Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Joe Crowley-- Not Inevitable... We Can Do Better


Wall Street's dozen biggest bets for 2018

Every progressive in America should be alarmed at this Politico headline from yesterday: Queens party boss angles to succeed Pelosi as speaker. Heather Caygle and John Bresnahan wrote, dispassionately, that "Rep. Joe Crowley is making moves to take over the House Democratic Caucus whether the party wins or loses in November." Yes, he is-- and has been for years.

Crowley is the most corrupt Democrat in Congress-- an inept creature of Wall Street, who serves as the conduit between the banksters and the Democratic conference. Although he's tried to moderate his right-wing votes since deciding to run for leader, he is best known as leader of the right-of-center New Dems. He is the embodiment of what everyone hates about Congress: corruption, self-serving and a being a toadie of the worst of DC's special interests. He doesn't belong in Congress, let alone as the leader of the party that's supposed to represent the legitimate interests of the downtrodden and the working families of this country.

Much of what Caygle and Bresnahan wrote was pure Beltway press release. How about that Crowley is "buoyed by a caucus thirsty for change" and how he has a "rising national profile?" What nonsense! His national profile may be rising among Wall Street banksters, lobbyists and media hacks... but real people? I don't think so-- not even in his own Queens/Bronx district. They describe him as "the affable Queens party boss" without mentioning that he lives in Virginia, not in Queens. Painting Crowley as some kind of a reformer in laughable-- but that didn't stop Caygle and Bresnahan from trying.
[I]n interviews with nearly 30 Democratic lawmakers and aides, almost all said it’s no secret that Crowley-- a 6-foot-5, lifelong New Yorker who towers over many of his colleagues and can often be heard walking through the Capitol singing a tune in his trademark Queens accent-- is doing everything possible to position himself for if and when there’s a shakeup at the top.

For Crowley, this moment has been two decades in the making and could be his best shot to ascend to the top of Democratic leadership ranks.

“I think Pelosi and Hoyer ought to take the message from [Paul] Ryan’s retirement and realize it’s time for this caucus to move on. And I think Crowley fits the bill to be our next leader,” said Rep. Filemon Vela (D-Texas), an outspoken critic of current leadership.

The much-talked about topic is so sensitive that several Democrats would discuss it only on condition of anonymity. Still, nearly 20 lawmakers from various corners of the caucus privately agreed with Vela that Crowley has a strong shot at becoming Democratic leader, though there was less consensus on whether that would happen after this election or in 2020.

Crowley, 56, has said he won’t run against Pelosi, the current House minority leader, for the speakership. And he hasn’t declared any intention of challenging Hoyer, the current whip, or Clyburn, the assistant minority leader, either.

But if the top job opens up-- either because Democrats lose and Pelosi decides to retire, or they win but she doesn’t have the 218 votes to be speaker-- Crowley’s allies say they‘re confident he would pounce. Having to take on his once-close ally Hoyer or someone else wouldn’t inhibit Crowley, they said.

Lawmakers eager for change see Crowley, who is the No.4 leader in the Democratic ranks and at least 20 years younger than the top three, as their best chance to break the decade-plus leadership logjam. But Crowley passed on a chance to shake up the status quo in 2016 after a group of members urged him to run against Pelosi. And there’s no guarantee this time will be any different.

“Is there an undercurrent of people that would like to see change or people grumbling about the fact that the people in leadership are old? Yes,” said Rep. John Larson (D-CT). “But, if push comes to shove, what will be the compelling reason [to oust them] if we win?”

In the meantime, Crowley is embarking on a high-profile travel schedule with appearances in Cleveland, Seattle and Chicago in April, several yet-to-be-announced stops over the summer and a major fall fundraiser for House Democratic hopefuls.

Crowley’s itinerary is exactly the kind of circuit a party leader would work in the run-up to the November midterms. So far Crowley has raised $3 million for Democratic incumbents, candidates and the party’s House campaign arm this cycle, eclipsing the $2.3 million he brought in during the 2016 election.

Crowley declined to be interviewed for this story. But his spokeswoman, Lauren French, dismissed the idea that Crowley’s hectic travel and fundraising schedule is designed to help him become leader.

“Joe Crowley’s sole focus is putting Democrats in majority control of the House,” French said in a statement. “The only way issues like expanding health care, creating good-paying jobs, growing the economy, and enacting gun safety will get addressed is by electing Democrats.”

...After coming to Congress in 1999, Crowley aligned himself with Hoyer, the start of a years-long friendship and mentorship. But that decision-- after Hoyer’s bitter battle for whip against Pelosi in 2001-- likely kept Crowley out of leadership for years, despite several attempts to join the ranks.

Larson defeated Crowley in a race for the vice chairmanship in 2006, a move many believed was heavily influenced by Pelosi. And Crowley was passed over to become chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in 2010 after the job went to Israel, a Pelosi ally.

But since the 2016 election, the kinship between Hoyer and Crowley has frayed at the same time Crowley’s relationship with Pelosi has noticeably warmed. Crowley even introduced her as the “soon-to-be speaker again” at a recent women’s history event in the Bronx.

“I think there’s a sense of obsequiousness that Joe spent five or six years to get back in her good graces and if he had to jettison a long time commitment and friendship to Steny, so be it,” said one Democratic lawmaker who asked not to be named to speak candidly.

But other lawmakers said the move could work in Crowley’s favor come November. Aligning himself with Pelosi, they said, could curry favor among her core group of supporters in the caucus-- a critical consideration if he wants to succeed her.

But Crowley’s entrance into leadership was never guaranteed, and his ascendance isn’t either.

Some members privately questioned whether Crowley has the policy chops necessary for leading the caucus. He is mostly known as an old-school New York Irish pol, but can claim a handful of key legislative achievements, including his role in a nuclear agreement with India, and House-passed legislation making it easier for low-income workers to claim certain tax credits.

Other lawmakers wondered whether it would be a problem having two white men from New York-- Chuck Schumer is the Senate minority leader-- as the congressional leaders of a party that prides itself on diversity.

But Crowley’s biggest obstacle may be time. There’s an ambitious group of Democratic members who have been in the caucus for six to 10 years and are getting tired of waiting their turn.

Some of those members have jokingly referred to Crowley as Prince Charles, saying if he waits too long to make a move, he risks being passed over completely. Several members from that group said they’re unlikely to make a push this year but want to rise in power come 2020.

“Nobody gives you power; you have to take it,” one younger lawmaker requesting anonymity said of Crowley. “And there’s no clear pathway to doing it, there will always be obstacles.”
No mention that Crowley is the handpicked successor to Pelosi and Hoyer or that he's the personification of the rise of the Republican wing of the Democratic Party, the New Dems and the Blue Dogs, and the fall of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. Instead of fighting back, the CPC will shill for him and even whip votes for him.

Goal ThermometerThat said, don't we deserve at least a contest between Crowley and someone who isn't corrupt and someone who is motivated by progressive values? I've been asking progressive members of Congress and getting back... well not getting much. So, how about Ted Lieu? Want to help persuade him? He's not going to run against Pelosi. But I'm pretty sure we can convince him to run if Pelosi doesn't. If you contribute to Blue America's IE PAC, we can collect any amount of money-- the way Republicans do. The Blue Momentum PAC (still listed as the LIEU PAC) is Ted's leadership PAC. You already know that Ted's own fund-raising page doesn't accept anything over $2,700. That helps his own reelection objectives. The LIEU PAC helps him contribute to other candidates (but not himself). Take a look at the new ActBlue page, The ProgressiveSpeakerFund by clicking on the brand new thermometer on the right. Please chip in what you can. And... if you know any millionaires...

3 progressive veterans-- Doug Applegate, Ted Lieu, Randy Bryce

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At 9:26 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The pic you used looks like a Diego Rivera mural in Detroit, which is where I am from. Like it.

At 12:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I want to see the leaders of the "democrats" replaced, but I'm not counting Pelosi out just yet. She holds cards she has yet to play along with an interest in preventing any changes.

At 6:05 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You say "We can do better". Subliminal coercion?

Crowley reps banks and other wealthy donors. He doesn't rep me or anyone I know. So he isn't part of "We". He's not a democrat.

He's a democrap. He's a very big part of the problem.

So ... by saying "we"... are you also part of the problem?

At 10:15 AM, Anonymous ap215 said...

Congrats to Alexandria on making the ballot now we a have race best wishes to her.

At 5:13 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Energy is needed to get people registered,list voting places, and get people to VOTE. Take advantage of Joe running around the country to make Alexandra voice be here in District 14. Now is the time to change things,do it.


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