Ellen Tauscher Is Disappointed In Bloggers

by: Chris Bowers

Tue Mar 03, 2009 at 23:38

Here is a message I received today from Ellen Tauscher's office. The asterisks are mine:

Hi Chris,

There's been much written about HR 1106, especially in the blogosphere, and most of it is misinformed.

Congresswoman Tauscher has worked hard during the past few weeks to improve HR 1106 by making it more progressive*, more comprehensive and more effective. Bankruptcy is not a solution to the enormous foreclosure crisis. Congresswoman Tauscher has worked with Speaker Pelosi** and Rep. Zoe Lofgren to include a central tenet of President Obama's housing plan - a loan modification program - in the bill. They agreed.

Instead of passing legislation that would help 30,000 homeowners file for bankruptcy, Congresswoman Tauscher wants a real, accessible loan modification plan in place so that millions of homeowners can work with lenders to rewrite their mortgage payments without declaring bankruptcy, which is ruinous and painful. Earlier this morning, she was on the phone with a few lawmakers who had opposed the rule to HR 1106 to persuade them to support the rule when it comes to a vote on Wednesday.***

She is not taking directions from "the banks"; she has not even met with them.****

It's disappointing to work with so many bloggers who count themselves as progressives, but won't listen when a pragmatic progressive is trying to improve legislation. In the end, it doesn't matter. Congresswoman Tauscher's constituents enjoy her pragmatic style and the results she has delivered in seven terms in Congress; they appreciate what she's doing here.

You're picking the wrong fight with the wrong woman.*****

OK. Explanation of the asterisks in the extended entry.

Chris Bowers :: Ellen Tauscher Is Disappointed In Bloggers
* More progressive? This might be the first time in history when New Democrats and Blue Dogs teamed up to make Nancy Pelosi more progressive:

Tauscher's New Democrat Coalition teamed with their natural allies in the Blue Dog Coalition to impose 10 significant changes, including requirements that bankruptcy judges use federal guidelines to determine the fair market value of a home and that modified loans must be "unaffordable and not just underwater" to prevent wealthy homeowners from taking advantage of the process, according to a widely distributed e-mail from Adam Pase, executive director of the New Democrat Coalition.

** Worked with Pelosi? More like made her buckle, and then bragged about it to The Concern Troll, I mean, The Politco:

In a private meeting last week, Speaker Nancy Pelosi laid down a challenge to her moderate members who were complaining about a provision in the housing bill. Stand up and air your grievances, she said.

A handful of those moderate members did just that, taking to the microphone to gripe that the provision, which would allow bankruptcy judges to rework loans for homeowners, needed to be more restrictive.

Then a surprising thing happened. Pelosi, who disagreed with this critique, huddled at the side of the room with her top deputies - and then buckled. She suspended consideration of the housing bill so more thought could be put into the bankruptcy item.(...)

"It shows we have bench strength, and it shows we can flex," said California Rep. Ellen O. Tauscher, who chairs the New Democrat Coalition and played a central role in negotiations over the bankruptcy bill.

That is an interesting definition of "working with" someone. While I am sure it is a  technically correct usage of the term, since both Pelosi and Tauscher draw salaries from the House of Representatives, much of the work was done in an oppositional manner.

*** Of course she is working to get people to vote for the rule on HR 1106 tomorrow. Without a new rule on HR 1106, Tauscher's new deal on the legislation can't come up for a vote.

**** Didn't meet with the banking industry? Adam Pase, already referenced in these asterisks, is a former lobbyist for the banking industry, and he works out of Ellen Tauscher's office. Or, at least Pase shares a phone line with her office, and is clearly sending out emails on this legislation.

***** Now we are picking the fight? Last I checked, it was Tauscher and her allies who delayed the bill last week, not us bloggers. Those of us writing about it were with the leadership and the original bill.

As I already wrote earlier tonight, I can live with the compromise that went through. However, when a former lobbyist for the banking industry is distributing memos from your office about the concessions New Democrats and Blue Dogs won after delaying the legislation, don't tell me that you are working with Speaker Pelosi, without any input from the banking industry, to make a piece of legislation more progressive.

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Ellen Tauscher .. (4.00 / 13)
is really someone we need to primary out of Congress .. she is a disgrace

AccountabilityNOW (4.00 / 12)
This is someone they should run a primary against. She's in a liberal district that voted heavily for Obama, but she's watering down important legislation. On top of that she sounds like bush with the whole "bring it on" attitude in her letter. Replacing Tauscher with a better democrat would send a good message to the corporate democrats in congress.

[ Parent ]
She's not Bush (4.00 / 2)
She introduced a bill to end "Don't Ask, Don't Tell". Not that that's a very controversial stance to hold. That said, her 85% Progressive Punch score just isn't high enough. That's down in Dianne Feinstein territory.

[ Parent ]
Nice they're paying attention anyway. :) (4.00 / 10)

Pelosi's reward (4.00 / 8)
For considering their views and acceding to their wishes is to be made to look weak in the Hill's biggest gossip rag.  Is that part of her "pragmatic style" then too?  I'm sure Pelosi will be extra eager to listen to the New Dems next time.  

Ruinous and painful, huh? (4.00 / 7)

I'm going to get through this without screaming or banging my head into the desk....Rep. Tauscher voted YEA for the ruinous, painful bankruptcy bill. She helped make it that way, she should know.

I am so sick of being talked down to by idiots.  

she is awful (4.00 / 9)
She is a disgrace and has no business in congress. And fuck her staff for repeatedly lying to bloggers during this.

She really, really needs to be primaried. Winning is certainly possible, but it would be worth it for no other reason than to make her miserable existence as painful as can be.

On twitter: @BobBrigham

What I hate the most is.... (4.00 / 7)
...not being lied to. I assume that happens often. It's being lied to with contradictory evidence in plain, open sight. I guess we have an answer to how dumb they think we are.  

[ Parent ]
what Tauscher thinks of the netroots and blogs (4.00 / 8)
So let's say Tauscher's campaign manager said:

   Only a month has passed since the Dems took back the House and Senate, and the divisive efforts of the netroots to rid the party of elected officials they don't agree with has geared up in full force. Instead of doing what most good Democrats should be doing right now, which is working on getting our Freshman members of Congress re-elected in 2008, increasing our majorities in the House and Senate, and electing a Democratic President, the netroots are targeting sitting Democrats for defeat. That's right. Instead of focusing on beating Republicans, these vocal Democratic activists are focusing on beating Democrats.

   Last year, their misguided efforts were primarily concentrated on now re-elected Sen. Joe Lieberman, although they also targeted various "moderate" (bad word for the netroots) members of Congress in their primaries, such as Congresswoman Jane Harman and Congressman Adam Schiff. Their newest target: Congresswoman Ellen Tauscher, D-Alamo.

Ouch, pretty bad right? Not if you're Ellen Tauscher who has paid Katie Merrill $115,206 since that quote, that was so counterproductive it resulted in the following backlash from bloggers:

Kos, "It's not surprising that this writer, Ellen Tauscher campaign manager Katie Merrill, would try to head off what will be a vicious fight for this seat in a primary. Unlike her apparent hero Joe Lieberman, Tauscher won't get a "do-over" if she loses."

Blue in Colorado, "How stupid can this woman be? A campaign manager-political operative needlessly and untruthfully insulting a several million strong group in her own party."

zot23, " I don't even know who Tauscher was 5 mins ago, but now I support a primary challenge against her.  This whiney-ass boo-hoo letter makes me think she's afraid of a populist net-roots primary challenge for a reason."

Emetbloom, "I can tell you that there is significant antipathy towards Tauscher in both the El Cerrito and the Lamorinda Democratic Clubs.  I can also tell you that a lot of folks in CoCo County are upset because Tauscher belittles people who have challenged her vote on the war, has actively supported a Republican over active Dems for Community College Board, and in general is scornful towards people who don't agree with her.  Also, her support of Filson didn't exactly win her any supporters among Dems in her district."

deaniac83, "Ellen Tauscher did her darnest to push Jerry McNerney - now the victorious Congressman from California's 11th CD (defeating Richard Pombo) out in the Democratic primary.  You know why?  Because her longtime donor Steve Filson was running.  Tauscher put her nose in where it didn't belong (I know this because but I can't reveal the exact happenings or the source) to try to force Jerry out, and she was not nice about it.  We had to trounce DLC and Tauscher favorite Filson in the primaries 52-25% and then go on to beat Pombo."

DavidW, "She was dragged kicking and screaming to drop her support for the Iraq War, and to start standng up against Bush. I'm in her district and I attended the district "town hall" meetings when she spoke about the war. Though she wasn't an active proponent of the war, she didn't represent her district when she voted for it, and it took her forever before she backed away from her support (via votes) for the war"

hartford for lamont, "by invoking Lieberman, a guy who lost the Connecticut Dem vote, all that Katie Merrill is doing here is showing how ignorant she is about what being a good Democrat is all about."

machopicasso, "According to Tauscher's campaign manager, it was a "misguided effort" to challenge an incumbent who was willing to leave the Democratic party in order to retain his Senate seat, campain with Republicans, and draw substantial support from the White House. That's a totally different ballgame. Quite frankly, I'm surprised Merrill wants to place Tauscher and Lieberman in the same category. The latter already lost his primary; maybe Tauscher isn't all that committed to the party, herself."

electricgrendel, "She picked this fight.  It was her insufferable and useless "business friendly" Democratic model that helped greatly in getting the Democratic message diluted to the point of uselessness.  Not only that, but if I am not mistaken it was Ellen Tauscher who went out boasting about how much power she'd gotten because so many of the newly elected Dems were "conservative". As for the press flak's whine that we should be doing X, Y and Z so long as none of that involves rooting out conservative/business-friendly Democrats who make it impossible for us to deliver on a populist message, the only thing I have to say is that there are a whole lot of us.  There are a lot of fingers on a whole lot of keyboards and there are a whole lot of small wallets out there ready to open.  Don't worry about us trying make sure that the freshman get elected and that we secure the White House in 08."

tmo, "Lots of Dems in the district don't like her and don't consider her to be on their side. The general wisdom in the district is that she's out of touch with her constituents and is not interested in being in touch; she knows what's best and the voters should really just stay quiet."

Giodude, "As I recall, she got really upset when the legislature unveiled the new maps. She was upset her moderate voting record would be a liability in her safe democratic seat."

Neutron, "The chickens are coming home to roost for Lobbyistloving Tauscher."

brittain33, "And here we have "business-friendly" Ellen Tauscher, representing a district substantially more liberal than her. No wonder she didn't want this outcome. It reduces her ability to be a power player in the middle, who also happens to be exceptionally valuable to lobbyists. If she plays her moderation as a point of principle and not a way to get money from lobbyists and nicknames from George W. Bush, she'll do well. If she sells out, by all means, primary her ass."

RevJoe, "And Tauscher should be very, very afraid. She has been out of touch with her constituents for quite some time. She is definitely out of touch with her party."

Faber, "This county is home to a large number of technical professionals;  I'm one of them.  Times aren't as bad as they were in that business, but they're not what they were in 2000. Ellen Tauscher has been in bed with ITAA since the get-go, and has sold out this constituency every chance she got. It isn't a matter of ideological litmus tests or "values" issues.  Tauscher has simply done a rotten job of representing the issues of her constituents.  I will be working actively on a primary challenge for 2008."

Big Tent Democrat, "The Netroots does not demand ideological purity. The Netroots demands the Democrats fight for Democrats, and that ideological disputes be resolved within our Big Tent. Tauscher's meeting with Bush undercut our Dem leadership. That was Bush's goal and Tauscher played along, just as Joe Lieberman always did. But it is more fun to believe there is an ideological test in the Netroots. Pure malarkey in the best tradition of Lieberman."

AustinSF, "Congresswoman Tauscher serves as National Vice-Chair of the Democratic Leadership Council, an organization that is widely regarded as the intellectual center of the Democratic Party. DLC > them's fightin words around these Dkos parts."

mackellanpatrick, "I live in Ellen Tauscher's district, and I agree that a primary challenge would be good for the district, good for the Democrats, good for democracy, and, frankly, good for Ellen Tauscher.  She seems to live in a gilded bubble and has gone unchallenged for too long, which isn't good for anyone in leadership. The district has truly changed underneath her and become much more liberal.  And her campaign manager is just frankly an ass.  If you're going to create enemies, at least be smart enough to be on the right side of history and don't ramble on with "dying entrenched dinosaur overlord" kinds of things when new tools and communities arise with fresh voices.  A real choice for Democrats in the 10 would be a good thing, and maybe this time ALL democrats would rally around and support whoever the actual winner was, and not start their own party if they didn't like the results."

michael1104, "I seriously cannot wait to see her go! It is going to be soooo much fun challenging her and making her defend her right-wing corporatist stances against a progressive Democrat who would better represent the district."

Pthy Cherub, "Nevertheless, she deserves a primary challenger that speaks to the values of the district and not her Liebermanesque view of how the world ought to be.  Maybe just maybe, she failed to notice her neighbor district brough done Pombo with a candidate that beat the establisment candidate in the district.  Some people have to learn lessons by actually getting in trouble rather than showing leadership and evolving when evidence says their political worldview is undergoing a dynamic shift.  She wants to "learn" the hardway - didn't Joementum start out by poo pooing the netroots too."

Nemesis22, "If Tauscher wants to avoid a primary from the emboldened left of the party, having her campaign manager whine about the indignity of being challenged by the great unwashed & comparing her favorably to Joe Lieberman isn't a good start."

And finally, a letter:

Dear Congresswoman Tauscher:

Today I read your campaign manager disrespecting the netroots Democrats, whining about attacks on pseudo-centrists Lieberman, Harman, and now apparently you.  "D-Alamo?"  Please.

You want to pick a fight with the netroots?  Fine.  It's on.

You've just turned another netroot constituent into a political enemy. 

See you in two years


But did Tauscher's team backtrack or double-down?  Counterproductive Katie responds:

On the contrary, my post far from backfired. In fact, the critical responses to my post on CMR and on different blogs prove my point.

On twitter: @BobBrigham

[ Parent ]
Well (4.00 / 2)

Only a month has passed since the Dems took back the House and Senate, and the divisive efforts of the netroots to rid the party of elected officials they don't agree with has geared up in full force. Instead of doing what most good Democrats should be doing right now, which is working on getting our Freshman members of Congress re-elected in 2008, increasing our majorities in the House and Senate, and electing a Democratic President, the netroots are targeting sitting Democrats for defeat.

happens because most of us are liberals and vote Democratic because that is the party with the liberals.  But there's nothing attractive about the Party per se.  Having a 'D' next to your name doesn't mean you'll be supported.

I'm not a 'good Democrat.'  Never claimed to be.

[ Parent ]
This is going to sound trite (4.00 / 2)
But I really, really can't stand her nasal drone and imperious manner, and the dismissive way that she waves off progressive Dems whose time has just expired while speaking on the floor of the house, like they were vagrant urchins begging a rich matron for money on her front stoop while entertaining guests--which, I suppose, in her mind she is, and they are.

An incredibly unappealing person and DINO.

"Those who stand for nothing fall for anything...Mankind are forever destined to be the dupes of bold & cunning imposture" -- Alexander Hamilton

[ Parent ]
Call her? (0.00 / 0)
So why not pick of the phone and try giving her office a call?  See what they say in response to your factual disagreements.  It's worth a shot, if only to deter BS in the future.  

Tauscher's office lied to Bowers (4.00 / 4)
And lied to Jane Hamsher since last Friday night.

On twitter: @BobBrigham

[ Parent ]
"Pragmatic" is beltway code for selling out to corporate interests and RW pressure (4.00 / 11)
They really need to come up with another euphemism for it. "Bipartisan" is obviously a non-starter, along with "sensible", "reasonable" and "consensus-building".

How about "Proctological", "Invertibratinous", or perhaps "Jello-like"?

I mean, it helps to name something after what it really means, no?

"Those who stand for nothing fall for anything...Mankind are forever destined to be the dupes of bold & cunning imposture" -- Alexander Hamilton

It's the last sentence that gives it away (4.00 / 7)
First they make clearly disingenuous but allegedly sincere protestations that this compromise was forged for good reasons and with progressive aims in sight. Which is bullshit, but standard bullshit from the DLC.

But then there's this:

You're picking the wrong fight with the wrong woman.

Now the mask is lifted. There is a clear streak of burning outrage at the temerity of these 'bloggers' who wouldn't shut the fuck up and let her get on with watering down the bill and pleasing the banking industry.

Well, fuck her right back. She clearly doesn't understand the blogosphere if she thinks elitism and obstinancy is going to win us over. She just made a challenge. She can expect a counter-challenge.

Forgotten Countries - a foreign policy-focused blog

I don't know Tauscher... (0.00 / 0)
...but it's possible that by the postponement and inclusion of House "moderates" in revising the legislation Pelosi has inoculated herself from accusations that Democrats just rammed it through without permitting any dissent.

Like I said, I don't know Tauscher. But the changes that were agreed to in the draft legislation sound reasonable. They spell out one or two additional guidelines that sound like common sense to me--I suppose they were assumed in the original. The changes perhaps make the bill more palatable to "moderates" when it reaches the Senate. On this deal I give Tauscher the benefit of the doubt.

It's interesting that in the wake of this it was announced yesterday that Tauscher will introduce the legislation that repeals don't ask don't tell. I hope the language of that bill will prove her assertion that she is, unequivocally, a progressive.

what do they have to do with eachother? (0.00 / 0)
It's interesting that in the wake of this it was announced yesterday that Tauscher will introduce the legislation that repeals don't ask don't tell. I hope the language of that bill will prove her assertion that she is, unequivocally, a progressive.

That doesn't prove she is a progressive, if anything it proves that we need more troops because of the Iraq war she supported.

But regardless, it is possible to not hate gays and still be extremely regressive on economic issues. In fact, the most regressive position economically is to not discriminate against gays to screw over everyone equally.

On twitter: @BobBrigham

[ Parent ]
So? Obama's record on personal bankruptcy SUX (4.00 / 1)
Rep. Tauscher voted YEA for the ruinous, painful bankruptcy bill. She helped make it that way, she should know.

I am so sick of being talked down to by idiots.

Talk to your President. In '05, when the banks and credit companies wanted to be able to butt-fuck creditors, then-Sen Obama voted (in committee) to prevent the removal of the most draconian provisions of the bill, then showboated on the Floor vote, voting against the bill he'd approved in committee.

Right, Mr. Sirota?

truth is truth, accountability is accountability. (4.00 / 1)
If someone better wants to run against Obama in 12 I will look. Its not as if The President of the United States hasn't been held accountable here. President Barack Obama has been roasted on these pages. It isnt as if the actual actions of people only matter some of the time. Elections have consequences. Votes have consequences, even in committee. Votes on the floor to derail progressive legislation have consequences.

I think we can find support volunteer for and fund a progressive challenger to Rep. Tauscher. I have no doubt it will have consequences. The American people demanded change. Not by replacing Republicans with Democrats, but by replacing people who work against the interests of Americans  and the polices supported by the American people. They wanted change from people who have lobbyists working out of their offices, this last election was a triumph of voters who want accountability.

Elections have consequences.


The government has a defect: it's potentially democratic. Corporations have no defect: they're pure tyrannies. -Chomsky

[ Parent ]
Well, At Least She Doesn't Piss On Your Leg And Tell You It's Raining (4.00 / 9)
She pisses on your leg and tells you that you're pissing on your leg.

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3


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