On Dem “Misdeeds,” Ferris Brews “Weak Tea”

August 30, 2010

Philadelphia Inquirer Op-Ed writer and conservative shill Kevin Ferris concocted the following yesterday (here)…

…The Inquirer, Politico, and others have reported on several instances of Democrats helping so-called tea-party candidates – nationwide and close to home.

Florida: Republicans and tea-party activists are accusing Democratic U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson and a Republican consultant of forming a front group, the Florida Tea Party, to help Democratic candidates in state and congressional races, including Grayson.

Michigan: A Democratic official was forced to resign his party position last week after being accused of fraudulently notarizing campaign filings for a dozen so-called tea-party candidates. The 23 candidates statewide who were supposedly representing tea parties have been denied ballot positions.

New Jersey: In the Third Congressional District, where Republican Jon Runyan is challenging Democratic freshman U.S. Rep. John Adler, the GOP says the incumbent is boosting the third-party bid of Peter DeStefano. There are reports of longtime Adler and Democratic Party supporters signing nominating petitions, and Adler’s campaign suspiciously released an early internal poll that included DeStefano. Adler denies any connection between his campaign and DeStefano.

Pennsylvania: In the governor’s race, a review of state records led the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review to report on Aug. 10: “Members of unions that endorsed Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato, as well as one of his campaign workers, helped get Tea Party candidate John Krupa onto Pennsylvania’s gubernatorial ballot.” Krupa dropped out of the race a week later when challenged by tea-party activists.

In the Seventh District race to replace U.S. Rep. Joe Sestak, third-party candidate Jim Schneller wouldn’t be on the ballot with Republican Pat Meehan and Democrat Bryan Lentz if not for Democrats circulating petitions for him. Swarthmore Democrat Colleen Guiney, one of the “Lentz or Schneller for Congress” devotees, was referred to by Lentz earlier this year as “the hardest worker on my campaign.” A hearing on Meehan’s challenge to Schneller’s candidacy is scheduled for this week.

“It’s almost an admission that the party’s candidates need something other than merit to win this fall,” a recent Detroit Free Press editorial said of the Michigan case.

Wow, what a festival of generalizations, innuendo, and strawman arguments! It must’ve taken Ferris more than a week to come up with this dookey (I’m sure that’s why his column didn’t appear last week).

And of course, it’s only an issue if those teabaggers are helped by Dems and not Repugs as far as Ferris is concerned (can you say “double standard”?).

Concerning FLA, the following should be noted (here)…

In Florida, the evidence of a Democratic conspiracy is circumstantial at best. But Republicans gained new traction this week with a Roll Call article outlining connections between Democratic Congressman Alan Grayson, the famed firebrand who accused Republicans of telling patients to “die quickly,” and the upstart Tea Party. As reported in the piece, one of the Tea Party candidates for the state House, Victoria Torres, took $11,000 from the Grayson campaign for polling work. And one of the Florida Tea Party’s most prominent backers is longtime political consultant Doug Guetzloe, who serves as a Grayson appointee on a business advisory board and whose teenage son has worked as an intern for Grayson

A spokesman for Grayson, Todd Jurkowski, denied the charges to The Daily Beast and produced a copy of the poll he said the party commissioned from Torres, which was publicly released at the time it was conducted. It was a publicity stunt: Grayson polled himself as a candidate in the Republican primary and found himself in the lead. Jurkowski said the party sought a Republican pollster to better capture that side of the electorate, and that the firm that conducted the poll, Middleton Market Research, was subcontracted by Torres. (Torres did not return requests for comment.) As for Guetzloe, Jurkowski noted that Grayson has plausible appeal to some Tea Party members given his close association with Ron Paul on legislation like an amendment to audit the Fed.

So what of Michigan, then? As noted here…

According to a report from the Detroit Free Press Jason Bauer, former director of operations for the Oakland County Democratic Party, notarized a dozen affidavits for Tea Party candidates including one for a candidate who had no idea he was on the ballot. Two of the candidates were also later found to be under-aged and one was a resident of Phoenix, Arizona.

The Oakland County Sheriff’s Department has been investigating the matter and on Friday Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson filed a petition in court asking for a one-person grand jury to investigate possible election fraud.

Bauer resigned Sunday night and was condemned by the Oakland County Democratic Party as reports of his actions surfaced. He faces potential criminal charges over misusing his notary license. The head of the Oakland County Democrats resigned on Sunday as well.

So basically, Bauer acted like a total idiot and notarized the affidavits when he shouldn’t have, but my question is who prepared the affidavits to begin with? Until we know the answer to that question, I’m reserving judgment on the question of whether or not this is some kind of Dem “dirty tricks” operation or just a case of Bauer getting duped (he’d have to be pretty dumb to orchestrate something like this just to help his party knowing the risk).

And in New Jersey, Ferris is alleging a Dem/Tea Party conspiracy because incumbent Rep John Adler “suspiciously released an early internal poll” that included third-party candidate Pete DeStefano? Shocking!

Try reading this post where DeStefano says the Dems and Repugs “are both full of crap” and the Tea Partiers “are shills for the Republicans.” With that in mind, you would truly have to have a vivid imagination to think DeStefano is in collusion with anyone.

And concerning John Krupa, the alleged tea party candidate in the PA gubernatorial race, if the state GOP thought he was a “plant,” then why didn’t they challenge his petition? Why did they leave it up to the teabaggers to do that (here)?

The charge about Jim Schneller in the PA-07 U.S. House contest (pitting Dem Bryan Lentz against Repug Pat Meehan for Joe Sestak’s seat) is the one from Ferris that looks the most legitimate, though Schneller doesn’t consider himself to be a “tea party” candidate (walks like one and talks like one, though, based on this – the story notes, though, that Schneller has been percieved as a threat by both Democrats and Republicans).

However, considering that the Repugs did the same thing with Jay Russell in the Bucks County Commissioners election (here, with convenience store owner Russell siphoning just enough votes to prevent Dem Steve Santarsiero from winning and re-electing Repug Charley “I Have A Semi-Open Mind” Martin instead), I have no sympathy for the teabaggers on this or any other issue.


Tuesday Mashup Part One (8/17/10)

August 17, 2010

  • 1) This story in yesterday’s Philadelphia Inquirer tells us the following…

    Peter DeStefano says he’s just an “average Joe,” working voters at Wawas, diners, and beaches to get elected to the House.

    But to Republican nominee Jon Runyan, the former Eagles tackle in a tough race to unseat Democratic Rep. John Adler, DeStefano is an irritant who could prove toxic.

    The little-known DeStefano, a picture framer from Mount Laurel, is running as an independent candidate under the NJ Tea Party moniker in the Third Congressional District, which runs through Burlington and Ocean Counties and includes Cherry Hill in Camden County. The tag alone could draw votes away from Runyan.

    After reviewing the 200-plus signatures on DeStefano’s nominating petitions and finding he had more than enough, Runyan’s campaign has continued to dig, looking for something to knock DeStefano off the ballot.

    The campaign is considering a lawsuit alleging that those who signed may not have known that DeStefano was unaffiliated with a formal tea-party group, according to Runyan’s campaign consultant, Chris Russell.

    Gee, I would call that a rather pointless distraction for a campaign that probably can use all the resources it can muster.

    The Runyan campaign did uncover something a bit interesting, however, as the story tells us…

    Marshall Spevak of Cherry Hill signed one of DeStefano’s petitions. Spevak lives just doors from Adler, and was active in Adler’s freshman House campaign in 2008. His father, Eric, has contributed to Adler campaigns and is an administrative law judge for the state Department of Labor and Workforce Development.

    Sounds like Runyan is alleging that DeStefano is trying to pull a “Jay Russell” as it turns out, based on this (i.e., a third-party candidate who has the potential to screw up an election…the last noteworthy item I heard about from the NJ-03 contest was this “taxing” matter concerning Runyan).

    And this June Inquirer story tells us the following about the Runyan campaign (which, apparently, is trying to embrace some of Baby Newton Leroy Gingrich’s Contract on America)…

    “It’s back to the future. I’m seeing this all over the country,” said Larry Sabato, a University of Virginia political scientist who keeps an eye on federal races. “Republicans are hoping it’s 1994 all over again for two reasons: They sense a Republican wave and just as in 1994, they have a third force in politics.”

    “Things like term limits (supported by Runyan but not Adler) have a permanent appeal,” Sabato said. “In fact, it has more appeal today than in 1994 because we have 50 additional scandals, maybe 100.”

    Of course, Sabato doesn’t take time to name those “50 additional scandals, maybe 100,” a typical tactic for someone who once said that the “Swift Boat” liars were telling the truth in 2008, along with claiming that it would be “a national disgrace” to continue “the Clinton/Bush dynasty” (in an effort to attack Hillary Clinton…I always thought that was an idiotic construct) and the Democrats are the “mommy” party while the Repugs are the “daddy” party (all here).

    Getting back to DeStefano/Adler/Runyan, yesterday’s Inquirer story also tells us the following…

    In addition to his unhappiness with rising fuel prices and a barely regulated mortgage market, DeStefano said, he opposed the war in Iraq, which he believes was “started on a rumor.” He also is against the war in Afghanistan, which he said was helping a corrupt regime. He supports the military, he said, but believes the United States should be taking care of domestic problems.

    After the 2008 general election, DeStefano switched to the Democratic Party. But “it didn’t take me much longer to find out it was worse,” he said.

    “As far as I’m concerned, they are both full of crap,” he said.

    He doesn’t have kind words for local tea-party organizations, who have made it clear from the start that they did not sponsor his candidacy.

    The groups endorsed Justin Murphy over Runyan in the Republican primary. But last week, the West Jersey Tea Party, which has members in Burlington, Camden, and Gloucester Counties, endorsed the former Eagle.

    They’re “shills” for the Republicans, DeStefano said.

    That statement about DeStefano definitely intrigues me, I should add, though he has no shot at winning the general election, unfortunately (and I wouldn’t mind if he posed enough of a threat to Adler to make him remember that Democrats are supposed to have spines).

  • 2) Also, Joke Line concocted more puffery here today on the Kentucky Senate race…

    Welcome to Campaign 2010. This is going to be a Republican year, perhaps a big one. The question of how big will be resolved in states like Kentucky, where mainstream Republican candidates were defeated in primaries by Tea Party sorts like Rand Paul, and the public will have to decide if the GOP is too loony to rule.

    Conway, the other guy in the race, is almost an afterthought, but a solid test case. He’s wicked handsome, moderate and Kentucky’s attorney general, which is perhaps the best office a Democratic candidate can hold these days. He has spent the past three years doing real-world populist things like suing pharmaceutical companies and cracking down on crime and drug abuse, which is epidemic among eastern Kentucky’s impoverished hill-country youth. Such activities are far more acceptable than voting for bank bailouts and stimulus packages, the burden that most incumbent Democratic members of Congress carry. But Kentucky is a fervent Republican state these days — Barack Obama is about as popular there as Tennessee — and Conway’s staffers admit they wouldn’t have a chance if a standard-issue Republican had won the primary. Paul, by contrast, is a fat target, which became apparent in Conway’s Fancy Farm speech.

    By the way, here is a link to Conway’s speech.

    And at this point, I hope our media just keep repeating over and over that this will be a big Republican electoral year. I honestly do. That way, they’ll look even stupider than they already are when this country realizes that we’re talking about a political party more concerned about mosques in New York City (more on that shortly), “terror babies,” and a nonexistent rise in Arizona immigrant crime than they are about trying to solve our country’s genuine problems and acts accordingly on Election Day.

    I really wish Klein had spent just a few more words describing how, as noted here, Paul is totally out to lunch on the issue of Kentucky’s drug problems, as noted here (marijuana is that state’s number one cash crop, which to me is an even stronger argument for decriminalization at the least).

    And to help Jack Conway, click here.

  • 3) Finally, I regret to return to the mosque issue once more, but based on this, I believe I must…

    Dear American Taxpayer,

    You are paying for the Ground Zero Mosque.

    Chances are you’re in not in the 20% of people who support the blasphemous Ground Zero mega-mosque. But guess what? You are currently paying for the Imam who wants to build it to visit Saudi Arabia, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Bahrain and Qatar to raise money for it.

    Uh, no – as noted here…

    The right-wing media is attacking Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf’s upcoming State Department trip to the Middle East to “discuss Muslim life in America and religious tolerance,” by falsely claiming he will use the trip as a “taxpayer-funded fundraising jaunt” to finance construction of his Islamic cultural center in New York City. In fact, the State Department has made clear that fundraising of any kind is prohibited during the trip, and Rauf has previously participated in this program, first under President Bush.

    And when it comes to wingnuttiness on this issue, I think you have to go a long way to find something crazier than this.

  • 8/18/10: You know, just go ahead and call me a filthy, unkempt liberal blogger, but given the trillions spent on Dubya’s idiotic tax cuts and his war of choice in Iraq, I have a hard time getting worked up over “16 large” for this story (here).


    A Repug Political Pigskin Preview

    February 4, 2010


    This item at the AEI blog, timed for the Super Bowl, tells us of three former NFLers who are seeking political office next year: former Pittsburgh Steeler Jay Riemersma, former Washington Redskin Clint Didier, and former Philadelphia Eagle Jon Runyan.

    Riemersma is running for the U.S. House seat to be vacated by Repug Rep Pete Hoekstra, who will run for governor of Michigan. And as noted here, Riemersma is no slouch when it comes to fundraising, having hired a company to help him in his efforts (and he cited a rotator cuff injury here as “divine intervention” that led him from a position change as a quarterback to a tight end; yep, that should go over big with those “values voters” all right).

    Didier has got Riemersma beat when it comes to wingnuttery, though. As noted here…

    EVERETT – Ex-NFL tight end Clint Didier announced his candidacy for U.S. Senate on Monday with an inspirational quote from Glenn Beck, a blast at environmentalists and warnings about Obama Administration “czars.”

    In an interview, Didier came out at a global warming skeptic, citing hacked e-mails from gossipy scientists at a British university, and saying science has been “altered” so as “to make it look like it is truly happening.”

    “They say the glaciers are shrinking but with information I’m receiving, it seems clear that the (Arctic) ice is reforming and expanding,” he said.

    “Reforming and expanding,” huh? Sounds like somebody has been out in the woods a bit too long.

    A Washington native and Portland State University graduate, Didier played with three Washington Redskins’ Super Bowl teams, and made a name for himself as a team player. He relates a dream on the night before the 1987 Super Bowl.

    “I dreamed that we would win the game, that I would score a touchdown and that we would come from behind,” Didier said.

    The dream literally came true the next day. The ‘Skins spotted Denver a 10-0 lead, and roared back to win 42-10.

    So one of these guys has a vision of divine intervention, and the other can supposedly read the future in his dreams. Uh huh.

    And Didier is aiming higher than Riemersma, since he’s trying to take over the seat of Dem Patty Murray in the U.S. Senate. Wonder what his dream will tell him the night before the election?

    Update 5/18/10: More “do as I say, not as I do” BS from Didier here (h/t Think Progress)…

    So that leaves us with Jon Runyan, and as we learn here…

    Congressional candidate John (sic) Runyan, the NFL lineman, is another person taking advantage of a law meant to protect farmers from high taxes. On his 20-acre spread he pays $57,000 on the five acres around his house. On the other 15, he pays $468 because he gets a farmland break. Specifically, he uses five acres for donkeys and 15 for timber. Did the controversy surrounding former state Sen. Ellen “Christmas Tree” Karcher send politicians a message? That law needs to be changed so that it applies only to people who are farmers for a living. Enough time has passed since the last blowup to get that done. Why isn’t it been changed? Too many connected folks taking advantage of it, maybe?

    Maybe Runyan can ask Riemersma for a bit of heavenly guidance on this matter also. And I would suggest that Runyan ask Didier to dream up an election win, but sadly, Runyan is running against DINO John Adler, so no mystical invention may be necessary to flip the NJ-03 seat to the “R” column.


    Lurie And The Eagles’ Latest “Green Scheme”

    March 12, 2009

    eagle_0001a11
    I typically try to avoid the topic of sports because I think there are others out there who can speak more knowledgeably on the subject than I can, but I have to chime in at this point concerning the professional football franchise in these parts.

    It’s bad enough that the Philadelphia Eagles allowed three of their All-Pro players to walk away from the team (linemen Tra Thomas and Jon Runyan – the latter is unsigned at this point, though I’m quite sure he’ll end up somewhere, probably Washington based on their penchant to sign almost-used-up veteran players for too much money; even though Runyan’s best days are done, loyalty should count for something, however – and, worst of all, defensive back Brian Dawkins, the heart and soul of the defense).

    It’s also bad enough that they signed Lorenzo Booker last year as sort of a “zig-zag” running back alternative to Brian Westbrook, the main “go to” offensive option and possibly the most beaten-down athlete on the planet, and then allowed Booker to disappear (and allowed their other main “straight ahead” runner Correll Buckhalter to go with Dawkins to Denver, apparently leaving only Tony Hunt as a viable option, with Hunt coming off a concussion from last year).

    It’s also bad enough that they’ve signed offensive lineman Stacy Andrews from the Cincinnati Bungles as supposedly the solution to the offensive lines woes created by the departure of Thomas and Runyan, telling the fans that, hey, he’s the brother of fellow Eagles O lineman Shawn Andrews, so YOU KNOW that will be a good thing (perhaps, but the last time the Eagles signed a player who was a family member of another player, it was wide receiver Jabar Gaffney, the brother-in-law of cornerback Lito Sheppard, and the Eagles cut Gaffney before training camp was over a couple of years ago…and did I mention that Sheppard has left also, which is probably the least surprising move of all?).

    (Oh, and I also forgot to mention that tight end L.J. Smith has packed his bags as well, probably the only one of theses moves where I think the team achieved a “net plus” with a player departure – looks like it’s Brent Celek’s job to lose at this point.)

    And it’s also bad enough that the team trades down in the draft every single year so they don’t have to pay first-round-draft-pick money to someone in the second round or lower who inevitably underachieves for them (I’ll admit that wide receiver DeSean Jackson is a notable exception so far).

    And given the fact that the Eagles reached the Super Bowl in 2005 but, aside from that, have won NOTHING for over 45 years, how can you feel anything but disgust over the fact that owner Jeffrey Lurie, as noted here, recently joined a club of billionaires while he pinches pennies, ensuring just enough productivity from his team to sell out his stadium for a minimum (and usually sometimes a limit) of eight home dates every fall?

    Update 3/13/09: I forgot that they also made it to the Super Bowl in 1981, though they lost to the Oakland Raiders, just for the record.

    Fed up yet? Well then, get a load of this recent post from Will Bunch (linking to John Gonzalez of the Inquirer) that tells you of Dan Leone, “one of the team’s many game-day stadium employees at Lincoln Financial Field. For longer than that – for his entire life – he’s been a fan of the franchise,” as Gonzalez tells us.

    And Leone was hardly a typical fan…

    Leone grew up in the shadow of Veterans Stadium in a red-brick rowhouse near 10th and Oregon. As a kid, he’d walk over to see his beloved Birds play. The trip was never easy. Leone has a neurological disorder called transverse myelitis. Because it causes muscle fatigue and limits the range of motion in his limbs, Leone was sometimes forced to use crutches as a child.

    When he grew older and the Linc opened, Leone crossed his fingers and filled out an application. The Eagles hired him almost immediately. He was ecstatic. Leone called his friends and family and gushed about going to work for the team he’s always loved. He couldn’t have been happier if he’d been named the Eagles’ starting quarterback.

    On game days, Leone served as the west gate chief. The gig required Leone to hustle to different areas of the stadium as needed. That was tough. His left leg is weaker than his right, and standing for too long gives him severe pain in his right knee and hip because that’s where he shifts all his weight. While on duty, he sometimes needed a wheelchair to get around.

    “They had me running all over the place like a nut, but I didn’t care,” Leone said. “I was so proud to work for them. It was my dream.”

    If you’ll note what I said above, I used the past tense to describe how Leone feels about the team, and it’s because…well, he was upset that Brian Dawkins was allowed to walk, so he vented on his Facebook page as follows: “Dan is [expletive] devastated about Dawkins signing with Denver. . .Dam Eagles R Retarted!!”

    Well, of course it got back to the Eagles right away, and Leone found himself fired after a 10-minute phone call with Rachel Vitagliano, the team’s guest services manager.

    Wow, all it took was to swear a relatively mild oath at the team (and misspelled at that, which is a minor point I know)…and a man’s career with his employer is over??!!

    Can somebody please tell me when exactly we turned into the United States Socialist Republics? Apparently, I missed that memo (oh, and Bunch also tells us that the Eagles coerced radio station WIP into suspending on-air host Angelo Cataldi for two games for referring to the front office as “Nazis” – I’ll admit that I have a hard time working up sympathy for Cataldi, but yep, that’s ridiculous also).

    If anyone reading this post, Bunch’s spot-on commentary or Gonzalez’ article happens to be an Eagles’ season ticket holder and they STILL decide to re-up with these ingrates, then I honestly don’t know what to say except that you’re as heartless as the team’s management.

    “How can you say that? Besides, under the NFL’s blackmail blackout agreement, the games have to sell out or they won’t be televised locally! You wouldn’t want that to happen, would you?”

    You wanna bet?

    There aren’t enough hours in the day for me to vent properly on the matter of the hypocrisy of the oh-so-august National Football League; I’ll merely leave that alone and say that you’ll be much better off to spend some time with your family instead (or here’s a revolutionary thought – try reading a book!) and deprive Lurie of a bit of his riches (he hasn’t approached the status of former owners Norman Braman, to whom Lurie pales in comparison as a tightwad, or Leonard Tose, who almost moved the team to Phoenix to pay off gambling debts, but he may before he’s done).

    So just imagine Lurie and his cronies taking a good, long look at a whole bunch of empty seats on Sunday, and think about the ad revenue lost by the league and his team, and realize that it’s the most appropriate payback the team’s front office deserves.

    And then do all that you can to make that mental image a reality.

    And if you find that you STILL need motivation, imagine Dan Leone trying to find a job.

    Update 3/13/09: As noted here, Thomas said he “wanted to stay” – need I say more?


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