Friday, August 17, 2007



Last night I interviewed Dr. Steven Porter, the former two-time Democratic candidate for the congressional seat now held by rubber stamp Republican Phil English (PA-03). Steve will be the Blue America guest at Firedoglake tomorrow at 2pm (EDT). He's running for Congress again-- although not as a Democrat. Steve quit the Democratic Party in disgust and re-registered as an independent. And he's running on a platform based on integrity and progressive values-- as an independent. Steve doesn't believe in the Democratic House leadership. "From the moment Pelosi took impeachment off the table," he told me, "I knew there was no difference between the parties and that the Democrats would only posture and feign opposition which they knew would never amount to anything. In the end they gave George Bush absolutely everything he's asked for... [It] is a calculated strategy to win greater gains in 2008... using the lives of our kids in Iraq-- and the lives of innocent Iraqi civilians-- for political purposes."

I also spent some time on the phone today with progressive, grassroots anti-war candidate Randi Scheuer who is primarying Blue Dog Melissa Bean. Randi will be the Blue America guest October 13. Bean's voting record isn't progressive; it's kind of moderate on some issues and reactionary on others. She tends to support corporate power over the interests of workers and consumers. She could easily be a moderate Republican. In fact on Iraq, she could easily be described as a Bush rubber stamp. While taking significant contributions from lobbyists and Republican-leaning corporate front groups, she has been an aggressive supporter of Bush's hideous trade agreements which have been devastating for ordinary Americans and for our country. She cast the deciding vote on CAFTA, reason enough to vote her out of office. She has also supported the Bush agenda in many other ways:
* for the credit industry's Republican bankruptcy bill
* for Bush's tax cuts for the wealthy
* for repealing the estate tax
* against net neutrality
* for the Patriot Act
* for the Military Commissions Act (pro-torture.anti habeas corpus)
* for the Republican Terri Schiavo bill
* for a Flag Desecration Amendment
* huge supporter of wasting taxpayer dollars on Big Oil subsidies

You get the picture? Whether it comes to insurance companies, medical care, immigration, the military-industrial complex, Melissa Bean almost always votes with the Republicans. Randi's positions are the polar opposite of Bean's on every single issue above.

Now, there are few Republicans left in Congress as loathsome as their House Whip, Roy Blunt (MO). I noticed yesterday that Blunt was launching some kind of an offensive against Blue Dogs. I don't kid myself about what Blunt is or what his motives are-- and I certainly prefer to take out reactionary Democrats in primaries, as we are trying to do with Al Wynn in Maryland and Dan Lipinski in Illinois. Still I won't weep if Blunt is successful in some of the cases where Blue Dogs and DLC freaks are voting with the Republicans. Blunt claims that 30 of the 48 Blue Dogs have voted for all the legislation that would increase the federal deficit, a joke coming from a big spending Republican like Blunt.

When you look at the list of the 25 Democrats who vote most frequently with Republicans on substantive issues, you find almost all Blue Dogs. Here's a list of Blue Dogs among those 25 worst Democrats in order of most supportive of Bush/Cheney (members in bold are also DLC members):
Gene Taylor (MS)
Bud Cramer (AL)
Collin Peterson (MN)
Dan Boren (OK)
Allen Boyd (FL)
Mike McIntyre (NC)
John Tanner (TN)
Jim Marshall (GA)
Jim Matheson (UT)
Tim Holden (PA)
John Barrow (GA)
Lincoln Davis (TN)
Charlie Melancon (LA)
Bart Gordon (TN)
Leonard Boswell (IA)
Marion Berry (AR)
Heath Shuler (NC)
Jim Cooper (TN)
Jason Altmire (PA)
Mike Ross (AR)
Sanford Bishop (GA)
Joe Donnelly (IN)
Brad Ellsworth (IN)
Baron Hill (IN)
Earl Pomeroy (ND)


Peter Cohn covered Melissa Bean's rampant treachery in CongressDaily today. Bean routinely votes with the GOP but she took practically everyone by surprise last month when she was the only Democrat to vote against the $607 billion 2008 Labor-HHS appropriations bill, legislation important to the House leadership as an example of the Democrats' traditional commitment to the poor, sick and elderly.
Now Bean is under fire from labor and progressive advocacy groups. "We're profoundly disappointed, to put it mildly," said Chuck Loveless, legislative director for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. "It was a stupid vote on her part."

...Bush threatened to veto the Labor-HHS bill because it is $12 billion above his request. It passed 276-140-- the precise number of 'no' votes necessary to sustain a veto, based on the requirement that two-thirds of those present and voting are needed to override-- meaning Bean's vote could be decisive. Activists have lined up meetings with Bean during the recess to "register their extreme displeasure," said a spokesman for USAction, a network of progressive advocacy groups. USAction president William McNary, who also heads up the group's Illinois affiliate, said he was meeting with Bean next week. He said the group only focused on moderate Republicans, never expecting Bean to be a problem.

"Everyone we targeted voted right," he said, noting that Bean's vote put her in the same camp as conservatives such as former House Speaker Hastert, whereas Illinois GOP Reps. Mark Kirk, Jerry Weller, Judy Biggert, Ray LaHood, and Tim Johnson all voted for the bill. McNary said he is now focused on changing Bean's mind should a veto-override be necessary. "Rather than throw stones at Melissa Bean, she has another chance to stand up and do what's right. You don't get many second chances in life," he said.

Bean not only angered interest groups but also House Appropriations Chairman Obey, according to sources, who also invested a lot of effort wooing GOP moderates to support the bill. A senior Democratic aide said "he disagreed with her" but that Bean informed Obey beforehand so as not to take him by surprise. Bean's spokesman said she is "looking forward to seeing what comes out of conference" and that if overall spending is lower, she might support the final bill. Loveless noted that Bean announced she had received earmarks in the bill, including for a workforce training program at a local community college; an obesity prevention project aimed at elementary school children; and a therapy program for families with children at risk of being placed in foster homes. "Next time around we'll see how many earmarks she gets," he said. Bean's spokesman said it is her policy to post earmarks in a bill on her Web site before it goes to the floor, as part of her "efforts to maintain and encourage transparency."

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At 12:44 AM, Blogger gregrocker said...

The Blue Dogs represent the dumbest redneck districts in the country, people so stupid, mean and faux-Christian they rush to vote against their own true interests just to stick it to godless liberals.

I came from there, and the journey is from utter ignorant darkness, suicidal religion and entrenched bigotry. There is no hope for these people. WIth the rise of talk radio, they infected enough of the rest of the middle that they destroyed the U.S.
Cronkite himself pronounced our Democracy dead, due to fatal lack of critical reasoning by the electorate. Then he sailed off into the sunset.

At 8:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Melissa Bean represents dumb rednecks too in the most rural portion of her district. Yet the rest of the Illinois 8th is very suburban with enough educated people to counter-balance the religious lunatics. She does not need to be a Blue Dog Idiot Democrat. Her primary opponent Randi Scheurer is be more appealing. Bean reminds me of Judy Barr Topinka with the red hair. What is she thinking?

At 1:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ha, Randi Scheurer has a nose-ring.

Melissa's district is bush 58%.
Remember Phil Crane, who had a 5% Progressive voting record compared to Melissa's 75%.

LOL, I hope liberals run against Melissa it makes her look more moderate!

I could take a shit and run it as a Democrat in some districts and get 70% of the vote. IL-08, is solidy Republican, but pro-choice.

At 11:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Melissa Bean is a better Democrat and Representative in the 8th than any other alternative you could possible elect.

Remember, the GOP is just waiting for any mistake to take her out. I'd like her to vote a little more liberal too, but if I had a whole party waiting to spend millions to publicize any vote my district might not like, I'd think long and hard about what my constituents, not the party faithful want. By being independent she represents the people who elected her.

The Democratic Party is a big tent. The country does not have just one voice. We have our disagreements, but we need to remember we all play for the same team and let's focus on winning a few more seats instead of torpedoing the ones we already won.

At 4:35 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Bean became a Democrat as a matter of convenience in order to run against Crane.

Former Republican State Senator, Paul Froelich, recently switched sides too.

He is now a Democrat.

Bean's supporters now have another new "Democrat" to vote for. It kind of reminds me of Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

At 8:51 PM, Blogger tofubo said...

i'm also trying to run against her, see:

and, from last year:


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