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The Greatest Neoliberal in All Neoliberalland

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That Tom Perez, he sure is a neoliberal sellout!

The move is one of many small shifts that Perez has undertaken to steer the Democrats slightly more to the left. Already, Perez is sounding more like the president of the AFL-CIO than DNC chairs of past years.

“I mean, there is an unmitigated assault on the labor movement. It’s an assault that just got a big weapon in the form of the confirmation of Judge Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. Now there are five votes on that court to make it very, very hard for public-sector labor unions to collect dues,” Perez tells me as we sit in the lobby of the Louisville Hilton.

It’s an attack that has Perez deeply worried.

“And they aren’t gonna stop at public-sector unions,” says Perez. “The way to take down the progressive movement is to attack those community pillars, whether it’s Planned Parenthood or the labor movement. This is not coincidence—who is getting attacked.”

Critics on the left continue to criticize Perez for being a tool of the Democratic Party’s corporate wing, following a contentious DNC election in which he beat progressive stalwart and Bernie-backed Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN). Now, Perez has attempted to distance himself from that label by getting involved in labor struggles.

It’s almost as if Tom Perez was never in fact a tool of Democratic Party’s corporate wing, what with being arguably the most best Secretary of Labor since Frances Perkins.

In Perez’s first week at the DNC, he declared his solidarity with the historic 5,000-person “March on Mississippi” against Nissan, an event organized by the United Auto Workers in Canton, Miss.

Perez says that he was inspired to get involved in the struggle by a meeting he had with a Nissan temporary worker, who he later invited to an event at The White House.

“Robert was his name, but I don’t recall his last name,” says Perez. “He’s what they call a ‘permatemp.’ That’s an oxymoron—it should be an oxymoron. How can you be a permanent temporary employee? He is a second-class citizen in the Nissan plant.”

Perez’s pace of speech begins to pick up rapidly as he’s agitated by the issue.

“He has had the indignity of training permanent employees, who make much more than him,” says Perez. “He has to work something like 55 hours to make what someone doing identical work makes in 40 hours. That’s not right, that’s not who we are. Nissan is making a tremendous amount of money and they don’t need to make money on the backs of their workers.”

Yep, pretty clear that Tom Perez only serves the Al Froms and Rahm Emanuels of the world!

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  • NonyNony

    You’re never going to land your dream job as Assistant Professor of Centrist Democrat Studies at Rahm Emanuel University with posts like these, Erik.

    • sibusisodan

      Does the University have a sports team? I want to cheer for the Fighting Sellouts!

      • wjts

        Yeah, but they never win because of their lousy playcalling: every down, they fake left and run right.

  • Dr. Waffle

    Yes, but did he pay proper deference to the world’s One True Progressive, St. Bernie, in a manner acceptable to the Chapo House/Jacobin/Intercept crowd? No? Then he’s clearly a corporate shill.

    • StellaB

      Yes, he allied himself with HRC, DWS, Nancy Pelosi, and other, uh, “similar” people and stood in the way of the one true savior. Had people of color and, uh, “similar” people just stepped out of the way, Bernard would have stepped up, pulled the sword from the stone, and been crowned while birds sang and the polls showed a 99.5% approval rating.

    • Scott Lemieux

      But Perez went to Yale Law School! And growing up in a Dominican family in Buffalo, he basically had a foot and a half in the American power elite his whole life! It's weird that people think his tenure as Secretary of Labor and as head of the Civil Rights Division say more about his ideological commitments than where he went to law school.

      And you have to admit that Bernie Sanders has been completely purged from the Democratic Party. Trying to map the primaries onto the DNC chair race was very prescient.

      • Origami Isopod

        And growing up in a Dominican family in Buffalo

        Well, Matt Bruenig did say that people of color are part of “the elite,” because by and large they’re urban and they voted for Clinton…

        • Dr. Waffle

          Some days it’s hard to distinguish Bruenig and his fellow nü-leftists from David Brooks.

          • MPAVictoria

            Well except Matt nearly starved to death after Clinton killed Welfare in the 90s….

            • Dr. Waffle

              So that’s the source of his misogyny and shitty hot takes?

            • free_fries_

              I thought Neera Tanden who the one who murdered Bruenig’s mother

      • wjts

        And growing up in a Dominican family in Buffalo…

        Curse that all-powerful New York State Democratic Party!

        • What’s weird is nobody talks about his previous life as a friar (can’t remember if he was a priest or a brother).

      • Bruce Vail

        Don’t be coy. You know perfectly well that the objections to Perez were never about Yale or his record at DOJ or DOL. The objections were always about her close ties to Hillary Clinton and the fear that Perez would merely be a stand in for her.

        The fear was not unreasonable and Tom Perez has the good sense to realize that. Thus the road show with Keith and Bernie. I’d say Perez is off to an excellent start at DNC.

        • The fear was not unreasonable

          Yeah, I think it was. The fear was based on him morphing into something he has never been in his professional life just because he had close ties to Hillary, who, incidentally, despite her financial ties to Wall Street would reasonably have been expected to continue Obama’s labor policies.

        • I’m so old I remember when some of the current Perez-haters were united in demanding that Clinton name Tom Perez as her vice presidential candidate as a condition for whether they’d be willing to vote for her or not.

        • veleda_k

          The fear was not unreasonable

          Provided one was a moron, sure.

        • FlipYrWhig

          The objections were always BERNIE LIKE OTHER GUY, THAT GOOD ENOUGH FOR ME.

      • ForkyMcSpoon

        He should've gone to a hotbed of socialism like University of Chicago instead. They're famous for left-wing economists.

      • efgoldman

        And you have to admit that Bernie Sanders has been completely purged from the Democratic Party. Trying to map the primaries onto the DNC chair race was very prescient.

        Ye gawds. Didn’t we have enough of this in the late nite/early morning thread?

    • MPAVictoria

      You know that most of the people who write for Jacobin consider Bernie to be a flawed moderate right?

      /Of course you don’t because you haven’t actually read the magazine.

      • Dr. Waffle
      • FlipYrWhig

        What possible political map could posit that Bernie Sanders is a smidge right of center? Is this like that New Yorker cover, so that the view from Jacobin HQ is, like, a distant horizon where Joni Ernst, Lindsay Graham, Claire McCaskill, Ron Wyden, Hillary Clinton, and Sherrod Brown are all roughly in the same place? What good could thinking in those terms do?

  • We should count our lucky stars to have Perez running the DNC. The lefties who a still grousing about it can go sit on the porch with Ralph Nader.

    • PunditusMaximus

      I’m starting to come to that conclusion as well. I’m not comfortable with the reasons why Ellison was not acceptable to the Establishment (starts with “M” and ends with “m”), but we seem to have gotten someone who is comfortable winning and understands why the folks who lost are upset.

      • Saying the “establishment” wasn’t comfortable w Ellison is pretty funny, given his support from Chuck Schumer.

        Amazing how people can’t accept anyone voted for Perez not as a vote against Ellison, or that a vote for Perez means they would see Ellison as bad for the DNC, or that it was a perference and not an expression of who’s good vs who’s bad, or that anyone voting for Perez did so because they like him & thought he’d do a good job.

        • randy khan

          Pointing out that Schumer supported Ellison is inconvenient for those who want to maintain a narrative that the vote was all about preventing True Progressives from taking control of the party. A lot of these same people point to Obama’s support for Perez as proof that it was a centrist play, which is one of those arguments that kind of answers itself.

          • Related: people talk about the Congressman from MN who endorsed Bernie, Keith Ellison, and never bring up his fellow Minnesotan Colin Peterson.

        • PunditusMaximus

          Dude Haim Saban is why Ellison lost. It was a sucky middle. But politics ain’t beanbag, and sometimes you get good results.

          • Yeah, the Steelworkers local president in Ohio & the black pastor in Arkansas & the trial lawyer in LA all know their job as members of the central committee of the DNC is to take orders from Haim Saban

            • PunditusMaximus

              There were reasons to support Perez, and the folks who had a positive history with him made a good case.

              But Saban got him elected. :(

              • Aaron Morrow

                Lemieux has evidence that Comey effected the election. Is there evidence to this theory that Saban swung the DNC election, or are we just repeating right-wing conspiracies?

                • veleda_k

                  are we just repeating right-wing conspiracies?

                  It’s what the Real Leftists do.

        • Scott Lemieux

          Amazing how people can’t accept anyone voted for Perez not as a vote against Ellison, or that a vote for Perez means they would see Ellison as bad for the DNC

          It’s a remarkable coincidence that establishment Dems in Congress tended to support Ellison and those in the executive branch tended to support Perez, almost as if they’re both very impressive people! Who could easily work together after the election was over!

        • Justin Runia

          Or the simple fact that Democrats should try and find jobs for talented leaders who need jobs, keeping them from the ideological purgatory that is The Sector Private.

        • efgoldman

          people can’t accept anyone voted for Perez not as a vote against Ellison, or that a vote for Perez means they would see Ellison as bad for the DNC

          Dammit, Dana, there you go being all logical and reasonable again. How the hell are the Bernietrolls supposed to deal with that?

          • You criticizing me is why people wrote in Bernie’s name last November. Why do you disrespect people who aren’t in the 1%?

            [Is that better?]

    • free_fries_

      Yeah but Perez as chair denied us an additional special election to get our issues out in the open in a super productive way. /s

  • Malaclypse

    If not the best since Perkins, who else could come close? Honest question.

    • wjts

      A cursory google suggests maybe Maurice Tobin.

      • Davis X. Machina

        Great man. Lousy bridge.

        • efgoldman

          Great man. Lousy bridge.

          In his defense, he was dead more than a decade when they renamed it for him.
          I think Frank Sargent was governor.

    • Bruce Vail

      Willard Wirtz is another candidate.

      He held the post of Labor Secretary throughout the Kennedy and Johnson administrations, during which time he is credited for his having dealt effectively with the various trade union strikes of the 1960s. While serving in the Labor Department, Wirtz developed programs for the Johnson administration’s War on Poverty. He advocated for remedial education for school dropouts and for retraining programs for unemployed workers. Wirtz’s relationship with Johnson was compromised by Wirtz sending a private memorandum to the President expressing concerns about the United States’ involvement in the Vietnam War.

      The main library at the DOL headquarters in Washingon, D.C., is named for Willard W. Wirtz.

    • I’ve said probably the best for over a year, and my hedge is that I don’t know enough about Wirtz (JFK/LBJ) or Tobin (Truman). But that I know Labor stuff fairly well and they’re largely anonymous to me suggests they may not be in the same category as Perkins and Perez

      • Bruce Vail

        Perez is unquestionably the best in modern memory, and that includes Robert Reich, who I think deserves credit as a good solid performer.

        I’m anxiously awaiting Erik’s analysis of the Obama’s eight-year record on labor. I suspect about 75 percent of it is going to be about Tom Perez.

        • Two different Obama’s. First term Obama was kinda meh on labor policy and aloof from unions. Second term Obama has only LBJ & FDR as peers in his performance on labor.

          • Bruce Vail

            Solis turned out to be a real dud.

            If the next Democratic Party President nominates an obscure backbencher designed to satisfy an arbitrary ‘diversity’ lineup for the Cabinet, then you’ll know its time to start screaming bloody murder.

            • wjts
              • addicted44

                Since you did not use the sarcasm font, excerpts:

                A.F.L.-C.I.O. officials said they pushed her (Solis) name for labor secretary soon after Mr. Obama was elected

                Ms. Solis has championed a bill, called the Employee Free Choice Act, that is the No. 1 priority of organized labor because it would make it far easier to unionize workers. The business community bitterly opposes the bill. She is the only member of Congress on the board of American Rights at Work, a pro-union group pushing for the bill.

                If there’s anything we could possibly learn from this, it’s that great legislators might not make good executive branch members.

                • wjts

                  Sure. Criticizing her performance as Secretary, particularly compared to her successor, is fine. Claiming that she was chosen “to satisfy an arbitrary ‘diversity’ lineup” and not on the basis of her past experience in the area is basically the conservative critique of affirmative action and so much bullshit. And Bruce Vail has spouted this bullshit before.

                • NonyNony

                  that great legislators might not make good executive branch members.

                  So much this. Pulling people who do great legislative work out of the House and Senate and sticking them in administrative seats is so often a waste of great talent.

                • Bruce Vail

                  Hilda Solis had an excellent voting record on labor issues before her appointment and I never suggested otherwise. And I said she ‘turned out’ to be a dud — that means after her service in the job.

                  And there definitely were grumblings from some elements of labor at her appointment. I heard them myself, but thought they were unfair at the time — that Solis deserved a chance to show her stuff. But the grumblings were justified. She turned out to be a lightweight.

              • She was at best labor’s second choice, maybe third.

                • efgoldman

                  Pulling people who do great legislative work out of the House and Senate and sticking them in administrative seats is so often a waste of great talent.

                  And as we’re seeing, pulling people who do hideously awful legislative work and sticking them in administrative posts is a recipe for disaster.

        • My response to this question was basically my Boston Review piece from the other day.

  • djw

    The “anti-neoliberal” backlash against Perez is mostly about a compulsive desire to permanently relitigate the primary, but I also think it’s revealing of how surprisingly and frustratingly little they seem to care about labor unions, and what that reveals about the relative importance of “anti-establishment” credentials vs actual economic leftism. (This is reflected somewhat in Sanders campaign as well; I have no critique of his actual positions on labor, but the relatively minor role they played in his rhetoric should be surprising for a challenger from the social democratic left.)

    • It’s almost as if Sanders’ movement appeals mainly to what the more classically purity-minded would call “petty bourgeois,” who think of themselves as working people for various reasons good and bad and as on the left for mostly good reasons (but also possibly some bad ones, because I suspect a left movement needs not to be based on people who want to be part of the Establishment but whom the Establishment doesn’t want, for Reasons, barring other reasons for them to support the left).

      Which isn’t necessarily bad but isn’t ideologically clean either. And there are a lot of people like that, and improved access to education will make even more.

      (And also it is really hard, I think, not to be aware of the problems with unions over the past several decades, of various sorts, and to just be reflexively pro-union in a way that was natural in an earlier time.)

      • SatanicPanic

        The working class are the noble savage of certain parts of the left.

        ETA- especially the white working class

        • I don’t think Huxley ever wondered what a revolt of the Gammas would be like. He probably assumed brainwashing would be sufficient.

          To your eta, it’s only too easy for a certain kind of liberal to assume a quasi-psychoanalytical fix for the special problems of brainwashing racial minorities and other problem people, though it would take an SF writer of the boldness and paranoia of a Huxley to put it that way.

          • Dennis Orphen

            The Gammas could be brainwashed into revolting by ineffective and non-threatening means, such as various forms of packaged rebellion, voting for and supporting Trumpuplicans, etc.

            • Huxley thought though that they could be brainwashed not to want to revolt, from infancy. He didn’t even suggest that spectator sports would take the place of politics or that amusement parks would let them pretend to kill bad guys. At most, when things got too real, they’d pop a pill.

      • Davis X. Machina

        Sanders’ movement appeals mainly to what the more classically purity-minded would call “petty bourgeois,”

        The People’s Flag is palest pink
        It’s not as red as you might think
        But just to prove that we’re sincere
        We’ll sing the Red Flag once a year

        • MPAVictoria

          That song is basically about Centrist Dems and New Labour.

      • FlipYrWhig

        It’s almost as if Sanders’ movement appeals mainly to what the more classically purity-minded would call “petty bourgeois,” who think of themselves as working people for various reasons good and bad and as on the left for mostly good reasons

        It appeals mainly to idealistic college-educated poseurs who think they’re earthy because they have beards and drink beer instead of wine.

    • PunditusMaximus

      It wasn’t a “backlash”. It was opposition, and yes, it was about the primary — or, more to the point, about Obama.

      • Justin Runia

        You do understand that you contradicted yourself in the span of two sentences, right?

    • The contradiction between Bernie & progressive/leftist politics is the centrality of solidarity and collective action and the common good vs Bernie’s strong individualism. I think of it as the difference between Wellstone, whose politics were about listening to others, organizing together, and using collective power to create change, vs Bernie, whose politics are mostly about listening to him.

      • nemdam

        It’s why I’ve come to believe Bernie represents authoritarian leftism. He basically sells himself as a Daddy figure who alone will fix everything, and the way he goes about acquiring power is to demand submission from his rivals and destroy them if they don’t along with anointing lesser known people into prominence ensuring that their success is tied to him. It’s not only destructive, it’s also really creepy.

      • I’m not sure about that. Sanders doesn’t get support if his “individualism” doesn’t resonate with lots of people, and he doesn’t do politics in a vacuum. I’m sure he talks to people who give him feedback. Those are two different styles. The idea that Bernie is inherently good and/or totally immersed in democratic socialist ideology might count for more with some voters than the idea that he does what anyone asks him to.

        • Few of his supporters are actually leftists in any historically consistent definition of the term. Most Americans who claim to be leftists have no serious structural critique, their politics are mostly about personality & the collective virtue or venality of those they blame for problems and injustices.

          • Origami Isopod

            Yes, this.

            See also: [BONERS].

          • Sly

            I don’t care what ideology governs Sanders or his supporters.

            I care that he’s wasting time stumping for a “progressive Democrat” mayoral candidate in Nebraska whose politics on abortion rights are a fucking nightmare, while openly questioning whether Ossoff is a “real progressive” when he needs all the help he can get. Because, regardless of ideology, that’s just stupid.

            • D.N. Nation

              Ellison is heading to Georgia today, presumably to eat a big ol’ I’m Sorry Sandwich on Bernie’s behalf.

          • I don’t know about his supporters, but leftist pundits and so on pretty much all supported him as the Left candidate. There was all that hinting that he may be a member of th DSA (which did a damn good job reminding me how annoying they are). And so on. They seem not to have cared whether his “supporters” understood True Leftism.

            And rightly so, if those voters are voting for their preferred candidate. What annoys me is that this apparently means, while they debate True Socialism in their rarefied retreats, mandatory Respect for the White Male Working Class Bigot is the order of the day for the rest of us, lest the spell be broken and those voters abandon the movement.

          • efgoldman

            Most Americans who claim to be leftists have no serious structural critique, their politics are mostly about personality & the collective virtue or venality of those they blame for problems and injustices.

            And they don’t join the party, or work to elect like-minded people. A substantial percentage don’t vote, they just complain.

        • efgoldman

          Sanders doesn’t get support if his “individualism” doesn’t resonate with lots of people

          It’s a cult of personality, nothing more, nothing less. Otherwise he’d join the party most aligned with his and his voters’ interests, instead of slagging on good candidates and supporting whackos with no chance of being elected.
          Every week he says something else disqualifying himself as voice of and for Democrats, most recently about Ossoff.

      • sk7326

        Sanders’ support I think is that he talks about ideas – which are resonant – in a fairly straightforward way.

        Where he fails is in two areas:

        1. The blindness to social issues. In the primary process he tried to fix that some, but in the post election “old man yells at cloud phase” he is done with that.

        2. While he was heavy on ideology, he was very light on tactics and strategy. Now, from a “getting elected” perspective this makes sense, but it raised serious doubts about what would happen when it was time to govern.

        That is one of the hard thing to deal with from the Bernie camp. Once you took the variables on the ground (congress, SCOTUS, government inefficiencies and veto points) – tactically I don’t see how Bernie doesn’t essentially converge to what Clinton would have done in the Oval Office, more or less.

        • PunditusMaximus

          Weed, bankster prosecutions, and Syria were the three things I saw as the largest available changes early on.

          • sk7326

            I don’t think he would have done much more than Obama has (which, given the commutations is a LOT) given the reality that weed is still illegal.

            I was into bank prosecutions (and still am) – but I also have come to think it is more important for pseudo-intellectual naval gazing (see Stoller) than anything that meaningful. Yes this might have helped in the rust belt a little – but the power of white anger is strong.

            • PunditusMaximus

              The President can make weed legal in 6-9 months with a Secretary of HHS who’s down for it. HHS can submit a formal recommendation that weed not be scheduled, based on available information, and that rec can be reasonably supported.

              You can’t reschedule weed — DEA is a rent-extraction org and they’re not gonna help us take their raison d’etre of punching hippies and making dinero away from them. But you can take it away from the DEA entirely.

              Anyways.

            • PunditusMaximus

              It is my belief that failure to prosecute banksters changed trend economic growth from population growth + 2% to population growth +0.5% for the next 50 years. The debt crisis that comes from private debt finally rolling over a tipping point we can’t see is gonna make the $13 trillion cost of 2007 look like an appetizer.

              Poverty is Obama’s legacy.

              • sibusisodan

                It is my belief that failure to prosecute banksters changed trend economic growth from population growth + 2% to population growth +0.5% for the next 50 years.

                What makes that belief reasonable, and what good reasons are there for me to join you in it?

                • PunditusMaximus

                  That’s a fair question and the answer is: my background is in econ, and I chose to read a bunch of Minsky after it became clear that he had outlined the financial crisis well before it happened, unlike other economists.

                  Even though it’s a very simple model, I use the circular flow diagram as a kind of sanity check. The financial sector mediates one of the two major markets, the capital market. If it is damaged or chasing speculation instead of allocating capital, the money doesn’t get spent on buying valuable new goods. It gets spent on shit like juicer bags and unattainable self-driving cars.

                  The analogy I would use is the arteries supplying the heart getting partially blocked up. The machine still works, it’s just at a lower efficiency, and you’re gonna see failures self-reinforce over time. Plus, of course, once a clot does come along, the likelihood is much higher of a catastrophic failure.

                • sibusisodan

                  That’s not an answer. It an explanation of how you came upon the answer.

                  It leaves me no wiser as to why a gross capital misallocation building through 07 can be reasonably assumed to unalterably change the growth trend for two generations.

                  If you’d said that the failure to deal with the causes of the crash set us up for future crashes, thats very reasonable.

                  That doesn’t get you far enough to posit such a sharp slowdown in growth for so long (which may happen, but the forces which bring it about will be far more diffuse the US financial sector).

                • PunditusMaximus

                  I think that in the absence of a couple hundred banksters going to jail, the culture that created the misallocation is unaltered.

                  I think that the growth we got under Obama, running about pop growth +1%, is the best we’re gonna get. The misallocation accumulates.

                  Add to that the fact that our system puts up a major financial crisis every 7 years or so. Last was Grexit But Not, the next one I think will be China, Tech Sector, or Private Debt.

                  So new trend is a little worse than what we had under Obama, and a major crisis every 7 years. Historically, about half of them hit us pretty hard as well as whoever else is hit by them, so we’re due.

                • sibusisodan

                  I could well believe that pop growth +1 is in our future.

                  But the financial crash wasn’t the cause of that. If anything it was a symptom of it: too much leverage trying to keep the good times rolling. Which would be a sign that growth was already struggling due to pressures much greater and more diffuse than the actions of the financial sector.

                  Bankers were jailed after S&L. Did that change the culture? No, it did not. We’ve had bubbles and busts galore since then, actions ranging from criminal to hilariously unwise.

                  We also had Glass Steagal and Dodd Frank. Both had more significant impact on the finance culture than the effect of prosecutions or the lack thereof.

                • PunditusMaximus

                  Bankers were jailed after S&L. Did that change the culture? No, it did not.

                  I’m willing to buy that Obama’s utter base fealty to the banksters was part of an irreversible legislative and legal trend that could not have been arrested — that Clintonite repeal of Glass Steagall was very much a part of as well. Certainly, the Fed just straight up refuses to enforce laws on the books.

                  Dodd-Frank changed the culture for a good six months.
                  We also had SarbOx, which apparently was so awful that no prosecutor is willing to enforce it ever. Agreed that prosecuting a ton of banksters AND restarting things like Glass Steagall would be required to get us off the train. Culture requires ordinary intervention, not occasional housecleanings. But I was asked what the President can do by themselves.

                  And maybe it’s impossible to implement anything resembling good policy, that we’re fighting a rearguard action against implacable evil, and eventually we’re all gonna die under an oligarchic state that gets bored enough to sponsor a dictator to ignore climate change except for machine-gunning environmental refugees.

        • xq

          There are almost no policy stakes to this conflict, but that goes both ways. The only relevant question is what does better electorally.

      • Hillary Clinton could stand in for Wellstone in that formula.

      • Davis X. Machina

        The contradiction between Bernie & progressive/leftist politics is the centrality of solidarity and collective action and the common good vs Bernie’s strong individualism

        I say it’s democratic centralism, and to hell with it.

  • PunditusMaximus

    In a world with James Comey in it, it is, of course, utterly unreasonable to be deeply wary of Obama’s preferred staffing.

    • Morse Code for J

      Yes, because there is no record of service that might establish differences of political commitment between James Comey and Tom Perez. Unscrew your head from your ass.

      • PunditusMaximus

        Perez addressed my fears when he brought Ellison in under the tent. That’s when I went from embittered to cautiously optimistic.

        Which is to say that yes, I judged him based on his actions and am continuing to do so.

        But I understand why folks were and are worried.

        • Craigo

          Which is to say that yes, I judged him based on his actions

          Just not his actions at Labor or Justice, i.e. anything to do with his policy preferences or competence.

          • PunditusMaximus

            He wasn’t being hired as a Cabinet Secretary or Law Enforcement, which was, in fact, part of my concerns. Since Ellison’s experience is much more directly transferable.

            • efgoldman

              Since Ellison’s experience is much more directly transferable.

              Apart from ideology (which is essentially the same) Ellison’s experience as an elected official might or might not transfer to administrative ability; Perez was/is a known quantity as an excellent administrator.

              • PunditusMaximus

                Running a campaign and a successful Congressional staff has more to me to do with DNC Chair than successfully running a large beareaucracy. The differences in size, hire/fire, and revenue stream all favor the successful campaigner rather than the person with the other type of success.

                My 2c, doesn’t matter now.

        • Matty

          Perez’s record for the time he was serving as Secretary of Labor might, perhaps, count for more than the ol’ unity handshake, if we’re talking about judging him based on his actions.

          • Morse Code for J

            Not for somebody who needs the Democratic Party to know just how wrong it was not to nominate the One.

            • PunditusMaximus

              I told you very clearly that it was Perez’s connection to Comey’s boss that was my issue, and not just mine.

      • veleda_k

        But that would require research! And understanding things! Much too hard.

    • Scott Lemieux

      In a world with James Comey in it, it is, of course, utterly unreasonable to be deeply wary of Obama’s preferred staffing.

      You’re a dull boy, Billy.

      • PunditusMaximus

        I know, I know — St. Obama has only made one mistake ever.

  • Rob in CT

    This strikes me as an odd thing to say:

    Now, Perez has attempted to distance himself from that label by getting involved in labor struggles.

    I mean, Tom Perez was SoL. Labor struggles are right in his wheelhouse. So if he “gets involved” in that area, he’s doing it to deflect from accusations that he’s a neoliberal shill? Huh.

    • I mean, Tom Perez was SoL. Labor struggles are right in his wheelhouse. So if he “gets involved” in that area, he’s doing it to deflect from accusations that he’s a neoliberal shill? Huh.

      Neoliberal moles are really, really tricky like that. You never notice them until one day you’re walking across the lawn, and PLOP.

      Then they cut you off at the ankles.

      • sibusisodan

        Then they incentivise the market to have the lowest bidder cut you off at the ankles.

        Let’s do this properly.

        • PunditusMaximus

          You misspelled “hire prison labor for five cents an hour” but yes.

    • Bruce Vail

      Not so odd when you consider that the Beltway notion of a good DOL secretary is an “honest broker” to mediate the conflicts between labor, management and the US Governmnet (NOT an advocate for unions or workers). When Perez meditated the CWA strike, for example, he was supposed to be representing the interests of the government and the broad population, not the union or the CWA employees.

      Perez would never have dared make the kind of statements included in The Payday Report article when he was still serving as Secretary.

  • DrDick

    While I agree with all of this, I would observe that the DNC has been rather reluctant to get involved in the close special elections in places like Georgia and Montana.

    • Because that’s not the responsibility of the DNC.

      There may not be anything about the Dem party on which so many libs/progs talk more and understand less than the structure, responsibilities, authority, influence, and relationships between the DNC/DSCC/DCCC/DGA/DLCC. I suspect it’s just as bad or worse on the GOP side.

      • SatanicPanic

        Mr Houle, do you know of a good explainer site for what the different orgs do? I admit to being hazy on this.

        • Sly

          DNC – Rule-making body that coordinates with state party committees. Runs the convention every four years. Only spends campaign money on the Presidential race after there’s a nominee.

          DCCC – Candidate recruitment, fundraising, ads, and campaign support (i.e. staff, volunteers, phone banking, opposition research, etc.) for House races.

          DSCC – Same as above, but for Senate races.

          DGA – Same as above, but for gubernatorial races.

          DLCC – Same as above, but for state legislature races.

          • SatanicPanic

            Thank you, I am going to clip and save this for later reference.

            • Bruce B.

              Me too. This is just the kind of thing I need. Thanks.

          • efgoldman

            DNC – Rule-making body that coordinates with state party committees.

            Are the others subsets of the DNC, or separate?

            • Hogan

              Separate.

    • PunditusMaximus

      The DNC is doing a reorg; even if the results of that reorg said that they should be more active in special elections . . . they’re doing a reorg.

      • Oh, OK, in that case they’ll just take over what the DCCC does. I’m sure Dem members of Congress will have no problem with that & will happily toss a couple hundred thousand bucks every cycle over to the DNC.

        You are impressive, with how your lack of knowledge is compensated by your vehemence & certitude.

        • PunditusMaximus

          Sorry, yes, I should have made clear the status quo. The way things are currently laid out, the DNC doesn’t have a lot of responsibility for individual races. There’s been talk of coming together and authorizing bit of a campaign shop in the DNC as long as I’ve been involved in state Party work, and there was talk of having more coordination between the D*Cs for stuff between the main elections, but this was pre-Citizens United, and most folks didn’t want to give up that kind of autonomy. It’s been a few years, so I don’t know what the status of that conversation is, or if it was an artifact of the places I’ve happened to do work.

          • Aaron Morrow

            Ugh, that seems like a waste of time and resources, particularly given the core DNC mission of building up the national and state parties.

            They should be reacting to these races by planning to increase resources available to the parties in Kansas and Georgia.

            • PunditusMaximus

              That’s been the overall consensus.

              I’m more tech-oriented; I think it’s a sign of deep incompetence that the DNC doesn’t own a smartphone based field app for election day that it licenses out to Dem campaigns.

              But that’s DWS, and doing that right would take a year or so, so I’m waiting and hoping.

              • Aaron Morrow

                I think it’s a sign of deep incompetence that you ignore repeatedly that the DNC doesn’t work directly with Dem campaigns, but what should I suspect from an anti-union alleged “economic leftist”?

                Congratulations, you trolled me!

                • PunditusMaximus

                  The DNC administers Votebuilder by NGP VAN; it’s already the shop for some Dem tech things. Running a field app is a short distance from that.

                  In gazing at the NGP VAN website, I see that they have some kind of field app at least in the works, which is enormously reassuring.

                • Hello, 3 years ago just called to say you don’t know wtf you’re talking about.

                  https://www.campaignsandelections.com/campaign-insider/ngp-van-unveils-latest-mobile-app

                • PunditusMaximus

                  Doubleyou. Tee. Eff.

                  Why the hell have the last 2 field orgs I worked for on Election Day not used this?

                  I don’t understand humans.

    • sk7326

      Now can the DNC be helpful in strengthening state infrastructures. I don’t know – but it seems that is where the Party needs more permanent help.

      If I had one criticism of Obama as a politician – it was that his team built this massive organizational and information technology competitive advantage, but some of that competitive intel did not seem to get to the Party at large. Again, I am not sure how much criticism is warranted.

      • PunditusMaximus

        I was a high-level volunteer at the State level when Obama came on. The difference between Dean before Obama and Kaine after was night and day. A lot of conduits were abruptly shut.

        • pseudalicious

          Do you mind elaborating on this?

          • PunditusMaximus

            I was on the State Central Committee in Hawai’i; I’d volunteered pretty high up for one of the Presidential candidates in ’04 and had transferred my volunteer energy over.

            In Hawai’i, the DNC’s support made a huge difference. The local Party was brutally amateur, since it had been slowly stripped of utility by the various Governor political machines. But it still kept member lists and did some valuable coordination. The thing is, it just refused to hire a few staff to do the grunt work and manage the fundraising, basically beacuse of tradition and because they’d dug themselves in so hard that they didn’t see a way out of their financial hole.

            The DNC met with various stakeholders and put together what amounted to an aid package. There were also training materials and a lot of informal connection back and forth for the folks who wanted a piece of it. One big thing was that if you were a go-getter precinct level volunteer, there was a list of useful stuff for you to do.

            I got sick and gave up some access to day-to-day after a year, but I kept in touch with a lot of my friends. After Obama fired Dean in ’09, the conduits all shut down. No more training, no more information sharing, no more IT help, no more info on fundraising. Some smaller orgs still offered stuff, but with the central org returning to the ownership of the retired folks who did it as a hobby but weren’t good for leadership, the State org drifted into irrelevancy again.

            Anyways.

            • EliHawk

              I can't possibly imagine why national Democrats thought there were better places to spend money than a state where they won by 45 points. Clearly, without that money and effort, Democrats have done terribly in Hawaii since then.

              • PunditusMaximus

                First Republican Governor in HI came in in ’02 during the neglect. They got her out in ’10.

                Glad you’re having fun.

    • DrDick

      As a follow up, the DCCC committed to a major infusion of funds a few hours after I posted this. It would seem that they may actually be learning.

  • sleepyirv

    That’s all well and good, but where’s the DNC money for Rob Quist? An obvious, cheap, taking a flyer bet in a state that’s more willing to elect someone with a D behind their name than Kansas or Georgia-6?

    I never been against Perez for his personal politics, just his understanding of resource management for a national party. I don’t believe Ellison would be making the same mistake as leader.

    (PS, I was fine DNC not putting more money into Kansas, but the situation now is apples and oranges.)

    • SatanicPanic

      Maybe we should all start calling the DNC and asking them to donate to that race

      • SatanicPanic

        Call the DCCC that is. I stand corrected.

    • djw

      See Dana above. The DNC does not provide money for house races directly. If you want to bitch about some part institutional Democratic party here, it’s the DCCC, not the DNC.

      • StellaB

        Also, it is possible to donate your own money. I know this for a fact because the Quist campaign was willing to take money from neoliberal sellout me.

        • efgoldman

          I know this for a fact because the Quist campaign was willing to take money from neoliberal sellout me.

          Now that you've admitted it, they put your money in a burn bag and sent it to the incinerator.

    • Rob in CT

      DCCC, but yeah.

      I intend to throw a few bucks his way shortly.

    • Sly

      The DCCC is trying to keep its powder dry in Montana, believing that throwing open support behind Quist (in the form of ads) would backfire against them. But they have sent staff, volunteers, and are running a phone banking operation for him. They basically did the same thing with Thompson and KS-04, and I don’t know if they’re going to step up that operation based on how unexpectedly well Thompson did in KS and Ossoff is doing in Georgia. There are certainly calls for them to do so.

      They tied their own hands in Georgia unless there was a run-off. Why? Because there were multiple Democrats running in the race and didn’t want to give the impression that they were playing favorites with Ossoff (who leapt to the forefront due to a torrent of donations from DailyKos, which has been doing the lion’s share of the fundraising for all candidates). So you can blame all the DNC COLLUSION horseshit for why they haven’t started coordinating with Ossoff until now.

    • free_fries_

      News broke after you posted but DCCC is now in.

      That being said the NYT articles strikes me as kinda a cheap shot considering as recently as last week Quist was waving off involvement from the national committees.

  • If Ellison had become chair would the Pink Bunny Anarchists have labeled him Selloutus Maximus by now? I suppose he could still be at I’LL GIVE HIM ONE LAST CHANCE TO TURN HIS SHIT AROUND AND THEN THAT’S IT!!! or even Yeah he’s not as great as I had hoped but at least he’s not that SuperSellOut Perez.

    • PunditusMaximus

      I don’t get this; is the idea that by implementing right-wing economics, starving the State parties of funds and expertise, and displaying public indifference to deaths from despair, we are doing well electorally right now? Because we are not.

      • Craigo

        I don’t get this

        Put this on a fucking T-shirt.

        • PunditusMaximus

          See, this is what happens when I’m stupid enough to be polite.

          • veleda_k

            “See, this is what happens when I’m stupid.”

            Shortened for accuracy and clarity.

      • Another performance by MC 900Ft Straw Man.

        • PunditusMaximus

          But the core of the “pragmatist” meme is that running harder and harder to the right actually wins elections.

          • Rob in CT

            No.

            • PunditusMaximus

              Oh, that settles it, then.

          • djw

            Only in your fevered imagination.

          • Scott Lemieux

            But the core of the “pragmatist” meme is that running harder and harder to the right actually wins elections.

            I guess the “pragmatists” in your head must really hate Obama and Clinton, since the party is well to the left of where it was in 2008 and far to the left of where it was in 1996.

            • PunditusMaximus

              Oh believe me, the fact that the “pragmatists” have an ounce of anger at anyone but Obama after Obama hired Comey is part of the utter incoherence of the faction.

              So far as I can tell, it’s a status thing. The state of mind that leads to hiring a Chief of Staff that calls the base “fucking retards” and still expects them to act as ATMs and volunteers.

        • wjts
  • njorl

    I liked the party-unifying move of making Ellison the deputy, but the matching glasses is taking things too far.

    • Aaron Morrow

      The hard part is maintaining the three-day goatee.

      • Justin Runia

        You make the sacrifices you need to make to keep the Jaeger operational

  • josiah

    I thought at the time that Ellison and Perez should be co-chairs, together, a la Michael Scott and Jim Halpert on The Office.

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