Wednesday, February 15, 2012

GOP Congressional Primary Cannibalism


Yesterday, Inside-the-Beltway Republican-leaning trade publication, Politico, ran an interesting post with an even more interesting title, 5 Most Vulnerable House Incumbents. They probably should have worked the word "primary" into the title though because, as it turns out, that's what the post is about. I was getting ready to laugh in their faces for excluding the races where Republican corruptionists-- take Buck McKeon (R-CA) and "Mikey Suits," AKA- Michael Grimm (R-NY)-- are self-destructing and getting ready to hand red seats over to Democrats. And I was fuming about their coverage of the Upton race which doesn't even mention Democrat John Waltz. Then I realized it's all about primaries and I calmed down. I'm calm now. In fact, now I'm kickin' back and down-right enjoying what Alex Isenstadt had to say.

As you know if you hang out at this blog at all, we're no friends of GOP corruptionist and right-wing ideologue Spencer Bachus of Alabama. Just last week we took at look at his tendency to trade on insider information-- and as chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, that's a big deal. Outrageously, Boehner has refused to ask him to step down from that perch while he's being investigated by the House Ethics Committee. Would we like to see him out of Congress? Of course. What red-blooded American wouldn't? But Politico, I'm afraid was being a little optimistic in their assessment. Isenstadt seems to suggest his March 13 primary could be his last hurrah.
Last week, the Washington Post reported that the Office of Congressional Ethics had opened an investigation into whether the 64-year-old Financial Services Committee chairman had engaged in insider trading-- a potential violation of Securities and Exchange Commission and House rules.

The news couldn’t have come at a worse time for Bachus, who next month will defend in a GOP primary the seat he has held for nearly two decades.

The revelation has created a wide opening for Bachus’s lead Republican opponent, state Sen. Scott Beason, who took a not-so-veiled shot at Bachus on his website late last week: “If I’m elected, my No. 1 priority is going to be to serve the people in my district. I will not be a puppet for those who want to manipulate the system for their own ends.”

Bachus has typically cruised to reelection in the Birmingham-based 6th District, but he appears to understand the challenge ahead. The Alabama Republican has already hit the air with TV ads calling himself “Alabama’s conservative champion” who “doesn’t just talk the talk. He walks the walk.”

Beason faces high hurdles. The state senator didn’t launch his campaign until January-- giving him relatively little time to compete with the congressman and his formidable $1.4 million war chest. Beason will also need to address the controversy over his role during a 2011 gambling corruption probe, when he wore an FBI wiretap and was recorded calling African-American casino-goers “aborigines.”

Teabaggers and Club For Growth types are trying to knock off Tim Murphy (R-PA), whose 94.5 lifetime GOP score on crucial votes apparently isn't fascist-friendly enough for them, even though he's in a swing district. They're trying to replace him with a far right extremist, Evan Feinberg, in the April 24th primary.
The anti-tax Club for Growth has dropped into the district, slamming Murphy in TV ads as a labor-aligned liberal who supports earmarks, and the tea party-aligned FreedomWorks has endorsed Feinberg. GOP Sens. Rand Paul of Kentucky and Tom Coburn of Oklahoma have suggested they may support Feinberg, who formerly served as an aide to both senators, as well.

...Murphy, who has a spot on the influential Energy and Commerce Committee, has also received backup from the American Chemistry Council, which in December, took the unusual step of purchasing a $500,000 TV ad buy praising the congressman.

But the race that interested me most was the Michigan primary where right-wing fanatic Jack Hoogendyk is challenging Boehner crony and House Energy and Commerce Committee chair, plutocrat Fred Upton again. This one is the most interesting to me because it's a seat that a strong Democrat could certainly win. And Blue America is backing a strong Democrat there, John Waltz. In 2010 Upton won just 57% of the vote against Hoogendyk even though he swamped him in campaign cash. This time, though, the Club for Growth is airing TV spots hammering Upton for his voting in favor of Bush's bankster bailout. Take a look:

And here's another ad Club for Growth is running against him. Upton, loaded with corporate cash and Chamber of Commerce ads, is expected to win again (unfortunately; Hoogendyk would be a snap for Waltz to send to the bottom of the sea). But we're hoping that the bloody primary will turn off enough Republicans to help Waltz win in November. If the DCCC would support him with funding, it would be a breeze. He's a grassroots progressive so, of course, they won't. He has, however, already raised more money than any other Democrat who has run against Upton. Obama won 57% of the vote in 2008 and has already invested heavily for 2012. Upton, whose family shipped all the jobs in the district overseas (he's an heir to the Whirlpool fortune), is extremely unpopular with both the right and the left; he has no base outside of his countryclub cronies and a bunch of lobbyists. It's interesting to see that only a week after Fred Endorsed Romney, Mittens support in Michigan has collapsed-- losing every county in MI-6 in the latest PPP poll. Whomever comes out of the tea party primary in August will be badly bloodied and positioned far to the right with just a little over two months to bring it back to down to Earth for General Election voters.

Waltz is a blue collar Navy veteran, a populist who's beliefs were shaped by growing up in a union household-- his father was a UAW member for thirty years. This, of course, is not something the DCCC leadership under corporate shill Steve Israel could or would ever understand.

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