Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Another Blue Dog Bites The Dust-- Jane Harman Leaving Congress


Don't worry about millionaires; they have hundreds of Members of Congress to continue pushing their interests in a post-Harman world

Conservative multimillionaire, AIPAC lackey and pro-war fanatic Jane Harman has had a rough time winning Democratic primaries in her progressive Los Angeles district lately. It's probably been no fun for her having to defend her regal self against scrappy anti-war progressive Marcy Winograd. So it wasn't that big of a shock early yesterday morning when the Internets started buzzing about her retirement from Congress, something that was quickly confirmed by her regal self:
Dear [fill in the name of a dupe who supports Harman],

Earlier today, I filed paperwork notifying the House of Representatives that I am in discussions to succeed former Rep. Lee Hamilton as President and CEO of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. I send this note because a decision is imminent and I wanted you to hear the news from me first.

This is an excruciating decision because the distinction of representing the smartest constituents on earth will never be surpassed-- nor will my relationships with my exceptional staff and colleagues in Congress. But shaping and leading the Wilson Center is a thrilling new challenge.

I have always believed that the best solutions to tough problems require a bipartisan approach, and bipartisanship is the Center’s “brand.” Serving at its helm provides unique opportunities to involve the House and Senate, top experts, and world leaders in “great debates” about the most pressing foreign and domestic policy matters.

Should this opportunity come to pass, I would be required to resign my seat. But please know that I would remain in Congress for some weeks and do everything possible to ensure an orderly transition to whomever is elected to succeed me. Sidney and I will always retain our residence in Venice, be home frequently, and stay engaged at USC and active in the community.

You have elected me to nine terms in Congress-- an honor without equal. I hope you understand how truly grateful I am for your friendship and support.


Harman, a Blue Dog in a progressive state, who has alienated Nancy Pelosi and been exposed for underhanded anti-U.S. dealings on behalf of the Bush Regime, had no future in Congress. She has lost influence committee-wise and is considered the least trustworthy member of the Democratic caucus. "Her word doesn't mean a thing," the chief of staff of one influential Democrat told me last night. "The voters in her district will be better off without her in Congress."

The Wilson Center hasn't made a final determination on whether or not to offer Harman the job and they are meeting today to decide. There is some chatter in their circles that Hosni Mubarak may be looking for a new gig and that he would be just as suitable as Harman. And he's even richer than she is-- having pillaged an entire country for decades.

Even before I knew Harman was planning to resign, I had a call from a friend of L.A. City Councilwoman Janice Hahn, asking me if Blue America would back Hahn, extolling what he called her "strongly progressive record." I called Marcy Winograd, who Blue America has backed in all her runs against Harman and she told me Hahn had reached out to her as well, assuring her that, like Marcy, she strongly opposes current U.S. doctrine of preemptive wars. Later, Marcy posted this message to her supporters:
Dear Friends,

Thank you for your calls and emails, wanting to know my thoughts on Harman's resignation. I appreciate your interest and outreach, and am excited about the possibilities for substantive change
Please read my blog post below and let me know what you think. Warm regards, Marcy

Winograd on Harman's Resignation & a Possible Run

When I heard the news that Jane Harman was resigning, I thought, ‘Now we finally have an opportunity to send a progressive to Congress, someone who will work to create jobs in the new economy, to free the 36th District from its perpetual war footing.'

I was at school, in between TEACHING classes, checking my cell phone messages from news editors, bloggers, and former campaign supporters, all asking the same question…

‘Will you run again?’

‘I am exploring the possibility,’ I told them, adding that I live in Santa Monica now, less than a mile outside of the district that hugs the coast from Venice to San Pedro. In 2010, just months ago, the Winograd for Congress campaign mobilized 41% of the vote in a primary challenge to Harman. It was exhilarating, daunting, inspiring, and eye-opening as I precinct walked from one end of the district to the other.

Most of the support came from the northern end of the district, from Venice and Mar Vista, but we enjoyed significant inroads in the working class union strongholds of Wilmington and San Pedro.

I barely had time to digest the political possibilities before running back to class, to my South LA high school students, some of them dressed in military fatigues, where we would read Vietnam veteran Ron Kovic’s essay, Breaking the Silence of the Night, a passionate account of Kovic’s transformation from blind follower to critical thinker and anti-war leader.

My high school students knew nothing of the buzz in the blogosphere, only that their teacher seemed a little preoccupied.

I had just hung up with LA City Councilwoman Janice Hahn, who told me she was running, making a courtesy call-- perhaps hoping to clear the field-– and asking for an endorsement. I told her I had two concerns-– that we needed a voice that would challenge pre-emptive wars, regardless of whether the wars were waged by Republicans or Democrats, and that we needed a Congressperson who would advocate for a just and lasting peace in the Middle East, someone who would not be afraid to criticize Israel, to fight for equal rights for both Palestinians and Jews. It was time for the United States to be an honest broker at the negotiating table. World stability depends on it.

After reminding me she had supported anti-war efforts on the Los Angeles City Council, Hahn added, “I want to make it clear. I am a friend to Israel.”

I am a friend to equality and dignity for all.

I asked Hahn if she would be willing to meet with a group of Jews and Palestinians offering an alternative viewpoint to current US foreign policy.

Yes, she would.

A few hours later news broke that Secretary of State Debra Bowen was also running. Not surprising, since Bowen will term out of office soon. I know Debra and admire her courage in taking on the electronic voting industry, in banning touch-screen voting machines. Would she also be ready to take on the military budget? To demand that Washington stop holding our young engineers hostage to bomb-building-- and award contracts, instead, to corporations intent on developing mass transit, high speed rail, and solar cities?

I haven’t had a chance to speak with Debra Bowen-– but when I do I will ask her the tough questions, starting with …

“Will you vote against further military appropriations for expanded wars in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Yemen?”

“Will you go to the wall to defend Social Security and Medicare, our greatest safety nets?”

“Will you visit Bradley Manning in solitary confinement?”

“Will you walk the streets of Wilmington with me, breathe the oil fumes, and work to crack down on polluters?”

“Will you support the right of states to pursue single-payer health care?”

I am waiting to ask the tough questions-– and to hear courageous answers.

Then I will decide.

## ##
Californians recently passed an Open Primary law, meaning that if no candidate wins 50% plus one vote in the Special Election, the top two vote getters go head-to-head in the next round. Had the Open Primary law been in effect when Winograd challenged Harman in 2010, the two would have faced off against each other in the General Election, as well. Given the small turn-out in special elections, 35,000 of the 300,000 registered voters may decide who replaces Jane Harman. In June, 2010, Winograd received 18,000 votes.

Others considering the run include Crooks and Liars publisher John Amato of Mar Vista and, as Marcy said above, Marina Del Rey resident and California Secretary of State Debra Bowen. And with the conservative DLC closing up operations-- another Harman base-- let's all pray fervently that Harold Ford's next move in search of something with which to repay Wall Street for their generosity (to him and his career aspirations) isn't to Venice or, more likely, Palos Verdes Estates.

Labels: , , , ,


At 10:53 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Despite the fact that it's good riddance (and I'm a constituent) why isn't anybody writing about how she ran for office,
then quit 2 months after the election (Sarah Palin, anyone) thus requiring our bankrupt
state to spend I'm sure more than a million dollars on a special election that will
literally take food out of people's mouths, deprive people of emergency services, etc.

To me that's the story.
There must be more to why she's quitting this soon after her election. Anything to
do with her husband ?


Post a Comment

<< Home