Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Hey, Hey! Ho, Ho! Ben Ray Lujan's Got To Go!


I've been mad at the DCCC since Pelosi named Rahm Emanuel chairman in 2005. It's barely over a decade and other people are starting to catch on as well. The latest shit from this assholes: Pelosi and Ben Gay Lujan now admit the DCCC recruits and funds Blue Dogs and anti-Choice freaks and passes them off on unsuspecting Democratic voters as normal Democrats, Monday. Becca Andrews, reporting for Mother Jones used the DCCC p.r. shop's deceitfully-crafted messaging: "The Democrats will not withhold financial support from candidates who oppose abortion, according to Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) chair Rep. Ben Ray Luján (D-NM)." Oh... "not withhold?" As if they ever did! Conservatives always get the biggest share of DCCC money.

Democratic party leaders, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) have also said the Democratic party should not draw a hard line when it comes to abortion. In June, DNC chair Tom Perez met with Democrats for Life of America who demanded that abortion not be a “litmus test” of the party. The 2016 Democratic platform stated that the party believed “unequivocally” that “every woman should have access to quality reproductive health care services, including safe and legal abortion.”

At a time when the Democratic party is searching for a coherent identity and program after its resounding defeat in 2016, the debate over whether the party openly supports abortion rights will likely continue to heat up as the 2018 races loom.

“Throwing weight behind anti-choice candidates is bad politics that will lead to worse policy,” Mitchell Stille, who oversees campaigns for NARAL Pro-Choice America, told The Hill. “The idea that jettisoning this issue wins elections for Democrats is folly contradicted by all available data.”
I asked a couple dozen incumbents and some 2018 candidates what they think of the new controversy Ben Ray has blindly and stupidly stumbled into. I mean can you imagine how fast Ryan would fire NRCC chairman Steve Stivers if he announced they are going to start recruiting and funding progressive pro-Choice candidates? The first coherent response I got was Paul Perry, a progressive Democrat running for the PA-07 seat in the Philly suburbs currently held by Pat Meehan (R):
Yesterday, the DCCC stated publicly that it would compromise women’s reproductive freedom in a misguided attempt to win elections. This is dangerous nonsense. A woman’s right to bodily autonomy is not a bargaining chip; it is a fundamental part of what should be every Democrat’s commitment to economic justice and healthcare for all.

Therefore, in order to transform words into actionable solidarity, I am using my resources to support the Women’s Medical Fund, an organization that provides financial assistance to economically vulnerable women seeking reproductive care in Philadelphia, Montgomery, Chester, Delaware, and Bucks counties-- and I am encouraging my supporters to do the same. If elected to Congress, I'll ensure that programs like this have the necessary funding and support to provide full access to quality care for all women.

Because access to quality, affordable care for women should not depend on their financial circumstances nor the whims of party leaders. Period.

#TrustWomen #WeWon’tGoBack
Mary Ellen Balchunis was the Democratic candidate for PA-07 last cycle and the DCCC sabotaged her race. Sh'e thinking about running again next year. This morning she told me that "I understand supporting candidates crossing the finish line in the primary. If I had the support of the DCCC after my huge primary victory, I believe that I could have gone much further. However, I disagree with supporting candidates who win the primary and do not support the Democratic platform. As a Political Scientist, I believe if the DCCC goes through with this, you will see numerous women and Progressive men supporting Independent candidates. The DCCC may be giving several victories to Independents; and if the Independents don't win, the DCCC will be giving the election to the Republicans. In either case, the Republicans will maintain their majority. Haven't we learned anything from the 2016 election? The people want candidates who help them with jobs, wages, healthcare and education. It is why Sen.Sanders had such 'huge' support!"

The next post to come in was-- surprise, surprise-- from a woman candidate, Katie Hill, running against GOP crackpot and Trump rubber-stamp Steve Knight in CA-25, an evenly split district leaning blue.
I have spent my whole life in one of those long-held Republican districts that Democrats have to flip next year in order to get back a majority in the House. A Republican has been in the seat for 42 out of the last 50 years. The instinct among Democrats at the national level that we need to be talking to people in those districts differently to be able to win them over is absolutely correct. But that does not mean we should compromise or go backwards on some of our most fundamental values, including women's rights.

Many members of my community have strong religious ties that affect their views on abortion. However, the vast majority of them-- including members of my immediate family-- acknowledge that, while they may not agree with a woman's choice to have an abortion, it is not their place or the government's place to get involved in one of the hardest decisions a woman will ever make in her life. They also almost universally agree, in my experience, that the best way to prevent abortions (and/or the devastating cycle of kids entering the foster care system) is by preventing unplanned pregnancies. So education and access to birth control are absolutely key in that. There is national polling and research that shows that 80% of people support a woman's right to choose, if not morally, then at least from the perspective that it's not a decision that the government can be making for her. We need to be appealing to that overwhelming majority of people-- not the 20% or less who want to strip away the rights we've worked so hard to protect.

A woman's right to choose is something that our party, and progressives in general, have been fighting to earn and to protect for generations. We cannot give that up because of a mistaken belief that this is somehow the way we will win over conservative voters, and more conservative-leaning districts. As a woman, and someone who fundamentally understands the culture and the dynamics of purple districts, I can say with utter confidence that this is the wrong tactic.
The best Democrat running in IL-13, David Gill, is a stalwart, no-nonsense progressive. I knew the DCCC announcement would sound unpleasantly familiar to him. Last night a good feminist Democrat was complaining on twitter that "liberal men" were willing to throw women under the bus and back Lujan on this. Well, not any of the liberal men I know! Dr. Gill sure had a different perspective than that too! "I would have no way of knowing what the DCCC is doing all around the country," he told us, "but I am intimately aware of their actions here in IL-13. I lost this seat in 2012 by three-tenths of ONE point (with the handicap that year of having a liberal independent on the ballot who was expressing all the same views as myself), after defeating the moderate DCCC-backed candidate in the primary (despite being outspent 5 to 1). Subsequent Democrats have lost the seat by 50 to 60 times as much as I lost it by, and Senator Durbin lost in this district by 20 times as much as I lost it by. But in spite of the fact that I have so vastly outperformed other Democratic candidates, I am unable to interest the DCCC in getting behind my 2018 campaign. I suspect that they do not like the fact that some of the main planks in my platform are driven by my 25 year membership in Physicians for a National Health Program (a leading single-payer advocacy group) and my 20 year membership in Physicians for Reproductive Choice. I also speak frequently and passionately about the need for true campaign-finance reform, and the need to end the corporate ownership of our politics and government. These are the issues which have resulted in my relative success here in the district, and yet these same issues seem to keep the DCCC from embracing my campaign. There will not be a liberal independent protecting the Republican who squeaked by me in 2012 this time around (Illinois' bizarre ballot access laws only make that a realistic possibility in years that end in a '2'), so I intend to make up that 0.3% next year and get to Congress, whether the DCCC likes it or not. Of course, first I will have to defeat another moderate DCCC-backed candidate in the Democratic primary next March, a candidate who has not expressed any public support for single-payer or tuition-free public universities or a $15 per hour minimum wage."

Goal ThermometerDoug Applegate, a former Marine Corp colonel and not someone who gets pushed around by political hacks told us that "the DCCC sets it's own policies and I set the policies for my campaign. Supporting women's hard-won right to choice is a core value of mine and-- a value shared by the majority of San Diego and Orange County voters-- and Beltway strategists aren't the folks I'm looking to for advise on the subject. Women who live in CA-49 are." Doug is likely to replace anti-Choice fanatic Darrell Issa in Congress. Up the road a bit Wendy Reed is running for a deep red seat held by Republican Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy. She's another candidate unenthusiastic about the DCCC's latest move. "Ben Ray Lujan's willingness to toss off a Constitutionally protected right of women for political expediency exemplifies the rotting of DCCC strategy," she told us. "Lujan seems to have passed his expiration date, and I stand with Tom Perez and Howard Dean on this. Only principles, platform integrity, and informed conversation will win elections in 2018."

Tom Guild is a progressive Democrat in exactly the kind of "red state," Oklahoma, where the DCCC wants to run anti-Choice Blue Dogs. Of course, they're wrong... and are unlikely to back Tom. He told us that "The progressive coalition is made up of many disparate interests. Environmentalists are often primarily concerned with climate change and the future of our planet. Progressive populists may be most concerned with raising the minimum wage, Wall Street Reform, and the reduction of college student loan debt. Women’s health issues are at the forefront of the concerns of many women and men in the progressive movement. Seniors may emphasize increasing Social Security benefits and protecting Medicare from being reduced to worthless vouchers, leaving older Americans without meaningful affordable health care. There is an abundance of other groups constituting the progressive movement and each has issues crucial to them. To undercut women’s health is offensive and is no more acceptable than the undermining of other values important to diverse elements of our movement. We need candidates who run the gamut and mutually support our progressive allies on issues essential to them. As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. so eloquently said, injustice anywhere is injustice everywhere. If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together. We must support our coalition partner’s progressive causes, along with our own. Anti-Choice=Anti-Progressive. Together we win, and as Abe Lincoln, also eloquently, opined, a house divided against itself cannot stand."

Harley Rouda is one of the 40 or so Democrats running for GOP-held seats in Orange County. He wants to replace Dana Rohrabacher, an anti-Choice nut. "A woman's right to choose is non-negotiable. We can compromise on many things, but not on a woman's right to autonomy over her own body. I’m in complete agreement with 70% of Americans who, regardless of their personal feelings on abortion, recognize it is a woman’s fundamental right to control her reproductive decisions and that government has no place in deciding for her. I’m disappointed that the Democratic Party won’t stand up without hesitation and in unanimity on this very important issue."

Another Orange County candidate, Andy Thorburn-- who is eager to replace Ed Royce-- jumped into the race yesterday. He told me that "I'm 100% pro-choice, and I believe that the government should not tell a woman what she can or can't do with her body. I do not believe that the national party should actively recruit anti-choice candidates."

I asked a whole slew of Democrats in Congress. A few cursed out Pelosi and Lujan or told me off the record how angry they are and how divisive this is for the party-- but no one was willing to speak on the record except Bay Area progressive freshman Ro Khanna, who said simply and right to the point, "I believe being pro-choice is about gender equality and a core value. The DCCC should not support anti-choice candidates." BOOM!

Dotty Nygard is the progressive candidate taking on Jeff Denham in northern California. Again, clear and right to the point: "There is zero reason for our party to invest in fringe, anti-Choice candidates. Americans are tired of politicians who feel more compelled to regulate a woman's body than Wall Street corruption. 70% of Americans support safe access to abortion services, it's clear now more than ever that members of congress need to accurately represent our values and defend the health of Women."

And Derrick Crowe, the progressive in the Austin-San Antonio corridor district occupied by anti-Choice freak Lamar Smith sums up with all the candidates I spoke with said: "The DCCC should retract this statement, apologize to the women they were selling out when making this statement, and issue instead a new statement in which they make it clear that women's rights are not negotiable."

Rep. Kaniela Ing is the most progressive Democrat in the Hawaii legislature. He may not be running for federal office-- I hope he does-- but he's certainly paying close attention to what Pelosi and Lujan have been saying. I like his response a lot: "Embracing candidates who do not support every woman's right to choose is a huge step backward for our party, both morally and strategically. Roe v. Wade was nearly 45 years ago. So abortion should not be framed as a new fight between progressives and moderate Democrats. It's a pillar of what Democrats stand for. We can and should learn from Republicans, who have recently dominated American politics on every level by running unapologetically conservative candidates. People vote when they are inspired by candidates who stand for something. Our advantage is that more folks share progressive values and support our issues. We have dignity, fairness, and equality on our side. When we run on our values, and not from them, we win."

Want to watch some good ideas from the Democratic Party? This guy was speaking at Politicon in Pasadena this last weekend-- and there was nothing in what he had to say about taking away women's right to choice. One has to wonder why party leaders like Pelosi and Lujan aren't on the same page as this DNC spokesperson. They should be if they're serious about winning back Congress:

UPDATE: From Crowley's Opponent

Alexandria Ocasio is running or the Queens/Bronx seat occuried by the corrupt conservative Pelosi has picked to run the House Dems after she's gone, Joe Crowley. "The United States has the highest maternal mortality rate in the developed world," she told us. "Women across this country already suffer in their access to healthcare. The very idea of the Democratic Party compromising on healthcare for half of Americans is tantamount to becoming the very Republicans we are trying to overturn. Our focus should be on expanding healthcare to all Americans, not taking it away."

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At 6:20 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Depending on WHERE these blue-ish republicans who hate women are running, it may be that their hate stance would make them MORE likely to win than any more truly progressive person. That's just how the evil pandemic in America has spread.

The problem is that I also think the DCCC really doesn't want to win a majority but does want to flip a few seats. This keeps the corporations in Pelosi's bed (just in case there *IS* a house flop) but does not make Pelosi have to openly betray voters by not DOING a single progressive thing.

So what the DxCCs (scummer is following suit) and the DNC are going to accomplish is the gradual spread of evil in the party of FDR making it worse than last cycle. This erosion SHOULD mean correspond to an equal erosion in votes in the bluer areas (who are still barely sentient).

Following the trend since the early '80s, that means everything will continue to get worse, either summarily (as in 1980, 2000, 2016) or a bit more gradually (as in 1992 and 2008). Either way, it gets worse.

If your goal is "better", you cannot possibly continue supporting the democrap party.

At 8:00 AM, Anonymous Hone said...

Sickening, sickening, sickening. So much is at stake. The whole anti abortion, and may I add anti birth control, stance of the Republicans and some Blue Dogs is so dark ages and so freaking stupid and unrealistic, and anti women!

With all that is going on these days, there is little in the media about the alarming and terrifying world population that is out of control. (Though thankfully Gaius addresses this on DWT.) We have our heads in the sand about our future. So many of those in charge of our country, which is going down the tubes before our very eyes, have neither the will nor desire to do anything about it. And we have way too many dumb asses who love these dudes and keep electing them.

Europe looks on us in askance - What the hell is wrong with the USA? - while American women weep. We have lost any semblance of reason or common sense.

At 4:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, Hone, the Rs (and now a bunch of Ds thanks to lesser-evilism) NEED a lot of unwanted pregnancies to subjugate women. Toward that end they both want to forbid abortions AND forbid birth control.

The more unwanted pregnancies, the more impoverished kids are created, which also reinforces some of their other hatreds and oppressions.

They hate women. They want women punished for getting pregnant and they want that punishment to last for life (making them raise kids they can't afford or are the result of rape/incest/sex with republicans).


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