Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Report from Capitol Hill, is Rep. Giffords a DINO?

Rep. Giffords and Bruce Babbitt in DC

WASHINGTON and TUCSON -- I've been in the nation's capitol now three days meeting with Congressional offices about protecting Amercian public lands from off-road vehicle abuse, with a special focus on BLM lands in Utah.

So far, so good. Almost all the offices I've met with, including many on the GOP side, seem to have some understanding about the big and growing threat to safety and the environment from ORVs.

Public views on street here are similar as in Arizona and the nation, that leadership in Congress is playing it too cautious and not being strong enough against Bush/Cheney, especially on Iraq.

Closer to home, when Washington progressives hear that I'm from Tucson some have asked 'what's up with Congresswoman Giffords?'

I'm not exactly sure. They should ask the Congresswoman, or her Washington Chief of Staff, Maura Policelli.

It's clear that some progressives are troubled by her 'blue dog' right-leaning views on some issues.

For the record, Giffords does not agree with the 'blue dog' bad energy positions, which I and other greens have been very critical of.

Another concern I'm hearing is that Rep. Giffords isn't just leaning right to get re-elected, but that she truly feels that way on military spending, some aspects of border policy, wilderness and other issues that may seem tough in her district.

Some voters do not agree with her, but at least she seems to be voting her true views.

D8 may be a swing district, but I think Giffords has broad support there now, except with the relatively small hard-right voters who will never support her.

No elected official can, or should even try, to please all the people all the time. Politics are always complicated, and never easy.

She should be careful though. If Giffords stays too far to the right, it will erode support she needs from liberal Dems, Independents and moderate Republicans in the district. They may still vote for her, but they may not be as likely to volunteer and work hard for her re-election.

Rep. Giffords has been honest about being a moderate, and I respect that honesty. If you don't like all her votes, just remember Jim Kolbe, who was much farther to the right on most issues.

Is Rep. Giffords a DINO (Democrat in Name Only)? I don't think so, but clearly some progressives are wondering.

Even though I don't agree with her on everything, I helped get Rep. Giffords elected and remain a supporter, although somewhat more cautiously. I encourage her to find a progressive path as much as she can.

And finally, if you have views on some of Giffords' positions, she needs to hear it. Contact one of her offices, or post a comment here. Her wise staff reads my influential, thoughtful blog.


Jeneiene said...

With all due respect, I respond: 'well, duh.' One doesn't have to go all the way to DC to find that Giffords may be a DINO, although it is very interesting to get that feedback. To know her reputation goes *that* far. This was a concern during her election in Tucson and so far, it seems, she has not done much effort to dissuade her detractors. She's big on defense spending, which is a huge turn off for me.

JRR said...

Gabby voted with the Republicans and against the vast majority of Democrats to continue funding the war. She went to Iraq, took in the administrations presentations and came back mouthing Republican platitudes of great improvement in Iraq as a ramp up to Petreus' report. If she walks like, talks like, and votes like...she must really be a Republican. Sad. Very sad. She's being attacked in radio ads in PHX for her war stance as well. This Republican could have a hard time keeping a very interested Democratic base and the enthusiasm they had that helped her win in '06.

x4mr said...

One has to get re-elected to really be elected. I posted on the subject here.

She has to win in CD 8 again, and Bee will come at her for being "too liberal" and not in touch with the district.

I also support her, but do not share any confidence regarding her next election. It will be hard fought and a nail biter. She has to swing middle, risking criticism from the left, to earn the middle that keeps her in office.

The sentiments of your post amplify dramatically when discussing her second term.