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Giffords Attacks Position of Fellow Democrat, Runs Ad in His Own District

That’s Raul Grijalva, co-chair of the Progressive Caucus, fighting the fearmongering designed to cut Social Security benefits. Throughout this Congress, Grijalva hasn’t been afraid to speak out, even calling for a boycott of his own state after the legislature passed and the Governor signed a draconian immigration law that a federal judge eventually ruled partially unconstitutional.

But the fellow Democrat in the adjacent district serving Tucson, Gabrielle Giffords, has now attacked Grijalva’s position – triangulating against a progressive in an attempt to gain votes in November. Howie Klein has obtained the spot, running in Grijalva’s district in Tucson as well as Giffords’, lashes out at “these groups” who would threaten a boycott of Arizona over SB1070. While she doesn’t mention Grijalva by name, given the attention paid to him on this issue, it’s clear who Giffords is citing. Howie continues:

Giffords is looking like the point of the Blue Dog spear being thrust into the House progressive infrastructure. As we pointed out over the weekend, despite Pelosi’s efforts to tamp it down, the Blue Dogs are going on the warpath against progressive Democrats, using Henry Waxman’s interview with The Hill as an excuse. One thing we can always be sure of inside the Democratic Caucus– well, two, actually: Blue Dogs will always put self-preservation above the party’s principles, and the DCCC will do whatever it can to help them get re-elected […]

We hear that other campaigns, pollsters, donors and politicians joined Grijalva’s staff in futile attempts to show Giffords the obvious– Democrats using other Democrats as punching bags is bad news for everyone. And when DCCC leaders, such as Vice Chair Wasserman Schultz, were approached with the argument that Giffords should not run the ad for obvious reasons, the argument fell on deaf ears. (Instead, they’re rewarding her behavior with close to a million dollars in independent expenditures.) It’s bad enough when so-called Democrats habitually vote against our agenda to save their seats, often with DCCC prompting. Now they’re spending Democratic money to hurt real Democrats to save their seats.

I cannot confirm that the DCCC played any role in trying to persuade Giffords to stop running this – it’s a Giffords ad, and she has full authority to run it. But it’s undeniable that DCCC money will find its way to Giffords in the fall – in fact, it already has, reserving air time for her for the end of the campaign. So their money is going to someone with the judgment to throw one of her Democratic colleagues under the bus and basically run ads against him in his own district.

Grijalva has personally responded to this with a diary at Daily Kos:

My call for action is now being used against me in an ad buy potentially totaling $350,000 in a district adjacent to my own in Southern Arizona. The incumbent Blue Dog Democrat, Gabrielle Giffords, says in the ad that she “holds those groups personally responsible for damaging the economy of Arizona” — not the governor who signed the law for political purposes, not the legislature that introduced and approved it, but the people who took a stand when it counted most.

Democratic operatives always wriggle out of this by saying that the object of their ire, typically a progressive, comes from a “safe seat” and doesn’t have to worry about voters. I guess that means that Democrats like Gabrielle Giffords, who in 2006 said that comprehensive immigration reform was a moral obligation, don’t have to worry about their principles. Giffords has been a leading advocate for the “border security first” approach which won the day in Congress this month, effectively accepting the false right-wing argument that the border is out of control and lawless.

And now, she’s attacking her own colleague with advertising on his turf. And soon, everyone who gives money to the DCCC will reward her for it.

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David Dayen

David Dayen