Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Steve Israel's Reptilian Tendencies... Enough To Win Back The House? Probably Not


Sometimes I get confused between the national committees-- the DCCC, DSCC, DNC, RNC, NRSC and NRCC-- and the Beltway pundits that service them, particularly Cook and Rothenberg. Rothenberg's column for Roll Call Monday was a riot. I especially laugh when he and Cook defer to the DCCC and call their ridiculous side-show races "top tier" which fools no one (except, apparently Nancy Pelosi) as the money is flittered away on absurd candidates in absurd races. I can't wait for them to analyze Steve Israel-favorite, Jennifer Garrison in bright red OH-06 (R+8). Israel's candidates are considered "strong" because they "lack voting records." Voters are considered too dumb to be offended by Israel's mystery meat garbage candidates.

Monday, Rothenberg's fantasy column, 6 Democratic House Candidates With Plenty of Potential was typical of someone trying to curry favor with the DCCC check writer.

He forgot to mention one of his "top tier" candidates with plenty of potential was the commandant of the Guantanamo gulag while people were being tortured, something Democratic primary voters, even in northernmost Michigan might be interested in knowing. I guess it wasn't in the DCCC press release Rothenberg was cribbing from. At least his description of Jerry Cannon wasn't position-free like the DCCC prefers. He's another Steve Israel selected conservative anti-Choice freak, just what Democratic donors are eager to contribute to, right?
[F]ormer Kalkaska County Sheriff Jerry Cannon, is also the least polished. And it’s that non-politician quality that could attract voters looking for a change from the conservative incumbent, Republican Rep. Dan Benishek.

Cannon, the Michigan 1st District hopeful who is 65, spent years in law enforcement and in the National Guard, and he presents himself as a “pro-life,” “strong national defense guy” who is “very conservative fiscally.” He’s down to earth, easy to underestimate and not particularly eloquent.

If he wins, Cannon will be one of those backbenchers you’ll overlook unless he bolts his party on a key vote. He probably wouldn’t be a strong challenger to a savvy, well-established incumbent-- but neither of those qualities describes Benishek, which makes this a top-tier race worth watching.

Friends in Montana have told me that John Lewis would be a Blue America nightmare and to sabe myself the anguish and not even contact him. He's worked for Max Baucus, arguably the worst Democrat in the Senate, for many years and is now looking to win the at-large Montana open House seat. He'll probably lose badly since no progressive in their right mind would vote for him. Rothenberg's description was jaw-dropping: "would make a terrific neighbor. Low-key, easy to talk to" and...
The challenger notes his differences with the White House on issues including cutting the number of nuclear warheads-- because of the impact on jobs in the state-- and promises to be “independent” if elected. But because he has been working for a Washington officeholder, Lewis doesn’t start with a completely clean slate. His prospects for next year depend on the strength of the eventual GOP nominee.
Nukes because… jobs?

Oh, what luck, Rothenberg did do a blurb on Jennifer Garrison. Bare in mind we're talking about a homophobic, antiChoice fanatic, beloved on the NRA and hated by Democrats, who call her Ohio's Sarah Palin, and who voted in the state legislature against raising the minimum wage. Rothenberg sees her as a legitimate top tier candidate: "Jennifer Garrison, who is challenging Rep. Bill Johnson in Ohio’s 6th District, is an attorney who served three terms in the state House, where she was widely seen as a conservative Democrat, particularly on social issues. That’s a good place for a Democrat to start in this district. She has been supported in the past by the National Rifle Association and Ohio Right to Life. The 51-year-old Democrat once favored defining marriage as between a man and a woman but says that her views have evolved and now supports civil unions.

"More tight-lipped and cautious when answering questions, she could benefit from relationships built when she started an organization of oil, gas and mineral rights landowners, and from her years of negotiating contracts on their behalf. But Romney carried the district by more than 9 points, and the president’s “war on coal” could still be a significant problem for Garrison."

NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio described her a little differently when she tried, unsuccessfully to compete in the Democratic Secretary of State primary a few years ago:
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.
LGBT groups aren't any more eager to see her win than women's groups. This is how the Gay People's Chronicle described her 4 years ago:
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.
Get any of that from what Rothenberg had to say about her? I wonder why not? By the way, when you contribute to the DCCC, you don't get to say, "Oh, by the way, don't give my money to any anti-Choice, anti-immigrant, anti-union, anti-LGBT wingnuts. In fact, more likely than not, that's exactly where your money will go. If you don't want to see someone like Jennifer Garrison in Congress, don't donate to the DCCC. That simple! Help real Democrats here instead... pick the ones you want and give them the contributions directly.

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