This morning Juliet Eilperin and Michael Grunwald delievered a Valentine's box of confections in a nice Washington Post wrapper to Ellen Tauscher and, nevermind the date; it was very timely. A number of Bay Area-based activists and bloggers are determined to challenge one of the Democratic Party's most egregious corporate whores and Bush enablers in 2008 this side of Joe Lieberman.
Eilperin and Grunwald have written an inherently dishonest piece– pure Inside-the-Beltway ass-kissery for the powers-that-be. Reading their whitewash you would never know that Tauscher recruited and pushed a pro-corporate, anti-grassroots shill to run against Democratic grassroots hero Jerry McNerney, only that she's being victimized by some left wing bullies for being a hard-working "moderate." From Eilperin and Grunwald a reader would reasonably conclude that Tauscher had merely "supported McNerney's centrist opponent in his primary, to the disgust of the Net roots." Not a word about the Tauscher-inspired financing that nearly caused McNerney to have to spend all his non-corporate, grassroots money in the primary, endangering his bid to oust the hated Pombo.
And every time Eilperin and Grunwald vomit out "moderate," as though the 135 House Dems with more progressive voting records than her are not moderates, but extreme leftists and dangerous communists, my skin crawls. Only reactionary Democrats have voted more frequently with the Republican extremists on substantive issues than Tauscher has, yet in the Post they phrase it a little differently: "Since 2003 she has voted with her party more than 90 percent of the time. This year, she has marched in lock step with Pelosi. But to Net-roots sites such as Daily Kos, Firedoglake, and Crooks and Liars, she's Lieberman in a pantsuit. 'I don't think it's a fair comparison,' Tauscher said. 'My colleagues look at this and say, "If they're going after Ellen Tauscher, holy moly!"'" Yeah, holy moly! What's next? Will someone challenge Jim Marshall or John Barrow or David Scott, 3 Georgia Democrats who spend an awful lot of time voting with Republicans?
Marshall's in a safe Republican seat and although his voting record pisses a lot of Democrats off, it's not likely anyone is going to challenge him. Barrow and, especially Scott, on the other hand, are in safe Democratic seats… and they still vote like Republicans. But that's a top for another time.
The Post asks, rather rhetorically, since her p.r. flack has already filled in the blanks, "Why are they going after Ellen Tauscher?"
She has annoyed [like in high school?] the left [Lenin? Castro? Markos?] by supporting legislation to scale back the estate tax, tighten bankruptcy rules and promote free-trade agreements. She served as vice chair of the pro-business Democratic Leadership Council, which many liberal activists dismiss as a quasi-Republican K Street front group. And she voted to authorize the Iraq war, although she did so with caveats, and was quick to express her displeasure with its execution.
This oversimplification to the point of willful distortion is a perfect example of how the Eilperin and Grunwald have delivered for Tauscher today. The Democratic grassroots' dismay with Tauscher is not about "a vote" in 2002 for Bush's Iraq War. Between October 10, 2002 and May 25, 2005, the House voted on 44 Iraq War bills. Tauscher's Iraq voting record is one of the worst of any Democrat's, and far from being in "lockstep" with Nancy Pelosi's, as Eilperin and Grunwald deceitfully attempt to convey. Starting on October 10, 2002 with Roll Call 454 on H.J. Res. 114, the final resolution authorizing Bush to use force against Iraq, Tauscher didn't vote with Nancy Pelosi and other progressive Democrats– and the majority of Democrats in the House; she voted with Tom DeLay and Roy Blunt and the worst reactionary, warmongering scum in the Congress to give Bush the authority to do what he's done in Iraq. Bad enough to remove Tauscher? Absolutely. But that was just the beginning. Since then she voted with the right-wingers 13 more times to carry out Bush's war policies.