Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Message To Democratic Candidates: The GOP Will Try To Paint You As A Pelosi Puppet. If You're Not, Inoculate Yourself NOW


It was actually silly for Trump to tweet yesterday that Democratic Senate candidate Doug Jones is somehow a Pelosi/Schumer puppet. And, an hour later, he repeated the focus group-tested phrase. Puppet? Pelosi puppet? Jones is running for Senate and Schumer's name isn't toxic enough (yet) among the Fox/Hate Talk Radio masses to stand on its own. Evan McMullin laughed at Trump's childish foray into politics: "Trump may attempt to co-opt the term 'puppet' by using it against his rivals, but only he won an election with the help of a foreign power to which he remains loyal." But the puppet attack worked when the Republicans used it against Jon Ossoff in Georgia, didn't it?

A few weeks ago, John Rogers, the executive director of the NRCC, admitted that tarring all Democratic candidates with a connection to Pelosi-- whether true or not-- is the GOP's only real strategy for trying to stave off catastrophe in the 2018 midterms. Ossoff was a unique candidate-- a pointless nothing-burger of a candidate who was unable to define himself because he stood for nothing at all except his own career hopes. His nothingness and pointlessness allowed the Republicans to jump in and successfully define him as a Pelosi puppet, spurring Republican turnout in an Atlanta suburban district that isn't especially enamored of Trump.

Ossoff and the lamer than lame DCCC didn't even try tarring the Republican candidate-- Karen Handel, basically another careerist nothing-burger-- with Paul Ryan's massive unpopularity. Remember, the Republican Party has spent a decade and millions of dollars turning the Pelosi brand into shit-- the innate misogyny among conservatives didn't hurt their cause-- much the way they had done the same thing to Hillary Clinton-- politics of personal destruction-- but with no effort on the part of the DCCC, Paul Ryan is even less popular among voters than Nancy Pelosi is! Recent polling has Ryan's unfavorable rating at 49.3%, compared to 48.7% for Pelosi. Derrick Crowe, the Blue America-endorsed candidate in the Austin-San Antonio district Lamar Smith is giving up, told us that "Jon Ossoff lost because he refused to fight for key progressive values, concern-trolled government spending like a Republican, and didn't live in the district. His campaign also lacked message discipline and kept throwing spaghetti at the wall to see what would stick. When that's the campaign you run, you let the other side define you, and you don't sufficiently inspire your base to close the gap for you. To put it mildly, that's not the campaign we're running here in TX-21. A vote for me is a vote for a clear set of progressive values that puts us on the side of the working class against corporate power and the billionaires. Anyone who wants my vote for Speaker of the House will have to demonstrate that they are the best vehicle to advance those values in Congress."

Many Democratic congressional candidates are already saying-- in advance of any attacks-- that they're not eager to see Pelosi as Democratic Leader again anyway. Take Oklahoma City candidate Tom Guild. He said he wants to see who runs but that "it would be hard to do worse than Paul Ryan..." The ideal candidate he described certainly isn't Nancy Pelosi: "I want a progressive who can pass an increase to the minimum wage, single payer health care, a massive infrastructure bill to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure while creating millions of good paying jobs, direct and hasten the transition to renewable energy sources, and invest in America before looking for new overseas military adventures. I will take this decision seriously and am not in anyone’s hip pocket."

Jared Golden had a similar perspective. He's running for the Maine seat Trump won in 2016, now held by Trump rubber stamp Bruce Poliquin. Golden is the Majority Whip of the state legislature and he has a clear understanding about how legislative bodies work. One of his primary opponents happens to be straight out of Pelosi's coterie of super-wealthy elites. Golden didn't mince any words. "It’s time for a new generation of leaders in Washington. My support will go to the leader that shows me they care about and understand the priorities of working class people-- it’s got to be someone serious about rebuilding an economy that doesn’t leave small rural states like Maine behind. I want to serve with leaders that demonstrate they have the courage to fight for progressive values and the ability to work across the aisle to deliver results. We need service-driven leaders who will do what’s best for this country and I believe that’s to fight for the great majority-- working and middle class people." Again... not a description of Nancy Pelosi.

James Thompson, currently running for Congress in a Kansas rematch, has a very different perspective on this than anyone else because he just went through the experience a few months ago. "I ran for Congress in the 4th District of Kansas in the very first Special Election after Trump was inaugurated," he told us. "The DCCC claims they did not help my race because they did not want to 'nationalize it.' Yet, as soon as I received the nomination from the Kansas Democratic Party to run for Congress, the Republican Party 'nationalized' the campaign by immediately tying me to Leader Pelosi, saying she hand-picked me and that I was her puppet. Ron Estes and the Republicans in Kansas, led by the KOCH brothers ultra-conservative political machine, never met a lie they didn’t like. I had never met, nor even spoke with, Nancy Pelosi and yet was being branded like a bull with her unpopularity here in Kansas. She sure never helped my race, and the mere mention of her name hurt my campaign. The same ads used against Ossoff, were used against me by simply switching out his picture for mine. The night of the special election, Leader Pelosi called and offered her condolences for my loss. She was warm, friendly and sympathetic and I greatly appreciated her taking the time out of her busy schedule to call me. While I respect her as a person and her accomplishments as Speaker of the House, her time in leadership needs to end for the good of the Democratic Party. With better leadership from the party, we may have been able to harness the progressive wave sweeping the country and possibly win some of the Special Elections. The Democratic Party needs an infusion of new progressive leadership like Keith Ellison and Ro Khanna. Regardless of whether it is true, Republicans will brand every Democrat with the Pelosi brand in hopes of sinking campaigns in 2018 with the mere mention of her name. New leadership needs to take over and lead the fight for a 50 state strategy. If Leader Pelosi is still in office when I get to Congress, I will vote for new leadership that will ensure the Democratic Party fights in all 50 states."

Jess King (PA-16) is in the final stages of Blue America vetting. She fits right in as a smart, super-progressive with all the right motivations. Please notice how she responded to our question about Pelosi's leadership going forward: "Working families in Pennsylvania are angry at the corporate establishment in both parties. Too many Democrats have spent too much time chasing the donations of multi-millionaires, and that's led a lot of voters to distrust politicians. We're rebuilding that trust in Pennsylvania by putting forward a vision of an America that works for all of us, not just the wealthy and well-connected in Washington. That means Medicare-for-all, debt-free public college, and a humane pathway to citizenship for our immigrant brothers and sisters. And it also means elevating a new generation of leaders in the Democratic Party, leaders who will fight to level the playing field for working families instead of cutting deals with Wall Street donors." (If Jess' response is picture-perfect and just how Democrats should approach this, the Pelosi candidate in the primary, Christina Hartman, has nothing to say about anything other than dull, vapid, overly-careful focus group-tested bromides and failed DCCC talking points. Primaries matter.)

Justin Santopietro is another new candidate, who, like Jess Parker, was suggested to us by Bernie's brilliant economics advisor, Stephanie Kelton. He's running in southwest Virginia (VA-09) and earlier today he told us "The right wingers' attempts to smear all Democratic challengers as 'Pelosi Puppets' is even more laughable in rural districts like mine, where the national party has no presence whatsoever. All the professional politicos and consultants in Washington think of politics now as purely a numbers game, so they rarely if ever commit resources to areas that have 'gone red' in recent years. Even though a Democrat has represented my district for 35 out of the last 50 years, the number crunchers at the top of the party consider areas like mine unwinnable. In the end, this may turn out to be more of a blessing than a curse, since the national party has proven time and again that they don't know how to persuade or motivate voters in rural areas. Thankfully, the local Democratic organizations are in many ways the exact opposite; while they often lack in human and financial resources, they actually live and pray among rural people, and know that they can in fact be persuaded to back populist-style Democrats-- if only the national party would let them. And now that congressional Republicans have giddily exposed themselves as right-wing servants of the uber-wealthy, populist bread and butter economic campaigns can be extremely effective in working class districts like the fightin' 9th."

Pennsylvania state Senator Daylin Leach, the progressive Democrat likely to defeat Ryan rubber stamp Pat Meehan, doesn't think the NRCC has much salience left. "I actually think that this is a silly strategy, at least in my district. First, Nancy Pelosi hasn't been in the majority for 8 years. She is literally responsible for nothing that has gone wrong in America in recent times. That's all on Paul Ryan and his caucus, which has completely sold their souls to the insane, bigoted narcissist Donald Trump. If I were a Republican candidate, I would be panicked about being tied to those two. My voters are very smart and attacking me for some imagined connection with a person who has not had the power to implement policy for 8 years and who I have never had a conversation with will be met with the appropriate eye-rolls." Daylin has a pretty strong brand-- to put it mildly-- and when the Republicans try to define him as a Pelosi puppet, voters will likely think the GOP has lost its mind.

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At 4:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pointless. It won't matter to the trump electorate anyway. And the democrap electorate seem just fine with the gigacorruption of Pelosi and scummer and the other 100s of $hills there.

Everyone running as a democrap will either be bought or squashed by Pelosi and scummer's billions. Either way, nothing will ever get any better.


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