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AK-Sen: Inouye Sells Out His Party

by: James L.

Wed Apr 30, 2008 at 1:15 PM EDT

This is just rich:

Putting their friendship above party, Democratic Sen. Daniel Inouye (Hawaii) will headline a fundraiser today for one of the Democrats' top targets this cycle, Republican Sen. Ted Stevens (Alaska).

Inouye, who chairs the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, on which Stevens is the ranking member, is the "special guest" at the noon event at 101 Constitution Ave. NW. According to the invitation, the lunch is organized by a several high-profile lobbyists, including Stevens' former top aide, Lisa Sutherland. The fundraiser seeks $1,000 in contributions from individuals and $5,000 from political action committees to aid Stevens' bid for an eighth term this fall.

Stevens, of course, is facing the toughest re-election battle of his career against Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich, so this kind of betrayal is all the more harmful.  

But this isn't the first time that such behavior has landed Inouye in hot water.  Remember his endorsement of Joe Lieberman's independent candidacy in 2006?

U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye has backed away from his support of Connecticut Sen. Joseph Lieberman in his controversial run for re-election as an independent.

Inouye drew criticism in the local Democratic Party when he said he would continue backing Lieberman even after he lost the Aug. 15 Democratic primary in Connecticut to Ned Lamont.

Party rules require loyalty to the Democratic nominee, and several Hawai'i Democrats have faced disciplinary action in the past for backing third-party candidates over the party's choice.

Is it time to make Sen. Inouye re-take his Democratic loyalty oath?

(Update: On reflection, I softened the title of this post a bit.  Like Trapper John, I have a lot of respect for Inouye's service to his country, but I'm enormously disappointed and frustrated with his decision to interfere with one of the Democratic Party's hottest Senate pick-up opportunities this cycle.)

(H/T: TPM)

James L. :: AK-Sen: Inouye Sells Out His Party
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No, but.....
I think it's time that the 84 year old Sen. Inouye plan his retirement. Since I doubt that were he to run for reelection, there's no way the netroots would let him off without a primary challenge after this fiasco.

It's time this guy retire
I personally like the sound of "Senator Abercrombie."

Follow the elections in Georgia at the 2010 Georgia Race Tracker.

Abercombie wouldn't run,
he's 66 himself. Maye Patsy Mink, but this another ridiculous incident of intolerance by the netroots. It's ridiculous, just like Debbie Wasserman, Inouye is about as liberal as Democrats come, yet to endorse a Republican in a tough spot is a godforsaken sin? Stevens has endorsed Inouye in all of his campaigns, they work very closely on important legislation, and most of the stuff the Steven's sponsors Inouye helps write and cosponsors, and Stevens does the same.

Besides, are you all mad? Ultra-popular Governor Linda Lingle is going to try her luck at the Senate Race. We need Inouye to seek reelection, he's a living legend, with approval ratings in the upper seventies. He has the kinda of popularity that transcends politics. We can't afford to have him retire.

But, he has said he intends to run for reelection many times and the only person in the HA-DP who would run against him is DLCer Ed Case, a terrible, pro-tax cut, business Republican pretending to be a Democrat.  

Call no man happy until he is dead-Aeschylus

[ Parent ]
For starters, Patsy Mink died a few years ago.  And even if Inoyue were "as liberal as they come" endorsing people like Joe Lieberman and Ted Stevens completely negates that.

Follow the elections in Georgia at the 2010 Georgia Race Tracker.

[ Parent ]
I mean
the woman who just replaced Case, and ran for governor in 2002, I just can't think of her name.  

Call no man happy until he is dead-Aeschylus

[ Parent ]
Mazie Hirono

Follow the elections in Georgia at the 2010 Georgia Race Tracker.

[ Parent ]
Not quite
His lifetime Progressivepunch score is 83.90, which while not terrible, is a far cry from being "as liberal as they come". He's a moderate Democrat through and through; Akaka on the other hand is about 'as liberal as they come'.

It's true that Inouye and Stevens are best friends in the Senate, I believe the only reason that Inouye actually ran for re-election in 2004 was because Stevens was still serving, and I believe he said he will retire in 2010 if Stevens is not around anymore.

Still, It's hard to justify his action of hosting a fundraiser for one of the most vulnerable senators this cycle, regardless of their friendship. The entire Debbie controversy was involved with her saying nice things about her bff Ileana Ros-Lehiten(sp.?), not actually hosting a fundraiser for her. He's kind of invulnerable though, so I hope and I suppose the only action against Inouye would be a scolding by Reid, Durbin and the rest of the Democratic caucus.

If Ed Case were to replace Inouye, it wouldn't be completely terrible, they may as well be ideological soulmates.

[ Parent ]
"yet to endorse . . . ."
"yet to endorse a Republican in a tough spot is a godforsaken sin?"

YES!  I'm a fairly moderate, left-center Democrat.  I think it's great for Senators to be civil with one another and be friends.  I think working for pragmatic, bipartisan solutions is exemplary.  But, bipartisanship ends at election time.  There's rarely an excuse for a Democrat to support a Republican.  But, in this case, there's absolutely no excusing Inouye.  Stevens is vulnerable.  He's corrupt.  He's ideologically opposed to almost all (all?) Democratic party positions.  Friendship and civility are not excuses for selling out yours and your constituents' values.  And just because your otherwise generally a fine Democrat, doesn't mean your immune from justifiable criticism.

[ Parent ]
How egotistical do you have to be
To value your friendship over of the future of this country.    

Well, he'd have to share the belief that the future of the country is at risk.
When you're at the top of the food chain like some of these guys are (and like Inouye has been for what, 30+ years?), the world looks like it's all pretty alright.  There's not much wrong with the world if you're in charge of it.

And of course, it's foolishness to imagine that the "issues" that motivate us are what motivate these guys.  Some of 'em, sure, but not all of 'em.

28, gay guy, Democrat, CA-08

[ Parent ]
Birds of a feather . . . .
Isn't Inouye one of the biggest pork meisters?  

Good God
He represents a really Democratic state, is there any reason why Inouye can't, oh I don't know, act like a Democrat?

Politics and Other Random Topics

24, Male, Democrat, NM-01, Chairman of the Atheist Caucus, and Majority Leader of the "Going to Hell" caucus!

Good God,
he only votes with the party 99% of the time, and you know acts like a Democrat, except for always endorsing his friend of forty years Stevens, who also always endorses him. You assume here, and don't really know the circumstances, or that Stevens and Inouye work very closely together on their pet projects, (ANWR), and Inouye's bill for the recognition of native Hawaiians.  

Call no man happy until he is dead-Aeschylus

[ Parent ]
Some issues of Party Loyalty Trump the rest
A sitting Dem tying himself to a corrupt member of the other party is very damaging.  This is a much bigger sin than that of Wasserman Shultz.  She said she would not campaign against a friend (that I can understand, sort of).

Here we have a senior democratic senator campaigning AGAINST the democrats in AK.  Make no mistake raising money for Stevens is being part of the campaign AGAINST Begich.

Why should he get a pass when his actions undercut not just the AK race but by hanging with and raising money for the corrupt Stevens from lobbyists he undercuts one of our best lines of attack across the country.

[ Parent ]
so, this really does not matter,
even winning that race does not matter in the big picture of Inouye's resume or whether to attack him for it. It's an isolated incident, besides all you are doing is discouraging bipartisanship.  

Call no man happy until he is dead-Aeschylus

[ Parent ]
Bipartisan ship is date rape
When will the Democrats learn that?  Bipartisanship gave us the Iraq War and its continued funding, NAFTA, CAFTA, Defense of Marriage Act, the Bankruptcy Bill, and tax cuts for the rich.  We need MORE partisanship.  We need a Democrats that stand for something more than "We're not Republicans" and don't go around endorsing Republicans just because they're good to have over for bridge.

Follow the elections in Georgia at the 2010 Georgia Race Tracker.

[ Parent ]
You and I...
have a very different view of what matters.  I think that this does matter even against the weight of Inouye's otherwise relatively solid resume.  Yes I guess I am discouraging bipartisanship but I think getting as close to 60 senate seats as possible to try to undo some of the damage of the last bunch of years is worth it.

I believe that the AK race is very very very important.  In the next couple of years we will have to take very serious decisions about war (Iraq, Afghanistan, a nuclear Iran, Darfur) and will get our last chance to ameliorate climate change before some pretty massive human suffering around the world.  I believe that a solid Dem majority in the senate (as close as possible to sixty) is our only chance to move quickly on these issues.

If we lose AK and that lets Reps continue to filibuster everything we lose our chance to act on the above issues.  In that case this one negative act by Inouye wipes out anything good he has accomplished.

There are game changing and world changing moments.  What you do at that moment matters.  I think we are at a critical point.  You do not.  Only time will tell which of us is right.

[ Parent ]
They are buds
the last true "bipartisan" partnership. They think they are just members of a club.

Inouye has also said he will retire if Stevens does or if Stevens loses the election. All the more reason to beat Stevens.

Who do you think would be a good replacement? I'm thinking with President Obama that maybe his fathers classmate (Abercrombie) or maybe his sister would be good replacements. Or maybe Abercrombie for Senate and then Obama's sister as his replacement in the House.

how vindictive
It's said to be so spiteful and petty and small minded. Inouye is a good Democrat, he has served for 40 plus years, and you want him out? The netroots have no respect. I served as a senate page, I learned especially that in the senate, the nasty rancor of the real world is not allowed in. There is such a thing as mutual respect, and most people are very friendly with each other. There is also a respect and nod towards seniority, a respect for elders. It's a good system, one more old fashioned. Abercrombie is to old. Your attitude towards Inouye is truly disrespectful. You show disdain for the one thing keeping things in the senate civil, you show disdain for forming bipartisan friendships and partnerships on legislation, it's a good thing the senate is not like these blogs, or far less would get done.  

Call no man happy until he is dead-Aeschylus

[ Parent ]
It's petty to want better representatives?
It's better to demand that party means more than a name?  It's petty to demand that our own party leaders not undercut our efforts to get better representatives?

Follow the elections in Georgia at the 2010 Georgia Race Tracker.

[ Parent ]
You're assuming that YOUR view of what makes a better representative is the one that 100% of American agrees with. While I don't agree with what the Senator from Hawaii has done... We forget that these are real people... They are not just progressive lifetime scores, and roll call votes. If Senator Stevens is one of his closest friends, I have to admit that I UNDERSTAND why he's done it... I don't have to like it. But to sit there and act all high and mighty, like you wouldn't do the same for one of your closest friends, its ridiculous!

[ Parent ]
I respect Sen Inouye
But he and Ted Stevens are elected to represent the people of their states. There job is to represent the people's interest and frankly raising money for someone who is under federal investigation by the FBI is not in the people's interests.

I can understand friendship and I could understand him sitting the race out but at some point you need to rise above your personal loyalties and do what is right.

I support bipartisan partnerships very much. Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici worked long and hard to pass Mental Health Parity. But that doesn't mean Paul Wellstone decided to raise money for Domenici.

Ted Stevens will soon be indicted as a criminal for breaking the law. That is not someone frankly that Dan Inouye should be raising money for. That's my opinion. It probably also won't be enough to lose a single vote for Inouye in Hawaii.

And your right it is good the Senate is not like "these" blogs beacuse a blog is a internet site and the Senate is a democratic institution.

It's up to Inouye in the end and he has made his choice. I don't think that is a wise one. But it's up to him. I am voicing my dissenting opinion. That's what happens in a democracy.

[ Parent ]
"It's up to Inouye in the end and he has made his choice."
And he made a bad one and should be held accountable for it.

Follow the elections in Georgia at the 2010 Georgia Race Tracker.

[ Parent ]
Democratic Loyalty Oath ?
That's not how the party works, and its not how the party should work. This is what George Washington meant when he warned about the dangers of parties in his last inauguration speech. We don't make people do anything. I"m going to leave it at this, because I don't want to repeat what I've already stated.  

Call no man happy until he is dead-Aeschylus

i dont think its the fact
that he has endorsed a republican is the problem, it's the fact that he has endorsed a corrupt republican who is Vulnerable this cycle, who's up against, from what i've seen, a good D candidate.

If he were to endorse someone like Mike Enzi who's not corrupt nor facing a real dem challange then this would be understandable and i, personaly wouldn't bat an eyelid.  

The chance of wining the Alaslka seat isn't just a pipe dream or a fantasy of the netroots, its a real chance at a seat. Even The national journal pegs it as number 9 on their most competetive list, Chris Cillizza at WaPo puts it at number 5.

This would be just like Sen Jim DeMint endorsing Sen Mary Landrieu for re-election over republican challanger Kennedy.


except that would make sense
Because Mary Landrieu isn't corrupt, facing investigation from the FBI and isn't a party hopper looking for political advancement. I believe that a good Republican will always be better than a bad Democrat, but the fact does remain, Stevens IS a bad Republican.

[ Parent ]
Repubs NEVER do this
Even if they are good friends with a particular Dem (see Orin Hatch-Ted Kennedy) they always toe the party-line. When will Dems learn that doing the right thing is a waste of time when dealing with people who would sell their grandmother out if it meant getting ahead. They exploit this weakness time and time again. They play hardball while our guys mean well but play a completely different game while thinking it is a level field. They deserve to get walked all over sometimes.

So now we're getting angry at our Democrats for being compassionate and caring, for being above the partisanship of Congress, and we're hoping they start acting like Republicans? lol I saw a bumper sticker once that said, 'Better a bleeding heart, than no heart at all.' As much as it sucks to lose, I'd rather lose and still have my morals and values in place than sell out like many Republicans have done.

[ Parent ]
"Whenever a fellow tells me he is bipartisan I know he is going to vote against me."
Harry Truman  

[ Parent ]
while I agree it is excellent to see Senators going above partisanship and acting bipartisanly, there are certain things require partisanship.  One of those things would be making sure and doing everything you can do to help our side gain more seats.  It's a basic principle, making sure that your party (team) wins.

[ Parent ]
This particular
Republican does do this with this particular democrat. Stevens always endorses Inouye.

[ Parent ]
Who cares?
Inouye doesn't face tough elections. An endorsement in a race with no opposition means nothing.

[ Parent ]
That's fine.
I was just disputing the point that Republicans never endorse democrats. When in this case, the inter-party endorsements are reciprocal.

[ Parent ]
Frist vs. Daschle in '04
Do any of you remember when then-Sen. Frist traveled to South Dakota in the summer of '04 to actively campaign for John Thune, and essentially against Daschle? The unspoken tradition was that no Senate party leader was to campaign against the opposite party's counterpart. I don't know the reasoning behind that but I'm guessing that Frist and Daschle didn't exactly have the best working relationship or friendship in the Senate.

Frist broke with tradition. And that was inexcusable. We all know what happened to Daschle. I can't forgive Frist for that.  

Its similar to Harry Reid and John Ensign had, that they wouldn't endorse or campaign against the other. The Senate does seem to be one of those places where old time nicities are still found... for better or worse.

[ Parent ]
Well Apparently....
Daschle has forgiven Frist. Judging from this:


[ Parent ]
Dear Hawaii
Try to partner up with California, instead of Alaska.

The plane flights are probably shorter and the perks are probably better.

Senator Daniel Inouye is one of the most the best senators that the Democratic Party has. I do support him in his support for Sen. Stevens. Even though I personally support his opponent, Stevens must mean a lot to Inouye. Inouye is a person who's values trump politics. His support for Stevens has to do with a bond that these two Senators have established over their tenure. Inouye places people over politics and knows that he has a friend in Stevens. Stevens was there when Inouye's wife died last year. Inouye found comfort in Stevens'  presence. And no, Inouye did not sell out his party, and the oath that you speak of complements the partisan political B.S. Senators like Byrd, Inouye, Specter, Kennedy, and Warner were elected in a time where politics was more respected than it was today. Inouye is a low profile senator who rarely strays from the party. Leave him alone, and show him the respect that he has earned and deserves.  

sorry the first sentence should say... Senator Daniel Inouye is one of the best...

[ Parent ]
I've seen a lot of arguments saying that those of us who are outraged by Inoyue's actions are petty.  I think it's the only way around.  I think it's Inoyue that's being petty by putting friendship over the greater good.

Stevens will not be in bad shape even if he loses;  I'm sure he could find several nice jobs in lobbying or in the business world.  But I would think the country, Alaska, Hawaii, and the Democratic Party would be much better off without a corrupt Senator like Stevens in office.

It's not like we're demanding that Inoyue not be friends with Stevens.  And it's not like I'm not asking Inoyue to abandon Stevens to a literal execution squad.  Hell, I wouldn't mind so much if Inoyue even publicly sat out, especially if he instead donated and supported other Democratic candidates like Mark Warner or the Udall cousins.

We need better representatives.  And we need representatives who will work to get additional better representatives.  This is unacceptable.  And Inoyue has a pattern of doing things like this.

Follow the elections in Georgia at the 2010 Georgia Race Tracker.

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