Seriously, I was kind of hoping that Steve Israel would stick around and do another stint as the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chairman. Best damned DCCC chair a Republican could want. I mean, it takes real skill to lose thirteen more House seats four years after your party lost sixty-three.
PS: SPOILER WARNING: the Democrats aren’t taking back Congress in 2016. Either house. Reps. Israel and McDermott might have stuck around if they thought that the Democrats would at least get the Senate back…
ATF Director Todd Jones, who is resigning at the end of the month, angered Democrats last week when he backed down from a controversial plan to ban certain types of armor-piercing ammunition for AR-15 rifles amid pressure from Republicans and gun rights groups.
The bullet ban was handled “sloppily,” Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.) said Friday, but he is hoping to revive the plan under the new ATF director.
…which would be an excellent reason to hold off on a new BATFE director until Barack Obama can find one that thinks that the US Constitution needs to be followed instead of evaded. Which will probably be ‘never,’ but that’s fine: BATFE is one of those unholy amalgamations of various programs that have been epoxied together and called a bureau. Break it up into its constituent parts, hand over the relevant ones to other agencies, and let the carcass of the rest bloat in the sun, is what I say.
Oh, there’s a certain reputation that clings to the Democrats about their willingness to let dead people vote, but that’s a different power dynamic entirely. This is something else:
Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel told reporters Wednesday he is “frustrated” that his party’s outside groups have not supported House Democrats on television in the final stretch of the midterms.
Many big Democratic players — such as environmental and labor groups — focused their financial firepower on the Senate, which is in play this cycle. This has caused increased anxiety among House Democrats, who also face losses in 2014.
House Democrats must pick up a net of 17 seats to win control of the House, but it’s increasingly likely the party will lose seats in that chamber this cycle. For the first time, Israel made a public plea to outside groups for their financial help.
Note that I am utterly unsympathetic to the argument that the OWS movement is merely not being utterly hostile to any random anti-Semites stopping by. Personally, I take the position that if your organizational criteria requires you to not show the door to anyone who starts ranting about how the International Zionist conspiracy runs the banking system, then you’redoing it wrong. It’s nice to see one of the two major political parties agree with me; it astounds me that it’s not both.
Back in the day, it was pretty strongly alleged that the Democratic party unceremoniously threatened Rep. Steve Israel in order to keep him from running against appointed Senator Kirsten Gillibrand in her primary this year. Strenuously denied at the time, of course – remember, this was before the Sestak and Romanoff scandals erupted – but plausible, very plausible. Both the threats (loss of donor money, active campaigning by the President, deliberate organizing of the African-American vote against Israel), and the promises (the gratitude of the Democratic party for not going up against a weak candidate, and maybe even a promotion to the inner circle). And after all of that, oddly enough: Steve Israel didn’t run for Senate.
And now look here: “Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Friday named Representative Steve Israel of New York to lead the House Democratic campaign committee into the next election, putting him in charge of the party’s effort to regain the majority it lost in November.” Which certainly qualifies as “inner circle” – and which keeps him from even thinking about a Senate bid until 2016. Guess the Democrats learned their lesson from the Blanche Lincoln debacle: lock up the primary challengers early, and all that. A little too smart for my liking: I prefer the Democrats to have the kind of thinking that causes them to keep the same House leadership team that threw away sixty-two seats and counting. Continue reading Rep. Steve Israel gets his payoff.
The White House decided to make personally certain that an unelected New York Senator with publicly-stated views on gun control and immigration contrary to the rest of her party was not challenged in the primary by a solidly-liberal Representative who is well respected in his caucus. This has caused a good deal of tension in the rest of the New York delegation:
WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama’s effort to squelch plans by a New York congressman to run in next year’s Democratic primary against Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand apparently succeeded.
In fact, the president’s call to Rep. Steve Israel asking him not to run may rank as a pivotal moment in Gillibrand’s effort to hang onto her seat.
But Obama’s phone call also has angered members of the state’s congressional delegation, who see it as heavy-handed intrusion reminiscent of Tammany Hall party machine politics.
The behind-the-scenes maneuvering has the makings of a political soap opera with some lawmakers feeling pressured to endorse early, some dissatisfied with Gillibrand’s views on key liberal issues, and some too upset to even break bread together.
To begin with, this isn’t ‘Tammany Hall Machine politics.’ Your standard Tammany Hall machine politician would have sneered at the way that the internal conflict between the state and federal power structures ended up in the local papers. As a practical hint: you don’t start this sort of thing by telling a politician not to run. You start by seducing his supporters away, then have them tell him not to run. Sure, it costs more – but it also avoids newspaper articles with headlines like ‘Confusion, conflict mar Gillibrand’s run.’ Continue reading The President roils the NY-SEN race.
The three House Democrats who are talking openly of challenging Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) next year joined together Wednesday to tout gun control legislation that they said highlights the appointed Senator’s shaky record on the issue.
Reps. Carolyn McCarthy, Carolyn Maloney and Steve Israel teamed up for a Capitol Hill news conference on the No Fly, No Buy Act, which would bar people from buying guns if their names are on the Transportation Security Administration’s “no fly list” of suspected terrorists.
While none would confirm that they are running for Senate, their willingness to appear together and tweak Gillibrand suggested that they could put together a potent coalition if one decides to run against her and the others endorse the challenger.
The first reason is, Gillibrand’s getting a really quick lesson in the field of Just How Much Heresy Is Acceptable For A Democratic Senator. Answer? Not all that much. Certainly not when it comes to the field of gun rights, which should be a comfort to whichever GOP candidates we run next year*. As for the second reason… imagine how these three particular Musketeers are going to act towards each other next year if it ends up that Gillibrand is as vulnerable as Murtha or Dodd. They’ll make Kilkenny Cats look like symbiotes.
That’d be dumb of them? So would accidentally sending your primary opponent an inadvertent notification that you’re going to be an obstructionist. So what’s your point?
*Two Senate elections in NY, thanks to the replacement. I can’t imagine that the NRA’s going to be so chintzy as give to one and not the other. Even if the other is facing “Do what you have to do” Schumer.