Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Will The Battle Between The 2 Right-of-Center Establishment Democrats In NY-24 Make It Easier For Progressive Eric Kingson?


Steve Israel was trying to sell his own toxic brand of snake oil in Syracuse last night

As we've been explaining-- basically, since 2005 or '06-- that the DCCC's governing strategies about recruitment and support are fatally flawed. Picking Republican-lite candidates who, if they manage to win in a presidential year, and then vote with the GOP on core issues ,is not a good idea. This is the primary reason that while the DCCC has been run by congenital losers Chris Van Hollen and Steve Israel the number of Democrats in Congress has shrunken from 257 in 2006 to 188 today.

As we mentioned yesterday by favoring conservaDem Darren Soto, an NRA shill with a Republican voting record on Choice and a wide range of other issues, in a relatively safe blue district (Alan Grayson's) they are, if Soto wins, endangering a Democratic seat in 2018. And they are doing this in virtually every primary race and recruitment instance they stick their noses into. Their whole philosophy is flawed and until it is completely rooted out, the Democrats will never win back the House.

NY-24 is another case of the DCCC making a concerted-- albeit totally lame (as we'll explain in a moment)-- effort to elect a dull conservative you will be unable to hold the district in a midterm. NY-24 is centered in Syracuse and Obama won it in 2008 with 56% against McCain and with 57% in 2012 against Romney. The PVI is a healthy D+5, the bluest district that a Republican holds anywhere in the country (although there are 3 like this and this could only happen with an incompetent like Steve Israel or someone just like him, running the show). So how did a Republican come to win? Double-ex congressman Dan Maffei isn't a bad guy but when he was first elected in 2008 (open seat race in a presidential year) he joined the conservative, Wall Street-owned New Dems and accrued a record that would never inspire an informed Democratic voter. So in the 2010 midterms, Democratic voters stayed away in droves and a teabagger won the seat, Maffei's 146,411 voters (54.5%) in 2008 dwindling down to 103,807 (49.8%). In 2012, Steve Israel had the horrible idea of bringing back Maffei and, on Obama's coattails he did win again-- 131,242 (48.7%) to 116,641 (43.3%). And, easily predictable by anyone-who-is-not-Steve Israel, when 2014 rolled around Maffei got wiped out, losing in a landslide to Republican John Katko-- 112,469 (59.9%) to just 75,286 (40.1%)-- in a very blue district. Just shameful. Has Israel learned his lesson? Of course not, and he's working hard to replicate the disaster again.

Rarely do Democrats get an opportunity to vote for a candidate as perfect as Eric Kingson, a longtime professor at the University of Syracuse and a founder of Social Security Works, who has often been called to testify in Congress about Social Security. Eric is not looking to make a congressional career for himself. His primary motivation, as far as I can tell, is to help Congress fix Social Security in a way that will benefit retirees, rather than screw it up the way the Republicans and New Dems are eager to do. NY-24 is exactly the right district for Eric to be running in. But when he announced he would run, instead of jumping for joy, the DCCC immediately started a campaign of sabotage against him and started looking for more conservative and hackish careerist shills. Former upstate Blue Dog Kirsten Gillibrand and EMILY's List offered a Gillibrand staffer of no consequence whatsoever, Colleen Deacon, and Israel recruited a centrist lawyer very much like Maffei, Steve Williams.

So now the two centrist candidates are being backed by different centrist factions. Gillibrand and Chuck Schumer are raising money and pressuring their various puppets to back Deacon and Israel and his cronies are backing Williams, probably indicating that Williams is the more conservative and more open to corruption of the two-- though not necessarily, since Schumer only gets behind candidates who will go along with corruption as well.

Meanwhile Israel hosted a fundraiser for his candidate at Smith-Sovik, Williams' firm's law office last night. Syracuse.com pointed out that "Israel's support is also the first to expose a divide among Democratic leaders in Washington over which candidate to support in the 24th Congressional District race" and that "Williams will count on Israel to try to recruit other top New York Democrats to endorse his campaign." These kinds of politician to politician endorsements don't do much good and, in fact, can be counter-productive, especially in a year when voters are disgusted with the political establishment and especially disgusted with corrupt conservatives like Israel (and Schumer).

Blue America, as you probably know, is backing Eric Kingson and if you'd like to contribute to his grassroots campaign, this is the place. When I called him last night to ask him what he thought about Steve Israel, a right-wing Blue Dog Democrat from Long Island, coming into the district to fundraise for Williams, he just shrugged and said, "Moderates support moderates, so I'm not surprised. But Washington, D.C. kingmakers don't get to decide this election; Central New York voters do. That's where my focus is."

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