Saturday, July 29, 2017

Will The DCCC Preference For Filthy Corrupt Blue Dogs Prevent A 2018 House Takeover?


Earlier this week, Heather Caygle, writing for Politico, reported about the Blue Dogs-- the most right-wing and pro-GOP wing of the Democratic Party-- it trying for another comeback. Beltway reporters have bought into the Blue Dog propaganda that describes them as "moderates" (rather than conservatives), which says what about normal Democrats? That they're socialists? Communists? The Blue Dogs can't accurately be described as "moderates," only as conservatives and the most far right part of the Republican wing of the Democratic Party. They share at least as many values with Republicans as they do with Democrats. Look at the dozen worst Blue Dogs in the House. Each has an "F" rating from ProgressivePunch and each has voted more frequently with the GOP against progressive items than for them. Here's the list, from bad to worst during the current session.
Lou Correa (CA)- 47.22
Jim Costa (CA)- 47.06
Charlie Crist (FL)- 42.86
Stephanie Murphy (FL)- 40.00
Dan Lipinski (IL)- 33.33
Josh Gottheimer (NJ)- 30.56
Tom O'Halleran (AZ)- 30.56
Henry Cuellar (TX)- 27.78
Collin Peterson (MN)- 25.00
Kyrsten Sinema (AZ)- 19.44
Sinema is essentially a Republican except on women's issues and LGBT issues; she claims to be bisexual. She stinks of a very Republican kind of corruption-- having taken $1,003,940 in bribes from the Finance Sector last cycle, while serving on the House Financial Services Committee and voting consistently with the GOP and against the Democrats. Sinema is the only Democrat in the house who took more than a million dollars in bribes from Big Finance aside from handpicked Pelosi successor Joe Crowley ($1,064,673), a notorious Wall Street whore who was nearly kicked out of Congress on Wall Street bribery charges several years ago. Sinema is the worst Democrat in Congress so... Schumer, of course, is trying to recruit her to run for the Senate. The Blue Dogs and their Beltway apologists call people who expose the Blue Dogs for what they are as "purists." The DCCC has finally admitted they're trying to restock the Democratic caucus in Congress with Blue Dogs. Caygle:
[W]ith Democrats eager to woo the white working-class voters who flocked to Trump, the coalition is prodding party leaders to support Blue Dog-backed candidates, saying that’s the key to taking back the House in 2018. It’s a push that is quickly running into conflict with the party’s energized left flank.

“People want to purify,” Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX), one of the Blue Dog’s three co-chairs, said about the Democratic base’s surge to the left. “[But] without Blue Dogs, we don’t have a majority. That’s the bottom line.”

The Blue Dogs are also meeting with top Trump officials on tax reform and other issues, causing heartburn with some colleagues who insist all-out resistance-- not working with an administration they loathe-- is the winning formula for next year. And they’re ready for ideological battle, determined to keep the Democratic Caucus rooted in what they say are its defining big-tent values, despite the rising progressive passion brought on by Trump’s election.

“The Democratic Caucus likes to talk about diversity, and we’re an important part of that diversity that too often gets overlooked,” Rep. Jim Costa (D-Calif.), a Blue Dog co-chair, said in an interview in his office.

The Blue Dogs, who assembled after the Republican takeover of Congress in the mid-1990s, once boasted more than 50 members. But in recent years they have been relegated to a marginal role in the Democratic Caucus as their numbers dwindled, particularly in the South, and as the party moved away from the group’s more fiscally and socially moderate stances.

With only 18 members, the coalition represents less than 10 percent of House Democrats. In recent years, it has been eclipsed in membership by a similar group, the centrist New Democrat Coalition, which boasts 61 members and is more socially liberal.

Caygle isn't a serious reporter. The New Dems aren't "socially liberal," just less conservative-- almost every Blue Dog, including Sinema for example, is also a member of the New Dems. The DCCC recruited and financed plenty of very right-wing Blue Dogs last year, including several so-called "ex"-Republicans. Of the 6 seats the Democrats won in 2016, five are Blue Dogs: Crist, Gottheimer, Correa, O'Halleran and Murphy. The DCCC and Pelosi's SuperPAC spent far more on their campaigns than on non-Blue Dog campaigns.
Murphy- $4,683,525
Gottheimer- $3,928,544
O'Halleran- $2,790,962
Crist- $2,654,568
(There was no need for any money for Correa because he was running in a deep blue district and Republicans can't even come in in the top two in primaries.)

Progressives, are obviously not happy seeing the DCCC recruiting and financing Blue Dogs instead of real Democrats. Keith Ellison: "I don’t think Blue Dog politics are necessarily winning politics everywhere. I just don’t buy the premise that being on the right side of the Democratic Party makes you more advantageous, more attractive to voters, than being on the left side of the Democratic Party." Many others are less diplomatic. One prominent Democratic congressman told me this morning that, otherwise of the Speaker election, the DCCC might as well spend their money on electing Republicans. "These Blue Dogs and New Dems," she told me, "vote with the Republicans on the policies that are most important for Democratic voters. This is just more of the DCCC political malpractice we've seen for the last several cycles." Even Caygle reported that a "senior Democrat derisively described the Blue Dogs as 'window dressing' to which the Trump administration can point to say it pursued bipartisan avenues without really doing so."

Goal Thermometer Blue America has a page devoted to raising contributions for progressives running primary campaigns against Blue Dogs and New Dems. The list, unfortunately, is small but you can see the candidates by tapping on the Blue America thermometer on the right. The two Blue Dogs being primaried are Kyrsten Sinema (AZ-09) and Dan Lipinski (IL-03). Caygle reported that "Blue Dog and DCCC staffers now meet on a weekly basis," and leaders of the right-wing group, which she insists on referring to, misleadingly, as "the centrist coalition say the campaign arm is working hand in hand with them on recruitment. It’s a remarkable turnaround for a group whose members have been known in the past to boast about not paying annual membership dues." Kyrsten Sinema, Paul Ryan's favorite Democrat, is the chairwoman of the Blue Dogs and she boasts that she's met with 20 candidates who want to run on the Blue Dog platform. "For the first time since I’ve been in Congress, the DCCC has partnered with the Blue Dog Coalition," she said. When she ran she pretended to be a progressive, lied to donors and voters and after getting elected ripped off the mask exposing the hideous face of a congressmember who votes more often with Paul Ryan on crucial roll calls than several conservative Republicans.
Long-time Blue Dog lawmakers and staffers say they haven’t worked this closely with the caucus’ campaign arm since former Rep. Rahm Emanuel, now mayor of Chicago, ran the DCCC back in 2006 and led Democrats back to the House majority.

Emanuel has said his key to success was choosing candidates who “reflected the temperament, tenor and culture of their district,” not somebody that just fit his image of a good recruit, including tapping centrists for more conservative districts.

Blue Dog leaders say they’re doing the same thing now, looking for candidates who have lived in their prospective districts for years if not decades. They point to candidates like Georgia Democrat Jon Ossoff, who came up short in the most expensive House election history in June, as the type they’d like to avoid.

Ossoff, sometimes compared to the Blue Dogs for his moderate stances on fiscal policy and national security, was never endorsed by the group. He also did not live in the district, a point Republicans raised repeatedly.

“If you’ve got a young, liberal filmmaker in a seat that [Tom] Price had, Newt Gingrich had, no matter how much money you spend, it’s going to be tough,” Cuellar said. “What happened if we would’ve had a different type of candidate? In my opinion, it would’ve been different.”

The Blue Dogs, who embrace a mix of fiscal responsibility, strong support for defense and some conservative social views shunned by the left wing of the caucus, say it’s not just their message they think will appeal to many Trump-aligned voters. They’re also trying to put their money where their mouth is when it comes to talking bipartisanship.
I interviewed Ossoff on the phone several times and, like Sinema and most Blue Dogs, he never acknowledged what he was and pretended to be sympathetic to progressives positions, positions he jettisoned right after the primary when the DCCC took over his campaign and helped him waste $29,342,235 on a terrible classic DCCC anti-inspiring campaign.

Thursday, Mother Jones published a piece by Josh Harkinson about the trust issues grassroots Democrats have with the DCCC and the careerist establishment Democrats.
California, among the bluest of blue states, remains home to 14 Republican districts that are becoming increasingly vulnerable, thanks in part to an influx of Latino immigrants and college-educated voters. Knight’s is one of seven districts that went for Hillary Clinton over Trump last year. According to polls released by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee this month, voters now favor Democrats over Republicans by significant margins in four of the districts-- including this one-- and are evenly split in two more. So it behooves the party, which needs 24 seats to retake the House in 2018, to start in its own backyard. The committee is already targeting the seats held by Reps. Devin Nunes and Jeff Denham, who face significant ethics challenges. “Almost a third of those seats can be won in the Golden State,” says California congressman and DCCC vice chair Ted Lieu.

In light of the stakes, the campaign committee is moving its Western regional office from Washington, DC, to Orange County-- which until last year hadn’t voted for a Democratic president since Franklin Delano Roosevelt. The committee’s new Western region director, Kyle Layman, is best known for leading Rep. Raul Ruiz’s 2012 ouster of Republican Mary Bono Mack in Riverside County. Beyond commissioning the slick TV ads and mailers that typify the national party’s “air support” for its candidates, Layman aims to deploy a weapon unique to Democrats: an army of grassroots anti-Trump activists who are dying to hit the streets. “The main goal right now is to make sure we keep the energy up,” says Lieu, who represents liberal Malibu, Santa Monica, and Rancho Palos Verdes. “If the election were held tomorrow, I am confident we would flip the House.”

Not everyone shares his optimism. “On the face of it, these are not easy districts for Democrats to win,” says Darry Sragow, a veteran Democratic strategist who publishes the California Target Book, a data-focused guide to political campaigns. Five of the seven GOP districts that backed Clinton have not voted for any other statewide Democrats in the last three elections. Flipping them in November “depends on mobilizing a lot of people who might not normally vote,” Sragow says, which means “there has got to be energy at the grassroots level” to knock on doors and register new voters. But bruising primary races between the party’s warring factions could leave it sapped. “That is one of a whole bunch of very serious risks that the Democrats have to wrestle with,” he says.

Simmering beneath the anti-Trump fervor are animosities between the party’s centrists and progressives, who view the DCCC as a tool of deep-pocketed donors and Washington politicos. Nowhere are the tensions more acute than in Knight’s district, where the committee intervened in last year’s primary, backing Bryan Caforio, a wealthy LA attorney who had just moved into the district, against Lou Vince, a local policeman supported by the grassroots. Vince was so mad about his party’s meddling that he ended up endorsing Knight-- who beat Caforio with 53 percent of the vote. “I would never be able to describe the DCCC as a force for good in any way, shape, or form,” says Los Angeles blogger Howie Klein, whose Blue America political action committee supports progressive candidates. The national party’s candidate recruiters, Klein adds, are “threatened by progressives.”

Dissatisfaction with the national party has run deep here since 2010, when the Democrats lost the House. Eight years in the minority hasn’t helped matters. After Democrats picked up a paltry six congressional seats last November-- despite Clinton’s 2.8 million-vote margin over Trump-- then-House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi agreed to a series of reforms. Henceforth, the DCCC chair would be elected by the Democratic caucus instead of being appointed by the party’s congressional leader-- in addition, Democratic members of Congress would elect five regional vice chairs, a new position. “I wasn’t particularly happy with the performance last term of the DCCC,” Lieu says of his decision to run for one of those posts. “I thought rather than complain, I should go try and do something about it.”

If anybody can unite California Democrats, it is probably Lieu, an immigrant from Taiwan and a colonel in the Air Force Reserves whose Twitter account has gone from 10,000 to 300,000 followers since January on the strength of his acerbic trolling of Trump... Lieu’s tweets have enamored him to those who say Trump and the Russians stole the election, but he’s also a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus who believes Clinton’s campaign was fatally flawed. “Not having a compelling message was a problem,” Lieu says. “Now, we know Trump is a super bad person, but I still think we need something beyond that. We need to say, ‘Yes, Trump is a super bad person, and this is what Democrats stand for-- this is what we are going to do.’ We are not going to make that mistake again.”

...Lieu... really doesn’t think he-- or anyone at the DCCC-- should predetermine the party’s message or tip the scales in local races during primary season. “My view is that we should let people in that district choose,” he says, “No matter how awesome I think I am or the people at the DCCC are, there’s no way the DCCC can be aware of 435 congressional districts in the same way that the people who live there are aware.”

Lieu’s own career reflects a disdain for paint-by-numbers politics... his willingness to criticize the DCCC is highly unusual. The committee is notoriously opaque and resistant to publicity. Spokeswoman Meredith Kelly wouldn’t let me interview Layman, the new Western director, even after Lieu’s chief of staff pleaded my case. (She could not “start making exceptions,” Kelly said, to a rule banning some staffers from talking to the press.) Lieu himself has been more active than other vice chairs in the committee’s affairs, publicly stating, for instance, that if the party’s consultants and pollsters “don’t meet standards, they will be released”-- a stance that has intrigued DCCC critics. “I totally believe in Ted,” Klein says. “I think he can achieve a lot.”

Even so, Lieu’s ties to the DCCC put him at odds with those in the base who oppose big money in politics and aim to reinstate an Obama-era ban on donations from lobbyists and corporate PACs. Contributions to the committee in 2016 included a combined $1 million from investment firms Soros Fund Management, Saban Capital Group, and Renaissance Technologies, according to Such relationships don’t sit easy with Lieu, who as a state legislator co-authored a successful advisory measure asking voters whether they wanted to overturn the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling-- perhaps via a constitutional amendment. But “until that is done,” he says, “I think it is not a prudent idea to unilaterally disarm. It just makes it that much harder to run in these races…The Democrats almost always get outspent.”

Whatever Lieu does to try to mend relations in the coming months, the national party will be hard-pressed to bring restive California Democrats into the fold. After we leave the café, I follow the congressman to a church on the University of Southern California campus, where he’s scheduled to speak at a packed and sweaty event, which is part of the DNC Resistance Summer effort. The plan is to inspire Democratic activists with speeches and then run a phone bank against Trumpcare-- boilerplate stuff. But some of the attendees have their own agenda. As Democratic National Committee deputy Chair Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) rises to introduce Lieu, he is heckled loudly by chants of “single-payer now!”-- a reference to a state health care bill that was recently tabled by the speaker of the California Assembly. “I believe in single-payer,” Ellison interjects, but the hecklers, mostly men and women in their 20s, are neither placated nor dissuaded by scattered shouts from their elders of “That’s so rude!” and “Sit down!”

...[W]hen Lieu spoke, most of the hecklers had listened respectfully. “I want to say to those folks who support single-payer now, I am with you,” Lieu said, drawing a huge cheer. He mentioned a single-payer bill he’d co-authored as a state legislator-- and his support for a similar bill in Congress. “I want to make this happen at the national level,” he said. With the crowd now paying rapt attention, Lieu pointed out that he’d have a much easier time making universal health care a reality if Democrats could retake Congress. There are 23 Republican congressional districts across the nation that voted for Clinton, he told the activists. “Seven of those are in California,” he said with a twinkle in his eye. “We are going to flip them in November-- with your help.”

Gil Cisneros is being pushed by the DCCC despite having no qualifications and just being a wealthy lottery winner from a different district from the one they have him running in. Cisneros is the embodiment of everything that's wrong with Pelosi's DCCC

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At 6:47 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

coupla things:

"...Congressional Progressive Caucus who believes Clinton’s campaign was fatally flawed..."

No, the campaign wasn't fatally flawed. It was the nomination process and candidate that were total shit. If Lieu can't see this, he's part of the problem.
In fact, if his statements after this snip are any indication, he *IS* part of the problem.

The DCCC, DNC and the entirety of the democrap party need to be disappeared by voters so that a genuine left alternative can coalesce.
ANYONE with influence among voters who is not part of that solution is part of the problem.

At 4:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Will The DCCC Preference For Filthy Corrupt Blue Dogs Prevent A 2018 House Takeover?"

Do ursine creatures defecate in dense verdure?

At 6:13 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pelosi doesn't want a majority. IF they got it, she would be forced to do the 2009 dance again and come up with more lies to voters over why she doesn't allow MFA and impeachment and all manner of other progressive stuff. Her donors won't allow it. She won't do it. And, with a majority, she'd be forced to 'splain why none of it would happen.

She prefers to be in the minority. But not a tiny minority. Much less than they have now and her donors will consider continued bribery pointless. So she wants a minority, but a little bigger one.

She'd probably be fine with flipping 10 seats. Not more.


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