Sunday, January 29, 2017

The Biggest Ethnic Group In Collin Peterson's District Is Germans. Do They Know What "Dreck" Means?


Collin Peterson-- not a real Democrat, a Dreck Democrat

The other day, I mentioned on twitter that 3 House Democrats-- all extremely reactionary, odious Blue Dogs-- had voted with the Republicans to make it more difficult for women to exercise their constitutional right to Choice: Henry Cuellar (TX), Dan Lipinski (IL) and Collin Peterson (MN). Several "I'm Pro-Choice But" buttheads on my twitter feed chimed in that Peterson is in a very red district where Hillary only took 31% of the vote and that the Democratic Party needs members like this to achieve majority status. I disagree.

Let me start by acknowledging Peterson's western Minnesota district, MN-07, is prohibitively Republican. It's a largely rural district and there are no large population centers. The county that contributes the most votes, OtterTail is over 97% white, mostly people of German and Norwegian ancestry. It hasn't voted for a Democratic presidential candidate since 1932. It's two state Reps are also Republicans and so is its state senator. However, in 2012, OtterTail went 17,257 (56%) to 12,278 (40%) for Peterson. That same day, the county went 60-39% for Romney. Oh, but wait-- pro-Choice U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar was reelected there 16,542 (54%) to 12,931 (42%). MN-07 has an R+6 PVI. It's the reddest district in the country with a Democratic congressman. Obama took just 47% of the vote in 2008 and 44% in 2012. Hillary did much worse. The district has more in common with its neighbors in North and South Dakota than with people who live in the Twin Cities area or even in the Duluth area. (Hillary won huge victories in Hennepin and Ramsey counties and took Dakota county in the Twin Cities area and won in St. Louis and Lake counties in the Duluth area. But she didn't win any of the 38 counties that make up MN-07. Obama had won 8 of them in 2012. Klobuchar won all of them. And while Hillary lost all 38 counties, Peterson won 26-- though not OtterTail).

OK, Peterson won the most backward and reactionary part of Minnesota. And he votes his district-- backward and reactionary. Let me just add before I forget, that Lipinski's Chicagoland district (IL-03) has a PVI of D+5 and gave Obama a 56-43% win over Romney and gave Hillary a 55.2-39.9% win over Trump. And Henry Cuellar's South Texas district (TX-28) has a PVI of D+7 and gave Obama a 60-39% win over Romney and gave Hillary a 58.3-38.5% win over Señor Trumpanzee.

Now about how much the House Democrats need Peterson. Although there are 3 very right-wing Democratic freshman-- Charlie Crist (FL), Stephanie Murphy (FL) and Josh Gottheimer (NJ)-- who have already served notice with their votes  that Paul Ryan can always count on them and who have worse "lifetime" voting records, the 6 worst non-freshmen ProgressivePunch crucial vote scores are held by (from bad to worse):
Cheri Bustos (IL)- 48.06
Sean Patrick Maloney (NY)- 45.01
Jim Costa (CA)- 43.49
Collin Peterson (MN)- 39.75
Henry Cuellar (TX)- 39.04
Kyrsten Sinema (AZ)- 36.32
As of now there are 9 Democrats with ZERO crucial vote scores for 2017: Sinema, Cuellar, Peterson, Costa, Ami Bera (New Dem-CA), Jim Cooper (Blue Dog-TN), Lipinski, Tim Walz (MN), and John Delaney (New Dem-MD). Ryan and McCarthy can count on them to back the GOP agenda-- more so than 11 Republicans. 11? Yep... so far 11 Republicans have better vote scores than those fake Democrats. Justin Amash (MI) has a 40.0. Walter Jones (NC) has a 25.0. Brian Fitzpatrick (PA), Dog LaMalfa (CA), Mike McCaul (TX) and Johnny Duncan (TN) and several others each has a 20.0 score for the current session. 20 isn't great, but it's better than Collin Peterson's ZERO.

This past cycle the Republicans didn't challenge Peterson. Republican Dave Hughes wasn't a plausible candidate and he only raised $19,511 compared to Peterson's $1,192,730. Thankfully, the DCCC didn't have to spend any money on the race. Two years earlier, however, the GOP put up a competitive candidate and the DCCC was forced to save Peterson's neck with $3,611,284 in independent expenditures, while Pelosi's House Majority PAC threw in another $332,439. That's $4 million to reelect an anti-Choice corporate whore who votes overwhelmingly with the Republicans. That $4 million could have-- and should have-- been used to elect actual Democrats in much bluer districts, Democrats who wouldn't feel pressured on every roll call to follow the lead of Ryan and McCarthy. Collin Peterson-- as well as Cuellar, Lipinski and Sinema-- have one key function in Congress: allowing Paul Ryan to claim his destructive, extremist agenda is "bipartisan," something the empty talking heads on TV repeat, with gusto, nightly.

Friday, Al Franken announced that all the Democrats on the Senate's Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee (HELP)-- besides Franken, Patty Murray. Bernie Sanders, Robert Casey, Michael Bennet, Sheldon Whitehouse, Tammy Baldwin, Chris Murphy, Elizabeth Warren, Tim Kaine and Maggie Hassan-- will vote NO on confirming Trump's nightmarish, dystopian nominee for Secretary of Education, dangerous sociopathic billionaire Betsy DeVos. So next week, the nomination will go to the Senate floor without a bipartisan recommendation for confirmation. But will DeVos get any Democratic votes on the floor? Half a dozen Senate Dems haven't said whether or not they would vote for her, including right-wing Democrats who tend to vote with the GOP on close issues, like Joe Manchin (WV) and Heidi Heitkamp (ND). This was Elizabeth Warren's statement to Massachusetts voters about why she is voting against confirming DeVos:
I will vote against Betsy DeVos's nomination to serve as Secretary of Education because her nomination is not in the best interests of the young people of America. She has repeatedly demonstrated her contempt for public education, she plans to maintain financial ties that could create conflicts of interest, and she is unwilling to commit to be a cop on the beat with for-profit colleges that break the law and cheat students.

Mrs. DeVos has no record in higher education, but I gave her the opportunity to prove to the American people that she is serious about standing up for students. During her confirmation hearing, I asked Mrs. DeVos basic, straightforward questions about her commitment to protecting students and taxpayers from fraud committed by shady for-profit colleges. But she was unwilling to commit to using the Department's many tools and resources to keep students from getting cheated.

Mrs. DeVos's record on K-12 education has been focused on using her vast fortune to push her own ideology on hardworking families that are just trying to get their kids a decent education in public schools. Not only are her ideas completely uninformed by experience with public schools, but the evidence is clear that her privatization theories are bad for students.

I've heard from thousands of teachers, parents, and education leaders in Massachusetts raising deep concerns about Mrs. DeVos. I hear their concerns, and I share their concerns. This includes a letter sent to me from the Massachusetts Charter Public School Association about Mrs. DeVos's devastating record of promoting for-profit and online charter schools with virtually no accountability or oversight for how well these schools actually serve students and families. Unlike the successful, thoughtful, and innovative education policies we have implemented in Massachusetts with regard to public charter schools, the policies Mrs. DeVos has bankrolled have drained valuable taxpayer dollars out of the public education system in Michigan and left kids worse off.

It is hard to imagine a less qualified or more dangerous person to be entrusted both with our country's education policy and with a trillion-dollar student loan program. Congress should reject Mrs. DeVos's nomination.
The anti-education forces, however, are countering this with a group other own, paid shills of the charter school industry called "Democrats For DeVos." They sent me a press release Friday about all the Democrats clamoring for her to be confirmed. "Today, Democratic leaders from across the country," they wrote, "some representing some of the nation's most troubled schools, have come together to announce their support for Betsy DeVos for Secretary of Education." The release offers statements from notorious shills for the charter school industry, almost all of whom are on the payroll and almost none of whom ought call themselves Democrats in the real world. Like failed DC mayoral candidate Kevin Chavrous who helped devise Bobby Jindal's school voucher program in Louisiana and is on the board of DeVos' two anti-education groups, American Federation for Children and the Alliance for School Choice. "I have worked with Betsy DeVos for years," he admitted, "and she will work tirelessly to help every child in our country access a quality education. Throughout her career, she has championed much needed reform to our nation’s education system so it can give low-income and minority families the same opportunities for success that families with means already have. As Secretary of Education, Betsy will put parents and children first, which is who the system should truly serve." Other charter school Dems backing DeVos included Eva Moskowitz, who said she believes DeVos "has the talent, commitment and leadership capacity," former DC Mayor Anthony Williams, who said "Betsy makes the education establishment nervous because she shakes up the status quo," Georgia state Senator Curt Thompson, former Louisiana state Senator Ann Duplessis, former Louisiana State Senator, former Oklahoma state Senator Jabar Shumate, Tennessee state Rep.  John DeBerry, Georgia state Rep. Valencia Stovall and Shanelle Jackson, a former Michigan State Rep. Who needs Republicans when you have "Democrats" like these, Democrats who may even eventually grow up to become the next Collin Peterson.

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At 11:55 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, one word that those Germans who came over here in the 1800's passed on was "Gemütlichkeit," in Scandinavian, "Hygge." Which meant a comfortable, unpretentious, friendly, real life. It did not mean xenophobia, cruelty, or Scheisskopf. Every culture has the full spectrum in it, unfortunately.



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