Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Deadly Fear Stalks The GOP As Incumbents Learn The Cost Of Shilling For Big Oil


After rubber stamp Republican hacks, with John McCain's magic coat tails, lost congressional races in Illinois and Louisiana a few months ago, the Republican Party defiantly declared they didn't care and would continue using the same negative, vicious ads tying Democrats to Obama and Rev. Wright and Muslims and whatever garbage they could dig up. That was followed by an even more shocking defeat in a Mississippi district that is so dark red (i.e.- white) that Democrats normally don't even run there. That made the Party leaders a bit less defiant, a bit less cocky. In fact, they started running around like chickens without heads screaming "every man for himself" and suggesting incumbents run against the Party and against Bush. The most dishonest of the rubber stamps just started voting with the Democrats, especially the really vulnerable ones with especially strong opponents, like Floridians Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and the Diaz-Balarts (who now just do whatever their gal pal Debbie Wasserman Schultz tells them to do), as well as Dave Reichert (R-PA), Jim Gerlach (R-PA), Chris Shays (R-CT) and even as reflexive an extremist as Robin Hayes (R-NC) and Phil English (R-PA). All of them voted for Rosa DeLauro's amendment to the Fair Labor Standards Act to provide more effective remedies to victims of discrimination in the payment of wages on the basis of sex, something few if any of them would have ever considered in their re-elections weren't in jeopardy. And all of them voted for the Foreclosure Prevention Act, hysterically opposed by the GOP leadership. Furthermore, they were joined by other vulnerable Republicans petrified that their reactionary voting records could catch up with them-- like Judy Biggert (R-IL), Ric Keller (R-FL), Jon Porter (R-NV), Mary Bono Mack (R-CA/FL), Joe Knollenberg (R-MI), Elton Gallegly (R-CA), Mike Turner (R-OH), Dan Lungren (R-CA), Steven LaTourette (R-OH) and even far right zombie-like caucus leaders David Dreier (R-CA) and Adam Putnam (R-FL). Fear runs deep in the GOP these days.

And it should. Last week a Republican incumbent, David Davis (TN) lost his primary for exactly one reason: his opponent, another Republican, obviously, pointed out that he voted for all Big Oil's bills while taking their money ($19,000)-- which was virtually nothing compared to the real Big Oil whores up for re-election like John Cornyn R-TX- $1,313,825), James Inhofe (R-OK- $1,076,573), Don Young (R-AK- $954,013), Mitch McConnell (R-KY- $649,011), Steve Pearce (R-NM- $596,324), Ted Stevens (R-AK- $469,440), John Culberson (R-TX- $301,961), Gordon Smith (R-OR- $293,325), Roger Wicker (R-MS- $263,435), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV- $257,995), John Sununu (R-NH- $232,030)... If you haven't seen it already, take a look at the TV spot Davis' opponent ran.

It's the spot every Democrat should be running-- well not Mary Landrieu (D-LA- $612,244), Dan Boren (D-OK- $$363,210), Jay Rockefeller (D-WV- $283,600), Rick Boucher (D-VA- $240,167), Nick Lampson (D-TX- $174,942)... the spot most Democrats should be running because the only Republicans in Congress who are not Big Oil whores are Chris Smith (R-NJ) and Jeff Miller (R-FL). Nevertheless, CongressDaily reported yesterday that that despite Davis' loss in Tennessee, they "will not change the party's drive for more drilling to address high gas prices, even if that opens the GOP to criticism for its ties to oil companies."

GOP Minority Leader Boehner, contacted on the links, said he didn't think Davis' defeat signaled trouble for other Republicans, and he announced that GOP House members would continue swinging air pressure gauges over their heads and "protesting the lack of action on energy bills for two more weeks. But Democrats were gleeful. 'Clearly, Republican ties to Big Oil come with a price,' said Doug Thornell, a spokesman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee."
Davis was one of about a dozen Republicans who switched votes July 30 to keep a bill aimed at curbing oil market speculation from getting the necessary two-thirds majority to pass under suspension of House rules. The switch came after Republican leaders lobbied them on the House floor during the vote. Republicans have successfully discarded several energy bills House Speaker Pelosi has brought up this summer under suspension, while protesting a lack of votes on increasing access for oil and gas drilling in federal waters. Republican operatives say Davis, who narrowly won a six-way primary two years ago, lost because he ran a poor campaign. He is the fourth incumbent to lose a primary this season but the first to be tied to the energy issue. Davis received $2,000 from Exxon Mobil Corp.'s PAC this cycle, along with $5,000 from Eastman Chemical Company's PAC, whose headquarters are located in the district and which is a major user of petroleum.

Senior GOP sources with extensive campaign experience in Southern states downplayed the impact of the "Big Oil" hit on Davis' loss, noting he made significant mistakes, including failing to maximize his incumbent status when raising funds for a primary challenge and not responding well to the oil-donor charges. Davis raised around $50,000 more than Poe this cycle. "Even if he took big oil money, there is no excuse for David Davis to lose," said a southern GOP operative. Davis countered Roe's oil company attacks with radio ads denying that he "pocketed" oil money and accused his opponents of deceptive campaign practices, a tactic that GOP campaign experts said never works. "It was an unforced error that wouldn't have happened if the campaign would have been run properly," the operative said. "And if you don't pull the fire alarm and ask colleagues for help [money], no one will help you."

But, remember, Davis' loss was in a Republican primary in a hellishly red district. In November, Democrats and independents will be joining Republicans in voting out bribe-taking Big Oil shills who kept raking in thousands and thousands of dollars while helping bill oil avoid billions of dollars in taxes while driving the price of gasoline from $1.51/gallon when Texas oilmen George Bush and Dick Cheney took over the country, to around $4.00/gallon today. So while McCain is leading the GOP down the road to ruin-- promising more tax breaks for Big Oil (they gave him over a million dollars so far this year), while opposing tax breaks for companies working to develop alternative sources of energy he gives lip service support to-- Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Dennis Shulman, the Arizona Democratic Party, and Rick Noriega (D-TX) are getting the hang of it. And so is the DCCC:

A friend of mine just sent me a note that he had sent to Jack Cafferty demanding to know why not one single news organization has posited the theory that gas prices are being lowered in advance of the elections to aid the GOP even though Republicans are largely seen to be in the pocket of big oil and taking the price of gas off the table will help them immensely in November. He suggests something ad revenues.

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At 11:06 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

On top of that, Fox Prolefeed erred big-big time in suggesting where a pipeline between Kazakh oil fields and Black Sea termini, crossing through the soverign territory of the Republic of Georgia all the while, was critical to "American energy independence", but without any substantiation.

Chalk that up to sheer stupidity and ignorance on Fox Prolefeed's fact-checking staffs, or reasonable facsimilies thereof.


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