Sunday, November 11, 2012

Steve Israel's Success: Undermining Rob Zerban To Protect Paul Ryan's Seat


AIPAC has given the thumbs up on both the rabidly Zionist prospects to replace the defeated rabidly Zionist Howard Berman as the ranking member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Brad Sherman (D-CA) and Eliot Engel (D-NY). Both backed Bush's attack on Iraq neither ever stray from the most extreme Likkud positions. Engel is the ranking member on the Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere and Sherman is the ranking member on the Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation and Trade. Ironically, it was Sherman who defeated Berman (60.5-39.5%) for reelection Tuesday. Foreign policy came into the debate because Sherman is a Fair Trade guy and Berman is a Free Trade corporate whore. Sherman, in fact, is generally more progressive than Berman on everything except Israel. Both-- as well as Engel (and the GOP chair of the Committee, Ilya Ros-Lehtinen) are complete pawns of the Israeli right-wing.

Next week the new Democratic caucus, which will include around 50 new members [from Kyrsten Sinema (AZ), Lois Frankel (FL), Beto O'Rourke (TX), Joe Kennedy (MA), Matt Cartwright (PA), Joe Garcia (FL), Mark Pocan (WI), Tulsi Gabbard (HI), Annie Kuster (NH) and 11 new members from California alone-- Jared Huffman, Ami Bera, Eric Swalwell, Julia Brownley, Tony Cardenas, Gloria McLeod, Raul Ruiz, Mark Takano, Alan Lowenthal, Juan Vargas and Scott Peters-- to reelected former members like Alan Grayson (FL), Ann Kirkpatrick AZ), Dan Maffei (NY), Dina Titus (NV), Rick Nolan (MN), Carol Shea-Porter (NH) and Bill Foster (IL)] will meet to pick the next Congress' leadership team.

No one good is running and the big question, of course, is whether or not Nancy Pelosi will retire. The quality of the leadership team will go down regardless. Other than Nancy the House Democratic leadership team is pure dreck, as horrible and out of touch with the grassroots as the GOP leadership team. Corporate whore (and the Congressman from K Street) Steny Hoyer will be Pelosi's replacement if she steps down, #2 if she stays. Debbie Wasserman Schultz is demanding a special position be created for her that will eventually lead to the top slot and Hoyer-- not wanting to battle with her now-- has agreed. Don't expect any surprises in the decisions about committee ranking members, although it will be interesting to see how they handle the delicate matter of a replacement for Barney Frank on the House Financial Services Committee. (I can't imagine they'll give Fox the pleasure of announcing it's Maxine Waters but, who knows; the caucus is so utterly dysfunctional and useless than anything can happen. Except something good.) Much-liked Nita Lowey (NY) will challenge much disliked Marcy Kaptur (OH) for the Appropriations Committee ranking member slot and Richard Neal may challenge Sander Levin for the Ways and Means slot. Yawn.

As for leader of the DCCC... Steve Israel has been on a propaganda blitz since his disastrous performance Tuesday to persuade the caucus that he's earned another term as chairman. More than a dozen congressional offices-- including some way up on the top-- have asked me for a written analysis showing why Israel doesn't deserve another term. I'm waiting for the last ha;f dozen races to be called before I publish it. Meanwhile, let me just mention today a report in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel-- which doesn't mention Steve Israel, but indicates why he led the DCCC to ignominy rather than the great victories at the DNC/OFA (Obama landslide) and the DSCC (the Senate sweep).

We've talked for years and ad nauseum about how the DCCC has a set policy of protecting Paul Ryan's blue-leaning seat. They always give him a free pass to reelection. Emanuel did. Van Hollen did and Israel did. But Emanuel and Van Hollen are slicker than Israel; each made sure, by manipulating the primary process, that Ryan's general election challengers would be a joke. Israel forgot to do that and Ryan would up with a plausible challenger, Rob Zerban. So Israel was in the uncomfortable position of privately tearing down a person who could beat Ryan and persuading big Democratic donors to not contribute to Zerban's campaign, while publicly mouthing worthless platitudes about beating Ryan. All the usual DCCC lies were ineffective. Normally they claim grassroots progressives like Zerban can't raise any money-- while they make sure none of the regular sources give-- and that they can't support him for that reason. But Zerban raised more money-- all of it from the grassroots-- than most candidates the DCCC backed. In Wisconsin, for example, Israel got behind two candidates up against GOP backbenchers with no power, Jamie Wall who was battling Reid Ribble and Pat Kreitlow who was battling Sean Duffy. Predictably both the DCCC-backed candidates lost, Wall 55.9 to 44.1% and Kreitlow 56.1% to 43.9%. It was similar to how the Ryan Zerban results looked: 54.9 to 43.4%. But the similarities stopped there. The DCCC hampered Zerban's fundraising, telling big donors to not waste their money on him, while urging contributions to Wall and Kreitlow. In the end Wall brought in $1,016,688, Kreitlow brought in $1,176,147 and Zerban brought in $2,117,162. The DCCC and its affiliates also spend $2,205,515 on Kreitlow's race and $87,664 on Wall's race. Keeping his promise to their mutual backers on Wall Street, Israel made sure the DCCC spent nothing to oppose Ryan. If they had, Zerban would be a congressman-elect and Ryan would be looking for a job at K Street or Wall Street or at some crackpot think tank.
Wisconsin voters delivered a mixed verdict on Paul Ryan this week.

His House constituents returned him to Congress. They also voted narrowly for the Mitt Romney-Ryan ticket.

But his congressional victory margin was his smallest ever (11.5 points).

He lost his hometown of Janesville twice: by 10 points for Congress and by 25 points for vice president.

And the GOP ticket lost the battleground state of Wisconsin by 7 points in a race Republicans thought would be far closer. In Ryan's southern Wisconsin district, the Romney-Ryan ticket ran about 3 points behind Ryan the congressional candidate.

In the end, there's little in the numbers to suggest Ryan provided a meaningful home-state boost to Romney.

Ryan, expected to continue on as House budget chair, is on everybody's shortlist of potential Republican presidential candidates in 2016.

Here are some yardsticks for measuring his election performance in Wisconsin Tuesday:

Ryan in his hometown. Democratic congressional challenger Rob Zerban defeated Ryan in Janesville 55% to 44%. President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden defeated the Romney-Ryan ticket in Janesville 62% to 37%. Ryan had never lost Janesville in a re-election campaign before. Of course, he had only faced token opposition in past re-election races. Janesville is also a Democratic city that gave Obama 66% of its vote in 2008.

But even in Ryan's backyard, there's not much evidence of a Ryan boost to Romney. The drop-off from the Ryan congressional vote to the Romney-Ryan presidential vote was much larger in Janesville (7.2 points) than it was in the rest of the congressional district (3 points). Put another way, there were more Ryan ticket-splitters in Janesville than other places: people who voted for Ryan for Congress but against Ryan for vice president.

Ryan's congressional district. Ryan won his previous House re-election campaigns with 63% to 68% of the vote. He got 55% this time. As noted above, he had very weak opponents in those races. Democrat Zerban was a first-time federal candidate but ended up raising more than $2 million, thanks to national interest on the left in unseating Ryan. The incumbent was still favored heavily and while he didn't actively campaign for Congress, he spent more than $5 million on his House race.

How did the Romney-Ryan ticket do with Ryan's own constituents? Presidential results aren't gathered by congressional district on election night. But when you aggregate the unofficial vote returns from the different counties, communities and wards that make up Wisconsin's 1st Congressional District, it adds up to a narrow win for Romney, 51.6% to 47.4%. (Ryan's district was just redrawn slightly; Romney would have won Ryan's old district by less). Romney's margin in Ryan's modestly Republican district is consistent with historic patterns. Romney did 5 points better in Ryan's district than he did in Wisconsin as a whole. Four years ago, Republican John McCain did 5 points better in the district than he did in Wisconsin as a whole.

So will Zerban run again in 2014? I'm betting on it. You should too. 

Labels: , , , , , , ,


At 1:00 PM, Blogger Bula said...

Future prospects are not much better in WI-01. Wealthy farmers, wealthy lake(and horse farm) property owners are die hard R's. So are the businesspeople servicing them.

It is same makers vs takers BS group think. The only hope is the influx of Hispanic workers needed by these constituencies.

This election has shown Janesville, Racine, Kenosha and UW Whitewater don't have the numbers to carry the district.

At 3:21 PM, Anonymous Jennifer said...

Why is there a picture of Ryan saying he's going to cut your SS when it is Obama that is leading that charge?


Post a Comment

<< Home