Friday, October 03, 2014

Happy Anniversary, Government Shut Down Zombie Fred Upton


If politics was rational Roll Call's list of the 10 most vulnerable House Members might look very different and possibly include other congressional sociopaths besides Staten Island Mafia thug Michael "Mikey Suits" Grimm. Almost everyone but Grimm on the list-- Carol Shea-Porter excepted-- is just some dull 3rd rate hack backbencher. Largely due to DCCC Chair Steve Israel's policy of never taking on any GOP leaders or committee chairs-- not even extremely vulnerable ones in districts Obama won-- there are never any of the real Republican congressional villains on the list. No Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, no Education and Workforce Committee Chairman John Kline, no Witch Hunt Committee Chairman Darrell Isis, no Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce and, most inexplicably of all, no Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton.

MI-06 is a Democratic-leaning district that Obama won in 2008, 184,186 (53%) to 156,835 (45%). It's the perfect district to target and polling shows a clear path for a Democrat to beat Upton-- and beat him significantly. As soon as Steve Israel saw that Upton, who was a member of his politically toxic and subversive Center Aisle Caucus, with huge unfavorables (61%), he jumped into action-- not to win the district for Democrats, but to undermine progressive Democratic candidate Paul Clements-- the same way he undermined 2012 candidate Mike O'Brien. The PPP polling shows a Democrat could beat Upton 56-36%. But instead of targeting MI-06, Israel took it off the table and did everything he could to protect Upton. Thanks, Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer, for saddling the DCCC with this congenital loser-- twice!

One year ago tomorrow, on October 4, 2013, the editorial board of the biggest newspaper in Upton's district, the Kalamazoo Gazette, wrote him an open letter in the form of an editorial, Dear Congressman Fred Upton: Please Knock It Off. And these guys are on a first name basis with the heir to the Whirlpool fortune-- the Whirlpool that became immensely wealthy in Michigan and then shipped virtually every blue collar job in the company out of the district to low-wage backwaters in Third World countries. Before you read the editorial below, keep the little graphic from the poll up top in mind.
Dear Fred,

Knock it off.

Let go of this irrational desire to dismantle the Affordable Care Act through unending legislative maneuvers. And, stop heeling to the extremes of the Republican Party.

The Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, is the law of the land. Even with its flaws, it is the law. It’s been upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court, and last fall the American people had the opportunity to vote out its architect, President Barack Obama, and yet he won re-election by a wide margin.

Your obsession, the Republican party’s obsession, with attempting to dismantle the law has now resulted in a government shut down, because you and 227 other representatives voted in favor of a plan tying government spending to a one-year delay in the ACA's mandate requiring Americans to purchase health insurance.

In August, during a live chat on, you wrote in response to a reader's question about a potential government shutdown over the Affordable Care Act: "I know some of my colleagues have suggested that they will not support [a Continuing Resolution] unless the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) is defunded. I think this would be a lousy idea and certainly harm the most vulnerable."

It was a lousy idea in August, and it was still a lousy idea a few days ago. And, yet, you decided to go along with it. Saying Tuesday, just hours after the shutdown, "The Affordable Care Act is not ready for primetime, but shutting down the federal government is not a solution” does nothing to ease the frustration of voters.

If shutting down the government is not the solution, then don’t vote for a measure that results in that. The American public is now being made to pay the unreasonable price of reduced services-- or no services-- for this partisanship.

Which brings us to the bigger point. There is serious work to be done, be it improving Obamacare, dealing with the budget and the debt ceiling, jobs, tax reform. There is serious work that requires serious statesmanship with a decidedly bipartisan bent.

That’s what we noted in our endorsement in October. After 13 terms, now is your time to shine as a true leader and work to bring your party toward the center, as you were known for earlier in your career, toward more reasonable discussion and actions.

So, enough already. Re-open the government and get to work. If you must obsess over Obamacare, at least do it with the doors open.
The DCCC won't help get rid of Upton-- at least not while Steve Israel is in charge-- but Blue America is helping Paul Clements finance his grassroots campaign. So far he has raised more than any other candidate who has ever gone up against Upton. If you can, please chip in what you can afford here. This is all going to come down to Clements' get out the vote efforts and the Michiagn Democrats' ground game. Despite Steve Israel and the DCCC, this is a winnable seat.

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