I did a bit of canvassing in 2004 for the democratic candidate for the open seat left by George Nethercutt, a real sterling term-limit guy who stayed for five and is now a lobbyist working with Steven Griles. But I digress.
We had a great candidate, a lot of support, and I told everyone that changing congress was the most important mission. Even more true than I could have imagined.
I knew nothing about the opposition, Cathy McMorris, but my husband kept saying she would be the toughest of the candidates running in the Republican primary because she was the woman. He was seeing the cynical sexism of the Republican party. She's young, she's cute (former Mayor Jim West thought so), single (i.e. innocent - again Republican cynicism), leader in the statehouse, and able to work in a "bipartisan" manner. A good country girl who sold fruit on her family's farm.
Naturally the Republicans were determined to hang on to the seat. They spent "good" money on it, taking out Speaker Tom Foley and taking over the House.
The local 2004 congressional campaign was a nasty one, but I was hopeful because McMorris seemed so just plain dumb and mouthed all the talking points - "tort reform" was the one that stuck annoyingly in my mind - that I thought we might just have a chance.
And the winner was . . . our little Missrepresentative. The local paper treated her arrival in DC as if our own sweet princess was going off to college for the very first time. A huge piece with lots of pictures. She had her official picture taken wearing a brand new red leather jacket.
Calling her office produced many unpleasant conversations. On the one hand, I tried stubbornly to appeal to some sense of reason or humanity, and on the other, I just tried to stick it to them. It was clear they were only interested in representing the constituents who agreed with them and/or supported their campaign.
Finally, as a lurker on Daily Kos I came across the diary "Let's Play: Follow the Money" using New York Rep. Susan Kelly as the target. So I played, too, using my own Missrep.
I started with the FEC website and discovered that McMorris DID have many of the same contributors as Kelly. The news had already reported that she got money from the DeLay PAC. I called her office to complain, and they said she wasn't going to return the money because DeLay hadn't been convicted, yet. They volunteered, however, that she had given back the "Duke's" money, contributed it to a local food bank, since, of course, he had been convicted. Ah, the nobility of it all. Innocent until proven guilty.
Well, time trudged on and I can now find my way around the very user-friendly opensecrets.org site.
I found money from Bob Ney. That info is on the Democratic congressional campaign committee site. But I found more.
RICHPAC, Pombo's PAC shared its wealth - $5000, some of which is Abramoff money. Roy Blunt's PAC, Rely On Your Beliefs, ponied up $5000, with more Abramoff money. And then there's John Doolittle's (takes a little more looking) Superior Leadership for CA PAC. This includes money from Brent Wilkes (friend of Duke), Tony Rudy (big Friend of Jack - FOJ), and other FOJs from the Alexander Strategy Group.
And our littlegirlnextdoor was happy to take it all. She even posed for a picture in a taxpayer paid mailer with a Wendy's restaurant sign in the background. She got $5000 from Wendy's International Inc PAC.
Also, interestingly, number five on her list of top contributors' zip codes is Bentonville, Arkansas - Walmart money. $13,068 - a lot of money for such a small town girl (The Center for Responsive Politics, opensecrets.org). Number nine is also from out-of-state.
There's more, and I haven't stopped looking.
McMorris is considered a rising star by the Republican leadership. Assistant whip first to DeLay, now to Boehner, and tapped to head up the hearings on changing NEPA, she hasn't been groomed so much as funneled into this position.
Young, attractive (more Republican cynicism), she is a Stepford Wife of the Party, a facade, a fake, and a front (willingly ?, innocently ?, naively ?, stupidly ?), and I don't think she's the only one out there.