Proxy fight in Nebraska: this is "unity"

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Or hypocrisy.

Heath Mello is the Democratic candidate for mayor in Omaha, Nebraska. He was endorsed by Bernie Sanders and DNC Chairman Tom Perez. NARAL Pro-Choice America had this to say:

Today, in Omaha, Nebraska, DNC Chair Tom Perez and Senator Bernie Sanders will embrace Heath Mello, an anti-choice candidate for Mayor of Omaha.

In response, NARAL Pro-Choice President Ilyse Hogue released the following statement:

"The actions today by the DNC to embrace and support a candidate for office who will strip women - one of the most critical constituencies for the party - of our basic rights and freedom is not only disappointing, it is politically stupid. Today's action make this so-called 'fight back tour' look more like a throw back tour for women and our rights.

"If Democrats think the path forward following the 2016 election is to support candidates who substitute their own judgement and ideology for that of their female constituents, they have learned all the wrong lessons and are bound to lose. It's not possible to have an authentic conversation about economic security for women that does not include our ability to decide when and how we have children.

"The Democratic Party, and its leaders, would be ill-advised to ignore data that blocking access to legal abortion does not win you a single vote, and robs women of dignity and autonomy. Abortion access is not a 'single issue' or a 'social issue.' It is a proxy for women to have control over our lives, our family's lives, our economic well-being, our dignity, and human rights.

"If we have learned anything from the first 100 days of the Trump Administration it is that women are leading the resistance. Engaging and turning out women voters will be key in 2018. Look no further than the special election in Georgia this week. Democrats erased a 20 plus point Republican advantage in a deep red state with a reproductive freedom candidate who said his campaign was fueled by women. This makes the DNC's actions even more puzzling and troubling.

"The path the DNC 'fight back tour' takes the party down will not help the party or our country if it turns its back on reproductive freedom. It will only set back women's fundamental rights and freedoms."

An important message. Naturally, women's rights shouldn't be sacrificed. But is Heath Mello actually an 'anti-choice' candidate? Nina Turner brought up the point, does it even matter in a race for mayor?

The Nation:

Here's the truth about Mello's record: Back in 2009, he co-sponsored a bill requiring a physician performing an abortion to tell a woman that an ultrasound is available (as most already did). It neither mandated that the ultrasound be performed nor, if performed, that it actually be viewed by the woman-although it did require abortion providers to position the screen in such a way that the ultrasound was easily viewable. Daily Kos member Nova Land-a Tennessean who had never heard of Mello before the controversy-posted a comprehensive, well-sourced correction to this effect the same day. That didn't lead Nir to reconsider (Nir did post a correction to his original post; see update below). Nor did it stop Perez from issuing a statement announcing that he "fundamentally disagree[s] with Heath Mello's personal beliefs about women's reproductive health," which was worded in a way that appeared to cast doubt on the sincerity of Mello's pledge that he "would never do anything to restrict access to reproductive health care."

"I would have appreciated it if NARAL had taken the time to talk to some of us on the ground" regarding Mello, said Megan Hunt, an Omaha reproductive-rights activist. If they had, they might have heard the story of a man whose mother became pregnant with him at 16 and spent her life cleaning other people's houses to support her son. For much of his first term, Mello's positions were conventionally pro-life. In 2010, he voted to ban abortions after 20 weeks and to introduce new screening requirements. In 2011, he voted to bar the health exchanges set up under the Affordable Care Act from funding abortions; supported a ban on using telemedicine to perform abortions; and voted to change a parental-notification requirement to one requiring parental consent. All of these bills were opposed by Planned Parenthood-and, given the realities of Nebraska politics, all easily passed.

What's more interesting is what happened next-and what didn't. In 2012, Mello voted with Planned Parenthood on two out of three bills tracked by the group-and was excused from voting on the third. After that, Mello, who had become the influential chair of the state legislature's budget committee, voted with Planned Parenthood 100 percent of the time. By 2015, the group was celebrating a "fourth straight year...without enacting any new abortion restrictions in Nebraska, thanks largely to committed women's health advocates engaged in the legislative process."

Hunt, who spent much of the past week lobbying the legislature, is one such activist. Another is her friend Sofia Jawed-Wessel, who teaches sexual health at the University of Nebraska. Long before The Wall Street Journal made it an issue, Mello had asked Jawed-Wessel to speak at Thursday's rally. "You know the slogan 'Women's rights are human rights'? Well, women's rights are economic rights, too," said Jawed-Wessel, to cheers from the crowd.

...

Mello's critics, including Hogue, are absolutely right to argue against any political calculus that involves selling out women's rights-including the right to control their own body. And to oppose calls to "balance" those rights against some imaginary gain for the working class (as if women didn't make up a majority of the working class). Americans tried that once with slavery-and it didn't work out well. But no one has a right to use abortion, or Heath Mello, or the working people of Omaha-black, brown, and white-who see him as their champion, as pawns in some Democratic Party power game.

Like many of his supporters-including some of his most fervently pro-choice ones-Mello told me that he would like abortion to be a private matter between a woman and her partner, or her conscience. So long as women's rights are under threat, that can't happen. But when I ask Mello if, when he says he "will not restrict women's reproductive care," that includes abortions, he doesn't equivocate: "Of course. I thought that was obvious."

What isn't obvious is whether a party that sets the bar so high that it excludes Heath Mello can ever hope to become a majority.

So, he's not anti-choice. In fact, he supports the pro-choice position unequivocally. What of his opponent? Is she even more pro-choice?

Omaha World Herald's Robynn Tysver:

A shadowy group that accused Omaha mayoral candidate Jean Stothert of holding an "extreme pro-abortion stance" is being roundly condemned by anti-abortion leaders.

They say the group is skewing Stothert's views.

The abortion attack came in the form of a political flier that hit mailboxes this weekend - about two weeks before the city's April 2 primary election.

The group behind the mailer, which has not disclosed its donors, accused Stothert of supporting taxpayer-funded abortions, saying the Republican held the same position as Democratic Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

Stothert has repeatedly said she opposes taxpayer-funded abortions. Additionally, in her last election, she was endorsed as an anti-abortion candidate by Nebraska Right to Life.

Julie Schmit-Albin, executive director of Nebraska Right to Life, condemned the flier as a last-minute attack by a "bogus" group.

"They're making claims that skew the issues," she said. "It's a bogus entity that can hide behind anonymity."

The flier came as the mayor's race enters its final stretch. The two top votegetters advance to the May 14 general election.

Democratic Mayor Jim Suttle and Republican Stothert are considered the race's front-runners, but the race remains fluid. Other top contenders include Omaha State Sen. Brad Ashford, Omaha businessman Dave Nabity and Omaha lawyer Dan Welch.

All of the major candidates denied having anything to do with the mailer. All of them - with the exception of Nabity's campaign - also said they doubted any of their big-money supporters funded the mailer.

"Neither our campaign nor any of our supporters - to our knowledge - had anything to do with that mail piece," said Chris Peterson, Welch's campaign manager.

Darold Bauer, campaign manager for Nabity, said he had "no idea" whether any of Nabity's key financial backers paid for the mailer. "If there are people out there that support that effort, that's between them and whoever is running that effort."

He also defended the mailer, saying Stothert "supports" taxpayer-funded abortions.

"It appears to be accurate," Bauer said.

At the heart of the controversy is a 2006 questionnaire Stothert filled out for the Nebraska Catholic Conference when she was running in the primary for the Nebraska Legislature. (She later lost to Democrat Steve Lathrop.)

At the time, Stothert said she opposed abortion, with exceptions for rape, incest or when the life of the mother is at risk.

When asked if she supported the use of public funds for abortion, Stothert gave a fuzzy answer that could lead one to believe she did support taxpayer-funded abortions. She answered: "In reference to paying for abortion, I believe poor women should not be denied legal medical services available to the wealthy. I do not support tax dollars being used to encourage abortion over abortion alternatives."

Stothert later said she did not mean to imply that she supported taxpayer-funded abortions. And, in the general election, she noted that she opposed taxpayer-funded abortions in a Nebraska Right to Life questionnaire.

"I didn't make myself clear enough, but we made it clear in the general election (of 2006)," Stothert said.

Schmit-Albin says she believes Stothert, noting that in all the questionnaires Stothert has filled out since that 2006 election, she has indicated she opposed taxpayer-funded abortions.

The Nebraska Catholic Conference also appeared to back Stothert, sending out a statement that someone appeared to be manipulating its 2006 questionnaire for their own purposes.

A big question that may never be known is who paid for the flier. The flier did not list an address, instead using a post office box.

Under state law, the group was required to file a report with the Nebraska Accountability and Disclosure Commission two days after it spent $5,000.

So far, no one has filed, and few believe that the costs of the fliers were less than $5,000.

Frank Daley, executive director of the State Accountability and Disclosure Commission, said that if he receives a complaint, his office will try to find out who was behind the mailer. But it may remain a mystery.

"Obviously, if we're dealing with a post office box, and not a real live human being, it becomes problematic," Daley said.

So, Heath Mello's opponent Jean Stothert is just anti-abortion. OK. Thanks, NARAL, for participating in such a transparent smear campaign. You may help to get a real anti-abortionist elected mayor of Omaha instead of your fake one. All in service to the national Democratic Establishment effort to sabotage any effort to elect anyone who Bernie Sanders endorses. Can't give an inch to people who attack the donor service culture, now can we?

Guys, we need unity, not your divisive purity tests! Empty slogan hypocritically ignored.

This sounds like the usual "if you're not a perfect progressive (by my estimate) then you're just as bad as the far right" position that you've espoused all over this forum; it just happens to be used against a candidate that you support this time. Sucks to be on the wrong side of 'ideological purity,' doesn't it?

edit: Um also, who are you getting angry at exactly? You said in your post that the DNC chair came out and endorsed the same person as your beloved Bernie. It truly sounds like you're just trying to hate on some nebulous 'other' here.

I wont have someone who threw away their vote talk to me about "unity".

Avnger:
This sounds like the usual "if you're not a perfect progressive (by my estimate) then you're just as bad as the far right" position that you've espoused all over this forum; it just happens to be used against a candidate that you support this time. Sucks to be on the wrong side of 'ideological purity,' doesn't it?

You what, mate?

There are a whole host of issues that Democrats I've condemned have been failing on. Income inequality, campaign finance and corruption, prosecuting fraud on Wall Street, healthcare, foreign intervention and submission to the whims of the military industrial complex, fracking.... How on earth does that compare to Ilyse Hogue selectively deciding that a pro-choice Democrat in the mold (as concerns abortion) of Tim Kaine, Bill Clinton, or Joe Biden is actually anti-choice?

edit: Um also, who are you getting angry at exactly? You said in your post that the DNC chair came out and endorsed the same person as your beloved Bernie. It truly sounds like you're just trying to hate on some nebulous 'other' here.

Ilyse Hogue, David Nir? Anyone else who, in the name of abortion rights, thinks a pro-choice candidate for mayor of Omaha, Nebraska shouldn't be endorsed over an explicitly anti-choice candidate? And seemingly only because he was also endorsed by Bernie Sanders?

I don't know if Heath Mello is worthy of Bernie Sanders' endorsement. I do know that smearing him as anti-choice, or implying that-- based on this endorsement alone, an endorsement of a pro-choice mayoral candidate-- progressives would turn the Democratic party into an anti-choice party, is moronic and looks like a calculated political ploy to help keep the plutocrats in charge.

Avnger basically nailed it. If you are not the perfect (by that group or individual's standards) pro-X then you must be anti-X.

We have a pro-choice candidate being accused of being pro-life and a pro-life candidate being accused of being pro-choice. Although how this turn into another "Illuminati is after Bernie Sanders" is beyond me.

Ryotknife:
Avnger basically nailed it. If you are not the perfect (by that group or individual's standards) pro-X then you must be anti-X.

NARAL Pro-choice America has a history of not being perfectly purist. They endorsed Hillary Clinton, for example, even though she picked Tim Kaine. Many, many Democrats are "Pro-life" but pro-choice when it comes to legislation, and NARAL doesn't care. They only care about this particular candidate for mayor because Ilyse Hogue is a robotic Hillary supporter who carries water for the corporate Dems, and the corporate Dems like this idiotic narrative that economic progress must necessarily come at the expense of women's and minority rights because it allows them to keep being shit at economic progress. Which answers your other wondering.

I...really don't see the issue here, Seanchaidh.

- Heath Mello is pro-life, but has promised not to take legislative action in that direction.

- He got an endorsement from both Bernie Sanders and Tom Perez, the latter of whom you expressed a very negative opinion of when he was elected DNC chair. This comes after Tom Perez made a comment implying that there was a hard line on reproductive rights and membership in the Democratic party, which he backtracked on after being rebuffed by establishment Democrats like Schumer and Pelosi.

- NARAL, a pro-choice political action agency, condemned Heath Mello because he's pro-life. The Daily Kos made a statement to a similar effect, which is odd because a day later they spoke in Mello's defence.

So...what's the argument here?

Are we arguing about what Heath Mello's stance on abortion is? Because I can take a guess; he's a Catholic Democrat, so he's pro-life personally and pro-choice politically. That's not actually an uncommon stance. Without getting too deep, it's my stance personally.

Are we arguing about whether one can be pro-life and still be considered a progressive Democrat? Because I think that's possible, depending on how harshly one defines "pro-life." Abortion is a thorny issue that mostly comes down to an individual's moral code. I don't fault anyone for being pro-life personally; I fault them when they try to force those views upon others in the form of legislation. Mello can retain a personal moral objection to abortion while supporting his party's position on reproductive rights; it's not as hypocritical as it sounds.

Are we arguing about NARAL? Because NARAL is a pro-choice political action agency. They're going to push for pro-choice candidates; that's what they do. And Clinton, regardless of her running mate's opinions, was a pro-choice candidate who could be expected to protect women's reproductive rights. The vice president isn't the one with the legislative veto, iirc. I don't see any hypocrisy whatsoever in NARAL backing Clinton and criticising Mello. And NARAL isn't the DNC; they're one political action agency out of many. To the extent that NARAL represents the will of The Establishment, they're being contradicted by Tom Perez's endorsement of Mello and his earlier statements.

Are we arguing about Democrat unity? Because...why? Tom Perez and Bernie Sanders ended up endorsing Heath Mello, while Bernie Sanders got some flak for not immediately endorsing Jon Ossoff and ended up doing exactly that. From here, it looks like the progressive and "establishment" wings of the party are endorsing the same candidates. There's been friction, but the party is ultimately reaching a consensus. All that happened was Bernie Sanders hesitated before endorsing OSsof, and Tom Perez put his foot in his mouth on the topic of reproductive rights.

It's a PR fumble, but it's not indicative of some establishment attack aimed at Mello. Again: Pelosi and Schumer, both very establishment Democrats, both rebuked Perez for apparently advocating a hard-line pro-choice policy. So if this was an establishment attack, it was a really shitty one, because the establishment repudiated itself and the ended up backing the guy you're saying they were attacking.

So what's the actual problem here? This is a whole lot of very complicated huff-and-puff drama over nothing in particular.

bastardofmelbourne:
- NARAL, a pro-choice political action agency, condemned Heath Mello because he's pro-life.

No, they condemned Heath Mello as anti-choice and said he would strip women of their rights.

Saelune:
I wont have someone who threw away their vote talk to me about "unity".

Come on man, lets be honest. Hilary never stood a chance. All votes were throw away votes.

Silentpony:

Saelune:
I wont have someone who threw away their vote talk to me about "unity".

Come on man, lets be honest. Hilary never stood a chance. All votes were throw away votes.

Lets be honest, non-voters and third party voters are guilty of Trump.

Saelune:

Silentpony:

Saelune:
I wont have someone who threw away their vote talk to me about "unity".

Come on man, lets be honest. Hilary never stood a chance. All votes were throw away votes.

Lets be honest, non-voters and third party voters are guilty of Trump.

Eh? Dems should have put forward a candidate who could actually win. Dems sent a potato to fight a Kaiju, while the rest of us were in the back wondering why they didn't send a Jaeger. Don't blame us because the potato lost; it had no business being in the fight in the first place.

Silentpony:

Saelune:

Silentpony:

Come on man, lets be honest. Hilary never stood a chance. All votes were throw away votes.

Lets be honest, non-voters and third party voters are guilty of Trump.

Eh? Dems should have put forward a candidate who could actually win. Dems sent a potato to fight a Kaiju, while the rest of us were in the back wondering why they didn't send a Jaeger. Don't blame us because the potato lost; it had no business being in the fight in the first place.

They could have won if non-voters/third party voters voted for them.

Unless you think we should have put a gun to your head as proper motivation, you chose to do what you did...or did not do.

Thats. On. You.

Saelune:
They could have won if non-voters/third party voters voted for them.

Unless you think we should have put a gun to your head as proper motivation, you chose to do what you did...or did not do.

Thats. On. You.

Democrats aren't owed the votes of third party voters and non-voters. No one is.

bastardofmelbourne:

- Heath Mello is pro-life [...]

That's not compelling evidence. Pretty much everything brought up in that article was addressed quite extensively in the OP.

bastardofmelbourne:

- He got an endorsement from both Bernie Sanders and Tom Perez, the latter of whom you expressed a very negative opinion of when he was elected DNC chair. This comes after Tom Perez made a comment implying that there was a hard line on reproductive rights and membership in the Democratic party, which he backtracked on after being rebuffed by establishment Democrats like Schumer and Pelosi.

Previous statements about Tom Perez are rather irrelevant in a thread criticising Ilyse Hogue, David Nir, and NARAL, aren't they? Tom Perez is not the topic of this thread, and is not being criticised here.

bastardofmelbourne:

Are we arguing about NARAL? Because NARAL is a pro-choice political action agency. They're going to push for pro-choice candidates; that's what they do.

But in this case, that is arguably the opposite of what they did. That's valid grounds for criticism: they took a dubious stance, which seems to be at odds with their core purpose and the interests of their demographic.

Silentpony:

Saelune:
I wont have someone who threw away their vote talk to me about "unity".

Come on man, lets be honest. Hilary never stood a chance. All votes were throw away votes.

Actually if you take just Stein's recorded votes in just Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin and give them to Hillary, she wins the presidency =/

I'm not trying to make a judgement with this post (2016 is long done with), but factually what you said isn't true.

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/elections/live_results/2016_general/president/map.html

@Sonmi: My point is, who you vote for or not vote for, each individual chose their own actions, while the choices were limited, it was still a choice what each of us did. If you chose not to vote for Clinton, that is your right to choose not to, but the consequences of your actions are on you as well.

Did not vote for Clinton? Well, heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeres Trump!

Avnger:

Silentpony:

Saelune:
I wont have someone who threw away their vote talk to me about "unity".

Come on man, lets be honest. Hilary never stood a chance. All votes were throw away votes.

Actually if you take just Stein's recorded votes in just Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin and give them to Hillary, she wins the presidency =/

I'm not trying to make a judgement with this post (2016 is long done with), but factually what you said isn't true.

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/elections/live_results/2016_general/president/map.html

Yeah duh. If Hilary had won, she'd have won. But she didn't. She didn't try to get those votes. She couldn't be bothered to win.

Saelune:
*snip*

The Democratic Party is responsible for its own actions.

It fielded a terrible candidate, it executed an even more terrible campaign, and it lost against Donald freakin' Trump.

Why is that so hard to admit?

Seanchaidh:

bastardofmelbourne:
- NARAL, a pro-choice political action agency, condemned Heath Mello because he's pro-life.

No, they condemned Heath Mello as anti-choice and said he would strip women of their rights.

No where does NARAL come out in support of Mello's opponent. They're simply criticizing Mello as insufficiently pro-choice. It's very similar to you refusing to support Clinton because of her economic views doesn't mean that you embrace Trump as a candidate with good views. Clinton simply wasn't enough for you. In this case, Mello simply isn't enough for NARAL. You're just upset that they said "mean things" about Sanders...

Silvanus:
But in this case, that is arguably the opposite of what they did. That's valid grounds for criticism: they took a dubious stance, which seems to be at odds with their core purpose and the interests of their demographic.

Except lets find a source not strictly provided by Seanchaidh that advances his position and look at it from a different direction. Mello has a voting record that includes either sponsoring or voting for bills that put some restrictions on abortion services a number of times.

That record is where NARAL seems to be getting their views from. They find it enough to label Mello anti-choice, and there is evidence to support that view *shrug*

Silentpony:

Avnger:

Silentpony:

Come on man, lets be honest. Hilary never stood a chance. All votes were throw away votes.

Actually if you take just Stein's recorded votes in just Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin and give them to Hillary, she wins the presidency =/

I'm not trying to make a judgement with this post (2016 is long done with), but factually what you said isn't true.

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/elections/live_results/2016_general/president/map.html

Yeah duh. If Hilary had won, she'd have won. But she didn't. She didn't try to get those votes. She couldn't be bothered to win.

Saelune said 3rd party voters threw away their votes. Your response was that Hillary wouldn't have won anyway. That's what I was pointing out as wrong. With just some of the 3rd party votes, Hillary would have won.

Ugh, going back to the election...

Look, Saelune, it's over. We lost. Trump's in office. Now, unless you have a plan to take back states like Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan, can you please just make your own thread for this shit?

@American_Tanker: I am not the one who keeps bringing up and beating dead horses. I just find it difficult not to point out the flaws in those that are. If Trump is the problem, why are people still bitching that Clinton was not good enough? Hell, Obama is still getting shit on.

We can't dwell on the past either way. If we want to retake the White House in 2020, we need a new strategy. We need someone new, that can inject new life into the party and bring back states we lost.

States that, historically, had been practically owned by the Dems for decades. Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois, Indiana. States that are largely populated by blue collar types.

The Democratic Party being a party that only wins the coasts is not a successful way forward. We can't rely on just New York and California, we need to make inroads with the people in the Midwest, the heartland.

After the election, Bernie Sanders was on an MSNBC town hall in West Virginia, I think it was. He got standing ovations from what was stated to be "Trump Country". Could he have won coal country for the Dems? Uncertain, but probable. Was he a better candidate than Clinton? BY MILES.

Sanders motivated people in ways Clinton couldn't. The fact is, people are burnt out on these political dynasties like the Bushes and the Clintons. Sanders could have been something good for the Democratic Party, but the DNC fucked him over.

Saelune:
@Sonmi: My point is, who you vote for or not vote for, each individual chose their own actions, while the choices were limited, it was still a choice what each of us did. If you chose not to vote for Clinton, that is your right to choose not to, but the consequences of your actions are on you as well.

Did not vote for Clinton? Well, heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeres Trump!

Did not vote for Stein? Well, heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeres Trump!

Democrats only have themselves to blame for throwing away their votes and not voting for Stein.

Silvanus:

bastardofmelbourne:

- Heath Mello is pro-life [...]

That's not compelling evidence. Pretty much everything brought up in that article was addressed quite extensively in the OP.

Not even this bit?

On Thursday, Mello told The Huffington Post, however, that he "would never do anything to restrict access to reproductive health care," if elected. Jane Kleeb, the chair of the Nebraska Democratic Party and board member of Our Revolution, a group that emerged out of the embers of the Sanders campaign, said in an interview that The Wall Street Journal and NARAL had "mischaracterized" Mello's legislative record.

"Heath is a strong progressive Democrat, and he is pro-life, and you can be both things," Kleeb said, adding: "What Heath did actually was stop a bill to make ultrasounds mandatory by getting Republicans in our legislature to agree to make them voluntary."

That's coming from a board member of Our Revolution, i.e. a former member of the Sanders campaign, i.e. someone on Sander's "side."

If what we're arguing about is whether Heath Mello is pro-life or pro-choice, I have an easier answer to that; he's pro-life personally and pro-choice politically, like roughly one-quarter of all Democrats across the US. Heath Mello is Catholic, by the way, so it'd actually be weirder if he wasn't personally pro-life.

Silvanus:
Previous statements about Tom Perez are rather irrelevant in a thread criticising Ilyse Hogue, David Nir, and NARAL, aren't they? Tom Perez is not the topic of this thread, and is not being criticised here.

Okay, some context: the source of all this comes essentially from some friction between Sanders and Perez about their support - or lack of support - for different Democrat candidates.

Perez has very strongly campaigned in support of Jon Ossoff, who has a better-than-decent chance of winning the special election runoff in Georgia in a formerly-deep-red seat. Sanders initially refrained from endorsing Ossoff, saying "he's not a progressive." This raised a stink from Democrats who still hold a sore spot since the election, who thought that Sanders was damning Ossoff with faint praise, and probably also annoyed Perez since he considers Ossoff and the Georgia special to be a top Democrat priority. Sanders eventually endorsed Ossoff, his initial reluctance seemed to basically stem from not knowing a lot about Ossoff at the time, and the whole thing smoothed over.

At the same time, Sanders is touring and talking in support of Heath Mello, and Perez is next to him apparently supporting Mello as well. That's when NARAL comes in; Ilyse Hogue considered Heath Mello too pro-life for her tastes, and felt she ought to raise a stink so that the DNC (i.e. Tom Perez) would take notice. Tom Perez reacted by putting his foot straight in his mouth and implying that the Democratic Party wouldn't tolerate pro-life heterodoxy. This seemed to be in response to Hogue's statement, but Perez was very swiftly rebuked by Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, who expressed the opposite position in news interviews.

The root of this is a narrative about how Tom Perez treated Heath Mello. NARAL has no relevance whatsoever to the operations of the Democratic Party; they're a political action agency and all Ilyse Hogue actually did was release a statement on her website saying "I'm angry!" The root of the complaint about Democratic party unity is directed at Tom Perez and the DNC - both of whom Seanchaidh has very vocally criticised in the past - for supposedly throwing Heath Mello under the bus, and is probably motivated by similarly baseless accusations hurled at Sanders about his apparent reluctance to support Jon Ossoff.

The whole thing is much ado about nothing, and that's the short of it. Heath Mello has the support of Sanders and the DNC, and Jon Ossoff has the support of Sanders and the DNC. There's no real hypocrisy here; it's all a PR flub on Perez's part.

Silvanus:
But in this case, that is arguably the opposite of what they did. That's valid grounds for criticism: they took a dubious stance, which seems to be at odds with their core purpose and the interests of their demographic.

Then they're bad at their job...?

Seanchaidh:
No, they condemned Heath Mello as anti-choice and said he would strip women of their rights.

Yeah. It's bullshit. So what? Why do we care about what NARAL says?

What's the scandal, here? A pro-choice political action agency misrepresented a pro-life candidate's position to discredit him. Who...cares? What does any of that have to do with this:

Seanchaidh:
So, Heath Mello's opponent Jean Stothert is just anti-abortion. OK. Thanks, NARAL, for participating in such a transparent smear campaign. You may help to get a real anti-abortionist elected mayor of Omaha instead of your fake one. All in service to the national Democratic Establishment effort to sabotage any effort to elect anyone who Bernie Sanders endorses. Can't give an inch to people who attack the donor service culture, now can we?

Guys, we need unity, not your divisive purity tests! Empty slogan hypocritically ignored.

Does one unsolicited statement from NARAL really constitute a "national Democratic Establishment effort to sabotage any effort to elect anyone who Bernie Sanders endorses"? When the chair of the DNC and the Democrat minority leaders in both houses all eventually closed ranks in Heath Mello's defence?

Who is the "Democratic Establishment," here, anyway?

Sonmi:
Democrats aren't owed the votes of third party voters and non-voters. No one is.

I would be more swayed by this criticism if it wasn't the exact opposite of what the OP was saying. Seanchaidh pointed to the pro-life record of Jean Stothert (Heath Mello's opponent) as an example of why NARAL shouldn't be trashing Heath Mello. That's essentially the same as Saelune pointing to Trump as an example of why Seanchaidh shouldn't be trashing Hillary Clinton. In both cases, one is making the argument that the candidate deserves the vote simply because the alternative is worse.

Addressing the argument directly: in Australia, we have what's called preferential voting, where you number the candidates in the order you prefer them. If your no. 1 candidate doesn't win the seat, your vote flows down to your no. 2 candidate. If your no. 2 candidate doesn't win, then it goes to your no. 3, and so on until someone wins a majority.

As far as I know it is basically impossible to not give a preference without donkey voting, i.e. casting an invalid ballot. That is to say, if the US operated under the Australian electoral system, the Democrats definitely would be owed the votes of third-party voters.

And as for non-voters...I have precisely zero sympathy for people who protest the flaws of their political system by not participating in that system. If you think your politicians are corrupt, elect less corrupt politicians. Don't sit around waiting for the One True President to come across and solve all your problems; your votes for Congress are just as important and more likely to cause actual change. If you're a US citizen and you choose not to vote, you have chosen to forfeit any right to complain about how your country's politicians suck.

The problem with American democracy right now is that not enough Americans vote. In a lot of cases that's because it's deliberately difficult for them to vote, because their electoral system has very little regulation. But the fundamental cause is apathy, and apathy never accomplished anything.

I mean, shit, the solution is obvious to me; just make voting compulsory. Who does that hurt?

bastardofmelbourne:
Who is the "Democratic Establishment," here, anyway?

You know what? You're right. In this particular case, Democratic Establishment may be the wrong description. "Some of the more unhinged Hillary supporters" is better. However, those people also wield 'unity' as a weapon to quell dissent against the corporate Dems (including Hillary).

bastardofmelbourne:
I would be more swayed by this criticism if it wasn't the exact opposite of what the OP was saying. Seanchaidh pointed to the pro-life record of Jean Stothert (Heath Mello's opponent) as an example of why NARAL shouldn't be trashing Heath Mello. That's essentially the same as Saelune pointing to Trump as an example of why Seanchaidh shouldn't be trashing Hillary Clinton. In both cases, one is making the argument that the candidate deserves the vote simply because the alternative is worse.

The difference is I'm not lying or inconsistent when I discredit Hillary Clinton. Heath Mello is not owed NARAL's endorsement, but he is owed (morally) a truthful and consistent evaluation.

bastardofmelbourne:

Not even this bit?

[snip]

That's coming from a board member of Our Revolution, i.e. a former member of the Sanders campaign, i.e. someone on Sander's "side."

If what we're arguing about is whether Heath Mello is pro-life or pro-choice, I have an easier answer to that; he's pro-life personally and pro-choice politically, like roughly one-quarter of all Democrats across the US. Heath Mello is Catholic, by the way, so it'd actually be weirder if he wasn't personally pro-life.

No, not that bit. But it addresses the voting record, which is the actual substance.

bastardofmelbourne:

Okay, some context: the source of all this comes essentially from some friction between Sanders and Perez about their support - or lack of support - for different Democrat candidates.

Perez has very strongly campaigned in support of Jon Ossoff, who has a better-than-decent chance of winning the special election runoff in Georgia in a formerly-deep-red seat. Sanders initially refrained from endorsing Ossoff, saying "he's not a progressive." This raised a stink from Democrats who still hold a sore spot since the election, who thought that Sanders was damning Ossoff with faint praise, and probably also annoyed Perez since he considers Ossoff and the Georgia special to be a top Democrat priority. Sanders eventually endorsed Ossoff, his initial reluctance seemed to basically stem from not knowing a lot about Ossoff at the time, and the whole thing smoothed over.

At the same time, Sanders is touring and talking in support of Heath Mello, and Perez is next to him apparently supporting Mello as well. That's when NARAL comes in; Ilyse Hogue considered Heath Mello too pro-life for her tastes, and felt she ought to raise a stink so that the DNC (i.e. Tom Perez) would take notice. Tom Perez reacted by putting his foot straight in his mouth and implying that the Democratic Party wouldn't tolerate pro-life heterodoxy. This seemed to be in response to Hogue's statement, but Perez was very swiftly rebuked by Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, who expressed the opposite position in news interviews.

The root of this is a narrative about how Tom Perez treated Heath Mello. NARAL has no relevance whatsoever to the operations of the Democratic Party; they're a political action agency and all Ilyse Hogue actually did was release a statement on her website saying "I'm angry!" The root of the complaint about Democratic party unity is directed at Tom Perez and the DNC - both of whom Seanchaidh has very vocally criticised in the past - for supposedly throwing Heath Mello under the bus, and is probably motivated by similarly baseless accusations hurled at Sanders about his apparent reluctance to support Jon Ossoff.

The whole thing is much ado about nothing, and that's the short of it. Heath Mello has the support of Sanders and the DNC, and Jon Ossoff has the support of Sanders and the DNC. There's no real hypocrisy here; it's all a PR flub on Perez's part.

You've rather assumed that this thread exists as some vehicle through which to criticise Perez and the DNC. That was not expressed by the OP, who even specified who the subjects of his ire were.

bastardofmelbourne:

Then they're bad at their job...?

...Hence the criticism!

Saelune:
@American_Tanker: I am not the one who keeps bringing up and beating dead horses. I just find it difficult not to point out the flaws in those that are. If Trump is the problem, why are people still bitching that Clinton was not good enough? Hell, Obama is still getting shit on.

So is Bush and so is Clinton. Welcome to Politics where everything can be blamed on the guy in power and the guy that left power and the guy that hasn't been in power for X years.

@American_Tanker: Bernie was just as "bad" as Clinton. He didnt seem so great. And I am not just being spiteful, I really was not swayed by him at all. I literally liked him as much as Clinton. I would have voted for him no problem had he been the one running against Trump. Just wish Bernie bros would have offered the same courtesy.

Silvanus:
No, not that bit. But it addresses the voting record, which is the actual substance.

I never disputed Mello's voting record. He's publicly promised not to seek a pro-life legislative agenda (though what such agenda he could pursue as mayor, I don't know) and effectively toe the party line. Like I've said three times now; pro-life personally, pro-choice politically.

It's not that hypocritical. One can oppose abortion on moral grounds while also opposing laws that seek to restrict a woman's access to safe and professional abortion procedures.

Silvanus:
You've rather assumed that this thread exists as some vehicle through which to criticise Perez and the DNC. That was not expressed by the OP, who even specified who the subjects of his ire were.

I don't think it was an unreasonable assumption. He's walked it back now - and I appreciate him doing so - but Seanchaidh did end the OP with this:

Seanchaidh:
So, Heath Mello's opponent Jean Stothert is just anti-abortion. OK. Thanks, NARAL, for participating in such a transparent smear campaign. You may help to get a real anti-abortionist elected mayor of Omaha instead of your fake one. All in service to the national Democratic Establishment effort to sabotage any effort to elect anyone who Bernie Sanders endorses. Can't give an inch to people who attack the donor service culture, now can we?

Guys, we need unity, not your divisive purity tests! Empty slogan hypocritically ignored.

That was a pretty clear criticism of the "national Democratic Establishment," which I know from prior discussions with Seanchaidh is a category that he files Tom Perez under. It turned out that Tom Perez played a central role in causing this little boondoggle, so I just put two and two together.

Seanchaidh:
You know what? You're right. In this particular case, Democratic Establishment may be the wrong description. "Some of the more unhinged Hillary supporters" is better. However, those people also wield 'unity' as a weapon to quell dissent against the corporate Dems (including Hillary).

I appreciate the admission, and broadly agree with the rephrased sentiment.

Party unity is vital if the Democrats are going to serve as an effective political opposition, but unity implies compromise, and compromise requires both sides to give ground. The corporatist Democrats need to recognise that their policies are causing them to bleed voters amongst the middle class; the pro-choice Democrats need to recognise and acknowledge that a significant minority of their voters are pro-life. Co-operation, not subordination.

Seanchaidh:
The difference is I'm not lying or inconsistent when I discredit Hillary Clinton. Heath Mello is not owed NARAL's endorsement, but he is owed (morally) a truthful and consistent evaluation.

I can agree with this. Heath Mello was put in the same position I often find myself in - having personal reservations about abortion but still believing that it ought to be legally available where it's needed - so I can sympathise. But it's important to recognise that NARAL isn't that big a deal in the great scheme of things.

I mean, I just found out Trump fired James Comey. That's one hell of a fucking news-bomb, and it looks even bigger in comparison to some bullshit some political lobbyist said about some politician somewhere about something.

How did this turn into a "death to Jill Stein" discussion?

Lisker84:
How did this turn into a "death to Jill Stein" discussion?

Because Saelune. Still hasn't moved forward from November of last year.

American Tanker:
We can't dwell on the past either way. If we want to retake the White House in 2020, we need a new strategy. We need someone new, that can inject new life into the party and bring back states we lost.

States that, historically, had been practically owned by the Dems for decades. Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois, Indiana. States that are largely populated by blue collar types.

The Democratic Party being a party that only wins the coasts is not a successful way forward. We can't rely on just New York and California, we need to make inroads with the people in the Midwest, the heartland.

After the election, Bernie Sanders was on an MSNBC town hall in West Virginia, I think it was. He got standing ovations from what was stated to be "Trump Country". Could he have won coal country for the Dems? Uncertain, but probable. Was he a better candidate than Clinton? BY MILES.

Sanders motivated people in ways Clinton couldn't. The fact is, people are burnt out on these political dynasties like the Bushes and the Clintons. Sanders could have been something good for the Democratic Party, but the DNC fucked him over.

How does two people from two families, running decades apart, qualify as a dynasty?

Gordon_4:
How does two people from two families, running decades apart, qualify as a dynasty?

I'm guessing people just see it that way because two Clintons have been in very prominent positions since the late 70's more or less permanently. Bill might have quit in 2001 but he's still very "present".

EDIT: Just to clarify, you just don't get that many cases where two people from the same family hold some of the highest offices in the country for almost 40 years straight. When you look at it in the context of modern politics it qualifies as a dynasty of sorts, historical, not so much.

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