Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Why I Might Cheer And Eat Popcorn For Buffalo Democrat Kathy Hochul But Not Contribute A Dime


There are two special elections for open House seats coming up, one in the L.A. area and one in the Buffalo area. Blue America has endorsed California Secretary of State Debra Bowen in the former and hasn't taken a position in the latter. But as the race in NY-26 tightens up-- in part because the Republican is battling a deranged, multimillionaire teabagger, Jack Davis, on the one hand, and the taint of being associated with Paul Ryan's Medicare-killing agenda on the other hand-- many Blue America supporters have asked us why we haven't been raising money for the Democrat in the race, Kathy Hochul. Yesterday, in fact, Daily Kos and PPP reported that Hochul has pulled ahead in the polling. There's no doubt in our minds that she would be a better congressmember than either Jane Corwin, the rubber stamp Republican, or Jack Davis, the dangerous fascist. That brings us back to the idea than a D or a C- is always better than an F. But... watch this Hochul ad:

The very first plea she makes to voters is bragging that she has adopted a divisive, reactionary Republican frame as her own: "I led the fight against giving illegal immigrants drivers licenses..." Blue America doesn't endorse triangulators who get bad advise from Inside-the-Beltway hacks and we don't endorse candidates who apologize for being Democrats; it sets them on a bad path if they get into Congress. She can go raise money from that set, while we raise money for real progressives who want to use progressive values to solve America's problems for working families, like Ilya Sheyman (IL), Nick Ruiz (FL), Norman Solomon (CA) and Debra Bowen (CA). Saturday we'll be introducing you to a new candidate as well, Eric Griego (NM).

Yesterday's National Journal covered the battle in upstate NY horserace style:
With a second poll this week confirming that we really have a three-way race in New York's 26th District, Republicans have the most to lose if things don't go Jane Corwin's way in three weeks - and their nervousness is starting to show. Both Corwin and the state GOP have gone after independent Jack Davis, hoping that if they can remind people of his Democratic past, he'll stop pulling votes away from them. But they have two fronts to watch now, with both Democrat Kathy Hochul and Davis hammering Corwin on Medicare.

It's clear now that the Medicare issue will be the defining issue in the race, and so far Corwin has tried to turn the message back to jobs and the deficit. This is an early test for how the Democratic message will play, but the DCCC still isn't in; though with Corwin forced to go on the attack, it could be better if they wait it out and force her hand. On the flip side, the NRCC has already begun phone-banking for Corwin, but especially if they're forced to send resources and go up on air for her, it's an even surer sign that they're worried about how a loss could play into their 2012 plans.

Meanwhile Boehner, who isn't exactly Mr. Popularity among voters, was bragging on Twitter yesterday that he was in Buffalo raising money for Corwin. I bet he didn't bring Paul Ryan along! Meanwhile, in the first big race since he was named DCCC chair, Steve Israel seems to be sitting this one out, even though Hochul is just his kind of centrist Republican-light candidate.

Yesterday Silvestre Reyes (D-TX) released this slam against contemptible immigrant-basher John Boehner. I wonder if he and other Beltway Democrats who are pushing it realize it could be applied to Hochul as well.
"Speaker Boehner should focus on controlling the level of violence in his own state before tarnishing the image of border communities that remain among the safest places to live in America. As his office asserts that Congress cannot consider reforming our broken immigration system until border violence is under control, the fact remains that the six largest cities in Ohio all have higher rates of violence and crime than every major city along the U.S.-Mexico border. In fact, the Speaker's own district in Dayton, Ohio saw more homicides in 2010 than Texas' four largest border cities combined, despite the fact that Dayton's population of 141,500 is only about one-tenth of the size by comparison. According to the most recent City Crime Rankings Survey by CQ Press, Ohio's cities have higher rates of violence and crime in every category, including murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, and motor vehicle theft than border communities.

"Tomorrow, President Obama will visit the border region when he speaks in El Paso, the largest border city in Texas and the safest large city in America. As Republicans continue to distort the facts and use border violence as an excuse to delay immigration reform and disparage the outstanding work of our local, state, and federal law enforcement professionals, I hope the President's visit will help expose Republicans' distorted rhetoric on border violence, and renew the push for much-needed reforms to our immigration system that are long overdue."

President Obama will make the point that his aggressive border, far more aggressive than Bush's ever was, is actually working. It's time for a politically mature look at immigration policy and at the undocumented Americans already here, not the divisiveness of political hacks and demagogues like Boehner and his caucus and Democrats like Hochul.
Any reasonable look at the data from the past several years makes clear that the new joint Mexican-US strategy towards the common border region is working. Deportations of criminal immigrants, southbound seizures of bulk cash and illegal guns are way up. The number of illegal migrants crossing the border, the number of undocumented immigrants in the US, crime rates all along the US side of the border are all down. By some measures cities like El Paso and San Diego are some of the safest big cities in America today. While the violence on the Mexican side of the border is still at unacceptable levels, there has been no measurable spillover of the cartel violence into the United States.  So while the things we don't want happening along the US side of the border are decreasing, the things we do want-- trade and legal traffic of people-- are increasing. The 2,000 mile border between our countries sees hundreds of millions of legal crossings each year, and is now has the single busiest border crossing in the world.  Increased trade with Mexico has made our southern neighbor the 3rd largest trading partner with the US of any country in the world, and annual trade with Mexico now equals that of our trade with China, and is about the same as our trade annually with the Germany, Japan and the UK combined.  While much more must be done, it is clear that significant advances have been made along the border region in recent years.

When Democrats start off by using GOP framing, the way Hochul is doing in her campaign, what do you think happens when they get into power? That's how we wind up with the likes of Blanche Lincoln, Dan Boren, Ben Nelson, Claire McCaskill, Joe Lieberman muddying the waters for voters and making it impossible for the Democratic caucuses in the Senate and House to ever enact any progressive legislation. That's why we don't have single-payer or even a public option now instead of the crappy healthcare reform that the Democrats, in control of both Houses of Congress and the White House, managed to pass (and even then, just barely). And that's why we had millions of Democratic voters staying away from the polls last November, sickened by the inability of Democrats to enact progressive reforms. Yesterday 75 prominent economists sent a letter to Congress imploring them to oppose plans such as GOP-framed legislation by Hochul-like Democrat Claire McCaskill, paired with reactionary Republican Bob Corker and by tepid centrist Democrat Mark Udall, paired by reactionary Dick Shelby that would endanger the social safety net and amount to nothing more than a Medicare kill switch, something very much like the Paul Ryan "cause" the public is so repulsed by and most Democrats would like to use as a campaign issue to show how the two parties diverge. But how can anyone show the two parties diverging with Democrats like McCaskill, Udall (Mark, not Tom) and Hochul?

And with Rove's thuggish PAC flooding the airwaves with anti-Hochul propaganda (a staggering $650,000 worth), she could use some help. But the people who she's trying to appeal to with her anti-immigrant framing are the ones financing her political demise and why should any progressive want to help elect a worthless, triangulating, cowardly shill that she promises to be?

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At 11:24 AM, Blogger Unknown said...


Saved me some money. I'm sick to death of supporting Dems who betray us the first chance they get.

At 11:32 AM, Anonymous John Evan Miller said...

I love how detailed your blogs posts are and they are incredibly accurate with a plethora of detail. With that being said, I agree that the political world is sucking money out of everyone by making claims to simply get money--without ever making these things happen.


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