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Mimicking Marcy

Nick Antonicello: The Winograd message is being hijacked, lifted and repackaged by two centrists in Hahn & Bowen who've never had to clearly explain to Democrats what they truly stand for in any previous party contest.
marcy peace rally

Marcy Winograd, The Progressive Candidate

They say imitation is the highest form of flattery, but in the race to replace former Congresswoman Jane Harman, it's just another example of two, "right-of-center" Democrats pretending to be progressive.

As both Secretary of State Debra Bowen and Los Angeles City Councilwoman Janice Hahn so desperately want to turn an 18-candidate field into their own little garden party, they seem to pick from the Winograd agenda in this effort to confuse the voter that they are the true liberal!

The latest lifting of sorts is the so-called green jobs plan of Councilwoman Hahn who claims she has a strategy to "reinvest at home instead of spending on wars abroad."

Ironically, those wars were enthusiastically supported by her friend and predecessor Jane Harman!

A candidate she endorsed in 1992, 94, 96, 00, 02, 04, 06, 08 and one final time just five months ago!

Bowen is no better as she ran on the same ticket with Harman in 1992, 94, 96 and 2002 as a legislator and again in 2006 and just last year (2010) in her bid for a second term as secretary of state.

Now a candidate for Congress again, the Hahn plan to create "green" jobs sounds strikingly familiar to her call 13 years ago when she claimed she would create 100,000 new teaching jobs!

She never said how, or never said when, she just said she would create 100,000 teaching jobs. She would go on to lose that race to Republican Steve Kuykendall even though Democrats nationally would gain a net of five House seats despite the Monica Lewinsky debacle hanging over the head of former president Bill Clinton!

This year, Hahn thinks she can create 25,000 "green" jobs through local energy and American innovation!

marcy farmers market

But what does that mean?

So much for specifics in a race where voters are tired of failed policies and broken promises coming from a jobless recovery.

It's funny that it takes another race for congress for Hahn to become a job creator!

While Los Angeles deals with a $400M deficit partly due to Hahn's inability to create jobs as a city council member, how does taxing Big Oil or creating so-called tax incentives derive an additional 25,000 private sector opportunities for employment?

While Hahn is likeable, good-natured and hard working, this so-called plan is no plan at all!

If one really seeks a jobs strategy, a peek at the Winograd web site would disclose a clear & concise proposal to create jobs:

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  • Cut military spending to fund jobs in alternative energy, mass transit, schools & private sector jobs
  • Create a "Green, New Deal" stimulus
  • Require corporations like GE to pay their fair share
  • Nationalize the Federal Reserve
  • Regulate banks through the resurrection of Glass-Steagall
  • Support fair trade, not free trade

And while Marcy Winograd is still the only candidate committed to refusing corporate special interest donations, the Bowen campaign is looking to lean to the left in this attempt to position herself just progressive enough to siphon votes away from the true progressive.

And why not?

Bowen can't compete with Hahn from a fundraising perspective as the gap between Hahn and Bowen continues to grow. So if you can't out raise them, have some surrogates throw enough mud at the front-running Hahn so you don't have to talk about your own special interest contributors!

For weeks now the Bowen campaign has decided to ignore the $14,000 the former state senator accepted from Enron when she chaired the California Senate Energy Committee, the very committee charged to regulate utilities like Enron.

Now you know the rest of the story!

All the more ironic is while the race is judged by the size of a candidate's wallet versus the content of their campaign, both Bowen & Hahn peck away at critical segments of the Winograd platform versus having a credible agenda to call their own!

For is it enough to say your against the wars of this country without ever taking a firm stand to "de fund" these conflicts?

Is it enough to come out with a phony jobs plan when you can't point to any credible job creation after three terms on the LA City Council?

In the case of Bowen, is it hypocritical to talk about transparency when you won't even acknowledge the thousands you accepted from Enron and so many others you were supposed to regulate as the chairman of the very committee to insure legislative monitoring & oversight?

More importantly, how do you call yourself a friend to organized labor when you've personally invested in Wal-Mart, one of the AFL-CIO's greatest organizing threats anywhere in the United States?

I'm sure it is comforting to the thousands UFCW members (United Food & Commercial Workers) bracing for yet another strike that California could be sending to Washington Wal-Mart's best friend from our side of the aisle, Debra Bowen!

And isn't it ironic that the only dues paying member of the AFL-CIO is being virtually ignored by labor while two, termed out, career politicians seeking refuge inside the Beltway are being touted as the true ally of working men and women here in the 36th CD?

The Winograd message is being hijacked, lifted and repackaged by two centrists in Hahn & Bowen who've never had to clearly explain to Democrats what they truly stand for in any previous party contest.

For imitation may be flattery to some, but in this contest it seems to me a case of buyer's remorse for many so-called progressives more obsessed with the concept of winning versus the value of principled positions when it comes to the issues.

Nick Antonicello
Venice Beach

The author is a member of the West LA Democratic Club.