Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Janice Hahn: Extreme Makeover Edition

Greetings dear readers - your blog mistress has been away on business for the last couple of weeks, first marinating in the Progressive primordial stew that is Netroots Nation, then on to DC to take care of some pressing family obligations. I'm in town for just a few days before me and Mr. V4C take off for the Eastern Sierras, where I hope to be blissfully internet-free for a week.

But enough about me, let's talk about you.

How about that CA-36 election?

Racist videos, demands, counter demands, FEC complaintsmassive fundraising off of said video, a weird "sexting" scandal involving Hahn's former chief of staff, more negative mailers than I can shake a stick at, and now this:

Janice Hahn is apparently no longer a Democrat.


According to the ad above, Janice Hahn is "a local City Council Woman who has never held partisan office."

Let's review for a second, shall we? Just two months ago, when Hahn was competing for the official CA Dem Party endorsement, her campaign caused quite a stir when it called into question a competing candidate's party loyalty, saying,

I was born a Democrat, I was raised a Democrat, and when I am elected to Congress, I will never forget that I’m a Democrat,” said Councilwoman Janice Hahn. “I grew up learning early on about Democratic values—my dad, former Los Angeles County Supervisor Kenny Hahn taught me about civil rights, equality, and the importance of the middle class. When I go to Congress I pledge to stand up for these Democratic values and be a fighter for the people of the 36th Congressional District.”

Hahn's new persona isn't just limited to TV advertising either. One of the first things her campaign did was change her ballot description from "LA City Councilwoman" to "Local City Councilwoman", hoping to erase any negative associations and connections with the City of Los Angeles.

And in mailers sent out from the LA County Federation of Labor this week, there's this:

So this is clearly a strategy on Hahn's part to pivot away from her partisan image and depict the candidate in such a way that she'll appeal to independent and swing voters.

Now this might be a good strategy in a general election where you're dealing with less informed voters and have time to rebrand yourself, but that's not the election we're in now.

This election is a low turnout down and dirty sprint to the finish, where both candidates have to fire up a committed base of informed, partisan voters and drag them to the polls.  The last thing you want to do is run away from the partisan voters who brung you to the dance in the first place.

Craig Huey certainly isn't running away from his base. They're fired up and ready to go, recruiting Tea Party volunteers from as far away as San Diego to come canvass for the candidate.

And Huey isn't at all shy about using Hahn's numerous (and valid IMHO) attacks against him to both fire up his own voters and depress Hahn's potential Democratic base. This week an IE from the "Friends of Huey For Congress" sent out a flyer calling into question Hahn's honesty by dredging up the attacks her campaign made against Debra Bowen in the final days of the primary, even going as far as quoting Bowen's campaign manager, as well as criticism from the liberal website Daily Kos.

Now anyone reading my blog knows I'm not the biggest fan of Janice Hahn, but I also don't want my district handed over to a Tea-bagger. I hope somebody, anybody from Hahn's campaign will read this and come to their fucking senses.

In an election where turnout could go as low as 10-15%, where the electorate is suffering from some serious voter fatigue, and many others have no idea there even is an election, firing up the base is everything.

In Hahn's case, the base are committed Democrats who want a committed Democrat to fight for them in congress. By now presenting herself to voters as a "local City Council Woman who has never held partisan office", she's basically signaling to the base she's yet another wishy-washy DINO Congress-critter who may or may not uphold the values they hold dear. Better than a Teabagger, sure, but not by much.

And that, dear friends, can be a recipe for disaster. I guess we'll know for sure in two weeks.


  1. "This week an IE from the "Friends of Huey For Congress" sent out a flyer calling into question Hahn's honesty by dredging up...criticism from the liberal website Daily Kos." ~ Marta Evry

    Marta, is not the "Daily Kos" criticism of Hahn pictured on the Huey mailer the opening of a May 13, 2011 diary posted by you on Daily Kos?


    Isn't it a bit of misdirection to attribute the criticism to Daily Kos?

    Myla Reson
    Venice for REAL Change

  2. The quote was pulled from a diary I put on Daily Kos. If Huey had quoted me by name, I would have reported that, then I would have come down on him like a ton of brick.

    In fact, I'm surprised the Huey camp didn't pull a "Hahn" and quote me by name - just as Hahn did with your good friend and fellow Winograd supporter Peter Thottham when he posted un-sourced accusations about Debra Bowen in the primary.


    And now Winograd is stumping for Hahn. I'm certainly no conspiracy theorists, but it certainly makes one wonder what would make Winograd renounce everything she believes in about Israel to whole-heartedly endorse Hahn - someone who's position on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict is indistinguishable from Jane Harman's