Sunday morning I was bemoaning the miserable state of the House Democratic caucus leadership because progressives seemed to be leaving the field and allowing the worst corporate shills to run away with everything. A Democratic House leadership run by Steny Hoyer, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Steve Israel means that other than on social issues, the two Houses caucuses are essentially equally bad and that corruption has been institutionalized above any kind of principle of any set of values.
I was on the phone with the manager of a congressional campaign who told me the DCCC never got involved because– and this is an exact quote– “you get blackballed when you don’t use their high-priced media people and their pollsters; they all want kickbacks.” I hear it a lot, from candidates, staffers and members. The DCCC stinks to high heaven of the kind of corruption one expects from Republicans and the revolving door between DCCC staffers and consulting firms rolling in cash contributed as much to the stupendous failure this year to win back the House as did gerrymandering and Steve Israel’s attempt to stock the caucus with conservative Blue Dogs and New Dems who would support his personal career trajectory and that of his corrupt allies. I ended my call with that campaign manager to take a call from a congressional chief of staff telling me I left something important out of my post, namely that Barbara Lee, one of Congress’ most outstanding and principled members was running against one of the most corrupt low-lifes in the leadership, sleazy Queens County boss and chairman of theChamber of Commerce wing of the Democratic Party, the New Dems, Joe Crowley.