amash amendment to prevent that. Garcia's horrible voting record and scandals depressed Democratic turnout and although he outspent Curbelo gigantically-- $3,787,930 to $2,347,633-- of his 135,694 voters from 2012, only 78,306 bothered to come vote for him in 2014, allowing Curbelo to beat him 51 to 49% in an even bluer district than it had been 2 years earlier.

He was a thorn in President Obama's side, whining about the thaw in Cuban-American relations and working with Republicans to undercut his agenda. When we named him one of the 10 worst freshmen in 2013-- along with Murphy-- we noted their votes with the GOP to freeze the pay for federal employees, a vote to soften the blow of the sequester for the Pentagon while leaving all the other victims in the lurch, a GOP initiative to prevent the federal government from giving states greater flexibility when complying with a welfare program’s work requirements, a vote against the Senate budget bill, a vote for CISPA, a domestic spying bill, a vote to cut food stamps drastically, and a vote for HR 1613, a bill written by Oil lobbyists that amounted to big giveaways for offshore drilling businesses.
In the last week or so, Taddeo's campaign has been pointing out that Garcia consistently voted with the Republicans against Obama's reforms and initiatives when he was in Congress. She showed him no mercy after Obama's speech at the convention, telling voters in the district "Whether continually voting to weaken the Affordable Care Act, weaken environmental protections, support Big Oil, exempt the financial industry from regulations, or oppose Democratic budgets, Joe Garcia’s record makes clear that he meant it when he proudly declared last week that “I don't go to Washington to represent the president.” Taddeo's campaign made it clear that she "is running for Congress to build on President Obama’s legacy and protect the gains we have made. Joe Garcia has made clear through his actions and words that he can’t be trusted to stand for core Democratic values." That's my own experience as well.
Garcia repeatedly voted for bills that would weaken the Affordable Care Act and were opposed by the Obama Administration, which said Garcia’s votes “would roll back the progress made” on healthcare and “would raise health insurance premiums and increase the number of uninsured Americans.”

In fact, Garcia was even proud of these votes in his 2014 campaign, as the effort to win him re-election ran ads “highlighting [his] efforts in bucking the administration on some aspects of Obamacare.

Garcia voted twice with Republicans to weaken Obamacare and delay the individual mandate. The Obama Administration promised to veto these two bills, and said that Garcia’s votes would “result in higher premiums for those who remain insured, fewer premium tax credits for middle-income families, and increased cost-shifting of uncompensated care to health care providers, workers, and businesses” and “would undermine key elements of the health law, facilitating further efforts to repeal a law that is already helping millions of Americans stay on their parents' plans until age 26, millions more who are getting free preventive care that catches illness early on, and thousands of children with pre-existing conditions who are now covered.”

Garcia also voted twice with Republicans to undermine Obamacare by allowing health care plans to remain on the market even if they did not satisfy standards set forth by the Affordable Care Act. President Obama pledged to veto these bills as well, with the Administration saying that Garcia’s votes “would allow insurers to deploy practices such as charging businesses more when a worker has a pre-existing condition or when it has more workers who are women than men. The bill would allow insurers to go back to capping the amount of care that enrollees receive or to excluding coverage of proven preventive care.”

Garcia even voted with Republicans for a bill that would have required unprecedented reporting requirements of and cost taxpayers millions and that the Administration strongly opposed.

Garcia voted on an additional three other occasions with Republicans to oppose the Affordable Care Act.

Garcia voted multiple times with Republicans to prohibit the EPA and the state of Florida from requiring businesses to obtain permits when using pesticides near our water sources.

Garcia also supported the Keystone Pipeline which President Obama rejected, and voted with Republicans to help protect oil pipeline operators from lawsuits and put them above the influence of local governments and public opinion.

Garcia voted with Republicans to support tax loopholes for corporations, which the Obama Administration strongly opposed and threatened to veto.

Garcia also voted to exempt Wall Street financial advisors from transparency regulations, which the Obama Administration wrote would “undermine advances in investor protection and regulatory oversight implemented” in the Dodd-Frank reforms and called “a step backwards from the progress made to date.”

This week, with a record like that, Garcia had the temerity to issue a statement warning that “Florida is in a water crisis, yet Republicans are taking us backwards.” Garcia should know since his voting record shows that he was often right there voting along with them. Same with Big Oil. Garcia is counting on voters to not know that the very things he's blasting Curbelo for-- basically, being an ally of big oil-- are things Curbelo can show apply equally to Garcia himself. Electing corrupt conservative Democrats-- like Joe Garcia and his ally Patrick Murphy are tantamount to sliding the whole system to the right, as the Republicans become, effectively, an outright fascist party and the Democrats become the old Republican Party. You can contribute to Annette's campaign to beat both Garcia and Curbelo here:
Goal Thermometer

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