Friday, August 08, 2008

Bush rubber-stamp identifies Democratic "dear friends"

Attention in the camps of Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Kendrick Meek. This is what you get from your failure to be fully on board the campaigns of your Democratic colleagues. Your Republican incumbent friends will use your names – your Democratic names – in their desperate attempts to fend off strong electoral challenges.

Here is some murky video from Mario Diaz-Balart, FL-25 Republican incumbent, talking at a church in Homestead FL in June about why he should be re-elected for a third term.

(Apologies that I can't make the video appear here. Email this blog and I'll email you the file.)

He doesn’t say he is endorsed by Wasserman Schultz and Meek, but he says – untruthfully, but what the heck – that they’re not supporting his opponent, Joe Garcia. And it’s because they are his “dear friends.” And “I work with them.” They are his “colleagues.”

And, he says, they’re “getting a lot of criticism” for this. Who’s criticizing? He says with a deprecating gesture that “some groups” are doing it.

Hey, bloggers. He’s talking about us. This blog. DailyKos. We are his “some groups.” And to him, we’re communists – Communists. He doesn’t say it in this video clip but we know it’s in his heart because that’s what his foes all are.

Here’s the rough transcript from this short clip:

"… who are dear friends. Who are getting a lot of criticism by some groups because they are not from the party that I'm in. And yet they refuse to help my opponent. Not that my opponent may not be a good guy, or (inaudible) on the issues. Because I work with them. These two colleagues are, one of them is Debbie Wasserman Schultz, from north part, center part, actually like Broward and above. The other is our own Kendrick Meek."

Before more analysis of this clip, some reportage from Nancy Pelosi’s appearance Wednesday at a fund-raiser for Joe Garcia at the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables. Also present were Annette Taddeo and Raul Martinez, the Democratic challengers against respectively, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL-18) and Lincoln Diaz-Balart (FL-21).

Speaker of the House Pelosi, whom Garcia introduced as the “most powerful woman in the world,” was abundantly clear whom she backs in these races.

“I’m here to show the House Democrats’ support for Joe Garcia, Annette Taddeo and Raul Martinez,” she said. She referred to “these three races” and the “three quality candidates.” The opposition in Congress, she said, was not simply conservatives but “radical right-wing, status quo, special interest, not in the people’s interest” Republicans.

Your blogger should not go on any further since he had been admonished to be present as a loyal Democrat rather than as media, and he’d like to be invited back in the future. Also, ran out of scribbled quotes.

Except for this last gem, in which she said the “synergy of the three candidates … has its own drumbeat.”

That’s a fine rhetorical touch – the “drumbeat” coming from the three Democratic challengers running in Miami-Dade (mostly, plus parts of Broward and Collier Counties and all of Monroe comprising the Florida Keys).

So I’d say Speaker Pelosi is openly and strongly for the three Democrats. And she’s the head of the Democratic Caucus in the House, and overall the boss of the Democrats’ Congressional campaign. So it’s doubly hard to understand how Wasserman Schultz and Meek get away with not being fully supportive of the three Democratic challengers. Stressing fully is meant to acknowledge that Wasserman Schultz has donated money herself to Garcia and Martinez. But she hasn’t donated to Annette Taddeo, and she and Meek are notably absent from this sort of event that drew other Democratic politicians and donors.

The only explanation we’ve heard is that Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (Annette Taddeo’s opponent) befriended Wasserman Schultz when the latter entered the U.S. House two terms ago, and the bond of legislative colleagues somehow trumps party loyalty.

This would be more understandable if the Republican had not voted repeatedly for the Iraq war, for torture, for wiretapping and against expanding children’s health care. This would be the point where a good Democrat restricts the bonds of collegiality to the halls of Congress and polite chat with the friendly Republican – and meanwhile works like crazy to get good Democrats elected instead in the neighboring districts.

Now it’s time to look more at what Mario Diaz-Balart said in that short clip.

He’s wrong:

  • Saying that the Democrats don’t support his opponent, since Wasserman Schultz has donated to Garcia. More correct would be that they don’t fully support Garcia, and also not fully support Annette Taddeo in FL-18;
  • Identifying Wasserman Schultz’ constituency as if it’s all in Broward County, when 20 percent of it or so is in Miami-Dade. His utterance here just sounds confused. He seems to be saying that Meek’s District 17 is all in Miami-Dade (“our own”), though a substantial part of it is in Broward. He ought to know these districts, since he helped draw the lines to carve out a U.S. House district for himself when he was still a member of the Florida House of Representatives. Sorta like the infamous Tom DeLay, known for redoing the lines in Texas in the middle of a decade, thumbing his nose at the quaint American notion of fairness.

Next on Mario Diaz-Balart’s schedule this week is an appearance Saturday at a health center where Kendrick Meek is also to be present. Groan. If this weren’t less than 90 days from the election, it could just be colleagues representing their joint work to constituents.

The last thing that’s really hard to see about these two errant but young and promising Democrats, who vote wonderfully progressive on most every issue, is why they don’t see the landslide juggernaut coming. Why are they not fully supporting the winners?

OK, now the last thing, really. Meek and Wasserman Schulz are afflicted with bullet-proof constituencies. I say afflicted because they don’t have the tonic of competition in their 70-percent solid districts. No Democrat challenger in the primary (Aug. 26) and no Republican bothers to run against them in the November general. It’s like the arrogance of absolute power. They can do whatever they like. And call it representing the people

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