Friday, July 13, 2012

What Tauscher Backing Swalwell Really Represents To East Bay Voters

Tauscher with Bush in 2002.
ELECTION '12//CONGRESS 15 | While some with short political memories trumpeted the Ellen Tauscher's endorsement this week of Dublin Councilman Eric Swalwell in his race against Rep. Pete Stark, the insertion of the seven-time East Bay congresswoman into this race conjures up angry memories from many of the area's progressive voters and puts into sharp relief the growing East-West split among voters in the redrawn district.

Many observers in the East Bay have struggled to extrapolate how Swalwell's highly limited political experience would translate as a congressman. Most see him as a clone of Tauscher's Blue Dog Democrat style. It work well during her time in the House as she straddled some of the same abutting Tri-Valley and Greater East Bay cities up for grabs this November. Swalwell also served as an intern for Tauscher in 2001, so the attraction and the similarities are not at all surprising. However, Swalwell has not always embraced the connection between him and Tauscher--at least, when he's not in more moderate locales like his home base in the Tri-Valley.

In late February, after a candidates forum with Stark in Dublin, Swalwell told a reporter from the Tri-Valley's San Ramon Patch about his views on bipartisanship in Washington. "I strive to work with Republicans--I think you have to right now if we're going to solve a lot of these problems," Swalwell was heard on audio before declaring his views on the issue were derived from Tauscher's. "That's were I really learned how being a moderate--being bipartisan--can be effective," he said.

Stark, Swalwell
A minute later, when I asked a question prefacing that Tauscher was the "quintessential Tri-Valley leader" and whether voters could view him as such, Swalwell interrupted the question with "No, no, no, no, no!" He went on to oddly describe past experiences as an Alameda County deputy district attorney polling juries at the court house in Hayward and lamented finding many lower-income residents in the area were unable to serve because of various hardships, including, they being out of work.
Pulling back from a tight linkage between Swalwell and Tauscher, while talking to voters in the more liberal bastions west of the Stoneridge Drive is not surprising since the centrist tendencies of Tauscher not long ago enraged progressives not only in the Bay Area, but Capitol Hill. Back in 2007, on the heels of the Democratic takeover of the House, the party was in no mood to put up with members of their own party consorting with Republicans led by nearly eight years of President George W. Bush.

As the leader of the moderate New Democrat Coalition during the Bush years, she often irritated progressive groups who said she acquiesced too often to the president's and Republican's demands in times, like today, when the GOP had no desire for conciliation. Tauscher's near fanaticism toward bipartisanship lead the Washington Post to call her "[Joe] Lieberman in a pantsuit." The rancor from progressives against Tauscher ran so high that a widely disseminated photo of President Bush appearing to place his hand on Tauscher's knee in 2002 quickly became known as "The Caress" and signified her perceived coziness with the Republican leadership. "She reinforces the idea that lefties are out-of-control children," Brian Leubitz, who runs the liberal blog, Calitics, told the Post. "She provides cover for Republican extremists."

Since leaving her seat in 2010 after a bout with throat cancer, Tauscher has greatly remade her past image as an enabler of the Republican Party to that of Beltway statesman. This past February, she was named Special Envoy for Strategic Stability and Missile Defense. Her ties with the U.S. State Department and former constituency at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory make her support for weapon and scientific research quite unsurprising, while giving Swalwell a tidy dichotomy between him and Stark, who has long opposed nuclear weapons proliferation and has widely been known as something of a venerable peacenik for his nearly four decades in Washington. Similarly, a few months back, Swalwell charged Stark with not supporting Israel due to the representative's aversion to giving countries, like Israel, aid to buy arms. At the same time, Swalwell again offered contrasts when he issued support for continuing President Obama's controversial use of drone attacks in the Middle East.

Do-gooding citizens who redistricted California to be more honest and more receptive its constituents did well, in most parts, to clean up the decades gerrymandering shenanigans, but they inadvertently created a liberal civil war in the 15th Congressional District. When it comes to politics, Hayward is vastly different from Dublin in many ways, yet mere miles apart on the speedometer. A mysterious phenomenon occurs for any East Bay commuter who travels east on the 580 freeway. Somewhere between Castro Valley and Pleasanton, the political discourse veers from government can solve all your problems and liberal kumbaya to "Jesus is my savior" sprikinled with large amounts of fear and ignorance. Unfortunately, like every civil war in history, in the end, nobody really wins.


  1. "Somewhere between Castro Valley and Pleasanton, the political discourse veers from government can solve all your problems and liberal kumbaya to "Jesus is my savior" sprinkled with large amounts of fear and ignorance"

    I'd say the ignorance is well represented on both sides of the hills.
    Can't wait to see the high level of discourse in the coming flood of mailers.

    Any comments on the Nate Miley endorsement? I find that far more interesting than the Tauscher announcement.

    Why did Miley switch?

    What I'm reall waiting for are the Hayashi endorsements in Dist. 2.
    Will any local leader actually endorse Mary?
    Will any union endorse her? CNA?

  2. Easy. Miley is a jobs creator....for his own family and friends.

  3. OK, and am I suppose to assume that if elected, Swalwell is going to give a job(s) to people Miley sends over? I'd better head over to Nate's Facebook page and friend him.

  4. I believe Miley gave a dual endorsement. I have a million theories on Miley, but I would guess he wants to cozy up with his new constituents in Pleasanton. They voted for Swalwell, so I suppose they will vote for Miley one day, he assumes.

  5. Swalwell is in perfect health and sound mind.

    That's the difference between him and Pete, who is knocking on hells door.

    I can say that because he's my Congressman and I pay his salary.

  6. At least we know where Pete is coming from. Stalwell is an unknown quantity, and we cant pin him down on issues. Knowing his non-experience in DC, he will be devoured by both parties and useless.

  7. I'm glad you mentioned Swalwell's animate support for Obama's Middle Eastern policy. More to be said on that topic...

  8. Yep, Hayward is filled with ignorance. Losers, druggies, illegal aliens, Tavares.

  9. BY MW:

    Stark is an entrenched member of the political Establishment, and Swalwell, and who until a few months ago was close to totally unknown (and most people still do not know anything about Swalwell, and such as for example his positions, other than that he is running against Stark) as far as hoping to get enough votes to win the election had been in almost the same position as an Independent or a third party candidate.

    And candidates running as Independents or third party candidates, and epecially when running against such established old warhorses similar to Pete Stark, almost never win elections, and including since the other old Establishment warhorses, and such as people similar to Ellen Tauscher, normally feel obligated to back and endorse their fellow Establishment candidate, and such as Pete Stark, and somewhat similar to the way Willie Brown and Jerry Brown backed Nadia Lockyer in her race for a seat on the AC Board of Supervisors.

    So therefore by Tauscher backing Swalwell, and at the same time her also openly speaking out against Stark, it might prove to be extremely significant. Since by doing so, she is making Swalwell a much more respectable candidate due to her willingness to openly break ranks and also let everyone know she considers Stark to be an extreme joke.

    Also, and now that Tauscher was willing to break ranks by backing Swalwell and at the same time her badmouthng Stark, it is also possible that other old Establishment warhorses might follow her lead and back Swalwell - or at least not feel so obligated to pretend to believe that Stark is a good choice.

    And since politics is very similar to Hollywood and show business, in other words mainly about image and perception, by an old Establishment warhorse such as Tauscher being willing to openly speak out against Stark, she has also largely destroyed his image as a supposedly competent person.

    In fact if Tauscher had thought it was a virtually sure that Stark would win, then she probably would have been afraid to badmouth him, since if Stark then still did win, he would be similar to a wounded king, in other words someone angry enough, and probably still powerful enough, to retaliate against the one who had wounded him. So I would assume Tauscher had already decided Stark was in very serious trouble in his campaign to win the pennant, and therefore a few additional little pushes might be enough to cause him to lose and be gone.

  10. Look, Tauscher is part of the political establishment, but in a different way than MW supposes. She has not been an elected official for many years now, and is disconnected with most organizations which provide on-the-ground campaign support. She is now a representative of the military-industrial complex. This is why Ellen's critique is limited to the Livermore Lab; that is the primary issue she and the people she now does business with care about in the 15th AD. By endorsing Swalwell and badmouthing Stark, she polishes her apple with these businesspeople regardless of whether Pete wins or not. She can't get damaged by Stark because there aren't enough "peaceniks" in Congress.

    Other voters in the District care more about the security of their jobs or their retirement income than the future of the Lab. They'll be looking at Swalwell's willingness to "work across the aisle" to screw them out of the benefits that they've paid for their entire lives much more closely than this endorsement.

  11. Go Swalwell, down wit the Machine!!!!!!

  12. Being from Hayward I am offended by your
    description of us, You must be from the valley,
    We do have hard working blue collar Democrats, that
    understand Pete has stood up for us for a very long
    time, and continues the fight. As this fight draws near remember Labor and the Democratic party, stand
    with Pete. And the people do too. So crawlback
    to your valley home. And have a great day.

  13. Wow, leading off the 6:00 PM news on Monday, on CBS5 news.

    How did Swalwell's team get this in that prime position?


    What a coup. Stark's team is looking flat-footed.
    Wouldn't even give a response. Weird.