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Frank To Liberals: Only Target Conservative Dems In Safe Districts


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Kit
- 2470 days ago - news.yahoo.com
House Financial Services Chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass.) has some advice for liberal activists upset at the votes of the party's conservative members: defeat them in primaries -- but only in safe Democratic districts.



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Kit B (276)
Tuesday August 17, 2010, 9:42 am
House Financial Services Chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass.) has some advice for liberal activists upset at the votes of the party's conservative members: defeat them in primaries -- but only in safe Democratic districts.

Frank told liberals at a Congressional Progressive Caucus Foundation event in Los Angeles in April that primaries are the place to push for more liberal Members.

"I said don't defeat conservative Democrats in November ... the place to do that is in the primary," Frank said Friday in an interview. But Frank added his caveat that such a primary challenge should only come in districts where a more liberal candidate would win in November.

"I particularly would not, for example, support a primary challenge against (Rep.) John Barrow (D-Ga.), because I thought that would cost us the seat," Frank said.

Frank, who is a top party fundraiser, noted his support in primaries for other conservative Blue Dog Democrats besides Barrow including Reps. Jim Matheson (Utah) and Allen Boyd (Fla.), for the same reason.

Frank's comments come with the party's liberal and moderate wings clashing both on and off Capitol Hill heading into what appears to be the most challenging environment for Democrats since the 1994 Republican revolution.

Frank's support for taking on conservative Democrats in primaries was cited positively by the liberal blog Down With Tyranny in discussing controversial comments made last week by Energy and Commerce Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) to The Hill in a story headlined "Waxman sees bright side to November: 'Difficult' Democrats won't be back."

"I think a lot of the House seats we're going to lose are those who have been the toughest for the Democrats to pull into line -- the Democrats that have been the most difficult," Waxman said.

While Waxman's comments earned rave reviews from some left-wing bloggers, Blue Dogs fumed. They sought a rebuke from Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and wanted a public apology from Waxman.

Waxman instead wrote a letter to the editor objecting to how The Hill represented the interview and vowing his support for all incumbents.

"For those who support universal health coverage, clean-energy policies, and economic stimulus for our struggling economy -- as I do -- there can be no bright side to the defeat of any Democratic members of Congress," Waxman said in the letter.

Pelosi, in an apparent effort to quell the unrest, reiterated to the Democratic Caucus during this week's special session her support for bringing back every Democrat in November.

"The Speaker's highest priority is to re-elect every single incumbent Democratic Member of Congress, who have worked to create jobs, restore fiscal discipline and move America forward, not back," said her spokesman, Nadeam Elshami. "The Speaker has said on numerous occasions: we will not yield one grain of sand."

However, senior aides for moderate Democrats told Roll Call that Waxman needs to do more to repair his relationships with Blue Dogs, which they say were already frayed by Waxman's handling of climate change and health care bills in his committee.

"He needs to pony up," said one aide who complained that Waxman has been stingy with helping Democrats who opposed the health care and climate change bills. "He needs to demonstrate with his war chest that he wants these Members back."

"I'd like to line them up and ask him which ones are too 'difficult' to come back," fumed a former senior staffer for moderate Democrats. "Those are the types of things that make it tougher and tougher and tougher for the Democratic Caucus to work together collegially."

The Waxman kerfuffle is emblematic of the broader fight between the two wings of the Democratic Party; moderates feel leaders like Waxman and Pelosi walked them off a plank for issues like the climate bill that went nowhere in the Senate, while liberals have been frustrated that moderates have slowed or watered down a host of agenda items.

Frank, for his part, said he disagreed with the notion that there is a bright side to losing Democratic seats.

"The goal should be the best possible Member elected in November from our standpoint," Frank said. "I can't think of any cases these days where that means you would replace a Democrat with a Republican." Frank said that was not always the case, noting that Rep. Chris Shays (R-Conn.) sometimes was more liberal than his opponent.

Getting rid of conservative Democrats via primary, however, is just fine, if it doesn't threaten to flip the seat to a Republican, Frank suggested.

"I can think of a number of cases where a primary challenge would make sense," Frank said, pointing to examples from the civil rights era and more recent Democratic primaries, such as Rep. Donna Edwards' (Md.) defeat of incumbent Al Wynn in 2008 and former Rep. Hilda Solis' (Calif.) victory over incumbent Matthew Martinez in 2000, both in solidly Democratic districts. "That's the model."

Frank did not name any particular Members that he thought should be challenged this year, but said he cautioned liberals to think about what they are doing before they act.

"Don't do things because they make you feel good," he said.

Frank said that when liberals are frustrated with a conservative Democrat, they should "vote for that candidate in November but stick voodoo pins in him ... that relieves your frustration and helps public policy."
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If your not registered to vote please do so, most states allow registration through October. If your are registered to vote, then please do so - EVERY vote matters.
 

Arielle S (313)
Tuesday August 17, 2010, 9:51 am
Right now, I'm so disgusted with the Republicans that they could promise me a new car and I still wouldn't vote for a single one. The problem I see is that they are so darn good at propaganda and half-truths that many people will believe them. So, this time, I don't think it's just about getting out the vote but also about getting out the facts.

I do like Barney Frank - long may he be in place.
 

Nancy L (141)
Tuesday August 17, 2010, 11:56 am
Can you say d-e-s-p-e-r-a-t-i-o-n?

 

Past Member (0)
Tuesday August 17, 2010, 12:47 pm
Thanks, Kit. Hmmm...which is better, a conservative Democrat or a liberal Republican?
 

Linda G (187)
Tuesday August 17, 2010, 1:17 pm
Labels, labels, labels and temper tantrums. Wish we could just be Americans who can have a civil discourse about what government can and should do and how we can reach those solutions thoughtfully. I am sick to death of name calling on all sides and extremists of any calling. We, as human beings should not be at war with each other. What has happened to integrity, common sense, manners and civility?
 

Kit B (276)
Tuesday August 17, 2010, 2:46 pm
I think it's only realistic to acknowledge that the democrats will lose seats in November, it's an off election year, a president that took a majority vote with a majority in the house and senate. In the past that has meant a big change over in Congress. This year may be more interesting as the Tea Party could be a challenge for both parties.
 

Cam V (417)
Tuesday August 17, 2010, 3:19 pm
Does anyone really care what Frank has to say? He has to be one of THE MOST corrupted politicians on the L I have ever learned about. Why do Americans keep voting these imbeciles on the left and the right BACK? Half of them look like they are embalmed and the other half are only there for themselves.

VOTE EM' ALL OUT and bring in new blood. Put the party banners down.
 

Yvonne White (229)
Tuesday August 17, 2010, 3:46 pm
I understand his reasoning - of course it's the Safe thing & therefore supposedly the Best thing for the Democratic Party. However, the Democratic Party can only survive if it stays Democratic - and Blue-Dog DINOs aren't Democrats in Any Demonstrative Way.. so Why Keep What we Don't Want? RepubliCON-Lite Corporate Democrats are NOT Democrats & keeping a seat that Never Votes FOR us is just the SAME as voting RepubliCON anyway!
So, sorry Barney, but I think you aren't Hearing us! WE WANT LIBERAL DEMOCRATS - even if we lose to a freakin' RepubliCON, at least we'll KNOW who to fight!;)
 

Kit B (276)
Tuesday August 17, 2010, 4:22 pm
There ya go - another American voice heard. Thanks Yvonne.

Sending a Green Star is a simple way to say "Thank you"
You cannot currently send a star to Yvonne because you have done so within the last week.
 

Nancy L (141)
Tuesday August 17, 2010, 6:33 pm
You got it Northern. I don't trust any of them. And I won't trust any of the new ones either, until they prove themselves. We have to get them in there first though. I agree that Ds need to act like Ds and Rs need to act like Rs. That is what we expect when we elect them.
 

Kit B (276)
Tuesday August 17, 2010, 6:48 pm
That may be what you expect NE L; what I expect is for them to behave first and foremost as Americans, and to serve the needs and desires of the American people. Democrat or republican, they are both supposed to serve the same master, WE THE PEOPLE, not the corporate dollar.
 

Nancy L (141)
Tuesday August 17, 2010, 6:51 pm
Of course Kit, what I mean is if one runs as a D they should act like a D and keep their campaign promises.
 

Kit B (276)
Tuesday August 17, 2010, 6:54 pm
Maybe I'm just jaded or cynical from too many years of watching one politician after then other lie, cheat and steal to get a Congressional seat, then not live up to any promise - save the VERY few.
 

Nancy L (141)
Tuesday August 17, 2010, 6:59 pm
I'm just tired of being lied to. If a candidate would tell me he/she will always do what is best for the country as a whole, and I could trust that he/she would - I would vote for him/her no matter the party.
 

Kit B (276)
Tuesday August 17, 2010, 7:10 pm
I could be wrong NE L, but I think many if not most of us feel that way. I can't say that I would necessarily trust any one before hand, but a few could work to at least earn the vote, then the trust. This constant attitude of expectation of the vote simply because of incumbancy has gotten very tiring, and even in the now in the primaries incumbents are winning. I guess people enjoy complaining and not really changing any thing.
 

Nancy L (141)
Tuesday August 17, 2010, 7:17 pm
Normally I would agree with that but since I have gotten more involved in my local government I see a lot of people who are motivated like they haven't been in quite some time, some of them have never been involved before and they are not young people either.
 

Kit B (276)
Tuesday August 17, 2010, 7:37 pm
Then I wish you and your community the best. I've been involved in campaigns since High School and few people ever are the same once they taste real power. Still each election, brings with it (like spring) a chance for renewal.

More then any thing I want our embarrassing idiot governor out of office, I'd for for a muppet before I would for him. Texas has had only 2 really good governors in last 30 years, Bill Clements (R) and Ann Richards (D). I may be a little prejudice here as I knew Ann very well before she considered running and I worked for Bill Clements for 7 years and knew him very well. Both were committed to doing the best thing for all the people of the state, not just the few or those who were of their party.
 

Nancy L (141)
Tuesday August 17, 2010, 8:10 pm
I remember them both. Their kind are rare. Thanks for the good wishes. I have to say good night.
 

Kit B (276)
Tuesday August 17, 2010, 8:12 pm
Good night and thank you for the Green Star, always appreciated.
 

Terry Y (2)
Wednesday August 18, 2010, 5:14 am
If it were up to me I wouldn't have a blue dog and think they should more times than not be muzzled, kenneled, and kept behind an electric fence. I don't think blue dogs have such hot service records and as far as guidance goes they can easily lead you astray. This might well suggest lack rules and good training. Blue dogs been known to wonder all over the place and all too often are so in the middle of the road they pose a danger to themselves and everyone. They also seem notorious about doing their messy bussiness about everywhere. We really all need to be aware of this particular wild breed since their bark and bite both have already taken a toll on way too many. If you have a dlue dog or are thinking about one would you please consider your neighbors and others? It's a very difficult and expensive task to round them up, train them, trust them, or even confine them. Personally I'd pass them up entirely because there are ao many other better picks which would do you proud!
 

Kit B (276)
Wednesday August 18, 2010, 7:01 am
Must agree Terry Y, a voter needs to know honestly where their Congressional member will stand on issues - blue dogs seem to use all the yards in the neighborhood to raise their legs.
 

John A (0)
Wednesday August 18, 2010, 12:59 pm
Progressives MUST fight to get a progressive nominee in EVERY district!
To heck with the right wing Dems. They are just GOP in Dem clothing.
We don't need turncoats who defy the party agenda.
If we can't have a progressive Dem I'd rather have a Republican I know to a Blue dog I don't!!
At least then we can challenge the GOP head on on the issues & not cave to placate a conservative Dem - what should be an oxymoron!
 

Jon Stewart (37)
Wednesday August 18, 2010, 1:26 pm
It's simple (but not without effort)... do your homework, get the facts, ignore the soundbites, yard signs and bumper stickers and don't let ANYTHING prevent you from voting... on the ISSUES, not the party and certainly not the inflamatory rhetoric from people who know no more than you do yapping their traps on blogs... even ones targetting your liberal OR conservative leanings. Though I must admit, even as an unenrolled voter, I usually vote 85% Democrat. NO candidate who takes part in a fillibuster in either party will EVER get my vote. The intensity and volume of someone's opinion is meaningless, especially when it's negative rhetoric about the opponent instead of positive TRUTH about a candidate's OWN politics and ideas.
 

Lynn C (94)
Wednesday August 18, 2010, 9:21 pm
PS: My thanks to Barney Frank who has given me an concise assessment of the way the system works. He's as least one sane and honest person who cares about what can happen if we're uninformed.
 

Edward Craig (20)
Wednesday August 18, 2010, 11:00 pm
They're thin on the ground locally, but i'd vote against them regardless. Of course, I voted for a Green rather than Obama.
 

Nancy L (141)
Thursday August 19, 2010, 6:20 am
Frank and Dodd are 2 of the biggest reasons we need term limits. Both are mega crooks and have taken advantage of taxpayers for years.
 

Locan Sleeping-Squirrel (209)
Thursday August 19, 2010, 12:10 pm
Thanks, but NO THANKS, Barney.
 
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