New Hampshire: The Jeanne Shaheen Problem

by: Matt Stoller

Mon Jul 30, 2007 at 11:58


When I came into politics in 2002, I thought that the only problem was that the media was a bit broken, and that Bush was in charge of our country.  As I've looked deeper into Democratic Party politics, it's become clear that political discourse in this country is very sick.  Today's episode is Michael O'Hanlon and Ken Pollack, both 'liberal' foreign policy experts talking about how the surge is working.  I have a friend who used to work for Pollack in 2001, and she's embarrassed to have ever been associated with him.  As Glenn Greenwald brilliantly shows just how dishonest these people are, and yet they still get on CNN and have cushy think tank jobs.  Even Joe Klein whacks them hard today to his credit.

There's another side to this problem, though.  O'Hanlon and Pollack are called to testify before Congress as experts, and many foreign policy staffers rely on them for guidance.  This is the unseen influence they have, even when they are not on CNN.  This is because our candidates bear little accountability for their support of right-wing politics, and we support them.  That needs to stop, and it needs to stop with people like Jeanne Shaheen.

Matt Stoller :: New Hampshire: The Jeanne Shaheen Problem
Patrick Hynes and Eyeon08 pointed me today to this series of videos on Jeanne Shaheen, front-runner for the Democratic nomination in New Hampshire's Senatorial bid.  Shaheen is the DSCC favorite in the race, though she hasn't jumped in, and

But these three videos are instructive as to the broad sweep of her ideology.  Here's her statement supporting the war.

Here's her statement supporting the Bush tax cuts.

And here's her statement standing with Bush on national security and the war on terrorism.

There's an aggressive Draft Shaheen movement in New Hampshire, and former party Chair Kathy Sullivan is defending Shaheen in the comments of BlueHampshire.

I suspect that the Senate Republican caucus has someone on staff who is working internet sites, like Wikipedia and Youtube, to undermine Democratic candidates. It also is possible that it is someone on Sununu's campaign.  Who else would have kept copies of the 2002 NH debates?

As I keep reminding people, there were people willing to commit felonies to elect John Sununu in 2002; they will throw in the kitchen sink to keep him in office in 2008.  If Sununu loses, the last Republican left standing in NH is Judd Gregg, and then you will have at least three incumbent  officials (Lynch, Hodes and CSP) who would be great candidates, not to mention other potential candidates who would match up well against Gregg.

So, expect more interesting developments; the Republicans will try to interfere with the Democratic primary, no matter who runs. They will do their best to set the candidates for the Democratic nomination and their supporters against each other, in the hopes that a divisive primary will encourage supporters of the defeated candidate(s) not to vote for the nominee.

I respect Kathy, and I respect elwood at BlueHampshire's defense of Shaheen, which focuses on her Kerry-like attack on the war in 2004.  The problem for progressives is that her record is pretty clear.  She's against a progressive fiscal policy and she supports Bush's approach to national security, even if she's turned against the war.  I don't really know what to do about that, or if there's anything that can be done.  It looks to me like Shaheen is a somewhat weak candidate, but that won't be clear until the general.

Shaheen looks good now because she is a generic Democrat, but she will look worse when these statements are associated with her, as they should be.  As a Senator, someone like Shaheen would have no problem letting O'Hanlon and Pollack give her advice.  I mean, she screwed up just like they did, and no one has had any accountability moment in the whole neoconservative framework.  Tax cuts for the rich and war make sense to her, just as they do to O'Hanlon and Pollack. 

Her support for Bush was not soft, she clearly was strongly pro-war and strongly pro-Bush on economic policy.  She was a neoconservative politician, and such instincts do not change easily without a full accounting of how badly she went wrong.  The right-wing blogs are serving a useful purpose here.  There are 'wiki wars' where Shaheen's support of the war are constantly being highlighted, and my guess is that attacking her from the left as a flip-flopper is the chosen strategy by the NRSC (as it is with Al Franken).

Anyway, I'm not going to pretend like Shaheen is a terrible choice, as she is much better than Sununu.  But New Hampshire has the opportunity to elect a progressive fighter, a Carol Shea Porter-type.  We don't have to accept an establishment choice whose instincts are neoconservative, someone who will have to be lobbied to not listen to O'Hanlon and Pollack or who will go on Fox News and say 'hey, I want to talk to all sorts of people, not just liberals', as if Fox News is anything but a GOP propaganda outlet.

Shaheen needs to know that she has some mending of fences to do, and we need to work to help her understand this.  I don't know how else to make that point except to back someone else in the primary.  Thoughts?  Am I off base here?


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Very Interesting (0.00 / 0)
I didn't realize that Shaheen openly supported Iraq and Bush tax cuts.  I favored her as the NH Senate but it may be time for like minded progressives to rethink our choices in this top tier race.

I Know It's NH and all... (0.00 / 0)
...but supporting the Bush tax cuts was just dumb.  To me, that's as critical as the war, as an issue - wars come up as major decisions, and judgment on them should be sound; but tax cuts for the wealthy are right at the core of the day-to-day business of governing and legislating. 

[ Parent ]
Come on... (0.00 / 0)
that was a three second clip likely posted by a Republican Staffer.  I want to hear the context before I damn her.

Blue Hampshire, a progressive online community for the Granite State.

[ Parent ]
Hmm. (4.00 / 2)
Shaheen looks good now because she is a generic Democrat, but she will look worse when these statements are associated with her, as they should be. 

That was a frequest prediction from the left blogosphere with regards to Bob Casey Jr. in Pennsylvania.  Didn't end up hurting him in the slightest.

[Which is not to say that we shouldn't be looking for and supporting a credible progressive in the race.]


not true (0.00 / 0)
That was a frequest prediction from the left blogosphere with regards to Bob Casey Jr. in Pennsylvania.  Didn't end up hurting him in the slightest.

My argument was not that Shaheen will lose, only that she is weaker than she appears.  That said, Shaheen will beat Sununu.  So will Marchand.  The question is what kind of Senator you want from New Hampshire.


[ Parent ]
Obvs (0.00 / 0)
I'd prefer one like Marchand.  My point, though, is that Shaheen may never weaken in the way you predict.

[ Parent ]
She may not (0.00 / 0)
as long as she comes out early and strongly against the Iraq War.

Blue Hampshire, a progressive online community for the Granite State.

[ Parent ]
Incumbent lost (4.00 / 1)
In both cases,(Pennsylvania, and New Hampshire) it was the environment that lost and will cause the incumbent to lose.  Blue State, Hate Bush, Anti-Republican wave, and a lousy republican candidate.  At that point, the Democrats could've ran a jar of mustard and won the Penn Senate seat last cycle and the same goes for new hampshire this cycle.

Our Dime Understanding the U.S. Budget

[ Parent ]
In Pa ... it was the hate of Santorum .. (4.00 / 1)
he barely got 40% of the vote ... but Schumer was afraid .. and Casey is a household name here in PA ... he wanted the "safe" choice .. even though most Dem challengers probably could have beat "Man-on-Dog" Santorum.

[ Parent ]
Paul Hodes (0.00 / 0)
Paul Hodes would make a much better candidate for Senator than Carol Shea-Porter.  Let's hope he gets a look.  As I understand it, Shaheen hasn't fully committed.

John McCain--He's not who you think he is.

won't run (4.00 / 1)
Hodes isn't running, neither is Shea-Porter.  The point I was making is that progressives do well in NH.

[ Parent ]
You are definitely right (0.00 / 0)
We need to challenge in the primaries all democrats who do not have progressive politics, certainly in places where progressives have been elected. This should be an equal priority to electing Democrats in the general election.

Hold the war advocates accountable (0.00 / 0)
The Iraq war is a disaster for America and Iraq.  Minimally we must hold the war's advocates in both the Democratic and Republican parties accountable.  We should do our best to send them into obscure retirement.  This applies to politicians like Shaheen and to national security analysts such as O'Hanlon.

For more on what the Democratic centrists are planning for Iraq and beyond see my CommonDreams post of 13 July -- http://www.commondre... 


Good question (0.00 / 0)
Maybe the answer lies in what we think the Lamont run in CT accomplished. Certainly it didn't push Holy Joe to the left, so that argument doesn't necessarily fly.

But it does seem to me that the shockwaves from Lamont's primary win are still reverberating among Dem "moderate" pols. Some appear to be moving leftward, at least in their rhetoric. I suspect that over the longer run, we're best off accepting the real risks involved with challenges to Bushie Dems and go for the longer-term goal of freeing the liberal/left core of the party to be its true self instead of an overcautious, triangulating shadow of what it used to be.


Don't swallow your ideas about Shaheen from oppo research... (4.00 / 1)
..and 6 year-old sound bites. In 2002, many Democrats were taken in by the fake predictions surrounding both the Iraq War (Saddam has WMD!) and the tax cuts (They''re a job-creation machine!)

It's thoughtful of anonymous people somewhere to dredge up these old videos from the archives of *somebody* who kept all the 2002 debate footage on hand.

"ShaheenSpeaks" and those pointing to his/her videos are not helpful progressives who want to see Democrats make the best choice for 2008. i'm not saying Shaheen is that best choice--I'm just saying that astroturf PR is spoonfed BS.


Thanks, Betsy (0.00 / 0)
Jeanne Shaheen was an extremely progressive candidate, perahps the most progressive in our state's history. Rather than reiterate it all here, check out www.draftshaheen.com.

Pattick Hynes is one of the nastiest right wing bloggers out there.  Matt, why do you listen to him?  Ask yourself why the Republicans are trying to turn the netroots against Jeanne Shaheen.  Republicans were willing to commit felonies to defeat her in '02.  They were calling her a tax machine in '02, and now they've got you calling her a neocon in '07? 

They are petrified she will run, because she is a progressive who is trouncing Sununu by double digits in the polls. they know that if she runs, he loses. 


[ Parent ]
ok (0.00 / 0)
I am under no illusions about Patrick Hynes and his motivations, and it is beneath you to question my integrity or my ability to discern truth from falsehood.

Shaheen should answer for her support of the war, her support of Bush's national security framework, and for her support of Bush's tax cuts.  Her record as governor was wasn't great on economic policy, though she did reject a no new tax pledge in her second term.

It's not that hard to deal with this, she just needs to say she was wrong and has changed her mind.  Lots of us have done that. 


[ Parent ]
I did not question your integrity (0.00 / 0)
I did not question your integrity; I asked why you listen to him. If I sounded harsh, I apologize. This is exactly what these guys like Hynes want - they want us bickering over whether a candidate is progresive enough, so they can divide and conquer.

If Governor Shaheen runs, she will talk about Iraq. There is another youtube video posted with her comments from 2004 on Iraq, which I think will show you that her position in '04 was not what it was in '02. 

I disagree with you on her economic policy record. She worked to reduce insurance rates and utility rates - both consumer friendly. She balanced budgets. She made a commitment to investing in education.

I really encourage you to go the web site and look at her record. She promoted landmark environmental legislation, civil rights legislation and health care initiatives.  She was a very progressive governor.  That is another reason why the Club for Growth, the National Chamber of Commerce and the oil and gas companies backed Sununu. 


[ Parent ]
shaheen (0.00 / 0)
I'm not listening to Hynes, I'm listening to Shaheen's words in 2002.  She should explain her change.  I don't understand why this is so hard to comprehend.

It's fairly irritating to have this unity crap thrown in my face when I'm just asking perfectly legitimate questions.  You have the right to respond if you'd like.


[ Parent ]
Great! (0.00 / 0)
I hope Gov. Shaheen decides to run so you get to ask her these questions yourself!
In the meantime, I hope you check out the draftshaheen website to read about her record, and listen to the youtube videos from draftshaheen, and read debcoop's post below.  Have a great night! 

[ Parent ]
Jeanne Shaheen has changed since 2002 (0.00 / 0)
I don't know the full extent of her changes since 2002 on every issue, so I can't vouchsafe for her specific positons on specific issues.  However when I spent an entire day during the 2004 general election campaign with her in her role as John Kerry's Chair of his campaign,we talked a lot, mostly about the 2004 election but some other things as well..

Her positions were much more anti Bush and anti war by then. I remember that she had concerns withthe effect of the Bush ta cuts by then. Of course many liberals initially supported the was. Remember she first ran when NH was the capital of conservatism in New England. But she was continually reelected as governor in that conservative state.  Her manner is indeed very temperate and low key,soft spoken....but firm. 

But one can't simply use these statements of 2002 as evidence of her present positions.  For that you need to know what her positions are now. See how she's changed and what her values are now.  Given her continuing really high popularity in NH, it would be good to have her come along with us.  She's no Joe Lieberman.

"Incrementalism isn't a different path to the same place, it could be a different path to a different place"
Stoller


[ Parent ]
Considering that . . . (0.00 / 0)
she hasn't announced or made any of her own policy positions clear in nearly six years, this post seems harsh.  She likely will do exactly what you recommend if she decides to run.  If she hasn't changed any of her positions in the past six years, something I very much doubt, then the netroots can go after her.  But this is very premature.

Also, this seems like a post that deserves a Right to Respond from either Draft Shaheen or Shaheen herself.


[ Parent ]
Exactly (0.00 / 0)
That's why we need Steve Marchand. He is one of the new up and coming youth progressives. He has worked as a grassroots organizer. But for the Concord Coalition a grassroots fiscal responsibility group which will play well in New Hampshire. He is part of the new grassroots in New Hampshire. 

John McCain: Beacuse lobbyists should have more power

Marchand won't run if Shaheen runs (0.00 / 0)
Steve Marchand has said he will drop out if Gov. Shaheen enters the race. They actually come from a very similar, socially progressive, fiscally moderate place.

[ Parent ]
But (0.00 / 0)
From what I see Marchand comes from the new grassroots that is taking over the Democratic party and Shaheen comes from the DLC establishment.

I disagree with you're mission Kathy but at least you are working in a grassroots way. If Shaheen does run I hope she hires you as campaign manger. And you run a hugely grassroots campaign.

John McCain: Beacuse lobbyists should have more power


[ Parent ]
Thanks (0.00 / 0)
But I have a full time job already!
Jeanne Shaheen very much comes from the grassroots of the party. She managed Gary Hart's 1984 NH presidential primary campaign, the year that Walter Mondale was the establishment candidate. She may have become a state senator and then successful three term governor, but she never forgot the grassroots. 

[ Parent ]
Marchand? (0.00 / 0)
Marchand is the one from the DLC. In fact, he's been down at their convention in Nashville the last few days, where his long history with the DLC was noted by one of the speakers - Marchand even did a DLC fellowship at one point.

Oh, and in 2004, guess which candidate he supported for president in the Democratic primary? Yes, that's right, Joe Lieberman. Joe Lieberman!

Until he saw that his opening in the primary for Senate was on the left, he always described himself as a fiscal conservative/social moderate, as in he was not strongly for abortion rights.

His dog's name is Reagan, as in Ronald Reagan.


[ Parent ]
Please (0.00 / 0)
It is clear that you do not support Marchand.

Please provide a link to support your assertion of his involvement in the DLC.  As it is, I find it hard to believe that they would be much interested in the support of a Democrat who doesn't even hold an elected office at the state level.

Marchand has made it clear that he considers himself "100% Pro Choice".  So your unsupported claim on that issue is nothing but slander.

As for the "fiscally conservative, socially moderate" claim you make, I'll note you left out environmentally progressive which is the last part of his slogan.  Marchand has a record of enacting strong environmental reforms in his City.

Blue Hampshire, a progressive online community for the Granite State.


[ Parent ]
No problem (0.00 / 0)
This link provides the name of some of the prominent DLC members attending the Nashville convention
http://haroldfordjr2...

Here's another interesting link
http://progressivein...

I'm sure if you call his campaign they'd be proud to tell you all about his involvement with the DLC


[ Parent ]
Your right (4.00 / 1)
I just confirmed that he has been involved with the organization.

He'll also be at the Yearly Kos convention this week.

Blue Hampshire, a progressive online community for the Granite State.


[ Parent ]
Oh (0.00 / 0)
and I suspect his dog was named by his wife, who I believe is a Republican.

Blue Hampshire, a progressive online community for the Granite State.

[ Parent ]
So your username is "granitedem", huh? (4.00 / 1)
How very interesting:

The shenanigans  with Shaheen's Wikipedia profile mentioned in the Concord Monitor came from three accounts with very different agendas.

The earliest of these, Nhdem,  emphasized Shaheen's support (in 2002) for Bush's Iraq policy and his tax cuts. Nhdem's goal seemed to be reducing Shaheen's chance of winning a Democratic primary.  Despite the pseudonym "Nhdem", however, the time pattern of these edits make it more likely that these edits came from the same source as the YouTube account "ShaheenSpeaks", and most likely from the same Washington, DC area computer that added a pointer to ShaheenSpeaks within a day after ShaheenSpeaks went up on YouTube.

Next to appear, "Granitedem" added a lot of material a later contributor identified as lifted straight from the DraftShaheen website. It could just as likely have been lifted from the nearly identical official biography at Harvard's Institute of Politics. It's a pretty common mistake for people who aren't familiar with Wikipedia policies to imagine somebody's "official" biography is an "encyclopedia-quality" source. Wrong--each of its many claims about Shaheen's achievements should be supported by published news stories written from a neutral point of view.

Finally, "Granitestater" attacks Shaheen from a right-wing point of view, claiming that Shaheen broke a no-new-tax pledge she made in 1996 by proposing a sales tax in 2001. I wasn't familiar with this issue at all, but I quickly discovered, using sources online, that during her campaign for governor in 2000 Shaheen made big news by refusing to renew that no-tax pledge.

Granitestater missed those online headlines but did have exotic sources of old oppo research from right-wing think tanks and a Union Leader editorial now long offline.

Granitestater and Nhdem may be the same Washington Republican astroturfer, using different accounts attack Shaheen from right and left.

On a more personal, Dean and Blue Hampshirites, I was thrilled to discover by reading this Blue Hampshire blogpost that the Concord Monitor considers me a "sort of" expert. Woo hoo! I emailed my family and immodestly blogged it as well!

Yours sort-of expertly,
Betsy

Are you the same "Granitedem" researched by Betsy Devine in that comment on the wiki wars?

If so, it seems strange that you would highlight Marchand's contact with the DLC, but not that of Gov. Shaheen, who was featured by them often:

DLC New Dem of the Week: Jeanne Shaheen


Blue Hampshire - Defeating Republicans since 2006.


[ Parent ]
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