Archive for October 20th, 2008

Do Veterans Groups Have A Golden Raspberry?

In case you’re not familiar with it, the “Razzie” is awarded to the worst movies, actors, and directors every year.  I wonder if veterans groups have anything similar – it would be the only possible explanation for this:

Yesterday, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) held a telephone town hall meeting, in which “thousands” of Nevadans — according to the McCain campaign — called to listen in. Among some of the hostile, pointed, and critical questions came one from a veteran, who challenged McCain on his voting record regarding funding for the Veterans Administration and veterans’ priorities:

Q: I know you voted for lesser increases, and sometimes they were so much less, and our VA desperately needs the money. Can you tell me why you would vote for less money for the VA when there’s a war going on?

M: Well of course I have not and I’m afraid I’ve been endorsed by the VFW in every election that I’ve been in. I have been — received the honors, the highest honor and awards from all our veterans organizations for my consistent support of them. I don’t know what you’re looking at, but the DAV, the VFW, the American Legion, all of them have given me their highest awards for my consistent support of them.

As ThinkProgress has repeatedly documented, McCain is either willfully lying or he is delusional about his record — and the meaning of “highest awards.” In fact, McCain has recently stood on the opposite side of all three of the groups he mentioned:

Disabled American Veterans (DAV): In a list of 36 “key votes,” shows McCain “Voted Against Us” 16 times. (Obama “Voted With Us” 17 times, and against only once.)

Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW): Endorsed Sen. Jim Webb’s (D-VA) GI Bill that McCain vigorously opposed; called McCain’s alternative GI Bill “very partisan” and said they “didn’t have much input” in its crafting.

American Legion: Endorsed Webb’s GI Bill and criticized McCain’s concern about how it would affect retention, saying the bill “would encourage young men and women to join the military.”

Just last week, the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America gave McCain a grade of D for his record of voting against veterans. (Obama got a B.) The Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) have noted that in its “Key Votes,” McCain “Voted Against Us” 15 times and “Voted For Us” only 8. (Obama voted for VVA 12 times, and against only once.)

Earlier this month, Rep. Chet Edwards (D-TX), a leading veterans advocate, excoriated McCain in an interview with ThinkProgress: “If you look at John McCain’s record on veterans issues, it’s a failed one.” It’s a sentiment IAVA executive director Paul Rieckhoff agrees with. Noting McCain’s dismal voting record on VA funding, Rieckhoff told ThinkProgress, “If he says the VA’s not working, it’s in part because he hasn’t funded it properly.”

Maybe it’s enough just to say that you support veterans.  The “Republicans support the troops and the Democrats don’t” meme has always mystified me, especially when it comes to veterans, who Republicans consistently screw over – even the ones who are veterans themselves.

2 comments October 20th, 2008 at 09:33pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Elections,McCain,Wankers,War

Memo To LCV: It’s “Conservation,” Not “Conservative.”

Stoller observe that the League of Conservation Voters are, not to put too fine a point on it, wankers:

I wanted to look at… whether according to their own criteria the League of Conservation voters is fair to Democrats.  The LCV scorecard is the major scorecard for the environmental movement, this is their measure of how friendly to the environment a candidate is, a selection of key votes that set goals for the large and sprawling set of green groups.  So one would expect them to treat all candidates the same and judge them strictly according to votes (with some wiggle room based on the type of district).  If you are a Democrat and the LCV endorses a Republican, too bad, the Republican is good on the environment and LCV looks at politicians without fear, favor, or partisanship.  We wanted to test whether that’s actually how LCV operates.


Basically, what the data suggests is that LCV has two sets of standards, one for Democrats, who have to meet a certain bar for support, and one for Republicans, who have to meet a lower bar for support.

Democratic Mean LCV lifetime score: 88
Republican Mean LCV lifetime score: 66

+22 advantage for Republicans


Here are some more facts:

  • Every single endorsed Democrat except one has a lifetime score above 80.  Every single endorsed Republican except one has a lifetime score below 80.
  • Every single endorsed Democrat in an even or Democratic district had a 2008 score above 90.  Every single endorsed Republican in an even or Democratic district had a 2008 score below 90.
  • Endorsed Republicans are in districts that are 1.4% more Republican than endorsed Democrats.

It turns out that LCV doesn’t use its scorecard to make endorsements.  Judged by the data, Republicans have a consistent advantage when seeking the endorsement of this group.  Put another way, the League of Conservation voters is willing to endorse Republicans that are less friendly to the environment according to their own criteria simply because they are Republicans.

One can argue over whether single issue groups should treat Democrats better because they vote for a more progressive leadership of committees.  In fact, conservative groups tend to treat leadership votes as part of their checklist, and I think that’s probably a good idea for progressive groups as well.  Still, this argument is not actually the one we’re having.  I’m wondering whether there can possibly be an excuse for treating Democratic politicians worse than Republican politicians.  That seems to me to simply be a broken organizational model.

… If the way that LCV operates is a standard model for left-wing groups, it occurs to me that both right-wing and left-wing single issue groups give Republicans an advantage.  The conservatives help Republicans by considering leadership votes as part of their endorsement process, and Democrats simply cannot compete with Republicans on that score.  This is reasonable; Tom Delay is better for the NRA than Nancy Pelosi.  But liberal groups systematically boost Republicans by some arbitrary amount based on a perceived need to have access to ‘moderate Republicans’.

In other words, don’t expect to get credit for voting liberal if you’re a Democrat, but do expect to get credit for only being crazy some of the time if you are a Republican.

This is reminiscent of NARAL’s disgraceful praise (and subsequent electoral endorsement) of Joe Lieberman for voting against Alito after voting in favor of cloture to kill the Democratic attempt at a filibuster.  Willful blindness is not a winning strategy.

October 20th, 2008 at 08:42pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Blogosphere,Democrats,Environment,Politics,Republicans,Wankers

Monday Media Blogging – MTV3K Edition

What 80s songs would be like if their lyrics exactly described their videos. It’s way funnier than it sounds, trust me.

See more funny videos at Funny or Die

Baaaand Montaaaaage…

See more funny videos at Funny or Die

Do you like my new sweater?

(h/t ::matthew)

October 20th, 2008 at 11:25am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Uncategorized

Is It Just Me?

Or is Republican racism getting more and more ugly and overt as the election draws closer?

It feels like it’s building to some horrible crescendo, but I don’t even want to think about what form that might take.

October 20th, 2008 at 07:52am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Elections,McCain,Palin,Politics,Racism,Republicans

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