Does DCCC back anti-woman Democrat Steve Pestka instead of pro-woman Trevor Thomas?

UPDATE: Live chat with Trevor Thomas at Crooks & Liars, coming up at 2pm EST (11am PST). Click over if you can. Thomas will be posting in the comments section.

That’s a serious question: Who does the DCCC back in the Michigan 3rd CD race?

Context — Obama’s White House is in the process of trying (and failing) to damp down the firestorm from the gay community about Obama’s pointed refusal to grant the same protection against same-sex–preference bias as it routinely grants to other biases.

Simultaneously, national Democrats are taking the “Republican War against Women” meme and, at least until Rosen-gate, wrapping themselves tight in it — making it their unique selling point (product identifier) in the 2012 election.

Something doesn’t add up.

  • Is the national Democratic “we support women” message sincere? If so, they should disavow anti-woman Steve Pestka now and actively work to make Trevor Thomas the nominee.
  • Or is “we support women” just a convenient … untruth, told to sell an appearance only?

If Pestka is the nominee, the DCCC will be using “War on Women” money to finance Planned Parenthood–defunder Steve Pestka’s House race.

That’s a problem, if you gave to the DCCC to fund its defense of women. Only the DCCC can clear this air.

The facts in the case

Let’s start with Steve Pestka. Here’s Marcy Wheeler, who lives in the district, writing last week (as always, my emphases and reparagraphing):

I went to a Debbie Stabenow event hosted by a local women’s group. As we were waiting for the Senator to speak, a top county Democrat was sitting several rows behind me trying to convince some of the women not to support Trevor Thomas.

“There is absolutely no way he can win,” the guy said (the polling says he’s wrong, and I suspect he knows that).

In addition to saying a gay man can’t win, he also said a pro-choice person can’t win in the district (his listeners pointed out that Stabenow herself had won the district; so have at least two other pro-choice candidates).

Then he described Steven Pestka, using the line Michigan Democrats used to defend Bart Stupak as he was rolling back access to choice for women across the country … “He’s with us on everything else.”

Except he isn’t. Wheeler again:

Steve Pestka’s with us on everything else, this guy said at a women’s event. But he’s not just anti-choice. When he was in the State House (the experience locals point to to claim he’s a better candidate than Trevor) he a scored whopping 0% [pdf] on votes to support choice.

That included a vote for HB 4655, which singled out Planned Parenthood to be defunded, precisely the outrage–at the national level–that Democrats use as the cornerstone of their metaphorical attack on the GOP for its “War on Women.”

Again — “precisely the outrage–at the national level–that Democrats use as the cornerstone of their metaphorical attack on the GOP”.

By the way, I suspect some Pestka-allied commenter will chime in with the statement:

Steve Pestka in the State House had a 100% voting record with the ACLU, Clean Water Action and the League of Conservation Voters. To uncritically call him “conservative” is foolish and not based on facts.

To head that off, here are the actual facts. In 2002, when Pestka ran for state Senate, he got no rating from the MI ACLU, because he didn’t fill out the questionnaire (pdf; search on “Pestka”).

Apparently, like the word “literal,” which has a non-literal meaning, the phrase “the facts” has a contra-factual meaning. Who knew?

Now, the national Democrats and this “we love women” flag they’re wrapped in.

  ▪ Here’s the DCCC “war on women” page.

  ▪ Here’s former Speaker Pelosi hating on Romney’s anti-Planned Parenthood position.

  ▪ And here’s yet another “Republican War on Women” mailing, dated last Friday (my emphasis and link-strippage):

[Dear name deleted] —
There’s no question about this. The Republican War on Women is real, and it’s extremely dangerous. If you agree, add your name to our petition: 1,000,000 strong against the Republican War on Women >>

House Republicans are pursuing the most comprehensive and radical assault on women’s health and reproductive freedom in our lifetime. Over just the last year, Republicans in Congress have voted repeatedly to limit women’s access to health care and reproductive services.

  ▪ Yet here’s is the DCCC page on the Michigan CD-3 race:

Latest Press Releases: No press releases.

It’s a clear choice on Choice, DCCC

The choice on Choice is clear. The choice on “War on Women” is clear. In 2002, Steve Pestka was part of the war on women.

He’s running a covert Blue Dog-like campaign that says, in essence, “I’m conservative enough to win” — look for phrases like “crosses the aisle to solve problems” and “diverse bipartisan coalition” in videos like this (start at 8:00).

Why do I say “covert”? Because his campaign webpage is entirely devoid of content. (No link; I’m sure you can find it if you doubt me.)

Howie Klein calls Pestka an “anti-Choice, multimillionaire conservative” and says this:

Our sources tell us that local Democrats, no doubt backed by the DCCC, are looking at a pro-life, multi-millionaire conservative who will run on the Democratic ticket. They think he’s a safe alternative, but most folks admit they don’t believe he has the fire to mount a decent campaign. This election is going to be about fighting for the middle class. And, we need candidates who are from the middle class to make the case to voters. That’s Trevor Thomas.

There is even talk that Republicans are directly involved in helping to set the Democratic ticket. They don’t like Amash, but won’t set up a primary challenge.

Is this true — are Howie’s sources wrong? Only the DCCC can say for sure — by openly supporting pro-woman Trevor Thomas against anti-choice Steve Pestka.

If they don’t, they’re open to the charge of not supporting women themselves, but merely (and cynically) pretending to. And taking money “War-on-Women” money while doing so.

The cynical have a word for this; so do the betrayed, if they ever find out.

What you can do — Support Trevor Thomas. His ActBlue page is here. And if you’re in his district, volunteer.

Blue America will be formally endorsing Trevor today, Tuesday, at 11am PST (2pm EST) when he’s doing a live session at CrooksandLiars. Tune in then.

The polling is good, according to Wheeler (see above). Thomas can win against the Republican. Progressives need to give him that chance.

Not only that, progressives need to be taking these shots, whatever the odds. We can’t keep deferring to the NeoLibs; we may as well start standing up now.

And frankly, this won’t be the first fight we have in the next four years. Gear up now, with the Trevor Thomas campaign.


(To follow on Twitter or to send links: @Gaius_Publius)

Gaius Publius is a professional writer living on the West Coast of the United States.

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