Thursday, May 11, 2017

Anti-Choice Democrat Heath Mello Lost His Race For Omaha Mayor


Tuesday, Jean Stothert was reelected mayor of Omaha 51,413 (53%) to 44,977 (47%) over Heath Mello. I don't doubt that Mello would have made a better mayor than Jean Stothert has been. And-- most important for some shallow imbeciles-- he would have been against Trump. What more could anyone want? Plenty. Let's start with the elephant in the room-- Mello is anti-Choice. If that's someone's perspective, that's someone's perspective and if he wants to call himself a Democrat, there's nothing to stop him. But anti-Choicers should not be Democratic Party candidates any more than racists should or anti-Semites or homophobes. The Democratic Party, after all, stands for something more than the career trajectories of it's officials. Or used to and should.

During his 8 years in the Nebraska legislature, Mello voted to support half a dozen bills restricting abortions. That turned around and bit him in the ass this week and kept him from being elected. Having a "D" next to your name-- or being against Trump-- isn't enough of a reason to for many discerning voters to back a lesser-of-two evils candidate. People new to politics might be unaware-- or maybe it's just the ones on my twitter feed who are-- that the reason Obamacare has no public option and is struggling isn't because of Republicans. Congressional Republicans didn't vote for Obamacare. It was Blue Dogs and New Dems-- the Republican wing of the Democratic Party-- who forced the Democrats to take the public option out of the Affordable Care Act.

I talk with Democratic congressional candidates constantly. Many of them are inspiring men and women taking on a mostly thankless task for all the right reasons. But all too frequently I wind up on the phone with some ambitious conservative looking for a career as a congressmember. The pay is good and so are the perks. These people aren't usually about issues; they're usually about careers-- their own.

The DCCC discourages candidates who want to put "controversial" issues on their websites or to otherwise publicly state a position they can be attacked for by Republicans. That's how we wind up with some mealy-mouthed, incoherent members of Congress who can't, or won't, advocate for a progressive agenda... on "our" side. Do we have to learn the lesson of economic royalists like Joe Lieberman, Blanche Lincoln, Heath Shuler, Bart Stupak and Rahm Emanuel all over again every couple of years?

I meet candidates all the time who don't favor, for example, a single-payer, Medicare-for-All healthcare system. They get huge financial support from the establishment and from the Blue Dogs and New Dems already in Congress trying to prevent that. Is that what you want to support? Be careful because if you support a candidate backed by the DCCC that probably exactly what you're getting. They want you to vote for someone because of their identity-- she's a woman; isn't that enough? He's gay; what more could you want? Look, he's Hispanic; isn't that enough? He's a military vet; you have to back him. She's a scientist; we need scientists in Congress, don't we?

Look at the worst members of the Democratic delegation-- the ones who vote most frequently with Ryan and McCarthy, the ones the GOP can always point to and claim their hideous, toxic legislation is "bipartisan." The Democrats' worst garbage-- policy wise; they may be lovely people who love dogs-- in Congress:
Kyrsten Sinema (Blue Dog-AZ)- a woman (who says she's bisexual no less)
Stephanie Murphy (Blue Dog-FL)- a woman (who is Vietnamese-America)
Henry Cuellar (Blue Dog-TX)- a Latino
Lou Correa (Blue Dog-TX)- a Latino
Sean Patrick Maloney (New Dem-NY)- a gay married man with children
Cheri Bustos (Blue Dog-IL)- a woman, a really tall one
In vetting congressional candidates, Blue America wants to know where they stand on the important economic issues that impact working families. How, for example, do they plan to work towards a better healthcare system? How do they propose to get corruption out of our political system? How will they work towards making the economic system more equitable and more functional for more people? But before we even get to those kinds of questions, we want to get what's called "the social issues" out of the way. If someone is anti-Choice or some kind of a racist or a homophobe or xenophobe or intolerant of other people's religions (or lack of religion), we never get to the questions about economic issues. It was no surprise when we asked some of the current endorsed House candidates about this new debate springing up within the party about protecting women's choice. Tom Guild, for example, is running against an anti-Choice GOP incumbent in a pretty red Oklahoma City district. No one would accuse Tom of being Republican-lite. "I support the right of women to make their own health care decisions," he told us this morning. "Intimate personal decisions like those impacting on reproductive freedom are difficult struggles under the best of circumstances. When it comes to public policy, it is clear to me that the government shouldn’t intrude on the most intimate and personal decisions, such as whether to bear a child. Such decisions should be between a woman, her conscience, and her doctor. As an adoptive child, who was abandoned at the age of six by my biological mother, I have thought about this particular issue for many hours over many years. The right to privacy is a fundamental right recognized by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1965, and since the early 1970’s embraces the right to safe and legal abortion. As a man, it would be presumptuous of me to  legally mandate what a woman should or should not do when faced with excruciating personal and emotional decisions. A woman knows her physical, emotional, and financial situation far better than I. The law should not make an excruciating decision for women harder than it already is. I trust women to make the best decision for herself and everyone involved under the unique circumstances of her life and pregnancy at the time when that crucial and difficult decision must be made."

Jenny Marshall is the progressive Democrat running against another one-- incumbent Virginia Foxx is a beet red North Carolina district. Foxx is a woman but she's an anti-Choice fanatic. Jenny offers a very clear and unapologetic contrast. "While the Democratic Party is a big tent and everyone is welcome," she told us, "we must not turn a blind eye to the rights of women. For far too long women's rights have been trampled on by those unaffected by the laws they pass. Democrats need to stand up and take a strong position that protect women's rights over their bodies regardless of their personal beliefs. Our country was founded on the principles of separation of church and state. We must remember that."

Tom Wakely is running for the Austin/San Antonio corridor seat War on Science nut Lamar Smith holds. Tom ran last time, beating a conservative Denmocrat in the primary, only to see the DCCC ignore his district completely. He scored better against Smith than any Democrat had ever done, despite being outspent $1,718,933 to $70,407. He's very aware of how the DCCC and the Democratic establishment work. "From my perspective as a progressive Bernicrat who ran against 30 yr. Republican incumbent, Lamar Smith, here in Texas, it seems the Democratic Party has made a consciousness decision that the only way to win elections is to recruit ex-Republicans, conservatives, center-right candidates. But it is a failed strategy. You would think that Hillary's defeat in 2016 would prove that point but obviously not. Let me give you a couple of examples here in Texas. The Texas Democratic Party has selected a candidate they want to run for Lt. Governor (in Texas the Lt. has more power than the Gov.). His name is Mike Collier and he just happens to be the party's finance chairman. Collier said he voted for Romney. He said he supports the death penalty and he is very fiscally conservative. He says he is a Democrat now but he has never voted in a Democratic primary, so we only have his word that he is a Democrat. In the TX-21 Congressional District, the DCCC has recruited a fellow by the name of Joseph Kosper. A nice enough of guy as far as I can tell but he is a Republican. He said he has always voted Republican up until a few years ago. He's stated that Ronald Reagan, the trickle-down economics President, is his favorite President. He says climate change is real and we need to do something about it but at the same time he supports fracking. Do we see a pattern here?"

Goal Thermometer Geoff Petzel, the progressive taking on Ryan shill Pete Roskam in the suburban Chicagoland district west of the city. He isn't shy about discussing the substantive differences between a real Democrat with real Democratic values and those from the Republican wing of the Democratic Party. "At almost every public event I attend, someone asks why they should support me over a more 'moderate' candidate. People seem to assume a moderate candidate will take votes away from our right-wing congressman. The truth is, we will never win with that approach. Harry Truman was right when he said 'Given the choice between a Republican and someone who acts like a Republican, people will vote for the real Republican all the time.' It will take a strong progressive like me to clearly demonstrate the difference between our agenda and that of the Republicans. If we communicate our values on healthcare and wages and the environment, I believe the progressive agenda will win." We agree-- and if you'd like to contribute to Geoff and the other progressive Democrats Blue America has endorsed, you can do it by tapping on the thermometer on the right.

South of Petzel's district we come to IL-13, which starts up in Bloomington and Champaign and meanders through Decatur and the Springfield area all the way down into the suburbs east of St. Louis. Dr. David Gill is the progressive Democrat taking on knee-jerk Republican Rodney Davis there. He reminded us that he's "witnessed the problems with the DCCC up close and personal here in IL-13. I defeated their hand-picked candidate in the 2012 primary, appealing to Democrats with my unabashed support of a woman's right to choose, gay marriage, single-payer health care, and aggressive action against climate change. Those same positions almost won me the general election that year as well: I lost by 0.3%. There was a liberal independent on the ballot who took 7.2%, and there's no doubt that his presence cost me a seat in Congress. I outperformed President Obama in the district (we each lost by 0.3%, and he didn't have the handicap of a liberal independent interloper), and yet-- the DCCC chose to go in a more mealy-mouthed direction in 2014.  And then, even after they lost in 2014 by 50-60 times what I had lost by in 2012, they still had no interest in getting behind a doctor who speaks so openly and boldly for single-payer health care. I'm running again this year, firm in the belief that voters long for representatives who actually care deeply about their well-being."

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At 11:06 PM, Blogger neuron said...

One wonders why these candidates still choose to identify as Democrats given the abuse and neglect they receive.

At 4:45 AM, Blogger CNYOrange said...

Wow, this is some f#cking entry. You've proven yourself no better than the republicans you so smugly assert yourself better than. I have given money to many candidates through this website, won't be doing that anymore. Democrats from Oklahoma (you know the people that actually live there, like this person ) vigorously backed Mr. Mello, but you know better than them.

At 5:05 AM, Anonymous Hone said...

Hey Orange above, don't be so quick in your judgment. DWT speaks out and we need voices like it. You don't always have to concur. Whose voice would you prefer?

Bernie's support did not help Mello enough. This is Nebraska, after all, and there is just so much you can do. It is unclear, however, if Mello's anti abortion stance is what caused him to lose. In fact, I strongly doubt it. It is much more likely that many of the voters there are against abortion anyway. Mello lost because of the overwhelming number of Republicans there, and many Trump supporters. It was apparently a losing battle all along.

Our country may well be done in by voters like them. The many who love Republicans, and Trump. The many who have little grasp of history or democracy and the implications of what is going on with the Republican Party, i.e., choosing party over country, greed above everything else. The ones who have no clue what the Revolutionary War was all about and who do not understand the Constitution and the balance of powers.

At 6:54 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hone, well said. It's fucking Nebraska fer kreissakes. You can only hope for so much... not much at all from those people. Among the worst ever D senators was Nelson from Nebraska... for decades.

Very friendly white folks... as long as you are white. But regressive as hell.

At 8:04 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Neuron- I tell people that I am a Progressive running on the Democratic ticket. I don't identify with today's Democratic party, but rather the Democratic party of my grandfather- where the party actually cared about workers and making peoples lives better instead of preserving the status quo. Hopefully we can restore the party to what it once was... besides if I ran as an independent in Illinois I would need 25-30,000 petition signatures to get on the ballot- insurmountable in almost any circumstance.- Geoff Petzel


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