Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Daily Blue America Report-- #5


If you want a government crippled by the obstructionism of ideological extremists, you'll be happy to know that with their dying breath the collapsing Republican Party has just borrowed $5 million-- not quite enough for a new plane for the McCains but more than the cost of a couple pair of Cindy's earrings-- to try to save some of the incumbent senators on the verge of being turned out by their constituents. The GOP has given up entirely on the open red seats in Virginia, New Mexico and Colorado but they're still hoping to salvage their ability to block Obama's program by re-electing reactionaries in some combination of North Carolina, Oregon, Minnesota, Kentucky, Alaska, Georgia, Texas, Oklahoma, Maine, etc. Thwart them here. Our friends and allies at People For the American Way are running a series of ads to try to counter the GOP effort. Here's one they did that puts the lie to Susan Collins' deceptive image of her as an "independent" and "moderate."

I've been complaining how the DCCC is spending the vast bulk of the contributions they get on reactionary candidates from the Republican wing of the Democratic Party-- even anti-choice fanatics-- but I was heartened to hear that they're distributing some small amount of help to more progressives this week. Mind you, not the huge million dollar TV campaigns for the Rahm Emanuel Caucus slimebags, but we saw they had gone up with a couple of TV spots against Mean Jean Schmidt in OH-02 and that they're going to finally donate some much-needed cash to Annette Taddeo in Miami-Dade and they're running this negative ad against Ric Keller in Orlando.

Last night we saw how the Austin Statesman was encouraged that Mike "Low-Hanging Fruit" McCaul could lose his seat next week. Today the drumbeat in Texas got louder as a panic-stricken McCaul sent an SOS out to all his wealthy supporters asking them to do some door-knocking. That would be a funny sight to see!

Republican rubber stamps like Susan Collins, Gordon Smith, Chris Shays can put one over on constituents who don't pay close enough attention and make the case-- much the way McCain does-- that they haven't followed Bush entirely. But if it's untrue for Collins, Smith and Shays, it's the lie-of-the-year for Michael McCaul, one of the half dozen members of Congress with the greatest percentage of ironclad Bush votes. An apt illustration in the dictionary for the term "rubber stamp," would be a photo of Michael McCaul. And today's Houston Chronicle reports that he sat before a roomful of Chronicle editors with a straight face claiming to be "an independent congressman." It was a startling assertion.
"I've been an independent voice up there, and that's important to me," said McCaul, explaining that he voted against President Bush by opposing the finance industry rescue plan and an attempt to cut Medicare payment rates to doctors and hospitals.

Doherty retorted: "Michael may cast himself as an independent voice, but the record shows he has voted 94 percent of the time with the Republican agenda. That is not representation, it is misrepresentation."

Further, McCaul did not respond to Doherty's charge that the congressman voted to cut Medicare reimbursements, then switched his vote when he saw it would make no difference to the outcome of the legislation.

It was the only face-to-face encounter McCaul has agreed to, knowing full well that he's no match for Larry Joe Dohert in any kind of public debate. He claims "scheduling conflicts" when called on his unwillingness to participate in one of the most fundamental aspects of democracy, a free an open public debate on the issues. Of course, when you look at McCaul's appalling and indefensible voting record of those issues, it is easy to see why he doesn't want to defend it and just spends his father-in-law's fortune on negative ads.
McCaul told the editorial writers he opposed the Democratic version of a bill to expand the Children's Health Insurance Program because, he said, it would have expanded such benefits to adults and illegal immigrants.

Doherty said citizens of the district already pay indirectly for emergency care for illegal immigrants-- services funded largely through local property taxes. Health costs, he said, are high partly because profit drives decisions made by medical insurance companies. He said the solution is a "single payer," government-sponsored healthcare system.

McCaul said nations that use such a system must ration health care and make patients wait for services. Doherty said many of those countries rank significantly higher than the United States in life expectancy rates and do better in preventing infant deaths.

The candidates' disagreements also applied to the rate of the federal tax on investment income.

McCaul said lowering the capital gains tax would free up money that can be invested in ways that would help restore the U.S. economy.

"What we should do is what worked very well under Presidents Kennedy and Reagan," he said. "What better way to unleash that capital than to reduce the capital gains tax rate?"

Doherty countered that cutting taxes on investment income "is a cynical suggestion for the wealthy to get wealthier."

After their only scheduled meeting of the campaign, Doherty told McCaul he hoped they'd cross paths again before the Nov. 4 election. McCaul said he hoped they could get together when the election's over.

Apparently McCain has made Palin change her "mind" and she too is now demanding that convicted Republican felon Ted Stevens resign from the office he disgraced. If he resigns, she gets to appoint his replacement-- at least until January, when Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich is likely to become senator. Stevens claims he's innocent and that he will win re-election and win his appeal. There are dark rumors swirling that he has the goods on Palin and if she opens her yap again about him resigning, he knows how to get them to the press. Let's hope!

McClatchy reported today that in the aftermath of Robin Hayes hate-filled attack on liberals, his polling numbers have tanked and that he now trails Blue America-endorsed Larry Kissel, 51-46%. Gee, I guess we can just call the nearly three thousand Blue America ads running on Charlotte and Raleigh cable and then all the broadcast spots on ABC-TV's NASCAR show will just be some extra insurance. An internal Republican memo terms Hayes as "likely gone."

This morning we started the day with the cheery news that NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg had given Dennis Shulman a hearty, rousing endorsement for the congressional seat in northern New Jersey currently in the hands of right-wing extremist Scott Garrett. So let's end the day with more good news from New Jersey: Democracy For America just endorsed Dennis as well and their executive director announced a huge door-to-door get out the vote effort on Dennis' behalf.

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