Howie Klein Has Had Enough of the Party's 'Democrats in Name Only'...
By Brad Friedman on 8/12/2008, 1:44pm PT  

Apropos of our article on Friday describing the "Rovian dirty tricks" that FL-24 Congressional candidate, Clint Curtis, alleges his primary opponent, former State Rep. Suzanne Kosmas, has been using to mislead local voters an article in today's DeLand-Deltona Beacon highlights again Curtis' criticism of his opponent as no more than a Democrat In Name Only (DINO).

Curtis called Kosmas a "conservative blue-dog Democrat." He said "She could change her name to Republican and never have to change a vote."

Kosmas, in return, might ask, "Curtis who?"

She said she doesn't know Curtis.

"I am running as a Democrat," Kosmas said.

"Running as a Democrat." A telling phrase, that.

While Kosmas claims to be against the war, it turns out she co-sponsored a resolution, adopted on March 21, 2003, while in the Florida legislature that pledged "support of President Bush in his stand against Saddam Hussein".

Unfortunately, Kosmas isn't the only hand-picked Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) candidate being put up this year almost solely on the basis of the DCCC's short-sighted conjecture that they can win in a previously "red" district because the candidate either has lots of their own money, or is damned-near a Republican.

Curtis, the Progressive Democrats of America (PDA)-endorsed candidate, has been courageously opposing head-on the hopelessly corrupt Republican incumbent Tom Feeney for years. (See this clip from Uncounted to get an idea, or this BRAD BLOG Special Coverage page.) Yet, he's been fighting an uphill battle trying to raise money to defeat the DCCC's candidate, the wealthy real estate developer, Kosmas, ever since he told them he'd vote with his constituents who put him in office, rather than as per the directives of Nancy Pelosi.

Yesterday, our buddy Howie Klein - who knows more about on-the-ground politics and the real positions of Congressional candidates than anyone we know --- decimated the DCCC for their drive to put "Democrats" in office, at any cost. The "Stalinist" effort, as he describes it, to put such candidates as Kosmas in office (whether or not they end up voting with Republicans more often than Democrats!) has been the basis of the DCCC's "Red to Blue" program launched under the previous DCCC chair Rep. Rahm Emanuel and still in play under its new chair, Chris Van Hollen....

The latter, Klein writes, promised "in accord with democratic norms and Party rules --- to allow hotly contested primaries to play themselves out and not take sides the way Emanuel had done...Van Hollen promised to not follow the Stalinist path Emanuel had lain out. But he has."

In his piece he describes Kosmas as a "DCCC shill" and "just some rich person who promises to be easily led around by the nose," while Curtis is the grassroots candidate who ought to be supported.

"Savvy activists learned long ago that the DCCC is entirely untrustworthy," Klein writes, "and that many of their hand-picked candidates are the mirror image of brainwashed or brain-dead Republican rubber stamps."

His entire article is a worth a read, if only to see where your local candidate fits in, and if they have a more Progressive, if less-monied, candidate running against them who may need your support. But his slams of the DCCC are a must read. Here's a few choice quotes:

Last year many of the Red to Blue candidates got into Congress and immediately started voting like Republicans-- but just on crucial issues like the war in Iraq, warrantless wiretaps, immigration reform, trade policies...
...
Although they try keeping it on the down low, several on the Red to Blue list are pro-war and some are corporate-leaning shills. It's never about Democratic ideal, values, principles... it's always getting as many members willing to call themselves "Democrats," for whatever reason, into Congress. That's how Democrats wind up in the majority in the House and can't get anything accomplished.

There were 17 Democrats who voted more frequently with Republicans than with Democrats on the key substantive issues that divide the two parties. Of the 17, nine are freshmen.
...
Last year if you donated to the DCCC's Red to Blue program, you helped elect people who are determined to keep the war in Iraq going, who voted to allow warrantless wiretaps, and who were willing to rubber stamp Bush trade policies that throw American workers out of their jobs... and who actually applaud Nancy Pelosi's decision to take impeachment off the table. In fact, they are a big part of the reason why Nancy Pelosi did take impeachment off the table.

Go read the whole piece...