February 22, 2007

The Tauscher Dilemma

Rep. Ellen Tauscher (D-CA) is feeling the heat. Wednesday, WaPo had a front page story discussing the problem. To put it simply, Tauscher is being put on notice that playing too well with Bush or others who are out to sellout the Democratic base are grounds for dismissal.

Tauscher is the latest Democratic incumbent to be told by the activist base that we are tired of you using the Democratic base as something to run against. And we are tired of you sucking up to those who are trying to destroy our future and our country.

Ellen stepped into her own personal nightmare when even before the 2006 election she touted the power of the Blue Dog Democrats and how the coming election would purge those on the left.

“I think there’s tremendous agreement and awareness that getting the majority and running over the left cliff is what our Republican opponents would dearly love,” Ms. Tauscher said, adding that this was something “we’ve got to fight.”

Then as soon as the election was over, with the Democrats firmly in control in the house, Ellen Tauscher and her friends opened up shop to rake in the K Street bucks that had lost Republican pockets to jump into as this piece shows:

Business lobbyists flock to Centrist Democrats

One of the earliest signs that life for Democrats would be different in the majority came at a post-election event sponsored by the New Democrat Coalition, the pro-business group of centrist Democrats.

Previous affairs drew at most 20 lobbyists, but the “meet-and-greet” at Nortel’s Washington office two days after Democrats swept to power drew around 60 mostly high-tech lobbyists looking to build a relationship, according to Kevin Lawlor, the spokesman for New Democrat Coalition (NDC) Chairwoman Ellen Tauscher (D-Calif.).

Worried about what the Democratic Congress may mean for their business clients, to say nothing of the new limits on member access Democrats may impose as part of an ethics reform package, lobbyists have tried hard in the weeks following the election to build new links to the new majority.

One favored path has been through moderate to conservative blocs like the New Democrats and the Blue Dogs, who are a group of budget-minded conservative Democrats mostly from Southern states.

After the election, the Blue Dogs were actively touting the death of the leftish Democratic activists. According to Kristen Powers, old style liberalism (where Democrats actually thought they had a responsibility to the rest of America) was in decline.

Ellen Tauscher is not just a little moderate in regards to the Democratic Party. After all, Bill Clinton was a moderate and no one would say he was pandering to the left wing of the Democratic party. Ellen Tauscher buys into even more of the right wing story. As a Blue Dog Democrat, she is in a group that has been actively voting against Democratic interests for a long while. As Chris Bowers wrote last year:

Do we justifiably dislike the DLC because of the cottage industry From, Reed and others make out of using Republican caricatures against fellow Democrats? Yes. Do we justifiably not like the DLC because of their foundational ties to large corporations? Yes. However, we need to wake up and smell which faction is actively dissenting from the party on key votes, and it is not the DLC. Our problems in Washington are tied far more directly to Blue Dogs than to DLC members. ... So please, fellow denizens of the blogosphere, I urge you to keep whipping he party into line, but use your whips correctly. Stop blaming the DLC for everything--it only obscures our real problems in forging a majority. The truth is that the average Democrat falls precisely in between two loyal Democratic factions: New Democrats and Progressive Democrats. No one group represents the party more than the other. Blue Dogs, on the other hand, are basically a third party operating outside of both Democratic and Republican control. This is a real problem for us, because while there are thirty-five Blue Dogs, there is only one Republican "problem child," Ron Paul of Texas. Paul is the only Republican who breaks with his party at least half the time, and he does so because he is a true libertarian.

The Blue Dogs are the people who will "compromise" with Bush to eliminate the estate tax. They are ones who are for "privatizing" Social Security and were overwhelming for the banker's "bankruptcy bill."

Ms. Tauscher has spent more than a bit of her time spelling our her disrespect for the activist base of the Democratic party. She also was first in the list of people supporting the travesty of the bankruptcy bill that even Diane Feinstein found too much to stomach.

And then after the election when George W Bush realized he needed to find some "bipartisan" cover for his policies, Ellen was one of the first people he asked to "work with him." Ellen was happy to accommodate.

It was her first meeting with Bush in four years and she found him engaging and well-informed.

"He called me 'Madam Chairwoman,' " Tauscher said, which means he knew that she was unofficially named this week as chairwoman of the Strategic Forces sub-committee of Armed Services.

Evidently, Rep. Tauscher is able to see into Bush's soul just like he did with his big friend Putin.

Ellen Tauscher is finding her cushy deal she thought she had a whole lot more work than she expected. Well, I expect her to work a lot more for Democrats than for the K-Street business lobby community. And if she finds she can't stand up for Democrats, then she has earned every challenge that comes her way.

In 2008, both Bush and the extreme right wing corporatist agenda will not be winners. If Tauscher wants to represent the people of the district, she will have to spend some time listening to them and not her K-street friends. And she certainly cannot hope to carve out a "Lieberman" campaign.

Either Tauscher works to represent her Northern Californian district or she faces a Democratic primary challenge. For Democrats right now, electing a more dependable representative who will vote for Democratic policies is better than waiting to see what Tauscher will do next to show her disdain of the Democrats she supposedly represents.

Posted by Mary at February 22, 2007 02:30 AM | US Politics | TrackBack(1) | Technorati links |
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