Sunday, October 23, 2011

So Long, Been Good To Know Ya

Moderate Democrats who have decided to hang up their spurs can't resist taking a parting shot at their peerless leader, Barack Hussein Obama. The latest is normally-quiet California Rep. Dennis Cardoza (D-18th District), who seemed to be empowered by the freedom to speak his mind that incumbency and political necessity denied him. He let the current left-leaning Democratic Party have it, but aimed most of his ire at the Leader Who Doesn't Lead.

Rep. Cardoza will be leaving his position at the end of his term in 2012. He represents the area in and around Fresno. His district has been among the hardest hit by the collapse of the housing market and crippling government regulation of the agricultural Central Valley by use of the Endangered Species Act. Unemployment rates in California are about 12%, but certain areas within Rep. Cardoza's district have hit rates as high as 37%. Foreclosure notices are nearly double the rate for the state, brown burned-out fields that were once lush green agricultural powerhouses are ubiquitous, and the human misery index is off the charts.

Cardoza has had an easy time winning elections in the district as a moderate, or Blue Dog Democrat. He was first elected in 2002, and sailed through that and the next three election cycles. 2010, however, was a whole different story. In a district that has been heavily Democrat for decades, he barely squeaked by. His fellow Blue Dog in the adjacent district, Jim Costa, experienced the same difficulty. To add insult to injury, the two moderates have had their districts realigned by the California Redistricting Commission, and would both now be running in the same district.

Cardoza began his letter of resignation by pointing out that the President and his mouthpiece in California Nancy Pelosi have left no room in the Democratic tent for old-fashioned moderates. Cardoza had fought against Obamacare and railed about the pressure being put on Blue Dogs to go along with the economy-destroying socialized medical care bill. In the end, he caved. Both Cardoza and fellow Blue Dog Jim Costa voted against electing San Fran Nan House Minority Leader after the national drubbing the Democrats took in 2010. Both complained that Pelosi refused even to talk with them about anything which might slow the progressive agenda. Both begged Obama to rein in his EPA and allow farmers to get sufficient water to revitalize the Central Valley breadbasket.

Cardoza made multiple pleas for Obama to tour the Central Valley with him so he could see the devastation created by failed liberal government policies. Obama preferred fund-raisers in San Francisco and Los Angeles, and didn't respond to a single one of Cardoza's requests. In 2010, Cardoza pointed the finger at Obama, HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and Commerce Secretary Gary Locke in regard to the governmentally-imposed drought. "I repeatedly called upon your departments to mitigate the devastating economic impacts of court decisions and environmental regulations that had altered water flow into the rich agricultural area."

Cardoza is joined in his anger and frustration by fellow moderates Dan Boren (D-Oklahoma) and Rep. Mike Ross (D-Arkansas), who have also announced they will not run for reelection in 2012. The Blue Dogs had previously held fifty-four Democratic seats, but after the 2010 elections, their number was reduced to twenty-five.

With these three resignations, the moderates (some of them members of Bill Clinton's defunct "third way" Democratic Leadership Council) will be down to twenty-two. Other Blue Dogs are making similar sounds. Interestingly, Democrats led by Nancy Pelosi have been gleefully trying to eviscerate the Republican Party for being dragged to the far right, without noticing how badly her Democratic drag to the far left is hurting her own party.

Of the housing crisis, Cardoza charged Obama with inaction and a failure to understand the needs of the unemployed and bankrupt citizens of the Central Valley. He accused Obama of being far more interested in making speeches and raising reelection money than tending to his job as Chief Executive. In a statement much harsher than would ordinarily be expected even from a maverick Democrat, Cardoza said: "Looking back on disappointments, I am dismayed by the Administration's failure to understand and effectively address the current housing foreclosure crisis. Home foreclosures are destroying communities and crushing our economy, and the Administration's inaction is infuriating."

Cardoza also bemoaned the hypocrisy of the progressive Democrat calls for civility in politics while attacking Republicans as racists, homophobes, haters of the poor, and even Nazis. A Democratic strategist who demanded anonymity reported to the Washington Post that "this [Cardoza's statement] is beyond odd, and clearly a reflection of Democrats' frustration with this president and his administration."

Warning of extreme partisanship in both parties, but particularly his own, Cardoza concluded with: "For our country to change course, voters must aggressively punish extreme partisanship and rhetoric when they cast their ballots." California is a lost cause for moderation for at least the foreseeable future, and it's sad to see an honorable member of the Democratic party throw up his hands in frustration and head for the exit. It is not a sure thing that a Republican will replace him during the 2012 election cycle, and any Democrat is certainly going to be to the left of Cardoza.


T-Rav said...

Sad. But it sounds to me like this Cardoza guy should have been speaking out long ago, if he wanted to save his party from Pelosi & Co. The time to act was a year or two ago, not now when California's gone even further down the tubes.

Sorry, but I don't have that much sympathy for the Blue Dogs as a group. They're supposed to be a moderating influence, but when push came to shove on ObamaCare, they all rolled over and took it. Individually, some of them may be fine people, but collectively, I say the heck with them.

Unknown said...

T-Rav: As one of millions of victims of California Democrats, I have to agree with what you say. The disunity in the party was barely visible, so voters who might have chosen more moderate candidates didn't even know there was such a thing. But at least they're doing it now, and that's a very small start on waking the voters up to what they're really voting for.

The other problem is that all the power and all the money are already in the hands of the ultraliberals. A moderate has little chance of defeating a progressive in a primary challenge. But then we said the same thing about Massachusetts, and got moderate Republican Scott Brown. So I suppose almost anything's possible.

AndrewPrice said...

Yeah, I don't put much faith in people talking on their way out the door. Cardoza should have spoken up when it mattered.

BevfromNYC said...

LawHawk: You have Winter in California?

T-Rav said...

Bev: Shhh. He has highs in the 50s for a couple of months; he thinks that's winter. Don't shatter his illusions. :-)

Tennessee Jed said...

sorry that Cah-lee-foun-e-yah is such a lost cause. Still, if all this results in the replacement of Barrack in 2012 with Romney or some other Republican, and the Democrats lose the Senate, and we increase control of the House, and we shove some of Harry Reid's b.s. tactics back up his . . . . then it will be worthwhile to sacrifice him.

Unknown said...

Andrew: I agree. Had he kept up his criticisms publicly during his terms, he could have come off as statesman-like. He wasn't getting much help from Obama and the Pelosicrats anyway. Instead, they can now accuse him of being bitter and petulant. As we've said, timing is everything.

Unknown said...

Bev: Here in the mountains we do. In fact, we actually have all four seasons. Our first snowfall came right after Thanksgiving last year. I'm just far enough down the mountain not to get deep drifts, but the roads do occasionally get impassable. Propane is expensive, wood on my daughter's property is abundant and free, and my Franklin wood-burning stove is wonderful. On the other hand, I don't have to break my back to get propane.

Unknown said...

T-Rav: We're in a branch of the mountains that stalled the Donner Party. Well, sort of. I didn't go into detail before, but when you go to Google temperatures in Caliente, you get the temperatures at the Post Office, which is nearly 1500 feet of elevation lower than my property. My property is at 3398 feet in the Tehachapi Mountains. We get winters, but by comparison to my winters in Chicago, they're spring. My daughter's place is another 1100 feet up the mountain, at the edge of the Sequoia National Forest, and she gets completely snowed in three or four times per winter. We don't have upper midwest or northeast winters, but we do have winter. So there!

Unknown said...

Tennessee: Most of Kern County (outside the Bakersfield slums) is moderate Democrat to conservative Republican. So when the Republicans take back the White House and Senate in 2012, there will be at least one happy county in the state.

rlaWTX said...

I spent some time with some lib cousins (from CO & NC). Somehow (organic gardening/farming, I think) they got off on the sad farming situation in CA - which is all the fault of water-grabbers, apparently. I tossed the idea of some of the blame belonging to the EPA and the Delta Smelt out on the table and left the room to frowny-faces.
(I avoided all other religious & political discussions for the sake of a harmonious, enjoyable weekend)

Unknown said...

rlaWTX: Small farms in California have been dying for years, and not because of government intervention. Many are gone because the land became more valuable as future subdivisions for housing. Others are the result of younger folks who simply choose another way of making a living. There is some small glimmer of truth in pointing the finger at big ag pushing small farmers out of business, but that's happening nationwide. California's law regarding water usage has zero effect on the survival of the small farm. Big, small or indifferent, all farmers in California's Central Valley suffer equally acre-for-acre from the Delta smelt and the econuts. None of the blame falls on water-grabbers (a much more common thing in states with plenty of rivers and water). There's no water to grab! The Central Valley bloomed solely because of water brought from other, wetter, parts of the state. Because the spigots are closed to everybody in order to protect a useless fish, everybody in the Central Valley suffers.

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