Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Rahm Emanuel Gets It Wrong Again-- His Tone Deaf War Against Comedy Central And Stephen Colbert


Maybe Emanuel should be giving advice to the Lynn Westmorelands of the world

Rahm Emanuel's control of the Democratic congressional caucus' communications apparatus has guaranteed that he would get undue credit for the Democratic House victories in 2006. I'm sure it was his political genius that also was decisive in the John Tester, Jim Webb, Bernie Sanders, Amy Klobuchar, Bob Menendez, Ben Cardin, Sheldon Whitehouse, Bob Casey, Jr., Sherrod Brown, and Claire McCaskill races as well.

In fact, if memory serves me well, Democrats who followed Emanuel's reactionary, self serving and tin-eared advice to not attack Republicans on the Iraq War (which he adamantly supports) were mostly among the losers. In the Philly suburbs there were three hotly contested congressional races against three rubber stamp Republicans. Jim Gerlach, Curt Weldon and Mike Fitzpatrick. The 3 districts were all taken-- narrowly-- by John Kerry in 2004 and by Al Gore in 2000. In 2004 it was Gerlach who had come closest to being defeated-- 51-49%, and by the same candidate who was challenging him in 2006, Lois Murphy. In 2005 Weldon has been re-elected with 59% and Fitzpatrick with 55%. Gerlach looked like the most likely to lose. And then Emanuel stepped in and browbeat Lois Murphy into "toning down" her anti-war message. Fortunately, neither Joe Sestak nor Patrick Murphy, running against Weldon and Fitzpatrick paid Emanuel any heed, ran anti-war campaigns and won. Lois lost 51-49% again.

The same thing happened in northern San Diego County, where Duke Cunningham had been sentenced to prison for bribery and popular anti-war activist Francine Busby was set to win... until Emanuel stepped in and demand she tone down the Iraq rhetoric if she wanted DCCC support. She did-- and she lost 54-43%. I recall dozens of Democratic candidates telling me how Emanuel demanded they cut back on their anti-Iraq campaign or prepare to run without DCCC support. The only one who gave me permission to use his conversations on the record was Iowa challenger Bruce Braley, who told Emanuel he was just wrong and didn't understand Iowa and to butt out. Braley ran a powerful anti-war campaign and took 55% of the vote. Rahm takes the credit for that one too. (Of course Emanuel even takes the credit for campaigns he worked against, like Jerry McNerney's, John Yarmuth's, Carol Shea-Porter's, and John Hall's, who he said were all too progressive and too grassroots to win-- and then tried to make sure they didn't.) The four races Emanuel, as DCCC Chair, spent most heavily in were on behalf of Tammy Duckworth (IL), Ken Lucas (KY), Lois Murphy (PA) and Christine Jennings (FL); they all lost. Had Emanuel put even a fraction of that money into, say Larry Kissell's race-- which he didn't believe in-- Larry would have spent the last year and a half laboring on behalf of North Carolina working families. Instead Emanuel threw his weight-- and cash-- behind Heath Shuler who is one of 6 Emanuel freshmen who vote more frequently with the GOP on substantive matters than with the Democrats.

Anyway, it's a slow summer day on Capitol Hill for everyone (except John Shadegg) so Bob Cusack decided to revive another legendary story of Emanuel's inability to read a simple political equation. This one has too do with how out of touch he is with a cultural phenomena as powerful as the Colbert Report. Cusack's report that Democrats appearing on the show benefit flies in the face of Emanuel's diktat that Democrats stay away from the hugely popular, cutting edge program and stick to less controversial venues-- like Fox News.
Democratic politicians enjoy a major spike in political contributions after appearing on Comedy Central’s The Colbert Report, according to a new study.

Political scientist James Fowler of the University of California, San Diego found that Democrats receive a 40 percent increase in contributions in the month after appearing on the fake-news show. But Republicans, Fowler concludes, “essentially gain nothing,” according to a release.

Fowler’s analysis finds “that Democrats who appear on 'The Colbert Report' enjoy a significant increase in the number and total amount of donations they receive over the next 30-40 days when compared to similar candidates who do not appear on the show. Specifically, Democrats who come on the program raise $8,247 more than colleagues who don’t do so on the 32nd day following their appearance.”

The Fowler analysis cites the fundraising of many House members who have appeared on The Colbert Report, including Democratic Reps. Barney Frank (MA), Adam Schiff (CA), John Hall (NY), and John Yarmuth (KY).

It was originally progressive, anti-war freshman Steve Cohen (D-TN) who Emanuel warned away from Colbert. Cohen, wisely, ignored Emanuel's tone-deaf advise and appeared on the show. Last week Emanuel tacitly supported a right-wing pseudo-Democrat, Nikki Tinker, against Cohen in a bitter primary. Emanuel was embarrassed when Tinker ran a viciously anti-Semitic, racist campaign bristling with Karl Rove talking points. Cohen ended her political pretensions when she came up a little short (18.64%). No doubt Emanuel is taking credit for Cohen's win. Now... who will end Emanuel's political pretensions?

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At 6:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rahm gets it wrong again?

No one could have anticipated . . .


At 6:42 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Yay, Howie!

Tell the truth on Rahm -- be sure our Blue America candidates understand how bad the DCCC is at electing Democratic challengers.

At 7:24 PM, Blogger Jimmy the Saint said...

Who, exactly, does Rahmbo think watches Colbert and Stewart? Democrats. That's who!! Of course they get a bump. People get to know them. Be more familiar with them. Rahm can be so stupid.

At 12:26 PM, Blogger Richard said...

Good post.

But the verb is "to advise."

The noun is "advice" with a "c."

When you advise someone, you are giving them advice.

Another post from the wandering errant Editor.

At 9:10 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

I have no Idea what all of you are talking about, this article is just BAD!


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