Saturday, November 24, 2012

Steve Israel Insists He's Not A Dismal Failure And That He Did Just As Well As The DSCC


Patty Murray won big; Steve Israel was a complete disaster

The biggest turkey pardoned this season was Steve Israel and it was Nancy Pelosi and the House Democratic Caucus who pardoned him. I don't have many friends left at the DCCC but yesterday, after my post about Steve Israel's gross incompetence as chairman, one of them called me to give their side of the story. I wasn't sure if he was joking at first but eventually I figured out that this is the official DCCC Beltway talking points to explain Israel's colossal failure to even come close to winning back the House.

Short version: the DCCC did just as well as the DSCC, which is widely acclaimed as absolutely heroic. "The DSCC had a net gain of 2 seats, 2%, and we had a net gain of 2%." My jaw dropped. This guy is no idiot. But he said that. There was no punch-line. It was proof. Forget for a moment that the DSCC managed to reelect Claire McCaskill, the worst incumbent up for reelection anywhere, and forget that they managed to win a Senate seat for reactionary and vehemently anti-Choice Blue Dog, Joe Donnelly (who was literally even only running because he knew he couldn't be reelected in his House district), based on an anti-Choice comment made by an Indiana moron. The DSCC won seats in every state Obama won (except one, Nevada, where the Democrat running was a hopelessly corrupt New Dem from the House, Shelley Berkley) and they won Senate races in four blood red states where Romney won by big margins, Montana (13.5%), North Dakota (19.8%), Missouri (9.6%) and Indiana (10.5%). And the DSCC laughed in the face of Beltway convention wisdom and pulverized Republicans in "tight races" in Florida, Virginia, Ohio, Wisconsin, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Mexico and Pennsylvania. The DSCC are being lauded as heroes because they were. They made every right move and God smiled on them. Steve Israel made every wrong move and God hates him.

What did the DCCC accomplish? In the greater scheme of things, almost nothing. They had a few scattered victories, but some of the most significant Democratic wins happened either with no DCCC involvement or with the DCCC smoldering in anger over the loss of allies. Progressives successfully primaried notoriously corrupt Steve Israel allies Tim Holden (PA) and Silvestre Reyes (TX) and went on--with no DCCC help-- to win the generals elections. The DCCC didn't give any help to 19 new freshmen: Alan Grayson (FL), Jared Huffman (CA), Eric Swalwell (CA), Tony Cardenas (CA), Gloria McLeod (CA-- who beat another Israel ally, Blue Dog Joe Baca), Mark Takano (CA), Alan Lowenthal (CA), Lois Frankel (FL), Tulsi Gabbard (HI), Donald Payne, Jr. (NJ), Grace Meng (NY), Hakeem Jeffries (NY), Joyce Beatty (OH), Matt Cartwright (PA), Beto O'Rourke (TX), Joaquin Castro (TX), Marc Veasey (TX), Filemon Vela (TX), and Mark Pocan (WI). And Steve Israel's spectacularly lousy targeting was solely responsible for at least a dozen pickups the GOP held onto, including high-profile committee chairs like Paul Ryan, Buck McKeon, and Darrell Issa. Instead, what the DCCC accomplished was electing a Blue Dog and a pack of New Dems who will, over the years, make progressives ashamed to call themselves Democrats-- and continue to allow Boehner and Cantor to call their crackpot extremist proposals "bipartisan."

Pelosi reappointed Israel chairman and no one objected. If the Democrats can't even recognize that something went wrong, they'll never understand what went wrong, let alone fix it. Not good.

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At 5:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As you know, but I'm still learning, the congressional Dems are still Wall Street's lackeys, so they have to keep things as Progressive-free as possible; to them, it's THEN that they're doing a good job. If too many progressives win, then to them they're doing a BAD job.

I don't know how to undo that nonsense except with more independent progressive money and organization. I guess you (and others) just keep doing what we're doing but accumulate more allies and activists until we take over enough of the party to more than split the difference.


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