Monday, June 10, 2019

The Freshmen: what About Jeff Van Drew?


Seinfeld: "You know the difference between a dentist and a sadist, don't you? Newer magazines."

The DCCC had been trying to recruit the most right-wing Democrat in the New Jersey state legislature, Jefferson Van Drew-- and he was not named for Thomas-- for years. But it was not until Frank LoBiondo (R), sick of Trump's behavior, announced he was retiring, that Van Drew allowed himself to be recruited. At the time, we warned DWT readers that he was likely to be the worst Democrap in Congress. He immediately joined the Blue Dogs, of course. And today he is among the half dozen Blue Dogs-- the others being Josh Gottheimer (NJ), Anthony Brindisi (NY), Joe Cunningham (SC), Kendra Horn (OK) and Ben McAdams (UT)-- voting most frequently against anything that smacks of progressivism. Van Drew's crucial vote score from ProgressivePunch is a shockingly dreadful 37.5%. [In way of comparison, conservative Republican Justin Amash (MI) has a 43.75 score this session.] House Democrats thought they'd never live to see a more reactionary colleague than Collin Peterson (Blue Dog-MN)-- until the DCCC dug up dreck like Jefferson Van Drew and his class in 2018.

Last week, (the Newark Star-Ledger) published a full-blown editorial on Van Drew's inadequacy as a member of Congress, Why does this NJ Democrat want to end Trump inquiries? Generally speaking, the Star-Ledger has been pretty pro-Van Drew. One could only wish they are starting to wake up. New Jersey has two of the worst Democrats in Congress (not even counting Norcross' little brother, Donald)-- Van Drew and Gottheimer. New Jersey Democrats should wake up and take back control of their party from the corrupt bosses who still control it.
Jeff Van Drew believes that the congressional investigations into the snowballing farce known as the Trump Administration must cease.

It doesn’t matter what House committees look into. It could be Russian subterfuge, election security, obstruction of justice, Donald Trump’s tax returns, his fake charity, the questionable financing of his real estate projects, or the president’s role in the campaign finance violation that landed his lawyer in jail, a case in which he was named an unindicted co-conspirator.

Van Drew’s thesis: “We must finalize these investigations and bring all of this to a conclusion in a timely manner. The people are exhausted with the bad gift that keeps on giving: the Mueller Report. They are tired of the investigations. They are tired of the accusations. They are tired of the reports,” the congressman from South Jersey (D-2nd Dist.) says.

He added that congressional efforts are “wasted on these investigations,” and that “their continuation will only perpetuate civil unrest.”

That’s a mouthful, and while Van Drew walked back some of it in a 20-minute phone conversation Tuesday, he is dismissing a key point: Upholding the rule of law and exercising oversight duty should always top the list of congressional priorities.

And given that only 3 of the 20 committees are investigating information related to the Mueller Report, the House is multi-tasking effectively. It isn’t the fault of the Democratic-controlled chamber that every bill it advances-- whether it’s related to health care costs, environmental protection, gun safety, or election security-- is rejected by the GOP-led Senate.

Van Drew concedes that the lower chamber is “getting some nice bills done,” but he believes the Senate and Trump himself would be more cooperative if the House dropped its probes, which, he implies, the average voter lacks the bandwidth to process anyway.

Van Drew also says he has read the Mueller report “from first page to last page” but somehow concluded that the special counsel “did not adequately make the case” that the president is guilty of any wrongdoing.

What he forgets is that Mueller does not do nuance. The special counsel emphasized that if his office “had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so.” He also said that “the Constitution requires a process other than the criminal justice system to formally accuse a sitting president of wrongdoing.”

In other words, there’s a good chance that the president committed a crime.

And that it’s up to Congress to determine that.

Van Drew also shrugs when reminded that 1,000 federal prosecutors say that the 10 examples of obstruction of justice outlined by the Mueller Report warrant formal charges: “I don’t want to make a comment on it, I’m not a lawyer,” he said.

It’s prudent that Van Drew is making up his own mind about whether to proceed with impeachment hearings. Every member must make his or her own call on that matter, which stopped being partisan ever since Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI) jumped into the debate with both feet.

And it’s understandable that Democrats from toss-up districts avoid talks of impeachment, and comments about investigations if they don’t serve on the House committees conducting them.

But to suggest that the investigations must cease because their voters cannot take the stress is an abdication of duty. If Van Drew hears a different narrative when he’s “out in the street,” his obligation is to do what Amash did: explain why we cannot allow a sitting president to ignore subpoenas and stonewall Congress just because he thinks he is above the law.

That is part of his job. Van Drew sounds as if he’s afraid to do it.
So far no one has announced a primary challenge to Van Drew. He had been expected to sweep to victory in 2018 but a basically unknown Republican, Seth Grossman, held him down to a paltry 52.9% win. Van Drew is not exactly an inspiration to the South Jersey Democratic base. He lost Salem, Ocean, Camden and Burlington counties. The Democratic Party would probably do a lot better by backing an actual Democrat for the 2020 race. I know, I know-- the chances of that happening are... remote.

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At 3:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

the freshmen as well as all the incumbents gave the gavel to Pelosi again... with predictable (by me, anyway) results -- none.

that's all you need know.

fuck we're stupid!

At 3:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anyone who votes for Van Drew deserves to get ratfucked when he changes parties.

At 3:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The chances of the Democratic Party backing an actual Democrat for that seat are more than remote as long as George Norcross is calling the shots.

Van Drew is firmly against Medicare for All, and Norcross is head of Connor, Strong and Buckelew, a huge insurance brokerage specializing in employee benefits packages that include for-profit health insurance -- and which, incidentally, sells benefits packages to virtually all the county and municipal governments the Norcross machine controls.

Because Norcross derives so much of his personal income from our dysfunctional health care system, he'll put the full weight of his machine into a campaign against anyone he even suspects might be inclined to vote for single payer.

If by some miracle a single payer advocate were to defeat Van Drew in next year’s primary, Norcross will work covertly to defeat that candidate, just as he worked behind the scenes to defeat Barbara Buono and re-elect Chris Christie in 2013.


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