Friday, May 23, 2008



I used to live in Stroudsburg, a town in northeast Pennsylvania. Although Chris Carney's district is right next door, since 1984 the congressman from PA-11 has been Paul Kanjorski, a fairly undistinguished backbencher whose constituents like his approach-- basically to get the district as much pork as possible. He generally votes with his fellow Democrats, although when looking at the tough substantive roll calls of 2007-08 he ranked #156 out of 236 Democrats in terms of sticking with his own party. He's keeps his head down and is rarely in the national news. But he is today. The right-wing  blogosphere is having a heyday with some lame and confused statement he made:
"I'll tell you my impression. We really in this last election, when I say we...the Democrats, I think pushed it as far as we can to the end of the fleet, didn't say it, but we implied it. That if we won the Congressional elections, we could stop the war. Now anybody was a good student of Government would know that wasn't true. But you know, the temptation to want to win back the Congress, we sort of stretched the facts...and people ate it up." (Watch the video here.)

The key here is to understand who he meant by "the Democrats," the ones he implies "stretched the facts" about ending the war. If there's one high ranking Democrat I abhor more than any other it would be Rahm Emanuel, at the time the chair of the DCCC. And you know what-- Emanuel did the opposite! He tried to purge candidates-- and in some cases succeeded-- who were speaking out too strongly about opposing Bush on the war. So who could Kanjorski have been talking about? The Democratic candidates themselves? In most cases, the voting records would not bare that out.

Oddly enough, I know of only one Democratic member of the House who out and out lied about it. Of course, there may be a few others. But, oddly enough, the one candidate who did campaign against the war and who won and then instantly transformed himself into a Bush rubber stamp was the candidate who is #1 on the list of recipients from Kanjorski's PAC, Citizen's For Action, namely Blue Dog Chris Carney. Kanjorski embraced Carney's campaign and gave him campaign advice as well. He was a kind of Big Brother to his neighbor to the north.

Since getting to Congress, Carney has voted well to the right of Kanjorski. In fact, on that same scale that shows Kanjorski at # 156, Carney is #227, tucked neatly among reactionary Blue Dogs Heath Shuler (NC), Jason Altmire (PA), Brad Ellsworth (IN), Jim Matheson (UT), Zach Space (OH) and Melissa Bean (IL), all of whom have voted significantly more often with the GOP on these issues than with the Democrats.

But Carney is a special case; he didn't just lie about opposing Bush's war in Iraq, he lied about virtually everything. On many issues-- although just the important ones-- he hasn't voted any differently from the way the right-wing kook he beat in 2006 had been voting. In fact, on vote after vote after vote Carney is one of a tiny handful of Democrats crossing the aisle to vote with the GOP extremists. Many times he'll be one of a dozen or fewer right-wing Democrats who vote with the Republicans while dozens of mainstream conservatives are crossing the other way to vote with the Democrats. A good example of that was the Hate Crimes bill. Carney had vowed to support it when campaigning but when he had a chance to vote for it, he was one of only 14 Democrats to oppose it (while 25 Republicans voted for the legislation).

Recently you may have read that Blue America is in another tussle with Carney, this time over Bush's demand for the power to order warrantless wiretaps on American citizens and to get retroactive immunity for his lawbreaking cronies. Carney was one of 21 reactionary Blue Dogs who sent a letter to Speaker Pelosi demanding that they get a chance to rubber stamp Bush's unconstitutional and dangerous policies once again. Corporate shill Steny Hoyer got Carney to back off promising him that they would sneak retroactive immunity back into the bill when it came time to reconcile with the Senate.

Now, House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers and constitutional law expert Jerrold Nadler have authored a bill that would, in effect, continue the FISA law as is and put off retroactive immunity for criminals until after Bush has been tossed onto the garbage heap of history in January. If you've been reading any of the Blue America blogs-- or Salon, Daily Kos or many others-- you have read about our multimedia campaign to alert voters in PA-10 about their shiftless congressman and these basic issues over American freedoms. A couple months ago we had some laughs making fun of running into Rahm Emanuel at a bar. But, in reality, Jane and I were there talking with some DCCC staffers about getting a message to Carney that we would scrap our campaign if he would reassess his plan to join the GOP on this matter. They tried and failed. We also spoke with a mutual friend of ours and Carney's from his military days; that also came up snake eyes. Finally, we were asked to hold off the campaign by a Capitol Hill staffer with close Carney connections. We called all the radio and TV stations and newspapers, etc and put everything on hold. We started getting calls from our ad reps that "people in Washington" were calling and asking how much we were spending and when the ads were scheduled to run and how long they would run, etc.

Eventually we realized that Carney had no intention of reassessing anything and it was with great sorrow this week that I started writing thousands of dollars in checks for full page ads in newspapers and flights of TV and radio ads all over PA-10. Why sorrow? That money was collected from over 1,500 donors with the intention of fighting retroactive immunity. I would so much have rather spent it helping worthy Democrats who oppose retroactive immunity fighting Republicans who support it. In fact, I'm hoping Carney will change his mind after the first, relatively mild batch of ads, runs this month. That way we can use the rest of the money educating voters in districts where Republicans are subverting the Constitution instead of a Democrat. If you'd like to contribute to this effort, you can do it here.


At Salon today, Glenn Greenwald lays out the sickening details of how the big telecoms are perverting, not just the Bush Regime and their GOP rubber stamps-- well, they barely need any help at that (and I'm not talking about the Larry Craig/David Vitter type of perversion)-- but also the least savory segments of the Democratic Party, It isn't the part of the Democratic Party Howard Dean referred to as "the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party." It's the unscrupulous Blue Dogs and their money-hungry allies like Steny Hoyer who operate exactly like Republicans, taking tens of millions of dollars from the telecoms and then voting in their interests instead of in the interests of their constituents and, in this case, in the interests of protecting the Constitution and maintaining the rule of law. Believe me, it is no coincidence that Comcast is Chris Carney's second biggest contributor so far this year and that he's taken $68,149 from lobbyists and $54,000 from the communications industry.


Jacquie is the Blue America media buyer. She's also not one to leave a stone unturned. She was the first to ask that question-- and find the answer. A shady entity called The PMA Group is Carney's biggest single donor. And it's easy to figure out why. According to wikipedia "The PMA Group is a government relations firm based in Washington D.C. Although the group initially concentrated on defense issues, they have expanded their areas of expertise to include: Homeland Security; Education; Energy, Environment and Natural Resources; Health; Information Technology; State and Local Infrastructure; and Transportation. PMA is considered a leader in "government relations, legislative counsel, and federal sector-funding." The firm's annual lobbying income climbed steadily to its 2006 peak at $16,060,000. In 2007, the firm's income totaled $9,010,132." The rest of the story is sad and ugly.

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At 2:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

you do not have the half of Carney's lies.

Carney worked for Doug Fife and pretty much developed and pushed the Iraq Alqueada connection. the Neo Cons who are not new or Conservative new the GOP would lose so they went back home to the Demoocrats.


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