Friday, February 18, 2011

Hahn Baits Winograd Into Joining CA36 Race (UPDATED)

In what can only be described as a cynical and calculated move to bait Marcy Winograd into entering the CA36 Congressional race and split the progressive vote, Janice Hahn issued a press release today urging Debra Bowen to join her in a pro-Israel pledge.

The problem isn't the pledge itself - a fairly standard boilerplate declaration that supports Israel's right to exist, a two-state solution to the Israeli/Palestinian peace process, and enforcing sanctions against Iran - the problem is the timing of the pledge and it's explicit attack on Winograd:

One possible candidate for Congress, Marcy Winograd, recently slammed Israel by stating the following:
  • "I think it's too late for a two-state solution. Israel has made it all but impossible for two states to exist."
  • "Not only do I think a two-state solution is unrealistic, but also fundamentally wrong..."
  • "As a citizen of the United States, I do not want my tax dollars to support institutionalized racism. As a Jew, I do not want my name or country associated with occupation or extermination."
  • "Let us declare a one-state solution."
These remarks prompted Congressman Henry Waxman to repond by saying that, "in Marcy Winograd's foreign policy, Israel would cease to exist. In Marcy Winograd's vision, Jews would be at the mercy of those who do not respect democracy or human rights."

I agree with Congressman Waxman.

Hahn's press release comes on the heels of a Daily Breeze article which stirred up a hornets nest amongst progressives in the district because of this paragraph:

"I did some hard analysis about where I thought I could best serve this country and this state at this moment in history," Bowen said. The former lawmaker said she plans to focus on improving education and strengthening jobs in the local aerospace industry while also building up the nation's military.
Marcy Winograd in particular jumped at the quote, and forwarded her concerns to listserves throughout the district.

I thought I'd share concern expressed on the CDP Progressive Caucus list serve about a Daily Breeze report that Debra Bowen, when announcing her candidacy, indicated that she supported a military build-up. .... For me, this is code for more bomb-building, with no emphasis on transitioning aerospace into Green jobs that we desperately need. Last week I asked her if she would join the Out of Afghanistan Caucus, but never received an answer on that issue.

Bowen quickly sent out a letter to supporters in the district saying she was "stunned" to see her interview characterized as it was, and said she had called the reporter to correct the record.

I'm gravely concerned about the cost of war and the number of lives lost. I think we need a safe and rapid exit from Afghanistan, for one example, and said so very specifically in that interview. I would much rather that these resources go towards jump starting our economy, restoring excellence in our schools and providing quality job training, developing energy independence via green alternatives, improving on health care as it is implemented, and addressing the need for care for the increasing number of seniors with dementia and Alzheimer's and children with autism, diabetes, and other conditions that threaten their independence and quality of life.
Janice Hahn and her campaign manager, Joe Trippi, are trying to kill two birds with one stone here. First, they want to paint Bowen in a corner with the Jewish community, secondly, they are hoping they can provoke Winograd to run.  It's a clever, yet deeply cynical strategy, especially since Winograd was one of the first endorsements Hahn sought after learning of Harman's resignation.

With a credible Republican challenger now in the race - Redondo Beach City Attorney Mike Webb - a split vote between Bowen and Winograd would likely eliminate both in the first round of voting.

In the new "open primary" system the two top voter-getters would advance to a second round of voting if no one receives %50+1 of the primary vote. And that's unlikely with a three or four-way ticket.


Apparently Hahn's ploy was at least partially successful. After a report surfaced that Bowen signed on to the pledge, Winograd sent this response to supporters:

"Regardless of where we stand on Middle East issues, most of us support free speech and fundamental Constitutional rights. What is troubling is that two elected officials are now on record trying to silence dissent in the 36th Congressional district and beyond."

I've heard from several Winograd supporters/donors who've said they were contacted and asked to withhold endorsing anyone for the moment.


  1. Winograd's got NO chance! She should have declared before Bowen did. Now she'll just solidify her pariah status by jumping in.

    She should run for City Council.

  2. Can you clarify that last sentence of your post --- did _Winograd_ contact these supporters/donors asking to withhold endorsements?

    Thanks for being very timely with this post. Had you not pointed out the fact that Hahn asked previously for the endorsement of Winograd, I think the reporting on this would have let Hahn get away with being this cynical ploy.

  3. I've heard from several different supporters of Winograd saying they had been contacted.

  4. "I've heard from several different supporters of Winograd saying they had been contacted." Yes, but was it _Winograd_ who contacted them them to hold off on endorsement?

  5. Got the email from her now (as a one-time supporter I'm on her list), and have emailed back imploring her to not run, as she has no shot at winning, and can only help Hahn or even a Republican take this seat. I hope anyone who's gotten this email will reply back as well.

    Crazy to say that in a district this Democratic that such an outcome would be possible; then again there are no shortage of Democrats who would say they will simply not vote for Winograd under any circumstances, and not because of anything she's said about the Israel/Palestinian issue. Rather, it's for things like signing a petition vowing "not to support President Barack Obama for renomination for another term in office, and to actively seek to impede his war policies unless and until he reverses" course on the Afghanistan and Iraq wars and decrease the military budget ( I agree with those aims, but as a congressional candidate, you have to be prepared to deal with the response you'll get, and the best Marcy can usually muster is getting her husband to come to her defense. Not a path to victory....

  6. Anonymous, you make a sad case for keeping Winograd out of this race, since you state your agreement with her principles, suggest (correctly) that they are not fully shared or capable of proclamation by Bowen or Hahn, and yet you won't support Winograd because, I gather, of some "realpolitik" concerns. The "jungle" primary provides an opportunity for a candidate with genuine and heartfelt principles -- instead of the usual triangulators -- to succeed. It's about time we followed our hearts as well as our heads, because we've seen where the triangulaton leads us. I'm confident that Winograd can and will respond adequately to the attacks she will attract (as she has in the past), not least of which are from this blog author, who was herself a lapdog for Harman, and seems to have a personal antagonism out of all proportion against Winograd.

  7. Winograd has no chance of winning this district. Zero. Zip. Nada. Winograd is running a Nader-like spoiler race for no reason beyond ego. And Hahn and Bowen aren't Harman, as much as she and her handful of followers would like to paint them as such.