Countdown Clocks

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Posts tagged "Blue Dogs"

Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.) is expected to remain as head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee for the 2014 election cycle.

The New York lawmaker, who took over the fundraising operation for House Democrats in 2010, will retain his position alongside House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who said Wednesday that she planned to run again for the Democratic House leadership.

According to a House leadership aide, “Leader Pelosi told a packed caucus meeting, including the incoming members of the 113th Congress today that, if Steve Israel is willing to take on the DCCC again, then she will happily place her hat in for leader.”

Israel told CNN earlier Wednesday that he hoped Pelosi decided to stay on as leader, appearing to confirm that he would remain in the fifth-ranking position among House Democrats.

"She just helped elect 49 new Democrats who are problem-solvers," Israel said. "If you take a look at the footage from that press conference yesterday, 49 new Democrats who are diverse, the first Democratic Caucus, the first caucus in history that has a majority of women, African-Americans, Asian-Americans, Hispanic-Americans, but more than anything else, she helped elect a class of problem-solvers, people who are business people who create jobs, mayors who balance budgets, veterans who serve the country."

Israel had previously served as the DCCC’s recruitment chairman during the 2010 midterms. Thought to have a close relationship with Pelosi, he replaced Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), who moved on to become the ranking member of the House Budget Committee.

h/t: The Hill

Here’s the list of 17 DINOs who voted with the GOP to hold Holder in Contempt:

  • Jason Altmire (PA-04)
  • John Barrow (GA-12)
  • Dan Boren (OK-02)
  • Leonard Boswell (IA-03)
  • Ben Chandler (KY-06)
  • Mark Critz (PA-12)
  • Joe Donnelly (IN-02)
  • Kathy Hochul (NY-26)
  • Ron Kind (WI-03)
  • Larry Kissell (NC-08)
  • Jim Matheson (UT-02)
  • Mike McIntyre (NC-07)
  • Bill Owens (NY-23)
  • Collin Peterson (MN-07)
  • Nick Rahall (WV-03)
  • Mike Ross (AR-04)
  • Tim Walz (MN-01)

Present: Dan Lipinski (IL-03)

If this election year represents a potential crossroads for Democrats — wherein the party must choose to either embrace progressive principles or espouse moderation in the name of electability — Tuesday’s U.S. House primary contest in Illinois’s 10th Congressional District might well be instructive.

The contentious race pits Ilya Sheyman — a 25-year-old former community organizer who’s won the support of MoveOn, the Progressive Change Campaign Committee (PCCC) and Howard Dean — against Brad Schneider, a long-time management consultant backed by Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD), the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) and a host of others within the Illinois and national party establishment.

heyman’s liberal supporters have characterized the race as a choice between a progressive and a “Blue Dog,” a reference to the coalition of conservative House Democrats and a swipe at Schneider’s alleged centrism. It’s a label the Schneider campaign has pushed back hard against.

“I think the other camp ran out of ideas and they had to go negative,” Jerrod Backous, Schneider’s campaign manager, told TPM. “Brad has never been asked and he would never join the Blue Dog Coalition.”

Backous insisted that his candidate is also a progressive, adding that “there isn’t much daylight” between Schneider and Sheyman ideologically. Sheyman’s side disagrees, pointing to Schneider’s history of associations with Republican leaders. A website launched by MoveOn details Schneider’s contributions to GOP candidates and his participation in Republican primaries.

Adam Ruben, political director for MoveOn, denies that his group has ever described Schneider as a Blue Dog, saying they have simply drawn attention to his connections with the Republican party. “What we’ve been very careful to do is just urge voters to look at his record,” Ruben told TPM. “We’re saying that Brad Schneider’s record shows that he’s acted like a Republican and that we should look at what he’s done.”

As for Schneider’s participation in Republican primaries, Backous refuted MoveOn’s assertion that it has happened twice, claiming that Schneider pulled a Republican ballot only once to support his personal friend Andy Hochberg in a 2000 House primary election against current Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL).

Sheyman rejects that defense, arguing that Schneider has no excuse for his financial contributions to Republican campaigns, most notably a 2008 donation to Sen. Mike Johanns of Nebraska. “I don’t think there are many Democratic voters who think that giving money to Mike Johanns, who just supported the Blunt amendment, is something a progressive would do,” Sheyman told TPM. “I think the number one question voters have is, ‘Who do I trust to go to Washington and fight for our progressive values?’ People know what kind of track record I have and what kind of progressive values I’ll bring to Washington.”

Perhaps more than the purported ideological divide between the two candidates, the race has emerged as a debate over electability. Even before the state’s Congressional map was redrawn last year in a way that decidedly favors Democrats, Rep. Bob Dold (R-IL10) — who won the 10th district seat in 2010 - was pegged as one of the most vulnerable House incumbents this election cycle. Democratic insiders fear that nominating Sheyman will cause the party to squander a prime opportunity to pick up a seat. “We can’t win the House back if we concede races like that,” a Democratic strategist told TPM. “That district has thoughtful voters and the theory that they will elect just any Democrat is disputed. They’re not going to go for a 25-year-old with no life experiences.”

Not surprisingly, Sheyman’s supporters see it differently. Neil Sroka, press secretary for PCCC, dismisses questions about Sheyman’s electability as “the kind of argument that comes from folks who have spent the last decade showing Democrats how to lose elections.”

That both candidates have jockeyed for the progressive mantle might serve as an indication that the liberal message is resonating. A poll commissioned by MoveOn and PCCC that was released last week could be even more telling: it showed Sheyman holding an 18-point lead over Schneider.

Sheyman believes that the 2012 elections will confirm that the majority of voters favor progressive principles.

“Whereas the Tea Party has dragged the Republican party so far to the right that they’re no longer palatable to the American people, we as progressives are bringing the Democratic party to where the American public already stands,” Sheyman said. “What we’re demonstrating is that fighting for the middle class is not only a pathway to winning a primary election and winning a general election, it’s also a pathway to governing.”

H/T: Tom Kludt at TPM

Vote Sheyman tomorrow if you’re in IL-10!

Congressional Republicans are still trying to persuade Americans that they are focused on job creation, but each time they propose another piece of legislation, it is exposed as a gimmick that will do little, if anything, to create jobs. Such was the case with their anti-regulatory policies, their attempts to repeal health care reform, and virtually every other policy proposal they have brought forth.

Next up in that line, unfortunately, is a rehashed form of a radical Balanced Budget Amendment, a plan that according to recent analyses would actually cost America 15 million jobs. But thanks to the conservative wing of the Democratic Party, the Republicans won’t be alone in their chase for a radical budget amendment that could help push the country back into the throes of recession.

Despite the fact that House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) said yesterday he would encourage his party to vote against the radical plan, Blue Dog Democrats endorsed the amendment on a press call today, Politico’s Marin Cogan reported on Twitter. ThinkProgress confirmed that endorsement with a spokesperson for Rep. Mike Ross (D-AR), the Blue Dog Coalition’s co-chair for communications. According to the Hill, Ross said on the call that Blue Dogs favored such an amendment “before balanced budget amendments were cool”:

We were advancing a balanced budget amendment when balanced budget amendments weren’t cool,” a co-chairman of the coalition, Rep. Mike Ross (D-Ark.), told reporters on a conference call. […]

If any Blue Dog does not vote for it, I’d have to question how much they’re a Blue Dog,” [Blue Dog Rep. Jim] Matheson [D-UT] said.

It’s hard to overestimate the negative effects such an amendment would have on the country’s economy. In addition to destroying millions of jobs, it would force such massive spending cuts that House Republicans’ own budget would be unconstitutional. According to a recent study by Macroeconomic Advisers, enacting a BBA now would double the nation’s unemployment rate and cause the economy to shrink by 17 percent — a far cry from the 2 percent projected growth that would occur with no such amendment.

Blue Dog Democrats are pushing members of the joint deficit Super Committee to reduce the deficit significantly more than they’ve been tasked with. But they don’t want to talk about President Obama’s jobs plan. And beneath the surface its clear that there are major differences between the White House and conservative members of his party.

Leaders of the Blue Dog caucus held a press conference in the Capitol Visitor’s Center Wednesday to push the Super Committee to “go big.” But thanks to an explicit efforts by Democrats and the administration the deficit panel’s work has become linked to the idea of job creation, and Obama’s jobs bill. But the Blue Dogs didn’t really want to talk about it.

After the press conference I asked Rep. Heath Shuler (D-NC) whether he agreed with CBO chief Doug Elmendorf — and by extension Obama — that the wisest economic path involves near term stimulus followed by long-run fiscal restraint.

"I would definitely be at odds with his comment on that — I mean we’ve got to get our fiscal house in order," Shuler said. "We’re at 15 percent of GDP in revenue and 24 and a half percent of expenditures. You want to take that 15 percent to 13 percent and increase spending to 27 percent…. I’ve ran a business, that doesn’t go good on my balance sheet. I’m in the red when that happens."

"We’re not here to talk about a specific piece of legislation," retiring Rep. Mike Ross (D-AR) told reporters. "That is a small part of what we’re talking about…we’re here to talk about cutting $4 trillion…. In terms of jobs, I think I speak for all of us, we’re for creating more jobs."

Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-OR) said Obama’s actual jobs plan is much less important than the fact that he’s talking about the economy.

h/t: TPMDC