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“Democrat In Name Only” Challenges Progressive Senator Brian Schatz

Representative Colleen Hanabusa (D-HI)

In the ongoing squabble over former Hawai’i Senator Inouye’s seat, DINO (Democrat In Name Only) Representative Colleen Hanabusa (D-HI) continues to maintain her sense of entitlement and has announced she will primary Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI).

Backroom deals anointed her Sen Inouye’s successor but the Hawai’i governor (himself a progressive) said, “Not so fast” and chose Brian Schatz instead.

Senator Brian Schatz got off to a impressive start, capturing the chairmanships of Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, and the Internet and Subcommittee on Water And Power.

His votes have been everything his progressive supporters wanted: no on reauthorization of FISA, no on CISPA, no cuts to Social Security, and yes on allowing states to require GMO labeling.  He’s made CO2 and climate change a top priority and speaks out fearlessly on the topic.

So in Hawai’i where Democrats rule (and almost every politician joins the Democratic party, regardless of whether they support party principles) what choice does Hanabusa offer the voters?

Turns out it is a big choice!

First off: while Senator Schatz is a member of the Progressive Caucus, Colleen Hanabusa has eschewed her 2010 supporters and joined the New Democrat Coalition. You’ll get a clue as to their positions since they, like the GOP, have dropped the “ic” at the end of “Democratic.”

Hanabusa garnered support from progressive organizations such as with her promise not to join the Blue Dogs (she was running against Teapartier Djou and Blue Dog, Ed Case). Little did these backers realize that a new caucus had supplanted the Blue Dogs.

As soon as she was elected, Hanabusa ditched her progressive backers and joined the new Blue Dogs — the New Democratic Coalition (NDC).

What is Colleen Hanabusa’s New Democrat Coalition all about?

  • They support Cyber Intelligence Sharing Act (CISPA) criticized by civil liberty advocates on both the right and left. President Obama said he’d veto it. Thankfully the Senate (with Sen Shatz’s help) killed the GOP’s CISPA. Supporters of CISPA include large corporations, AT&T, Chamber of Commerce, and Microsoft.  Opponents range from the ACLU and Electronic Frontier Foundation all the way through Americans for Limited Government and the American Conservative Union. Hanabusa voted in favor. Schatz voted no.
  • We need to lower the marginal corporate tax rates” according to the NDC.
  • Everything is on the table” — presumably cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are included in “everything.” They also proudly tout themselves as the “key to bridging the gap between Republicans and Democrats.” Does that make them a semi-Republican, semi-Democratic middle group? As we’ve said earlier in this post, “DINOs”.
  • Creating an Efficient and Pro-Growth Regulatory Environmentby eliminating overly burdensome regulations.
  • Support for No Child Left Behind. The new Elementary and Secondary Education Act must reform No Child Left Behind where necessary but not weaken its commitment to accountability at all levels.
  • Support the Trans Pacific Partnership  which critics have called “the wish list of the 1%.”
  • Support of Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement. The labor movement in both South Korea and America adamantly opposed the Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement (sometimes called KORUS), including the ILWU.  But despite the Democratic Parties plank supporting labor, Rep Hanabusa, siding with her pro-Wall Street colleagues in the New Democrat Coalition and the Republican Party, voted for it. Oops, there goes one of your most influential backers, Rep Hanabusa.
  • Opposing the fix to Big Pharma paying lower rebates through a loophole. Sen Schatz is a sponsor of the bill which would eliminate this loophole and save Medicare money. Rep Hanabusa sided with the drug companies and opposed it.

At the bottom of Down with Tyranny’s page, there’s a video mocking the House Committee on Financial Services’ efforts to water down financial reform. It calls out some New Democrat Coalition members for their support of Wall Street.

NDC members of this committee include Carolyn McCarthy, David Scott, Ed Perlmutter, John Carney, Terri Sewell, Bill Foster, Patrick Murphy, John Delaney, Kyrsten Sinema, and Denny Heck.

No mystery about why Dodd-Frank is being dismantled given all these NDC members on the Financial Committee. And these are just the so-called Democrats!

Why does Hanabusa, representing one of the most liberal states in the union, belong to this corporatist group? Has anyone ever asked her to explain?

Photo released under Public Domain

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