Sunday, March 29, 2009

Bad News For Democrats: Reactionaries Ed Case And Howard Ahmanson Want Into The Big Tent


Ahmanson & Case: more and worse Democrats, much worse

Once I worked in a Happy Kingdom and when the founder passed away turmoil struck and a flim-flam man came in and gobbled it up. That was the short version of the AOL merger with TimeWarner. The flim flam man is Steve Case, a Hawaiian hustler turned marketing man. From figuring out ways of selling Pizza Hut's cardboard excuse for pizza, Case went to work marketing for a series of video game companies, something that led directly to the creation of AOL. In 2001 Case managed to pull off the scam of the decade, acquiring the leaderless TimeWarner in a stock swap. Two years later he had looted as much as 6 billion dollars from the company and was kicked out. I lived through the tragedy as a president of a TimeWarner division but decided to quit the day I met Case in person for the first time and realized that his vision for the business was to loot and plunder what so many people so much better than him had spent decades building. Nina Munk's book, Fools Rush In: Steve Case, Jerry Levin, and the Unmaking of AOL Time Warner tells most of the sordid story.

Today Case is the head of Revolution LLC-- a holding company that combines a shady credit card operation and a failed on-line health care company (like WebMD) with a resort management company. Case is also one of Hawaii's biggest landowners. A major political donor to both parties, typically he'll give the NRSC $25,000 and a few grand to a handful of right-of-center Democrats, mostly his cousin, Ed Case.

Ed Case is widely viewed in Hawaii as the most opportunistic of all politicians. It's an overwhelmingly Democratic state, so he calls himself a Democrat. This weekend he's in the news because he found another office to run for. Neil Abercrombie, the progressive congressman from Honolulu, is giving up his seat to run for governor, and Case, who was once the reactionary congressman from the rest of Hawaii and gave up his seat to challenge, unsuccessfully, liberal Senator Dan Akaka, now wants Abercrombie's House seat. He says he has the relationships in DC. And if by "relationships," you mean an in with every corrupt lobbyist on K Street, he's correct. "I've been there. I've done it. Hawai'i needs good representation in Washington. I can use my seniority, experience and relationships there from day one and pick up and keep going. Nobody else has that experience mix." Hopefully a more progressive Democrat will step up and challenge Case. Abercrombie, who isn't a Case ally and supported Akaka, said the Democratic Party in his district has a very strong bench. He said, "whoever emerges from the primary, I'm sure I'm going to be in very strong support of no matter who he or she is. I will certainly work with whoever it is to effect President Obama's agenda and to be supportive of the delegation and work with the delegation as governor if I'm given that opportunity."
Case is the first of what could be several Democrats to step up to replace Abercrombie, D-Hawai'i, for a rare open congressional seat. State Senate President Colleen Hanabusa, D-21st (Nanakuli, Makaha), Honolulu City Councilman Duke Bainum, and Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann have considered potential campaigns... Case's primary against Akaka upset many traditional Democrats, and the fractures within the party have not entirely healed.

Case would prefer to run for Senate and is said to check the newspaper every day when he wakes up to see if the 85 year old Senator Daniel Inouye died overnight. His campaign against Akaka in 2006 revolved around Akaka's vote against attacking Iraq. Case said that had he been in the Senate he would have supported Bush's proposal to start the war against Iraq. Case was a consistent aisle crosser on important matters while he served in the House and seemed more comfortable voting with Republicans than with Democrats. Although he had one of the worst attendance records of any member of Congress, he consistently supported the GOP on job-killing trade legislation and on special interests legislation like abolishing the estate tax for the super-rich, making it easier for banksters to rip off consumers, screwing over working families on pensions and GOP proposals to shift the tax burden to the middle class. He generally voted with the most reactionary Democrats when they joined the GOP to stifle reform and anyone who likes Chamber of Commerce pawns and Patriot Act-type Dems like Dan Boren and Jim Marshall will be perfectly happy with Ed Case-- especially if xenophobia and war-mongering and making sure that victims of big corporations have no recourse to the courts are your cup of tea to boot.

Short version: Case is exactly the wrong kind of Democrat we need in Congress-- and he has a record to prove it. If you live in California you can't not know of Howard Ahmanson, a religious right kook multimillionaire who's on an anti-gay jihad and gets lots of buildings named after himself. He's equally well known as a philanthropist and for funding Prop 8 and other reactionary Republican initiatives. Well, like Case, he's a Democrat now. He just jumped the fence. He seems to equate being a Democrat to buying a Prius. But he thinks Bush spent too much money but he defines himself as this kind of Democrat: "I like her [Sarah Palin], though I’ll have to confess that I like Bobby Jindal better. I’m now a blue-dog Democrat for Bobby Jindal for 2012." People like Ahmanson and Case should stick with the GOP where their ideas are appreciated.

Labels: , , , , ,


At 10:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Case has acted with maturity and intellegence from day one. Hanabusa has had several implications of misleading the state for her own gain. Vote for respected experience.


Post a Comment

<< Home