You can see no greater example of home team-ism than in the multiple fundraisers being held at the highest levels of the Democratic Party for Mark Critz, the candidate who in his first ad announced his proud opposition to large segments of the Democratic agenda, including health care, reproductive choice and gun control.

Yesterday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi held a high-dollar fundraiser for Critz in Washington. And Vice President Joe Biden will head to the western Pennsylvania district to campaign for Critz.

I understand fully the concept of the big tent, and PA-12 has moved somewhat sharply against the President over the past year. But we have been told incessantly that the health care bill was the most consequential vote in a generation, and Critz is saying he would have voted against it because it was too “liberal.” Setting aside that question, top Democrats said repeatedly during the debate they wouldn’t lift a finger to help anti-health reform Democrats, and would every run primary challengers against them. The White House said they would prioritize Democrats who stood with them. I derive some amusement in the fact that Joe Biden, of all people, is the one campaigning with Critz. I guess health care wasn’t such a big fuckin’ deal after all.

Critz is running in a special election on May 18 to replace the late John Murtha in a swing district in Pennsylvania. Because the special election coincides with contested primaries on the Democratic side, Critz will probably get a turnout boost against Republican Tim Burns. In addition, the special election and primary will be held on the same day, and Burns has high profile competition in his own primary in the form of 2008 GOP nominee William Russell, which could sow confusion. The polls have shown a dead heat.

David Dayen

David Dayen

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