Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Gottlieb on Jane vs. Turner

Here is our old friend Marty (registration required) talking about Jane Mitakides who is up against Congressman Mike Turner on Nov. 2:
Overarching all that is her talk about, of all things, Turner's voting record. She deals with it statistically, noting a study which showed him siding with the majority of legislators in his party 98 percent of the time. She sometimes refers to this as siding with the notoriously right-wing Tom DeLay (Republican majority leader of the House, from Texas) 98 percent of the time. Actually, their agreements would be a little less frequent. But, anyway, to the degree they vote alike, especially on big issues, it's because they're both supporting President George W. Bush. He's the one driving things.

In truth, Turner isn't a DeLay Republican. DeLay is always trying to pull the party to the right. Turner isn't.

But nobody will be surprised that Turner generally supports Bush. (Exceptions: Turner opposes partially privatizing Social Security, and he voted to extend unemployment benefits when the party leadership was opposed.)

Turner's response to the Mitakides' charge is partly that high support of a party is the norm in Congress, even to the point that Strickland himself is over 90 percent by the count of Congressional Quarterly. So is Rep. David Hobson, the congressman from Springfield, who is often thought of as a moderate among Republicans (having, for example, supported abortion rights and a minimum-wage increase).

When pressed on the issue, Mitakides turns out to be complaining about the prevailing hyperpartisanship. She calls herself a blue dog Democrat. The Blue Dogs (capital B, capital D) are the most conservative Democrats. She's not ready for the capital letters.

She thinks the public wants relatively nonpartisan voters in Congress. She points to Hall, who diverged from the Democratic mainstream on abortion and gay rights.

But can Turner be painted as a hyperpartisan? He was twice elected (and once defeated) as mayor of a Democratic city. He defeated a Tom DeLay Republican for the congressional nomination in 2002. He has nudged the party gently to engage in urban issues, which is something like nudging it toward the center. So this handle is a little slippery.
First of all, don't let anybody be fooled by Jane's attempt to paint herself as some sort of conservative Democrat. Does she sound like Zell Miller? Or Joe Lieberman even? Check out the Jane On... series in the sidebar for an assessment of just how "conservative" Jane really is... She is liberal on healthcare issues. Liberal on defense and veterans issues. Liberal on energy and conservation issues. Liberal on education issues. And, yes, liberal on economic issue such as taxes and jobs.

Martin appropriately takes Jane to task for trying to paint Turner as a partisan. Turner, unlike most politicans, does what he feels is in the best interests of his constituency and his voting record evidence of that assertion. It should be pointed out that Jane received support from the uber-liberal blog The Daily Kos. Kos had some particularly nasty things to say about those Americans who died in Fallujah. While she eventually did the right thing in that case (she pulled her advertising from his site), she didn't condemn him or his views (references to the incident have been removed from her site). That is the kind of Democrat that Jane is in my opinion. The effort to malign Turner as a partisan is the typical sort of projection that Michael Moore Democrats like Jane have been engaging in this campaign season.

Mr. Gottlieb gets bonus points on this one...


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