.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

 k / o
                                       politics + culture

Monday, February 06, 2006

Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey and Joe Nation in CA-06

Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey is a House Member with an impressive voting record. That analysis (from Joshua Grossman's website Progressive Punch) lists Woolsey as one of the most progressive members of Congress.

Term-limited CA State Assemblyman Joe Nation is running against Congresswoman Woolsey in the Democratic primary in CA-06. The local press doesn't give him much of a chance. I honestly don't know. I'm sure, however, that this race will get some attention this year. Conventional wisdom puts this as a "more centrist" challenge (Nation) of a "progressive Dem" (Woolsey).

Here's what Assemblyman Nation lists as his reasons for making this challenge. The phrase "a rubberstamp Democratic vote" notwithstanding (what does that mean to imply?), clearly, someone who's willing to challenge a popular incumbent is nothing if not amibitious.

I'm curious what the community here makes of this. Democratic primaries are a two-edged sword. At their best, progressives and reformers can have an impact on the party. At their worst, they are divisive, and if not that, then at the very least they are distracting. As a matter of principle, however, no elected official is guaranteed their seat without debate and challenge; if that applies to Joe Lieberman then it has gotta apply to Lynn Woolsey too.

Truth is, if the two candidates are both worthy Democrats on some level, I think it's important to acknowledge that. If there are real ideological or character differences...well, then that should be made clear and put to the voters in a constructive manner.

I guess the question for Assemblyman Nation is, "Why should the voters in CA-06 send you to Washington in preference to Congresswoman Woolsey?"

And my question to readers here is: "What do you make of this? What should term-limited Dems do when they are in Assemblyman Nation's position?"

Your thoughts?


  • contested primaries are always worthwhile, as they offer the electorate a choice in districts that have been gerrymandered to well that the real election is in the primary. woolsey's a good rep, she ought to be able to make a decent case for herself, and for the liberal values and policies that she champions. there shouldn't have been term limits in the first place, IMO; if we really cared about making elections competitive, we'd level the economic playing field in both the primaries and the general elections.

    By Anonymous wu ming, at 1:15 AM  

  • I'm all for competitiion. At its bests politics is an intense competition in the marketplace of ideas. The Democrats should not endorse coronations. The party is better served by creative tension.

    In my home state of New York I'm excited at the prospect of an effectiv reformer in Thomas Suozzi challenging the esteemed Eliot Spiter in the New York primary for governor. I know primaries can be nasty but politics isn't suppossed to be a social club.

    By Anonymous Intrepid Liberal Journal, at 5:00 PM  

  • I am all for competition as well - nothing made me more angry than the annoiting of Barbara Lee with a special election after Dellums stepped down midterm.

    Though I believe that concerns that a tough primary can weaken the party in the general are very valid.

    By Anonymous Kathleen, at 4:35 PM  

  • I think that the primary will be a healthy one. And since these seats belong to the voters and not the members that sit in them, the reps should be required to defend their record.

    Frankly, other than her position on Iraq, Woolsey has been a true backbencher in every sense of the word. Some of the reasons she shouldn't be returned to Washington are (IMO):

    She voted 3 times for NCLB despite numerous warnings from local education officials that it would be a disaster. She defends her vote by saying it was Ted Kennedy's bill. I am sure that she realizes that Mass. ain't Cali and she should have voted in the interests of her district, not Ted Kennedy's state.

    She has defended votes she has taken on NCLB and other bills by saying she didn't know this or that provision was in the bill. What do we as taxpayers fund her office and pay her salary for, if not to know what is in the bills she votes on?

    She has done nothing, not one single thing, regarding global warming.

    Last but not least in my mind is the fact that she wrote a letter seeking a lenient scentence for a convicted rapist. He attacked a 17 year old high school student, shoved a rag soaked in cleaning solvents into her mouth and raped and sodomized her. Lynn Woolsey, who knew the guy as the son of one of her employees, wrote a letter to the presiding judge asking for leniency because "obviously in my eyes, he's not a criminal." She later sent a press release to the papers apologizing for the letter, but never made an effort to apologize to the victim.

    I know Joe Nation record and anywhere else but Cali, he would be considered a crazy liberal. 100% pro-choice, co-authored the bill that would have legalized gay marriage, author of two global warming bills that became law and the co-author of the nation's first carbon reduction bill among others. He is thoughtful and takes his time learning an issue before he takes a position (shocking). Plus he's willing to work to earn the votes, going door to door. He knocked on mine last weekend and was willing to spend 10 minutes talking about issues. That is damn rare in this day and age.

    Thanks for letting me vent a little...

    By Blogger sanchez96, at 7:34 PM  

  • Lynn Woolsey has been "seat warming" for too long. She is not in touch with her constituency. Her office staff is rude and evasive when called upon to handle questions and concerns. Letters go unanswered by her office, when the same letters are responded to by other representatives (Boxer, Pelosi). She is supposed to be in touch with the people whom she represents and learn what their needs and concerns are. Sadly, she is not. Not until an election year is even anything generic received in the mail from her. I've always been a registered democrat and have voted for her in the past, but I'm delighted to see that Joe Nation is going to give Marin another choice. We need a new, strong representative that is able to speak to the needs of our community. I have gone to his websites and have observed an active and caring man who advocates for what he believes. I urge all to vote for JOE!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:43 PM  

  • Wow. I hope these comments represent the final vote. Joe is a great person and strong legislator. Something Marin/Sonoma have long done without. As a longtime Democrat and Marin resident, I long for a day when we have a Democratic Member of Congress who brings fresh ideas, strong leadership, and true legislative impact to DC. Joe can do just that. Lynn for gods sake retire. You've done enough damage to our district and to the Democratic/progressive cause. The proof is in the current state of education, training, healthcare, jobs, housing, eldercare, transportation - you name it. Since people like Lynn Woolsey have taken root in Congress, we've gone backwards. Please fellow progressives, wake up. Lynn has to go!!!!

    By Anonymous Renn Vara, at 4:08 PM  

  • Democrats are better off without Joe Nation. Besides, I think he's a closet Republican - why else take money from them if you don't have the juice to do what's right. Joe didn't. He sat on his hands instead of supporting other Democrats. His excuse was that there was exclusionary terminology that would partly defeat the Dems intentions. He could have helped correct the legislation once in place but chose instead to be unsupportive of his party. He's a self-interested lightweight. Let him go now and imitate Gore (only not as good).

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:15 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home