Saturday, April 22, 2006

Incumbency - isn't sacred

There seems to be a raging discussion, dare we say argument, between progressives and more tradition bound democrats and even a few independents over the question of primary contests between seated Democratic Members of Congress and their challengers. Let's rid ourselves of the first fallacy; the one that says that allowing a challenge to a seated Congressman/woman in a Blue District is not consistent with this election cycles committment to turn the House Blue! Whether you agree with or are opposed to the convenient reapportionment; it did almost assuredly guarantee that Blue districts remain Blue. So if a qualified opponent to a seated incumbent wins in the Primary; then he or she will be the next elected MC [Member of Congress] for that district.

The second fallacy is that the incumbent might have high or even 100% ratings on key Democratic progressive issues; not withstanding that they might be a bit of a Yellow Dog Democrat with a DLC centrists affection for many of the White House policies that facilitate moderate centrist protection of power in the timid hands of Democratic MC's that won't support Jack Murtha, Russ Feingold, or Barbara Boxer when she confronts the whole Senate as she did when standing up in solidarity with the Black Caucus!

Whether you think that Senator Joseph Lieberman should be challenged as a new type of Democrat, which many of us know means he is a closet republican, or think he should be defended; the dialogue is necessary to keep the democratic spirit alive. There are no wrong questions; just failing to engage in a meaningful exchange of opinion. We find this is also the case in the challenge that Marcy Winograd has mounted to Congresswoman Jane Harman. It is amazing how Congresswoman Jane is now a born again grassroots activist who always was so concerned about the concerns of the progressive wing of the Democratic Party! That this doesn't match up with her prior, if not current, membership in the Centrist, Corporate, Democratic Leadership Conference or in one of it's subsidiary organs for electeds should come as no surprise. When an entranched incumbent is challenged by a fresh new opponent in the primary they start to remember the principles of the Democratic Party that they had abandoned so recently. At the end of the Day Incumbency is not sacred!


Brian H. Mack said...

Incumbency is a privelege, not a right. Some of our elected representatives seem to forget that their only reason for holding elected office is by mandate and will of the people, not the party apparatus or the party leadership. If incumbency were a right, we wouldn't need elections. The reason we HAVE a republican, representative form of democracy is to keep Congress fresh to the will of the people, not to single-mindedly maintain the status quo, especially if it conflicts with the public interest.

Anonymous said...

According to her official Federal Election Commission campaign finance report last week, Winograd has raised $71,259 throughout her campaign, and only has $22,360 left. That means that Winograd's claim on her SoCal Grassroots questionnaire that she raised $110,000 was not true. It's unfortunate that the SoCal Grassroots members were asked to vote on her endorsement using that exaggerated campaign finance information.

Anonymous said...

It is unfortunate that powers that be behind So Cal grassroots do not understand anything about the true make-up and needs of the 36th Congressional district. It is all well and good to support a one issue candidate like Ms Winograd and I think most Americans would like to see us out of Iraq, however, the bread and butter of ther 36th District is the DENFENSE INDUSTRY. It's the jobs, PEOPLE. Do you seriously think that all the Democrats employed by this indistry in the 36th District are going to vote for someone who has no clue about the economic reality of the district? Do you not realize that the incumbant is DOING her job to maintain the economic welfare of her district by working with the powers that fuel the military idustial complex? Jane Harman has a very, very tough job to balance her democratic principals with the financial realities of her district and she is doing a good job.

Anonymous said...

I think we sometimes want to reject current Democratic officeholders because they aren't "perfect," and perfect, to us, means that they must agree with us on every single issue. It is difficult for someone who has never held public office -- and I have -- to understand that one's constituency is NOT monolithic! I consider myself a far left liberal, but I have the sense to realize that, although most of the people I associate with, and work with closely on political matters, are in agreement on issues, most other people agree with only some of our positions! Representatives are there to represent the people who elected them, not just a small portion of those people. It's a difficult juggling act to do that, and to remain true to your own principles as well.

I believe that this is not the election to spend our money and efforts on defeating Democrats. This is the election to take back Congress, and to ask our elected Democrats to thank our efforts by showing strength in leadership. All efforts during the primary should be going to registering Democrats and getting them out to vote, so that Democratic candidates go into the November elections as strong candidates.