Dems Get a Memo

Rep. Joe Crowley of New York’s 14th Congressional District was apparently too busy setting up his challenge to Nancy Pelosi’s speakership to defend himself against a primary challenge, and he lost the nomination to a Bernie Sanders socialist.

Crowley, who is chairman of the Queens Democratic Party, had never faced a serious primary challenge in any of his 10 previous elections. But Ocasio-Cortez picked up steam in the 14th Congressional District by channeling progressive dissatisfaction with New York’s Democratic establishment. She tied Crowley (not unfairly) to Wall Street and real estate interests and argued that it was time for the overwhelmingly non-white district to be represented by someone like her, a Puerto Rican from the Bronx.

The Young Turks had also called Crowley a “Big Pharma favorite.” But to be fair, Crowley had signed on to “Medicare for All.” He wasn’t quite as oblivious as Nancy Pelosi. Still, there was one article that spelled our why Crowley represented what’s wrong with the Democrats. See Crowley’s loss leaves gaping void for next generation of Democratic leaders.

Crowley’s loss drew immediate comparisons to the stunning upset of Eric Cantor (R-Va.) four years ago when he was the sitting House majority leader and lost to now-Rep. Dave Brat (Va.) in the GOP primary.

But, in that instance, House Republicans had several other young lawmakers who had the standing and support to rise into top posts, including House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.), who was waiting in the wings for another year to take charge.

Crowley, 56, despite being in his 20th year in office, was considered a relative newcomer to Democratic leadership circles because the other three have been at the top since early last decade, longer than most House Democrats have even served in Congress.

There’s Nancy Pelosi, 78, the California Democrat who has served four years as speaker and is in her 12th year as minority leader; Steny H. Hoyer, 79, the Maryland Democrat who is in his 16th year serving as Pelosi’s top deputy; and James E. Clyburn, 77, the South Carolina Democrat who has been the No. 3 leader for a dozen years.  …

…Pelosi and the other 70-somethings have been in something close to a staring contest over who would retire first and open the door for one of the others to take the top reins, all while the rank-and-file Democrats grew increasingly anxious about the line of succession amid a string of election defeats and disappointments.

Crowley is younger than I am, but he’s still a balding, gray-haired, chubby white guy with little apparent charisma. If that’s the best Democrats can offer in the way of the “next generation of Democratic leaders,” this is a problem.

In social media one perpetually comes across discussions of who should be the democratic nominee in 2020, and it’s nearly always the same few names that have been around forever, like Joe Biden. I like Joe, but he’s a relic of the past at this point. Why don’t the Democrats allow young lawmakers to rise to the top posts? The Dems seriously need newer, and more diverse, faces to represent them if they are going to win the trust and loyalty of younger voters.

Did Crowley’s loss amount to a wake up call? James Hohmann wrote,

Just like loathing of Barack Obama kept Republicans united in 2014, disgust with the president will keep Democrats together going into the fall elections. But make no mistake: The party’s identity crisis will be front and center after November, especially if Nancy Pelosi steps down or gets dislodged as the leader of House Democrats. The internecine conflict could become all-consuming in the free-for-all nominating contest to take on Trump in 2020 and cause a leftward lurch that helps the president win reelection.

This is bullshit. Ossified Democratic leadership is the cause of the “identity crisis,” and if the party doesn’t start to lurch left, good luck turning the young folks out to vote. As Dylan Scott says, Maybe Democrats should stop being afraid of the left.

Anyway, congratulations to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who sounds like just what the Dems need.

Elsewhere: In a ruling even worse than the Muslim ban atrocity from yesterday, SCOTUS nixed public sector unions.

On the plus side, a judge has given Trump 15 days to reunite parents with the young children he took away from them, and 30 days to return older children.

Satellite images revealed that North Korea has been continuing to upgrade a major nuclear reactor since the Singapore Summit. What? You mean Kim lied to Trump? Who would have imagined that? No reaction from Trump yet.

23 thoughts on “Dems Get a Memo

  1. I loved the line in Ocasio-Cortez's political ad were she says:  "having a representative who doesn't drink our water, or breathe our air". That's an extremely powerful statement especially coming in the form of a sincere plea.

     You go, girl!

  2. Kennedy leaving?!?!  OY!

    Coming soon:

    After his seat is filled, the Roberts SCOTUS will be nicknamed "The Freisling Court."


  3. Thing is, my plan to arrest Trump involved skipping the impeachment hearings, which I figured would never happen, and doing an end run right to SCOTUS. Now what?
    Will the “rogue-ish” retiring Senators grow a pair and enable a “Garland”? IDK. Terrifying.

    Least Kennedy could have done was to not sleepwalk through this year’s docket. That was giving me s bad feeling…..

  4. OK, you sold me.

    I who am a supporter of democratic and progressive capitalism and an opponent of outright, full frontal socialism, write this.

    I think you are right on all three major points, that the Dems need to advance younger and more diverse people, that Biden is nice but too old and maybe to white and too male (I am an old white male), and that the Dems need to "lurch left" toward Bernie-style social democracy.

    And I sincerely hope loathing of Trump sends a whole lot of Dems to the polls in November.

  5. I was President of my local Federal Government union.  We did not have the requirement that everyone pay union dues, which is what SCOTUS ruled on.  However, the labor union law required us to represent every bargaining unit employee whether they paid dues or not.  We had approximately 150 BUEs; and, the highest number of paying members was 40.  The other 110 got union representation without paying for it.  What do you think the average employee thought.  Why pay for it, if I get it for free.  I just was diagnosed with breast cancer.  I have had surgery and start radiation tomorrow.  I have told my friends that when I look at what the future may bring under Trump, it doesn't give me much of a will to live.  Where are the babies?!

  6. I think America's 153 year-old "Cold Civil War" is ready to go "hot."


    Where will the Reich-wing decide to stage their next Ft. Sumpter?


  7. I don't necessarily think the Democrats will or need to "lurch left". The GOP went full tea-bagger and yes that worked for them, but many people who vote republican are really dull, they vote against their self interests because they are scared racists who have been sold the southern strategy for years, they watch FAUX news, it works on them. Democratic voters are in my opinion more informed, they often understand the issues better than the tea-tards, they understand nuance. I think the majority of Dem voters are much more centrist, middle of the road types. The Party will certainly inch leftward in reaction to the clown in the white-house but I wouldn't count on a full embrace of Bernie Sanders "everything for free" democratic socialism anytime soon.

  8. “I think America’s 153 year-old “Cold Civil War” is ready to go “hot.”

    I wish their butts would just stay kicked.

    We can take Private Bone Spurs surrender in a couple of years at the Red Hen; I doubt the sanitation at Mar-a-Lago would be acceptable.

  9. Re the Court:

    Just now I contacted my Representative and Senators (all Democrats) and said:

    "Now it is payback time. Do unto the Republicans what they did unto us. That is: obstruct all justices nominated by Trump, by any means necessary. No justices from him, except Merrick Garland. They used hardball tactics to keep him out; that sets a precedent; therefore let us use hardball tactics to get him in after all."


  10. I'm not pleased that the GOP stole a USSC seat by obstruction. I also don't agree with the "Biden Rule" which the GOP has used to justify their obstruction. I'm sympathetic to the 'payback time' reasoning of Democrats but that plays into the GOP strategy of painting Democrats as obstructionists in October. Trump is chanting it and the GOP ads are featuring it. 

    But suppose Democrats take a different approach Voters in the middle are fed up with partisanship. It should be unconstitutional for the GOP to do what they did and the Democrats should not do the same thing. The Senate should do their job of Advise and Consent, not play games until the next election. If the Senate does not vote, the president's appointment should be automatic. Regardless of party, do your job.

    That would take a constitutional amendment. The only leverage Democrats have to force the GOP to consider an amendment to make partisan games in filling a USSC vacancy a looser is to refuse to fill the existing vacancy until an amendment is passed. Which could take years.

    The difference between obstruction and reform is the spin we can put on demanding that the Senate do their job on appointments. Block the apt one way, the GOP can successfully paint us as obstructionists. The other way, via an amendment, we get to claim the mantle of reformists. I can live with that amendment long term. If it was wrong when Obama got the middle finger in his last year, and we give the GOP the middle finger this year, when does it end?

    There's a chance the process of doing a CA could drag out until after the 2020 election. That would be sad. The court would be split on a lot of major decisions while Trump and Sessions are doing mischief. If the last states to approve the Constitutional Amendment didn't get around to it until November 2020 – oh, well. 

  11. Uncle Joe Biden may be a nice man. I feel sorry that he lost his son to cancer, but his other son has a very lucrative, if shady, job working for a Ukrainian oligarch, and old Joe has been the moving force behind some really, really bad policies. I do not see how he is attractive to anyone but people who have dinner with him or were his classmates in high school.

  12. "I am sorry the website isn’t kind to you, but it’s not singling you out. It’s just quirky"

    Maha, you should be able to add users who post regularly to a "do not moderate list'. My old blog used wordpress it had that option. As long as the user enters the same email and username it would auto-publish the comment instantly!

    • Maha, you should be able to add users who post regularly to a “do not moderate list’.

      I should, but I don’t. It’s not one of the options admin panel.

  13. Doug:

    They'll call us obstructionists no matter what; and in fact more so if we _don't_ obstruct. Their argument is not from facts or principles, but power; they punish weakness with gaslighting.

    So I say to hell with it. McConnell set a precedent, and the D's have the right, and the duty, to say "Wait until after the midterms". Until then, Garland or a Court of 8!

    Why Garland? To sound reasonable. The R's all liked him before Obama put cooties on him. Also, to retroactively neutralize McConnell's ploy.

    My main concern is if the D's have the power to do this. But even if not, they should try. I told my Representative, early on in the Trump disaster, "Resistance is honorable".


  14. “My main concern is if the D’s have the power to do this. But even if not, they should try. ”. They should ABSOLUTELY try. But, I don’t think they have the power. The bad guys could do it with Garland because McConnell controls what gets voted on.

    That said, I see no reason for ANY Dem to cast a yes, even the wobbly ones like Heitcamp and Manchin. The judge thing will further boost Democratic turnout — already projected to be enhanced, and I don’t see it boosting GOP turnout, because they won’t even be aware of what’s going on (they never are; they just vote Fox, straight ticket).

  15. What I was proposing was a method to keep the seat vacant until after the 2020 election while claiming the high ground of reform as a motive. Voters who might go either way in an election don't take kindly to shutdowns or obstruction. (There's a good chance Trump will personally execute a shutdown just before the mid-terms.) Those votes and voters will make a difference in a lot of close elections. All the other proposals WILL fill the vacancy, but maybe with a "moderate". Why not go whole-hog? Leave the court deadlocked for a couple of years and install a full-blown liberal? The price would be a Constitutional Amendment which prohibits the "next election" obstructionism booth sides are conducting.

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