Monday, September 09, 2013

Steve Israel Seeks To Jump Start A Conservative Takeover Of The House Democratic Caucus


For Democrats, this is the problem, not the solution-- Israel and Garrison

In his Sunday column, The Wonk Gap, Paul Krugman highlighted "the G.O.P.’s near-complete lack of expertise on anything substantive. Health care is the most prominent example, but the dumbing down extends across the spectrum, from budget issues to national security to poll analysis."
Political conservatism and serious policy analysis can coexist, and there was a time when they did. Back in the 1980s, after all, health experts at Heritage made a good-faith effort to devise a plan for universal health coverage-- and what they came up with was the system now known as Obamacare.

But that was then. Modern conservatism has become a sort of cult, very much given to conspiracy theorizing when confronted with inconvenient facts. Liberal policies were supposed to cause hyperinflation, so low measured inflation must reflect statistical fraud; the threat of climate change implies the need for public action, so global warming must be a gigantic scientific hoax. Oh, and Mitt Romney would have won if only he had been a real conservative.

It’s all kind of funny, in a way. Unfortunately, however, this runaway cult controls the House, which gives it immense destructive power-- the power, for example, to wreak havoc on the economy by refusing to raise the debt ceiling. And it’s disturbing to realize that this power rests in the hands of men who, thanks to the wonk gap, quite literally have no idea what they’re doing.
The same day, the Washington Post editorial board railed against the Republican Party's obstructionism of immigration reform. "Those seeking a standard-bearer for the do-nothing Congress," they begin, "need look no farther than Rep. Bob Goodlatte, a Virginia Republican. When it comes to delay, denial and delusion, Mr. Goodlatte is an exemplar." And he's John Boehner's handpicked chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, a single man who can-- and is-- blocking progress on immigration reform.
As it happens, Mr. Goodlatte has a long track record of opposing meaningful immigration reform, including legislation to extend a path of citizenship to undocumented youngsters who grew up in the United States after being brought into the country as children by their parents.

He is part of a Republican caucus in the House that prefers to allow the immigration problem to fester than embrace any solution that includes a path to citizenship, derided as amnesty, for 11 million undocumented immigrants. Never mind that the legalization provision in the Senate bill, which would also beef up border security, establish a guest-worker program and add muscle to immigration enforcement, enjoys broad popular support.

Mr. Goodlatte’s alternative to legalizing undocumented immigrants, most of whom have lived and worked in this country for more than a decade, is stepped-up enforcement at the local level and making unlawful presence in the United States a federal crime. The Strengthen and Fortify Enforcement Act, which he co-sponsored in June, has no chance to become law, but it does give voice to the Republican fantasy of self-deportation, the notion that millions of people will leave the country on their own accord if they are sufficiently harassed.

After repeated delays, GOP leaders said this summer that they expected to bring immigration legislation to the House floor in September. Now they say the agenda looks too crowded. They should reconsider. With millions of hardworking immigrants and their children waiting to leave the shadows, an empty legislative process is not good enough.
Who is going to save America from this plague? The Democratic Party? Not likely. After Steve Israel failed-- and failed dismally-- with his absurd strategy in 2012, he was promptly reappointed to head the DCCC by Nancy Pelosi, a woman who has publicly stated she doesn't want to be Speaker again. With Steve Israel in charge of the DCCC, she never will be. Yesterday, Israel announced another 9 recruits for the "Jump Start Program." I don't know every one of them, and, certainly Erin Bilbray has proven herself a capable and dedicated progressive in southern Nevada, as has Martha Robertson in upstate New York. Suzanne Patrick (VA-02), on the other hand, is not just a conservative, she's also a Republican. and then there's Ohio's Sarah Palin, Israel recruit Jennifer Garrison, an anti-Choice/antigay conservative who has exactly zero chance to win her race. Jennifer Garrison and candidates like her-- the garbage Steve Israel seeks out to run as Democrats-- are not going to solve the problems the Post editorial board or Paul Krugman are talking about above.

The DCCC is asking you to contribute so they can elect crap like Garrison who stands for nothing Democrats stand for. DCCC operative were pushing her on Twitter today without talking about why Ohio Democrats call her their Sarah Palin and why they hate her so much.

Garrison beat a Republican incumbent in 2004 to win a state house seat from Southeast Ohio, by ATTACKING HER GOP OPPONENT FOR BEING TOO PRO-GAY. Yes, you read that right. From the Gay People's Chronicle: Garrison already has a rocky relationship with the LGBT community. She won her House seat by gay-baiting her predecessor, Nancy Hollister, in 2004.

Earlier that year, Hollister was the only Republican to vote against the so-called “defense of marriage act.” It was considered a courageous vote.

Garrison sent out mailings that read, “If you believe marriage is between one man and one woman, there’s something you should know about Nancy Hollister.”

The other side of the card said, “DOMA was enacted precisely to protect Ohioans from having to accept ‘marriages’ or ‘unions’ entered into in other states. Despite the value of DOMA, Nancy Hollister voted against it. Jennifer Garrison believes marriage is between one man and one woman and will fight to protect our values.”

In 2006, as a member of the House Education Committee, Garrison helped to kill an amendment that would have required Ohio schools to protect students from bullying for their sexual orientation or gender identity.

The anti-bullying bill passed without the LGBT protections.

An attorney, Garrison opposed EHEA last year, saying it is wrong to single out classes of people for protection. This is a common talking point that anti-gays use against equality laws, and is legally flawed.

From the Akron Beacon Journal (November 11, 2004):
Garrison turned the Hollister vote [against the Ohio Defense of Marriage Act] into something seemingly sinister. She told the Parkersburg (W.Va.) newspapers that "the big difference between Nancy and I is the gay marriage issue. I am against it. She is for it."Garrison sent mailings into homes that read: "If you believe marriage is between one man and one woman, there is something you should know about Nancy Hollister." The mailing then all but declares that Hollister embraces gay marriage, concluding Garrison will "fight to protect our values." Karl Rove would be proud. Clearly, Garrison rode the wave of state Issue 1. She and her pals should be ashamed.
But not only content to have the LGBT community exist as second-class citizens, Jennifer Garrison also wants her own gender to subist that way. From a NARAL email yesterday:
Last week, Jennifer Garrison, a Democrat from Marietta, officially entered the race for Ohio’s Secretary of State. Jennifer Garrison currently serves in the Ohio House of Representatives and has a 0% rating from NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio.

Rep. Garrison showed just how extreme her anti-choice position is when she filled out the 2008 candidate questionnaire for Ohio Right to Life, saying she would:

• support legislation in Ohio to outlaw abortion (with only an exception to save a woman’s life),

• support legislation that would allow pharmacists to refuse to dispense emergency contraception, and

• support state funding for so-called “crisis pregnancy centers” that lie to women about the risks of abortion and never refer patients for abortion or birth control services.

Representative Garrison does not share our values.
She has also voted against the minimum wage, has counted coal interests as a top-ten funder and would like to protect the rights of criminals to get their hands on guns.

Ohio Progressives finally drove Garrison out of politics in 2010. We may have finally found a conservative Democratic woman who is actually too conservative even for EMILY's List, but Steve Israel wants to get her back in again. Why doesn't he go do something vaguely useful instead-- like finding someone to run against Darrell Issa?

So what about the other candidates announced today? I've been assured by friends in Iowa that Staci Appel (IA) is "progressive in her heart" but doesn't let that get in the way of anything and, though probably can't beat Latham anyway, wouldn't be a progressive leader by any stretch of the imagination. I've spent enough time talking with Erin Bilbray (NV) and with Nevada Democrats to be able to say that the DCCC actually let a real progressive slip by. Still, we'd need 20 like her to make up for this putrid overall list. And there aren't 20 like her. My friends in Michigan tell me Pam Byrnes is exactly the kind of middle-of-the-road Democrat who could beat Walberg and that she'd vote the right way more often than not. OK, that's better than the average Steve Israel pick. Army Maj. Gen. Jerry Cannon is another of Israel's "Mystery Meat" candidates but judging from what's leaked out about him so far, I wouldn't count on him being worth anything at all. I honestly don't know anything about former Eddy County Commissioner Roxanne “Rocky” Lara, but the grassroots progressive in that district that Steve Israel is trying to drive out of the race (breaking DCCC rules) is Leslie Endean-Singh. I know a lot of people in Montana and all of them refer to Israel's candidate as "Mini-Max." Do you need to know any more? This is one of those cases where the Republican is an "F" and the Democrats' best case will be "Well, a "D" isn't as bad as an "F," so vote for Lewis. Congress already has a great John Lewis; no need to sully his good name with this kind of corrupt, conservative crap. And then there's Tompkins County Legislator Martha Robertson, who's running against Tom Reed. I've been assured by friends in the district she's a real progressive. When she first announced, I asked her about Chained CPI and she gave the right answer: "Seniors have paid into Social Security all their working lives and they depend on the benefits they've earned. Chained CPI and other cuts to benefits are the wrong choice. Seniors shouldn't bear the burden of these cuts when corporations and the billionaires aren't paying their fair share. Israel screwed that district up last time; let's hope he doesn't do it again next year.

DCCC-Dems who follow Israel's orders and either back bombing Syria or stay quiet on the issue will be defeated by Republicans who are savvy enough to read a poll and figure out that if the overwhelming majority of voters oppose something, it's smart not to back it. Watch for plenty more posters like this from Republicans on Steve Israel's target list-- while Israel's lame, inept candidates punt:

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