Tag Archives: Jeffery Cohelan

Chris Thompson Blows Reporting on CA-10 Viability

There has already been a great diary on the East Bay Express recycling stale insider dogma by calling Ellen Tauscher “moderate” instead of using the label “big business” which is far more accurate.

But that wasn’t the only major blunder by New Times Media reporter Chris Thompson. The more glaring example of his failure to understand the dynamics was his dismissing of the viability of the primary challenge to Tauscher. Thompson said that this was a “pipe dream” and declared that Democratic Party activists “won’t win” despite all of the evidence to the contrary.

That is what “they” said about Tauscher bagman Steve Filson in CA-11 who was stomped by 24 pts in last year’s primary in a more conservative district right next door. It was a landslide, he was beaten like a drum. Filson is a punchline in East Bay politics.

That is what “they” said about the primary campaign against then-Congressman Jeffery Cohelan who was again in a neighboring district to Tauscher but lost his re-nomination even with the union support Tauscher won’t enjoy.

That is what “they” said about Joe Lieberman, who had been the Democratic Party VP nominee yet also lost his primary in no small part to the netroots.

If you want to know what bands are playing, check out the East Bay Express. But don’t expect them to help you understand political dynamics they don’t get.

Lisa Vorderbrueggen Article on Ellen Tauscher

Lisa Vorderbrueggen has an article in today’s Contra Costa Times, titled, Bloggers take Tauscher to task. The article has a number of huge problems, let me list some of mine and I’m sure others will chime in with their complaints.

First off, I don’t see how this story could be written without mentioning that the exact same thing happened to Congressman Jeffery Cohelan in the next district over. OK, maybe not the exact same thing because Cohelan went into his unsuccessful 1970 primary with strong labor support. But the complete lack of historical perspective does damage to the analysis.

But not as much damage as this:

Yes, Tauscher voted to allow President Bush to start the Iraq war. But so did every other Democrat in the nation except one.

That is a lie. A lie in the pages of the Contra Costa Times. In reality, Tauscher was one of only two Bay Area Democrats to support the unnecessary, unilateral, invasion of Iraq with the vast majority opposed. In all, only 81 Democrats voted the wrong way on the biggest issue of our time with 126 voting no, meaning 60% of house Democrats were opposed.

This failure to understand even the most basic dynamics and history means this isn’t the type of article I would recommend people reading.

Yes, she nominated Lieberman for vice president at the 2000 Democratic National Convention. But that was before the Iraq war, and many Democrats supported his candidacy.

Of course, Vorderbrueggen fails to mention Tauscher’s continuing support for Lieberman after the start of the war. It would have made sense to point out that Tauscher was of his few and biggest supporters during his flop of a 2004 Presidential campaign.

Yes, she voted with Republicans for the bankruptcy bill and has supported global trade deals that progressives deplore. But Tauscher’s record on key Democratic priorities — environment, abortion rights, gun control, unions, same-sex marriage — is identical to those of her more liberal neighbors, Rep. George Miller of Martinez and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco.

Tauscher votes with corporations against people on the major economic issues and Vorderbrueggen thinks that her record on unions is the same as Miller and Pelosi? Uh, no. But more importantly this district was designed for a Democrat who is strong on both economic and social issues and there is no reason for the voters to keep getting (literally) short-changed on economic issues.

And despite past clashes with party leaders over ideology and district boundaries, there’s no sign that top Democrats share the bloggers’ hostility.

I’m going to call bullshit. In fact, during Tauscher’s battle with John Burton I believe the exact phrase he told Roll Call about Tauscher was, “full of s-.” OK, maybe that wasn’t the exact phrase, but that is how it was printed. Tauscher hurts the Democratic Party and “top Democrats” realize this, but there is a lot of personal history. Notice the absense of support from “top Democrats” like Nancy Pelosi and Barbara Boxer. It was Barbara Boxer who once said of Tauscher shivving Pelosi, “Her doing this says to me she is a very bitter person.” These weren’t just battles about “ideology and district boundaries” but were instead intense personal battles.

The bloggers say Tauscher tried to mask her moderate roots when her staff scrubbed a couple of Lieberman photos from her Web site. (Two photos remain, however, and her staff said this was a routine site update.)

The only routine thing involved was Tauscher’s staff telling Vorderbrueggen something and her believing it instead of investigating.

But ignore the netroots and grass roots at your peril, Leach warns. These are the same folks who helped funnel the Bay Area progressive army into the campaign of McNerney, the underdog who defeated seven-term incumbent Richard Pombo in November.

This might have been a nice point in the story for Vorderbrueggen to point out that McNerney first stomped Tauscher’s candidate in the primary despite a huge financial disadvantage.

So, does Tauscher have a problem, or have cocky bloggers overstated their powers as kingmaker, or in this case, queenmaker?

No one knows.

Actually, lots of people know. But they wouldn’t know it from reading the Contra Costa Times.