The word "moderate" is one of the most favorable in the political lexicon. The Democratic consulting class and the corporate media use the word to describe conservatives. I've been kvetching about it for a decade. Recently I saw that the idea of calling corrupt conservatives Joe Manchin, Kyrsten Sinema and Josh Gottheimer "moderates," got both Rachel Maddow and Paul Krugman to scratch their heads and figure out that something was wrong. The idea that corrupt conservatives are corrupt conservatives and not moderates, has started spreading. Even one of the iconic insider corporate media outlets, Axios, wondered about it yesterday.
Late last night, Alexi McCammond, Lachlan Markay and Andrew Solender put their brain power together-- which almost adds up to one normal person-- and noticed that corrupt conservatives ("moderates") are now trying to define themselves in the public consciousness as "normal." They wrote that "normal"-- a word I normally use to distinguish between Republicans and everyone else-- is a coded, loaded word being used by the corrupt consertatives in the Democratic Party to exacerbate their divide with liberal colleagues.
"It's also a way, in the face of the dismal election trends, to distinguish themselves from activist colleagues they're implying are abnormal and don't speak for them. They pointed to a tweet by one of the most politically repulsive House Democrats-- political coward Conor Lamb as a prime example of someone from the Republican wing of the Democratic Party trying to insinuate that he's "normal" while actual values-laden Democrats are not. Lamb was recruited by Chuck Schumer to run for the U.S. Senate, one of this year's crop of Kyrsten Sinemas, whio was also a Schumer recruit.
It doesn't seem to have dawned on McCammond, Markay and Solender that Lamb isn't even a moderate, which is what they call him when pushing back on his attempt to re-label himself as "normal," contrasting himself with those who "didn’t help with infrastructure." That's a reference to the Hold The Line Six, the only courageous heroes in Congress-- at least on the Democratic side of the aisle-- last week. Please consider clicking on the anti-Axios thermometer on the left and contributing what you can to The Six-- one of them, two of them, all of them... whatever works for you.
Lamb told Axios he sees some members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus-- including Reps. Debbie Dingell (D-MI) and Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), the caucus chair-- as “active progressives who can go into a meeting with someone else in the caucus and talk policy and talk substance and understand the importance of compromise.”
Lamb said, by contrast, a group of lawmakers identified with “socialists” who voted last week against the $1.2 trillion roads-and-bridges package, “doesn’t help” Democrats.
The concept of doing what's right for their concepts has never crossed Lamb's tiny little brain, just like it never crosses most Republicans' tiny little brains. Just as bad is Abigail Spanberger (Blue Dog-VA), who can boast the 6th worst voting record of any Democrat in the House, right behind Henry Cuellar, Jim Costa, Jared Golden, Josh Gottheimer and Scott Peters.
The Axios trio wrote, without mentioning that Spanberger is a Blue Dog, a former CIA agent and one of Congress' most right-wing Democrats, that she "used the 'normal' word after her party lost the governor's race in her home state last Tuesday. She drew headlines in the New York Times for saying of President Biden that 'nobody elected him to be F.D.R.' In a less-noticed line, she also said Americans had elected Biden 'to be normal and stop the chaos.'"
David Axelrod, who heads the University of Chicago's Institute of Politics and served as former President Obama's senior adviser, said using "normal" isn't just about dissociating from the left-- it's also a way to meet shaken voters on steady ground.
"'Normal' is a reassuring term," he told Axios. "You cannot overestimate what four years of Trump and two years of a pandemic have done to people's sense of solidity."
This propaganda ad released today by the corporately owned and operated New Dems-- flush with the corporate bribes that holds that caucus together-- features many of their members who are almost all adhering to the conservative agenda of pre-fascist Republicans. Almost all of the Blue Dogs-- like Spanberger, Cuellar, Costa and Gottheimer-- are also New Dems. The video includes cameos by some of the most vile members of Congress, like the ones who, in committee, killed lowering the cost of prescription drugs, Scott Peters and Kathleen Rice.
Sergio Alcubilla's opponent, Ed Case, is another of the corporately-funded New Dems, who has come down hard against the progressive aspects of the Build Back Better Act. "There's nothing 'normal' about putting money and corporate profits over people and the planet," Sergio told me today. "Yet, these so called 'moderates,' which includes our current incumbent Rep. Ed Case, want us to believe that this is normal. No it is not and it's time we stop accepting it as normal for politicians to continue to sell us out to the highest corporate bidder. It's time we shake-up the Democratic tree and let these bad apples fall as they may."
Washington state progressive activist-- and congressional candidate-- Jason Call watched the ad. This afternoon, he told me that "It's amusing to see Suzan DelBene lead the way on this New Dems ad, when she's the 13th richest member of Congress and is one of the 53 Democrats who is majority corporate PAC funded. The New Dems coalition was spawned from the post-Clinton Third Way Democrats, who were literally seeded by Koch Brothers money because the goal was to have a voting bloc of Democrats who could be counted on to vote for 'Free Trade' such as the TPP. In fact, prior to the Citizens United ruling which allowed the Koch Brothers to hide their campaign funding, they did donate directly to the corporate incumbent in WA-02, New Democrat Rick Larsen, to the tune of $15,000. Larsen is ALSO majority corporate PAC funded, as are (from the video) Scott Peters, and others like Terri Sewell (AL-07) who takes the second most corporate PAC money of all Dems (76,4%), Tony Cardenas (58.3%), Lou Correa (61.1%), Jimmy Panetta (55.6%), Juan Vargas (63.2%), Norma Torres (52.2%), Ed Perlmutter (55.2%), Al Lawson (54.7%), Stephanie Murphy (50.1%), Darren Soto (54.7%), David Scott (72.8%), Ed Case (59.5%), Mike Quigley (50.9%), Gregory Meeks (50.8%), Kurt Schrader (69.1%), Brendan Boyle (52.5%), Mark Veasey (59.5%), Donald McEachin (50.7%), Ron Kind (57.8%), and the star of the corporate PAC show Vicente Gonzalez, who takes 82.3% of his funding from corporate PACs. So, of the 53 Democrats who are majority corporate PAC funded, there are 23 New Democrats. The bottom line here is that they cannot serve the interests of the general public-- the majority of people-- when they are deep in the pockets of industry, and in many (most) cases the industries the committees they sit on are supposed to regulate. The good news is that a lot of these New Dems are being challenged by #ActuallyProgressive candidates. We need a sea change in Congress if we're ever going to make needed progress on the economy and the environment."