Friday, August 29, 2008
Also fascinating is that in this supposedly solid Republican district, FL-21, Barack Obama is even with John McCain. This is bad news for any Republican incumbent, and I'd suspect that Joe Garcia will be shown soon to be whuppin' Mario D-B in FL-25.
Friday, August 22, 2008
This post replaced an earlier version on another blog in which my eyes had seen Mario in a news release reporting that Lincoln Diaz-Balart was going to be on Republican hatchet-man duty in Denver. Call it Mario Fever, I guess. The erroneous stuff did not appear on this blog.
Where’s Mario Diaz-Balart? So they’re asking – for months, now – over at Joe Garcia’s campaign. The FL-25 incumbent rubber-stamp is dodging all invitations to community forums or joint appearances on television, always having to “check the schedule.”
“The voters deserve to hear from the candidates,” said the Garcia campaign. “Apparently, Mario Diaz-Balart disagrees. After a disastrous record rubber-stamping George Bush's agenda in Washington, it is no surprise Mario is avoiding an honest debate.”
Joe Garcia, already judged the Best Politician of 2008 by Miami’s New Times weekly, is meanwhile looking better and better. The Cook Report, the Beltway insider guide to candidates, has just upgraded Garcia’s chances in FL-25. It changed the district from “likely Republican” to “Lean Republican.”
The Cook Report on FL-25 said:
“As Democrat Joe Garcia embarks on his campaign to portray GOP Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart as a consummate insider, both money and polling suggest that this race will be competitive. The fact that Garcia outraised the incumbent $513,000 to $392,000 during the second quarter of the year indicates that Democrats will be able to seriously go after Diaz-Balart on district airwaves for the first time in his congressional career. A June poll taken by Democratic firm Sergio Bendixen and Associates (not associated with the Garcia campaign) showed the incumbent leading Garcia by just five points, 44 percent to 39 percent.
At the end of the day, this district's GOP-leaning non-Cuban precincts closer to the Gulf Coast should provide Diaz-Balart with somewhat of a cushion. Garcia enjoys some goodwill from Cuban voters from his years as an official with the Cuban-American National Foundation, and will need to hold down Diaz-Balart's margin among Cuban-American voters to low single digits. But he will also need unprecedented turnout on the part of non-Cuban Hispanics and other Democratic-leaning voters in the eastern portion of the district to win. Although the 21st CD race still represents Democrats' best takeover opportunity in South Florida, this race is not far behind.
Don’t forget to check out the good news for all our Democratic challengers in the voter registration statistics, covered here and on DailKos earlier.
Thursday, August 21, 2008
Monday, August 18, 2008
This is the DailyKos Link. We all should study these numbers as we campaign our hearts out for our three congressional candidates, and the DailyKos article is the best place to get it in full detail and nicely laid out with hyperlinks to the official sources.
For this blog I’m only going to report the three districts’ Democratic deficits and show how they’ve shrunk.
- District 18, where Annette Taddeo challenges long-time Republican rubber-stamp Ileana Ros Lehtinen. The Democrats are only behind 7,129 souls, much better than the deficit of 18,006 in January.
- District 21, where Raul Martinez has what Kos regards as the hardest role to oust Lincoln Diaz-Balart. The Democrats are behind 24,643, against a deficit of 31,045 in January. It sounds like a big deficit until it’s clear that Republicans always have voted like crazy for Raul Martinez in the district, where he was mayor of Hialeah for many terms.
- District 25, where Joe Garcia is taking on Mario Diaz-Balart (he who brags untruthfully that our two Democratic congressmen won’t support Garcia). Here the margin has narrowed the most of the three districts, down to 3,624 from 13,348 in January.
Along those lines, I have to say I was sent out to canvass for Annette Taddeo last Saturday and the kit handed to me did not include voter registration forms. There’s no excuse for that. At least a couple.
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Down With Tyranny: Stalinism Inside The DCCC-- Beware The Red To Blue Program
Grassroots Supporters for Joe Garcia: Diaz-Balart Claims Support from Meek
Miami-Dade Dems: Bush rubber-stamp identifies Democratic "dear friends"
Eye on Miami (SunshineUnderground): Garcia v. Diaz-Balart: The Debate about the Debate
Eye on Miami (SunshineUnderground): Garcia v. Diaz-Balart
In fact, fraud seems to be a major industry in South Florida. Look at two of our most important economic sectors:
· Real estate. Mortgage fraud on all sides has been exposed in the Herald as a reason for the steep rise of home prices a few years ago and now the drop. This was accomplished by our neighbors the bankers, mortgage brokers, borrowers and lenders. Working together and individually to get rich like good Americans or just to be housed, they came close to wrecking the whole national economy. Rampant was the word the Herald used to characterize the level of mortgage fraud.
· Health care. Now the Herald has chronicled billions of dollars defrauded from Medicare – that’s from our pockets, fellow citizens – by our neighbors, the fraudsters. This was billions annually in South Florida, not the whole country. An incredible haul. Perhaps it explains the big houses and fancy yachts in our splendid part of the land.
And what is the remedy? Congress! At least in the case of Medicare fraud. So it says on the front page of Monday’s Herald. Headline: Fraud Remedy Denied.
Headlines often are written in the passive voice without full verb forms. Let’s do a little exercise here and put this in the active voice. Congress Denied Fraud Remedy.
As the Herald’s Jay Weaver reported exhaustively, the Medicare agency tried repeatedly for more money to combat fraud, and Congress always throttled the attempt. Weaver shows fine enterprise in interviewing two local members of Congress to delve into the reasons.
Interestingly, Republican Sen. Mel Martinez is on the good side (first-termer behavior?) of this issue, and is backing legislation to stop fraud. He says $1 invested in anti-fraud measures will yield $10 in fraud-reduction, the Herald reports.
Then Weaver turns to my congresswoman, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, FL-18, in the U.S. House since 1989, and she speaks out of both sides of her Republican mouth. Medicare needs help to fight fraud, but it’s risky for lawmakers to give money to an agency recognized for incompetence, she says:
“If you increase the money for oversight, then it looks like you’re fattening up the bureaucracy, even when it’s really for oversight and fighting fraud,” she said. “It’s a difficult choice.”
She then chose according to the ideology of small-government-is-best, and voted against it.
Perhaps it’s not ideology. Campaign donations could be another motivation. And thanks to research from the Florida Democratic Party, we have some detail on Ros-Lehtinen’s connection to Medicare fraud via past donations for her re-election.
From an FDP news release last week:
“In 1998, the largest home health care provider in South Florida was charged with bilking Medicare for more than $45 million in fake services. The company's founder had been a donor to Ileana Ros-Lehtinen's campaign for re-election to Congress.
“Congress did have the opportunity to fight back against Medicare fraud before it reached crisis proportions, but Ros-Lehtinen voted against allowing Congress to pursue its Constitutionally-mandated oversight role. In 1995, she voted for the so-called Medicare Preservation Act (HR 2421, Roll Call 731, 1995). The Act that Ros-Lehtinen voted for "crippled the efforts of law enforcement agencies to control health-care fraud abuse in the Medicare program," according to the then-inspector general of the Department of Health and Human Services.
“Even then, Ros-Lehtinen voted with the Republican Party line and against the best interest of the people of her district, a pattern that continues almost 15 years later.”
The FDP release reports that Ros-Lehtinen has banked $180,000 from Big Pharma and HMOs.
“Ros-Lehtinen is either complicit or easily bamboozled, but any way you cut it she has no business representing South Florida in the United States Congress,” said Eric Jotkoff, FDP spokesman.
Back to the remedy for Congress: Annette Taddeo is a brilliant businesswoman, passionate Democrat, unsullied by Big Pharma donations, and she’s running a strong challenge to Ros-Lehtinen. Now is the time to pop over to annette2008.com and give some honest money to her campaign.
And don’t forget Joe Garcia and Raul Martinez, who need your support to take out Mario (FL-25) and Lincoln (FL-21) Diaz-Balart (Lincoln declined to be interviewed for the Herald takeout), our two other rubber-stamps in Congress.
Friday, August 1, 2008
Eye on Miami (Sunshine Underground): Have a question for Mario Diaz-Balart?
Eye on Miami (Sunshine Underground): I Smell An Upset: Joe Garcia over Mario Diaz Balart
Discourse.net: Joe Garcia May Be Cool, But He Can Also Be Tough