Monday, December 24, 2007

The Giffords Conundrum

At least two of Congresswoman Giffords’ votes have been profoundly annoying to CD 8 Democrats and, indeed, to progressive Democrats across Arizona. Her vote to join Republicans in granting Bush’s $70 billion dollar Iraq funding request has been ably dealt with by Michael Bryan over at Blog for Arizona.

I, too, received the Giffords letter explaining her vote. Bryan’s analysis of that letter is, in the best sense, lawyerly. Of particular interest is Bryan’s note that the funding for materiel replacement is a separate issue and could have been voted for without a total capitulation. Less noted was Giffords voting with the Republicans against a bill that would have reinstated the inheritance tax.

Now what are Progressives to do?

Would they (should they) launch a ‘send-a-message’ attack in the primary? It doesn’t seem likely. The most obvious candidate happens also to be the Vice Chair of the state’s Democratic Party. I doubt that Latas is willing to fall on his sword just to send a message.

Another alternative would be to support some third party candidate, possibly a Green. But even if a Green could beat her in a primary race no Green could win the seat in the general election.

Under the circumstances Giffords’ single most valuable political characteristic is that she is a Democrat and will vote with other Democrats to organize the House. Progressives may not be “doing” well with her at the moment, but they can hardly do without her. They will have to bite the bullet and vote Democratic.


Liza said...

I disagree with you, Art.

The House of Representatives, taken as a whole, is a numbers game. My advice to CD8 progressives (all five of us) is to look outside the district for representation.

Progressives need to give their political contributions to progressive candidates and incumbents. Progressives also need to support independent media.

As for Giffords, she's useless to progressives. Those who supported her have, hopefully, learned their lesson.

It's interesting that the old Giffords fans from 2006 are starting to make little squeaks in her favor, perhaps in preparation for 2008. X4mr "smells growth" as you probably have heard.

I probably shouldn't give you such good advice but you (her supporters) should just let the power of incumbency do its thing and say as little about her as possible.

Merry Christmas, Art.

Art Jacobson said...

I'm not sure we disagree as much as you suspect.

First, I can't really see not voting for Gabby. We want as many Democrats of whatever stripe we can get in Congress.

Apart from that, I have left the Democratic party and am now a registered Independent. I am not a DLC Democrat and not a Blue Dog. I want the inheritance tax reinstated and universal government health care set up. I wouldn't mind seeing right to work laws repealed.

I don't believe in my heart of hearts that any Democrat who is likely to win nomination will accomplish this... Certainly not Hillary.

I have not made any financial contributions to Democratic candidates, nor will I.

I believe, as you apparently do,in indirect support for progressive candidates and causes.My dough goes to Move On and certain labor union

A Very Merry Christmas to you, too, Liza.


Sirocco said...

I was extremely disappointed in the inheritance tax vote, less so (but still disappointed) in the war-funding one.

On the other hand, I fully expect to disagree (vehemently) with some number of votes of any candidate, even those I actively support.

Liza said...

I am sure that there are many or at least some CD8 constituents such as yourself who are at least reasonable satisfied with their representation.

Progressives do not support the US occupation of Iraq and that is one of their major issues. In fact, it is the number one priority of the PDA:

"PDA wants all troops withdrawn promptly, and war funds redirected toward social needs at home and humanitarian aid in Iraq. Toward that end, we call on the Democratic-led Congress to use its powers to 1) cut off funding that prolongs the military occupation of Iraq, and 2) fully investigate false White House claims justifying the invasion and occupation of Iraq. If such investigations lead to moves toward impeachment, so be it."

It hardly makes sense for progressives to support candidates or incumbents who do not WHOLEHEARTEDLY support their major issues. Their cause is better served by promoting and bankrolling those who do support their issues, quite obviously.
The best use of progressive money right now, in my opinion, is to bankroll progressive independent media.