Saturday, January 27, 2018

Chicago Sun-Times Editorial Board Meets With Marie Newman And Blue Dog Arch-Villain Dan Lipinski


The Illinois primaries are just around the corner-- March 20. In a safely blue Chicago districts like IL-03, where Hillary beat Trump 55.2% to 39.9%-- that's the day the next member of Congress is determined. It's a big deal this year on IL-03 because the extreme right incumbent Democrat, Dan Lipinski, has his first-ever primary challenge. Marie Newman, a progressive who represents an entirely different set of values from Lipinski, is the candidate endorsed by Blue America and almost every progressive organization in Illinois and the nation.

IL-03 voters have never seen anything like it before. This week the Sun-Times tried to get to the heart of what's happening in the district and why Lipinski, who's been in Congress since his father suddenly retired from Congress in 2004 and brought him back from Tennessee and sneaked him into the seat. Lipinski is a classic anti-Choice, anti-gay, anti-immigrant Blue Dog and votes with the Republicans more than almost any other Democrat in Congress. So far this cycle Lipinski has raised $466,831-- and is sitting on a $1.5 million war chest-- while Newman has raised $269,128. But IL-03 has changed-- drastically-- and Lipinski hasn't kept up.
The Lipinski family formula for political longevity, now spanning 36 years, has always been built upon hewing to the conservative side of the Democratic Party, finding peace with Republicans as protection for general elections.

LaGrange businesswoman Marie Newman thinks that formula has passed its expiration date for U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski, who followed his father Bill into Congress 14 years ago.

“I don’t think he understands the district has changed beyond dramatically since his tenure,” Newman told the Chicago Sun-Times Editorial Board Wednesday in a joint appearance with Lipinski, their first of the campaign.

The 3rd Congressional District, which represents much of Chicago’s Southwest Side and the southwest suburbs, is now solidly Democratic turf that deserves a solid Democratic vote in the House, not a “squishy situation where you don’t know how the congressperson is going to vote,” Newman said.

Lipinski, 51, countered that the “pragmatic” voters of his district want a like-minded representative willing to reach across party lines to solve problems, not someone who would add to the “bickering and gridlock” in Washington.

Throughout the Editorial Board session, the 53-year-old Newman sought to portray Lipinski as someone who has been out of step on many of the hot button issues that define today’s Democratic Party-- abortion rights, immigration and gay rights.

She also took Lipinski to task for votes through the years in which he rejected the party’s position on high profile matters, including votes against Obamacare and the DREAM Act.

Lipinski spent most of the hour on the defensive.

“On abortion, yes, I’m pro-life. I think science shows that life begins at conception, and that is a value that I think as a Democrat who believes government has a role in protecting those who are vulnerable that we should protect,” he said.

Newman argued Lipinski should set his personal beliefs aside to support abortion rights because 70 percent of the district’s voters do. He said it’s a matter of principle that should not be dependent on his constituents’ views.

Lipinski tried to walk a middle ground on gay rights, saying he supports same-sex marriage “because it has been declared the law of the land,” then adding: “Personally, I don’t support it, but that doesn’t matter in how I vote.”

Newman noted Lipinski co-sponsored the First Amendment Defense Act, regarded by gay rights activists as an attempt to legalize state-sanctioned discrimination against same-sex couples.

Lipinski cast the issue as one of religious freedom and said he sponsored the bill out of concern churches would lose their tax exempt status.

Asked about the Colorado court case involving the baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a gay couple, Lipinski called it a “very difficult question” of the baker’s free speech.

Newman said it was a “horrific” case of discrimination against the gay couple.

Lipinski said he voted against Obamacare because he didn’t believe it would work, but pointed out that he’s never supported Republican efforts to repeal it.

Newman said she supports “Medicare for all” proposals promoted by Sen. Bernie Sanders and other Democrats. Lipinski said he doesn’t.

Newman portrayed Lipinski as a Johnny-come-lately on immigration reform who voted against the original DREAM Act legislation to protect young immigrants brought here as children. That legislation later served as the template for President Barack Obama’s executive order offering similar temporary protections, known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).

Lipinski said he opposed the DREAM Act because “at the time, I thought we should not just deal with one group of immigrants.“

“That’s not my position right now,” added Lipinski, who said in November that he would support legislation to extend the DACA protections if it comes to a vote.

Newman said she wants Congress to approve a “clean” no-strings-attached DACA bill without funding for a border wall, but understands Democrats may need to compromise.

Still, she said that if she were in Congress she would vote to shut down the federal government again in three weeks if no solution has been found to protect the Dreamers.

Lipinski said it’s too soon to say, but that he generally opposes government shutdowns.
Goal ThermometerChicago Magazine was far harsher on Lipinski, calling Newman "the perfect person (at the perfect time)" to take him down. After pollsters gave IL-03 respondents a rundown of Lipinski’s record on LGBT issues and immigration, Newman beat him 39% to 34%, indicating that "many voters don’t realize how conservative Lipinski is. Often referred to as a 'Trump Democrat,' he voted with the president’s agenda more than 30 percent of the time last year." If Newman can get her message out to the voters, she's going to win on March 20. Clicking on that Primary A Blue Dog thermometer on the right can help her do just that.
Newman’s best shot at showing voters the difference between her agenda and Lipinski’s is through a debate, but he’s yet to agree to the series of five to which she’s challenged him. Lipinski says he has debated his opponents in the past and insists he’ll do so this time, as well. If the debates happen, he’ll likely present himself as quasi-progressive Dan 2.0, an image he began rolling out last year. Democratic consultant Tom Bowen, who briefly helped Newman launch her campaign, says the congressman has “clearly seen the light and understands that national progressive groups are trying to topple him.” Last year, Lipinski, one of three Democrats still in the House who rejected the Affordable Care Act in 2010, voted against repealing it. He’s also changed course on immigration, supporting Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, the successor to President Obama’s DREAM Act, which he voted against in 2010.

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At 9:15 AM, Anonymous Hone said...

Anyone like Lupinski who thinks Republicans would ever "reach across the aisle" is delusional. They have shown they vote in lock step and could not give a poop about bipartisanship. They develop bills behind closed doors without any input from the Democrats (or the public) and they have participated in ruining department after department and policy after policy of our government. They flip the bird at the rule of law and have become guilty of obstruction. Their stance is to screw democracy, the country and the people to enable the super rich in raping our country, just like Putin has with his. They no longer aim to govern, just to ram through the Republican right wing agenda.

Blue Dogs stink just as bad. They often side with the Republicans and their evil agenda. Lipinski must go.

Good luck, Marie Newman! Give Lupinski a run for his money.

At 4:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hone, even if Marie wins, explain the difference?

DWT, from here on, unless something is just too tasty to resist, I'm going to spare your delicate readers... I'm declaring a moratorium on the democrap thing until after the election.

At that point, I will challenge you with one of two things:

1) if most of your BA "better" democraps loses, I'll ask you WTF you might try for the next cycle. After all, it'll have been 36 years and 18 cycles since the democraps self-corrupted for money without any hope of reversal (every cycle they get worse).
2) if 10 or more of your BAs actually surfs the wave, I'll ask you how you intend to make them ... influential... especially since none of the leadershit will have been defeated and, especially, if they gain a nominal house majority, how are you going to goose them into even TRYING anything progressive.

Please ponder. You'll have 11 months to formulate some kind of a strategery.

I already know what I expect. We'll see which one of us is delusional.

At 6:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Isn't the Chicago Sun-Times now a Murdoch property?

At 1:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

6:40, I believe it is now owned by a venture capital company. Unless Murdoch is using VCs as fronts, he has nothing to do with it.


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