Why are Tauscher AND Pelosi Supporting Steve Filson?
David Sirota wrote a piece on December 7 about Democrats feeding at the corporate trough on K Street.
I have no problem with Democrats doing what they need to do to raise money to fight the good fight against Republicans. Until we get a publicly financed elections system in this country, one party cannot unilaterally disarm from fundraising. But, we all should have a BIG problem with Democrats actually deliberately planting stories in the press about how they are running around Washington, D.C. shaking down corporate lobbyists for cash. To do that, as Democrats are doing, is so incomprehensibly stupid it's hard to even put words together to describe it …
Today's example is in Roll Call [subscription only]. House Democrats, who have attacked the GOP's "culture of corruption," deliberately placed a story in Roll Call headlined "House Democrats Redouble Wooing of K Street." The story was likely placed by the second-ranking Democrat in the House, Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD).A House Democratic project designed to dip into deep K Street wallets entered its second phase of the 2006 cycle Tuesday, as a group of prominent moderate Members enlisted business donors to shell out thousands of dollars to help the party’s top-tier candidates. Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (Md.), along with Reps. Joe Crowley (N.Y.), John Tanner (Tenn.) and Ellen Tauscher (Calif.), met Tuesday afternoon with roughly 50 business-minded Democratic consultants, lobbyists and corporate officers to get them to commit to writing checks to their most worthy party hopefuls next year.
Hmmm … I wonder just who those “most worthy party hopefuls” might be. You don’t think we know any of them, do you?
But this story makes me wonder about some other things. Whenever I see the names Steny Hoyer and Ellen Tauscher together in a sentence, my mind automatically adds Nancy Pelosi and Richard Pombo to the mix. Let me explain why.
Back in 1964, Phil Burton was elected to Congress as the representative for San Francisco. He quickly gained a national reputation as a powerful and ruthless politician crusading for leftist causes. Burton died in office in 1983, and his wife Sala Burton took his seat, serving until her death in 1987. During their combined 23 years in office, the Burtons joined with Jesse Unruh to build a Democratic political machine that still runs strong in California politics. Phil’s younger brother, John Burton (a milquetoast compared to Phil), occupied a seat in the State Legislature, as did protégés Willie Brown and George Moscone. From 1977 through 1984, Burton installed another of his friends, Nancy Pelosi, as chairman of the California State Democratic Party. When Sala Burton died in 1987, Nancy Pelosi ran for the seat previously held by her mentors.
Now, if you fast forward to 2001, Nancy Pelosi had paid her dues in Congress, building up alliances and stockpiling favors over seven terms. When she decided to run for House Minority Whip, though, there was a lot of fear that Pelosi was “too far left,” and a faction within the House called for the elevation of a “moderate Democrat.” (Sound familiar?) The moderate Democrat who challenged Pelosi for the whip position was Steny Hoyer. One of Hoyer’s strongest supporters was Ellen Tauscher, who, incidentally, was the lone member of the Bay Area Democratic delegation to go against Pelosi. Well, Pelosi prevailed in her quest to become whip. In 2002, when Dick Gephardt left his position as House Minority Leader to run for president, Pelosi ascended to that position. Her replacement as whip was, finally, Steny Hoyer.
But in the meantime, the California legislature, presided over by former State Sen. John Burton, had been busy redrawing legislative districts to comply with the 2000 census data. When the changes to her district were unveiled, the Highway 680/24 corridors had been gutted from Tauscher’s CD-10 and placed in Richard Pombo’s CD-11. Most people familiar with John Burton’s hardball tactics were not in the least surprised that after betraying Pelosi, Tauscher was suddenly being stripped of all of the big money sources in her district. But none of the politicians had factored in the power of the Lamorinda Democratic Club. Democrats along the Highway 24 corridor revolted at the notion of being represented by Richard Pombo and mounted a vigorous campaign to keep their community in CD-10. Ultimately, Burton backed down, drawing the line between CD-10 and CD-11 in Danville. Still, Tauscher lost a large part of her wealthy donor base to Richard Pombo’s neighboring district.
So here’s what I don’t get. I get the part about Tauscher and her long-time pal, Steny Hoyer, supporting Steve Filson and throwing their weight around with K Street lobbyists to drum up financial support for their chosen candidate. Sounds about right. But why on earth, after all that’s happened, is Nancy Pelosi supporting Steve Filson?