On The Road To 2008 - Commentary on issues as we countdown to the next opportunity to change the direction of America

Monday, June 19, 2006

Bush, Rove and Reichert will crush you! Burner will fight for you!

Dave Reichert is Bush's right hand rubber stamp man, and Rove's pawn

Meet Republican Dave Reichert, freshmen congressman for WA-08:


Dave Reichert: Bush's right hand rubber stamp man (© Mike Kane/P-I)

Dave is a Bush man.

A CQPolitics.com article from last Thursday indicated that

"according to a Congressional Quarterly vote study, Reichert voted with Bush 86 percent of the time in 2005 when the president took a position. The House Republican average was 81 percent."
The DCCC indicates that

Dave Reichert has voted with indicted former GOP Leader Tom DeLay 91% of the time
and that

Dave Reichert has voted the party line on 88% of the tough votes, putting party leadership ahead of the American people when it mattered most.
My own in-depth analysis of Dave Reichert's voting record indicates that while he votes 88% of the time with the majority Republican position on all votes, if you look at the key votes on the passage of bills where the Republican majority position differed from the Democratic majority position, Reichert actually votes 94% of the time with the Republicans.

Despite all this Reichert is trying to sell himself to voters as a moderate and an independent thinker, yet he has never been known as much of a thinker, let alone an independent one. Like Bush, while he may dress smart, he's not graced with much brainpower. (It is sad that he ever got elected to represent an area that supposedly has the highest concentration of brainpower in the U.S.) With regards to his loyalty to the GOP and Bush administration he has in fact bluntly stated:

"When the leadership comes to me and says 'Dave, we need you to take a vote over here because we want to protect you and keep this majority', I...I do it."
No doubt about it Dave Reichert is a rubber stamp for the Bush White House, and a dangerous one at that. As an empty shell he is a pawn for Karl Rove and Bush to do with as they wish.

You may say that the blind support for Bush by Dave Reichert and his fellow GOP congressmen and congresswomen is hardly anything new, and that Democratic support for Clinton and Republican support for George H. Bush was equally high. However, you'd be wrong on that count. This DCCC chart of congressional record analyses from CQ shows that Bush 43 is getting nearly 20% more rubber stamp approval of his agenda than did Bush 41, and a fair amount more than Clinton did from a Democratic House.

So how does Bush reward those that back him so regularly? With a fundraising visit.

According to reports, Bush and Rove's private fundraiser on Friday for Reichert brought in over $800,000 from 400 donors. About half that money was raised by about 40 donors who paid $10,000 for the "privilege" to have their photo taken with Bush. As one letter writer to the Seattle Times put it:

"Would any of these donors like to give my son $10,000 so he can finish his senior year of college? That would be an investment that would pay dividends."
As obscene as a $10K photo-op with The Decider in Chief is, it is still going to help Reichert fund his re-election campaign and his Democratic challenger, Darcy Burner, is going to have to try and match that with her own fundraising efforts.

Reichert has also happily taken money from Bob Ney, Tom DeLay's ARMPAC, GOP Whip Roy Blunt's "Rely on Your Beliefs" PAC, and House Majority Leader John Boehner's "Freedom Project" PAC.

The photograph of Reichert with Bush that I led off this entry with is truly priceless. When Dick Cheney visited this area in April to fund raise, the Reichert campaign was able to avoid the embarrassment of a Reichert photo with Big Dick. Photographers never had an opportunity to capture the two together. This photo, and others like it, are destined to become important props in the Burner campaign's effort to show that Bush and Reichert are closely connected, and that a vote for Reichert is a vote for Bush. Democrats understand that it is important to associate vulnerable incumbent GOP congressmen like Reichert to the George Bush fiasco. As Washington State Democratic Chairman Dwight Pelz said:

"I think the 8th District race will be a referendum on George W. Bush, and I think it's a big mistake for Dave Reichert to have the president come in."
We're already seeing the effect. Bush's approval rating in the WA-08 district is at 26% and Reichert, who was elected with 52% of the vote in 2004, is at 39%. This is in a district that has never had a Democratic representative in Congress!

The stage is most definitely set for that to change this year.


Darcy Burner - Fighting for You

Last week Darcy Burner, a netroots endorsed candidate, posted a terrific diary at Daily Kos, in part re-introducing herself to this national audience, and in part making a pitch for continued and greater netroots and grassroots support.

Darcy wrote:

I am the daughter of an Air Force veteran and a public school teacher. I grew up in military towns and attended public schools. Like many Americans today, my parents struggled to pay the bills while raising five kids. I worked hard in school, put myself through college, and went on to a successful career at Microsoft. I am now married to a military veteran and raising a young son.
She's also very modest and smart as she received a National Merit Scholarship and majored in computer science and economics from Harvard. You can read her full bio at her Web site.

Her diary entry captured the attention of kossacks, receiving a considerable amount of comments and recommends, enough to keep it on the Recommended Diaries list for the entire day. Jotter had it as the 12th highest impact diary of last week.

Darcy Burner wants to take this country in a new direction. At her campaign Web site she lists a number of issues she will fight for: In contrast, while guesting on blogger David (Goldy) Goldstein's KIRO radio talk show Sunday night, Darcy said the following about Reichert:
"Dave Reichert is a Bush Republican... He has voted with the President on the President's energy bill. He voted with the President on the President's budget reconciliation that slashed funding for student loans and Head Start. He voted with the President to deny health care benefits to the families of National Guards and reservists serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. It's clear which side he's on and it's not the side of the people of the state of Washington.

...

"The people of this country, very broadly, and certainly the voters that I'm talking to in the 8th, are most frustrated with what is happening at a federal level, and they want somebody who's going to go back to Washington D.C. and fight for them, and they don't have that right now. They want somebody who is going to go fight for Social Security benefits and retirement security instead of allowing companies to dump pension and talking about private accounts, which by the way is the President's position and Dave Reichert's. They want somebody who is actually going to go fight to make sure the troops get the benefits they've been promised. It is incredibly unconscionable that we would be under funding the VA right now.

...

"We're cutting... we're cutting student loan funding, Head Start funding, funding to schools because we would rather give $14.5 billion in tax subsidies to oil companies than to fund education. That makes no sense and that's what's happening in Washington, D.C. right now, and Dave Reichert is not only doing nothing to stop it, he's voted on the wrong side of every single one of those issues. He's voting for George Bush, not for the people of his district."

A Call to Action

The Burner campaign is in the midst of a fundraising drive that they hope will bring in $75,000 in 10 days. As of this writing they're making good progress to that goal at $34,677 raised. You can track the progress of the fundraising effort via their visual tool that is updated at least twice daily.

The Burner campaign is also encouraging others to place their widget on your blogs and Web sites. Simply insert the following tag in your page:

<script src="http://www.darcyburner.com/donation_widget.php" type="text/javascript"></script>
In the same vein, I've created a sidebar widget that tracks ActBlue donations, and for Darcy Burner's campaign, also tracks the Netroots ActBlue donations:

The samples to the left show the numbers as of Saturday night. The widget numbers are updated every 5 minutes, and you can obtain and configure a version for your page here.

Darcy was announced as netroots endorsed by Matt Stoller on May 23, yet her netroots numbers since that date lag the accumulations of other netroots candidates, such as multi-millionaire Ned Lamont, Jon Tester and Francine Busby, by more than $7,000 during the same period.

The netroots - we - can do better! We must do better than that! Netroots fundraising needs to be something we all participate in, not just through our own donations, but by leveraging the power of our own blogs if we have one, and hosting such widgets will help us spread the message.

Well connected Goldy has stated,

I heard pollster Celinda Lake speak in Seattle a couple weeks ago, and she bluntly said that if the Dems can't win in a district like WA-08, they can't take back the House. We have the candidate. We have the momentum. Don't let the power of the presidency hold on to this seat through sheer financial advantage.
Goldy reiterates this statement in a recent Huffington Post entry:
We are witnessing the emergence of a powerful new force in American politics, and we should expect Rove to do everything he can to crush it before it gets off the ground.
Another prominent local blogger, Lynn Allen at Evergreen Politics has this to say on the matter:
Karl Rove, national political strategist for the Republicans, knows what happens in every county in this country. He plays at the local level, working through the state Republicans in every state. As long as the Blogosphere, as we on the progressive/liberal/left are called, is a force only at the national level, we are not a sufficient challenge to Rove and his political manipulations.

But once we take on the Republicans and wed the local netroots to the local grassroots progressive organizations, which we are starting to do from both sides, watch out. We will be unbeatable and we will take back and rebuild our democracy.
The Burner campaign needs your support to counter the fundraising prowess of George Bush. By fundraising for Reichert, Darcy Burner's opponent, Bush and Rove have targeted a netroots candidate for the first time, and how we react to that will help determine how confident they will be over the next few months in targeting others.

Make no mistake about it: they will try to crush us if they feel threatened.

We can't expect 400 donations of $1,000, or 40 of $10,000, but we should be able to come up with thousands of smaller donations of $25 and I challenge everyone to consider ways in which we can do that, and help spread the message on our blogs, at gatherings like Drinking Liberally, at our local district meetings, with our friends and our neighbors. We cannot role over and let them buy seat after seat without a fight!

Incumbents always have an inherent traditional media advantage in elections, and this race is proving no different. Contributions can help buy advertising, but our voices can help attract traditional media attention. The NW blogosphere has already played a big part in providing the Burner campaign with local buzz, Darcy's netroots endorsement has set the stage for taking this race to a nationally prominent level, and sites like Daily Kos and MyDD are key components these days of any nationally recognizable campaign. Dave Reichert may not stir up emotions like Tom DeLay, Bill Frist or even Joe Lieberman, but his voting record is every bit as bad as DeLay's was, and his seat is every bit as important if Democrats are to win a majority in November.

[Cross-posted to Daily Kos]

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