Wednesday, September 24, 2014

4 Republican Committee Chairs In Vulnerable Districts Who Steve Israel Is Protecting From Defeat


One of the tragedies around Pelosi's decision to appoint and reappoint corrupt Blue Dog Steve Israel to head the DCCC for the last 2 cycles is that he has taken all Republican leaders and all Republican committee chairs off the table. None, not even ones in vulnerable seats, have been or will be opposed by the DCCC. The Republicans like nothing more than defeating Democratic leaders and committee chairs, but Israel has his reasons. This cycle there are 4 GOP committee chairmen in considerably more vulnerable districts than some of the ridiculous deep red districts Israel has chosen to waste millions of dollars on.

A competent vaguely DCCC chairman would be working to defeat, among others, Republican policy-makers like Education and Workforce Committee Chair John Kline (R-MN), Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Fred Upton (R-MI), Budget Committee Chair Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Oversight and Witch Hunting Committee chair Darrell Issa (R-CA). At the very least, a DCCC chair with an ounce of brain matter would be laying out a 2-cycle plan to beat these villains. That concept is beyond Israel's grasp or understanding. He's the worst DCCC chairman since James Rood Doolittle in 1868, who started as a Democrat, then switched to the Republicans and then switched back to the Democrats and was a prominent opponent of the Fifteenth Amendment , the one that gave former slaves U.S. citizenship. He was such a lousy chairman that the DCCC operated without one for a decade after.

Instead of figuring out how to take out the men and women authoring the toxic Republican policies the DCCC is always whining about when they beg for money from naive grassroots Democrats, all of Steve Israel's targets are hapless GOP backbenchers with no power and no credibility, clowns like Rodney Davis (R-IL), Steve Southerland (R-FL), David Valadao (R-CA) and Dan Benishek (R-MI), the loss of any or even all of whom be utterly meaningless. We'll come back to these 4 Israel targets in a moment. First let's look at the 4 chairmen he's given free reelection passes to again.
MI-06- Fred Upton- Obama beat McCain 53-45%
MN-02- John Kline- Obama beat McCain 50-48%
CA-49- Darrell Issa- Obama beat McCain 50-49%
WI-01- Paul Ryan- Obama beat McCain 51-48%
Let's take a look at some PPP polling in the 4 winnable races:

Let's start with Upton. The guy who sets and implements the Republican Party's policies against Climate Change, against the environment and in favor of Big Oil, is down, way down. His Democratic opponent leads him 51-38% or, when voters are told Upton voted for the government shut down, 56-36%. There's an even more powerful story in MN-02 (which Obama won both times he ran) and where PPP polled Obermueller against Kline by name. Kline is underwater with his constituents, only 31% giving him a favorable job performance rating (and 40% giving him a negative rating). By a 42-38% margin, voters said they would replace Kline with Obermueller immediately. How could Nancy Pelosi look at these results, see Israel give the thumbs down on both races and still keep him in his job? Has she lost her mind? Maybe she just doesn't want to be Speaker again.

The next two are tougher… but still far more winnable-- not to mention meaningful-- than the ridiculous races Israel is pursuing in, for example, Arkansas and Montana. Issa's job approval is bad-- 49% disapprove and only 43% approve. Alarm bells should be going off at DCCC headquarters. If they did, Israel declared them a false alarm and told everybody to go back to sleep. Voters in his district said they would vote for a Democratic opponent 48-47% if the election were held the day of the poll. When they were informed that Issa voted for the government shutdown, the Democrat picked up another percent, making the total 49-47%. Looks like a good place to start fighting. But not to Steve Israel. And then Ryan's race-- the only one of the 4 where the DCCC staffers would have to work hard enough to earn the huge amount of money they manage to make for themselves in the consultant/DCCC revolving door model. Ryan starts out ahead of Rob Zerban, 50-43% with7% undecided and when voters are informed that Ryan voted for the government shutdown, he loses ground and Zerban picks up considerable support, leaving it at 48-46%, a lot closer than almost any of Israel's pathetic recruits in meaningless races around the country.

The sad collection of races Israel has chosen to fight in-- a colossal waste of money-- will be lost anyway. He's pulling back from races all over the country now, disappointed that his atrocious mystery meat recruits are failing to get any traction with grassroots voters, primarily by following a failed DCCC game plan he forces on them.

Look at the 4 sad sacks we mentioned above that he's targeting. David Valadao is 25th in seniority among Republicans on the Appropriations Committee. His opinion carries less weight than a well-worded letter to the editor by a Hal Rogers constituent in Paintsville, Pikesville or Pineville-- or a happy-go-lucky coal lobbyist with a limits-free credit card. Steve Southerland is a nonentity on two committees-- Natural Resources (where's he's the 17th ranking Republican) and Transportation and Infrastructure (where's he's the 22nd ranking Republican. No one has ever heard him say anything memorable on either committee and a sharp elementary school student in Tallahassee could probably write a more coherent piece of legislation than Southerland. Israel recruited a worthless Blue Dog, Bob Graham's conservative daughter to run and she shows every indication of being as big a waste of a congressional seat as Southerland if he manages to lose himself the seat.

Rodney Davis looked like a sure loser-- until Israel got behind a hapless lightweight, Ann Callis, who made Davis look almost like a statesman. The DCCC says their disappointed in her performance. They should be disappointed in themselves for picking her and instructing her. Davis is of no consequence whatsoever, 23rd Republican in seniority (out of 25) on the Agriculture Committee and even lower-ranking than Southerland on Transportation and Infrastructure-- 32nd out of 34 Republicans, maybe enough to get him a free pass on the MTD Air Bus from the intermodal facility in downtown Champaign to the Willard Airport Terminal-- on a slow day. Dan Benishek is the silliest of the lot-- and his opponent, former Guantánamo gulag commandante Jerry Cannon is just as ridiculous and at least as unfit for office. Benishek is the 12th ranking Republican on the Natural Resources Committee and the 8th ranking Republican (out of 14) on the Veterans Affairs Committee. I guess he;s the expert on torture and water boarding.

None of these Republicans have the slightest significance and there is no reason to believe that any of Israel's wretched candidates will be any better. In fact, Cannon, Graham, were either to win, would do more damage to a progressive vision inside the caucus than Benishek or Southerland could ever do from their positions on the GOP backbenches.

Hopefully Jared Polis, Donna Edwards, Jim Himes-- all significantly smarter and less personally corrupt than Israel-- or whomever runs the DCCC next cycle, will turn the decrepit and dysfunctional organization around and start giving the GOP the hard time it has earned. Steve Israel-- Nancy Pelosi's most disastrous mistake ever.

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At 11:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nancy Pelosi surrendered all of her liberal creds when she got close enough to the Speakership to actually plot a path to it. Having Steve Israel as an ally in this quest was unfortunately necessary for success, so she isn't about to stab him in the back now that she got what she wanted. I'd be more disappointed in her if she had.

That said, who else even appears interested in the job to challenge him? Pelosi can stay out of the fray if she wishes, but who else in the Party could rouse enough support to take the job away from Israel before he turns control of the legislative branch to the GOP?

THERE is a story for someone with the insider ear.


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