Wednesday, April 12, 2017

The DCCC Is Still Recruiting "Ex"-Republicans


Every cycle I write this damn story. Maybe when Pelosi isn't Democratic Leader appointing her horrible losing DCCC chairs anymore, I'll be able to finally retire it-- maybe. For as far back as I can remember the self-loathing Democrats at the DCCC give potential congressional candidates extra points for serveral things-- being wealthy first and foremost, but being an "ex"-Republican a close second. In 2006. Rahm Emanuel and Steny Hoyer were just ga-ga over third-rate Republican rich person Tim Mahoney from the Palm Beach area. He was a life-long conservative Republican who made a fortune after lucking out when a computer parts company he worked for in New Jersey was sold. He used the money to start a shady venture capital firm in Boca Raton. Rahm recognized a kindred spirit and-- knowing that in a matter of months Republican Congressman Mark Foley was going to be exposed as a child predator-- persuaded Mahoney to switch parties and waltz into election. In Congress, Mahoney was a right-wing Blue Dog who voted consistently with his ideological brethren, the Republicans and was shown the door by the voters in the 2008 election.

Mahoney is one of dozens of "ex"-Republicans the DCCC is always trying to recruit-- almost always with disastrous consequences. Today, two of the worst Democrats in Congress-- Charlie Crist (FL) and Tom O'Halleran (AZ)-- were both Republican elected officials who switched parties for the sake of opportunism and careerism. Both generally vote a stridently anti-progressive line and both have "F" ratings from ProgressivePunch. Meanwhile, the DCCC has been trolling the political trash heaps of America looking for Republicans to run as make-believe Democrats in 2018.

You would think the Democrats' record of abject failure with recruiting Republicans and trying to pass them off as real Democrats-- as they did last year with failed candidates in Iowa (Monica Vernon),New York (Mike Derrick) and Florida (Randy Perkins)-- would be something they would have learned not to do. But you'd be wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong. The DCCC believes down deep in their Emanuel-created DNA it's how to win seats and they continue doing it-- in the face of years of evidence to the contrary-- compliments of brain-deficient conservative shitheads on the DCCC recruitment committee like Blue Dog Cheri Bustos (IL) and New Dem Denny Heck (WA).

We can't blame "ex"-Republican rich person Robert Lee Ahn on the DCCC but I got a call from an establishment Dem the other day who was all giddy over a new candidate in TX-21, a gerrymandered Republican district that zigs and zags through mostly suburbs around Austin, San Antonio, San Marcos, New Braunfels and the Hill Country. This is GOP crackpot Lamar Smith's seat and a number of conservative Democrats have voiced interest in marching in and "building" on Berniecrat Tom Wakely's grassroots efforts from 2016. The DCCC seems particularly interested in one of them: very rich Republican-- yes, he already switched his registration, contributed a pile of cash to Hillary and to the DNC-- named Joseph Kopser, a self-admitted Reagan-worshipper. As you probably know, Blue America endorsed Tom Wakely in 2016. He defeated a conservative Democrat in the primary and went on to do better than any other Democrat ever had against Smith. We endorsed him again this cycle and you can contribute to his campaign here.

So what are "ex"-Republicans in Austin like? They're like most "ex"-Republicans anywhere. Regular non-millionaire people in Austin seem to know who Kopser is because of a local battle over Uber-- Prop 1-- that found Kopser on the wrong side of the issue.
Austin voters on Saturday decisively rejected Uber and Lyft’s $8.6 million bid to overturn the city’s rules for ride-hailing apps, bringing a stunning conclusion to the most expensive campaign in city history.

The failure of Proposition 1 brought new threats that the ride-hailing giants would retreat from Austin as the neighborhood and labor groups that defeated them on a shoestring budget celebrated.

“Uber, I think, decided they were going to make Austin an example to the nation,” said longtime political consultant David Butts, who led the massively outspent anti-Prop 1 campaign, Our City, Our Safety, Our Choice. “And Austin made Uber an example to the nation.”

With all precincts in, Prop 1 lost by 12 points as nearly 56 percent of voters rejected the measure, figures from the Travis County Clerk show. Turnout was 17 percent.

The results keep in place the ordinance that the City Council approved in December, which requires drivers with ride-hailing apps to undergo fingerprint-based background checks by Feb. 1, 2017. The city’s ordinance also prohibits drivers from stopping in traffic lanes for passenger dropoffs and pickups, requires “trade dress” to identify vehicles for hire, and imposes a variety of data reporting requirements on the ride-hailing companies.
Kopser, who had a substantial personal financial stake in the fight-- because of his own company, Ridescout-- came down against Austin progressives and campaigned for Prop 1, marking himself a "Republican-type" who activists now know not to trust. But totally perfect for the DCCC, of course.

If the DCCC is a joke, Lamar Smith isn't. Perhaps because of his bizarre religious beliefs, he's working full time to destroy the planet in a way few other Republicans can match-- making sure Trump has all the congressional support he needs to set climate science back by decades and threatening us all in the process. "With a pronounced climate change skeptic in the White House in President Donald Trump," wrote James Osborne at the Houston Chronicle Sunday, "Smith, the powerful Republican chairman of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee, has ramped up his campaign to pick at the foundations of climate science, battling against emissions policies that threaten fossil fuel industries and questioning the government's relationship with science itself."
For the better part of two years, Smith has staged regular hearings in which he has accused established scientists of manipulating data and bullying those with contrarian points of view. The campaign follows the 2015 climate accord in Paris, where nearly 200 world leaders agreed forecasts had become so dire that countries needed to work together immediately to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions.

Smith's decision to take on that global consensus might generate cheers in the oil and gas fields, but in Washington the 69-year-old congressman is drawing heat - not only from Democrats and environmentalists but also universities and researchers. During the hearing last month, Michael Mann, a well-regarded climate scientist from Penn State University, compared the activities of the House Science Committee to that of Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin, whose decision to promote the theories of the fringe agronomist Trofim Lysenko contributed to chronic food shortages in that country.

...Smith represents a still powerful strain within the Republican Party for which climate change policy is a non-starter, said Bob Inglis, a former Republican congressman from South Carolina who lost his primary after favoring policies aimed at slowing climate change. Inglis said he believes Smith has stepped up his campaign because he sees the debate and facts shifting against him.

..."People put in that position usually start to dig in," he said.

Back in Smith's home district, which covers the bucolic Hill Country region between San Antonio and Austin, such a world view borders on anathema.

There is little in the way of oil and gas wells there, but it is a rural idyll where conservative principles stand tall and many have worked in the oil fields to the west in the Permian Basin and the south in the Eagle Ford, said Ruth Pharis, chair of the Republican Party in Comal County, which lies in Smith's district. Pharis said so much is still unknown about how climate change will play out that it doesn't make sense to stop using the plentiful oil and gas that lies beneath states like Texas.

"The people that settled here, they were mostly German, hard-working, grew their own food and didn't take a dime from anyone. It's changed with time, but there's still that strain of people living here," said Pharis, 83. "Lamar's a pretty conservative guy, and he pretty much listens to his constituents. I've never been disappointed."
And the DCCC's never-ending bungling and systematic, venal incompetence and overt corruption only make matters worse-- in TX-21 and every place else in the country where they involve themselves.

UPDATE: Further Discussion

Tom Wakely's Facebook page is one of several places where this post is being discussed in TX-21 now. I'm glad they're grappling with the concept of the political opportunists who run as Democrats and, when they win, revert to conservatism, the way Patrick Murphy did for the past 2 years in Florida.

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At 3:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Makes sense if you think about it.

1) Democraps are the party of corporate and billionaire corruption (that is less racist).
2) Democraps NEED to keep their party pure in order to keep raking in those billions in bribes
3) Though voters THINK there was a race for DNC chair, the money kept the purity in place and assimilated the pretend progressive candidate
4) But there have been a few, maybe a half dozen, seats won by actual progressives. Some of these seem incorruptible by their money and actually advocate and vote for progressive shit.
5) Therefore, the democraps CANNOT allow very many more of these FAKE corrupted R democraps to get elected... or even run... lest the entire party get turned upside down and return to the roots of FDR, HST, JFK, MLK... which would mean the corporations and billionaires would stop flushing money their way.
6) So it makes sense to do 2 things:
a) fund and run REAL democraps against the real democraTs in primaries where possible, though this is getting more and more attention.
b) recruit ex Rs (after some kind of purity test, natch) to run as "REAL democraps" to keep the minority in congress pure.

At 5:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a surprise why?

As the Republican Party drifted rightward with increasing success since 1980, they have become too radical for the corporate community which requires economic certainty and societal stability to remain profitable. I'd suggest that this is the opportunity Bill Clinton saw when he helped establish the Democratic Party as GOP-lite and adopted Republican values as the means of attracting corporate support away from the Republicans.

As the Tea Baggers continue to drag the Republican Party rightward, there have to be plenty of Republicans who don't want to go there, especially if they have had wide-ranging contacts with stability-conscious corporations. I'd also suggest that these candidates are the ones who the BNC will attract the suburban voters Chuckie-$chmuckie $chumer referred to when he declared, “For every blue-collar Democrat we lose in western Pennsylvania, we will pick up two moderate Republicans in the suburbs in Philadelphia, and you can repeat that in Ohio and Illinois and Wisconsin.”

This can only make sense if the candidates being offered to these voters are familiar to them, and that would mean they would have formerly been Republican politicians of those ares.

I now wonder whether Bernie would be so eager to assist the Democrats if he was aware of this, for he is only weakening his brand and destroying his credibility with voters disgusted with the two corporate wings of the Body Politic. You know, the ones who almost gave him a victory over HER! before HER! people rigged the game beyond his ability to overcome. The ones the Democorrupt Party is desperately trying to reach with new verbiage. Verbiage such as issued by sending out clueless operatives like the one Jimmy Dore challenged on his show:

At 6:00 AM, Anonymous A Siegel said...

While I am far from enthused about the DSCC/DCCC track record & thinking in terms of recruitment for and intervention in primaries (re that, wonder whether Schumer's intervention in PA against Sestak might be one of the myriad of single point items that could have flipped the entire 2016 election: see discussion here,, is Kopser such a horrid option for TX21?

1. If we reject all "ex-Republicans" and self-described Reagan 'worshippers', that means excluding from consideration a majority of people over, let's say, 45 considering the electoral realities of the mid-1980s. (Note: I don't count myself as one of those.) An example, Markos Moulitas is one of those. (Which might prove point for you either way ... but ...) Take Ralph Northam, the current LtGov in VA. He voted for W twice, btw ... would you not support him in a general election against a Gillespie?

2. Wakely -- I greatly appreciated his running pro-science in 2016 and seeking to hold Smith accountable. But, look at the district. It is, I believe, R+10. Smith beat Tom by 30 percent. While Tom would start with far greater name recognition in 2018 and, potentially, more external support (though uncertain because 'national' money will have 100 House races to chase plus a dozen serious Senate fights ...), that is a huge margin to shift.

3. Kopser has some positive marks, not just the 'negatives' you highlight / raise (which merit discussion), that merit consideration: certainly within 'my' domain of energy/climate (though, as per earlier sentences, Tom's positions are strong on science/energy)

4. I am not 'taking a side' -- certainly not now -- in TX21 / TX21 primary but am certainly more open to Kopser's 'bio' than you seem to be. Among other things, I see TX21/Kopser as an example of a potential wave come 2018: serious candidates are emerging in races across the nation, potentially enough 'top-tier' candidates to make it a wave. My ending point, there, is that TX21 D voters will have a choice in the primary.

At 7:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So we get Kopser who might vote for the environment...might. But we know he will never vote for single payer, higher taxes on corps and the wealthy and any other economic justice platforms. Part of the reason our climate has gone to shit is because a few people have all the wealth and we are forced to power our existence to their profit and benefit not ours.

At 7:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

5:39, Bernie is nobody's fool. He knows. He has made his peace with being a part of it. Let it go. He's part of the problem. And if you give his long record even a cursory inspection, you'd realize it's always been so. Let him go.

7:34, absofuckinglutely true. Settling for the lesser of 2 evils will continue to result in a steady march toward greater evil. Twas ever thus. Sad that so many are so relentlessly blind to this.

Please, folks, LET yourselves believe in better rather than less worse.

At 11:36 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

at 7:51 I should have said "..LET yourselves STRIVE FOR better rather than less worse."


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