“A Who’s-Who” of People Against Progressives’ Agenda: DNC’s Perez Under Fire for Convention Committee Picks

Yves here. As progressives, meaning the real thing, not the Vichy Left, are finally developing and flexing atrophied muscles, so their opponents are making it obvious they intend to thwart them. As one seasoned political analyst said via e-mail about the DNC’s picks: “Amazing porkers”.

But can the party brass prevail now that not only are more and more Americans suffering, but they also know the economic deck has been stacked against them? And as Ursula LeGuin pointed out, “There are not many of the Shing.

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer at Common Dreams. Originally published at Common Dreams

Progressives raised alarm this weekend after Democratic National Committee chair Tom Perez released his picks for the 2020 Democratic National Convention committees.

The list of nominees, Sunrise Movement political director Evan Weber saidSunday, looks like “a who’s-who of people explicitly opposed to the progressive agenda.”

Kevin Gosztola, managing editor of Shadowproof, sparked a flurry of responses when he shared Perez’s list on social media Saturday afternoon.

Gosztola’s Twitter thread delved into the backgrounds of a number of candidates, including Bakari Sellers, who’s nominated to sit on the Platform Committee.

“Sellers drafted letter and spearheaded effort in 2016 to ensure the DNC platform did not adopt language Bernie Sanders supported, which would’ve acknowledged responsibility to confront humanitarian crisis facing Palestinians in Gaza,” Gosztola added.

Gosztola wasn’t alone in criticizing Sellers’s placement on the list.

Carol Browner was on the list for the Platform Committee as well. Browner, as “a Clinton delegate, during the 2016 Platform Drafting Committee meeting, voted against a ban on fracking, Medicare For All, opposing the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), keeping fossil fuels in ground, and measure to halt abuse of eminent domain by fossil fuel industry,” wrote Gosztola.

Perez also nominated former Congressman Barney Frank to be co-chair of the Rules Committee.

Frank, as Gosztola pointed out, has argued against the Green New Deal and sits on the board of directors of Signature Bank in New York, which a New York Times report showed “was a go-to lender for President Donald Trump’s family, as well as Jared Kushner’s family.” Frank also penned a 2015 Politico op-ed entitled “Why Progressives Shouldn’t Support Bernie.”

Political analyst Lauren Martinchek, in a Sunday post on Medium, also highlighted concerns with Perez’s list. She wrote:

Even more controversial and dangerous than Barney Frank is John Podesta, also on the Rules Committee, who said in the infamous leaked DNC emails that they needed to make sure Bernie is “ground to a pulp,” and asked “where would you stick the knife in?” If this process was even remotely designed to be fair, this man would not be allowed anywhere near this convention.

Another incredibly questionable choice is Alex Padilla, Vice-chair of the Platform Committee. Padilla gained notoriety for refusing to count 2 million votes in the 2016 California primary, a move that undeniably favored Clinton and handed a massive disadvantage to the Sanders campaign. He was sued for this.

Win Without War executive director Stephen Miles and Sanders foreign policy advisor Matt Duss suggested the list shows that the DNC is out of touch with its base.

The list of Perez’s nominees, Andrew Cockburn, Washington editor of Harper’s Magazine, wrote Sunday on Twitter, represents “The true, grim, face of the Democratic establishment.”

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51 comments

  1. Jen

    So, is the DNC still on anger, or have they moved on to bargaining? If they’re now starting to focus on blocking Bernie’s agenda, as opposed to Bernie himself, I’ll take that as a sign that they don’t think they can stop him from winning the nomination.

    I just got a DNC fundraising letter from Obama. Checked off zero for the donation amount, and wrote some choice words about the convention committee picks on the reply form.

    Reply
  2. Geo

    Beyond the obvious bias most of them hold, they also share a record of abysmal election failure. Good to see the DNC rewarding them and making it clear they will gladly game the system and lose to “existential threat” Trump over allowing Sanders, and the progressive movement, to have any power at all.

    Like so much in our politics today, the “Democratic” Party is an Orwellian name as it is anything but democratic. #VoteBlueNoMatterWho is just as empty of a hashtag as #resistance has been proven to be.

    Reply
  3. jackiebass

    As a life long democrat this is why I don’t support the DNC. The DNC needs to get rid of the Clinton camp and bring in real democrats. I believe the DNC is just another version of the republican party. Republicans purged them out of the Republican Party and they turned to the democrat party to survive. They are the very reason democrats continue to lose important elections.All of them are what used to be called moderate republicans. They became democrats because they couldn’t win as a republican. The biggest thing I like about Bernie is he hasn’t changed. His message is the same as it was 20 years ago. He is really a real democrat not a phony, but a Roosevelt democrat. If a progressive isn’t the democrat nominee, I will again vote for a third party candidate.

    Reply
    1. Colin Spenncer

      Could not agree with you more. Should Sanders be denied the nomination again, Progressives need to stay home on Election Day, which is what I plan to do if that is the case. Hopefully that might send a message to the DNC and if they do not get it they can expect the same treatment in four years.

      Reply
      1. Samuel Conner

        Don’t stay at home; go to the polls and undervote every DNC-approved candidate. Find one progressive somewhere on the ballot to vote for, and if there aren’t any, write one in.

        DNC needs to know that the left electorate still votes, but not for its preferred candidates.

        Not showing up is what they want, since then they can explicitly justify not competing for our votes and working against policies we prefer.

        Reply
        1. Carey

          Who’ll be counting the votes?

          For the moment, I think if Sanders again has the nomination stolen,
          I too will not vote on election™ day, and instead fraternize with the like-minded, and organize the variously disenfranchised.

          That’s the way forward.

          Reply
      2. Paul Jurczak

        Instead of staying home, consider voting for real Progressives, i.e. Green Party. If their results start moving up from the usual 1-2% range, it is guaranteed that DNC will notice (and call 3rd party voters useful idiots and Putin patsies).

        Reply
    2. Bill Carson

      Forgive me, but I’m not sure what you mean by “real democrats.” It seems to me that these appointees represent the democratic party who has been in charge for an entire generation—since 1992 at least. These are real democrats.

      Reply
    3. richard

      very sensible – i hadn’t really thought of it that way, like where all the mod. republicans of the 60s went. But they are now as extinct as dodos. Wouldn’t that be cool if we could send all those losers back to the repubs? Or make them be a “third party”, even better.

      Reply
  4. Bob

    Doesn’t it work like this –

    Donor X gives $$$ Millions which is actually a bribe.
    DNC creates a friendly agenda. Tax breaks, relaxed regulations, bent law enforcement, and so on. This is how the DNC works. No real effort to represent constituents just collect the big $$$ and go on. We’ve seen this before under Obama. Remember how quickly he dismantled his small donor support after his elections ? Remember how he toadied up to the TBF banks ?
    We are seeing this now with the Republican party.

    And of course ordinary people are limited to donations of somewhere around $ 2,500.

    The fact is the system is skewed toward money. Not Party.

    Reply
    1. inode_buddha

      As far as I know Republicans have always been that way. We first saw this kind of behavior under Clinton. Long before Obama came around.

      Reply
      1. Carolinian

        The whole rationale of Clinton’s third way movement was that the Dems–after 12 years of Republican presidential dominance– needed to buddy up to the financial powers in order to gain the presidency and do progressive things. Of course once he won the former prevailed and the latter not so much (not at all really other than a few halfhearted gestures). In other words it was all a grift papered over with “feel your pain” flim flam. The drift to the right didn’t start with the Clintons but they were its standard bearers.

        Shorter: yes it’s all about money.

        Reply
        1. JTMcPhee

          So do I have it right that when the Clinton duo eventually die, they will get “state funerals?”

          It was done for Nixon:

          His body was transported to the Nixon Library and laid in repose. A public memorial service was held on April 27, attended by world dignitaries from 85 countries and all five living Presidents of the United States, the first time that five U.S. presidents attended the funeral of another president.

          Nixon’s state funeral is unique among recent presidential state funerals in that, in accordance with his own wishes, none of the elements of the state ceremonies occurred in the nation’s capital.

          And will Kissinger and Brzezinski also be laid in state? Will all of them get the same papier-mâché resurrection as Great Statespeople that was accorded the corpse of GHW Bush?

          Just wondering.

          Reply
  5. Brooklin Bridge

    This is hardly a surprise. More of a groan, more of what you knew was coming, but had put it aside because a lot was happening.

    It would be interesting to know what goes through the mind of a real life Gollum character like Perez when he slithers for the powerful. Is there that little frisson of fear as he muses, “they hate me, they utterly hate me but I’ll show em,” on the one hand and that nicotine craving on the other for a pat on the head by his betters; by the really important people he never thought he’d be running with, always pushing to back of mind that to them, after use, he’s just something to avoid stepping on?

    Reply
    1. lordkoos

      I have noticed though, that Obama seems to be staying above the fray. He doesn’t seem to want to get involved in trashing Sanders, at least so far.

      Reply
      1. The Rev Kev

        Are you kidding? It was Obama that foisted Tom Perez as head of the DNC. I would not be surprised to learn down the track that he was also heavily involved too in selecting names for that list.

        Reply
  6. Arizona Slim

    Out here in the Grand Canyon State, we’re being targeted. Link:

    https://www.tucsonweekly.com/tucson/operation-blue/Content?oid=27204614

    True confession: I don’t know much about this DLCC thingie. But, if it’s backing more Blue Dogs like Ann Kirkpatrick, Kyrsten Sinema, and (yes, I’m going to go there) Gabrielle Giffords, this isn’t a good thing for our state.

    And, contrary to what you may have heard, this state does have progressives in office. Example of one who is making waves:

    https://powersforthepeople.net/2020/01/06/religious-liberty-vs-patient-rights-healthcare-providers-should-disclose-religious-restrictions-to-care/

    Reply
  7. WheresOurTeddy

    We can have change that looks like 1932 or change that looks like 1789.

    Right now the Oligarchy is showing they’d prefer the latter option.

    I think someday soon they’ll yearn for the kindly old socialist from Vermont, because they won’t like what comes after him if they fix the election.

    Reply
  8. Edward

    Why does one person get to make these important decisions? These choices effect the entire country. Do Americans get to have any say about how their lives are run?

    On Barney Frank, lets not forget that he co-authored the legislation responding to the 2008 crash, which was a sell-out to Wall Street. The bribe he was given for this service was probably a high paying job for his partner.

    Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      ‘Do Americans get to have any say about how their lives are run?’ With the DNC the answer is no! Three years ago they argued in court the following-

      …attorneys representing the DNC claim that the Democratic National Committee would be well within their rights to “go into back rooms like they used to and smoke cigars and pick the candidate that way.”

      https://observer.com/2017/05/dnc-lawsuit-presidential-primaries-bernie-sanders-supporters/

      Reply
  9. a different chris

    I don’t understand the complaints? That’s a perfectly balanced list of minorities and women, in fact maybe overbalanced a bit. What else could you possibly want? /s

    Reply
    1. Steve

      a different chris, you are exactly right the DNC has a plethora of minorities and women whose class interests are inline with the status quo loving, neoliberals serving the 1% donor class leaderships of both the Repubs. and Dem. parties to oppose structural change in our society. It’s a great example that in order to secure some change we can actually see, not “believe in”, the diversity we need is in thinking and class interests, not in terms of chromosomes and pigmentation.

      Reply
  10. Stillfeelinthebern

    Carol Browner was head of the EPA during the Clinton Administration. She has a long history in the environmental arena. I believe she supports the Green New Deal.

    Reply
    1. JTMcPhee

      The folks I know from working at the US EPA years ago, of the tree-hugger persuasion and who fought the good fight to resist the Reagan Revolution and after, do not have kind things to say about Carol Browner. And neither does Forbes, of all folks: https://www.forbes.com/sites/markhendrickson/2013/03/14/the-epa-the-worst-of-many-rogue-federal-agencies/

      Lots more if one searches on “Carol Browner corruption.”

      Amazing outpouring of liberal breast-beating sentiment over the death of Kobe Bryant, a pleasing distraction from all the other crap that’s going on. Shiny objects.

      Just another entry in why every day it looks more like the human race has a death wish.

      Reply
    2. John Wright

      Per the link below, you are correct about Browner and the GND.

      https://www.newyorker.com/podcast/political-scene/two-perspectives-on-the-future-of-the-green-new-deal

      “What will it take to get serious climate legislation passed? The New Yorker’s John Cassidy posed that question to Carol Browner, who was the chief of the Environmental Protection Agency under President Bill Clinton and an adviser, known as the “climate czar,” to President Barack Obama. Yet neither of those Administrations managed to make any substantial dent in the climate crisis. Browner supports the Green New Deal, but she says that we shouldn’t depend on Congress to lead the way to serious climate reform. Grassroots organizing and appealing to industry leaders are crucial steps.”

      Reply
    1. Brooklin Bridge

      Yep, the elevator hesitates…, no lingers…, no is stuck solid on the, then they fight you floor. Call repair!

      Reply
  11. m sam

    It really does look like they are gearing up for “anyone but Bernie.” Which is also to say that they have no qualms over alienating the millions of Bernie supporters and thereby driving a wedge into their own voter base. They are quite specifically cutting off their nose to spite their face, and most definitely would rather lose than let Bernie take the nomination.

    I see a lot of people hoping for the best in this situation that does not look very good politically, I only wish I saw more strategizing on how to overcome it. Is there anything to be done?

    Reply
    1. Janie

      What Amfortas says: one conversation, on their grounds, at a time. Slow progress. Takes time. I don’t think we have time. Keep trying and rake care of each other.

      Reply
    2. False Solace

      Mainstream Democrats spent the last 3 years blaming their loss on Russians instead of their own corruption so I don’t put any stupidity past them.

      What is to be done? Volunteer for Bernie – go to his website and sign up — there are many options — do it now when it makes the most difference. Don’t give money to anyone except actual leftist progressives. Organize your workplace if possible. Have respectful conversations with your colleagues and friends about the better world that’s possible and who’s stopping us from getting there. In my experience, many people on the right have accurately diagnosed the cause of the problem, what they lack is solutions.

      Reply
  12. Michael Mooney

    When will they learn? Last time around, when the DNC dumped on Bernie, I voted for Trump. If they do it again, I’ll do it again.

    Reply
    1. Carey

      What is it that they’re supposed to learn? Their business model (h/t Lambert) depends
      on this, and they do have the tools (for now!) to steal it again.

      As said above, keep trying (organizing, IMO) and take care of each other.
      Those two things cannot, in the long run, be stopped.
      Imagine having to *be* one of those shark-people, trusting and having, truly, no one?

      yeesh, no

      Reply
  13. Doncoyote

    I drag this out every so often, but it seems especially appropo here, since this is a very long (but entertaining and informative IMO) description of the 2016 Democratic Party platform committee meeting, and the Platform committee is one of the three being stacked named:

    Giving the Thumbs Down on the Democratic Platform

    The one place many Americans would have least expected to be reminded of such expressions of absolute power would likely be the Democratic Party’s Platform Committee meeting.

    Yet this was exactly how many participants and observers in Orlando felt this past weekend. As I sat strategically in the bar I observed the feeling of the room that C-SPAN’s cameras were unable to capture — a sense of a fundamentally divided party being irreversibly reinforced in its factional split despite the many attempts at rhetorical declarations that “unity” had been achieved.

    But it was the description of the process whereby the Hillary delegates were kept in line with the campaign’s directives that stood out most to me. The vision of silver-haired Ambassador Wendy Sherman, clad in white pants, black long sleeve shirt, and a black and white checkered sleeveless sweater, often frantically thrusting her emphatic thumbs-down into the air. Standing strategically off-camera, just in front of the section reserved to the party-bosses presiding in the background, Sherman spent the weekend as party under-boss ensuring the loyal unity of the Hillary delegation to the campaign’s pre-determined positions on proposed amendments.

    I know, tl;dr. So the short version: nothing has changed since 2016, it’s the #Resistance vs #OurRevolution.

    Reply
  14. lordkoos

    My biggest worry if Sanders should win, is what some call a “capital strike”. Where the economy is crashed in order to discredit a socialist movement. This type of thing has been in the US foreign policy playbook for decades, and at this point I don’t think the powers that be would be at all reticent about applying it domestically.

    Reply
    1. flora

      Maybe, but if they crash the economy a second time (from 2008) there won’t be much public support for them and there will be a lot of public support for Keynesian level public spending to get the Main Street economy back up and running. The “capital strike” is a bluff they’ll lose, imo. The govt ‘prints’ the money, they do not.

      Reply
  15. KYrocky

    Their contempt, and that is what it is, of progressives runs deep. It’s their club and they are going to keep it and do what they want, no matter what the majority of Democratic voters want.

    Long ago the Democratic Party’s leaders decided that money was their number one criteria: not just how much democratic candidates could raise, but also who they raised it from.

    Tim Kane, then Debbie Wasserman Schultz, then Perez. 2009 to today. Everything the DNC touched along that way went to crap. And don’t forget 2018’s wave occurred largely despite, or because of, the many of the DNC’s Democratic primary choices losing to progressive candidates. The Clinton triangulation playbook gave the DNC as sugar high it’s never let go of, no matter the changes our middle class has gone through while they have looked the other way.

    Reply
  16. Mark Ó Dochartaigh

    The Ursula K. LeGuin citation is especially apropos considering that her dad the noted anthropologist Alfred Kroeber was one of the people who helped the last Native American to enter Western “Civilization”. Ishi who had lived through a massacre of his family by whiter settlers, died of tuberculosis a few years later. A reference to LeGuin seems very appropriate as we gaze into the abyss.

    Reply

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