Sunday, March 08, 2009

Are Republicans Committing Political Suicide With Obstructionism? Let's Look At Florida's And California's Foreclosure Crisis


Several readers have asked me to explain why a gaggle of rubber stamp Republican obstructionists crossed the aisle Friday to vote with the Democrats on ameliorating the foreclosure epidemic, when it was rigid Republican/Blue Dog policy to kill that bankster-opposed legislation. It passed 234-191. Among the rubber stamp obstructionists who changed tack and voted in their constituents' interests instead of for the banksters, were Mike Castle (DE), the notorious Diaz-Balart Brothers (FL), Walter Jones (NC), John McHugh (NY), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL), and Mike Turner (OH).

Have these congresscritters seen the error of their ways? The light? Are they getting nervous that the American people are behind President Obama and do not approve of the Republican obstructionist strategies? Are they about to jump the fence and eschew the Party of Greed, Avarice and Corruption? Short answer... no.

Congress Matters has updated numbers on where the worst epidemic of foreclosures is hitting, by congressional district and the revised numbers show a much greater concentration of projected foreclosures in California, Florida, Nevada, Arizona and Georgia. In fact, there's not a district in the top 50 hardest hit districts that isn't in one of these five states! Florida, for example, has just been devastated by the economic meltdown, with among the worst unemployment rates and the worst foreclosure rates. And although most Republican congressmembers from that state-- even ones representing the hardest hit districts (like extremists Connie Mack, Ginny Brown-Waite, Jeff Miller, Vern Buchanan, John Mica, Gus Bilirakis, Bill Young and freshmen kooks Tom Rooney and Bill Posey, who represent exactly half of the worst hit districts in all of America!)-- 3 of the 7 Republicans who did cross the aisle Friday are from Florida, and all represent districts with foreclosure rates far above the national average. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen is no moderate but she understands that in a blue-trending district-- Obama took 51% of the vote there-- with over 16,000 foreclosures, you'd better be seen as part of the solution and not part of the problem... if you want to keep your seat in what looks like what's shaping up to be a midterm election that will all but wipe the GOP off the face of the political map-- even in Florida. Ros-Lehtinen's Miami-based district is the 19th hardest hit in the country.

Mario Diaz-Balart came closest to losing his seat of any incumbent in Florida this past November-- he scraped by with 53% and is sure to be targeted big time in 2010. McCain edged Obama by less than one percent in the district, which is the 27th most foreclosed upon district in America-- over 15,000 foreclosures. His brother Lincoln is also a hard core right-wing loon but he too knows which way the wind is blowing-- 14,569 foreclosures and the 32nd most forecloses in the country.

Allow me to skip across the country and look at my own state, California, which is nearly as hard hit as Florida. Not a single Republican-- not even those representing the districts with the worst avalanches of foreclosures-- voted for the bill that was specifically designed to keep families in their homes. In some cases the districts are so reflexively reactionary that the gamble that it won't matter will probably pay off-- like for lunatic fringe reactionaries like George Radanovich, Jerry Lewis and Devin Nunes. But several Republican obstructionists in California may well have just sealed their electoral fates by sticking with the banksters and abandoning their own constituents. And in none of these districts can they put forward the Republican claim that only African-Americans get foreclosed on; in these districts it's almost all white people who are losing their homes, often because African-Americans have been carefully gerrymandered out of the districts!

The worst hit district in California is CA-03 way up north. Only 4% of the population is black. The district has the 15th highest foreclosure rate in America, nearly 18,000 families out on the streets, and their representative is one of California's craziest extremists, Dan Lungren. (As you can see from the photo, he isn't black either... not by any stretch of the imagination.) Lungren, with ZERO help from the DCCC, came close to defeat in November (he was re-elected with 50% of the vote, while Obama and McCain were tied). Another far right ideologue who was nearly defeated by a political unknown in November is the GOP's corrupt screwball Ken Calvert in CA-44, the 21st hardest hit district in America (second worst in California), with 16,043. Obama beat McCain in the formerly solid-red Inland Empire district and Calvert's winning percentage was 52%. The district is 5.5% African-American, so the Republican racist mantra about who gets foreclosed on won't fly there either.

Other Republicans in similar situations are, in order of how badly their districts are faring, freshman Tom McClintock (CA-04- 15,994 foreclosures), Mary Bono Mack (CA-25- 15,328 foreclosures), Buck McKeon (CA-25- 14,898), David Dreier (CA-26-13,487 foreclosures), and Wally Herger (CA-02- 10,909 foreclosures). They all voted "no" and not one of them coasted to victory in November. Obama won in McKeon's, Dreier's and Bono-Mack's districts. And McClintock's win was so razor thin that it took weeks of recounts to finally be decided; I suspect a great many of the people who voted for him are having very severe cases of buyers' remorse.

Maybe the Republicans won't have to worry though. After all, they have a somewhat off-kilter Michael Steele (not to mention Mark Sanford) doing outreach for them to minority communities. You think this'll work?

Labels: , , , , ,


At 9:21 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

The people of Florida's 5th Congressional District are ready to give Ginny Brown-Waite the long overdue retirement party that she so richly deserves. She is far beyond a rubber stamp hack and we can only hope that someone competent runs against her this time.

At 6:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The problem is the timeframe. If the Republicans can frame this as the responsibility of the Democrats, and some of the Democrats keep making things tougher for the incredibly cautious inhabitant of the White House, then the hope is that in two years nobody will remember whose policies caused the economic meltdown. After all, there's some truth to the statement that Americans have the memory of a cardboard box.

And it helps that the media is in the Republican pockets, too.

At 8:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What's that whale doing by a swimming pool? Shouldn't he be in the ocean?


Post a Comment

<< Home