Monday, June 12, 2017

Chris Carney, One Of The Worst Blue Dogs Ever, Wants To Ride The Anti-Trump Wave Back To Congress


I thought that Denny Heck and Cheri Bustos, respectively, the chair and vic-chair of the DCCC recruitment committee, had the worst idea ever when they tried to recruit corrupt conservative party boy Patrick Murphy to run for the open Miami seat that is being abandoned by Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. I've been told that even if Heck and Bustos were too obtuse to realize it, Murphy figured out that a 73% Hispanic district is probably not his highway back to a career. So they came up with an even worse idea-- or, at least, one as absolutely horrible. Who remembers sleazy Pennsylvania Blue Dog Chris Carney? Bustos, a reactionary Blue Dog trained by Rahm Emanuel, and Heck, a rich asshole from Washington hate progressives and are working diligently to draft as many conservative Republican-lite candidates as they can. Their paw prints are on every bad candidate seeking Democratic nomination. Few are as terrible as Carney.

Back when Blue America endorsed Carney-- before we learned our Carney lesson-- we weren't asking much of our prospective endorsees. On LGBT issues, for example, we didn't ask them to promise to support a gay marriage bill; we just asked them if they will fight for gay equality, even if they have to exhibit some leadership in a tough environment. If they couldn't do that, there was still a chance we could still root for them to beat a much worse Republican, but we wouldn't raise money for them. We expected the candidates we endorsed and raised money for back them to support a woman's right to choice, to support serious campaign finance reform, to favor serious proposals to end the occupation of Iraq, to support gay equality-- and, like I said, to be willing to exercise leadership on difficult issues. I mean, sure, we wanted candidates who were for the minimum wage and who opposed the dismantling of Social Security, but those should always be the easy issues for Democrats.

In the course of the 2006 midterms, I had several relaxed and pleasant conversations with candidate Carney and, unlike other netroots groups, Blue America endorsed him. We encouraged our members to volunteer for his campaign and to help raise consciousness in PA-10 about Don "The Choker" Sherwood... and to donate money to the campaign. 722 of our members made donations to Carney's campaign. We even made a 30 second spot sung by Rickie Lee Jones to help focus PA-10 voters on the issues at hand. And we were overjoyed when he won, convincingly, on election night.

We don't expect the men and women we support to necessarily support the same position we do on every single vote. But even in the short time Carney was in Congress, he moved further and further away from all the other Blue America endorsees who won seats. In terms of supporting progressive issues in general, he has established himself at the bottom of the barrel among the freshmen, along with candidates we chose not to endorse, like Jason Altmire (PA), Rahm Emanuel's Heath Shuler (NC), Nick Lampson (TX) and Brad Ellsworth (IN). Some of us were disappointed but none of us chose to castigate Carney. And then something happened that made us decide to speak up. We realized Chris Carney lied to us. When he wanted our support he told us he favored equality for the LGBT community, something he also made clear to the folks at Project Vote Smart, when he checked the little box that indicates he would like to "Require that crimes based on gender, sexual orientation, and disability be prosecuted as federal hate crimes."

So weren't we in for a surprise a few months after he took office when Congressman Carney joined 13 of the most die-hard reactionary Democrats in the House-- near-Republicans who almost always support a reactionary social agenda-- to vote against the Hate Crimes bill. The bill passed 237-180 and all but 14 Democrats supported... well, supported exactly what Carney promised in his campaign he would support, "that crimes based on gender, sexual orientation, and disability be prosecuted as federal hate crimes." I felt betrayed-- like I had been kicked in the stomach. Based on my research and interview with candidate Carney, Blue America had endorsed him and hundreds of our members had donated effort and money to his campaign. Some of those donors are members of the LGBT community and others have friends and family who are part of that community and others just like to think that the candidates they contribute to will support equality as a core value. Chris Carney let us down, violently.

I requested an opportunity to speak with him and went back and forth with his office a few times until they finally sent me this e-mail:
Hi Howie, I have a short statement for you that I hope will be sufficient. This statement has been issued exclusively to you. Please let me know that you received it. Thanks.

Congressman Carney has not wavered from his original position of equality. Treating people the same is one of his core values, creating separate constitutional classes detracts from that goal. This was overarching legislation that created too many classes of people, and Congressman Carney could not support it.

This was a difficult decision and some of our supporters will disagree. As always, Congressman Carney voted with what he saw to be the best interests of Pennsylvania's 10th District.
I explained that sending me the Republican Party talking points-- which have long and routinely been used by the party of hatred and bigotry to try to please their rabidly homophobic base while covering their asses is not satisfactory.

So what did I want from Congressman Carney? Well, I wanted him to publicly apologize for a vote that encourages and enables the bigots and haters and I'd like him to return the 722 contributions he accepted from Blue America members. I had dozens of complaints from members already and at least one has sent Congressman Carney a letter, copying me, requesting a refund:
Dear Congressman Carney:

Apparently, we had a misunderstanding with regard to your support for equal rights for gay Americans when you sought Don Sherwood's seat last year. I supported your campaign, through BlueAmerica on the advice of Howie Klein of

Now that you have voted, with some of the most reactionary Democrats in the House of Representatives, against the Hate Crimes Bill, I have reconsidered my previous support of your campaign. I would like to have my contributions returned, please. I am disabled and on a fixed income. I can only support candidates who support gay rights and, more importantly, keep their word to me and to those I trust to evaluate candidates.

I have provided my contribution information below and would appreciate your sending a check as soon as possible, as there are candidates who share my values who need my support. Thank you very much for your attention to this matter.

So now Bustos and Heck want this garbage back in Congress and think they can swing it if the anti-Trump tsunami is high enough. The district has been gerrymandered considerably since Blue America helped defeat Carney. Scranton's not part of it and the PVI is a prohibitive R+12. Obama lost the district to McCain 57-42% and lost it to Romney 60-39%. Last year Trump beat Hillary there, 66-30%, helping Trump narrowly clench Pennsylvania's 20 electoral votes. The Democrat who ran against Tom Marino was Mike Molesevich; he didn't get 30% of the vote.

Mark McDade, teachers union representative, is running and Scott Brion, who ran against Marino in 2014 wants to give it another try. Former Bradford County Commissioner Mark Smith, who now works as Governor Wolf’s Director of Government Affairs and Outreach, is supposedly considering a run as well. But Bustos and Heck want the Democrat most like Marino-- and most like themselves: Carney. Borys Krawczeniuk is the local reporter who knows the area politics better than anyone and has been reporting on it forever. He wrote that Carney says he's thinking about running and the DCCC is "polling district voters about their views of Carney and Marino, according to two people who received automated calls Wednesday afternoon."

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At 9:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yet another post that proves my thesis. The democraps must go. no two ways about it.


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