Calling out the obstructionist Republicans but campaigning for obstructionist Dems

Calling Out The Obstructionists

by digby

Good stuff:
President Barack Obama used his Saturday radio address to slam Republican “obstruction” in Congress, accusing the GOP of standing in the way of job-saving economic programs and saying, “Gridlock as a political strategy is destructive to the country.”

Obama unleashed a torrent of criticism against the Republicans – accusing them of blocking votes on bills that would save jobs for teachers, lift a $75 million liability cap for oil leaks like the BP spill and help people buy their first home.

“All we ask for is a simple up or down vote. That’s what the American people deserve. Just like they deserve an up or down vote on legislation that would hold oil companies accountable for the disasters they cause – a vote that is also being blocked by the Republican leadership in the Senate,” Obama said. “We should remove that cap. But the Republican leadership won’t even allow a debate or a vote.”

I like it. Unfortunately, the White House is also still actively intervening in primaries to help Blue Dogs who routinely join that Republican obstructionist agenda, so it's hard to know how sincere those words are. Howie posted a depressing piece about the Democratic party activating the OFA in Utah's primary on behalf of incumbent Jim Matheson, a disgusting Blue Dog who even refused to attend the Democratic Convention because he didn't want to be see in his party's company. (Of course Obama embraced Joe Lieberman who went even further and addressed the Republican convention, so obviously there's no penalty for being publicly disloyal to the party even when it has nothing to do with policy.)

There is a progressive opponent in Matheson's district, Claudia Wright, who surprised the establishment by forcing Matheson into a runoff. And they are going after her as if she's the one who would vote against the president on health care reform when it was Matheson who did just that. Howie wrote:

OFA head Mitch Stewart, who reports to conservative Democratic shill Tim Kaine at the DNC-- a bastion of people power under Howard Dean, now, once again, a failing cog in the corporate machine-- sent out an emergency letter to Utah Democrats begging Obama to help save the mangy ass of anti-healthcare, anti-Choice, anti-gay, anti-environment, anti-reform corporatist and Blue Dog Jim Matheson, whose support has been crumbling as Tuesday's primary nears. With Claudia Wright surging and Matheson panicking, OFA asked Democrats to forget Mathson's putrid voting record-- not putrid by GOP standards; he's one of the original Boehner Boys-- and remember that there was one vote sometime this year where Matheson voted with Obama:
President Obama needs us to elect strong allies who will help him continue his fight for change. This week, one of those allies-- Utah Rep. Jim Matheson-- needs our help. The primary election is June 22nd, so there's no time to lose. [Please kick me if I vote for Obama in 2012, even if the GOP runs Palin or Romney.]

Rep. Jim Matheson stood with the President in support of the Recovery Act in 2009-- creating or saving 25,000 jobs in Utah and helping millions more around the country. He fought hard for the recovery-- and was a major reason we all won this huge victory for families and small businesses. Now, we need your help to fight for him.

Can you help us get the word out? With our Neighbor to Neighbor tool, you can easily make calls from home to voters in Utah's 2nd Congressional District.
That OFA message is terribly misleading. The stimulus was the only vote Matheson took in support of the president's agenda. This makes it sound as if he's been a stalwart supporter and it's just ... a lie. If there's one thing we should demand of the White House and Party if they intervene in primaries (which they shouldn't do in the first place) it's that they don't pull that crap on their own voters. They can make the case that Matheson has seniority or that he's more likely to beat the Republican if that's what they think, but this is really dishonest. He is not an ally of the president unless the president is ready to concede that he's working behind the scenes with Republicans to tank his own agenda. (Well ...)

I hope the membership of the OFA is savvy enough to do their own research although you can't blame them for trusting the Party and the White House not to lie to them in quite this way. Who would guess that they would try to elect someone who repeatedly votes with the Republicans over someone who will vote with the Democratic majority most of the time? To anyone who doesn't subscribe to conspiracy theories, it just doesn't make sense.

Howie says all you can say about this:

Defeating conservative corporate shills like Jim Matheson on Tuesday and John Barrow next month will help send Democrats in Congress a message they absolutely must hear to survive. Please send that message here.
Keep in mind that the White House has only managed to beat back one primary challenge in which they inserted themselves: Lincoln. They haven't had as much luck with others. So it is possible.